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

Sand and ocean waves in a photograph taken at Salisbury Beach in Salisbury, Massachusetts, during the summer survey of grain size and face slope.
Steve Mabee, Massachusetts State Geologist / Submitted Photo

Our New England landscape was shaped over 10,000 years ago by glaciers that deposited sediments. On sunny summer days, people flock to relax on some of those glacial sediments — or beaches — up and down the New England coast.

COVID-19 Cases On The Rise In Massachusetts

Jul 13, 2021
A packaged COVID-19 test at the Urgent Care Center of Connecticut in Bloomfield on March 25, 2020.
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public / NENC

Though the metrics remain near their recorded low points, COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are rising in Massachusetts as the Delta variant continues to spread.

Watch out for loon chicks if you head out on a boat in New Hampshire in the coming weeks.

It's nesting and hatching season for the loons, a protected species, in lakes and fresh waters north and south of the White Mountains. The Loon Preservation Committee, based in Moultonborough, says boat traffic – even non-motorized vessels like kayaks – can put them at risk.

A pre-pandemic scene in the lobby of Amherst Cinema in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Jerrey Roberts / Daily Hampshire Gazette /

Now free of government-mandated COVID-19 restrictions, most movie theaters in New England have reopened in full. But after months of streaming movies and selling tickets in a limited capacity, several area arthouse cinemas are choosing to stay half-empty.

A 2019 protest in Springfield, Massachusetts, against the Palmer wood-burning plant.
Courtesy of Rene Theberge / via WBUR

A new report from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America finds that Springfield, Massachusetts, now ranks No. 12 on the list of the worst places in the country to live with asthma — an improvement from past years. 

Climate change will impact native plant species in New England. The Native Plant Trust and The Nature Conservancy said states need to preserve at least an additional 2.3 million acres of land in specific locations to save the flora that both beautify and protect their landscapes, according to a new report released by the groups this week.

Dr. Danielle Allen, a Harvard professor and highly regarded political theorist, recently announced that she is running for governor in 2022. As the first Black woman to run for this office in Massachusetts, her campaign is already making history. 

Dr. Allen has a stunning academic career, but she has never held elected office before.


Dara Kennedy and Maya Shwayder sit down with Dr. Allen to talk about her inspiration to run, her policy positions and what Massachusetts needs to know about her.


Correction: This episode incorrectly implied that, if elected, Democratic candidate Danielle Allen would be the first Black governor of Massachusetts. She would be the first Black female governor of Massachusetts. The episode also incorrectly stated that Allen would be the first woman to hold the office of Massachusetts governor. She would be the first woman elected to the position.

Connecticut lawmakers did not consider the multi-state Transportation and Climate Initiative plan this year. But Governor Ned Lamont said he’s optimistic that Connecticut would eventually join the initiative.

For years, Doug McGarrah has suffered from bullet train envy.

“Those of us who have been fortunate enough to travel to places like Spain or Japan, we all marvel at these wonderful ways of getting around on high-speed rail,” said McGarrah, a partner at the law firm Foley Hoag in Boston. “We come back to America, and we get on our systems that are — let’s just say substandard.”

But with Congress debating a massive infrastructure bill, McGarrah and other proponents of high-speed railways hope to seize the moment.

Mass Alternative Care in Chicopee, Massachusetts, sells marijuana for medical and recreational use.
Don Treeger / The Republican /

When Governor Ned Lamont, as expected, signs a bill legalizing marijuana for recreational use in Connecticut, the retail tax rate would be at the high end for states in the Northeast.

The United States federal government has recognized June 19th, or Juneteenth, as a holiday commemorating the day in 1865 when the very last slaves living in Texas received word that they had been freed two and a half years earlier from President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation. Juneteenth has been celebrated in the Black community for generations, but is now gaining awareness across the nation.

In 2019, the Big E at the Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, Massachusetts, attracted more than a million visitors. It didn't take place in 2020 because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Courtesy of The Big E

Several Massachusetts entertainment venues have announced they will be in full swing this summer. The Big E in West Springfield, one of the largest annual agricultural fairs in the country, is among them.

June 6 is Cancer Survivor Day. While surviving such an illness warrants celeberation, many often face hardships after being diagnosed. Dr. David Braun, an oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute talks with Dara Kennedy and Maya Shwayder about the technology of messenger-R-N-A vaccines cancer researchers are studying.

