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HOLYOKE — With home heating costs expected to spike as much as 60% this coming winter, many low-income individuals struggling to pay utility bills could face shutoff just as the cold weather sets in. Responding to this need, PeoplesBank has donated $45,000 in total to three local nonprofit organizations.

Although there are several government assistance programs designed to address this need, there is always a gap between the need and the available resources, as well as the ability to receive such funds in a timely manner when shutoff dates are looming. The bank’s Simple Emergency Fuel Assistance program aims to help fill those gaps.

“We understand that some of the most vulnerable residents of the communities we serve are at risk because of spiking fuel costs,” said Tom Senecal, president and CEO of PeoplesBank. “That’s why we partnered with these organizations that could help us create a simple way to get help quickly for those in need.”

In response to this emergency need, PeoplesBank is working with the following organizations to provide fuel assistance to the communities the bank serves:

• Hampden County: Valley Opportunity Council, www.valleyopp.com/energy-assistance/fuel-assistance, (413) 552-1554;

• Hampshire County: Community Action for Pioneer Valley, www.communityaction.us/fuel-assistance, (800) 370-0940; and

• Hartford area: Operation Fuel, operationfuel.org/gethelp, (860) 243-2345.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — For the 29th consecutive year, Rock 102 hosted its annual Mayflower Marathon food drive to benefit Springfield’s Open Pantry. This year, the tradition found a new home at MGM Springfield for the three days leading up to Thanksgiving. Bax & Nagle broadcast for 52 hours while collecting non-perishable food donations for Open Pantry.

As the Open Pantry continues to see growing demand for its services, the need for donations of non-perishable food items is constant. The outpouring of support from local residents and businesses (including Capitol Moving and Storage, Xfinity, Camping World of West Hatfield, 413 Dumpsters, and many more) was unprecedented this year and helped to fill more than three 53-foot tractor-trailer trucks and raise more than $174,000 in food and cash donations at MGM Springfield.

Additionally, the Springfield Thunderbirds hosted its first annual Mayflower Marathon Night on Nov. 23. The team raffled off custom Bax & Nagle Thunderbirds jerseys and custom signed cornhole boards. As a result, the Springfield Thunderbirds Foundation announced a donation of $10,500 in both cash and food donations to the Rock 102 Mayflower Marathon.

“The Thunderbirds organization is beyond proud of the generosity shown by our players, fans, and the Greater Springfield community as a whole,” Thunderbirds Managing Partner Paul Picknelly said. “We are grateful to our partners at Rock 102 and MGM Springfield for their support, and we look forward to many more years of impactful philanthropy through the Mayflower Marathon.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Freedom Credit Union recently announced the hiring of two staff members for its new loan-production office at 115 Elm Street in Enfield, Conn.: Jackson Findlay, mortgage loan originator, and John Santaniello, assistant vice president of Member Business Lending.

“We are excited to have Jackson and John join our team to serve our members in Connecticut,” Freedom Credit Union President Glenn Welch said. “We could not have two better people representing us at our first location across state lines.”

Findlay will be responsible for helping guide members through mortgage loan options, preparing and submitting mortgage loan applications, and working with prospective homebuyers throughout the process of obtaining a mortgage loan. A graduate of Newbury College with a bachelor’s degree in international business and Elms College with an MBA, he previously served as a virtual mortgage officer with another financial institution.

Santaniello will work with businesses seeking loans, including term, Small Business Administration, commercial real estate, and commercial vehicle loans. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. He previously worked at another financial institution in Connecticut as assistant vice president of Commercial Lending.

In 2020, Freedom expanded its charter from people who live, work, or attend school and their families in Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire counties in Massachusetts, to also include people in Hartford and Tolland counties in Connecticut.

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HOLYOKE — Holyoke Medical Center is currently seeking volunteer interfaith chaplains. Specifically, the hospital is seeking individuals who have served as an interfaith chaplain, have completed a clinical pastor education (CPE) program, or have relevant experience in honoring patients of diversified faith traditions and beliefs.

“Holyoke Medical Center is proud of our holistic approach to wellness,” said Pastor Joe DeGrande, volunteer chaplain. “With spirituality being a critical component to patient care, we are looking to expand our interfaith chaplain team to better serve our patients, their families, and our medical staff.”

All Holyoke Medical Center volunteers are required to participate in an onboarding process and orientation, and receive a photo identification badge.

To learn more about becoming a volunteer at Holyoke Medical Center and to apply, contact Laura Ciejka at (413) 534-2510 or [email protected].

Daily News

HATFIELD — For the 13th consecutive year, Monte Belmonte, radio personality at WRSI 93.9 the River, led a 43-mile, two-day march on Nov. 21-22 to benefit the mission of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts to feed neighbors in need. This year’s event has raised $494,742 so far and will help provide nearly 2 million meals to neighbors in need across Western Mass.

Belmonte pushed an empty shopping cart, as a metaphor for hunger, from Springfield to Greenfield while broadcasting live on WRSI to raise awareness about food insecurity, while inviting listeners to donate funds to provide emergency food assistance across Western Mass. The march kicked-off at Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services in Springfield, a member of the region’s emergency food network, providing healthy groceries through its food pantry and hosting a biweekly mobile food bank site. Andrew Morehouse, executive director of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, presented Patricia Bernard, MLK’s vice president of Finance and Operations, with a plaque honoring the late Ronn Johnson for his passion and work to end food insecurity in Springfield.

“Folks are really struggling, so the role of the Food Bank is to provide healthy food to 164 food pantries and meal sites across all four counties,” Morehouse said.

U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern added that “this is the richest country in the world. There are nearly 40 million Americans that don’t know where their next meal is going to come. We all can do something to end hunger. And Monte and this crew are doing something today.”

PeoplesBank presented the Food Bank with a $5,000 contribution. U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and state Sen. Jo Comerford offered their encouragement to the marchers as they began their 17-mile trek to Northampton for day one of the event. Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia welcomed the marchers at Gateway City Arts, and Chicopee Mayor John Vieau welcomed the marchers to Chicopee, where the Food Bank will build its future food distribution center and headquarters.

Along the way, the group, including state Rep. Pat Duffy, also stopped at Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen in Chicopee and Kate’s Kitchen in Holyoke, both partners with the Food Bank. Easthampton Mayor Nicole LaChapelle spoke with Belmonte as the march entered her city.

Day two of Monte’s March began in front of McGovern’s Northampton district office. Northampton Mayor Gina-Louise Sciarra joined the march in Northampton, and state Reps. Lindsay Sabadosa and Paul Mark joined dozens of marchers for 26 miles through Hampshire and Franklin counties. Stops included the Amherst Survival Center and, later, Berkshire Brewing Co., which has been a generous supporter of the Food Bank for decades. Belmonte thanked Atlas Farm, the largest donor of fresh produce to the Food Bank, before concluding in Greenfield. Hawks & Reed hosted the marchers for a pay-what-you-can finish-line feast for the community.

Gateway City Arts hosted and provided lunch on Monday, and Berkshire Brewing Co. hosted Tuesday’s lunch, provided by Holyoke Hummus, for almost 200 marchers.

Key sponsors, including Alekman DiTusa LLC, Boston Mutual Life Insurance Co., CoBank, Dean’s Beans Organic Coffee, Fallon Health, Greenfield Savings Bank, Instacart, PeoplesBank, and Talcott Resolution Life Insurance help make it possible for Monte’s March to reach its fundraising goals.

