Massachusetts

Massachusetts Gaming
10:16 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Mohegans Join Lawsuit Against Massachusetts Regulators

Mohegan Sun's proposed design for its license bid at Suffolk Downs racetrack.
Credit Mohegan Sun

Mohegan Sun is joining a lawsuit against the Massachusetts Gaming Commission after the decision last year to award Greater Boston’s casino license to a rival. 

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Massachusetts
1:26 pm
Fri January 16, 2015

Boston Releases Plan For Action On Climate Change

Rising tide floods Christopher Columbus Park next to Boston's Longwharf on Friday, Jan. 3, 2014.

Originally published on Tue January 20, 2015 11:09 am

Standing on Boston’s Long Wharf, John Barros, the city’s chief of economic development, recalled what the site looked like in January 2014, when a nor’easter brought record high tides.

“We’re at ground zero here,” said Barros, who was part of a steering committee that spent the past year working on a plan to prepare for storms like that one, as well as the effects of climate change and rising sea levels.

“When we think about what 2-to-5 feet means, which is some of the conservative estimates of sea rise, 2 feet, this place would probably be underwater every day,” he said.

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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
12:06 pm
Mon January 12, 2015

Springfield Looks to Balance Ethics and Casino Jobs

Springfield City Councilor Michael Fenton in City Hall. Fenton proposed an ethics ordinance that would limit public officials' ability to get jobs at a new MGM casino in the city.
Facebook

The Springfield, Massachusetts city council will discuss a proposal on Monday night that would restrict the city’s mayor or councilors from working for MGM for at least five years after leaving city employment. Non-elected officials considered “major policymakers” would face a two-year ban.

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Bid for Olympics
10:20 am
Mon January 12, 2015

Bravo, Boston! Let The Olympic Games Pursuit Begin

Originally published on Mon January 12, 2015 8:36 am

The U.S. Olympic Committee has selected Boston as its official bid city for the 2024 Olympics. Good for Boston, I say, and the rest of New England.

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Massachusetts
10:27 am
Fri January 9, 2015

Gov. Baker Calls On Leaders To Find 'Courage To Set Partisanship Aside' In Inaugural Speech

Originally published on Fri January 9, 2015 7:47 am

Charlie Baker, the newly sworn-in 72nd governor of Massachusetts, is promising to challenge the status quo, while immediately tackling a state budget deficit.

And on his first day in office, the Republican managed to find some common ground with the Democrats who control the Legislature.

Tone Of Cooperation

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Massachusetts
2:21 pm
Wed January 7, 2015

Head Of MA Health Connector Stepping Down

Jean Yang speaking at BMC's Cancer Center in Pittsfield, Mass. in Oct. 2014. Yang is stepping down as executive director of the Massachusetts Health Connector Jan. 16.

Originally published on Tue January 6, 2015 4:26 pm

The head of the Massachusetts health connector is stepping down after a tumultuous year in which the state's health care exchange failed and was later rebuilt.

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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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Boston
10:25 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Teacher Wins $150,000 Prize — And Donates It All To Her School

Third-grade teacher Nikki Bollerman, 26, won a contest that gave her students books for the holidays. When she also won $150,000, she decided it should go to her school.
YouTube

Originally published on Wed December 24, 2014 3:43 pm

One thing's for sure: Nikki Bollerman believes in her school and the kids who go there. How else to explain Bollerman, 26, giving a $150,000 windfall to the Boston area public charter school where she teaches third grade?

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Funding the Arts
9:17 am
Wed December 24, 2014

Everyone Wants A Piece Of Boston’s New 'Arts Czar'

(AP)

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 12:12 pm

The city of Boston’s new chief of arts and culture has been making the rounds during her first full week on the job. Her name is Julie Burros and she hails from Chicago, a city famous for embracing and supporting the arts (like “Cloud Gate” in the above photo).

Burros quickly earned the nickname “arts czar” after Boston Mayor Marty Walsh fulfilled his campaign promise by appointing her to the newly created cabinet-level position this past September.

