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Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Baystate Children’s Hospital and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center have launched a new collaboration addressing potential ways to improve access to high-quality and high-value healthcare for children in Western Mass. and Connecticut.

The two organizations, which both provide high-level inpatient pediatric and neonatal care as well as comprehensive outpatient services for children and adolescents, will work together to determine whether they can increase the availability, sophistication, and coordination of pediatric services throughout the Connecticut River Valley, and collaborate with community pediatric providers to improve the overall health and wellness of children in the region. Both have been recognized by U.S. News and World Report among the top U.S. children’s hospitals.

“We recognize that an opportunity exists to bring together the talent, vision, and expertise of some of the leading healthcare providers in Western and Southern New England,” said Dr. Fernando Ferrer, chief physician executive at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. “As the pediatric healthcare environment becomes more complex, the responsible approach is to consider what is in the best interests of our children and families. We are committed to working together with this in mind.”

Added Dr. John Schreiber, chief physician executive of Baystate Health, “our two organizations have a lot in common: similar cultures of placing the patient at the very center of our focus and strong commitments to the health of our communities in the broadest sense. In these common traits, we see the foundations of a very successful collaboration.”

Examples of areas where both organizations agree that a collaborative approach could improve access and quality of care include pediatric neurosurgery, ophthalmology, pulmonology, and urology, all areas where current provider shortages can make getting care difficult for patients and families.

The proposed collaboration may extend beyond clinical-care delivery, as the organizations will also jointly explore the potential for expansion of a new pediatric accountable-care organization (ACO) that is now being developed in Western Mass. by Baycare Health Partners, Baystate’s affiliated physician-hospital organization. The goal of an expanded children’s ACO will be to improve the coordination of care between pediatric primary-care providers, specialists, and hospitals throughout the Connecticut River Valley; support the continuing development and implementation of healthcare-quality measures specific to caring for children; and continue the paradigm shift in the provision of care, from treating children when they’re sick to focusing on keeping them well. Another area of potential will be developing research collaborations between the organizations in order to expedite discovery and treatment of pediatric conditions.

“As a general pediatrician who sees children in Connecticut and Massachusetts, this agreement gives me great hope,” said Dr. Richard Segool of Pioneer Valley Pediatrics, which has offices in Enfield, Conn., and Longmeadow. “There is a natural axis for families, employers, and medical providers up and down the Connecticut River Valley. This is going to scale up the clinical resources available for children and enable us to help more children stay close to home in receiving any kind of care they need. I look forward to actively participating in the ACO effort along with many of my fellow community physicians.”

Connecticut Children’s Medical Center is a clinical affiliate of the UConn School of Medicine; Baystate Children’s Hospital is part of the western campus of Tufts University School of Medicine. Both facilities are Children’s Miracle Network hospitals.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield College Rehabilitation and Disability Studies Department has received a five-year, $997,500 grant from the U.S. Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to continue its Long-term Training in Rehabilitation Counseling Program.

Grant funds were awarded to the SC Rehabilitation and Disability Studies Department in recognition of the college’s strong relationship with state vocational rehabilitation agencies in terms of program quality, national accreditation status, graduate-student clinical-site internships, and graduates’ employment in public agencies serving people with disabilities. The annual award is for $199,500, of which more than 90% goes directly to tuition and stipends for up to 12 full-time-equivalent graduate students pursuing a master’s degree in rehabilitation counseling.

“It is my hope that this long-term training grant will help the Rehabilitation and Disability Studies Department not only increase the number of qualified rehabilitation counselors in New England, but also help increase the diversity of the graduates in the program by helping underrepresented students with the cost of education,” said Springfield College Professor of Rehabilitation and Disability Studies Michael Accordino, the current project director, who also served in that capacity for the previous five-year grant award at Springfield College.

As a result of receiving the grant’s financial aid, students must commit to working in a state vocational-rehabilitation agency, with cooperating agencies located in Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, and New York.

“This training grant will help to ensure the availability of competent, caring vocational-rehabilitation professionals in the region for many years to come,” said SC School of Health Sciences and Rehabilitation Studies Dean David Miller. “The faculty members in this department are uniquely qualified to provide this training, based on their scholarship, experience, and student-centered approach to education.”

Springfield College is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the graduate rehabilitation counseling program on the campus. The college was among the first institutions to be awarded federal grant funds for this high-need training area.