“People rose to the challenge to make nearly 2 million meals happen by raising over $492,000 for the Food Bank of Western Mass.,” Belmonte said. “I’m extremely grateful and humbled by the generosity of this community.”

There is still time for people to donate to help the Food Bank reach its $500,000 goal this year. Donations can be made online at montesmarch.com.

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SPRINGFIELD — Fontaine Bros. Inc., a construction management and general contracting firm serving the public and private sectors since 1933, recently announced three new hires to the organization: Michael Tiberii as senior project supervisor, Tom Ingle as project supervisor/manager, and Nicole LaCroix as project manager.

Tiberii joins Fontaine from AECOM Tishman, where he was vice president of MEP Services. With more than 35 years of experience, he has worked on projects in many sectors including life science, hospitality, and residential. He completed the Wentworth Institute of Technology’s Architectural Design and Drafting program and earned a certificate from the University of Texas’ Project Management program.

Before joining Fontaine, Ingle was a general contractor who managed his own construction and remodeling company. He is a licensed construction supervisor and earned a degree in business management from Providence College.

Lacroix comes to Fontaine from Bowdoin Construction. She earned a master’s degree in construction management from Wentworth Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree in interior design. Her diverse experience includes a wide range of projects in the academic and life-science sectors.

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HOLYOKE — Award-winning executive coach Suzanne Blake of Medfield will be the featured speaker at the last fall session of the Holyoke Community College (HCC) Women’s Leadership Series. Her Dec. 21 presentation is titled “Ask for It and Get It.” The Wednesday session runs from noon to 1 p.m. over Zoom.

A certified professional career coach, Blake has been recognized by the International Coach Federation of New England as one of the top coaches in the Greater Boston area, being nominated in 2013 as the Best Career Coach and receiving the Prism Award for excellence in corporate coaching in 2014.

This is the sixth semester HCC has offered the lunchtime series over Zoom, which allows participants the opportunity to connect, network, and focus on professional development at a time and place that is convenient for them.

During HCC’s Women’s Leadership sessions, participants join prominent women leaders for discussions on relevant topics and ideas to help their leadership development. They also have the opportunity to form a supportive network to help navigate their own careers.

Registration will open soon at hcc.edu/womens-leadership. The cost of each session is $25. Email Lanre Ajayi, HCC’s executive director of Education & Corporate Learning, at [email protected] if pricing is an issue.

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SPRINGFIELD — Today is the deadline to register to attend the fifth annual Women of Impact Gala on Thursday, Dec. 8 at the Sheraton Springfield, located at One Monarch Place. Tickets cost $85 per person. Visit businesswest.com/blog/women-of-impact-event-tickets to purchase tickets.

BusinessWest has long recognized the contributions of women within the business community and created the Women of Impact awards in 2018 to further honor women who have the authority and power to move the needle in their business, are respected for accomplishments within their industries, give back to the community, and are sought out as respected advisors and mentors within their field of influence.

The class of 2022 features Latoya Bosworth, program officer at Mass Humanities; Sr. Mary Caritas of the Sisters of Providence; Jodi Falk, executive director of Rachel’s Table; Anika Lopes, Amherst town councilor and president of Ancestral Bridges; Laurie Raymaakers, president of J.L. Raymaakers & Sons Inc.; Hilda Roqué, executive director of Nuestras Raíces Inc.; Ashley Sullivan, president of O’Reilly, Talbot & Okun; and Aelan Tierney, president of Kuhn Riddle Architects. Their stories are told in the Oct. 31 issue of BusinessWest and at businesswest.com.

The event’s presenting sponsors are Country Bank and TommyCar Auto Group, and the supporting sponsors are Comcast Business, Granite State Development Corp., and Smith Executive Education.

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AMHERST — A dozen UMass Amherst researchers representing a wide range of disciplines have been recognized as among the world’s most highly cited researchers in 2022.

The list is generated by the Web of Science database of analytics provider Clarivate. The highly cited papers rank in the top 1% by citations for their field and publication year, span 69 countries or regions, and are spread across a diverse range of research fields in the sciences and social sciences.

The highly cited UMass Amherst researchers for 2022 are three food scientists, Professor Eric Decker, Distinguished Professor David Julian McClements, and Professor and Clydesdale Scholar of Food Science Hang Xiao; two microbiologists, Kelly Nevin and Derek Lovley; Distinguished Professor in Chemistry Vincent Rotello; Armstrong/Siadat Endowed Professor of Chemical Engineering Nianqiang “Nick” Wu; Director of Stockbridge School of Agriculture and Professor of Environmental and Soil Sciences Baoshan Xing; Silvio O. Conte Distinguished Professor of Polymer Science and Engineering Thomas Russell; Hospitality and Tourism Management Provost Professor Muzaffer “Muzzo” Uysal; Associate Dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs and School of Public Health and Health Sciences Professor Laura Vandenberg; and Electrical and Computer Engineering Professor Qiangfei Xia.

This year, Clarivate’s Institute for Scientific Information (ISI) teamed with Retraction Watch to deepen qualitative analysis of the list to improve detection of potential misconduct such as plagiarism, image manipulation, and fake peer review. Researchers found to have committed scientific misconduct in formal proceedings conducted by a researcher’s institution, a government agency, a funder or a publisher were excluded from the list of Highly Cited Researchers.

“Research misconduct is an ever-increasing concern in our world. Activities such as unusual citation activity and fake peer review may represent efforts to game the system and create self-generated status,” said David Pendlebury, head of Research Analysis at ISI. “This is why we’ve expanded our qualitative analysis this year to ensure the Highly Cited Researchers list reflects genuine, community-wide research influence. Our efforts are part of a wider responsibility across the whole research community to better police itself and uphold research integrity.”

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BRATTLEBORO, Vt. – After a multi-state search, Brattleboro Savings & Loan (BS&L) recently welcomed Deborah Stephenson to the position of president. Current president Dan Yates will retire at the end of this year after 17 years in that role.

Stephenson comes to BS&L from Berkshire Bank, where she served as senior vice president for Compliance and helped grow the bank’s assets from $2 billion to $13 billion.

She first took her university degree in economics and finance into public service as a bank examiner for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Seeing so many banks from the inside helped her to learn the fundamentals of banking as well as to become an expert at risk management and compliance issues. Her first job out of the government was with Woronoco Savings Bank in Westfield, which was suffering from compliance issues that Stephenson helped clean up. This became a specialty that has followed her throughout her career, leading her to Berkshire Bank and now to BS&L.

“It was a really rigorous search for us,” said Carmen Derby, BS&L’s board chair. “We expected great candidates, but were a little surprised at just how much interest there was in taking this role at BS&L. Over and over, candidates talked about the values of the bank and the communities it serves, which means we’re doing something really right.”

Stephenson said meeting with people and listening is her first focus. “This bank is special, and it’s not my goal to come in and start changing things. Unlike many other banks I’ve joined, I’m not here to ‘fix’ BS&L, but to grow the things that already make it amazing and a true community bank.”

For the first couple of months, she will overlap with Yates and hopes to glean as much information and institutional knowledge as possible.

“I’m excited and humbled by this opportunity and I hope that we can maintain who we are in a way that’s authentic to this bank and community,” she said. “I want us to grow as a vibrant and resilient community bank.”

