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WEST SPRINGFIELD — Dropkick Murphys, one of America’s most celebrated Celtic punk bands, is headed to The Big E Arena on Sept. 16. Tickets go on sale Friday at 10 a.m., exclusively at TheBigE.com. Concert tickets include admission to The Big E. 

Dropkick Murphys remain Boston’s rock ‘n’ roll underdogs turned champions. Since 1996, the band has created the kind of music that’s meant to be chanted at last call, in packed arenas, and during the fourth quarter, third period or ninth inning of a comeback rally.  

The band’s latest album, Turn Up That Dial (2021), released via Dropkick Murphys’ own Born & Bred Records, is its 10th studio album and fourth consecutive Billboard Top 10 album debut, joining 11 Short Stories Of Pain & Glory (2017), Signed and Sealed in Blood (2013) and Going Out In Style (2011). Dropkick Murphys recently released a digital-only expanded edition of their Turn Up That Dial album, available in both stereo and 3-dimensional Dolby Atmos mixes. The expanded album features three bonus tracks including “We Shall Overcome” and the previously released B-sides, the cover songs “James Connolly” (by Larry Kirwan) and “The Bonny” (by Gerry Cinnamon). 

The band’s celebrated discography also includes gold-selling album The Warrior’s Code (2005), featuring the near double platinum classic “I’m Shipping Up To Boston.”  

For more information on Dropkick Murphys at The Big E Arena, sponsored by Truly Hard Seltzer, visit TheBigE.com. 

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Marriott brand has been restored to a downtown Springfield hotel in preparation for a planned September opening. 

The Marriott ‘M’ logo was attached to the Tower Square Hotel this week, a milestone in a nearly four-year-long effort to restore a brand name that was lost in 2017. 

Extensive renovations of the property, projected to cost $40 million, are ongoing, with a grand reopening planned for this fall. 

The new Marriott will have 266 rooms. 

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — MOSSO, the Musicians of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra, have announced details of their upcoming summer concerts at Symphony Hall. MOSSO will celebrate the music of Stephen Sondheim and John Williams. These concerts mark the first time in almost 20 years that the musicians of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra have performed summer concerts in Springfield. 

On June 23, MOSSO celebrates the music of the late, legendary Broadway composer and lyricist, Stephen Sondheim, who penned the words and music to A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Company, Follies, A Little Night Music, Sweeney Todd, and Into the Woods. Conductor Tim Stella will lead the program, joined by Broadway stars Hugh Panaro and Lisa Vroman. Also appearing are Ray Hardman and Kathleen Callahan-Hardman. 

Stella conducted The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway, and before that, Jesus Christ Superstar, A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum, Guys and Dolls, The Most Happy Fella, Hello Dolly!, and Legs Diamond. He served as vocal coach to Emmy Rossum and Gerard Butler, who portrayed Christine and the Phantom respectively, in the movie version of Phantom. Stella is former resident music director of Goodspeed Musicals, and a conductor at Radio City Music Hall. 

Panaro is best known for having played the role of the Phantom in Broadway’s The Phantom of the Opera more than 2,000 times.  

On July 21, Maestro Kevin Rhodes returns to Springfield to conduct a MOSSO benefit concert, with a program of light classics and music of renowned composer John Williams, whose works include Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, and Schindler’s List. Rhodes will be joined by guest soloist, violinist Yevgeny Kutik, whose two prior solo appearances in Springfield were met with great acclaim. 

Rhodes served as music director and conductor of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra for 20 seasons, until the SSO paused performances in 2020. 

He continues to serve as music director and conductor of the Traverse Symphony in Michigan, and as principal conductor of Boston’s Pro Arte Chamber Orchestra. In March 2021, Maestro Rhodes made his debut with the Orchestra of the Rome Opera in Italy, recording a live radio broadcast of Maurice Jarre’s score to Roland Petit’s ballet, Notre Dame de Paris. He will conduct productions of Giselle and La Bayadère for their 2022-23 season. 

Kutik, a native of Minsk, Belarus, immigrated to the United States with his family at the age of five, with the help of the Jewish Federations of North America. His 2014 album, Music from the Suitcase: A Collection of Russian Miniatures (Marquis Classics), features music he found in his family’s suitcase after immigrating to the United States from the Soviet Union in 1990. In 2021, Kutik launched Finding Home: Music from the Suitcase in Concert. Kutik’s additional releases on Marquis include his most recent album, The Death of Juliet and Other Tales. 

Tickets for both concerts, priced $60, $45, $25, and $10, will go on sale on May 9. For details, visit: SpringfieldSymphonyMusicians.com. 

MOSSO sponsors (to date) include: The Republican/MassLive, BusinessWest and Healthcare News, WWLP-22News & The CW Springfield, the Sheraton Springfield at Monarch Place, New England Public Media, the Musicians of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, and the Bolduc Schuster Foundation. 

Daily News

HOLYOKE — Holyoke Community College will mark its 75th anniversary on Thursday with events that celebrate its past, present, and future as the Commonwealth’s oldest community college.  

Festivities begin as early as 9 a.m. with special programming from the college radio station, continue throughout the day with student presentations, program tours, exhibitions, open houses, demonstrations, alumni panels, food, music, and dancing, and culminate with a community reception from 5 to 7 p.m. at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute on Race Street. 

All events are free and open to the public.  

HCC was founded in September 1946 as Holyoke Graduate School, later changing its name to Holyoke Junior College, and finally Holyoke Community College.   

“Our 75th anniversary enables us to celebrate our remarkable past, and provides us an opportunity to define our bright future,” said President Christina Royal. “HCC was built and rebuilt by innovative and resilient individuals, who we are proud to honor as part of our history. That history has laid the foundation for who we are today, and it inspires us to advance excellence, increase equity, and foster innovation for years to come. Our celebration is for our community — past and present — and for the future of HCC.” 

Events will take place all around campus and online from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., before concluding at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute  for the community reception, where guests will enjoy food prepared by HCC Culinary Arts students and chefs from MGM Springfield, beverages from White Lion Brewing and Arcpoint Brewing; live music performed by HCC music students and faculty; demonstrations of HCC’s workforce training programs; and brief remarks from current students and HCC alumni.  

Community members are encouraged to RSVP for the reception at hcc.edu/75th-event although walk-ins are also welcome.  

Daily News


ENFIELD, Conn. — The public is invited to make a reservation for a massage through Asnuntuck Community College’s massage clinic. 

Massages can provide physical and mental benefits. Massage can loosen tight muscles, lower blood pressure, and assist in recovery from injuries and illness. Students enrolled in ACC’s Massage Therapy program provide the massages for the clinic.  

The appointments begin May 23, and run until August 16 on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Appointment times are 9 a.m., 10:15 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Rates are $30 for 50 minutes, and $60 for 100 minutes. Gift certificates are available. Tipping is not allowed by state law.  

Reservations are required. Visit https://asnuntuck.edu/massage/ to learn more about the clinic. 

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — The Naismith memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced several appointments and promotions today: 

Andrew Brisport has joined the hall in the role of audio-visual technician. He graduated from University at Albany, State University of New York and most recently worked in Albany County as an AV production specialist. He will be focused on executing live events at the Hall of Fame, and assisting with supporting the technology inside the Hall of Fame Museum. 

Matt Belanger was promoted to Museum Operations manager after five years of working on the museum show staff as a part-time supervisor. He has his bachelor’s degree from Westfield State University; he is studying for his master’s degree currently with Southern New Hampshire University. He’s involved in all facets of museum operations, from daily operations to special events. 

Jennifer McManus has joined the hall in the Professional Relations department. She has a B.A. in Sport Management and M.E. in Athletic Administration. She is responsible for providing donor relations and stewardship to Hall of Fame members across multiple events and initiatives. Prior to joining the Hall of Fame, she served as an assistant director of Conferences & Special Events at Springfield College.  

 

Keneisha Simmons has joined the Event Operations and Sponsor Fulfillment team. She is a graduate of the University of Alabama with a bachelor’s degree in Education, (major in Kinesiology, a minor in Business). She has extensive experience, including the Alabama State High School Basketball Tournament, an internship with the NCAA Final Four, an Initiative Team Leader with Nike, as well as experience with the University of Alabama Athletic Department and the University of Alabama women’s basketball team.  

