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 city of Chicopee is the first in western Massachusetts to begin a project to replace all the city’s street lights with LED lights.

More than 4,700 LED light fixtures will be installed throughout the entire city of Chicopee under a four-year replacement schedule announced Monday by Mayor Richard Kos.

    The finished project will cut the city’s $400,000 annual light bill in half. 

The New York City Police Department has announced it has started to use a gunshot detection system.  The rollout of the technology in the nation’s largest police department comes seven years after the police department in Springfield, Massachusetts started using the system called ShotSpotter.   

ShotSpotter uses acoustic sensors to pinpoint the location of gunfire and transmit the information within seconds to police dispatchers and to laptop computers in police cruisers. A map on the computer screen shows where the gun was fired and there is an audio recording of the shots.

A report issued this week by a Massachusetts-based consumer protection organization finds state governments are making it easier for taxpayers to find out how their money is being spent. The Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group Education Fund looked at the content and ease-of-use of financial transparency websites – often called online checkbooks.

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More than 200 people came to Greenfield Community College last night to address the opioid crisis  task force appointed by the governor of Massachusetts.  The panel was told heroin use and pain pill abuse is rampant in the state’s rural towns.  

The panel heard emotional pleas for help and thoughtful suggestions on actions the state should take to combat drug addiction and curb overdose deaths, which state officials said jumped 46 percent last year.

Tracy Lord of Turners Falls said drugs have devastated her family.

Springfield Museums

A new museum to honor the writer of the world-famous Dr. Seuss children’s books is being created in Springfield, Massachusetts.

     The Springfield Museums Thursday announced the first museum dedicated to the life and legacy of city native Theodor Seuss Geisel will open in 2016. 

The new museum will be housed in a renovated existing building on the Quadrangle.

Matthew Kang, flickr

The task force appointed by Governor Charlie Baker to investigate the heroin epidemic in Massachusetts is holding a public meeting Thursday at Greenfield Community College.

The public meeting scheduled from 4 pm-6 pm at the Dining Common is the only western Massachusetts stop on a statewide listening tour by the 17-member panel. 

The task force is to present its findings by the end of May. 

Lt. Governor Karyn Polito said the depth of the problem has to be  understood before solutions can be suggested.

wikipedia.org

A new report from a Massachusetts consumer watchdog said  it is becoming easier for the public to find out how their state tax dollars are spent.

Massachusetts, New York, and Connecticut were among 14 states that graded the highest on an annual report card for financial transparency. 

   The Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group looked at what spending data is available on line and how accessible it is. 

A casino arms race is occurring across the Northeast.  States from New York to Maine are looking to expand gambling options for their residents and visitors.  Casino industry expert Clyde Barrow of the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley sees continued escalation.

The Massachusetts Attorney General is proposing to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.  There is currently a void in Massachusetts regulations that has led to a patchwork of local restrictions on the sale and use of the new product.  

       Attorney General Maura Healey Tuesday proposed regulations that would treat e-cigarettes like tobacco products, including banning sales to people under 18 years old, prohibiting free give-a-ways or sampling, require the products be kept behind store counters, and banning vending machine sales except in adults-only establishments.

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Massachusetts is the most Irish state in the country, with just over 21 percent of the population saying they are of Irish descent.  So, it is not surprising Saint Patrick’s Day is cause for ceremony and celebration.

   About 200 people gathered in front of Springfield City Hall Tuesday morning and watched the green, white, and orange flag of Ireland raised up a pole to fly over the city hall plaza for the day.

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