WORCESTER COUNTY

Coverage of Worcester County, Massachusetts.

State receiver Jessica L. Huizenga spoke of the Southbridge Public Schools turnaround plan on Friday, June 24, 2016.
Michelle Williams / MassLive

Massachusetts education officials must find a new leader for the Southbridge school district, following the resignation of its state-appointed receiver.

For five straight days this spring, Patty — who doesn’t want her last name used to protect her son’s privacy — sought refuge in the chapel at Heywood Hospital in Gardner. That’s where her 28-year-old son Eric had been waiting for a psychiatric treatment bed.

“The person that’s having that breakdown is not the son that I know,” Patty says. “I don’t want him to see me crying over it, so sometimes I walk to the chapel and just be quiet in here.”

Eric was hospitalized because Patty called for help because he had taken too many psychiatric medications.

Massachusetts Democrats gather in Lowell for their 2016 convention.
Shannon Young / MassLive

The Massachusetts State Democratic Convention convenes elected delegates on Saturday morning in Worcester. As they do every four years, attendees will revise and agree on a party platform that next year's gubernatorial candidate will be expected to run on.

Politico's Massachusetts reporter Lauren Desenski joined us for a convention preview.

Seven members of the Worcester police force trained to join the new mounted unit.
Scott J. Croteau / Masslive

For the first time in more than sixty years, police officers on horseback will soon patrol the streets of Worcester, Massachusetts.

The Worcester police decided to bring four horses into the force because they offer unique advantages. They can help reach places inaccessible by car or bike, including wooded areas in the city's sixty parks. They can also make community policing easier, providing a conversation starter with residents.

What's more, Police Chief Steven Sargent said, horses — or "mounts" — are an effective force multiplier.

The "Witness Tree" in the Harvard Forest, located in Petersham, Mass.
Carrie Healy / NEPR

Author Lynda Mapes spent a year in the Harvard Forest in Petersham, Massachusetts, chronicling a single tree. This red oak stands in one of the oldest and most intensively studied research landscapes in North America. 

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.

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.

In Gilbertville, Mass., Democratic supporter Neil Noble (right) and Bob Bousquet have a few words regarding their opposing political views about the recent election.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

The first weeks of the Trump administration have been marked by controversy, including a court battle over the president’s first executive order on immigration, unsubstantiated accusations against a former president and numerous Trump tweetstorms.

But supporters of the president say he’s delivering exactly what he promised. That’s what we heard again and again in several towns in central Massachusetts that voted for Trump, including Ware, which was once a booming mill town known as “the town that can’t be licked.”

Jesse Algarin is co-owner and chef of the Hometown Cafe in Winchendon. The lifelong Republican voted for President Trump -- and so did the town.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

Although we think of Massachusetts as a solidly “blue” state, more than a million of the state’s residents voted for President Trump in November.

Trump’s support came mostly from Plymouth County south of Boston, and from central Massachusetts. There, in the central part of the state, you can drive from the New Hampshire border south to the Connecticut line, and pass through a line of towns that all voted for Trump.

Pages