 

Nicholas Stafford has joined the hall in the role of director of Major Gifts and Legacy Planning. Originally from Springfield, he played basketball at Worcester Academy and the University of Dayton. He has been involved in the development field for the past 10 years having worked at the University of Minnesota and University of Cincinnati. Most recently, he served as the director of Leadership and Planned Giving at Wilbraham-Monson Academy. 

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EAST LONGMEADOW W.F. Young, a global leader in animal health products such as Absorbine® and The Missing Link®, today announced the appointment of Audra Mulligan as director of Regulatory Affairs and Development. 

Mulligan will help the company achieve its goals and objectives by directing the regulatory compliance process and technical product development. Additionally, she will oversee W.F. Young’s global compliance regulations and liaise with legal counsel and regulatory consultants. 

“Audra’s experience and expertise will be an incredible addition to our team,” said Jaime McKinley, president of W.F. Young. “As our company commemorates its 130th anniversary, it’s additions like Audra that speak to W.F. Young’s commitment to growth, innovation and a forward-looking vision.” 

Mulligan spent the last decade in regulatory management and customer service. She has additional certifications in pest management and horticulture. 

“I’m thrilled to become a part of W.F. Young’s rich history of providing high-quality products and exceptional customer care,” she said. “Every day there is a new opportunity to enrich the lives of our customers, and the animals they care for. As an owner of horses and dogs myself, I’m excited to combine my professional expertise with my love for animals, to help them live happier and healthier lives.”  

Daily News

 

Today at noon, Bulkley Richardson will present the final session in its Business Transitions webinar series. 

Attorneys Michael Sweet, Jenelle Dodds, and Ryan Barry will take a look at preparing for a transition. Guest speaker Chris Nadeau of Whittlesey will give his perspective on best practices. The session will be presented via Zoom. 

The session will focus on:  

  • Corporate records;
  • Disputes and contingent liabilities;
  • Financial statements;
  • Management team;
  • Assignable contracts;
  • Employee engagement and retention; and
  • ‘Preparing Yourself to Let Go’

 

Visit www.bulkley.com/exit-strategies for more details and to register. 

Daily News

NORTH BROOKFIELD — North Brookfield Savings Bank, was recently named among the top extraordinary banks in the United States by The Institute for Extraordinary Banking.  

This award comes on the heels of the Community Choice Central Mass. Best Bank Award it received for 2021. 

North Brookfield Savings Bank was recognized with the institute’s Banky Award for its commitment to strong community banking. This recognition is given to top community banks across the country to help people find the best banks in their communities. 

“The team and I are humbled to be included in this group of iconic community banks,” said Marco Bernasconi, Jr., president and CEO of North Brookfield Savings Bank. “We continue to delight our customers with top 

notch, personal and customizable service so they have a partner to coach them through their financial journey.”  

  

Daily News


HOLYOKE — The Massachusetts Bankers Association (MBA), a multi-faceted banking trade group representing more than 120 banks that manage an aggregate $27 trillion in assets under custody, has named Tom Senecal, president and CEO of Holyoke-based PeoplesBank, to its board of directors. 

“The Massachusetts Bankers Association provides critical and timely assistance to its member banks to better serve customers and navigate ever-changing regulations,” said Senecal. “It helps us to advise, educate and inform customers on how best to manage their financial lives. An educated consumer is, in fact, a better customer, and, as such, both customers and banks prosper. As a board member, I look forward to supporting our customers and the industry as a whole through this great organization.” 

The MBA was founded in 1905 to “promote the general welfare and usefulness of banks” and today serves a number of constituencies including legislators, regulators, consumer advocates, the media, community groups and, of course, the general public. Its member banks currently employ more than 72,000 professionals who work at more than 2,000 separate locations across the state.  

“The market knowledge that Tom brings enables the association to anticipate and respond to emerging banking needs and trends that help our members as they serve a very large consumer and business footprint across the Commonwealth,” said Kathleen Murphy, president and CEO of the Massachusetts Bankers Association. 

Senecal has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services industry. He was elected president of PeoplesBank in 2016 after previously serving as the bank’s executive vice president and chief operating officer. He is a graduate of the UMass Amherst Isenberg School of Management (B.S. Business Administration) and is a certified public accountant. He also attended the Tuck Executive Program at Dartmouth College.  

Daily News


SPRINGFIELD — Fontaine Bros. Inc., a construction management and general contracting firm serving the public and private sectors since 1933, announced that it has established a corporate foundation. The Fontaine Community Foundation, led by Fontaine’s director of Diversity, Inclusion and Community Impact, Elizabeth Wambui, is committed to developing partnerships with organizations that help build stronger communities with a mission to contribute to the common good. The foundation envisions communities that thrive in quality education, have access to affordable healthcare, and have the resources to help young people grow and learn.  

“Through the Fontaine Community Foundation, we can further enhance and expand our commitment to supporting the communities where we build and where our colleagues and clients live and work,” said Dave Fontaine Jr., vice president of Fontaine Bros.  

A unique feature of the Fontaine Community Foundation is that each Fontaine team member will be able to direct a portion of the foundation’s annual giving to worthy organizations and causes of their choosing. 

“By creating and funding an employee directed giving component of the Foundation’s efforts, we are excited to not only connect with a broad range of worthy causes that are personally important to our team members, but also to create and grow the habit of philanthropic giving at every level of our organization,” said Wambui.    

This summer, the foundation will host an inaugural golf tournament at Longmeadow Country Club on August 8. 

Proceeds from the tournament, which includes 18 holes of golf, lunch, and an evening program, will benefit dozens of organizations including the Nativity School of Worcester, the Thomas J. O’Connor Animal Control Center, and many more throughout Massachusetts.   

To learn more about the foundation or the golf tournament, visit  [email protected]. 

Daily News

 

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Citizens announced today that the national Citizens Business Conditions Index (CBCI) reached 59.5 for the first quarter of 2022, up markedly from 54.4 at the end of 2021 and reaching its highest level since Citizens began tracking the data in 2014, suggesting that lessons learned by businesses during the pandemic coupled with strong consumer demand were a potent combination. 

The CBCI has been in expansionary territory (above 50) for six consecutive quarters, but the latest value exceeds even the first ‘reopening rebounds’ that emerged in early 2021 and signals that resilient businesses that streamlined operations during early waves of the pandemic were able to benefit from a super-charged post-Omicron bounce. 

“Demand is still strong, leading to strong business conditions,” said Eric Merlis, managing director, Global Markets, for Citizens. “However, inflation is a major concern. It’s not just a strong economy that’s driving it — the pressures from supply-chain backlogs and the invasion of Ukraine have aggravated the situation. It’s a critical moment for policymakers to contend with all of these issues.” 

Positive indicators regarding business conditions are reaching new heights just as uncertainty escalates in a number of areas. Inflation continues to move higher, posting a year-over-year pace of 8.6% in March, the highest level since 1981. Multiple factors aggravated price pressure, including COVID’s continued hold on critical production pipelines, especially in China, and the invasion of Ukraine by Russia. Against this backdrop, the Federal Reserve implemented a 25-basis point rate hike last month in its first tightening measure of this business cycle and market expectations for future rate hikes adjusted even higher. 

All five components of the Index were additive in the first quarter, an atypical scenario even in other periods of robust business activity. Both the manufacturing and non-manufacturing indexes from the Institute of Supply Management (ISM) posted expansionary levels even though their readings were down from the fourth quarter.  

Employment levels also boosted the Index reading. Initial jobless claims ticked downward, and job openings continued to eclipse the number of job seekers. Meanwhile, applications for new business formation were also strong.  

Daily News

 

Work Opportunity Center Inc. announce that it is a recipient of a grant to help purchase a wheelchair-accessible minivan. 

The Beveridge Family Foundation Inc. contributed $8,000 towards obtaining this important means of transportation for program participants of the Community Based Day Services program (CBDS). The program will use the funds to obtain a wheelchair-accessible vehicle that will bring people to activities in the community, which will positively impact the organization’s participants who need this type of vehicle to access the community. They will be able to use generic resources such as the library, stores, fitness centers, and museums as well as go to volunteer sites and jobs.  

