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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   Hampshire College has begun constructing the largest campus solar power array in New England.

A week after federal agents raided the pro shops, the mayor of Springfield has ordered an outside audit of the city’s two municipal golf courses.

WAMC

A new effort is underway in one western Massachusetts city to get young children to pick up a book, or two, before they head back to school in a few weeks.

wikipedia.org

Massachusetts marks a milestone of sorts today in the availability of medical marijuana. The first dispensary in the city of Boston is scheduled to open.

wikipedia.org

         Elected officials in Springfield, Massachusetts are still reviewing a proposal to set up the first medical marijuana dispensary in the city.

Dakin Humane Society

An experienced leader in the animal welfare field has been hired as the new executive director at the Dakin Humane Society in the Pioneer Valley.  

Carmine  DiCenso started his new job at the organization Monday. He sat down Tuesday for an interview with WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill.

WAMC

  Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse has become the first mayor in Massachusetts to announce support for legalizing recreational marijuana, a stand that puts him at odds with other mayors and elected officials across the state. 

   Morse announced he plans to vote “yes” on question 4 on the Massachusetts election ballot this November which, if passed, would legalize recreational marijuana use for those 21 and older and authorize creating a system of retail marijuana stores, cultivating facilities, and manufacturers of edible products. 

WAMC

The Mayor of Holyoke has endorsed a Massachusetts ballot question legalizing marijuana, apparently becoming the first mayor in the state to do so.

Diocese of Springfield

Construction is to begin next month on a new regional Catholic high school in western Massachusetts.

MGMSpringfield

   Massachusetts casino industry regulators have approved payments to offset some harm that has been caused as a result of construction work that is under way on the $950 million MGM casino in downtown Springfield. 

        The Massachusetts Gaming Commission this week is highlighting its efforts to combat problem gambling.

         A number of events and promotions are planned as part of Responsible Gaming Education Week.

         The informational and outreach efforts will focus on a voluntary bet-limiting system called “Play My Way” that was introduced two months ago at Plainridge Park, the only operating casino in Massachusetts.  

MGMSpringfield

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission could decide Monday on requests for funds to mitigate problems caused by the construction of the MGM casino in Springfield.

A federal court ruling has cast uncertainty over the Massachusetts casino landscape.

   The Massachusetts legislature meets this weekend on Beacon Hill where lawmakers face a glut of bills and a Sunday night deadline.

After almost 30 years with the Springfield Regional Chamber, the last five as president, Jeff Ciuffreda is retiring. 

      IRS agents Thursday reportedly raided offices at two golf courses owned by the city of Springfield, Massachusetts as well as homes owned by the golf pro.

WAMC

The largest emergency homeless shelter in western Massachusetts is planning to merge with a regional social service provider.

   The opioid addiction crisis has become a major issue in a high profile local election contest in western Massachusetts.

CISA

               An emergency fund has been re-opened to help western Massachusetts farmers whose fruit crops were damaged by an extreme cold snap in mid-February. 

               The Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture ( CISA) is offering zero-interest short term loans up to $10,000.  

              WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with CISA executive director Philip Korman.

             More information about the fund can be found at the website: buylocalfood.org.

   Emergency funds are being offered to help western Massachusetts farmers whose crops of fruits were damaged in last February’s extreme cold snap.

   Many peach growers in the region lost their entire crop and other fruits, such as plums, were damaged, according to Phil Korman, executive director of Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, the organization that administers the disaster-recovery fund.

WAMC

     Springfield, Massachusetts was the site today for a good-natured election-themed promotion for the national release of a new children’s book.

WAMC

    A federally-funded study estimates it would cost $1.2 billion to add more frequent high-speed passenger rail service linking Boston, Springfield, Montreal and New Haven.  Advocates say the benefits to the region justify the large expense.

     Voters in three Massachusetts cities this November will decide whether to authorize a property tax surcharge to finance a local fund that could pay for historic preservation projects, protecting open space, and building affordable housing.

MGMSpringfield

   The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has approved the request of a western Massachusetts town for more money to help cope with anticipated traffic from the MGM Springfield casino.

The Massachusetts Legislature is holding a rare formal session Saturday.

BasicGov, flickr

   The Massachusetts legislature is considering a bill that would allow cities to require banks to pay for the upkeep on foreclosed properties.  It is an effort to revive local laws that were struck down in court.

   In the midst of the foreclosure crisis in 2011, the Springfield City Council approved two anti-foreclosure ordinances.  One required banks to post a $10,000 bond with each foreclosure. The city could use this money to maintain foreclosed properties if the banks failed to do so.

The Springfield Sting logo in front of City Hall
WAMC

    The American Basketball Association (ABA) is bringing a team to the birthplace of the game.

A delegation from western Massachusetts is scheduled to depart later today for Poland to attend the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day.  

WAMC

Dozens of members of Congress have requested a federal probe into the business practices of the Chinese rail car company that is building a factory in Springfield, Massachusetts.

A tee shirt with Catholic youth Day Logo
Diocese of Springfield

A group of almost 50 young people from western Massachusetts leaves Friday to attend the Catholic Church’s World Youth Day in Poland.

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