WORCESTER COUNTY

Coverage of Worcester County, Massachusetts.

State receiver Jessica L. Huizenga spoke of the Southbridge Public Schools turnaround plan on Friday, June 24, 2016.
Michelle Williams / MassLive

Massachusetts education officials must find a new leader for the Southbridge school district, following the resignation of its state-appointed receiver.

For five straight days this spring, Patty — who doesn’t want her last name used to protect her son’s privacy — sought refuge in the chapel at Heywood Hospital in Gardner. That’s where her 28-year-old son Eric had been waiting for a psychiatric treatment bed.

“The person that’s having that breakdown is not the son that I know,” Patty says. “I don’t want him to see me crying over it, so sometimes I walk to the chapel and just be quiet in here.”

Eric was hospitalized because Patty called for help because he had taken too many psychiatric medications.

Massachusetts Democrats gather in Lowell for their 2016 convention.
Shannon Young / MassLive

The Massachusetts State Democratic Convention convenes elected delegates on Saturday morning in Worcester. As they do every four years, attendees will revise and agree on a party platform that next year's gubernatorial candidate will be expected to run on.

Politico's Massachusetts reporter Lauren Desenski joined us for a convention preview.

Seven members of the Worcester police force trained to join the new mounted unit.
Scott J. Croteau / Masslive

For the first time in more than sixty years, police officers on horseback will soon patrol the streets of Worcester, Massachusetts.

The Worcester police decided to bring four horses into the force because they offer unique advantages. They can help reach places inaccessible by car or bike, including wooded areas in the city's sixty parks. They can also make community policing easier, providing a conversation starter with residents.

What's more, Police Chief Steven Sargent said, horses — or "mounts" — are an effective force multiplier.

The "Witness Tree" in the Harvard Forest, located in Petersham, Mass.
Carrie Healy / NEPR

Author Lynda Mapes spent a year in the Harvard Forest in Petersham, Massachusetts, chronicling a single tree. This red oak stands in one of the oldest and most intensively studied research landscapes in North America. 

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