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SPRINGFIELD — Professor Jennifer Taub of the Western New England University School of Law has recently been elected to the American Law Institute (ALI), the leading independent organization in the U.S. producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize, and otherwise improve the law.

The organization includes judges, lawyers, and law professors from the U.S. and abroad, selected on the basis of professional achievement and demonstrated interest in improving the law. Taub will join 24 new members from across the country to advance the ALI mission to clarify the law through restatements, principles, and model codes.

At Western New England University School of Law, Taub teaches civil procedure, white-collar crime, and other business and commercial law courses. She was the Bruce W. Nichols Visiting Professor of Law at Harvard Law School during the fall 2019 semester.

Taub joined the faculty of Western New England University School of Law in the fall of 2020. A legal scholar and advocate, she is devoted to making complex business-law topics engaging inside and outside of the classroom. Her scholarly research and writing centers on corporate governance, banking and financial market regulation, and white-collar crime. Similarly, her advocacy is focused on ‘follow the money’ matters, promoting transparency and opposing corruption.

Her book, Big Dirty Money: The Shocking Injustice and Unseen Cost of White Collar Crime, was published in 2020 by Viking Press. Penguin Books published the paperback edition of Big Dirty Money last month with a new subtitle: Making White Collar Criminals Pay, with a new preface and epilogue updates.

Taub was a co-founder and organizer of the April 15, 2017 Tax March, when more than 120,000 people gathered in cities nationwide to demand President Trump release his tax returns. Relatedly, she has appeared on cable news programs including MSNBC’s Morning Joe, MSNBC’s Way Too Early, and CNN Newsroom to discuss the special-counsel investigation into links between Russia and the Trump presidential campaign and the death of Bernie Madoff.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Museums will present “True Stories and Tall Tales of the Springfield Quadrangle” on Saturday, Oct. 23, with tours starting at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m. The cost is $10 for the general public and $3 for members of the Springfield Museums.

During this outdoor-only event, museum staff will present famous, mysterious, and sometimes-true stories of the Quadrangle and the five museums on the Springfield Museums campus.

“One of your guides is trustworthy and knowledgeable, and will stick to the well-documented history of the museums,” said Jenny Powers, family engagement coordinator. “Beware what you hear from your other guide; she may make up some stories along the way.”

Tour participants will learn about the museums’ origins, their first collections, and the dreams that made the Springfield Museums a reality today, as well as interesting facts about each building — and a few tall tales to share while trick-or-treating on Halloween.

“Sharing stories is one of the most enjoyable ways we have to connect with one another and with our surroundings,” said Clarissa Leverich, membership coordinator. “And, well, most people do love a tall tale, especially with lots of embellishment.”

Each participant will receive a souvenir flashlight to bring along on the tour. This program is recommended for visitors 10 and up.

Daily News

NORTH ADAMS — MCLA and the Berkshire STEM Network will offer virtual programming for local public-school students, K-12 educators, and the general community during Berkshire County STEM Week on Oct. 18-22.

A complement to the statewide STEM Week initiative, Berkshire County STEM Week’s theme is “See Yourself in STEM.” Free and open to the public, the week will feature a series of virtual panels, workshops, speakers, tours, and information about opportunities in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) fields in the Berkshires and beyond.

Pittsfield Community Television (PCTV) will be the platform host for the week’s series of events. Community members can access programming on cable access or at www.pittsfieldtv.org. See a full program schedule at www.mcla.edu/stemweek.

Each day of Berkshire STEM Week is theme-based:

• Monday, Oct. 18: Food, farming, and sustainability, with contributing programming sessions from Berkshire Grown: “How to Keep Farmers Farming,” fall owling with Williams College, organic agriculture by Full Well Farm, and a live Zoom session with the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts;

• Tuesday, Oct. 19: Careers in STEM, with programs in building trades, nursing, mental health, and design technology;

• Wednesday, Oct. 20: STEM in business, with sessions from Berkshire Innovation Center partners; and

• Thursday, Oct. 21: STEM education, with programs from Flying Cloud Institute, the Berkshire Museum, MCLA, Berkshire Community College (BCC), and Williams College, as well as the MassHire Berkshire Career Center’s virtual job fair from 10 a.m to 1 p.m. Employment opportunities include STEM and manufacturing careers as well as internships and jobs for youth. The program also will have educational resources. An in-person STEM Café will be hosted in the Connector at BCC.

The week will also include all three episodes of “Project Frontline” by Boyd Studios, an internship and job-information session by General Dynamics for MCLA and BCC students, a STEM education panel hosted by Berkshire Innovation Center with educators and students, and in-person STEM family programs at Berkshire Museum on Saturday, Oct. 23. The Flying Cloud Institute will also offer STEM art kits for families participating in Berkshire STEM Week.

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Due to popular demand, Holyoke Community College (HCC) has added a second date this fall for its three-hour workshop focusing on life after retirement.

“Rewire: Finding Purpose and Fulfillment After Retirement” will meet on Wednesday, Nov. 3 from 6 to 9 p.m. in the Kittredge Center for Business and Workforce Development on HCC’s main campus at 303 Homestead Ave.

“The Oct. 27 session filled quickly, and we continue to get calls from people who want to take it,” said Michele Cabral, HCC’s executive director of Professional Education & Corporate Learning. “Lots of people are looking for ideas on how to live a more meaningful life and how to create a fun next chapter.”

“A third session is scheduled for April 27, 2022,” she added, “but we know that some people will want to get started right away.”

Many pre-retirees focus solely on their 401(k) and pension when deciding when to retire but neglect to consider how they will find purpose and fulfillment in the next chapter of their lives. A person who retires at age 65 will be active for 20 years or more after leaving their full-time job. The workshop will explore ways retirees can fill those hours they have previously devoted to their careers.

“Retirement is a transition not unlike a career transition where people need to reflect on their interests, preferred skills, and values to determine a new direction in their lives,” said former career counselor Barbara Foster, who will facilitate the workshop. “Today’s retirees are finding new interests and hobbies, volunteering, establishing new businesses, and pursuing new learning in this third chapter of their lives.”

The workshop will offer a series of exercises and self-assessments, as well as time to reflect, brainstorm with others, and develop goals and a vision for this new chapter of life. Participants will also leave with an extensive list of resources to explore.

To maintain safe social distancing, space is limited, so advance registration is required. To register, visit hcc.edu/rewire, or call (413) 552-2500 for more information. The cost is $39. Masks are required in all HCC campus buildings regardless of vaccination status.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Public Health Institute of Western Massachusetts (PHIWM) is launching the Springfield Youth Mental Health Coalition, a collaboration of municipalities, public health, schools, social-service providers, and youth working to lift up issues and resources for mental health among Springfield families and youth.

The coalition’s kickoff event, in partnership with the Springfield Public Forum, will feature Dr. Alfiee Berland-Noble, a noted national speaker on mental-health issues in BIPOC youth and young adults across all marginalized identities (including LGBTQ+ and disabilities).

Through funding from the Massachusetts Department of Public Health’s Office of Problem Gambling and the Davis Foundation, the coalition will develop a communications campaign to normalize healthy conversations about mental health, work with schools on tools to support youth mental health, provide trainings to teachers and other providers, develop a peer-to-peer mentor framework, and provide educational webinars such as the partnerships with Estoy Aquí and the Springfield Public Forum.

“For years, we have watched youth health survey data locally, statewide, and nationally highlight the growing anxiety, depression, and suicidality rates of our young people,” said Jessica Collins, PHIWM’s executive director. “We recognize the strengths and courage of young people to do something about this. Together — across age and sector — the Youth Mental Health Coalition is working to lift up incredible insights and ideas of youth and families as well as best-practice strategies to promote youth engagement and protect youth from community environments that exacerbate poor mental health.”

