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Court Dockets Departments

The following is a compilation of recent lawsuits involving area businesses and organizations. These are strictly allegations that have yet to be proven in a court of law. Readers are advised to contact the parties listed, or the court, for more information concerning the individual claims.

CHICOPEE DISTRICT COURT
NES Rental Holdings Inc. v. Alpha & Omega Construction
Allegation: Breach of contract for rental equipment: $2,789.35
Filed: 8/23/10

HAMPDEN SUPERIOR COURT
CIT Technology Financing Services LLC v. Billups World Entertainment Inc.
Allegation: Breach of lease agreement: $54,598.34
Filed: 7/16/10

Liberty Mutual Insurance A/S/O Smith & Wesson Holding Corp. v. Kennedy, Gustafson, & Cole Inc.
Allegation: Breach of warranty and property damage caused by fire: $1,982,000
Filed: 7/21/10

People’s United Bank v. La Cucina Di Pinocchio Inc.
Allegation: Breach of several promissory notes: $673,140.77
Filed: 8/11/10

Plaza @ Buckland Hills LLC v. Emanuel Rovithis and Demetia Inc.
Allegation: Enforcement of judgment: $274,582.32
Filed: 7/23/10

Pravin Mathur v. Roy’s Towing Co. and John Burdick
Allegation: Negligence in operation of motor vehicle: $1,600,000
Filed: 8/6/10

NORTHAMPTON DISTRICT COURT
Acadia Insurance Co. v. Bishop Burner Services
Allegation: Balance due for insurance premium: $37,042
Filed: 8/11/10

SPRINGFIELD DISTRICT COURT
Bradco Supply v. Henderson Roofing Co.
Allegation: Non-payment of goods sold and delivered: $3,174.35
Filed: 7/23/10

Comcast Spotlight Inc. v. Brockton Fair
Allegation: Non-payment of goods sold and delivered: $11,025.72
Filed: 7/22/10

Consumer Auto Parts v. Fini’s Auto Sales
Allegation: Non-payment of goods sold and delivered: $5,549.60
Filed: 7/22/10

High Priority Associates Inc. v. Ilmondo Pizza
Allegation: Non-payment of goods sold and delivered: $7,298.91
Filed: 7/22/10

Western Massachusetts Electric v. Springfield Bible Institute & Theological Seminary
Allegation: Non-payment of utility services: $10,243.93
Filed: 7/15/10

WESTFIELD DISTRICT COURT
ServiceMaster Assured Cleaning v. Big Family Adventure
Allegation: Failure to pay for cleaning services and breach of contract: $14,270.78
Filed: 7/26/10

Sections Supplements
New ‘Green’ Laws May be Considered a Double-edged Sword

Dennis G. Egan

Dennis G. Egan

As Kermit the Frog so aptly put it: “It’s not easy being green.” While this may be true as it relates to a talking frog, achieving ‘green’ status doesn’t have to be an arduous process so long as you are familiar with the laws and regulations — federal, state, and local — that govern the process of going, and the status of being, green.
As the green movement continues to grow in both depth and breadth, so too do these laws and regulations.
In May, the Massachusetts Board of Building Regulations and Standards adopted an amendment to the Massachusetts building code, which has become known as the “Stretch Code.” This allows cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth to adopt stricter energy-savings provisions to their respective residential and commercial building codes. In communities that have adopted the Stretch Code, newly constructed single- and multi-family homes must achieve a HERS (Home Energy Rating System) index rating of 60 or less, as certified by a third-party HERS reviewer.
The HERS index is a ratings system introduced by the Residential Energy Services Network in 2006 that is used to calculate a home’s energy efficiency. The index is based on a point scale ranging from 1 to 100. The lower the score, the better. Locally, the Stretch Code has been adopted in Springfield, Holyoke, Northampton, Greenfield, Pittsfield, Palmer, and Easthampton, just to name a few.
As a point of reference, currently a newly constructed home in Massachusetts must achieve a minimum HERS rating of 99 (a rating of 100 represents the American Standard Building.) Consequently, a new single or multi-family home built in a municipality that has adopted the Stretch Code must be almost 40% more energy-efficient than the same home built in a municipality that has not adopted the code. Additionally, major renovations undertaken in cities and towns that have adopted the code must receive a HERS rating of 70 or less. While debate continues regarding the efficacy of the Stretch Code, one thing is certain — the cost of construction and/or major renovation of single- and multi-family homes in Stretch communities has increased, significantly in some cases.
One of the most recognized certifications that can be attained by builders, developers, building owners, and landlords is Leadership in Environment and Energy Design (LEED) standards set forth by the U.S. Green Building Council, which awards points based on building specifications. LEED certification can be achieved in a number of different areas, including but not limited to existing buildings (operations and maintenance), commercial interiors (leases/tenant improvements), core and shell (design for new core and shell construction), schools (construction of K-12 schools), retail (retail design and construction), and health care (planning, design, and construction for health care facilities).
More important is the fact that these certifications are being recognized and adopted as the benchmark in ever-increasing numbers by federal, state, and local governments. As such, many government entities are requiring that government buildings, new and existing, owned and leased, comply with LEED standards.
In Connecticut, a state law passed in 2006 that requires all new buildings costing more than $5 million dollars and financed with state funds to be constructed and designed in conformance with LEED standards. As a result, contractors who bid on applicable public projects must adhere to the LEED standards.
Likewise, in January of this year, California became the first state to implement a statewide green-building code. Some of the mandates of this new building code are the use of plumbing components designed to reduce water consumption, diversion of construction waste from landfills to recycling centers, and the inspection of mechanical systems and components to ensure that certain efficiency standards are being met. Interestingly, the code allows local municipalities to implement standards that are stricter than the state standards. As a result, a great deal of power will rest with local governments in determining their respective green-building requirements.
More and more companies and government entities are now demanding green lease space. For example, in 2007, the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (EISA) was enacted, which set forth goals and standards for the reduction of energy use in federal buildings. This includes all buildings in which the federal government leases space. The new standards include the use of energy-efficient lighting fixtures and bulbs and a prohibition against federal agencies leasing space in buildings that do not have an Energy Star rating. Additionally, many companies have enacted sustainability statements that, in addition to other provisions, require that leases entered into by the company contain at least some green language. These mandates, along with a growing and continuing trend toward green building and green initiatives in general, are beginning to force landlords and tenants to rethink lease arrangements in order to meet the goals of both parties.
As you can see, the green movement’s momentum continues, and its reach has grown. As such, you would be wise to understand the related laws and regulations, and the effect they can have on your bottom line, both positive and negative. n

Dennis G. Egan Jr. is an associate with Bacon Wilson, P.C, concentrating in business and corporate law; (413) 781-0560; [email protected]

Sections Supplements
This New Tool Takes Construction to Another Dimension

Stanley Hunter

Stanley Hunter, project executive of Baystate’s Hospital of the Future.

The $230 million Hospital of the Future taking shape at Baystate Medical Center is the largest building project in the region’s history, and it is drawing attention for everything from its size to its projected impact on the health care landscape. The initiative is noteworthy for another reason — it represents one of the first, and largest, implementations of building information modeling, a new and exciting construction tool, or process, that effectively simulates a project’s many phases or individual components, thus minimizing the chances for error and reducing the cost of a project.
By GEORGE O’BRIEN

Ed Tobin was talking about the “good old days.”
They weren’t that long ago, he told BusinessWest, and, well, in retrospect, they weren’t that good, at least when compared to the new way of doing business in the construction industry, made possible by something called building information modeling, or BIM for short.
In those old days, builders and architects would have to pore over thousands of two-dimensional drawings to see how a building is supposed to come together, Tobin, general supervisor for Berry Construction, explained. “Now, through BIM, they can use three-dimensional computer models and advanced GPS [global positioning system] to essentially simulate and coordinate a project well before actual work begins. In so doing, they can see potential problems emerging before they happen, saving time, money, and headaches.”
What’s more, various aspects of a construction project can be handled simultaneously, he continued, where before, things were done on much more of a sequential basis, because one subcontractor would have to see how a phase of work was completed before beginning his assignment.
“This is going to change the whole way we do construction — and construction doesn’t change easily,” said Tobin, who spoke to BusinessWest in one of several Berry trailers now parked at Baystate Medical Center for construction of that facility’s $230 million Hospital of the Future.
BIM is playing a huge role in the Baystate undertaking, said Stanley Hunter, ‘project executive for the BMC Hospital of the Future’ (that’s what it says on his business card). He started by saying that the tool takes construction to another dimension, but quickly amended that to note that BIM takes building well beyond 3-D.
Elaborating, he said the key word in the phrase ‘building information modeling’ is the middle one. In addition to providing 3-D models of what buildings and individual components will look like, BIM provides contractors, subcontractors, and architects with more data sharing than they are used to.

Ed Tobin

Ed Tobin says BIM represents a vast improvement over how projects were coordinated in the “old days.”

“Information is the fourth and fifth dimensions,” he said, adding that, with that information, contractors can do everything from scheduling workers more efficiently to putting in various systems correctly the first time. And while BIM and the information it provides streamlines the construction process, it also makes it easier to maintain buildings long after they’re built.
“Five, 10, 15 years from now, when our staff has to go back and maintain this building, they can just click on that button and know how to replace something,” he explained. “So BIM goes well beyond the drawing phase.”
While Hunter used words to describe how BIM works, Tom Hill, project engineer for Berry, provided a powerful demonstration that more than backed up the commentary.
He called up a three-dimensional image of the Hospital of the Future, and then used his mouse and a few key strokes to turn it in every direction, so that one could even see the footings underneath the massive structure. Through BIM, he peeled off layers of the building, taking it right down to the structural steel. He took BusinessWest down hallways, inside new operating rooms, and then above the ceiling to show, in great detail, what goes where and how it will all come together.
When asked to quantify how much BIM might save Baystate in this massive project, Hunter said that would be very difficult to do, especially at this stage. But he could qualify it. “As they say in construction and every other business, time is money,” he noted. “And BIM will save us all kinds of time.”
For this issue, BusinessWest takes an indepth look at BIM from the perspective of the Baystate project. Those now working with the tool used various superlatives to describe it, but Tobin might have summed it up best when he said, “this reinvents how everybody works.”

Work in Progress
Both Hunter and Tobin stressed repeatedly that BIM is still very much in its infancy — which is just one of many things to get excited about when it comes to this process.
Indeed, as they looked at the images that Hill put up on the screen and talked about how BIM is changing the face of construction, they allowed themselves to ponder what might happen with this technology over the next decade or two.
“Five or 10 years years ago, GPS couldn’t get you within 100 feet of where you needed to be — it wasn’t applicable,” said Tobin. “Now, it can you within an eighth of an inch. And five years from now … who knows?”
But the present tense is certainly exciting enough, said Tobin, who noted that, while Berry first worked with BIM on a recent project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the Hospital of the Future is by far the largest of the company’s projects to make use of the tool.
And he doubts there will be any large-scale projects undertaken without it in the future. That’s because BIM essentially changes the dynamic of a building project.
Hunter agreed, and said, in essence, that BIM will let construction and design teams know if something is buildable, or determine what Hunter called “constructability,” and then it will provide what amounts to high-tech, three-dimensional blueprints to be followed.
Elaborating, he said these blueprints are models of the actual parts and pieces being used to build a building. These models effectively ease the transition from the design phase to the construction phase by greatly improving the communication process between the parties involved.
The many benefits from BIM were generally known when the Hospital of the Future began to take shape on the drawing board, said Hunter, noting that, long before construction commenced in late 2008, Baystate officials had become sold on the technology’s capabilities and wanted to put them to the test.
To make a long story short, they have, and in the process, the Baystate project is providing lessons to both the health care industry and the construction sector about how BIM can be applied to not only large-scale projects, but also those on a much smaller level as well.
“We’re testing the boundaries of what we can do with BIM with this project,” he said, adding that he and others have been giving many demonstrations of how the process works. “There are many people in our industry trying to figure out ways that this can applied, so we’re fortunate to have this large project that we can apply it to.”
Tobin concurred, and before explaining how BIM works and why it is such a vast improvement, he returned to those aforementioned old days, meaning maybe a year ago.
When a project was handed off to a company like Berry, he and those representing the subcontractors would have to look over hundreds, if not thousands, of two-dimensional drawings to determine how floors, walls, and various mechanicals, including electrical systems, plumbing, and ductwork would come together.
“We’d have a series of meetings where we’d actually take a light table and lay these mylar drawings on top of one another and look for conflicts, look for two systems that hit each other and have to be moved,” he said. “It took months and months and months and dozens of these meetings to get the point where you were coordinated.”
BIM takes away all that handwork, he continued, adding that the computer software quickly and efficiently identifies potential hits. “It eliminates a lot of the time and solves potential conflicts.”

Model of Efficiency
To show how BIM accomplishes all this, Hill put his mouse to work.
He showed the Hospital of the Future from a number of angles, and then, after selecting one particular view, showed how the software can strip away layers of the building until only the steel remains.
Later, he focused on one of the operating rooms that will soon take shape and the “very coordinated spaghetti,” as Hunter called it, that represents the various mechanical systems, from plumbing to sprinkler systems, that would be installed in the high-tech ORs.
There is little margin for error when it comes to putting these systems in, Hunter continued, adding that, through the use of BIM, a contractor can greatly simplify and quicken the process known as clash modeling, or identifying where systems may collide and then making adjustments so they don’t.
“By using BIM, you’re essentially building something virtually before you build it in the field,” he explained. “So you can coordinate things so they don’t hit one another once you install them. And since you’re then confident that a system is in the right position, you can prefabricate long runs of that pipe instead of just building it all on site. So that makes the prefabrication process simpler, as well as the installation.
“In the first run-though, when you get everything plugged in, you’ll get hundreds of clashes, and then you sequentially go through them and solve them all,” he continued. “BIM tells them very quickly where the problems are; it takes a process that used to take a month down to a few hours and a few phone calls.”
In those old days, blueprints would simply be redrawn until the conflicts were eliminated, said Tobin, but inevitably, hits would be missed, a unction of human error that BIM eliminates.
“You’ll miss some when you’re hand-drawing things,” he explained. “But the computer doesn’t miss much.”
And because it doesn’t, Hunter and Tobin agree that the Baystate project has been a huge success in demonstrating just how beneficial BIM can be in construction projects of all sizes. Quantifying those benefits is difficult, and it may not be until this project is over before those involved with it can even begin to speculate on how much of a cost savings has been achieved because this process was chosen over traditional methods.
But Hunter believes that several months of time could eventually be taken off the construction process, and, as he said, time is certainly money. Meanwhile, Tobin believes use of BIM could easily take a few percentage points off the cost of a building project.
“As it becomes the standard, and as subcontractors become more comfortable with it, they won’t have to count every light switch; they can just push a button and know that there’s 5,000 light switches in the building,” he explained. “Just think about how much that saves over bringing an estimator out. And their prices go down, too, because they don’t have to spend as much time on coordination.
“There’s a lot of savings in terms of time and money,” he continued, adding that BIM will become even more efficient and cost-effective in the future. “This is what computers were invented to do; now we just have to apply it.”

Building Momentum
As he posed for some pictures on the roof of the parking garage across an entranceway from the construction site, Hunter said the project is on schedule for completion in the fall of 2011, and the facility should be open by early in 2012.
BIM has a lot to do with the pace of construction and scarcity of problems that can often hinder progress with such an undertaking, he continued, indicating that, if Baystate is indeed testing the boundaries of BIM with this project, then its potential may not have boundaries.
So while the name of this project is the Hospital of the Future, it has become a fertile testing ground for the building process of the future, one that, as Tobin said, reinvents how everyone works.

George O’Brien can be reached
at [email protected]

Sections Supplements
The Bottom Line Is That Each Product Serves a Different Need

James Krupienski

James Krupienski

Your certified public accountant (CPA) is able to assist you with many items throughout the year. As a business owner, one of the ways that you may be most familiar with is in the reporting on your annual financial statements.
There are three different levels of engagements that can be performed by your CPA when reporting on your financial statements: compilations, reviews, and audits. Deciding which you need should be based on an understanding of each level, your needs, and the needs of those with whom you will be sharing these statements. This article will help equip you to make this decision.

Compilations
Compilation engagements are the most basic type to be performed and offer no assurance regarding the overall financial activity being reported on. Your CPA will gather financial records that you provide and will assist in compiling them into a set of financial statements that are in conformity with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP). While your CPA will look for obvious errors and misstatements, no testing of balances or activity will be performed. In order to make the conclusion that there are no obvious errors or misstatements, an understanding of your business and industry are required.
There are two advantages to compilation engagements, as compared to reviews and audits. First, compilation reports are allowed to omit footnote disclosures. This can save time and money, by not including disclosures that are required in standard GAAP reports, but may not be relevant to your needs or the needs of those reading the financials. Second, while your CPA generally must be independent, a compilation does not require that. The benefit of this is that, for small companies, it allows for your CPA to also assist in bookkeeping throughout the year.
These types of engagements are most beneficial for small, privately held businesses, where financials are sometimes required for equipment financing and insurance purposes.

Reviews
Review engagements are the middle level of service and provide limited assurance that the financial statements and related activity are free of error or misstatement. As with a compilation, specific testing of balances and activity are not required.
Through an understanding of your business and industry, your CPA will perform a series of analytical procedures and discuss a number of inquiries with you. These will include, but not be limited to, discussions of activity during the year, development of expectations, trending analysis and the review of various financial and industry-specific ratios. It should be noted that no audit procedures are performed during a review and that review engagements are substantially smaller in scope than an audit.
Reviews are typically best-suited for financial statements that are required by third parties, such as when applying for bank debt. Additionally, they are also common in situations with non-active owners who want greater assurance that there are no financial-statement errors.

Audits
Audit engagements are the highest level of assurance. Accordingly, they can be very expensive, depending on the size of the entity being audited. Audits provide the users with reasonable assurance that the financial statements are free of error or misstatement.
In order to complete an audit engagement, your CPA will be required to gain an understanding of your internal control environment, as well as to perform tests over account balances and activity. These tests include, but are not limited to, confirmations, observations, and review of other third-party evidence. Additionally, while audits are not designed to detect all instances of fraud or illegal acts, your CPA must consider these in audit planning.
Audit engagements are performed for many reasons. In some instances, such as not-for-profit entities, publicly traded companies, and certain employee benefit plans, audits are required by various regulations. In other instances, based on the size of the company and the nature of the business, third parties such as banks, insurance companies, or large customers may require an audit report.

Final Considerations
There are a few exceptions to the rules above that everyone should be aware of. First, even though you may engage your CPA to perform a review or compilation engagement, they can be contracted by you to perform special procedures related to certain account balances or activities. This can be particularly helpful to clients who have large inventory or accounts-receivable balances, but do not want to ultimately pay for a full audit.
Additionally, banks and other third parties are oftentimes willing to accept a compilation or review engagement, with additional procedures performed over certain areas. This provides them with added comfort over their areas of exposure, while helping to reduce your overall accounting fees.
Additionally, there are instances where you may be able to report your financial statements on a basis other than GAAP, otherwise known as an other comprehensive basis of accounting (OCBOA). The most common form of OCBOA financial statements include tax basis, cash basis, or modified accrual basis. There are two key benefits to such reporting. The first is that, depending on how information is displayed in your internal accounting records, such reporting may require fewer adjustments as compared to adjusting to GAAP. Second, there are certain disclosures, such as the consolidation of variable interest entities, which can be avoided by reporting on OCBOA as opposed to GAAP. This can be beneficial, and cost-effective, in cases where there may be two companies under common ownership, as well as in the case of real-estate holding companies.
Overall, the third parties that you deal with tend to have the final decision in directing the level of financial statement that you are required to produce in order to provide for their needs and concerns. However, being knowledgeable about the different options that are available may allow you to discuss with them their needs and concerns with an end result of saving real dollars and a lot of valuable time. Additionally, it will allow you to have a better appreciation for the services that are being performed by your CPA, as well as a better understanding of what you are receiving from them in the end.

Jim Krupienski, CPA, is an audit manager for Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C., a certified public accounting firm based in Holyoke. He provides accounting and audit services to for-profit businesses, as well as employee-benefit audit services to for-profit and not-for profit organizations. He is also part of MBK’s Health Care Services Division, providing niche accounting services to medical and dental practices in Western Mass. and Connecticut.

Sections Supplements

Greenfield Savings Bank Focuses on Economic Development

Rebecca Caplice, president and CEO

Rebecca Caplice, president and CEO

With almost a century and a half of history behind it, Greenfield Savings Bank has woven itself into the fabric of the community like few banks have — not just by dominating retail market share in its region or supporting local schools and charitable causes (both of which it does), but by taking an active role in promoting economic development and the overall vitality of area towns. After all, a healthy Franklin County bank begins with a healthy Franklin County.

Greenfield Savings Bank has been based in the downtown of its namesake community for 141 years. This means the insitution has witnessed a great deal of change in the central business district, and in recent years, most of it hasn’t been for the better.
The area, like many downtowns, has long struggled with vacancies and blighted properties. “Several of the buildings have been vacant for decades,” said Rebecca Caplice, the bank’s president and CEO. “In others, the upper floors were not in use because there were no elevators, or they need upgrades. And there hasn’t been any economic incentive to make the upgrades, because the owners felt they would never get the rents to pay for them.”
So the bank, working with institutions ranging from the Economic Development Council of Western Mass. to Greenfield Community College, spearheaded a unique development model that brought together about six property owners, representing more than a dozen buildings, who are using tax-credit financing, facilitated by GSB, to fund renovations of the vacant sites. “It wouldn’t have been cost-effective to do something like that on their own,” Caplice said.
The project is an ongoing one — scaffolding now covers one building across Main Street, and while some properties have been renovated, others are in flux — but results are already evident; for instance, a string of buildings on nearby Bank Row, all but one of which used to be vacant, are now thriving.
“I don’t know how many meetings we had with this table full of people,” Caplice said, gesturing across a long boardroom table where she spoke with BusinessWest. “Some have money, some don’t. There are different levels of expertise. Nonprofits and for-profit companies. It was exhausting; some days, it felt like herding cats. But when I see things happening, it’s so gratifying.”
That kind of project, said Caplice, is a natural fit for GSB, a bank that has long been involved in the civic and economic health of its communities. Five years ago, the bank launched an initiative called ‘civic action accounts,’ by which GSB donates money to school districts and other organizations based on how often customers use their debit cards.
In some ways, such community support is a reflection of how closely aligned the bank is with Franklin County life, with a 50% market share in savings deposits, as well as its position as the county’s number-one lender. For this issue, BusinessWest sat down with Caplice to talk about the bank’s role in the economic vitality of its region, and how it has succeeded through slow, steady growth and a focus on meeting community needs.

