Regional News

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

Auto repair.
Ryan Doka / Pixabay / Creative Commons

On the Massachusetts ballot, Question 1 would give independent auto repair shops access to more diagnostic information. Supporters have received sizable campaign donations from auto parts makers and stores from out-of-state.

A lawn sign in Lee, Massachusetts, designed by Reed Anderson of Great Barrington, calls for no local dumps for PCB waste from General Electric.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has posted 585 pages of public comments on a proposed plan to clean up toxic waste from the Housatonic River and dispose some it in Lee, Massachusetts.

Hand sanitizer was available for voters entering a polling place in Springfield, Massachusetts, during the state primary election on September 1, 2020.
Don Treeger / The Republican /

In addition to the presidential race, voters across western Massachusetts are weighing in on congressional contests, state legislative showdowns and a pair of ballot questions backed by many millions of dollars in out-of-state contributions.

Some Additional Students To Return To UMass Amherst In Spring

Oct 23, 2020
The campus of UMass Amherst.
Hoang 'Leon' Nguyen / The Republican /

UMass Amherst plans to expand its campus population in the spring, announcing Friday that first-year and transfer students will be invited to campus next semester after learning remotely throughout the fall.

Thomas Rosa - at his arrest in 1985 and after his release in 2020.
Courtesy of the New England Innocence Project.

A Massachusetts man who spent 34 years in prison for murder has been sent home while his lawyers fight for his exoneration.

An informational graphic used by Cambridge, Massachusetts, which has used ranked-choice voting in some local elections for decades.
City of Cambridge / via WBUR

Massachusetts voters this fall are being asked whether they want to see ranked-choice voting on ballots in future elections.

The Massachusetts general election ballot in 2020 includes a question about establishing ranked-choice voting.
Carrie Healy / NEPM

Massachusetts voters this election will get to decide whether to give their future ballots a major overhaul.

A mechanic pouring oil into a vehicle.
File photo / MassLive /

One of two statewide ballot questions in Massachusetts, Question 1, would expand how much vehicle diagnostic and repair information is available to independent repair shops and vehicle owners.

Mechanics look under the hood of a car.
File photo / The Republican /

This coming election, Massachusetts voters have two statewide ballot questions in front of them. As we have in past elections, we're bringing you short debates on each ballot question.

A train sitting on the platform at Union Station in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

A draft report from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation on expanded passenger rail service between the western part of the state and Boston was released this week. And the public will have the opportunity to comment on it Thursday.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont said the state needs to do more to convince Black residents that a COVID-19 vaccine will be safe and effective. 

Survey: Majority of Conn. Voters Plan to Go to Polls

Oct 21, 2020

A new survey from the Public Policy Polling has found that less than half of Connecticut voters are concerned that absentee ballots are not as secure as in-person voting, but more than 80% prefer to visit their polling precincts. 

Mass. Lawmakers Hear Heartbreaking Stories About Holyoke Home Outbreak

Oct 20, 2020
Flags outside of the Holyoke Soldiers' Home.
Miriam Wasser / WBUR

On one day in early March, Susan Kenney had been on the phone with her father's case manager at the Holyoke Soldiers' Home, trying to set up a Zoom call with her dad, a 78-year-old veteran of the Air Force.

A sign near the Housatonic River in Pittsfield, Massachusetts, in 2009 after a GE/EPA cleanup.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

Last month the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wrapped up a public comment period on its controversial plan to remove toxic PCBs from the Housatonic River. The agency said it hopes to issue its final plan by the end of the year.

That would be before any possible change at the White House.

Great Barrington Town Hall in Great Barrington, Massachusetts.
John Phelan / Creative Commons /,_Great_Barrington_MA.jpg

The town of Great Barrington, Massachusetts, has made it known it disapproves of a declaration that bears its name.

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse (left), and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal of Springfield exchange a greeting before a 2020 debate.
Don Treeger / The Republican /

The Democratic candidates in the Massachusetts 1st Congressional District combined to spend $7.8 million on the September primary race.

Northampton, Massachusetts, City Clerk Pam Powers.
Carol Lollis / Daily Hamphire Gazette /

The city clerk of Northampton, Massachusetts, said her office mailed ballots to some voters with the wrong address to send them back.

The Massachusetts Statehouse in autumn.
bbcamericangirl / Creative Commons /

The changing seasons have brought cool October nights, fall foliage, pumpkin spice and signs of life on a state budget in Massachusetts.

An ice cream shop in summer 2020 at Look Park in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Sam Hudzik / NEPM

Concern is growing in parts of New England about the potential for another spike in COVID-19 cases.

The state of New Hampshire announced Friday it will file a federal lawsuit against Massachusetts over its cross-border income tax collection policies during the pandemic.

The lawsuit centers on a Massachusetts emergency provision that caps how much income out-of-state residents who work for Massachusetts-based companies can deduct on their income taxes while working remotely. 

Governors of five Northeast states are calling for reforms of the operator of the region’s power grid, ISO New England.

When Marvin Moreno lost his job at a fish processing plant last spring, he knew he’d have to scramble to pay rent on the East Boston apartment he shared with his wife.

An early voting sign in Easthampton, Massachusetts.
Adam Frenier / NEPM

Early in-person voting starts Saturday in Massachusetts. Some communities deemed "high risk" for COVID-19 are saying they're ready.

A location in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, used by the think tank American Institute for Economic Research.
genericface / Creative Commons /

Great Barrington, Massachusetts, recently played host to a meeting that’s causing controversy in the scientific community and caught the attention of the White House.

Rev. William Byrne, the bishop-elect of the Springfield, Massachusetts, Roman Catholic Diocese, speaking during his introductory press conference.
Adam Frenier / NEPM

Reverend William Byrne, a priest with the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., will be the new bishop of the Springfield, Massachusetts, Roman Catholic diocese. He replaces Mitchell Rozanski, who became the Archbishop of St. Louis in August.

Mass. Gov. Baker's Budget Boosts Spending, Lowers Tax Haul Estimate

Oct 14, 2020
Massachsuetts Gov. Charlie Baker.
Chris Van Buskirk / State House News Service

Armed with a spending plan buttressed by federal aid and emergency reserves, Massachsuetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday planned what might be the unprecedented step of refiling an annual budget with the legislature that proposes spending more money, $45.5 billion, than he pitched in January before the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the state's economy.

Foreclosure sign.
Niall Kennedy / Creative Commons /

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has proposed a $171 million plan to help people stay in their homes after the state’s eviction ban expires on Saturday.

Just before lunchtime on October 1, a blue tent popped up outside Watertown middle school. In a sky checkered with clouds, a cool breeze rustled trees tinged with the yellows and oranges of fall. It was perfect weather for collecting coronavirus tests.

Every few minutes, teachers and staff from around the school district pulled up in their cars and took a swab kit from one of two nurses, who mimed the twirling of the cotton fluff with their fingers.

The office of the bishop of the Springfield Catholic Diocese.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPM

As the Roman Catholic Diocese in Springfield, Massachusetts, continues to address the problem of sexual abuse in its churches, congregants and others are being asked to fill out an online survey by October 19.

Town Hall in Amherst, Massachusetts.
John Phelan / Creative Commons /

With Amherst, Massachusetts, in the state’s COVID-19 red zone, the town manager says the numbers don’t reflect nuances in the population.