Lucas Willard

Southern Adirondack Bureau Chief/Weekend Host

Lucas Willard graduated from the State University of New York at Fredonia in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Communications. He also attended the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies in 2010, where he studied audio and multimedia storytelling.  Prior to joining WAMC in 2011, Lucas worked with the Sound and Story Project of the Hudson Valley, the Big Shed Audio Documentary Podcast, the Albany Broadcasting Company, WDVL & WCVF-FM Fredonia, and WSUC-FM Cortland.  

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New England News
10:00 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Greenfield School Committee Votes to Keep Virtual Academy in Operation

Credit Tom Check / Flickr

A Western Massachusetts school committee has voted to keep the state’s only operation virtual school open next year.

Recently the Greenfield Public Schools Committee voted to reverse an earlier decision that would have discontinued the operation of the district’s Massachusetts Virtual Academy in the 2013-2014 school year.

Some committee members had felt that ceding control of the Virtual Academy to the state’s new Commonwealth Virtual School program would be too similar to creating a charter school.

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New England News
5:52 pm
Fri March 22, 2013

Western Mass. Police Officers Train With Berkshire Actors

On Friday, actors from the Royal Berkshire Improve Troupe portraying real-life mental health crisis situations helped train law enforcement officers from across Western Massachusetts.

Organized by the Berkshire County chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the unscripted role-playing designed to increase an officer’s confidence in handling a call involving individuals with mental illness, comes after a 40 hr training course the officers participated in to recognize and deal with mental health crises.

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New England News
5:07 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Berkshire Group Launches Grassroots Public Transit Campaign

Credit Berkshire Regional Transit Authority

A recently launched grassroots campaign advocating for improved public transportation in the Berkshires is now online, and some are hoping that it will catch on in communities across Massachusetts. 

The Wish I Had Transit campaign was recently launched by volunteers in the Northern Berkshires, in less than two weeks since the idea of using social media to demonstrate the need for improved public transportation was discussed at a community forum in North Adams.

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New England News
3:19 pm
Thu March 21, 2013

Berkshire Lawmaker Files Bill to Support Recovering Addicts

A Massachusetts legislator in Berkshire County is sponsoring a bill that would require health insurers in the state to allow victims of substance abuse greater access to recovery treatment.

4th Berkshire District Representative William “Smitty” Pignatelli, a democrat, is one of four co-sponsors of the so-called healthcare parity bill. The legislation would require health insurance providers in Massachusetts to pay for the continuing treatment of individuals recovering from substance abuse.

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New England News
10:00 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Media Outlets Opposed to Sealing of Newtown Search Warrants

DANBURY, Conn. (AP) — Several media outlets are opposing the continued sealing of search warrants related to the Newtown school shooting.

The outlets, including The Associated Press, filed a motion in Danbury Superior Court on Wednesday seeking to intervene to oppose any move to extend the sealing of the search warrants.

The gunman, Adam Lanza, killed 20 first-graders and six educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School on Dec. 14.

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New England News
8:00 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Mass. Immigrant Advocates Push For Legislation to Reduce Deportations

BOSTON (AP) — Immigrant advocates are pressing lawmakers to back legislation they say will help reduce the level of deportations in Massachusetts.

Several dozen activists rallied on the steps of the Statehouse on Wednesday in favor of the bill, which would encourage local law enforcement agencies not to forward information to federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials on illegal immigrants who don't have serious criminal convictions.

Sen. James Eldridge is the bill's lead sponsor.

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New England News
4:38 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Public Suicide Awareness Meeting to be Held in Pittsfield

A coalition of volunteers is holding a public forum tonight in Pittsfield to raise suicide awareness in Berkshire County.

The Berkshire Coalition for Suicide Prevention is holding the first of planned quarterly public meetings tonight in Pittsfield to unite members of the community to discuss and build a strategy to combat suicide at the local level.

Peggy Morse of the Coalition said that suicide is a topic that many adults are usually unwilling to openly discuss.

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New England News
4:19 pm
Wed March 20, 2013

Berkshires See Spike in Demand for Foreclosure Prevention Programs

Credit WAMC

In the first quarter of 2013, the foreclosure crisis affecting Western Massachusetts and the Berkshires appears to be worsening despite national trends of an improving housing market.

As a result of a $25 billion national settle with major lenders over their foreclosure practices, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office over the past year has partnered with community organizations to offer assistance to those who face foreclosure in a campaign called HomeCorps.

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New England News
4:30 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Berkshire Railroad Reopens After Derailment

A section of railway in Berkshire County has been reopened after a partial train derailment over the weekend.

Repairs were completed by Monday evening on a rail line owned by the Housatonic Rail Road.

Four cars had derailed in Lee shortly after midnight on Friday. According to railroad officials nobody was injured in the crash. The cause of the derailment is unknown.

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New England News
1:13 pm
Tue March 19, 2013

Berkshire Families Find Lack of Support for Dealing with PTSD

Regions of the brain affected by PTSD and stress.
Credit National Institutes of Health


One of the signature lasting effects on veterans of the Iraq War is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. WAMC's Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reveals that PTSD not only affects those who served, but their family members as well....

Amy, a resident of the Northern Berkshires is married to a veteran who served in Iraq from 2005 to 2006, and was redeployed for Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011. Amy, who asked to keep her last name anonymous, said that when her husband returned from war the first time in 2006, she noticed his behavior had changed.

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