WAMC Northeast Report

Weekdays, 3:30PM - 4PM and 6PM - 6:30PM

Northeast Report and Northeast Report - Late Edition are two half hour magazines of news and information, aired every weekday from 3:30PM-4:00PM just before All Things Considered, and again from 6:05PM - 6:30PM just before Marketplace.

Northeast Report features reports from the award-winning WAMC News team, plus commentary, arts news and interviews, the latest weather forecast, and an afternoon business wrap-up. The program is hosted by WAMC Senior Correspondent Brian Shields who has been with WAMC for 25 years as senior news anchor, host and reporter. 

The Federal Health Care Law has people divided across the country, but how will it affect access to care in Massachusetts -a state with its own insurance mandate in place since 2006? WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…

Chip Joffee-Halpern, executive director of Ecu Healthcare – a private organization in North Adams that connects citizens with health care options – says that the Affordable Care Act will help fill in some of the gaps in coverage for those who may be ineligible for Massachusetts’ Commonwealth Care – but can’t afford their own coverage.

Supporters of a consolidated government for New Paltz are closer than ever to realizing their dream: Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

For more on the U.S. Supreme Court ruling on health care reform, WAMC’S Brian Shields spoke with Vassar College economics professor Shirley Johnson-Lans, author of The Health Economics Primer, who says the upholding by the court of the individual mandate requiring those who can afford it to buy health insurance is the backbone of the Obama plan.

Let me start today’s commentary on innovation in higher education with a brief scenario.  A college professor, along with a group of teaching assistants and upper-level undergraduate students, organized his freshman physics section of some 200 students into multiple small groups to discuss the lecture they all had  already heard on-line by a Nobel Laureate who was not only an exceptional physicist, but also an exceptionally engaging teacher .   The two-hour class flew by as each small group discussed the concepts presented by the Nobel Laureate, and developed experiments to demonstrate thei


Riders of the largest public transit system in western Massachusetts no longer have a possible fare hike looming.  But, the  Pioneer Valley Transit Authority will need more revenue next year to avoid a budget deficit and possible service cuts.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.


Over the past 5 years, Pittsfield has had several economic investments in the arts. As WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports, a new study details the financial impact on the city…

 The study was conducted by American’s for the Arts – a national non-profit that advocates for advancing arts and cultural programs.  The Arts & Economic Prosperity IV economic study looked at 182 different communities across the country over a five-year period, Pittsfield was the only in Massachusetts to participate.


A new report details  the  huge impact existing military bases have on the economy in Massachusetts.  The report was prepared as part of an effort to save the state’s six military installations from federal cuts.   WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports


New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Monday signed the teacher evaluation bill into law. Parents will be able to see the evaluations for their own child’s teacher, but the information will not be available to the general public or the media. Tim Kremer , the executive director of the New York State School Boards Association tells WAMC’s Brian Shields that the evaluation system , which the governor has described as evolving, needs to become more valid.


 In an earlier essay I mentioned that there was no reason why pure scientists such as myself shouldn't have a say in politics -- particularly since law-making is sometimes regarded, wrongly I believe, as being just in the province of those trained in law.

The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation is funding  a series of initiatives aimed at making public recreation improvements in areas across the state. WAMC’s Lucas Willard reports…

The Masschusetts DCR recently announced two programs to help upgrade outdoor attractions and state parks. The 2012 Partnerships Matching Funds Program last week awarded $1 million in matching grants to community organizations, private businesses, non-profits, and parks advocacy groups to help fund select improvements. DCR’s Conrad Crawford explains…

Three branch libraries are scheduled to close at the end of this week in Springfield Massachusetts because of budget cuts. Library advocates have mobilized to try to stop the closures.  WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.


            About 50 people held a rally outside the  East Forest Park library branch to protest plans to close it.


19th District Congressional Candidate Joel Tyner's former treasurer has responded to accusations of possible embezzlement and sexual advances... WAMC's Dave Lucas reports.

It’s summertime. 

That means kids swimming in the pool, going to camp and – of course - smoking their first cigar.

Shocked?  Every year, more than 1,000,000 kids try their first cigar.  And, if the cigar companies have their way, you won’t be able to do much about it.

After intensive lobbying by cigar companies, Congress is about to vote on an amendment that would exempt many cigars from any regulation at all. 


A World War Two veteran from western Massachusetts was honored Friday by the government of France for his role in liberating the country.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.


            Joseph Della Giustina landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day, June 6, 1944, a day after his  21st birthday. He fought throughout France to liberate the country from the Nazis. For his sacrifice and courage he was  awarded the French Legion of Honor, the country’s highest decoration.

