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Millers River near Erving, Massachusetts
jkb / Creative Commons

Massachusetts is still in the process of recovering from a drought.  The next few weeks are a critical time for recharging ground water supplies.

Most of Massachusetts, except for Berkshire County, is under a drought advisory -- a step above normal conditions, with some limits on watering and irrigation.

And yet the state is in much better shape than last fall when most of Western Massachusetts was in a severe or even extreme drought.

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.

WGBY headquarters In downtown Springfield, Mass.
Alden Bourne / NEPR

At a recent FCC auction, the broadcast frequency for WGBY in Springfield sold for $57 million.

The station will move to a different channel. The license for the current frequency is owned by WGBH in Boston, and the money will go into its endowment, with annual disbursements to WGBY.

"We will probably increase local content, education services -- things that we've been doing for a long time, but things that we haven't been able to enhance and grow because of financial reasons," said Lynn Page, the station's acting general manager.

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."

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy will not seek re-election. The two-term Democratic governor announced his decision at a news conference Thursday afternoon at the Capitol in Hartford.

Jennifer Taub at the Women's March in Boston this winter. That event helped to inspire the Tax Day marches, according to Taub.
Submitted Photo

Hartford, Pittsfield, and Brattleboro are among about 150 communities across the country planning tax marches on Saturday, April 15, in concert with a national march in Washington, DC.

Vermont Law School professor Jennifer Taub was among the first to launch the national event. It was shortly after the women's march in January that Taub, a Northampton resident, first envisioned a march for the traditional tax deadline. The idea was to pressure President Trump to release his tax returns.

The Hampden County Hall of Justice.
File Photo / The Republican

Springfield-area lawyers are frustrated that the Hampden County Courthouse did not make the state's priority list for renovations or replacement.

The Trial Court of Massachusetts released a master plan summary this week that put several courthouses, including in Northampton, Pittsfield, and Boston, into a first phase of repair, scheduled to take place through 2022.

Many refugees who arrive on U.S. soil finally feel safe after decades of war or torture or loss of family members. But just because they're removed from physical harm, it doesn't mean the pain is over. 

Exterior of Hampden County Correctional Center in Ludlow, Mass.
File photo / The Republican

New legislation filed Tuesday by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker would allow those fined by a court a chance to work off the debt through community service, instead being thrown in jail.

In a statement, Baker said the hope is to keep more people from going behind bars just because of their inability to pay.

Richard Dohoney, president of the Berkshire County Bar Association, said the bill would have some positive impacts beyond that.

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

UMass officials seem to have a learned a lesson, after the school's first choice for men's basketball coach backed out of his deal.

Shortly before his introductory press conference last month, coach Pat Kelsey told UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford that he'd changed his mind and didn't want the job.

That evening, a clearly distraught Bamford told reporters that Kelsey had signed a memorandum of understanding -- essentially a pre-contract -- and might owe UMass a lot of money for backing out of the deal.

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