Henry Epp

Morning Edition Host/Reporter

Henry has hosted Morning Edition on New England Public Radio since 2014. He began working with the station as an intern in 2011, and later became a reporter and frequent fill-in host of All Things Considered.
     Henry’s reporting has focused on a variety of topics, including state and local politics, economic development, energy and the arts. His feature stories have received two awards from Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI).
     Henry is a graduate of Hampshire College, and occasionally plays the baritone saxophone.

Ways to Connect

The Franklin County House of Correction in Greenfield, Mass.
Henry Epp / NEPR

Earlier this week, a federal judge blocked President Donald Trump's executive order to withhold funding from so-called sanctuary cities. These cities, including some in our region, have explicitly said they won't comply with requests from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to hold detainees.

At the same time, some local prisons are holding inmates on behalf of ICE, including the Franklin County House of Correction in Greenfield, Massachusetts. 

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 screenshot from the West Mass branding video.
Video by Steve Porter / PORTERHOUSE MEDIA

Booster organizations for western Massachusetts are pausing their rollout of a new brand for the region. "West Mass" was chosen earlier this year as a new name for the Pioneer Valley, the region made up of Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties.

The new moniker, commissioned by the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council, was geared toward attracting tourists and new businesses to the region.

But closer to home, "West Mass" did not go over well.

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

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.

The Massachusetts State House in Boston.
Henry Epp / NEPR

Prosecutors in Massachusetts have to make some decisions by Tuesday. That's their deadline to decide whether to follow through with the thousands of cases that were tainted by the 2012 scandal at a state drug lab, where a chemist repeatedly falsified her analysis of evidence. Many of the cases could be thrown out.

We spoke to reporter Matt Murphy of the State House News Service. He said 24,000 convictions may have been compromised.

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

The film "A Quiet Passion" opens in theaters Friday. It's a period piece about the life of poet Emily Dickinson, who lived in Amherst, Massachusetts. Parts of the movie were filmed outside her former home in town. The film is directed by Terence Davies, and stars Cynthia Nixon, best known for her role on "Sex and the City."

Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo
Dave Roback / The Springfield Republican

The next Massachusetts budget moves ahead this week, as the House Ways and Means Committee releases its version today.

This comes two-and-a-half months after Governor Charlie Baker put out his budget proposal. As we do most Mondays, we spoke to reporter Matt Murphy of the State House News Service. He said the House budget is likely to put more money toward local aid for cities and towns than Governor Baker's plan. 

Herman Paul Cumby, one of the four men who say a group of off-duty Springfield police officers attacked them on April 8, 2015.
Dan Glaun / MassLive

New details were made public this week in a case in Springfield in an alleged fight between several city residents and a group of off-duty police officers outside a bar in 2015.

An internal investigation by the Springfield Police was obtained by MassLive reporter Dan Glaun. 

RELATED: Report reveals missing video, contradictory testimony in case of alleged Springfield police beating

The Massachusetts State House in Boston.
Henry Epp / NEPR

It's April, and we're now about three months into a new legislative session in Massachusetts, but there's not much to show for it. However, lawmakers have been holding hearings on Governor Charlie Baker's budget proposal, and those will wrap up this week.

For all things Beacon Hill, we spoke with State House News Service reporter Matt Murphy, as we do most Mondays. The Massachusetts House is next in line to put out a budget recommendation. Murphy said we can expect to see that in the next few weeks.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno speaks during a press conference on the MGM construction site on March 29, 2017.
Henry Epp / NEPR

The head of MGM Springfield said Wednesday that he's not concerned about the possible impact online gambling could have on the casino business. The potential legalization of online gambling was the subject of a hearing at the Massachusetts state house this week.

"We think brick-and-mortars can co-exist with online. But it's got to be like anything else," Mathis said. "It's got to be studied, regulated and evaluated and they need our input -- they need the industry's input."

Mathis said MGM would look to operate online gambling in Massachusetts if it becomes legal.

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