The New York Farm Bureau is criticizing the Thruway Authority’s plan to raise tolls for larger commercial trucks.  The bureau argues that farmers are struggling in the weak economy, and shouldn't be shouldered with another financial burden... Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

With President Obama’s recent announcement to halt the deportation of undocumented students, advocates for immigrants in Massachusetts are speaking up about their support for the plan. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…

The online edition of The Atlantic is running an article entitled "Can Google Predict the Impact of Racism on a Presidential Election?" It focuses on a study that tries to make a case for linking Google searches for racially-sensitive terms with election results to "reveal what Americans truly think." Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas spoke with two community leaders to find out "what THEY truly think" about racism.


The Massachusetts legislature is considering a stop gap funding bill to help out the state’s transit authorities.  People who depend on public transportation hope it will be enough to avoid fare  hikes.  WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports

New York State is expected to "press on" with efforts to increase and improve health care coverage, should the U.S. Supreme Court overturn all or part of the landmark 2010 Affordable Care Act. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

Regardless of the court decision, it is expected New York will move forward to expand health coverage to the 2-point-8 million state residents who are without it. The Supreme Court is expected to release a decision any day now, and groups like Citizen Action are very concerned, ready to launch reactionary "speak-outs".


Many conservatives are concerned that we have lost a sense of moral obligations, without which the state must eventually fail. They trace most of the nation’s ills to character, including the national debt, crime, failing schools and poverty to name a few.

Retailers in Massachusetts are concerned over a bill in the state’s legislature that would require businesses to allow the public to use employee rest rooms or face a penalty. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…

The bill filed by Representative Louis Kafka serves to ensure private restroom access in retail businesses for those suffering from inflammatory bowel diseases. Advocates for those individuals with conditions like Chron’s disease are in support of the measure, while opponents think the bill would open the door to a new set of problems.


  15 thousand people from 3 thousand companies are expected to attend this week’s Biotechnology Industry Organization convention which opened Monday in Boston. The international convention will offer state and local officials a chance to promote Massachusetts as a hub for the life sciences industry.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has more.


You see the advertisements everywhere: electronic cigarettes – which don’t use tobacco – are exempt from public smoking restrictions and help those who wish to quit.  But are the claims true?

While it is true that these devices don’t use tobacco, there is little scientific evidence that e-cigarettes can help smokers to quit.  In addition, since there is no regulation of these devices, the quality and safety of these products cannot be assured.

WAMC Photo

"Is There a Regional Agenda for the Hudson Valley?" - that's the theme and title of a conference held today at SUNY New Paltz - Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports

Elected officials joined business and municipal leaders exploring new ideas - in a spirit of working together toward economic growth -The conference was hosted by CRREO, the New Paltz Center for Research, Regional Education and Outreach (CRREO), and sponsored by The Advocacy Coalition of the Hudson Valley.

A bill that would expand Massachusetts’ recycling laws to include a five-cent deposit for plastic containers for noncarbonated beverages has again failed to pass a committee vote to enter legislative debate, drawing criticism from proponents. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…

For decades Citizen Scientists have helped  answer serious scientific questions and provide researchers in various fields with vital data that may otherwise have gone uncollected and never catalogued.As Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports, one New York State agency has rolled out a program that depends on ordinary people to sign up and participate:

This past weekend I, along with many other extremely fortunate citizens of the Capital Region, experienced a truly memorable event at RPI’s stunning Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center – or EMPAC.   Entitled John Brown’s Body, the event commemorated the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, and was a partnership of the Albany Pro Musica and the New York State Archives Partnership Trust.  The music was sometimes haunting, sometimes a call-to-arms, sometimes ethereal, sometimes dirge-like, sometimes jubilant and, at all times, exquisitely beautiful.

The word 'etiquette' reminds me of vicarage ladies discussing which way their pinkies ought to point when holding a tea-cup, but I use the word here with respect to the problem of friends who don't, can't or won't, respond.

I don't email much, and typically my 'you have mail' box may have anything between zero and three new emails each morning. I know people who apparently receive as many as 80 a day, excluding advertising! (How such a phenomenon occurs I'm not sure. They must be very talkative.)

Over the last several months, concerns regarding our nation’s system of higher education have continued to escalate…concerns regarding cost, quality, rigor and, yes, even long-term value.  And, as we all know, the employment opportunities for recent graduates of our institutions of higher education, particularly those who have earned a baccalaureate degree, have decreased substantially, despite the fact that members of the nation’s high technology sector have stated that there are not sufficient numbers of U.S.


A city -wide natural disaster rebuilding effort took place in Springfield Massachusetts Wednesday to commemorate the anniversary of the June 1st tornadoes.  The city was also awarded more federal funds to cover some of the costs to repair its tornado damaged infrastructure. WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

        As the anniversary of the June 1st tornadoes in western Massachusetts approaches, the recovery has come a long way, but there are stark reminders there is still a long way to go.