WORCESTER COUNTY

Coverage of Worcester County, Massachusetts.

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.

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

Massachusetts Congressman Jim McGovern of Worcester, a Democrat, is facing a challenge on Election Day from Republican Tracy Lovvorn.

Over the past couple of decades, booming cities have forced people to move to smaller cities nearby. Think San Francisco and Oakland, Calif., or New York and Hoboken, N.J. That kind of boom is happening now in Boston. An hour away, New England's second-largest city, Worcester, is booming.

"Properties are hot commercially, properties are hot residentially ... everyone just wants a piece of Worcester right now. It's crazy," said Kate McEvoy, a vice president for Harvard Pilgrim Health Care and fifth-generation Worcesterite.

A conceptual rendering of a proposed ballpark in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Beyer Blinder Belle / City of Worcester

Architectural firms competing for a contract to design a minor league baseball stadium in Worcester will pitch their proposals to city officials this week.

New England Treatment Access in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Sarah Crosby / Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com

Communities in central and western Massachusetts could soon host the first two retail marijuana shops on the East Coast. Police chiefs there are getting ready for the rush.

Lab test results amid a mold outbreak at Quaboag Regional Middle High School in Warren, Massachusetts. The outbreak delayed the start of school.
Quaboag Regional School District

Students at Quaboag Regional Middle High School in Warren, Massachusetts, are back in class after a mold outbreak delayed the start of the new school year by almost two weeks.

The Worcester City Council on Wednesday approved a $100.8 million stadium financing package to bring the Red Sox’s top farm team to central Massachusetts in a record-setting deal for a minor-league franchise.

A plan to move the club from Pawtucket, Rhode Island, to Worcester in 2021 still needs authorizations from the AAA International League — where the team competes — Minor League Baseball and Major League Baseball. But an ownership group led by former Red Sox president Larry Lucchino has now cleared the highest hurdle in a three-year effort to find a new home.

Mike Earielo in Worcester, Massachusetts, says of himself, "Gang member, drug dealer, sold drugs, used drugs. My life was really spiraling out of control from a very early age."
Saskia de Melker / NEPR

In Massachusetts, two-thirds of offenders who are incarcerated have been in prison or jail before. One program in Worcester has been serving ex-prisoners who are coming back home, in an effort to bring the rate down.

Worcester County District Attorney Joseph D. Early holds a press conference Wednesday to discuss the first-degree murder charges against Mathew Locke.
Shannon Dooling / WBUR

A 32-year-old Ware, Massachusetts, man already charged with lying to investigators is now the prime suspect charged in the gruesome slayings of a woman and her three young children inside the family's West Brookfield home.

A polling place in western Massachusetts.
Karen Brown / NEPR

Primary election day is over in Massachusetts. Here are the results focusing on the western part of the state, from The Associated Press.

A Democratic absentee ballot from Leverett, Massachusetts, for the state primary election on September 4, 2018.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

Three Democratic write-in candidates are running for the seat that until recently was held by former Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg.

Pro-gun control activists marched 50 miles from Worcester to hold a rally across the street from gunmaker Smith & Wesson's headquarters in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Sean Teehan / NEPR

Just before a mass shooting at a video game tournament in Florida, a couple hundred gun control advocates held a rally across the street from gunmaker Smith & Wesson's headquarters in Springfield.

The MGM Springfield casino on opening day, Friday, August 24, 2018.
Heather Brandon / NEPR

Friday marked the opening of the MGM Springfield casino. A parade helped to mark the occasion, complete with a marching band and famous Clydesdales taking part. 

Worcester’s proposed new stadium for the Red Sox’s top farm team would be the most expensive minor league ballpark ever built, and most of the bill would be charged to taxpayers’ collective credit card. The city plans to take on as much as $100.8 million in bond debt.

Mascot "Paws" greets visitors to McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
Waz8 / Creative Commons

The Worcester City Council on Tuesday hailed a plan to build a new baseball stadium for the Red Sox’s top farm team, suggesting the proposal could cruise to approval even as it calls for taxpayers to take on as much as $100.8 million in debt.

Students rally against gun violence near Smith and Wesson in Springfield, Massachusetts, on March 14, 2018.
Don Treeger / The Republican / masslive.com/photos

A four-day march against gun violence is taking place this week from Worcester to Springfield, Massachusetts, ending Sunday at the headquarters of gun manufacturer Smith & Wesson.

The PawSox are still in Rhode Island even though the team has announced plans to move to a new stadium in Worcester in 2021. The team played home games this weekend at McCoy, and fans were emotional about the prospect of losing the team.

“Devastated, just devastated,” said Seekonk resident Kelly Adams. She spent her childhood in Pawtucket, with trips to McCoy Stadium a regular family ritual.

The ballpark rendering shows an aerial view of Worcester's Canal District. The ballpark itself has not been designed yet.
Courtesy / PawSox

Get ready for the Worcester Red Sox — or WooSox, for short.

The Pawtucket Red Sox announced Friday the team has signed a letter of intent to build a new ballpark in Worcester's Canal District.

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