Holyoke

a black and white photo of Carlos Vega
Special Collections UMass Amherst Libraries

For the fifth year, grants are being awarded to continue the legacy of a revered activist for social justice in western Massachusetts. 

Fourteen organizations will receive so-called mini-grants from the Carlos Vega Fund for Social Justice at a public reception later today at the Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke. 

WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Vega’s son, Massachusetts State Representative Aaron Vega.

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      Hillary Clinton scored a tight victory over Bernie Sanders in the Massachusetts Democratic presidential primary Tuesday. Supporters of both candidates came together last night to talk unity in the wake of a hard-fought campaign.

The race was so close that the Associated Press did not call the Massachusetts primary for Clinton until shortly before midnight, almost four hours after the polls closed.  The unofficial results with more than 95 percent of the state’s precincts reporting had Clinton with 50.3 percent of the vote to 48.5 percent for Sanders.

  In our Ideas Matter segment we take time just about every week to check in with the state humanities councils in our 7-state region.

Today, we will learn about an upcoming museum exhibit: “Nuestras Abuelas de Holyoke: Empowerment and Legacy,” which is a photography and bilingual text exhibition at the Wistariahurst Museum in Holyoke, Massachusetts.

The exhibit—opening on March 5th and funded by Mass Humanities—features stories of Latina grandmothers as shared by their grandchildren in Holyoke community and draws attention to issues of family, gender expectations, stories of migration, and understandings of home.

We are joined today by Penni Martorell, curator of collections at Wistariahurst Museum and Holyoke’s City Historian, and by Waleska Santiago, the guest curator at Wistariahurst who has put together the “Nuestras Abuelas” exhibit.

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A federally-funded brownfields cleanup project is under way in Holyoke, Massachusetts to demolish a former auto service facility that has sat vacant and unusable for more than two decades.

New Years Eve revelry is not just for adults. In western Massachusetts, for the 19th year, the Children’s Museum at Holyoke is putting on First Night Junior.

       WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with the museum’s operations manager, Diane West.

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An organization that works to preserve the stock of affordable housing in poor neighborhoods is expanding into a western Massachusetts city with one of the highest poverty rates in the state.

Revitalize CDC, which has helped hundreds of families keep their homes in Springfield with volunteer-driven mass rebuilding projects through the years, is expanding into Holyoke with an initiative to repair and rehabilitate houses of military veterans.

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In western Massachusetts Tuesday, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos were re-elected by big margins.  Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse squeaked out a victory in a contest where bad blood remained even after the votes were counted.

Holyoke Mayor Alex Mmorse addresses supporters after winning reelection
WAMC News

The current mayors of Springfield, Holyoke and Chicopee, Massachusetts will keep their jobs for another term. WAMC's Ian Pickus gets the details from our Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill.

WAMC

The Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education Thursday unveiled a turnaround plan for the public schools in Holyoke, which were put under state receivership earlier this year. 

  Commissioner Mitchell Chester said the plan to improve the public schools in one of the poorest cities in the state includes more time in school for K-8th grade students, a redesign of the secondary schools, and a downsizing of the central administrative office.

" I start with the presumption that business as usual is not going to move things in Holyoke," said Chester.

Holyoke business owner Francis O'Connell, making his first run for public office, finished second in the preliminary election for Holyoke mayor.  He will be in the Nov. 3rd election ballot with two-term incumbent Mayor Alex Morse.   Morse received 2,694 votes in Tuesday's preliminary election. O'Connell had 2,450. A third candidate, Holyoke City Councilor Anthony Soto was eliminated from the mayor's race by a third place finish with 1,145 votes. Twenty-five percent of Holyoke's registered voters cast ballots in the preliminary.

Holyoke.org

Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse, who is running for a third two-year term, finished first in Tuesday's preliminary election.  Morse will face businessman Francis O'Connell in the November 3rd election.  Morse received 2,694  votes to O'Connell's 2,450.   Anthony Soto, a Holyoke city councilor, came in third with  1,145 votes and so will not appear on the November ballot.   Twenty-five percent of Holyoke's registered voters cast ballots in the preliminary election.

WAMC

A program to repair structurally deficient bridges in Massachusetts is about to run out of money.  Legislators point to the renovation of the Willimansett Bridge in western Massachusetts as one of the program’s success stories.

Horns blared and people cheered as the steel truss bridge spanning the Connecticut River between Holyoke and Chicopee reopened to traffic Thursday afternoon following a four- year renovation.

The traffic was music to the ears of Fiore Santaniello, owner of Capri Pizza located just a few blocks down Cabot Street off the Holyoke side of the bridge.

wikipedia.org

A bridge that connects Chicopee and Holyoke that's been closed for nearly four years is scheduled to reopen in June, delighting businesses and political leaders in both cities.

