On a recent sunny spring day, MIT students were lined up at a table grabbing ice cream sundaes, milk and cookies, and, if they were interested, an embrace.

“Yes, giving away ice cream and now hugs,” explained MIT parent Sonal Patel, of Cambridge, as she embraced Miguel Mendez, a native of Mexico who is doing post-doctoral research at MIT.

“It’s always good to know that people around the campus actually care about you as a person,” Mendez said. “This being an institution that expects a lot from you, it can really pass a toll on you sometimes.”

The owners of apartment buildings in Holyoke that are deemed to be “hot spots” for criminal activity will receive letters warning they must develop a security plan in collaboration with the local police or risk losing the building to receivership and possibly face criminal charges.

At a Holyoke City Hall press conference Monday, Mayor Alex Morse and Police Chief James Neiswanger held up a letter printed on red paper stock that was sent to the owner of a 40-unit apartment building where police were called more than 250 times in a six- month period last year. 

It’s hard to miss Janet Echelman’s massive new public art project on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. The award-winning Brookline resident’s 2,000-pound sculpture is suspended between three skyscrapers and appears to be floating above the park.

It was no small feat to install the Greenway Conservancy’s latest effort in its quest to bring more ambitious public art to Boston.

The Massachusetts Commissioner of Elementary and Secondary Education, Mitchell Chester, is in Holyoke today.  It is his first visit since a state education board voted earlier this week to put the city’s public schools under state control.

       Two finalists have been announced in the search for the next president of the University of Massachusetts.

       Martin Meehan, the chancellor of UMass Lowell and John Quelch, a Harvard Business School professor are the finalists to be the next leader of the five campus UMass system.  

      University spokesman Robert Connolly said the two were recommended by a search committee at a meeting Thursday in Boston.

Former Westfield State University President Evan Dobelle has agreed to settle a lawsuit brought by the Massachusetts Attorney General that accused him of spending taxpayer money for personal travel and purchases.

      Dobelle has agreed to pay the state $185,000.  He would also withdraw a lawsuit he filed against the university claiming breach of contract and demanding payment of his legal bills. 

        In the settlement, which is still subject to approval by a state judge, Dobelle would admit no wrongdoing.  

Adam Frenier / NEPR

On two recent occasions, stray bullets have hit buildings on the campus of American International College in Springfield, Massachusetts. But the school’s president said the campus is safe regardless.

Catie Talarski / WNPR

The town of Chicopee, Massachusetts first reported Polish settlers in 1880. It was the beginning of an influx of immigrants to the Connecticut River Valley to work as farmers and factory workers. 

Stanislaw, or Stas, Radosz is working to keep that history alive at the Polish Center for Discovery and Learning.

A full-fledged Democratic trade war has broken out.

"I love Elizabeth. We're allies on a whole host of issues, but she's wrong on this," President Obama said Tuesday night in an interview on MSNBC's Hardball with Chris Matthews, referring to liberal Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is "unrepentant and unchanged."

That's what a prosecutor told jurors on Tuesday as they weighed whether the 21-year-old convicted in the bombings that killed three people and left 264 others wounded should get the death penalty.

NPR's Tovia Smith reports that the prosecution presented jurors with four large portraits of the victims and one photo of Tsarnaev giving the middle finger to a security camera in his jail cell.

Nearly a million people will line the streets to watch the Boston Marathon on Monday, and someone else will be watching them. Bill Ridge with the Boston Police says video surveillance is a big part of the security plan.

"We've got a lot of cameras out there," he says. "We're going to be watching the portions in Boston — particularly the routes along Boylston Street, the finish line."

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has awarded a contract for a major highway project in western Massachusetts.

JF White-Schiavone of Framingham submitted the lowest bid this week to rebuild the two-mile long elevated portion of Interstate 91 through downtown Springfield. 

The project is expected to cost $183 million and take three years.  There will be detours and ramp closings during the work, which is expected to start this summer.

Aaron Hernandez, whose rise to elite status in the NFL was ended by charges that he shot and killed a man, has been found guilty of first-degree murder. In 2013, Hernandez was accused of killing the boyfriend of his fiancee's sister.

The verdict comes on the seventh day of a jury's deliberations on counts that ranged from murder to gun and ammunition charges. As the findings were read in a Fall River, Mass., courtroom, Hernandez sat between his lawyers and occasionally shook his head.

A moment of silence, a call for kindness and the pealing of the city's church bells will be the hallmarks of Boston's events noting the second anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing on Wednesday.

The moment of silence will be observed at 2:49 p.m. ET, the time when the first of two devastating bombs went off in the crowds gathered to watch the marathon in 2013.

