Massachusetts Energy Secretary Discusses Year Ahead

Although renewable energy has been a big part of Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick's agenda these past six years, he said little on the issue during his state-of-the-Commonwealth address Tuesday night. But New England Public Radio's Anne Mostue spoke with the state's Secretary for Energy and Environmental Affairs Richard Sullivan about what's ahead for renewable energy development.

Springfield Crossing Guards Organize

Adult crossing guards on city streets have become an important part of school and community safety plans. And now a group of Springfield crossing guards would like more recognition. They're forming a union – taking advantage of a recent state law that's made it easier for public workers to seek collective bargaining rights.

[Ambient sound from crosswalk after school]

Martin Luther King, Jr. Honored in Springfield

One of many events commemorating Martin Luther King Day Monday took place in a Springfield shopping mall.

Local elected officials and a crowd of about 200 people gathered to listen and sing along with Springfield's Martin Luther King Charter School of Excellence choir:

[Sound of children and adults singing, "We Shall Overcome."]

Elizabeth Warren Campaigns in Western Mass

Massachusetts Democrat and candidate for U.S. Senate Elizabeth Warren made two appearances in the Western part of the state Thursday.

Warren first appeared at  a luncheon at the Westover Job Corps Center in Chicopee, talking to vocational students about their career aspirations.

Springfield Mayor Inaugurated

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno has taken the oath of office for the third time in five years.

After having served two two-year terms, Mayor Sarno now begins a four-year term. For the first time in the city's history, Springfield voters decided their mayor should serve for four years.

Drivers Urged to Take Caution on Massachusetts Roads

After several fatal car accidents in Massachusetts this week, state troopers are warning drivers to take extra caution this weekend.

State Trooper Michael Popovics says it's too soon to make comparisons with holiday weeks past, but he says there have been an alarming number of car accidents involving ejections, injuries and deaths lately.

Massachusetts Probation Scandal Spreads

A former acting chief probation officer in Western Massachusetts was arrested and charged on two federal obstruction of justice charges Wednesday as part of the federal investigation into the state probation department's hiring practices. 39-year-old Christopher Hoffman was interim chief of the probation office in Hampshire Superior Court in Northampton until he was suspended in October.

Solar Panels Appear in Springfield

Western Massachusetts Electric Company has finished building the largest solar energy facility in New England. And the 8,000 solar panels sit in an unlikely location – a residential area in Springfield.

Down a winding road in the Indian Orchard neighborhood, past a housing project and several single-family homes, is a 12-acre industrial site that now contains row after row of shiny, silver solar panels. On this gloomy day, WMECO president Peter Clarke talked about their collective productivity.

Springfield Student Athletes to Receive New Field

Student athletes in Springfield will soon have a new and vastly improved playing field. A number of organizations are helping the city purchase its first AstroTurf field, which will be built next summer.

Soccer, football and track teams from around the city all use Springfield Central High's playing field. And after a year of wet and penetrating weather, it's in rough shape, with treacherous holes and a muddy surface. Tafari Douglas is a freshman at Central High who plays varsity soccer. He says an Astroturf field will boost morale, and might improve his performance.

Realty Firm Responds to Fair Housing Complaint

A major realty company has stopped allowing mention of lead paint in its property ads – in response to complaints from fair housing advocates.

Earlier this year, the Massachusetts Fair Housing Center filed a complaint with the state against Keller Williams Realty, citing housing discrimination against families with young children. Meris Bergquist, director of the center's Holyoke office, says she receives calls almost every day from families who are unable to rent an apartment because a landlord refuses to comply with the lead paint laws.

Fuel Assistance Programs Face Cuts

With home heating oil prices up, and federal support for fuel assistance programs down, state government officials are scrambling to figure out how to make up the difference.