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SPRINGFIELDU.S. News & World Report has rated Baystate Medical Center as part of an elite group of 34 “high-performing” hospitals in a new form of evaluation that rates hospitals on how well they perform in several surgical procedures and chronic conditions.

Baystate is only one of three hospitals in New England to be rated as “high-performing” in an analysis of 4,600 hospitals nationwide in the magazine’s new Best Hospitals for Common Care ratings released on May 20.

“This latest honor from U.S. News & World Report, in addition to already placing in its Best Hospitals report, is further recognition of the world-class care available to patients at Baystate Medical Center. It is truly an honor and a testament to our clinicians and staff who strive to deliver safe, high-quality care for our patients every day,” said Dr. Evan Benjamin, senior vice president for Quality and Population Health and chief quality officer for Baystate Health.

“The new Common Care report is unique in that it looks at numerical data based on hospital outcomes rather than basing judgment on a hospital solely on its reputation. It also emphasizes what we have known in the healthcare industry for a while, that hospitals that perform many of the same types of procedures tend to have better outcomes with them,” he added.

U.S. News evaluated hospitals based on their performance in three common operations — heart bypass, hip replacement, and knee replacement — and two widespread chronic conditions, congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). To be eligible, hospitals had to perform a minimum number of each procedure each year. Hospitals were rated as “high-performing,” “average,” or “below average.” Approximately 10% of the hospitals rated in each condition or procedure were high-performing, but only 34 hit that mark in all five.

The new ratings reflect the magazine’s broadest expansion of its analysis of hospital quality since it established its annual Best Hospitals ranking of medical centers 25 years ago. While the magazine releases its Best Hospitals rankings annually to help patients with life-threatening or rare conditions to identify those that excel in treating the most difficult cases, the new Common Care rankings consider the kinds of diseases and conditions that most commonly lead to hospitalizations.

“The choice of a hospital can be life-changing, even for relatively routine surgery. Hospitals can differ greatly in quality, and excelling in one area doesn’t guarantee that a hospital excels in other areas,” said Ben Harder, chief of health analysis for U.S. News. “The good news for patients is that the majority of hospitals performed average or better.”

For more information on Baystate Medical Center, visit baystatehealth.org/bmc.

Daily News

BOSTON — The Baker-Polito administration announced the launch of a new, $10 million initiative aimed at making Massachusetts a national leader in energy storage.

The Energy Storage Initiative (ESI) includes a $10 million commitment from the Department of Energy Resources (DOER) and a two-part study from DOER and the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center (MassCEC) to analyze opportunities to support Commonwealth storage companies, as well as develop policy options to encourage energy-storage deployment.

“The Commonwealth’s plans for energy storage will allow the state to move toward establishing a mature, local market for these technologies that will, in turn, benefit ratepayers and the local economy,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “Massachusetts has an exciting opportunity to provide a comprehensive approach to support a growing energy-storage industry with this initiative’s analysis, policy, and program development.”

Added EEA Secretary Matthew Beaton, “Massachusetts is nationally recognized for energy efficiency and clean-energy job growth. This Energy Storage Initiative will ensure the Commonwealth continues to be on the forefront of advancing innovative clean technology. Through this initial $10 million announcement and the subsequent studies, Massachusetts is primed to leverage the expertise of the storage industry to reduce barriers to project implementation, ultimately advancing a crucial component of modernizing our electric grid.”

Massachusetts’ $10 billion clean-energy industry already supports a promising energy-storage cluster, said MassCEC CEO Alicia Barton. “By launching the Energy Storage Initiative and fostering this sector at home, Massachusetts will position itself to grab a disproportionate share of the economic opportunities arising out of the fast-growing global markets for storage technology.”

The worldwide market for grid-scale energy storage alone is estimated to reach $114 billion by 2017, according to an analysis by Lux Research. Common methods of energy storage include batteries, flywheels, compressed-air energy storage, pumped storage, hydrogen storage, and thermal-energy storage.

