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Running for the Kids

More than 200 runners and walkers gathered in downtown Northampton on Aug. 26 for the Gándara Center’s fourth annual Frozen Yogurt 5K Run/Walk. The event raised more than $20,000 to build a universally accessible playground at Gándara’s Mooreland residential group home for children up to age 12. “This playground will provide the youngest individuals we serve with some joy during an incredibly stressful time in their lives,” said Lisa Brecher, director of Communications and Development at the Gándara Center. “Giving these children a safe and fun outlet in their backyard will help provide a positive light to their stay.” Pictured above are some of the top finishers. This year’s first-place winners by category included: men 13-54, Michael Giles (19:03); women 13-54, Laura Christof (20:35); boys 12 and under, Teddy Cyr (21:32); girls 12 and under, Sabrina Hopkins (28:17); men 55 and over, Alan Hunt (25:15); and women 55 and over, Candace Curran (27:48).

 


 


 

 

Shot of Support

Goodwin House, a CHD program offering substance-use treatment services for males between ages 13 and 17, recently commissioned a new outdoor basketball court. Pictured above: the facility’s namesake, Jim Goodwin, CEO of CHD. Below, Big Y Foods was among the donors who made the court possible. Pictured, from left, are Ben Craft, vice president, Community Engagement, CHD; Stacy Bissonette, aftercare coordinator, Goodwin House; Chantal Silloway, program director, Goodwin House; and Michael Matyszewski, store director, Chicopee Big Y. Other contributors to the new basketball court included Russell and Day Degenza, Mike Gram, Hathaway Construction Corp., HD Supply White Cap – A.H. Harris, Home Depot of Chicopee, JRT Landscaping, Marcelino Mendez, Pioneer Valley Concrete Service, Scott Santor, Craig Sypek, and Vermont Woods Studios.


 

Successful Start

Officials from Head Start, MGM Springfield, and the city of Springfield recently gathered for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new MGM Head Start Child and Family Center on Union Street in the city’s South End. The $4 million, 10,000-square-foot preschool center features classroom space for 88 children under age 5. Pictured, from left: Springfield Mayor Dominic Sarno; U.S. Rep. Richard Neal; Janis Santos, director, HCS Head Start Inc.; Alex Dixon, general manager, MGM Springfield; Marikate Murren, vice president, Human Resources, MGM Springfield; state Rep. Carlos Gonzalez; and Janet Steigmeyer, director, Human Resources, Facilities, and Maintenance, HCS Head Start Inc. (Photo by Ed Cohen)

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Investing in People

MHA’s Leadership Series

MHA’s Leadership Series, which is open to all members of management in the mental-health agency, delivers a leadership curriculum specialized for human-services professionals. The comprehensive training is designed to support supervisors and directors within their roles. Twenty-six supervisors recently graduated from MHA’s Leadership Series 2018. A second Leadership Series is scheduled for the winter of 2019. “Employee training is essential to the success of any organization. Supervisor training and development can have a profound effect on employee retention, as well as recruitment,” said Cheryl Fasano, MHA president and CEO. “The investment MHA has made in our Leadership Series will benefit the organization for the long run. Investing in our most important resources, our human resources, is a priority.”

 

 

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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts / August 20, 2018

Swinging for a Good Cause

The 38th annual Brightside Golf Classic at Springfield Country Club

The 38th annual Brightside Golf Classic at Springfield Country Club raised $90,180 to help to continue the work of Brightside for Families and Children as a nonprofit child-welfare and family-support organization for at-risk children, adolescents, and their families. The support given through this year’s Golf Classic will help Brightside’s efforts to assist children, adolescents, and families in need through family outreach and stabilization, psychiatric and medication evaluation and management, special education, and therapeutic mentoring. Pictured, from left:  William Walthouse, St. Germain Investment Management; Maria Zygmont, Brightside; John Kendzierski, Professional Drywall Construction Inc.; Daniel Moriarty, Monson Savings Bank; Mark Paglia, Brightside; Jack Dowd, the Dowd Agencies; Madeline Johnson, Brightside; Hank Downey, Florence Bank; William Wagner, Westfield Bank; and Mark Fulco, President, Mercy Medical Center.


