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. 

WAMC

More state funding is being sought to redevelop a major tourist attraction in Western Massachusetts.  Officials made their pitch Tuesday to Governor Deval Patrick for more help for the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

        Governor Patrick said he was impressed by the progress made so far on what is planned as a $50 million dollar project to develop a facility capable of hosting events year round. But he stopped short of a firm commitment of more state money.

Hudson Cruises

It's been decades since people could travel between two Hudson Valley communities without a car. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports that ferry service between Greene and Columbia counties resumes this summer…

Hudson Cruises owner Captain Guy Falkenheimer says the Hudson-Athens ferry is back on the river and full operations are expected to begin in June. The first ferry service between Hudson and Athens launched in 1778 - The last "official" ferry to sail the 11-mile one-way trip was in 1947.

Most Monday nights we are in front of the tube, mesmerized by the “Antiques Road Show.”

“Look at the piece of junk!’’ my husband exclaims.

“Don’t just sit there. Get down to the basement and start looking!’’ I reply.

One recent Monday night was different.

Oh sure, there were some “antiques’’ involved. They were the thousands of middle-aged people like us, dancing and rockin’ out in a big public arena.

A new alliance of educators, parents, administrators, school board members, unions, and community groups
have launched a campaign to boost funding and seek reforms to education. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave
Lucas reports.

Frustration over teacher layoffs and public school program cutbacks statewide has prompted a new,
year-long campaign intent on getting state government to “go back to the drawing board.”
Educate NY Now! is demanding that lawmakers uphold New York’s constitutional obligation to provide all
students with a quality education.  

While some school districts and unions are reportedly considering suing to overturn a provision in New York State’s new tax cap law, cooler heads are urging them to take a "wait-and-see" attitude for the time being - Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports

In New Paltz, the school budget got 59.3 percent of the vote. But it failed. The reason: the tax cap requires a 60 percent supermajority of votes to override a school district’s tax-levy limit — Judging by the recent annual school budget elections, the supermajority requirement made an impact.

The law of contract, based on the consent of the parties, and the law of torts, based on our obligations when no agreement covers what happened, are fundamental to American law. There is only one problem. Both fields are hopelessly out of date.

Mount Anthony Union High School in Bennington is looking for ways to save money but provide the same access to information that their Middle School enjoys, access to laptop computer for every student.

Frank Barnes is the Director of Technology for the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union. He’s helping develop an experiment to determine which technologies fit different styles of classroom learning.

The solution might just be to let students use a tool that many schools forbid in the classroom, their smartphone.

WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

Farm workers and Religious Leaders joined with Community and Civil Rights Advocates to urge state lawmakers in Albany to enact the Farm Workers Fair Labor Practices Act - Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

 

It has been an article of faith among those opposed to the federal health care reform law that it must be repealed.  You see it all the time: “repeal Obamacare.”  But what does that mean?  Do they really mean repeal everything?  It turns out that the answer is “yes.”

The law is extensive.  It covers lots of issues.

Rockland County is still feeling the sting after Moody's Investor Service dropped the county's investment status rating three notches to just above junk level. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas has an update:

The Democratic leadership in the Massachusetts House has
unveiled a bill to promote job growth.  The proposals would help launch
new innovative businesses, and also expand the state's manufacturing
sector.  WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

In December, Governor Deval Patrick signed legislation amending a commission that would look at EBT fraud in Massachusetts. The commission was created after it was found that the state public assistance cards were being used to pay for tattoos, alcohol, tobacco, and other things not intended in the program. After a report was filed on April first by the Commission, the House of Representatives began working on their own EBT reform plan, which was included in their FY 2013 budget proposal.

In his State of the Union address this past January, President Obama warned the higher education community that, “If you can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down.”  Clearly, “affordability” of postsecondary education is a top priority of this administration.  President Obama went on to say that, “We can’t just keep subsidizing skyrocketing tuition, we’ll run out of money.  States need to do their part by making higher education a higher priority in their budgets.   And colleges and universities have to do their part by working to keep costs down."

WAMC

Hoping to reverse what has been called a lost decade of employment for
young people, officials in western Massachusetts have launched a youth
summer jobs campaign.  WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill
reports.