Still Standing
Amid dramatic changes in the financial-services industry that have swept some major names out of the picture, GSB and Greenfield Co-operative Bank are the only two institutions located in Greenfield 20 years ago that are still around today. Other banks have since entered the market, but GSB’s roots still run especially deep.
“We’re still here after 141 years, same name, same place,” said Caplice, who arrived at the bank in 1991 and succeeded Joe Poirier as president and CEO in 2007. “I think we’re the big fish in a small pond, and we continue to have growth.”
The bank has done so partly by differentiating itself with new products, like its trust business, which GSB started to cultivate during the 1990s when other banks with strong trust divisions, particularly Bank of New England and Shawmut Bank, left the Franklin County landscape. It now offers the region’s only in-house trust and investment department — a business most small banks don’t normally delve into.
“The trust business really sets us apart, and having officers who are local is a really unique feature,” Caplice said. “Some larger, more regional banks have trust services, but they don’t have people to deliver them locally. And as the Baby Boomers continue aging, there will be an increased demand for this.”
Joan Cramer, the bank’s vice president and marketing officer, told BusinessWest that offering a full palette of services — from retail checking and savings to commercial lending to investment products — is also critical to its continued growth.
“Our motto is, we want them all,” Cramer said of the constant challenge to add customers and grow market share. She cited efforts like free checking for retail and business customers, which began a few years ago and has proved popular. “That has drawn quite a bit of business to the bank.”
Cramer said GSB has also been boosted by its Employer of Choice designation, saying the bank has drawn a host of talent — some from other banks — who appreciate the culture of service that Greenfield has developed.
“People drawn to service industries are more likely to stay with a company that supports that culture,” Caplice said. “I want to be the best place in America to work.”

All Aboard
As workplaces go, it’s a healthy one, Caplice added. Like other community banks in Western Mass., it has a story to tell of surviving the international banking meltdown of 2008 mainly because it hewed to stricter standards than the large banks that found themselves awash in toxic loans. Or, as she put it, “we didn’t do stupid things.”
As a result, the commercial-lending window is still open to companies that are ready to make new capital investments.
“The idea that credit-worthy borrowers are having difficulty finding a loan — it’s not true here,” she said. “If you’re worthy, we’ll find you a loan.”
She told BusinessWest that people in some regions of the U.S. don’t know what it’s like to have that kind of faith in their local banks. “It’s really unique here,” she explained. “Some people think every area of the country is like us. There are community banks, but not like it is here, with so many banks that don’t lose sight of their local mission. That’s a New England phenomenon.”
Conservative growth is another Yankee hallmark, and GSB has chosen its expansion efforts deliberately. It merged in 1967 with the Crocker Institution for Savings in Turners Falls, making that office its first branch outside of Greenfield, and added another branch in South Deerfield in 1972. More recent additions included branches in Shelburne Falls and Conway, and the opening of what’s called the Amherst Financial Center in 2002 — marking the bank’s first physical presence in Hampshire County.
“We haven’t opened any new branches since, but we’ve done a lot with existing locations,” Caplice said, citing as one example the new building in Turners Falls, which resembles a train station, the former use of its site.
“We wanted to reflect the style of the town, which has many brick buildings, and the architect designed it to look like an old-style train station,” she said. “When a customer said to me, ‘it’s like I’m in a train station!’ I thought, ‘OK, it worked.’”
Other projects include the expansion of the Deerfield branch, doubling its size — “we’ve managed to expand with our growth,” she said — and ongoing renovations at the Greenfield main office, including a new building for drive-up service and a reconfiguring of the parking area to improve flow and landscaping.

Banking on an Idea
But Caplice is more concerned with the economic landscape of Greenfield, which will undoubtedly improve as those upper-floor units in several downtown buildings come to life with office, retail, and living space.
She told BusinessWest she was concerned that the newly available commercial properties would be largely snatched up by business owners already in town, leaving vacancies elsewhere, but she’s been pleased to see most occupied by out-of-towners.
“These are all-new ventures, new to the community. It really has been economic development,” Caplice said. “And I think the model could work in other towns. We’re not the only community facing this problem.”
But by working to develop a solution, Greenfield Savings Bank has set itself apart — as it has for almost a century and a half.

Joseph Bednar can be reached at
[email protected]

Sections Supplements
Get the Word Out: This Town Is Open for Business

Granby, Mass.

Granby, Mass.

The town of Granby has never been very successful at promoting itself. But that is about to change.
Emre Evren, who chairs Granby’s Planning Board and Master Plan Committee, said town officials have developed a new master plan that will focus on economic development.
It has been carefully crafted, using data collected from a number of sources. They include a self-assessment, a survey completed by residents of the town, and a list of Granby’s strengths, which were recently outlined in a report compiled by the Center for Urban and Regional Policy at Northeastern University. The new plan is scheduled to be completed this fall and will be presented to town residents thereafter.
Following one of the master plan’s recommendations, an economic-development committee will be formed, and it will take a proactive approach. “We are eager to send the message out that Granby is a great town for any type of business,” Evren said. “In the past, we haven’t promoted the availability of land and locations that are available and haven’t successfully told people we are open to new business. But the economic-development committee will drive relationships and promote the town to suitable investors.”
Evren cited strengths outlined in the Northeastern report as solid proof that Granby is a town that investors or business owners should consider. An important one is the uniform tax rate. “We were told our average tax rate is lower than most of the communities that participated in Northeastern’s survey. And the average square foot of manufacturing space is much cheaper here than in most other locations in the immediate area,” Evren said. “The report also stated that Granby has great access to a technically skilled and educated labor force. Plus, our housing market is affordable, and our public schools are well-performing, which is a concern for some business owners.”
Granby’s location is also a key to business success. Route 202 passes directly through the town, and the Massachusetts Turnpike and Route 91 are only about seven miles away. “People think we are in a remote location. But we are not,” Evren said. “We believe one advantage we have is that many neighboring residents drive through Granby. We are bordered by South Hadley, Chicopee, Belchertown, Ludlow, and Amherst, and we are only 15 minutes from Amherst Center.”
Cindy Mugnier, left, and Earleen Kenyon

Cindy Mugnier, left, and Earleen Kenyon, co-owners of the Earlee Mug restaurant/truck stop, say that business owners and residents have been extremely supportive since they purchased the eatery and renamed it a year ago.

Town officials are also working to streamline the permitting process. “We want to clear any unnecessary hurdles that new businesses may encounter, and are looking for ways to make the process more efficient,” Evren said. “We are taking a proactive approach to zoning and rezoning in certain areas to make them more attractive or suitable for businesses so we can meet our economic development goals.”
Evren said the emerging vision includes a livelier business district, which stretches along Route 202, from the South Hadley town line past the center known as Five Corners. Town officials would like to see more retail shops and restaurants open in that area. “Residents told us they would like to see more places in town where they could shop or eat.”

Food for Thought
Earleen Kenyon and her sister, Cindy Mugnier, have proof that residents will support restaurants. They purchased a truck stop/eatery known as Manny’s Place about a year ago and renamed it the Earlee Mug. Although they had never owned a restaurant before, they have done very well.
“We took a leap of faith when we bought it. But this is a good place to own a business,” Mugnier said. “The community gets behind you, and the town officials are very easy to work with. This is a rural community, and there is a real sense of community here. People have been here for multiple generations.”
The eatery is located between two farms, and both of them have been very helpful, letting Mugnier and Kenyon know when fruits and vegetables are at their peak.
“Pleasantbrook Farm and Feed has gone so far as to help us when we had problems with our cash register and other technology,” said Mugnier. “You get a real sense that everyone is pleased that you are here, that they want you to be successful and will do what they can to help that happen.”
Kenyon agrees. “The townspeople support local businesses,” she said, adding that she and Mugnier benefit from their location, which is directly across from Dufresne Park, which hosts events that range from baseball and soccer games to canine agility and horse shows. “Plus, we are right on Route 202, which is a busy road; everything is just pleasant here.”
Scott Merrill is vice president of Dressell’s Service Station. His family has owned the business since the 1960s, and he says Granby is a small but tightly knit community where people get to know one another.
“It has a nice country feeling and is a nice spot to live in. There is also quite a bit of land available,” he said. “There is room to grow and room to build — plenty of opportunity here. Plus, the taxes are lower than in surrounding communities.”

New Areas of Growth
Granby is home to large expanses of agricultural land and open space, since a portion of the Mount Holyoke Range State Park lies within its borders.
“Part of our endeavor is to keep a lot of open space,” Evren said. “We are trying to balance our agricultural/open space land with other types of economic development. Our premise is that new businesses should be consistent with Granby’s traditional New England town feel and fit in that overall mosaic, because we are a suburban town with a lot of rural characteristics which we don’t want to lose.”
Still, results from the town survey showed that the majority of residents are in favor of commercial and industrial development as long as new businesses don’t pollute the air or water.
To that end, the town is working on a green-communities initiative that could qualify Granby for state grants if it meets a number of requirements, which include designating an area for green-energy research and development or green manufacturing. “This would interest our residents based on our master plan survey results. We would like to see economic development, but it needs to be cognizant of the community’s environmental concerns,” Evren said.
Five Corners, located about a mile from the South Hadley line on Route 202, contains the majority of the town’s businesses. A corridor zoned for business extends several miles down the road, ending about a half-mile before the town common.
“This is the area that will be our primary target for new business,” Evren said. “There is vacant land available in that area.”
Five Corners offers connections to sewer and water hookups, which are not available in all parts of Granby. “But the town may be open to extending those services to new businesses along the corridor,” Evren said. “There is nothing concrete in place, but there has been conversation around it.”
Another area that holds promise for growth is New Ludlow Road. The town is currently working to install a sewer line extension there. “It will require some zoning changes, but there is a lot of possibility in the area,” said Evren, adding, “it could be an ideal location for an industrial or office park or light industrial development.
“The right new business could thrive in this town, because people are receptive and committed to local businesses,” he said. “Granby is a small town in terms of population. But we have a lot of land that would be suitable for businesses. We want people to come and take a look at what we have to offer. We believe they will like what they find here.”

Sections Supplements
Get on Board! Event Will Connect Individuals with Area Organizations

Ellen Freyman says the Get on Board! event scheduled for Oct. 28 at the Basketball Hall of Fame is all about making matches between area nonprofits and business groups scouting for board members and individuals looking to make contributions to the community.
And she knows that such matches aren’t made in a few minutes or a few hours. Instead, they may take days, weeks, months, or even years to materialize. But the process starts with introductions, questions, and answers, and generating those is what this unique event is all about.
“We want to introduce organizations to people, and people to organizations,” said Freyman, a partner with the Springfield-based firm Shatz, Schwartz and Fentin and founder of an organization called On Board, which she started in 1996 as a way to bring more diversity to area boards.
Back then, the primary focus was on women and getting them more seats at the table, Freyman told BusinessWest, but it quickly became clear that there were many other groups, including the Latino and African-American communities, that were not well-represented in the board group.
On Board has been working diligently toward achieving greater diversity on area boards, but the Oct. 28 event represents its most ambitious undertaking to date with respect to that mission.
It will make use of what has come to be called the ‘speed-dating’ method of making introductions. Participants will spend a few moments with the representative or representatives of one organization before moving on to another, and, hopefully several more. Freyman said the event has been put together to help both sides of the ‘match’ equation achieve their goals.
Elaborating, she said that all boards want to achieve greater diversity and add enthusiastic talent, but many need help with the process of identifying individuals who want to serve the community and can help their group met its mission. Meanwhile, many individuals who want to serve the community are looking for ways they can effectively give back. Get on Board! will spotlight a wide array of nonprofits and business groups and hopefully spur some people to get involved, or more involved, in matters impacting the region.
And that is the broader, more far-reaching goal of the event, said V. Van Johnson III, an attorney with Denner Pellegrino, LLP and one of Get on Board! organizers. He said that, when boards become more diverse, more groups and individuals have a stake in the future of the Pioneer Valley. Meanwhile, boards that stress greater diversity can more effectively serve the community because those gathered around the table more accurately reflect the community they represent.
At last count, more than two dozen organizations had signed on to participate. They include the Greater Springfield YMCA, the Dunbar Community Center, the Girl Scouts, the Springfield Public Forum, Greater Springfield Senior Services, Junior Achievement, Habitat for Humanity, the Food Bank of Western Mass., the United Way, and the Martin Luther King Community Center, among others. Meanwhile, Freyman and other organizers expect more than 150 individuals, including many from area young professional organizations, to attend.
When asked when and how organizers will be able to gauge the success of Get on Board!, Freyman said it may well take several months or even a year for the results to fully manifest themselves. But there will be some indications of success that night, she continued, adding that individuals and organizations alike will have a good feel about whether their specific goals, whatever they may be, can be realized.
Johnson agreed, but quickly noted that success in this case must be measured in ways that go well beyond effective matches.
“We’ll be providing opportunity that wouldn’t otherwise exist for boards to come into contact with people they may never have any other means to come in contact, and that’s a success in and of itself,” he said. “The other piece that’s a success is to get boards thinking about things that they wouldn’t necessarily have to think about if they were entirely homogeneous. I think that’s an important success.”
The event will take place on Center Court from 5 to 8 p.m. For details or to register, call Elizabeth Taras at (413) 687-3144, Brittany Castonguay at (413) 737-1131, or visit www.diversityonboard.org.

— George O’Brien

Sections Supplements
This New Event Puts Its Participants in Good Company

Mine Your Business

Mine Your Business

Kate Campiti says that one of the most important things for business owners and managers to do — and also one of the most difficult — is to get the time and attention of decision makers as they work to grow sales — and their company.
To simplify that process, at least for a few hours, Campiti, associate publisher and advertising director of BusinessWest, working in collaboration with other area business leaders and chamber officials, has put together a unique new event called Mine Your Business. That name is a play on words, but those behind this sales-building program, slated for Nov. 4, are, well, all business.
More to the point, they’re focused on providing a forum in which companies can not only make introductions, but also tell their story to the people they want to tell it to.
“That’s what separates this event from a typical trade show or business networking event,” said Campiti, noting that BusinessWest is presenting the event, to be staged at the Kittredge Center at Holyoke Community College. “Business owners and sales representatives are always striving to get in front of people who make decisions. At this event, with its unique format, they can get in front of a few dozen and make meaningful connections.
“People do business with those they know, like, and trust,” she added. “This networking event lends itself to building the relationship phase. Without that fundamental part of the equation, knowing your vendor, success is limited, and sales aren’t made or sustained.”
Here’s how Mine Your Business — which takes the main concept from an event called Speed Sales, staged in previous years, to a new, higher plane — will work:
Participating companies will send two representatives to the event — a decision maker and top sales executive. This team will then meet a series of other teams for eight-minute encounters, during which introductions can be made, products and services can be introduced or re-introduced, and possible relationships can be forged.
“Time is the perhaps the most precious commodity that business owners and managers have,” said Campiti. “This program will enable participants to use their time in a highly effective and potentially quite productive way.”
The two-on-two format effectively doubles the value of the experience provided by Speed Sales, an event conceptualized and staged the past two years by the Chicopee and Greater Holyoke chambers of commerce, said Doris Ransford, president of the Holyoke Chamber.
“It’s a very dynamic format, one in which a lot can be accomplished in eight minutes,” she said. “Companies can make a strong pitch in that time and perhaps generate solid leads that can generate sales.”
Gail Sherman, president of the Chicopee Chamber, agreed, and said that Mine Your Business will be an effective vehicle for helping area companies still trying to climb back from the effects of a deep recession that is in many ways still ongoing.
“These are still challenging times, and in this environment, companies need to remain visible,” she said. “But more than that, they need to be diligent and aggressive in the pusuit of new business. This program and its intriguing format allows them to meet all those goals.”
In addition to the two chambers of commerce, Mine Your Business is being sponsored by First American Insurance, Holyoke Community College, the Log Cabin-Delaney House, Marcotte Ford, and Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. Each sponsor has seen direct business spring from their participation in the past.
For more information or to reserve space, call the Greater Holyoke Chamber at (413) 534-3376, or the Chicopee Chamber at (413) 594-2101.

Opinion
Don’t Put the Brakes on Science, Progress

In light of the latest developments of the on-again, off-again, on-again government funding of human embryonic stem-cell research, it is time to consider the devastating implications of this chaotic funding environment. And to do that, one needs to understand how a modern research lab operates.
A typical lab has 20 to 40 people, led by a senior researcher (the ‘principal investigator’). Most people in a lab are doctoral students or postdoctoral students who are pursuing careers in science.
Labs have many different projects under investigation simultaneously. Most labs have annual budgets of $1 million to $5 million, with most of that money coming from grants from institutions like the National Institutes of Health.
The NIH allocates money to researchers whose proposals are reviewed by a panel of scientists knowledgeable in the field. A typical grant proposal is 25 single-spaced pages and takes months to prepare. The NIH responds in approximately 9 months.
Because the demand for money exceeds the supply, only 20% of the proposals get NIH funding. A researcher receiving his or her first major NIH grant is more than 40 years old, on average.
Lab leaders spend a great deal of their energy recruiting the right people for their lab, nurturing a portfolio of interesting projects, and raising money. Most principal investigators, even the most successful ones in the world, spend at least 25% of their time trying to get money. If they can’t get money, they lay off people and cancel projects.
Now imagine you are a post-doc in a lab and are working on a project to use human embryonic stem cells to cure diabetes by creating new beta cells in the pancreas.
This is difficult work that is high-risk, but high-reward. You have come to grips with the many ethical considerations in working with stem cells derived from embryos that were created during IVF procedures and were destined to be destroyed before the donors agreed they could be used for research. You have begun to get traction in your career, and have been a prominent co-author on several articles in well-respected journals.
When you read the news that your research is now illegal, you are horrified. You are back at square one. Years of research are potentially wasted.
You have no viable research projects underway. It will take well over a year to begin a new research stream, and there is a low probability you will get funded in a new area. You may be fired. In short, your career is in danger of total meltdown.
That is the real cost of our randomized model of research support in the U.S., in which a change in administration or a court ruling can outlaw work that was previously supported by the government. Funding can be canceled with the stroke of a pen.
The projects are less important than the people, particularly people who have invested years in developing their careers and selecting an area on which to focus. People need predictability — not in the research ideas they pursue, but in basic human issues like pay and employment.
It may be possible to restart projects with private funds, but that is by no means certain. Raising philanthropic dollars can be as hard and time-consuming as raising money from the NIH. And these projects will have to be set up with duplicate equipment in geographically separate areas.
Sadly, great people will abandon promising projects. Great people will leave basic research and move to more predictable pastures. And some great young people will decide not to go into research careers at all. The precipitous shift in the legal and regulatory environment for human embryonic stem-cell work will have adverse implications for years to come.
Unpredictability inflicts a heavy cost on scientific progress, whether in domains like stem-cell research or in searching for safe alternative fuels. It damages the country’s competitive position because great projects won’t be completed in the U.S., and, more importantly, great people won’t do the kind of work that is necessary to make progress on our most intractable challenges.
Society pays a high price for randomization of research support — a fact that, sadly, is not recognized by the public, the media, or politicians.

William A. Sahlman is senior associate dean for external relations at Harvard Business School.

Opinion
WestMass at 50: Still a Regional Asset

For some time now, those round-number anniversaries, especially the ones with names involving precious metals or gems, have become appropriate times to pause and reflect on whatever or whomever is celebrating that anniversary.
And so it is with the WestMass Area Development Corp., which marked 50 years of existence this past spring, and is making note of that milestone at ceremonies in October. Most people in the area and its business community would not have guessed that this organization is that old — it has made most of its headlines and impact in the past 25 to 30 years — but that is the reality.
It started in business as the Springfield Area Development Corp., and most of its early projects involved the City of Homes and bringing new economic-development opportunities to a city that hadn’t seen any in some time. The thought process at the time was that a nonprofit organization was needed to promote development by aggregating land, making it ready for building, and then patiently filling the space created with businesses that were appropriate for the community in question and would bring needed jobs and tax revenue.
The thinking was that a nonprofit group would be more willing to take on projects with certain degrees of risk, and that it would be more patient and prudent with regard to how this space was filled. And a half-century later, one could easily argue that those who conceived of this organization were correct in their thinking. The evidence can be found in Springfield, Agawam, East Longmeadow, Westfield, and other communities, where the landscape has literally been changed because of WestMass.
Nothing has come very easily for WestMass, but over the years, its track record has shown that it has indeed taken on some projects that the private development community would have passed on. In so doing, the region has several industrial parks that might otherwise have become large subdivisions or, worse, still be undeveloped, idle land.
WestMass has drawn some criticism over the years for not being more willing to take on difficult brownfield projects, such as the Uniroyal complex in Chicopee; for the painfully slow rate of progress in the Chicopee River Business Park; and for appropriating large tracts of the region’s precious developable land for massive distribution facilities that provide generally low-paying jobs — and not as many of them as they did in years past. Meanwhile, it’s been argued that too much of this region’s time and energy, economic-development wise, has gone toward filling WestMass and Westover Metropolitan Development Corp. industrial parks, when there are many other priorities in area cities and towns.
By and large, however, WestMass, like Westover, has been, and continues to be, a very valuable asset for the region. It is suffering mightily through this recession, as it has the past several, including the recession of the late ’80s, when it was forced to declare bankruptcy, but when the skies clear and the huge inventory of existing manufacturing and distribution space is depleted, WestMass properties will play a key role in attracting new businesses and retaining existing ones that need space to grow.
Looking down the road, we are reminded of something that Allan Blair, executive director of the Economic Development Council of Western Mass., has said often — that when it comes to economic development, all the easy projects have been done. Everything now is logistically challenging, and the degree of difficulty will only increase over the coming years and decades.
To thrive in such a challenging environment, this region and its economic-development leaders will have to be bold, imaginative, and persistent. These are the qualities that have marked WestMass since the beginning, and we hope they will see the organization through at least another half-century of service.