In the days after the Boston Marathon bombings, the One Fund charity set up for victims and their families collected more than $20 million, eventually distributing almost four times that amount.

Now those victims, including some who received more than $1 million, have formed their own charities to benefit others.

Joseph / Creative Commons

After more than two hours of debate on Tuesday, the Holyoke, Massachusetts City Council voted against a plan to create a Polish historic district in town. 

It’s a debate that’s been going on for four years -- involving passionate community members, the local Catholic Diocese, and city government. The proposal would have created a historic district that includes 21 residential and commercial properties centered around a 114-year-old church. 

A jury in Boston has found 21-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev guilty on all counts related to the 2013 bombings of the Boston Marathon. The twin bombings, carried out with his older brother, Tamerlan, killed three people and left 264 others wounded.

The fate of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev is in the hands of the jury that is deciding whether to convict the 21-year-old who has admitted to being the Boston Marathon bomber.

MGM Resorts International

A study, paid for by Connecticut’s two tribal casinos, estimates out-of-state competition could soon divert $703 million a year from Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods. 

The two are seeking to bolster their case for legislation that would allow three new gaming sites within the state, as a way to fight back against new facilities in Massachusetts. 

Updated at 5:16 p.m. ET

Prosecutors and lawyers for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev made their closing arguments Monday, the final step before the jury decides whether to convict the accused Boston Marathon bomber.

"There was nothing about this day that was a twist of fate," Assistant U.S. Attorney Aloke Chakravarty told the jurors. "This was a cold, calculated terrorist act. This was intentional. It was bloodthirsty. It was to make a point. It was to tell America that 'We will not be terrorized by you anymore. We will terrorize you.'"

Banco Carregosa / Creative Commons

Two men from Massachusetts and Connecticut have been charged in an insider trading scheme that prosecutors say netted more than $1 million. 

Boston 2024

A public meeting in Springfield on Thursday heard ideas on the role that western Massachusetts might play as Boston continues its bid for the 2024 Olympic Games. 

Some state lawmakers have said there should be sports venues located outside the Boston area. Rick Sullivan, president and CEO of the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council, is working on the proposal to officials with Boston 2024. 

After 16 days of testimony, the trial of admitted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will resume on Monday with closing arguments. The defense rested its case Tuesday, just a day after it called its first witness.

The defense rested its case on Tuesday for admitted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev after just a few hours of testimony. The defense called four people to testify compared to the 92 called by prosecutors.

Tsarnaev's lawyers have admitted he did what he's accused of doing. Their single aim is to try to cast Tsarnaev as less in charge than his brother Tamerlan — who died while they were running from authorities — and therefore less deserving of the death penalty if it gets to that.

After presenting emotional testimony about the the physical damage one of the bombs inflicted on 8-year-old Martin Richard, the prosecution rested in its case against admitted Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev.

NPR's Tovia Smith is inside the court room and she's been Tweeting about the trial. She reports:

After that testimony, Tsarnaev's defense attorneys did not have any questions, so the prosecution rested its case.

The AP reports:

Bill Dickinson / Flickr

The new route for passenger rail through the Pioneer Valley in western Massachusetts is exceeding expectations, according to numbers from Amtrak.

The service shifted west in late December, which eliminated a stop in Amherst, and added new ones in Northampton and Greenfield. 

MGM Springfield

MGM broke ground on an $800 million casino in downtown Springfield, Massachusetts on Tuesday.

Company officials -- including Mike Mathis, MGM Springfield president; Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno; and state Gaming Commission Chairman Stephen Crosby -- were all in attendance.

A brutally cold season that featured buried cars and bizarre warnings, culminated Sunday night as this winter officially became Boston's snowiest ever.

As Dan Guzman of member station WBUR tells our Newscast unit, snow that fell Sunday night pushed the city past the seasonal record set 19 years ago:

A blighted tornado-damaged building on Main Street in Springfield, Massachusetts will soon come under the wrecker’s ball. 

Springfield city officials will formally announce Monday the demolition of a former auto parts store, that was the scene of a recent natural gas leak that forced a temporary closure of several streets and precautionary evacuations.  The city seized the building for non-payment of taxes, but could not find an interested buyer for redevelopment.  Mayor Domenic Sarno is pursuing a blight reduction strategy.

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s office is investigating missing cash from the evidence room of the Springfield Police Department.

    Springfield Police Commissioner John Barbieri said a preliminary investigation began last month when the department was unable to locate U.S. currency that had been seized in now closed criminal cases. He did not say how much cash is unaccounted for. 

The investigation so far has not turned up any other missing evidence or property such as narcotics or guns.