Massachusetts

Esther Shittu / WNPR

When we did our show on Romeo and Juliet a few months ago, Tina Packer invited us to come up to Shakespeare & Co. in Lenox, Mass., to see her new production of The Merchant of Venice this summer. Colin said we'd love to; we'll come up there and do a show!

It seemed like the sort of niceties that people often toss off on the radio.

But it turns out they meant it. And so, so did we! So we went up and taped a show in the Berkshires with Tina and her Shylock, Jonathan Epstein.

Daniel X. O'Niel / Creative Commons

The Cat in the Hat — the iconic character of Ted Geisel, or Dr. Seuss — is running for president. The campaign parody kicks off Tuesday in Springfield.

Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

If you want to take a train from Springfield to Boston, there’s only one a day, and it’s notoriously slow. But a new federally funded study looks at the cost and benefits of expanding train service to Boston — and Montreal.

A sea of people participated in a demonstration in Roxbury against police violence Wednesday night, marching from Boston police headquarters through the South End and to Dudley Square.

The crowd appeared to number about 2,000 people, measuring at least two blocks-long as it made its way up Tremont Street toward Massaschusetts Avenue. Organizers of the rally said they were encouraged by the large turnout, but that more work needs to be done.

Karen Brown / NEPR

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates up to 30 percent of former service members — from the Vietnam War to Iraq and Afghanistan — have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

The Boston Citgo sign, all 3,600 square LED feet of which has served as the backdrop to Red Sox games since 1965, is now officially a "pending landmark."

Sam Hudzik / NEPR

Several hundred protesters gathered outside Springfield’s City Hall Monday, calling for fair treatment from police for blacks and Latinos.

MGM Resorts International has suffered a setback in a bid to block development of a casino in Connecticut that would be a direct competitor to the $950 million casino the Las Vegas-based company is building in Springfield, Massachusetts.

National Weather Service, Taunton, Mass. Office

After a quiet winter and drier than normal spring, parts of western Massachusetts and northern Connecticut are in a moderate drought.

Steve Masiello / Creative Commons

A federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by casino developer MGM Resorts International challenging the constitutionality of a Connecticut law creating a process for a possible third casino along the Massachusetts border.

Asnuntuck Community College

Colleges and universities in New England are increasingly offering discounts to attract students from nearby states. 

The decision for institutions to divest from fossil fuels is more complicated than just a list of pros and cons, according to a new report commissioned by Dartmouth College.

Opponents of a proposed wood-burning power plant in Springfield, Massachusetts have won support for a last-ditch bid to block the project.

Connecticut Fund for the Environment, the state’s largest environmental group, says runoff from a sewage treatment plant in Springfield, Massachusetts, could hurt Connecticut rivers and Long Island Sound. This week the organization asked the EPA to hold the plant to higher scrutiny.

Bills that add gender identity to the protections for people using restrooms and other public accommodations have now been approved by both houses of the Massachusetts Legislature, in what's being hailed as a victory for LGBT rights activists.

The House approved its version of the bill Wednesday by a vote of 116-36; the Senate endorsed a similar bill last month, 33-4. The legislation will now go to a conference committee to resolve differences between the two versions.

Robin Lubbock / WBUR

Five years ago, on June 1, 2011, an F3 tornado, with wind speeds between 150 and 200 miles per hour, swept through eight communities across western and central Massachusetts, from Westfield east to Southbridge.

One of the hardest hit was Monson, where the tornado cut nearly a half-mile swath of devastation through the center of town of about 8,500 residents.

Nancy Shilts stood just inside the door of St. Frances X. Cabrini Church in Scituate, Mass., on Sunday, handing out fliers and hugs to parishioners as they arrived — for the very last time.

"It's just like I just lost my house," she said.

Shilts is one of the parishioners who have taken turns staying in St. Frances, day and night since 2004. That's when the Archdiocese of Boston said it was shutting the church down to sell the land.

This Wednesday, June 1st,  marks the fifth anniversary of a devastating tornado striking western Massachusetts.

    As he has done in years past, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno has called for a city-wide moment of reflection on the tornado anniversary.

" We want to commemorate it, not celebrate it.  I've asked the houses of worship to ring the bells at 4:38 p.m.," said Sarno.

Harriet Jones / WNPR

A Connecticut man who said he was sexually abused as a child at a private school in Massachusetts wants to see the statute of limitations on the crime abolished. 

Greg Scott/WBEZ / Creative Commons

Efforts to stem the tide of heroin overdoses in Connecticut could get more difficult if a powerful new heroin additive makes its way to the state.

State officials are apologizing for the way they’ve handled a plan to use an island in the Quabbin Reservoir in central Massachusetts as a breeding ground for endangered timber rattlesnakes. They say they are now looking at alternatives.

A legislative hearing held near the reservoir in Athol Tuesday brought out some strong opposition and showed what a major political issue rattlesnakes have become in that part of the state.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

As Schuyler Thomson lead a group of paddlers down the Housatonic River in northwest Connecticut, he squinted through the morning sunlight on the water. 

Attorney Mitchell Garabedian is calling for a federal investigation of sexual abuse allegations at private schools in New England, such as the Fessenden School in Newton.

Adam Frenier / NEPR

A Berkshire Superior Court judge has granted Kinder Morgan an injunction, allowing it to go forward with a natural gas pipeline in Sandisfield, Massachusetts, on its way to Connecticut. But the judge did issue conditions.

Fates can change quickly in sports. The fates of two New England cities with long hockey histories became intertwined this week, with one winner and one loser.

Two weeks ago, people in Springfield, Massachusetts were bemoaning the loss of the city’s American Hockey League team to Tucson, Az. and the likely end of almost 80 years of professional hockey in western Massachusetts.

" I think people really thought we were losing hockey, but now it seems we've been able to pull a rabbit out of our hat," said  Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.

Matthew Sussman / Jane Ira Bloom

Jane Ira Bloom, the innovative soprano saxophonist and composer, loves to tap into non-musical art forms as sources of inspiration for her bold, original music.

This post was updated at 7:45 p.m. ET.

A central neighborhood in Boston had been left out of Amazon's plans for free same-day delivery in the city. The company said on Tuesday that will change.

A Bloomberg analysis last week showed that the predominantly black Roxbury community did not have access to the Amazon Prime service, which is offered to all adjacent neighborhoods. After looking at nationwide data, Bloomberg called the disparity in Boston "the most striking."

It was 1993 when Massachusetts Gov. William Weld declared: "A good education in a safe environment is the magic wand that brings opportunity." The Republican was signing into law a landmark overhaul of the state's school funding system. "It's up to us to make sure that wand is waved over every cradle," he added.

With that, Massachusetts poured state money into districts that educated lots of low-income kids, many of which also struggled to raise funds through local property taxes.

A federal appeals court has reinstated Tom Brady's four-game suspension over his involvement in the "Deflategate" scandal.

In a 2-1 decision, a three-judge panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court ruling that found NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was not fair when he handed down the suspension.

Plans to build a $3.3 billion natural gas pipeline from New York into New England through western Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire have been suspended.

Houston-based Kinder Morgan Inc. announced Wednesday it has decided to stop work on the project. It cites a lack of contracts with gas distribution companies.

The company also says New England states haven't established needed regulatory procedures to allow it to move forward and the process in each state for creating those procedures remains open-ended.

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