 

Building Leaders

The MHA Leadership Series

The MHA Leadership Series, which is open to all members of management at MHA and targeted at program supervisors and directors, recently graduated 26 participants. The program delivers a leadership curriculum specialized for human-services professionals. The comprehensive training is designed to support supervisors and directors within their roles. A second Leadership Series is scheduled for the winter of 2019. “Employee training is essential to the success of any organization. Supervisor training and development can have a profound effect on employee retention, as well as recruitment,” said Cheryl Fasano, MHA president and CEO. “The investment MHA has made in our Leadership Series will benefit the organization for the long run. Investing in our most important resources, our human resources, is a priority.”


 

Community Impact

The staff of Facial Cosmetic & Maxillofacial Surgery (FCMS) in East Longmeadow

The staff of Facial Cosmetic & Maxillofacial Surgery (FCMS) in East Longmeadow collected money over the past few months during dress-down Fridays, and chose to donate $500 in proceeds to East Longmeadow Fire Department for its Firefighters Assoc. Pictured, from left: Cheryl Grassetti of FCMS, Mike Minahan of the East Longmeadow Fire Department, FCMS owner Dr. Richard Fraziero, and Ashley Swift of FCMS.

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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts

Winning Drive

Mercedes-Benz of Springfield recently awarded a new Mercedes-Benz to William Morrissey of Agawam, who won the car by hitting a hole in one on June 18 at the LETR Celebrity Golf Classic Tournament at Wilbraham Country Club, benefiting Special Olympics in coordination with the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department. “We are thrilled to have been a part of the LETR golf outing and couldn’t be happier for Mr. Morrissey,” said Mercedes-Benz of Springfield co-owner Peter Wirth. “We are proud to sponsor local community events such as this, and we hope Mr. Morrissey enjoys his new car.” Pictured: Mercedes-Benz of Springfield co-owner Michelle Wirth, Morrissey, Peter Wirth, Special Olympics representative Al Tomlinson, Milton Torres of Wilbraham Country Club, and Jon Laporte of the Hampden County Sheriff’s Department.

 

 

Farming the Future

Holyoke Community College students, staff, and alumni, along with community farmers and others, trained last month to grow produce inside two urban container farms set up in a lot off Race Street next to the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute. The 40-foot-long Freight Farms shipping containers were delivered in April for a joint urban agriculture project that includes HCC, the city of Holyoke, and the community nonprofit Nuestras Raices. The two shipping containers use hydroponic methods (without soil) to grow leafy greens and herbs. Each of the container farms can grow as much produce in a year as an acre of farmland. Pictured: Francesca Mazzillio, head farm manager for Freight Farms, explains some of the equipment to Dylan Donicz, farm manager for Nuestras Raices and a 2015 graduate of HCC’s sustainable agriculture program. Behind them is Kate Maiolatesi, HCC professor of Sustainable Studies and Sustainable Agriculture.

 

 

Rink of Honor

The Environmental Business Council of New England (EBCNE) recognized the new $18 million Worcester Ice Center with the James D.P. Farrell Award for Brownfields Project of the Year during its annual meeting and celebration on June 27. Tighe & Bond oversaw the project’s environmental remediation prior to site redevelopment. Completed last year, the Worcester Ice Center features twin ice rinks, shops, restaurants, and a variety of recreational venues. Pictured, from left: Shawn Rising, Bryan Gammons, Jeffrey Arps, and Douglas Landry of Tighe & Bond, Paul Hoffman of GKN Sinter Metals, and Marc Richards, Matthew Abraham, Becky Bozadjian, Sue Courtemanche, and Fran Hoey of Tighe & Bond.

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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts.
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Cooking for Life

More than a dozen city of Holyoke employees and their spouses recently took part in a two-part class on preparing healthy meals, presented by Training and Workforce Options and hosted by the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute. Warren Leigh, chairman of the Hospitality Management and Culinary Arts programs at HCC, developed the two-part, hands-on class, which focused on the Mediterranean diet, which is abundant in fruits, vegetables, and olive oil. The class introduced participants to knife skills, food choices, portion control, gluten-free food, and cooking styles. Trainees cooked with locally grown produce and learned about sustainability.

Leigh demonstrates a technique for chopping greens

Enrique Melendez (left) of the Holyoke DPW and Jim Crowley of Holyoke Gas & Electric slice onions.