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WEST SPRINGFIELD — Eastern States Exposition (ESE) donated premium beef from a prize 4-H steer to the West Springfield Parish Cupboard and Springfield’s Open Pantry and Friends of the Homeless. Acting on behalf of the exposition and its board of directors, ESE President and CEO Gene Cassidy bid on and purchased the middleweight commended steer at the 4-H beef auction held during the Big E.

The 1,240-pound steer was raised by Lily Dias of Massachusetts, who purchased it as a calf and spent a full year growing it to market weight to participate in the four-day 4-H beef program at the fair.

Cassidy said the donation of premium 4-H beef will help feed the hungry in the community and draws attention to the importance of farmers and production livestock. “The exposition’s 4-H agriculture programs support youth, and the 4-H beef sale rewards the hard work of young, aspiring agriculturists who will be our future food producers. It is our privilege to support 4-H and provide this donation at an important time of year.”

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno offered thanks for the donation to Friends of the Homeless and Open Pantry. “This much-needed, top-quality beef donation will go a long way in helping those in need. I am very grateful for the partnerships and friendships we have developed to keep this heartwarming and uplifting tradition going strong.”

The Parish Cupboard, Open Pantry, and Friends of the Homeless will each receive approximately 200 pounds of ground beef and stew meat, packaged in three-pound units.

The 2022 4-H beef sale presented 25 steer for sale to area buyers, which included restaurants, businesses, colleges, farms, and individuals. The sale generated $133,719 in total sales that directly benefit the participating 4-H youths who use the money for college or to purchase another steer for the following year’s program.

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SPRINGFIELDBusinessWest is now accepting nominations for its Difference Makers class of 2023.

This program, initiated in 2009, is a celebration of individuals, groups, organizations, and families that are positively impacting the Pioneer Valley and are, as the name suggests, making a difference in this region. As previous classes have shown, there are many ways to do this: through work within the community on one or many initiatives to improve quality of life; through success in business, public service, or education; through contributions that inspire others to get involved; through imaginative efforts to help solve one or more societal issues; or through a combination of the above.

Nominations for the class of 2023 are due by Saturday, Dec. 10, and can be submitted at businesswest.com/difference-makers-nomination-form.

For more information, call Melissa Hallock, Marketing and Events director, at (413) 781-8600, ext. 100, or email [email protected].

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HADLEY — Curran & Keegan Financial of Hadley has returned as the lead sponsor of the 2022 Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce’s Holiday Gift Card Match with a $2,500 investment in the Amherst Area Gift Card program. Encharter Insurance, bankESB, and the Amherst Business Improvement District are joining in with their support to make this year’s $6,000 Holiday Gift Card match a reality, creating a $12,000 direct reinvestment in local businesses.

“If we have learned nothing else over the past couple of years, community matters,” said Molly Keegan, CPA and co-owner of Curran & Keegan. “We are happy to play a part in encouraging everyone to support their friends and neighbors by keeping holiday shopping local.”

Claudia Pazmany, the chamber’s executive director, added that “we are thrilled that Curran & Keegan could return this year to lead the match which inspired other partners to join in. They all understand the value of small businesses and their positive social and economic impact in our communities … supporting our small businesses contributes to our local economy, creates jobs, and preserves our community. They know how easy it is to get distracted and shop online at the big-box stores, so they are helping you choose local.”

Curran & Keegan demonstrated its support of small business as a leader in supporting the Amherst Area Chamber’s Winter Pivot Micro-Grant program at the beginning of last year. Now it is building on that commitment to support the local economy’s growth out of this pandemic two years in a row.

The match enables the Amherst Area Gift Card program to sell 240 $50 gift cards for $26 each ($1 service charge per card). The match will be sold exclusively at the Visitor Information Center at 35 South Pleasant St. in Amherst starting at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1, and the typical office hours are weekdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Only two gift cards will be sold per person or per family. Sales will be in-person only on a first-come, first-served basis, and there will be no advance sales.

The launch of this year’s Holiday Amherst Area Gift Card match day on Dec. 1 kicks off Amherst-wide holiday events focused on supporting local, including A Very Merry Maple Lighting on Friday, Dec. 2 beginning at 3 p.m. at the North Common in downtown Amherst; Merry Day, with 20% off at participating restaurants and retail stores, on Saturday, Dec. 3; and a Sip & Shop Stroll on Thursday, Dec. 15.

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GREENFIELD — Light UP the Fairgrounds, Franklin County’s drive-through holiday light spectacular, kicks off on Friday, Nov. 25 and runs for three weekends, Nov. 25-27, Dec. 2-4, and Dec. 9-11.

The Franklin County Fairgrounds is the site of this holiday tradition. Now in its third year, the event is bigger and brighter than ever.

“There are so many new participants; we are featuring 40 light displays this year,” Light UP the Fairgrounds committee member Ericka Almeida said. The public is invited to come take in the beautiful light displays and vote for their favorite. Cash prizes are awarded to the top two businesses and the top two individual entries.

For a minimum donation of $5 per car (cash only), visitors are invited to drive through the main gates of the fairground and witness the light extravaganza starting at 5 p.m., with the last car allowed into the fairgrounds at 8 p.m. Queueing for the event will be via Laurel Street to Fairview Street and will wrap around the fairgrounds to the main entrance.

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WESTFIELD — Westfield State University’s Division of Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion will host nationally recognized civil-rights attorney Ben Crump on Tuesday, Nov. 29 in the Scanlon Hall Banquet Room. His lecture, titled “Justice in 2022 and Beyond,” will serve as the inaugural presentation in the university’s new “Voice of Justice” lecture series.

Doors open at 6 p.m., with the lecture beginning at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Through a steadfast dedication to justice and service, Crump has established himself as one of the nation’s foremost lawyers and advocates for social justice, winning a number of record settlements and verdicts for victims and families that have faced injustice. He has worked on some of the most high-profile cases in the U.S., representing the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, the residents of Flint, Mich. who were affected by the poisoned water of the Flint River, as well as the family of Henrietta Lacks in a landmark reparations case.

In 2021, St. Thomas University College of Law announced the Benjamin L. Crump Center for Social Justice in his honor, which will open doors for minority students pursuing law degrees. His book, published in October 2019, Open Season: Legalized Genocide of Colored People, reflects on the landmark cases he has battled and how discrimination in the courthouse devastates real families and communities. He is the founder and principal owner of Ben Crump Law.

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SPRINGFIELDBusinessWest has long recognized the contributions of women within the business community and created the Women of Impact awards in 2018 to further honor women who have the authority and power to move the needle in their business, are respected for accomplishments within their industries, give back to the community, and are sought out as respected advisors and mentors within their field of influence.

The class of 2022 features Latoya Bosworth, program officer at Mass Humanities; Sr. Mary Caritas of the Sisters of Providence; Jodi Falk, executive director of Rachel’s Table; Anika Lopes, Amherst town councilor and president of Ancestral Bridges; Laurie Raymaakers, president of J.L. Raymaakers & Sons Inc.; Hilda Roqué, executive director of Nuestras Raíces Inc.; Ashley Sullivan, president of O’Reilly, Talbot & Okun; and Aelan Tierney, president of Kuhn Riddle Architects. Their stories are told in the Oct. 31 issue of BusinessWest and at businesswest.com.

The fifth annual Women of Impact Gala will take place at the Sheraton Springfield, One Monarch Place. Tickets cost $85 per person, and tables of 10 are available. Visit businesswest.com/blog/women-of-impact-event-tickets to purchase tickets.

