Northampton

Governor's press office

   Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has been on a bill-signing spree. He has now put his signature to five major bills that passed the legislature in the final days of formal sessions last month. One of these is intended to make local government more efficient by cutting red tape and giving cities and towns more autonomy.

wikipedia.org

  The opening of the first medical marijuana dispensary in Springfield – and just the second in all of western Massachusetts – is being delayed as city councilors review the terms under which the proposed facility would operate. 

WAMC

A new advocacy group is pushing for more rail service in the Pioneer Valley of western Massachusetts.

The founders of Trains in The Valley will host a public meeting later today in Northampton which will include a website launch.  

WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Trains in The Valley co-founder Ben Hecksher.

Muppeteers and Big Bird
http://www.iambigbird.com/

  The Northampton Arts Council presents a special screening of I Am Big Bird: The Caroll Spinney Story on Friday February 12th at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton.

The film will be followed by a Q&A session at which Mr. Spinney, his wife Debra and a very special guest will be discussing their journey and answering questions.

The documentary chronicles the life of Caroll Spinney, the man who has been Sesame Street's Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch since 1969. For over 4 decades, Caroll's characters have been cherished by generations of children. At 81 years old, the tenacious and enthusiastic performer has no intention of slowing down.

Caroll Spinney joins us this morning.

northampton.gov

The mayor of Northampton, Massachusetts has produced a detailed proposal that asks the city’s largest tax-exempt property owners to participate in a payment-in-lieu-of taxes, or PILOT, program. Mayor David Narkewicz is seeking public comment on the plan through the middle of November, and has scheduled three town hall-style forums this month.   Mayor Narkewicz talked about this proposal with WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill

WAMC

A veteran police captain and published author has been nominated by the mayor of Northampton to be the city’s next police chief.  Jody Kasper would be the department’s first female chief.

Mayor David Narkewicz Tuesday announced his choice of Kasper, a 19-year veteran of the department and current Captain of Operations, to be the next chief.  The appointment is subject to confirmation by the City Council, but she appears to be an overwhelming favorite to lead the 65-person force.

  "This  is a department and a city that I love very much," said Kasper.

  Signature Sounds' first CD came out in 1995 and the lable has seen over 150 releases since then, moving into show promoting, opening a venue in Northampton, MA, overseeing frequent collaborations between its artists, and taking over the long-running music and hot air ballooning gathering of the Green River Festival.

Earlier this Spring they released “Signature Sounds 20th Anniversary Collection: Rarities from The Second Decade” - an album of previously unreleased songs from Signature Sounds artists - a mix-tape lovingly prepared for you by the label. Jim Olsen is the President of Signature Sounds and he joins us to talk about the label's history and future.

Michael Gordon, Springfield Republican-Masslive

Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito today visited Northampton to talk with local officials about the commitment the administration of Gov. Charlie Baker is making to the state’s cities and towns.

Polito said the administration is working to develop specific “community compacts” with local governments that will be used as a guide when awarding state grants to fund local projects.

" The idea of the compact is to make sure we are spreading state funds throughout  our commonwealth and the money does not just land in Boston," she said.

WAMC

The city of Northampton, Massachusetts is planning a number of solar power projects that would further reduce the city’s carbon footprint, while providing a new source of revenue.

As soon as this summer, Northampton is likely to join dozens of other municipalities in the state that have turned old landfills into solar farms. And, in what appears to be a first in western Massachusetts at least, solar arrays may pop up at some municipal parking lots, according to Chris Mason, the city’s energy officer.

This week in our Ideas Matter segment, we feature MASS Humanities and are joined by Harley Erdman, Professor of Theater at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Her new play, Nobody's Girl, will have its premiere at the Academy of Music Theatre in Northampton, MA on October 17th and is based on real events that occurred at the Academy of Music in the early 1940s.

 

 When we bring The Roundtable on the road to visit a place we want to cover the whole place - the whole region. But, we can’t possibly feature every interesting organization and business in the Pioneer Valley on our puny three-hour show.

So - we have invited Suzanne Beck to speak with us. She’s the Executive Director of the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce.

Massgaming.com

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission heard today from three western Massachusetts municipalities that want to be designated as surrounding communities to a casino development. A surrounding community is entitled to negotiate with a casino operator for compensation for traffic and other impacts.

WAMC

More state funding is being put toward an effort to redevelop a major source of tourism business in western Massachusetts.  Governor Deval Patrick is releasing funding for more work at the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton.

$3 million earmarked in a bond bill for a drainage project at the Three County Fairgrounds and the surrounding densely populated residential neighborhood have been included on the latest list of capital projects authorized by Governor Deval Patrick.

WAMC

Just three weeks after being sworn in as the new U.S. Senator from Massachusetts, Democrat Edward Markey began a series of public events around the state today. His first stop was in Northampton.

Markey, who was criticized for a light schedule of public appearances during the special election campaign, said he plans to visit every part of the state during the August Congressional recess to learn about local issues and what Washington can do to help.

Archer Mayor is the author of the highly acclaimed, Vermont-based series featuring detective Joe Gunther, which the Chicago Tribune describes as "the best police procedurals being written in America." In the new book, Paradise City, Joe Gunther investigates Vermont burglaries and a murder leads him to Northampton, Massachusetts.

WAMC

More state funding is being sought to redevelop a major tourist attraction in Western Massachusetts.  Officials made their pitch Tuesday to Governor Deval Patrick for more help for the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

        Governor Patrick said he was impressed by the progress made so far on what is planned as a $50 million dollar project to develop a facility capable of hosting events year round. But he stopped short of a firm commitment of more state money.

WAMC

The founding of the third oldest county in Massachusetts, Hampshire County, is being observed this year.  Officials are using the 350th anniversary to promote an effort to fund major repairs to the county's best known landmark.  WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.
       

WAMC

Massachusetts state and local officials  in Northampton,Tuesday marked more progress in  a decades  long effort to  transform a former state hospital campus into a sustainable urban neighborhood..WAMC's Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

There is debate currently in several states including Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut about raising the minimum wage. A group in one western Massachusetts city is pushing for what it calls a “living wage” WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.