CBDS enables individuals with developmental disabilities to enrich their lives and enjoy community activities by providing activities in five core fundamentals: education, social, health and wellness, life skills, and employment/volunteer. Career exploration, community integration experiences, skills development and training, volunteer opportunities with local non-profits, health and fitness classes, and socialization experiences are some of the activities provided within the program. The CBDS program currently services 84 individuals in the Greater Springfield area.   

Daily News

 

EASTHAMPTON — The Wild & Precious Arts Festival brings two days of lively musical performances, art exhibitions, and street parades to the city of Easthampton. The festival, staged on May 27 and 28, celebrates the creative work of women over 50, including poetry, installation, cabaret, gospel music, a visual exhibit, and a dance band. 

Easthampton’s unique locations such as Luthier’s Co-op, Galaxy, Marigold Theater, the Blue Room at CitySpace, Elusie Gallery, Easthampton Congregational Church and Nini’s Ristorante are but a few of the participating venues.  

Ellen Cogen, professor of Music at Holyoke Community College and Music Director at The Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence, is the festival’s creator. Not only is she an organizer and idea maker, she will also accompany the cabaret performers and is the pianist and one of the singers in the gospel group Giving Voice. 

“To society, as women age, they become less visible and valued, although as older artists, many of us feel that we are just starting to reach our full creative potential,” she said. “This festival is designed to spotlight these women artists and an opportunity for folks of all ages and genders to enjoy their works and celebrate their unique talents.”   

“Featuring women musicians over 50 showcases the years of performing plus the passion that these divas bring,” said Mary Witt, a local visual artist and the accomplished band leader of The O-Tones. Along with her work organizing the festival, she performs with the Dance Band and Giving Voice, and her art will be on display in the Elusie Gallery.  

For a schedule of events for the Wild & Precious Arts Festival, visit  wildpreciousartsfestival.com.  

Daily News


The state Senate on Thursday passed a bill that would legalize sports betting in the Commonwealth, but prohibit wagering on college sports. 

The legislation was narrower than the version the House passed last summer, which allowed for betting on both professional and college sports.  

If signed into law, the new gambling program would bring in a projected $35 million in annual revenue to the state, according to Senate Ways and Means Chairman Michel Rodrigues. 

Passage of the measure sets up negotiation between the two chambers before the end of the formal session in July. 

The Senate measure prohibits the use of credit cards to place bets, allows people to set limits on how much money, and how often, they gamble, and addresses compulsive and problem gambling. 

Daily News

 

HOLYOKE — Before an audience of more than 200 guests, including college presidents, faculty, entrepreneurs, and students, three students among 12 contestants from area colleges were selected as winners of the annual Live Elevator Pitch Contest on Wednesday at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House. 

The event, featuring a 90-second pitch, was part of the Grinspoon Entrepreneurship Initiative “Celebration of Entrepreneurial Spirit.”   

 

The three winners are: 

 

  • Matthew Fontaine-Dulude a student at Elms College, for Mall Specials, an app that provides location-based deals for malls and other retail stores. The app provides discounts and deals through targeted pop ups. The company garners revenue through advertising and sharing consumer information for more targeted shopping experiences;
  • Juliana Makonise, a student at Smith College, for Impumelelo Career Network, a career advisory firm connecting young people in Zimbabwe to professional development opportunities; and 
  • Alexandra Pinschmidt, a student at Holyoke Community College, for the Hip Squeezer, a safe, ergonomic device designed to significantly reduce the intense pain experienced during childbirth. Squeezing the mother’s hips together during contractions provides optimal relief and comfort.

 

Representatives from five area banks sponsored and judged the pitch competition —Berkshire Bank, Country Bank, PeoplesBank, People’s United Bank, and Westfield Bank. 

The event also included the presentation of the annual Grinspoon, Garvey & Young Alumni Entrepreneurship Award and $1,000 to an individual continuing to advance as an entrepreneur after previously receiving the Grinspoon Spirit Award. The 2022 winner is Mount Holyoke graduate Regina Ye, co-founder and CEO of Topsort, a company now valued at $110 million. Topsort has developed a state-of-the-art platform for conducting advertising auctions used by companies around the world to host revenue-generating advertising on their websites. Ye won the Grinspoon Spirit Award in 2017 for her entrepreneurial energy. 

Daily News

 

HOLYOKE — Girls Inc. of the Valley has named nine recipients of its first-ever Dream Maker Award ahead of the agency’s Spirit of Girls event on May 5.  

During the past two years, several members of the community have stepped up to provide high-quality learning opportunities for youth, advocate for funding for Girls Inc. programs, and volunteer their time, talents, and treasure to benefit 

Girls Inc. of the Valley. Girls Inc. is awarding the following people the Dream Maker Award. 

 

  • Mary Kay Brown is director of Partnerships at John J. Duggan Academy, a Social Justice Magnet School, Kennedy Middle School, and the Academy at Kiley. She has been the liaison to get Girls Inc. programming in Springfield schools and has advocated for funding from the district for Girls Inc.’s healthy sexuality curriculum;

 

  • Angelina Cicerchia graduated from UMass Amherst in 2021 with a bachelor’s degree and currently works at Mass General Hospital. She has been a champion for youth, which includes her dedication as a mentor in Girls Inc.’s College Access Now (CAN) Mentor Program;

 

  • Cady Coleman is a former NASA Astronaut and Air Force colonel with more than 180 days in space, accumulated during two space shuttle missions and a six-month expedition to the International Space Station (ISS), where she acted as the Lead Robotics and Lead Science officer. Coleman is a vocal advocate for inclusion in STEM fields. She has hosted workshops to energize youth about space and science careers, and inspired girls to dream bigger and pursue a career as an astronaut;

 

  • Rep. Patricia Duffy represents the state’s Fifth Hampden District, which consists of Holyoke and is expanding to include Chicopee Ward 3B in January 2023. She continues to advocate for state funding for Girls Inc. and hosted the press event at Girls Inc.’s new home at 480 Hampden Street. Rep. Duffy’s weekly resource meetings for organizations during the height of the pandemic were also impactful;

 

  • Sarah Etelman has been a part of the Girls Inc. family for more than 12 years (which includes nearly a year as a consultant before a full-time position opened up). During that time, she’s been witness to the many transformations that Girls Inc. inspires. During the pandemic, she helped keep girls creatively engaged with felting workshops, and outfitted Girls Inc. staff with handmade masks.

 

  • Nikai Fondon is a recent graduate of the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst, and now works at a woman-owned marketing agency. She hosts her own podcast called She Did That!, dedicated to highlighting women of color leaders in our community. She has lent her voice to the Girls and Racism Town Hall, and worked with Girls Inc. teens to develop their own Zine

 

  • Jean Mendoza currently serves as the director of Marketing & Communications for Auxiliary Enterprises at UMass Amherst, where she facilitates and leads high- level marketing projects and strategic plans for the campus community and beyond. A Springfield native, her commitment to enrich, empower, and engage her local community has been a priority throughout her career. She has shown up for youth in many ways, most recently as a mentor in the CAN Mentor Program.

 

  • Senator John C. Velis represents the 2nd Hampden and Hampshire district in the Massachusetts State Senate, which includes the City of Holyoke and 10 other cities and towns in Western Massachusetts. He has been a champion of the Eureka! Program, secured a $50,000 earmark for Girls Inc.’s new building on 480 Hampden St., and continues to advocate for state funding.
  • WWLP-22News, an NBC affiliate, is the area’s multimedia leader and the most watched television station in the market. The station and its reporters have participated in important conversations that center and elevate girls’ voices in the community, like Project Red to bring awareness to the inaccessibility of period products during the pandemic, and Project TEAL, to shine a light on the hyper-sexualization of girls and women of color.
Daily News

 

NORTH ADAMS — MCLA’s Division of Graduate and Continuing Education (DGCE) will stage a virtual information session at 5 p.m. on May 3 for community members interested in the college’s Master of Education (MEd) and teacher licensure programs, master of Business Administration (MBA), graduate certificate in Business Administration, master of Education program, Leadership Academy, and bachelor’s degree completion programs.  

This info session is free and open to the public and is tailored to community members interested in advancing their education at MCLA.   

To register, visit mcla.edu/infosession, or email DGCE at [email protected]for more information.   

