Agenda Departments


Workshop on Estate Planning, Medicaid, Medicare
August 4: Monson Savings Bank will conduct a complimentary workshop titled “Straight Talk on Estate Planning, Medicaid Qualification and Medicare Pitfalls,” featuring attorney Karen G. Jackson, Esq., senior partner at Jackson & Torrone, P.C. The event is designed to help people understand what is needed for an effective estate plan and why it’s so important. In clear-cut language, Jackson will explain the “Big 5” pillars of estate and health care planning — a will, durable power of attorney, health care proxy, HIPAA release, and the living will or advance directive. She will also address some significant issues with Medicare and Medicaid that too often unnecessarily cost people a lot of money. The workshop will be conducted from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Gardens of Wilbraham, 2301 Boston Road in Wilbraham. It is free and open to the public. “Understanding estate planning, Medicaid, and Medicare can be daunting,” said Steve Lowell, President and CEO of Monson Savings Bank. “This workshop will simplify the steps needed to create an effective estate plan so that people may better protect themselves, their families and their assets.” Those interested may call Anna Calvenese at (413) 267-1221 e-mail to [email protected] to RSVP. Seating is limited. Refreshments will be served.

Information Session on Earned-sick-time Law
August 6: The Greater Northampton, Amherst Area, and Greater Easthampton chambers of commerce will host an informational session on the earned-sick-time law, presented by the Mass. Attorney General’s Office, at the Hadley Farms Meeting House. The session, one of several offered statewide and online, aims to educate employers and employees about the new law, which went into effect July 1. It will offer guidance on implementation, explain employers’ and employees’ rights and responsibilities, and provide opportunities to get specific questions answered. The earned-sick-time law was approved by voters on Nov. 4, 2014 and entitles employees in Massachusetts to earn and use up to 40 hours of sick time under certain conditions. The attorney general enforces this law and also wrote and published final regulations to clarify practices and policies in its administration. More information, including the final regulations and sample documents, may be found at The information session is expected to last two hours, including time for questions and answers. Questions regarding these information sessions and the earned-sick-time law may be directed to Morgan Callahan at [email protected] or (617) 963-2024.

Bridge of Flowers Classic Races
August 8: Baystate Franklin Medical Center is the presenting sponsor for the Greater Shelburne Falls Area Business Association’s 37th annual Bridge of Flowers Classic Races. While the 10K race through Shelburne Falls draws elite athletes from throughout the Northeast, the 3K charity run/walk offers an option for others to participate at their own pace and fitness level. “We are fortunate to live and work in an area that is prime running and walking country,” said Dr. Thomas Higgins, chief medical officer and interim president of Baystate Franklin. “And the Bridge of Flowers races serve as goals for many people in our communities during their spring and summer training. Physical fitness is central to overall health and well-being, and we are delighted to support this inspiring event.” The Bridge of Flowers Classic Races attract more than 1,000 participants to Shelburne Falls. The 10K race, which starts at 9 a.m., is a spectator-friendly, figure-8 course that begins with a gradual climb from the village center’s historic iron bridge, then wends its way through neighborhood streets before circling back to the bridge, up Crittendon Hill, and back into town along shady downhill roads and flats. The 3K charity run/walk begins at 8:15 a.m. and follows the same first loop as the later run.  An awards ceremony and after party will follow the 10K run in a spot overlooking the falls. Race-day registration opens at 7 a.m. Registration may be completed online at; at the pre-race Spaghetti Fest on Friday, Aug. 7, 5:30-7:30 p.m., at the Buckland-Shelburne Elementary School, 75 Mechanic St., Shelburne Falls; or on the day of the race. All participants will receive a commemorative T-shirt featuring artwork by a local artist.

Jazz & Roots Festival
August 8: The second annual Springfield Jazz & Roots Festival celebrates the emergence of Springfield’s Cultural District and promotes an arts-driven, community-oriented, and sustainable revitalization of the city. The free event in Court Square will offer a festive atmosphere featuring locally and internationally acclaimed musical artists, dance and theater workshops, local arts and crafts, and plenty of food. More than 5,000 people are expected to attend and enjoy the sounds of jazz, Latin jazz, gospel, blues, funk, and more. The festival is produced by Blues to Green, which uses music and art to celebrate community and culture, build shared purpose, and catalyze social and environmental change. For more information and a lineup of performers, visit

