Remembering Ella Fitzgerald, Who Made Great Songs Greater

Ella Fitzgerald , who would have turned 100 Tuesday, was one of the most beloved and versatile singers of the 20th century. In a career that spanned six decades, Fitzgerald recorded hundreds of songs, including definitive versions of many standards. Along the way, she influenced generations of singers. But the first thing that strikes you about Fitzgerald is that voice. Cécile McLorin Salvant , who won a Grammy last year for Best Jazz Vocal Album, says a combination of qualities made...

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The Massachusetts State House in Boston
Henry Epp / NEPR

It's budget week for the Massachusetts House. Representatives will consider about 1,200 amendments that were tacked on to the spending proposal for next year. The first measures up for debate will be tax and revenue proposals.

Reporter Matt Murphy of the State House News Service explained to us how this annual process works.

A timber rattlesnake in Berkshire County, Masachusetts.
Patrick Randall / Creative Commons

The proposal to create a protected habitat for timber rattlesnakes on an island in the Quabbin Reservoir is suspended, but still on the table. That's according to Joseph Larson, the chair of the Massachusetts Fisheries and Wildlife Board.

Larson said in a Thursday interview that the board's vote this week was based on a review committee's recommendation to instead examine all the rattlesnake populations from greater Boston to the Connecticut River Valley and the Berkshires.

"That's probably what we should have done in the first place," Larson said.

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National & World News

A liberal watchdog group says Jared Kushner, who is both President Trump's son-in-law and an adviser with far-reaching duties, should recuse himself from working on a sweeping array of tax, financial and foreign policy issues.

President Trump has chosen Randolph "Tex" Alles to lead the U.S. Secret Service, turning to an outsider to head the beleaguered agency tasked with protecting the president and his family.

A retired Marine Corps general, Alles is currently acting deputy commissioner of customs and border protection. He is the first Secret Service director in recent history not to come from within the ranks — a step many congressional critics have said is necessary to remake the service's culture.

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News Now Podcast

The former Southbridge High School, now home to administrative offices for the school district.
Henry Epp / NEPR

NEPR News Now Podcast: Prison Mental Health, School Takeover Report Card, Fighting For Odd-Sounding

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

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Commentary

Toni Stone meeting her idol, boxer Joe Louis, c.1949.
MINNESOTA HISTORICAL SOCIETY  / CREATIVE COMMONS

The Red Sox open the season Monday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Fans will head to Fenway for the 2:05 p.m. first pitch. Commentator Martha Ackmann says one of baseball's greatest fans was a player you've probably never heard of. 

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Jazz à la Mode

Creative Commons

J. Geils, 1946-2017, Rocker with Blues and Swing Sensibilities

Jay Geils died on April 11 at his home in Groton, Massachusetts, at age 71, from what police determined were natural causes. The guitarist lent his name to one of the hardest-working and most popular rock bands of the 1970s and '80s, and his death is making headlines everywhere. While Geils was born in New York and raised in New Jersey, the J. Geils Band got its start in Worcester, where Geils and Magic Dick and bassist Danny Klein attended WPI and first teamed together in a campus-based jug...

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Classical Music

Du Yun Wins Music Pulitzer For 'Angel's Bone'

Du Yun, a 39-year-old composer, musician and performance artist, today won the Pulitzer Prize for music for her opera Angel's Bone . The Pulitzer jury describes the piece as a bold work "that integrates vocal and instrumental elements and a wide range of styles into a harrowing allegory for human trafficking in the modern world." Angel's Bone , which has a libretto by the versatile Royce Vavrek (Missy Mazzoli's Breaking the Waves and David T. Little's Dog Days ), was commissioned by New York...

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The Short List

A timber rattlesnake in Berkshire County, Masachusetts.
Patrick Randall / Creative Commons

The Short List: Drug Lab Scandal Fallout, Snake Island Suspension, 'West Mass' Redo

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

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More Regional News

Biologist Patricia Brennan examines an orca whale penis in her lab at Mount Holyoke College.
Karen Brown / NEPR

New England Scientists Enter Political Fray To Defend Odd-Sounding Science

The national March for Science on April 22 – and satellite events around New England – mark a departure for many scientists. Until recently, they did not consider political activism part of their job.

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College Connection

Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts

Noam Chomsky Weighs Our Prospects for Survival

Noam Chomsky is Institute Professor Emeritus at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The world renowned linguist has lectured and written extensively on the subject, as he has on philosophy, politics, international affairs and numerous others. Chomsky was invited by the UMass Amherst Political Economy Research Institute to speak on the existential threats posed by nuclear weaponry and climate change. His talk, “Prospects for Survival,” was recorded on April 13 th , 2017 at UMass Amherst.

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Stories of immigrants and refugees in Western New England.

Words in Transit Podcast
Beth Reynolds / NEPR

Words in Transit - Opportunities & Validation

Educational and professional opportunities brought many to the U.S. On episode 13, we hear stories from a man from Spain and one from Argentina.

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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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