Regional News

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

Springfield Symphony Orchestra Conductor Kevin Rhodes
Tema Silk / NEPR

Leontyne Price, the revered American opera singer, turned 90 last week. Springfield Symphony Orchestra Conductor Kevin Rhodes has been itching to find a way to celebrate her brilliant career. He’s doing it, at last, Saturday evening.

In her prime, Leontyne Price’s voice was as big as she was a star. Performers who shared the stage with her described it as an avalanche of sound, a cloud filled with silver.

State Rep. Geoff Diehl speaking outside the State House in Boston.
Garrett Quinn / MassLive

There’s no one in Massachusetts more in President Donald Trump’s corner than state Representative Geoff Diehl.

The Republican from Whitman was the only state elected official to endorse Trump. Now that the new administration is about a month old, Diehl shrugged off criticism of the president’s early moves.

A screenshot from the West Mass branding video.
Video by Steve Porter / PORTERHOUSE MEDIA

What made The Short List this week?

  • Ardent President Trump supporter Massachusetts State Representative Geoff Diehl is considering running against Senator Elizabeth Warren in 2018.
  • Should the long standing moniker Pioneer Valley be changed to West Mass?
  • Educators and police in Northampton, Massachusetts, are trying to come up with new ways to engage students after a program called “High Five Friday” was stopped due to concerns about some children’s reactions to law enforcement. 


A screenshot from the West Mass branding video.
Video by Steve Porter / PORTERHOUSE MEDIA

For decades, the three counties of Massachusetts along the Connecticut River  -- Franklin, Hampshire and Hampden -- have been collectively known as the Pioneer Valley, but some boosters of the region decided the moniker is old-fashioned and confusing. So the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts spent $80,000 to hire a consultant from Oklahoma to re-brand this region. The result: "West Mass." It was launched with a two-minute video.

Jewish Family Service's Springfield office.
Jewish Family Service

What made The Short List this week?

Activists rally outside the Springfield, Mass., offices of Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey earlier this week to urge them to stand up to President Trump's nominees.
Karen Brown / NEPR

What made The Short List this week?

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts reacts when the conversation turns to Senator Mitch McConnell during her annual Springfield Office Hours at City Stage, Monday, March 20, 2017, in Springfield, Mass.
Jessica Hill / The Republican

What made The Short List this week?

  • Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren sought assurance from U.S. Housing Secretary appointee Ben Carson that the Trump family would not financially benefit from HUD grants at his Confirmation Hearing this week. She wasn’t assured.
  • The state has a commission looking at time: getting rid of “springing forward” and “falling back.” Are there benefits?
  • And the panel looks at two stories that they believe flew under the radar this week.


An ad posted to "farm & garden services" on the Western Massachusetts Craigslist in January of 2017.
Screen shot / Craigslist

What made The Short List this week?

The 2016 Massachusetts income tax form.
Mass. Department of Revenue

Tax season wraps up Wednesday, with a flurry of e-filing and dashes to the post office. Massachusetts residents who read closely may notice something odd in their paperwork: it's called the optional income tax rate and it's exactly what it sounds like. Instead of 5.2 percent, you can opt to pay the state 5.85 percent.

When you ask Massachusetts residents if they'd like to pay extra on their taxes, you shouldn't expect overwhelming support.

"I probably wouldn't opt for it unless I knew where the money was going."

"Absolutely not. No, I would not."