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

Here’s the story that New England tells itself: Racism is a Southern problem.

But our region’s abolitionist past hides a darker history of racism, slavery and segregation. It’s a legacy that lives with us today. 

How A Warming Arctic Will Change New England Weather

Sep 15, 2020

The Arctic has warmed so much that it’s becoming a completely different climate than it was just a few decades ago, according to new research from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), published today in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Activists are calling on electric customers in New Hampshire and New England to stop paying their utility bills on Sept. 1, in a strike that aims to put pressure on the regional energy system to address climate change.

No Coal, No Gas campaign volunteer Jeff Gang says the goal is to have a thousand people signed up to strike ahead of time.

As Connecticut’s utilities struggle to address a million power outages across the state, there’s no official assessment yet as to when they might be able to restore electricity to most homes. And now state regulators have announced an investigation into whether the state’s largest power company, Eversource, underestimated the threat posed by Tropical Storm Isaias.

Isaias ripped through the state Tuesday with wind speeds gusting to 70 mph, felling trees and bringing down power lines in almost every town. 

Power outages were reported across Connecticut after Tropical Storm Isaias ravaged the state with high winds Tuesday. Downed trees blocked roads and brought down power lines in many towns with winds as high as 70 mph. Utilities say it may take several days for full restoration of power. 

A regional plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants also made the northeast healthier, by reducing air pollutants like mercury and sulfur dioxide.

But a new study focused on children found the benefits were even greater than previously thought, preventing hundreds of childhood illnesses and saving an additional hundreds of millions of dollars.

The findings were published in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Sabrina Buehler didn’t expect to make much from her Airbnb rental in North Stonington this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Eric Giroux, whose novel "Ring On Deli" is about a grocery store in an old Massachusetts mill town. Decades earlier, it had a pig farm, and now feral boars occasionally appear downtown.
Courtesy Eric Giroux

For his first novel, “Ring On Deli,” Eric Giroux used a bit of his own teen experience working at the local Market Basket, a family-owned New England grocery chain. 

Data shows Connecticut is succeeding in slowing the spread of COVID-19, even as cases of the virus spike in other states.

Visitors From 7 States May Now Visit Massachusetts Without Quarantining

Jun 30, 2020
A road sign on the Massachusetts border.
State of Massachusetts

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said Tuesday he's lifting a 14-day self-quarantine directive for anyone traveling into Massachusetts from any of the other five New England states, New York or New Jersey. 

As colleges weigh whether to reopen campus this fall, leaders are considering the health of students and staff as well as the financial implications of not reopening campus. That decision is especially hard for small colleges, such as Elms College in Chicopee.

“It’s a tough time for all campuses, but particularly for smaller campuses,” said Harry Dumay, the college’s president.

Even before the Atlantic Ocean’s hurricane season officially got underway on June 1, two named storms had already developed in the tropics. One of them — Tropical Storm Bertha — made landfall along the South Carolina coast. Federal forecasters  are predicting an above-average storm season with as many as ten hurricanes through the end of November.

A protester shoots a firework toward Boston police at the intersection of Tremont and Stuart streets on Sunday, May 31, 2020.
Chris Van Buskirk / State House News Service

Thousands of New Englanders took to the streets over the weekend in protest of police violence, with more demonstrations planned for the coming days. A protest in Boston turned violent Sunday night.

Pandemic Accelerates Shift Toward Work-From-Home

May 26, 2020
An empty MBTA Green Line train in Boston on March 24, 2020.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

The COVID-19 pandemic injected a bolt of momentum into a work-from-home trend in New England that was already underway and will likely become permanent or more frequent for many workers.

The 2020 Atlantic hurricane season may be extremely busy, producing six to ten hurricanes with winds of 74 mph or higher.

COVID-19 has driven New England’s higher education sector into financial "survival mode." Now colleges and universities must adapt or risk major — if not catastrophic — loss from the crisis. Join us for an America Amplified special from the New England News Collaborative. We'll bring together voices from across the region, and we want to hear yours.

The Massachusetts Statehouse on Tuesday, March 17, closed to the public.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

There's mixed reaction from some western Massachusetts lawmakers and local officials to Governor Charlie Baker's plan to reopen the state's economy, amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

A man wearing a mask walks to a convenience store in New London, Connecticut..
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

This week, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced a phased approach to reopening much of the state's economy that had been shut down amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

A visitor used hand sanitizer prior to the Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce Outlook luncheon at the MassMutual Center on Friday, March 6, 2020.
Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen / The Republican /

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has said he'll unveil a reopening plan next week for the state's economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. 

New England saw a big drop in energy prices and demand in March, as the coronavirus pandemic coincided with mild late-winter weather.

The region's grid operator, ISO-New England, says March had the lowest electricity prices since 2003, when the current market structure began.

The regional grid runs mostly on natural gas, and gas prices were 60 percent lower in March of this year than last.

 At the Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, Madame Tricot (Dominique Kaehler Schweizer)'s "A Selection of Vegetables 2019." The hand-knitted wool art is part of the exhibit "Savor," now only online during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Toni Hafkenscheid

Like so many places where people gather, museums are closed in the COVID-19 pandemic and people have lost their jobs. Around New England, the big museums are taking a variety of approaches to engage would-be visitors and donors as they try to envision the future. 

The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states working on a regional compact to reduce vehicle emissions are still hoping to produce a final memorandum of understanding before summer, despite the pandemic shutdown. 

Meanwhile, plunging gas prices and the economic fallout from the coronavirus have put the partnership’s political odds and projected impact in flux.

Springfield, Massachusetts, Mayor Domenic Sarno.
Douglas Hook / MassLive /

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno is lashing out at federal and state officials after the city was denied N95 respirator masks for police officers and firefighters.

With an absence of consistent cooperation and clear messaging from the Trump Administration about the pandemic, the nation’s governors are having to manage the unprecedented crisis on their own. That includes Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, who is leading a fight not only against a deadly virus, but against time.

It’s a race to prepare a medical system before it is overwhelmed by the epidemic. A big part has been Baker’s effort to secure equipment for doctors, nurses and other medical workers.

Hartford Hospital personnel during drive-through testing on March 24.
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public / NENC

The number of COVID-19 fatalities in Massachusetts surged upwards Tuesday as the state reported the deaths of 96 residents and the number of confirmed cases in the Bay State surpassed 15,000. Twenty-six of the newly deceased were western Massachusetts residents.

A pharmacy staff member lets another worker into Petricone's Pharmacy in Torrington, Connecticut, on March 25, 2020.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public / NENC

From small business to big employers — from family farms to fishermen — New England’s economy is taking a hit from the coronavirus. 

Testing equipment.
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public Radio / NENC

There’s a troubling spike in the death rate from COVID-19 in one western Massachusetts county, according to state data. 

A health care worker hands a mask to someone wanting to be tested for COVID-19 at a testing tent at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

The number of deaths in Massachusetts caused by the coronavirus eclipsed 200 on Saturday with 24 new fatalities from COVID-19 reported by the Department of Public Health. Of the 24 new deaths, 11 were from western Massachusetts.

Massachusetts Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders.
State House News Service

Confirmed COVID-19 cases in Massachusetts surpassed 10,000 as the state wrapped up its fourth week under a state of emergency. 

The projected effects of social distancing in Massachusetts.
State of Massachusetts

In a matter of "weeks and months," as many as 172,000 Massachusetts residents could become infected with the coronavirus and the surge of COVID-19 patients hospitals have been preparing for is now expected to hit sometime between April 10 and April 20, Gov. Charlie Baker said Thursday afternoon.