This coalition was formed after an extensive process led by PHIWM to gather information from community voices, local mental-health service-provider experts, and data from existing assessments of community health needs. The planning process narrowed from a list of 15 potential issues to one: youth mental and behavioral health. The recently released report, “Mental Health Inequities Among Springfield Eighth Grade Students,” shows the need for expanding and destigmatizing youth mental-health services.

“To our Springfield community, we invite your participation on the coalition — to offer behavioral-health trainings, education, and resources to your staff and families or attend the educational webinars to learn how to better support our local youth,” said Tiffany Rufino, PHIWM’s Youth Mental Health Coalition manager.

A key component of the coalition is the Beat the Odds youth group convened by Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services. Ariana Williams, director of Public Health for that organization, noted that “Beat the Odds is a safe space for our youth to express their thoughts or feelings without feeling judged or dismissed. Together, we are empowered, and we aim to support one another and youth all over the city. With youth mental health arising as an emerging public-health issue across the nation, our hope is that we can help erase the stigma around mental health for youth and families and promote the importance of a prioritizing a healthy mental state.”

In addition, an overarching advisory committee of residents, agencies, schools, and mental-health providers has been convened, with representatives from the African Diaspora Mental Health Assoc., Baystate Health, Behavioral Health Network, Davis Foundation, Estoy Aquí, Gándara Center, Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services, New North Citizens Council, Out Now, PHIWM, the Springfield Office of Health and Racial Equity, Springfield Public Schools, Square One, and Tamera Crenshaw – Tools for Success Counseling, LLC.

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Mortgage lenders led by KeyBank bid $23 million Thursday and bought Springfield Plaza at a foreclosure auction, the Republican reported.

The winning bid protected the lenders’ money after other bidders failed to reach the undisclosed minimum bid. Two other active bidders both tapped out after $22.5 million.

According to the Republican, Andrea Mattei, the attorney representing the mortgage lenders, said the banks will likely market the 72-acre complex on Liberty Street to buyers through conventional means.

Previous owners Davenport Companies and Albany Road Real Estate Partners had a $30 million mortgage on the property through KeyBank and the other lenders.

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SPRINGFIELD — Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts (JFS), in partnership with HIAS, has been awarded a four-year, $250,000-per-year Individual Development Accounts (IDA) program grant from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.

The IDA program is a matched-savings program that assists individuals and families to save toward an asset that will increase financial independence. Refugees can save for one of four assets — to start or support a business, to purchase a vehicle to obtain and maintain employment and education, to increase capital to purchase a home, or to invest in post-secondary education or training. Individuals can save up to $2,000, and households can save up to $4,000, and have their savings matched dollar for dollar.

The IDA program provides asset-specific training, financial-literacy classes, and technical assistance to increase participants’ capacity to increase self-sufficiency, become financially stable, and achieve their savings goals.

“JFS is honored to have received this grant for our new Americans in the area. The ability to have this program allows us to offer unparalleled support for economic independence and integration to all qualified new Americans in the area,” said Maxine Stein, CEO of JFS.

Economic independence is the greatest challenge faced by refugees in the U.S. The lack of sustaining income; career trajectories; access to financial education, assets, and capital; and benefits that come with entry and middle-level jobs often mean that refugees face long-term struggles with housing, transportation, healthcare, language acquisition, and health. The challenge of economic integration is underscored by limited access to credit, banking, and networks that can further economic independence.

By enrolling participants in IDA, HIAS and JFS will help refugees establish savings accounts; create regular saving habits; promote participation in the financial banking system; increase knowledge of financial topics, including developing a household budget, building and maintaining credit, and saving; acquire assets to build individual, family, and community resources; advance education opportunities; purchase homes; gain access to capital for microenterprise development; and foster community economic development by which the historically marginalized are now accessing resources and opportunities.

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SPRINGFIELD — The Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau (GSCVB) has launched the Downtown Springfield Check-in Challenge, a new program that aims to highlight the attractions and restaurants adjacent to the MassMutual Center for convention attendees and anyone else visiting Springfield.

The passport is a free program that visitors and even locals can sign up for. With more than 17 local businesses included within the passport, it showcases the best of Downtown Springfield in an easy, mobile-friendly way.

“Conventions are coming back to the MassMutual Center this fall, and we want to make sure these attendees can find all of the great dining options and attractions located just blocks away from the convention center,” GSCVB President Mary Kay Wydra said.

The GSCVB has partnered with a well-known technology company in the travel space, Bandwango, which aims to support free and paid experiences created by destinations and marketed to visitors and locals. Using this technology, the GSCVB began working alongside local businesses to get their offerings loaded into the Downtown Springfield Check-in Challenge.

Visitors and locals will now be able to visit a dedicated mobile passport landing page where they can sign up for the Downtown Springfield Check-in Challenge by providing their name, e-mail address, and mobile phone number. A link is then sent to their mobile phone, which opens the passport and directs the user to add the button icon to their home screen, where they can access it any time.

Once the visitor has checked into three locations, they will automatically win a pair of Springfield City of First socks designed by local small business Upscale Socks.

Merchant onboarding is still in progress. Any business wishing to be a part of the pass by becoming a GSCVB member can contact GSCVB Vice President of Sales Alicia Szenda at [email protected]com. The Downtown Springfield Check-in Challenge is accessible at explorewesternmass.com/checkinchallenge.

Daily News

PIONEER VALLEY — Yesterday, state Sen. Eric Lesser joined Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin; Kimberly Robinson, executive director of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC); and Lyle Wray, executive director emeritus of the Capitol Region Council of Governments (CRCOG) for a virtual press conference announcing significant ridership findings based on a new sketch-level analysis on east-west passenger rail in Massachusetts.

The analysis was prepared by AECOM for CRCOG and PVPC and comes as a follow-up to the Metro Hartford-Springfield Rail Improvements Economic Impacts Study released in April, which demonstrated an addition of up to 40,000 jobs over 30 years and an economic return-on-investment ratio of 10:1.

The East-West Rail Sketch Level Ridership Forecast Update showed that, with the inclusion of direct service to the Hartford line in the east-west rail forecast, ridership estimates increase by 54%. This significant increase in ridership numbers, coupled with the economic-impact study results, comes at a pivotal moment as the $1 trillion federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act moves through negotiations in Congress.

“East-west rail is going to do more than link two regions, it’s going to link all of Western New England with all of Eastern New England,” Lesser said. “MassDOT needs to take this research into account and update their feasibility study to include the economic-impact analysis prepared by PVPC and CRCOG as well as this forecast update from AECOM. Now is the time for east-west rail, and with partners like Mayor Bronin, PVPC, CRCOG, and our federal delegation, I believe that we can get this done to create jobs, address skyrocketing housing costs, and increase economic opportunity for all of our communities.”

Bronin added that “this analysis proves what we already know: east-west rail between Springfield and Boston will make a huge difference for communities in our region. Increasing rail connectivity between cities in the Northeast isn’t just about convenience — it’s about job creation, housing opportunity, and economic growth. I want to thank Senator Lesser for his partnership and his leadership on behalf of Southern Massachusetts, as well as the PVPC and everyone at CRCOG, and of course Congressman [Richard] Neal, who has been a tireless advocate for east-west rail. East-west rail is long, long overdue, and we need to work together to make it a reality now.”

Robinson noted that “today we are again acknowledging the fact that, in order for this once-in-a-generation project to be completed, we will need to work together with our regional partners in Connecticut to present not a singular rail project existing in a vacuum, but rather a critical component of a larger rail system connecting Boston to New York City through a climate-resilient and economically empowering inland route. The real-life ridership figures already enjoyed by the smaller-market, lower-frequency, and longer-travel-time Amtrak Downeaster line tells us a metro Hartford-Springfield line will succeed, and the recent economic-impact study conducted on such an inland-route connection has provided us with a warning of the high-opportunity cost of not completing this project.”

