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.

Ways to Connect

WAMC

Commuter trains could begin running on new high speed rail tracks in western Massachusetts with stops in Springfield, Holyoke, Northampton and Greenfield as soon as the spring of 2017.  That was the prediction this week from the state’s top transportation official. 

Massachusetts Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollock said MassDOT will develop a memorandum of understanding with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission for a demonstration project on the Knowledge Corridor rail line.

"  We would see it as a pilot service," Pollack said.

Artists rendering of proposed Wynn casino in Everett Mass.
Wynn Resorts

        The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has approved an agreement between Wynn Resorts and the City of Boston that clears the way for construction of a $1.7 billion casino in eastern Massachusetts.

The deal ends a long legal and public relations battle the city of Boston and Mayor Marty Walsh waged to try to block the Wynn casino because of traffic and other concerns. It calls for Wynn to pay the city $ 68 million in mitigation funds, employ a certain percentage of Boston residents in the casino, and work together to solve traffic problems.

WAMC

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation will explore options for bringing additional passenger rail service to western Massachusetts.

MassDOT CEO Stephanie Pollack said the state agency will work with regional planners and local elected officials who are trying to institute a pilot commuter rail shuttle among Springfield, Holyoke, Northampton, and Greenfield.

"I don't want to downplay that there are significant issues to be resolved, but the idea makes sense," Pollack told reporters Wednesday.

ramp closed sign leading to elevated interstate highway
WAMC

Thanks in part to the mild snow-free winter so far, the reconstruction of Interstate 91 through downtown Springfield is ahead of schedule.

   MassDOT CEO Stephanie Pollack said the contractor on the $185 million project appears to be on track to earn a $9 million bonus by completing the work by the end of 2017.

"Between the mild winter and those rewards the contractor has every incentive to bring the project in ahead of schedule and it is my understanding that may well happen," Pollack told reporters in Springfield Wednesday.

Dave Lucas

Iowa is in the rear view mirror as the presidential candidates focus on New Hampshire where the first-in-the-nation primary takes place next Tuesday. 

Springfield-based political consultant Anthony Cignoli has advised campaigns in New Hampshire in the past. He is not associated with any presidential campaign this year.  Cignoli spoke with WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill.

Mass. Dept of Fire Services

The first firefighter recruit class graduated Tuesday from the Massachusetts Fire Service’s new $13.4 million western Massachusetts campus.

The 16 firefighters from seven western Massachusetts fire departments completed a 45-day training program at the new Springfield campus, which opened late last year.

Being able to provide training closer to where the firefighters live and work had long been a goal, according to State Fire Marshall Peter Ostroskey.

A large crowd displays the Black Flag on steps of Springfield City Hall
WAMC

Black History Month began Monday in Springfield, Massachusetts with an annual flag-raising at City Hall.

A large audience that included children from a city elementary school and a Head Start classroom were urged by keynote speaker, Dr. Alonzo Sheffield, 95, a retired physician to learn their history.

" I think it will help them in their studies and appreciate what the situation is today," said Sheffield.

WAMC

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren held an open house Monday at her office in Springfield where an issue of concern to many of her constituents from rural western Massachusetts was front and center.

Wikipedia

The field of candidates is growing in western Massachusetts for the election this year to succeed one of the longest- serving sheriffs in the country.

Massachusetts Governors Councilor and former Springfield Mayor Michael Albano ended months of speculation about his political future and announced his candidacy for Hampden County Sheriff in a video posted on YouTube.

" I believe my background and experience is well suited for this important position," Albano said in the video.

Albano will run in the Democratic primary.

A former brick factory building in Holoke, Ma
WAMC

A community college in western Massachusetts has been awarded federal funding to build new classrooms to train people for careers in the hospitality industry, a field where job opportunities will explode in a few years with the opening of a casino in Springfield.

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