Enrique Melendez (left) of the Holyoke DPW and Jim Crowley of Holyoke Gas & Electric slice onions

 

Hands-on Learning

Springfield College recently hosted its 25th annual Athletic Training Student Workshop on campus. The four-day workshop, co-directed by Springfield College Athletic Trainer and Assistant Professor of Exercise Science and Sport Studies Wayne Rodrigues and Springfield College alumnus Bob Kuzmeski, is intended for high-school students interested in careers in athletic training and sports medicine. High-school students from throughout the country attend the workshop and focus on anatomy, injury prevention, and care of common lower-extremity athletic injuries. Lectures, demonstrations, and practice sessions about athletic-injury prevention and maintenance take place during the workshop. Students also have the opportunity to receive hands-on exploration of cadaver anatomy in the cadaver laboratory on campus. Presentations on career options also are part of the curriculum.
Springfield College Student Workshop

Banking on Their Future

Monson Savings Bank distributed more than $22,000 in scholarships to high-school seniors who graduated this year from Monson, Ware, and Wilbraham/Hampden high schools and Wilbraham & Monson Academy. Recipients included Isabela Ferraro, Grace Pettenqill, Bianca Pio, Lisa Cavanaugh, Serina Bowen, Hannah Hicks, Cienna Moriarty, Benjamin Pagliaro, Macauley Rouette, Ethan Hill, Kaitlyn Rousseau, and Nigel Opoku-Achampong, who were selected by their schools because they demonstrated academic success and have an interest in pursuing higher education.

Steve Lowell, president and CEO of Monson Savings Bank, with some of the scholarship winners.

Steve Lowell, president and CEO of Monson Savings Bank, with some of the scholarship winners.

 

Air Apparent

The Great New England Air & Space Show drew more than 63,000 visitors to Westover Air Reserve Base on July 14-15. In addition to dozens of static displays, aerial performances were provided by the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds, the Geico Skytypers, stunt pilot Bill Stein, and the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team, just to name a few of the many who took to the skies in aircraft both vintage and cutting-edge.

U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds

5-year-old Evan LaShomb checks out one of the static displays at Westover

Connie Brown accepts a lithograph from the Golden Knights

Connie Brown, president of the Galaxy Community Council, which co-produces the airshow, accepts a lithograph from the Golden Knights

U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team

The Geico Skytypers

Picture This

A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts
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PWC New Members Gathering

The Professional Women’s Chamber of Western MA, an affiliate of the Springfield Regional Chamber, hosted its first annual new-member event on June 28 at Glendale Ridge Vineyard in Southampton. This event brought together professional women from all specialties and backgrounds to network and learn more about the benefits of becoming a member of the Professional Women’s Chamber. Attendees also had the opportunity to sample wines and learn more about the vineyard from host Mary Hamel, co-owner of the Vineyard.

From left: Kate Vishnyakov of Kate Gray Boutique, Jenny MacKay of the Gaudreau Group, and Madeline Landrau from MassMutual Financial Group


From left: Diane Cordeiro of Louis & Clark Drug, Gillian Palmer of Eastern States Exposition, Jeannie Filomeno of Marcotte Ford, Caron LaCour of Burkhart, Pizzanelli, P.C., Margaret Perry of Wilson’s Department Store, Kathleen Plante of BusinessWest, Landreau, and Rachel Duda of Louis & Clark Drug

Cutting the Ribbon

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Paul Picknelly, president of Monarch Enterprises, and Jeff Lomma, member services director of the Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce joined members of the United Bank team for a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the bank’s new location at Monarch Place in downtown Springfield on June 28. Earlier this year, the bank moved its branch from 115 State St. into the first floor of One Monarch Place. June 28 marked the ceremonial opening of the new branch location.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Paul Picknelly, president of Monarch Enterprises, and Jeff Lomma, member services director of the Springfield Regional Chamber of Commerce (left to right at center)

All-Star Unveilings

On June 28, the American Hockey League and the Springfield Thunderbirds announced that Lexus, a division of Toyota Motor Sales USA Inc. will serve as the title corporate partner for the 2019 Lexus AHL All-Star Classic presented by MGM Springfield, which will take place on Jan. 27-28, 2019 at the MassMutual Center. Balise Lexus of West Springfield was an integral part of the partnership for the AHL All-Star Classic, in addition to being a Springfield Thunderbirds corporate sponsor. “Balise is proud to partner with Lexus, the Springfield Thunderbirds, and the AHL in this endeavor to make the city we call home a destination, for both entertainment and community,” said Jeb Balise, owner and CEO of Balise Motor Sales, at the announcement. “As an integral part of the city of Springfield since 1919, we are committed to its continuing growth and revitalization.”

