Construction underway on June 6, 2018, on the casino in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Don Treeger / The Republican /

Primary elections were held this week in Connecticut and Vermont for several offices, including governor. In Vermont, Democrat Christine Hallquist became the first transgender person to win a major party's nomination for governor.

An artist's rendering of the dynamic sign below the MGM Springfield marquee and other signs on the casino's parking garage facing Interstate 91.
MGM Springfield via MassLive /

Massachusetts casino regulators have delivered a rare setback for MGM Springfield. The company wanted to play videos on a large sign visible from interstate 91, but the gaming commission worried about distracting drivers. 

Rivers Casino & Resort in Schenectady, New York.
Don Treeger / The Republican /

MGM Springfield opens its resort casino in just over a week. One nearby casino  -- about 100 miles away in Schenectady, New York -- has been open for about a year and a half.  

People flagged for possible impaired driving undergo field sobriety tests at a Massachusetts State Police sobriety roadblock in Leominster in 2015. This driver was found not to be under the influence.
Scott J. Croteau / MassLive /

Massachusetts lawmakers are holding a hearing Tuesday on a bill to make it easier for those accused of driving drunk to get back behind the wheel on a restricted basis.

Like everyone else, I'm reflecting on Aretha Franklin tonight after getting word that she's in grave health and has entered hospice care in Detroit. Ree wasn't the first r&b singer to pull me in, but she's been a favorite for over 50 years, and I regard her as the figure whose musicianship and storied background as the daughter of the famed Reverend C.L. Franklin made her the ideal conveyor of gospel-infused soul music to the mainstream. Ray Charles, Dinah Washington, Solomon Burke, Etta James and others paved the way, but Aretha took it to the masses.

Alan Raczka, left, of Easthampton, and JFK Middle School eighth-grader Evan Yurko of Holyoke challenge each other in a game of Scrabble in February 2018.
Kevin Gutting / Daily Hampshire Gazette /

A teenager from Holyoke, Massachusetts, has returned a champion from a national Scrabble tournament in Buffalo, New York.

Lucio Perez greets friends after arriving back at the First Church of Amherst, Mass., after a visit to the hospital on May 17, 2018.
Carol Lollis / Daily Hampshire Gazette /

A Guatemalan man facing deportation took sanctuary at a western Massachusetts church. Now he's teaching Spanish there.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker in July 2018.
State House News Service

The Massachusetts primary elections are just three weeks away. Is Governor Charlie Baker now ready to start campaigning?

Voting in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Robin Lubbock / WBUR

There are changes in store for the long-time alternative publication The Valley Advocate. In a cost-cutting move, the Advocate will now be supervised by the arts and culture editor at The Daily Hampshire Gazette

The Pleasant Valley Wildlife Sanctuary in Lenox, Massachusetts.
Town of Lenox, Massachusetts /

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker has signed legislation approving a land swap deal in the Berkshires. The town of Lenox will give about 105 acres to the Massachusetts Audubon Society.