“Springfield College is very proud to be the recipient of yet another RSA grant that will support our rehabilitation and disability students in their graduate studies,” said Springfield College Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Jean Wyld. “Springfield College has a rich history in the field of rehabilitation and disability studies, and to have the opportunity to build upon the legacy our students and faculty have already created in this area will be very rewarding.”

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Bring your little ghosts and goblins under age 12 to trick or treat at Holyoke Mall during its Mall-O-Ween event this afternoon. Children will have the opportunity to trick or treat at participating stores from 4 to 6 p.m. Parents and children should look for the ‘trick or treat’ sign displayed in participating storefronts for special treats during the designated hours.

Promptly at 5:30 p.m., a costume contest will be hosted by KIX 100.9 on the lower level in the JCPenney court. Contestants must be registered before 5:30 p.m. For more information, contact Holyoke Mall’s customer-service line at (413) 536-1440.

Daily News

FARMINGTON, Conn. — Farmington Bank has appointed four experienced, local bankers to lead its commercial-lending opera in Western Mass. They are Michael Moriarty, senior vice president, commercial team leader, regional executive; Joseph Kulig, vice president, commercial lender; Joseph Young, vice president, commercial lender; and Candace Pereira, assistant vice president, commercial portfolio loan officer.

“Farmington Bank’s appointment of these four well-regarded and respected Western Mass. bankers reinforces the bank’s 163-year tradition of serving customers with local, seasoned lenders who know the community and can make quick, effective decisions,” said John Patrick Jr., chairman, president, and CEO of Farmington Bank. “We welcome Mike, Joe, Joe, and Candace to our team.”

Moriarty is a 24-year veteran of the Western Mass. banking industry. He comes to Farmington Bank from United Bank, where he most recently served as executive vice president and regional commercial executive. Moriarty is the treasurer of Human Resources Unlimited in Springfield and is a member of the board of directors of the West Springfield Boys and Girls Club and St. Thomas School in West Springfield. Moriarty received a bachelor’s degree from Merrimack College and an MBA degree from Western New England University.

Kulig also has 24 years of local banking experience, and has held the position of relationship manager at both United Bank and TD Bank. Kulig is a member of the board of directors of Rebuilding Together Springfield, West Springfield Youth Soccer Club, and West Springfield Wildcats Baseball Club. Kulig received his bachelor’s degree from UMass Amherst and an MBA degree from Western New England University.

Young also brings to Farmington Bank more than 24 years of local banking experience. Previously a senior vice president of commercial lending at United Bank, Young is a 20-year retired veteran of the U.S. Air Force. He serves on the board of directors of the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Westfield. Young received his bachelor’s degree from St. Leo College in Florida.

Pereira, with nearly 10 years of local banking experience, comes to Farmington Bank from United Bank, where she most recently served as a commercial lending officer. Pereira is a member of the board of directors at the Gray House in Springfield. She received her bachelor’s degree from UMass Amherst.

In September, Connecticut-based Farmington Bank announced its plans to enter Massachusetts with the establishment of a commercial-lending office and two de novo hub branches, subject to regulatory approval, located in West Springfield and East Longmeadow. With this expansion, Farmington Bank services will now be available from Hampden County to New Haven, Conn., spanning New England’s Knowledge Corridor, an interstate partnership of regional economic-development, planning, business, tourism, and educational institutions that work together to advance the region’s economic progress.

Daily News

EAST LONGMEADOW — Visual Changes Inc. has announced its plans to build a premier day spa and salon at 100 Shaker Road in East Longmeadow. The company will partner with Craig Sweitzer & Co., LLC on the project. The site is a former post office and currently houses Atrium Dental Group, another Sweitzer construction project. With the addition of Visual Changes, the property is near full occupancy.

“The design goal for Visual Changes is to create an environment that is simultaneously serene and high-tech with a cosmopolitan feel,” said founder Mark Maruca. The 2,300-square-foot facility will feature vaulted ceilings, state-of-the-art private spa spaces, and upscale stations for salon services.

Daily News

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Bank and NESN have announced that Berkshire Bank Foundation again will be donating to New England Habitat for Humanity chapters during NESN’s coverage of the Boston Bruins’ 2014-15 season through its Hockey 4 Housing initiative.

This donation is connected to the team’s level of play during the regular season, and will directly benefit 12 regional Habitat for Humanity chapters. Berkshire Bank Foundation will donate $200 for each successful Boston Bruins penalty kill during NESN televised games. A penalty kill is the moment during a hockey game when one team, which has fewer players on the ice due to a penalty, prevents the opposing team from scoring. Last season, the team had 176 penalty kills, and Berkshire Bank Foundation evenly split its $44,000 donation among New England Habitat for Humanity chapters.

