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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A new report says Massachusetts military bases were responsible for 57,000 jobs and contributed $13 billion to the economy.

Governor Charlie Baker on Friday, the same day the report was released, highlighted the economic impact of the state’s military installations by touring the Westover Air Reserve base in Chicopee.

"There is a lot of work that goes on here that would be hard to replicate anywhere else in the country and I think it is important we continue to press that case, " said Baker.

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A park in Springfield, Massachusetts will be named for a slain U.S. Marine

A park that is being restored from the tornado damage it sustained four years ago will be named for Marine Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan, who was killed by a terrorist gunman’s attack on military installations in Tennessee.

Mayor Domenic Sarno, who made the official announcement Friday, said Sullivan protected our country and never forgot his Springfield heritage.

" From all accounts Tommy has always been a hero from his young days and he was saving other peoples lives," said Sarno.

WAMC

Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito and several of Baker’s cabinet secretaries were in western Massachusetts Friday for a series of tours, meetings and grant announcements in each of the four western counties. 

Baker’s schedule of appearances highlighted his administration’s campaign to combat the opioid epidemic, underscore the importance of military bases to the state’s economy, and showcase an innovative public school.  He also addressed local concerns about the future of the state-owned nursing home for military veterans in Holyoke.

WAMC

After months of planning and preparation, work is set to begin in earnest on a major highway project in western Massachusetts. The rehabilitation of the elevated portion of Interstate 91, known as the I-91 viaduct, through downtown Springfield will mean longer commutes and perhaps parking problems for the next two years.

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Nine bids have been submitted to open what would be the first medical marijuana dispensary in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said the proposals will be reviewed by a committee he formed that includes representatives from the police, health and building code departments.

"They'll be getting into all the crossing of the t's and dotting of the i's," said Sarno. " How exactly that dispensary retail front would run."

An artists rendering of the proposed MGM Casino in Springfield, MA
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Massachusetts casino regulators took a key vote Thursday to allow MGM to begin construction work on the proposed Springfield casino.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission unanimously endorsed MGM’s plans to mitigate environmental impacts of the casino project. The vote clears the way, pending Springfield City Council approval, for MGM to demolish buildings on the 14.5 acre site where the casino is to be built.

Ombudsman John Ziemba said the commission is withholding its approval of controversial project design changes pending further reviews by state and city officials.

WAMC

Arlene Mackie always wanted to be a schoolteacher, but life intervened. After college she got married, had four children to raise, a house to maintain, and a full time job as a church secretary. After the children grew up and moved away she joined Springfield School Volunteers and has done tutoring, mentoring, and reading-a-loud to children faithfully since 1995. 

" I wanted to get back into the school system. I love kids," she explained.

The Plainridge casino building and parking lot
NECN

The first Massachusetts casino, Plainridge Park, had customers lined up out the door for the grand opening in July.  But revenue from the casino’s 1,250 slot machines has fallen month after month since the spectacular opening. 

Massachusetts officials this week cut by nearly 40 percent the tax revenue they expect to collect from the casino. 

Clyde Barrow, a University of Texas professor, who has studied the Northeast casino market, sees no cause for alarm.  He spoke with WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill.

Several agencies are now looking into allegations that emotionally disabled children were abused by staff at a public school in western Massachusetts.

Officials from both the Massachusetts Department of Mental Health and Office of the Child Advocate have visited the Peck School in Holyoke.

Stephen Zrike, the state-appointed receiver for the Holyoke schools, said he took corrective steps months ago, but remains deeply concerned about the abuse allegations revealed in a report last week.

The Plainridge casino building and parking lot
NECN

Massachusetts officials have cut by almost 40 percent the amount of tax revenue expected from the state’s first casino that opened six months ago.

When the Plainridge Park casino had its grand opening in late June there were lines out the door, but revenues have fallen in each month since. Clyde Barrow, of the University of Texas, who studies the casino industry, said curiosity about the new casino is wearing off, and monthly revenue is beginning to stabilize.

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