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NORTHAMPTON — Dr. Lynnette Watkins, the new president and CEO of Cooley Dickinson Health Care, announced the receipt of a $1 million gift from John and Elizabeth Armstrong of Amherst to support the hospital’s Emergency Department.

“It has been an honor and a pleasure to talk to the Armstrongs about their commitment to the Emergency Department,” Watkins said.

The Armstrong’s gift will support Transforming Emergency Care: Campaign for the Cooley Dickinson Emergency Department, a $15.5 million expansion, reconfiguration, and renovation which will allow the hospital to meet the ever-evolving emergency medical needs of community members, from infants to older adults.

For John, whose accomplishments include a 30-year career at IBM and serving as a presidential-appointed member of the National Science Board, supporting the hospital fits in with his and his wife’s philosophy of giving. “Lise and I are blessed to have resources, and one of our main criteria for giving is to help out right where we are,” he said.

Their reasons to support Cooley Dickinson are born of direct experience. “I’ve seen firsthand the growing pressures on the Emergency Department,” John added. “I have been admitted to the ED on at least three occasions, and I’ve witnessed the increasing number of patients relying on the department. Each time, I received excellent care and service despite the fact that the ED can be overcrowded.”

Elizabeth added that “we live in a retirement community with 115 other elderly people, many of whom need Emergency Department services. For their sake, as well as for our own possible future needs, we’re glad to have a role in making the Emergency Department as efficient and up-to-date as possible.”

Cooley Dickinson’s Emergency Department is 40% undersized to meet the community’s needs and cares for many patients who require critical medical attention. The number of patients visiting the department has grown from 17,000 annually in the 1970s to nearly 34,000 in recent years. For those patients, Emergency Department teams treat approximately 300 traumatic injuries per year; last year alone, over 6,000 patients needed to be admitted for further care.

The Armstrongs recognize the urgency of expansion and renovation. They also recognize that hospitals everywhere are financially challenged, due to changes, beginning in the late 1980s, in state and federal reimbursements. More recently, the COVID-19 pandemic, which led to a dramatic slowdown in volume of patients and in revenues, has put the importance of philanthropy into sharp relief.

“Cooley Dickinson is grateful to John and Lise Armstrong for their generosity and for understanding that charitable giving is a critical resource to provide access and deliver the range of healthcare our community needs, demands, and deserves,” Watkins said.

Gifts to the Emergency Department will support more and better designed spaces and increased privacy for patient care, faster access to computerized tomography (CT) scans, improved coordination of care to allow face-to-face communication between providers and nurses, and more patient rooms.

Other planned improvements include enhanced geriatric care, a larger behavioral-health pod, a pediatric observation unit, and a streamlined admission process.

The groundbreaking for the Emergency Department renovations is expected to occur at the end of 2022.

Daily News

NORTHAMPTON — Balagan Cannabis, a boutique, adult-use cannabis dispensary located at 235 Main St. in downtown Northampton, officially opens on Saturday, Oct. 16. Balagan, uniquely positioned as the only retailer on Main Street, is committed to small-batch, locally crafted cannabis. The shop soft-opens today, Oct. 14. Saturday’s grand opening will include a ribbon cutting at 9:45 a.m.

Balagan Cannabis is owned by a team of four partners, including native Northamptonite Rachael Workman, daughter of Danny Workman, the former long-time owner of Jake’s. Her partners are veteran cannabis retailer Adi Nagli, New York-based financier Itamar Alpert, and Gil Sasson, who has been running operations next door at Cafe Balagan, the dispensary’s sister outfit, which opened six months ago.

The name Balagan (pronounced bah-lah-gone) is a Hebrew slang term translating loosely to ‘a beautiful chaos’ and pays tribute to the partnership’s strong Israeli roots.

“I grew up downtown, eating two meals a day up at the counter at Jake’s,” Workman said. “When it came time to settle on a location for Balagan, it just felt right to put our money on Main Street. It was counterintuitive in many respects, particularly during a pandemic. Most folks were choosing to set up shop right off the highway, but we wanted to be part of downtown’s resurgence and create a really intentional retail experience to service a local customer.”

In the three years since Mayor David Narkewicz signed Balagan’s host agreement, the team took on a hefty gut renovation of the former Sam’s Pizza space and relocated two of the partners’ families to the area (one from as far away as Israel). The last year has been dedicated to designing a signature retail space with the help of interiors expert Sarah Zashin-Jacobson. Sweitzer Construction provided design-build general contracting services.

“We didn’t take the menu-building process lightly; we traversed the state in search of Massachusetts’ best cannabis,” said Nagli, who also owns a boutique medical dispensary in Maine. “We put together an exceptional and interesting slate of products that customers can’t find elsewhere. And as a mom-and-pop operation ourselves, we dedicated a lot of shelf space to small, independent growers and labs.”

Balagan Cannabis is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Pre-order is available at www.balagancannabis.com or via phone at (413) 727-8361.

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LONGMEADOW — As mom to three active children, local author Christina Tuohey, who works as director of Marketing and Outreach at Ruth’s House Assisted Living, part of the JGS Lifecare campus, understands the importance of raising kids to be free of gender stereotypes. To that end, her new book — aptly titled There Are No Girl Colors! — creatively tells the story of a child who learns to appreciate the fact that every color should be appreciated free of gender norms.

The story appeals to people of all ages, which was obvious at a recent event at Ruth’s House. Resident Sue Huggins read There Are No Girl Colors! to a group of children, parents, staff, and residents. After the reading, the children painted ‘kindness rocks’ that will be used to decorate the garden at Ruth’s House.

“It was a beautiful moment for me seeing one of our residents reading my book to the children,” Tuohey said. “The book is about a little boy who learns to love all colors — not just the traditional colors our society once taught.” She noted that some of the boys in the audience came straight from soccer games wearing purple and pink soccer jerseys. “That really exemplified the book’s message.”

Inspired by her three children and her own childhood, Tuohey wrote the book as a way to teach her children that color is gender-free. She grew up with very artistic parents and always viewed colors as gender-neutral, but she realized that was not the case for everyone.

“After having my children, it became very apparent that, according to society, there were some colors that were allowed for boys and some for girls,” she said. “I started noticing that my boys would refuse certain cups or toys or crayons just because they were not traditional ‘boy’ colors — hence the name of the book. Now it makes me feel good knowing children are learning that all colors should be loved and celebrated, and that there are no girl colors, just colors.”

Ruth’s House resident Sue Huggins thoroughly enjoyed the experience. “I loved reading this book to the children,” she said. “It’s a wonderful premise. Plus, having the children on campus made the day even more special. They bring so much joy to Ruth’s House.”

There Are No Girl Colors! is available from Amazon.

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SPRINGFIELD — The Western New England University (WNE) School of Law will host a talk by Judge Nancy Gertner titled “Incomplete Sentences: Judging in the Era of Mass Incarceration” on Thursday, Oct. 21 from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. as part of the fall 2021 Clason Speaker Series. This free event will take place in the Law School Common and is open to the public.

“Incomplete Sentences” is about the dilemma of judging and applying laws with which a judge disagrees that effect grossly disproportionate sentences and have a profound, racially disparate impact. It is a story told firsthand by a sentencing judge, through her eyes, and through the eyes of some of the men she sentenced, whom she has interviewed for this book.

Gertner was appointed to the federal bench for the District of Massachusetts in 1994 and served until her retirement in 2011. She is also the co-author of “The Law of Juries” and author of “In Defense of Women: Memoirs of an Unrepentant Advocate,” her 2011 autobiography.

The Clason Speaker Series presents expert lectures to the School of Law. The series is named after Charles Clason, a prominent local attorney and member of the U.S. House of Representatives, who held the position of dean of the WNE School of Law from 1954 to 1970. Today, the purpose of the Charles and Emma Clason Endowment Fund is to host speakers who will enhance the academic environment of the School of Law and the university.