Community members interested in pursuing a graduate degree or finishing their bachelor’s degree with evening classes at MCLA’s location in Pittsfield, are encouraged to attend. Representatives from each program will answer questions related to academics, the application process, education timelines, and more.   

Daily News

Patricia Begrowicz, president and co-Owner of Onyx Specialty Papers in Lee, was elected Thursday as chair of the board of directors of Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM), the statewide business association. 

A respected business and community leader in Berkshire County, Begrowicz has led the rebirth of a successful manufacturing company she acquired with a partner from MeadWestvaco during the great recession. She will become the second woman to chair the board of the largest business group in the Commonwealth and the first person from Berkshire County to lead AIM since 1953. 

Representatives of 3,400 AIM-member businesses elected Begrowicz during the association’s annual business meeting. Members also elected Donna Latson Gittens, principal and Founder of MORE Advertising in Watertown, as clerk of the corporation, and Gregory Buscone, executive vice president and senior commercial banking officer, Eastern Bank, Boston, as treasurer. 

“Our new leadership epitomizes AIM’s commitment to diversity in all its forms – racial, gender, geographic, industry and company size,” said outgoing board Chair Joanne Hilferty, president and CEO of Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries in Boston. “Pat Begrowicz is an accomplished entrepreneur and manufacturing executive who will be the perfect leader for Associated Industries of Massachusetts as it renews its commitment to helping businesses succeed.”  

Begrowicz bought the MeadWestvaco specialty papers business with partner Christopher Mathews in December 2009 and formed Onyx Specialty Papers. The company, which currently employs 150 people, provides skilled manufacturing jobs in a region that has seen many manufacturers downsize or close. Onyx produces highly engineered papers for technically demanding applications in global markets including automotive, medical filters, fine art, decorative surfaces and filtration.  

A native of New Jersey, Ms. Begrowicz earned a bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering at the University of Notre Dame and a master of Science in Paper Science and Technology from Lawrence University. She serves on the boards of directors for Power Options, 1 Berkshire, the Boys and Girls Club of the Berkshires and the Berkshire Business Roundtable. She also serves on the University of Notre Dame Engineering College Advisory Council.  

“I am honored to chair the board of directors of AIM at a time when the need has never been greater for business organizations to create a sense of collective purpose among employers,” she said. “We are proud that everyone involved in the legislative or business life of Massachusetts praises the professionalism, preparation and civility that AIM shows on behalf of employers and the jobs they create.”   

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD — Big Y World Class Markets added to the collected donations from customers and employees from March 17 to March 30 through their traditional registers, online and myExpress check out for Ukraine Humanitarian Relief. Community and employee donations along with additional support from Big Y resulted in a donation of $100,000, which will be donated to the global Red Cross network response to provide humanitarian relief to people affected by the crisis in Ukraine.  

As the conflict continues, the Red Cross continues to help families impacted by this devastating conflict. International Red Cross teams are currently on the ground in the region distributing food, delivering medicine and medical supplies, assisting with evacuations, and providing shelter.  

“Thanks to Big Y’s generous support, the global Red Cross network continues to help families impacted by continued fighting in Ukraine,” said Anne McKeough, chief Development officer at the American Red Cross, “We are grateful for partners like Big Y as we work together to help provide critical humanitarian relief response to the Ukraine crisis.”  

Said Big Y President and CEO Charles L. D’Amour, “We have all witnessed the heartbreaking effects particularly on children and families in Ukraine. We are grateful to partner with the International Red Cross to provide some measure of support for their innocent victims. Our thanks go out to our entire Big Y Family, including our customers and employees for joining us to support this humanitarian relief.” 

Daily News

Lathrop, a senior living community with campuses in Northampton and Easthampton, recently welcomed Cindy Jerome as its new chief executive officer.  Jerome is a seasoned executive leader with 23 years of leadership experience in senior living communities in New England. 

“We knew what we were looking for, and Cindy meets all our requirements,” said Acting Board Chair Chuck Johnson. “She will oversee initiatives in facilities stewardship, strategic planning, program development, and ensuring Lathrop is well-positioned to serve and thrive for generations to come.” 

A non-profit founded in 1989, Lathrop is a Kendal affiliate, serving older adults in the Quaker tradition. “I was delighted to receive a call inquiring about my interest in leading a Kendal community,” said Jerome. “Kendal’s values and my own have great affinity.”   

Both of Lathrop’s campus communities offer independent living in townhomes. The Easthampton campus is also home to The Inn, an Enhanced Living option offering meals and daily support.   

Jerome has a master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Antioch New England Graduate School. Most recently she was the senior leader of Alice Peck Day Lifecare and, prior to that, of Garden Path Elder Living. 

Daily News

SPRINGFIELD Skoler, Abbott & Presser, P.C., a labor and employment law firm serving employers in the Greater Springfield area, recently welcomed attorney Trevor Brice to its team.  

 “Trevor brings years of expertise in labor and employment litigation to help employers solve — and prevent — legal issues,” said Attorney John Gannon, a partner at Skoler Abbott. “His experience provided him with a detailed understanding of the difficult scenarios employers face when defending claims of discrimination, harassment, wrongful terminations and allegations of violations of the Family and Medical Leave Act. We are confident he will quickly make an impact on behalf of our clients.”  

 A native of Newport, R.I., Brice received his law degree from Suffolk University School of Law in Boston, where he was the recipient of the Robert Fuchs Memorial Labor Law Award. After practicing in Boston, he recently relocated to Northfield and joined Skoler Abbott.   

 Brice has regularly advised and represented clients in state and federal courts, as well as at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the Mass. Commission Against Discrimination (MCAD), the Conn. Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities (CHRO), and other state agencies. He is licensed in Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Maine, and New York, and is a member of the bar associations in those states. 

Daily News

AMHERST — U.S. Congressman Jim McGovern, who represents the 2nd District of Massachusetts, will be the featured speaker at the UMass Amherst undergraduate commencement ceremony on May 13 at McGuirk Alumni Stadium.  

 The congressman will address an anticipated crowd of about 20,000 family members, friends and other guests as approximately 7,000 undergraduates receive their bachelor’s degrees at the Commonwealth’s flagship campus. 

 “Congressman McGovern has been a champion for human rights, an influential legislator in the fight to end food insecurity in America, and a tireless advocate for the people of Massachusetts,” said UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy. “He played an important role in securing direct funding for UMass and our students through three COVID-19 relief bills during the pandemic. We are honored to have him as our featured speaker.” 

Among the congressman’s many accomplishments are his successful efforts to increase Pell Grant funding for low-income students, creating a program to provide nutritious meals in schools for millions of the world’s poorest children, and passing laws that target global human rights abusers with sanctions. 

The graduation ceremony for the undergraduate Class of 2022 is the 152nd UMass Amherst Commencement. Approximately 7,000 graduates are expected to receive their degrees at McGuirk Alumni Stadium on the UMass Amherst campus. The ceremony will be held rain or shine beginning at 4:30 p.m. and is scheduled to conclude at approximately 6:30 p.m. The ceremony is free and tickets are not required.  

Stadium gates open at 2 p.m. Guests should plan to arrive on campus by that time and will be directed to free campus parking and to shuttle buses that will take them from parking lots to the stadium. Services are available for guests with limited mobility and other disabilities. 

Daily News


Gov. Charlie Baker and Congressman Richard Neal are calling for a Western Mass. Passenger rail authority that would apply for federal funds for east-west commuter rail and administer such a program. 

The joint call for a rail authority came after what Neal called a “historic meeting” Tuesday on east-west rail attended by Baker, Neal, Congressman James McGovern, and most all members of the Western Mass. legislative delegation to Beacon Hill. 

There was no timeline announced for a new east-west rail line, and there are many hurdles still to be cleared, including the securing of funding, but Tuesday’s meeting marked a step forward for the rail project, with Baker announcing support for the plan. 

At a press conference following the meeting, Baker, who has long been accused by some backers of the project as being opposed to the initiative, said that rather than opposition, he simply has questions about the bold endeavor. 

He told those assembled that he would like to see the state Legislature take up the formation of an authority by the end of this session later this summer. 

Funding for the east-west rail project, projected to cost from $1 billion to $2.4 billion or more, could come from the $1 trillion federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill, which would be available later this year. 

