Regional News

News from the region from New England Public Radio, NPR, and other NPR stations.

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

Pat Kelsey has backed out of an agreement to take over the men's basketball program at UMass, citing personal reasons.

UMass athletic director Ryan Bamford said Thursday that Kelsey asked to be let out of his contract that was signed Tuesday, making clear that it was for "very personal" reasons.

Kelsey said in a statement released by the university that he is sorry and felt welcome while on campus.

Kelsey was scheduled to meet with reporters on Thursday, but UMass abruptly canceled just before the press conference was set to begin.

File photos / MassLive

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno said he hopes a phone conversation with two Trump administration officials on Wednesday will prompt a reconsideration of a proposed budget cut.

President Trump has proposed eliminating Community Block Development Grants [CDBG] Sarno said he pressed special assistants William Kirkland and Justin Clark on why Trump would cut funds he said are critical for the city's economic development projects.

A map showing the fiber optic in western Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Broadband Institute

The operator of a state-owned broadband network in Western Massachusetts is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. And it is just the latest in a legal battle between the company and the state. The bankruptcy filing by KCTS-USA goes along with a 2014 suit it brought against the state. The company said construction delays and a dispute over how many subscribers it would have caused it financial harm. That case has yet to be resolved. KCTS operates the so-called "middle mile" network, which provides broadband to libraries, schools and town governments.

Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D) of Amherst.
File photo / State Legislature's Website

Massachusetts Senate President Stan Rosenberg said one possible change to the state's marijuana law could involve who oversees the regulation of pot sales.

Voters last year passed a legalization ballot question, which gave control of the Cannabis Control Board to the state treasurer.

Rosenberg told Boston Herald Radio, that ultimately, any changes are up to a legislative committee reviewing the law.

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont questions Neil Gorsuch during a Supreme Court confirmation hearing on March 21, 2017.
Screen Shot / C-SPAN

The Senate Judiciary Committee is holding confirmation hearings this week for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

On Tuesday, Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy pressed the Trump nominee on the president's attempts to ban residents of certain Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.

"A Republican congressman recently said [that] the best thing the president can do for his Muslim ban is to make sure he has Gorsuch on the Supreme Court before appeals get to that point," Leahy said.

Jamie Cushman / Daily Hampshire Gazette

As college basketball's so-called "big dance" takes a few days off, Amherst College is celebrating a national championship. The women's hoops team won the Division III title over the weekend.  Amherst knocked off conference and in-state rival Tufts 52-29 to win the championship, capping a perfect 33-0 season.  Head Coach GP Gromacki said a lot went through his mind when the final buzzer sounded in that game. "It was an unbelievable run," Gromacki said.

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

On this episode of NEPR News Now:

  • In Central Mass. Towns, Trump Supporters Say He’s Delivering On His Promises
  • 'Taking The Risk To Be Myself'
  • Springfield Armory Looks To Recreate Its Historic Landscape
  • A Book Club For Foodies In Stockbridge, Mass.

NEPR News Now is a collection of recent features, interviews and commentaries.

The campus of UMass Amherst.
File photo / The Daily Hampshire Gazette

Hate groups are on the rise in the U.S. and they increasingly see college campuses as prime recruiting ground.

UMass Amherst and Holyoke Community College are just two of dozens of college campuses to have been targeted by white nationalist propaganda in recent months. But finding the right way to respond to these groups can present a challenge to college administrators.

The Massachusetts Statehouse.
File photo / State House News Service

Last November, Massachusetts voters legalized recreational marijuana. There's a long way to go before pot shops open in the state, but lawmakers move one step closer Monday as the legislature's new marijuana committee holds its first public hearing at the State House.

For more, we spoke to Matt Murphy, a reporter with the State House News Service. He said the list of state officials who will testify includes Treasurer Deb Goldberg, Attorney General Maura Healey and Gaming Commission Chair Steve Crosby.

The spread at a gathering of the cookbook club at the Stockbridge, Mass., public library.
Carrie Healy / NEPR

Reading groups, or book clubs, are a long-standing tradition at many local libraries. But there’s a new variety: cookbook clubs.

They're part book clubs, and part pot luck gatherings. Members pick one cookbook a month, claim recipes, and make the dishes. That’s all we needed to know, before deciding to visit a meeting of the Library Cookbook Club in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.

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