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Daily News

HOLYOKE — Amazon plans to open a distribution center in Holyoke this fall and hire hundreds of workers to staff it, Mayor Alex Morse announced Thursday. The site, at 161 Lower Westfield Road, is the former home of the Paolo Freire Social Justice Charter School and Atlas Copco.

Wages start at at $15 an hour for both full and part-time workers, Morse said. The city is working with Amazon to conduct a hiring event, but in the meantime, Amazon will have a booth at Celebrate Holyoke this weekend, and the mayor encouraged residents and prospective employees to stop by to learn more.

“As mayor, I am encouraged by Amazon’s commitment to hire locally, provide hundreds of living-wage jobs, and strengthen our tax base,” Morse said in a statement. “The distribution center will continue to help Holyoke grow and diversify our economy while providing job opportunities to residents.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Gateway to College program at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) received a Program Excellence Award in recognition of exceeding all four benchmarks used to assess the performance of Gateway to College programs nationwide.

Through Gateway to College, students who have dropped out of high school or who are significantly off track complete their high-school diplomas in college-based programs while simultaneously earning credits toward a post-secondary credential. STCC has hosted a Gateway to College program since 2013, and the program enrolled 67 students during the academic year when it received the award.

In 2017 and 2018, the STCC Gateway to College program was recognized with a Graduation Achievement Award. This marks its first Program Excellence Award and represents one of only 11 such awards given to Gateway to College programs nationally.

At the Gateway to College Directors Convening in New Haven, Conn. at the end of July, Achieving the Dream President Karen Stout and Executive Vice President Emily Froimson presented the award to STCC Gateway Program Director Katara Robinson.

“Gateway to College programs provide a critical second chance for vulnerable high-school students and a powerful testament to the importance of wraparound supports and creating a sense of belonging in college,” Froimson said. “Nearly 75% of program graduates nationwide continue their post-secondary education.”

Added Robinson, “this award reflects students’ achievements here at STCC’s Gateway to College program. Our staff is extremely happy we could be here to support them in their success. We are excited about supporting students and transforming lives.”

STCC Dean of Academic Initiatives Matt Gravel congratulated Robinson and her staff for their commitment to helping students succeed.

“Gateway to College at STCC is a phenomenal program that helps get students back on track and earn their high-school diploma,” he said. “The program also gives students a chance to experience a college environment and to appreciate the value of a college education.”

Daily News

SOUTHAMPTON — The Dowd Agencies, LLC opened the doors at its new Southampton office during an open house on Aug. 21. Having outgrown its previous space in town, the Dowd Agencies packed up at 170 College Highway and moved down the road to 124 College Highway, lured by the desire for expanded parking and office space.

“We enjoy being a part of the Southampton community, but we outgrew our old space,” said John Dowd Jr., president and CEO. “We were happy to be able to find a larger space, just down the road, that continues to allow us serve our clients in this area.”

The new Southampton location of the Dowd Agencies is full-service, providing personal insurance, commercial insurance and employee benefits, including life insurance and retirement plans.

“This relocation within Southampton is another step we’ve taken to improve access to our agents and services,” added David Griffin Sr., executive vice president and treasurer for the Dowd Agencies. “We love being part of the Southampton community and are happy that we found a larger location to accommodate our needs and the needs of our clients.”

Daily News

GREENFIELD — Tina Stevens, adjunct faculty at Greenfield Community College and principal of Stevens Design, will teaching a class on digital design tools on Tuesdays from Sept. 17 to Dec. 20, from 4:10 to 6:50 p.m.

This introduction to digital design is open to the public, as well as enrolled students. It focuses on the use of the Adobe Creative tools Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign. Topics include getting started using the Adobe interface, photo image preparation and manipulation, drawing artwork for logos and illustrations, and designing documents and marketing materials.

Tuition is $550, and fundamental computer skills are required. To register, click here or call (413) 775-1661.

Daily News

PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Theatre Group announced the installation of a new modular ramp at the Fitzpatrick Main Stage to increase access for all patrons, replacing the chair lift previously there.

The modular ramp was designed and installed by the Albany Lift Co., and creates an accessible entrance into the Fitzpatrick Main Stage. The modular ramp was funded by a grant from the Stockbridge Community Preservation Act Program.

According to Lillian Lee, director of Grants and Campaigns and accessibility coordinator, “the installation of the ramp at our Fitzpatrick Main Stage is a wonderful addition to our existing accessibility features. This is a big step toward creating a more fully accessible organization for all of our patrons. Theater is universal, and we want to ensure that our programming is able to be enjoyed by everyone.”

