New England News

New England News
6:30 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

Public Art Initiative Features Recycled Metal

Artist James Kitchen and his sculpture "Universe Revealed"
WAMC

Metal sculptures will be put  on display throughout downtown Springfield this month in the latest effort to use public art to attract more people to the city’s downtown.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

        The sculptures are the work of Hilltowns artist James Kitchen, who takes discarded metal, such as wheel rims, machine gears, farm implements, tools and other scrap metal and turns it into art, which he describes as thoughtful and whimsical.

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New England News
6:00 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

Massachusetts Department of Public Health Removes "Bake Sale Ban"

After State Representatives and Senators passed special legislation this week that would allow school districts to exempt themselves from the provision in the Nutritional Standards for Competitive Foods in Schools that would prevent school from selling sugary sweets during school hours for special events such as fundraisers, the Department of Public Health has come up with amendments to the regulations that would take effect in August.

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New England News
5:28 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

Williamstown Set to Vote on Affordable Housing Measures

Next week, the people of Williamstown will vote on municipal efforts to expand and begin the process of developing new state funded Affordable Housing in the Northern Berkshire town. According to Massachusetts’ Affordable Housing Law, every community in the Commonwealth has an obligation to develop ways to provide 10% of their housing stock available to moderate and low income families. Many Berkshire communities are well below that goal, including Williamstown.

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New England News
1:12 pm
Fri May 11, 2012

Massachusetts Funds New Housing Construction

SHA Robinson Gardens apartments , Springfield MA
WAMC

  Construction work on publicly funded housing developments in Massachusetts should be booming in coming months. The Patrick administration has committed tens of millions of dollars to build or preserve affordable housing across the state. WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

        $105 million in tax credits and subsidies from federal and state programs is being awarded for 36 housing developments in 28 communities.  State officials say this will build or preserve almost 22 hundred housing units and create an estimated 3000 construction jobs.

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New England News
7:11 am
Fri May 11, 2012

Springfield Officials Seek Consultant to Negotiate with Casino Developers

Officials in Springfield Massachusetts have announced plans to hire a professional consultant to help negotiate with would-be casino developers.   WAMC’s Paul Tuthill reports…

The mayor’s office announced Thursday that it will seek bids from firms experienced in representing municipalities with gaming industry projects.  Bids will be accepted for a month.

It’s another sign Springfield officials are anxious to see a resort casino built in the city to bring jobs and revenue. The Springfield City Council recently named a casino siting advisory committee. 

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New England News
6:15 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

Reactions in Mass. to Obama's Stance on Gay Marriage

Aime Kunes is President of the LGBT Coalition of Western Massachusetts. She says that President Obama’s support for gay marriage falls in line with other efforts his administration has made, such as the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”.

Kunes says that the she thought the president spoke his mind despite political risk.

Jason Verchot, president of Berkshire Stonewall, a nonprofit supporting the well-being of the gay and lesbian community in the Berkshires, says that president Obama’s support at the federal level is significant.

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New England News
6:06 pm
Thu May 10, 2012

New Mass. Health Care Bills Seek to Overhaul System

The most fundamental change in the plan released by the Senate is how people pay for health care. The bill offers a new global payment system – one that replaces the old fee for service model with fixed allocations from insurance companies for care.

Health insurance companies in Massachusetts began introducing global payment options for some customers in 2009. The Governor also endorsed the idea in his Fiscal Year 2013 budget proposal. The bill would require all state subsidized health care insurance programs make the switch over the next several years, including Medicaid.

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New England News
8:14 am
Thu May 10, 2012

MA Group Lauds Obama for Same-Sex Marriage Stance

The group MassEquality is applauding President Barack Obama's declaration that he supports same-sex marriage.  WAMC's Tristan O'Neill reports...

After refusing to take a clear stand for months, Obama made the announcement in an interview with ABC News at the White House on Wednesday.

Polling suggests the nation is evenly divided on the issue

MassEquality Executive Director Kara Suffredini says Obama's evolution on the issue is not unlike the experience of many Americans who have come to understand why marriage is important to same-sex couples and their children.

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New England News
7:46 am
Thu May 10, 2012

Hundreds Attend Hurricane Preparedness Conference in MA

Public safety officials from across Massachusetts attend a hurricane preparedness conference
WAMC

With the start of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season less than a month away, hundreds of people attended a hurricane preparedness conference Wednesday in central Massachusetts.  WAMC’s Paul Tuthill reports…

The director of the National Hurricane Center, Bill Read urged hundreds of public safety officials not to be in denial when they see a forecast that has a hurricane tracking to New England.

Read said since 1990 hurricane tracking errors, 48 hours from landfall, have been cut in half. But forecasting a storm’s intensity remains tricky…

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New England News
6:30 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Community Effort Addresses Teen Pregnancy

Teen pregnancy prevention messages on display in Holyoke, MA
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

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