The event’s presenting sponsors are Country Bank and TommyCar Auto Group, and the supporting sponsors are Comcast Business, Granite State Development Corp., and Smith Executive Education.

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BOSTON — Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts (GSCWM) announced that it received a $25,000 Catalyst Grant from the Women’s Foundation of Boston. The grant will fund new donor technology software.

GSCWM is one of 11 nonprofits that exclusively serves women and girls awarded the supplemental Catalyst Grant. According to Christina Gordon, co-founder and CEO of the Women’s Foundation of Boston, “this supplemental alternative grant offering allows us to deepen our impact and support a greater number of effective women- and girl-serving nonprofits. As with our annual multi-year grants, the rigorous process for choosing recipients of our Catalyst Grants is based on mission alignment and proven outcomes.”

The grant will fund new technology software to improve fundraising efficiency, donor engagement, and volunteer awareness. “This funding will allow us to upgrade our communication with our amazing donors, and we are incredibly grateful to the Women’s Foundation of Boston” said Pattie Hallberg, GSCWM CEO.

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WARE — The winter holidays will be brighter for a lot of people thanks to Country Bank’s annual Season of Difference campaign, during which the bank has pledged 28 days of making a difference in the communities it serves.

The bank’s team members will deliver $80,000 in donations to local food pantries, as well as $5,000 each to the Friends of the Homeless, Salvation Army, and the USO.

The campaign kickoff is on Saturday, Nov. 26 — Small Business Saturday — with team members purchasing gifts cards from local businesses and distributing them throughout their banking centers on Tuesday, Nov. 29 (Giving Tuesday).

In addition, the bank’s team members will be supporting holiday sponsorships and events; volunteering at nonprofits; providing gifts for 300 seniors in nursing homes, 400 gifts for children, and 300 gifts to homeless shelters; ringing the bell for the Salvation Army; and more.

“As a community partner, we care deeply about our communities, and we want to make a meaningful difference where it is most needed this holiday season,” said Paul Scully, president and CEO of Country Bank. “As we reflect on the past year with gratitude for the bank’s strength and ability to support so many in need, we are also humbled to witness so many great acts of kindness and support throughout our communities from the people and businesses who make this region the remarkable place it is to live and work.”

To find out what the bank is doing each day of the campaign, follow the bank’s social channels or visit www.countrybank.com/seasonofdifference.

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SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) announced the hiring of Eli Freund as director of Marketing and Communications and Louis Burgos as Digital and Social Media manager.

Freund comes to the college with experience in communications and journalism. In his new role, he will plan and execute strategic marketing and communications programs that promote STCC, among other responsibilities.

He was previously the director of communications for the University of Connecticut School of Engineering, where he oversaw external and internal communications. He also managed the integrated marketing plan for the school, which included social media, email marketing, paid advertising, search-engine optimization, and media relations.

In addition to his new role at STCC, he serves as an adjunct communications professor at Eastern Connecticut State University.

Prior to his role at UConn, Freund worked as a reporter, covering education and town government for the Chronicle in Willimantic, Conn., and the Journal Inquirer in Manchester, Conn. After leaving journalism, he worked in the mayor’s office in the town of East Hartford, Conn., as a communications officer, and worked for Clarus Commerce in Rocky Hill, Conn., coordinating all its public relations.

Freund earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Connecticut and a master’s degree in communication from the University of Hartford.

Burgos will lead a strong content strategy for STCC across its digital platforms, advancing the college’s brand, stakeholder support, and enrollment. In his new role, he will develop the college’s web content, social-media channels, and digital media and manage many creative projects, including writing digital copy.

Burgos previously worked at the Center for EcoTechnology in Springfield as a bilingual Marketing And Communication coordinator, where he managed its social-media presence and also served as videographer/video editor. In addition to his position there, he has also worked as a wedding videographer.

Burgos earned an associate degree in communication media and theater arts in 2018 from Holyoke Community College. In 2020, he continued his education and received a bachelor’s degree in communication from Westfield State University.

Dr. Shai Butler, vice president of Advancement & External Affairs, who oversees the Marketing and Communications team, said Freund and Burgos are welcome additions to the team.

“I’m delighted that Eli and Louis have joined us and will apply their talents to let the community know about STCC’s mission,” Butler said. “They have the qualities needed to strengthen our marketing and communications efforts.”

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PITTSFIELD — EDM, an integrated architecture and engineering firm with offices in Pittsfield; Unionville, Conn.; and Troy, N.Y., in partnership with Mitchell Associates Architects, recently provided programming and schematic design for a new net-zero fire station in Williamstown.

The station will be an example of sustainable design for public-safety buildings and will comply with the strictest requirements of the International Living Future Institute’s Zero Carbon Certification. This requires no burning of fossil fuels on site, 100% of energy to be created by renewable energy sources, and the achievement of a 10% reduction in the building’s embodied carbon.

Williamstown’s current, all-volunteer Fire Department responds to about 240 calls per year and operates from a 4,325-square-foot station on a one-third-acre lot that was built in 1950. The new facility will be located at the corner of Main Street and Linear Park Drive and will feature state-of-the-art firematic design strategies. The current design is approximately 28,000 square feet and is set to have six bays with a two-story administration/training/bunk wing.

The design will utilize innovative systems and materials such as an all-electric variable refrigerant flow HVAC system, building and ground-mounted photovoltaic panels, low-carbon concrete masonry units, 100% recycled brick, triple-glazed windows, high-recycled-content steel structure, and timber construction where allowed, to name a few strategies.

Resilience is also an important sustainable design feature of the exterior concepts. The selected exterior materials provide a skin that will hold up the demanding Northeast climate. The building is located close to wetlands and within certain regulatory flood plains, and with the ever-changing climate area communities are faced with, it was important to the town that the design ensured this facility could withstand increasing extreme weather events. The location and elevation of the new fire station’s site will limit the possibility of future site flooding from the adjacent wetlands.

The design aesthetic of the building is in response to the town’s desire to reflect the rich history of fire-station design in the Northeast. Utilizing brick and stone façade materials, arched bay door openings, and gable roof forms complement the more modern large expanses of glass.

The project is currently awaiting funding approval from Williamstown residents, with an official vote set to be held on Feb. 28, 2023.

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DALTON — Berkshire Money Management (BMM) recently welcomed Julia Lewis to a new position of compliance professional. Her arrival adds internal compliance capacity to the firm’s operations team.

As compliance professional, Lewis is responsible for Berkshire Money Management’s internal compliance program, employee training, and processes and procedures. She brings to the team eight years of experience in the finance industry across the retirement, home-lending, and insurance sectors. Prior to joining Berkshire Money Management, she was the Technical Operations manager at PCS Retirement. She is happy to join the BMM team, where she can be a part of giving back to the community and supporting local growth.

“Julia represents the high caliber of talent and leadership we are building to support the future of our firm and our clients,” Chief Operating Officer Natalie Wheeler said. “Evolving our strategy and fostering a culture of compliance to enable growth are key elements to our strategy, and we’re thrilled to have a wonderful team member like Julia blazing that path for us.”

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SPRINGFIELD — Springfield students will deck the halls at Springfield Union Station on Tuesday, Nov. 22 at 10:30 a.m. for the second annual holiday tree lighting.