Daily News

SOUTHWICK Whalley Computer Associates (WCA) has again been named to the Tech Elite 250 list comprised of solution providers in the U.S. and Canada that have made the investments necessary to earn the highest level of certifications from the largest and most prestigious manufacturers of technology products and services  

CRN®, a brand of The Channel Company, named WCA to the Tech Elite 250 in 2016, 2019, 2020, and 2021 as well. 

WCA’s engineering team has earned about 125 certifications with nearly 30 different manufacturers by numerous dedicated engineers.  

“We are honored to be named to this prestigious list for the fourth year in a row,” said Michael Sheil, president of Whalley Computer Associates. “This is truly a testament to the team we have here at WCA. Our employees are what makes WCA the company it is, and I thank everyone who has mad ethe commitment to continuously improving our processes to give our customers an outstanding experience. The level of certifications and knowledge our engineering team possesses is second to none int eh industry and we are incredibly proud of them.” 

Founded in 1979, WCA has been providing IT solutions and services to customers throughout New England and upstate New York for 43 years.   

Daily News

 

AMHERST — Bolstering UMass Amherst’s commitment to carbon neutrality by 2032, UMass Amherst Dining Services has made the commitment to measure the carbon impact of their menu. In doing so they will be the first college or university dining program in the country to include carbon footprint for individual dishes. 

The initiative will help students reduce their carbon footprint with their everyday food choices by including a carbon rating on the menu identifiers. In a fall survey of over 800 people, 88% of students indicated the climate crisis informs their decisions at least some of the time. In addition, 75% indicated they believe their food choices impact the environment and 76% said reducing their carbon footprint is important to them. 

Launching during Earth Week, the first phase of this project will feature an A-E carbon rating for all menu items at Hampshire Dining Commons on the menu identifiers, online and on the UMass Dining App. 

Determining the carbon footprint of a dish is a multi-faceted process that incorporates things like water consumption as well as storage and transport. To create a clear, concise way to communicate thesevalues for their customers, UMass Dining is working with My Emissions, a leading provider of food carbon labelling. My Emissions’ standardized process makes it easy to calculate the carbon footprint from a recipe and demonstrates the impact of a customer’s food choices using a rating scale. Factoring in all the contributing elements, My Emissions has developed an A-E rating scale based on the carbon intensity (“A” signals Low impact and “E” signals Very High). 

“Eating low-carbon food is one of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint,” said Matthew Isaacs, co-founder of My Emissions. “As an award-winning university food service provider, UMass Dining Services are the ideal partner for us to launch our carbon label into the U.S. I hope this inspires people to make more sustainable choices, and that many other institutions follow their lead.” 

 

Said Ken Toong, executive director of auxiliary enterprises, “we are excited to launch this carbon rating system in our dining program as part of our efforts to empower students with information so that they can make educated decisions for both their personal and planetary health,”  

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NORTHAMPTON — The Board of Directors of  Cancer Connection announced that Chelsea Sunday Kline has been named executive director of the nonprofit. 

   “As we mark the 22nd anniversary of Cancer Connection and transition to in-person and virtual programs and services, we are pleased to introduce Chelsea Kline as our new executive director,” said Jennifer Ewers, board president, “With Chelsea’s demonstrated community involvement, leadership and enthusiasm, we are so lucky to move forward with her guidance.” 

 Kline’s hiring comes as Cancer Connection is poised to create and implement a new plan of strategic growth in programming, development, and outreach. Kline said she is eager to support the staff in safely reopening to provide in-person supports for participants and their caregivers, from massage, reiki, mindfulness, and more. 

 According to the American Cancer Society, more than 1.9 million new cancer cases are expected to be diagnosed in the US in 2022. Furthermore, an estimated 40 out of 100 men and 39 out of 100 women in the US will develop cancer during their lifetime, so the free services offered by the Cancer Connection are unfortunately very necessary. 

 “I am honored to have the opportunity to lead Cancer Connection,” said Kline. “The organization is poised to really expand its vision and build on its solid reputation of the past 22 years of compassionate service. I look forward to being a part of the effort to bring the organization to the next level, making a positive difference for even more people living with Cancer and their caregivers.” 

 Kline joins Cancer Connection with a wide range of applicable professional skills and expertise. Kline is a graduate of both Smith College and Harvard Divinity School and has a background as an academic program director for a local university, an interim executive director of a small non-profit, and is currently a consultant and professional life, career, and transition coach. Moreover, she contributes a regular column to the Daily Hampshire Gazette’s Living section entitled “In the Present,” featuring content about mindfulness, gratitude, and kindness. 

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SPRINGFIELD MGM Springfield and the Mass. Convention Center Authority announced that MGM Springfield has been awarded the venue-management contract for the continued management of the MassMutual Center. 

Beginning July 1, the new contract awards a seven-year term, plus the option to extend for an additional three years.   

The Mass. Convention Center Authority held its monthly board meeting on April 21, and part of the agenda was the selection of management for the MassMutual Center for the next 10 years. By a unanimous ‘yes’ vote, the board selected MGM Springfield as its management partner. 

MGM Springfield initially assumed management for the MassMutual Center on July 1, 2017, and since that time, the MassMutual Center has hosted more than 730 events that have attracted more than 1 million people to the Greater Springfield area, despite the impacts of COVID-19. MGM Springfield has been able to expand the quantity and quality of world-class entertainment and events, as well as the number of major meetings and conventions including: AHL All-Star Classic, Slayer, Aerosmith, Bill Burr, John Mulaney, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement, Cher, Stevie Wonder, Red Sox Winter Weekend, for King & Country, Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts, World Quilt New England, Massachusetts Association of Realtors, New England Fence Association, Massachusetts Teachers Association Annual Meetings, Greater Boston Manufacturing Partnership Lean Conference, New England Library Association, Yankee Security Convention, New England Regional Volleyball Association, and many more. 

The MassMutual Center is also home to the Springfield Thunderbirds and the American International College’s Men’s Hockey team, the Yellow Jackets. 

“We are thrilled with this decision,” said Sean Dolan, general manager of the MassMutual Center. “Our staff is the best in the business, and this gives us an opportunity to expand on our operational excellence, guest services, community involvement, diversity initiatives, public safety features, and our investment and partnership with the Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau.” 

Said Chris Kelley, MGM Springfield President & COO, “We’re incredibly proud to continue our relationship with the MassMutual Center and MCCA. The venue is an integral part of our region, having served as Springfield’s premier event space for nearly two decades. We look forward to bringing more world-class experiences for years to come.” 

Daily News


The Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau (GSCVB) has announced 50 Finalists for the upcoming 2022 Howdy Awards for Hospitality Excellence. 

 

The Howdy Awards, as they are also known, celebrate workers in visitor-facing roles across Western Mass who deliver outstanding guest service, create loyal customers for their businesses and help make a positive impact upon the region’s hospitality economy.  

 

“Every guest interaction is a chance to create quality customer service impressions, which reflect back on Western Mass as a region,” said Howdy Committee Chair Michael Hurwitz from Uno’s Pizzeria & Grill. “We’re tremendously proud to have so many outstanding, hard-working people on our visitor front lines. Customers come back when they are treated well and that’s why we originally created these awards in 1996. We want to recognize the hotel desk clerk who always has a pleasant smile, the food server who gets your order right every time or the bartender who always remembers your favorite beverage, because they’re the ones who create strong, positive reviews and memorable word of mouth impressions.”  

Hurwitz added that the 2022 awards will feature winners in categories including Accommodations, Food Casual, Food Tableside, Beverage, Public Service, Retail, Transportation, Attractions, Banquet, and People’s Choice. 

“Customer service has never been more important in the tourism sector,” said GSCVB President Mary Kay Wydra. “With review apps like Yelp, Expedia and others playing such an important role in how businesses are perceived, it’s vital that customers feel they’ve been welcomed and treated well.” 

The 2022 Howdy Awards will be celebrated on May 16 at 6 p.m. at the MassMutual Center, and will also include the presentation of the Spotlight Award to Nate Costa and the Springfield Thunderbirds ownership group for keeping professional hockey in Western Mass. 

 

The 50 finalists are: 

Accommodations 

Felicia Fernandez, front desk clerk, Hampton Inn and Suites, Hadley; 

Austin Ginman, front desk agent, MGM Hotel, Springfield; 

GenesisRamos, front desk clerk, Residence Inn, Chicopee; and 

Felicia Laurin, housekeeping supervisor, The Inn on Boltwood, Amherst. 