WAMC

A plan in one western Massachusetts city to crack down on crime-infested buildings by threatening landlords with civil or criminal penalties, if they don’t help the police, has gotten the attention of the owner of one problem property.

The Mount Tom coal plant is now retired.  The last coal-fired power plant in western Massachusetts shut down late last year. A discussion about what should be done with the plant will continue later today in Holyoke.

Holyoke city officials and local activists, who hope to influence the plant’s future use, are promoting a community workshop scheduled for tonight as part of a reuse study for the Mount Tom Power Plant.

The end is near for the last coal-fired power plant in western Massachusetts. Mount Tom Station in Holyoke is to shut down by the end of the month bringing a victory for environmentalists and a quandary about what will become of the plant’s property along the Connecticut River.  

State and local officials led by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick today marked the start of construction on a project to expand a pedestrian walkway around an industrial canal in Holyoke.  Officials say the canal walk will be an inviting place for both city residents and visitors.

Alex Morse

Alex Morse, who at the age of 22, was the youngest mayor in the history of Holyoke Massachusetts when he was elected in 2011 is seeking a second two-year term.  It appears he will face at least five challengers.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Morse about the young mayor’s first term.

Alex Morse

The mayor of Holyoke Massachusetts has changed his mind, again, on the casino issue. Mayor Alex Morse’s surprise decision  cuts the competition for the lone casino license available in western Massachusetts.  WAMC”s Pioneer Valley News Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

   In another stunning switch, Mayor Alex Morse announced Thursday that he once again opposes any casino development in Holyoke.  The change came less than three weeks after Morse had angered many of his political supporters by announcing he would open the door to casino developers.

Alex Morse

The mayor of  Holyoke Massachusetts earlier this week, shockingly, opened the door to a casino development in his city.  Now a plan to build a resort casino on a golf course is being revived.  But is Holyoke too late in the casino game in western Massachusetts?     WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

Almost ten months after newly elected Mayor Alex Morse almost literally slammed the door of his city hall office  on their casino proposal, Paper City Development Company managing partner Joe Lashinger has asked for another meeting with the mayor.

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Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick headed a list of hundreds of government, academic and business leaders who gathered in Holyoke Friday to mark the completion of an energy efficient high performance computing center.   WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

 Governor Patrick said the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center holds great scientific and economic promise, and he praised the partnership of government, academia and business that built the $165 million dollar center.

WAMC

    The latest results of standardized tests taken by Massachusetts students were a mixed bag.  The  2012 MCAS scores were the highest in the 14 year  history of the test.  Education officials say the achievement gap is closing between minorities and whites.  But early childhood education advocates decry the lack of progress in third grade reading, which is a strong predictor of future success in school. WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

  

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Work has begun on a project that officials say will bring high speed passenger train service to the most heavily populated cities of western Massachusetts.   WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

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A new report highlights the  30 fold growth in solar power in Massachusetts in just five years. The report ,released Tuesday, by an  environmental advocacy group ranks each of the state’s cities and towns for solar power development.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports

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.

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

The future is in doubt for one of just two remaining coal powered electricity generating plants in Massachusetts.  Municipal officials and environmentalists believe age and the current economics of burning coal will bring an end to the Mount Tom Power Plant in Holyoke.  WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

 

      An advisory committee made up of Holyoke residents and appointed officials including  members of the Conservation Commission and Redevelopment Authority will explore alternative uses for the Mount Tom Power Plant.

WAMC

Law enforcement officials and community leaders from the greater Springfield Massachusetts area met Monday to consider ways to deter crime.  WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports

 

      Hampden County District Attorney Mark Mastroianni  believes a policing model that employs strong community partnerships and focused deterrence can be a successful strategy  to reduce violence in high crime areas of Springfield and Holyoke.

Wistariahurst Museum

The life of a renowned activist for social justice is being fondly remembered this weekend in western Massachusetts. And, the legacy of Carlos Vega is being preserved in an extensive collection of personal papers and artifacts at a museum in his home city of Holyoke.   WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

        There is barely an aspect of life in Holyoke over the last half century, from housing to education to Latino culture that Carlos Vega did not influence, or at least, try to influence.

WAMC

The mayor of Holyoke Massachusetts has made the first major appointment
of his new administration. Mayor Alex Morse, Wednesday, appointed a new
director of economic development. WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief
Paul Tuthill reports.

        Mayor Morse has hired Marcos Marrero, a young urban planner and
policy professional with experience in energy and sustainability
projects to implement the young mayor's vision for revitalizing one of
the state's poorest cities.