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AGAWAM — Eric Frazier joined OMG Roofing Products as the market manager for its growing line of roofing adhesives.

In his newly created position, Frazier is responsible for developing marketing strategies and sales-execution plans for the adhesive-product category, including OMG’s popular line of OlyBond500 adhesives. In this capacity, he will work closely with product management, marketing communications, as well as the field sales team to deliver adhesive solutions to OMG customers. He reports to Adam Cincotta, vice president of the Adhesives & Solar Business unit.

Frazier has extensive experience in brand and product-line commercialization as a product marketing manager. He comes to OMG from Techtronic Industries of Anderson, S.C., where he spent more than six years, most recently as group product manager responsible for leading product development and marketing efforts within its Ryobi and Hart brands.

“We are very pleased to have Eric on the OMG team,” Cincotta said. “He is a talented marketing manager, and he will play a critical role in helping us to strategically drive our adhesives business on a global scale.”

Frazier holds a master’s degree in marketing from Southern New Hampshire University and a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Bryant University in Smithfield, R.I.

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WESTFIELD — Attorney Kevin Chrisanthopoulos is celebrating the five-year anniversary of KC Law, which specializes in personal injury and medical malpractice.

Since leaving a large Springfield firm in 2016 to start out on his own, Attorney Chrisanthopoulos has been named to the Massachusetts Super Lawyers list and included in America’s Top 100 Medical Malpractice Litigators. He has guided numerous families through the loss of a loved one and advocated for those dealing with significant injuries.

“When I set off on my own, I knew I wanted to combine my big-firm litigation experience with my small-town values, working with the citizens of Westfield and surrounding towns,” he said. “My detail-oriented approach, ability to be an aggressive litigator, and foresight to resolve matters outside of the courtroom have led to the successes I have seen over the past five years.”

Chrisanthopoulos is a graduate of Western New England University and Roger Williams School of Law. His bar admissions include Massachusetts and Connecticut, as well as the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts, and the U.S. Court of Appeals First Circuit. In addition, he is a member of the Hampden County Bar Assoc., Massachusetts Bar Assoc., and Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys. Over the past five years, he has litigated numerous complex medical-malpractice and wrongful-death cases while providing countless hours of pro bono services to individuals who cannot afford legal representation.

“I could not have enjoyed this success without the support of my family and friends over the past five years,” he added. “I strive to do the best work possible for my clients while giving back to my community as much as possible, by volunteering and raising funds for a multitude of deserving organizations.”

Chrisanthopoulos’ community involvement includes assisting in the creation a foundation to raise money for the Clarke School, which specializes in educating children who are deaf or hard of hearing. He also serves as president of the board of trustees for Amelia Park Arena & Memorial Garden and has spent significant time coaching hockey.

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ENFIELD, Conn. — Asnuntuck Community College (ACC) will hold an open house on campus, pending health guidelines, on Wednesday, Oct. 27.

Visitors are welcome to attend the open house anytime between 5 and 7 p.m. The event will feature information about ACC’s credit and credit-free opportunities, information sessions from Admissions and Financial Aid, socially distanced campus tours, as well as an information session and tours through the Advanced Manufacturing & Technology Center.  A resource fair will take place in Asnuntuck’s Tower Lobby area. The Follett Bookstore will be present with a table of information.

Everyone participating in the open house will be required to wear a mask. Visitors who attend will also receive a free T-shirt.

Winter 2021 and spring 2022 registration will open on Oct. 27. Visit www.asnuntuck.edu for information on how to register for courses.

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FLORENCE — Florence Bank appointed Jenna Rahilly to serve as vice president and Human Resources Operations director. She is a 23-year veteran in the banking industry with 28 years of professional human-resources experience.

Rahilly most recently served as vice president of Human Resources for a local credit union. Her duties included the overall management of the credit union’s human-resources function, which encompassed the development and implementation of policies related to employee relations, organizational development, recruitment, compensation and benefits, training, and human-resources compliance.

“Being deeply rooted within the community in which Florence Bank serves, I have always had an appreciation of the organization and its people,” Rahilly said. “I have always had a deep level of admiration for Florence Bank’s commitment to the community, and I am excited to now be a part of it.”

Rahilly studied at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in English.

“We are thrilled to have Jenna join our Florence Bank family,” President and CEO Kevin Day said. “Jenna’s vast knowledge of the communities we serve, coupled with her professional skills and expertise, will be invaluable to the bank. I know we will see excellent contributions from her in the years to come.”

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SPRINGFIELD — The Zoo in Forest Park will host its annual Spooky Safari, presented by Teddy Bear Pools & Spas, on Saturday, Oct. 30 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The outdoor, family-friendly Halloween event will include grab-and-go stations around the zoo with take-and-make crafts, Halloween-themed books, pre-packaged candy bags, and more for children ages 0 to 12 who have a child ticket.

“Spooky Safari gives children and adults a chance to get into the Halloween spirit, all while supporting the animals here at the zoo,” said Caroline Cay Adams, director of education at the Zoo in Forest Park. “And thanks to a donation of books we received from Reading Success by 4th Grade, we’re excited to be able to provide a book to every child that attends the event.”

The event will also feature a virtual costume contest, with winners selected for funniest, most creative, and best family/group costume, as well as a raffle. Guests will have the opportunity to win prizes from Monster Kidz Box, Springfield Museums, Riverside Reptiles, Six Flags, and the Connecticut Science Center, to name a few.

Pre-registration is required to attend, and tickets are limited. No additional tickets will be sold at the door. Registration closes Oct. 27 or when all tickets are sold out. To purchase tickets, visit www.forestparkzoo.org/spookysafari2021.

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HOLYOKE — The Wealth Transition Collective Inc., a values-based, full-service financial-planning firm in Holyoke, recently announced personnel news regarding three team members.

Caitlin Trites recently passed the Securities Industry Essentials and Series 6 exams and has been promoted to registered client relationship manager. She has 13 years of financial-services industry experience.

“In this expanded role, Caitlin will oversee the day-to-day service needs of the firm’s clients as well as coordinating new business development. It’s a win-win for our clients and our firm,” said Wealth Transition Collective CEO Greg Sheehan.

Bill Kemple was recently awarded Certified Plan Fiduciary Advisor designation. CPFA designees are financial professionals that demonstrate expertise and experience working with qualified retirement plans. During the CPFA certification, candidates spend two months learning about fiduciary services for qualified retirement plans.

“We are very proud of Bill’s commitment to his clients and our profession. He had previously earned his Accredited Investment Fiduciary designation, and now this additional designation amplifies the skills he brings to our clients,” Sheehan said.

Kemple recently celebrated his one-year anniversary with the Wealth Transition Collective and brings more than 13 years of financial-services experience helping individuals, families, and small business owners oversee their fiduciary affairs.

Trina Moskal has joined the firm as a Medicare planning specialist. She will be responsible for new business development as well as working with firm clients on their individual Medicare and Social Security planning needs in the pre- and post-retirement life stages.

“With her more than 12 years’ experience in the healthcare industry, we are extremely pleased to have Trina on our team,” Sheehan said. “This expanded scope of services is often overlooked in the planning process, and Trina’s presence strategically positions us to meet the ongoing needs of our clients now and into the future.”

Moskal has held a number of leadership positions in the healthcare community, and earned a master’s degree in healthcare management from Bay Path University.

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SUNDERLAND — Adventure East, a new outdoor tour company based in Sunderland, will host a variety of experiences this fall for people who want to have fun outside in the Connecticut River Valley. Adventure East collaborates with a number of local organizations, including the Trustees of Reservations and its Bullitt Reservation property in Ashfield and Conway.