Officials from the team, the AHL, and Balise Lexus pose behind the official All-Star logos


Thunderbirds President Nathan Costa addresses the gathering

Pilgrimage Tour

Two students from Elms College spent a week in France last month, practicing their French, learning about French history and culture, and — perhaps most importantly — making personal connections with the legacy of the college’s founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph. The week of June 16-23, Jane Dugan of Southwick and Monica Karriem of West Hartford, Conn. joined a pilgrimage to Le Puy, France, led by the Assoc. of Colleges of Sisters of St. Joseph (ACSSJ), of which Elms College is one of nine members. The group was led by Sr. Kitty Hanley and Sr. Joan Lescinski, along with Martha Malinski, executive director of the ACSSJ, and campus ministry representatives from some of the colleges.

Jane Dugan of Southwick (at right) and Monica Karriem


Dugan (left) and Karriem pose beside the statue of Mother St. John Fontbonne at the Sisters of St. Joseph Heritage Rooms in Lyon, France.

Supporting Square One

For the second consecutive year, customers of Pride Stores and store management are showing support for Square One in a very big way. Pride recently staged a campaign where customers were encouraged to purchase a Square One ‘square’ for $1 at all Pride locations. Pride owner Bob Bolduc, one of BusinessWest’s Difference Makers for 2018, agreed to match all the donations, in support of the children and families served by Square One. On July 3, surrounded by Square One preschoolers, Bolduc, along with his team, presented a check for $13,000 to the agency at its location at 255 King St. in Springfield.

Pride employees play games with some of the children


From left, Joan Kagan, president and CEO of Square One; Marsha DelMonte and Kyara Wiggins of Pride Stores; and Kristine Allard, Square One


Bolduc meets with one of the young students.

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Xtraordinary Efforts

Berkshire Bank closed all locations early on June 5 for its third annual Xtraordinary Day, which provides employees the opportunity to volunteer in communities the bank and its affiliates serve. This year’s Xtraordinary Day included almost 90 community projects with 92% of employees participating, contributing more than 7,000 hours of service. In Berkshire County, projects include a Habitat for Humanity multi-site build in partnership with Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity; assembling of teacher-appreciation kits at Farmington River Elementary; landscaping and painting with Hillcrest Educational Centers; and cleanups with Housatonic River Walk, Northern Berkshire Community Coalition, Boys & Girls Club of the Berkshires’ Camp Russell, and the West Stockbridge Historical Society.
In the Pioneer Valley, projects include:

Tree planting and park improvements with ReGreen Springfield


Gift wrapping at Birthday Wishes


Painting and landscaping at Lupa Zoo

Painting and landscaping at Lupa Zoo, Amelia Park Children’s Museum, Girls Club of Greenfield, and YMCA of Springfield; painting the West Springfield Boys & Girls Club; and shelving books and landscaping at the Westfield Anthaneum

Taste of Things to Come

The Boston Foundation recently awarded Holyoke Community College the 2018 Deval Patrick Prize for Community Colleges for expanding its culinary-arts and hospitality programs to address industry needs, and for the partnerships the college put together to construct the new HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute in Holyoke’s Innovation District. First awarded in 2015, the Deval Patrick Prize recognizes community colleges that do an outstanding job partnering with employers to build effective career pathways for their students. Part of the $50,000 prize money is allocated for a free line-cook training program for experienced kitchen workers that started on June 4. Pictured below: faculty and staff stand on the second-floor landing of the new HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute. At bottom: Culinary Arts lab tech and HCC alumnus Tyler Carrier prepares mussels for a lunch event during the spring 2018 semester.

faculty and staff stand on the second-floor landing of the new HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute

faculty and staff stand on the second-floor landing of the new HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute


Culinary Arts lab tech and HCC alumnus Tyler Carrier

Culinary Arts lab tech and HCC alumnus Tyler Carrier prepares mussels for a lunch event during the spring 2018 semester

Community Spirit

Community Bank N.A. team members from the Springfield branch recently participated in Bowl for Kids’ Sake, an annual bowling event that raises funds for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampden County. The branch donated $2,500 in scholarships for the organization, contributing to a grand total of more than $40,000 in proceeds raised during the 2018 event. “Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampden County provides premier services in one-on-one mentoring that really makes a difference in a child’s life,” Community Bank N.A. Vice President, Commercial Banking Officer Michael Buckmaster said. “Our Springfield team is proud to support the organization and help them continue to make a significant impact in our community.”

