Michael S. Gordon / Springfield Republican

Bernie Sanders brought his campaign for the presidency to Massachusetts this weekend, speaking in Boston and Springfield. In a speech Saturday to a crowd of about 6,000 at the MassMutual Center, the U.S. senator from Vermont addressed an issue he hasn’t talked about much: gun control.

“I can look out my window next to my desk and see where my grandfather was born on Ferry Street and where my mother was born on Garden Court Street,” says the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. “My father was born on Meridian Street in East Boston.”

Those words are from a Kennedy oral history, recorded in 2005 by scholars from the University of Virginia.

A top executive with MGM Resorts International will be in Springfield next week to publically assure the company’s commitment to build a casino in the city.

A private meeting between MGM President Bill Hornbuckle and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, with a press conference to follow, was arranged after MGM disclosed plans to eliminate a 25-story hotel tower from its planned casino and substitute a more modest hotel design. 

“Skyrocketing” construction costs were blamed for the change. 

There will be no voter referendum on the controversial changes proposed in the design of the MGM Springfield casino.

Springfield City Council President Mike Fenton, who had hoped to put a non-binding question on the municipal election ballot to gauge public opinion on MGM’s plan to eliminate the high-rise hotel from the casino project, withdrew his resolution.

" We ran out of time," said Fenton.  " I think it is unfortunate because I believe it deserved further review and consideration."

Do You Know Where Your Cheese Comes From?

Sep 30, 2015

Americans love cheese. According to the USDA, we ate about 34 pounds of cheese per person last year. But how often do we think about who makes our cheese, or about its journey from France or Vermont to our crackers?

Well, some local cheese mongers are waging a campaign to raise awareness about cheese origins, cheese integrity and cheese abuse.

A Subterranean Education

The former estate of Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Edith Wharton is debt free for the first time in decades.

Wynn Resorts Holdings, LLC

The city of Boston has filed another lawsuit in its attempts to derail a planned $1.7 billion casino in neighboring Everett.

His ambulance sirens blaring and several police scanners transmitting information simultaneously, Boston Emergency Medical Services Deputy Superintendent Edmund Hassan is speeding to a call that someone is unconscious. Because his workers administer the overdose reversal drug naloxone (more commonly known by its brand name, Narcan) about three times a night, he suspects it’s an opioid overdose.

The radios crackle, and it’s confirmed: an overdose. Additional workers are dispatched to the scene.

A last- ditch court fight will be waged by opponents of a proposed wood-burning power plant in western Massachusetts.

The  Springfield City Council, with the bare minimum of seven councilors present to be able to conduct business, voted unanimously at a special meeting Friday morning to appeal to the state’s highest court the decisions of lower courts that directed the city to issue a building permit to Palmer Renewable Energy.

Voters in Springfield may get a chance to weigh- in on the controversial changes proposed for MGM’s resort casino project. 

Springfield City Councilors at a special meeting Tuesday will consider adding a non-binding referendum to the Nov. 3 election ballot. 

The question proposed by council president Mike Fenton asks if voters support changing the development agreement between MGM and the city to eliminate a high-rise glass façade hotel from the casino project.

Officials from MGM Resorts Thursday sought to persuade at times skeptical Massachusetts casino industry regulators that proposed design changes to the company’s Springfield casino project would be an improvement and not a downsizing.

The city council in Springfield, Massachusetts has scheduled a special meeting to vote on a sizable tax break for a subway car manufacturer after a vote at a regular meeting was unexpectedly delayed. 

The Springfield City Council will meet Tuesday to vote on a tax incentive agreement with CRRC USA Rail Corp, which is planning to build a $95 million factory in east Springfield to build subway cars. The agreement,  if approved, would save the Chinese company $10 million over a 10-year period in exchange for a promise to create at least 150 jobs.

Report Warns Of Boston's High Inequality

Sep 23, 2015

Income inequality in Boston has widened considerably over the last dozen or so years, a new report from The Boston Foundation details.

Wynn Resorts Holdings, LLC

Massachusetts is urging a judge to dismiss lawsuits challenging its decision to award Wynn a casino license.

MGM Springfield

MGM Resorts International has announced plans to reconfigure the hotel it will build as part of its new casino complex in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe / Facebook

Tribal and city officials are touting the economic benefits of a $500 million resort casino that the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe hopes to build in the city of Taunton, Massachusetts, 40 miles south of Boston.

