Regional News

At WMass Hospitals, Contract Negotiations Continue

Aug 3, 2017
Dave Roback / The Republican

Contract negotiations continue between management and nurses at multiple western Mass hospitals.

At Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, the nurses union voted to authorize a strike last week. They will return to the bargaining table Monday. The nurses have been without a contract for almost a year.

"We are very disappointed that the union has taken a second step now towards a strike," said spokesman for the hospital Michael Leary.  "We do look forward to meeting with them again with the hopes that we can strive toward reaching a final agreement." 

In this photo from 2014, the Red Sox hosted the Yankees at Fenway Park.
Vegasjon / Creative Commons

With the second half of Major League Baseball's season now well underway, things are starting to get interesting in the American League East. 

Jim Sagalyn, president and owner of the Holyoke Machine Company.
Alden Bourne / NEPR

A manufacturer in Holyoke, Massachusetts, which first opened its doors during the Civil War, is auctioning off everything under its roof Thursday. The company is a casualty of a changing industry.

Alex Morse on election night in 2011, when he first won the mayor's office by defeating incumbent Elaine Pluta.
Dave Roback / The Republican

As deadlines near for mayoral hopefuls to officially declare their candidacies, incumbents in several western Massachusetts communities are not seeking reelection.

Pipes waiting to be burried along a stretch of land in Otis State Forest in Sandisfield, Mass.
Adam Frenier / NEPR

Despite ongoing construction and few remaining challenges, the protests continue at the construction site of a natural gas pipeline in southern Berkshire county.

Twenty-two more people were arrested for trespassing over the weekend. Half of them were also arrested at previous protests.

In the past, the district attorney's office has downgraded the charges to a civil penalty.

Dennis Carr of Cummington is among those arrested twice. He said he's somewhat concerned about perhaps facing criminal charges this time around.

Mass. State Treasurer Deb Goldberg testifying before the legislature's Joint Committee on Marijuana Policy, on March 20, 2017.
Sam Doran / State House News Service

Last Friday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed into law changes to the state's voter-approve recreational marijuana law. With this on the books, there's a lot to do before retail sales of pot become a reality next summer. And much of that work will fall on the office of State Treasurer Deb Goldberg.

As part of our regular Monday check-in on Beacon Hill, we asked State House News Service reporter Matt Murphy to describe the next steps for Massachusetts marijuana.

A jar of marijuana buds for sale inside the River Rock dispensary in Denver.
Steve Brown / WBUR

Massachusetts regulators are now preparing the state for retail sales of marijuana. Governor Charlie Baker last week signed a bill into law making changes to the voter-approved measure legalizing marijuana for recreational use. 

Proposal Would Re-Number Mass. Highway Exits

Jul 28, 2017
The Massachusetts Turnpike entrance ramp in Lee.
Doug Kerr / Flickr

A bill before the Massachusetts House of Representatives would change the exit numbers on interstate highways.

The measure would re-number highway exits to reflect their corresponding mile markers. Exit 1 on the Massachusetts Turnpike would change to Exit 3. Exit 2 would be Exit 10.

Highway exits in the Commonwealth are currently numbered sequentially.

The change would bring Massachusetts in line with a 2009 mandate by the Federal Highway Administration.

Judge Michael Ponsor, holding his first novel, "The Hanging Judge," which was published in 2013.
File photo / The Republican

When Springfield federal Judge Michael Ponsor semi-retired after three decades on the bench, he started to enjoy two privileges of part time work: He could choose the type of cases he wanted, and he had a lot more time for his other professional passion, fiction writing.

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.