The two-part study will start by analyzing the industry landscape, economic development, and market opportunities for energy storage, while also examining potential policies and programs that could be implemented to better support energy-storage deployment in Massachusetts. The second part of the study will provide policy and regulatory recommendations along with cost-benefit analysis for state policymakers.

In parallel, DOER will leverage $10 million in Alternative Compliance Payments (ACPs) to establish and support the Commonwealth’s energy-storage market. DOER will work to identify and evaluate the appropriate value of the services energy storage can provide to ratepayers and the grid through a market signals assessment, while funding demonstration projects from the utility to residential scales.

DOER will work with MassCEC and key market players, in state and across the country, to assist in the development of innovative projects in the Commonwealth. Through this initiative, Energy and Environmental Affairs will hold several forums to engage experts and industry in storage-policy opportunities in the coming months.

“Massachusetts continues to play a leading role in creating solutions for a more flexible and resilient grid,” said Matt Roberts, executive director of the Energy Storage Assoc. “These investments in studying the positive impact that energy storage will have and funding new projects will undoubtedly spur continued advancement in the industry.”

Daily News

PITTSFIELD — When it opens on Monday, June 1, the 45-room Hotel on North will add nearly 3,000 square feet of meeting and banquet space for corporate and executive groups to Pittsfield.

Located in a pair of buildings that date from the 1880s and are listed on the National Register of Historic places, Hotel on North exudes character with distinctive design elements formed by the architectural bones of the buildings, such as tin ceilings, exposed brick walls, and wood columns. With an eclectic mix of furnishing and decor, much from the workshops of local artisans and craftspeople, as well as catering from the restaurant and bar Eat and Drink on North, the hotel offers groups a rich blend of Berkshire roots and contemporary style to foster innovation and productivity. The property is outfitted with state-of-the-art technology so meeting attendees can stay connected.

“Hotel on North has an authentic, vibrant spirit with creative touches throughout the property,” said Lindsey Struck, general manager. “Unlike anything else in Pittsfield, the property offers groups an out-of-the-box solution to motivate meeting attendees in fresh new ways that incorporate the surrounding Berkshires.”

For more information or to book, contact (413) 358-4741. Additional details about the property can be found at www.hotelonnorth.com, www.facebook.com/hotelonnorth, or www.instagram.com/hotelonnorth.

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AGAWAM — Jean Deliso, president of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services and a 20-plus-year veteran of the financial-planning profession, recently earned one of the premier designations in financial services as a certified financial planner (CFP). This certification is generally recognized as the highest standard in personal financial planning.

Deliso is committed to educating individuals about their finances and has helped them take control of their unique situations since she has been in practice. Achieving this certification, she said, further heightens her ability to help lead her clients to personal success and financial freedom. She works with many business and high-net-worth individuals providing retirement and estate planning. She also assists women in planning for their financial future, particularly in times of transition such as divorce or widowhood.

The CFP Board holds its members to the highest degree of ethical standards and professional conduct. As a designated certified financial planner, Deliso promises to uphold this high level of conduct and ensures that her clients will receive the most extensive and comprehensive level of financial planning. The CFP Board was founded in 1985 as a nonprofit organization that serves the public interest by promoting the value of professional, competent, and ethical financial-planning services, as represented by those who have attained CFP certification.

Established in 2000, Deliso Financial and Insurance Services is a complete financial-services agency; however, Deliso’s extensive experience in several areas has led to a reputation for certain specializations.

Daily News

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Bank has recognized 27 employees for their volunteerism in the community, and has named three “top volunteers” through its Volunteer Service X-ellence Awards Program. These annual awards celebrate bank employees who have made outstanding contributions to their communities.

