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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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.

A syringe.
ZaldyImg / Creative Commons

There's legal uncertainty at this hour about whether Arkansas will be allowed to go ahead with a pair of executions Thursday night. Eight executions had been scheduled to begin on Monday -- and there have been conflicting court decisions since then.

While this has been playing out in court, a western Massachusetts folk singer has been playing a song he wrote called "Eight Men Dying."

Tom Neilson of Greenfield, Mass., is on tour now. He said he played a few gigs in Arkansas earlier this month.

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National & World News

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Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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News Now Podcast

Cynthia Nixon as Emily Dickinson in "A Quiet Passion."
Music Box Films

NEPR News Now Podcast: Refugees' Mental Health, Du Bois' Great Barrington Church, Dickinson's Biopic

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?

Read More

More Regional News

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

Under State Control, Are Southbridge Schools Improving?

Back in January, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker took a moment in his State of the Commonwealth address to mention struggling school districts that have been taken over by the state, a process known as receivership. "We encourage the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to continue to use this tool," Baker said. No more districts have been taken over since then, but there are currently three under state leadership: Lawrence, Holyoke and the most recent, Southbridge, a town of about 16,000 people in the central part of the state, on the border with Connecticut.

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College Connection

Patrice Rushen
Ben Alman / Creative Commons

Teaching Popular Music In Institutions Of Higher Learning

Patrice Rushen chairs the Popular Music Program at the University of Southern California’s Thornton School of Music. Although her early training was in classical music, she is a jazz pianist and R&B singer perhaps best known for her popular music of the ‘70s and ‘80s. A four-time Grammy nominee, Rushen has also composed scores for television and film. Rushen was invited to Amherst College to talk about why USC started the Popular Music Program and how it fills an underserved artistic need...

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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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