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New England

Shervin Lainez

In 2017, the genre-bending band Lake Street Dive went from a quartet to a quintet. The band members asked their newest musician, keyboardist Akie Bermiss, to come on board with a “marriage proposal.”

Tatiana Johnson

Poet Porsha Olayiwola uses Afrofuturism to look back at history. 

“It’s reimagining, it’s reconciling, it’s inserting magic in a way that feels like something might live forever,” she told NEXT

Olayiwola is the Boston poet laureate and a fellow with the Academy of American Poets. In 2019, she released her debut book of poetry, “i shimmer sometimes, too.”

Dave Wurtzel / Connecticut Public

Editor’s Note: After five years on air, our weekly radio program NEXT is coming to an end. The show focused on New England at a time of change and featured stories from journalists across the New England News Collaborative. 

Alison Bechdel / HMH Books & Media

Alison Bechdel is a popular American cartoonist. She’s best known for her graphic memoir “Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic,” which was later adapted into a Tony Award-winning musical. She’s also a recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Grant. The Vermont resident's new graphic memoir, “The Secret To Superhuman Strength,” is about exercise and the new fitness trends Bechdel picks up with each decade – from running to yoga to skiing. But it's also about transcending.

Snow-covered mailboxes with tall piles of snow behind them in Boston after the January 2015 blizzard
Whoisjohngalt / Wikimedia Commons

The term global warming makes it clear that climate change is raising temperatures around the world. But climate change and a melting Arctic will shape our weather in New England in a whole host of other ways as well.

This hour: from extreme storms to “weather whiplash”, we look at the science behind why climate change is making our weather...weirder.

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."

Joyce Skowyra / NEPM

People have been making the case for reparations for Black Americans for decades, and there are signs of forward movement.

President Joe Biden has expressed support for a federal bill that would study the issue, and the new COVID-19 relief legislation includes several billion dollars to help Black farmers.

In New England, some groups are hoping to build on this momentum — with targeted efforts.

NASA

NASA’s Artemis program plans to land the first woman on the moon by 2024. Half of the Artemis team is composed of women, including Jessica Meir, who grew up in Caribou, Maine.

In a recent interview on NEXT, Meir traced her career ambitions back to the first grade, when the teacher instructed students to draw a picture of what they wanted to be when they grew up. Meir drew herself, standing on the lunar surface in a spacesuit with the American flag.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

The latest vaccination data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that some New England states are vaccinating against COVID-19 quicker than others, with Connecticut currently ranking as one of the top states in the U.S. and the top in New England.

New England states ranked by the percentage of people who have received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose:

Wood Heat Tax Credit Gives New England Industry ‘Something To Rally Around’

Feb 10, 2021
Proponents say burning wood for heat is more efficient than doing so for electricity.
Alex Lazaro / Creative Commons

Congress included the new tax credit in December’s COVID-19 stimulus bill, offering 26 percent off the cost of installing high-efficiency wood boilers.

New England’s wood heat industry is hoping a new tax credit and marketing campaign can convince more homeowners to buy a high-efficiency wood boiler.

Jesse Costa / WBUR

Severe storms. Heat waves. Rising seas. New England is already seeing the impacts of climate change, and scientists project they will become more severe and deadly, shaping how we live and work in the northeastern U.S.

In a special ahead of Inauguration Day, the New England News Collaborative and America Amplified look at climate change in our region and how President-elect Joe Biden’s administration could affect future climate action. Biden has proposed the most ambitious climate platform of any incoming U.S. president in history.

Robert F. Bukaty / Associated Press

Hunting and fishing license sales are booming this year across northern New England.

In New Hampshire, there’s been an 18% increase in resident hunting licenses since last year. Vermont saw its sales go up 20%. The increase was smaller in Maine, at 9%.

Alvaro Galve / flickr creative commons

Seventeen AFC East championships. Nine Super Bowl appearances. Six Lombardi trophies. Twenty seasons pairing maybe the greatest head coach in the history of the NFL with maybe the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL.

At the same time, there are words like "spygate." "Deflategate." And even "solicitation in Florida."

This hour, a look at one of the all-time great (and all-time most divisive) sports dynasties: the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick/Robert Kraft New England Patriots.

New England Energy Storage Advocates Say FERC Ruling Is A Setback For Industry

Dec 9, 2020
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ordered New England’s grid operator to end a rule that let new resources lock in prices for up to seven years.
Ryan McKnight / Flickr/ Creative Commons

A decision by federal regulators to throw out a rule that has helped emerging technologies gain a foothold on New England’s electric grid will put the region’s energy storage industry in jeopardy, according to advocates.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission last week ordered New England’s grid operator to end a rule that has allowed new bidders in its capacity market to lock in their prices for up to seven years.