The three award recipients were selected based on their strong record of volunteerism to nonprofit organizations through both company-supported activities and in individual service to the broader community. An awards luncheon was held in Pittsfield at the bank’s headquarters, where the recipients received their awards from company leadership. Each of the award winners also received a $1,000 donation that will be made to the nonprofit organization of their choice. This year’s Volunteer X-ellence Award winners include:

• Sue Gagne, branch officer in East Longmeadow. She received the Volunteer Service X-ellence award for her leadership and participation in the bank’s corporate volunteer program. Her donation was made to Wolf Swamp Road School in East Longmeadow and Washington Elementary School in Springfield.

• Monica Schlaepfer, financial services representative in West Winfield, N.Y. She received the Volunteer Service X-ellence award for her leadership and service in both company-supported and individual volunteer activities. Her donation was made to Mount Markham Central School District Foundation.

• Michael Provencher, teller in Ludlow, Vt. He received the Volunteer Service X-ellence award for his individual volunteer service outside the bank’s corporate program. His donation was made to Knight-Allen Hose Co.

In addition to the three Volunteer Service X-ellence Award recipients, Berkshire Bank named 27 employees to its Community Service Honor Roll. Employees eligible for the Honor Roll completed a minimum of 150 hours of volunteer service in the last calendar year. Honorees included Dawn Adams-Rea, Theresa Andersen, Barbara Cooney, Joshua Cutler, Jody DeMarco, Marc Dickie, Leigha Durfee, Susan Gagne, David Gonci, Heidi Higgins, James Kochakian, Gary Levante, Elizabeth Mach, Ceroi Mello, Thomas Miller, Beth Molinero, LeeAnn Morrone, Sandra O’Neil, Elizabeth Phillips, Ann Ciepiela, John Prividera, Michael Provencher, Monica Schlaepfer, Ray Smith, Michael Smith, Deborah Stephenson, and Karen Worcester.

“These award winners went above and beyond by donating their time, talent, and skills to help dozens of nonprofit organizations,” said Linda Johnson, executive vice president and chief Human Resources officer at Berkshire Bank. “The employees selected for this year’s Honor Roll embody our values as a company and share in our commitment to making a difference in our community. We applaud them for their continued commitment to our communities.”

Daily News

BOSTON — The state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is now seeking applications for the first phase of the fiscal year 2016 Partnerships Matching Funds Program from park-advocacy groups, civic and community organizations, institutions, businesses, municipal governments, and dedicated individuals with an interest in improving the Commonwealth’s natural, cultural, and recreational resources.

Through the program, DCR will allocate $1.25 million in matching funds to finance capital projects at the agency’s parks, beaches, and other facilities. Past projects include the design and construction of a new playground, repairs to historic buildings, trail and path enhancements, and landscape improvements.

“The Partnerships Matching Funds Program is a great example of how DCR works together with residents and stakeholder organizations to improve our public resources,” said DCR Commissioner Carol Sanchez. “We are proud to continue to build upon the success of the Partnership Matching Funds Program, which has been responsible for a combined investment by the Commonwealth and public and private partners in trails, green spaces, historic structures, and water resources of more than $10 million since 2004.”

Applications for DCR’s matching-funds program must provide a match of non-state funds for capital projects at the agency’s parks, beaches, and facilities to be considered. Projects that require more than one year to plan and complete will be under consideration. Once approved, DCR will manage the implementation of the projects in close consultation with the partners making contributions. The agency will match projects dollar for dollar and will also consider providing a two-to-one match in certain instances.

For more information on the program, and to receive an application, call (617) 626-4989 or e-mail [email protected]. Information and applications are also available at www.mass.gov/dcr; click the ‘Get Involved’ tab, then click on ‘Partnerships.’

Daily News

CHICOPEE — For as long as he can remember, Shawn Wrisley has watched small businesses in Western Mass. grow from ideas to seedlings to thriving success stories. And for him, watching those other businesses grow provided not only inspiration, but satisfaction as well.

“I take more enjoyment in watching small businesses grow than in watching a Wal-Mart or Target pop up,” Wrisley said. “I want to deal with small businesses. And that’s who Western Mass is. The mom-and-pop small businesses here are our lifeblood.”

