Massachusetts

Model Railroaders Create Worlds of Their Own

Jan 29, 2016
Brent Moore / Creative Commons

If this year is anything like years past, approximately 25,000 model train enthusiasts will head to West Springfield, Massachusetts, this weekend. It’s the annual Railroad Hobby Show.

A citizens group pushing for the revitalization of the Hoosic River in North Adams has released detailed plans to redevelop a section of the waterway.

Amherst College trustees have voted to stop using Lord Jeff as the school's unofficial mascot because of its negative historical connotations. 

The Springfield City Council is conducting a final review of the plans for the $950 million MGM casino.

The council is tentatively scheduled to vote Tuesday after holding a fourth public hearing on the casino project site plan. However, Council President Mike Fenton said he’ll set additional time for deliberations if necessary.

"It is possible to extend  ( the hearings) should we need further public input or councilors have additional questions," he said.

95wombat via flickr.com / Creative Commons

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker helped bring General Electric’s headquarters to Boston by offering $120 million in grants and other incentives. And now officials in Berkshire County are hoping that relationship pays off for Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Jacob’s Pillow has selected Wesleyan University’s top arts administrator to lead the world-renowned dance festival in the Berkshires. 

Harriet Jones / WNPR

General Electric confirmed on Wednesday afternoon that it will move its headquarters to Boston from Fairfield.

A retired police officer in Springfield, Massachusetts pleaded innocent at his court arraignment Monday to charges he stole more than $400,000 from the police department evidence room.

  Kevin Burnham, who for almost 30 years was the Springfield police officer responsible for safekeeping evidence in drug cases, is accused of stealing cash from evidence envelopes in more than 170 cases during a five year period starting in 2009 and ending the day he retired in July 2014, according to an investigation by the office of Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey

MGM has announced major demolition work will begin next week as it prepares the site in downtown Springfield where a $950 million resort casino is planned.

Almost a year after the former Zanetti school building served as the backdrop for the MGM Springfield groundbreaking, it will be demolished beginning Tuesday, according to a press release from MGM. 

The much anticipated major construction work follows state environmental and city zoning approvals. 

MGM Springfield President Mike Mathis said the casino remains on track to open in the fall of 2018.

Police in three western Massachusetts cities have seized thousands of bags of heroin and arrested more than a dozen people for heroin trafficking and distribution as they investigate recent overdose deaths. 

Police believe an exceptionally pure batch of heroin has caused the deaths of at least eight people in western Massachusetts in the last week.

An Islamic center and mosque in Worcester is taking a proactive approach to confronting Islamophobia.

The Worcester Islamic Center is holding an event Saturday that it’s calling “Meet a Muslim Day.” It’s designed to get members of the public who may not know much about Islam — beyond the headlines — to learn about the faith practiced by about one-fifth of the world’s population.

Homelessness is hard enough, but being a young adult and homeless brings its own set of challenges. No longer eligible for family shelters, 18- to 24-year-olds can be targets of theft and assault by older homeless adults, experts say. In Boston, a new homeless shelter just opened — for young adults only.

The night before the shelter opens, there is a celebratory dinner in the basement of the First Parish church in Harvard Square. The space has been through a $1.3 million renovation, with funds coming from foundations, grants and donations.

How The Mass. Casino Industry Stands As 2016 Begins

Dec 30, 2015

It’s been a big year for the casino industry in Massachusetts. The state’s first expanded gambling facility opened in June. The Plainridge Park Casino has 1,250 slot machines and a racetrack. And bigger casino proposals in Boston and Springfield are closer to becoming realities.

Here’s what’s changed over the past year:

Falling Revenues In Plainville

MGM Resorts International is planning to start demolishing buildings in mid-January to clear the site in downtown Springfield where the company intends to build the first casino in western Massachusetts.  2015 was a year of delay and downsizing for the casino project.

When MGM held the ceremonial groundbreaking for the Springfield casino in late March with the former Zanetti school building as the backdrop for photographs with construction workers and machinery no one would have predicted the building would still be standing nine months later.

