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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An environmental advocacy organization is campaigning in Massachusetts to drum up public support for ending restrictions on a solar power incentive program.

Dozens of solar power projects in Massachusetts have stalled because limits have been reached on a program that compensates the owners of large solar arrays, according to an activist, a Co-op Power company executive, and a municipal official who spoke Tuesday on the steps of Springfield City Hall.

Authorities in Massachusetts’ third largest city are using innovation, technology, and more police on patrol to combat violent crime.

Total crime is down about 8 percent in Springfield so far this year, according to the Springfield Police Department.  It is in keeping with a national trend of steadily declining crime rates. But, the crime that makes the headlines – homicides – stands at 13, just one shy of the total number of murders Springfield recorded for all of last year.

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A native of Springfield, Massachusetts was reportedly one of the four Marines killed Thursday in an attack by a lone gunman in Chattanooga, Tennessee.   Flags across the city and state were lowered to half-staff, messages of condolence flooded social media, and the fallen Marine’s family asked for privacy to grieve. 

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno expressed “ heartfelt condolences and sympathy” to the family of Thomas Sullivan,40, a Springfield native who was one of the four Marines shot dead by a lone gunman at a reserve center in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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Families with school-aged children who live in public housing in Springfield, Massachusetts will get free broadband Internet access at home under a just announced federal program.

Sprint has agreed to provide free wireless internet access in Springfield Housing Authority apartments for kindergarten through 12th grade students, according to a federal official. 

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A blighted house has been reduced to rubble years after residents of a Springfield, Massachusetts neighborhood first complained about drug activity and vagrants on the property.

City officials Thursday announced the demolition of the long blighted house, and thanked residents in the Mason Square neighborhood for their patience. 

The city obtained a court order to demolish the house at 14 Dresden Street in December 2012, but a series of legal issues blocked the city from taking possession of the property for nonpayment of taxes until late last year. 

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Federal officials on Thursday will detail an initiative to increase access to high speed broadband in public housing.  Boston and Springfield are two of just 28 cities picked for the pilot program.

Springfield Housing Authority Executive Director William Abrashkin said the agency is excited to have been selected by U.S. Housing and Urban Development ( HUD) to be part of the project.

He said an estimated 75 percent of the 2,300 families in Springfield public housing do not have internet access.

The housing market continues to stabilize nationwide and in the most populous county in western Massachusetts real estate sales showed modest gains over the last 12 months, according to a report released today.

The total amount of money spent on real estate in Hampden County in the last 12 months was more than $1.32 billion as average home sale prices rose in the cities of Springfield, Chicopee, Holyoke and Westfield, according to the fiscal year 2015 report from Register of Deeds Donald Ashe.

" One you get to $1 billion that is a pretty good healthy market," said Ashe.

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A new program about environmental awareness kicks off in western Massachusetts today. The US Forest Service along with the University of Massachusetts, the city of Springfield, and the nonprofit Regreen Springfield will hold a series of workshops to highlight the importance of trees, birds and water in urban neighborhoods.   WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with David Bloniarz, a researcher with the U.S. Forest Service.

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David Hoose, of Northampton, who is terror suspect Alexander Ciccolo's attorney spoke with reporters outside Federal court in Springfield Tuesday shortly after a U.S. Magistrate ordered Ciccolo held without bail.

Ciccolo is being held at the Wyatt Detention Center in Central Falls Rhode Island.

Ciccolo, is alleged to have stabbed a nurse in the head with a pen shortly after he was brought to the Franklin County Jail in Greenfield after his arrest July 4th.  Hoose said Ciccolo regrets assaulting the nurse.

Hoose would not comment on reports Ciccolo has a history of mental illness.  He would not discuss defense strategy in the case.

So far, Ciccolo is charged with being a felon in possession of weapons.  But government papers filed with the court said he was plotting a terrorist attack on a university. 

During the 40 minute hearing Tuesday the prosecution played what Asst. U.S. Atty Kevin O'Regan said was a nine minute excerpt of a 90 minute interview the FBI conducted with Ciccolo after his arrest.  During the portion played in court,  a soft-spoken Ciccolo said the Islamic state known as ISIL " is doing a good thing"  He said the U.S. is " unjust."

Hoose, in arguing to release Ciccolo into the custody of his mother and stepfather, who were in court, said no threats of violence were made by the defendent during the portion of the interview played in court.

He said the mother and stepfather live a remote part of the Berkshires.  He would not reveal the exact location.

Update: Alexander Ciccolo is being kept in custody until his trial. Saying the risks are great if Ciccolo is released, U.S. Magistrate Katherine Robertson ordered detention without bail around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday.

A detention hearing is scheduled this afternoon for an Adams, Massachusetts man federal authorities say was planning an attack in support of the Islamic State group. The 23-year-old son of a Boston Police captain was arrested July 4th outside his apartment in the small Berkshire County town.

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A bill filed in the Massachusetts legislature is aimed at preventing a leading cause of injury to children—falls from windows.  The bill was scheduled for a public hearing today before the legislature’s Committee on Housing.

The bill calls on the state to create a Window Falls Prevention Program. The program would offer education to the public about the dangers open windows can pose to young children and the importance of installing window guards.  

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