Coverage of Franklin County, Massachusetts.

A polling place in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Kevin Gutting / Daily Hampshire Gazette /

There are important contested races in western Massachusetts. Here’s what you need to know as we head toward the state's primary election on September 4.

Farmer Norm Davenport in Shelburne, Massachusetts, can't find enough customers to purchase his hay.
Nancy Eve Cohen / NEPR

In recent years, milk prices have dropped. And dairy farms -- including some in western Massachusetts -- have sold off their cows. Some say their hay customers are disappearing along with the animals.

The Shutesbury Fire Department building in Shutesbury, Massachusetts.
Luis Fieldman / Daily Hampshire Gazette /

The volunteer fire department in Shutesbury, Massachusetts, will not be going off the job after all, now that its chief got the pay raise he was looking for.

Greenfield Town Hall in Greenfield, Massacchusetts
File Photo / Daily Hampshire Gazette

Updated Monday, July 30 at 4:55 p.m. 

The head of the Greenfield, Massachusetts, Town Council said she believes the mayor fired the finance director for being the bearer of bad news.

Prolific New England author Stephen King’s creepy storytelling is fueling a new streaming series that debuts Wednesday on Hulu. “Castle Rock” is set in Maine, but it was largely shot in the central Massachusetts town of Orange and in Devens at the region’s only film production studio with sound stages.

Folks in Orange are hoping for more than big scares with the arrival of this high-profile thriller. Some see the new series as a game-changer for the community, and the state’s film industry.