NOAA Permit #932-1905

The tension between protecting the environment and people’s livelihoods is on full display in the new documentary “Entangled,” a film that focuses on one of the world’s most endangered species – the North Atlantic right whale – and the lobster industry, which is the most valuable fishery in North America.

Study: Solar Can Hurt Home Values If It Displaces Scarce Suburban Greenspace

Nov 12, 2020
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

One of the most comprehensive studies to date on how solar projects affect housing values suggests that siting large arrays on suburban greenspace can harm home values within a 1-mile radius. 

Governors Want Sunlight On The Secretive ISO New England

Oct 15, 2020
Gov. Ned Lamont, center, and on his left Govs. Charlie Baker and Gina Raimondo. They met a year ago to talk about regional cooperation. They are three of the five signatories calling for reforms to ISO New England.
Gov. Ned Lamont's Office

Connecticut and four other New England states fired the first salvo Thursday in a campaign to reform the region’s complex wholesale electric market – and the unaccountable and largely opaque governance of its operator, ISO New England.

Elodie Reed / Vermont Public Radio

What we don’t learn in school can matter as much as the lessons we do learn. In this fourth and final episode of a special radio series on “Racism In New England,” we talk to teachers and students about the harm of omitting stories and cultures from curricula — and how we can do better.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

Racism is trauma. But racism’s impact on mental health can be hard to talk about. In this third episode of a special radio series on “Racism In New England,” we hear about the stressors to mental health in the region and ways to get relief. 

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

Despite New England's progressive reputation, residential segregation still exists in communities throughout the region. 

In this second episode of a special radio series on "Racism In New England," we look at how housing laws and discrimination influence where we live — from the predominantly white states of northern New England to cities and suburbs in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

Here’s the story that New England tells itself: Racism is a Southern problem.

But our region’s abolitionist past hides a darker history of racism, slavery and segregation. It’s a legacy that lives with us today. 

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public/NENC

From suburban Connecticut to rural Maine, demonstrators occupied highways and town greens over the summer with banners and calls for racial justice. 

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

A union representing thousands of workers at Stop & Shop grocery stores around New England says it will file charges against the chain with the National Labor Relations Board. The United Food and Commercial Workers Union says the decision to end additional hazard pay -- or so-called “hero” pay -- for front-line workers at the beginning of July in this time of pandemic is “inexcusable.” 

Robin Lubbock / WBUR

The pandemic has forced many people in New England into a dire economic situation. But there is at least one potential silver lining: the opportunity for climate action. It’s likely the federal government will approve stimulus money again to try to boost the economy, and many environmentalists propose we intentionally direct some of those funds toward “green” recovery. 

Wilson Ring / AP Photo

For more than a decade, Vermont tattoo artist Alex Lawrence has been offering to remove racist tattoos — such as swastikas or the white supremacist slogan “white power” — for free. Recently, as protests over police violence continue and his work has gotten more exposure, Lawrence has seen an uptick in clients taking him up on the offer.

Jesse Costa / WBUR

Like the country at large, New England states are taking a patchwork approach to reopening during the pandemic. Rhode Island just entered phase three on Tuesday, while most of the other states are still in phase two — meaning we can now go inside a restaurant to eat, more stores can open, and in many states, people can go to the gym. But don’t be fooled, experts say: Reopening does not mean the pandemic is over.

In New England, Declining Car Sales Prompt Call For Electric Bike Rebates

Jun 23, 2020
Richard Masoner / Flickr Creative Commons

As interest in cycling rises and electric vehicle sales drop off amid the pandemic, advocates are calling on Connecticut officials to extend the state’s rebate program to include electric bicycles.

Jacquiline Rabe Thomas / Connecticut Mirror

Racial segregation is a modern-day problem that is perpetuated in New England through local zoning laws.

Travis Wise / flickr creative commons

In 2007, journalist Alan Weisman published The World Without Us. It was an international bestseller. The book tries to answer what is ultimately a simple question: What happens to the Earth if human beings disappear? Here's how Weisman puts it in the book: "Say a Homo sapiens-specific virus -- natural or diabolically nano-engineered -- picks us off but leaves everything else intact." Then what?

And over these last few months, we've gotten maybe a fraction of a percentage point there. Temporarily. Maybe not directly because of coronavirus, but indirectly because of our absence and scarceness due to stay-at-home orders and the like. And so... then what?

locals only sticker
HOWARD WEISS-TISMAN / VPR

Across New England, tensions already existed between year-round residents and "part-timers."

Now, as coronavirus pushes more people from crowded cities to rural second homes, it's raised the question: "Whose town is this anyway?"

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