Massachusetts

The top executive from MGM Resorts International reaffirmed his commitment to the Massachusetts casino project in Springfield this week and apologized for a communications breakdown with City Hall over a proposal to reduce the scope of the development. He also said more changes are in store for the $800 million project, but nothing he would consider major.

MGM Springfield

The head of MGM Resorts said the company made a mistake by not communicating a 14 percent reduction in size of the casino project to Springfield leaders.

After what Mayor Domenic Sarno described as “a frank discussion”, he said he accepts MGM’s apology for not giving him a heads-up about the casino design changes. MGM Resorts CEO Jim Murren took the blame.

People entering North Adams will soon see new signs that highlight the past, present and future of Massachusetts’ smallest city.

Springfield Mayoral Campaign Drags to a Finish

Oct 29, 2015
Wikimedia

Many voters will head to the polls November 3 for local elections. There are tight races for mayor in some area cities. That doesn't appear to be the case in Springfield, where eight-year incumbent Domenic Sarno is being challenged by Sal Circosta, a relative political newcomer.

This could be a pivotal week as officials in Springfield, Massachusetts determine how they will respond to the proposed downsizing of the casino planned by MGM Resorts.  The City Council is holding a special meeting this evening. City officials have invited top MGM officials to a meeting later in the week to explain the proposed changes.

For the pious Puritans of early America, witchcraft was a crime of the highest order.

Back then, the term "witch hunt" was not just an expression: In 1692, 19 women and men were hanged and one pressed to death with stones after being found guilty of witchcraft.

In her book The Witches, author Stacy Schiff follows the buildup of fear and outrageous tales of consorting with the devil. The witch trials were set in motion by two young Salem girls in the grip of strange and disturbing symptoms.

Springfield City Council Reacts to MGM Changes

Oct 22, 2015
Karen Brown / NEPR

Most members of Springfield’s city council are expressing grave doubts about the credibility of MGM-Springfield, following the company’s decision to shrink its casino project by 14 percent.

MGM wants to shrink by 14 percent its proposed resort casino development in Springfield, Massachusetts. The proposal surprised and angered the city’s mayor, who has been one of the project’s biggest boosters.

More controversial changes have been proposed in the MGM casino project planned in downtown Springfield

MGM Springfield President Mike Mathis described the latest changes that will reduce the scope of the project by 14 percent as “tweaks.”

He said MGM will still spend in excess of $800 million to build the resort casino and he said the downsizing, will not impact jobs and projected revenue.

" So, we believe the project we are going to deliver will continue to evolve and will be a world class project," said Mathis.

Springfield, Massachusetts city officials were blindsided by the proposed downsizing of the MGM casino project. 

Springfield city officials Tuesday said they are concerned about the potential impact on revenue and jobs from the 14 percent reduction in the scope of the casino project.  Most of the downsizing is planned on the retail and entertainment side, not the gambling floor. 

Mayor Domenic Sarno vowed to hold MGM to its promises to deliver thousands of jobs and $25 million annually to the city.

MGM is scaling down the size of the proposed resort casino project in Springfield, Massachusetts

MGM is reducing the size of the project by 122,000 square feet according to a revised environmental impact report filed with the state.  

Although no change is planned in the size of the casino gambling floor there would be downsizing in the retail, dining and entertainment parts of the project.

Earlier MGM scrapped a planned 25-story hotel.

Springfield City Council President Mike Fenton said once again city leaders were caught off guard by MGM.

More technology is being put into fighting crime in Springfield, Massachusetts. The city’s police department will become the first in the Northeast to use a system that developers say allows for true real-time crime analysis.

Every day in the court system, people are asked to inform on others when they don’t want to do so. Sometimes, the choices are especially stark, as is the case when people are ordered to testify or else face being sentenced to prison: contempt of court.

Could a Boston Red Sox affiliate minor league baseball team someday play in a brand new stadium in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts?    As one city official said, “Don’t be afraid to dream.”

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno has had discussions with the managing general partner of the Pawtucket Red Sox about relocating the Triple-A team from its longtime Rhode Island home to Springfield.

"There has been talk and chatter and I am open to formal discussions," said Sarno.

MGM executives plan to update city officials within 30 days on the Springfield casino project.

MGM said in a news release Wednesday there would be updates on historic preservation discussions, concepts for a new marquee, and developments in offsite housing. 

Last month, MGM shook up city officials with a new design that eliminated a 25-story hotel from the $800 million project. 

