Coverage of Massachusetts from New England Public Radio, NPR, and other NPR stations.

Children as young as 12 can start receiving the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID vaccine in Massachusetts on Thursday, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Wednesday, pending an expected final go ahead from federal regulators.

The state plans to use a variety of strategies to reach 12 to 15 year olds, including pediatricians, regional vaccination clinics and pharmacies.

As summer approaches, New England begins its reopening phase. What does that mean for families and traveling? Dr. John O'Reilly, Chief of General Pediatrics at Baystate Health talks with Dara Kennedy and Maya Shwayder on what parents need to know as they consider COVID vaccinations for their kids.

Thinking of sending your children to summer camp? Abbie Charrier, Director of Camps and Trips for New England Sports Camps, will discuss the provisions her camps have made in preparation.

Dara Kennedy and Maya Shwayder will talk with Connecticut House Minority Leader, Republican Vincent Candelora on the state's reopening plan and vaccine policy.

Over the past year, there's been a sharp decline of women visiting their doctors. For National Women's Check-up Day, Dr. Molly Shipman, a leading physician at Women's Health, explains why women need to focus on their own personal health.

What have you been dreaming about? And Another Thing will look into the subconscious aspect of dreams that some people may be encountering in a pandemic mental state.

An aerial view of the Massachusetts State House in Boston in June, 2017.
AbhiSuryawanshi / Creative Commons

The recently-unveiled Massachusetts Senate budget proposal includes increased funding for public schools.

Opioid Overdose Deaths In Massachusetts Climbed In 2020 To New High

May 12, 2021
A chart shows the annual trend in cases of "opioid-related overdose deaths for all intents" in Massachusetts from 2000 to 2020.
Department of Public Health / State of Massachusetts

Opioid overdose deaths in Massachusetts rose by 5% in 2020, marking the first increase in three years and climbing to a level slightly higher than the previous peak in 2016.

The country’s first large-scale offshore wind project has cleared its final significant regulatory hurdle, bringing the long-anticipated U.S. offshore wind revolution one step closer to reality.

A classroom.
Wokandapix / Creative Commons

A Massachusetts lawmaker hopes to follow to lead of Connecticut and Maine, and eliminate the religious exemption for childhood vaccine requirements in schools.

Marijuana Host Agreement Exploitation Flagged As Problem

May 11, 2021
futurefilmworks / Creative Commons

Updated at 6:29 p.m. 

Advocates, lawmakers and former regulators urged a Massachusetts legislative committee on Tuesday to provide more oversight of required contracts between municipalities and marijuana businesses, arguing that the system continues to be exploited by some cities and towns, which creates a barrier for small and minority owned businesses to get started in the industry.

Barrington Stage Company artistic director Julianne Boyd (left) with Mark H. Dold during a rehearsal last year.
Courtesy Barrington Stage Company / WBUR

Monday marks another small move toward reopening in Massachusetts. Live theater is permitted indoors again — though social distancing is a must.

A decade ago, Elizabeth Warren was a Harvard Law professor and a political novice when Democrats like Harry Reid and Chuck Schumer urged her to run for the U.S. Senate.

Many Democratic leaders believed Warren had a strong chance of knocking off the popular Republican incumbent, Scott Brown. But Warren had doubts.

“Will I be able to talk to people, and what would town halls be like?” she told WBUR. “And why would the good folks in Massachusetts be willing to elect a woman to go to Washington to represent them?”

Esports has evolved into a multibillion dollar industry and in its wake, colleges and universities have developed competitive teams and academic concentrations. Josh Staley, New England College Esports Program Director and scholar esports athlete Corey Bryan will talk to Dara and Maya about this profitable profession.

And Another Thing will talk with Jacob "J-Wall" Wallack, the reigning EA Sports Madden NFL  club champion and how he's made over 200,000 dollars in prize movie.

Dara Kennedy and Maya Shwayder examine the foster care system and the challenges foster families have faced during the pandemic. Psychology professor Jen Matos of Mt. Holyoke College talks about family stabilization. Next, a conversation with William McClendon who grew up in the Connecticut foster care system and just recently, became a foster parent. He spends his time working with at-risk youth.

A vaccine for COVID-19 being prepared.
Alison Montemagni / Baystate Medical Center / The Republican /

A public health expert says several factors may explain why many New England states are near the top of the list for getting their residents vaccinated against COVID-19.

A regional vaccination site opened on April 20, 2021, at The Big E grounds in West Springfield, Massachusetts.
Don Treeger / The Republican /

Massachusetts announced changes this week to its COVID-19 vaccine distribution strategy. More shots will be provided to regional sites, mobile clinics and doctor's offices.

Reps. Neal, Larson Make Business Case For Regional Rail Links

May 6, 2021
U.S. Rep. Richard Neal of Massachusetts, at podium, with U.S. Rep. John Larson of Connecticut outside Springfield's Union Station.
Don Treeger / The Republican /

U.S. Reps. Richard Neal of Springfield and John Larson of East Hartford made the case Thursday for an investment of between $6.7 billion and $9.7 billion in the infrastructure needed for regional rail service that could link Boston, Worcester, Springfield, Hartford and New Haven to New York City and beyond.