On Sunday, Oct. 17, Adventure East instructors Ami-Jean Aubin and Max Alaghband will lead a one-day wellness retreat at the Trustees’ Bullitt Reservation property consisting of mindful forest bathing, grounding, and gentle outdoor yoga, as well as a farm-to-table meal where guests can reflect and connect.

To sign up to attend the retreat, groups and individuals can visit Adventure East’s website by clicking here.

Aubin is a forest bathing and outdoor mindfulness guide. “There are few things that I enjoy more than being with a group of people in the forest while attempting to unravel these great mysteries of the natural world,” she said.

Alaghband is a hiking guide and yoga instructor who studied at Kripalu and in Taiwan before moving to Western Mass., where he leads people into deeper connection with themselves and with nature through outdoor yoga. “I hope to bring students to a moment of peace and connection in the midst of the chaotic times we live in,” he said.

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AGAWAM — Belt Technologies Inc., a manufacturer of custom metal belt conveyor solutions for more than 50 years, was honored at the sixth annual Manufacturing Awards Ceremony hosted by the Massachusetts Legislative Manufacturing Caucus at the Massachusetts Manufacturing Mash-Up event. More than 600 people attended the event, which was organized by Mass Tech Collaborative and held at Polar Park in Worcester on Sept. 28.

“We were honored to be recognized as a leading manufacturer in Massachusetts,” said Denis Gagnon, CEO of Belt Technologies. “We have been innovating for more than five decades and fortunate to have grown, adding several jobs here in Massachusetts over the past year. Thank you to Senator John Velis for seeing the great work we do and nominating us for this award.”

Velis added, “I was proud to nominate Belt Technologies Inc. of Agawam to be honored at the ceremony. During the onset of the pandemic, Belt Technologies stepped up to support PPE production lines for all of our frontline workers. They have been a strong force in our region’s workforce development, and I had the pleasure of visiting them last year.”

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AGAWAM — Jean Deliso, CFP has been named a member of the 2021 Chairman’s Council of New York Life. Members of the Chairman’s Council rank in the top 4% of New York Life’s more than 12,000 licensed agents in sales achievement. Deliso has accomplished this level of achievement for 10 consecutive years.

Deliso has been a New York Life agent since 1995 and is associated with New York Life’s Connecticut Valley General Office in Windsor, Conn. She is a member of Nautilus Group, an exclusive advanced-planning resource for estate-conservation and business-continuation strategies.

She is president and owner of Deliso Financial and Insurance Services, a firm focusing on comprehensive financial strategies that help position clients for a solid financial future. She has been working in the financial field for more than 30 years, her first seven in public accounting and the balance working in the financial-services industry.

A certified financial planner, Deliso has developed an expertise in assisting business owners and individuals protecting and securing their and their family’s future. Her extensive experience has led to a focus in certain fields, such as cash-flow planning, risk management, investment, retirement, and estate planning. She is committed to customizing financial plans for each person’s unique situation.

Deliso currently serves on and has held chairman of the board positions at Baystate Health Foundation and the Community Music School of Springfield. She is also a former board member of the YMCA of Greater Springfield and Pioneer Valley Refrigerated Warehouse, a former trustee of the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts, and a member of the Bay Path University advisory board.

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SPRINGFIELD — Western New England University (WNE) will host high-school students and their parents at an open house on Sunday, Oct. 17 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. starting in the University Commons. The event is free, but advance registration is requested. Visit wne.edu/openhouse to register, or call (413) 782-1321.

This undergraduate open house is intended for all prospective students, regardless of their year in high school. It is an opportunity to come to campus to get a sense of the university community, while learning about WNE’s wide variety of academic programs and emphasis on interdisciplinary collaboration.

Students and parents will have the chance to tour the campus and a first-year residence hall, meet current students, get a general overview of the admissions and financial-aid process, and have academic questions answered. The day concludes with an exhibit where students can gather more information on student clubs and activities, honors programs, athletic opportunities at both the NCAA and recreational levels, as well as hear from the Career Development Center regarding the varied internship and career opportunities students are receiving.

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HADLEY — UMassFive College Federal Credit Union is once again fundraising and participating in two charitable events this fall.

A group of six UMassFive employees took their bikes to the streets of the Pioneer Valley to participate in the 11th annual Will Bike for Food event on Sept. 26 to benefit the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. The team raised more than $3,600 to donate to the cause, with several employees electing to take on the 50-mile ride for their challenge.

Monetary donations to help the Food Bank fight hunger are still being accepted through Oct. 15. Anyone interested in donating directly to Team UMassFive may do so at pledgereg.com/3820/team/16007. UMassFive members who are enrolled in the free debit rewards program Buzz Points may also redeem their rewards as a charitable donation to the Food Bank.

Team UMassFive will also be participating in the 23rd annual UMass Cancer Walk and Run at Polar Park in Worcester on Sunday, Oct. 17. A longstanding and top supporter of this event for more than 20 years, the credit union’s branches are providing plenty of ways members and the community can get involved in fundraising efforts. The Hadley branch is hosting its annual Crafting for a Cure Boutique, where UMassFive employees have donated artwork, jewelry, and much more, all of which are for sale to the public in the branch lobby. Additionally, visitors and members can enter to win a breast-cancer-awareness-themed raffle basket crafted by a UMassFive employee.

Meanwhile, the Northampton branch is collecting cash donations and hosting a contest to guess the amount of Hershey’s Kisses in a jar, with the jar and its contents going to the winner. The Worcester branch is raffling off an assortment of gift baskets. The Mercy Medical Center branch in Springfield is selling candy bars, Tastefully Simple craft products, and Paparazzi jewelry, with profits going directly toward the cause.

Existing UMassFive debit cardholders are again welcomed to redeem their Buzz Points as a charitable donation to UMass Cancer Walk and Run, while any member of the public who wishes to support Team UMassFive can make a monetary contribution at support.umasscancerwalk.org/teamumassfive.

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SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) has been awarded two grants worth more than $7 million from the U.S. Department of Education to boost student success among Latinx and low-income students in STEM fields, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal announced on Wednesday during a visit to STCC.

“I am thrilled to celebrate the success of Springfield Technical Community College’s grant applications to the U.S. Department of Education,” Neal said. “These two awards totaling more than $7 million over a five-year period will help support the science, technology, engineering, and math programs at the college and welcome more students into the ever-growing field. This area of study is important across the country but is especially vital here in Massachusetts where we have some of the highest concentration of research and development in the world. Graduates of STCC will be ready to meet the challenge.”

The first grant, titled “Project Acceleration: Re-engineering Pathways to Student Success in STEM,” will run for five years for a total of $3 million. It will allow STCC to create a STEM studies program and develop support services to increase access to STEM careers.

The grant is designed to increase enrollment and improve the graduation rates of Latinx and low-income students in STEM majors and help them continue with their studies instead of withdrawing from school. In addition, the grant will allow STCC to help reduce the time it takes male students of color, particularly Latinx, to complete studies. The grant falls under the federal Title V program, which was created to improve higher education of Hispanic students.

The second grant announced by Neal is titled “STEM Access and Retention Strategies.” The five-year grant, totaling $4,352,559, will allow STCC to create and enhance support services for Latinx and low-income students. Services and programs supported by the grant include creation of STEM-focused first-year experience courses; utilization of proactive STEM advisors, which would involves bringing services to students rather than waiting for them to ask; and implementation of additional mental-health services.

In recent years, STCC created a STEM Center that offers opportunities for tutoring and group study for all students. The college also provides mentoring and coaching. The new federal grant also will allow STCC to enhance professional development for faculty.

“We are thrilled to receive this funding from the U.S. Department of Education and extremely grateful for support from Congressman Neal,” Cook said. “I want to thank our local delegation for visiting STCC and for their support through the years. These grants will directly address challenges we face at the college. One of our top priorities is to close achievement gaps among students who have faced barriers, which includes many of our Latinx and low-income students. These grants will help support our students and give them a better chance at staying in college and earning their degree.”