Community Spirit

Pictured, from left: Diane Dunkerley, Michael Buckmaster, and Keith Nesbitt, commercial banking officers; Jackie Guenette, branch manager; and Natasha Miranda, customer service representative

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Finding Their Sparkle

Link to Libraries recently hosted local author Natasha Lowe at Kensington International School in Springfield

Link to Libraries recently hosted local author Natasha Lowe at Kensington International School in Springfield. Lowe spent more than an hour with the third grade, discussing life as an author and reading from her latest novel, Lucy Castor Finds Her Sparkle. “I’m just bowled over by the incredible work Link to Libraries does,” Lowe said. “Getting books into the hands of kids is a small thing that can make a big difference. A book can offer a child a magical world to escape into. They become like old friends, to be read over and over again. I had such a wonderful time visiting Kensington School this morning and sharing Lucy with all the third-graders.”

 

New Life on Main Street

Country Bank announced it has donated its former building, located at 65-71 Main St., Ware, to the Quaboag Valley Community Development Corp. (QVCDC).

Country Bank announced it has donated its former building, located at 65-71 Main St., Ware, to the Quaboag Valley Community Development Corp. (QVCDC). “The bank is looking forward to the development of this property as a creative, innovative space for artists and crafts people to practice and teach, as well as display their work,” said Paul Scully, president and CEO of Country Bank. The retail space is currently being revitalized and will provide incubator space to three new small businesses to help them begin their journey. The plans for the retail space include a pottery studio that will work in conjunction with Workshop 13 on pottery classes for the public, an art gallery with a coffee shop, and an additional space for another artistic business. The QVCDC also received a $75,000 grant from the MassDevelopment Collaborative Workspace program to help with the renovations taking place in the new space. Pictured, from left: Alexandria Martinez, project specialist, QVCDC; Sheila Cuddy, executive director, QVDC; Scully; and Mary McGovern, CFO of Country Bank.

 

Future Teachers

The ​MassMutual Foundation has awarded Teach Western Mass (TWM) $150,000 to support two teacher-pipeline programs, Generation Teach and the Urban Education Pathway (UEP

The ​MassMutual Foundation has awarded Teach Western Mass (TWM) $150,000 to support two teacher-pipeline programs, Generation Teach and the Urban Education Pathway (UEP). Both programs are critical to TWM’s efforts to recruit, prepare, and retain effective teachers to provide access to a world-class education to every student in Western Mass. Launched in partnership with Smith College in the fall of 2017, the first cohort of undergraduate Urban Ed Scholars includes 23 students from Mount Holyoke College, Hampshire College, Smith College, and UMass Amherst. Generation Teach is a summer fellowship for high-school and undergraduate students interested in exploring a teaching career.

 

Running for Their Lives

More than 2,500 girls, spectators, volunteers, and community members gathered on June 3 for the Girls on the Run Western Massachusetts 5K event at Springfield College, the culminating moment of the Girls on the Run season

More than 2,500 girls, spectators, volunteers, and community members gathered on June 3 for the Girls on the Run Western Massachusetts 5K event at Springfield College, the culminating moment of the Girls on the Run season. Girls on the Run is a national, physical activity-based, positive youth-development program that uses fun running games and dynamic discussions to teach life skills to girls in grades 3-8. During the 10-week program, girls participate in lessons that foster confidence, build peer connections, and encourage community service while they prepare for the end-of-season celebratory 5K event. In Western Mass., more than 190 trained volunteer coaches facilitated the curriculum to 54 teams of girls this spring season, helping equip them with the physical and emotional skills necessary to carry them over the 5K finish line. There were 740 girls in the program this spring from 52 school sites.

