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

The Massachusetts effort to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 has suffered a big setback. Last week, Gov. Baker took the state out of the Transportation Climate Initiative, a multi-state initiative to cut carbon emissions in the transportation sector.

Evan Horowitz, the executive director at the Center for State Policy Analysis, joined WBUR’s Weekend Edition to discuss what this means.

Mass. Gov. Baker pulls plug on regional transportation emissions compact

Nov 19, 2021
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker in a file photo.
State House News Service

After years of touting a multi-state compact to reduce transportation sector carbon emissions as “critical” to achieving environmental goals in Massachusetts, the Baker administration on Thursday effectively scrapped its participation and declared the program “no longer the best solution.”

The Oct. 2, 2021, rally in Concord, organized by March for Women and Planned Parenthood, protested recent abortion restrictions, including ones in New Hampshire signed into law by Gov. Chris Sununu.
Sarah Gibson / NHPR

Action by the U.S. Supreme Court on abortion cases in the coming months wouldn't change access in most New England states, but it could make a difference in New Hampshire.

Week in review: why some election firsts matter

Nov 5, 2021
nancy eve cohen / NEPM

Change sometimes comes slowly. Still, municipal elections this week provide plenty of evidence it is coming in western Massachusetts. That is one conclusion of the journalists who reviewed some of the top news stories of the week for And Another Thing.

The Environmental Protection Agency awarded $887,000 of funding to New Hampshire’s Department of Environmental Services to help schools and child care facilities test their drinking water for lead.

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Office of the Connecticut Attorney General

An advocacy group that opposes abortion is going to court in defense of some women’s health clinics in Connecticut operated by other abortion opponents. The Alliance Defending Freedom has filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of a clinic in New London that says it fears it is a target of a new law that prohibits deceptive advertising practices by crisis pregnancy centers. The lawsuit claims the law violates the free speech rights of Care Net Pregnancy Resource Center of Southeastern Connecticut.

Charles Ryan celebrates his mayoral race victory in 2003 with his wife, Joan

Former Springfield Mayor Charlie Ryan is being remembered in many ways following his death this week. Ryan, who served a total of five terms as mayor, is remembered as someone “who loved Springfield” and particularly as “someone who evolved.”

Annual breast cancer fundraising walk goes virtual

Oct 19, 2021
Rays of Hope Walk 2019 in Springfield

More than a quarter million American women are diagnosed each year with breast cancer. More than 43,000 of them die from the disease each year, according to the American Cancer Society. Aside from skin cancer, breast cancer is the most common cancer among American women, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Biden's ‘marine monument’ decision features commercial fishing ban

Oct 8, 2021
A large bubblegum coral (Paragorgia arborea) seen during a dive during NOAA's 2021 North Atlantic Stepping Stones expedition.
NOAA OER / NOAA Ocean Explorer / National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

In a major move that involves banning commercial fishing, President Joe Biden took executive action to restore protections in the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts, an area about 150 miles off the coast of southern New England.

Aging infrastructure increases risk of major flooding in area

Oct 5, 2021
The view from the Meriden, Connecticut, green after the area was flooded from Hurricane Ida.
Tony Spinelli / Connecticut Public

The remnants of Hurricane Ida brought up to eight inches of rain and caused major flooding damage in parts of Connecticut in early September, while moderate flooding was reported in parts of western Massachusetts. Those were small events compared to some of the truly devastating floods in the Connecticut River valley.

One of Maine's many rocky beaches.
Max Pixels Contributors / Creative Commons

Skimming — or skipping — stones (poetically called "jumping frogs" in Africa; "waddling ducks" in Hungary or "bouncing fish" in Norway) has a long and glorious history among the under-12 set who seem to know almost by instinct the sheer joy that comes from watching a smooth stone jump across flat water until it sinks like, well, a stone.

As Tropical Storm Henri batters much of New England this weekend with damaging winds, heavy rainfall, storm surges and a large possibility of inland flooding, it may feel like one more item to add to the list of abnormal weather events we’ve seen this year.

Henri, now a hurricane, on the morning of Saturday, August 21, 2021.
NOAA/STARR 08/21/2021 12:11 UTC GOES-East / National Weather Service

Henri is now a hurricane. The National Hurricane Center issued an advisory late Saturday morning upgrading the tropical storm to a hurricane as it moves northward toward New England.

The Northern New England Poison Control Center says the surfeit of mushrooms this summer and an increase in foraging during the pandemic is keeping their lines busy.

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The center typically gets between 35 to 49 calls about mushroom poisonings from New Hampshire annually. This year, they’ve already received over 40 calls from the Granite State.

There are over 600 athletes representing the United States in the 2020 Tokyo Games. More than 30 have ties to New England. Besides the current medal count, two major stories have surfaced in the competition's first week - outbreaks of COVID and athlete mental health.

Dara Kennedy and Maya Shwayder will take a deep dive into these stories with local experts. Learn how athletes prepare mentally, the connection between training and vaccination and how one New England state is preparing for the return of their olympians. Guest include:

  • Kathleen Mellano - Assistant Professor of Sport Psychology, Springfield College
  • Dr. Sheela Shenoi - Assistant Professor of Medicine and Infectious Disease, Yale University
  • Dr. Eric Carson - Team Doctor, USA Rowing
  • Kelly Dougherty - Deputy Commissioner, Vermont Public Health

Julie Carrick Dalton is the author of the novel "Waiting for the Night Song."
Everett Dalton / Submitted Photo

Our summer fiction series continues now with a suspenseful eco-fiction story called "Waiting for the Night Song." It's the debut novel from author Julie Carrick Dalton, who spends part of the year in New Hampshire and part in eastern Massachusetts.

One day it's hot, the next day it's raining. What is going on with the weather in July?
Dara Kennedy and Maya Shwayder will talk rain, storms, farms and floods with local experts on how this weather trend may impact you. Guest include:

  • Mike Rawlins - Associate Director, Climate System Research Center at UMass Amherst.
  • Leslie Harris - Farm Manager, Quonquont Farm in Whatley, MA
  • David Wisseman from Warner Farm in Sunderland, MA
  • CT Meteorologist Matt Scott
  • Dan Thompson - National Weather Service
  • Mark Samperi - Vice President, New England Flood Insurance

A section of East Street in Belchertown, Massachusetts, collapsed from flooding and a beaver dam that broke on Sunday, July 18, 2021.
Luis Feldman / Daily Hampshire Gazette /

Experts said climate change could be related to near-record — and, in some cases, record – rainfall this month in southern New England.

Rashida Ellis of Lynn, Massachusetts, is competing in women's boxing in the lightweight division.
Courtesy / USA Boxing

The Tokyo Olympics begin this week, with the opening ceremonies scheduled for Friday.

Thirty-three members of Team USA list communities in New England as their hometowns. That includes almost a dozen rowers, a half-dozen runners and three rugby players.

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.