So when Wrisley, a Greenfield native, neared his 40th birthday this year, he decided it was time to take his years of payroll experience and start Total Business Solutions NE, a small business-solutions company that offers payroll, insurances, merchant services, bookkeeping, and accounting. Headquartered in Chicopee, Total Business Solutions NE provides solutions to small and medium-sized businesses throughout Western Mass.

“I’m here. I’m local. I’m not a big corporation,” Wrisley said. “There aren’t a lot of layers here. When you call TBS, you’re going to talk to me — to the same person every week.”

With his back-office solutions, Wrisley said, he’s able to accomplish everything bigger payroll companies can accomplish, but with a small-business heart. In addition to payroll and merchant services such as credit-card processing, he offers all insurances: home, life, auto, workers’ compensation, liability, and health.

“I can run my business and service my clients in a very hands-on way,” he said. “I’m the business owner now, and what comes with that is the flexibility to be able to do the things that clients ask me for.”

Brian Savlick, co-owner of Friendly Ride Transportation in Springfield, said working with TBS allows him to keep his business local. “Shawn is personable and customer-service oriented,” he noted. “He takes my business seriously and provides exceptional customer service and knowledge of the products he sells.”

Katie Clifford, Owner of Salon 241 in Northampton, said she’s able to contact Wrisley directly whenever necessary. “Shawn is honest and reliable, looking out for the best interest of my business. When I have questions or issues, I know I can get Shawn on the phone and he will handle things in a prompt manner. He allows me to focus on my business with excellent customer service.”

Added Wrisley, “I don’t know how to run a salon or a restaurant, but what I do know is that it’s much easier for those small-business owners to use someone like me who takes as much pride in their businesses as I do my own. Watching other people become successful is incredibly rewarding.”

The benefit of working with TBS, Wrisley said, is that all services are provided through one source. “Whether it’s payroll or insurance or merchant service or bookkeeping, I’m the one company that serves all those needs. As a small-business owner, I understand that everything is so complex. I offer simplicity for the small-business owner.”
For more information, visit www.totalbusinesssolutionsne.com.

Daily News

NORTHAMPTON — On May 26, Madelyn Breen, an oncology registered nurse at Cooley Dickinson Hospital, was among the honorees at “the one hundred” — 100 individuals, groups, and organizations from across the country and around the globe who are changing the fight against cancer and inspiring others to take action. Created and supported by the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center in 2008, the one hundred celebrates hope in the cancer community.

Breen officially retired in 2011, but her dedication to caring for people living with cancer brings her back to Cooley Dickinson three days a week as an oncology registered nurse. In a career that spans 45 years — all at CDH — Breen has set an example of providing exceptional nursing care, leading to her selection as one of the 100 honorees who are changing the fight against cancer and inspiring others to take action. Read more about the award at www.theonehundred.org/honorees/madelyn-breen-rn-bsn-ocn.

In addition, Breen received the Mass. Nursing Assoc. Clinical Excellence Award in 1991 and the American Cancer Society’s Volunteers’ Community Partner’s Award in 2012 for her volunteer leadership. In addition, Breen has served in many leadership positions for the Relay for Life.
Nearly 1,000 nominations were submitted for consideration for the one hundred in 2015 from sources around the world. As in previous years, the list includes remarkable and diverse individuals and organizations from all walks of life.

“At the Mass General Cancer Center, we pair the most advanced science with the most compassionate care. As a result of this comprehensive approach, we are recognized around the globe as a leader in the fight against cancer,” said Dr. Daniel Haber, director of the Cancer Center.

“Each year, the one hundred honors those who support our mission to help people living with cancer, in inspiring and often revolutionary ways,” he continued. “Our honorees are truly amazing. They are doctors and nurses selflessly caring for patients and their families, advocates raising awareness for the cancer cause, researchers working tirelessly in their laboratories to make important discoveries, and philanthropists contributing generously to make a cure possible.”