Features
MassMutual Executive Is an Expert in Many Fields

By GEORGE O’BRIEN

Elaine Sarsynski

Elaine Sarsynski, executive vice president of MassMutual’s Retirement Services Division and chairman and CEO of MassMutual International LLC

Elaine Sarsynski says she worked on the family vegetable farm in Hadley until she graduated from college — and she has the biceps to prove it.
She admitted that, more than three decades later, they stay toned through regular and rigorous workouts at the gym, but stressed repeatedly that the foundation was laid from what amounts to bench-pressing 50-pound sacks of potatoes and piling them into pickup trucks, among innumerable other chores.
“I don’t do it anymore, but I used to arm-wrestle boys all the time — and beat them,” joked Sarsynski, executive vice president of MassMutual’s Retirement Services Division and chairman and CEO of MassMutual International LLC. “We had five kids in our family, four girls, and we [girls] had to do whatever our brother did. That’s how it was. Farming is hard work, and I became really strong.”
But Sarsynski’s years on the farm would provide her with much more than rock-hard muscles. There would be many lessons in life and in business, she explained, noting, for starters, that her mother was the real entrepreneur in the family and transplanted some of her considerable business energy, acumen, and instincts to her children.
“She would think beyond picking squash and selling it wholesale, and about what she could do on a more retail level,” said Sarsynski. “She went around to local restaurants and supermarkets and said, ‘if I cut up that butternut squash and put it into half-pound bags, do you think that would sell?’ And they said, ‘yes.’
“Lo and behold, we became one of the first farms to pre-package vegetables,” she continued. “I only wish my mother had taken out a patent on it, because everyone does it today.”
There were many other lessons from those days peeling, slicing, and packaging that squash — “there were always eight to 12 bushels of it waiting for us when we got home from school” — or picking cucumbers, stripping tobacco, and countless other duties. They covered everything from work ethic to effective time management; from pulling one’s own weight to the necessity for diversification in the fields — and business in general.
“We had about 10 crops that we produced from spring through fall, and that was a very important lesson,” she said, “because I remember one season there was a flood, and the majority of our cucumber crop was destroyed. But because of our efforts on the other kinds of crops, we were able to pull through that summer. So I learned very early on that you don’t put all your eggs in one basket.”
Sarsynski applies this lesson and countless others from the farm to her work at MassMutual — where she manages, to one degree or another, more than 2,500 workers and 15,000 agents in Asia — and often touches on them during the many speeches she delivers, including the one she gave at a meeting of the Women’s Partnership just a few hours before she talked with BusinessWest.
She said she spoke on the subject of the glass ceiling and the extent to which she believes it still exists — “if it does, it’s much more subtle than when I started in business 30 years ago” — but also touched on matters ranging from work/life balance to the importance of financial planning, to the need for all those hoping to succeed in business to hone their public-speaking skills.
“It’s important because we must communicate well, in written form, and while speaking in front of audiences,” she explained, adding that time in front of a microphone is a key part of any individual’s brand-building work. “It’s imporant to be able to articulate your position in a calm, thoughtful way, and speaking in front of an audience is one very good way to build that skill.”
For this, the latest installment of its Profiles in Business series, BusinessWest talked with Sarsynski about everything from diversity and inclusion in the workplace to her management style — and most all things in between. And she had much to say on all those topics.

Crop Circles
The Sarsynski farm still exists, but almost all of the 70 acres are now leased out to other parties. There is a large garden at the homestead, however, in which Sarsynski will work during some of her many visits home.
It’s been more than 30 years since she’s actually worked on the farm, but she certainly hasn’t forgotten much from those days. Consider these comments when asked about the crop Hadley is perhaps best known for, asparagus, and why it carries a high price at the grocery store.
“It takes about four years before you can actually start producing a crop,” she explained. “It’s also susceptable to various diseases, so some of it may not make it till the time you harvest it. The thing I like most about asparagus, even though I don’t like picking it, is that in optimal conditions, meaning when it’s warm and moist, it can grow a foot a day. So, frequently, not only would we get up early to pick it, before we went to school, but we would have to pick it again when we came home. I didn’t like days like that.”
But while Sarsynski’s parents contually stressed the importance of meeting one’s responsibilities in the field, they were even more focused on their children’s education. The four girls would all go on to attend Smith College, while their brother would graduate from Amherst College.
“My parents did not have college degrees, but from very early on, they stressed the importance of us going to college,” said Sarsynski, who would also earn an MBA from Columbia University. “They wanted the best for us, and they stressed that a good education was the key to real success.”
Sarsynski has put her education from the farm and the classroom to good use at career stops that include stints with several financial-services giants, work as a consultant to the real-estate industry, and even two elected terms as chief executive officer of the town of Suffield, Conn.
She started out as an analyst at Morgan Stanley Realty in New York, and eventually joined Aetna, where she spent 17 years and held a number of senior management positions, overseeing segments of the company’s Investments Division and leading the Corporate Finance Department. She also served as corporate vice president of real-estate investments, and was responsible for the direction and oversight of Aetna’s $15 billion mortgage-loan and owned-real-estate portfolios.
By 1998 though, Aetna was going through some changes organizationally and philosophically, and Sarsysnki was looking for a new challenge. Actually, upon leaving the company, she took on several.
She taught real-estate finance at Columbia for a semester, for example, and, at about the same time, created the Sun Consulting Group, LLC, offering consulting services to the real-estate industry. The firm was responsible for helping Connecticut Innovations Inc. to develop and implement Connecticut’s multi-million-dollar biotechnology lending and construction-development program.
While these endeavors were demanding, they left her with more time for her family — and her community, Suffield. And during one talk with the town’s first selectman (CEO) about economic-development matters, he convinced her to apply for the soon-to-be-vacated position of economic development director for the community, which she was awarded.
She never intended to stay long, and didn’t, but in her short stint did succeed in advancing a number of projects and helping Suffield win substantial state and federal grant money. Within a year in that post, she was ready to return to the private sector, but was instead talked into running for first selectman by the man who was getting ready to leave that position.
She won the seat handily, and settled in for what would be four years of service that she found fun and rewarding, while also providing more lessons that would help her thrive in a corporate setting.
“I loved it because we had an opportunity to effectuate change,” she explained, noting that, among other things, she led the town through 9/11 and its profound impact on public safety and national security. “And I was able to continually hone my leadership skills.
“In many ways, this was more difficult than being in the corporate sector,” she continued, “because you had to have people endorse your vision, and endorse what you were accomplishing. You can be the best mayor or town selectman in the world, but you still have to be involved in the political process of being elected. So you always had to be sure you could communicate your vision and the vision of the community, articulate the positions you were bringing to town meeting in such a way that people embraced and supported them so you could get re-elected.”

Planting Seeds
Sarsynski would take these and other lessons back to the corporate world and, more specifically, Babson Capital Management LLC, a MassMutual subsidiary, where she was responsible for the Portfolio Consulting Group. In 2005, she joined MassMutual as senior vice president and chief administrative officer, responsible for corporate services, human resource management, corporate communications, community relations, and MassMutual’s strategy implementation.
In 2006, she was appointed chairman, president, and CEO of MassMutual International LLC, and became responsible for the company’s international insurance operations, including subsidiaries in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Japan, Luxemborg, Chile, and China. She assumed added responsibility for the company’s retirement-services business in 2008, and under her leadership, the division achieved its second consecutive year of at least 20% sales growth and its highest annual sales volume in history.
To hit those numbers — and lay the track for more like them — Sarsynski says she’s been applying the many lessons acquired through business school, the farm, elected office, and from those she’s worked for and with over the years.
She said that success for MassMutual or any other company begins with leadership — “it drives the performance of the entire team, and especially the direct reports” — and when asked about her style, she noted, repeatedly, that it is to lead by example.
“I set high standards, and I expect those standards to be met,” she continued. “I think I’m fair and reasonable, yet I really do demand excellence from my direct reports because this is a very competitive industry that we work within, and it’s important that we have exceptional customer service, product development, and execution. People enjoy working in retirement services because we set those high standards, and we’ve been able to achieve them over the past couple of years.”
Sarsynski said her basic philosophy with regard to professional development is to continually reach higher and set new career goals. She encourages those she directs to do the same, and to help them reach their full potential she becomes the supervisor’s equivalent of a chameleon.
“I try to see what will motivate a person to become the best he or she can be,” she explained. “So my management style, and anyone’s management style, should change depending on the audience that you have, the person that you’re dealing with, and creating that unique environment to help them excel, to help them learn, to drive them to perform to the height of their ability.
“So the way I approach my head of marketing might be different than how I approach my head of distribution,” she continued. “In every case, I give them enough rope so that they can manage their organizations, and as they excel, I give them even more rope, because my ultimate goal is to have succession plans in place for all my businesses so that I become obsolete and my successors are extraordinarily well-prepared to continue to produce the kinds of results the organizations wants.”
As she searched her memory bank for an example of how her leadership style, not to mention her farm-honed life lessons, manifest themselves, she mentioned a recent suggestion (more like an edict) that her staff members with long commutes get satellite radio in their cars so they can stay better-attuned to business news and national and international commentary on current events.
“I told them they could hear the thought leaders of the industry talking about where the markets are going and where the global world is going, what Congress is doing, and what the president is doing,” she said, adding that she considers this a better use of their time than listening to rock music or sports talk. “It’s interesting, because they all went out and got it. I believe it’s very important to use time wisely, because we only have 24 hours in a day; you have to prioritize time.”

The Root to Success
During one recent trip to Hadley, Sarsynski actually took a moment to thank her mother for stressing education early on — and also for farm lifestyle and all that it gave her.
“It was a terrific way to grow up,” she said. “I was very close to my entire family, and we learned lessons in management, in commerce, wholesale, and retail. We learned work ethic that you can only learn in an environment where you get up early and go to bed late and your livelihood depends on the produce of the farm.
“It was a very wholesome way; there was no question of whether you were going to roll out of bed at 5:30 to pick asparagus — you just did it,” she continued, adding that, while she is three decades removed from those experiences, that ‘way,’ as she called it, is still very much with her.
“It’s there in terms of work ethic, frugality, focusing on the value of a dollar, asking if we are efficiently producing work at MassMutual, and focusing on the value of the individual and achieving the mission of the team.”
In other words, Sarsynski still has the muscles she earned on the farm, but she has many other ways to show how strong — mentally and physically — she’s become.

George O’Brien can be reached
at [email protected]

Features
The Region Is Still Struggling to Recover from the Great Recession

Mass East West Economy

MassEastWestEconomyDPart

Recent statistics show that the Bay State is outpacing the nation when it comes to job creation and economic expansion since the recession officially ended roughly a year ago. But Western Mass. is not enjoying the same kind of recovery as the Boston area, primarily because its mix of businesses doesn’t lend itself to profound growth, say economists, and job growth has been negligible. This is not surprising, they say, but rather indicative of an east-west divide that this region has historically struggled to close.

Alan Clayton Matthews says Western Massachusetts is probably not officially still in a recession — although it’s very close to the line, by his estimates — but he wouldn’t blame anyone for thinking that it was.
“It certainly feels that way — there’s still negative job growth on the order of 3% year over year, and it may well be that gross output in Springfield is still declining,” said Matthews, contributing editor to the quarterly Mass Benchmarks, which charts the state of the economy in the Commonwealth. He noted that, while the Bay State as a whole has been growing at about a 6% clip for the past few quarters (far ahead of the national pace), Western Mass. hasn’t enjoyed anything approaching that rate of expansion.
“There’s been no recovery from this recession in Springfield to speak of,” said Matthews. “Year-over-year change in payroll employment has gone up 1.2% statewide, while there’s been no growth nationally. In the Springfield area, it’s declined 3.2%, so it’s been quite a different story there.”
Bob Nakosteen, a professor of Economics at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, agreed. He said the discrepancy between what’s happening in the Boston area and in Greater Springfield, “shows more dramatically than ever the east-west divide.”
He chose that terminology to convey the sentiment that this region, known for not having the profound highs and subsequent lows that other regions experience, is simply not recovering from the Great Recession with any degree of vibrancy, and probably won’t for some time to come.
“Employment is going up in Boston, and it’s going down here,” he said, adding that jobs are perhaps the strongest indicator of the divide, but not the only one. “The regions are heading in different directions, and the difference in the numbers shows just how wide that divide has become.”
In the shorter term, Western Mass. will eventually see a bounce, said Matthews, noting that, historically, economic expansions in this state move east to west, and this one will almost certainly follow that pattern. Longer-term, though, the region must further diversify its economic base with technology-related manufacturers and larger employers, he continued, adding that, at present, this area simply doesn’t have the proper mix to generate a job growth and a pronounced recovery.
“In the Boston area, 9.8% of employment [in 2008] was in professional and technical services, and those tend to be high-paying jobs,” he explained. “In Hampden County, that number is only 2.8%; that’s a quite a difference.”
For this issue, BusinessWest looks at the short-term economic forecast for the region, and that east-west divide, the reasons for it, and the prospects for closing the gap any time soon.

Experiencing Some Turbulence
“Headwinds.”
That’s the term Nakosteen chose to describe what this region — and the nation as a whole — will be facing as the fourth quarter approaches, a time when hiring historically picks up.
These headwinds include the dissipating impact of federal stimulus programs, which have provided some sparks and kept things from getting worse than they are, said Nakosteen, as well as an ongoing lack of confidence among consumers, as evidenced by sluggish back-to-school sales, a still-struggling housing market, and a financial-services sector that remains what he called a “mess.”
Nakosteen told BusinessWest that he doubts that the nation as a whole will fall back into recession — the dreaded double dip; “we’re still a long way from that, but it could happen” — but be believes expansion will be modest for at least the next few quarters and slow in coming, especially for the Western Mass. region.
“There are a lot of doubts about whether the economy can sustain itself absent the stimulus,” he said. “In any case, things are going to be very sluggish, and it’s going to feel like we’re in a recession in terms of employment and the housing market, even if, ultimately, we’re not in one.”
The potent mix of headwinds will test the Bay State as a whole to continue its strong, steady pace of expansion, said Matthews, noting that the rate of growth is already slowing and will likely be closer to 4% than 6% for the third quarter, which will end Sept. 30. And for Western Mass., they will make it more difficult to really dig out of the recession and improve on unemployment figures that are north of 10% for the region and above 14% in Springfield, he continued.
Elaborating, he said that expansions do indeed move from Boston westward, “but it takes a while.” And the current conditions may make for a longer while with this cycle than what might be considered typical. “This expansion will have to continue on for quite a while before Springfield sees any real improvement.”
Dissecting the east-west divide, both Matthews and Nakosteen said it is really nothing new, but perhaps more pronounced than ever, due to several factors.
One is the emergence of technology-related sectors, or clusters, in Eastern Mass. that are enabling that region to bounce back more quickly and profoundly, and much smaller numbers of such jobs in this area.
“The largest growth in the first quarter of the year when it comes to national GDP [gross domestic product] was in business investment,” he explained, “and many of those investments came in high-tech areas, and that’s what the eastern part of the state specializes in. We don’t have that kind of mix here; the manufacturing in this region is mostly what would be called ‘low-tech’ in nature.

Work in Progress
Another factor, said Matthews, is that, unlike in the Boston area, major employers in Western Mass. are simply not adding large numbers of workers. In fact, many are still cutting workforces.
This is the case in health care, historically one of the region’s strongest sectors for employment, said Nakosteen, as several hospitals have pared workers or limited hiring in the face of economic pressures resulting from the stagnant economy (see related story, page 43).
“I’ve heard stories about nursing graduates who, two years ago, would have had several job offers, but now can’t get an offer,” he said. “That represents a real change, and it doesn’t bode well for an area so dependent on the health care sector.”
Kathleen McCormack-Batterson, director of Strategic Recruiting at MassMutual, said the financial-services giant did have some layoffs in 2008 and 2009 as a result of the recession, but said there was a pronounced spike in hiring that accompanied a reorganization in 2007, and, overall, hiring at the company has been steady and consistent in recent years.
“I have 125 open requisitions in the system right now,” she said, noting that these slots represent both new hirings and the filling of vacancies created by departures and retirements, and she would consider that number typical.
McCormack-Batterson did note, however, that overall hiring at the company might have slowed somewhat over the past year simply because there was less attrition, because there are, overall, fewer opportunities for existing employees to move on to, and some have put off retirement due to severe hits to retirement accounts.
“Our attrition rate is much lower this year,” she explained, estimating that the number of vacancies created is perhaps half what it was in 2009. “People aren’t leaving here and going elsewhere to pursue opportunities, largely because of the uncertainty of the market, so people are staying with the company, and that means we don’t have as many open positions. Meanwhile, anyone who’s close to retirement age is looking at things and thinking that if they stay a few more years, their 401(k) will rebound.”
Looking at the longer term and this region’s prospects for closing the east-west divide, Nakosteen and Matthews said the Pioneer Valley needs to further diversify its economy with more technology-related businesses, while also spurring new investment in the area.
“There has to be investment, both public and private, in the Springfield area,” said Matthews. “And for that to happen, people have to want to live there, and that takes an attractive quality of life, and that means public investments in infrastructure and public schools that will attract new employers.”
Nakosteen agreed. “The major employers in this region will eventually stabilize and even grow again,” he said, referring to the health care facilities, colleges and universities (many struggling due to state budget cuts), and financial-services companies. “But they’re never really going to be engines of growth. The only way this region has growth prospects is if there’s something new out there that catches on.”
Matthews told BusinessWest that the location of a planned high-performance computing center in Holyoke could be that something new that provides a needed spark in terms of both visibility (the facility may well put the region on the map) and computing horsepower that would draw major corporations, government agencies, or both.
“This is just the kind of investment that could positively effect future growth there,” he said, while acknowledging that there won’t be large numbers of jobs to start. “It could become a magnet to draw other investment in the region.”
Both Matthews and Nakosteen said that a high-speed rail line between Springfield and Boston would provide the connectivity that might spur growth. Such a line would make the region a more attractive place to live (because people could now commute to jobs in the eastern part of the state) and locate businesses, again, because talented workers could more easily access jobs here. But the prospects for such infrastructure improvement is dim.
“It’s just not going to happen,” said Nakosteen, adding that the region will have to find other ways to stimulate investment and create jobs.

The State We’re In
Once again summoning that phrase “a while,” Matthews used it to delineate how long it will take for the current expansion being enjoyed by the Boston area to work its way west and have a real impact on Greater Springfield.
“And a while could be a few years,” he said, noting, as Nakosteen did, that, for the short term, the region will be looking at sluggish growth, at best, that will feel like a recession.
For the longer haul, this area has to find ways to close the gap between east and west, and, as with this recession, creating progress will likely be a long, slow grind.

George O’Brien can be reached
at [email protected]

Opinion
Green: the Color, and Direction, of Progress

Even casual readers of BusinessWest would notice that a growing number of pages in this magazine are being devoted to all matters ‘green.’
Several months ago, we put out something called the ‘Green Issue.’ Yes, the cover was green (actually, several shades of it), and most all stories inside had a green tinge to them. This issue, Sean Anderson, assistant vice president of Facilities and director of Corporate Green Initiatives at MassMutual, graces the cover. He’s standing within a huge solar-power installation that sits on a one-acre section of roof at the company’s 1.4 million-square-foot headquarters building on State Street in Springfield.
In addition to the MassMutual story, which is about much more than solar power, there is another piece about the many ways in which area colleges are going green, and also the people who are heading these efforts: ‘green czars,’ if you will.
All this focus on green is not by accident; it’s by design — literally and figuratively — to show how green, or sustainability, has become part of the fabric of the region and its business community.
As we’ve said many times, our broad goal at BusinessWest is to essentially hold a mirror to this region’s business community, and try to articulate what appears in that glass. Increasingly, that mirror is reflecting businesses, institutions, and individuals working to do what is environmentally responsible and what also makes good common sense when it comes to running a business.
And in the process, these companies, institutions, and people are laying some track for what could be a dynamic new business sector, or cluster, that could create needed diversification for our region, and also more jobs.
Over the past several months, we’re published several green stories — from PeoplesBank’s building of a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certified branch in Springfield to FloDesign’s efforts to reshape wind power with a radically new turbine design; from hospitals doing what they can to reduce their sizable carbon footprints to a new company trying to introduce this region to geothermal energy; from the new planned high-performance computing center in Holyoke to the YWCA’s efforts to incorporate green design into its new facilities.
The sum of all these stories amounts to a movement, one that has a number of potential benefits for the region and the planet as a whole. First, we’ll start with the ‘doing the right thing’ aspect of this work. From colleges encouraging students to turn out the lights in their dorm rooms when they’re not in use to MassMutual employing new technology to shut down vending machines when the area they are inactive, action is being taken to conserve energy and ultimately use less of it, which will benefit everyone in the long run.
In the meantime, these steps and countless others are not merely saving businesses and institutions money (in most cases), they are also making them competitive at a time when competition is coming from everywhere and it’s intensifying constantly. This is critically important because, in addition to attracting new jobs, the region needs to retain those that it has, and making companies more competitive is one way to help do that.
Also, when companies and institutions go green, they are helping to build another source of jobs and economic stability for Western Mass. Indeed, green is not merely a trend or a movement, or something for this business journal to write about. It is an economic sector that holds great promise in this region.
To make a long story short, we’re going to keep holding up that mirror, and we’re sure it’s going to yield many more stories about how green is working its way into the local vocabulary.
And that will certainly be a reflection of progress — on a number of levels.

Opinion
United Way Focuses on the Building Blocks

By DORA ROBINSON
As we look outside our doors, it can be difficult to escape the challenges we face in the region.
Nearly 25% of Springfield families and 37% of Holyoke families with children under age 5 have incomes below the poverty level. Hampden County’s high-school graduation rate is 70.2%, compared to the statewide rate of 81.5%. Specifically, the graduation rate in West Springfield is 66.4%; in Springfield, 54.5%; and in Holyoke, 48.5%. And last year, food pantries in Hampden County served 22% more meals than in the previous year.
While we must face the issues of our community, we do not need to accept them as reality. We can face them with hope, optimism, and courage, knowing that we can make a difference. The United Way of Pioneer Valley is leading that effort. Our focus is on education, income, health, and basic needs — the building blocks for a good quality of life.
 Our efforts around income promote financial stability and independence by raising awareness of mechanisms that support income growth, convening stakeholders to strengthen income stability and enhance access to bank accounts and services, increasing volunteerism in support of financial education, and partnering on statewide collaborative efforts to bolster family assets and financial literacy.
To raise the bar on education, we partner with local, regional, and state initiatives that support the educational achievement of all children. We collaborate with the school systems and community providers to raise the high-school graduation rates. We invest in educational programming, like mentoring, summer learning, and family engagement.
 And, as the need for emergency food, fuel, and utility assistance increases, we will be there for individuals and families to provide much-needed resources and allocations to provide a hand up for those in need — as we always have.
 But it is not solely up to the United Way of Pioneer Valley. We are all part of the community, and we can all be part of the solution. We can all live united. But how? As part of the United Way Live United movement, we are asking people to “Give. Advocate. Volunteer.”  
 You can give of your time, energy, and talents to create lasting change and improve the lives of all.  Your financial contributions can help fund programs that make a difference for poor, low-income and working poor people to have a better life. Many of these are your co-workers, friends, family, and community members.
 You can foster a community of hope and opportunity through advocating for change — be it with a neighbor or a legislator. You can give voice to the vulnerable by supporting initiatives that raise awareness to the challenges faced by our homeless and those who may find themselves on the precipice.
 You can build a stronger community by serving as a mentor to a young adult. You can empower others with your experiences. You can simply share your wisdom with a child.
 We invite you to be part of the change. You can give, you can advocate, and you can volunteer. You can make a difference in the Pioneer Valley, and that’s what it means to live united.

Dora Robinson is president and CEO of United Way of Pioneer Valley.

