New England News

New England News
6:30 am
Tue May 22, 2012

Officials to review tornado claim process

WAMC

Massachusetts officials plan to release details of insurance claims connected to tornado destruction in the state's western and central parts last June. WAMC's Ian Pickus has more...

The National Weather Service says four tornadoes touched down during the June 1, 2011 storm, killing three people and damaging or destroying about 1,400 houses and 78 businesses.

State officials will join Springfield's mayor at 10 a.m. Tuesday at a damaged home in that city to review how insurance carriers and the state responded to the storm.

New England News
6:00 pm
Mon May 21, 2012

VT School May Encourage Use of Cell Phones in Class

Mount Anthony Union High School in Bennington is looking for ways to save money but provide the same access to information that their Middle School enjoys, access to laptop computer for every student.

Frank Barnes is the Director of Technology for the Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union. He’s helping develop an experiment to determine which technologies fit different styles of classroom learning.

The solution might just be to let students use a tool that many schools forbid in the classroom, their smartphone.

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New England News
3:01 pm
Mon May 21, 2012

US EPA Releases Housatonic River Status Report

A stretch of the Housatonic River undergoing remediation
Berkshire Environmental Action Team

The Housatonic River Status Report released by the US EPA last week comes after extensive meetings with the state governments of Massachusetts and Connecticut. The report outlines goals set by both states and the EPA, but no final cleanup plan has yet been identified.

PCB’s or polychlorinated biphenyls, are any of over 200 different believed to be cancer causing chemicals released into the Housatonic by General Electric in Pittsfield until the 1970s.

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New England News
7:50 am
Mon May 21, 2012

Hearings Scheduled for Proposed High-Speed Rail

Connecticut transportation officials have scheduled three public hearings on the plan to build a high-speed rail line linking New Haven, Hartford and Springfield, Mass.

The New Haven Register reports the June hearings in Enfield, New Britain and North Haven are part of the environmental assessment of the proposed 62-mile rail line.

The state Department of Transportation has prepared a report outlining the potential impact of the project on noise levels, air quality, water quality and cultural and recreational resources along the corridor.

New England News
7:21 am
Mon May 21, 2012

MA Group to Host Symposium on Problem Gambling

The Massachusetts Council on Compulsive Gambling will host a symposium on problem gambling to discuss whether western Massachusetts is prepared to deal with expanded gambling.

The council is preparing communities to address problems associated with gambling as the state awaits the arrival of casinos after legislation was passed to expand gambling in the state. The prevention, intervention and treatment of problem gambling will be discussed.

New England News
4:59 pm
Fri May 18, 2012

Pittsfield Gives OK to Ponterril Solar Project

Rock Point School Solar Array
WAMC

Pittsfield’s Zoning Board of Appeals gave unanimous approval to a 22 acre solar array on the former YMCA Camp at Ponterril. The $20 million project would sit on the 77-acre site overlooking Pontoosuc Lake, and generate three megawatts of electricity. The electricity would then be sold to the Western Massachusetts Electric Company.

Deanna Ruffer, Pittsfield’s Community Development Director, said that the project owned by Connecticut-based CTC electric, will be welcome as the city’s fourth solar project.

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New England News
8:19 am
Fri May 18, 2012

CT Unveils New Initiative to Help the Long-Term Unemployed

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy’s administration has revealed an outreach effort to help more than 12,000 long-term jobless workers receive social services and job training after losing extended unemployment insurance benefits. WAMC’s Lucas Willard reports…

Less than an hour before the initiative was announced Thursday, the state Labor Department said the unemployment rate in April remained stuck at 7.7 percent.

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New England News
8:14 am
Fri May 18, 2012

MA Adds Jobs for Fifth Straight Month

The Massachusetts economy added jobs for a fifth straight month and the unemployment rate in April fell to its lowest level in 3 ½ years.  WAMC’s Paul Tuthill reports…

The April unemployment rate in Massachusetts fell to 6.3 percent as the state added 2,500 jobs according to a report from the state office of Labor and Workforce Development. 

Led by the high tech sector, the state’s economy has been recovering from the Great Recession faster than the nation’s as a whole. The U.S. unemployment rate for April was 8.1 percent.

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New England News
6:30 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

Jobs Bill Would Provide Funds For Research Grants At UMass

The Democratic leadership in the Massachusetts House has
unveiled a bill to promote job growth.  The proposals would help launch
new innovative businesses, and also expand the state's manufacturing
sector.  WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

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New England News
5:58 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

Forclosure Prevention Bill Working Its Way Through Mass. Legislature

On Wednesday, the state House of Representatives passed a modified version of the bill that will now head to the senate. The bill would help prevent foreclosures by requiring banks to be more flexible with borrowers in their repayment plans.

The bill would require lenders to analyze loans under new standards and offer modifications that can financially benefit the borrower and bank to prevent forclosure.

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