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Judge Michael Ponsor, holding his first novel, "The Hanging Judge," which was published in 2013.
File photo / The Republican

When Springfield federal Judge Michael Ponsor semi-retired after three decades on the bench, he started to enjoy two privileges of part time work: He could choose the type of cases he wanted, and he had a lot more time for his other professional passion, fiction writing.

A few years ago, his first legal thriller — "The Hanging Judge" — reached the New York Times bestseller list. His second — "The One-Eyed Judge" — features the same main character, Judge David Norcross, who Ponsor insists is only loosely based on himself.

State receiver Jessica L. Huizenga spoke of the Southbridge Public Schools turnaround plan on Friday, June 24, 2016.
Michelle Williams / MassLive

Massachusetts education officials must find a new leader for the Southbridge school district, following the resignation of its state-appointed receiver.

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.
State House News Service

President Donald Trump Wednesday tweeted that the military will no longer "accept or allow" transgender individuals from serving. And many elected officials  and legal advocacy groups in New England are speaking out on the ban.

Be inspired and stay strong with these Media Lab stories that explore hope by overcoming challenges. 

Wendy Barker is the poet-in-residence and the Pearl LeWinn Professor of Creative Writing at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her sixth full-length collection of poems, One Blackbird at a Time, is the winner of the John Ciardi Prize for Poetry.

Construction of the MGM casino in Springfield, Mass., as of Oct. 2016.
Don Treeger / The Republican

New legislation allowing Massachusetts casinos to serve alcohol until 4 a.m. gives them a competitive advantage over gambling facilities in several neighboring states.

With approval from regulators, the Bay State could allow casinos to serve booze several hours later than any other New England state with legal gambling.

Casinos in Connecticut and Rhode Island must stop selling alcohol at 2 a.m. on weekends, and 1 a.m. during the week. In Maine, they can serve until 1 a.m.

People playing the slot machines at the Plainridge Park Casino
Don Treeger / The Republican

As some high profile Massachusetts politicians criticize recent legislation that paves the way for casinos in the commonwealth to serve alcohol until 4 a.m., elected officials in communities where resort casinos will operate are generally supportive of the law.

The change allows the Massachusetts Gaming Commission to issue liquor licenses allowing casinos to serve alcohol to people gambling on casino floors until 4 a.m. The new time, which amounts to a two-hour extension, was included in the state budget Governor Charlie Baker signed into law.

Gov. Baker signs fiscal 2016 budget on July 17, 2015.
Antonio Caban / State House News Service

State lawmakers will be taking a closer look at the line-item vetoes made last week by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker before he signed the state's overdue $40.2 billion budget into law. A lot of the $320 million in vetoes stem from cuts Governor Baker made to MassHealth, in the hopes of getting his full package of healthcare reforms enacted.

Diahann Carroll, Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington in Paris Blues
Herman Leonard / Morrison Hotel Gallery

Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington recorded only one album together, and it was a long time in coming.  The Great Summit was made for Roulette Records in 1961, decades after these giants of jazz had come to prominence in the twenties, and several years after George Avakian proposed such a meeting for Columbia Records in 1955.

Tertulia Colby Singleton, Program Director of Holyoke Urban Bike School
Raquel Obregon / NEPR

Colby Singleton, Program Director of Holyoke Urban Bike School at the YMCA in Holyoke, joined host Raquel Obergon on Tertulia. 

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