Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 12:10 pm
New property tax rates have been set in Springfield, Massachusetts. For the first time in many years, the rates for both homeowners and business property owners have been reduced, as property values continue to recover from the Great Recession
Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 2:25 pm
A Massachusetts doctor cured of Ebola said he is returning in January to Liberia, where he contracted the virus, to continue working at a medial mission
Dr.Richard Sacra said he plans to spend four weeks at the same clinic near Monrovia, where he served for 20 years. Sacra contracted Ebola in August and underwent treatment at an Omaha, Nebraska hospital. He returned home in late September and spoke about his ordeal.
Originally published on Mon December 15, 2014 6:36 pm
The Patrick administration today announced more funding to help strengthen the advanced manufacturing industry in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts will distribute $1.5 million to be shared by five regional workforce development agencies across the state to help recruit and train 280 unemployed or underemployed people for careers in precision manufacturing. A vocational high school in western Massachusetts will get $400,000 to equip its machine shop with state of the art equipment.
Originally published on Fri December 12, 2014 6:20 pm
A new financing plan was announced today to accelerate the redevelopment of Union Station in Springfield, Massachusetts
City officials said a proposed addition of $3.2 million in local funds along with a previously announced $4.2 million grant from the state will allow the transit-focused elements of the project to be completed simultaneously with tenant-ready commercial space and additional parking.
"It is a big achievement having all the money that is now needed to get this project done," said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.
Originally published on Thu December 11, 2014 10:52 am
More than 400 business owners, contractors, and tradesmen packed a meeting Thursday morning to find out how to bid for work building the MGM Springfield casino.
MGM officials outlined a construction timetable, explained hiring goals for women, minorities and veterans, and provided contact information. Hunter Clayton, MGM Resorts top construction official said building the casino, hotel, retail stores, restaurants and other amenities is a unique and special project.
Originally published on Wed December 10, 2014 6:40 am
MGM officials have invited contractors to a meeting this week in Springfield, Massachusetts to discuss the company’s casino construction plans.
At the public meeting Thursday at the MassMutual Convention Center, there will be a presentation about the design and the construction timetable for the $800 million development in downtown Springfield. Chris Boss, a carpenter from West Springfield said a project of this scope is a once in a lifetime opportunity for people in the construction trades.
Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 4:20 pm
The Patrick administration has awarded funding to help train people for jobs in the new Massachusetts casino industry.
Holyoke Community College is getting a $1.75 million grant to build a Center for Hospitality and Culinary Excellence that will be used in part to prepare people for casino-related jobs. HCC President William Messner has led the effort to partner with the casino industry on workforce development.
" We see this as simply an extension of our tradition, of our mission to provide first class training for businesses and organizations."
Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 2:06 pm
After failing last month to repeal the state’s casino law, activists in Massachusetts may become watchdogs over the industry.
Steve Abdow, one of the leaders of the Repeal the Casino Deal campaign, said the effort to stop casinos from coming to Massachusetts ended with the crushing defeat on Election Day, but he and fellow activists are discussing other ways to stay involved.
"We have concerns about the impacts casinos will have on our communities. That is what we all have in common and why we did our work."
Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 12:27 pm
Under a reorganization that started two years ago, the community colleges in Massachusetts are becoming regional workforce development centers. Holyoke Community College is building a new facility to help meet the demand for skilled workers in the health care industry.
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno announces new police and fire department hires. Sarno said the new staff is financially sustainable because of the money MGM must pay the city as it prepares to build a casino.
Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 6:15 pm
Counting on casino cash, the city of Springfield, Massachusetts is planning to hire more cops.
Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno Thursday announced new police and fire department academies starting early next year. When the police cadets graduate next spring it will bring the number of uniform patrol officers in Springfield to more than 400 for the first time in two decades, according police Commissioner John Barbieri.
Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 12:19 pm
Massachusetts education officials have dropped a proposal to include classroom performance evaluations as a criteria for renewing the licenses for teachers, administrators and other educators. The move came just days after newly released data gave most educators in the state high marks.
Massachusetts Health Connector Ex. Dir. Jean Yang ( second from right) is joined by officials at Caring Health Center in Springfield to promote the upcoming open enrollment for the state's new online health insurance exchange
Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 6:21 pm
Open enrollment at the Massachusetts health insurance exchange begins this week. State officials say there is a new – and functioning – website that people can use if they need to purchase insurance.
The Massachusetts Health Connector will launch the new online health insurance marketplace on Nov. 15th. Thousands of people across the state who have Health Connector coverage now, or were placed in temporary plans over the last year, will have to use the new website to submit an application if they want to remain insured.
Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 4:25 pm
There is frustration and anger over a delay in rebuilding the only Catholic high school in Springfield, Massachusetts that was destroyed in the 2011 tornado.
Parents and alumnae of Cathedral High School said they were blindsided by Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski’s call for more study to help him make a decision on the school’s future. Mayor Domenic Sarno said Rozanski had reneged on a pledge made by his now retired predecessor to rebuild the high school in the same neighborhood where it had stood since 1959
Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 12:28 pm
The introduction of Las Vegas-style gambling to Massachusetts will proceed at a more rapid pace now that a major hurdle has been cleared. Voters soundly defeated a ballot question to repeal the 2011 casino law.
With the cloud of uncertainty caused by the repeal vote lifted, The Massachusetts Gaming Commission meeting in Boston Thursday voted unanimously to formally award licenses to build and operate full-scale destination casinos to MGM Resorts for the company’s Springfield project and to Wynn Resorts in greater Boston.
Originally published on Fri October 31, 2014 10:10 pm
A poll released Friday by Western New England University shows strong voter support for keeping the Massachusetts casino law.
