Massachusetts

Chion Wolf. / WNPR

The Berkshires is known for many things: its quaint, rural towns, its serene trails, and its rustic restaurants. But in addition to all of that, it's also a hotbed for creativity. A place where emerging artists hone their craft, and museums, theaters, and festivals abound. 

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.

Updated at 3:42 p.m.

After listening to testimony from 63 witnesses and deliberating since Wednesday, a jury of seven women and five men in Boston gave convicted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev the death penalty.

There was no visible reaction from either Tsarnaev or his legal team.

The jury sentenced Tsarnaev to die on counts 4, 5, 9, 10, 14 and 15. Here is more detail about those counts:

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Sometimes being in the right place at the right time -- with your radio tuned into WNPR -- can lead to unexpected connections...

When WNPR's Where We Live first met Stanley Maxwell, we asked musicians Andy Chatfield, Mark Crino, Eric DellaVecchia, and Evan Green to explain the origin of their unusual name. 

A jury in Boston deliberated for about 50 minutes on Wednesday as jurors tried to decide whether Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev should spend the rest of his life in prison or face the death penalty.

NPR member station WBUR reports they deliberated after hearing closing arguments from the prosecution and Tsarnaev's defense lawyer.

Per WBUR's David Boeri, the prosecution argued:

A jury in Boston will hear final arguments in the sentencing of Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

After hearing from the defense and prosecution, the jury will decide whether Tsarnaev should be sentenced to death or life in prison.

The twin bombing of the 2013 Boston Marathon killed three people and injured more than 200.

The New York Times reports:

Wage theft is rampant in the booming residential construction industry in Massachusetts, according to research from UMass Amherst.

     It has become standard practice in the home building industry in Massachusetts for subcontractors to illegally misclassify workers -- particularly immigrants — as independent contractors. The workers sometimes go weeks without pay, get no compensation for overtime, and are often paid less than they were promised. 

   Tom Juravich, a Umass Amherst labor professor detailed the abuses in a new paper.

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.

On a recent sunny spring day, MIT students were lined up at a table grabbing ice cream sundaes, milk and cookies, and, if they were interested, an embrace.

“Yes, giving away ice cream and now hugs,” explained MIT parent Sonal Patel, of Cambridge, as she embraced Miguel Mendez, a native of Mexico who is doing post-doctoral research at MIT.

“It’s always good to know that people around the campus actually care about you as a person,” Mendez said. “This being an institution that expects a lot from you, it can really pass a toll on you sometimes.”

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.

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.

       Two finalists have been announced in the search for the next president of the University of Massachusetts.

       Martin Meehan, the chancellor of UMass Lowell and John Quelch, a Harvard Business School professor are the finalists to be the next leader of the five campus UMass system.  

      University spokesman Robert Connolly said the two were recommended by a search committee at a meeting Thursday in Boston.

Former Westfield State University President Evan Dobelle has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by the Massachusetts Attorney General that accused him of spending taxpayer money for personal travel and purchases.

      Dobelle has agreed to pay the state $185,000.  He would also withdraw a lawsuit he filed against the university claiming breach of contract and demanding payment of his legal bills. 

        In the settlement, which is still subject to approval by a state judge, Dobelle would admit no wrongdoing.  

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.

Catie Talarski / WNPR

The town of Chicopee, Massachusetts first reported Polish settlers in 1880. It was the beginning of an influx of immigrants to the Connecticut River Valley to work as farmers and factory workers. 

Stanislaw, or Stas, Radosz is working to keep that history alive at the Polish Center for Discovery and Learning.

A full-fledged Democratic trade war has broken out.

"I love Elizabeth. We're allies on a whole host of issues, but she's wrong on this," President Obama said Tuesday night in an interview on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, referring to liberal Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is "unrepentant and unchanged."

That's what a prosecutor told jurors on Tuesday as they weighed whether the 21-year-old convicted in the bombings that killed three people and left 264 others wounded should get the death penalty.

NPR's Tovia Smith reports that the prosecution presented jurors with four large portraits of the victims and one photo of Tsarnaev giving the middle finger to a security camera in his jail cell.

Nearly a million people will line the streets to watch the Boston Marathon on Monday, and someone else will be watching them. Bill Ridge with the Boston Police says video surveillance is a big part of the security plan.

"We've got a lot of cameras out there," he says. "We're going to be watching the portions in Boston — particularly the routes along Boylston Street, the finish line."

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has awarded a contract for a major highway project in western Massachusetts.

JF White-Schiavone of Framingham submitted the lowest bid this week to rebuild the two-mile long elevated portion of Interstate 91 through downtown Springfield. 

The project is expected to cost $183 million and take three years.  There will be detours and ramp closings during the work, which is expected to start this summer.

Aaron Hernandez, whose rise to elite status in the NFL was ended by charges that he shot and killed a man, has been found guilty of first-degree murder. In 2013, Hernandez was accused of killing the boyfriend of his fiancee's sister.

The verdict comes on the seventh day of a jury's deliberations on counts that ranged from murder to gun and ammunition charges. As the findings were read in a Fall River, Mass., courtroom, Hernandez sat between his lawyers and occasionally shook his head.

A moment of silence, a call for kindness and the pealing of the city's church bells will be the hallmarks of Boston's events noting the second anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing on Wednesday.

The moment of silence will be observed at 2:49 p.m. ET, the time when the first of two devastating bombs went off in the crowds gathered to watch the marathon in 2013.

In the days after the Boston Marathon bombings, the One Fund charity set up for victims and their families collected more than $20 million, eventually distributing almost four times that amount.

Now those victims, including some who received more than $1 million, have formed their own charities to benefit others.

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. 

A jury in Boston has found 21-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev guilty on all counts related to the 2013 bombings of the Boston Marathon. The twin bombings, carried out with his older brother, Tamerlan, killed three people and left 264 others wounded.

The fate of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is in the hands of the jury that is deciding whether to convict the 21-year-old who has admitted to being the Boston Marathon bomber.

MGM Resorts International

A study, paid for by Connecticut’s two tribal casinos, estimates out-of-state competition could soon divert $703 million a year from Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods. 

The two are seeking to bolster their case for legislation that would allow three new gaming sites within the state, as a way to fight back against new facilities in Massachusetts. 

Updated at 5:16 p.m. ET

Prosecutors and lawyers for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev made their closing arguments Monday, the final step before the jury decides whether to convict the accused Boston Marathon bomber.

"There was nothing about this day that was a twist of fate," Assistant U.S. Attorney Aloke Chakravarty told the jurors. "This was a cold, calculated terrorist act. This was intentional. It was bloodthirsty. It was to make a point. It was to tell America that 'We will not be terrorized by you anymore. We will terrorize you.'"

Banco Carregosa / Creative Commons

Two men from Massachusetts and Connecticut have been charged in an insider trading scheme that prosecutors say netted more than $1 million. 

Boston 2024

A public meeting in Springfield on Thursday heard ideas on the role that western Massachusetts might play as Boston continues its bid for the 2024 Olympic Games. 

Some state lawmakers have said there should be sports venues located outside the Boston area. Rick Sullivan, president and CEO of the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council, is working on the proposal to officials with Boston 2024. 

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