 

Engineering Inspiration

Holyoke Community College (HCC) recently hosted students from Putnam Vocational Technical High School and Springfield High School of Science and Technology for Engineering Exploration Day

Holyoke Community College (HCC) recently hosted students from Putnam Vocational Technical High School and Springfield High School of Science and Technology for Engineering Exploration Day. The students calculated the trajectory of projectiles, explored the computer science that enables 3-D printing, built bridges out of newspapers, plotted transit maps, solved logic puzzles, examined atomic structures, generated magnetic fields, and much more. “Engineering Exploration Day was not only about letting incoming students know about our STEM programs and classes; it also offered our STEM students the opportunity to share their personal experiences of how HCC has impacted their personal journeys,” said Melissa Paciulli, HCC’s STEM project administrator. Pictured: Alban Medina, 18 (right), gets ready to shock one of his classmates from Putnam during an exercise in electricity.

 

Alzheimer’s Awareness

On May 15, Alzheimer’s Assoc. officials, local state legislators, and citizens impacted by Alzheimer’s disease gathered at the Grand Staircase at the Massachusetts State House for a day of awareness and conversation around the disease

On May 15, Alzheimer’s Assoc. officials, local state legislators, and citizens impacted by Alzheimer’s disease gathered at the Grand Staircase at the Massachusetts State House for a day of awareness and conversation around the disease. The event, Alzheimer’s Advocacy Day, included a focus on pending legislation (H. 4116) that would support these individuals and their families while focusing on preparing various stakeholders on making the state more dementia-capable. H.4116 passed the House of Representatives on Jan. 31 and is expected to be in front of the Senate this summer. Attendees also met with their local legislators to share how Alzheimer’s has impacted their lives, thank their representatives for their support of H.4116, and urge senators to support the upcoming legislation. 

 

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Looking Sharp

The Light Microscopy Core Facility housed in the Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS) at UMass Amherst was designated as a Nikon Center of Excellence at a recent grand-opening event. It is one of eight Nikon Centers of Excellence in the U.S. The microscopes that make up the core facility have been purchased by UMass Amherst with funding from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Education Consortium and furnished by Nikon at a discount. They will allow the campus and the surrounding region access to cutting-edge technology and foster economic development, according to James Chambers, director of the IALS Light Microscopy Core Facility.

Jim Hamlin, vice president of sales for Nikon Instruments Inc., and Mike Malone, vice chancellor for Research and Engagement at UMass Amherst, cut the ribbon for the lab’s grand opening.

Jim Hamlin, vice president of sales for Nikon Instruments Inc., and Mike Malone, vice chancellor for Research and Engagement at UMass Amherst, cut the ribbon for the lab’s grand opening.


Chambers (left) and Hamlin survey some of the new equipment

Chambers (left) and Hamlin survey some of the new equipment

Tru Stories

The developers and owners of Tru by Hilton conducted a grand-opening event on May 15 at the chain’s new Chicopee location. The new hotel, the first of its brand in Massachusetts, represents an $11 million investment by BK Investments, which also owns Hampton Inn in Chicopee, and the creation of 30 full-time jobs. The four-story building on Memorial Avenue boasts 108 rooms.

From left, state Sen. James Welch; Chip Rodgers, AAHOA; state Rep. Angelo Puppolo Jr.; state Rep. Joseph Wagner; hotel owner Dennis Patel; James Montemayor, Florence Bank; hotel owner Hershal Patel (with his children, Shaan and Neeva); Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos; Jessica Roncarti-Howe, Greater Chicopee Chamber of Commerce; state Sen. Eric Lesser; Mary Kay Wydra, Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau; Alexandra Jaritz, Tru by Hilton; and state Rep. Michael Finn.

From left, state Sen. James Welch; Chip Rodgers, AAHOA; state Rep. Angelo Puppolo Jr.; state Rep. Joseph Wagner; hotel owner Dennis Patel; James Montemayor, Florence Bank; hotel owner Hershal Patel (with his children, Shaan and Neeva); Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos; Jessica Roncarti-Howe, Greater Chicopee Chamber of Commerce; state Sen. Eric Lesser; Mary Kay Wydra, Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau; Alexandra Jaritz, Tru by Hilton; and state Rep. Michael Finn.

Kos addresses the crowd at the grand opening. Top right: the hotel’s back terrace.

