Massachusetts

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. 

Wikipedia

New England doesn’t need more natural gas pipelines to maintain reliable energy supply levels in the coming years, according to a study by an economic and financial consulting company.

Gage Skidmore flickr.com/photos/gageskidmore / Creative Commons

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said he expects to do "great" with Muslim voters. Trump told reporters before a rally in Worcester, Massachusetts that he's confident he'll win over Muslims in addition to Hispanic voters because he's talking about security issues. 

In the wake of the terror attacks in Paris, a group of local Muslim women gathered in Copley Square Wednesday to mourn the victims.

About two dozen women gathered for what organizers called a “silent vigil” near the steps of the Boston Public Library in Copley Square. They stood in a line, quietly, carrying red roses and signs with messages like “Love trumps evil,” “Pray for the world” and “Spread hope.”

Springfield leaders have invited representatives of MGM Resorts to a public conference to explain recent changes to its $800 million casino project. 

The Tiverton Town Council is slated to hold a public hearing Monday on Twin River’s Tiverton casino proposal. 

Twin River wants to build a two-story, 85-thousand square foot casino in a remote part of Tiverton very close to the Massachusetts border. The council may vote to support the plan, or it could wait to vote on it at another time.

A crowd gathered on Boston Common early Sunday afternoon to express their support of and solidarity with the people of France following Friday’s deadly attacks in Paris.

Terageorge / Creative Commons

An FBI spokeswoman said some weapons have gone missing following a break-in at an Army Reserve center in central Massachusetts.

The highest court in Massachusetts has effectively cleared the way for construction of a wood-burning power plant in Springfield. Plant opponents see their last hope in the hands of a local health board.

The state Supreme Judicial Court this month declined to take up an appeal of two lower court decisions that directed the city to issue a building permit for the proposed $150 million biomass plant on Springfield’s eastside.  The project had been tied up in litigation for more than five years.

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