 

Attractions 

David Dunston, show staff, Basketball Hall of Fame, Springfield; 

Laura Litterer, owner, Full of Grace Farm, Hadley; 

Steve Ferraro, director of Operations, Eastern States Exposition, West Springfield; 

Sabrina Brizzolari, director of Event Services, Mass Mutual Center, Springfield;  

Gary Laprade, tour host, Sports Travel and Tours, Hatfield; 

Pearl Wesley, ranger, Springfield Armory, Springfield; and 

Sharon Ferrara, Welcome Center manager, Springfield Museums, Springfield.  

 

Banquets 

Shanique Fair, catering sales manager, MGM Springfield; 

Will Diaz, event planner, Log Cabin, Holyoke; and 

Brenda Lee Glanville, director of Sales & Marketing, Summit View Banquet House, Holyoke. 

 

Beverage 

Terry Ryan, bartender, Collins Tavern, West Springfield; 

Rob Dullea, bar manager, Fitzwilly’s, Northampton; 

Jessica Santinello, bartender, Maple Leaf, Westfield; 

Matthew Jerzyk, bartender, Max’s Tavern, Springfield; and 

Amanda Reed, bartender, the Ranch Pub House, Southwick 

 

Food Casual 

June Leduc, general manager, Delaney’s Market, Longmeadow;  

Silvana Cardaropoli, customer service, Palazzo’s, Springfield; 

Humberto Caro, manager, Starbuck’s, Monarch Place, Springfield; and 

Erica Rosado, breakfast attendant, Tru by Hilton, Chicopee. 

 

Food Tableside 

Kelsi Donohue, server, Bnapoli Italian, West Springfield; 

Donna  Nardi, server, Cal’s Restaurant, West Springfield; 

Matthew Canata, counter clerk, EB’s, Agawam; 

Darlene Robinson, server, Gregory’s Pizza, Wilbraham; 

Bernadette Beaudry, server, Johnny’s Roadside Diner, Hadley; 

Benny  Beans, server, Lattitude, West Springfield; 

Amy Silvestri, general manager, UNO’s Pizzeria & Grill, Springfield; and 

Michael Moriarty, server, Villa Napoletana, East Longmeadow. 

 

Public Service 

Serena Curley, concierge, Baystate Medical Center, Springfield; 

Latrina Haynie, phlebotomist, Baystate Lab, Springfield; 

January Russell, insurance agent, Bluestone Insurance/Horace Mann, Agawam; 

Heather Wyman, office manager, Cordes Orthodontics, Westfield; 

Paul Barden, Meals on Wheels, Greater Springfield Senior Services, Springfield; 

Tricia Zoly, nurse, Holyoke Council on Aging, Holyoke; and 

Harold Anderson, program director, Valley Eye Radio, Springfield. 

 

Retail 

Yates Greenhalgh, cashier, Big Y, Wilbraham; 

Kerri O’Connor, manager, Athleta, Longmeadow; 

Patrick Hamel, service advisor, Gary Rome Hyundai, Holyoke; 

Tiarra Henderson, framing specialist, Michael’s, West Springfield; 

Maria Lepage, sales and leasing consultant, Gary Rome Hyundai, Holyoke; 

Sabrina Pretti, customer service, Insa Inc., Easthampton; 

Carolyn Owens, cashier, Walgreen’s, Springfield; 

Janet Graves, retail sales associate, Yankee Candle Village, South Deerfield; and 

Stephen Ross, sales associate, Yankee Candle Village, South Deerfield  

 

Transportation 

Jose Guzman, valet parker, Baystate Medical Center, Springfield; 

Barbara Eckert, booth attendant, Civic Center Garage, Springfield; and 

Tom McLeer, PVTA bus driver, PVTA, Springfield 

 

The Howdy Awards for Hospitality Excellence are sponsored by Eastern States Exposition, Aladco Linen Services, Mass. Convention Center Authority, Freedom Credit Union, Performance Foodservice, People’s United Bank, MGM Springfield, MassMutual Center, Baystate Health, Yankee Candle Village, Modelo Especial, The Republican, MassLive, WWLP TV-22 and IHeart Media. 

 

The GSCVB, an affiliate of the Economic Development Council of Western Mass, is a private non-profit destination marketing organization dedicated to promoting Western Mass for meetings and conventions, group tours, sports and leisure travel.   

Daily News

 

NORTHAMPTON — Tony Worden, president and CEO of Greenfield Cooperative Bank and it’s Northampton Cooperative Bank division, announced several recent promotions:  

  • Lisa Kmetz is being promoted to executive vice president, Retail Banking. She has been with the bank since 1998 when she started as a branch manager. She holds an associate’s degree in Business Administration from Holyoke Community College and certification in Computer Information Systems from Western New England University.
  • Chelsea Depault is being promoted to vice president, Commercial Operations Officer. She originally started with the bank back in 2007 as a float teller and also worked in the Accounting Department before moving on to Commercial Lending, where she has been for the past several years as a credit analyst and then as an assistant vice president, Commercial Lending. In her new role, she will oversee the operations of Commercial Loan Servicing and Administration. She holds a bachelor’s degree from UMass Amherst. 
  • Casey Cusson is being promoted to vice president, branch manager. He has been with the bank since 2017, when he started as a branch manager. He holds a bachelor’s degree from UMass Amherst and lives in Shelburne with his family. 
  • Lisa Granger is being promoted to vice president, branch manager. She has been with the bank since 2007, when she joined as a branch manager with several years of experience in bank management. She is a graduate of the New England School of Financial Studies.
  • Jenicca Gallagher is being promoted to vice president, branch manager. She has been with the bank since 2010, when she joined as a branch manager. She holds a bachelor’s degree from UMass Amherst.
  • Cynthia Gonzalez is being promoted to vice president, branch manager. She has been with the bank since 2003, when she joined as a branch manager. She attended Salem State College.
  • Dawn Hibbert is being promoted to vice president, branch manager. She has been with the bank since 2002, when she joined us as a teller. She holds an associate’s degree from Holyoke Community College.
  • Chris Wilkey is being promoted to assistant vice president, Information Systems. He has been with the bank since 2007, when he joined as a back-up head teller before becoming lead technology specialist in 2014, and MIS Officer in 2019.
  • Julie Gonzales is being promoted to Human Resources officer. She has been with the bank since 2012, when she joined us as a teller before becoming executive assistant to the CEO and then most recently HR coordinator. She holds an associate’s degree from Greenfield Community College.

Other notable promotions: 

  • Matt Welcome was promoted from branch manager-in-training to branch manager. He has been with the bank for more than four years and has served as a float teller, float head teller, and was most recently promoted to branch manager-in-training for the Turners Falls branch. He now drops the in-training designation to become a branch manager in Turners Falls. He holds an associate’s degree from Springfield Technical Community College.
  • Erika Kleeberg was promoted from head teller to assistant manager. She has been with the bank since 2019 and has quickly risen from teller to head teller and now assistant manager. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Roger Williams University.
Daily News

 

FLORENCE — For 20 years, Florence Bank has awarded grants of up to $5,000 each to dozens of nonprofits chosen by its customers, and at its annual gathering this year, it will once again offer up $100,000 to organizations that support young and old in the community. 

At its 20th Annual Customers’ Choice Community Grants gala, to be staged May 19 at 5 p.m. at Frank Newhall Look Memorial Park, the bank will offer awards to 45 nonprofits and celebrate a total of $1.4 million in community giving through this one channel. 

Organizations like Shriners Hospitals for Children in Springfield and the Therapeutic Equestrian Center in Holyoke will receive awards for the first time this year thanks to customer voting. 

“We are so grateful,” said Stacey Perlmutter, director of development at Shriners Hospitals for Children — Springfield. “All care and services at Shriners Hospitals for Children are provided regardless of a family’s ability to pay. This grant money will help us to continue to provide life-changing pediatric specialty care to families throughout Western Massachusetts and beyond.” 

Likewise, Gerry O’Connor Page, executive director of Therapeutic Equestrian Center (TEC) in Holyoke feels grateful for an assist that will help provide therapeutic horseback riding to individuals with physical, emotional or psychological disabilities. 

