Briefcase September 7, 2015

HCC, STCC Receive $5.M from State

HOLYOKE — Gov. Charlie Baker announced this week that two local community colleges will receive $5.5 million for capital projects: $2.5 million for Holyoke Community College, and $3 million for Springfield Technical Community College. He said the funds are part of the administration’s capital-investment plan, with an eye on closing a persistent ‘skills gap’ in the Commonwealth, between the skills employers require and those of currently available workers. Closing that gap, he said at a press conference announcing the grants, is “critically important to us and critically important to the success of the Commonwealth.” HCC will build a new, more energy-efficient campus center. The current facility houses several classrooms, the campus bookstore, dining services, and a media center. STCC plans to renovate Building 19 into a new student-learning commons.

Companies Issue Clean-river Challenge

GREENFIELD — As lead sponsors of the 19th annual Source to Sea Cleanup, NRG’s Middletown Generating Station, Pratt & Whitney, and TransCanada are partnering to challenge businesses throughout the Connecticut River basin to support cleaner rivers. Businesses can get involved by having employees join a cleanup group near them or contribute to the effort in other ways, such as donations or cash or cleanup supplies. Organized by the Connecticut River Watershed Council (CRWC), the Source to Sea Cleanup is a two-day trash-cleanup event in all four states of the 410-mile Connecticut River watershed. All are welcome to join this collaborative river cleanup effort on Friday and Saturday, Sept. 25 and 26. To learn more and find a group to join, visit, or call (860) 704-0057. “We’re pleased to sponsor and support this event annually, but our people are also committed to volunteering to actually clean up the river — and they enjoy it,” said Stephen Cobbe, manager of NRG’s Middletown Station. “This is the community where we live and work, and it’s important to us.” Jasmin Bertovic, vice president, Eastern Commercial Region, TransCanada, said his corporation. “believes in partnering with organizations that help build stronger communities. Partnering with Source to Sea Cleanup is a great opportunity for TransCanada, and we value the work they do in ensuring the river stays clean.” Added Pratt & Whitney’s Environment, Health & Safety Vice President Mary Anne Cannon, “Pratt & Whitney is proud to support environmental initiatives in the areas where our employees work and live. Partnering with Source to Sea Cleanup is another example of our company’s long-standing commitment to helping preserve the environment through sustainable products, operations, and initiatives.” Among the companies already stepping up to accept this challenge by organizing cleanup groups are: NRG (lead sponsor), Pratt & Whitney (lead sponsor), Alfred Benesch & Co., All American Waste, CDM Smith, Coca-Cola Refreshments, Covanta Energy, Fuss & O’Neill, Hypertherm, Ibex, King Arthur Flour, Kleinfelder, Leinenkugel Brewing Co., the Metropolitan District, Milone & MacBroom Inc., PeoplesBank, Ricoh USA, United Water, and USA Hauling & Recycling. A number of companies are also supporting the cleanup through in-kind donations of goods or services, including Zoar Outdoor, which is donating all its used ziplining gloves to be reused for the trash cleanup. Other supporters are Aerial Adventure Park at Jiminy Peak, Adventure Park at Storrs, Aubuchon Hardware, Billings Farm and Museum, C&S Wholesale Grocers, Cabela’s, Confluence Outdoor, Connecticut Science Center, Dan and Whit’s General Store, Friendly Ice Cream Corp., Mount Washington Resort, North Country Lodge and Cabins, Outdoor Ventures, Shop-Rite, and South Hadley’s Tower Theaters. “It’s a growing trend for companies to support their employees in volunteering to help their communities,” said CRWC Executive Director Andrew Fisk. “We’re honored that, last year, 25 companies chose to spend their time cleaning up our rivers.” The Connecticut River Watershed Council works to protect the watershed from source to sea. To learn more, visit

Single-family Home Sales Up in Pioneer Valley

SPRINGFIELD — The Realtor Assoc. of Pioneer Valley reported that single-family home sales in July were up 30.8% compared to the same time last year. The median price is up 3.8%, from $199,750 last year at this time to $207,250 this year. In Hampden County, July sales were up 31.9% from a year earlier, and the median price was up 5.6%. In Hampshire County, the increases were 38% in sales and 5.9% in median price. In Franklin County, however, while sales were up 10.8% from July 2014, the median price fell by 11.4%.

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