New England News

John McClaughry is an old hand in Vermont political circles.  The founder of the conservative think tank The Ethan Allen Institute, he served in both the Vermont House and Senate. He worked in Washington in the 1960’s for the late U.S. Senator Winston Prouty and served as a policy advisor in the Reagan White House in the 1980’s.  For 51 years, John McClaughry has also moderated the Town Meeting Day gathering in Kirby, Vermont.  He says one of the nation’s founders is an inspiration behind Vermont’s annual tradition, which is wrapping up this evening.

    Massachusetts casino industry regulators will be asked to help pay to build a new studio for Springfield’s public access cable television.

WAMC

     Republicans in the Massachusetts Senate want to reimburse cities and towns for the state-mandated costs of last year’s early voting program.

Former Vermont Governor Jim Douglas
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Today is Town Meeting Day in Vermont, the original and traditional town hall that brings residents of communities across the state together to discuss issues, choose local leaders and decide school budgets.  Former Republican Governor Jim Douglas has moderated the meeting in Middlebury for 31 years, including the years he served as governor.  Now an Executive in Residence at Middlebury College, he explains that the tradition goes back to when the first town in the state was chartered.

UMass President Marty Meehan speaking from a podium
University of Massachusetts

  University of Massachusetts President Marty Meehan delivered an inaugural state of the university address Monday evening highlighting the public university’s importance to the state’s economy and pledging support for its international scholars. 

Guidance Pamphlet cover
Vermont Attorney General's office

Vermont's new attorney general has provided guidance to towns to help them navigate legal issues created by President Donald Trump's immigration orders.

Middlebury College
Mark Goebel/Flickr

An author who was targeted by Middlebury College protesters thinks students who shouted down his talk last week should be sanctioned.

New Hampshire Statehouse
Jared C. Benedict/Wikimedia Commons

New Hampshire's Republican House leadership is looking to stall legislation that adds protections for transgender people over fears that it would let men use women's bathrooms.

WAMC

The countdown is on to the public re-opening of Union Station in Springfield, Massachusetts following a $95 million dollar restoration.

Rutland, VT
Doug Kerr-Dougtone/Flickr

Rutland voters will go to the polls tomorrow on Town Meeting Day to elect a mayor.  Three challengers are running against incumbent Christopher Louras.  We take a look at the candidates and some of the issues.

        Voters in several cities including Pittsfield, Holyoke, Springfield and Boston approved referendums last November to adopt the Community Preservation Act. 

       It puts a surcharge on property tax bills to create a fund to pay for historic preservation, open space and affordable housing projects. 

      Now, the process of actually implementing the CPA is underway. 

      WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Robert McCarroll, who headed the citizen committee that advocated for the CPA in Springfield.

As two big resort casinos are under construction in Massachusetts, state lawmakers are looking into whether to allow online gambling.

Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy has gathered many of the state's most powerful environmental leaders to rail against reports of deep cuts across the federal budget, especially to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Oak45
Oak45/Facebook

A Vermont center dedicated to LGBT issues says the owner of a new Winooski gay bar that's expected to open soon should change its name.

To satisfy a commitment to build market-rate housing in downtown Springfield, MGM has now apparently decided to redevelop a long-vacant building located just a block from its resort casino project.

Congressman Peter Welch meets with immigrant and refugee community
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont Congressman Peter Welch held a roundtable discussion in Winooski this morning with refugees and immigrants who have settled in the Burlington area.  The Democrat wanted to learn about their challenges during the resettlement process and what contributions they feel they are making to their new home.  The roundtable comes at a time of national debate over immigration policy.

The first casino under construction in western Massachusetts remains on pace to open as scheduled before the end of next year.  But, by then, the MGM Springfield casino may be facing a different competitive landscape.

Ta Nehisi Coates
wikipedia commons

Harvard University is taking new steps to confront its past ties to slavery. 

The Ivy League school is hosting a conference Friday exploring the historical ties between slavery and early universities, including Harvard.

Oak45
Oak45/Facebook

Yesterday we told you about the controversy swirling about the planned new name of a gay bar in Winooski, Vermont.  The failure of the Pride Center of Vermont to condemn the owner’s plan to name it Mister Sister led two board members to resign. One is Bailey Cummings, who is upset that the center is not taking a position. She says the bar owner has not been listening to the community’s concerns.

  Massachusetts gaming industry regulators meeting in Springfield Thursday were told significant progress is being made on constructing the MGM casino, which could face additional competition by the time it opens in 2018. 

Southwestern Vermont Heatlh Care recently celebrated its first "healthy home."
Facebook: Southwestern Vermont Medical Center

Hospitals’ focus on health care, and Southwestern Vermont Health Care is no exception, but the hospital recently opened its first “healthy home”. The home near the medical center in Bennington was purchased by the hospital, redeveloped and sold. 

Downtown Historic District, Rutland, Vermont
Sfoskett/Wikimedia Commons

The four candidates running for Rutland, Vermont mayor met for their final forum Wednesday evening to debate economic development issues facing the city.

Oak45
Oak45/Facebook

A wine bar in Winooski, Vermont has closed to remodel and reopen as a gay bar.  But there has been an outburst of controversy over its planned new name, which some say has historically been a slur against transgender women.

classroom
en.wikipedia.org

   There is a diversity gap in the public schools in Massachusetts. As the student population in the state has grown more diverse over the last several years, the state’s teaching corps has remained predominately white.   Some school districts are trying to close the gap.

A store in Springfield, Massachusetts that was reportedly trying to skirt the ban on retail marijuana sales  was closed by police Wednesday.

North Adams Mayor Richard Alcombright
Jim Levulis / WAMC

Mayor Richard Alcombright delivered his State of the City address last night during a meeting of the North Adams City Council. The Democrat has held the corner office in the western Massachusetts city since 2010.

"States of Incarceration" will be displayed at the Wauregan in Holyoke March 1-12 and at Forbes Library in Northampton from March 13-30.
Chris Choi

The first national traveling exhibition on the history of mass incarceration in the United States will have its Massachusetts premiere tonight in Holyoke.

WAMC

   State officials led by Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito visited the town of Conway Monday to see firsthand the damage caused by Saturday’s freak February tornado, and to assure residents the state will help the small town rebuild.

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Control of Connecticut's Senate may be at stake in Tuesday's special elections. There's currently an even number of Republicans and Democrats, with two open seats.

WAMC

Cleanup and damage assessment continues in the western Massachusetts town of Conway where a tornado touched down over the weekend.

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