“We will use the money to enable us to keep prices down,” she said. “It helps make the service accessible.” 

In the past, the bank has granted funds to some Hampden County-based nonprofits, such as Dakin Humane Society, which typically is the top vote-getter each year. This year, as Florence Bank develops its engagement in the southern county, the awards to organizations based there are increasing. 

“We have branches now in West Springfield, Springfield and Chicopee, and we very much want to be good neighbors in those communities,” said Florence Bank President and CEO Kevin Day. He noted that this year, the bank held a Zoominar event to educate Hampden County nonprofit leaders about the Customers’ Choice program. 

“We wanted to be sure they were aware of the program so they could take part and have the best chance at success,” he said. 

Florence Bank’s community grants program is an annual offering founded in 2002, and, through it, Florence Bank customers are invited to vote for their favorite local nonprofit in hopes it will receive a share of grant funding. 

Voting takes place all year long, online at www.florencebank.com/vote and in bank branches, and each customer has only one vote. To qualify for a community grant, organizations must receive at least 50 votes. In 2021, roughly 6,700 votes were cast, making 45 nonprofits eligible for a grant. 

Over the past 20 years, Florence Bank has tallied more than 141,000 customer votes and given grants to roughly 164 different organizations. 

Organizations to receive awards this year range from police, fire, library and school groups to nonprofits that provide food, shelter or support to people living with a serious illness or disability. Leaders of these nonprofits will learn the amount of their award at the May event. 

In addition to Shriners Hospitals for Children — Springfield, the Therapeutic Equestrian Center and Dakin, the following organizations received enough votes to qualify for a grant and will receive an award at the celebration: Amherst Neighbors, Amherst Survival Center, Belchertown Animal Relief Committee Inc. (BARC), Belchertown K-9, Cancer Connection, Cooley Dickinson Hospital, Cooley Dickinson Hospital VNA & Hospice, Easthampton Community Center, Easthampton Elementary Schools PTO, Edward Hopkins Educational Foundation, Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, Friends of Forbes Library, Friends of Lilly Library, Friends of M.N. Spear Memorial Library, Friends of Northampton Legion Baseball, Friends of the Williamsburg Library, Goshen Firefighters Assoc., Grow Food Northampton, Granby Senior Center, Habitat for Humanity Pioneer Valley, Historic Northampton, Hitchcock Center for the Environment, It Takes a Village, J.F.K. Middle School, Kestrel Land Trust, Leeds Elementary School PTO, Ludlow Boys & Girls Club, Manna Community Kitchen, Northampton Community Music Center, Northampton High School PTO, Northampton Neighbors, Northampton Survival Center, Our Lady of the Hills Parish, Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School, Revitalize CDC, Riverside Industries, R.K. Finn Ryan Road School, Safe Passage, Smith Vocational High School PTO, The Parish Cupboard, Whole Children, and Williamsburg Firefighters Association. 

Daily News

Fresh off its successful launch in the center of West Hartford and the renovation of its Suffield Banking Center, PeoplesBank has announced that it will add to its Connecticut footprint by building a new 2,000-square-foot banking center at 50 Cedar Ave. in South Windsor. 

The banking center is expected to be the anchor for other adjacent development that may include a restaurant, coffee and retail shops, and a medical office building.  

Designed by Tecton Architects of Hartford, the banking center will feature many of the innovative technologies that PeoplesBank has rolled out at its other new and renovated locations, including two VideoBankerITMs and two EV charging stations. The new banking center will also utilize the bank’s Universal Banker approach, which allows its associates to provide a wide range of banking services to customers. 

“With all the recent merger activity, it’s clear that there is a need for more community banking,” said Tom Senecal, president & CEO of PeoplesBank. “As a mutual bank, we cannot be bought or sold. Our profits are not diverted to stockholders but, instead, are reinvested into services to our customers and support for the communities where they live. Our new South Windsor banking center will also be a catalyst for other nearby services, all of which will benefit the community.” 

PeoplesBank set an institutional record in 2021 by donating $1.3 million to charitable organizations that focus on food insecurity, housing, and literacy in Connecticut and Massachusetts. Further, PeoplesBank’s associates volunteer thousands of hours per year, and 74 of them have served on 54 nonprofit boards. 

The new South Windsor Banking Center is expected to be open in early December, 2022. 

Daily News


SPRINGFIELD — The Hispanic American Institute, in partnership with Springfield Technical Community College, will offer two free courses to support Latino and minority entrepreneurs in Springfield by providing education and tools which will help them achieve economic prosperity. 

The two courses are “English for Entrepreneurs,” starting today and “Basic Computer Skills Classes,” starting April 26.  STCC’s Workforce Development Center will offer the two courses for HAI. Learn more about the classes at stcc.edu/wdc. 

Courses are open to Springfield residents or any entrepreneur who has a business in Springfield or wants to start a business in Springfield. Courses are taught in English, but translation in Spanish will be available as needed. 

The Boston office of the Hispanic American Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to promoting social, educational, and economic development in Hispanic communities in the continental United States, Puerto Rico, and Latin America, will provide funding for the courses. 

As part of this Springfield project, the Hispanic American Institute will provide bilingual and culturally competent business technical assistance to minority-owned businesses. The goal is to increase revenues, create and retain jobs, and help start new businesses. The Hispanic American Institute has recently opened a local office at 1350 Main St., Suite 1508, in Springfield. 

“We were inspired to create a holistic approach to supporting immigrants, particularly Latino entrepreneurs, in Springfield by providing educational courses and one-on-one business coaching,” said John Perez, consulting project manager for the Hispanic American Institute.  

“We know lack of English language proficiency is a barrier to economic prosperity,” he added. “Further, lack of computer skills further inhibits access to knowledge and opportunities to start and manage a business successfully. Through this collaboration and the courses being offered, we hope to address all these issues and open opportunities for the participants.” 

STCC, which has a technical focus in all of its programs, is designated as a Hispanic Serving Institution. That means at least 25% of the full-time equivalent students are Hispanic and the college is eligible for grants to benefit all students.   

About the courses: 

English for Entrepreneurs: This course, taught virtually via Zoom, is designed for business owners, entrepreneurs and adults. Participants will learn English in the context of managing a business. Vocabulary will cover marketing, management, accounting and legal terms frequently used in casual conversations. As part of this class, participants will be asked to create a business pitch.  

Prior to starting the course, STCC will assess each participant to place them at the correct level. The course runs for 10 weeks. Classes will be held on Mondays and Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. April 25 through June 29. 

Basic Computer Skills Classes: This in-person course is designed for business owners, entrepreneurs and adults. Participants will develop basic computer skills for office work, as well as for the effective management of a business. Students will participate in activities to learn: Google Documents, Google Sheets basics (spreadsheets), efficient use of the internet, Google Slides basics, efficient use of electronic communications (e-mail), and file management and storage in Google Drive.  

There will be two cohorts. The first cohort will start April 26 and will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. at STCC. The course will run 5 weeks (last class May 26). The second cohort will start on May 31 and end on June 30. 

For more information, contact the Workforce Development Center at STCC. Visit the office at Building 27, second floor. Call (413) 755-4225 or email [email protected]. 

Daily News

Western Massachusetts farms and food businesses are about to receive some much-needed support from the state. The Mass. Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program (FSIG) has announced $22.5 million in awards, $7 million of which is coming to the four counties of Western Mass. CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture) helped 18 of those recipients secure $3.6 million in funding. 

 

FSIG was conceived of by the Food Security Task Force that was established by the state in response to the COVID-19 crisis, and it was formalized by the Baker-Polito administration in 2020. Its goal is to strengthen the local food system as COVID-19 both threatens small businesses and increases food insecurity and hunger. This recent announcement marks the second round of funding, with the possibility of a third round to come. 

 

“This funding enables farms and food businesses to invest in their businesses, meeting their immediate needs and strengthening their businesses into the future,” said Philip Korman, CISA’s executive director. “We’re so pleased that the state, with strong support from our Western Mass. legislators, has made this crucial investment in food security and infrastructure. And I’m very proud that CISA’s skilled staff supported so many businesses in successfully applying for this funding.” 