Features
Textbook Example of Business in a College Town

Amherst

Amherst

In October of 2009, Reza Rahmani and Arash Hashemkhani opened a Persian/Mediterranean restaurant in Amherst named Moti. It was a dream come true for Rahmani, who fell in love with the town during his years at UMass Amherst and had always been intrigued by the idea of opening a downtown eatery.
He was living in Phoenix, Ariz. when he finally found a site that suited his needs. “Two summers ago, I made the trip to Amherst four times to look for property,” he said.
So, when the space Moti now occupies became available, he and Hashemkhani rented it, then proceeded to gut it and renovate the entire interior.
Their restaurant has been so successful, they are expanding into space next door which recently became available. They are also gutting a large property on Boltwood Place with plans to turn it into a restaurant/lounge for working professionals.
“The rents here are equivalent to those in the back bay of Boston, but I love the demographics of this town; Amherst has a flavor you don’t find in many small towns, let alone bigger cities. There is a little bit of Europe here, especially uptown where our restaurant is located,” Rahmani said, adding that businesses are so supportive of each other that other restaurant owners have told customers to try Moti. “Within a year, we have built so many relationships, we almost feel we have been here our whole lives.”
Tony Maroulis, executive director of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, says the restauranteurs’ experience is in line with the Chamber’s motto: “The Amherst area is a perfect place.”
“The student population of UMass, Amherst College, and Hampshire College are right in our backyard. We have a vibrant downtown and interesting village centers in several sections of town,” he said. “Thousands of people come here each year because of the colleges and cultural institutions. There are eight museums in town, and we also have a wonderful year-round population that is engaged with the community, which makes for a fertile business environment. These are just some of the reasons why Amherst is a terrific place to live and work.”
Robert Green agrees. Since 1976, he has owned and operated Amherst Typewriter and Computer, which is a few doors away from Moti.
“Amherst is a well-educated community, which is compatible with the services I perform,” he said. “There are many poets, writers, and artists as well as liberal arts students here who use typewriters because their senses are greater than that of the average person and the typewriter becomes an extension of them. To me, there is more than a monetary reward in owning a business here, because I serve several generations.”
For this, the latest installment of its Doing Business In series, BusinessWest takes a comprehensive look at Amherst and at why its chamber’s slogan is on the money.

Schools of Thought
Jeremy Austin moved J. Austin Antiques from Boston to Amherst in 2005. Since then, he has combined his business with J. Austin Jewelers, which his mother owns.
“This is a good, family-oriented community, but also a very intellectual, sophisticated community,” he said. “People who visit here are looking for things to do, which results in a lot of business potential because there is a steady influx of students and their parents as well as people from all over the world who come to Amherst to see the Emily Dickinson Museum.”
Amherst has 50 working farms, and Austin says the combination of a walkable downtown surrounded by land is another bonus. “People tend to pigeonhole this as a college town, but there is also a lot of open land here and good proximity to Boston and New York, as well as high-end restaurants,” he said.
Town Manager Larry Shaffer says town officials have done a remarkably good job of using resources offered by the Preservation of Agricultural Land Program to keep the rural landscape intact. In addition, the town recently adopted a new master plan with a goal of concentrating development in specific village centers.
“We want to preserve agricultural land by not encouraging traditional urban sprawl,” Shaffer said. “The village center concept is new for Amherst and is an attempt to compact development while retaining areas of conservation and open space.”
New development will be concentrated in pockets located throughout the town. They include Atkins Center, Cushman Village, Pomeroy Potwine Village Center, the intersection of College Street and South East Street, and Main Street and North East Street. “New zoning is being crafted and will be brought to the town meeting to be voted on,” Shaffer added.
Maroulis believes the changes will make make the town more sustainable. “It is a really exciting time to be here,” he said.
Shaffer agrees and adds that Amherst is a great place to do business. “It is virtually recession-proof, because the community is based on education. The university is a center of excellence in a number of academic disciplines and has one of the best engineering schools in the country, which offers businesses a splendid opportunity to work with them for complementary activities,” he said. “We are a small town, but absolutely committed to getting projects underway that are consistent with our zoning regulations and are in the best interests of the town.”
The town and its colleges have forged strong relationships, which are evident in many projects they have completed together. Currently, Amherst College is undertaking a $15 million restoration of the Lord Jeffery Inn, which will include a pub and an upscale restaurant.
And in recent weeks UMass signed over a piece of property to the town. The transaction, called the Gateway Project, involves a collaboration between the town and the university to redevelop a 1,500-foot stretch of North Pleasant Street. It will connect the northern end of the town center with the UMass campus and contain its own center that will include private student housing, private commercial development, lodging, parking, and space for UMass functions.
Jeffrey Guidera also sees potential in Amherst. In January 2008, he and contractor Rus Wilson formed Hills House LLC, a real-estate development venture established to restore a cluster of historically significant homes on the property of the Henry Hills mansion, which was the former home of the Boys & Girls Club of Amherst. “There is interest and demand for living space downtown. People like to have services that are concentrated in one area. So, we are saving these old homes and providing new ones for people,” said Guidera.
He believes there is real opportunity for business growth in town. “This is due to the combination of the regulatory environment, zoning changes, and the mood of the population, who realize they need a more diversified tax base,” he said, adding that greater housing density will help promote growth.
Kyle Wilson and David Williams are about to break ground for a new, five-story structure situated directly behind the popular Judie’s restaurant on North Pleasant Street. The new building is slated for mixed use, with a dozen high-end residential apartments on floors two through five and retail/professional space on the first floor along with storage space for the residents.
Wilson said a large number of professionals have already moved to Amherst because of the quality of life there and the culture. “Almost all of the interest in our building is coming from the Boomer generation who want to sell their ranch-style homes and move downtown to a building with an elevator and access to the colleges and movie theater,” he said, adding that they will break ground this fall and expect residents will be able to move in by September 2011.
A Class Act
“We think Amherst has amazing potential,” said Wilson. “UMass is looking to grow by 3,000 students in the next 10 years, and if they and Amherst College hope to attract top researchers, faculty, and students, there needs to be an active and lively downtown,” Wilson said.
Maroulis wants people to understand how attractive Amherst is.
“We are not in the middle of nowhere,” he said. “There is always something happening here. As our slogan says, we are the perfect place to live, work, and play. We have a creative economy, and the economic landscape is quite diverse. It is a wonderful and interesting place to be that is on the rise, and the next five to 10 years will be really exciting.”

Features
This Time-tested Vehicle Remains a Solid Estate-planning Tool

Kevin Hines

Kevin Hines

Family limited partnerships (FLPs) have long been considered an estate-planning tool for transferring wealth at discounted values and ultimately reducing estate-tax transfer costs. With the possible repeal of the federal estate tax (maybe, maybe not), is there still a need for these family limited partnerships?
The answer remains a strong ‘yes,’ and there are many reasons for this. What follows is a basic primer on the FLP and as well as some of the best practices that should be followed so that your partnership will be recognized as an entity and not considered a sham.

Family Limited Partnership
First, what is a partnership? A partnership is a joint venture between at least two investors or owners to manage and operate a business or investments. Generally, there is a written plan (operating agreement) that lays out various terms of the agreement such as, but not limited to, who and how will the partnership be managed, who are eligible partners, if and when earnings and profits will be paid, and how and when the relationship will end. A partnership is a ‘flow-through entity’ for income-tax purposes. This means that the individual partner will be responsible for payment of the taxes rather than the partnership.
A limited partnership is a similar entity but will have two classes of investors, general partners and limited partners. As the name implies, the limited partners have limited powers in the management of the partnership. This can be good and bad. You may not have a say in the management, but you also have a limited liability based on those decisions (your loss is limited to your investments into the partnership). Family limited partnerships will usually be formed as a limited partnership. The managing partner determines in accordance with the operating agreement if and when distributions will be made and when to terminate the partnership, thus controlling the management of the assets.
 
How It Works
The family limited partnership is formed by the senior generation. Oftentimes, a second-generation family member will manage the partnership (general partner). Assets of the senior generation will be transferred into the FLP in exchange for limited partner interests. These limited partner interests are then gifted to family members either at one time or through a systematic annual gifting program. The managing partner can then determine the level of distributions from the partnership.
Should limited distributions be made to cover income taxes of the partners, since this is a pass-through tax entity? Or should the distributions be higher to help pay for college education or another life event? The options are numerous but at the discretion of the manager.
 
Purpose of the FLP
Although the primary reason for using a FLP might be the possible reduction of the estate and gift transfer tax due the IRS (through the use of valuation discounts), there continues to be other non-tax purposes to validate the formation of the family limited partnership. Additionally, there is a requirement that one or more of these other purposes be met so that the partnership is recognized as a business entity for legal reasons. These purposes and benefits should include one or more of the following:
• Transfer of the family business or investments for succession planning (ease of transferring FLP interest);
• Centralized management of investments or other family assets such as a second home or other assets that you would rather not have to liquidate;
• Diversification of investments;
• Management during the senior generation’s lifetime and thereafter; and
• Credit protection and spendthrift  protection.
Remember, when forming the FLP, think long-term. What will your situation be in 10 years or 15 years?

Dos and Don’ts of an FLP
Operation of the FLP is key (in addition to the business purpose of the entity) in order to withstand a challenge to the entity recognition. Here are some of the dos and don’ts to formation and operation of the FLP.
• Provide for a succession plan from the senior generation;
• Limited partners should contribute assets to the partnership at start-up. Consider using prior gifts from the senior generation;
• The senior generation should retain other liquid assets in their name to cover living costs. Don’t transfer all of senior-generation assets nor the primary residence;
• Do not commingle personal assets and FLP assets; 
• Ensure that distributions follow the operating agreement and are in proportion to ownership;
• Prepare management reports on a regular basis and distribute to all partners; and
• Do not terminate FLP shortly after the passing of senior members.
As we all wait to see how the debate regarding the federal estate-tax law plays out in Congress, recognize that there are other non-estate-tax reasons for having your own family limited partnership. But the most important point is that once you set up your FLP, it is of the utmost importance to follow good business practices in managing it. You want your state and the federal government to recognize it as a separate entity so that you will be able to achieve your goals that were set out when the FLP was formed. Always consult with your accountant and attorney when setting up these entities.
 
Kevin E. Hines, CPA, MST, CVA, CSEP, is a partner with Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C., with specialties in business valuations, estate planning, and taxes; (413) 536-8510.

Sections Supplements
Why Alternative Dispute Resolution Is Growing in Popularity

Dispute Resolution

Dispute Resolution

Parties in legal matters ranging from divorce and child custody to business contracts are increasingly opting for alternative dispute resolution to settle their differences. Proponents of this model note that conflicts can be settled more quickly and amicably — especially important when children are involved — but also in a way that gives both parties more control over the outcome, and at far less cost.

A judgment of the court — whether on a divorce settlement, child custody, breach of contract, or ownership of a business — is final. And that can be a frightening thought for parties on both sides of a dispute.
“You’re handing these issues over to a third party who, in the best of circumstances, is going to have a day or two in trial to understand all the aspects of a business that may have been going on for 100 years or a marriage that has gone on for 30 years,” said Carla Newton, an attorney with Robinson Donovan, P.C. in Springfield.
“No matter how studious or attentive or learned the judge may be,” she added, “he doesn’t understand as much as the parties themselves about all the details and nuances of the needs of a child or the management of a business. When you use alternative dispute resolution, you’re making your own determination how the issues are going to be resolved.”
Alternative dispute resolution, or ADR, is a growing niche in the legal world that bypasses litigation before a judge and instead encourages parties to work out issues themselves, typically with the help of one or more neutral parties.
“In the past few years, it’s grown tremendously,” said Michael Grilli, an attorney with Springfield-based Bacon Wilson, P.C. “It first gained acceptance because of the potential cost savings, as opposed to having to litigate things in a traditional sense. And it’s a cleaner way to do things, especially with issues involving children. People acknowledge that, although their relationship is broken, they still need to maintain some sort of civility to parent their children together to some extent.”
But Grilli also echoed Newton’s point about the desire for control on both sides of the table.
“When you take things in front of a judge, the judge is going to make a lifetime, life-altering decision for you and your children,” he said. “In alternative dispute resolution, you own the outcome because it’s something you arrive at.”
In this issue, BusinessWest examines the various types of ADR and the benefits they provide to opposing parties who, in many cases, just want to stop fighting and work it out.

Common Goals
Alternative dispute resolution can take several forms. In mediation, a neutral professional guides the discussion, with or without counsel present, and helps the parties reach consensus on all issues. However, they cannot force any resolution; the opposite is true if the parties choose arbitration, in which a mutually agreed-upon third party is authorized to make binding decisions.
Meanwhile, collaborative law involves both parties, their attorneys, and one or more experts in various fields, from finance to behavioral health, in a group effort to reach consensus.
“The attorneys are still advocating for their clients, but also working as a team to resolve the issue in a way that involves the expertise of everyone at the table,” Newton said, adding that this is a particularly beneficial model for dealing with issues of business law. “You have more time to explore all the issues, and there’s a transparency of information that’s crucial. All the information is on the table and shared in a way that people can make thoughtful and meaningful decisions about resources, income, and property distribution.”
Neutral experts weighing in on, say, the value of a business or piece of real estate “reduces the cost of having my expert go up against your expert,” she added. “It doesn’t mean that everyone always agrees on the valuation, but it does provide a more open forum to explore these questions and come to a resolution in terms of how that asset is going to be valued.”
A fourth model of ADR, conciliation, is similar to mediation but focuses on compromise and concessions to reach resolutions with a minimum of rancor. Grilli has been on both sides of ADR cases, as an attorney representing one of the parties, and as a conciliator working for both.
“We can’t force the outcome on anyone,” he said of his role as a conciliator. “They don’t have to trust us with their stories, and they don’t have to litigate their case with us. It’s more of a dialogue than a litigation.
“I encourage people to use it,” he continued. “Very often, in cases I have of a contentious nature, I’ll ask judges to make referrals to use alternative dispute resolution. I think the people appreciate it and get the sense that I’m pursuing all avenues to solve their case. And the other attorneys like it; at least in the family-law field, they’re getting very experienced mediators and conciliators who know what they’re doing. I’ve had a lot of good experiences with it.”
A good conciliator, he explained, can examine a case and tell both parties how a judge would likely rule on certain matters. “It opens their eyes. They think, ‘well, doesn’t it make more sense to see if we can reach some sort of settlement that mirrors that, with less money, time, and pain?’”

Cut to the Chase
An aversion to spending years in legal proceedings, with steadily escalating bills, is, in fact, one of the driving factors in the increasing popularity of ADR, Grilli noted. Take, for example, a damage claim in a personal-injury case — say, an automobile rear-ending accident — in which liability is not an issue.
“Instead of a long, drawn-out process for damages, you can submit the medical bills to an arbitrator or mediator, and the case expenses are significantly less, and cases are resolved more quickly,” he said.
“It’s all about cost and time. You could be looking at a couple of years after filing a case to get before a judge, as opposed to a couple of months, not to mention that much more money spent litigating. Claimants think, ‘I don’t want to wait two years to have my case resolved.’”
Overloaded dockets have lent a new appeal to ADR, Newton said.
“Our courts are very crowded, and there are limitations on the amount of personnel and resources available to move cases through the court process,” she told BusinessWest. But other factors take into account the long-term emotional health of the parties, especially in divorce and custody disputes.
“People are becoming more sensitive to the fact that there is a benefit to being able to resolve family matters in a way that preserves what can be preserved of these family relationships, especially in families with children, where the parties are going to be connected for the rest of their lives through the children,” Newton said.
“They want to maintain a respectful communication with the other party,” she added. “They want to sustain that after the proceeding is over, and many people feel they have a better chance of doing that through an alternative dispute process as opposed to a situation where they’re resolving arguments by testifying against the other person.”
Grilli agreed. “I’ve heard a lot of judges say they consider it a more child-centered way to handle things, as long as you can get everybody on the same page,” he said. “If we want the end result that is best for the child, then people should be able to put their own selfish solutions aside and work for the best interest of the child.”

Not for Everyone?
Brad Spangler, a former research assistant at the University of Colorado Conflict Research Consortium, notes, in an online article for the university’s Beyond Intractability Project, that ADR has some potential drawbacks if used inappropriately.
“Some critics have concerns about the legitimacy of ADR outcomes, charging that ADR provides ‘second-class justice,’” he writes. “It is argued that people who cannot afford to go to court are those most likely to use ADR procedures. As a result, these people are less likely to truly ‘win’ a case because of the cooperative nature of ADR.
In addition, Spangler notes, “compromise can be a good way to settle some disputes, but it is not appropriate for others. In serious justice conflicts and cases of intolerable moral difference, compromise is simply not an option because the issues mean too much to the disputants.”
Another concern is the private nature of ADR settlements, which are off the public record and not exposed to public scrutiny. “This could be cause for concern in some cases. For example, using ADR to settle out of court could allow a company to resolve many instances of a defective product harming consumers, without the issue getting any public exposure. On the other hand, a court ruling could force the company to fix all problems associated with the bad product or even to remove it from the market.”
On the other hand, that privacy aspect is an attractive quality of ADR when dealing with a family matter or a business issue that affects only the individuals in dispute, Newton said.
“It’s starting to gain more acceptance in the areas of business disputes, home repairs, and contract litigation,” Grilli added. “I think what makes it attractive to people are the time savings, the cost savings, and the sense that you’re a little more actively involved in the process than you would be with traditional litigation.”
As for those family-law matters often marked by bitterness and resentment, Newton stressed that no alternative to litigation can totally suppress the bad feelings that led the parties to court. But maintaining a sense of control over the proceedings, she noted, can significantly reduce their level of anxiety.
“The process itself is innately difficult,” she said. “But in the case of a custody dispute, it’s a given that both parents love the child dearly, and you’re asking someone who doesn’t know them at all to make a decision that is going to impact them for the rest of their lives. That’s an overwhelming responsibility for any judge.”
Individuals who opt instead for alternative dispute resolution, on the other hand, maintain more control over the situation even as they trust the other party with an equal measure of control, she noted. “They’re acknowledging that they, who love this child dearly, can make this decision. And the vast majority of people do have the ability to reach these agreements and, with the right guidance, understand that not every divorce resolution has to be one where someone wins and someone loses.”
At what is often the most difficult point in two people’s lives, that’s a goal worth fighting for.

Joseph Bednar can be reached at
[email protected]

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A Recent SJC Decision Clarifies Their Status Under Massachusetts Law

Carla Newton

Carla Newton

Prior to the recent decision by the Mass. Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) in the matter of Kenneth S. Ansin vs. Cheryl A. Craven-Ansin, the status of ‘postnuptial’ or ‘marital’ agreements in Massachusetts was uncertain.
Massachusetts has long recognized (since 1981) the rights of parties to enter into premarital or antenuptial agreements before marriage and to enter into separation agreements (since 1976) when they are approaching divorce. Prior to Ansin, however, the issue of postnuptial or marital agreements, which are entered into after marriage and alter marital rights or distribute marital assets between parties not contemplating divorce, had not been decided in Massachusetts.
The use of postnuptial/marital agreements has been determined in other states with mixed results. Courts in Florida, Arizona, Wisconsin, and Tennessee, for example, have allowed such agreements under certain circumstances while Ohio, by statute, specifically prohibits them no matter when or where signed.
With the decision in the Ansin case, the SJC has now established criteria for the enforcement of what will be known as ‘marital’ agreements, which differ from the criteria for enforcement of prenuptial agreements or separation agreements. The SJC’s rationale for the difference in criteria rests on the leverage that a party has during the negotiation of the agreement. In the case of prenuptial agreements, if a party is not in agreement with the terms that have been proposed, then the party is free not to marry. When negotiating separation agreements, the parties have acknowledged that their marriage has failed, and each is negotiating for their own independent interests, and if they cannot agree, they are free to proceed to a determination of their rights by the courts. Once parties are already married, the scrutiny applied to the terms of a marital agreement should be more strenuous.
There are specific criteria set forth in the Ansin case that provide guidance as to factors by which future cases will be determined as follows: (1) each party must have had an opportunity to obtain separate legal counsel of his or her own choosing; (2) the marital agreement must have been signed freely and voluntarily without any fraud or coercion; (3) the marital agreement must contain a full disclosure of all assets with their approximate market value, a statement of each party’s approximate annual income, and, equally as important, disclosure of any significant future acquisitions or changes in income which are reasonably anticipated; (4) the marital agreement must also contain a clear and explicit waiver of the right to a judicial determination of marital rights and asset distribution in the event that a divorce does take place at some point in the future; and (5) the martial agreement must be evaluated to determine if the terms were fair and reasonable at the time of the execution of the agreement and are still fair and reasonable at the time of the divorce.
The SCJ has established that the spouse who seeks to enforce a marital agreement is the one who has the burden to prove that the other spouse’s consent was not obtained through coercion or fraud. In the Ansin case, Cheryl argued that Kenneth had committed fraud by misrepresenting his intention to remain in the marriage in his effort to convince her to execute the marital agreement. Kenneth presented evidence that he had made significant efforts to improve the marriage, that they had purchased and renovated at great expense a new home after the signing of the agreement, and that he did not file for divorce until Cheryl had asked him to leave the home and was involved with another man. It should be expected that, in any review of a marital agreement, a court will closely examine whether or not a spouse has been misled regarding the other party’s commitment to the marriage.
The decision in the Ansin case includes detail for the evaluation of whether or not there has been a valid waiver by a party of his or her right to have a judge determine his or her marital rights and asset distribution at the time of the divorce. The criteria for a valid waiver include whether or not a party has been represented by independent counsel, whether they had sufficient time to review the terms of the agreement, whether they understood the terms of the agreement and their impact, and whether or not they understood what their rights would have been absent the agreement.
The standard for evaluation of a marital agreement will differ from that of a prenuptial agreement because of the context in which the marital agreement takes place. There will be heightened scrutiny in the evaluation of marital agreements. Massachusetts has already described the contractual obligations between spouses in the matter of Krapf vs. Krapf in 2003 by stating that spouses “stand as fiduciaries to each other and will be held to the highest standards of good faith and fair dealing in the performance of their contractual obligations.”
When reviewing whether or not the marital agreement was fair and reasonable at the time of its execution, there are standards a judge ‘should’ consider and standards which a judge ‘may’ consider. The SJC has stated that a judge should consider the entire context in which the agreement arose, including a consideration of whether or not each party was represented by independent counsel. While the failure of independent representation will not be fatal to an agreement, it is likely to impact the scrutiny which is applied. A judge may consider: (1) the difference in the outcome under the marital agreement from the outcome under current law, (2) whether the purpose was to benefit the interests of third parties such as children from a prior relationship, (3) the impact of the agreement on the children of the parties, (4) the length of the marriage, (5) the motives of the parties, (6) the bargaining positions of the parties, (7) the circumstances which gave rise to the agreement, (8) the degree of pressure experienced by the spouse who is contesting enforcement of the marital agreement; and (9) other circumstances that the judge may want to consider.
When reviewing whether or not the marital agreement is fair and reasonable at the time of a divorce, the SJC requires that the same criteria be used that is utilized to evaluate a separation agreement. A judge may consider: (1) the nature and substance of the objecting party’s complaint, (2) the financial and property provisions of the agreement as a whole, (3) the context in which the negotiations took place, (4) the complexity of the issues involved, (5) the background and knowledge of the parties, (6) the experience and ability of counsel, (7) the need for and availability of experts to assist the parties and counsel, and (8) the mandatory and, if the judge deems it appropriate, discretionary factors set forth in G. L. c. 208 § 34.
Marital agreements will likely find a variety of uses as a method to protect third parties such as children from a prior marriage or to strengthen a relationship by providing assurances of asset distribution should there be a divorce in the future. Marital agreements also have significant estate planning consequences for married couples. Similar to those couples who enter into prenuptial agreements, a marital agreement will need to be reviewed by the attorney doing one or both parties’ estate plan.
Ideally, a marital agreement should be drafted in consultation with both parties’ estate-planning attorney(s). The document may set forth parameters within which the estate planning attorney must work to effectuate the individual or couple’s estate planning goals while ensuring that those goals will not interfere with the mandates of the new marital agreement.
Marital agreements, like pre-nuptial agreements, will often contain guidelines concerning gifts between the spouses as well as benefits to a surviving spouse upon the death of the other. All of these provisions, as well as others, can have a significant impact on a client’s overall estate plan. Further, marital agreements may well impact certain spousal rights and/or obligations with regard to Medicaid or MassHealth planning for either or both spouses.
In any contemplation of the use of marital agreements, it is clear that great care must be taken so that the intentions of the parties will not be undermined by the failure to follow the clear criteria that have been established.
This article is a general summary only and does not constitute legal advice.

