Briefcase Departments


Mohegan Sun Taps Partner for Casino Project

PALMER — Mohegan Sun has announced a strategic partnership with Brigade Capital Management on its project to build a destination resort casino in Palmer. The agreement with Brigade — a $12 billion New York-based investment advisor — coincides with Mohegan Sun’s formal application for a casino license to the Mass. Gaming Commission.
“This is an important day for Mohegan Sun, for Western Mass., and the entire Commonwealth. Today, we take the next critical step in fulfilling our commitment to bringing new jobs and economic growth to the region,” said Bruce “Two Dogs” Bozsum, chairman of the Mohegan Tribal Council. “It’s our intent to be the first casino to open its doors in Massachusetts.”
Added Mohegan Tribal Gaming Authority CEO Mitchell Etess, “Brigade Capital Management will be a great partner and important asset to this project. They are experienced as institutional investment partners on gaming projects in several states across the U.S., and understand the business that Mohegan Sun has been successful in for 16 years.” Through this agreement, Brigade will invest capital into the corporate entity that is being established to develop Mohegan Sun’s project in Western Mass. “Mohegan Sun is one of the most recognized casino gaming brands in the U.S., and they embody the proven model of success for gaming in New England,” said Don Morgan, managing member of Brigade. “This project will be built at the best location for a casino in Massachusetts, by a team with combined experience in multiple licensing jurisdictions, and managed by one of the premier gaming operators in the U.S. We are excited to be a partner in this endeavor and to have a role in establishing the Massachusetts casino gaming industry.”
Mohegan Sun is planning a world-class destination casino resort in Palmer that promises to create thousands of jobs and bring economic growth to Western Mass. Mohegan Sun established a storefront office in Palmer more than three years ago, and has conducted outreach to thousands of area residents through its Community Conversations series, appearances at other community meetings, a Mohegan Sun in Palmer newsletter and social-media outreach. Mohegan Sun is also far along in discussions with Palmer officials on a host community agreement, which is required under the Massachusetts casino-gaming legislation.
“Our project has distinct and unique advantages with regard to location, access, and infrastructure. Its rural setting on 150 acres — adjacent to other large parcels that present ancillary development possibilities — is ideal for creating the type of gaming facility that New England patrons are familiar with and have made successful over the past two decades,” Etess said. “Moreover, our host community of Palmer has been welcoming, motivated, and supportive. The community is excited about the jobs and economic development that Mohegan Sun will bring to the entire region.”


MGHPCC Awards $500,000

in Grants for Research

HOLYOKE — The Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center (MGHPCC) has announced $500,000 in seed grants to six multi-university teams to support cross-institutional research among MGHPCC members.
The MGHPCC, which opened in November, is intended to promote research collaboration among the participating universities — Boston University, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Northeastern University, and UMass — through high-performance computing, a pillar of major scientific research today. The seed grant program is intended to accelerate the MGHPCC’s mission of computational collaboration. This is the second round of seed grants awarded by the MGHPCC Consortium, and it brings the total amount of awards to $1.1 million. The six winners were chosen from a field of 26 applications by a committee of researchers from the participating universities. The funded projects are: “The CaterPillar Project: Exploring the Dark Matter Substructure of Milky Way Galaxies”; “Designing Cloud and Big Data Platforms for Scientific and HPC Applications”; “Strength and Fracture Mechanisms of Hierarchical Biological Materials”; “Computational Identification of Outcome-Associated DNA Alterations in Neuroblastoma”; “Genome-Scale Characterization of Chromosonal Aberrations Using Parallelizable Compression Algorithms”; and “Automated Segmentation of Vessel Network Structures in Large Image Stack Sets.” The grant amounts ranged from $52,000 to $131,000. The request for proposals sought “novel collaborative researchactivities addressing significant and challenging problems at the forefront of high-performance technical computing.” Proposals also had to include a strategy for followup research that would attract external funding.
“This year’s awards span basic astrophysics research, computer-systems innovation, and real-time clinical application, and highlight the richness of the region as a world leading center of gravity for academic discovery,” said Chris Hill, an MIT researcher who served on the committee.