The historic concourse will be filled with holiday cheer as U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno assist in lighting the tree and kicking off the holiday travel season. The Sci-Tech high-school choir, under the direction of Dr. Jose Passalacqua, will perform “Believe” from The Polar Express and “Rise Up.”

Springfield Union Station, owned by the Springfield Redevelopment Authority, is an intermodal transportation hub located near the North End of Springfield. The station serves as the hub for the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority, along with Peter Pan Bus Lines, Greyhound Lines, and Hartford Line commuter rail, and is the home of Dietz & Co. Architects and the Hispanic-American Library.

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BOSTON — The state’s October total unemployment rate was 3.5%, up one-tenth of a percentage point over-the-month, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development announced.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics’ (BLS) preliminary job estimates indicate Massachusetts gained 9,800 jobs in October. This follows the previous month’s revised gain of 22,900 jobs. The largest over-the-month private-sector job gains were in financial activities, professional and business services, and government. Employment now stands at 3,710,600. Since the employment trough in April 2020, Massachusetts gained 659,600 jobs.

From October 2021 to October 2022, BLS estimates Massachusetts gained 141,300 jobs. The largest over-the-year gains occurred in professional and business services, leisure and hospitality, and education and health services.

The October unemployment rate of 3.5% was two-tenths of a percentage point below the national rate of 3.7% reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The labor force decreased by an estimated 3,800 from 3,749,600 in September, as 6,200 fewer residents were employed, and 2,300 more residents were unemployed over-the-month.

Over-the-year, the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was down by 1.5 percentage points.

The state’s labor-force participation rate — the total number of residents 16 or older who worked or were unemployed and actively sought work in the last four weeks — dropped by 0.% to 65.5% over-the-month. Compared to October 2021, the labor-force participation rate was down two-tenths of a percentage point.

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SPRINGFIELD — Rocky’s Ace Hardware, one of the country’s largest family-owned Ace Hardware dealers with 47 locations in nine states, is kicking off the season of giving with its semi-annual “Round Up for Kids” fundraiser. Throughout the campaign, which extends through Monday, Nov. 28, customers are asked to round up their purchase total to the next dollar. The difference is donated to Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) hospitals.

“This Round Up really gets us in the holiday spirit each year,” Rocky’s Ace Hardware President Rocco Falcone said. “CMN helps the more than 10 million kids each year who rely on care from a children’s hospital to get the best possible medical treatment.”

This is the third “Round Up for Kids” fundraiser Rocky’s has held this year, with 100% of the money raised going to benefit local CMN hospitals, including Baystate Children’s Hospital in Springfield and Connecticut Children’s Hospital and Maria Fareri Children’s Hospital, both in Connecticut.

Participating Rocky’s locations include the Island Pond Road and Liberty Street stores in Springfield; the Agawam, East Longmeadow, Westfield, Ludlow, Palmer, and South Hadley stores in Massachusetts; and the Vernon and Stamford locations in Connecticut.

Since 1983, CMN hospitals have helped fill funding gaps by raising more than $7 billion. Its various fundraising partners and programs support the nonprofit’s mission to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible.

“We are proud to continue our support for CMN and the important work they do for children in our community,” Falcone said. “We look forward to another very successful campaign thanks to the generosity of our customers.”

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ENFIELD, Conn. — Freedom Credit Union, with 10 branches throughout the Pioneer Valley, announced the opening of its first location in Connecticut at 115 Elm St., Unit 214, in Enfield. The office, which recently opened, is dedicated exclusively to mortgage and business lending for the time being.

“We are excited to expand our footprint over the state line into Connecticut to better meet the needs of our members there,” Freedom Credit Union President Glenn Welch said. “This new location has both a full-time mortgage loan originator and a business lender on site.”

The mortgage loan originator, Jackson Findlay, will help guide members through mortgage loan options, prepare and submit mortgage loan applications, and work with prospective homebuyers throughout the process of obtaining a mortgage loan. He earned his bachelor’s degree in international business from Newbury College and an MBA from Elms College.

John Santaniello, assistant vice president of Member Business Lending, will work with businesses that are seeking loans including term, Small Business Administration, commercial real estate, and commercial vehicle loans. He graduated from the University of Massachusetts with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

“We have a significant number of members who go back and forth across the state line for work and other activities, so this expansion makes sense,” Welch added. “It is our intention to offer additional services to Connecticut in the future.”

In 2020, Freedom expanded its charter from people who live, work, or attend school in Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire counties to also include people in Hartford and Tolland counties in Connecticut.

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SPRINGFIELD — Chelan Brown, former diversity manager at MGM Springfield, filed a discrimination lawsuit last week alleging that senior management, including then-President Michael Mathis, racially discriminated against her and pressured her to submit falsified reports on the company’s diversity hiring practices to the Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC), among other allegations.

According to casino.org, MGM Springfield originally tasked Brown with ensuring that the construction workforce hired to build the $960 million facility was diverse and satisfied state requirements. The casino opened in August 2018.

The MGC gave MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor ambitious diversity hiring goals. During construction, the MGC said each casino should strive to contract at least 10% of the overall construction work with women-owned businesses. At least 2% of the vendor contracts were additionally to go to veteran-owned entities.

Upon opening, the MGC said minorities and women should account for at least half of MGM Springfield’s total workforce. The numbers reported by MGM Resorts to the MGC during construction and the casino’s opening outpaced those minimums. But Brown claims many of those statistics weren’t accurate.

In a lawsuit naming MGM Springfield and Mathis, as defendants, Brown alleges that she was forced to fudge the casino’s diversity numbers. When she eventually refused to further relay fabricated numbers, Brown alleges she was demoted to a lesser position with longer hours and less pay, which eventually resulted in her termination.

MGM Resorts and the MGC both acknowledged Brown’s lawsuit, but said the organizations had no immediate public comment.

Brown is seeking financial damages for allegedly being racially discriminated against and retaliated against by MGM management, breach of conduct, failure to deliver on promises of employment, and attempts to force an employee to submit fraudulent documents.

Brown, who has since gone on to work with Behavioral Health Network, said she was repeatedly harassed by Mathis while the two worked at MGM Springfield. Mathis stepped down from his position in January 2020, just two months after Brown was fired.

Brown alleges in her legal complaint that Mathis forced her to overstate employment statistics for many of the contractors MGM Springfield hired during construction. When she told Mathis she didn’t feel comfortable reporting the diversity metrics to the MGC, “President Mathis stated angrily that he would present the numbers to the MGC and ordered the team to ‘report the numbers this way,’ meaning inaccurately,” Brown’s lawsuit asserts.

Brown claims Mathis retaliated against her by demoting her to a conference services position, an area in which she had no prior experience. She took the job anyway, as it was the only option afforded to her after Mathis said she wouldn’t be retained as diversity manager. The conference services role came with a pay package that was 6.34% less than her diversity management role.

Brown’s lawsuit also alleges that she was forced to routinely attend corporate events where Mathis and other MGM executives overconsumed alcohol. “Senior levels of the organization began acting like they were in charge of a fraternity house and not a responsible organization,” Brown’s attorneys allege.

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NORTHAMPTON — The trustees of Smith College unanimously voted to name the college’s Campus Center in honor of Julia McWilliams Child, who graduated from Smith in 1934. The 60,000-square-foot Campus Center, which serves as the heart of student life on campus, was partially funded by proceeds from the 2002 sale of Child’s home in Cambridge, which the famed chef donated to the college. It includes flexible meeting spaces, the Campus Center Café, and areas for studying and socializing.

