cities

The University of Massachusetts is forging stronger ties with Springfield.  A new partnership in education based in Springfield is aimed at improving health care in urban and rural areas of western Massachusetts.

The University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester will open a campus in 2017 at Baystate Health’s flagship medical center in Springfield.  This will be the first regional campus for the state’s only public medical school. By placing it in western Massachusetts, officials hope to begin to address a severe shortage of physicians in the region.

What officials said is the final piece of funding for a major transportation project in western Massachusetts was announced today in Springfield.

Massachusetts is committing the remaining funds needed to complete the redevelopment of Union Station in Springfield into an intermodal regional transportation hub. It brings the total amount of federal, state, and local funds for the project to $88.5 million.

Damian Gadal / Creative Commons

The Planning and Zoning commission for Bridgeport will vote on June 29 on a proposal to extend a moratorium on applications for medical marijuana farms and dispensaries for another year.

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  A new list of  the "best and worst cities to retire" puts Hartford and New Haven near the bottom.

Baystate Health, the largest employer in western Massachusetts, has announced a round of job cuts.

Twenty-four employees are being laid off, hours cut for 17 workers, and 45 vacant positions will go unfilled.  Baystate spokesman Ben Craft said the cuts are across the board and almost all at the flagship hospital in Springfield.

"Largely support and administrative positions in both the clinical and business areas of Baystate Health. There are  no physicians or bedside nurses affected. Ten management positions are included," he said.

City of Springfield

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno kicked off his re-election campaign for another term Monday, saying he has even greater passion and energy for the job than when he first ran eight years ago.

Tiago Daniel / Creative Commons

State lawmakers have crafted a new bill that creates a two-step process for a new tribal casino in Connecticut. 

The challenge of strategizing the best route to work against the herd of other drivers can be as routine as the daily commute itself. A number of apps are out there to help shortcut one's route and evade traffic jams. But which ones are the most accurate? And how?

The All Tech Considered team put a few competing traffic apps to the test in Robert Siegel's usual short commute from Arlington, Va., to NPR's D.C. headquarters.

The Test Drive

This ride is about 15 minutes in no traffic. But it's now morning rush hour.

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

For more than a decade, the state has invested heavily in downtown Hartford -- hoping an influx of public money would inspire more private investment. Now, officials say a plan for a new UConn campus is the next step in that process. 

Mark Walerysiak

The "cultural ninjas" are back at it, weeks after stealthily transforming five empty storefronts into beautiful, impromptu art installations. Now, Bristol's Art Squad is tackling abandoned properties.

Fibonacci Blue / Creative Commons

Hartford is one of the poorest cities in America. While there is lots to love about this city, like the fact that poor minorities are not subject to the police brutality seen in Baltimore and Ferguson, people of color who live in Hartford and who also happen to be poor share the same high levels of unemployment and urban decay seen in those cities. 

Web App Finds Outdoor Art Around New Haven

May 14, 2015
David Sepulveda

Alexander Calder, Swoon, BiP, and Claes Oldenburg are among the artists whose works make up the rich tapestry of outdoor art in New Haven. And if you’re not sure where they are?… There’s a web app for that.

The Whitney Museum of American Art has never stayed in one place for long. It has had four different homes in its 84-year history — the latest a $422 million glass-and-steel construction that recently opened in Manhattan's Meatpacking District — and each of those homes speaks to a particular moment in the evolution of American art and museum culture.

A substance abuse treatment program for jail inmates from throughout western Massachusetts has moved out of its longtime home in Springfield to make way for construction of the MGM casino.

The Western Massachusetts Correctional Alcohol Center has vacated the building in Springfield where it opened 30 years ago, adhering to a May 8th deadline to turn the  property over to MGM.   But, it will be another two weeks before the rehab program is operating in its new, albeit temporary, location in a former nursing home in Holyoke.

Click the above link to hear Joel Rose's Morning Edition report.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is casting his eye beyond the Big Apple — and is trying to cement his legacy as a progressive champion that could help boost his political future.