STCC, the only technical community college in Massachusetts, is federally designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution, with 30% of the students identifying as Hispanic. The city of Springfield suffers high unemployment and poverty. Fifty-six percent of STCC students receive federal Pell grants, which are awarded to students who display exceptional financial need. Hispanic and low-income students enter college with greater developmental math needs and lower retention and graduation rates, on average, than non-Hispanic and higher-income students. Only 11.4% of Hispanic and 14% of low-income students major in STEM.

As part of the grant focusing on access and retention strategies, STCC will partner with UMass Amherst and Central Connecticut State University to expand transfer opportunities for students.

“These grants will directly impact the Springfield community around STCC by providing better access to support services for our students so they can succeed in science, technology, engineering, and math,” said Lara Sharp, dean of the School of STEM.

After the announcement, Neal toured the state-of-the-art laboratories and classrooms in the Smith & Wesson STCC Advanced Manufacturing Building in Springfield Technology Park. The facility includes computer numerical control machines and other tools and machines used in precision manufacturing.

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AMHERST — Two employees who have been coordinating UMass Amherst’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic since March were recently honored by Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy for their efforts.

Ann Becker, campus Public Health director and a clinical associate professor in the Elaine Marieb College of Nursing, and Jeffrey Hescock, executive director of Environmental Health and Safety and Emergency Management, were awarded the Chancellor’s Medal at a recent tribute dinner. Hescock and Becker are the co-directors of the university’s Public Health Promotion Center (PHPC), which has been the home to the UMass COVID testing and vaccination programs. The Chancellor’s Medal is the highest honor the campus bestows on individuals, and is given for exemplary and extraordinary service to the university.

“When the global pandemic abruptly descended upon us in March 2020, beginning one of the most challenging times in our almost 160-year history, the university looked to Ann Becker and Jeff Hescock,” Subbaswamy said. “Ann and Jeff worked together before on urgent issues of campus public health and safety, including their successful effort to stem a campus meningitis outbreak. When COVID-19 hit, they once again combined their respective expertise in public health and emergency management to quickly develop a response strategy for the campus.”

Together, Becker and Hescock established the PHPC, which became one of the largest asymptomatic COVID testing resources in the commonwealth. Applying their knowledge to each new challenge in the pandemic, they continually evolved the PHPC from a testing site to a vaccination clinic as well. And when the Delta variant appeared on campus this fall, they redoubled their efforts to keep the campus safe, Subbaswamy noted.

“For more than 18 months, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, Ann and Jeff have shouldered an unrelenting amount of responsibility,” he said in his tribute, noting that “they have done so with grace, humility, and humor.”

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SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield Museums will welcome U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and Small Business Administration District Office Director Robert Nelson to the Quadrangle green today, Oct. 7, at 3 p.m. to announce a $1,200,000 Shuttered Venue Operator Grant (SVOG) from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). The public is welcome to attend the public announcement of this grant.

As part of the American Rescue Plan, the SVOG program provided more than $16 billion in grants to shuttered venues and was administered by SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Springfield Museums shut its doors for four months, the first time this has happened in its 164-year history.

“As a beloved community anchor and an important informal-learning hub, we were overjoyed to reopen in July 2020,” Springfield Museums President Kay Simpson said. “Our visitors make our museums alive with energy and potential, and we are so glad to have them back in our buildings. We are deeply grateful for the funds provided by the Shuttered Venue Operator Grant, which will help us make up for the lost time during that four-month period.”

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SPRINGFIELD — The Children’s Study Home will host its second annual Art Show & Auction at the Carriage House Barney Estate in Forest Park on Thursday, Oct. 14 from 5:30 to 8 p.m.

Artwork from all media — including acrylic, watercolor, colored pencil, chalk, and sculptures — will be shown from the students of the Children’s Study Home’s Mill Pond School and Curtis Blake Day School, as well as artwork from the children of the Children’s Study Home’s residential programs. The art will be auctioned to raise funds for the school and its programs.

The event not only showcases students’ talent, but is a product of how art is part of the educational and therapeutic experience of the students the school serves, Yamilca Nogue, director of Community Relations and Development, explained, adding that this year’s show also features donated works from both Don Blanton and Glenn Rossi, as well as a donated piece from the Art for the Soul Gallery. “We are so excited to count on the support of all these amazing local artists,” Nogue added.

The students at Mill Pond use art class as a way to express their personalities, through both their approach and their creation, explained Evelyn Cass, school adjustment counselor for Mill Pond School.

“Some students enjoy following specific instructions and practicing skills like carefully cutting out shapes or delicately mixing paints to create just the right shade. Alternatively, some students love taking the materials available to them in each class and letting their imaginations explore, creating unique and interesting pieces of artwork. No matter their approach, watching each student take the given prompt and materials for the day and create something distinct and creative each week is inspiring.”

The Children’s Study Home is a 154-year-old nonprofit organization dedicated to partnering with families by providing innovative and educational programs and services that strengthen children and families, empowering them to succeed at home, within the community, and throughout life.

The facility serves children, adolescents, and families with special needs throughout the Pioneer Valley, the Berkshires, and Cape Cod. These children are often struggling to cope with behavioral, psychiatric, and cognitive issues related to the experiences they have survived. The staff assesses their needs and develops individualized service plans that foster recovery, growth, and wellness.

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SPRINGFIELD — Springfield College and the University of Massachusetts Law School – Dartmouth have finalized a 3+3 agreement that will create new, accelerated opportunities for Springfield College students to attain a law degree.

As part of the agreement, Springfield College pre-law students will spend three years working toward their undergraduate degree before enrolling at UMass Law, where they will begin taking law courses that fulfill their remaining undergraduate requirements while beginning their legal education.

“We are delighted and honored to partner with an important institution whose mission is so aligned with ours,” said Springfield College School of Arts and Sciences Dean Rachel Rubinstein. “As the only public law school in Massachusetts, UMass Law is committed to providing an accessible and excellent legal education that prepares lawyers to advance justice through service and leadership. We can’t imagine a better fit for our students considering or planning careers in the law, whether they study history, criminal justice, business, or any number of related fields.”

Springfield College Professor of History and Pre-Law Advisor Thomas Carty was instrumental in forging this pathway for Springfield College students with UMass Law. Students will earn their bachelor’s and juris doctorate degrees in six years rather than the traditional seven. These accelerated degree programs allow students to apply credits earned during their first year of law school to their final year of college, saving students thousands of dollars in tuition payments and living expenses.

“As the Pre-Law program on our campus continues to expand, including the creation of a Mock Trial Club this year, we welcome this new partnership with UMass Law,” Carty said. “Springfield College has made a commitment to providing more opportunities for undergraduate students to explore the legal field. This commitment stays consistent with our mission of service and leadership to others.”

Over the past five years, UMass Law ranks second in the nation, among nearly 200 ABA-accredited law schools, for enrollment growth, while maintaining the smallest first-year doctrinal course sizes among all Massachusetts law schools. UMass Law’s most recent ABA Standard 316 ‘ultimate’ (two-year) bar pass rate is 92% across all jurisdictions. UMass Law has twice been ranked among the best law schools in the country for its program of practical training. The law school also ranks second among all 15 law schools in New England for the percentage of students entering public service.

“For UMass Law, it is important that we partner with undergraduate institutions to provide access to an affordable, high-quality legal education,” UMass Law Dean Eric Mitnick said. “Springfield’s support of legal education through their pre-law program and commitment to the region is a natural pairing for UMass Law that will lead to student success and community impact.”

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SPRINGFIELD — On Oct. 1, state Sen. Eric Lesser and state Rep. Carlos González were joined by members of the Springfield legislative delegation, and Sarah Tsitso, executive director of the Zoo in Forest Park & Education Center, to announce $50,000 in funding secured for annual operations.

