WORCESTER COUNTY

Coverage of Worcester County, Massachusetts.

Josh Zakim said he and incumbent William Galvin have "very different views" on the role of the Massachusetts secretary of state's office.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim, making his first run at higher office, earned the upset endorsement of the Democratic Party convention Saturday, dealing a significant blow to Secretary of State William Galvin and showing that his campaign could be a legitimate threat to the state's longest-serving constitutional officer.

Jay Gonzalez said he offered "an ambitious, progressive agenda" at the Massachusetts Democratic convention Saturday.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

Pledging to win back the corner office in November on behalf of the "little guys" who fight for their beliefs, Massachusetts Democrat Jay Gonzalez on Saturday accepted his party's endorsement for governor, giving the former state budget chief a lift coming out of the Democratic convention in a primary in which neither candidate has been able to separate themselves as a frontrunner.

Dave Murphy, candidate for Massachusetts Senate.
Submitted photo / State House News Service

A fourth Democrat -- and third write-in candidate -- has announced plans to run for the seat left vacant by Massachusetts state Senator Stan Rosenberg.

Mass. State Senate Race Gets Write-In Candidates

May 7, 2018
Ryan O'Donnell, left, and Chelsea Kline, right, and Steven Connor (unpictured) are all campaigning to replace Massachusetts state Senator Stan Rosenberg.
Campaign photos / State House News Service

Updated at 9:18 a.m. on Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Northampton City Council President Ryan O'Donnell and the area's veterans' services director, Steven Connor, on Monday launched write-in bids for the Massachusetts state Senate seat formerly held by Stan Rosenberg.

The Massachusetts Statehouse in Boston.
William Zhang / Creative Commons

With Massachusetts state Sen. Stanley Rosenberg's resignation taking effect last Friday, four of his colleagues from western Massachusetts announced plans to "collectively advocate" for the needs and policy priorities of the 24 communities in his district. 

Worcester Regional Airport, in 2014.
Terageorge / Creative Commons / commons.wikimedia.org

The Worcester Regional Airport will see JetBlue begin daily service on Thursday to New York's JFK Airport. And this fall, American Airlines will add a daily flight from Worcester to Philadelphia. 

The Bermudez family home in West Brookfield, Massachusetts.
Shannon Dooling / WBUR

Police have charged a Massachusetts man with misleading investigators as they searched for answers in the killings of a mother and her three young children. 

Henry Epp / NEPR

The Southbridge, Massachusetts, schools are facing a loss of 30 jobs, including some teacher positions. This comes about a month after the state appointed a new receiver to try and improve district performance.

The central Massachusetts town of West Brookfield is looking for answers three weeks after the murder of a local family.

Thirty-eight-year-old Sara Bermudez and her three children, 8-year-old Madison, 6-year-old James and 2-year-old Michael, were found dead inside their home. Their deaths were ruled homicides, and little additional information has been released to the public.

A Massachusetts State Police vehicle at the scene in West Brookfield. The bodies were found in the house directly behind it.
Dave Canton / The Republican / masslive.com/photos

Four bodies found in a home in central Massachusetts are a woman and three children, according to authorities.

As the nation's dairy farmers struggle through their fourth year of depressed milk prices, concerns are rising that many are becoming depressed themselves. The outlook for the next year is so bleak, it's heightening worries — especially in the Northeast — about farmer suicides.

Agri-Mark Inc., a dairy cooperative with about 1,000 members, saw three farmers take their own lives in the past three years. The most recent was last month. It's a very small sample, but very sharp and disturbing increase.

Empty classroom with chairs.
Creative Commons

Students are taking part in walkouts across the country on Wednesday following the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida. Massachusetts public schools are on February break, but students are organizing for the next planned walkout, scheduled for March 14.

Jersey dairy cows feed at Mapleline Farm in Hadley, Massachusetts.
File photo / The Republican / MassLive.com/photos

For dairy farms in New England, the outlook for milk prices is not good this year. The stress has been tied to suicides among dairy farmers.

Okane Hall at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.
Paul Keleher / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/pkeleher

The board of trustees for the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts, met Feb. 3 and decided that the school mascot will continue to be the crusader.

Southbridge, Massachusetts, High School.
Henry Epp / NEPR

The state of Massachusetts has appointed a new receiver to oversee the Southbridge schools. He'll be the latest in a string of leaders who have tried to improve the district.

