cities

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Former Bridgeport mayor and convicted felon Joe Ganim is once again mayor of Bridgeport. 

If you want to see how refugees are changing Buffalo, N.Y., the West Side Bazaar is a good place to start. It's an incubator for immigrant-owned businesses. And it's the only place in town where you can eat Ethiopian sponge bread, Burmese noodles and Peruvian chicken at the same table. It's also a market with clothing and gifts.

"We are like family here — families from different countries," says Nadeen Yousef, who moved to Buffalo from Iraq last year. Yousef now has a booth at the bazaar, where she sells handmade macrame wall hangings and art.

The latest plans by MGM Resorts International for building a casino in Springfield will be carefully scrutinized in the next few weeks by local officials and Massachusetts gaming industry regulators.  The public will also have opportunities to comment.

The city of Springfield’s Office of Planning and Economic Development has announced it has received a complete site plan application for the MGM casino project triggering a 30-day internal review and setting the stage for a public hearing by the city council within 45 days.

Amid growing criticism, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has dismissed police Superintendent Garry McCarthy.

After announcing that he was appointing a task force to look at police accountability, Emanuel said that "public trust" in the city's police force has been "shaken" and "eroded" and so he had asked McCarthy to resign.

Seeking to calm growing criticism about his administration's handling of police misconduct cases, Mayor Rahm Emanuel has appointed a new "police accountability task force."

In a press release, the mayor's office said the task force "will review the system of accountability, training and oversight that is currently in place for Chicago's police officers."

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Joe Ganim is to be sworn in as mayor of Bridgeport this week. On the eve of the transition, the outgoing mayor made a re-appointment that drew a strong reaction from the Ganim camp.

Urban foraging might call to mind images of hipsters picking food out of the trash.

But one group in Massachusetts eats only the finest, freshest produce. The League of Urban Canners harvests fruit from trees in Cambridge and Somerville and turns it into jam.

Sam Christy, a local high school teacher, started the league four years ago.

Fintrvlr / Creative Commons

A new plan is being discussed to reduce the number of -- but not eliminate -- horse carriages on New York City.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Connecticut’s persistent transportation woes are getting attention in two recent reports. The studies highlight how aging infrastructure is causing problems for highway travel in the state.

Final plans have been filed for the MGM Springfield casino project.

The filing of the final complete site plan for the project, announced by city officials Monday, triggers a 30-day review and the requirement the City Council hold a public hearing within 45-days.

At a public presentation on the casino project in Springfield last week, the city’s deputy director of  planning, Phil Dromey said his department is anxious to complete the regulatory reviews.

" It is time really to get to the nuts and bolts of this," he said.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is scheduled to come to Springfield on December 3 for a public meeting where officials from MGM are expected to present a comprehensive cost and design analysis of the latest plans for a casino in the city.

MGM officials say the budget to develop a resort casino in Springfield has increased to $950 million -- $150 million more than the estimated investment when the gaming commission awarded a license for the project in June 2014.

MGM has reaffirmed its commitment to build a resort casino in Springfield, Massachusetts and now plans to spend an additional $150 million in the project.

MGM will invest $950 million to develop the resort casino in Springfield despite design changes that reduce the size of the project, and eliminate a 25-story hotel tower.

MGM President Bill Hornbuckle announced the new budget for the project at a presentation Wednesday night for city officials and residents. 

Gage Skidmore flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore / Creative Commons

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he expects to do "great" with Muslim voters. Trump told reporters before a rally in Worcester, Massachusetts that he's confident he'll win over Muslims in addition to Hispanic voters because he's talking about security issues. 

Jeff Cohen / WNPR

Hartford Mayor-elect Luke Bronin is gearing up to take office in the early morning hours of January 1. He announced his transition team on Wednesday morning.

