Regional News

News from the region from New England Public Radio, NPR, and other NPR stations.

Springfield, Massachusetts, Mayor Domenic Sarno in a file photo. Behind him stands Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

Next week, a lawsuit filed by the Springfield, Massachusetts, City Council against Mayor Domenic Sarno goes before a judge.

Massachusetts Cannabis Commission Reshaped To Start 2021

Jan 15, 2021
Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission Chairman Steven Hoffman heads the group responsible for setting up the regulations for legal, recreational marijuana use in the state.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

Freshly restocked with three new members, the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission is gearing up for a year that will include the implementation of recently-approved regulations that allow for home delivery of non-medical marijuana, continuing to press for legislation that Beacon Hill mostly ignored last session, and possibly even another round of regulatory revisions.

Police plan to have a massive presence at a demonstration possibly taking place Sunday at the state Capitol in Hartford, anticipating it could be much larger than a typical protest there.

Massachusetts Gov. Baker Vetoes Omnibus Climate, Emissions Reduction Bill

Jan 14, 2021
Morning traffic on the Mass Pike.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

Scuttling what looked to be a major session-ending accomplishment for the Massachusetts legislature, Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday vetoed ambitious climate legislation over his concerns that key pieces of the bill could stymie housing construction, and that the legislature did nothing in the bill to help cities and towns adapt to the effects of climate change.

Conn. Residents 75+ Can Register Online For Vaccine

Jan 14, 2021

Connecticut officially opened its online registration for phase 1b of its Coronavirus vaccine rollout Thursday morning, just days after New York’s website went live with an appointment backlog.

Few Mass. House Members Have Walked Boston Mayor Martin Walsh's Path

Jan 14, 2021
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh waved as audience members in the Massachusetts House Chamber applauded him after he was mentioned by Gov. Baker during the 2017 State of the Commonwealth speech.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

Boston Mayor Martin Walsh said during a speech to the city Tuesday night that he is going to bring Boston with him when he goes to Washington, D.C., to serve in the Biden administration as secretary of labor.

Studies show that climate change could prompt millions of Americans to relocate in the coming decades. And by some measures, New Hampshire and northern New England could be ideal places to move.

But preparing for those potential waves of climate migrants will be no easy task – and some are already arriving.

The Mountain West always felt like home for Judith and Doug Saum. Until recently, they lived in the hills above Reno, Nevada.

Severe storms. Heat waves. Rising seas. New England is already seeing the impacts of climate change, and scientists project they will become more severe and deadly, shaping how we live and work in the northeastern U.S.

In a special ahead of Inauguration Day, the New England News Collaborative and America Amplified look at climate change in our region and how President-elect Joe Biden’s administration could affect future climate action. Biden has proposed the most ambitious climate platform of any incoming U.S. president in history.

After 10 months of contending with the coronavirus pandemic, the largest addiction treatment provider in Massachusetts expressed relief as it began vaccinating workers and long-term patients against the virus.

Spectrum Health Systems received 700 doses of the Moderna vaccine last week, and as of Tuesday, the company had administered about half of the first doses to staff and 20 people in residential addiction treatment.

J.R. Romano announced Tuesday night that he has resigned as chairman of the Connecticut Republican Party. Last October, Romano had said he would step down at the end of his term in June. The immediate resignation marks a surprise development.

He said in a short email statement that he decided his resignation was best for the party. In an interview, he refused to elaborate, saying his statement said it all.  

“That’s why my statement was concise, it’s exactly how I feel,” Romano said. “The party needs a new face, it needs a new voice.”

Mass Vaccination Site Planned For Gillette Stadium

Jan 12, 2021
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker delivers a briefing Tuesday, January 12, 2021, after touring the Worcester Senior Center, where vaccinations started Monday for first responders.
Ashley Green / Telegram and Gazette / Pool / State House News Service

Gillette Stadium will become home to the first mass vaccination site in Massachusetts, opening its doors next week to first responders before ramping up to administer thousands of doses per day as eligibility expands, Gov. Charlie Baker announced Tuesday.

Police cruisers in Springfield, Massachusetts.
File Photo / The Republican / Masslive

Members of the Springfield Police Department will start getting vaccinated against COVID-19 this week. But the commissioner said a good number of her officers won’t be in line. 

Bonney Hartley, historic preservation manager of the Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians, stood in the Stockbridge Cemetery, which was once her ancestor's land.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

The Stockbridge-Munsee Band of Mohican Indians today are based in Wisconsin. But their homeland spanned the Housatonic and Hudson river valleys, and stretched from Manhattan to northern Vermont.

A driver buckles up.
Facebook / National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

A highway safety advocacy group says Vermont and New Hampshire are "dangerously behind" adoption of recommended traffic laws, and Massachusetts and Connecticut are faring only slightly better. 

A photograph of the exterior of the Massachusetts State House taken on September 21, 2013.
Noah B Kaplan / Creative Commons /

While the U.S. Capitol was being stormed last week, state lawmakers in Massachusetts took their oaths beginning a new legislative session.

Holyoke, Massachusetts, City Councilor Rebecca Lisi attends a meeting on Jan. 6, 2020. Lisi has announced she will be a candidate for mayor in 2021.
Kevin Gutting / Daily Hampshire Gazette /

Two members of city government of Holyoke, Massachusetts, have announced they're running to replace Mayor Alex Morse.

