Home 2017 August
Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Gray House, a nonprofit organization in the North End of Springfield, is kicking off its third annual Fill the Plate, Feed a Family Challenge, an online fund-raising initiative set to run from Friday, Sept. 1 through Saturday, Sept. 30.

The organization has set a goal of raising $20,000 for the month of September and is asking the community to help them reach this goal. All proceeds will directly support its food-pantry operations, which serve an average of 80 to 120 households each week.

This year, the initiative has expanded to include additional events. The efforts will kick off at Hot Table at Tower Square in Springfield on Wednesday, Sept. 6, where 20% of proceeds from breakfast, lunch, and dinner sales will benefit the Gray House. Patrons must present the cashier with a fund-raising flyer, which can be found at grayhouse.org.

Mayor Domenic Sarno will be present at noon to make his annual donation in support of the Gray House Food Pantry. “Fill the Plate will continue to nourish great programs at the Gray House,” he said. “It will be your comfort food donation!”

Throughout the month, participants are asked to donate through razoo.com/ftp; post a photo of themselves with an empty plate, hashtag it #FillThePlate, and link to the donation page on social media; and tag the Gray House and any friends they want to encourage to donate.

In addition to raising funds, the goal of the fund-raiser is to raise awareness of the prevalence of food insecurity in the community.

“The empty plate represents all of those neighbors who would go hungry without groceries from our food pantry,” said Teresa Spaziani-Liberti, executive director at the Gray House. “In the past several months, we’ve seen a huge increase in need for food in our community, and we’re dedicated to meeting that need, but need the community’s support to do so. We encourage donors to post photos on social media and share with their networks so that we can reach an even greater number of people.”

She added, “monetary donations to our Food Pantry go a long way in feeding our neighbors. As a member of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, we can significantly leverage donations to obtain food.”

In 2017, the Gray House Food Pantry has made much progress in meeting the needs of its neighbors. This includes increasing the number of times households can receive food within a year; increasing the variety of healthy foods, including meat and produce; building new partnerships with local grocery stores and farmers; and hiring a pantry director, Benjamin Holt, to manage the operations and plan for future growth.

Daily News

CHICOPEE — Elms College will host a screening and discussion of the documentary Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts on Thursday, Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. in the Library Theater. The public is invited to attend. A reception will precede the screening at 6:30 p.m.

Alzheimer’s disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the U.S.; this currently incurable disease devastates the 5.2 million Americans living with the disease, as well as their friends and families. Alzheimer’s: Every Minute Counts illuminates the social and economic consequences that will face the country unless a medical breakthrough is discovered.

“The screening will be a nice kickoff to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s,” said Associate Professor of Nursing Janet Moore, who, along with nursing student Molly Sullivan, is co-captaining the Elms Memory Walk Team. That walk will be held on Sunday, Sept. 17 at Holyoke Community College. Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., and a ceremony will be held at 9:30 a.m. The walk will begin at 10 a.m.

Organizing this team is a passion project for Sullivan. “During my time at the Elms, I have been motivated to find ways that allow me to live out the core values of the college and participate in causes I am passionate about,” she said. “Everyone either knows someone or cares for someone living with Alzheimer’s. I have witnessed the impact of this disease from different perspectives, as a nursing student and as the granddaughter of someone who suffered from Alzheimer’s. It is devastating to watch someone you love gradually succumb to this horrible disease.”

She added that “the walk helps to raise awareness about the devastating disease, and money raised helps to fund the search for a cure. More importantly, the walk brings the community together in the fight to end Alzheimer’s and lets those affected know that they are not alone.”

The Elms team’s goal is to raise at least $1,500 to benefit the Alzheimer’s Assoc. Students, faculty, staff, and alumni are invited to walk with the college team. For more information about the walk or to join the team, contact Moore at [email protected] or Sullivan at [email protected].

To register for the film screening, call the Alzheimer’s Assoc. at (800) 272-3900. Those who cannot attend the walk or the screening but would still like to help the cause may make a tax-deductible donation to the team at act.alz.org/goto/elmscollege.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — American International College (AIC) will offer Evenings at AIC for undergraduate students who want to begin their studies or complete a bachelor’s degree.