 

A statewide coalition of farm and food system advocates, including CISA, has pushed for $30 million per year for the next three years to be allocated to FSIG, with resources dedicated to helping farmers navigate the application process. “We have already begun to see the enormous difference this funding can make for local farms and related businesses,” said Korman. “With support to invest in infrastructure like refrigeration, storage, and transportation, they can provide more food to their neighbors. We are working with our legislators to continue this investment, and to ensure that these funds are flexible and responsive to the needs of the farmers and others they are helping.” 

 

Funded projects range from food pantries and other emergency food providers to grocery stores, food distribution companies, and farms. Funded projects supported by CISA are: Brookfield Farm (Amherst); Diemand Farm (Wendell); Honey Pot Produce Co. Inc. (Hadley); Agric Organics Urban Farm (Wilbraham); Atlas Farm (Deerfield); Crimson & Clover Farm (Florence); Winter Moon Roots (Hadley); D.A. Smiarowski Farms (Sunderland); Fruit Fair (Chicopee); Full Well Farm (Adams); and Greenfield Farmers’ Market (Greenfield) 

Also, Mayval Farm (Westhampton); Lyonsville Farm, LLC (Charlemont); Red Fire Farm (Montague/Granby); Reed Farm (Sunderland); Sawyer Farm (Worthington); Simple Gifts Farm (Amherst); and Woven Roots Farm (Tyringham) 

 

Daily News

 

Jack’s Walk, a fundraiser to benefit the Jack Jonah Foundation, is slated for May 14 at the Ashley Reservoir in Holyoke. 

The foundation has a stated mission to “encourage, foster, teach, engage, and provide opportunities, specifically in the areas of drug awareness.” The foundation also provides assistance (financial or otherwise) at the local, state, and/or national level in the promotion of drug awareness and education. 

The foundation is named in honor of Jack Jonah, who died of a heroin overdose. 

Jack’s Walk features a full schedule of activities. The day begins with a pre-walk tie-dye party and check-in beginning at 9 a.m. There will then be several guest speakers, including West Springfield Mayor Will Reichelt, Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi, Hampden County District Attorney Anthony Gulluni, and Jack Jonah Foundation Founder Kirk Jonah for closing comments and a moment of silence. 

The walk begins at 11, and there will be a post-walk reception at the Elks from noon to 2 p.m. 

Tickets are $20 for adults. Youths 18 and under are admitted free. To register online, visit Jackjonahfoundation.org. 

Daily News


HOLYOKE — OneHolyoke CDC announced it will be hosting a neighborhood clean-up campaign focused on the Flats neighborhood today, starting at 10 a.m. and continuing throughout the day. Resources to support the clean-up initiative come from OneHolyoke CDC. 

Volunteers, residents, and representatives of OneHolyoke will assemble at the Flats Community Building, 43 North Canal St. on Earth Day to begin the neighborhood clean-up. Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia has been an active supporter of the clean-up initiative. 

The campaign will specifically focus on cleaning streets in Holyoke. City residents may participate individually by cleaning their yard, sweeping their steps, or raking leaves. 

Participants and residents are being invited to take photos and share on social media platforms, Facebook, Instagram, & Twitter, using the hashtag #KeepItClean2K22. The social media moniker #KeepItClean2K22 is a way of keeping the community connected throughout the initiative, allowing residents or partners to participate at their own convenience, according to organizers. 

OneHolyoke has taken a leadership position in cleaning Holyoke streets for the past four years by organizing weekly clean-ups from spring to end of summer.  

“The clean-up engages our residents and partner organizations and leads to an improved quality of life for our citizens,” said Nayroby Rosa-Soriano, OneHolyoke director of Community Engagement and Resident Services. “It builds community, which is one of the reasons OneHolyoke exists. We look forward to engaging residents, volunteers and partner organizations.” 

For more information, for supplies, for support, or to be included in the hosting rotation, please contact Rosa-Soriano at (413) 409-2004, or via email at [email protected] 

Daily News


HOLYOKE — The arrival of spring means sunshine, warmer weather and … the annual Earth Day (today) tomato plants and garden seeds giveaways hosted by PeoplesBank at four of their banking centers. This year, each banking center will also be giving away kids gardening kits. All giveaways are while supplies last. 

Gardening enthusiasts can also register to win gift certificates to Dickinson Farms, Rooted Flowers, and Arethusa Farm Café. 

PeoplesBank will give away tomato plants, garden seed packets, and kids gardening kits starting at 10 a.m. at the following locations: 

 

Massachusetts Locations 

1866 Northampton St., Holyoke 

56 Amity St., Amherst 

 

Connecticut Locations 

102 LaSalle Road, West Hartford 

30 Bridge St., Suffield 

The events are open to the public. Seed and plant quantities are limited, will be distributed only while supplies last and only at the designated PeoplesBank offices. 

For more information on getting your garden growing, please visit the bank’s Gardening Tipspage. 

Daily News

 

SPRINGFIELD — Revitalize Community Development Corp. and the BeHealthy Partnership Accountable Care Organization are teaming up again, this time to tackle the issue of diabetes. 
The Nutrition Rx Program provides services aimed to improve health outcomes for patients with uncontrolled diabetes and food insecurity. Since September, more than 150 patients enrolled through the BeHealthy Partnership have completed the 10-week program. Patients must meet specific criteria of the MassHealth Flexible Services program, which is not a covered service and only available to a limited number of eligible members. Each participant receives a cooking appliance of their choice (microwave, slow cooker, or induction cooktop), kitchen supply bag, diet education, and 10 weeks of home-delivered nutritious groceries. 

The weekly groceries are specially curated for people with diabetes by registered dietitians and are delivered to the client’s doorstep. The groceries are culturally tailored and feature foods that promote a carbohydrate controlled therapeutic diet.  

Perhaps the most empowering benefit of the program is education by way of the grocery deliveries. The groceries demonstrate how to shop for foods needed to plan healthy meals and include a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats, chicken, fish, dairy products and whole grains. Clients express having more confidence to choose appropriate foods at the store so they can continue buying similar foods after the program has ended.  

As organizers head into the third cycle of referrals to the program, they look forward to offering a virtual group to provide nutrition education and to share recipes and strategies for managing diabetes.  

Daily News

 

NORTH ADAMS — MCLA’s summer Science and Robotics Camp is back this year from July 25-29, with hands-on STEM activities that culminate in a Robot Demolition Derby. 

Designed for students ages 9-12 in grades 4-7, this camp is for students who are interested in science and robotics. Campers will participate in science activities and experiments and use LEGO Mindstorm RCX and NXTs to create robots. Families are invited to attend a demolition derby at the end of the week where campers will battle with their creations. 

Science and Robotics Camp costs $375, and will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., with a 2 p.m. end time on Friday. Campers should be dropped off at 8:30 a.m., with pickup at 4:30 p.m. Camp will take place in MCLA’s Bowman Hall Robotics Lab, and proof of immunizations and COVID-19 vaccination is required for all campers.   

To register, visit mcla.edu/camps or contact [email protected]or (413) 662-5576 with questions. Space is limited.   

Daily News

 

HADLEY — UMassFive College Federal Credit Union (UMassFive) was the recent recipient of a 2022 Gold Community Champion Award from Banking Northeast magazine in the category of Civic Involvement. The award recognizes the Credit Union’s overall philanthropic efforts. 

Banking Northeast established the Community Champion Awards to highlight credit unions and community banks that create unique community partnerships, go beyond the call of duty to aid their community in special times of need, and demonstrate what their institution’s cumulative effort means to their communities. The Civic Involvement award was presented to UMassFive for its “A Community You Can Count On” campaign, which provides value to non-profit organizations within each of the communities the Credit Union serves, and also encourages a similar community spirit within UMassFive employees and members. 

“In addition to the financial support that we provide to local organizations, we also offer resources including employee volunteerism, promotional assistance from our marketing team, and engagement of our membership,” said Craig Boivin, vice president of Marketing at UMassFive. “Our employees personally fundraise for select events with credit union support such as paid-time-off incentives for funds raised, and in-branch fundraising opportunities. We also welcome member engagement through donation drives in our branches, and promote fundraising for local organizations and events through our marketing channels.” 

The credit union’s ongoing campaign has provided both financial and non-financial support to nearly 50 local organizations in recent years. In 2021, UMassFive employees raised more than $20,000 for two local fundraisers, and the Credit Union held in-branch drives that collected 350 pounds of personal care items for local survival centers. 

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