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The Labor Department reported Thursday that fewer Americans applied for unemployment benefits the previous week, continuing a nearly two-year trend that suggests a solid job market.

The department reported that weekly requests for jobless aid fell 10,000 to a seasonally adjusted 265,000.

The four-week average for claims was 263,000. Claims have stayed below 300,000 — a level indicative of healthy hiring levels — for 95 straight weeks.

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SPRINGFIELD — Continuing a tradition that began more than 20 years ago, BusinessWest will profile the winner of its ‘Top Entrepreneur’ award in its next issue, to be released Jan. 9.

The award pays homage to the region’s more-than-250-yeard-old tradition of entrepreneurship, said Associate Publisher Kate Campiti, and honors individuals, families, and companies that are carrying on that tradition.

Previous winners of the award, first presented in 1996, include Peter Rosskothen, co-creator of the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House, former Springfield Technical Community College President Andrew Scibelli, the D’Amour family, founders of Big Y, Timm Van Epps, president and CEO of Sandri LLC, the Holyoke Gas & Electric, Jeb Balise, president of Balise Motor Sales, and many others.

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HOLYOKE — PeoplesBank has announced the promotions and appointments of several key associates.

Matthew Bannister was promoted to first vice president of Marketing and Innovation. He previously served as vice president of Corporate Responsibility. He possesses more than 30 years of brand management and corporate social responsibility experience. A resident of Hadley, Bannister holds a bachelor of Arts in Communications from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

David Thibault was promoted to first vice president of Cash Management Sales and support manager. He previously served as vice president Cash Management Sales and support manager. Thibault possesses 17 years of banking experience. A resident of Palmer, he holds a bachelor of Science in Environmental Science from Norwich University and a Master of Business Administration from Western New England University.

Steve Parastatidis was promoted to Vice President of Commercial Lending. He previously served as assistant vice president and commercial loan officer. A resident of Hampden, Parastatidis has more than 10 years of financial and banking experience focusing on commercial and industrial and investment real estate transactions, with concentrations in the credit analyst, portfolio, and commercial lending areas. He holds a bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in Finance from Western New England University.

Tammy Bordeaux was promoted to assistant vice president and regional manager, Retail. She previously served as assistant vice president and Business Banking Center manager. Bordeaux has more than 19 years of banking experience. A resident of Somers, Conn., she holds a bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Western New England University and associate’s degree in Business Administration from Springfield Technical Community College.

Michelle Chase was promoted to assistant vice president, Consumer and Business Banking Center manager. She previously served as Consumer and Business Banking Center manager. Chase has more than 15 years of banking experience. A resident of Agawam, she holds a master of Business Administration in Entrepreneurial Thinking and Innovation Design from Bay Path University and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.

Joseph Dias was appointed to assistant vice president, assistant controller. Dias possesses more than 10 years of accounting experience. A resident of Wilbraham, he holds a bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a bachelor of Science in Accounting from Elms College.

Meghan Parnell-Gregoire was promoted to assistant vice president, Business Lending Center manager. Parnell-Gregoire previously served as Assistant Vice President Business Banking. She has more than 14 years of banking experience. A resident of Holyoke, she holds an associate of Science in mathematics from Holyoke Community College and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the UMass Amherst.

Robert Raynor was promoted to assistant vice president, Compliance, Risk Oversight. Raynor previously served as internal audit officer. He possesses eight years of banking experience. A resident of Northampton, Raynor holds a bachelor of Science in Business Management from Springfield College.

Cassandra Pierce was promoted to assistant vice president, Business Intelligence Manager. Pierce formerly served as Business Intelligence manager. A resident of Northampton, she holds a bachelor of Science in Business Management from Westfield State University, and a master of Science in Communication and Information Management from Bay Path University.

Erinn Young was promoted to Deposit Operations officer. Young formerly served as assistant vice president, branch manager of the Longmeadow office. She possesses 20 years of banking experience. A resident of Agawam, Young holds a bachelor of Science in Executive Management from Bay Path University.

Christina Bordeau was appointed branch manager, Sixteen Acres. She possesses 20 years of banking experience. A resident of Springfield, she is currently pursuing an associate degree in Business Administration and Management Degree from Springfield Technical Community College.

Alisa Feliberty was appointed to Call Center manager, Customer Relations. A resident of Enfield, Conn., she holds a bachelor of Science from Syracuse University and is currently pursuing a master of Business Administration in Entrepreneurial Thinking and Innovative Practices from Bay Path University.

Malissa Naylor was promoted to branch manager, East Longmeadow. Naylor previously served as assistant branch manager. She possesses more than 11 years of banking experience. A resident of Springfield, Naylor holds a bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Western New England University.

Lori Stickles was appointed to branch manager, Longmeadow. She possesses more than 18 years of banking experience. She is a resident of Feeding Hills.

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SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Regional Chamber will hold its January [email protected] on Jan. 4, featuring a focus on success, happiness, and humor, featuring keynote speaker Dr. Steve Sobel.

The breakfast will also feature salutes to Anne Thomas, new president/CEO, Glenmeadow Retirement, and the the Zoo at Forest Park.

The event, to take place at the Carriage House at Storrowton Tavern in West Springfield, will begin with networking at 7:15 a.m., with the program beginning at 7:55 p.m.

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SPRINGFIELD — In conjunction with the upcoming anniversary of Shays’ Rebellion, join curator Alex MacKenzie for his Behind the Storage Door presentation highlighting firearms of the American Revolution. The program will take place on Jan. 14 at 2 p.m. Admission is free.

The weapons shown during this presentation will highlight the tactics and weapons used in Shays’ Rebellion, which peaked with an attack on the Springfield Arsenal 230 years ago, on Jan. 25, 1787. MacKenzie will explain the history and details of each firearm, enabling visitors to learn more about the rich collections of Springfield Armory National Historic Site.