Michelle Malven/iStock / Thinkstock

A bill that would prevent local police officers from crossing into another Connecticut community to enforce their town's ordinances has cleared the House of Representatives. 

The owners of apartment buildings in Holyoke that are deemed to be “hot spots” for criminal activity will receive letters warning they must develop a security plan in collaboration with the local police or risk losing the building to receivership and possibly face criminal charges.

At a Holyoke City Hall press conference Monday, Mayor Alex Morse and Police Chief James Neiswanger held up a letter printed on red paper stock that was sent to the owner of a 40-unit apartment building where police were called more than 250 times in a six- month period last year. 

It’s hard to miss Janet Echelman’s massive new public art project on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The award-winning Brookline resident’s 2,000-pound sculpture is suspended between three skyscrapers and appears to be floating above the park.

It was no small feat to install the Greenway Conservancy’s latest effort in its quest to bring more ambitious public art to Boston.

Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced today that she was lifting a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew in the city imposed nearly a week ago amid civil unrest over the death of Freddie Gray from injuries sustained in police custody.

"I want to thank the people of Baltimore for their patience," she said.

The emergency curfew was put in place after riots that took place in West Baltimore on Monday.

The Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, Mitchell Chester, is in Holyoke today.  It is his first visit since a state education board voted earlier this week to put the city’s public schools under state control.

Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza said he was racially profiled by police "countless times" as a youth and young man in Rhode Island's capital city.

"It's just part of growing up in the city -- which is very unfortunate and sad," Elorza, a son of Guatemalan immigrants, said Thursday during a taping of Rhode Island Public Radio's Political Roundtable. "I've been pulled over a number of times, so I'm sensitive to that."

It's really hard to catch up with Nick Mosby.

The young Baltimore Democrat walks fast, which I discovered when I finally managed to catch up with him. It was early Wednesday afternoon, and Mosby was in the lunchroom of Carver Vocational-Technical High School in West Baltimore, fresh from a TV hit on CNN.

(This post was last updated at 11:40 p.m. ET.)

A day of mourning gave way to an evening of riots and looting in Baltimore on Monday, where Gov. Larry Hogan declared a state of emergency and deployed the National Guard.

Just hours after Freddie Gray's funeral, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets, burning police cars, looting stores and facing off with police. Television images showed those demonstrators throwing rocks, bricks and bottles at a line of police officers in riot gear.

Adam Frenier / NEPR

On two recent occasions, stray bullets have hit buildings on the campus of American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts. But the school’s president said the campus is safe regardless.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Last year, Polish community members in Bridgeport came together to name a street corner after Pope John Paul II, who was canonized in 2014. This year, he's being honored with a mural.  

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

A state court judge ruled Tuesday that Hartford's city council does not have the authority to remove its registrars of voters, and the decision comes on the same day that the city council was set to begin its proceedings. 

T Charles Erickson / Long Wharf Theater

Governor Dannel Malloy last month announced he'll bring together  a panel of community leaders and experts for the first time today to take a look at ways to reduce the urban violence that takes the lives of young men, mostly minority and poor, in often random and senseless acts of violence. 

While those numbers are decreasing in some urban areas around the nation, including in Connecticut,  they remain higher than would be tolerated in more affluent communities.

A focus on the numbers ignores the lives behind the statistics, including the families that love victims. Nor do numbers get to the root of the problems behind the violence. 

Lydia Brown / WNPR

Since the 1970s, musicians Paul Howard, Tom Hagymasi, and Phil Zimmerman have been performing together as Last Fair Deal. They’re a local trio whose music puts an original twist on the old-style sound of American roots music. 

Joseph / Creative Commons

After more than two hours of debate on Tuesday, the Holyoke, Massachusetts City Council voted against a plan to create a Polish historic district in town. 

It’s a debate that’s been going on for four years -- involving passionate community members, the local Catholic Diocese, and city government. The proposal would have created a historic district that includes 21 residential and commercial properties centered around a 114-year-old church. 

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