Lesser acted as lead budget sponsor in the Senate in securing this earmark in the FY22 budget along with House sponsor González. The FY22 budget was passed by the Senate and House and signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker in July.

“Last year, when zoos across the country closed their doors for good, Forest Park Zoo took in dozens of animals in need of a home and welcomed 40 new animals, including two black timber wolves, a red fox, and a snowy owl,” Lesser said. “Alongside our Springfield delegation, I was proud to secure funding for educational efforts, animal care, and operations to ensure the Forest Park Zoo remains a vibrant cornerstone of our Western Mass community.”

González added that “Forest Park Zoo is more than a zoo, it’s a sanctuary. It allows for animals to be treated in a humane way and taken care of when situations arise. I’m delighted to be working with my colleagues in the Springfield delegation in a united effort to make sure that the zoo continues to thrive and drive opportunity for families in urban areas to come and see the animals here.”

These funds will help sustain the annual operations of the Zoo in Forest Park, which includes daily care of more than 240 animals 365 days per year, including several endangered species; educational opportunities for youth and adults across Western Mass.; camps during summer and school vacation weeks; collaborations with other local nonprofits, including Square One in Springfield and Girls Inc. of the Valley in Holyoke; job training and internships in the fields of biology, veterinary medicine, and animal care; tourism and marketing initiatives that encourage visitors to spend time and money in the city and our region; and opportunities for individuals and local businesses to get involved in their community through volunteer projects.

“We are tremendously grateful to Sen. Lesser, Rep. Gonzalez, and all members of the Western Massachusetts legislative delegation for their ongoing support of our work and our mission,” Tsitso said. “Our zoo is part of the very fabric of this community, serving as a resource for generations of local families and providing high-quality care for animals that need our help. The funding we are receiving as part of the state’s fiscal year 2022 budget will ensure we are able to meet the needs of more than 240 animals that call our zoo their home 365 days a year.”

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SPRINGFIELD — Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts (JFS) has been awarded a competitive two-year $250,000 Citizenship and Integration Grant from the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). This grant enables JFS to continue its work helping legal permanent residents become U.S. citizens.

The fiscal year 2021 grants, which run through September 2023, will fund legal services for citizenship applicants and educational programs designed to deepen an applicant’s knowledge of English, U.S. history, and civics.

Since it began in 2009, the Citizenship and Integration Grant Program has awarded more than $112 million through 513 competitive grants to immigrant-serving organizations in 39 states and the District of Columbia. Now in its 13th year, the program has helped more than 290,500 lawful permanent residents prepare for citizenship.

JFS is one of 40 organizations in 25 states to receive nearly $10 million in funding to support citizenship-preparation services. Now in its 13th year, the USCIS Citizenship and Integration Grant Program has helped more than 290,500 lawful permanent residents prepare for citizenship. A ‘permanent resident’ is a person authorized by the U.S. government to live and work in the country on a permanent basis.

Jewish Family Service is a nonprofit social service agency that has developed both substantive legal and programmatic expertise during its 10 years of experience in citizenship and naturalization services.

“The program began as a response to a glaring unmet need in our community. Today, JFS is a well-respected and trusted partner in engaging the immigrant community in Hampden County,” CEO Maxine Stein said. “JFS is excited and pleased to have received this grant opportunity. It will allow us to strengthen our current work in citizenship and positions us to be a leader in helping those on the path to becoming U.S. citizens. As a Jewish organization, we are proud to provide this important service to our local residents. Like all of us, we value freedom, safety, and opportunity. Citizenship helps to provide that, and we can help make that happen.”

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SPRINGFIELD — The YMCA of Greater Springfield held its 2021 Golf Classic on Sept. 20 at the Longmeadow Country Club, with local businesses coming together in a round of golf to support the mission of the YMCA.

“It was a great day to be with so many supportive companies from the greater Springfield area. The community stepped up to be a part of helping us fulfill our mission,” said Dexter Johnson, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Springfield. “I am always truly amazed at how everyone comes together to support the community through the YMCA. We raised over $70,000, which will go to support kids in before- and after-school programs, child care, early-learning opportunities, summer camp, swim lessons, and health and wellness programs.”

Johnson noted that the YMCA of Greater Springfield is a nonprofit, charitable organization and more than a gym and swim. At the Y, no one is turned away due to the inability to pay in full for programs and services. “We have a scholarship program providing financial assistance to those that want to participate in our services. Last year, we provided over $250,000 for those in need. We can only do that with the generosity of individuals and businesses that are willing to contribute to the cause.”

Wellfleet Insurance President and CEO Drew DiGiorgio added that “the YMCA’s programs enrich the lives of so many children and families in Greater Springfield. We’re proud to support their work by sponsoring this year’s Golf Classic.”

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SPRINGFIELD — The Western New England University (WNE) College of Engineering Laboratory for Education and Application Prototypes (LEAP), a state-of-the-art optics/photonics training center, has been established through a grant of $2,581,109 from the Massachusetts Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CAM). [email protected] is part of a national effort to advance state-of-the-art manufacturing with the American Institute for Manufacturing (AIM) Photonics consortium.

With the support of the grant funding, WNE partnered with Convergent Photonics in Chicopee and Springfield Technical Community College for the development of the new advanced-manufacturing center, located at Convergent Photonics. The LEAP lab, only the fourth of its kind in the state, will focus on product development, educational training, and collaborative research in the field of integrated photonics.

The [email protected] facility features six instrumentation and prototyping workstations with capabilities including tunable lasers and optical power meters, polarimeters, and polarization controllers; optical-spectrum analyzers and free-space optics; electronic signal generators, oscilloscopes, spectrum analyzers, and power supplies; and PCB fabrication using subtractive and additive techniques.

The grant was part of the CAM Massachusetts Manufacturing Innovation Initiative (M212), which has made a $100 million commitment to manufacturing innovation through its capital grant program and is collaborating on more than 60 projects connecting manufacturers with universities and companies.

According to CAM, Massachusetts has made a substantial commitment to developing the Manufacturing USA infrastructure within the state’s academic, research, and manufacturing industry. Through the creation of sector-specific Manufacturing USA Centers, M212 will advance innovations and job growth within the state through cross-collaboration among companies, universities, national labs, government, incubators, accelerators, and other academic and training institutions.

Funded through the M212 program, LEAP is designed to support AIM Photonics, an industry-driven, public-private partnership that focuses the nation’s capabilities and expertise to capture critical global manufacturing leadership in a technology that is both essential to national security and positioned to provide a compelling return on investment to the American economy.

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HOLYOKE — Holyoke Mall will host an in-person job fair on Wednesday, Oct. 6 from 3 to 7 p.m. on the lower level near Macy’s.

Sponsored by C&S Wholesale Grocers, the Get Hired Job Fair is a convenient opportunity for Western Mass. employers to interview and hire workers, and to help job seekers connect with businesses who need their skills. Employers from a variety of industries will be in attendance looking for candidates at all skill levels. Several stores and venues at Holyoke Mall will also be in attendance to fill open positions. The event is free to attend for all job seekers.

The list of participating employees includes 110 Grill, Amherst College, Altitude Trampoline Park, Bath & Body Works, Best Buy, Billy Beez, C&S Wholesale, Charlotte Russe, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Express Employment Professionals, Guidewire Inc., Holyoke Medical Center, Holyoke Public Schools, Kind Hands Care at Home, Lane Bryant, Macy’s, McDonald’s, MGM Springfield, MiraVista Behavioral Health Center, MSPCC, Ninety Nine Restaurant & Pub, Pathlight, PretzelMaker, Pyramid Management Group – Holyoke Mall, Sephora, ServiceNet, Target, UG2, Uno Pizzeria & Grill, and Yankee Candle.

