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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Officials are warning about the potential for travel delays on the Massachusetts Turnpike this weekend because of a big military air show in western Massachusetts.

The Great New England Air Show is being held at Westover Air Force Reserve Base in Chicopee for the first time in three years.  Master Sergeant Andrew Biscoe, a base spokesman, said the show is expected to draw as many as 250,000 spectators each day.

The city of Holyoke, Massachusetts continues to discuss possible reuses for the Mount Tom Station, the last coal-fired power plant in western Massachusetts.

A large scale redevelopment that could replace the jobs and property tax dollars lost when the plant closed last year is not realistic, according to the city’s director of planning and economic development Marcos Marrero. 

He said the property is in a flood plain, is contaminated with coal ash, is home to some rare species, and access is limited by an active rail line.

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New research from the University of Massachusetts Amherst asserts that wage theft is rampant in the residential construction industry in Massachusetts.  A series of case studies found workers – mostly immigrants -- who went unpaid for weeks, were denied pay for overtime, or paid less than they were promised.   WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with the lead author of the paper, Tom Juravich, a UMass Amherst labor professor.

Electricity prices should fall in western Massachusetts this summer.  The region’s two major investor-owned electric utility companies have filed plans with the state’s regulatory board to cut rates. Also, there should be no concerns about power shortages this summer.

Eversource, formerly known as Western Massachusetts Electric Company, announced this week a plan to cut rates by more than 31 percent. The company said the average customer, using 500 kilowatt-hours a month, can expect to save $22 a month.

WAMC

The Western Massachusetts Chiefs of  Police Association held its annual police memorial day observance Wednesday in Springfield. 

    The ceremony remembered the 47 law enforcement officers whose names are on a granite monument.  The audience applauded when Gill Police Chief David Hastings, the association president, announced no names were added since last year.  Nationwide, 51 police officers were killed in the line of duty last year, an 89 percent increase from 2013.

WAMC

A growing number of cities and towns in Massachusetts are being recognized for the support provided to wounded military veterans and their families.

Springfield was named a Purple Heart City during a ceremony Tuesday attended by about a dozen veterans, including several Purple Heart recipients, which culminated with the raising of a Purple Heart flag over the esplanade at City Hall.

Mayor Domenic Sarno said he was proud to accept the designation on behalf of all the city’s veterans.

"This is in honor of our veterans," he said.

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Wage theft is rampant in the booming residential construction industry in Massachusetts, according to research from UMass Amherst.

     It has become standard practice in the home building industry in Massachusetts for subcontractors to illegally misclassify workers -- particularly immigrants — as independent contractors. The workers sometimes go weeks without pay, get no compensation for overtime, and are often paid less than they were promised. 

   Tom Juravich, a Umass Amherst labor professor detailed the abuses in a new paper.

WAMC

A substance abuse treatment program for jail inmates from throughout western Massachusetts has moved out of its longtime home in Springfield to make way for construction of the MGM casino.

The Western Massachusetts Correctional Alcohol Center has vacated the building in Springfield where it opened 30 years ago, adhering to a May 8th deadline to turn the  property over to MGM.   But, it will be another two weeks before the rehab program is operating in its new, albeit temporary, location in a former nursing home in Holyoke.

Electricity prices should fall in western Massachusetts this summer.

 Eversource, formerly known as Western Massachusetts Electric Co., is proposing to cut electric rates by more than 31 percent.  The company said the average customer should see a $22 drop in the monthly bill starting after July 1st.  

This follows a winter in which Massachusetts recorded some of the highest energy costs in the country. 

High electricity prices threaten the state’s economy according to UMass Amherst economist Robert Nakosteen.

WAMC

This is Bay State Bike Week.  It is an annual collaborative effort involving bicycling enthusiasts, transportation officials, civic organizations, and businesses to encourage people to commute by bike or take short trips in their communities.   WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Lauren LeClaire, communications director for the Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition, or MassBike, a nonprofit that promotes bicycling.

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