Elizabeth Cahn, Program Director at Cancer Connection in Northampton, explains how the center adjusted their support offerings during COVID.

Ten years ago on this day, a deadly tornado ripped through Western Massachusetts killing three, injuring hundreds, and causing up to $175 million in damage. 

Springfield City Councilor Melvin Edwards talks with Dara Kennedy and Maya Shwayder on how far the city has come since the weather event. 

Emergency Coordinator Rob Macedo explains how he and others tracked the storm and communicated their findings to the National Weather Service. An act that may have saved lives.

With only nine days left in the Connecticut legislative session, Governor Ned Lamont is pushing lawmakers to approve his proposal to have the state join a multi-state Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI).

One year ago, the death of George Floyd sparked reflections and conversations on systemic racism and inequities. Corporations, big and small, in our region have made pledges to improve, so have they? Hosts, Dara Kennedy and Maya Shwayder will talk with Peter Hurst, President of the Greater New England Division of the Minority Supplier Development Council.

Connecticut has fully reopened. Dara Kennedy and Maya Shwayder will talk with CT Business And Industry Association President and CEO Chris DiPentima on what needs to happen to get businesses back up and running.

Small business owner James Varano talks about the challenges of recruiting and retaining employees at his Hartford restaurant.

Executive Director and CEO Kevin Dillon of the Connecticut Airport Authority will discuss the expected summer travel increase at Bradley Airport, New England's second-largest airport. 

Dara Kennedy and Maya Shwayder discuss the Asian American Anti-hate bill, that awaits President Joe Biden's signature, with Connecticut Attorney General William Tong. 

A conversation with professor and author Pawan Dhingra will explore the history of challenges Asian Americans have faced even before the pandemic.

Kate Lee, of the organization Make Us Visible, joins to talk about the push to incorporate Asian American Pacific Islander studies in schools.

In-person graduation ceremonies are taking place across New England. Whether you are walking across the stage or a proud family member, you can now celebrate for the first time in two years! Dara Kennedy and Maya Shwayder will talk with Superintendent John Provost and Principal Lori Vaillancourt of Northampton schools on their preparations.

On the eve of President Joe Biden's commencement speech at the United States Coast Guard Academy, we'll talk with Cadet Trenton Robledo-Thompson on how he's celebrating with his family.

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.

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.

It's a celebration of mothers, in all forms. Family therapist Dr. Gayanni DeSilva will explain the everchanging role of moms (and dads) during the pandemic.

Hosts Dara Kennedy and Maya Shwayder will also explore surrogacy. The rewards are often fulfilling, however the process of surrogacy can be challenging. Jessica Stumpf, Executive Director of the Vermont Surrogacy Network will talk about her experience as a surrogate mother and how her organization recruits both surrogates and potential families.

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.

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.

In his first address to joint congress, President Joe Biden introduced agenda polices surrounding child care, education, and immigration. Dara Kennedy and Maya Shwayder will dissect President Biden’s key components of his address then talk with members of the community that will be directly affected.

Correction: This episode incorrectly stated that nearly 1.5 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccines have been administered in Massachusetts. As of this airing, the actual number of doses administered in Massachusetts was roughly 6 million.

The push to switch from fossil fuels to renewable forms of energy will mean a lot more demand for battery storage. It's just part of massive efforts to modernize the electric grid in New England and the nation to meet the challenge of climate change.

Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey hopes President Biden's $2 trillion infrastructure plan will include money to replace the Bourne Bridge.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

President Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure plan lays out his vision of better transit, broadband and more, but it doesn’t yet specify which projects could get funded.

That’s where members of Congress come in.

President Joe Biden’s energy goals will make significant changes to where New England gets its power. How states choose to embrace these goals as part of their climate change plans could shake up the region's energy market over the next decade. This week, all eyes are on Biden, who will convene world leaders for an Earth Day summit.

A health care worker administers a COVID-19 vaccine at the FEMA mobile unit in Bridgeport, Connecticut, in March.
Tony Spinelli / Connecticut Public

All six New England states are pausing use of the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The decisions follow a federal recommendation for a pause while investigators look into six cases of a rare and severe blood clot reported in women who received the vaccine.