Massachusetts

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission Monday began a final review of the two competing proposals for a resort casino in greater Boston.

The Massachusetts Gaming Commission has a lot to consider when it begins hearings Monday on the two competing proposals for the sole Greater Boston casino license.

At first glance, the two look very similar. Both promise about 4,000 jobs, 500 hotel rooms and about $1 billion in casino revenue.

But as you dig into the plans, you start to see distinct selling points for each proposal, and how the developers, Mohegan Sun and Wynn Resorts, are making their case.

Mohegan Sun Seeks To Fit Into Community

The city council in Springfield, Massachusetts will hold a special meeting on whether to continue the fight over a wood-burning power plant.

Facing a Sept. 15th deadline to file an appeal to the court ruling that restored the building permit for the controversial plant, city council meeting notices have been posted for both Sept. 10 and 11.   City Councilor Tim Allen opposes the biomass plant, but is uncertain if he’ll vote to appeal last month’s decision by the Massachusetts Land Court.

Fifth in a series of profiles of the gubernatorial candidates

BOSTON — The 2014 election is Republican Charlie Baker’s second race for the corner office. Four years ago, he ran and lost to incumbent Gov. Deval Patrick by 6 points.

This time he’s running a different campaign and aiming for better results — focusing on his experience as a problem-solver, visiting urban centers, and meeting with more minority voters who traditionally vote Democrat.

A ‘Second Trip To The Plate’

A New York City-based developer unveiled plans today for a major renovation to an apartment complex in downtown Springfield.  The project was hailed by city officials as another big step in downtown’s  revitalization.

Officials with the SilverBrick group outlined plans for what they said would be a $6 million renovation of the 280-unit complex that fronts Main Street.  The extensive makeover will include luxury amenities intended to persuade people to pay market-rate rents to live in the urban center.

Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley has implemented a formal policy regarding the admission of transgender students. 

During the college's annual Convocation address on Tuesday, President Lynn Pasquerella announced that the all-women's  institution  now welcomes applications from transgender students who identify as female. 

The city council in Springfield, Massachusetts is considering whether to appeal a court ruling that reinstated the building permit for a wood-burning power plant.

Springfield City Council President Mike Fenton said he will poll the council members to determine if they want to hold a special meeting to vote on whether to appeal last months’ ruling by the Massachusetts Land Court.  Fenton said councilors met privately with an attorney this week to discuss the pros and cons of a possible appeal.

Staff Sgt. Amber E. N. Jacobs / U.S. Air Force

The Massachusetts Air National Guard has released the name of the pilot who died Wednesday when his F-15 crashed in rural Virginia. 

Henry Epp / NEPR

An F-15C jet based at the Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield, Massachusetts crashed Wednesday morning in Virginia, according to a statement from Barnes. Many details remain unclear about the crash. 

The former mayor of Pittsfield, Massachusetts has resigned from the Westfield State University Board of Trustees. University leadership has been under scrutiny for the past year.

Amid Unrest, Boston Leaders Visit Ferguson

Aug 25, 2014

Religious and community leaders from Boston are among the thousands of people in Ferguson, Missouri, for Michael Brown’s funeral. The unarmed black teenager was fatally shot by a police officer on Aug. 9.

Boston residents who have been monitoring the resulting tension between residents of the St. Louis suburb and police there are divided about whether the same sort of tensions could ever erupt in Boston.

‘Hands Up, Don’t Shoot’

A federally-funded universal free lunch program is being introduced this year in the public schools in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The Springfield Public Schools will receive $15.4 million to provide lunch daily at no charge to any student who wants it.  Springfield Superintendent of Schools Dan Warwick said the quality of the school lunches will improve with more vegetables and fruits on the menu.

A new school year begins Monday in Springfield, Massachusetts where rising standardized test scores and a falling dropout rate are seen as signs of a turnaround in the struggling public school system. A new test, based on the Common Core educational standards, will be introduced in a majority of the city’s schools next year.

The scores of last year’s MCAS tests given to Springfield school students rose across the board at a higher rate than the gain recorded by school districts statewide, and the dropout rate has fallen  more than any other school system in the state.

As the days of August tick away, many Berkshires performance venues are closing the curtains on their summer sessions.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced a milestone agreement today in the effort to bring high- speed passenger rail service to western Massachusetts.

Governor Patrick arrived in Greenfield onboard a train from North Adams to announce a tentative agreement to have the state purchase the rail line between East Northfield on the Vermont border and Springfield.  The 49-mile stretch is nearing the completion of a major restoration that will return passenger rail service to communities along the Connecticut River.

The state fair season is approaching and details have been announced for the largest fair in the Northeast. 