        Saying that government funded youth summer jobs programs will
not come close to meeting the demand, workforce development specialists,
and the mayors of the region's two largest cities appealed to the
private sector to offer work to teenagers this summer.

Auto insurance rates in Massachusetts are climbing higher. Drivers are starting to see their premiums go up four years after rates dropped when the state partially de-regulated the auto insurance business.  WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

        Many of the largest auto insurance companies doing business in Massachusetts have raised rates in each of the last two years.  The insurers are faced with rising costs for claims from car crashes, thefts and injuries, according to James Harrington, of the Massachusetts Insurance Federation.

 

Sometimes it’s easier to see the problems abroad than it is at home. And that may be true of the Euro zone. As we all know, there have been a series of agreements bailing out Greece on the condition that Greece make very large cuts in its own budget. And it hasn’t worked. Why not? Shouldn’t cutting back have rejuvenated the Greek economy?

The state is plans to cut back HIV testing and education spending in jails. Over $1 million dollars have been eliminated from programs in houses of correction.

Kevin Cranston, director of the state Bureau of Infectous Disease, says that due to the tight budget, the state is making cuts they believe will have the least amount of impat.

State prisons will be spared the cuts. Cranston also says that not all HIV programs in county jails will be eliminated.  

A teacher who exercised her First Amendment Rights to stand up for her beliefs at rallies and actions held by Occupy Albany could be facing repercussions for her actions. Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports

 

The University of Massachusetts is looking at the feasibility of
establishing satellite campuses. The mayor of Springfield wants a
satellite of the flagship Amherst campus located in his city's downtown.
WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

        Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno publically lobbied Monday for
what he called a quicker pace to the four year old Springfield-UMass
partnership.

Last week, new data was released from the American Cancer Society.  It showed a staggering increase in melanoma cases in New York State.  Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer.  According to the analysis, over the past ten years the number of melanoma cases has increased by 72 percent. 

WAMC

Metal sculptures will be put  on display throughout downtown Springfield this month in the latest effort to use public art to attract more people to the city’s downtown.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

        The sculptures are the work of Hilltowns artist James Kitchen, who takes discarded metal, such as wheel rims, machine gears, farm implements, tools and other scrap metal and turns it into art, which he describes as thoughtful and whimsical.

After State Representatives and Senators passed special legislation this week that would allow school districts to exempt themselves from the provision in the Nutritional Standards for Competitive Foods in Schools that would prevent school from selling sugary sweets during school hours for special events such as fundraisers, the Department of Public Health has come up with amendments to the regulations that would take effect in August.

Aime Kunes is President of the LGBT Coalition of Western Massachusetts. She says that President Obama’s support for gay marriage falls in line with other efforts his administration has made, such as the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”.

Kunes says that the she thought the president spoke his mind despite political risk.

Jason Verchot, president of Berkshire Stonewall, a nonprofit supporting the well-being of the gay and lesbian community in the Berkshires, says that president Obama’s support at the federal level is significant.

As New York State moves closer to making a decision whether or not to allow the controversial process of hydraulic fracturing, Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports there are new concerns about the gas extraction process and its impact on clean water

WAMC

A community wide collaboration is credited with helping to reduce teenage pregnancy in Holyoke Massachusetts.  Officials acknowledge there is much work yet to do, as Holyoke has the highest teen birth rate in the state.   WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports

WAMC

  With the start of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season  23 days away,  hundreds of people attended a hurricane preparedness conference Wednesday in Massachusetts.. The first of its kind event was hosted by the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency.   WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

For the third time in three years, President Barack Obama visited the Capital District for a Tuesday appearance at UAlbany's CNSE NanoTech Complex - Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas was there and files this report.

Air Force One touched down at Albany International Airport just before noon: the President immediately taken to CNSE, where he joined New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on a brief tour.  Some observers believe Obama's change of venue from Global Foundries to UAlbany has ties to his working relationship with Cuomo.

 

 

Students are choosing where to go to college. A college education is expensive but too many graduates come out of college without a skill set. What do they need from higher education?

WAMC

The founding of the third oldest county in Massachusetts, Hampshire County, is being observed this year.  Officials are using the 350th anniversary to promote an effort to fund major repairs to the county's best known landmark.  WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.
       

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