“Smith College is honored to recognize not only Julia’s generosity and lasting impact on the college, but also her impact on American culture and beyond as a teacher, author, and television personality,” President Kathleen McCartney said. “Throughout her life, she brought people together, so it seems appropriate to name the Campus Center for her as an ongoing celebration of her life’s work.”

Since 2004, Smith has celebrated Child’s legacy on Julia Child Day, a tradition held each year on the Thursday before Thanksgiving. Yesterday, the dining halls and the Campus Center Café served many of her famous recipes, like coq au vin, fruit crêpes and French onion soup.

“The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, established by Julia, is delighted to have Julia’s contributions to Smith and beyond recognized in such a special way,” said Eric Spivey, chairman of the Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts. “A gathering space at the college which meant so much to Julia is such a fitting tribute to all that Julia represented and the mission she tasked the foundation with fulfilling: promoting the joys of cooking, eating and drinking well, notably in good company and as a community. We think Julia would be delighted and humbled by the honor.”

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GREENFIELD — Food-supply shortages are impacting local food pantry shelves, but Greenfield Cooperative Bank President Tony Worden and Merrill Gagne, founder of Gagne Wealth Management in Greenfield, are working to change that.

Jodi Falk, director of Rachel’s Table, a food-rescue program of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts, initially contacted Worden and Gagne to help purchase meat to stock local pantry fridges. As a result of their generosity, Rachel’s Table purchased 708 pounds of chicken, ground beef, and pork for local pantries to distribute over the holiday season.

In addition, Greenfield Cooperative Bank and Rachel’s Table partnered to create a non-perishable food drive to help the Franklin County Community Meals Program, Community Action’s Center for Self-Reliance, Salvation Army Greenfield, and the Stone Soup Café’s Free Store. The Franklin County YMCA joined the team, and the Franklin County community-wide “canned-do” food drive was born.

“Several factors are at work here,” Falk said. “One, hunger in Massachusetts is double what it was pre-pandemic, moving from 8.2% to 16.4%. Two, inflation makes purchasing food challenging for people as well as agencies. And three, there are some supply-chain issues that have made the typical avenues where agencies get food a little more complicated. Tony and Merrill stepping up so generously, and also encouraging their businesses to help out, especially before the holidays, makes a huge difference to our community.”

Now, Falk and Jessye Deane, executive director of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce, are calling on other Franklin County businesses and organizations to join the effort.

“The need is great, but our generosity is greater,” Deane said. “The collaboration between businesses and nonprofits is so uniquely Franklin County. When there’s a need, we all come together to meet it. The responsiveness of Gagne Wealth Management, Greenfield Cooperative Bank, and Rachel’s Table represents the best of Franklin County.”

Rachel’s Table is making it easy for others to get involved by providing boxes (if needed) and offering donation pickup and delivery. A wish list of non-perishable items can be found at www.franklincc.org and www.rachelstablepv.org.

Organizations interested in helping or hosting their own food drive can contact Jay Levine at Rachel’s Table at (413) 733-0084, ext. 251. Individuals can drop off donated goods at the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce offices at 79 Old Main St. in Deerfield.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Bacon Wilson P.C. announced that three new associate attorneys have joined the firm.

Attorney Britaney Guzman-Bailey is a member of Bacon Wilson’s Domestic Relations and Family Law practice group. She earned her juris doctor degree magna cum laude at Western New England University School of Law, where she served as a production editor of the Western New England Law Review, and earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut.

Prior to joining Bacon Wilson, Guzman-Bailey served as a judicial law clerk at the Connecticut Superior Court. She received the CALI Award for Gender and the Law in 2021, the CALI Award for International Business Transactions in 2021, and the CALI Award for Family Law in 2020. She is a member of the Hispanic National Bar Assoc., the Hampden County Bar Assoc., and the Massachusetts LGBTQ Bar Assoc. She is licensed to practice in Massachusetts and will be working from Bacon Wilson’s Springfield location.

Attorney Sarah Federation is a member of Bacon Wilson’s Business and Corporate Law practice group. She earned her juris doctor degree cum laude from Western New England University School of Law in 2022 and earned her bachelor’s degree cum laude from Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y. in 2019.

Federation’s Bacon Wilson career originally began as a law clerk in May 2021. She received the CALI Award for Bioethics and Law in 2021 and was named Best Plaintiff’s Advocate in 2020. She is licensed to practice in Massachusetts and was officially sworn into the Massachusetts Bar Assoc. on Nov. 15. She will be working from Bacon Wilson’s Springfield location.

Attorney Joshua Goldstein is a member of Bacon Wilson’s Business and Corporate Law practice group and the Banking and Finance practice group. He earned his juris doctor degree cum laude from Western New England University School of Law in 2022 and his bachelor’s degree in business economics from the State University of New York, Oneonta in 2018.

Goldstein completed pro bono activity with the City of Homes Project under the direction of retired Judge Dina Fein. He also is a member of the Hampden County Bar Assoc. He is licensed to practice in Massachusetts and was officially sworn into the Massachusetts Bar Assoc. on Nov. 15. He will be working from Bacon Wilson’s Springfield location.

“The firm could not have hired a more talented crop of new associates,” Managing Shareholder Kenneth Albano said, “and we look forward to seeing Britaney, Sarah, and Joshua become part of the family of great lawyers here at Bacon Wilson for years to come.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts recently welcomed Shannon Gurek as vice president for Finance and Operations. She will provide strategic leadership in finance, information technology, operations, and risk management during a transformative period for the foundation. She was selected after a national search conducted by Lindauer, a leading executive search firm serving foundation and charity organizations. Lindauer is also leading the foundation’s search for its next president and CEO.

Gurek, who began her career in Springfield and is a life-long resident of Massachusetts, most recently served nine years as vice president for Finance and Administration and treasurer at Mount Holyoke College. While there, she also served as a member of the president’s cabinet and worked closely with the college’s trustees. In addition to overseeing the college’s operating budget, financial planning and reporting, and policies governing the stewardship of its $1 billion endowment, Gurek was responsible for key administrative areas that included human resources, facilities, risk management, and sustainability.

“We are thrilled and fortunate to be welcoming Shannon to the Community Foundation,” said Paul Murphy, trustee chair. “Her expert knowledge and experience will contribute significantly to the advancement of the foundation’s work.”

Prior to joining Mount Holyoke, Gurek was the associate treasurer and director of the budget at Amherst College, and early in her career, she was an audit supervisor at Coopers and Lybrand. A certified public accountant, she earned her MBA from the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst and her bachelor’s degree from Nichols College. She is also a member of the board of directors of Holyoke Medical Center.

“I’m humbled to be contributing to the foundation’s efforts during this important time,” Gurek said. “The important work that the foundation is doing and its clear impact on the Valley is what drew me to this position. I’m excited to begin working closely with the foundation’s leadership team and staff during a time in which the organization is experiencing great momentum and growth. I look forward to the work ahead.”

Gurek will be joining Jeffrey Markham Jr., Marty Bongfeldt, Sarah Guerin, and Ann Tweedy, all of whom recently joined the Community Foundation as staff members.

Markham began serving the foundation as program officer for Community Impact and Partnerships after 15 years in public-health research and community-based programming. His previous work was with the MOCHA (Men of Color Health Awareness) program in Springfield, where he directed its Disrupting Systemic and Structural Racism Initiative as well as its research collaboration with the UMass Amherst School of Public Health.

