Massachusetts

A new financing plan was announced today to accelerate the redevelopment of Union Station in Springfield, Massachusetts

       City officials said a proposed addition of $3.2 million in local funds along with a previously announced $4.2 million grant from the state will allow the transit-focused elements of the project to be completed simultaneously with tenant-ready commercial space and additional parking.

     "It is a big achievement having all the money that is now needed to get this project done," said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.

More than 400 business owners, contractors, and tradesmen packed a meeting Thursday morning to find out how to bid for work building the MGM Springfield casino. 

MGM officials outlined a construction timetable, explained hiring goals for women, minorities and veterans, and provided contact information. Hunter Clayton, MGM Resorts top construction official said building the casino, hotel, retail stores, restaurants and other amenities is a unique and special project.

MGM officials have invited contractors to a meeting this week in Springfield, Massachusetts to discuss the company’s casino construction plans.

At the public meeting Thursday at the MassMutual Convention Center, there will be a presentation about the design and the construction timetable for the $800 million development in downtown Springfield.  Chris Boss, a carpenter from West Springfield said a project of this scope is a once in a lifetime opportunity for people in the construction trades.

Heather Brandon / WNPR

Colin McEnroe has been working for an age to get Winterpills to appear on his show. A new album was recently released by the band, Echolalia, allowing WNPR a perfect reason at last to bring in members Philip Price and Flora Reed.

Expos1225 / Creative Commons

Massachusetts and Connecticut officials are riding the rails on Monday to highlight upgrades in the so-called "knowledge corridor" through southern New England. 

The Patrick administration has awarded funding to help train people for jobs in the new Massachusetts casino industry. 

Holyoke Community College is getting a $1.75 million grant to build a Center for Hospitality and Culinary Excellence that will be used in part to prepare people for casino-related jobs.  HCC President William Messner has led the effort to partner with the casino industry on workforce development.

" We see this as simply an extension of our tradition, of our mission to provide first class training for businesses and organizations."

After failing last month to repeal the state’s casino law, activists in Massachusetts may become watchdogs over the industry.

Steve Abdow, one of the leaders of the Repeal the Casino Deal campaign, said the effort to stop casinos from coming to Massachusetts ended with the crushing defeat on Election Day, but he and fellow activists are discussing other ways to stay involved.

"We  have concerns about the impacts casinos will have on our communities. That is what we all have in common and why we did our work."

Under a reorganization that started two years ago, the community colleges in Massachusetts are becoming regional workforce development centers.  Holyoke Community College is building a new facility to help meet the demand for skilled workers in the health care industry.

It's a busy time of year for turkey farmers around the country. And these days, with the growth of the local food movement, small family farms are struggling to keep up with all the orders for birds. So, we went to find out what one New England farmer is doing to get her gobblers from the field to the table. Enter the "abattoir."

Counting on casino cash, the city of Springfield, Massachusetts is planning to hire more cops.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno Thursday announced new police and fire department academies starting early next year. When the police cadets graduate next spring it will bring the number of uniform patrol officers in Springfield to more than 400 for the first time in two decades, according police Commissioner John Barbieri.

Supporters of the only Catholic high school in Springfield, Massachusetts are meeting this evening to urge the new bishop of western Massachusetts to rebuild the tornado-damaged school.

Hartford Chorale

Merry Christmas!

Oh, sorry – too soon?

Massachusetts education officials have dropped a proposal to include classroom performance evaluations as a criteria for renewing the licenses for teachers, administrators and other educators. The move came just days after newly released data gave most educators in the state high marks.

In what will most likely be his last official visit to the Berkshires, Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick took time Monday to celebrate state investments in the region.

With America Recycles Day Saturday, Massachusetts environmental officials are celebrating the Commonwealth’s new commercial food waste ban – the first statewide ban in the nation. The state’s Commissioner of Environmental Protection will visit the Red Lion Inn to see how the renowned hotel is shipping its food waste to a nearby farm.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is shutting down cod fishing, from Provincetown, Mass., up to the Canadian border, in an effort to reverse plummeting numbers of the iconic fish in the Gulf of Maine.