Plans by the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe to build a casino in Taunton, Massachusetts, will not affect Twin River's quest to create a so-called "convenience casino" in Tiverton, a Twin River spokeswoman said Monday,

"It has no bearing on our plans in Tiverton," spokesman Patti Doyle said.

The Mashpee Wampanoags are staging a noon Monday news conference at Taunton City Hall to discuss their plans.

Massachusetts later this month will join with a majority of the other states and ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors.  New statewide regulations will fill a void that led to a patchwork of local rules about the product that is growing in popularity while the health risks are unknown.

Tensions Build Amid Resignations At Kennedy Library

Sep 21, 2015

Meandering past photos of the young Kennedy clan, Jacqueline’s signature dresses, campaign posters and a replica of the oval office Kennedy used is required fare for children growing up around Boston and thousands of tourists every year.

The largest fair in the Northeast opens its gates to the public Friday morning in western Massachusetts.

 The Big E has set attendance records in each of the last three years making it the fifth largest fair in North America. 

The fair, which will mark its centennial next year, has stayed true to its roots as a showplace for New England agriculture and industry, according to Big E President Gene Cassidy.

“The problem seems to be to find the joy,” Shawn LaCount, Company One Theatre’s co-founder and artistic director, says with a reassuring smile to a young actor. “Once you find it, the rest is great.” The actor smiles back a little nervously.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker today announced funding awards for rental housing development across the state and highlighted a pilot program to open new preschool classrooms.  He did both during a visit to Holyoke. 

Baker announced funding to build or preserve almost 1,500 apartments at 23 projects in 15 communities across the state. He made the announcement at one of the sites chosen—Lyman Terrace, a 76-year-old, 167-unit public housing complex in downtown Holyoke, where tenants fought a plan a few years ago to demolish their homes.

  Norman Rockwell is still celebrated for his depiction of everyday life in America. As WAMC’s Jim Levulis found out when he met some of the people who posed for the Americana artist, the models are regular people to this day.

“Interesting.” That’s how Gov. Charlie Baker described a proposal to make train travel in and out of Boston easier, by building a tunnel between the city’s North and South stations.

However, the governor is taking a cautious approach, noting that the plan — championed by former Govs. William Weld and Michael Dukakis at a private meeting Wednesday — could cost taxpayers a lot of money.

Part of a five-part series, called “Arts Forward

Let’s begin this look at museums in the 21st century by beaming back… to 20th century Amsterdam.

In 1952, Stedelijk Museum curator and Director Willem Sandberg introduced the first portable gallery audio tour. It was a wireless, elegant device created to enhance the visitor experience with additional content — and it was revolutionary.

On Monday night, the Boston City Council’s Committee on Education is expected to take up an issue city schools have been struggling with for more than four decades: diversity in the classroom.

But councilors won’t be talking about diversity among students. Instead, the focus will be on the diversity of the teaching staff.

The tribes that own Connecticut’s two casinos signed a partnership today to pursue developing a third casino to compete with the planned MGM Resorts casino in Springfield.

MGM has denied it might downsize the $800 million dollar hotel-casino complex planned in Springfield if faced with competition close by in Connecticut. 

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno Thursday said he expects MGM to build a resort casino that will employ 3,000 people, as promised.

Two of Boston’s longest running stories and scandals have hit the Venice Film Festival as Hollywood movies. One of them, “Black Mass,” comes with a big star, big buzz and the name Whitey Bulger.

Exploring The Hoopla And Tension Surrounding ‘Black Mass’

On the island of Ledo, movie stars arrive from Venice in sleek water taxis trimmed and decked in mahogany and teak. They’re called motoscafi and their big engines await the throttle.

This is how Jake Gyllenhaal entered the cinema — through the hordes of paparazzi along the canal.

Cacophony has taken over Matt Kressy’s MIT class. But the noise is planned, and soon, he hopes, it will become music.

This week, Kressy has put MIT’s first-ever integrated design and management (IDM) students in a kind of boot camp. He wanted to immerse the engineers, designers and business school students in a project where they would have to work in concert.

Close to $10 million in local, state, and federal money has been spent in the last couple of years to construct or renovate parks of all shapes and sizes in the city of Springfield, Massachusetts.  The projects have opened up new recreational opportunities, eliminated blight, and brought parks closer to the people.

Children this summer had a chance to cool off and play on a splash pad in one of Springfield’s newest parks.