A view of downtown Worcester, Massachusetts, in 2010.
Leonardo Dasilva / Creative Commons / flickr.com/photos/leonardodasilva

A development boom in Worcester, Massachusetts -- the state's second largest city -- may indicate a comeback. 

A massive ice jam tore several brackets holding a town water main from the underside of the Exchange Street Bridge, in Athol, Massachusetts. The span will remain closed until Mass DOT can inspect for structural damage.
Courtesy / Shaun Suhoski, Athol Town Manager

The Exchange Street Bridge, in Athol, Mass., remains closed after a chunk of ice hit the bridge over the weekend. 

An exterior view of McCoy Stadium in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, current home of the PawSox baseball team, in May 2017.
Waz8 / Creative Commons

Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien says time is running out to strike a deal with the PawSox and keep the baseball team in Rhode Island. Grebien said that if lawmakers fail to approve the latest proposal on the table, Pawtucket is ready to take matters into its own hands.

GOP lawmakers in Massachusetts are celebrating a seat gained after a special election Tuesday. 

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

Worcester, Massachusetts, is sharpening its bid to lure the Pawtucket Red Sox to Central Massachusetts. The PawSox are the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox.

A line outside Tree House in Charlton, Massachusetts.
Carson McGrath / NEPR

You won't be able to find a cold can or freshly poured draft of Tree House beer anywhere except where it's made, right in Charlton, Massachusetts. 

Terageorge / Creative Commons

Worcester is the ideal Massachusetts location for Amazon to build a second headquarters and the technology company could help pay for high-speed rail linking both ends of the state, gubernatorial candidate Setti Warren said Friday.

A new wave of forest loss is underway in New England, at a rate of 65 acres a day. That's the conclusion of a new regionwide study spearheaded by a Harvard University forest research group. And the authors say New England could lose more than a million acres of forest cover over the next half-century.

A school bus in Worcester.
File photo / MassLive

Worcester's mayor said he's hoping school bus drivers in his city vote on Wednesday to accept a five-year contract.

The bus drivers nearly went on strike this week, which could have delayed the first day of school in Worcester. But Mayor Joseph Petty said he asked union leadership to keep talking.

They did and now have a deal, although union members still must approve it.

"My understand [is] it's a good contract," Petty said. "So hopefully they will ratify it, and we won't have to worry about the buses...not running."

A school bus in Worcester.
File photo / MassLive

Updated at 10:00 a.m. on Aug. 29, 2017: A statement from the mayor's office Monday night said the union and bus company reached a 5-year deal, "with the goal of ratification by the union members on Wednesday night."

The union representing school bus drivers in Worcester had considered a strike starting Monday, the first day of school, but agreed to stay on the job for three more days while negotiations continue.

Susannah Whipps, during a meeting with the Springfield Republican editorial board.
Mark M. Murray / The Republican

A Massachusetts state lawmaker representing the North Quabbin said she's leaving the Republican Party.

Susannah Whipps has served in the state House since 2015, part of the small Republican minority in the Democratic dominated legislature.

The original monument honoring people of color from Worcester who served in World War II.
Courtesy / Thomas Doughton

A proposed memorial honoring World War II veterans is causing controversy. The dispute focuses on just who should be honored.

The memorial is designed to be an exact copy of one that was removed in 1959 to make way for a new highway. It honored black veterans who served in World War II, but only covers those who enlisted or were drafted through 1943.

Seven officers trained to join the new Worcester horse unit.
Scott J. Croteau / MassLive

It's been a little over two months since the Worcester police introduced officers on horseback. There are four horses and seven officers in the new mounted unit.

They've been patrolling parks, the Worcester Common and across the city. Police Chief Steven Sargent said they're also sent out to a neighborhood after a report of a shooting.

State receiver Jessica L. Huizenga spoke of the Southbridge Public Schools turnaround plan on Friday, June 24, 2016.
Michelle Williams / MassLive

Massachusetts education officials must find a new leader for the Southbridge school district, following the resignation of its state-appointed receiver.

For five straight days this spring, Patty — who doesn’t want her last name used to protect her son’s privacy — sought refuge in the chapel at Heywood Hospital in Gardner. That’s where her 28-year-old son Eric had been waiting for a psychiatric treatment bed.

“The person that’s having that breakdown is not the son that I know,” Patty says. “I don’t want him to see me crying over it, so sometimes I walk to the chapel and just be quiet in here.”

Eric was hospitalized because Patty called for help because he had taken too many psychiatric medications.

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