Regional News

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.

Farmer Caroline Pam's booth at the Greenfield Farmers Market, in 2014.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

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

Massachusetts House Speaker Robert DeLeo
Dave Roback / The Springfield Republican

The next Massachusetts budget moves ahead this week, as the House Ways and Means Committee releases its version today.

This comes two-and-a-half months after Governor Charlie Baker put out his budget proposal. As we do most Mondays, we spoke to reporter Matt Murphy of the State House News Service. He said the House budget is likely to put more money toward local aid for cities and towns than Governor Baker's plan. 

The 2016 Massachusetts income tax form.
Mass. Department of Revenue

Massachusetts taxpayers have until Tuesday, April 18, to file their returns. And some -- although not many -- will choose to pay the state a little more than they have to.

Graphic of an Amherst College baseball cap on the skeleton of a Columbian mammoth, which is on display at the school's natural history museum.
Screen shot from mascot video / Amherst College

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

What made The Short List this week?

Herman Paul Cumby, one of the four men who say a group of off-duty Springfield police officers attacked them on April 8, 2015.
Dan Glaun / MassLive

New details were made public this week in a case in Springfield in an alleged fight between several city residents and a group of off-duty police officers outside a bar in 2015.

An internal investigation by the Springfield Police was obtained by MassLive reporter Dan Glaun. 

RELATED: Report reveals missing video, contradictory testimony in case of alleged Springfield police beating

The latest drought survey map for Massachusetts, as of April 6, 2017.
U.S. Drought Monitor

Recent wet weather has put a dent in the drought that's been plaguing most of New England for much of the past year. 

In western Massachusetts, most of the area is tagged by forecasters as just "abnormally dry." Only a swath along along the Connecticut River in Hampden and Hampshire counties, extending into western Franklin County is still under a moderate drought.

Anthony Artusa with the U.S. Climate Prediction Center said the chances are good for above average rainfall over the next few months, which will help wipe out the drought completely.

House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran, left, and state Rep. Thomas M. Petrolati, D-Ludlow, share a laugh during a political fundraiser in 2004.
Christopher Evans / The Republican file photo

Former Massachusetts House Speaker Tom Finneran will be stripped of his pension after a ruling Wednesday by the state's highest court.

Finneran, a Boston Democrat, pleaded guilty in 2007 to obstruction of justice. He gave false testimony in a law suit over a legislative redistricting plan.

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