New England News

This is the logo of Council 4 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees
Facebook: Council 4 AFSCME

Connecticut state employee unions are running television, radio and online ads hoping to stop layoff notices that Governor Dannel Malloy’s administration is handing out to close a budget deficit.

A Japanese automobile parts manufacturer will expand a facility in western Massachusetts rather than move jobs to Mexico.

U.S. Tsubaki will spend at least $12 million to increase the size of its manufacturing plant in Chicopee by more than a third, keeping almost 350 people working in the region, and adding 35 new jobs.  Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos, who made the announcement Wednesday, said the company had considered expanding in Tennessee or Mexico.

A Vermont advocacy group is calling on Vermont superdelegates who have committed to Hillary Clinton to instead support Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary.  But the Clinton superdelegates don’t appear to be swayed.

Connecticut's state flag
CT.gov

Connecticut public health and law enforcement departments this week are testing how the state responds to situations such as an infectious disease outbreak that require extensive coordination between local, state and federal agencies. Run by the Connecticut Department of Public Health, the exercise includes the Centers for Disease Control, hospitals and volunteers.

Burlington, VT Police car
Pat Bradley/WAMC

An analysis by two college professors has shown racial disparities in the discretionary actions of Burlington police officers conducting traffic stops.

gender equality symbol
Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Governor Peter Shumlin, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, and the Vermont Commission on Women are among those that observed Pay Equity Day, which highlights continuing wage disparities between men and women.

Ernest Hemingway
wikipedia.org

Ernest Hemingway and President John F. Kennedy never met, but the author's most extensive personal collection is housed at JFK's presidential library and is now on public display.

This is a picture of a hospital bed
wikipedia.org

Massachusetts is marking the tenth anniversary of a landmark healthcare law that would later serve as a model for the federal Affordable Care Act.

White River Junction VA Medical Center
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs

Two years ago, a scandal erupted at VA Medical Centers across the country.  The hospitals had shifted record keeping regarding wait times to indicate “short” or “none” when veterans actually waited months or years for their appointments.  While it appeared at the time that the White River Junction VA Medical Center in Vermont was not a part of the controversy, it now appears that schedulers there were also adjusting wait times.

WAMC

A new advocacy group is pushing for more rail service in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts.

The founders of Trains in The Valley will host a public meeting later today in Northampton which will include a website launch.  

WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Trains in The Valley co-founder Ben Hecksher.

Maple Bucket
WAMC Photo

Sugarmakers in Vermont say early warm weather in March did not have a negative impact on the sugaring season.

A health insurance analyst from Burlington is expected to challenge Vermont State Treasurer Beth Pearce in a Democratic primary election this summer.

Burlington School District

Teachers and staff members with the Burlington School district are poised for a third consecutive year of staff cuts.

WAMC

It has been nearly five years since a powerful tornado tore through western Massachusetts and the city of Springfield is still settling up financially with the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

The city announced a $13.8 million grant from FEMA Monday as compensation for the destruction of a neighborhood community center during the tornado on June 1, 2011.  The federal agency had initially rejected the city’s $18 million damage claim, but after several appeals – and nudges from Congressman Richard Neal – a settlement was reached.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signs the solar legislation into law.
Twitter: @MassGovernor

Governor Charlie Baker signed legislation today ending a year-long standstill of solar projects in Massachusetts. But, the issue could be popping up soon again. 

The Massachusetts legislature has funded a program to provide jobs this summer for hundreds of young people in western Massachusetts. A campaign has been launched to encourage teenagers to take advantage of the opportunity and to call on employers to participate in the program.

This is a photo of a water faucet
William Warby, flickr

An Associated Press analysis of federal lead sampling data shows dozens of water systems in Connecticut have exceeded federal lead levels at least once since January 2013.

Facebook: Massachusett Republican Party

In a typical year, the selection of delegates to the Republican National Convention is of little interest outside the party faithful. But, this year has been far from typical.

A state-funded program is underway to put hundreds of young people in western Massachusetts to work this summer.

There is funding available to put 900 youths from the cities of Springfield, Chicopee, Holyoke, and Westfield to work this summer. 

Dave Cruise, president of the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County said the demand for summer jobs always exceeds the supply.

University of Vermont Health Network

Vermont regulators have voted to allow two hospitals within the University of Vermont Heath Network to use excess revenue to support community programs.

Picture of marijuana plant
wikipedia.org

The Vermont House Judiciary Committee has voted 6 to 5 to gut Senate legislation that would legalize marijuana and instead presented a new bill for consideration.

This is a picture of a solar panel
Jim Levulis / WAMC

A bill designed to continue encouraging homeowners, municipalities and others to increase the use of solar power in Massachusetts is awaiting Republican Governor Charlie Baker's signature. The state legislature gave final approval to the compromise bill Thursday.

Mark Dupont via Twitter

Pope Francis today issued a much anticipated proclamation on Catholic family life. For context on the 256-page papal document, WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with the Rev. Mitchell Rozanski, Bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts.

Former Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank
Twiter: @BarneyFrank

Former Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank is scheduled to speak at Williams College Sunday night. Having spent more than three decades in Congress, he is well-known for his blunt talk and for being the first sitting member of Congress to voluntarily announce that he is gay. The Democrat retired from the House in 2013.

This is a picture of an Eagleton School sign
Jim Levulis / WAMC

An embattled Berkshire County residential school for males with developmental disabilities that is facing allegations of abuse and attempts to cover up wrongdoing will close later this month.

Starry Stonewort
Jim Grazio/USGS

A state official wants to close access to a cove off Lake Memphremagog in northern Vermont to prevent an invasive plant species from spreading.

cybersecurity graphic
Pixabay/Public Domain

Federal investigators found significant cybersecurity weaknesses in the health insurance websites of California, Kentucky and Vermont that could enable hackers to get their hands on sensitive personal information on hundreds of thousands of people.

Young smokers
Valentin Ottone/Flickr

After two days of floor debate, the Vermont House has sent a bill to the Senate that would raise the smoking age.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey
Jim Levulis / WAMC

Massachusetts law enforcement officials are highlighting the ills and dangers of human trafficking in an attempt to root out the practice.

Massachusetts Higher Education Commissioner Carlos Santiago, on the right, speaks with reporters following a meeting with MCLA President Jaimie Birge.
Jim Levulis / WAMC

The state’s Higher Education Commissioner visited Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Thursday to meet with the school’s new president and others at the North Adams campus.

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