New England News

Friday is the last day drivers on the Massachusetts Turnpike can pay the toll with cash.

Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Harry Chen
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and state Health Commissioner Harry Chen recently announced proposed changes to the Health Department’s rules that would severely restrict the prescribing of opioids for pain. Much of the outgoing governor’s tenure has been devoted to countering the heroin and opioid crisis.

https://www.accesshealthct.com/AHCT/LandingPageCTHIX

Connecticut’s health exchange is entering its fourth open enrollment period with two less carriers than in years past. Anthem and ConnectiCare are increasing their rates 22 and 17 percent respectively.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger and environmental leaders urge passage of ballot questions
Pat Bradley/WAMC

There are six questions on the city of Burlington’s ballot in November.  Mayor Miro Weinberger and key environmentalists met recently to urge voters to pass four of the questions related to the development proposal for the downtown core.

WAMC

     A federal grant has been announced to help preserve rare pieces of Americana in Springfield, Massachusetts.

        As the need for emergency food at pantries and meal sites in western Massachusetts continues to grow, a community forum on hunger is taking place this Saturday, October 29th.

     People have gotten used to posting profiles about themselves on social media and now one western Massachusetts city is encouraging its residents to create public safety profiles too.

A stretch of the Housatonic River under remediation.
Berkshire Environmental Action Team

The Environmental Protection Agency has made final modifications to its 13-year, $613 million cleanup plan for the Housatonic River. PCBs from General Electric’s now shuttered Pittsfield, Massachusetts facility have contaminated the waterway. EPA Region 1 Administrator Curt Spalding spoke with WAMC about the restoration effort.

     The move to all-electronic open road toll collection in Massachusetts begins Friday.

Burlington School District logo
Burlington School District

The Burlington School superintendent is urging the school board to review the conduct of one of its members after Facebook posts that the superintendent says are "sexist, racist and ethnocentric."

    The largest hospital system in western Massachusetts revealed Friday that a data breach may have exposed personal information of about 13,000 patients.

WAMC

The National Park Service has awarded a $250,000 grant to help fund improvements to a popular park in an inner-city neighborhood in Springfield, Massachusetts.

City of Springfield

     The case of a police detective who threatened to kill two teenagers but was not fired and a ruling by a federal judge in an excessive force lawsuit have reignited debate in Springfield, Massachusetts over who should investigate complaints of police brutality.

Wikimedia Commons/Public Domain

Neither of the two top Republicans seeking office in Vermont this fall agrees with GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump that this fall's vote could be compromised by voter fraud.

Stone Hut at the top of Mount Mansfield
Vermont State Parks

Ten months after two sons of the founder of Burton Snowboards caused an accidental fire that gutted a popular, historic stone cabin on a Vermont mountain top, the structure has been rebuilt and will soon be ready for guests.

UVM green and Waterman Building
University of Vermont

The University of Vermont has issued a new study that shows the college has an economic impact of over a billion dollars on the state.

WAMC

    The Baker administration announced the first grant awards Thursday in a new program that aims to increase access to healthy, affordable food and create jobs in Massachusetts.

A stretch of the Housatonic River under remediation.
Berkshire Environmental Action Team

General Electric says it's "disappointed" by a decision upholding the Environmental Protection Agency's plan that requires the company to clean chemicals from a western Massachusetts river.

The Berkshire Eagle reports that General Electric issued a statement Wednesday indicating that it may appeal Tuesday's decision upholding the $613 million proposal. It would have a 30-day window after the EPA issues its final cleanup permit.

WAMC

A legislative effort is underway to strip the police commissioner in Springfield, Massachusetts of his authority to discipline police officers.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger is welcoming news that the Burlington School Board will meet with the teachers union on Wednesday in an attempt to avert a strike.

WAMC

  The mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts is strongly rejecting claims that complaints about misconduct by police officers are being swept under the rug.

WAMC

A nonprofit devoted to preserving housing stock in western Massachusetts is bringing its signature single day block rebuild to Holyoke for the first time.  

A dozen row houses on Beech Street in Holyoke will have leaky roofs patched, masonry repaired, energy-efficient windows and doors installed, steps fixed, railings added, and more. Much of the work will be done on a single day this week, Thursday, when hundreds of volunteers, including some skilled contractors, descend on the block.

The Hardwick Gazette building in Hardwick, Vermont
Artaxerxes/Wikimedia

The owner and publisher of a weekly Vermont newspaper has abandoned his plan for an essay contest to find a new owner for it because he failed to get enough entries.

Black River Produce logo
Black River Produce

A North Springfield produce company that has been a major player in Vermont's local foods movement is in the process of being sold to a Chicago-based buyer.

Vermont Railway engine
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Vermont Transportation Board is holding public forums around the state on passenger and freight rail.

University of Connecticut logo
wikipedia.org

A 19-year-old student at the University of Connecticut was run over and killed by a campus fire department vehicle Sunday.

A Connecticut State Police report says UConn student Jeffny Pally was hit around 1:15 a.m. while sitting against the bay door of the campus public safety complex in Storrs.

The report says Pally, of West Hartford, was sitting on the ground with her back against the bay door when the fire department got an emergency call and opened the door.

The report says she then fell back on the ground and the fire department vehicle ran over her.

WAMC

  An organization dedicated to preserving the housing stock in western Massachusetts is repairing a dozen row houses this week on a single street in Holyoke.

        Revitalize Community Development Corporation has signed-up about 200 volunteers who will descend on several blocks of Beech Street Thursday to help make the home improvements.

   The scope of the work includes fixing leaky roofs, masonry repairs, replacing steps and porches, and energy-efficiency upgrades.

Voters in three western Massachusetts cities Pittsfield, Springfield, and Holyoke will decide in a few weeks whether to adopt the Community Preservation Act.

“Yes for a Better Holyoke” is the campaign advocating for passage of the referendum that will appear as question 5 on the ballot in Holyoke.  

WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Jason Ferreira, the spokesman for the group.

en.wikipedia.org

House Speaker Robert DeLeo is pushing for a special panel to review ethical guidelines for public officials in Massachusetts.

Vermont State Police investigators are trying to determine if a skull found at a Sheldon home could be from an unreported homicide committed more than 50 years ago.

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