The conference table U.S. Rep. Richard Neal's office said staff used as a barricade in Room H-208 of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, as pro-Trump extremists breached the building.
Submitted / U.S. Rep. Richard Neal's office

This week, U.S. House members, senators and even Republican governors from across New England called for the removal of President Donald Trump from office.

Mount Holyoke College students listen during a rally held to address historical allegations of sexual misconduct by a Mount Holyoke College professor, in December of 2018, at the college in South Hadley, Massachusetts.
Jerrey Roberts / Daily Hamphire Gazette /

College students in Massachusetts would be anonymously surveyed about their experiences with sexual misconduct on campus and would have access to new, confidential resources in the event of sexual assault, under a bill that's now on Gov. Charlie Baker's desk after a last-minute flurry of activity in the legislature this week.

Calls Grow In Massachusetts To Remove Trump From Office

Jan 7, 2021
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker on Thursday, January 7, 2021.
State House News Service

Calls to remove President Donald Trump from office after he incited a violent riot in the U.S. Capitol swept across Massachusetts on Thursday, coming from the state's Republican governor and every member of the all-Democrat congressional delegation.

Resolve Seeks New Or Revised Massachusetts State Seal And Motto

Jan 7, 2021
Massachusetts state law calls for the seal to include "a blue shield with an Indian thereon, dressed in a shirt, leggings and moccasins, holding in his right hand a bow, and in his left an arrow, pointed downward, all of gold."
Chris Van Buskirk / State House News Service

Massachusetts lawmakers on Wednesday took a step toward potentially replacing the official state seal and motto, a victory for activists who have argued for decades that the current versions disparage Native Americans.

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, center top, presided over the House chamber when it recessed during the lockdown. On the left, staff members motion for lawmakers to stay seated.
Screen shot / C-SPAN

Updated at 9:25 p.m. 

As pro-Trump extremists breached the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday, Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts was presiding over the House.

In past years, hundreds showed up for the Three Kings Day celebrations at Blessed Sacrament Church in Springfield, Massachusetts. Because of COVID-19, Grisel Delgado and her daughter are producing a scaled-back event.
Courtesy / Grisel's Privare Dance School for the Performing Arts

Many Christians celebrate Epiphany on January 6, also known as Three Kings Day. In Puerto Rico, it’s an official holiday and for Puerto Ricans living in western Massachusetts, the community celebrations are usually huge, but not in the era of COVID-19.

Massachusetts Legislature Agrees To $626 Million Economic Development Bill

Jan 6, 2021
The Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston.
William Zhang / Creative Commons

With many businesses in Massachusetts on the brink after months of scraping by through the pandemic, the state legislature struck a late-night deal Wednesday to inject hundreds of millions of dollars into the economy in an effort to spur job growth and keep businesses afloat.

Mass. Legislature’s Opening Day Forecast: Cloudy With A Mix Of In-Person, Remote

Jan 5, 2021
The new speaker of the Massachusetts House, Ron Mariano.
File photo / State House News Service

Wednesday will bring a new General Court on Beacon Hill, but lawmakers must work around the same old public health crisis.

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court heard arguments on Monday about whether a Christian college has to abide by anti-discrimination laws.

Massachusetts House Advances New Version Of Campus Sexual Assault Bill

Jan 5, 2021
Mount Holyoke College students listen during a rally held to address historical allegations of sexual misconduct by a Mount Holyoke College professor, in December of 2018, at the college in South Hadley, Massachusetts.
Jerrey Roberts / Daily Hamphire Gazette /

The Massachusetts House gave initial approval to a new version of legislation that aims to prevent sexual assault on college campuses, advancing a measure that many legislators want to get to Gov. Charlie Baker before the Tuesday end of session.

Vaccine Plans In Massachusetts Shaping Up For First Responders, Older Residents

Jan 4, 2021
U.S. Air Force Veteran Robert Aucoin, 78, gets a temperature check prior to receiving his COVID-19 vaccine dose at the Soldiers' Home in Holyoke, Massachusetts, on December 29, 2020.
Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen / The Republican /

First responders can start receiving COVID-19 vaccinations in Massachusetts next week, officials announced Monday, another milestone in the efforts to roll out immunization to key groups covered by the first distribution phase.

Negotiators Reach Deal On Major Massachusetts Climate Bill

Jan 4, 2021
A customer pumps fuel at a gas station.
Charles Minshew/KOMU / Creative Commons /

After six months of private talks, Massachusetts legislative negotiators have reached an agreement on a major bill to accelerate the state's pace toward addressing the global problem of climate change.

Angelica Llanos and her family.
Courtesy Angelica Llanos

When she was 15 years old, Angelica Llanos arrived — undocumented — in Norwalk, Connecticut, from Colombia. She lived with her mother and sister, finished high school, studied for two years at Norwalk Community College but had to drop out because she was ineligible for financial aid.

A swearing-in ceremony at the Massachusetts Statehouse on December 14, 2020.
File photo / State House News Service

With the change of the calendar year comes change at the Statehouse. Massachusetts lawmakers will begin a new legislative session on Wednesday.