Bongfeldt joined the foundation as its new Donor Services associate. She brings extensive experience as an executive assistant to chief-level leadership in both corporate and nonprofit organizations. Originally from Dallas, Bongfeldt relocated to Western Mass. after her acceptance to Smith College’s Ada Comstock Scholar Program. She earned her bachelor’s degree and master of fine arts degree from Smith. She is also a playwright member of the Dramatist Guild.

Guerin joined the foundation as program assistant after serving the Girl Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts for nearly five years. She served as Executive Services assistant to the organization’s CEO and COO. She brings with her a wealth of nonprofit and youth organization experience as well as a strong background in volunteerism.

Tweedy joined the foundation as fund administration associate for Philanthropic Services. She comes to the foundation from Franklin/Hampshire County MassHire’s first upskilling navigator, in which she helped launch the first Career Technical Initiative (CTI) Commonwealth Corp.-funded Adult Vocational Education program at Franklin County Technical School in Turners Falls. She is the treasurer of a family foundation in Providence, R.I. and volunteers on several boards.

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WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — The Connecticut Airport Authority announced that Breeze Airways is once again growing its presence at Bradley International Airport and will be launching new nonstop service to Raleigh-Durham, N.C., in February. In the new year, the airline will also return nonstop service to Pittsburgh and introduce one-stop/no-plane-change ‘BreezeThru’ service to New Orleans.

From Bradley, Breeze currently offers non-stop service to Charleston, S.C.; Columbus, Ohio; Jacksonville, Fla.; Las Vegas; Nashville, Tenn.; Norfolk, Va.; Richmond, Va.; Sarasota-Bradenton, Fla.; and Savannah, Ga. In 2023, the airline will also be introducing nonstop service to Phoenix and Vero Beach, Fla.

“We welcome Breeze’s addition of new nonstop service to Raleigh-Durham,” said Kevin Dillon, executive director of the Connecticut Airport Authority. “The new route, along with the return of Pittsburgh service and the BreezeThru service to New Orleans, complement the airline’s growing menu of destinations at Bradley International Airport. We appreciate Breeze’s continued partnership in bringing low fares and so many convenient travel options to our passengers.”

Bradley International Airport is a national base for Breeze Airways.

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HOLYOKE — Earthbound Trading Company, a bohemian lifestyle brand, opened a 3,465-square-foot space on Nov. 15 on the upper level of Holyoke Mall near Macy’s.

The company features gifts and fashion for hippies at heart. Earthbound offers a full range of home décor, meditation essentials, textiles, stones, accessories, clothing, and more.

From humble beginnings in 1994 as a rock and mineral shop, Earthbound Trading now has 146 locations throughout the U.S.

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SPRINGFIELD — Rachel’s Table, a program of the Jewish Federation of Western Massachusetts (JFWM), unveiled its first refrigerated van, which was made possible by a $75,000 amendment filed by state Sen. Eric Lesser and state Rep. Brian Ashe in the American Rescue Plan Act.

Rachel’s Table also announced a new food-rescue partnership with MGM Springfield and that it would receive an additional $75,000 amendment filed by Lesser and Ashe to the FY23 state budget to support the program’s food-rescue work, including operational expenses that include the van’s maintenance. The announcements were made at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at MGM Springfield on Tuesday where legislators, local community leaders, nonprofit partners, and Rachel’s Table volunteers gathered to celebrate the news.

“In our 30 years of fighting hunger, we have found that we can have a bigger impact when various entities collaborate to create solutions that matter,” said Jodi Falk, Rachel’s Table director. “That is why we are overwhelmed with gratitude towards Senator Lesser, Representative Ashe, and MGM Springfield for supporting our work. Thanks to these amendments and our MGM Springfield partnership, we will be able to travel longer distances to rescue and deliver food as well as consistently provide a larger variety and thousands of pounds more of food to more people who need it most.”

Lesser noted that “Rachel’s Table is an organization rooted in community, fighting each day to tackle food insecurity and inspiring community activism in others. Their mission brings volunteers from various backgrounds and ages together to collect and distribute unused food to those who truly need it. I am grateful for their efforts and our ability to come together today and celebrate the inaugural trip of their new refrigerated van.”

Ashe added that “I’ve had the pleasure of working with and seeing firsthand the incredibly important work that Rachel’s Table does throughout our communities. Food is the fuel we all need to start our day and keep moving forward. Sadly, not everyone is able to have food on their table, and that is a travesty. I know that this refrigerated van will assist Rachel’s Table to reach even more people in need, and I’m proud to work with Senator Lesser, MGM, and Jodi Falk to help this come to fruition.”

After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, the refrigerated van made its first official trip by transporting an MGM Springfield donation of approximately 3,500 pounds of surplus food to the Salvation Army Liberty, Clinical and Support Option’s Friends of the Homeless, Massachusetts Military Support Foundation, Springfield Rescue Mission, Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen and Pantry, Kate’s Kitchen, and All Nations Church. The new partnership between Rachel’s Table and MGM Springfield will be ongoing and consist of a variety of surplus food from its dining facilities. Depending on the type of food donated at the time by MGM Springfield, local partners will be selected to receive the food.

“MGM Springfield is proud to support Rachel’s Table by regularly donating surplus food to be distributed to those in need,” said Chris Smigel, MGM Springfield’s executive director of Hospitality. “We value our relationship with this incredible organization and are grateful to be part of their mission to tackle food insecurity throughout our community.”

The van will be driven by the Rachel’s Table fleet of volunteers who have been specially trained to drive it. The van will primarily pick up food requiring refrigeration, such as meat and dairy, and make deliveries six days a week throughout Western Mass. It will be able to transport up to four pallets and close to 2,800 pounds of food.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield-based law firm Bulkley, Richardson and Gelinas, LLP announced the passing of longtime partner and valued friend Bob Gelinas.

Gelinas joined the firm as an associate on June 1, 1957 and became a named partner of the firm in 1972.

“Bob Gelinas was one of this firm’s most beloved partners and continued to be a mentor to many of us who still practice at the firm today,” said Dan Finnegan, managing partner. “I can honestly say that I have never met anyone who enjoyed the practice of law more than Bob. He was still coming into the office on a regular basis well into his 80s, and I am sure he would have continued to practice another decade if he had been able to do so. Bob was a great lawyer and an even better person.”

Gelinas was a member of the firm’s Litigation department and also worked with the Government Strategies, Health Law, and Employment Law practice groups. His practice focused on resolving disputes through advice, litigation, or alternative dispute resolution in such areas as healthcare, employment, land use, taxation, and construction. Gelinas had long represented the major medical providers in Western Mass. before various agencies and courts, and he represented nearly all of the major educational institutions in the region on various issues, including labor relations, construction, real estate, and professional and personal conduct.

For more than 25 years, Gelinas was selected by his peers for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America in the area of personal-injury litigation (defendants).

Prior to commencing his practice of law in 1957, he graduated from Naval Officer Candidate School and served as a U.S. Naval air intelligence officer.

An active member of his professional and local communities, he was an active member of the Hampden County Bar Assoc. for more than 60 years and served as a trustee and chairman of the board of trustees of Holyoke Community College, president of the Chicopee Community Center, chairman of the United Way professional campaign unit, and board member of Heritage Savings Bank. He was honored for his service by many civic organizations.

