Paul Tuthill

Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief

Paul Tuthill is WAMCâââ

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NPR Story
9:42 am
Sat January 24, 2015

Former Mass. Transportation Chief To Head Boston Olympic Organization

Richard Davey was Massachusetts Transportation Secretary from 2011-2014

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 4:25 pm

Former Massachusetts Transportation Secretary Richard Davey is taking over as chief executive of the non-profit group trying to bring the Olympics to Boston.

      With his knowledge of the state’s public transit system, Davey can help make the case for the publically-paid for projects that will necessary to pull off what boosters say will be the most walkable Olympics in modern history.  David  Manfredi, one of the planner’s of Boston’s bid to host the 2024 summer games said the effort depends on transit projects now in the planning pipeline getting built.

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Springfield
11:30 am
Thu January 15, 2015

Springfield Mayor Livid Over Placement Of Homeless Families In City Apartments

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno protests a state program that he says is concentrating homeless families in city apartments in a few neighborhoods.

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 6:10 pm

The mayor of Springfield is calling on the administration of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker to end a practice by the past administration of placing homeless families in congregate housing.

An angry Mayor Domenic Sarno said de-facto group homes for homeless families have been created in apartment buildings concentrated in a handful of city neighborhoods since last fall with city inspectors finding in some cases 3-4 families living in a single apartment.

" This is absolute BS," said Sarno at a city hall news conference.

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Massachusetts
9:22 am
Wed January 14, 2015

Northampton Moving Ahead With Landfill Solar Project

Solar panels on a capped landfill in Holyoke, MA

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 6:20 pm

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.

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Higher Education
9:22 am
Wed January 14, 2015

UMass Amherst Replacing Book Store With Amazon

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 4:31 pm

UMass Amherst will replace its on-campus textbook store later this year with a virtual store operated by Amazon.

  Under a five-year contract Amazon will provide online textbook ordering through the UMass Amherst website, operate an on-campus pick up location and provide free delivery to off campus addresses in Amherst and five surrounding communities.  UMass spokesman Ed Blaguszewski said the change is being made to save students money.

  "Up to about $380 annually per student based on national estimates of what students pay for books," said Blaguszewski.

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Springfield
2:21 pm
Tue January 13, 2015

Five-Year Ban On Casino Jobs Proposed For Springfield Elected Officials

MGM plans to start construction this year on an $800 million casino and hotel in downtown Springfield.

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 12:10 pm

The Springfield, Massachusetts city council is considering an ordinance that would put restrictions on public officials obtaining jobs at the new MGM casino being built in the city.

Under a proposed municipal ethics ordinance, the city’s elected officials—the mayor and 11 city councilors – would be barred for at least five years from obtaining a job at the MGM casino after leaving the city’s employment.  Non-elected officials who are considered “major policymakers” would face a two-year ban.

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Ebola
9:00 am
Tue January 13, 2015

Massachusetts Doctor Who Survived Ebola Returning To Africa

Dr. Rick Sacra and his wife Debbie discuss his plans to return to Liberia where he was infected with Ebola last August. Sacra was cured and is now immune to the disease

Originally published on Mon January 12, 2015 6:13 pm

The Massachusetts doctor who was cured of the deadly Ebola virus is going to return later this week to West Africa to work in the missionary hospital where he was infected.             

 Four months after he was declared Ebola-free, and with his strength and stamina now back, Dr. Rick Sacra will leave Thursday for Liberia, where he had spent much of the last two decades working for a missionary organization.

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Springfield
1:55 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Final Decision On Cathedral High School Now Expected By Mid-February

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal (D-MA) and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno speak at a Dec. 16,2014 rally to urge Bishop Mitchell Rozanski to rebuild Cathedral High School

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 6:10 pm

An announcement about the long-term fate of the historic Cathedral High School in Springfield, Massachusetts is now expected by mid-February.  Advocates of rebuilding the school that was wrecked in the 2011 tornado are encouraged by word the school will operate for one more year, at least, at its temporary campus. 

       Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski will begin a series of meetings on January 24th in what will amount to the final due diligence on whether to rebuild the Catholic high school with a 130-year- history in Springfield. 

