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The Rundown with Carrie Saldo
Fridays at 9 a.m. on 88.5 NEPM

Dig into the week’s most important stories and know what’s up in western Mass. Join Carrie Saldo for The Rundown — where reporters from newsrooms across the region recap the biggest headlines and share their takes on the news and events that shaped the week in the 413.

What do you think was the most important news event of the week? Share your thoughts at (413) 225-4922 or via email at therundown@nepm.org.

  • Today on The Rundown, Carrie Saldo and panelists discuss a new study that calls for an increase in state funding for public transportation in Massachusetts, pointing to a need to expand accessible transportation services into rural areas. What could this mean for the western part of the state? We’ll dig in and find out.As pro-Palestinian protestors at University of Massachusetts Amherst were arraigned this week, a contentious Faculty Senate meeting was held with the newly-installed chancellor, Javier Reyes. We discuss concerns voiced by the UMass community and the chancellor’s response.Plus, as litigation around PCBs, or polychlorinated biphenyls, in the Berkshires continues, some small towns in western Massachusetts are ahead of the state in regulating large-scale green energy projects.This week’s panel includes Greg Sukiennik, news editor for The Berkshire Eagle; Sarah Robertson, freelance journalist for The Montague Reporter; and Sam Hudzik, news director for NEPM.
  • Today on The Rundown with Carrie Saldo, panelists discuss two different administrative responses to Palestinian solidarity demonstrations at UMass Amherst and Williams College. We dig into the aftermath of a police crackdown that led to reports of brutality and more than 130 arrests of community members, UMass students and faculty members.And, we return to the Southwick-Tolland-Granville Regional school district where instances of racist bullying have made a lasting impact. What have the district leaders done to address a racially hostile school environment? According to a new federal civil rights complaint, not enough.Plus, Leapfrog Group report cards for western Massachusetts hospitals are mixed. Which hospitals improved and which didn’t? We get into what factors can lead to declining safety ratings.This week’s panel includes Aprell May Munford, reporter at The Republican; Luke Ruud, editor-in-chief of the Massachusetts Daily Collegian; and NEPM reporter Karen Brown.
  • Today on the Rundown with Carrie Saldo, panelists discuss pro-Palestine campus demonstrations at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Consistent with a nationwide student movement, protesters demand UMass to cut financial ties with Israel. These demonstrations come as the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights investigates alleged discrimination against Palestinian and Arab students at UMass. These cases join more than 130 open investigations of ancestral-based discrimination at schools across the country. Plus, we weigh in on two local school districts on the search for new superintendents. The Springfield School Committee has been experiencing division as the national search to fill the role continues. Meanwhile, after months of controversy surrounding allegations of LGBTQ and racial discrimination, Amherst Regional School District selects Dr. E. Xiomara Herman to fill the position. Panelists include Eric Lesser, former state senator; Larry Parnass, executive editor for the Republican; and Elizabeth Román, managing editor at NEPM.
  • NEPM reporter and guest host Adam Frenier and panelists discuss comments by Massachusetts Transportation Secretary Monica Tibbits-Nutt on potential plans for state border tolls. This idea received backlash from governors of bordering states and was quickly shut down by Gov. Maura Healey; we dig into the potential impacts of border tolls on local communities. Western Massachusetts representatives continue to push for a west-east rail, touting it as a huge economic opportunity for the region. We deliberate the plans for construction and the potential impacts of a new railway. And, amid a changing climate, we’ll look at what some local homeowners are doing to floodproof their homes. Plus, what are the negative environmental impacts of solar farms? State Rep. Angelo Puppolo said that removal of trees for a 16-acre solar array project may affect the area’s groundwater. Panelists include Steve Fox, UMass Amherst senior lecturer and former Washington Post reporter; Payton North, Reminder Publications executive editor; and NEPM reporter Caitlin Reardon.
  • One of the largest unfiltered water supplies in the United States is located right here in the 413. The Quabbin Reservoir provides 3.1 million people in central and eastern Massachusetts with drinking water, but could more western Massachusetts communities gain access to that resource? The Pittsfield schools superintendent double checked some state numbers and unlocked $2.4 million in additional state aid for the district facing $3.6 million in budget cuts. We talk about this as many more western Massachusetts school districts grapple with budget woes. Plus, the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) announced late last week it is terminating its $185 million contract with the Springfield train car manufacturer CRRC. We get into the impacts this canceled contract could have on the company and the community. This week’s panel includes veteran journalist Mike Dobbs; Matt Szafranski, editor-in-chief at Western Mass Politics & Insight; and NEPM reporter Nancy Eve Cohen.
  • Today on The Rundown, panelists discuss alleged civil rights violations at Amherst-Pelham Regional Schools, which have garnered attention from conservative and progressive media. We dig into the defamation and discrimination lawsuit that sparked this hotbed issue. Magic mushrooms might be on the ballotwhen you cast your vote this November. What are the policy details and the potential impacts of legalizing psychedelics? History was made this week as the fourth-largest city in New England swore in its first Black police superintendent, Lawrence Akers. As the Springfield Police Department continues to confront institutional blunders, we discuss the challenges ahead for Akers. This week’s panel includes Dave Esenstadter, MassLive managing producer; Robert Rizzuto, Hampden County Sheriff’s Department public information officer; and NEPM reporter Nirvani Williams. Plus, we’ll hear reporting highlights of the week from the NEPM newsroom, including a story about a new poll of Massachusetts residents that has President Joe Biden with a comfortable lead in the 2024 election, and more.