Evenings at AIC is designed with flexibility and affordability in mind. Traditional, hybrid, and online courses are available through AIC’s School of Business, Arts and Sciences in the following areas: accounting (BSBA), general business (BSBA), healthcare management (BSBA), liberal arts (BA), social sciences (BA), as well as an associate’s degree in arts.

Students participating in Evenings at AIC will have the same resources available to them as day students, including faculty, the Saremi Center for Career Development, the James J. Shea Sr. Memorial Library, AIC’s tutorial services, and the Writing Center. In addition, matriculating students can obtain academic credits for prior work including professional, military, and other relevant experience.

According to Jennifer Barry, director of Adult Education and Degree Completion Programs, “in today’s world, one size does not fit all when it comes to education. The typical four-year route to a college degree is not an option for everyone. We understand there may have been circumstances that prevented people from earning their degree. We envision Evenings at AIC as an opportunity for those individuals who followed a different path to find a road that works for them to successfully obtain a college degree. Students who enroll in Evenings at AIC will receive personalized support to ensure their student experience is unique and tailored to incorporate the learning they have acquired both inside and outside the classroom.”

More information is available online at www.aic.edu/evenings, by e-mail at [email protected], or by calling (413) 205-3700.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Chicopee Savings Bank Charitable Foundation recently presented Dress for Success of Western Massachusetts with a donation of $1,000 to support its boutique operations.

“Dress for Success provides a tremendous service to women in our community who are working toward achieving financial independence,” said William Wagner, president of Chicopee Savings Bank Charitable Foundation. “We are very pleased to offer our support to this important work.”

Located at the Eastfield Mall in Springfield, the Dress for Success boutique outfits women who are referred by social-service agencies and other organizations, as they prepare for job interviews and career enhancement opportunities.

“If our community is to achieve true economic success, we need a workforce that is prepared in every way,” said Dawn Creighton, president of Dress for Success. “We couldn’t be more grateful for the support of organizations like the Chicopee Savings Bank Charitable Foundation who understand and appreciate the need for our programs and services.”

Daily News

AGAWAM — Survivor Journeys is seeking licensed facilitators for two blood-cancer support groups, a breast-cancer group, and an all-cancers group. Plans are also in the works to start a caregiver support group and a young-adult group. Groups typically meet once a month in the evening at various locations in Western Mass. and Northern Conn. Ideas for other support groups are welcome as well.

Survivor Journeys provides social and emotional support services to cancer survivors, their families, and caregivers. Services are built on collaboration with local providers and cancer survivors, along with regional and nationally recognized cancer organizations. The organization was founded by Dr. Jay Burton, medical director and founder of the Primary Care Cancer Survivor Program of Western New England.

For more information or to volunteer, visit www.survivorjourneys.org, e-mail [email protected], or call (413) 276-6100.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Finding the next big thing or a historic old thing is now easier than ever. The Springfield Central Cultural District (SCCD) has launched an app version of its Cultural Walking Tour.

The walking tour, first introduced in the summer of 2015, is a tool designed to be used by visitors or residents to learn more about the city’s architectural, historic, and cultural highlights. Printed maps are available at attractions and the visitor’s center, and a video map is hosted on springfieldculture.org, but until now, it wasn’t possible to access easily on your phone.

Easily found by searching ‘Springfield Cultural Tour’ in the App Store or Google Play, visitors and residents alike can learn something new about the Cultural District and its assets. Public art; attractions like the Armory, Springfield Museums, and Basketball Hall of Fame; and architectural and historic points of interest have background information and video that are accessible from the app, which is based in Google Maps. Users can choose what they’re interested in and sort points of interest.

“As people walk around, they can see themselves moving through the app. What we couldn’t do before this existed was point out the HH Richardson Courthouse or the Sol Lewitt mural without being on site with a visitor. Now they can see it in real time, and navigate directly there on their own schedule,” said Morgan Drewniany, SCCD director.

