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 three Democratic candidates in the race for a seat in Congress representing Massachusetts’ 1st District have agreed to a series of debates. WAMC’s Lucas Willard has more…

Congressional candidate and former state senator Andrea Nuciforo recently issued a challenge to his rivals to four regional debates across the new Western Massachusetts district. Mr. Nuciforo mentioned the need for the debates as essential for voters to learn the distinctions between himself and fellow candidate current 2nd District Congressman Richard Neal.

The city of Springfield Massachusetts began using new technology today in a bid to collect more than $11 million   owed it by scofflaws.  WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

      Devices mounted on traffic enforcement vehicles scan license plates on cars and trucks parked on Springfield streets and instantly alert the enforcement officials if there are  outstanding parking tickets or unpaid excise tax bills.   Springfield City Treasurer-Collector Stephen Lonergan says the vehicle will be booted or towed and impounded until the owner pays  up.

Volunteers throughout the Connecticut River Valley are continuing their fifth season of monitoring for harmful bacteria in the river and its tributaries. WAMC’s Lucas Willard reports…

No sooner had the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in support of the constitutionality of the federal health care reform law, than a new attack was launched on health coverage for the poor.

One provision of the Affordable Care Act dramatically expanded the Medicaid program – which provides health insurance for the poor.  The ACA requires that states have to expand coverage to those who make just above poverty level.  If a state refused the expansion, the federal government would withdraw its funding of that state’s program.

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Another public works project is planned in an historic part of downtown Springfield. It is an area of the city that has already seen close to $200 million in government investment over the last decade. WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

      The historic Armory-Quadrangle neighborhood will undergo aesthetic improvements beginning next fall with a project to repave streets, replace sidewalks, put in new street lights and green spaces. It is to be paid for with $1.6 million in federal money obtained as earmarks by Massachusetts Congressman Richard Neal

Six cultural non-profits in Berkshire County are receiving awards as part of the the latest round of cultural funding grants from the state of Massachusetts. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…

Earlier this week Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced 5 million dollars in matching grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Facilities Fund have been distribuited to 57 cultural non-profits across the Commonwealth. The program is designed to support non-profits by providing money for improvement, upkeep, and expansion efforts.

My wife, Ann and I have fond memories of the time we lived in Wisconsin.  I got my Ph D from the University of Wisconsin in Madison.  Ann, taught in the public schools and our son was born in Milwaukee.  We have always had a great deal of respect for the great progressive traditions of the State of Wisconsin.

Thus, when Governor Scott Walker introduced a budget bill into the State Legislature that would not merely cut pensions of government workers but strip them of all collective bargaining rights, I was heartened by the outpouring of opposition within the state.

A mosquito infected with West Nile Virus was recently found in Pittsfield. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau chief Lucas Willard spoke with regional health officials to get more information on the disease in the region.

The mosquito carrying West Nile virus was obtained in Pittsfield by the Berkshire County Mosquito Control Project and was confirmed by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

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                Military veterans who risked their lives for their country are having an increasingly difficult time finding a job when they return home.  Local organizations with help from federal agencies are trying to help unemployed veterans find jobs in western Massachusetts.  WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

 

 

The 4th of July holiday is here and for many of us that means gathering with family and friends. Inevitably at these gatherings, the subject of work comes up. My work focuses on climate change. Like religion and politics, climate change can make for some lively conversation.

Several groups in Massachusetts are advocating for a bill that would provide funds to repair or replace dams in the state. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…

Senate Bill 1985 – legislation that would provide funds to repair dams across the states – passed the Senate last year. Now, several groups are advocating for its passage in the House before the end of the session.

The Massachusetts Municipal Association is one of them. Executive Director Geoff Beckwith…

Along with the high temperatures that visit us this time of year, funds have been made available to help New Yorkers with serious medical conditions to beat the heat.  Hudson Valley Bureau Chief Dave Lucas reports.

The timing was just right - on Friday, as the mercury hit the 90s, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced that certain low-income New Yorkers with particular medical conditions can receive free air conditioners from the state.

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A special summer camp opened today for children from two public housing developments in Springfield Massachusetts.   As WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill tells us the camp is part of an innovative early literacy program.

 

 

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the federal health care reform law which is critical to improving access to quality, affordable health care for people with cancer and their families.

The ruling is a victory for cancer patients and survivors nationwide, who for decades have been denied health coverage, charged far more than they can afford for lifesaving care, and forced to spend their life savings on necessary treatment, simply because they have a pre-existing condition.

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

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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.

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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.

http://joelforcongress.org

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. 

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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…

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