Carla Newton is a partner at Robinson Donovan, P.C.; (413) 732-2301.

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Adult Education Takes a Different Dimension at the University Without Walls

Cindy Supois

Cindy Supois, former director, now senior lecturer

Now celebrating 40 years in operation, the University Without Walls program at UMass Amherst continues a long tradition of empowering non-traditional students to earn that degree they’ve been coveting but unable to complete because life has gotten in the way. UWW, as it’s called, enables people to take their work and life experiences and translate them into college credits. It’s a unique program that has helped script thousands of success stories over the years.

Deb Savola said that, when she entered University Without Walls as a full-time parent, she started off with only 14 credits, and it didn’t seem like she would ever finish her degree.
“I figured I might graduate right around the time I started collecting Social Security,” she joked.
Savola said that, when she graduated from high school “some time ago,” she went straight to college. But working full-time didn’t give her the time to devote to an education. “I always figured that at some point I would kick it back up, but life goes on, and I hadn’t gotten there,” she said.
Her story is one that is entirely familiar to the staff and faculty of UMass Amherst’s division of adult education known as UWW. Started back in 1971, the program began as a means for people with lives on the move — with family constraints and job requirements — to not only have the ability to get their bachelor’s degree without disrupting their non-academic lives, but also to have that work experience transformed into credits toward their degree.
Cindy Suopis is one of the senior faculty members at the UWW, and is also the former director. She explained to BusinessWest what makes this program so much different than any other.
“First off, we are one of the only undergraduate programs to focus on adult students,” she explained, with an age range that spans 20-somethings on up. “The UWW is a degree-completion program, so people who started a bachelor’s degree at some time, at some place, be it at an associate college or at a school where they never finished, can pick up where they left off.”
Instead of majors, UWW offers concentrations, which, Supois said, run the gamut from journalism studies to business organizational leadership, “and just about anything in between.”
What makes UWW stand out is the focused one-on-one attention with advisors, so that students can find exactly what it is that they wish to study, and how their educational experience, and their life, can inform the concentration for their degree.
“Unlike a traditional major, saying you need to take this lockstep route,” Suopis explained, “we bring in the student’s experience. And often that’s work or volunteer experience. We are sanctioned by our faculty senate to give credits for that type of learning. It allows students to see a light at the end of the tunnel when they can receive anywhere from one to 30 credits for their experience. That’s pretty significant, and can replace several courses.”
A lot has happened in the four decades of UWW’s existence. But not so much that the core mission of the program has been altered. The biggest change has come in all classes taking place online, and Suopis said this initially caused a stir with some of the earliest supporters and administrators.
Sitting down with BusinessWest at the start of a new school year, Suopis described how the program reaching 40 years old has been able to keep up with both the times and the changing face of adult education.

Moving On … Line
Suopis started her affiliation with UWW as a program manager at MassMutual, bringing the academic classes to that workplace, something that was common in the days before the online classroom.
“That’s what the UWW has always done,” she explained. “We see a need in a specific place, and a capacity to make it sustainable, bringing the classroom to the marketplace.”
But five years ago, she said, the seismic shift of classroom geography began.
More and more classes were being offered online, and even students within the Amherst town limits opted for that format. “There was a time when we would offer a live class and an online class, and we’d sit back and say, ‘which one is going to fill up first?’ — it was always the online one. Even with locals, they would tell us, ‘my life is too busy. I’d like to take a live class, but really, the online format is much better for me,’” she said.
And thus UWW went online, and Suopis said the decision was a sound concept for the students, but also for the business model of the program. “As a result,” she said, “we can serve many more students in a much broader reach. When you’re delivering something live, you have some constraints. You have to have a classroom, you need people. Online, it’s much different. Classes can be bigger.”
But, she stressed, the core mission of providing one-on-one advising for students is one facet that will not change regardless of a student learning in a classroom or a living room.
“There’s a lot of bad press out there about the for-profits of the online education world, but we do not want to be categorized in that manner,” she emphasized. “We had to really think about how we wanted to deliver this type of education, and these types of goals, to students, and hopefully more students than we ever had before, in an online format.
“So we had to learn how to teach online,” she continued, “and we did have to learn how to teach differently. Pedagogically, we made changes, but also emotionally as well. Technologically, we’ve also learned some new skills as faculty members. And the outcome has been tremendous.”
What started out with 30-odd students has grown to approximately 550 students every semester, and in many different concentrations. Business-themed coursework is the most popular these days, she said, with early-childhood education and health and human services as respective second and third.
“Those are our so-called bread-and-butter programs,” said Suopis, “but if you look at our last graduating class, you’ll see any number of other things as well, from journalism arts, criminal science, construction management, and environmental studies.”

Telling Tales out of School
Bruce Michaels was one of those students from MassMutual who felt that finishing his bachelor’s degree wasn’t a practical reality.
After completing an associate’s degree at a community college, he went on to become certified to teach helicopter flight lessons. He entered the corporate world and knew that he wanted to get that bachelor’s, but “something always came up,” he said. “Getting married, or having a big project at work. I just never found the time to finish the degree, or have the consistency to finish.”
He went to an education fair at his workplace and met Suopis, who told him about UWW. He said that from the very first moment he was introduced to the program, he knew it was a home run.
“In my head I was thinking that this was a great opportunity to get credits based on what I did in the past, and get a jump start on my BA,” he said. “Finally, universities are starting to see the value in the workforce, and what they have done, and are giving credit for that. Someone going into college from high school doesn’t have that life resource.”
Savola was another MassMutual employee recommending co-workers to the UWW program at her workplace when Suopis asked her one day, “when are you going to sign up?”
The wife of a college professor, Savola and her husband were home-schooling their children and she told herself that, when her last child went to college, she too would take the steps to finish her degree.
“But I had a conversation with my family,” Savola remembered, “and I thought I’d go through the first semester where you write your portfolio to figure out how many credits you’ll get. I got so into it, and so excited about the opportunities and the many interesting ways to get credit. I saw it as something very doable, and my family was committed to it, knowing how much I’d always wanted to get a degree. So I jumped in and didn’t look back.”
Despite receiving a smaller credit load than she may have hoped for, Savola was undaunted by the prospect of someday graduating. “If I kept looking at that number of credits I needed for graduation,” she said, “I don’t think I could have done it. You don’t climb a mountain by looking at how far you have to go, but by one step at a time.”
Savola said that the possibility of finishing a college degree is a reality that anyone entering UWW can face, and she gives great credit to the faculty and staff there. But, at the end of the day, it is the possibility to realize one’s own personal goals that will carry them to the finish line.
“When I started this program,” Savola said, “my husband was my greatest cheerleader, and he said he was going to help me through it, knowing that I’d wanted it for so long. I was about a year and a half into it when he died of a massive heart attack.
“I was determined to stay in the program no matter how long it took,” she continued. “My dad died a year later, from pancreatic cancer, and I was helping my mom during that time. But I got this degree through the worst five years of my life. And as I look back, I think, where there’s a will there’s a way. We shouldn’t let things in our life discourage us from reaching for our goals.”
At her graduation day at the university football stadium, with thousands of fellow students and alumni, Savola said the enormity of the situation came clear to her. Standing there with her son, himself an alumni of UMass, she said, “It made me realize how much a part of something I was. If I can do it, I think anyone can.”
But she quickly added, it’s not just about finishing, and graduating. “I think if we look at our education as just getting a degree, that’s tunnel vision, and you miss out on the enriching aspects of it.”

The Secret Is Out
With the online class venue the most recognizable new development of UWW, Suopis said that new marketing techniques have been employed over the last few years to cast some light on what she called “one of the best-kept secrets in the Pioneer Valley.”
Successfully doing such outreach, the enrollment numbers are at an all-time high. But managed growth is of paramount importance to a program with such an individualized component.
“We do not want to have hundreds of thousands of students, to be a diploma mill,” she stated emphatically. “Remember, our model is one-on-one advising. If we became formulaic, if all our courses were templates, we wouldn’t be able to carry on that way. That’s not in our history, it’s not what we want to do, and it’s not what we will do.”
Alumni like Michaels and Savola0 have the highest praise for their experience, and strongly encourage anyone who finds themselves without a bachelor’s degree to consider the UWW.
“When I graduated from high school, everyone needed that diploma to move on into the world,” Savola said. “Nowadays, it’s the bachelor’s that is the minimum education required.”
Asked if one could ever be too old to finish their undergraduate career, she laughed and said, “I don’t think that’s an issue at all. When I was in school, one of my classmates told me that his mom was one of the first people in the program, and she did it in her 70s.”

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Terrier Project Inspires a Town, Raises Funds for Art Education

Mike Dubois, left, vice president of Finance for Balise Motor Sales, and Balise graphic artist Crystal Childs

Mike Dubois, left, vice president of Finance for Balise Motor Sales, and Balise graphic artist Crystal Childs show off “Copper,” a Terrier Around Town at Balise’s new Honda dealership. Childs designed and painted the dog, which is wearing a real West Springfield police hat and uniform.

Her name is Poppy Love. She’s a fiberglass West Highland white terrier covered with brightly painted poppies who spent the summer in front of the Balise Mazda dealership on Riverdale Street in West Springfield.
Another oversized dog from her litter, Dr. Hairy Barker, has spent his summer stationed outside of a veterinarian’s office dressed in a white lab coat, while his pal, Tooth Tari, guards a dentist’s office.
These 36-pound fiberglass canines are among the 46 so-called terriers around town that comprise the first public art project in West Springfield’s history.
The dogs, which will be auctioned off next month, were bolted to concrete slabs and stationed throughout the town during the summer. They have generated so much interest that untold numbers of people keep track of their whereabouts, post online photos taken with them, collect memorabilia emblazoned with their portraits, and share stories created about them by adoring admirers.
“The public has become so possessive of them,” said artist Jane Barrientos, who conceived the idea for Terriers Around Town and brought it to life with West Springfield resident and hair sylist Christine Costani.
To date, the dogs’ lives are being followed by more than 1,000 Facebook fans, who have written interesting tales about each of them based on the theme the artist chose for the dog. One chronicles the ongoing romance between Dapper Dog, who sits in front of Lattitude Restaurant on Memorial Avenue, and Maria Margarita of Mardi Gras, who makes her home at Gate 2 at the Big E Exposition grounds.
The goal behind the fanciful community-arts project is to raise money for the Arts in Education program in West Springfield public schools. Barrientos and Costanzi both home-schooled their children, and believe students need more than academics to develop into well-rounded, responsible adults.
They modeled their project after other fiberglass art displays/auctions held across the country, showcasing cows, pigs, bears (Easthampton), and even sneakers (Springfield). “We decided to use the town mascot to increase awareness of our community pride, spirit, and respect, as well as to promote West Springfield as a destination for lovers of art,” said Costani.
To that end, many businesses have become involved with the exhibit, which has spawned numerous events, including a naked puppy party (before the artists went to work), a puppy parade, an auction preview party, and a gala charity auction that will be held Oct. 15 inside the new Balise Honda showroom on Riverdale Street. Tickets to the dressy affair are $75 and include food catered by Lattitude. “There will be a raw bar, two carving stations, and an open wine and beer bar,” Barrientos said.
Two dozen dogs have already been purchased by sponsors, but the 22 that remain will be auctioned off during the evening. Memorabilia, including magnets, coffee mugs, and a coffee-table book with photos of the dogs will also be sold. The goal is to raise $70,000, and Barrientos said they hope to reach it, since they have already made $10,000 from donations and the sale of gift items. However, they are still seeking donations for a raffle. For more information or tickets, visit www.terriersaround town.com or call Costani at (413) 233-7771.
Some of the dogs have already been removed from the spots they occupied all summer in preparation for the auction. But they all can be seen during the daily parade at the Big E on West Springfield Day, which will take place Sept. 20 at 5 p.m. They will sit on antique trucks while the artists who gave them personalities march beside them.
Barrientos and Costani were inspired to launch the art project after seeing the success that similar fiberglass outdoor art displays/auctions have generated. “Easthampton held a Bear Fest a year before us, Pittsfield used sheep, and Venice, Fla. had pigs,” Barrientos said, adding that Costani viewed that exhibit as well as one that featured fiberglass cows in Chicago.
The women began their campaign by soliciting design ideas from artists who expressed interest in painting a dog. They also knocked on doors and asked businesses to become sponsors.“We called on more than 200 businesses with School Committee member Pat Garbacik, who is also an artist,” Barrientos said.
Balise was the first to sign up. Vice President of Finance Michael DuBois said the project fit in perfectly with their philosophy of making charitable donations to causes that support children and education.
“This passed our litmus test, and (company President) Jeb Balise was very interested; we have a big footprint in West Springfield and a big stake here, so we feel a responsibility toward the community,” said DuBois, adding that the company’s collison center put a clear coat on all of the dogs after the artists finished painting them.
“One of our graphic artists designed a dog she called Copper that is wearing a [painted] police officer’s uniform,” he said, adding that Balise is delighted to host the auction in their new showroom.
Businesses that sponsored a dog were allowed to choose from more than 70 designs, as well as where their dog would be placed during the summer months.
“We constantly looked for connections,” Barrientos said, adding that many business people have discovered new resources via networking that has taken place at their events.
The women are amazed at the number of professionals who have lent their services to help. They include Atty. Simon Brighenti, who helped them navigate through the town’s regulations; CPA Nicholas LaPier; and Pete Morgan, who made the concrete slabs the dogs sat on, then spent six unpaid days with his employees working to position the dogs around town. United Bank served as a major sponsor of the project.
Parent-teacher organizations have also gotten involved, and 250 kindergartners and faculty members from John Ashley School put their thumbprints and names on a dog purchased for them by Kohls. It will be taken to the high school to sit on the lawn until the class graduates.
“This project will become part of the town’s history,” said Barrientos, adding that two families sponsored terriers, and a terrier tour map was created so people interested in the exhibit could find all of the dogs.
“There had never been a fiberglass terrier in the world before this,” Barrientos said. “Now, every one of our dogs has an amazing story, and so many people have connected with each as a result.”
Or, to put it simply, they have put their Poppy Love into action.

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Health Care Hiring Is Sluggish — for Now

Mike Foss

Mike Foss calls the health care job market “cool,” but sees plenty of positive signs for current students.

Through good and bad economic times, health care has always been one of the most robust job markets in Massachusetts. But that has not been the case in the current recession, as hospitals and other organizations have been slow to hire, even resorting to layoffs in many cases. Demographic factors, especially an aging population, are likely to render this sluggishness temporary, but the job market that emerges in coming years might demand far more flexibility from those looking to build a career in health care.

Health care, an industry that accounts for about one in every six jobs in Massachusetts, has long been seen as recession-proof in the Bay State.
The extended economic downturn has tested that, with once-brisk hiring turning stagnant and hospitals across the Commonwealth resorting to freezes and layoffs. Yet, most industry-watchers see the current sluggishness as a temporary swing, if only because people will always need health care.
“Hiring has to pick up,” said Kelly Aiken, director of Health Care Initiatives for the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County. “The economy can’t change how much care people need.”
In fact, despite pockets of layoffs, employment in health fields has ticked up slightly since it essentially ground to a halt last year.
That’s good news to students studying in health programs at area colleges. The robust job market over the past decade has drawn increasing numbers of applicants to those programs, but recent graduates have been navigating scarcer prospects than those who entered the workforce several years ago. Still, there’s reason for optimism.
“Last year, there was definitely a reduction in job availability, and this was pretty much across a dozen fields of health,” said Michael Foss, dean of the School of Health and Patient Simulation at Springfield Technical Community College. “One department chair told me that, since January of this year, there has been an upward swing in job openings, and others were beginning to see that as well.”
That perception is borne out statewide. According to the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, 486,000 people were employed in health care in January 2009, and the number rose to more than 494,000 in January 2010 before essentially plateauing there.
But as the Great Recession fades, optimists say, certain demographic truths will take hold — specifically, mass retirements by the Baby Boom generation, coupled with an overall aging of the population.
“This whole issue with the Baby Boomers retiring — that’s national, and it’s not industry-specific. But the opportunities to replace those retirees might be greater in health care,” said Jean Jackson, vice president for Workforce Planning at Baystate Health, the region’s top employer.
“People are living longer, and they’re going to need care,” she continued. “So you have a combination of people retiring and living longer, and they’re going to need more people to care for them.”
That adds up to what should be increasing opportunities for health care careers, but job seekers may face a far different landscape when it comes to how and where care is delivered. For this issue, BusinessWest examines some of those trends, and why many observers see the current slow job market as a curable condition.

Day by Day
Foss has observed the cycle of medical hiring long enough to recognize a downturn. “It’s not hot; it’s a cool employment environment,” he conceded.
Meanwhile, many of the available openings, in a number of fields, are for per-diem work, essentially part-time jobs without benefits, he explained. Yet, that’s not necessarily a negative trend.
“I know that in some fields, per-diem is actually highly desirable, especially for individuals with families, or they’re the second person working. They kind of like the idea of not being tied down to a rigid work schedule.”
In addition, “I think a lot of people see that as one way they can prove to an employer that they should be full-time,” he said. “And it’s an opportunity for them to see if this is the environment they want to be in, if it’s the right institution, right office, wherever. It almost gives you an automatic job interview because, when there’s a full-time opening, they see the good work you’re doing and that you’re the person they need to hire.”
But the full-time job openings are slowly increasing, Foss noted. “And Baystate, a very large system with multiple locations, is building a brand-new facility. So we know those jobs will be available in the future.”
Indeed, Baystate’s Hospital of the Future project, set to be completed in 2012, is only the largest of a flood of hospital expansions across the Pioneer Valley over the past decade. From Jackson’s perspective, Foss’ assessment of what that means for hiring is right on.
“You have to look at all the factors — turnover, what the retirement plans look like, what the potential growth will be,” Jackson said. “And when you factor it all in over the next 10 years, we are looking at a projection to hire 15,000 employees.”
However, she added, “many of these jobs in health care require specialized skills and training beyond high school, and that’s another trend: concerns about the availability of workers. At Baystate, part of our mission is to recruit from the local labor market, and our work with education, employers, and workforce-development organizations to find solutions has been absolutely critical.”
Economic development leaders have long been concerned about a ‘skills gap’ in certain career fields — health care and precision manufacturing are two often mentioned in those discussions — that leave available jobs unfilled, and potentially create a deterrent for new employers to locate in Western Mass.
The collaborative workforce projects Jackson alluded to range from the Community Based Job Training Grant, a $1.65 million grant from the U.S. Labor Department that will create awareness of and training opportunities in health fields, to Collaborating for the Advancement of Nursing: Developing Opportunities (CAN DO), a grant program aimed at creating career ladders in nursing. Numerous other regional programs have similar goals.
“Everyone is struggling with the economic environment now,” Jackson said. “Health reimbursements are down, patients are choosing not to do elective surgery, putting things off, and people are delaying retirement. But eventually, they’re going to retire.” And sooner than many realize, she continued, the region will need a strong pipeline of qualified workers to take their place.
Care Where It’s Needed
That future workforce will need to be flexible as well as skilled, Foss said.
“Where they work is going to be different. We’re already seeing a shift from always thinking they’ll work at a hospital. Look at all the long-term care facilities out there now. And the outpatient clinics — in my lifetime, I’d never heard of outpatient surgical centers. No way; you had to go to the hospital. But that’s another place where people will work outside of hospitals.”
Home care is expanding rapidly as well, he noted, again, a reflection of that growing senior population that wants to maintain as much independence as possible. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, opportunities for personal and home care aides will increase by 50% between 2006 and 2016.
“I do think that jobs are going to be located in different places,” Aiken said. “When the recession ends and the economy bounces back, coupled with health care reform, the trend across the continuum will be to deliver patient-centered care, and much of that care will be occurring in many, many different places outside of the hospital setting.
“People who go into nursing thinking their first job will definitely be in a hospital need to look beyond that. They need to look where care is being provided and where the need is.”
Foss said he’s encouraged by this changing face of health care.
“There are niches being filled that never used to be there, and all these wonderful things happening with new technology,” he told BusinessWest. “Even with the cool market, I think it’s an exciting time for health care.”
Aiken agreed. “I think there are going to be changes, new health care occupations that may evolve, that we don’t even know about right now.”
One thing is certain, though, Foss said: no one’s going to work forever, and opportunities will be abundant again.
“The Department of Labor and other pundits, they always come back to health care,” he said. “A lot of people in my age group will be retiring in three or four years, and those who have planned their retirement well — especially now, with health care reform — are going to be using the health care system.
“So while things may be a little cool at the moment,” he concluded, “there are still opportunities out there, and those opportunities are going to increase every single year for the foreseeable future.”

