Massachusetts

Sam Hudzik / NEPR

An Adams, Massachusetts man accused of plotting to attack a college on behalf of the self-declared Islamic State has pleaded not guilty. Alexander Ciccolo, 23, was arraigned Wednesday at federal court in Springfield.

Hours before his group’s Olympic bid collapsed, Boston 2024 co-founder Corey Dinopoulos wrote a letter to Boston Mayor Marty Walsh.

Walsh had just said he would not support a guarantee to back the games with public funding in the event of cost overruns.

Carrie Healy / NEPR

Funeral services were held Monday for Gunnery Sergeant Thomas Sullivan, the Marine from Springfield who was killed by a gunman in Chattanooga, Tennessee, earlier this month. Outside the church where the Mass was held, the community continued to show its support for the Sullivan family.

It's official. The 2024 Olympic Games will not take place in Boston.

The Associated Press reports that the U.S. Olympic Committee "severed ties" with Boston on Monday. In a statement, Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh said, "I strongly believe that bringing the Olympic Games back to the United States would be good for our country and would have brought long-term benefits to Boston." He continued, "However, no benefit is so great that it is worth handing over the financial future of our City and our citizens were rightly hesitant to be supportive as a result."

Friends, family and several dignitaries have been attending services in Springfield today for the local Marine killed in the shooting at a naval reserve center in Tennessee earlier this month.

As part of the state budget, Governor Charlie Baker signed into law the creation of a rural policy commission in Massachusetts. It continues a longstanding effort to express small town needs in the Boston-centric commonwealth.

The funeral for the Springfield, Massachusetts native, who was among the Marines killed last week by a gunman in Tennessee, will be private.

A spokesman for the family of Marine Gunnery Sgt. Thomas Sullivan said Monday’s funeral will be for family, friends and invited dignitaries only.  

Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski will be the main celebrant and homilist for the service at Holy Cross Church in the East Forest Park neighborhood where Sullivan grew up.  Burial will be at the Massachusetts Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Agawam. 

A new report says delays in building the two licensed resort casinos in Massachusetts could cost the state $ 1 billion in lost revenue. 

Our weeklong series on violence in the region continues now. In part two of Crime in our Communities, WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Jim Levulis reports on Pittsfield, where a few incidents in recent years have raised the awareness of violence in Berkshire County’s largest city.

Authorities in Massachusetts’ third largest city are using innovation, technology, and more police on patrol to combat violent crime.

Total crime is down about 8 percent in Springfield so far this year, according to the Springfield Police Department.  It is in keeping with a national trend of steadily declining crime rates. But, the crime that makes the headlines – homicides – stands at 13, just one shy of the total number of murders Springfield recorded for all of last year.

The 41st commissioner of the Boston Police Department credits his upbringing in South Boston for how he handles his job, especially his philosophy on community policing.

William Evans has led the police department for a year and a half. But for many, Evans may be most remembered for his role at the end of the manhunt in Watertown, months before he became interim commissioner.

Jane Flavell Collins

David Hoose, of Northampton, who is terror suspect Alexander Ciccolo's attorney spoke with reporters outside Federal court in Springfield Tuesday shortly after a U.S. Magistrate ordered Ciccolo held without bail.

Невідомий / Creative Commons

Gov. Charlie Baker has filed a bill that calls for the purchase of hydroelectric power by Massachusetts utilities.

Baker called the legislation submitted to the state Senate on Thursday a critical step in reducing the state's carbon footprint while also helping ratepayers by providing a cost effective alternative to coal and oil.

Steve Freitag / Creative Commons

Two historically significant European tall ships are in southern New England and are open to the public for tours.

The French Navy Frigate L'Hermione arrived at Fort Adams in Newport, Rhode Island and the N.R.P Sagres, a Portuguese educational training vessel, sailed into New Bedford, Massachusetts, both on Wednesday.

Massachusetts Lottery officials say they are prepared for the new competition from the casino industry.