Liliana Cruz choked up at her kitchen table in New Bedford as she talked about faithfully paying her rent — every month over the last five years. Despite that, her landlord has sent her a notice ordering her to leave the three-bedroom house by the end of this month.

“From one day to the next — it doesn’t matter what I pay — I have to go,” she said in Spanish. “And I don’t bother the landlord with anything — I spent my own money to fix the bathrooms. This is heavy, but God gives me strength.”

Nettie Lesser’s grave is tucked in the back of Mount Auburn Cemetery in a quiet area surrounded by trees and birds and a carpet of purple flowers starting to bloom. The plot blends into the scene around it, the only marker a small plaque the size of a hockey puck; you wouldn’t know it was a grave unless you were looking for it.

Walk-Ins Welcome At 6 Mass Vaccination Sites In Massachusetts Starting Monday

May 5, 2021
Nurses talk to a patient at the COVID-19 mass vaccination site at Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen / The Republican /

Six of the mass vaccination sites in Massachusetts will begin offering shots on a walk-up basis next Monday, Gov. Charlie Baker said Wednesday — including the one in Springfield at Eastfield Mall.

At least 24 states have mounted a legal challenge against the Sackler family. The billionaire family owns Purdue Pharma, one of the companies in the center of lawsuits and litigation around the opioid crisis.  And Another Thing spoke with Attorney Generals William Tong of Connecticut and Maura Healey of Massachusetts as they continue to fight to hold Purdue Pharma accountable.

Vaccination for COVID-19 takes place at the Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen / The Republican /

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker this week announced a shift in the state's COVID-19 vaccination strategy, with more doses and appointments now available.

Cara Rintala is handcuffed and escorted out of the courtroom after being found guilty of first-degree murder in Hampshire Superior Court on Friday, Oct. 7, 2016.
Carol Lollis / Daily Hampshire Gazette /

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court heard arguments Monday in the murder conviction of Cara Rintala. The Granby woman was found guilty in 2016 of murdering her wife.

Massachusetts Announces Pivot To More Targeted Vaccine Approach With Regional Sites

May 3, 2021
Nursing student Meghan LaPointe administers a COVID-19 vaccine at a regional vaccination site in Chicopee, Massachusetts.
Don Treeger / The Republican /

Updated 4:25 p.m.

Nearly five months after the first COVID-19 vaccines were administered in Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker said Monday the state was moving into a new, more targeted phase of its immunization effort, with the state on track to meet its initial goal of fully vaccinating 4.1 million people by early June.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.
Jessica Rinaldi / The Boston Globe / Pool / State House News Service

As the COVID-19 metrics continue to move in the right direction in Massachusetts, Gov. Charlie Baker says he remains hopeful the state can achieve a full reopening by August 1.

Conversation on police accountability with Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey continues with focus on the Springfield Police Department. After an investigation by the Department of Justice revealed over 100,000 pages of misconduct reports, what reforms are needed in order for Springfield residents to feel more comfortable in the community?

In the wake of former Minneapolis police offer Derek Chauvin’s conviction in the death of George Floyd, Dara Kennedy and Maya Shwayder examine police accountability in our community with Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey. And Another Thing will also look into Qualified Immunity with Institute of Justice lawyer Keith Neely who is working to amend, or even end QI policies across the country.

A van from the Franklin County Sheriff's Office.
State of Massachusetts

A lawyer who works with people detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement said some of them are not happy after they were transferred from a facility in Greenfield, Massachusetts, to one in the eastern part of the state.

Roller coasters at Six Flags New England in Agawam, Massachusetts.
Jeremy Thompson / Creative Commons /

This week, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced a further rollback of the state's COVID-19 restrictions.

The Holyoke Soldiers' Home in March 2020.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

The Massachusetts Senate has unanimously passed its version of a funding bill for a new Holyoke Soldiers' Home. It carries a higher price tag than the bill the House recently passed.

Calls Grow For Mass. Board of Ed Member To Resign Over Comments About Holyoke, Lawrence

Apr 29, 2021
Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education member Michael Moriarty of Holyoke speaks during an April 20 meeting.
Screenshot / State of Massachusetts / Vimeo / State House News Service

A statewide teachers union and its Lawrence local are calling for a Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education member to resign over comments he made at a recent meeting, days after three state lawmakers, several city officials and U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan also called for his removal.

Massachusetts House Zooms Through Amendments, Passes $47.7 Billion Budget

Apr 29, 2021
The empty Massachusetts House chamber.
State of Massachusetts

Massachusetts House lawmakers unanimously passed a $47.716 billion budget in the early morning hours Thursday after adding tens of millions of dollars in spending over three days, largely to support investments that representatives said would guide the state in forging a pathway out of the COVID-19 crisis.