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House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran, left, and state Rep. Thomas M. Petrolati, D-Ludlow, share a laugh during a political fundraiser in 2004.
Christopher Evans / The Republican file photo

Former Massachusetts House Speaker Tom Finneran will be stripped of his pension after a ruling Wednesday by the state's highest court.

Finneran, a Boston Democrat, pleaded guilty in 2007 to obstruction of justice. He gave false testimony in a law suit over a legislative redistricting plan.

Each year billions of pounds of food go to waste. That means billions of dollars, too. The Environmental Protection Agency says more food reaches landfills and incinerators than any other one material in our trash. And for supermarkets, that leftover food equates to lost dollars.

The Lord Jeffery Inn is owned by Amherst College.
Karen Brown / NEPR

With the selection of the Mammoths as the new school mascot, Amherst College has mostly closed the book on the controversial "Lord Jeff." One exception: a hotel owned by the school.

It's been 14 months since Amherst College decided to get rid of the mascot and rename the Lord Jeffery Inn, which sits next to the town common.

Lord Jeffery Amherst was a British general who suggested biological warfare against Native Americans.

Farmer Caroline Pam's booth at the Greenfield Farmers Market, in 2014.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

A new state program starting this month will offer a financial incentive to Massachusetts residents on limited incomes to eat more locally grown fruits and vegetables.

Graphic of an Amherst College baseball cap on the skeleton of a Columbian mammoth, which is on display at the school's natural history museum.
Screen shot from mascot video / Amherst College

Amherst College said its new mascot will be the Mammoths. The selection replaces Lord Jeff -- which the school's board banished from campus 14 months ago.

The search for a new mascot followed protests on campus last school year. One demand from protesters was to get rid of Lord Jeff, named after Lord Jeffery Amherst, a British General who suggested using biological warfare against Native Americans.

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.

Fire quickly consumed the building at 106 North East Street in Holyoke on Jan. 1, 2017.
Dave Canton / The Republican

A fire on New Years' Day in Holyoke left three dead. Some survivors have filed a lawsuit, saying negligence was involved.

State fire safety investigators determined that faulty wiring was the cause of the blaze, which destroyed a four-story apartment building. And they found that the alarm was not connected to a monitoring company, which could have alerted the Holyoke Fire Department.

A warning sign posted by opponents to a proposed toxic waste disposal site in the woods, near the Housatonic River  in Great Barrington, Mass.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

General Electric and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are battling over the last stretch of the PCB clean-up of the Housatonic River in Massachusetts from Pittsfield through Great Barrington.

GE is appealing the government’s clean-up plan, which is estimated to cost $613 million over 15 years. One big issue is where to put the toxic PCBs that are dug up from the river.

A winter storm hit Pittsfield, Mass., on March 14, 2017.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

If forecasters are correct, March won't exactly be going out like a lamb. The winter storm expected to hit New England Friday will further strain the Massachusetts Department of Transportation's budget.

The Massachusetts fiscal year 2017 budget includes $62 million for snow and ice removal. By law, state transportation officials are allowed to go $50 million over

MassDOT said it was already up against that cap two weeks ago and will work with lawmakers to cover all winter clean-up costs.

UMass says it's hired a men's basketball coach. The announcement comes almost a week after the school's last pick backed out of the job.

If it all goes smoothly this time, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga coach Matt McCall will take the job. He's led the Chattanooga Mocs for two seasons now, earning a 48 and 18 record. His team made it to the NCAA tournament last year, losing in the first round.

McCall, who's 35 years old, arrives at UMass with fewer years of head-coaching experience than the school's first choice -- Pat Kelsey of Winthop University.

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