Springfield leaders have invited representatives of MGM Resorts to a public conference to explain recent changes to its $800 million casino project. 

ccho flickr.com/photos/ccho / Creative Commons

New York Police Commissioner William Bratton said his department is operating as though attacks like those in Paris could happen in New York City. And on Long Island, just outside New York City, officials are increasing police patrols at shopping malls and other large public spaces in the wake of the Paris attacks.

A crowd gathered on Boston Common early Sunday afternoon to express their support of and solidarity with the people of France following Friday’s deadly attacks in Paris.

The highest court in Massachusetts has effectively cleared the way for construction of a wood-burning power plant in Springfield. Plant opponents see their last hope in the hands of a local health board.

The state Supreme Judicial Court this month declined to take up an appeal of two lower court decisions that directed the city to issue a building permit for the proposed $150 million biomass plant on Springfield’s eastside.  The project had been tied up in litigation for more than five years.

Police in Springfield, Massachusetts are reporting one of the biggest heroin busts in the city in recent history.

Police, after what was described as a lengthy investigation, raided a home in the city’s Liberty Heights neighborhood Thursday night, and seized nearly 22,000 bags of heroin, three handguns, and about $3,000 cash. 

Springfield Police Dept. spokesman Sgt. John Delaney said the heroin has a street value estimated at $110,000.

Danielle Mailer

From brilliantly colored fish to dancing cats to sensual silhouettes of the female form, the art of Connecticut’s Danielle Mailer spans painting, sculpture – and now – large public art projects.

MGM officials will have a chance next week to explain to a skeptical public the reasons behind the proposed downsizing of the Springfield casino.

  City officials have arranged for MGM to make a public presentation Wednesday afternoon at the 300 seat City Stage theater.  MGM has been under fire in Springfield since disclosing last month, in a regulatory filing, plans to reduce the scope of the project by 14 percent.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno has said his administration is carefully reviewing the proposed changes.

Mark M. Murray / The Springfield Republican

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno has relieved Sal Circosta of his seat on the city’s Community Police Hearing Board, which reviews complaints against police officers. Circosta was the mayor’s challenger in this last election.

Wikimedia

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno is booting the three historical commission members who previously opposed MGM’s design plans. The mayor’s office denies there’s a connection.

Connecticut Local Election Turnout Was 33 Percent

Nov 7, 2015

Turnout for municipal elections in Connecticut continues to be low, with 32.7 percent of registered voters going to the polls earlier this week.

Massachusetts gaming industry regulators are soliciting public comment on MGM’s proposed changes to the Springfield casino project.

In its most recent regulatory filing on the design changes, MGM says it expects as much as an 8 percent drop in casino traffic.

Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby and the other commissioners want to know the reasons for the proposed changes and the possible impact on jobs and revenue.

The top executive from MGM Resorts International reaffirmed his commitment to the Massachusetts casino project in Springfield this week and apologized for a communications breakdown with City Hall over a proposal to reduce the scope of the development. He also said more changes are in store for the $800 million project, but nothing he would consider major.

MGM Springfield

The head of MGM Resorts said the company made a mistake by not communicating a 14 percent reduction in size of the casino project to Springfield leaders.

After what Mayor Domenic Sarno described as “a frank discussion”, he said he accepts MGM’s apology for not giving him a heads-up about the casino design changes. MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren took the blame.

People entering North Adams will soon see new signs that highlight the past, present and future of Massachusetts’ smallest city.

Springfield Mayoral Campaign Drags to a Finish

Oct 29, 2015
Wikimedia

Many voters will head to the polls November 3 for local elections. There are tight races for mayor in some area cities. That doesn't appear to be the case in Springfield, where eight-year incumbent Domenic Sarno is being challenged by Sal Circosta, a relative political newcomer.

Uber has shaken up what it takes to get from point A to point B in cities across the country with a simple premise: If you need a ride, a driver nearby could pick you up within minutes.

Behind that idea is an algorithm, which promises to keep supply and demand in constant balance, encouraging drivers toward busy areas and tempering customer requests by increasing the price of each ride. It's called surge pricing.

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