Massachusetts

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

Should Boston Host The Olympic Games?

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 2:29 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 8:14 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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Casino Industry
9:57 am
Mon December 8, 2014

State Funds Casino Job Training In Western Mass.

Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 4:20 pm

The Patrick administration has awarded funding to help train people for jobs in the new Massachusetts casino industry. 

Holyoke Community College is getting a $1.75 million grant to build a Center for Hospitality and Culinary Excellence that will be used in part to prepare people for casino-related jobs.  HCC President William Messner has led the effort to partner with the casino industry on workforce development.

" We see this as simply an extension of our tradition, of our mission to provide first class training for businesses and organizations."

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Watchdogs
10:05 pm
Tue December 2, 2014

Massachusetts Casino Opponents Consider Next Steps

Steve Abdow, a western Massachusetts organizer with Repeal the Casino Deal.

Originally published on Tue December 2, 2014 2:06 pm

After failing last month to repeal the state’s casino law, activists in Massachusetts may become watchdogs over the industry.

Steve Abdow, one of the leaders of the Repeal the Casino Deal campaign, said the effort to stop casinos from coming to Massachusetts ended with the crushing defeat on Election Day, but he and fellow activists are discussing other ways to stay involved.

"We  have concerns about the impacts casinos will have on our communities. That is what we all have in common and why we did our work."

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Massachusetts
12:27 pm
Wed November 26, 2014

Construction Begins On New Health Education Center

Holyoke Community College trustees pose in front of the building that will be renovated to become the Center for Health Education

Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 12:27 pm

Under a reorganization that started two years ago, the community colleges in Massachusetts are becoming regional workforce development centers.  Holyoke Community College is building a new facility to help meet the demand for skilled workers in the health care industry.

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Local Food
6:32 pm
Tue November 25, 2014

For More Local Turkeys To Hit Holiday Tables, You Need An Abattoir

The turkeys at Kate Stillman's farm don't have to be loaded on a trailer and driven hundreds of miles this year. They now meet their ends on the same farm where they lived their lives.
Chris Arnold NPR

Originally published on Wed November 26, 2014 11:22 am

It's a busy time of year for turkey farmers around the country. And these days, with the growth of the local food movement, small family farms are struggling to keep up with all the orders for birds. So, we went to find out what one New England farmer is doing to get her gobblers from the field to the table. Enter the "abattoir."

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Massachusetts
8:33 am
Fri November 21, 2014

Springfield Set To Hire Police, Firefighters Thanks To Casino Cash

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno announces new police and fire department hires. Sarno said the new staff is financially sustainable because of the money MGM must pay the city as it prepares to build a casino.

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 6:15 pm

Counting on casino cash, the city of Springfield, Massachusetts is planning to hire more cops.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno Thursday announced new police and fire department academies starting early next year. When the police cadets graduate next spring it will bring the number of uniform patrol officers in Springfield to more than 400 for the first time in two decades, according police Commissioner John Barbieri.

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Springfield
12:11 pm
Thu November 20, 2014

Cathedral High School Supporters Announce Forum

Originally published on Thu November 20, 2014 5:15 am

Supporters of the only Catholic high school in Springfield, Massachusetts are meeting this evening to urge the new bishop of western Massachusetts to rebuild the tornado-damaged school.

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Metcalf on Music
8:57 am
Thu November 20, 2014

Christmas Music: There's a Lot More Than "Messiah"

Hartford Chorale performs Handel's "Messiah."
Hartford Chorale

Merry Christmas!

Oh, sorry – too soon?

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Performance Evaluations
2:13 pm
Wed November 19, 2014

Massachusetts Drops Teacher Licensing Proposal

Originally published on Wed November 19, 2014 12:19 pm

Massachusetts education officials have dropped a proposal to include classroom performance evaluations as a criteria for renewing the licenses for teachers, administrators and other educators. The move came just days after newly released data gave most educators in the state high marks.

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Museums
2:33 pm
Tue November 18, 2014

Gov. Patrick Celebrates $25 Million Investment In MASS MoCA

MASS MoCA's director Joseph Thompson describes the North Adams' art museum's expansion.

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 6:11 pm

In what will most likely be his last official visit to the Berkshires, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick took time Monday to celebrate state investments in the region.