Kos addresses the crowd at the grand opening. Top right: the hotel’s back terrace.

Planting Roots

On May 16, Green Thumb Industries (GTI), a national cannabis cultivator and dispensary operator, welcomed the community to an open house and ribbon cutting at RISE Amherst, the town’s new medical-marijuana dispensary, located at 169 Meadow St. “This is a great day for the patients of Massachusetts and the state’s medical cannabis program,” said GTI CEO Pete Kadens. “Our goal at our RISE dispensaries is to provide the very best care to our patients while offering the the most effective and quality medical marijuana available. We are thrilled to join the Amherst community and look forward to serving our patients.”

Cutting the ribbon are, from left, Kadens; Matt Yee, GTI Massachusetts market president; and Peter Vickery, Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce president.

Cutting the ribbon are, from left, Kadens; Matt Yee, GTI Massachusetts market president; and Peter Vickery, Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce president.

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Breaking Ground

Caolo & Bieniek Architects of Chicopee and R.A.C. Builders Inc. of Agawam took part in the May 5 groundbreaking for West Boylston’s new senior center. R.A.C. Builders was awarded the $4.25 million contract to construct the new facility, which was designed by Caolo & Bieniek. The same two companies designed and built the new West Boylston police headquarters in 2017.

From left, Chris Rucho, West Boylston selectman; project manager Tony Dilusio; Curtis Edgin, principal with Caolo & Bieniek; Roland Ciocca, president of R.A.C.; and John Hadley, West Boylston selectman.

From left, Chris Rucho, West Boylston selectman; project manager Tony Dilusio; Curtis Edgin, principal with Caolo & Bieniek; Roland Ciocca, president of R.A.C.; and John Hadley, West Boylston selectman.

Members of the senior center building committee, plus state Senate President Harriette Chandler (second from right) and state Rep. James O’Day (fourth from left).

Members of the senior center building committee, plus state Senate President Harriette Chandler (second from right) and state Rep. James O’Day (fourth from left).

 

Meeting an Urgent Need

Country Bank recently donated $15,000 to the Ware River Valley Domestic Violence Task Force to support its continued commitment to helping those in need in the Quaboag Hills Region. “Country Bank’s donation has been the foundation of all local domestic-violence services at Valley Human Services of BHN Inc. in the Quaboag Hills,” said Jac Patrissi, director of Domestic Violence Services at Valley Human Services (pictured, left, with Jodie Gerulaitis, vice president, Community Relations with Country Bank. “Their funds have been the seed money and remain the match for programs now supported by municipal, state, and federal dollars. We literally would not have our team preventing and responding to domestic violence in our region without Country Bank.”

Jac Patrissi, director of Domestic Violence Services at Valley Human Services (pictured, left,) with Jodie Gerulaitis, vice president, Community Relations with Country Bank

Jac Patrissi, director of Domestic Violence Services at Valley Human Services (pictured, left,) with Jodie Gerulaitis, vice president, Community Relations with Country Bank

Down the Stretch…

More than 300 supporters of Square One turned out at Mercedes-Benz of Springfield for the nonprofit’s third annual Derby Party on May 5. The gathering, a networking and watch party centered on the Run for the Roses, netted more than $10,000 for Square One’s programs for children and families. Presenting sponsors were the Gaudreau Group and Northeast IT, the venue sponsor was Mercedes-Benz of Springfield, and the platinum sponsor was Alekman DiTusa. 
Photos by Michael Epaul Photography

From left, Amy Selvia Smith, Danielle Williams, Michelle Wirth, and Yvonne Williams

From left, Amy Selvia Smith, Danielle Williams, Michelle Wirth, and Yvonne Williams

from left, David Finn, Maureen McCollum, Ryan McCollum, Kristine Allard, and Kelli Moriarty Finn

from left, David Finn, Maureen McCollum, Ryan McCollum, Kristine Allard, and Kelli Moriarty Finn

Joan Kagan and her husband, Dr. Steve Levine

Joan Kagan and her husband, Dr. Steve Levine

Regina Burns (left) and Jenny MacKay display their winning tickets

Regina Burns (left) and Jenny MacKay display their winning tickets

From left, Alex Dixon, Peter Wirth, and Art Jasper

From left, Alex Dixon, Peter Wirth, and Art Jasper