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Springfield
8:45 pm
Tue December 23, 2014

MGM Expects To Start Hiring For Casino Construction In New Year

Originally published on Tue December 23, 2014 6:15 pm

Now that MGM has won Massachusetts regulatory and voter approval to build a resort casino in downtown Springfield the Las Vegas-based entertainment giant has employment and local purchasing commitments to keep. 

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Transportation
8:29 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Officials Inaugurate High Speed Rail Line In Western Mass.

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 4:15 pm

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and a host of federal, state and local officials took an inaugural train ride Monday on newly rebuilt tracks in western Massachusetts.

The trip from Springfield to Greenfield highlighted the dawn of high speed passenger rail service along what is known as the Knowledge Corridor.  For the first time in decades passenger trains will stop in Northampton and Holyoke.  Kathleen Anderson, president of the Holyoke Chamber of Commerce, said it opens a lot of possibilities including more tourism.

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Massachusetts
8:20 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Springfield City Council Sets New Property Tax Rates

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

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Ebola
8:20 am
Wed December 17, 2014

Doctor Cured Of Ebola Is Returning To Liberia

Dr. Richard Sacra, seen here during a Sept. 26, 2014 news conference at the UMass Medical School where he discussed his ordeal with Ebola

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.

  "Of course I was concerned that I might die."

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Manufacturing
6:27 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Massachusetts Announces Funds To Train Machinists

Mass. secretary for Housing and Economic Development is seen touring a state-funded training center for machinists at Springfield Technical Community College

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.         

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Springfield
2:57 pm
Sat December 13, 2014

Officials Announce Full Build Out For Union Station

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.

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Springfield
3:24 pm
Thu December 11, 2014

Hundreds Hear MGM Officials Outline Casino Construction Plans

Hundreds attended a construction information meeting hosted by MGM Resorts,which plans to start building an $800 resort casino in downtown Springfield next year

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.

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Springfield
10:10 am
Wed December 10, 2014

MGM To Discuss Casino Construction Plans With Interested Builders

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.

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Casino Industry
9:57 am
Mon December 8, 2014

State Funds Casino Job Training In Western Mass.

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."

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Watchdogs
10:05 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Massachusetts Casino Opponents Consider Next Steps

Steve Abdow, a western Massachusetts organizer with Repeal the Casino Deal.

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."

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Massachusetts
12:27 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

Construction Begins On New Health Education Center

Holyoke Community College trustees pose in front of the building that will be renovated to become the Center for Health Education

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.

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Massachusetts
8:33 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Springfield Set To Hire Police, Firefighters Thanks To Casino Cash

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.

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Springfield
12:11 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Cathedral High School Supporters Announce Forum

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 5:15 am

Supporters of the only Catholic high school in Springfield, Massachusetts are meeting this evening to urge the new bishop of western Massachusetts to rebuild the tornado-damaged school.

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Performance Evaluations
2:13 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Massachusetts Drops Teacher Licensing Proposal

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.

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Health Insurance
2:55 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Massachusetts Set To Launch Online Health Exchange

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.

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Springfield
10:20 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Mayor Says Church Leader Broke Promise To Rebuild Tornado Damaged School

Cathedral High School, a fixture in Springfield's East Forest Park neighborhood for a half-century was destroyed in the June 2011 tornado.

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

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Casinos
1:01 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Massachusetts Gambling Regulators Approve MGM, Wynn Casino Licenses

MGM has started to prepare the future casino site in Springfield for a spring 2015 groundbreaking and expects to open the casino in 2017

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.  

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Massachusetts
2:45 pm
Mon November 3, 2014

Poll Shows Casino Opponents Face Long Odds Election Day

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.

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Election 2014
3:05 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

Gov. Patrick Points To Economic Growth In Western Mass.

Gov.Deval Patrick (D-MA) at the Western Mass. Business Expo in Springfield

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.

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Massachusetts
4:11 pm
Tue October 21, 2014

Gov. Patrick Announces State Contract To Build Subway Cars In Springfield

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.

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Election 2014
12:35 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

New Voters Register Ahead Of Deadline In Massachusetts

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.

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Massachusetts
8:59 am
Thu October 9, 2014

Two Members Of Obama Cabinet Visit Springfield Community College

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.

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WAMC News
3:45 pm
Wed October 8, 2014

Construction Begins On Western Massachusetts Firefighting Training Center

Structures used for training firefighters at the Springfield campus of the Massachusetts Dept. of Fire Services.

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.

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