Joseph Bednar can be reached at
[email protected]

Sections Supplements
Take Some Precautions So These Pests Don’t Get Under Your Skin

Bed Bug

Bed Bug

You arrive at your hotel room after a long day of business travel. You enjoy a nice dinner with clients and wearily slip between the sheets. You wake refreshed and ready for another profitable day.
While performing your morning ritual, you look in the mirror and notice a line of red spots along your waist. They begin to itch, so you scratch. They get redder as you scratch and itch, and you begin to wonder … what could this be?
This scenario is becoming more and more prevalent for business and family travelers. Also, don’t rule it out after a visit from family or friends.
We’re talking about the unwanted, mysterious, hitchhiking, blood-sucking parasite called the bedbug. These are flat, reddish-brown, oval insects about the size of an apple seed, and they thrive on human blood.
The reason they are called bedbugs is because, like people, they do not want to work any harder than necessary to survive and thrive. They camp out as close as possible to their blood meal (you) and feed when they are least likely to be swatted or crushed (while you are in bed, asleep).
Bedbugs acquired a taste for people way back when man first sought shelter in caves. Scientists believe that they were already present surviving and thriving on bats and other mammals living there. Today they are comfortable resting and feeding on us in our homes. As stated, they prefer to be close, so … our bed frames, headboards, adjoining furniture, couches, and, yes, our beloved recliners are all fair game.
The good news is that, even though they are piercing our skin and violating our blood vessels, they do not transmit diseases. Some people can have a severe reaction to the bites but no disease transmission.
The bad news is that they are extremely difficult to eradicate, so travelers beware. The cost can run into the thousands of dollars. The reason for this is that an effective treatment requires a minimum of two people to disassemble bed frames, move and flip mattresses, box springs, dressers, couches, etc. Additionally, it usually takes a minimum of three treatments over three months. Extreme cases require even more.
So, what can we do as world travelers do to prevent the possibility of bringing bedbugs home with us? The extermination industry offers the following travel tips:
• When you first arrive at your hotel, pull back the sheets and check the mattress seams, particularly at the top corners. If you see insects, small dark spots (digested, dried blood), or anything suspect, change rooms and/or hotels.
• Check around the room before unpacking. Inspect the headboard, couches, chairs, etc. for the telltale signs.
• Upon returning home, check your suitcases before bringing them into the house. Vacuum them thoroughly and wash your clothes.
With regard to family and friends, these bugs do not reflect an unclean home or, for that matter, hotel. All bedbugs need is a blood meal and proper temperature to survive (incidentally, they can go months without a meal). They are equally happy living with Martha Stewart or your kid’s college roommate. They are hitchhikers and can be brought into your home on luggage or on your child’s boomeranging sleepover pack.
If you suspect something, check your home as described above and call a professional pest-management company. These bugs cannot be abated with do-it-yourself products.
Business travel is necessary, and enjoying family, friends, and traveling is one of the great pleasures in life. Nocturnal pests are no reason to change your plans, so … travel a little wiser, sleep tight, and don’t let the bedbugs bite!

Glenn Olesuk is the owner of Graduate Pest Solutions in Hampden. He is a degreed entomologist from the Syracuse School of Forestry and has 30 years experience in residential and commercial pest control; (413) 566-8222;
www.graduatepestsolutions.com

Departments

The following is a compilation of recent lawsuits involving area businesses and organizations. These are strictly allegations that have yet to be proven in a court of law. Readers are advised to contact the parties listed, or the court, for more information concerning the individual claims.

CHICOPEE
DISTRICT COURT
Debra A. Wajda v. Price Rite
Allegation: Negligence, causing slip and fall: $20,194.55
Filed: 8/25/10

FRANKLIN
SUPERIOR COURT
Mandy Boutell v. The Maple Valley School Inc. and Windwood Meadow Inc.
Allegation: Employment discrimination by failing to accommodate a disabled person and handicap discrimination: $25,000+
Filed: 8/20/10

HAMPDEN
SUPERIOR COURT
Caroline Dauplaise v. Commonwealth of Massachusetts
Allegation: Wrongful discharge of employment with Mass Turnpike Authority and breach of contract: $100,000
Filed: 7/27/10

Farm Credit East v. Rocky Mountain Wood Co. Inc.
Allegation: Action to recover on promissory note by sale of collateral: $894,254.26
Filed: 7/26/10

Immi Turbines Inc. v. LDH Inc.
Allegation: Texas court default judgment on underlying claims: $596,918.48
Filed: 7/22/10

John’s Trucking of Agawam v. Shawn’s Lawn Inc., RIV Construction Group Inc., and HD Westfield, MA Landlord Inc.
Allegation: Failure to pay under the terms of a construction agreement: $561,827.23
Filed: 7/26/10

Lizbeth Rosario, administratrix of the estate of Carmen Velazquez v. Mercy Hospital
Allegation: Negligence and failure to properly diagnose, causing death: $2 million
Filed: 7/27/10

HAMPSHIRE
SUPERIOR COURT
Galex Inc. v. Precision Metal Goods
Allegation: Non-payment on aluminum purchased and received: $1,113,286
Filed: 8/20/10

Jack Ernst v. Berkshire Electric Cable Co.
Allegation: Breach of contract and non-payment on two promissory notes: $136,346.07
Filed: 8/16/10

Sona Dolan v. Holyoke Community College
Allegation: Employment discrimination and civil-rights violation based on national origin: $150,000
Filed: 8/2/10

TR’s Excavating and Landscaping Construction v. Landmark Health Solutions, LLC and Northampton Care Center, LLC
Allegation: Non-payment of services, labor, and materials: $43,700
Filed: 7/23/10

SPRINGFIELD
DISTRICT COURT
Bradco Supply v. Edward M. Casti Inc.
Allegation: Non-payment of goods sold and delivered: $6,653.97
Filed: 7/22/10

Bradco Supply v. RPE Contracting Corp. Inc.
Allegation: Non-payment of goods sold and delivered: $12,473.69
Filed: 7/28/10

Comcast Spotlight Inc. v. Beverly Golf & Tennis Club
Allegation: Non-payment of advertising services rendered: $2,234.45
Filed: 7/28/10

O’Connell & Plumb, P.C. v. Kushner Realty Inc.
Allegation: Non-payment of attorney fees and services: $33,598.03
Filed: 7/20/10

WESTFIELD
DISTRICT COURT
Mountainview Concrete Foundations, LLC v. W & I Construction Inc.
Allegation: Failure to pay for services on construction project: $4,942
Filed: 8/23/10

Departments

ACCGS
www.myonlinechamber.com
(413) 787-1555

n Sept. 15: ACCGS After 5, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Hosted by the Springfield Marriott. Cost for members is $10, non-members, $20.

n Sept. 23: Feast in the East-ERC, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Hosted by: Elmcrest Country Club. Cost: $25 per person. Call the chamber for more information.

Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield
www.springfieldyps.com

n Sept. 15: 17th Annual United Way Day of Caring. This event pairs volunteers with agency service providers to accomplish a variety of projects. YPS will again pair up with the Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity and work on one of the homes currently under construction in Springfield. If interested in joining, e-mail Maureen Picknally at [email protected]

n Sept. 16: Third Thursday, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Hosted by Springfield Country Club, 1375 Elm St., West Springfield. This event is free for YPS members, and $5 for non-members.

Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce
www.amherstarea.com

Chicopee Chamber of Commerce
www.chicopeechamber.org
(413) 594-2101

n Sept. 21: 13th Annual Table Top Showcase and business networking event, 4:30 to 7 p.m., Castle of Knights, 1599 Memorial Dr., Chicopee. Presented by the Chicopee, Greater Holyoke, and Greater Westfield chambers of commerce. Call the chambers for more information.

Franklin County Chamber of Commerce
www.franklincc.org
(413) 773-5463

n Sept. 24: Breakfast Series – United Way Program, 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Hosted by Franklin County Technical School, Turners Falls. Call the chamber for more information.

n Sept. 25 and 26: Fiber Twist, an Annual Celebration of All Things Fiber in Franklin County,
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. No admission charge. For details, visit www.fibertwist.com 

Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce
www.easthamptonchamber.org
(413) 527-9414

n Sept. 8: Networking by Night Business Card Exchange, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Hosted by the Apollo Grill. Tickets: $5 for members, $15 for non-members.

n Oct. 1: Casino Night, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m, at One Cottage St., Easthampton. Tickets: $25 in advance, $30 at the door. For more information, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org

Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce
www.holycham.com
(413) 534-3376

n Sept. 15: Holyoke Chamber Clambake, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., Holyoke Country Club. Tickets are $26. Call the chamber to reserve tickets.

n Sept. 21: The 13th Annual Table Top Showcase, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Hosted by the Castle of Knights, 1599 Memorial Dr., Chicopee. Call the chamber for more information or to reserve tickets.

n Sept. 22: 2010 Pacesetter Awards Recognition Breakfast, starting at 7:30 a.m. Hosted by the Delaney House. The Pacesetter Awards go to exceptional small businesses and nonprofit agencies, entrepreneurs, and those advocates who make other businesses successful. Tickets are $18. Please call the chamber for more information or to reserve tickets. 

Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce
www.explorenorthampton.com
(413) 584-1900

Northampton Area Young Professional Society
www.thenayp.com
(413) 584-1900

n Sept. 17: NAYP Dynamics of Fleet Safety Seminar, 8 to 10 a.m., Union Station. Safety supervisors and fleet managers from all industries will benefit from this important presentation, led by Gerry Sousa, executive director of the National Safety Council’s Western New England Chapter. Participants will identify the daily challenges of running an effective fleet and learn the essential elements of a fleet safety program. Best practices for motor-vehicle safety, collision prevention, and asset use will be discussed.

n Sept. 21: Meet & Eat, 7:30 to 9 a.m., Clarion Hotel and Conference Center. Tickets are $15 for members, $20 for guests.

Quaboag Hills Chamber of Commerce
www.qvcc.biz
(413) 283-2418

South Hadley/Granby Chamber of Commerce
www.shchamber.com
(413) 532-6451

Three Rivers Chamber of Commerce
www.threeriverschamber.org
(413) 283-6425

Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce
www.westfieldbiz.org
(413) 568-1618

n Sept. 21: “Rake in The Business” TableTop Expo, 4:30 to 7 p.m., Castle of Knights, Memorial Dr., Chicopee. Presented by the Chicopee, Holyoke, and Westfield chambers of commerce. Call the chambers for more information.

n Sept. 24: Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce 104th Air Fighter Annual Breakfast, 7:15 to 9 a.m. Hosted by the 104th Air Fighter, Barnes Airport, 175 Falcon Dr., Westfield. Guest Speaker: Ira Bryck, director of UMass Family Business Center. Tickets are $20 for members, $25 for non-members. Call the chamber for more information.

Departments

Workers Paying 14% More for Health Insurance
WASHINGTON — American workers will pay about $4,000 to get health insurance for their families through work this year, 14% more than in 2009, according to a survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Employees’ average share of the premium costs for family coverage is $482 more than last year as economic conditions continue to push companies to pay less of the bill, the report said. Total premiums for family policies, including both worker and employer contributions, increased 3% to $13,770. “Businesses have been shifting more of the costs of health insurance to workers through premiums, deductibles, and other cost-sharing,” said Drew Altman, Kaiser Family Foundation chief executive. “From a consumer perspective, the cost of health insurance just keeps going up faster than wages.”

Executives Plan Moderate Hike in Professional Hiring
MENLO PARK, Calif. — Looking toward the final months of the year, 11% of executives interviewed for the Robert Half Professional Employment Report said they expect to increase the number of full-time staff they employ in professional occupations in the fourth quarter. Another 5% anticipate declines, resulting in a net 6% increase in hiring activity, up three points from the third-quarter forecast. Executives’ business optimism level remains high: 86% of respondents expressed at least some confidence in the growth prospects for their companies, rising slightly from 85% reported in the third-quarter survey. The number of executives citing recruiting challenges also rose, climbing from 42% in the third quarter to 47%. The Robert Half Professional Employment Report is the first quarterly executive survey of its size and scope to focus exclusively on professional-level hiring. The survey is based on telephone interviews with more than 4,000 executives from a variety of fields throughout the U.S. about their hiring plans and general level of optimism regarding the upcoming quarter. “Companies that overextended their teams are now selectively adding full-time employees,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. “Businesses are hiring to keep service levels high and boost morale among team members who have taken on extra work in the past few years.”

Economy Needs More Than Modest Spending
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis recently released personal income and outlays for July. Personal income increased 0.2% in July, similar to private-sector expectations, while real disposable income decreased 0.1%. Real personal consumption expenditures increased 0.2% in July and at a 1.3% annual rate from their second-quarter average. Consumer spending adjusted for inflation continues to increase at a moderate pace, according to U.S. Commerce Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Rebecca Blank. She noted that data suggests the economy continues to grow, as consumer spending accounts for 70% of GDP, although the economy is growing at a slower pace than the Obama administration would like. On a related note, many economists, including those at PNC Financial Services Group, say a boost in salaries and jobs will help grow the economy.

Businesses Offered Customer-service Training
GREENFIELD — The Greenfield Business Assoc. (GBA) and the Greenfield Community College (GCC) Workforce Development Office are coordinating customer-service trainings for local business owners and their staff members this fall. The cost is free to GBA-member owners/managers and is on a scale for the number of staff per business attending. For businesses with one to five staff members participating in training, the cost is $10 each; for six to 11 staff, $7.50 each; and for 12 or more employees, the cost is $5 each. For non-member pricing, call (413) 774-2791. The owner/manager training is slated for Sept. 27 from 8 to 10 a.m. at the GCC Downtown Center, room 121. The frontline staff training is planned for Oct. 4 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the GCC Downtown Center, room 121. Business owners can reserve space by e-mailing [email protected] with the names of the person(s) attending and the business they are representing.

Departments

UMass Amherst Sees Largest First-year Class
AMHERST — An academically outstanding group of first-year students and the largest-ever class to enter the UMass Amherst has been welcomed to the campus, according to Chancellor Robert C. Holub. The Class of 2014, numbering approximately 4,500 students, was selected from a record 31,000 applicants. Maintaining its commitment to state residents, the university expects total enrollment of in-state students to increase slightly, totaling more than 16,000. Meanwhile, a larger number of out-of-state students, which has gone from 800 to 1,150, constitutes about one-fourth of the entering class. The academic profile of the incoming class is strong, about the same as last year with SAT scores of 1167 and a high school GPA of 3.61, added Holub. The demographic characteristics of the entering class are similar to last year. The percentage of African, Latino, Asian/Pacific Islander, and Native American students is 21%, and women make up slightly more than half of the class.

AIC Sees Growth Spurt
SPRINGFIELD — The first decade of the new millennium was a period of growth at American International College, and with the arrival of the Class of 2014, it looks like the growth spurt is continuing into the new decade, according to AIC President Vince M. Maniaci. He noted that, for the fifth consecutive year, overall undergraduate enrollment is at an all-time high for the institution. Since 2001, undergraduate enrollment has nearly doubled, and under Maniaci, the graduate enrollment figures have increased from fewer than 300 students to more than 1,600. Peter J. Miller, vice president of admission services, added that the Class of 2014 will come from 24 states and 10 countries including Canada, China, Afghanistan, England, Nigeria, Ghana, St. Lucia, Bermuda, Sweden, Japan, and Vietnam. Miller noted that nursing is the most popular major among the incoming freshmen.

Laboratory Receives Accreditation
WARE — Baystate Mary Lane Hospital, a member of Baystate Health, has been awarded reaccreditation by the Commission on Laboratory Accreditation of the College of American Pathologists (CAP), based on the results of a recent on-site inspection. The CAP Laboratory Accreditation Program is recognized by the federal government as being equal to or more stringent than the government’s own inspection program. The CAP is an advocate for high-quality and cost-effective medical care. The stringent inspection program is designed to ensure the highest standard of care for the laboratory’s patients, according to John Olinski, laboratory supervisor. Mary Lane’s lab currently processes more than 240,000 tests per year.

Balise Supports Glendi Festival Raffle
SPRINGFIELD — Balise Motor Sales contimued its strong support of the Glendi festival this year, sponsoring the grand prize of the event’s raffle, a vintage 1968 red Chevy Impala convertible. Proceeds from the raffle benefit scholarships and church programs of St. George Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Western Massachusetts. The Glendi Festival was staged September 10-12 on the church grounds on Main Street in Springfield.

Realtor Receives Green Designation
LONGMEADOW — Brenda Flower, a sales associate in the local Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage office, has been awarded the National Assoc. of Realtors (NAR) Green Designation, the only green professional real-estate designation recognized by NAR. The designation provides Realtors with comprehensive knowledge about green homes and buildings and issues of sustainability in relation to real estate. As part of the course, Flower was trained in understanding what makes a property green, how to help clients evaluate the costs and benefits of green-building features and practices, and how to distinguish between industry rating and classification systems. Additionally, Flower received training on financial grants and incentives that are available to homeowners seeking an eco-friendly living environment.

Games2U Entertainment Franchise Enters Area
SPRINGFIELD — Games2U Entertainment, a state-of-the-art game theater and entertainment franchise, is bringing futuristic parties to homes, companies, and schools, according to Paul Jenney, who has launched a franchise in New England. Games2U features video games, laser tag, hamster balls, and more, delivered to the door of the party location. Jenney noted the franchise offers everyone the chance to have a “rock-star” party at an affordable price. Trained game coaches oversee the entire experience and manage each Games2U party throughout the event, allowing parents and event coordinators the chance to relax and enjoy the party, added Jenney. For more information, visit www.g2u.com.

$1M Grant to Enhance History Education
WESTFIELD — A $1 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education will help area school districts improve history teaching in grades 7 through 12 with innovative programs and new technology. The Center for Teacher Education and Research at Westfield State University collaborated with the Gateway Regional School District, the lead school district, to acquire the grant. The other participating public school districts are Chicopee, Hampshire Regional, Pittsfield, Westfield, and West Springfield. Also included in the grant program are the Amherst-based Veteran’s Education Project, the Westfield Athenaeum, and the History Department at Westfield State, along with the Historical Journal of Massachusetts, which is published by the university. The grant, titled “Memorializing Promise and Conflict: A Monumental History of American Democracy,” is part of the federal Teaching American History (TAH) program. The TAH grants program seeks to increase teacher content knowledge in American history, develop historical thinking skills, and develop strategies and skills in implementing content into the classroom. Funded projects for the teachers will include travel, book discussions, and work with the Historical Journal of Massachusetts.

MassMutual Earns Top Rating from Research Group
SPRINGFIELD — In Boston Research Group’s recently released 2010 DCP Retirement Advisor Satisfaction and Loyalty Study, MassMutual’s Retirement Services Division ranked first overall among all providers in eight key categories important to adviser satisfaction. Advisers rated MassMutual number one in “offers competitive advantages,” scoring 21 points higher than the industry average and seven points higher than the nearest competitor. Notably, compared to the norm, advisers who work with MassMutual have 42% more plans in force, have 54% more defined-contribution-plan assets under management, and have sold more than twice as many plans in the past two years, indicating that advisers who are heavily focused on the institutional retirement-plan market have identified MassMutual as a provider of choice. The nationwide survey of 649 retirement advisers was conducted from February to April 2010 and represents 20 defined-contribution retirement-plan providers. MassMutual was also ranked first by advisers among all providers surveyed for: wholesaler partners for success, participant education program, Internet capabilities for plan sponsors, Internet capabilities for participants, participant statement, seminar assistance, and product education for the adviser. Boston Research Group is a strategic market-research and consulting firm that specializes in the financial-services industry.

Departments

The following business incorporations were recorded in Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties and are the latest available. They are listed by community.

BELCHERTOWN

Kac’s Corp., 67 Russell Ave., Belchertown, MA 01007. Katherine Currier, 67 Dressel Ave., Belchertwon, MA 01007. Travel writing.

BRIMFIELD

M.K. Fuel Inc., 4 Sturbridge Route 20 and Route 19. Brimfield, MA 01010. Anwar Afrede, 286 Middle Haddam Road, Portland, CT 06480. Gas station and convenience store.

CHICOPEE

Mick Euclid Corp., 27 Washington St., Chicopee, MA 01020. Michael Methe, same. Transportation services.

Szlachetka Dubay, P.C. 10 Center St., Suite 200, Chicopee, MA 01013. Stanley Szlachetka, 66 Airport Hill Lane, West Springfield, MA 01089. General law practice.

DEERFIELD

S.R. Marketing Services Inc., 81 Old Main St., Deerfield, MA 01342. William Moncrief, 2310 Central Ave., North Wildwood, N.J. 08260. Marketing and promotional services.

FEEDING HILLS

Organic Change Inc., 368 North St., Feeding Hills, MA 01030. Josephine Ann Smith, 346 Rowley St., Agawam, MA 01001. Non-profit organization established exclusively for educational purposes.

FLORENCE

Michael Kayne’s Family Restaurant, LTD, 176 Pine St., Florence, MA 01062. Kerry Ann Avezzie, 32 Berkshire Ave, Southwick, MA 01077. Family restaurant.

HOLYOKE

Ken’s Auto Sales Inc., 921 Main St., Holyoke, MA 01040. Michael Cashman, 36 Indian Ridge Road, Westfield, MA 01085. Auto sales.

LENOX

Pilson Communications Inc., 25-B Main St., Lenox, MA 01240. Neal Pilson, same. Consultation services.

NORTHAMPTON

Pioneer Ecovalley Inc., 42 Day Ave., Northampton, MA 01060. Danielle McKahn, same. Organization established to promote environmental sustainability in the Pioneer Valley region.

Primary Care Foundation Inc., 378 Pleasant St., Northampton, MA 01060. Joyce Miga, same. Primary health care private practice.

SPRINGFIELD

Ianello & Brittain, P.C., 55 State St., Suite 201, Springfield, MA 01103. Richard Ianello, 17 Woodside Dr., Longmeadow, MA 01106. Law practice.

Osaka Japanese Hibachi Steak House Inc., 1380 Boston Road, Springfield, MA 01119. Wai Tin Cheng, same. Restaurant.

Project Progress Inc., 137 Barre St., Springfield, MA 01119. Nadhir Abdul-Wadud, same. Non-profit youth mentoring organization.

Samson Pharmaceuticals Inc., 52 Mulberry St., Springfield, MA 01105. Sherman Fein, 224 Longmeadow, St., Longmeadow, MA 01106. Pharmaceuticals.

Shephard Security Corp., 191 Chestnut St., Suite 2C, Springfield, MA 01103. Dennis Cote, 55 Dearborn St., East Longmeadow, MA 01028. Commercial security.

Sr. Williams Resource and Development Center Inc., 132 Florence St., Springfield, MA 01105. Steven Williams Sr., 141 Florence St., Springfield, MA 01105. Non-profit organization for the purpose of making distributions to organizations that qualify as tax- exempt organizations.

St. Germain Investment Management Inc., 1500 Main St., Springfield, MA 01115. Michael Matty, same. Investment management services.

St. Germain Securities Inc., 1500 Main St., Springfield, MA 01115. Michael Matty, same. Broker-dealer transactions.

WEST SPRINGFIELD

Sun Air Transport Inc., 57 Amherst St., West Springfield, MA 01089. Sergey Poddubchak, same. Transportation services.

The Car Spa of Western Massachusetts Inc., 115 Stevens St., Springfield, MA 01104. Michael Freedman, 71 Woodsley Road, Longmeadow, MA 01101. Cleaning and detailing of motor vehicles.

The Leather Guy, 149 Bolton St., Springfield, MA 01119. Carlos Arce, same. Automotive finish restoration services.

Departments

The following bankruptcy petitions were recently filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Readers should confirm all information with the court.