The app was designed to not only engage a changing demographic in and around Springfield to appreciate their surroundings, but to help shed light on little-known assets within the downtown and orient visitors not familiar with the area. Paper maps will continue to be available alongside the app.

The project was funded by the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts. Additional support was provided by the city of Springfield, the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and the Springfield Business Improvement District.

Daily News

AGAWAM — The West of the River Chamber of Commerce’s annual September Business Breakfast will feature an Agawam mayoral business debate. The breakfast event is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 13 at Chez Josef from 7 to 9 a.m.

West Springfield Mayor Will Reichelt will emcee the event and give an economic-development update for the town of West Springfield. The focus of the debate will be on the business platforms each candidate is promoting for the town of Agawam. The first half of the debate will be business-related questions submitted from the public and various chamber members. The second half of the debate will be Lincoln-Douglas style. Each candidate will be able to give brief opening and closing remarks.

Tickets for the breakfast are $35 for chamber members and $45 for non-members. For more information or to register, visit www.westoftheriverchamber.com. Sponsorship opportunities are still available.

Daily News

LONGMEADOW — Bay Path University’s master’s of science degree in applied data science was ranked 12th in a list of the top 50 data-science programs nationwide by www.onlinecoursereport.com. Rankings were based on a combination of affordability, flexibility, and student support services.

The article highlights the low student-to-faculty ratio of 12 to 1 at Bay Path. It also makes reference to the university’s WiSH (Women in STEM Honors) program, which offers a four-year curriculum consisting of integrated and advanced study and research for women at the undergraduate level dedicated to becoming scientists. The university is also home to the Center of Excellence for Women in STEM, providing professional development, networking, and mentorship opportunities for students and professional women in STEM fields.

The MS in Applied Data Science is fully online and open to both women and men. The 36-credit program teaches the fundamental principles, platforms, and toolsets of the data-science profession in an accelerated format that can be completed in as little as one year. This rapidly growing career field is well suited to professionals with backgrounds in mathematics, statistics, and business analysis, with graduates achieving such career outcomes as data scientist, data engineer, and more.

Daily News

GREENFIELD — Michael Tucker, president and CEO of Greenfield Co-operative Bank, announced the promotions of Jessica Laporte to administrative officer and Anthony Worden to senior vice president, commercial loans.

Laporte has been with the bank since 2013, and in her new role, she is primarily responsible for directing Bank Secrecy Act and fraud-monitoring efforts. She has more than 16 years of banking experience and is currently completing her bachelor’s degree from Southern New Hampshire University. She is based in the bank’s King Street, Northampton office.

Worden has been with Greenfield Co-operative Bank since 2009. He will be primarily responsible for the management of the bank’s commercial-lending efforts. He has more than 18 years of commercial-lending and credit-analysis experience. He received his bachelor’s and MBA degrees from UMass Amherst and is a graduate of the Banking School at the Wharton School of Business.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Western New England University announced an educational partnership with All States Materials Group of Sunderland to offer Lean Six Sigma certification to its employees.

The two-month program leads to green belt certification in Lean Six Sigma, an internationally recognized, data-driven methodology to achieve operating efficiencies used in manufacturing and related industrial enterprises. Employees achieve levels of certification, known as belts, through classroom instruction and online modules, culminating in a substantial work-related project. Lean Six Sigma Master Black Belt Lisa Totz of LT Consulting of Westfield is the primary instructor for the program.

All States Materials Group was formed in 2007 with the goal of harnessing the strengths and capabilities of several individual member companies and their employees within one united organization. Member companies throughout New England and New York offer road paving and maintenance services, using a variety of advanced asphalt products and additives.

“We are proud to offer this cutting-edge program to a regional leader in asphalt products and service,” said Richard Keating, vice president for Strategic Initiatives at Western New England University. “We see this initiative as a bold outreach, with clear links to our acclaimed degree programs and clearly within our mission to serve the growing economy of Western Massachusetts and beyond.”