Curator Sandy Litchfield, at left, and artist Sarah Braman sit inside Braman's "Day Trip" in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Jill Kaufman / NEPR

Can Public Art Mend The Divide Between A Town And Its University?

From the middle of UMass toward the center of town in Amherst, Massachusetts, you may have seen some unexpected objects near walkways or up on a grassy hill. Upon closer inspection, they’re delightful and puzzling pieces of art.

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Regional News

Andrea Harrington, at left, and Berkshire District Attorney Paul Caccaviello at right.

There's A Race Once Again For Berkshire County District Attorney

The race for Berkshire County district attorney has been rekindled. The current DA, Paul Caccaviello, announced he's mounting a write-in campaign for November. That and more news from the week on The Short List .

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Since last Thursday, the House of Mercy has been busier than usual. The part shelter/part church/part donations center is among the places people affected by the Merrimack Valley gas explosions can go for help.

Their building, in an industrial corner of Lawrence, is a cramped space nearly floor-to-ceiling with diapers, bottled water and canned food.

Mabel Valenzuela, who works at House of Mercy, walks through a tight hallway, surveying the inventory.

Isabel Quintanilla is FaceTiming with her daughter, Irma Flores. This is the easiest way for the two to keep in touch. Quintanilla lives in El Salvador and hasn’t met her new great-grandson. She asks her daughter, Flores, how the baby is sleeping these days.

Mosquito Tests Positive For EEE Virus In Massachusetts

Sep 20, 2018
 Close up of a female mosquito.
Creative Commons /

A mosquito in Massachusetts has tested positive for Eastern Equine Encephalitis for the first time this year, according to the state Department of Public Health.

The list of Chinese products subject to President Trump’s latest round of tariffs is long — 5,745 items long, to be exact. That means a wide range of Massachusetts businesses could be affected, from science labs to cranberry farms.

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The Carolinas

Florence Blamed For 4 More Deaths As 'Unheard Of Amounts Of Water' Keep Flowing

Florence may have concluded its crawl over the Carolinas, but officials are warning residents not to let the fairer weather deceive them. For days, the storm dumped relentless rain — in some places about 3 feet — and as all that water continues to make its way downstream , rivers keep on rising. The storm's death toll ticked up to 41 people on Thursday; 31 people in North Carolina alone, which entered its 13th day under a state of emergency. The state's Department of Public Safety said four...

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Jazz à la Mode

Randy Weston
Chuck Stewart / Mosaic Records

Randy Weston, Jazz Giant, 1926-2018

Randy Weston, who died on September 1 at 92, was one of my early favorites among jazz pianists. Like his “biggest influence,” Thelonious Monk, as well as Herbie Nichols, Cecil Taylor, and Abdullah Ibrahim, Randy had a powerful touch that reflected the influence of Duke Ellington. (Ellington was sufficiently impressed with Weston's playing to produce Randy's album Berkshire Blues, in 1965.) In Weston's case, early influences also included pianists Count Basie, Art Tatum and Nat "King" Cole,...

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Great Barrington

A self-taught astronomer in Great Barrington, Massachusetts has been taking his telescope out at night to teach anyone who wants to learn about the universe.
Lily Abrahams / NEPR

A Self-Taught 'Starman' Brings His Telescope To The People

As darkness fell one recent summer night, Rick Costello set up his telescope in front of the library in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. He took a sign from his car and hung it on a nearby post. It read, “Come see the universe.”

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A Moon Festival celebration.
Roberta / Creative Commons /

Celebrating The Asian Moon Festival, Complications And All

The Lunar New Year , with its myriad of superstitions, can stress an American-born Asian like me.

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Parents Are Leery Of Schools Requiring 'Mental Health' Disclosures By Students

Children registering for school in Florida this year were asked to reveal some history about their mental health. The new requirement is part of a law rushed through the state legislature after the February shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. The state's school districts now must ask whether a child has ever been referred for mental health services on registration forms for new students. "If you do say, 'Yes, my child has seen a counselor or a therapist or a...

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New Weekend Program

Bach to Beethoven

Steve Petke will host a live program from 1:00 - 5:00 p.m. every Saturday afternoon, featuring the best in classical music.

In Contrast

Why Poetry

Ilan Stavans in conversation with Matthew Zapruder


Kevin Rhodes on Presto!

Morning Classical Music host, John Nowacki, talks with Kevin Rhodes, Music Director and Conductor of the Springfield Symphony

Upcoming Event

Best Of Valley Voices

Saturday, October 13 at the Academy of Music


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Mike Earielo in Worcester, Massachusetts, says of himself, "Gang member, drug dealer, sold drugs, used drugs. My life was really spiraling out of control from a very early age."
Saskia de Melker / NEPR

'That One More Chance' Might Help Ex-Prisoners Stay Out Of Jail

In Massachusetts, two-thirds of offenders who are incarcerated have been in prison or jail before. One program in Worcester has been serving ex-prisoners who are coming back home, in an effort to bring the rate down.

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