The Big E in West Springfield, Massachusetts will include an exhibit on the 50th anniversary of the New York World’s Fair. Entertainment headliners include ZZ Top, Darius Rucker and Little Big Town. New fun foods and different concessions will be on the fair grounds.   Big E President Gene Cassidy said last year’s record attendance of nearly 1.5 million people made it the fifth largest fair in North America.       

If you’ve turned on the TV recently, you might have noticed it’s that season again — campaign season.

Ratings show fewer folks are watching traditional television these days, but super PACs and Massachusetts gubernatorial candidates are still investing thousands of dollars in TV ads.

Perhaps that’s because, if you’re running for the corner office and you’re not on TV, political analysts suggest there’s a risk you won’t be a seen as a serious, viable candidate.

In a city where public safety consistently ranks as the top issue in public opinion polls, a veteran Springfield city councilor caused a buzz this week when he suggested people had become complacent about violence.

In an op-ed published on MassLive.com, Springfield City Councilor-at-large Tim Rooke called on the “silent majority” to speak up and help dismantle the violent drug gangs that he said are causing families to move out of Springfield and hurting businesses.

Massachusetts is launching a major effort to reach out to almost 400,000 residents who must reapply for health insurance because they were enrolled in temporary plans after the state's health care marketplace website crashed last year.

There is a new spiritual leader for the 220,000 Roman Catholics in western Massachusetts.

   56 year old Mitchell Thomas Rozanski was installed as the 9th bishop of the Springfield diocese during a nearly 2-and-a-half hour service Tuesday. The 900 seat St. Michael’s Cathedral, the mother church of the diocese in downtown Springfield was nearly filled to capacity.

It will be a big day Tuesday for the 220,000 Roman Catholics in western Massachusetts, as a new bishop takes over the Springfield Diocese.   

    In a ceremony filled with ancient symbols and rituals Mitchell Thomas Rozanski will be installed as the new bishop Tuesday at St. Michael’s Cathedral, the mother church of the diocese in downtown Springfield.

    " I am grateful to God for the call to ministry, for the call to priesthood and then this call to be the ninth Bishop of Springfield," Rozanski said Monday.

In the wake of at least nine fatal drug overdoses in Worcester in less than a week, the city is taking the problem into its own hands by trying to get those struggling with addiction the help they need.

The Massachusetts Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against the former president of Westfield State University Evan Dobelle

A complaint filed in state court in Boston Thursday by Massachusetts Atty. Gen. Martha Coakley accuses Dobelle of spending up to $100,000 in school funds on personals purchases, trips, and meals at high end restaurants. 

The suit alleges he violated state laws and university policies by knowingly submitting false claims to Westfield State for personal expenses totaling $59,000.  

Massachusetts will not be needed to shelter immigrant children who have come unaccompanied across the nation’s southern border.  An announcement by federal officials late Tuesday ended a two-week controversy that embroiled Massachusetts in the national debate over immigration reform.

Cambridge Biotech Company Asks Feds For OK On New Ebola Drug

Aug 7, 2014

A Cambridge-based biotech company is seeking approval from federal regulators to use its experimental medication on patients brought to the United States for treatment after being infected in West Africa’s deadly Ebola outbreak.

Sarepta Therapeutics says if given approval, the firm will, within a few months, have enough of the injectible drug — AVI-75370 — for up to 125 patients.

The drug aims to stop the virus from replicating, allowing the body to fight it off.

In Boston, some natives of Liberia are working to improve sanitation conditions and train health workers on the ground in their homeland, as the country and two of its neighbors battle a deadly Ebola outbreak.

A state-financed expansion of public transportation in western Massachusetts is being launched this month.

    The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority will introduce seven new bus routes, including a much demanded cross-town bus in Springfield, and a new route between Amherst and Holyoke.   There will be more hours, mostly on the weekend, on 14 routes and buses will run more frequently on 15 routes.   PVTA Administrator Mary MacInnes said ridership was up 2 percent last year.

Race For Mass. Attorney General Splits Democrats

Aug 4, 2014

Primary day is a little more than a month away, and while the gubernatorial election may be getting most of the attention, there’s actually a more competitive battle further down the ballot that’s bringing out Democratic devotees and dollars: the race for attorney general.

Shoppers in Massachusetts can look forward to a sales tax holiday later this month. The Massachusetts legislature in the closing minutes of the legislative session last week set the sales tax-free shopping days for August 16 and 17.

The sales tax holiday was included in a comprehensive economic development bill that contains dozens of programs and incentives designed to create jobs. State  Senator Gale Candaras  of  Wilbraham, who helped write the bill, acknowledges there is scant evidence the sales tax holiday does much to grow the Massachusetts economy.

Lester, Lackey Gone As Sox Deal Big At Deadline

Aug 1, 2014

“I think we’re in better position than we were a week ago.”

Thus spake Boston Red Sox General Manager Ben Cherington on Thursday evening.

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