  • Today on The Rundown with Carrie Saldo, panelists discuss the impact of a new hospital in North Adams. Ten years after the closure of the only regional hospital in northern Berkshire County, the North Adams Regional Hospital has admitted its first patient. And manufacturers of PFAS, an abbreviation for perfluoroalkyl and polyfluoroalkyl substances, are under legal fire from the city of Westfield, the Massachusetts attorney general, and more. We'll dig into the details behind the lawsuits that allege toxic chemicals are contaminating the environment. Plus, eclipse mania! What can you expect to see on April 8, and why it’s the subject of conversation around water coolers and kitchen tables everywhere. This week’s panel includes Dusty Christensen, investigative editor for the Shoestring; Greta Jochem, investigations editor for the Springfield Republican; and NEPM reporter Alden Bourne. Plus, reporting highlights from the NENC on the GOP’s attempts at a modest comeback in very blue Massachusetts and the importance of protecting your eyes during the upcoming eclipse. Find more information about the eclipse from NASA.
  • On The Rundown, our panel confronts a continuance without a finding. Key figures facing criminal neglect charges in the Holyoke Soldiers' Home COVID outbreak of 2020 had their latest day in court and we discuss how these cases were resolved. The state’s new commissioner of elementary and secondary education promises to return local control of Holyoke’s school district. What does this mean for the Paper City? And, the Biden administration is refusing a disaster declaration request to provide federal funds to three Massachusetts counties hit hard by flooding, and the western Massachusetts congressional delegation is pushing back. This week’s panel includes MassLive reporter John Micek, political consultant Anthony Cignoli and NEPM reporter Jill Kaufman. Plus, we’ll hear some reporting highlights of the week from the NEPM Newsroom and the NENC with stories about crows contributing to new advanced imaging technology, marijuana community impact lawsuits, and America’s fastest growing sport: pickleball.
  • This week’s panel discusses alleged racist incidents at Southwick Regional School and Pittsfield High School as these western Massachusetts communities grapple with the consequences of student bullying and harassment. A state commission is exploring how the commonwealth can best develop clean energy infrastructure for the future. What part does western Massachusetts have to play in this? Plus, what happens if a fast track fix for a decrepit dam in the Berkshires isn’t fast enough? This week’s panel includes Greg Sukiennek, reporter for The Berkshire Eagle; Sarah Robertson, freelance journalist with the Montague Reporter; and NEPM Managing Editor Elizabeth Román. Plus, we’ll hear some reporting highlights of the week from the NEPM newsroom and the NENC with stories about the celebration of Ramadan and a reflection of a solar eclipse in New England in 1932.
  • Earlier this week, a gun was fired at Springfield Sci-Tech High School. As the investigation continues, The Rundown's panel discusses what we know about the incident and what it means for school safety in its wake. Gov. Maura Healey visited western Massachusetts this week to promote an economic development bill. She has also announced an executive action to pardon people convicted of misdemeanor marijuana possession. What will be the impact here in the 413? Plus, state Rep. William “Smitty” Pignatelli is departing from the House after 22 years. The race for the 3rd Berkshire District is heating up as four candidates vie for the seat. This week’s panel includes Berkshire Eagle reporter Clarence Fanto, Massachusetts Daily Collegian Editor-in-Chief Lucas Ruud, and NEPM reporter Karen Brown. We’ll also hear some reporting highlights from the NEPM newsroom and the NENC with stories about the comeback of the bald eagle in New England; how a western Massachusetts museum says it repatriated Native American remains from the region, but a federal database says otherwise; and as spring nears, commentary about climate change and the growing season.
  • In the wake of Super Tuesday, we’ll take a look at what’s on the mind of voters in the 413. Host Carrie Saldo and this week’s panelists discuss the various voter perspectives, the “No Preference Campaign,” and what the turnouts could mean for the next presidential election. Union members at a major arts and culture destination in North Adams, the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, are on an “indefinite strike” as they seek higher wages. We dive into the details of the union’s demands and the response from MASS MoCA. And, Gov. Maura Healey recently announced a $20 million campaign to end veteran homelessness. Find out the context behind this targeted investment and where the money might be allocated. This week’s panel includes Paul Tuthill, recently retired Pioneer Valley bureau chief for Northeast Public Radio, Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle, and NEPM reporter Nancy Cohen. Plus, we’ll hear highlights of the week from the NEPM newsroom and media partners about the anniversary of a local historical tragedy, a new geothermal clean energy project, and commentary on seeing representation in a film nominated in multiple categories at the 2024 Academy Awards.
  • The biggest day of presidential primaries is ahead of us, and we’ll discuss early voter turnout in western Massachusetts. Will Super Tuesday turn out to be a sleepy Tuesday? Host Carrie Saldo talks with panelists about the area’s lack of enthusiasm and what to expect for this critical day in the 2024 presidential election. Some vacant properties owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield are making news in several western Massachusetts communities — we’ll take a look at why that is and what Catholic real estate looks like. Plus the clock is ticking on to-go cocktails, which gained popularity at restaurants during the pandemic. Will they become permanent? We get into why some business owners want them to go, and why they might be here to stay. Our panel includes Jim Kinney, reporter at The Republican and MassLive, NEPM News Director Sam Hudzik, and political strategist Ryan McCollum. Plus, Saldo talks with Executive Director Ny Whitaker and Secretary Johnathan Speer of the W.E.B. Du Bois Center for Freedom and Democracy in Great Barrington about the center’s mission and its efforts to engage the next generation of scholar activists.