Starting Thursday, no fishermen — commercial or recreational — may trawl or use certain large nets that might catch cod for the next six months. Local cod fishermen, who now face an uncertain future, say the government hasn't done enough to maintain cod populations, and they challenge NOAA's cod counts.

Open enrollment at the Massachusetts health insurance exchange begins this week. State officials say there is a new – and functioning – website that people can use if they need to purchase insurance.

The Massachusetts Health Connector will launch the new online health insurance marketplace on Nov. 15th.  Thousands of people across the state who have Health Connector coverage now, or were placed in temporary plans over the last year, will have to use the new website to submit an application if they want to remain insured.

There is frustration and anger over a delay in rebuilding the only Catholic high school in Springfield, Massachusetts that was destroyed in the 2011 tornado.

   Parents and alumnae of Cathedral High School said they were blindsided by Springfield Bishop Mitchell Rozanski’s call for more study to help him make a decision on the school’s future.  Mayor Domenic Sarno said Rozanski had reneged on a pledge made by his now retired predecessor to rebuild the high school in the same neighborhood where it had stood since 1959

The introduction of Las Vegas-style gambling to Massachusetts will proceed at a more rapid pace now that a major hurdle has been cleared.  Voters soundly defeated a ballot question to repeal the 2011 casino law.  

   With the cloud of uncertainty caused by the repeal vote lifted, The Massachusetts Gaming Commission meeting in Boston Thursday voted unanimously to formally award licenses to build and operate full-scale destination casinos to MGM Resorts for the company’s Springfield project and to Wynn Resorts in greater Boston.  

MGM Springfield

By a 20 percent margin, voters in Massachusetts refused to repeal the state’s casino law. The defeat of the ballot question comes as a relief to those bankrolling projects that were approved in three different Massachusetts communities.

Republican Charlie Baker will be the next governor of Massachusetts. He beat Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley. It was a close race down to the end.

It appears Republican Charlie Baker will be the next governor of Massachusetts, beating Democratic Attorney General Martha Coakley. Baker gave what was short of a victory speech in the early morning hours Wednesday.

Massachusetts Voters Clear Path for Springfield Resort Casino

Nov 5, 2014
Mark M. Murray / The Springfield Republican

Massachusetts ballot Question 3, which would have repealed the state’s casino law, was soundly defeated by voters Tuesday.

Americans alone, on average, throw out about 20 pounds of food a month, most of it hauled away with the trash.

In October, Massachusetts began telling any institution — like businesses, colleges and hospitals — that produces large amounts of food waste: Not in our landfill. Massachusetts law now says that if you throw out more than a ton of food waste a month, it can't go to a landfill.

Greg Saulmon / Springfield Republican

With the latest polls showing more voters favor supporting Massachusetts’ casino law than repealing it, New England Public Radio asked people in downtown Springfield how they will vote. 

Thousands Say Goodbye To Menino At Faneuil

Nov 4, 2014

Thousands turned out Sunday, braving wind, rain and the first snowfall of the season to pay their final respects to former Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino as he lay in repose at Faneuil Hall.

They came as early as 8 a.m., lining up both inside and out of Faneuil Hall to pay their final respects to the longest serving mayor in Boston’s history.

A poll released Friday by Western New England University shows strong voter support for keeping the Massachusetts casino law.

The survey found 59 percent of  likely voters plan to vote against repeal of the law that legalized Las Vegas-style gambling and authorized the licensing of casinos in Massachusetts. Just 35 percent say they’ll vote yes on Question 3 on Tuesday’s election ballot.  Polling institute director Tim Vercellotti said the gap has grown since September, when a casino industry backed campaign launched a blitz of  TV ads.

Henry Epp / NEPR

In a few days, Massachusetts voters will decide whether to keep the state’s casino law in place, or repeal it.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick highlighted his administration’s success over the last eight years in job growth and economic development during an address to a business group in Springfield today.  The speech at a breakfast sponsored by the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield comes as voters are less than a week away from picking his successor.

mgmspringfield.com

Massachusetts voters will get to decide a question on the ballot next week that’s of great interest to Connecticut. Opponents of the state’s law allowing casino gambling have placed a question that asks voters if they want to repeal the measure. 

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