Regional News

News from the region from New England Public Radio, NPR, and other NPR stations.

Gov. Charlie Baker in November of 2016.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

The failure in Washington of GOP  healthcare legislation was welcome news to Governor Charlie Baker. The Bay State Republicans said the bill would've cost Massachusetts about $1 billion a year.

As we do most Mondays, we turn to Matt Murphy of the State House News Service for an update from Beacon Hill. Matt said that even with the failure of the federal legislation, Baker's healthcare headache remains.

Millers River near Erving, Massachusetts
jkb / Creative Commons

Athol, Massachusetts, may soon build a handicapped accessible dock on the Millers River. It will allow people to paddle to an existing accessible dock, a little downstream.

The dock would enable people to move from a wheelchair to a kayak or canoe on the Millers River.

A promotional graphic used by UMass in the two days between Pat Kelsey agreeing to become the new head basketball coach -- and when he backed out of the deal.
Screen Shot / Email from UMass Athletics

No word yet from UMass on whether it will try to force Pat Kelsey to pay a $1 million buyout contained in his agreement with the school.

Kelsey signed a letter of intent  last week to lead the UMass men's basketball team, but backed out of the job just a half-hour before an introductory press conference Thursday afternoon.

UMass Athletic Director Ryan Mamford told reporters he didn't know if or when the university will get that money.

File photos / MassLive

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said he hopes a phone conversation with two Trump administration officials on Wednesday will prompt a reconsideration of a proposed budget cut.

President Trump has proposed eliminating Community Block Development Grants [CDBG] Sarno said he pressed special assistants William Kirkland and Justin Clark on why Trump would cut funds he said are critical for the city's economic development projects.

A map showing the fiber optic in western Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Broadband Institute

The operator of a state-owned broadband network in Western Massachusetts is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. And it is just the latest in a legal battle between the company and the state. The bankruptcy filing by KCTS-USA goes along with a 2014 suit it brought against the state. The company said construction delays and a dispute over how many subscribers it would have caused it financial harm. That case has yet to be resolved. KCTS operates the so-called "middle mile" network, which provides broadband to libraries, schools and town governments.

Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D) of Amherst.
File photo / State Legislature's Website

Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg said one possible change to the state's marijuana law could involve who oversees the regulation of pot sales.

Voters last year passed a legalization ballot question, which gave control of the Cannabis Control Board to the state treasurer.

Rosenberg told Boston Herald Radio, that ultimately, any changes are up to a legislative committee reviewing the law.

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont questions Neil Gorsuch during a Supreme Court confirmation hearing on March 21, 2017.
Screen Shot / C-SPAN

The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding confirmation hearings this week for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

On Tuesday, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy pressed the Trump nominee on the president's attempts to ban residents of certain Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

"A Republican congressman recently said [that] the best thing the president can do for his Muslim ban is to make sure he has Gorsuch on the Supreme Court before appeals get to that point," Leahy said.

Jamie Cushman / Daily Hampshire Gazette

As college basketball's so-called "big dance" takes a few days off, Amherst College is celebrating a national championship. The women's hoops team won the Division III title over the weekend.  Amherst knocked off conference and in-state rival Tufts 52-29 to win the championship, capping a perfect 33-0 season.  Head Coach GP Gromacki said a lot went through his mind when the final buzzer sounded in that game. "It was an unbelievable run," Gromacki said.

The campus of UMass Amherst.
File photo / The Daily Hampshire Gazette

Hate groups are on the rise in the U.S. and they increasingly see college campuses as prime recruiting ground.

UMass Amherst and Holyoke Community College are just two of dozens of college campuses to have been targeted by white nationalist propaganda in recent months. But finding the right way to respond to these groups can present a challenge to college administrators.

The spread at a gathering of the cookbook club at the Stockbridge, Mass., public library.
Carrie Healy / NEPR

Reading groups, or book clubs, are a long-standing tradition at many local libraries. But there’s a new variety: cookbook clubs.

They're part book clubs, and part pot luck gatherings. Members pick one cookbook a month, claim recipes, and make the dishes. That’s all we needed to know, before deciding to visit a meeting of the Library Cookbook Club in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

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