MGM Springfield / Courtesy The Springfield Republican photo desk

The Springfield City Council voted Monday to approve a zoning ordinance outlining the footprint of MGM’s casino. The vote is another procedural step in bringing the project to fruition. 

Cape Cod is the setting of a new documentary about the nation’s growing opioid problem that airs on HBO later this month.

And as he campaigns for new measures to deal with the state’s opioid epidemic, Gov. Charlie Baker invited lawmakers and others involved in the issue to an early screening Tuesday night.

It’s lunchtime, and Salah Asfoura walks into Bahnan’s International Marketplace with the ease and familiarity of a regular.

“I shop here all the time,” he says. “I mean, not just here, but when we’re looking for Middle Eastern stuff, they have great pastry here, very fresh.”

MGM Springfield

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission unanimously approved a plan on Thursday that will allow MGM Springfield to begin construction on its proposed $950 million casino in the city's downtown.

Bill Streicher / USA TODAY Sports

The University of Massachusetts has announced a deal that will have New England's three FBS football programs facing each other several times over the next five seasons. 

After months of preparation, construction work is to start in earnest on a major highway project in western Massachusetts.

MassDOT announced Tuesday that the major rehabilitation of the elevated part of Interstate 91 through downtown Springfield will begin in mid-December.

The number of travel lanes will be reduced by one in each direction.  Seven ramps leading to and from the highway will be closed.

        MassDOT boss Stephanie Pollock said detours will be in place and key intersections monitored by newly installed cameras.

After being missing for more than a decade — and believed to have been stolen — a centuries-old map that depicts 17th century Canada and New England has been returned to the Boston Public Library.

The BPL announced Friday that Carte Geographique de Nouvelle France, which was compiled in 1612 by explorer Samuel de Champlain, was found this summer for sale at an antiques dealer in New York City for $285,000.

MARK M.MURRAY / THE REPUBLICAN

MGM continues to defend design changes for its Springfield casino, this time before the Massachusetts Gaming Commission, which held a public meeting in the city Thursday.

Ian Douglas Photography / Yuja Wang/Facebook

The calendar has just flipped over to December, CVS has stockpiled its ineffective windshield scrapers up near the cash registers, the newspaper food sections are starting to feature hearty soup recipes, and recently for the first time in many months I found the word “sleet” in the ten-day forecast.

The latest plans by MGM Resorts International for building a casino in Springfield will be carefully scrutinized in the next few weeks by local officials and Massachusetts gaming industry regulators.  The public will also have opportunities to comment.

The city of Springfield’s Office of Planning and Economic Development has announced it has received a complete site plan application for the MGM casino project triggering a 30-day internal review and setting the stage for a public hearing by the city council within 45 days.

Connecticut's two federally recognized tribes are asking the communities interested in hosting a new casino near the Massachusetts border to move ahead with their local approval processes.

A controversial natural gas pipeline proposed to cut across Southern New Hampshire has submitted its application to Federal Regulators. 

Final plans have been filed for the MGM Springfield casino project.

The filing of the final complete site plan for the project, announced by city officials Monday, triggers a 30-day review and the requirement the City Council hold a public hearing within 45-days.

At a public presentation on the casino project in Springfield last week, the city’s deputy director of  planning, Phil Dromey said his department is anxious to complete the regulatory reviews.

" It is time really to get to the nuts and bolts of this," he said.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission is scheduled to come to Springfield on December 3 for a public meeting where officials from MGM are expected to present a comprehensive cost and design analysis of the latest plans for a casino in the city.

MGM officials say the budget to develop a resort casino in Springfield has increased to $950 million -- $150 million more than the estimated investment when the gaming commission awarded a license for the project in June 2014.

BankingBum / Wikimedia/Creative Commons

The FBI has made an arrest in connection with the theft of 16 firearms from a Massachusetts Army Reserve armory.

MGM has reaffirmed its commitment to build a resort casino in Springfield, Massachusetts and now plans to spend an additional $150 million in the project.

MGM will invest $950 million to develop the resort casino in Springfield despite design changes that reduce the size of the project, and eliminate a 25-story hotel tower.

MGM President Bill Hornbuckle announced the new budget for the project at a presentation Wednesday night for city officials and residents. 

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