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Phillipston’s administrative assistant withdraws resignation
07-18-2024 1:10 PM

By GREG VINE

PHILLIPSTON – July 18 was supposed to be the final day for Phillipston Administrative Assistant Melanie Jackson, who had submitted her resignation.Instead, she will remain in the role, but with the new title of chief administrative officerSelectboard...

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Valley politicians express shock in wake of assassination attempt against Trump, worry about the country’s future
07-16-2024 12:18 PM

By ALEXANDER MACDOUGALL

The shock waves from the shooting at a Donald Trump rally in Pennsylvania on Saturday have continued to reverberate across the country, including in western Massachusetts.Local politicians reacted to the shooting, which resulted in the death of an...


Lawmakers wade into CCC ‘trainwreck,’ mull possible action
07-10-2024 4:28 PM

By CHRIS LISINSKI

Lawmakers from both parties signaled Tuesday they share a government watchdog’s concerns about upheaval at the Cannabis Control Commission, but Democrats who wield decision-making power stopped short of indicating what kind of response they might...


Bidenomics leaves state’s former industrial heartland of Pioneer Valley behind
07-05-2024 4:48 PM

By SAIJEL KISHAN

President Joe Biden’s trio of legislative packages designed to revive U.S. manufacturing prowess is already helping regions from upstate New York to West Virginia. To the frustration of its local development agency, one that’s getting left behind is a...


Phillipston Police Det. Sgt. Sawicki to assume chief’s role while talks continue
06-30-2024 5:01 PM

By GREG VINE

PHILLIPSTON – Phillipston Det. Sgt. Sean Sawicki has been chosen to assume the role of police chief while the Selectboard continues deliberations on four applicants for the position interviewed Thursday.The Selectboard spent more than six hours...


Orange to bill church $13.7K after complaint of unfair treatment
06-19-2024 5:00 PM

By SAM FERLAND

ORANGE — After receiving a letter in March advising them of a complaint alleging special treatment of Mission Covenant Church, Selectboard members, in collaboration with the assessors, have decided to bill the church $13,723.54 for taxes.Americans...


DC group presses Orange town officials on church use
06-07-2024 5:00 PM

By DOMENIC POLI

ORANGE — An organization dedicated to guaranteeing political distance between religious institutions and the government has not heard from town officials nearly three months after informing them of a complaint alleging special treatment of Mission...


Petersham Town Meeting quorum decrease approved
06-04-2024 2:48 PM

By GREG VINE

PETERSHAM – Voters at Monday’s Annual Town Meeting determined that the required 10% quorum to conduct business was just a bit too stringent.Residents who showed up for the 7 p.m. start time ended up on their cell phones, reaching out to friends,...


Bike Month event in Greenfield looks at favorite cycling spots in Franklin County
05-14-2024 5:00 PM

By CHRIS LARABEE

GREENFIELD – In celebration of Bay State Bike Month and in anticipation of a new Franklin County Regional Bike Plan, the Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) welcomed cyclists to the John W. Olver Transit Center for breakfast Tuesday...


$700K debt exclusion would fund repairs to Raymond Hall
05-08-2024 4:41 PM

By GREG VINE

ROYALSTON – A last-minute addition has been made to the warrant for Royalston’s Annual Town Meeting seeking $700,000 through a Proposition 2 ½ debt exclusion. The new article, authored by the town’s Building Committee, would pay for improvements to...


Royalston Selectboard backs Town Meeting warrant
05-01-2024 5:00 PM

By GREG VINE

ROYALSTON – The Selectboard Tuesday night closed the warrant for the upcoming Annual Town Meeting and have recommended passage of all 30 articles. The town’s Finance Advisory Committee will decide which articles it will support at its meeting tonight...


Earl Sweat seeks seat on Phillipston Selectboard
05-01-2024 2:15 PM

By GREG VINE

PHILLIPSTON – Earl Sweat, a member of the Board of Assessors, has thrown his hat into the ring for a one-year term on the Selectboard.He joins fellow resident Nicole Gough in the contest to serve out the remaining year of former board member Dan...


Over $400M in shelter funding, new limits approved
04-26-2024 4:09 PM

By CHRIS LISINSKI, COLIN A. YOUNG, MICHAEL P. NORTON

BOSTON – The House voted 117-36 and the Senate 29-9 to approve a supplemental budget steering $251 million more into the family shelter system and calling for new limits on how long families may stay in shelters.The agreement announced Wednesday...


State eyes simplification of college aid process
03-21-2024 5:07 PM

By Allison Kuznitz

BOSTON — With an array of more than 50 state financial aid programs available to college students, public higher education officials are embarking on an effort to simplify those offerings by 2026.The Department of Higher Education plans to evaluate...


Lee Chauvette seeks return to town government in upcoming Town Election
03-13-2024 3:50 PM

By GREG VINE

ATHOL – After a year’s absence, Lee Chauvette wants to re-enter the world of local politics, which he has been a part of for many years.Chauvette, who previously served 20 years on the ARRSD School Committee and nine years on the Selectboard, is...


State legislators leery of ballot question ending MCAS graduation requirement
03-07-2024 4:52 PM

By CHRIS LISINSKI

BOSTON — Over more than three hours of discussion about a proposal to stop using MCAS exam scores as a high school graduation requirement, lawmakers kept returning to one specific question: If the ballot measure were passed, how would Massachusetts...


Public comment sought for Franklin County Bike Plan update
03-06-2024 5:00 PM

By BELLA LEVAVI

GREENFIELD — The Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) is asking the public to complete an online survey with an interactive mapping component to provide information for a new Franklin County Bike Plan.By updating the bike plan for the...


Healey wants $1 billion each for life sciences, climate tech
03-04-2024 5:00 PM

By ALISON KUZNITZ

Filling in some blanks on her economic development plans, Gov. Maura Healey said Thursday she wants to reauthorize the life sciences initiative at $1 billion for the next decade, and launch a separate $1 billion, 10-year climate tech initiative that...


Decision time nearing on state’s to-go cocktails policy
02-29-2024 5:00 PM

By CHRIS LISINSKI

Gov. Maura Healey’s push to overhaul local procurement procedures, rethink post-employment benefits and make permanent some pandemic-era policies won over many city and town leaders, but points of friction in her bill could create some tricky...


January tax slump in Massachusetts creates new budget pressure
02-07-2024 3:44 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...


Healey plans to close MCI-Concord
01-25-2024 2:30 PM

By MICHAEL P. NORTON

The Healey administration plans to close the state’s medium security prison in Concord by this summer.According to an Executive Office of Public Safety and Security spokesperson, the incarcerated population at the prison stands at about 300 men, or...

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