Paul Tuthill

Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston.  He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester.  Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011.  Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.

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The first casino in Massachusetts netted $18 million in its first full month in business.

 People gambled $181 million at the Plainridge Park Casino in July, according to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission.  The casino kept $18 million. Over a full year it works out to $217 million in gross gaming revenue, which would be more than the state’s full-year projection of $200 million.  

Casino industry expert Clyde Barrow said Plainridge Park had a spectacular opening.

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In the midst of a opioid addiction crisis in Massachusetts, there is an effort to close a loophole in the state’s drug trafficking laws.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey announced the filing of legislation Monday to make it a crime to traffic fentanyl — a synthetic painkiller that is up to 50 times more potent than heroin. Healey said drug cartels have figured out how to manufacture fentanyl and are sending it out on the streets where many heroin addicts are unknowingly using it.

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The Massachusetts child welfare agency is again under scrutiny following the death of a child in a foster home. 

A social worker with the Department of Children and Families visited the Auburn foster home of a 2-year-old girl three days before her death Saturday. 

An autopsy of Avalena Conway Cox did not immediately determine the cause of death. Police continue to investigate. A second child from the foster home is hospitalized in critical condition. 

Governor Charlie Baker said Monday a review is underway into how DCF handled the case.

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The city accepted the bid from Fontaine Bros. Inc., one of seven bids submitted to build the new South End Community Center.  Officials had set a $9.2 million price ceiling for the project, which is being paid for with federal disaster aid.  No timetable for the project has been announced, but a groundbreaking is expected this fall.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said the project is a big step forward in the city’s recovery from the disaster.

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Organizers of a faith-based outreach event this weekend to help the needy in western Massachusetts expect a big turnout.

Volunteers with the Convoy of Hope plan to  provide more than $1 million worth of goods and services, for free, to anyone who shows up Saturday at Riverfront Park in Springfield. 

Spokesman David McCoy said in addition to giving away bags of free food, there will be health screenings, haircuts,  job-hunting services, shoes for children, and more.  

WAMC

Close to $10 million in state and federal money has been spent in the last couple of years to construct or renovate parks of all shapes and sizes in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The latest project to be completed, the $850,000 renovation of Nathan Bill Park, was unveiled Thursday. 

Frank Ryan, of the East Forest Park Civic Association said the neighborhood park had become rundown and trash filled more than decade ago, but no money was available until recently.  He believes the restoration will help attract young families to buy homes in the neighborhood.

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      The spiritual leader of Roman Catholics in western Massachusetts marked one year in office Wednesday.

     Bishop Mitchell Rozanski celebrated noon mass at St. Michael’s Cathedral where one year ago he was installed as the ninth bishop of the Springfield Diocese. 

     Rozanski said it was an eventful and, at times, stressful year, as the Maryland native had to get to know the area, and make a pressure-packed decision about rebuilding tornado-damaged Cathedral High School.

WAMC

Authorities say a newly created law enforcement strike force appears to be having an impact on violent crime in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The Hampden County District Attorney and U.S. Attorney’s office have brought together local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to target for investigation people described as violent career criminals. 

DA Anthony Gulluni said the High Impact Player Strike Force formed last spring set its sights initially on 65 people. Ten have been arrested and seven remain in custody.

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The box office opened this week for a new cultural season in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts.  Tickets went on sale for 2015-2016 season for CityStage and Symphony Hall. WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill previewed the upcoming season with CityStage and Symphony Hall President Tina D’Agostino.

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Massachusetts U.S. Senator Edward Markey has been in western Massachusetts the last two days. Markey met with mayors in North Adams, Northampton, Pittsfield and Springfield.

After meeting with Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno in his city hall office Tuesday afternoon, Markey said the common denominator to help boost the economies of the cities of western Massachusetts is transportation.  He said he is hopeful Congress can strike a deal to keep federal funds flowing to highway, bridge, and rail projects for the next three years.

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