WORCESTER COUNTY

Coverage of Worcester County, Massachusetts.

Paul Knowlton owns 300 acres of land in Grafton, and farms about 50. The farm has been in his family for five generation, ever since Knowlton’s great-great-grandfather settled in the Blackstone Valley in 1872.

These days Knowlton grows pumpkins, squash and corn. Up a gravel road, past the family cemetery, corn stalks are still standing from this year’s crop. “Considering the drought situation, we did fair,” Knowlton says.

Massachusetts Democratic U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, at left, and Republican challenger Tracy Lovvorn.
Robin Lubbock / WBUR // Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

In Massachusetts' 2nd Congressional District, there's a rematch on the ballot from two years ago.

Last time, incumbent Democrat Jim McGovern defeated Republican challenger Tracy Lovvorn by about a two-to-one margin.

Southborough, Massachusetts, author Jennifer De Leon.
Submitted Photo

The next selection in our Books For Young People series is "Don't Ask Me Where I'm From," a novel that is for and about high-schoolers. 

Diocese of Worcester Bishop Robert McManus, who Tuesday was apointed to oversee the Springfield Diocese until a new bishop is appointed.
Diocese of Springfield

Worcester Bishop Robert McManus will oversee the Springfield, Massachusetts, Roman Catholic Diocese until a new bishop is named.

Worcester City Hall in Worcester, Massachusetts.
File Photo / Masslive / masslive.com/photos

The city of Worcester says it’s received more than 25 complaints in the past several weeks about local businesses and their customers not following COVID-19 protocols. 

The Town House in North Brookfield, Massachusetts.
Doug Kerr / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/7327243@N05

The town of North Brookfield, Massachusetts, has canceled a Fourth of July celebration after the local board of health and the governor raised concerns.

Late Worcester firefighter Christopher Roy with his daughter, Ava.
Courtesy of Roy Family / MassLive / masslive.com/photos

Massachusetts lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow the pension of a deceased firefighter to go to his young daughter.

Usually attracting tens of thousands of visitors, the Brimfield Antique Flea Markets in May 2020 were canceled because of COVID-19.
Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen / File photo / The Republican / MassLive.com/photos

Like so many events this spring in Massachusetts and around New England, the Brimfield Antique Flea Markets were canceled for May because of the pandemic. For the businesses that make the more than 50-year-old show come to life, it's a deep hit, and some dealers are salvaging what they can. 

In his home basement, Worcester Polytechnic Institute professor Greg Fischer is tinkering with a contraption to help keep coronavirus patients alive if the supply of high-tech ventilators runs low.

The CVS pharmacy chain is expected to start a pilot COVID -19 drive-through testing site at one of its stores in Shrewsbury Thursday. The testing is not available to the general public.

A large tent was set up for the testing in a CVS parking lot Wednesday. The tests will be available only for first responders and health care workers who heave scheduled appointments.

Company spokesman Joe Goode said testing will be done by CVS health professionals and is an “invite only soft activation of COVID-19 testing” for those most at-risk.

In Massachusetts, performing arts centers like the Mahaiwe in Great Barrington, the Hanover Theatre in Worcester, and Tanglewood in Lenox are among the types of non-profit venues that could apply for "mitigation" funds through casino tax revenue.
Jasperdo / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/66733752@N00

Some nonprofit arts venues in Massachusetts could get money from the state if they can demonstrate their bottom lines have been hurt by casino entertainment.

UMass Memorial Medical Center in Worcester.
Rob Carlin / MassLive / masslive.com/photos

Some western and central Massachusetts hospitals say they've checked out people for coronavirus, but so far, there's been no positive cases.

Worcester Fire Chief Michael Lavoie outside the firehouse erected on the site of the Worcester Cold Storage and Warehouse Company fire.
Douglas Hook / The Republican / Masslive.com/photos

The City Council in Worcester, Massachusetts, will consider a proposal Tuesday night to hire a consultant to evaluate the fire department. The request comes in the wake of the death of a firefighter last fall.

A crowd of people lined up on one end of Worcester’s Union Station one recent Sunday morning. They were there to see a special exhibit commemorating the Worcester Six.

“I guess 20 years is the time to break all this stuff out again and show the people. And the people still support us,” said Angelo Bongovio, a Worcester firefighter from 1983 to 2011.

