Coverage of the four western counties in Massachusetts.

A ferris wheel at the Big E grounds in West Springfield, Massachusetts.
Steven E. Nanton / The Republican / Masslive.com

The Big E fair in West Springfield, Massachusetts, drew nearly 1.5 million visitors during its 17-day run, despite the pandemic. The event wrapped up Sunday. 

The headquarters of gunmaker Smith & Wesson in Springfield, Massachusetts.
file photo from Mark M. Murray / The Republican / MassLive

Smith & Wesson said last week it will relocate its headquarters after nearly 170 years in Springfield, Massachusetts. The company blamed proposed legislation that would essentially extend the state's assault weapons ban to manufacturers.

Springfield, Massachusetts, officials launched a vaccination campaign for high school and middle school students, starting at Central High School.
Karen Brown / NEPM

Out of the some five million Massachusetts residents who are vaccinated against COVID-19, about a half million have only gotten one dose. This gap hasn’t gotten a lot of attention among public health messages, but some experts say it is concerning.

Springfield, Massachusetts, Mayor Domenic Sarno speaking at a fire department promotion ceremony on October 1, 2021.
Alden Bourne / NEPM

The mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts, said the news that Smith & Wesson will move its headquarters out of state is devastating, but he's focusing on helping those who will be impacted.

Week in review: Smith & Wesson's move, Big E crowds, and more

Oct 1, 2021
Smith & Wesson headquarters in Springfield, Massachusetts.
File photo / Masslive / MassLive.com

After nearly 170 years in Springfield, gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson is moving its headquarters and hundreds of jobs to Tennessee. The company said it will move 750 jobs from Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Missouri, but will leave about 1,000 jobs in Massachusetts.

Northampton, Massachusetts, author and illustrator Jeff Mack holds his book "Just a Story."
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

When Northampton, Massachusetts, children's book author Jeff Mack was a kid, sometimes he'd read books that were a little too scary for him. Mack said his picture book, "Just a Story," is meant to empower and reassure his readers.

Smith & Wesson's headquarters on Roosevelt Avenue in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Don Treeger / The Republican / masslive.com

Updated at 9:45 p.m. 

After nearly 170 years in Springfield, Massachusetts, firearms manufacturer Smith & Wesson said it’s moving its headquarters and hundreds of jobs to Tennessee.

Relationship Violence

Sep 30, 2021
Safe Passage

The family of Gabby Petito is establishing a foundation in her name to help families of other missing people after the 22-year-old’s disappearance and murder dominated news headlines and was shared widely on social media.  Gabby’s case has highlighted a disparity between cases of missing white women and those of people of colorAnd Another Thing examines the phenomenon known as “Missing White Woman Syndrome” and shines a light on cases of people of color who are missing here in New England.

A sign directing visitors to the Charles Neville exhibit at the Springfield Museums.
Kari Njiiri / NEPM

“Horn Man: The life and musical legacy of Charles Neville,” which opened earlier this summer at the Springfield Museums, pays tribute to the Grammy-winning saxophonist who died of cancer in April 2018 at age 79.

Mayoral candidate Gina-Louise Sciarra, center, celebrates her first-place finish in the Northampton preliminary on September 28, 2021.
Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen / The Republican / Masslive.com

November's field for mayor of Northampton, Massachusetts, is now set, as Gina-Louise Sciarra and Marc Warner were the top two finishers in Tuesday’s preliminary election.

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

The Amherst-Pelham Regional School Committee has set December 1 as the deadline for eligible students to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Figuring Out How To Address COVID-19 In Western Massachusetts

Sep 28, 2021
Springfield Technical Community College has been hosting COVID-19 vaccination clinics.
Dave Fraser / NEPM

On a recent Thursday, fewer than a dozen people gathered in a brightly lit room on the campus of Springfield Technical Community College. The group included medical professionals and people who had previously avoided COVID-19 vaccinations, but wanted them that day. Those clinics continue in cities and towns throughout western Massachusetts every week.

A vial with a swab test for COVID-19.
Tony Spinelli / Connecticut Public

A western Massachusetts public health expert said the data isn't clear on whether COVID-19 cases are leveling off in the region.

In this file photo, Cara Rintala is in Hampden Superior Court with attorney David Hoose.
Dave Roback / The Republican / masslive.com

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has vacated the 2016 murder conviction of former Granby resident Cara Rintala, who was accused of killing her wife.

A view of MASS MoCA in downtown North Adams, Massachusetts.
Shannon Young / The Republican / masslive.com

The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams has hired Kristy Edmunds as its second director in 33 years.

What Is Holding Western Massachusetts Behind In COVID Fight?