Gelinas was a 1951 graduate of St. Michael’s College with a bachelor’s degree, and earned his juris doctorate from Boston University School of Law in 1953.

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SPRINGFIELD — On Nov. 10, Home City Development Inc. (HCDI) received an award from the Springfield Preservation Trust for historic preservation of the Elias Brookings Apartments. HCDI hosted the Springfield Preservation Trust’s annual preservation awards ceremony in the community room at the Elias Brookings Apartments, where a total of 15 individuals and organizations (including HCDI) were recognized. The Springfield Preservation Trust honored the recipients’ hard work, commitment, and dedication to preservation.

Adaptive reuse of the Elias Brookings School was completed in March. This rehabilitation focused on historic restoration, where classrooms were converted into 42 mixed-income apartments and the basketball court was converted into a fully outfitted, 4,000-square-foot community room.

“Restoration and reuse of this historic building ensures that it will continue to serve the city of Springfield and its residents as it has since 1925,” said Peter Serafino, director of Real Estate Development at HCDI. “Elias Brookings Apartments, along with the new Elias Brookings School, the rotary at Six Corners, Ruth Elizabeth Park updates, Educare Springfield, and the Central Street Realignment, together have truly transformed the neighborhood.”

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SPRINGFIELD — Through Friday, Dec. 2, Freedom Credit Union is collecting cash donations at all its branches throughout Western Mass. to benefit the Pioneer Valley USO located at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee.

“At Freedom Credit Union, our members and staff are longtime supporters of our military and the brave men and women who give so much to protect and defend our nation,” Freedom Credit Union President Glenn Welch said. “Throughout the year, and especially around the holidays, being away from family is one of the biggest challenges they face. The USO works to ease this difficulty by helping keep the members of our military connected to their families and homes, while also providing resources to their family members.”

Westover is the largest air reserve base in the nation and home to about 5,500 military service members and their families. There, the Pioneer Valley USO works to provide programs and services to service members and their families. This includes entertainment and events, a food pantry, transition programs, holiday celebrations, and more.

“We hope everyone will join us in supporting those who keep us safe,” Welch said. “Whether or not you are a Freedom member, please stop by one of our branches to make a cash donation toward this important effort. Every donation is appreciated and will be put to great use.”

Freedom Credit Union has branches in Chicopee, Feeding Hills, Greenfield, Ludlow, Northampton, Turners Falls, West Springfield, and Springfield.

Daily News

EAST LONGMEADOW — Fitzgerald Law recently announced that attorneys Daryl Johnson, Kevin Hassett Jr., and Rachel Fancy have joined the firm.

“We are so happy to welcome Daryl, Kevin, and Rachel to our team,” said Seth Stratton, a shareholder with the firm. “We love the energy they are bringing to our work, and our clients have been delighted with their services.”

Johnson has a broad business-law practice advising clients on matters of commercial real estate, corporate finance, succession planning, and trust and estates. She has eight years of experience practicing as an attorney and has served as corporate counsel for an international importing business.

She graduated summa cum laude from Elms College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree, and cum laude from the UMass School of Law in Dartmouth, where she earned her juris doctorate. She is a trustee of Springfield International Charter School, regularly fundraises to benefit Empty Arms Bereavement Support, and has served as a volunteer for Girls on the Run and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampden County.

Hassett focuses his business-law practice on the areas of contract drafting and negotiation, commercial loans, commercial real-estate development including acquisition and sale, regulatory and government enforcement actions and investigations, and employment law.

He is a graduate of UMass Amherst, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in legal studies, and Western New England University School of Law, where he earned his juris doctorate. He is a member of the Hampden County Bar Assoc. New Lawyers’ Section Executive Board and a member of the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield.

Fancy advises business owners and leadership teams on the resolution of commercial disputes, litigation tactics and procedure, and land use, zoning, and permitting. She is particularly skilled at legal research and writing, as well as oral advocacy and negotiation.

She graduated magna cum laude from Suffolk University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree, and cum laude from Western New England University School of Law, where she earned her juris doctorate. She represents the firm with the Westfield Chamber of Commerce. She has also volunteered with a small-business clinic while in law school, working with local startups.

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MONSON — Monson Savings Bank recently announced the promotion of Jamie Blaxland to Accounting manager.

“Jamie has proven herself to be a very valuable resource to our team during her career here,” Monson Savings Bank President and CEO Dan Moriarty said. “We are extremely grateful for her loyalty, diligence, and hard work contributing to the overall success of our organization.”

In her role as Accounting manager, Blaxland is primarily responsible for managing the Accounting department, which oversees the bank’s accounts payable, automated clearing house (ACH), investment bookkeeping, wires, general-ledger reconciliations, and more.

Blaxland has been with Monson Savings Bank for 20 years. Prior to this recent promotion, she served as Accounting supervisor. She has worked in the bank’s Accounting department for more than 18 years and has 25 years of experience working in the banking industry. She holds several ACH certifications and is an accredited ACH professional.

“When I first started working at Monson Savings Bank as a teller in the Monson Branch 20 years ago, I knew I had joined a special team of like-minded individuals,” Blaxland said. “I am so thankful to still be a part of that team today. As I look to the future, I am looking forward to continuing to develop in my own professional life and helping my colleagues develop in theirs.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will host a Back to Business Career and Transfer Fair on Thursday, Dec. 8 with area employers seeking to attract and retain employees.

The event, which is free and open to students, alumni, and friends of STCC looking for their next career move, will be held from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Ira H. Rubenzahl Student Learning Commons (Building 19).

“We are excited to bring back the Back to Business Career and Transfer Fair to STCC,” said Shai Butler, vice president for Advancement & External Affairs. “At our last fair earlier this year, we had a positive response from students, alumni, and friends of the college thinking about careers, as well as from area employers. This is a great opportunity for businesses in the region to connect with STCC students, alumni, and friends who are searching for their next career move.”

Attendees also will have a chance to meet with representatives from four-year colleges and universities who can discuss transfer options. Four-year colleges and universities that offer transfer opportunities to STCC students can set up a table for free at the fair.

Employers and four-year colleges and universities are invited to contact STCC to participate. STCC secured PeoplesBank as its first corporate sponsor. Visit stcc.edu/backtobusiness to learn more about becoming a sponsor and/or vendor. STCC offers corporate and nonprofit partnerships, which includes a vendor table.

During an employer breakfast, the college will host a moderated panel of industry experts discussing the future of work. Conversations will include focus on how managers are responding to such topics as quiet quitting, hybrid/remote work requests, losing women in the workforce, and more.

“We encourage employers to register as soon as possible, since employer space is limited,” said Kelly Galanis, director of Operations and Donor Relations for the STCC Foundation.

Jennifer Brown, president of the STCC Foundation board of directors and senior manager of Professional Sales at Masis Professional Group, noted that employers are hiring right now.

“Employers won’t want to miss being part of the Back to Business Career Fair at STCC,” she said. “Companies are looking for top talent to join their team right now, and the need to connect with good candidates is top priority for hiring managers. STCC has a variety of programs available to meet the demands in high-demand areas such as healthcare, advanced manufacturing, construction, engineering, business administration, and computer science. “

Participants can visit stcc.edu/backtobusiness to find more information, including a link to download the CareerFair Plus app and links to register. For questions, contact Galanis at (413) 755-5429 or [email protected].

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