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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Four years after a tornado destroyed a neighborhood community center, officials in Springfield, Massachusetts are seeking construction bids for a new center.

FEMA agreed to pay up to $9.2 million to build a new South End Community Center. It will be located in a park several blocks from the building that was hit by the tornado on June 1, 2011. 

The new center will be in a two-story building with a gymnasium, exercise room, offices, and multi-purpose rooms.

WAMC

A Rhode Island-based commercial laundry company announced plans today to open a new plant in Springfield, Massachusetts.  Company and city officials said the expansion anticipates a growing regional hospitality industry led by the MGM Springfield casino.

Falvey Linen Supply, a fourth generation family owned business, plans to spend $7 million to purchase and renovate a former U.S. Postal Service warehouse and install new laundry equipment. Officials said 100 new jobs will result.

Among the major cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in its just concluded term was a housing discrimination case from Texas.  The court upheld the ability of individuals to challenge seemingly neutral government regulatory actions to determine if the rules violated the Federal Fair Housing Act.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Meris Bergquist, executive director of the Massachusetts Fair Housing Center about the significance of the court’s decision.

WAMC

Massachusetts is expanding an initiative to reduce energy use in urban neighborhoods by planting trees.  In western Massachusetts, the city of Chicopee is now a beneficiary of the program.

The “Greening the Gateway Cities Program” has a goal of increasing the urban tree canopy by 10 percent in selected neighborhoods in cities where age and a history of manufacturing has contributed to a loss of trees through the years.

MSP

Colonel Timothy Alben has announced his retirement as head of the Massachusetts State Police. 

Alben, a native of East Longmeadow, led the State Police during the Boston Marathon bombing and subsequent manhunt for the suspects.  During a lecture at Western New England University last year, he talked about how the bombing had impacted security plans for public events.

" The number one priority is to get to the public and instill a sense of vigilance, because we are never going to be able to eliminate risk at these venues," he said.

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A state budget agreement has been reached on Beacon Hill, one week into the new fiscal year in Massachusetts.  Votes are scheduled this afternoon in the House and Senate on a $38.1 billion budget for fiscal year 2016.  

Governor Charlie Baker will have 10 days to act on the budget. He can sign it, or veto all or parts of the budget.

State Representative Stephen Kulik of Worthington is part of the six-member conference committee that produced the final budget deal Tuesday night.  He spoke this morning with WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill.

WAMC

A hospital merger was celebrated today in western Massachusetts. The deal promises to maintain local access to healthcare and preserve hundreds of jobs. 

Dozens of community leaders, elected officials, and healthcare workers gathered under a large white tent on the lawn of a landmark hospital in Westfield to applaud the debut of Baystate Noble Hospital.

Authorities in Massachusetts say three high profile fireworks injuries over the Fourth of July underscore why consumer fireworks are illegal in the state.

Boston police issued a public appeal after two young boys were badly hurt when fireworks they were playing with exploded.  One boy reportedly had a hand amputated.

Boston Police Superintendent William Gross said the incident is under investigation.  

WAMC

The Massachusetts state appointed receiver for the Holyoke Public Schools officially started on the job Monday.

As receiver, Stephen Zrike has the combined authority of a local school committee and school superintendent to both establish policy and implement it. 

Zrike, with input from a local stakeholders group, will produce a turnaround plan for the Holyoke schools by the end of summer.

" I don't come with a blueprint in my pocket on this is how we are going to do it here," he said.

Massachusetts made a big splash with the opening of Plainridge Park, the state’s first casino. There were capacity crowds on opening day June 24th and through the first full week of operation, the slots parlor took in $6.1 million.  University of Texas professor and casino industry expert Clyde Barrow said projections that Plainridge would gross $200 million in its first year may have been too conservative. WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Barrow for an update on the New England Casino scene.

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