Sep 27, 2021
Richard Bodo of Auburn, Massachusetts, receiving the COVID-19 vaccine at the Eastfield Mall in Springfield, Massachusetts, on February 1, 2021.
Alden Bourne / NEPM

The surge in COVID-19 cases across Massachusetts since the late summer fueled by the delta variant is showing its first signs of slowing down. But concern remains high in the western half of the state, which is home to the counties and communities with some of the state’s highest rates of COVID infection and lowest rates of vaccination.

The incorrect notice that Berkshire Gas customers received.
courtesy Garth Shaneyfelt

The Berkshire Gas company said it made an error on recent bills that appeared to defy the laws of economics.

The campus of UMass Amherst.
HOANG 'LEON' NGUYEN / The Republican / masslive.com

UMass Amherst officials said the university has experienced a jump in racist occurrences targeting African American and Black students.

Courtesy / Springfield Symphony Orchestra

The Springfield Symphony Orchestra announced Friday it will likely not produce any shows this season if it can't reach a contract agreement with union musicians by October 1. Earlier this month, the musicians accused SSO management of unfair labor practices.

At a recent virtual debate organized by Northampton Neighbors, moderators quizzed mayoral candidates Gina-Louise Sciarra (top center), Shanna Fishel (bottom left), Marc Warner (bottom center) and Roy Martin (bottom right).
Screen Shot / Northampton Open Media / northamptonopenmedia.org

Voters in Northampton, Massachusetts, will go to the polls Tuesday for the city's preliminary election for mayor. Four candidates are vying to replace incumbent David Narkewicz, who has held the office since 2012 and is not seeking another term.

Audrey Helen Weber wrote and illustrated the children's  picture book, "On The Day the Horse Got Out."
Submitted Photo

"On the Day the Horse Got Out" is a rhyming picture book written and illustrated by Hampshire College graduate and Greenfield resident, Audrey Helen Weber. Weber said she has created "a lot of little self-published books" throughout the years, but this is her first “official book.”

Students Araiza Acum-Santos (left) and Michelle Santiago of Central High School in Springfield, Massachusetts, get their photo taken as part of a vaccination campaign.
Karen Brown / NEPM

Officials in Springfield, Massachusetts — alarmed by the city's low COVID-19 vaccination rate, especially among young people — are focusing outreach on public high schools and middle schools.

The north side of Main Street between Eagle and Holden Street in North Adams, Massachusetts.
Beyond My Ken / Creative Commons

The four candidates on the ballot in the mayoral preliminary election in North Adams, Massachusetts, have been winnowed down to two.

Lynette Bond and Jennifer Macksey agree on a few priorities: the need to improve old infrastructure, especially the public safety building, and increasing affordable housing.

Mayoral candidate supporters flash signs at cars outside of Joseph Metcalf School, a polling site for the 2021 preliminary election in Holyoke, Massachusetts.
Nirvani Williams / NEPM

Michael Sullivan will face Joshua Garcia in November's general election for mayor in Holyoke, Massachusetts. They were the top two finishers in Tuesday’s preliminary.

Theta Chi, a fraternity at UMass, had extensive damage including broken building and car windows, after a September 19, 2021, protest over anonymous allegations of sexual assault at the fraternity.
Carol Lollis / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

Hundreds of protesters demonstrated in front of a UMass Amherst fraternity house Monday for a second straight night following accusations of a sexual assault. The latest protest at Theta Chi was more peaceful than one on Sunday, which resulted in destruction of property at the frat, and two arrests, according to the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Holyoke, Massachusetts, residents marked the fourth anniversary of Hurricane Maria on September 20, 2021.
Jill Kaufman / NEPM

Four years ago, Hurricane Maria led to the deaths of 3,000 people in Puerto Rico. In Holyoke, where about half the residents identify as Puerto Rican, a welcome mat was put out.

On Monday night, a small group gathered downtown to mark the somber day.

A PVTA bus.
Mark M. Murray / The Republican / Masslive

The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority has started new bus service between Amherst and Worcester in Massachusetts.

The seven candidates for mayor of Holyoke, Massachusetts, meet for a debate on September 9, 2021.
Screen Shot / Holyoke Media

Holyoke, Massachusetts, will hold its preliminary election for mayor on Tuesday. Voters will have a crowded field of seven to choose from, with the top two finishers advancing to November’s general election.

South Hadley High School in South Hadley, Massachusetts.
Courtesy / South Hadley Schools

Students at South Hadley High School begin the semester Thursday — online and two weeks late.

Signs in Lee, Massachusetts, call for no PCB dumps in the area.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

A legal challenge against an agreement to dispose toxic waste in Lee, Massachusetts, has been dismissed. That's the ruling of Berkshire Superior Court judge Michael K. Callan.