Alvarez, Marta
a/k/a Santiago, Marta
716 McKinstry Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/06/10

Armstrong, Shirley A.
a/k/a Kelson, Shirley A.
47 Leonard St.
Adams, MA 01220
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Atkins, Ruth E.
414 Chestnut St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/13/10

Barriga, Tamia C.
a/k/a Deza, Tamia C.
a/k/a Barriga Carvajal, Tamia Catalina
48 Holland Ave.
Westfield, MA 01085
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Beausoleil, Maurice J.
8 Bassett Road
Charlemont, MA 01339
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 08/09/10

Beebe, Paul Richard
Beebe, Lindi Ann
1188 Granville Road
Westfield, MA 01085
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 08/11/10

Benton, Benjamin J.
418 Meadow St., Unit D
Agawam, MA 01001
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Bidwell, Marlene J.
32 Lower Westfield Road
Holyoke, MA 01040
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/04/10

Bilodeau, Stacy M.
2450 Wilbraham Road
Springfield, MA 01129
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/31/10

Blanchard, Allan W.
Blanchard, Marie E.
220 Bald Mountain Road
Bernardston, MA 01337
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/13/10

Blaser, Donn L.
184 Daniel Shay Highway
Orange, MA 01364
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/27/10

Boothby, Randolph D.
318 West St.
Randolph, MA 02368
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 08/03/10

Brisebois, Robert T.
Brisebois, Dawna L.
35 Lyn Dr.
Granby, MA 01033
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/04/10

Bristol, John David
17 Chestnut St.
Turners Falls, MA 01376
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Brodeur, Judith S.
24 Holy Cross Circle
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/27/10

Brodeur, Robert W.
24 Holy Cross Circle
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/27/10

C.M. Designs
Carlson, Laurence B.
Carlson, Catherine M.
258 Denver St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 07/29/10

Cabana, Sandra Margaret
19 Briggs St.
Indian Orchard, MA 01151
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Caron, Luanne M.
87 Valentine Ter.
Agawam, MA 01001
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 08/13/10

Carrier, Brenda
3 Oakdale Place
Easthampton, MA 01027
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/06/10

Caruso, Anthony Patrick
53 Morse St. Apt. 11
Ludlow, MA 01056
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/02/10

Chauvin, Lisa A.
96 Monson Road
Wales, MA 01081
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Chu, Norman
a/k/a Chu, Norman Ting Yuk
58 West Main St.
Ware, MA 01082
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/12/10

Coache, Heidi K.
43 Haskins Road
Orange, MA 01364
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/28/10

Collura, John A.
Collura, Rita E.
201 Porter Road
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Colon, Ricardo
Colon, Evelyn
14 Beauchamp St.
Springfield, MA 01107
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Corbin, Robert A.
12 Annable St.
Feeding Hills, MA 01030
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Covey, Kelly Suzanne
a/k/a Barnett, Kelly Suzanne
80 Damon Road #3302
Northampton, MA 01060
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Dargie, Gregory J.
47 Broad St., Apt. D49
Westfield, MA 01085
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/31/10

Davis, Amy Beatrice
45 Franklin St.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/03/10

Decker, Juanita L.
42 Hillside Village
Ware, MA 01082
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/05/10

DeJesus, Mayra L.
35 Ferry St.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/10/10

Delgado, Sally
73 Cass St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Desrosiers, Christopher G.
Desrosiers, Jill A.
a/k/a Nicholson, Jill A.
18 Genevieve Dr.
Hampden, MA 01036
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Dimino, Julie Kim
a/k/a Kilpatrick, Julie
144 Lincoln St.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/10/10

DL Painting Service
Chiarella, Joseph
Chiarella, Emilia
63 Bayberry Road
Hampden, MA 01036
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Drummey, Brian F.
Drummey, Marcia L.
67 Jacksonville Stage Road
Heath, MA 01339
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/08/10

Duda, John J.
Duda, Caylah E.
144 Elm St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/08/10

Dulude, Thomas Eric
Dulude, Jennifer Leigh
61 Granby Road
Belchertown, MA 01007
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/13/10

England-Horsfall, William Leon
England-Horsfall, Diane Lynn
221 Ashland St.
North Adams, MA 01247
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Fadel, Youssef G.
Murphy-Fadel, Laurie A.
22 Puffer Circle
Amherst, MA 01002
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/27/10

Figuereo, Solkeren
a/k/a Hernandez, Solkeren
11 Rush St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/04/10

Florek, Jeffrey D.
Florek, Amanda N.
133 Lafayette St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/27/10

Ford, Maria A.
61 South Monson Road
Hampden, MA 01036
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Fowles, Jeffrey A.
Fowles, Linda J.
100 Amherst Road
South Hadley, MA 01075
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Frappier, Steven L.
Kober-Frappier, Nancy A.
74 Manchonis Road
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/05/10

Funk, Lindsay Carin
a/k/a Spencer, Lindsay Carin
12 Armory St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Gallant, Lori Ann
10 Carew St.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/13/10

Garcia, Agustin D.
Garcia, Janet A.
21 Emmerson St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/07/10

Giunta, Anthony
Han-Giunta, Sarah
460 South Main St.
Sheffield, MA 01257
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/03/10

Goodwin, Mary C.
1105 Boardman St.
Sheffield, MA 01257
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/01/10

Groom, George Harold
Groom, Gina Ann
147 Pineview Circle
Agawam, MA 01001
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/27/10

Guernsey, Joan
111 Clover Hill Dr.
Feeding Hills, MA 01030
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/05/10

Hall, Michael T.
Hall, Donna M.
55 Plumb St.
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/29/10

Hammon, Scott A.
Hammon, Heather
10 Wheatland Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Hansen, Kim L.
a/k/a McCarthy, Kim L.
22 Wedgewood Circle
Springfield, MA 01129
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/31/10

Harrison, Yolanda
a/k/a Hernandez, Yolanda
a/k/a Rodriquez, Yolanda
a/k/a Bonilla, Yolanda
a/k/a Correa, Yolanda
a/k/a Garcia, Yolanda
693 Main St., #13
Amherst, MA 01002
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Hawkes, Donald E.
220 Barry St.
Feeding Hills, MA 01030
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/04/10

Hearthside Elderhomes, LLC
Landers, Heidi M.
64 High St. North
Barre, MA 01005
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/02/10

Hensel, Melanie R.
Hensel, Victor D.
332 Monston Turnpike
Ware, MA 01082
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/04/10

Herbert, Constance E.
9 Beekham Dr.
Agawam, MA 01001
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/08/10

Herrick, Guilia Katherine
a/k/a Porter, Guilia Katherine
1079 North Brookfield Road
Oakham, MA 01068
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 08/10/10

Holbrook, Beverly J.
123 Thompson St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/04/10

Horsler, Michael G.
Horsler, Joan
a/k/a Devine, Joan
546 Plainfield St.
Springfield, MA 01107
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/12/10

Janocha, Celly
45A Cherry St.
Ware, MA 01082
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/13/10

Kearney, Kimberly J.
a/k/a Swegan, Kimberly J.
68 Virginia St.
Springfield, MA 01108
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/04/10

Kennedy, Charles C.
Kennedy, Patricia R.
70 Yorktown Court
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/27/10

Kennedy, Thomas
144 1/2 North Maple St.
Florence, MA 01062
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/13/10

Kleer Choice Windshield Repair
Graveline, Robert C.
83 Tobacco Farm Road
Feeding Hills, MA 01030
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/29/10

Labucki, Tara A.
a/k/a Labuc-Bushee, Tara
105 White St., Apt. #2
Westfield, MA 01085
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/12/10

LaForest, Bernice J.
95 Old State Road
Berkshire, MA 01224
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Langaigne, Frances Ann
419 Montcalm St., Apt.#201
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 08/13/10

Lashway, Earl Joseph
Lashway, Dawna Lynn
a/k/a Duford, Dawna L.
86 Bostwick Lane
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/08/10

Le, Phung M.
PO BOX 81301
Springfield, MA 01138
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/27/10

Leavitt, Sandra K.
28 Miles Morgan Court # 2
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/31/10

LeGrand, Dennis Neal
19 Yorktowne Court
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 08/02/10

Longey, Graydon M.
30 Argyle Ave.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/31/10

Lopez, Armando L.
118 Clifton Ave.
Springfield, MA 01105
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Lord, Elise M.
62 Riviera Dr.
Agawam, MA 01001
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/12/10

Lucia, Andrew A.
44 Riverview St.
Springfield, MA 01108
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/28/10

MacDonald, Shirley A.
400 Britton St., Apt. 211
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/28/10

Mackenchnie, Jeff A.
Mackenchnie, Christine D.
a/k/a Palubinski, Christine D.
25 Fernwood Dr.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/29/10

MacMillan, Alan J.
33 Highland Ave.
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/03/10

Maher, Donald R.
Maher, Karen A.
24 Radner St.
Springfield, MA 01129
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/11/10

Mason, Norman J.
Mason, Mindy S.
253 Wisdom Way
Greenfield, MA 01301
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/08/10

Mastalerz, Stacey A.
102 Cote Road
Monson, MA 01057
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

May, Karen J.
P.O. Box 165
North Hatfield, MA 01066
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

McDaniel, Crystal R.
29 Malcolm Road
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/12/10

McFarland, Harriett B.
57 Congress St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/31/10

McLaughlin, Irene
McLaughlin, William A.
P.O.Box 344
Palmer, MA 01069
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/10/10

McLean, Michael D.
McLean, Teresa R.
5 Pond St.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

McManus, Anne B.
124 Grandview Ave.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/27/10

Medina, Yulissi D.
10 Chestnut St.
Springfield, MA 01103
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Melbourne, Todd Sydney
Melbourne, Tracey Lynn
Watson, Tracey L.
1113 St. James Ave.
Springfield, MA 01104
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/29/10

Mertzic, David Paul
Mertzic, Cindy Wanda
95D. St.
Athol, MA 01331
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/05/10

Metzger, Joseph Michael
Metzger, Stephanie Noel
45 Thompson St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Miller, Richard Bernard
Miller, Laura Finney
a/k/a Finney, Laura Townes
69 Franklin St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/06/10

Millette, William Joseph
84 Debra Dr., Apt. 3F
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/13/10

Monteiro, Karl A.
22 Warren Road
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 07/31/10

Morgan, Ruth Elizabeth
20 Pomeroy Ter.
Northampton, MA 01060
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/06/10

Morrison, Jason M.
205 Baldwinville Road
Phillipston, MA 01331
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/03/10

Motyka, Thomas Edward
Motyka, Denise
167 Carlson Road
Ware, MA 01082
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/13/10

Nason, Rebecca L.
16 Greenwich Plains Road
Ware, MA 01082
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/08/10

Nault, Steven A.
39 Glendale Ave.
Athol, MA 01331
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Northeast Metal Company
Kososki, Jeanne Barbara
521 Center St.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/28/10

Ocasio, Roberto
123 Cross Road
Holyoke, MA 01040
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/10/10

Odette, Rodney W.
PO Box 73
North Hatfield, MA 01066
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/04/10

Paquette, Debra G.
a/k/a Fortini, Debra
12 Alice Burke Way #514
Westfield, MA 01085
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/04/10

Placanico, Vincent M.
15 Sibley St.
Three Rivers, MA 01080
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/29/10

Podolak, Nancy J.
172 South Maple St.
Hadley, MA 01035
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/13/10

Popec, Darlene A.
P.O.Box 933
Ware, MA 01082
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/12/10

Preston, Alice Kate
98 Wellington St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/03/10

Ramos, Marisol
29 Sunridge Dr.
Springfield, MA 01118
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Ramos, Virgen
101 Lowell St., Apt. 8
Springfield, MA 01107
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Rankell, Martin S.
95 Scace Brook Road
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 08/03/10

Rivera, Carlos M.
90 Paramount St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/10/10

Rivera, Carmen Maria
54 High St., #421
Greenfield, MA 01301
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/13/10

Rivera, Maria M.
70 Broadway St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/10/10

Rivest, Jeremy Michael
Rivest, Rebecca Ann
a/k/a Brogan, Rebecca Ann
109 Montgomery Road
Westfield, MA 01085
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/28/10

Rodriguez, Luis A.
33 Wistaria St.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Rodriguez, Sonia I.
32 Brentwood St.
Springfield, MA 01108
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/27/10

Romanovicz, Walter J.
Romanovicz, Emily M.
95 Nash St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/13/10

Rosa, Elizabeth S.
13 Canterbury Road
Springfield, MA 01118
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 07/28/10

Rose Cottage Antiques
Beer-Rankell, Catherine J.
a/k/a Rankell, Catherine J.
95 Scace Brook Road
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 08/03/10

Roussell, Mathew T.
260 Sanders St.
P.O. Box 283
Athol, MA 01331
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/27/10

Ruiz, Teresa
149 Beacon Circle
Springfield, MA 01119
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/28/10

Russo, Thomas
Russo, Tammy M.
112 Fiske Hill Road
Sturbridge, MA 01566
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/05/10

Ryan, Alyssa Anne
11 Whitman St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/29/10

Ryans, Crystal M.
50 Fox Wood Dr.
Springfield, MA 01129
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/13/10

Salmond, Charles D.
992 Riceville Road
Athol, MA 01331
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/31/10

Santaniello, Teresa
7 Amherst Ave.
Feeding Hills, MA 01030
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Santiago, Angel A.
296 Oak St., Apt. 3-C
Holyoke, MA 01040
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Santiago, Pablo
P.O.Box 70635
Springfield, MA 01107
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Schoenfeld, Jerome D.
93 Slater Ave.
Springfield, MA 01119
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/03/10

Scibelli, Judith A.
379 Springfield St.
Agawam, MA 01001
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 08/11/10

Shyer, Robert F.
Shyer, Natalie D.
138 Brickyard Road
Athol, MA 01331
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/15/10

Slysz, Catherine E.
14A Beckwith Road
Monson, MA 01057
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/29/10

Smigel, Ronald G.
873 Springfield St.
Feeding Hills, MA 01030
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/11/10

Solek, Justin R.
9 Chapman St.
Southwick, MA 01077
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/10/10

Stanavage, Robert Allen
57 Lake St.
Florence, MA 01062
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/02/10

Stewart, Renee M.
90 Lawton St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/06/10

Street, Victor L.
P.O. Box 3725
Springfield, MA 01101
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Stromwall, Steven Edward
172 Garland St.
Springfield, MA 01118
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/28/10

Sweeney, James Dennis
Sweeney, Diane Joan
34 Fred Jackson Road
Southwick, MA 01077
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/27/10

Swenson, Anthony E.
54 B Russell St.
Great Barrington, MA 01230
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Tanguay, Denise A.
82 Redfern Dr.
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Taylor, Jennifer
50 Russellville Road
Westfield, MA 01085
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

The Griswold Corp.
Depot Village Glass,
Griswold, Susan C.
a/k/a Haecker, Susan C.
34 Pierce St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/04/10

Topulos, Timothy A.
25 Lagadia St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Treanor, Neal J.
81 Millard Road
North Attleboro, MA 02760
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Trierweiler, Bonnie S.
24 Lake Ave.
Great Barrington, MA 01230
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/03/10

Uschmann, Edward J.
115 Bretton Rd
W. Springfield, MA 01089
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/12/10

Vaudreuil, Cynthia Vedder
13 Clifford Ave.
Ware, MA 01082
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/11/10

Vives, Carmen
a/k/a Vives-Vidal, Carmen
83 Daley St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Wagher, Adam John
6D Thayer St.
Deerfield, MA 01373
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 08/13/10

Watkins, Connie S.
45 Bryant St., 2nd Fl.
Springfield, MA 01108
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/29/10

Webster, Alan T.
24 Van Horn St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/28/10

Wheelock, Marilyn E.
156 Erin Lane
Ludlow, MA 01056
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/10/10

Whitman, Mary N.
210 North Orange Road
Athol, MA 01331
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/10/10

Wiesenfeld, Audrey L.
39 Walnut St.
Athol, MA 01331
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Young, Ralph Russell
Young, Patricia Ann
71 Glendale Circle
Ware, MA 01082
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Departments

The following building permits were issued during the month of September 2010.

AGAWAM

Shoemaker Self-Storage
444 Shoemaker Lane
$150,000 — Construction of a new storage facility building

CHICOPEE

Leclerc Properties
603 Grattan St.
$12,000 — New siding

GREENFIELD

Fenwick, LLP
111 Hope St.
$3,500 — Installation of six replacement windows

Girl’s Club of Greenfield, MA
35 Pierce St.
$4,000 — Installation of a kitchen hood

Greenfield Corporate Center, LL
101 Munson St.
$12,000 — Installation of interior partitions

Greenfield Farmer’s Cooperative Exchange
275 High St.
$7,000 — Installation of a metal roof

Northeast Biodiesel Company, LLC
Silvio O Conte Dr.
$75,000 — Foundation for a new industrial building

HADLEY

Pyramid Mall of Hadley, LLC
367 Russell St.
$2,200 — Replace ceiling

Vertical Assets, LLC
165 Russell St.
$902,000 — Pre-engineered metal building and finishes

HOLYOKE

Cabot Mill Realty, LLC
102 Cabot St.
$99,000 — Construction of new offices

Open Square Properties, LLC
110 Lyman St.
$54,000 — Enclose walls at salon and spa

Valley Opportunity Council
300 High St.
$401,000 — Facade renovations

Yvon Laduc
52 Main St.
$33,000 — Install new roof

LUDLOW

Verizon
131 Winsor St.
$133,000 — Alterations

NORTHAMPTON

Blue Sky Real Estate, LLC
269 Main St.
$1,400 — Ceiling repair

Clarke School for the Deaf
45 Round Hill Road
$3,800 — Install electronic security door in egress hallway

Joseph Edward Welch
264 Elm St.
$3,800 — Renovate two rooms in a dentist’s office

Paul E. Brown
1 Market St.
$5,000 — Non-structural interior renovations

PALMER

Robert J. Larose
543-545 Wilbraham St.
$25,000 — Construct addition for new office space

SOUTH HADLEY

Second Baptist Church
589 Granby Road
$2,000 — Renovation

SOUTHWICK

College Associates Inc.
800 College Highway
$300,000 — Construction of a new wing with sleep room

SPRINGFIELD

1350 Main St., LLC
1350 Main St.
$26,500 — Reconfigure office layout on the 11th floor
City of Springfield
1395 Allen St.
$206,000 — Exterior renovations

Springfield College
263 Alden St.
$193,000 — New roof

Titeflex Corporation
603 Hendee St.
$1,489,000 — Construct new offices and restrooms

WESTFIELD

Governor’s Nursing Home
66 Broad St.
$60,000 — Re-roof

Little River Crossing
93 S. Maple St.
$3,400 — Minor renovations

WEST SPRINGFIELD

ATC Audio
89 Myron St.
$22,000 — Re-roof

H&P Realty
246 Main St.
$20,000 — Re-roof

United Bank
95 Elm St.
$15,000 — Renovate 720 square feet of space

Wingate Healthcare
42 Prospect Ave.
$925,000 — Renovate 8,254 square feet of existing nursing home

Departments

The following bankruptcy petitions were recently filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Readers should confirm all information with the court.

Alvarez, Marta
a/k/a Santiago, Marta
716 McKinstry Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/06/10

Armstrong, Shirley A.
a/k/a Kelson, Shirley A.
47 Leonard St.
Adams, MA 01220
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Atkins, Ruth E.
414 Chestnut St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/13/10

Barriga, Tamia C.
a/k/a Deza, Tamia C.
a/k/a Barriga Carvajal, Tamia Catalina
48 Holland Ave.
Westfield, MA 01085
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Beausoleil, Maurice J.
8 Bassett Road
Charlemont, MA 01339
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 08/09/10

Beebe, Paul Richard
Beebe, Lindi Ann
1188 Granville Road
Westfield, MA 01085
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 08/11/10

Benton, Benjamin J.
418 Meadow St., Unit D
Agawam, MA 01001
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Bidwell, Marlene J.
32 Lower Westfield Road
Holyoke, MA 01040
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/04/10

Bilodeau, Stacy M.
2450 Wilbraham Road
Springfield, MA 01129
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/31/10

Blanchard, Allan W.
Blanchard, Marie E.
220 Bald Mountain Road
Bernardston, MA 01337
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/13/10

Blaser, Donn L.
184 Daniel Shay Highway
Orange, MA 01364
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/27/10

Boothby, Randolph D.
318 West St.
Randolph, MA 02368
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 08/03/10

Brisebois, Robert T.
Brisebois, Dawna L.
35 Lyn Dr.
Granby, MA 01033
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/04/10

Bristol, John David
17 Chestnut St.
Turners Falls, MA 01376
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Brodeur, Judith S.
24 Holy Cross Circle
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/27/10

Brodeur, Robert W.
24 Holy Cross Circle
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/27/10

C.M. Designs
Carlson, Laurence B.
Carlson, Catherine M.
258 Denver St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 07/29/10

Cabana, Sandra Margaret
19 Briggs St.
Indian Orchard, MA 01151
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Caron, Luanne M.
87 Valentine Ter.
Agawam, MA 01001
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 08/13/10

Carrier, Brenda
3 Oakdale Place
Easthampton, MA 01027
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/06/10

Caruso, Anthony Patrick
53 Morse St. Apt. 11
Ludlow, MA 01056
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/02/10

Chauvin, Lisa A.
96 Monson Road
Wales, MA 01081
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Chu, Norman
a/k/a Chu, Norman Ting Yuk
58 West Main St.
Ware, MA 01082
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/12/10

Coache, Heidi K.
43 Haskins Road
Orange, MA 01364
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/28/10

Collura, John A.
Collura, Rita E.
201 Porter Road
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Colon, Ricardo
Colon, Evelyn
14 Beauchamp St.
Springfield, MA 01107
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Corbin, Robert A.
12 Annable St.
Feeding Hills, MA 01030
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Covey, Kelly Suzanne
a/k/a Barnett, Kelly Suzanne
80 Damon Road #3302
Northampton, MA 01060
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Dargie, Gregory J.
47 Broad St., Apt. D49
Westfield, MA 01085
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/31/10

Davis, Amy Beatrice
45 Franklin St.
Easthampton, MA 01027
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/03/10

Decker, Juanita L.
42 Hillside Village
Ware, MA 01082
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/05/10

DeJesus, Mayra L.
35 Ferry St.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/10/10

Delgado, Sally
73 Cass St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Desrosiers, Christopher G.
Desrosiers, Jill A.
a/k/a Nicholson, Jill A.
18 Genevieve Dr.
Hampden, MA 01036
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Dimino, Julie Kim
a/k/a Kilpatrick, Julie
144 Lincoln St.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/10/10

DL Painting Service
Chiarella, Joseph
Chiarella, Emilia
63 Bayberry Road
Hampden, MA 01036
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Drummey, Brian F.
Drummey, Marcia L.
67 Jacksonville Stage Road
Heath, MA 01339
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/08/10

Duda, John J.
Duda, Caylah E.
144 Elm St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/08/10

Dulude, Thomas Eric
Dulude, Jennifer Leigh
61 Granby Road
Belchertown, MA 01007
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/13/10