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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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Safety First
8:29 am
Tue December 23, 2014

Mass. Bill Would Require Headlights In Bad Weather

Originally published on Mon December 22, 2014 10:20 pm

Motorists would be required to use their headlights during bad weather under a bill approved by Massachusetts House lawmakers.

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Casinos
8:48 am
Thu December 18, 2014

Consultant: Schenectady Casino Will Have Minimal Impact on MGM Springfield

Regions for casino gaming development in New York state.
New York State Gaming Facility Location Board

A New York State Gaming Board Wednesday selected developers and sites for three new casinos to be built upstate. 

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Massachusetts
8:24 am
Wed December 17, 2014

A Closing Conversation With Gov. Deval Patrick

Gov. Deval Patrick with WBUR's Bob Oakes (left). (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 10:48 am

With only a few weeks now remaining now in Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration, WBUR’s Bob Oakes sat down with the outgoing Massachusetts governor for the last time in his executive office on Beacon Hill.

The conversation began with a look back to Patrick’s first inaugural address in 2007. In that speech, Patrick spoke of lifting up the poor and stabilizing the middle class.

Listen above to Gov. Patrick’s full conversation on WBUR’s Morning Edition.

Interview Highlights

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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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Olympics
2:30 pm
Tue December 16, 2014

3 Arguments For And Against Boston’s Olympic Bid

A woman walks in front of a board showing Olympics rings at the 127th International Olympic Committee session in Monaco, Monday, Dec. 8, 2014. (AP)

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 2:31 pm

Tuesday in San Francisco, a group of Boston civic leaders, including Mayor Marty Walsh, will go before the U.S. Olympic Committee in a bid to bring the Olympic Games to Boston in 2024.

There are other cities looking to win the committee’s backing, including San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles.

This is just the start of a long process. Once the U.S. committee picks a city next month, the competition moves to the International Olympic Committee, which will announce the host for the 2024 games two years from now.

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Olympics
8:14 am
Tue December 16, 2014

U.S. Olympic Committee To Hear Boston 2024 Bid

After Tuesday's meeting, Boston could be one step closer to landing the Olympics. (Charlie Riedel/AP)

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 8:53 am

Picture the Olympic flame at night, reflecting off Boston Harbor. Picture rowers slicing up the Charles River, the sun warming the russet roofs of Harvard behind them.

That imagery may be part of the presentation Tuesday, as representatives from Boston try to persuade the United States Olympic Committee, or USOC, to choose Boston over three other U.S. cities for consideration for the 2024 Summer Games.

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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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Senate
4:19 am
Mon December 15, 2014

'Warning Shot': Sen. Warren On Fighting Banks, And Her Political Future

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass. (right), a member of the Senate banking committee, and Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., ranking member of the House financial services committee, express their outrage to reporters that a $1.1 trillion spending bill that was passed in Congress contains changes to the 2010 Dodd-Frank law that regulates complex financial instruments known as derivatives.
J. Scott Applewhite AP

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 6:20 pm

Updated at 9:30 a.m. ET

Sen. Elizabeth Warren failed to stop a change in bank regulations last weekend, but she raised her profile yet again.

The Massachusetts Democrat tells NPR that her fight over a provision in a spending bill was a "warning shot." She intends to continue her fight against what she describes as the power of Wall Street, even though that fight brought her to oppose leaders of her own party.

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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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Local Music
2:22 pm
Tue December 9, 2014

The Soothing Sounds of Northampton's Winterpills

Winterpills members Philip Price and Flora Reed in WNPR's studios.
Heather Brandon WNPR

Colin McEnroe has been working for an age to get Winterpills to appear on his show. A new album was recently released by the band, Echolalia, allowing WNPR a perfect reason at last to bring in members Philip Price and Flora Reed.

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Trains
2:40 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Officials Highlight Regional Rail Line in Massachusetts and Connecticut

Downtown Springfield, Massachusetts.
Expos1225 Creative Commons

Massachusetts and Connecticut officials are riding the rails on Monday to highlight upgrades in the so-called "knowledge corridor" through southern New England. 

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