“We’ll never forget these guys.”

A makeshift shrine at the scene of a fatal shooting in Springfield, Mass. on November 20, 2019.
Patrick Johnson / The Republican / Masslive.com/photos

The number of murders in Springfield, Massachusetts, spiked this month — and homicides are up Hartford and Worcester.

PawSox players in the dugout in 2014.
ERIC KILBY / CREATIVE COMMONS / FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/EKILBY

Updated Nov. 26 at 10:35 a.m.

The Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox will be known as the WooSox when the team moves from Rhode Island to Worcester, Massachusetts. 

Voters attending the Fall Town Meeting in Uxbridge Tuesday night will be asked if they want to remove a cap on the number of cannabis businesses allowed in the town. The Cannabis Control Commission has already granted five licenses in the town of roughly 14,000 people. Four other Uxbridge businesses have applications in the queue waiting for the commission to act, and the town has heard from more businesses wanting to set up shop.

Caroline’s Cannabis opened in March. It’s tucked in the back of a metal building that houses a carpet store and hair salon out front.

Reverend Jane Willan of the First Congregational Church of Paxton, writes murder mysteries. She sometimes works on them in her church office.
Carrie Healy / NEPR

Jane Willan calls her novel a "comfortable detective story that elicits lots of cozy feelings." It kicks off our annual Summer Fiction Series.

Crews on the set of the Hulu series "Castle Rock" as it films its second season.
Tim Jones / MassLive / masslive.com/photos

The Hulu series "Castle Rock" recently resumed filming in Orange and other central Massachusetts locations. Productions like this are drawn to the state, in part, because of a tax credit for filmmakers. 

Okane Hall at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.
PAUL KELEHER / CREATIVE COMMONS / FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/PKELEHER

Some colleges and universities across the country have taken a more egalitarian approach to admissions: removing students' ability to pay from their decisions. But College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, has inched back in that direction.

Guy O’Donnell is sitting in the Worcester courthouse, waiting for a decision that’s been put off several times before.

O’Donnell is waiting to learn if the court will set a hearing date for him and his spouse to begin formal adoption proceedings for the two children who’ve been living with them for the past two years.

The court has put off setting a hearing date, largely because there are so many cases involving children in state custody, and because there are too few judges.

The Massachusetts Pirates are Worcester's arena football team.
Courtesy Massachusetts Pirates

While the only recent NFL action was the draft last weekend, arena football players are now well into their regular season.

Rep. Jim McGovern is a Democrat from Worcester.
File Photo / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

A western Massachusetts congressman has announced he'll no longer take money from corporate political action committees.

A spring peeper.
Peter Paplanus / Creative Commons / commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Peter_Paplanus_-_Spring_Peeper_(Pseudacris_crucifer)_(44981664574).jpg

Among the thousands of bills Massachusetts legislators have put forward this year, one would designate a frog called the spring peeper as the state amphibian.

Worcester firefighters on the scene of a deadly fire, which broke out on December 9, 2018.
Scott J. Croteau / The Republican/ Masslive.com / photos

Massachusetts lawmakers are pushing ahead on a bill that would give first responders better access to confidential counseling. This comes in the wake of the death of an on-duty firefighter in Worcester.

A newspaper serving the North Quabbin region of central Massachusetts for more than eight decades is reducing its publication schedule. 

Customers lined up outside the Cultivate Holdings building in Leicester, Massachusetts on November 21, 2018.
Melissa Hanson / The Republican/ Masslive.com / photos

Leicester, Massachusetts, officials say the town has been overwhelmed with customers for its new recreational marijuana shop and have called an emergency meeting for Monday night.

PawSox players in the dugout in 2014.
ERIC KILBY / CREATIVE COMMONS / FLICKR.COM/PHOTOS/EKILBY

The Pawtucket Red Sox will start playing in Worcester, Massachusetts, in 2021 — and the team is asking fans to help come up with its new name. 

Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal speaks to reporters in the lobby of the federal courthouse in Springfield on November 7, 2018.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

A pair of members of Congress from Massachusetts are set up well for the next couple years.

From left, Anne Gobi and Steven Hall.
Anne Gobi / Steven Hall / Facebook

There's just one state Senate race involving towns in western Massachusetts on Election Day: the district that includes parts of eastern Hampden and Hampshire Counties.

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