Valley Fest
August 29: White Lion Brewing Co. announced that it will host its inaugural beer festival, called Valley Fest, at Court Square in downtown Springfield. MGM Springfield will be the presenting sponsor. The festival is poised to be White Lion’s signature annual event, introducing the young brand to craft-beer enthusiasts throughout New England and beyond. White Lion Brewing Co., the city of Springfield’s only brewery, launched in October 2014. Founder Ray Berry and brewmaster Mike Yates have released three selections under the White Lion brand and have been busy promoting their efforts in venues all over Massachusetts and other New England states. “Valley Fest will have the best of the best local, regional, and national beer and hard cider brands,” Berry said. “Even in our inaugural year, Valley Fest will be the largest one-day beer festival in Western Massachusetts. We expect to draw up to 2,000 enthusiasts from throughout New England. We are very excited to showcase the fourth-largest city in New England and all of its amenities.” Berry anticipates that more than 50 breweries and many local food vendors will converge on Court Square for two sessions. Enthusiasts will have an opportunity to sample more than 100 varieties of beer and hard cider alongside pairing selections by local chefs. Michael Mathis, MGM Springfield president, said his company “is excited to take the lead in sponsoring the inaugural Valley Fest. The local entrepreneurial spirit of White Lion Brewing, coupled with the historic Court Square setting, is a winning combination to start a new Springfield tradition. We look forward to Aug. 29.” A number of sponsors have already committed to the event, including MassMutual Financial Group, the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield, the Dennis Group, Springfield Sheraton Monarch Place, Paragus Strategic IT, Williams Distributing, and the Springfield Business Improvement District (BID). “We are honored to sponsor Valley Fest and look forward to it being an annual event that shares in the facilitation of growth within the downtown community,” said Chris Russell, executive director of the Springfield BID. Visit for event details, ongoing updates, and sponsorship opportunities. A portion of Valley Fest proceeds will support several local charities.

Williamstown Film Festival Presents Wind-Up Fest
Oct. 15-18: The annual Williamstown Film Festival (WFF), now in its 17th year, welcomes big changes with new faces, a new name, and new programming focus. Slated for Oct. 15-18, WFF Presents: Wind-Up Fest is a nonfiction festival with documentary film as its backbone. Other forms of nonfiction will be in conversation with documentaries, including long-form journalism, radio podcasts, photography, and social-practice art. The event’s new artistic director, Paul Sturtz, is also the co-director at the True/False Film Fest in Columbia, Mo., and its new managing director, Sandra Thomas, is the former executive director of Images Cinema in Williamstown. “Our aim is to provide a unique, distinctive event for North Adams and Williamstown while serving as a destination festival for lovers of nonfiction. We are living in a time when nonfiction storytelling is offering one of the most vital, urgent ways forward,” Sturtz said. The festival will be curated by Sturtz, who was selected (along with his True/False co-director David Wilson) as one of 40 people in the inaugural Indiewire Influencers list, described as “visionaries that are changing the course of film.” “I’m excited to work with Paul to make his creative vision a reality,” said Thomas. “Working in partnership with the community, engaging a broad audience, and strengthening the festival’s presence are all important elements of the fest.” With the addition of Sturtz and return of Thomas, the board of directors announced the retirement of festival Executive Director Steve Lawson. “It’s been an exhilarating ride, but after 15 seasons as executive director, I felt it was time to pass the torch,” said Lawson. “This seemed like the right moment to segue to new voices and directions. Paul and Sandra have exciting plans in store for the festival which promise to build on all that we’ve achieved so far. Here’s hoping the first 16 years of WFF will prove to be the prelude to a dazzling future.” The festival has offices in North Adams and Williamstown and can reached at [email protected] or (413) 458-9700.

Western Mass. Business Expo
Nov. 4: Comcast Business will present the fifth annual Western Mass. Business Expo at the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield, produced by BusinessWest and the Healthcare News in partnership with Go Graphix and Rider Productions. The business-to-business show will feature more than 100 booths, seminars and Show Floor Theater presentations, breakfast and lunch programs, and a day-capping Expo Social. Details about specific events, programs, and featured speakers will be printed in future issues of BusinessWest. Current sponsors include Comcast Business, presenting sponsor; the Isenberg School of Business at UMass Amherst, education sponsor; Johnson & Hill, Health New England, and MGM Springfield as director level sponsors; and 94.7 WMAS, media sponsor. Additional sponsorship opportunities are available. Exhibitor spaces are also available; booth prices start at $750. For more information on sponsorships or booth purchase, call (413) 781-8600, ext. 100.

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