Josh Landes

Berkshire Bureau Chief

Josh Landes has been WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief since February 2018, following stints at WBGO Newark and WFMU East Orange. A passionate advocate for Western Massachusetts, Landes was raised in Pittsfield and attended Hampshire College in Amherst, receiving his bachelor's in Ethnomusicology and Radio Production. His free time is spent with his cat Harry, experimental electronic music, and exploring the woods. 

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Josh Landes

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Gonzalez picked up two endorsements in Pittsfield, Massachusetts Monday.

Facebook: Craig C Gaetani

In a move that surprised Pittsfield, Massachusetts Mayor Linda Tyer, three city councilors have signed on to a letter from a disgruntled resident addressed to the Environmental Protection Agency. 

BernardforMayor.com

North Adams, Massachusetts has its first new mayor in almost a decade. After his 2017 election victory, Tom Bernard took office in January — just around the time skydiving business owner and convicted rapist Alex Kelly’s bid to lease space at the North Adams airport began to make waves at the city’s airport commission meetings. In the wake of the controversy surrounding Kelly’s involvement with the public airport — which culminated in the city leasing him space at June’s commission meeting —  residents have raised questions about management of the facility and the city’s role in shaping the decision-making around it. The commission is due to meet again on Tuesday. In a conversation with WAMC Landes, Mayor Bernard says one of his first moves regarding the airport was to install two new members to its commission: Dean Bullett and Mark Morandi.

http://www.pittsfield.net/district_info/school_committee/school_committee_members

After months of contentious debate, the Pittsfield School Committee on Wednesday doubled down on its decision to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day on the public school calendar.

https://pittsfield-mi.gov/index.aspx?NID=310

Shooting ranges have become the subject of public debate in the Berkshires in recent weeks.

Facebook: Berkshire Community College

On Tuesday, Massachusetts Republican Governor Charlie Baker announced that Berkshire Community College would receive $5.5 million to turn the first floor of its Field Administration building into a One Stop Student Success Center. The grant is a part of Baker’s 2019 Capital Investment Plan to invest $190 million in higher education in the commonwealth. Conceived in 2015, the goal of the center is to make the admission and enrollment process easier for students at the college’s Pittsfield campus. WAMC spoke with Adam Klepetar, BCC’s Vice President of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, he accepted the grant on behalf of the college during a ceremony at Westfield State University.

Facebook: Berkshire Museum

This Friday marks one year since the Berkshire Museum announced its controversial art sale plan. 

The administration of Pittsfield, Massachusetts Mayor Linda Tyer fielded criticism about police oversight at Tuesday night’s city council meeting.

https://www.facebook.com/pg/tomwickhamforsenate

As Massachusetts Democratic State Senator Adam Hinds comes to the end of his first term representing the Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin and Hampden district, he’ll face a primary opponent from Lee Selectman Thomas Wickham. Wickham is a self-employed carpenter who’s served on the Lee select board for five years. Wickham has spent more than a decade on the Lee planning board in a variety of roles, including chair, and he’s also been the chair of the energy committee for six years. Wickham has been a delegate to the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission. He spoke to WAMC about his plans to challenge Hinds September 4th.

Josh Landes

Williams College in northern Berkshire County recently opened its new science center, a key component of the school’s sweeping overhaul of its science program. WAMC Josh Landes toured the facility.

www.judithknight.com

Judith Knight is one of three Democrats running in the September 4th primary for Berkshire District Attorney. Knight, a private practice attorney, says she’s running a campaign based on progressive values, and wants to see the DA’s office extend more community outreach. She ran unsuccessfully for the office in 2006 against then-DA David Capeless, and says her 30 years of experience in criminal defense makes her the best candidate for the job.

https://www.mass.gov

The wives of Berkshire District Attorneys past and present are getting involved in the Democratic primary campaign.

Josh Landes

About two months before primary day, two Democratic candidates for Berkshire District Attorney are exchanging pointed criticism about their ability to serve effectively.