England-Horsfall, William Leon
England-Horsfall, Diane Lynn
221 Ashland St.
North Adams, MA 01247
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Fadel, Youssef G.
Murphy-Fadel, Laurie A.
22 Puffer Circle
Amherst, MA 01002
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/27/10

Figuereo, Solkeren
a/k/a Hernandez, Solkeren
11 Rush St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/04/10

Florek, Jeffrey D.
Florek, Amanda N.
133 Lafayette St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/27/10

Ford, Maria A.
61 South Monson Road
Hampden, MA 01036
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Fowles, Jeffrey A.
Fowles, Linda J.
100 Amherst Road
South Hadley, MA 01075
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Frappier, Steven L.
Kober-Frappier, Nancy A.
74 Manchonis Road
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/05/10

Funk, Lindsay Carin
a/k/a Spencer, Lindsay Carin
12 Armory St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Gallant, Lori Ann
10 Carew St.
South Hadley, MA 01075
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/13/10

Garcia, Agustin D.
Garcia, Janet A.
21 Emmerson St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/07/10

Giunta, Anthony
Han-Giunta, Sarah
460 South Main St.
Sheffield, MA 01257
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/03/10

Goodwin, Mary C.
1105 Boardman St.
Sheffield, MA 01257
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/01/10

Groom, George Harold
Groom, Gina Ann
147 Pineview Circle
Agawam, MA 01001
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/27/10

Guernsey, Joan
111 Clover Hill Dr.
Feeding Hills, MA 01030
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/05/10

Hall, Michael T.
Hall, Donna M.
55 Plumb St.
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/29/10

Hammon, Scott A.
Hammon, Heather
10 Wheatland Ave.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Hansen, Kim L.
a/k/a McCarthy, Kim L.
22 Wedgewood Circle
Springfield, MA 01129
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/31/10

Harrison, Yolanda
a/k/a Hernandez, Yolanda
a/k/a Rodriquez, Yolanda
a/k/a Bonilla, Yolanda
a/k/a Correa, Yolanda
a/k/a Garcia, Yolanda
693 Main St., #13
Amherst, MA 01002
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Hawkes, Donald E.
220 Barry St.
Feeding Hills, MA 01030
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/04/10

Hearthside Elderhomes, LLC
Landers, Heidi M.
64 High St. North
Barre, MA 01005
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/02/10

Hensel, Melanie R.
Hensel, Victor D.
332 Monston Turnpike
Ware, MA 01082
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/04/10

Herbert, Constance E.
9 Beekham Dr.
Agawam, MA 01001
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/08/10

Herrick, Guilia Katherine
a/k/a Porter, Guilia Katherine
1079 North Brookfield Road
Oakham, MA 01068
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 08/10/10

Holbrook, Beverly J.
123 Thompson St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/04/10

Horsler, Michael G.
Horsler, Joan
a/k/a Devine, Joan
546 Plainfield St.
Springfield, MA 01107
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/12/10

Janocha, Celly
45A Cherry St.
Ware, MA 01082
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/13/10

Kearney, Kimberly J.
a/k/a Swegan, Kimberly J.
68 Virginia St.
Springfield, MA 01108
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/04/10

Kennedy, Charles C.
Kennedy, Patricia R.
70 Yorktown Court
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/27/10

Kennedy, Thomas
144 1/2 North Maple St.
Florence, MA 01062
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/13/10

Kleer Choice Windshield Repair
Graveline, Robert C.
83 Tobacco Farm Road
Feeding Hills, MA 01030
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/29/10

Labucki, Tara A.
a/k/a Labuc-Bushee, Tara
105 White St., Apt. #2
Westfield, MA 01085
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/12/10

LaForest, Bernice J.
95 Old State Road
Berkshire, MA 01224
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Langaigne, Frances Ann
419 Montcalm St., Apt.#201
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 08/13/10

Lashway, Earl Joseph
Lashway, Dawna Lynn
a/k/a Duford, Dawna L.
86 Bostwick Lane
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/08/10

Le, Phung M.
PO BOX 81301
Springfield, MA 01138
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/27/10

Leavitt, Sandra K.
28 Miles Morgan Court # 2
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/31/10

LeGrand, Dennis Neal
19 Yorktowne Court
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 08/02/10

Longey, Graydon M.
30 Argyle Ave.
Holyoke, MA 01040
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/31/10

Lopez, Armando L.
118 Clifton Ave.
Springfield, MA 01105
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Lord, Elise M.
62 Riviera Dr.
Agawam, MA 01001
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/12/10

Lucia, Andrew A.
44 Riverview St.
Springfield, MA 01108
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/28/10

 

MacDonald, Shirley A.
400 Britton St., Apt. 211
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/28/10

Mackenchnie, Jeff A.
Mackenchnie, Christine D.
a/k/a Palubinski, Christine D.
25 Fernwood Dr.
East Longmeadow, MA 01028
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/29/10

MacMillan, Alan J.
33 Highland Ave.
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/03/10

Maher, Donald R.
Maher, Karen A.
24 Radner St.
Springfield, MA 01129
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/11/10

Mason, Norman J.
Mason, Mindy S.
253 Wisdom Way
Greenfield, MA 01301
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/08/10

Mastalerz, Stacey A.
102 Cote Road
Monson, MA 01057
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

May, Karen J.
P.O. Box 165
North Hatfield, MA 01066
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

McDaniel, Crystal R.
29 Malcolm Road
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/12/10

McFarland, Harriett B.
57 Congress St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/31/10

McLaughlin, Irene
McLaughlin, William A.
P.O.Box 344
Palmer, MA 01069
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/10/10

McLean, Michael D.
McLean, Teresa R.
5 Pond St.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

McManus, Anne B.
124 Grandview Ave.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/27/10

Medina, Yulissi D.
10 Chestnut St.
Springfield, MA 01103
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Melbourne, Todd Sydney
Melbourne, Tracey Lynn
Watson, Tracey L.
1113 St. James Ave.
Springfield, MA 01104
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/29/10

Mertzic, David Paul
Mertzic, Cindy Wanda
95D. St.
Athol, MA 01331
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/05/10

Metzger, Joseph Michael
Metzger, Stephanie Noel
45 Thompson St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Miller, Richard Bernard
Miller, Laura Finney
a/k/a Finney, Laura Townes
69 Franklin St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/06/10

Millette, William Joseph
84 Debra Dr., Apt. 3F
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/13/10

Monteiro, Karl A.
22 Warren Road
Wilbraham, MA 01095
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 07/31/10

Morgan, Ruth Elizabeth
20 Pomeroy Ter.
Northampton, MA 01060
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/06/10

Morrison, Jason M.
205 Baldwinville Road
Phillipston, MA 01331
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/03/10

Motyka, Thomas Edward
Motyka, Denise
167 Carlson Road
Ware, MA 01082
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/13/10

Nason, Rebecca L.
16 Greenwich Plains Road
Ware, MA 01082
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/08/10

Nault, Steven A.
39 Glendale Ave.
Athol, MA 01331
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Northeast Metal Company
Kososki, Jeanne Barbara
521 Center St.
Ludlow, MA 01056
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/28/10

Ocasio, Roberto
123 Cross Road
Holyoke, MA 01040
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/10/10

Odette, Rodney W.
PO Box 73
North Hatfield, MA 01066
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/04/10

Paquette, Debra G.
a/k/a Fortini, Debra
12 Alice Burke Way #514
Westfield, MA 01085
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/04/10

Placanico, Vincent M.
15 Sibley St.
Three Rivers, MA 01080
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/29/10

Podolak, Nancy J.
172 South Maple St.
Hadley, MA 01035
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/13/10

Popec, Darlene A.
P.O.Box 933
Ware, MA 01082
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/12/10

Preston, Alice Kate
98 Wellington St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/03/10

Ramos, Marisol
29 Sunridge Dr.
Springfield, MA 01118
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Ramos, Virgen
101 Lowell St., Apt. 8
Springfield, MA 01107
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Rankell, Martin S.
95 Scace Brook Road
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 08/03/10

Rivera, Carlos M.
90 Paramount St.
Springfield, MA 01104
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/10/10

Rivera, Carmen Maria
54 High St., #421
Greenfield, MA 01301
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/13/10

Rivera, Maria M.
70 Broadway St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/10/10

Rivest, Jeremy Michael
Rivest, Rebecca Ann
a/k/a Brogan, Rebecca Ann
109 Montgomery Road
Westfield, MA 01085
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/28/10

Rodriguez, Luis A.
33 Wistaria St.
West Springfield, MA 01089
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Rodriguez, Sonia I.
32 Brentwood St.
Springfield, MA 01108
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/27/10

Romanovicz, Walter J.
Romanovicz, Emily M.
95 Nash St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/13/10

Rosa, Elizabeth S.
13 Canterbury Road
Springfield, MA 01118
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 07/28/10

Rose Cottage Antiques
Beer-Rankell, Catherine J.
a/k/a Rankell, Catherine J.
95 Scace Brook Road
Pittsfield, MA 01201
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 08/03/10

Roussell, Mathew T.
260 Sanders St.
P.O. Box 283
Athol, MA 01331
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/27/10

Ruiz, Teresa
149 Beacon Circle
Springfield, MA 01119
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/28/10

Russo, Thomas
Russo, Tammy M.
112 Fiske Hill Road
Sturbridge, MA 01566
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/05/10

Ryan, Alyssa Anne
11 Whitman St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/29/10

Ryans, Crystal M.
50 Fox Wood Dr.
Springfield, MA 01129
Chapter: 7Filing Date: 08/13/10

Salmond, Charles D.
992 Riceville Road
Athol, MA 01331
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/31/10

Santaniello, Teresa
7 Amherst Ave.
Feeding Hills, MA 01030
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Santiago, Angel A.
296 Oak St., Apt. 3-C
Holyoke, MA 01040
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Santiago, Pablo
P.O.Box 70635
Springfield, MA 01107
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Schoenfeld, Jerome D.
93 Slater Ave.
Springfield, MA 01119
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/03/10

Scibelli, Judith A.
379 Springfield St.
Agawam, MA 01001
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 08/11/10

Shyer, Robert F.
Shyer, Natalie D.
138 Brickyard Road
Athol, MA 01331
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/15/10

Slysz, Catherine E.
14A Beckwith Road
Monson, MA 01057
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/29/10

Smigel, Ronald G.
873 Springfield St.
Feeding Hills, MA 01030
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/11/10

Solek, Justin R.
9 Chapman St.
Southwick, MA 01077
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/10/10

Stanavage, Robert Allen
57 Lake St.
Florence, MA 01062
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/02/10

Stewart, Renee M.
90 Lawton St.
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/06/10

Street, Victor L.
P.O. Box 3725
Springfield, MA 01101
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Stromwall, Steven Edward
172 Garland St.
Springfield, MA 01118
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/28/10

Sweeney, James Dennis
Sweeney, Diane Joan
34 Fred Jackson Road
Southwick, MA 01077
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/27/10

Swenson, Anthony E.
54 B Russell St.
Great Barrington, MA 01230
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Tanguay, Denise A.
82 Redfern Dr.
Springfield, MA 01109
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Taylor, Jennifer
50 Russellville Road
Westfield, MA 01085
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

The Griswold Corp.
Depot Village Glass,
Griswold, Susan C.
a/k/a Haecker, Susan C.
34 Pierce St.
Greenfield, MA 01301
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/04/10

Topulos, Timothy A.
25 Lagadia St.
Chicopee, MA 01020
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Treanor, Neal J.
81 Millard Road
North Attleboro, MA 02760
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Trierweiler, Bonnie S.
24 Lake Ave.
Great Barrington, MA 01230
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/03/10

Uschmann, Edward J.
115 Bretton Rd
W. Springfield, MA 01089
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/12/10

Vaudreuil, Cynthia Vedder
13 Clifford Ave.
Ware, MA 01082
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/11/10

Vives, Carmen
a/k/a Vives-Vidal, Carmen
83 Daley St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/26/10

Wagher, Adam John
6D Thayer St.
Deerfield, MA 01373
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 08/13/10

Watkins, Connie S.
45 Bryant St., 2nd Fl.
Springfield, MA 01108
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/29/10

Webster, Alan T.
24 Van Horn St.
Chicopee, MA 01013
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/28/10

Wheelock, Marilyn E.
156 Erin Lane
Ludlow, MA 01056
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/10/10

Whitman, Mary N.
210 North Orange Road
Athol, MA 01331
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 08/10/10

Wiesenfeld, Audrey L.
39 Walnut St.
Athol, MA 01331
Chapter: 7
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Young, Ralph Russell
Young, Patricia Ann
71 Glendale Circle
Ware, MA 01082
Chapter: 13
Filing Date: 07/30/10

Departments

Workers Paying 14% More for Health Insurance

WASHINGTON — American workers will pay about $4,000 to get health insurance for their families through work this year, 14% more than in 2009, according to a survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Employees’ average share of the premium costs for family coverage is $482 more than last year as economic conditions continue to push companies to pay less of the bill, the report said. Total premiums for family policies, including both worker and employer contributions, increased 3% to $13,770. “Businesses have been shifting more of the costs of health insurance to workers through premiums, deductibles, and other cost-sharing,” said Drew Altman, Kaiser Family Foundation chief executive. “From a consumer perspective, the cost of health insurance just keeps going up faster than wages.”

Executives Plan Moderate Hike in Professional Hiring

MENLO PARK, Calif. — Looking toward the final months of the year, 11% of executives interviewed for the Robert Half Professional Employment Report said they expect to increase the number of full-time staff they employ in professional occupations in the fourth quarter. Another 5% anticipate declines, resulting in a net 6% increase in hiring activity, up three points from the third-quarter forecast. Executives’ business optimism level remains high: 86% of respondents expressed at least some confidence in the growth prospects for their companies, rising slightly from 85% reported in the third-quarter survey. The number of executives citing recruiting challenges also rose, climbing from 42% in the third quarter to 47%. The Robert Half Professional Employment Report is the first quarterly executive survey of its size and scope to focus exclusively on professional-level hiring. The survey is based on telephone interviews with more than 4,000 executives from a variety of fields throughout the U.S. about their hiring plans and general level of optimism regarding the upcoming quarter. “Companies that overextended their teams are now selectively adding full-time employees,” said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. “Businesses are hiring to keep service levels high and boost morale among team members who have taken on extra work in the past few years.”

Economy Needs More Than Modest Spending

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis recently released personal income and outlays for July. Personal income increased 0.2% in July, similar to private-sector expectations, while real disposable income decreased 0.1%. Real personal consumption expenditures increased 0.2% in July and at a 1.3% annual rate from their second-quarter average. Consumer spending adjusted for inflation continues to increase at a moderate pace, according to U.S. Commerce Under Secretary for Economic Affairs Rebecca Blank. She noted that data suggests the economy continues to grow, as consumer spending accounts for 70% of GDP, although the economy is growing at a slower pace than the Obama administration would like. On a related note, many economists, including those at PNC Financial Services Group, say a boost in salaries and jobs will help grow the economy.

Businesses Offered Customer-service Training

GREENFIELD — The Greenfield Business Assoc. (GBA) and the Greenfield Community College (GCC) Workforce Development Office are coordinating customer-service trainings for local business owners and their staff members this fall. The cost is free to GBA-member owners/managers and is on a scale for the number of staff per business attending. For businesses with one to five staff members participating in training, the cost is $10 each; for six to 11 staff, $7.50 each; and for 12 or more employees, the cost is $5 each. For non-member pricing, call (413) 774-2791. The owner/manager training is slated for Sept. 27 from 8 to 10 a.m. at the GCC Downtown Center, room 121. The frontline staff training is planned for Oct. 4 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the GCC Downtown Center, room 121. Business owners can reserve space by e-mailing [email protected] with the names of the person(s) attending and the business they are representing.

Departments

The following building permits were issued during the month of September 2010.

AGAWAM

Shoemaker Self-Storage
444 Shoemaker Lane
$150,000 — Construction of a new storage facility building

CHICOPEE

Leclerc Properties
603 Grattan St.
$12,000 — New siding

GREENFIELD

Fenwick, LLP
111 Hope St.
$3,500 — Installation of six replacement windows

Girl’s Club of Greenfield, MA
35 Pierce St.
$4,000 — Installation of a kitchen hood

Greenfield Corporate Center, LL
101 Munson St.
$12,000 — Installation of interior partitions

Greenfield Farmer’s Cooperative Exchange
275 High St.
$7,000 — Installation of a metal roof

Northeast Biodiesel Company, LLC
Silvio O Conte Dr.
$75,000 — Foundation for a new industrial building

HADLEY

Pyramid Mall of Hadley, LLC
367 Russell St.
$2,200 — Replace ceiling

Vertical Assets, LLC
165 Russell St.
$902,000 — Pre-engineered metal building and finishes

HOLYOKE

Cabot Mill Realty, LLC
102 Cabot St.
$99,000 — Construction of new offices

Open Square Properties, LLC
110 Lyman St.
$54,000 — Enclose walls at salon and spa

Valley Opportunity Council
300 High St.
$401,000 — Facade renovations

Yvon Laduc
52 Main St.
$33,000 — Install new roof

LUDLOW

Verizon
131 Winsor St.
$133,000 — Alterations

NORTHAMPTON

Blue Sky Real Estate, LLC
269 Main St.
$1,400 — Ceiling repair

 

Clarke School for the Deaf
45 Round Hill Road
$3,800 — Install electronic security door in egress hallway

Joseph Edward Welch
264 Elm St.
$3,800 — Renovate two rooms in a dentist’s office

Paul E. Brown
1 Market St.
$5,000 — Non-structural interior renovations

PALMER

Robert J. Larose
543-545 Wilbraham St.
$25,000 — Construct addition for new office space

SOUTH HADLEY

Second Baptist Church
589 Granby Road
$2,000 — Renovation

SOUTHWICK

College Associates Inc.
800 College Highway
$300,000 — Construction of a new wing with sleep room

SPRINGFIELD

1350 Main St., LLC
1350 Main St.
$26,500 — Reconfigure office layout on the 11th floor
City of Springfield
1395 Allen St.
$206,000 — Exterior renovations

Springfield College
263 Alden St.
$193,000 — New roof

Titeflex Corporation
603 Hendee St.
$1,489,000 — Construct new offices and restrooms

WESTFIELD

Governor’s Nursing Home
66 Broad St.
$60,000 — Re-roof

Little River Crossing
93 S. Maple St.
$3,400 — Minor renovations

WEST SPRINGFIELD

ATC Audio
89 Myron St.
$22,000 — Re-roof

H&P Realty
246 Main St.
$20,000 — Re-roof

United Bank
95 Elm St.
$15,000 — Renovate 720 square feet of space

Wingate Healthcare
42 Prospect Ave.
$925,000 — Renovate 8,254 square feet of existing nursing home

Departments

ACCGS
www.myonlinechamber.com
(413) 787-1555

Sept. 15: ACCGS After 5, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Hosted by the Springfield Marriott. Cost for members is $10, non-members, $20.

Sept. 23: Feast in the East-ERC, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Hosted by: Elmcrest Country Club. Cost: $25 per person. Call the chamber for more information.

Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield
www.springfieldyps.com   

Sept. 15: 17th Annual United Way Day of Caring. This event pairs volunteers with agency service providers to accomplish a variety of projects. YPS will again pair up with the Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity and work on one of the homes currently under construction in Springfield. If interested in joining, e-mail Maureen Picknally at [email protected]

Sept. 16: Third Thursday, 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Hosted by Springfield Country Club, 1375 Elm St., West Springfield. This event is free for YPS members, and $5 for non-members.

Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce
www.amherstarea.com

Chicopee Chamber of Commerce
www.chicopeechamber.org
(413) 594-2101

Sept. 21: 13th Annual Table Top Showcase and business networking event, 4:30 to 7 p.m., Castle of Knights, 1599 Memorial Dr., Chicopee. Presented by the Chicopee, Greater Holyoke, and Greater Westfield chambers of commerce. Call the chambers for more information.

Franklin County Chamber of Commerce
www.franklincc.org
(413) 773-5463

Sept. 24: Breakfast Series – United Way Program, 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. Hosted by Franklin County Technical School, Turners Falls. Call the chamber for more information.

Sept. 25 and 26: Fiber Twist, an Annual Celebration of All Things Fiber in Franklin County,
10 a.m. to 4 p.m. No admission charge. For details, visit www.fibertwist.com 

Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce
www.easthamptonchamber.org
(413) 527-9414

Sept. 8: Networking by Night Business Card Exchange, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Hosted by the Apollo Grill. Tickets: $5 for members, $15 for non-members.

Oct. 1: Casino Night, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m, at One Cottage St., Easthampton. Tickets: $25 in advance, $30 at the door. For more information, visit www.easthamptonchamber.org

Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce
www.holycham.com
(413) 534-3376

Sept. 15: Holyoke Chamber Clambake, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m., Holyoke Country Club. Tickets are $26. Call the chamber to reserve tickets.

Sept.  21: The 13th Annual Table Top Showcase, 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. Hosted by the Castle of Knights, 1599 Memorial Dr., Chicopee. Call the chamber for more information or to reserve tickets.

Sept. 22: 2010 Pacesetter Awards Recognition Breakfast, starting at 7:30 a.m. Hosted by the Delaney House. The Pacesetter Awards go to exceptional small businesses and nonprofit agencies, entrepreneurs, and those advocates who make other businesses successful. Tickets are $18. Please call the chamber for more information or to reserve tickets. 

Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce
www.explorenorthampton.com
(413) 584-1900

Northampton Area Young Professional Society
www.thenayp.com
(413) 584-1900

Sept. 17: NAYP Dynamics of Fleet Safety Seminar, 8 to 10 a.m., Union Station. Safety supervisors and fleet managers from all industries will benefit from this important presentation, led by Gerry Sousa, executive director of the National Safety Council’s Western New England Chapter. Participants will identify the daily challenges of running an effective fleet and learn the essential elements of a fleet safety program. Best practices for motor-vehicle safety, collision prevention, and asset use will be discussed.

Sept. 21: Meet & Eat, 7:30 to 9 a.m., Clarion Hotel and Conference Center. Tickets are $15 for members, $20 for guests.

Quaboag Hills Chamber of Commerce
www.qvcc.biz
(413) 283-2418

South Hadley/Granby Chamber of Commerce
www.shchamber.com
(413) 532-6451

Three Rivers Chamber of Commerce
www.threeriverschamber.org
(413) 283-6425

Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce
www.westfieldbiz.org
(413) 568-1618

Sept. 21: “Rake in The Business” TableTop Expo, 4:30 to 7 p.m., Castle of Knights, Memorial Dr., Chicopee. Presented by the Chicopee, Holyoke, and Westfield chambers of commerce. Call the chambers for more information.

Sept. 24: Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce 104th Air Fighter Annual Breakfast, 7:15 to 9 a.m. Hosted by the 104th Air Fighter, Barnes Airport, 175 Falcon Dr., Westfield.  Guest Speaker: Ira Bryck, director of UMass Family Business Center. Tickets are $20 for members, $25 for non-members. Call the chamber for more information.

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