The survey found 59 percent of likely voters plan to vote against repeal of the law that legalized Las Vegas-style gambling and authorized the licensing of casinos in Massachusetts. Just 35 percent say they’ll vote yes on Question 3 on Tuesday’s election ballot. Polling institute director Tim Vercellotti said the gap has grown since September, when a casino industry backed campaign launched a blitz of TV ads.
Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 12:59 pm
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick highlighted his administration’s success over the last eight years in job growth and economic development during an address to a business group in Springfield today. The speech at a breakfast sponsored by the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield comes as voters are less than a week away from picking his successor.
Originally published on Tue October 21, 2014 6:11 pm
The administration of Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is recommending a Chinese company be awarded a contract to build new subway cars for the MBTA. The railcars will be assembled at a new factory that is to be built in Springfield.
Gov. Patrick made the announcement Tuesday standing in front of an empty 40- acre lot on Springfield’s east side, where the CNR Changchun Railway Vehicles Co. has said it will build a $50 million factory creating over 250 new construction and manufacturing jobs.
Originally published on Wed October 15, 2014 4:28 pm
Election officials in Massachusetts report a surge in new voter registrations ahead of Wednesday’s deadline.
The number of voters registered in the city of Springfield has increased by 15,000 since 2009, according to Election Commissioner Gladys Oyola who credits voter registration drives by various special interest groups. But, she cautions that the increase in the number of registered voters is not necessarily a sign of higher interest in the November election.
U.S. Sec. of Education Arne Duncan ( in blue shirt) and U.S. Sec. of Labor Thomas Perez participated in a panel discussion about federally funded job training programs developed by Massachusetts community colleges.
Originally published on Wed October 8, 2014 3:51 pm
Two top officials with the Obama administration visited western Massachusetts today to see the impact of federal dollars on workforce development.
U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan were briefed about the job training programs developed by Massachusetts community colleges since the schools were awarded $20 million by the Labor Department in 2011 to forge partnerships with employers.
Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 12:29 pm
A new training facility for firefighters is under construction in western Massachusetts. The new center will bring the resources of the state’s Department of Fire Services to area fire departments that depend on volunteer or on-call firefighters.
The new state - of- the -art center under construction in Springfield will be the western Massachusetts base for all of the resources of the state Department of Fire Services. It includes training, code enforcement, and arson investigations, according to state Fire Marshall Stephen Coan.
Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 2:46 pm
The city council in Springfield, Massachusetts has voted to pay $1 million to the family of a teenager who died after an encounter with police.
The settlement was negotiated by lawyers for the city and the family of Delano Walker Jr. Last month a federal court jury found a city police officer had violated the civil rights of Walker and awarded his family $1.3 million. The settlement means the city will drop an appeal. City councilor Bud Williams said it is time for healing
A tree damaged during the June 2011 tornado is removed from the yard of a home in Springfield,MA. The city launched a "Right of Entry" program to remove trees from private property after FEMA rejected numerous appeals to pay for it.
Originally published on Wed October 1, 2014 6:16 pm
A new poll finds a majority of likely voters in Massachusetts say they’ll vote against repealing the state’s casino gambling law.
The latest survey by the Western New England University Polling Institute found 52 percent of likely voters said they will vote no on Question 3, the casino law repeal initiative on next month’s Massachusetts election ballot.
Polling institute director Tim Vercellotti said the survey of 416 likely voters found 41 percent said they would vote to ban casinos with just 6 percent undecided and 1 percent declining to answer.
Originally published on Mon September 29, 2014 10:49 pm
The five candidates for governor of Massachusetts participated in their first broadcast debate Monday night, the only one scheduled in western Massachusetts.
Republican Charlie Baker and Democrat Martha Coakley differed on energy policy, the need for universal pre-school, and indexing the gasoline tax to inflation. Baker said rather than raise the gas tax the state should rein in transportation costs.
"We've got to figure out how to do this stuff better and cheaper and in some cases faster."
Originally published on Wed September 24, 2014 6:16 pm
University of Massachusetts officials say they are pleased with the initial enrollment at the system’s first satellite campus. They say it bodes well for the future of the new UMass Center at Springfield. Governor Deval Patrick led officials today at a grand opening ceremony.
Governor Patrick, who was a key supporter of establishing the first UMass satellite campus in downtown Springfield, described it as a sign of hope at a time when the gap between rich and poor in Massachusetts is widening.
Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 6:16 pm
A statewide campaign to fight repeal of the Massachusetts casino law had a formal kickoff in Springfield today.
The casino industry-funded Coalition to Protect Mass Jobs held its first official campaign event Tuesday in the downtown offices of MGM Springfield. About 100 local community leaders, business owners, and labor representatives gathered to hear brief speeches and see the first television ad of the campaign, which stars the city of Springfield.
Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 6:16 pm
Activists who have been working for months on a climate change plan for Springfield, Massachusetts say they must factor in an unwanted development — the possible construction of a wood-burning power plant in the city.
Neighborhood representatives, community organizers, and people from health-focused organizations have been brainstorming ways to improve the environment and reduce greenhouse gases with a goal to present a plan to the Springfield City Council by the end of the year.
Originally published on Tue September 16, 2014 6:36 pm
Gambling regulators in Massachusetts have voted to award the state’s most lucrative casino license to Wynn Resorts. It is the third casino license issued in Massachusetts, where voters in less than two months will decide if Las Vegas-style gambling will remain legal.
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission voted 3-1 Tuesday to approve Las Vegas casino mogul Steve Wynn’s plan to build a $1.6 billion resort casino on the site of a former chemical company plant in the city of Everett.