Josh Landes

A Western Massachusetts family services organization has once again sent Berkshire students to California to participate in a concert with the Los Angeles Philharmonic.

https://www.wikipedia.org/

As the legislative session draws to a close in Massachusetts, State Senator Adam Hinds says some major tasks remain unfinished. 

Josh Landes

The city of Pittsfield, Massachusetts has designated a cooling station for residents celebrating Independence Day downtown. 

Josh Landes

Over the weekend, hundreds gathered in Pittsfield, Massachusetts to join nationwide demonstrations against the Trump administration’s immigration policies.

https://www.facebook.com/JoshZakim/

Boston City Councilor Josh Zakim is a 34-year-old attorney and community activist running for Massachusetts Secretary of State. He pulled off a major upset at the state Democratic convention in June by winning his party’s endorsement. Almost 55 percent of delegates choose him over 23-year incumbent William Galvin. The primary is September 4th. During a visit to Pittsfield, Zakim spoke with WAMC about his vision for the office, his upstart campaign, and voting rights in the Trump era.

Josh Landes

North Adams, Massachusetts Mayor Tom Bernard is moving to close the city’s public shooting range against the objections of some city council members and residents.

Protestors at the The Berkshire Museum in 2017.
JD Allen / WAMC

The Berkshire Museum announced Thursday that its executive director is stepping down. Van Shields was one of the architects of the museum’s controversial art sale plan to fund a renovation and endowment.

Josh Landes

U.S. Senator Ed Markey’s new Massachusetts State Director paid a visit to the Berkshires Tuesday at the request of local politicians.

Cari Ann Shim Sham / http://www.translucentborders.com

Tonight, a globetrotting project that explores dance and music at borders debuts in the Berkshires.

Facebook: Berkshire Museum

The Berkshire Museum in Pittsfield, Massachusetts has announced the next nine artworks from its collection to be auctioned off. WAMC reports the museum is raising money for an endowment and renovation plan.

Gale Associates

In recent weeks, WAMC News has reported about the controversy gripping the small Harriman-and-West airport community in North Adams, Massachusetts.

WAMC now has more on how the dispute began.

John Krol

In September, voters in Berkshire County will decide whether they want a longtime member of the District Attorney’s office who took over this winter to remain in the seat. Andrea Harrington, a private practice attorney based in Great Barrington, hopes Democrats will pick her instead. Harrington has won the endorsement of Pittsfield City Councilors John Krol and Helen Moon. Harrington is running as a progressive, saying she hears voters demanding change in the office and arguing that the position allows for greater interpretation of the law. She faces attorney Judith Knight and Berkshire District Attorney Paul Caccaviello. Harrington spoke with WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Josh Landes about the run-up to the September 4th primary, including the challenges of running against an incumbent.

Josh Landes

A Berkshire County organization that offers legal aid to immigrants is in the midst of a fundraising campaign. It comes at a time when immigration is once again the subject of national debate.

https://www.facebook.com/TurbopropEast/

The businessman behind Turboprop East, the largest business at the North Adams airport, has withdrawn a $200,000 contribution to the airport in a letter that also threatened to sue the city.

https://www.facebook.com/AimeeMann/

Singer-songwriter Aimee Mann has made music the center of her life since she dropped out of the Berklee College Of Music in 1978 to play in the Boston punk band The Young Snakes. Since then, she has released nine solo albums, many on her own SuperEgo label. Mann has appeared in movies and television shows like “The Big Lebowski,” “Buffy The Vampire Slayer,” “American Crime Story,” and “Steven Universe.” This year, her ninth record — “Mental Illness” — won the Grammy for Best Folk Album. Before her concert at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, Massachusetts Friday, Mann spoke with WAMC Berkshire Bureau Chief Josh Landes about the themes on her latest record.

An update now to a story we first brought you on May 25th: Around 30 people packed North Adams’ city council chambers Tuesday night for the city airport commission’s monthly meeting. The tense meeting ended in shouts when the commission gave the go-ahead to a business run by a convicted rapist. 

https://www.facebook.com/Family-Center-of-Northern-Berkshire-County-876396852428528/

In a time of economic challenges and a declining population in Berkshire County, early education services offer an increasingly valuable resource to families.

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