Regional News

News

Billy Alicea, 22, stands in a back office of Roca's headquarters in Springfield. Alicea is currently in a pre-release program in Hampden County Jail in Ludlow, where he was incarcerated for multiple vehicle breaking and entering charges.
Leah Willingham / NEPR

Massachusetts lawmakers are still working on this session's criminal justice reform package. One proposal -- among many -- would allow offenders to stay in the juvenile court system longer -- until they turn 21. But not all juvenile justice advocates support it.

Massachusetts Congressman Richard E. Neal.
File Photo / The Republican

Massachusetts Congressman Richie Neal is calling President Trump's proposed tax overhaul plan more of a tax cut than reform. The Springfield Democrat said the White House plan appears to be a return to Reagan-era supply side economics.

DNA double helix.
Mehmet Pinarci / CREATIVE COMMONS

Scientists want to know why some people exposed to trauma develop PTSD and some don't. A new Harvard University study suggests genetics play a role.

Bennington residents who have been dealing with contaminated water are starting to get frustrated with the state's ability to find a long-term solution to their problem.

In November 2016, Damien Johnson was one of several people who painted a solvent on rocks atop Mount Tom to get rid of racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic messages.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

Anti-Semitic incidents in the United States increased by more than a third in 2016 over the year before, according to an annual audit from the Anti--Defamation League. The jump was especially steep in Massachusetts, with a 150 percent increase.

Compared to other states, Massachusetts had the fifth highest number of anti-Semitic incidents last year, with a total of 125 episodes -- topped by only California, New Jersey, New York and Florida.

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 timber rattlesnake in Berkshire County, Masachusetts.
Patrick Randall / Creative Commons

The proposal to create a protected habitat for timber rattlesnakes on an island in the Quabbin Reservoir is suspended, but still on the table. That's according to Joseph Larson, the chair of the Massachusetts Fisheries and Wildlife Board.

Larson said in a Thursday interview that the board's vote this week was based on a review committee's recommendation to instead examine all the rattlesnake populations from greater Boston to the Connecticut River Valley and the Berkshires.

"That's probably what we should have done in the first place," Larson said.

A syringe.
ZaldyImg / Creative Commons

There's legal uncertainty at this hour about whether Arkansas will be allowed to go ahead with a pair of executions Thursday night. Eight executions had been scheduled to begin on Monday -- and there have been conflicting court decisions since then.

While this has been playing out in court, a western Massachusetts folk singer has been playing a song he wrote called "Eight Men Dying."

Tom Neilson of Greenfield, Mass., is on tour now. He said he played a few gigs in Arkansas earlier this month.

Massachusetts U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren.
Dave Roback / The Republican

As she looks to her 2018 re-election campaign, Massachusetts U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren is touting her efforts on behalf of the western part of the state.

Warren is a regular these days on national TV and radio shows with most of her public appearances in Massachusetts in the eastern part of the state. Asked if she feels she's been in western Mass. enough, she did not directly answer the question.

Bill Galvin is the Massachusetts secretary of state.
Don Treeger / The Republican

Massachusetts uses private collection agencies to go after delinquent taxpayers. And the secretary of state said more needs to be done to make residents aware of the practice.

Pages