WNPR

Massachusetts

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The postseason proper is upon us!

Baseball has already played four winner-take-all games in three days. The Dodgers and the Brewers won their divisions in a pair of extra, tie-breaking game number 163s. And then the Cubs and the A's saw their seasons end in the two Wild Card Games.

And now we're onto a round of real, full-length, five-game series. The two National League Division Series start today, and the American League's DSes start tomorrow.

From the middle of UMass toward the center of town in Amherst, Massachusetts, you may have seen some unexpected objects near walkways or up on a grassy hill.

Upon closer inspection, they’re delightful and puzzling pieces of art.

Since last Thursday, the House of Mercy has been busier than usual. The part shelter/part church/part donations center is among the places people affected by the Merrimack Valley gas explosions can go for help.

Their building, in an industrial corner of Lawrence, is a cramped space nearly floor-to-ceiling with diapers, bottled water and canned food.

Mabel Valenzuela, who works at House of Mercy, walks through a tight hallway, surveying the inventory.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and General Electric Co. are funding a new approach to negotiating an agreement on the cleanup of the Housatonic River. Just last week, many of the stakeholders met with an independent mediator.

Ervins Strauhmanis / Creative Commons

Three Merrimack Valley, Massachusetts neighborhoods were marred by natural gas explosions Thursday, in an incident that left one dead and several others injured. This hour, we take an in-depth look at what happened and consider the likelihood that a similar situation could unfold here in Connecticut.

Later, we learn why some local residents and advocates are airing their grievances against Veyo, the company contracted to provide non-emergency transportation to adults and children on Medicaid. How did the California-based enterprise come to operate in Connecticut in the first place? We find out.

And finally, we wade through the known and unknown effects of e-cigarette use, and find out why the electronic tobacco devices are so fashionable among youths today. Have you owned or smoked an e-cigarette? What about your child or children? We want to hear from you. 

In a surprise defeat that reflects a changing Democratic Party, Boston City Council member Ayanna Pressley has defeated 10-term Democratic Rep. Mike Capuano in Massachusetts' 7th Congressional District.

Pressley is poised to become the first African-American woman to represent Massachusetts in the state's congressional history.

"It's not enough for Democrats to be back in power," she said at her election night celebration. "It matters who those Democrats are."

It's been a little over a week since the new MGM casino opened to much fanfare in Springfield, Massachusetts. A week later, some folks sounded happier than others. 

Amherst College announced it's changing the name of the Lord Jeffrey Inn, a landmark hotel on campus.

RV1864, Flickr

Rocky Marciano is known around the world as the greatest heavyweight champion of all time. But what’s not as well known about the boxer is his strong connections to New England.

Rocky Marciano, born Rocco Marchegiano, grew up in Brockton, Massachusetts. His first professional fight was in Holyoke, MA. And most of his professional fights throughout his career were fought in Providence, Rhode Island. 

As MGM opens in Springfield, Massachusetts, regulators and casino operators are required to make sure problem gamblers have access to help. There’s a new program called GameSense they hope will fulfill that promise.

Adam Metallo / Smithsonian Institution

They can weigh over a hundred tons, live their entire lives underwater, and some even hunt using sound through a method known as echolocation. Yet, whales are also complex social creatures who share much in common with humans.

This hour we talk with paleontologist Nick Pyenson about why he has dedicated his life to studying whales, or as he puts it, “Earth’s Most Awesome Creatures.” Pyenson’s new book, Spying on Whales, takes readers on a scientific quest to understand the evolutionary journey of whales from dog-sized land mammals to the ocean giants of today.

Connecticut’s gaming industry is expected to lose a big pot of money this week when MGM opens a resort in Springfield, Massachusetts, on Friday. The state is bracing for a drop in tax revenue, not just from Springfield, but from other resorts also opening soon.

MGM Resorts has announced a gambling partnership with the NBA and WNBA. But don't look for betting on basketball at MGM’s new Springfield casino anytime soon.

MGM officials told Massachusetts gambling regulators Thursday that the company is on pace to hire 3,000 employees before it opens its Springfield casino next month. But so far, MGM is coming up short on some hiring goals.

Apex Photo Company / Wikimedia Commons

During his remarkable career with the Boston Red Sox, Ted Williams earned many nicknames: The Kid, The Splendid Splinter, Teddy Ballgame... but the only nickname that he ever wanted was "the greatest hitter who ever lived."

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