Daily News

HADLEY — UMassFive College Federal Credit Union announced it is bringing student-loan repayment benefits to its employees via a new partnership between Student Choice and FutureFuel.io.

Student Choice teamed up with FutureFuel.io earlier this year to better help credit unions address the growing challenge of student-loan debt faced by the emerging workforce. Participating in this new perk allows credit unions to offer their employees and employees of select employee groups access to FutureFuel’s online portal of automated tools that can help reduce the impact of student debt.

“UMassFive got its start serving the students and staff of the Five Colleges in the Pioneer Valley,” said Lauren Duffy, the credit union’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. “While our field of membership has expanded over time, our roots in higher education remain a driving force in helping both our members and our employees pay for college responsibly. We believe offering student-loan repayment benefits to our employees will help them achieve greater financial freedom as they move toward other important stages of their lives.”

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CHICOPEE — Nearly a dozen employee volunteers from NESCOR will be on the serving lines for dinner at Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen today, Aug. 22.

As part of an ongoing effort to provide community outreach, NESCOR General Manager Bob Tariff and his team will work with Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen to serve more than 100 meals.

“This is a great opportunity for us to give back to a community we love,” he said. “Western Massachusetts has been our home for decades, and our team appreciates this chance to provide well-deserved support.”

Lorraine’s serves more than 30,000 meals per year to 12% of Chicopee’s population. NESCOR employees will serve food, clean dishes and tables, and provide general support to Lorraine’s staff and clientele.

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WEST SPRINGFIELD — DiGrigoli Salon announced that Kayce Babinksi, who has been a member of the artistic team for just over a year, was promoted on Aug. 1 from a junior stylist to a senior stylist.

Babinski specializes in vivid colors, balayage, and braided updos. She earned this promotion by being a dedicated and loyal stylist, increasing her clientele, and continuously staying educated on the latest trends and techniques.

She is a graduate of DiGrigoli School of Cosmetology and has attended several national hair shows and classes in Orlando, Fla. and New York City to make sure her clients are getting the best possible service. She has also been integral in supporting and promoting DiGrigoli’s own hair-product line, Paul Joseph Professional.

Daily News

WESTFIELD — Holyoke Medical Center announced expanded healthcare services in Westfield, including family medicine, women’s services, gastroenterology, walk-in care, and more.

Holyoke Medical Group Family Medicine, an affiliate of Holyoke Medical Center, has relocated to 140 Southampton Road in Westfield. The office offers care for the entire family, including pediatrics, adult primary care, women’s health, and geriatric care.

Dr. Thomas Graziano and Deborah Pisciotta, MS, PA-C, are accepting new patients. The office is open weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. To make an appointment, call (413) 535-4800.

“Holyoke Medical Center is committed to continuously provide our patients with high-quality medical care and treatment that is more accessible and convenient to them through community-based locations,” said Spiros Hatiras, president and CEO of Holyoke Medical Center.

In addition to Holyoke Medical Group Family Medicine, Holyoke Medical Center plans to offer walk-in care, lab draw, imaging services, and physical therapy at the 140 Southampton Road facility starting this fall.

Holyoke Medical Group Women’s Services also has an office in Westfield, located at 94 North Elm St., Suite 102, in Westfield. Holyoke Medical Center Gastroenterology will also open a new office at 94 North Elm St., Suite 206, in Westfield on Oct. 21.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C. announced that one of its partners, Timothy Murphy, was recognized by his peers as a 2020 Lawyer of the Year in Springfield for his work in Labor Law – Management. Only a single lawyer in each practice area and community is honored with this award.

In addition, Murphy is recognized in the 2020 edition of Best Lawyers in America for his work in Employment Law – Management, Labor Law – Management, and Litigation – Labor and Employment.

“Tim has a depth of expertise in the field of employment law, including labor relations, union campaigns, collective bargaining and arbitration, and employment litigation and counseling,” said Marylou Fabbo, partner at Skoler Abbott. “His problem-solving skills, attitude, and experience benefit his clients, our firm, and his community.”

Focusing his practice on labor relations, union campaigns, collective bargaining and arbitration, employment litigation, and employment counseling, Murphy has been included in Best Lawyers in America every year since 2013 and was also Lawyer of the Year in 2015 and 2019. In 2017, he was named Man Enough to Be a Girl Scout by the Girls Scouts of Central and Western Massachusetts.

Murphy is also active within the local community, sitting on boards of directors for several area organizations, such as the Springfield Regional Chamber and Community Legal Aid. He is also a member of the World Affairs Council and the Finance Committee in Wilbraham.