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

Palmer Renewable Energy

Opponents of a planned wood-burning power plant in Springfield, Massachusetts are turning to a local board that deals with public health issues in what may be a last ditch attempt to stop the construction of the biomass plant.

Nearly two dozen individuals and organizations have petitioned the Springfield Public Health Council to conduct a public hearing on the siting of  the 35-megawatt power plant that Palmer Renewable Energy wants to build on the city’s east side.

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State and local officials are hoping to build on a successful initiative to encourage homeownership in Massachusetts’ third-largest city.

Since its start six years ago, Buy Springfield Now is credited with assisting 400 people to purchase a home in Springfield.

The initiative offers reduced closing costs, lower loan rates, and discounts on purchasing furniture and appliances. 

Rocco Leone of MassHousing said there is now a new website designed to convince Millennials that Springfield is a great city to live in.

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The student bodies of two Catholic high schools in western Massachusetts will merge at a temporary location while a new regional high school is under construction in Springfield.  Enrollment concerns continue to cloud the future of  Catholic secondary education in the  Springfield region.          

The current Holyoke Catholic High School building in Chicopee will become Pope Francis High School and take in students from Cathedral High School next August, while construction of a new $50 million, 500-student school takes place in Springfield.

A merger has taken place in western Massachusetts that creates a new association of more than 500 businesses.  The Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield and the Springfield Chamber of Commerce have formed the Springfield Regional Chamber.   WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with the president of the new regional chamber, Jeff Ciuffreda, about how the merger came about and what it means.


There are additional police officers patrolling in two western Massachusetts cities now following a police academy graduation. 

Thirty-one men and women marched smartly forward to the front of an auditorium, swore an oath to become police officers, and then one-by-one stepped on stage to have badges pinned to their chests.  Proud relatives, friends, and veteran police officers in the auditorium took pictures, recorded videos, and cheered.

Diocese of Springfield

The new regional Catholic high school in western Massachusetts will open at a temporary campus next August.

  Holyoke Catholic and Cathedral High School will merge to become Pope Francis High School next August at a temporary campus in Chicopee, while a new $50 million high school is built in Springfield.              

  That’s contrary to the plan, announced earlier this year by diocesan education consultant Paul Gagliarducci to maintain separate sites until the new building opened in 2018.

Scott Davidson / Flickr

Two cities in western Massachusetts will soon have more police officers on patrol.

Springfield and Chicopee will have new police officers sworn in for duty Friday at a police academy graduation ceremony.

With 21 graduates joining the ranks of the Springfield Police Department, the number of police officers will exceed 400 for the first time nearly two decades.  Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno included  an additional $1.8 million in this year’s budget to hire additional police.


Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced legislation Thursday to lift a cap on charter schools. 

The bill  Baker plans to file would add up to 12 new or expanded charter schools a year with a preference in low performing school districts.

His legislation is similar to a ballot measure proposed by a coalition of charter school advocates. Spokesperson Josiane Martinez said the group needs to collect 65,000 signatures to get the question on the 2016 ballot.

The mayor of Northampton, Massachusetts has produced a detailed proposal that asks the city’s largest tax-exempt property owners to participate in a payment-in-lieu-of taxes, or PILOT, program. Mayor David Narkewicz is seeking public comment on the plan through the middle of November, and has scheduled three town hall-style forums this month.   Mayor Narkewicz talked about this proposal with WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill

The city council in Chicopee, Massachusetts has approved more funding for public safety in response to a pair of shootings in the city’s downtown.

City councilors authorized $700,000 to combat what Chicopee police say is an increase in gang-related crime.   $200,000 will be spent to install surveillance cameras at 11 locations in Chicopee Center. The rest of the money will go into a special public safety account that can be used for such things as police overtime. 

The money was requested by Mayor Richard Kos.