Massachusetts

Charlie Baker, the newly sworn-in 72nd governor of Massachusetts, is promising to challenge the status quo, while immediately tackling a state budget deficit.

And on his first day in office, the Republican managed to find some common ground with the Democrats who control the Legislature.

Tone Of Cooperation

The head of the Massachusetts health connector is stepping down after a tumultuous year in which the state's health care exchange failed and was later rebuilt.

An announcement about the long-term fate of the historic Cathedral High School in Springfield, Massachusetts is now expected by mid-February.  Advocates of rebuilding the school that was wrecked in the 2011 tornado are encouraged by word the school will operate for one more year, at least, at its temporary campus. 

       Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski will begin a series of meetings on January 24th in what will amount to the final due diligence on whether to rebuild the Catholic high school with a 130-year- history in Springfield. 

One thing's for sure: Nikki Bollerman believes in her school and the kids who go there. How else to explain Bollerman, 26, giving a $150,000 windfall to the Boston area public charter school where she teaches third grade?

The city of Boston’s new chief of arts and culture has been making the rounds during her first full week on the job. Her name is Julie Burros and she hails from Chicago, a city famous for embracing and supporting the arts (like “Cloud Gate” in the above photo).

Burros quickly earned the nickname “arts czar” after Boston Mayor Marty Walsh fulfilled his campaign promise by appointing her to the newly created cabinet-level position this past September.

Now that MGM has won Massachusetts regulatory and voter approval to build a resort casino in downtown Springfield the Las Vegas-based entertainment giant has employment and local purchasing commitments to keep. 

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and a host of federal, state and local officials took an inaugural train ride Monday on newly rebuilt tracks in western Massachusetts.

The trip from Springfield to Greenfield highlighted the dawn of high speed passenger rail service along what is known as the Knowledge Corridor.  For the first time in decades passenger trains will stop in Northampton and Holyoke.  Kathleen Anderson, president of the Holyoke Chamber of Commerce, said it opens a lot of possibilities including more tourism.

Motorists would be required to use their headlights during bad weather under a bill approved by Massachusetts House lawmakers.

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. 

A Closing Conversation With Gov. Deval Patrick

Dec 17, 2014

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

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

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."

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.

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.

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.         

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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."

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."

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.

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."

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.

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.

Hartford Chorale

Merry Christmas!

Oh, sorry – too soon?

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.

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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