MassDOT Releases

Transportation Plan

BOSTON — The Board of the Mass. Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and Transportation Secretary and CEO Richard Davey have announced a plan for the next generation of transportation investment in the Commonwealth. The plan includes passenger-rail service connect Boston and Springfield, commonly known as the “Inland Route,” and the rehabilitation of infrastructure to support rail service between Pittsfield and New York City. A $362.4 million investment to fund the Inland Route will cover rehabilitation along the route, creating a second track, widening bridges, upgrading signals purchasing train equipment, and constructing or rehabilitating stations. This will also support future high-speed rail connection to New York City via Springfield. Another $113.8 million in funding for rail service between the Berkshires and New York City will include rehabilitation of track, signals, and structures between Pittsfield and the Massachusetts-Connecticut state line to support future rail service between Pittsfield and New York City. The current line is served by freight carriers and is not up to standards necessary for commuter service. The plan also includes a $32.2 million increase to the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority in fiscal year 2014, a $3.2 million increase to the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority (BRTA), and a $1 million increase to the Franklin Regional Transit Authority (FRTA). The PVTA is receiving the largest increase of all regional transit authorities in the state. Additional Western Mass. investments in the plan, including funding for the 1-91 Viaduct in Springfield, reconstruction of Route 2 in Erving Center, and investments in the Mohawk bike and pedestrian trail in North Adams and the Skyline Trail in Hinsdale, promise to further ensure regional transportation equity, create jobs, and expand economic opportunity.  “We have parts of this Commonwealth whose opportunities are constrained by substandard service and lack of access. Our plan outlines increased investments in passenger rail in Western Mass. and regional transit authorities to unlock opportunities across the board,” said Gov. Deval Patrick. “Improving our transportation system is key to meeting our economic potential, for Western Mass. and every region of the Commonwealth.”


Hospitals Request Response to Community Health Survey

PIONEER VALLEY — The Coalition of Western Massachusetts Hospitals is conducting a community-health-needs assessment to identify and address the most pressing public health needs in the Pioneer Valley. Community members are encouraged to participate in this process by taking the Community Health Survey. The link to the survey can be found on the participating hospitals’ websites and at
The coalition is a partnership between eight area tax-exempt hospitals: Baystate Medical Center, Baystate Franklin Medical Center, Baystate Mary Lane Hospital, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Holyoke Medical Center, Mercy Medical Center, Shriners Hospitals for Children – Springfield, and Wing Memorial Hospital and Medical Centers. The survey is currently available online in English and Spanish and will soon be available in Russian and Vietnamese (paper copy only).
The coalition began meeting to plan the process for this community-health-needs assessment in August, and is scheduled to have reports finalized by this spring. Its goal is to identify the health and safety assets of area communities and also to determine the potential concerns they face. They will do so by asking residents for their opinions about these issues, services presently available, their satisfaction with these services, and identification of others programs that may be needed. The survey should take no more than 15 minutes to complete and will be available through Feb. 15. Survey respondents will be identifiable only by ZIP code, and all individual responses will be kept confidential.
All survey respondents will have the option to enter a drawing for an iPad Mini and several gift cards. Personal contact information entered for drawing registration will be kept confidential and used solely for the purpose of this drawing and not for any marketing purposes.


Chamber Seeks Input for

2013 Woman of the Year

SPRINGFIELD — The Professional Women’s Chamber, a division of the Affiliated Chambers of Commerce of Greater Springfield, is seeking nominations for the 2013 Woman of the Year Award. This award has been presented annually since 1954 to a woman in the Western Mass. area who exemplifies outstanding leadership, professional accomplishment, and service to the community. The nominee’s achievements can be representative of a lifetime’s work or for more recent successes. Any woman in the Pioneer Valley is eligible for nomination, and a chamber affiliation is not required. A Woman of the Year nomination form may be obtained online at or by emailing Nancy Mirkin, committee chair, at [email protected] Nomination documents are due by Feb. 15.


Consortium Plans Program

to Train Casino Workers

SPRINGFIELD — In an effort to prepare local residents for future casino jobs, a consortium of community colleges from across the state, led by Springfield Technical Community College and Holyoke Community College (HCC), recently signed worker-training agreements with four prospective casino developers. The group, called the Community College Casino Careers Training Institute, gives casino developers a single point of contact to help develop their workforce. William Messner, president of HCC, said the consortium hopes to have a training program up and running sometime in 2015, about one year before any of the proposed casinos would open.


MassINC Program Aims to

Stimulate Gateway Cities

The Gateway Cities Innovation Institute, an entity run by MassINC, is proposing a $1.7 billion public investment in Massachusetts’ Gateway Cities, which include Springfield, Holyoke, Pittsfield, and Westfield. The Gateway Cities Innovation Institute focuses on the 24 cities designated by the Massachusetts Legislature as Gateway Cities — midsize urban cities, typically former manufacturing centers — that anchor their regional economies but have had trouble attracting new growth and investment. MassINC predicts that its $1.7 million investment would stimulate at least seven projects totaling $3.4 billion of new development or reuse, which could in turn leverage nearly $7 billion in investments and create about 80,000 jobs. The money would be split between public funding and loan guarantees, tax incentives, regulatory reform, and technical assistance.

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