City Council President Mike Fenton said MGM has to sweeten the deal with the city, to get the council to OK the new plan.

Ali Hasbauch

As a toddler, Frank Vignola would sit for hours on the floor in the living room right up close to his father’s bulky, state-of-the-art stereo, totally mesmerized by the enchanting guitar sounds of Les Paul and Bucky Pizzarelli magically wafting out of the imposing twin speakers that towered above him. 

The Environmental Protection Agency has updated its cleanup plan for the Housatonic River, which was contaminated by chemicals from Pittsfield’s General Electric facility.

Wynn Resorts

The battle between casino developer Steve Wynn and the city of Boston is intensifying, with Wynn filing a libel lawsuit against an unidentified foe. 

The president of the Springfield, Massachusetts City Council isn’t giving up on getting a popular vote on MGM’s controversial casino redesign.

City Council President Mike Fenton said he’ll appeal to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to order a binding voter referendum on the proposed new design for the Springfield casino.

Fenton said MGM’s plan to eliminate a 25-story hotel from the project substantially changes the host community agreement Springfield voters approved two years ago.

A top official with MGM Resorts International Monday pledged the company’s strong commitment to building a casino in Springfield. MGM upped the ante by announcing plans to take a former school department building off the city’s hands and redevelop it.

Michael S. Gordon / Springfield Republican

Bernie Sanders brought his campaign for the presidency to Massachusetts this weekend, speaking in Boston and Springfield. In a speech Saturday to a crowd of about 6,000 at the MassMutual Center, the U.S. senator from Vermont addressed an issue he hasn’t talked about much: gun control.

“I can look out my window next to my desk and see where my grandfather was born on Ferry Street and where my mother was born on Garden Court Street,” says the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. “My father was born on Meridian Street in East Boston.”

Those words are from a Kennedy oral history, recorded in 2005 by scholars from the University of Virginia.

A top executive with MGM Resorts International will be in Springfield next week to publically assure the company’s commitment to build a casino in the city.

A private meeting between MGM President Bill Hornbuckle and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, with a press conference to follow, was arranged after MGM disclosed plans to eliminate a 25-story hotel tower from its planned casino and substitute a more modest hotel design. 

“Skyrocketing” construction costs were blamed for the change. 

There will be no voter referendum on the controversial changes proposed in the design of the MGM Springfield casino.

Springfield City Council President Mike Fenton, who had hoped to put a non-binding question on the municipal election ballot to gauge public opinion on MGM’s plan to eliminate the high-rise hotel from the casino project, withdrew his resolution.

" We ran out of time," said Fenton.  " I think it is unfortunate because I believe it deserved further review and consideration."

Do You Know Where Your Cheese Comes From?

Sep 30, 2015

Americans love cheese. According to the USDA, we ate about 34 pounds of cheese per person last year. But how often do we think about who makes our cheese, or about its journey from France or Vermont to our crackers?

Well, some local cheese mongers are waging a campaign to raise awareness about cheese origins, cheese integrity and cheese abuse.

A Subterranean Education

The former estate of Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Edith Wharton is debt free for the first time in decades.

Wynn Resorts Holdings, LLC

The city of Boston has filed another lawsuit in its attempts to derail a planned $1.7 billion casino in neighboring Everett.

His ambulance sirens blaring and several police scanners transmitting information simultaneously, Boston Emergency Medical Services Deputy Superintendent Edmund Hassan is speeding to a call that someone is unconscious. Because his workers administer the overdose reversal drug naloxone (more commonly known by its brand name, Narcan) about three times a night, he suspects it’s an opioid overdose.

The radios crackle, and it’s confirmed: an overdose. Additional workers are dispatched to the scene.

A last- ditch court fight will be waged by opponents of a proposed wood-burning power plant in western Massachusetts.

The  Springfield City Council, with the bare minimum of seven councilors present to be able to conduct business, voted unanimously at a special meeting Friday morning to appeal to the state’s highest court the decisions of lower courts that directed the city to issue a building permit to Palmer Renewable Energy.

Voters in Springfield may get a chance to weigh- in on the controversial changes proposed for MGM’s resort casino project. 

Springfield City Councilors at a special meeting Tuesday will consider adding a non-binding referendum to the Nov. 3 election ballot. 

The question proposed by council president Mike Fenton asks if voters support changing the development agreement between MGM and the city to eliminate a high-rise glass façade hotel from the casino project.

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