In addition to the financial support, Bank employees will help build Habitat for Humanity homes in communities across New England where Berkshire has a presence through the company’s X-TEAM, its award-winning employee volunteer program. Hockey 4 Housing highlights the bank’s support for housing initiatives and its commitment to making a difference in the community.

Daily News

WEST SPRINGFIELD — The Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield will hold its annual Government Reception on Wednesday, Nov. 19 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Carriage House at Storrowton Tavern, 1305 Memorial Ave., West Springfield.

Sponsored by Baystate Health and Comcast, the reception provides business and community leaders with the opportunity to meet socially with local, state, and federal officials immediately following the end of the formal session of the 2014 Legislature. Last year, more than 200 people attended the event, including members of area select boards and city councils, as well as state representatives and senators.

Tickets for the event cost $50 for members and $70 for general admission. Reservations may be made online at www.myonlinechamber.com or by contacting Sarah Mazzaferro at [email protected].

Daily News

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Construction employment expanded in 236 metro areas, declined in 53, and was stagnant in 50 between September 2013 and September 2014, according to a new analysis of federal employment data released by Associated General Contractors of America.

Association officials said that, as firms expand their payrolls, many are finding a limited supply of available qualified workers. “It is good news that construction employment gains have spread to more than two-thirds of the nation’s metro areas,” said Ken Simonson, chief economist for the association. “But there is a growing risk that contractors in many of these regions will have trouble finding qualified workers to complete the rising volume of projects.”

According to a recent construction-industry survey conducted by the association, 83% of construction firms report having a hard time finding qualified craft workers. They called on federal, state, and local officials to act on the measures outlined in the association’s workforce-development plan to make it easier to establish new programs designed to prepare students for high-paying careers in construction.

Daily News

LEEDS — On Sunday, Nov. 2, Berkshire Healthcare and Chakalos Investments will open the newest senior-care community in Northampton, Linda Manor Assisted Living. The public is welcomed to attend this grand-opening celebration from 1 to 4 p.m. at 345 Haydenville Road in Leeds. There will be refreshments, music, and tours of the new facility.

Linda Manor Assisted Living will contain 85 assisted-living apartments, including traditional apartments and a separate assisted-living memory-care center. The facility will provide personal-care support services to older adults, such as meals, medication management, bathing, dressing, and transportation, all for one all-inclusive fee. The community offers a deeper continuum of care and is located on the same campus as the award-winning Linda Manor Extended Care Facility. The new facility represents a capital investment of $15.8 million and will create close to 50 new jobs.

Its sister facility, Linda Manor Extended Care Facility, has been caring for people in the Pioneer Valley area since 1989 with personalized, short-term rehabilitation; long-term skilled nursing care; respite care; and specialized Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Hospice services are available for compassionate end-of-life care.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — In July 2014, the city of Springfield issued an RFP soliciting proposals from providers for job training and workforce development. As a result of this solicitation, the city is awarding a total of $250,000 in HUD Community Development Block Grant Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) funds to three separate agencies to provide job-training and workforce-development programs to residents of disaster-impacted neighborhoods.

There will be a special focus on recruiting residents of the Six Corners and South End neighborhoods, as the residents of these neighborhoods face multiple barriers to employment, and both areas were heavily impacted by both the long- and short-term effects of the natural disasters that occurred in 2011. Training Resources of America will receive $85,100; Springfield Technical Community College will receive $94,449; and Window Preservation, LLC, in partnership with the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department, will receive $70,451.

“Providing education and job training to our residents is vital in our efforts in knocking down poverty and crime,” said Mayor Domenic Sarno. “Whenever we can step up and provide opportunity, it is a win-win for us all.”

The city anticipates that the contracted organizations will provide training to a minimum of 100 Springfield residents. The programs will involve a variety of educational instruction subjects, including high-school-equivalency preparation, English language, math, computers, customer service training, and more. The varied programs will prepare and enable trainees to obtain permanent positions in fields such as educational and health services, food service, leisure and hospitality, social assistance, wholesale and retail trade, financial and business services, insurance and real estate, office and administrative support, accounting, bookkeeping, payroll services, legal services, advertising, manufacturing, asbestos/lead abatement, and construction.