Agenda Departments


Book Discussion with Judge Michael Ponsor

Feb. 5: The Hampden County Bar Assoc. invites the public to a reading and book talk with New York Times bestselling author Judge Michael Ponsor from 4 to 6 p.m. at the Fort, 8 Fort St., Springfield. Ponsor will discuss his first novel, The Hanging Judge, released in 2013, and his new novel, The One-Eyed Judge, a fast-paced and thought-provoking legal fiction. This event is a fund-raiser for the newly established Hampden County Bar Foundation. There is no fee for attending this event; however, a donation for the foundation is encouraged. Ponsor will be donating a portion of the sales of his books at the event to the foundation.

Heart Health Symposium

Feb. 6: Springfield College will welcome health experts from Baystate Medical Center, the New England Center for Functional Medicine, and the Springfield College Nutrional Sciences Program for a Heart Health Symposium in the Cleveland E. and Phyllis B. Dodge Room inside the Flynn Campus Union starting at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Led by Springfield College Department of Exercise Science and Sport Studies Chair Dr. Sue Guyer, a panel of experts, including Baystate Medical Center Cardiac Rehab and Wellness Manager Heidi Szalai, New England Center for Functional Medicine Medical Director Dr. Christopher Keroack, and Springfield College Nutritional Sciences Associate Professor Donna Chapman, will discuss topics ranging from risk factors for heart disease to the benefits of healthy living, and stressing the importance of good nutrition for a healthy heart. The symposium is a continuation of the Springfield College Exercise Is Medicine Speaker Series that is part of Guyer’s on-campus initiative while serving as the 2017-18 Springfield College Distinguished Professor of Humanics. Earlier this academic year, as part of the humanics project, Springfield College was officially registered as an Exercise Is Medicine on Campus institution. The mission of this is to foster collaborative relationships and leadership on campus between exercise, health, and other disciplines. The vision is to see all campus and community members across multiple disciplines discover, share, and adopt principles that will change the culture of chronic disease prevention and management. If you have a disability and require a reasonable accommodation to fully participate in this event, contact Laura Feeley as soon as possible at [email protected] or (413) 748-3178 to discuss your accessibility needs. Springfield College is a smoke- and tobacco-free campus.

Free Legal Help Hotline

Feb. 8: The Hampden County Bar Assoc. will hold a Legal Help Hotline in conjunction with Western New England University School of Law from 4 to 7 p.m. at Western New England University School of Law, 1215 Wilbraham Road, Springfield. The volunteers will provide legal advice on a variety of topics, including divorce and family law, bankruptcy, business, landlord/tenant, and real estate. Additionally, in light of recent immigration developments, attorneys with immigration-law experience will be available to answer questions. Spanish-speaking attorneys will also be available. Individuals needing advice should call (413) 796-2057 to speak to a volunteer.

‘Ethan at 21’ to Screen at Film Festival

Feb. 10-11: A film 12 years in the making features an Amherst family dealing with autism. Ethan at 21 is the showcase film at a film festival hosted by Pathlight, Whole Children, and Five College Realtors, with two showings and locations. The festival also features three short documentaries from the renowned Sprout Film Festival. All of the films feature individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Ethan at 21 is a challenging film that explores whether society is equipped to care for the growing population of young adults with disabilities, including autism. Shot over 12 years, it is also a funny, poignant, truthful, portrait of one family. “I began making this film when I was 26 and single,” said filmmaker Josephine Sittenfeld. “Over the past 11 years, I met my husband, married, and became a mother of two. I was always inspired by Ethan and his family, but making this film gained additional importance for me after I became a parent. Ethan’s parents are my heroes. Through their example, I’ve continually been reminded what good parenting is — and that, above all, it includes letting your child carve his own path.” This is a sneak peek screening of a film in progress, and will be shown on Saturday, Feb. 10, 2 to 4 p.m. at Mills Theater in Carr Hall at Bay Path University in Longmeadow; and on Sunday, Feb. 11, (4:30 to 6:30 p.m.) at Hadley Farms Meeting House in Hadley. The filmmaker is eager for audience feedback as she looks toward festival distribution and broadcast later this year. Sittenfeld, Ethan, and his family will be on hand for a question-and-answer period after each screening. The film festival also includes three short films from New York-based Sprout Film Festival, whose mission is “to inspire audiences, promote inclusion, and support transformative filmmaking as an integral part of social change.” Admission to either showing is $10 and includes a post-film reception as well as a panel discussion with the Ethan at 21 filmmaker. To learn more about Pathlight and Whole Children or to register for the film festival, visit

