The sign outside St. Joseph Central High School in Pittsfield.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

Cleanup Begins At Berkshire County's Last Catholic High School

After holding classes 120 years, Berkshire County's lone Catholic high school, St. Joseph Central of Pittsfield, closed its doors last week. The school's closure was announced last fall amid sagging enrollment. And as the process has begun to clean out the building, students and staff members have largely moved on.

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A home setup for growing marijuana.
Zoboar / Creative Commons

The Massachusetts House of Representatives on Wednesday is debating a proposal to raise the tax on retail marijuana sales to 28 percent.

Lawmakers opposed to the increase said it could push buyers to the black market. However, a steep tax could also help stores that sell supplies for growing marijuana at home.

"People are not going to want to spend that kind of money when they can grow it themselves for cheaper," said Ian Back, who works at Here We Grow in Hadley.

State Representative Gailanne Cariddi died Saturday, June 17th. She  was in her 4th term representing northern Berkshire County , including North Adams and Williamstown
Massachusetts Legislature / malegislature.gov

Funeral plans are set for Thursday for Massachusetts state Representative Gailanne Cariddi . The 63- year-old North Adams Democrat died over the weekend. It's not year clear when a special election will be held to fill her seat.

It's up to House Speaker Robert DeLeo to set the special election date. His spokesperson declined comment.

A look at other special election timelines in Massachusetts shows the process could take three-to-four months once a date is chosen. This allows for gathering signatures and, if needed, a primary election.

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National & World News

One of nature's most efficient life-support systems is the egg. Eggs evolved over 300 million years ago as vertebrate animals adapted to living on land. And since then, they've taken on numerous shapes, especially among birds.

Biologists have long wondered why there are so many shapes, and what determines each one. Hummingbirds, for example, have eggs like Tic Tacs. Birds called murres produce eggs shaped like big teardrops. Some eggs are more like pingpong balls.

A North Carolina man who fired an AR-15 rifle inside a pizza restaurant in Washington, D.C., last year as he was "investigating" a baseless conspiracy theory has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Edgar Maddison Welch pleaded guilty in March to federal charges of assault with a dangerous weapon and transporting a firearm over state lines. The case is seen as a clear example of the potential real-world consequences of fake news stories.

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News Now Podcast

The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss opened June 3, 2017.
Springfield Museums / via MassLive

NEPR News Now Podcast: War Protester Woes, Nitrogen Fix, Lots Of Seuss, Library Cuts, Woodpeckers

NEPR News Now is a collection of recent features, interviews and commentaries.

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Commentary

A Four-Year-Old Helps Her Mother Speak Out

Jun 19, 2017
"Kite Fying" is a 2002 release from Grace Lin.
Courtesy / Grace Lin

Commentator and author Grace Lin recently heard her 4 year old daughter announce matter-of-factly, “I know a lot of things. I’m very smart.”

Lin agreed. But immediately added a word about the value hard work and compassion. Her daughter's response was not what Lin was expecting. 

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The Short List

A warning sign posted by opponents to a proposed toxic waste disposal site in the woods, near the Housatonic River  in Great Barrington, Mass.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

The Short List: Another Conn. Casino, Housatonic Hearing, Mascot Bill

Our panel of journalists looks at the big stories in the news. What made The Short List this week?

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Classical Music

John Nowacki and Paul Mealor
NEPR

Welsh Composer Paul Mealor and his music

Welsh composer Paul Mealor is one of the most popular choral composers today. His sacred motets, songs and cycles have been performed, broadcast and recorded by artists in the UK, USA and much further afield. Dr. Mealor stopped by the NEPR studios recently to talk about his music with John Nowacki.

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Jazz à la Mode

Tom McClung, Amherst Piano Legend, 1957-2017

To local readers who knew Tom McClung, the news of his death on Sunday at age 60 at his home in Normandy is being greeted with a combination of shock and incredulity. The pianist was a fixture on bandstands throughout the Connecticut River Valley for over twenty years before he moved to Paris in 1997, primarily to assume a permanent role with the Archie Shepp Quartet. Tom's absence left a big hole on the local scene, but he helped us maintain a hope that he was gone only temporarily by...

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More Regional News

The Rev. Tom Gerstenlauer of South Congregational Church in Springfield, explains the sanctuary decision, on June 16, 2017.
Patrick Johnson / The Republican

In Springfield, Mayor And Church Square Off Over Immigration Sanctuary

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno on Monday directed city departments to consider public safety and building code violations at South Congregational Church. That's after the church announced it intended to serve as a sanctuary for immigrants who are undocumented and face deportation.

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Mark Guglielmo on Tertulia

Tertulia's guest artist Mark Guglielmo creates large collages using thousands of photographs he took during three trips to Cuba from 2015-2017. This project chronicles the dynamic people of Cuba and their rich culture full of heart and soul.

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IN CONTRAST: Where Do Words Come From?

New England Public Radio's newest podcast, In Contrast debuts with a conversation on words and dictionaries with Peter Sokolowski, Editor-at-Large at Merriam Webster . Sokolowski is the author of many definitions for Merriam Webster.

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Media Lab Podcast

Future Uncertainties

In this episode, Allyson Morin speaks with NEPR Media Lab and Community Journalism students Kimberly Cruz and Milton Sagardia. Allyson and Milton discuss Milton's fear that budget cuts will end the Gear Up Program while Allyson and Kim explore how language barriers erode the mother-daughter relationship.

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In The Footsteps of the Great German Composers With Sunday Baroque Host Suzanne Bona Berlin * Leipzig * Dresden October 2 - 13, 2017

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Stories of immigrants and refugees in Western New England.

Words in Transit Podcast Helping Others
Beth Reynolds / NEPR

Words in Transit - Helping Others

The final episode of this series of "Words in Transit" features stories of immigrants from Bhutan and Slovenia and their work today to help other new arrivals to this country.

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