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With 55K at risk of losing internet service, activists call on Congress to extend pandemic-era program
02-21-2024 9:29 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

SPRINGFIELD — Local activists, organizations and representatives from western Massachusetts’s congressional delegation are urging the U.S. federal government to extend a pandemic-era program that covers internet costs for 55,000 low-income residents...

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Psychedelics petition backers use Oregon as model
02-20-2024 4:43 PM

By SAM DRYSDALE

BOSTON — Massachusetts voters may get the chance to cast ballots to legalize access to some psychedelic substances this fall. And though advocates say the Oregon psilocybin therapy program that would be used as a model for Massachusetts is beneficial...


Driver strikes pair of police cruisers in Sunderland
02-19-2024 3:38 PM

SUNDERLAND — Both a Deerfield Police cruiser and a Massachusetts State Police cruiser were struck after responding to a report of an impaired driver on Sunday. According to State Police spokesperson Brandon Doherty, a trooper from the Northampton...


Riley to resign as DESE head in March
02-16-2024 4:31 PM

By SAM DRYSDALE

BOSTON — Elementary and Secondary Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley plans to step down on March 15 after six years leading Massachusetts’ K-12 school system, according to a letter he sent to the state’s education board on Thursday.Riley plans to...


Massachusetts to create AI task force to support adoption of technology
02-15-2024 4:13 PM

By SAM DRYSDALE

BOSTON — Gov. Maura Healey has signed an executive order to create a task force meant to study artificial intelligence and to advise her administration on the state’s role in implementing and encouraging private sector use of the new technology.The...


Local officials tout governor’s municipal tax plan as ‘very exciting’
02-14-2024 4:00 PM

By CHRIS LISINSKI

BOSTON — Gov. Maura Healey’s proposal to give cities and towns new tax-hike authority would provide “game-changers” at the local level, especially for less-populated areas, local mayors say.A bill Healey filed last month would offer municipalities the...


Legislative meetings, host community agreements on pot regulators’ minds
02-13-2024 3:54 PM

By COLIN A. YOUNG

From lawmakers to business operators to municipal officials, there’s been a lot of interest lately in the work underway at the Cannabis Control Commission.Most of the headlines involving the agency have been about the months-long legal saga between...


MassDEP’s Clean Heat Standard poised to advance energy shift
02-13-2024 11:31 AM

By TANISHA BHAT

While Greenfield officials say the city has made considerable progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, the next big step statewide will involve electrifying home heating systems, a process the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection...


My Turn: Scripted early reading approach no substitute for real teaching
02-11-2024 2:55 PM

By MARIA JOSÉ BOTELHO, DEB PATTERSON and CAMILLE CAMMACK

In December, Education Commissioner Jeffrey Riley made a proposal that the Legislature mandate that schools use “high-quality” reading curriculum across Massachusetts to “fix the literacy crisis.” Gov. Maura Healey’s recent release of her Literacy...


Major Elijah Kahn: The Salvation Army of Massachusetts looks forward to a new year
02-11-2024 2:53 PM

It is with the most heartfelt gratitude that The Salvation Army of Massachusetts thanks all those who contributed to the 2023 Red Kettle Campaign. Throughout the holidays your donations, regardless of size, contributed to aiding so many families...


Polls find Massachusetts voters locked in on immigration issue
02-09-2024 4:06 PM

By COLIN A. YOUNG

Two polls released this week gave mixed signals regarding voters’ feelings about the job Gov. Maura Healey is doing and the level of support for Nikki Haley here ahead of next month’s presidential primary, but what was clear from both surveys was that...


$155K to expand workplace training for inmates, formerly incarcerated
02-09-2024 1:14 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

GREENFIELD — The Franklin County Community Development Corporation is expanding its work helping incarcerated and recently released individuals enter the workforce, thanks to a $155,000 grant from the state Executive Office of Economic Development’s...


My Turn: Big step ahead for watershed, but one looming step back
02-08-2024 9:29 PM

By MARKELLE SMITH and RAE ETTENGER

This July, in the Connecticut River watershed, from northern Vermont and New Hampshire downstream to western Massachusetts, heavy rains brought intense flooding that swelled rivers, turned backyards into ponds, and ravaged agricultural fields....


My Turn: Will melting Greenland ice divert Gulf Stream?
02-07-2024 7:08 PM

By ROB MOIR

With climate change, a 1% increase in watts per square meter of heat energy is warming the ocean, causing seawater to swell, currents to flow stronger, and greater storms to rage. Ancient Greeks believed Oceanus, the ocean river, separated the known...


Judge denies O’Brien appeal in Cannabis Control Commission case
02-07-2024 4:19 PM

By COLIN A. YOUNG

BOSTON — An Appeals Court judge on Tuesday rejected suspended Cannabis Control Commission Chair Shannon O’Brien’s petition, once again clearing the way for Treasurer Deborah Goldberg to schedule a meeting that could lead to O’Brien’s firing.Superior...


January tax slump in Massachusetts creates new budget pressure
02-06-2024 2:19 PM

By COLIN A. YOUNG

BOSTON — Having already made mid-year budget cuts and dimmed the outlook for tax collections through June based on six consecutive months of underwhelming receipts, the state reported Monday that tax revenue came in below even downgraded expectations...


US growth lifts confidence of Massachusetts employers
02-05-2024 2:42 PM

By CHRIS LISINSKI

Massachusetts businesses kicked off the new year with a sunny disposition.Business confidence among employers surveyed by Associated Industries of Massachusetts rose in January to an 11-month high. The business trade group attributed the boost to...


State report emphasizes flexibility, tech in education
02-04-2024 12:22 PM

By SAM DRYSALE

BOSTON — Following a presentation on reforming education to embrace artificial intelligence, build more flexibility into the school day, and fundamentally rethink how and where students learn, the state’s K-12 education commissioner agreed that...


Opioid settlements announced with two companies
02-03-2024 3:09 PM

By MICHAEL P. NORTON

Massachusetts will receive $8 million to address the opioid crisis as part of a $350 million national settlement with Publicis Health.Attorney General Andrea Campbell announced the settlement locally, saying it resolves the state’s litigation against...


Senate passes gun law reforms, 37-3
02-02-2024 3:11 PM

By SAM DRYSDALE

BOSTON — The Senate on Thursday night approved a sweeping overhaul of state firearms laws, setting up talks with the House that could lead to a major new law later this spring or summer.The Senate bill seeks to rein in untraceable ghost guns, bans...


Healey forms two new housing advisory panels
02-01-2024 2:15 PM

By SAM DORAN

As part of her push to boost housing supply, Gov. Maura Healey swore in around 30 members of two panels this week, bringing together groups like developers and builders, advocates for the homeless and people with disabilities, and local officials.A...

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