Talk with Journalist Linda Greenhouse

Feb. 11: Kimball Farms Life Care in Lenox will host Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Linda Greenhouse at 2 p.m. Greenhouse covered the U.S. Supreme Court for the New York Times for 30 years, and her talk will focus on current issues facing the court. Greenhouse is the Knight Distinguished Journalist in Residence and Joseph M. Goldstein Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School, and writes a biweekly op-ed column for the New York Times as a contributing columnist. Her latest book, “Just a Journalist,” an autobiographical essay on the practice of journalism, was published this fall by Harvard University Press. Greenhouse was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in Journalism (Beat Reporting) in 1998 “for her consistently illuminating coverage of the United States Supreme Court.” In 2004, she received the Goldsmith Career Award for Excellence in Journalism and the John Chancellor Award for Excellence in Journalism. She was a Radcliffe Institute Medal winner in 2006. Those interested in attending are asked to RSVP to (413) 637-7043. Seating is limited. Kimball Farms Life Care, located at 235 Walker St. in Lenox, provides a continuum of care, including independent living, assisted living, memory care, short-term rehabilitation, and long-term skilled-nursing care.

40 Under Forty Nomination Deadline

Feb. 16: BusinessWest magazine will accept nominations for the 40 Under Forty Class of 2018 through the end of the work day (5 p.m.) on Friday, Feb 16. The annual program, now in its 12th year, recognizes rising stars within the Western Mass. community, which includes Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties. This year’s group of 40 will be profiled in the magazine’s April 30 edition, then toasted at the June 21 gala at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House in Holyoke (see below). The nomination form, which can be found online HERE, requests basic information and can be supported with other material, such as a résumé, testimonials, and even press clippings highlighting an individual’s achievements in their profession or service to their community.

Inclusive Sports Sampler for Young Adults with an IDD

Feb. 17: For parents of young adults who have an IDD (intellectual or developmental disability), there is one challenge shared by all: identifying inclusive and accessible recreational experiences in their local community that offer opportunities for peer connections and fun, at low cost. Best Buddies, CHD Disability Resources, and Extra Innings understand this challenge firsthand and have combined resources to offer a solution. These organizations are teaming up to present the Young Adult Sports Sampler. This event gives members of the community who have an IDD, ages 14-22, an opportunity to sample several activities at once, in one location. The Young Adult Sampler takes place from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at Extra Innings, 340 McKinstry Ave., #250, Chicopee. A wide range of accessible and inclusive activities will be offered, including dance and movement, martial arts, intro to sled hockey, Wiffle ball, baseball simulator, and intro to adaptive bikes. There is no cost to attend, but an RSVP is appreciated. Contact Jessica Levine at [email protected] by Saturday, Feb. 10. The snow date is March 3.

Difference Makers

March 22: The 10th annual Difference Makers award program, staged by BusinessWest, will be held at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House. The winners will be announced and profiled in the Jan. 22 issue. Difference Makers is a program, launched in 2009, that recognizes groups and individuals that are, as the name suggests, making a difference in this region. Tickets to the event cost $75 per person, with tables of 10 available. To order, call (413) 781-8600, ext. 100 or go HERE. Sponsors to date include Sunshine Village, Royal, P.C., and Health New England. Sponsorship opportunities are still available by calling (413) 781-8600, ext. 100.

40 Under Forty Gala

June 21: BusinessWest’s 12th annual 40 Under Forty Gala is a celebration of 40 young business and civic leaders in Western Mass. The lavish cocktail party, to be held starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Log Cabin in Holyoke, will feature butlered hors d’oeuvres, food stations, and entertainment — and, of course, the presentation of the class of 2018. Also, the third Continued Excellence Award honoree will be announced. Tickets will go on sale soon at $75 per person (tables of 10 available), and the event always sells out quickly. For more information, call (413) 781-8600, ext. 100, or e-mail [email protected].