Regional News

Slideshow: Eclipse Viewing In Western Massachusetts

11 hours ago
Scenes from an eclipse-watching party at Smith College.
Karen Brown / NEPR

Parents with the kids, workers on a lunch break, astronomy buffs getting their fix. Across the Pioneer Valley on Monday afternoon, people stared at the sky to see a sun partially obscured by the moon.

Two boys in Worcester watch the Aug. 21, 2017, solar eclipse.
Melissa Hanson / MassLive

During Monday's eclipse, the moon blocked out 65 to 68 percent of the sun in western Massachusetts, but a more dramatic eclipse is on the way.

Fred Venne is the director of the Bassett Planetarium at Amherst College.

"The eclipse that's happening in 2024 is going to more significant in this region," he said. "We'll be looking in the Amherst, Northampton, southern Vermont, northern Connecticut area at about close to 94, 95 percent coverage of the sun. And if you go up to Burlington, Vermont, it will be 100 percent."

Over 10,000 people attended a counter-protest of the "Boston Free Speech" rally on the Boston Common on Saturday, August 19, 2017.
Dan Glaun / The Republican

On Saturday in Boston, tens of thousands of people gathered in a counter-protest to a planned "Free Speech" demonstration. Supporters of the conservative "Free Speech Rally" said, despite being outnumbered, their event was a success. The Free Speech keynote speaker was Dr. Shiva Ayyadurai, a Republican US Senate candidate.

As we do most Mondays, we turn to State House New Service reporter Matt Murphy for the details.

The total solar eclipse on August 1, 2008, as seen in Novosibirsk, Russia.
Alex Polezhaev / Creative Commons

Nearly 66 percent of the sun will be covered in Springfield, Mass., when the eclipse takes its maximum effect at 2:45 Monday afternoon.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.
File Photo / The Republican

Our panel of journalists looks at the big stories in the news. 

Boston Mayor Marty Walsh speaks at a news conference on Aug. 15, 2017, about a planned free speech rally Saturday. Gov. Charlie Baker looks on.
Jesse Costa / WBUR

The city of Boston is preparing for what is being called a free speech rally Saturday afternoon on the historic Common. Thousands of counter-protesters are also expected to show up, including some from western Massachusets.

Holyoke resident Rick Purcell and friend will be among a group that will meet in Northampton at 5:30 a.m. to carpool and then caravan to the Boston.

Purcell said he is going to the counter-demonstration because he wants to stand up to white supremacy. He said speaking out is in his legacy.

New England Wildflower Society's Bill Brumback, opening the freezer that acts as the "seed vault," in Framingham, Mass.
Jill Kaufman / NEPR

In New England, 22 percent of the region's native plants are considered rare. Some of them are on the federal list of endangered species. Biologists worldwide and locally have been saving crop seeds, and seeds from other plants important to the ecosystem. 

Author Crystal Senter-Brown of Chicopee, Mass.
Joyce Skowyra / NEPR

We continue our back-to-school book series today with "A.J. and the Magic Kite," a picture book about the contributions of African-American inventors.

Former Lee Chief of Police Joseph Buffis leaves the Federal Courthouse in Springfield at the close of the court session on June 2, 2015.
Dave Roback / The Republican

Former Lee, Massachusetts, police chief Joseph Buffis lost an appeal this week to have a federal extortion charge thrown out. His lawyer said he's now appealing to the US Supreme Court.

In 2015, Buffis was found guilty of extorting a $4,000 donation to a toy fund he oversaw, and allegedly raided for his own use, from a couple arrested in connection with a prostitution ring.

His attorney, Seth Kretzer, said Buffis can't be guilty of extortion since one of those arrested offered money to make the case go away.

It took about 20 minutes and two helium tanks to fill up the huge latex balloon. A rope dangling from the bottom held onto an assortment of gadgets, including a video camera, parachute, and a razor attached to motor that was programmed to cut the rope at just the right altitude.

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