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Food Waste
1:01 pm
Fri November 14, 2014

Massachusetts DEP Commissioner To View Red Lion Inn's Composting Process

Originally published on Thu November 13, 2014 4:14 pm

With America Recycles Day Saturday, Massachusetts environmental officials are celebrating the Commonwealth’s new commercial food waste ban – the first statewide ban in the nation. The state’s Commissioner of Environmental Protection will visit the Red Lion Inn to see how the renowned hotel is shipping its food waste to a nearby farm.

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Fishing Industry
4:17 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Regulators Ban Cod Fishing In Gulf Of Maine As Stocks Dwindle

Fishermen Ed Stewart (left) and Tannis Goodsen mend groundfishing nets on Merrill Wharf, in Portland, Maine, last November.
Robert F. Bukaty AP

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 2:13 pm

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is shutting down cod fishing, from Provincetown, Mass., up to the Canadian border, in an effort to reverse plummeting numbers of the iconic fish in the Gulf of Maine.

Starting Thursday, no fishermen — commercial or recreational — may trawl or use certain large nets that might catch cod for the next six months. Local cod fishermen, who now face an uncertain future, say the government hasn't done enough to maintain cod populations, and they challenge NOAA's cod counts.

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Health Insurance
2:55 pm
Tue November 11, 2014

Massachusetts Set To Launch Online Health Exchange

Massachusetts Health Connector Ex. Dir. Jean Yang ( second from right) is joined by officials at Caring Health Center in Springfield to promote the upcoming open enrollment for the state's new online health insurance exchange

Originally published on Mon November 10, 2014 6:21 pm

Open enrollment at the Massachusetts health insurance exchange begins this week. State officials say there is a new – and functioning – website that people can use if they need to purchase insurance.

The Massachusetts Health Connector will launch the new online health insurance marketplace on Nov. 15th.  Thousands of people across the state who have Health Connector coverage now, or were placed in temporary plans over the last year, will have to use the new website to submit an application if they want to remain insured.

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Springfield
10:20 am
Mon November 10, 2014

Mayor Says Church Leader Broke Promise To Rebuild Tornado Damaged School

Cathedral High School, a fixture in Springfield's East Forest Park neighborhood for a half-century was destroyed in the June 2011 tornado.

Originally published on Fri November 7, 2014 4:25 pm

There is frustration and anger over a delay in rebuilding the only Catholic high school in Springfield, Massachusetts that was destroyed in the 2011 tornado.

   Parents and alumnae of Cathedral High School said they were blindsided by Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski’s call for more study to help him make a decision on the school’s future.  Mayor Domenic Sarno said Rozanski had reneged on a pledge made by his now retired predecessor to rebuild the high school in the same neighborhood where it had stood since 1959

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Casinos
1:01 pm
Thu November 6, 2014

Massachusetts Gambling Regulators Approve MGM, Wynn Casino Licenses

MGM has started to prepare the future casino site in Springfield for a spring 2015 groundbreaking and expects to open the casino in 2017

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 12:28 pm

The introduction of Las Vegas-style gambling to Massachusetts will proceed at a more rapid pace now that a major hurdle has been cleared.  Voters soundly defeated a ballot question to repeal the 2011 casino law.  

   With the cloud of uncertainty caused by the repeal vote lifted, The Massachusetts Gaming Commission meeting in Boston Thursday voted unanimously to formally award licenses to build and operate full-scale destination casinos to MGM Resorts for the company’s Springfield project and to Wynn Resorts in greater Boston.  

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Ballot Question Defeat
1:05 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Casino Opponents in Massachusetts Consider Their Options

MGM's plans for downtown Springfield include a tower
Credit MGM Springfield

By a 20 percent margin, voters in Massachusetts refused to repeal the state’s casino law. The defeat of the ballot question comes as a relief to those bankrolling projects that were approved in three different Massachusetts communities.

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Massachusetts Results
12:10 pm
Wed November 5, 2014

Baker Elected Massachusetts Governor In Tight Race

Voters elected Republican Charlie Baker to be the next governor of Massachusetts.

Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 12:13 pm

Republican Charlie Baker will be the next governor of Massachusetts. He beat Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley. It was a close race down to the end.

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Massachusetts Results
8:04 am
Wed November 5, 2014

How Massachusetts Statewide Races And Ballot Questions Went On Election Day

Charlie Baker

Originally published on Wed November 5, 2014 3:19 am

It appears Republican Charlie Baker will be the next governor of Massachusetts, beating Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley. Baker gave what was short of a victory speech in the early morning hours Wednesday.

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