“With the upcoming anniversary of Shays’ Rebellion, we will highlight weapons from the collection that are not normally on display, giving the public an excellent opportunity to learn about the American Revolution and Shays’ Rebellion up close,” said MacKenzie.

Following the presentation, there will be a question-and-answer period, as well as an opportunity to see these featured items up close.

To learn more about Shays’ Rebellion, visit the Armory on Jan. 21 at 2 p.m. as author Leonard Richards discusses Daniel Shays  and the impact his “rebellion” had on the nation as a whole.

The Springfield Armory National Historic Site it is the location of the nation’s first armory (1794 – 1968) and was established by George Washington. The site includes historic grounds, buildings, and the world’s largest historic American military firearms collection. For further information call (413) 734-8551, or visit www.nps.gov/spar

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SPRINGFIELD — Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and City of Springfield Office of Disaster Recovery and Compliance are releasing funding for Preservation of Historic Properties that were damaged by the 2011 tornado for the second time.

“The city continues to be committed to complete tornado recovery, and this is another opportunity for property owners of historic buildings to receive funding for outstanding unmet repair needs from the tornado,” said Sarno. “We hope property owners will take advantage of this funding while it is available.”

The city has released a Notice of Funding Availability and Invitation for Bids. The city will provide up to $175,000 in grant funding to owners of historic buildings within the tornado impact zone that still have unrepaired tornado-related damages. This is the second time the city is making this funding available. The city previously released $200,000 and received only one proposal from an eligible property owner.

Eligible property owners are required to submit their proposals to the City of Springfield’s Office of Procurement no later than Jan. 11 at 2 p.m. Funding is competitive and a review committee will evaluate and score each proposal according to Historic and Neighborhood Appropriateness, Financial Need, Historic Significance of the Property and Readiness to Proceed and Ability to Comply with CDBG-DR Guidelines.

Property owners with questions should contact the Office of Disaster Recovery at (413) 750-2114.

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BOSTON — A handful of state lawmakers voted quietly Wednesday to delay the likely opening date for recreational marijuana stores in the Bay State by half a year — from January to July 2018.

The measure was sent for approval to Gov. Charlie Baker, a vocal opponent of the legalization of marijuana who called the six-month delay “perfectly appropriate.”

The bill was passed by just a small number of legislators — formal sessions for the two-year legislative session have already ended — during informal sessions during which action is usually limited to non-controversial items.

The measure passed Wednesday does not effect provisions of a marijuana-legalization law that 1.8 million voters approved in November, that were already in effect. These include personal possession inside and outside a person’s primary residence and home growing. Those provisions went into effect Dec. 15.

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WATERBURY, CONN. — Webster Private Bank announced that Joe M. Cox II, senior vice president, senior investment manager, and Chris Perry, senior vice president, senior managing director — both of Webster Wealth Advisors, a Webster Financial Company — have been named Five Star Wealth managers in Connecticut. This is the fifth consecutive year for Cox and the fourth consecutive year for Perry to have received this honor. Webster Wealth Advisors Inc. is located in Wilton, Connecticut. The two men are featured in the December issue of Connecticut Magazine.

“Experience and knowing your client are what matter most,” said Joe Savage, executive vice chairman of Webster and Head of Webster Private Bank. “Through comprehensive financial planning and specialized attention, Joe and Chris are leaders of a team that’s at the top of their game when providing a ‘big picture’ approach that covers all areas of our clients’ financial lives.”

The Five Star professional program is one of the largest and most widely published financial services award programs in North America. Those who achieve this honor are a select group of industry leaders who are evaluated against 10-point objective criteria, including client retention and favorable regulatory history.

Webster Private Bank, a division of Webster Bank, provides premium banking and customized lending, investment management, fiduciary, depository, and planning advisory services to individuals, families, and institutions with at least $1 million in investable assets. Webster Bank is a leading regional bank living up to consumers, business, and the community since 1935.

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SPRINGFIELD — Recognizing both the abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities and natural beauty within the region, as well as its unique involvement in the creation and protection of much of it, the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) has released its second edition of “Pioneer Valley Trails: A Hiking and Biking Guide.”

Self-published using revenue from the sale of the guide’s first edition, which has sold over 2,200 copies since 2011, the PVPC is hoping this comprehensive map of Hampden and Hampshire County’s recreational opportunities remains a popular item within the region’s many outdoor outfitters.

In preparing the guide, the PVPC reached out to many cooperating entities for data and map information, including all 43 PVPC member municipalities, the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, as well as nonprofit partners such as the Trustees of Reservations and Mass Audubon.

The guide includes many of the Pioneer Valley’s most popular trails, including the New England National Scenic Trail and the Robert Frost Trail for hiking, as well as the Manhan Rail Trail and Norwottuck – Mass Central Rail Trail for biking. It also includes many smaller trails spread out across the region’s cities and towns, allowing visitors and residents alike to discover new opportunities to enjoy nature.

Since 1962, the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission has been the designated regional planning body for the Pioneer Valley region, which encompasses 43 cities and towns in Hampden and Hampshire counties. PVPC is the primary agency responsible for increasing communication, cooperation, and coordination among all levels of government as well as the private business and civic sectors in order to benefit the Pioneer Valley region and to improve its residents’ quality of life.

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NORTHAMPTON — Adina Edgett and Bailey Eastman of Webber & Grinnell Insurance Agency have both passed their Massachusetts property and casualty licensing examinations given by the state Division of Insurance, bringing the agency’s total number of licensed employees up to 23.

Edgett and Eastman work in the commercial insurance division at Webber & Grinnell, serving more than 900 businesses throughout Western Mass.