New England News

More than 100 state legislators from around the country — including 27 from northern New England — are urging Congress to reject "fast-track" trade legislation and to go slow on the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade pact.

A Vermont natural gas company has filed a petition to build a renewable gas plant at a Salisbury farm.

The city of Holyoke, Massachusetts continues to discuss possible reuses for the Mount Tom Station, the last coal-fired power plant in western Massachusetts.

A large scale redevelopment that could replace the jobs and property tax dollars lost when the plant closed last year is not realistic, according to the city’s director of planning and economic development Marcos Marrero. 

He said the property is in a flood plain, is contaminated with coal ash, is home to some rare species, and access is limited by an active rail line.

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New research from the University of Massachusetts Amherst asserts that wage theft is rampant in the residential construction industry in Massachusetts.  A series of case studies found workers – mostly immigrants -- who went unpaid for weeks, were denied pay for overtime, or paid less than they were promised.   WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with the lead author of the paper, Tom Juravich, a UMass Amherst labor professor.

Electricity prices should fall in western Massachusetts this summer.  The region’s two major investor-owned electric utility companies have filed plans with the state’s regulatory board to cut rates. Also, there should be no concerns about power shortages this summer.

Eversource, formerly known as Western Massachusetts Electric Company, announced this week a plan to cut rates by more than 31 percent. The company said the average customer, using 500 kilowatt-hours a month, can expect to save $22 a month.


The Western Massachusetts Chiefs of  Police Association held its annual police memorial day observance Wednesday in Springfield. 

    The ceremony remembered the 47 law enforcement officers whose names are on a granite monument.  The audience applauded when Gill Police Chief David Hastings, the association president, announced no names were added since last year.  Nationwide, 51 police officers were killed in the line of duty last year, an 89 percent increase from 2013.


A growing number of cities and towns in Massachusetts are being recognized for the support provided to wounded military veterans and their families.

Springfield was named a Purple Heart City during a ceremony Tuesday attended by about a dozen veterans, including several Purple Heart recipients, which culminated with the raising of a Purple Heart flag over the esplanade at City Hall.

Mayor Domenic Sarno said he was proud to accept the designation on behalf of all the city’s veterans.

"This is in honor of our veterans," he said.

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Wage theft is rampant in the booming residential construction industry in Massachusetts, according to research from UMass Amherst.

     It has become standard practice in the home building industry in Massachusetts for subcontractors to illegally misclassify workers -- particularly immigrants — as independent contractors. The workers sometimes go weeks without pay, get no compensation for overtime, and are often paid less than they were promised. 

   Tom Juravich, a Umass Amherst labor professor detailed the abuses in a new paper.

Vermont State Police

A Vermont state Senator arrested last week on sex related charges that Governor Peter Shumlin described as  "extraordinarily troubling allegations" is expected to resign by Tuesday.

The deadline to comment on Vermont's developing bicycle map is fast approaching.