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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Matthew Kang, flickr

Heroin and other opioid-related deaths rose in Massachusetts last year, totaling more than 1,000, but the state’s third largest city bucked the trend.

  Springfield Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris said the city formed a working group in 2009 to come up with ways to prevent opioid overdose deaths.

" The opioid overdose epidemic appears to be more in the outskirts of Springfield, but we certainly have our challenges," she said.

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The largest annual gathering of regional business leaders at the Massachusetts Statehouse is taking place today.  More than 75 members of Chambers of Commerce from Springfield, Chicopee, Easthampton, Holyoke and Westfield are on Beacon Hill.  They are taking part in a day-long series of formal meetings and social events.   WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Jeff Ciuffreda, president of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield.

 

For just the second time a public school system in Massachusetts has been put into receivership. 

    The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education voted 8-3 Tuesday to declare the Holyoke Public Schools to be chronically underperforming and striped the locally elected school committee in Holyoke of its authority. 

   State education commissioner Mitchell Chester, who recommended the board take the action, will run the schools until he hires a permanent receiver.

WAMC

As the Massachusetts House begins debate today on a proposed $38 billion state budget, advocates for homeless individuals are lobbying for more funding.  The major service provider for the homeless in western Massachusetts says it is being shortchanged because the state money is not equitably distributed.  

The Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education will hold a public hearing Monday on putting the Holyoke schools into receivership.

State education commissioner Mitchell Chester is recommending a state takeover of the Holyoke Public Schools following years of  poor test scores, high dropout and low graduation rates.

Holyoke Superintendent of Schools Sergio Paez, who has been in the job less than two years, said there are recent signs of improvement.

WAMC

At a packed forum on the campus of American International College today, the mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts vowed to restore a sense of safety following recent gunfire near the college.         

WAMC

Over a thousand volunteer laborers will pack into one city block in Springfield, Massachusetts tomorrow to help finish 28 home renovations.  The goal of the project is to create energy efficient and healthy homes in one of the poorest neighborhoods in the United States. 

The house on Prince Street, where Barbara Cisero has lived for 21 years, is going to be painted Saturday, repairs will be made to the porch, a storm door repaired, and the backyard play area for children cleaned up.

" Whatever they want to do is fine with me," she said.

WAMC

State funding has been secured to launch a major renovation to a landmark courthouse in western Massachusetts.

State legislators are scheduled to formally announce next week the award of $500,000 to cover the first phase of an estimated $ 4 million restoration of the Hamsphire  County Courthouse in downtown Northampton.

The courthouse, built in 1886 is in desperate need of major repairs according to Todd Ford, executive director of the Hampshire Council of Governments.

"The building has not had a serious renovation in quite some time," he said.

WAMC

The mayor of Springfield and the city’s police commissioner will meet with students Friday at American International College to address recent gun violence near the campus

Bullets have twice recently struck buildings on the AIC campus. No one was injured. Police say the gunfire was from gang members feuding on nearby streets. 

AIC President Vincent Maniaci sent letters to parents and students stressing the campus is safe.

MGM Springfield

Another obstacle to the construction of the MGM Springfield casino has been removed.

The city of Springfield, following a search that took several months, has found a new location for the headquarters of the department of Health and Human Services, which is being evicted from a building that MGM plans to tear down to build an $800 million resort casino.

Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris said the public health office plans to move just a few blocks from 95 State St. into a building at 1145 Main St. that once housed a health clinic.

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