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SPRINGFIELD — MGM Springfield’s Free Music Friday concert series will move inside to the Aria Ballroom beginning Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m. Doors are scheduled to open at 7 p.m.

The upcoming lineup includes LA’s BackStage Pass (Oct. 15), Beyond Purple (Oct. 22), Raise Your Hands: Bon Jovi Tribute (Oct. 29), and Trailer Trash (Nov. 5).

“We are thrilled to continue offering this free concert series to our community featuring some of our most talented local artists,” said Chris Kelley, MGM Springfield’s president and chief operating officer. “Based on the success of the summer program, it makes perfect sense to bring the fun inside to one of our fantastic MGM Springfield venues.”

Beer, wine, and non-alcoholic beverages will be available during the shows. Guests also can enjoy MGM Springfield’s diverse food and beverage offerings before or after the concerts, including the Chandler Steakhouse, Tap Sports Bar, and South End Market.

For additional details on the Free Music Fridays concert series, including lineup updates, click here.

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AGAWAM — New England Business Associates (NEBA) created its Learn to Earn program both to help address the critical, growing need for employees in the manufacturing sector and to provide candidates with the tools and support they need for successful careers in this industry. Governors America Corp. (GAC), a veteran-owned, Massachusetts-based global manufacturer of innovative engine-control products, participates in this program and recently hosted six local students for a day of learning.

“We are passionate about helping the next generation sustain successful careers in the manufacturing sector,” Governors America Corp. President Sean Collins said. “Not only is this essential for the future of our communities and our country, but it opens career pathways for those who want to work in a hands-on field that can be very fulfilling.”

The goal of Learn to Earn is to place candidates in manufacturing positions that will allow them to earn a sustainable income, eliminate the need for public assistance, and foster growth and future promotions in the field.

During the five-hour event at GAC, students had the opportunity to tour the facility, speak with staff in a variety of roles, and learn about the various opportunities available within manufacturing. They saw how different manufacturing metal-cutting machines work and followed the process from raw material to finished part, then did a class metrology with the part. They also participated in developing a new process for packing using Lean manufacturing methodology.

“Our guests were all extremely enthusiastic about the experience, noting that it reinforced their training and the principles they are learning,” Collins said. “This was the first time for all of them visiting a manufacturing environment, and they expressed surprise at how pleasant a place it was, not noisy or dirty as they had imagined.”

Through Learn to Earn, students receive training in basic manufacturing skills from MassMEP, including shop math, blueprint reading, metrology, quality inspection, and shop-floor safety. They also receive employment support as needed.

“We are committed to helping to grow our future workforce,” said Marlene Woods, Human Resources manager at GAC. “In addition to participating in programs such as Learn to Earn, we have a robust internship program and hire people without experience and provide on-the-job training.”

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WEST SPRINGFIELD — The Big E closed out its 17-day fair with a bang this past weekend, drawing 177,238 patrons on Saturday, Oct. 2 — the largest single-day attendance in the event’s history — followed by 118,582 on Sunday, Oct. 3, bringing the total 17-day attendance to 1,498,774.

That fell short of the all-time mark of 1,629,527 set in 2019, but was certainly robust enough to calm the fears of event organizers who worried about COVID-19 infection numbers, driven by the surge of the Delta variant, as mid-September approached.

“I have a fear … that the long arm of the government can suddenly change our lives — we lived through that in 2020, to be sure,” Big E President Gene Cassidy told BusinessWest in August, referring to last year’s first cancellation of the fair since World War II. “And the Eastern States Exposition is surviving on a very thin thread; we cannot withstand being shuttered for another fair because the vacuum that would occur in our economy is nearly three quarters of a billion dollars, and there’s no way that anyone is going to able to replace that.”

Signs were good, however, that attendance would be strong; Cassidy noted at the time that 2021’s advance ticket sales were running 80% higher than in 2019.

This year’s fair set attendance records on three other days as well; Sept. 21 drew the best first-Tuesday crowd ever (56,769), Sept. 26 was the best-ever second Sunday (136,512), and Oct. 1 was the best-ever third Friday (113,827).

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SPRINGFIELD — The Springfield College Division of Finance and Administration announced that Lt. Joseph Tiraboschi has been promoted to Springfield College deputy chief.

Tiraboschi has been a member of the Springfield College Police Department since 2017, most recently serving as administrative lieutenant, where he supervised more than 40 personnel members, including officers and dispatchers. In addition, he managed all crime statistics, managed certification in accordance with the Massachusetts State Police, and directed all department policies and procedures.

“Although I’ve been working directly with Public Safety since July, I’ve had the chance to observe Joe’s work during my time in Student Affairs and was very impressed with his dedication, care, and commitment to students and the greater community,” Springfield College Associate Vice President for Administration Patrick Love said. “Now that I work more closely with him, I can see just how hard he works and his excellent leadership capabilities. His promotion is well-deserved, and Public Safety will benefit tremendously with having him in this position.”

Prior to his role as administrative lieutenant, Tiraboschi worked as detective sergeant, overseeing all criminal and non-criminal investigations, while also taking on the responsibilities of background investigator, internal-affairs investigator, and sexual-assault investigator. In addition, he was responsible for enforcing all U.S. Constitutional laws, Massachusetts General Laws, and Springfield College bylaws.

A 2013 graduate of the Massachusetts State full-Time Police Academy, Tiraboschi transitioned from a Springfield College Police Department dispatcher to a full-time police officer in 2013. He earned his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Springfield College in 2010, and he is currently on pace to earn his master’s degree in counseling from Springfield College in 2022.

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LENOX — Renaissance Investment Group, LLC is joining the growing business community in downtown Lenox with a new office at 45 Walker St. The group will leave its current building in the Lenox Commons and plans to move into the Walker Street space in November. Mill Town Capital is the new owner of the building, acquiring the property last week.

“We are thrilled to bring life and energy to this property and be a part of Mill Town’s revitalization efforts in the area,” said Christopher Silipigno, CEO and managing director of Renaissance Investment Group. “We have viewed the downtown Lenox area as an extension of our office for some time and jumped at the opportunity to relocate there.”

Renaissance and Mill Town have agreed on a 10-year lease during which Mill Town will serve as the landlord for the building and will fund property improvements. Mill Town also owns and operates the Gateways Inn and Restaurant at 51 Walker St.

“This acquisition was an opportunity to expand our footprint in the area and create a meaningful relationship,” said Tim Burke, CEO and managing director of Mill Town. “We are excited to have the team at Renaissance Investment Group as a tenant and partner.”

Mill Town, an impact-investment firm based in Pittsfield, owns and operates numerous properties in the Berkshires as part of its efforts to expand and improve quality of life in the area. The firm focuses on making impactful business investments and community-development efforts.

“I’d like to commend Chris and Tim for their joint endeavor in putting this relationship together between two firms that care deeply about the Berkshires,” said Trevor Forbes, president of Renaissance Investment Group. “This building is a great location for Renaissance to build many years of successful growth and reinforces our commitment to Lenox and the Berkshires over the long term.”

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Professional Drywall Construction Inc. (PDC), a commercial drywall company headquartered in Springfield, raised $35,000 during its fifth annual PDC Charity Golf Tournament, which was held on Sept. 9 at Wyckoff Country Club in Holyoke. All proceeds from the tournament were donated to Baystate Children’s Hospital.

“We were so excited to get back out on the links and raise money for an honorable cause like Baystate Children’s Hospital,” PDC co-owner Nick Shaink said. “Last year, things were a little different due to the pandemic, but this year we were able to have a full house come spend the day with us for a great cause.”

The tournament, which featured an 18-hole round of golf, lunch, and a dinner reception, drew 120 participants.

“PDC has always been about giving back in our own backyard, and no one deserves it more than the children in our community,” PDC co-owner Ron Perry said. “We hope the funds we were able to donate will assist with Baystate’s important work with the youth in our area.”

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