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Baker Discusses Genesis of 'Essential' Business List

As the state order to close "non-essential" businesses went into effect on Tuesday, Gov. Charlie Baker addressed criticism that the commonwealth's definition of "essential" is overly broad.

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Administration Filing Measure to Extend, Suspend Deadlines

The governor's office is filing a municipal relief package giving broad leeway to communities and school districts to extend deadlines and fees and bring back retired first-responders.

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Pignatelli, Barrett File Bill to Establish Coronavirus Fund

State Reps. William "Smitty" Pignatelli and John Barrett III have filed an emergency bill to establish a "COVID-19 Quarantine Assistance Fund."

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Greylock Federal Prepares to Open Community Empowerment Center

The branch is set to open within a couple weeks but U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and CDFI Director Jodie Harris were invited to the facility last week to learn about what the CEC will mean for the area's underserved and underbanked communities.

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Kennealy Points to Lack of Quality Housing as Economic Threat

And while there's still work needed in these areas, the adminstration is looking at what Kennealy is describing as a "major threat to the economy" statewide: Housing.

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North Adams Recognizes 'Hello Week,' Childhood Cancer Month

Worldwide, a child is diagnosed with cancer every two minutes and every day five children in the United States die of cancer, he read, but even successful treatments can lead to other problems.

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Windsor Receives $165k in Funding for Ecological Repairs

Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Kathleen Theoharides announced the grants at Windsor State Forest, then visited the sites of two culvert projects in Windsor and Cummington that received grants. Also receiving funds were Clarksburg and Sheffield.

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State Launches Public Awareness Campaign to Teens on Healthy Interactions

Sometimes a teenager will take to social media to rank about another. It causes riffs between the two individuals. The original poster's friends ask what it was all about and they respond they were just venting. That's when the friends should step in and tell the poster to go talk to the individual about it. That is a better way to solve problems.

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State Economic Council Sets Berkshire Listening Session

The session on Thursday, June 13, at 10 a.m. at Mass MoCA will be the culmination of the regional engagement tour that begins Salem State University on Wednesday.

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Polito Touts Housing Choices Bill in Williamstown

The Act to Promote Housing Choices would lower the threshold for most zoning bylaw amendments related to housing from its current two-thirds "supermajority" to a simple majority vote.

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Harrington Looks to Address Auditor's Findings

District Attorney Andrea Harrington is following the auditor's recommendation to revamp internal controls. Auditor Suzanne Bump issued a report showing that the internal control plan in the office hadn't been updated since June of 2016 when it should be every year. With a transition in the office, the new district attorney sees that as an opportunity to fundamentally change the office at its core.

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State Releasing Extra Funds to Help Rural Schools

Rural schools will receive additional support this year after Sen. Adam Hinds successfully secured a $1.5 million budget allocation for additional aid. The budget line provides districts below certain incomes and density $100 extra per student. The sparsity aid program helps rural schools with funding struggles keep up with larger schools throughout the state.

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Senate President Hears Berkshire Transit Challenges, Opportunities

The Berkshires need to re-envision how it handles transportation. That was the message sent to Senate President Karen Spilka on Friday when state Sen. Adams Hinds brought her to the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority's Intermodal Center to discuss rural transportation. The new vision includes east-west rail, rail to New York City, and a Transportation Management Authority. The concept comes about because fixed-route bus services are not doing the trick alone.

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Berkshire Groups Ask Senate President For Flexible Funding To Combat Opioids

There are plenty of grant programs to combat the opioid epidemic but they all seem to be fairly restrictive and monitored in how they are used.

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MCLA, General Dynamics Demonstrate STEM Opportunities

Massachusetts' economy relies heavily on jobs in the STEM fields of science, technology, engineering and math. About 17 percent of all jobs in the commonwealth are related to STEM a third higher than the national average.

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Tyer Shares Outdoor Recreation Vision With Environmental Chief

The natural resources and scenic beauty of the Berkshires has always been a draw for those who enjoy hiking, camping, mountain biking, skiing, and the like. But now officials are becoming a little more intentional about that. Both local and state officials are now looking closely at the economic benefit that comes with building an outdoor recreational economy.

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Polito Joins Local Officials to Celebrate Adams Rail Line Extension

It was a unique concept in 2011 when state and local officials posed the question: is it possible to connect the downtowns of North Adams and Adams though both a scenic rail service and a bike trail. Seven years later the answer is yes. It most certainly is possible.

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Polito Announces $9.6M in Energy Resiliency Projects for Hospitals

As the climate becomes ever more volatile, storms have forced the evacuation of hospitals. Massachusetts doesn't want to see that happen here. On Thursday, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announced $9.6 million in grant awards to nine hospitals to build "resiliency."

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End of Session Review 2018: John Barrett III

State Rep. John Barrett said he is in the mindset of at least making a little bit of progress at a time. That's why he is disappointed there couldn't be some consensus at the statehouse on education and health care. Neither of those bills ultimately passed the legislature and Barrett said he wished at least something could have been done on each topic and then continued next year.

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Veterans War Memorial Tower Rededicated as National Monument

In the 100th years since World War 1 came to an end, state officials and veterans groups have rededicated the War Memorial Tower. The Veterans War Memorial Tower is now designated as a national monument by the U.S. World War 1 Centennial Commission and the Pritzker Military Museum and Library.

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