A signature event, the one hundred is also a key fund-raiser for the Mass General Cancer Center. A dinner honoring recipients was held at the Westin Copley Place in Boston on May 26. Funds raised support the Cancer Center’s research into targeted therapies and early-detection technologies, as well as innovative supportive-care programs.

The full list of the one hundred recipients for 2015, along with their photos and stories, can be found at www.theonehundred.org/honorees.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield (ACCGS) has named Kate Kane, managing director of Northwestern Mutual’s Springfield office, as its 2015 Richard J. Moriarty Citizen of the Year. The award is given annually to honor the memory of Moriarty, a long-time active participant in the ACCGS and individual who gave of his time, talent, and personal and professional resources to the local community.

“Kate reminds me of Rick in so many ways,” said Patrick Leary, chair of the ACCGS’ award nominating committee and partner at Moriarty & Primack, P.C. “Just like Rick, Kate is very involved in so many community organizations not because it is something that is expected of her, but because she believes it is the right thing to do, and, like Rick, much of her involvement is done quietly without seeking accolades or recognition. I think Rick would be very pleased with Kate as our Citizen of the Year.”

A graduate of Vassar College, Kane was planning to pursue a career in teaching when she took a position at Northwestern Mutual in its Worcester office. Inspired by the financial-services company, Kane rose through the ranks, building her expertise in leadership, recruiting, and guiding clients. Starting as director of Operations in Springfield, she has served in numerous capacities, including director of Development and field director, before rising to her current position as head of the Springfield group.

Kane shares that leadership experience through countless volunteer hours for a variety of civic and community organizations. She spearheaded the agency’s fund-raiser for Alex’s Lemonade Stand to fight against childhood cancer. She serves as the treasurer for the Springfield Museums Assoc. board of trustees, a long-time board member and past president of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, a member of Business Leaders for Education, and current chair of the Sisters of Providence Health System board of directors.

She is also a founding board member and past president of Dress for Success, co-writing the original business plan for the Western Mass. chapter, the first one in the Commonwealth, and served as the first female president of the Managing Director Assoc. She is a former board member for the Professional Women’s Chamber and the Friends of the Homeless, and served as the ACCGS’ representative on the Springfield gaming application review task force.

She has been honored as Western Mass Women magazine’s Professional Woman of the Year in 2012, the Professional Women’s Chamber Woman of the Year in 2011, and was named a Difference Maker by BusinessWest in 2009.

Kane will be honored at the ACCGS [email protected] on Wednesday, June 3 from 7:15 to 9 a.m. in the Flynn Campus Union at Springfield College, 263 Alden St., Springfield. In addition to Kane’s honors, the breakfast will feature “A Chamber Year in Review” celebrating the ACCGS’ successes over the past year and will feature guest speaker Katie Stebbins, the state’s assistant secretary of Technology Innovation and Entrpreneurship.

Reservations for the breakfast are $20 for members in advance, $25 for members at the door, and $30 for general admission. Reservations may be made online at www.myonlinechamber.com or by e-mailing Sarah Mazzaferro at [email protected].

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BOSTON — The Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development reported that the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ seasonally unadjusted unemployment rates for April were down in all labor market areas over the month and over the year.

During April, all 15 areas for which job estimates are published recorded seasonal job gains. The largest job gains were in the Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Springfield, Barnstable, Worcester, and Framingham areas. Since last April, 14 areas added jobs, with the largest percentage gains in the Brockton-Bridgewater-Easton, Lynn-Saugus-Marblehead, Leominster-Gardner, Barnstable, Lowell-Billerica-Chelmsford, and Worcester areas.

In order to compare the statewide rate to the local unemployment rates, BLS estimates that the statewide unadjusted unemployment rate for April was 4.1%, down 0.9% from the March 2015 rate. Over the year, the statewide unadjusted rate was down 1.4% from the April 2014 rate of 5.5%.