State lottery officials say they are using zip code analysis to detect any shift in sales patterns in the convenience stores, gas stations, and bars located near Plainridge Park, the state’s first casino that opened to capacity crowds on June 24. 

State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, who oversees the lottery, vows the agency will compete with the casinos.

Martin Meehan began his tenure as president of the University of Massachusetts Wednesday by a holding a roundtable discussion with students at UMass Boston.

Meehan said he intends to build UMass into “the best public university system in the nation.”  During an interview in May he talked about ways to elevate the university’s stature.

"It is looking at how to improve, achieve more excellence. You can always increase your research and continue to improve," he said.

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s office has announced an agreement that paves the way for a solar energy facility on a brownfield site in Great Barrington.

Updated at 2:28 p.m. ET

Convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev broke his silence Wednesday and apologized to the victims and the survivors of the deadly 2013 attack.

"I am sorry for the lives that I've taken, for the suffering that I've caused you, and the damage that I've done," he said Wednesday during his sentencing hearing.

The first casino in Massachusetts opens to the public Wednesday.

Plainridge Park Casino, located at a harness race track near the Rhode Island border, has 1,200 slot machines, but no table games.  

The more upscale resort casinos planned in Springfield and greater Boston won’t open for at least two years. 

Casino industry expert Clyde Barrow said Massachusetts should do well with its first casino.

MGM Springfield

Governor Dannel Malloy has signed a bill setting out a multi-step process that could lead to a new tribal casino along the Connecticut border. The measure allows the tribes to request proposals from communities interested in hosting a casino.

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.

Adam Frenier / NEPR

Listing case after case of repeat offenders returned to the city’s streets on bails as low as $1,000, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno renewed his call to reform how bail is set in Massachusetts, especially for repeat violent offenders. Some people, Sarno said, need to remain in jail, not make bail.

The opening date for the MGM Springfield casino may be pushed back by as much as a year

Springfield city officials Tuesday disclosed that MGM is seeking to coordinate the opening of the casino with the completion of the reconstruction of I-91.  The highway project is not expected to wrap up until 2018, a year after the projected opening date for what would be the state’s first resort casino.

An MGM spokesperson said the company planned to discuss the project timetable with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission at a June 25th meeting.

The chairman of the Massachusetts Gaming Commission confirms he is under investigation by state ethics officials.

Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby told the Boston Globe he is cooperating with the investigation and has done nothing wrong.

The newspaper said the state ethics commission received a sworn statement alleging Crosby participated in the process to award a casino license in the greater Boston area despite publicly recusing himself because of personal ties with a casino landowner.

The location for a new regional Catholic high school in western Massachusetts has been narrowed down.

A review committee for the Springfield Diocese recommends the new school be built either at the former location of Cathedral High School on Surrey Road in Springfield, or adjacent to a Catholic cemetery in Chicopee. 

A spokesman said Bishop Mitchell Rozanski will announce a final decision in a few weeks.

Cathedral was destroyed by a tornado four years ago. Mayor Domenic Sarno said it is vital to rebuild on the site.

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.

A veteran educator with a track record of turning around struggling urban schools will be put in charge of a troubled western Massachusetts school system. The state’s education commissioner has appointed the current superintendent of schools in Wakefield as receiver for the Holyoke public schools.

Stephen Zrike, who was a principal at three Boston schools and led a network of elementary schools in Chicago, will now be in charge of the effort to improve student achievement at one of the worst school districts in the state.

Federal and local officials Monday highlighted the rebuilding and recovery that occurred since a powerful tornado tore into western Massachusetts four years ago.

   Top officials with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development got a first- hand look at the new homes built, businesses re-opened, public parks renovated, and trees planted along the 6.2 mile path the tornado carved through several neighborhoods in Springfield.  

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Last week, we went up to do our annual live show from Great Barrington, Massachusetts at the Berkshire International Film Festival. Our usual host, The Triplex, had technical problems, so we pulled the plug with a few minutes left to go, which is why you heard a re-run about movie trailers. Meanwhile, we recorded this show so you could hear it today.

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