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Toys for the Kids

Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood and Massachusetts State Police Colonel Kerry Gilpin, along with Springfield police officers and state troopers, recently went shopping at Walmart on Boston Road on Tuesday morning with a special delivery in mind. Afterward, they made a large donation of toys to Baystate Children’s Hospital.


Honoring a Supporter

At the launch of the college’s first major gifts campaign in more than a decade, Springfield Technical Community College President John Cook announced the naming of the Tuohey Family Welcome Center at the Student Learning Commons. Brian Tuohey (pictured), a generous supporter of STCC, beamed with delight after hearing the news. His family, including his five children and 12 grandchildren, made a surprise appearance at the kickoff event on Oct. 22.


Celebrating 100 Years

Balise Auto Group recently held its 100th-anniversary employee-recognition event at the Basketball Hall of Fame.

President Jeb Balise

A shot of all Balise associates who have been with the company for 10 years or more


Food Fest West

The West of the River Chamber of Commerce (WRC) held its annual Food Fest West on Nov. 7  at Springfield Country Club in West Springfield. The event featured the foods of area restaurants, including Carrabba’s Italian Grill, bNapoli, 110 Grill, Hamel’s Creative Catering, Courtyard by Marriott, Pintu’s Indian Cuisine, Partners Restaurant, Springfield Country Club, Storrowton Tavern, Tekoa Country Club, and more. Storrowton Tavern in West Springfield won the People’s Choice Award.

Guests Kelli Lemelin and Ron Lemelin enjoy food from Springfield Country Club


A chef from bNapoli serves WRC Chairman Ryan McL


Where Health Matters

Health New England recently awarded five $50,000 Where Health Matters grants to organizations that have a positive impact among vulnerable population groups in Western and Central Mass. The honorees included Men of Color Health Awareness, or MOCHA (represented by Lamont Scott, pictured below); Square One (represented by Joan Kagan and Kristine Allard, pictured at bottom); 18 Degrees, a division of Berkshire Children and Families Inc.; Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services; and the Center for Youth Engagement at UMass Amherst.

Lamont Scott

Joan Kagan and Kristine Allard


Instilling a Love of Books

The start of the 2019-20 school year marked several significant milestones for Link to Libraries. First, thanks to the generosity of local businesses and families, including Monson Savings Bank (MSB), which now sponsors a record five schools, every public elementary school in the city of Springfield is now a part of Link to Libraries’ Community Book Link sponsorship program. During the 2018-19 academic year, Link to Libraries donated 23,000 new books to sponsored libraries throughout the region. In addition, a record 200-plus Link to Libraries volunteer readers began reading in classrooms in underserved elementary schools in Hampden, Hampshire, Berkshire, and Hartford counties.

Principal Terry Powe and students from Elias Brookings Elementary School welcome their new sponsor, MSB President Steve Lowell, and Link to Libraries President and CEO Laurie Flynn


William Johnson, vice president of St. Germain Investments, reads to students at Lincoln Elementary School

Longtime volunteer Francie Cornwell reads to students at Homer Elementary School


A Challenge from the Commissioner

Carlos Santiago, commissioner for the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, spoke to a crowd at Holyoke Community College on Nov. 5. He emphasized the importance of reconceptualizing the work that educators have been doing for the past 20 to 30 years, examining the students that are coming into the system, and changing the perception of the students themselves.

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President’s Gala

An evening of elegance and passion, the Springfield College President’s Gala raised more than $500,000 for Springfield College student scholarships. More than 300 gathered on Saturday, October 26 at the MGM Springfield Aria Ballroom. All proceeds will go toward need and merit-based scholarships. The gala was also an opportunity to celebrate the Springfield College Humanics philosophy and its 50-year commitment of having an active member of the current student body serve as a voting member of the board of trustees. Pictured, clockwise from top left: Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper with sport management major Shamar Martin; Kristian Rhim, a communications/sports journalism major from Philadelphia who serves as the student trustee-elect this academic year and will continue on as the 50th student trustee starting in June 2020, is introduced at the gala; Alexandra Goslin, a math and secondary education major from South Windsor, Conn., who is serving as the 49th student trustee this academic year, welcomes visitors to the gala.

Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper with sport management major Shamar Martin


Kristian Rhim, a communications/sports journalism major from Philadelphia who serves as the student trustee-elect this academic year and will continue on as the 50th student trustee starting in June 2020, is introduced at the gala


Alexandra Goslin, a math and secondary education major from South Windsor, Conn., who is serving as the 49th student trustee this academic year, welcomes visitors to the gala



Children’s Study Home Art Show

On Sept. 19, the Children’s Study Home held a child and youth art show and auction at the Carriage House at the Barney Estate in Forest Park. More than 30 pieces of artwork from all mediums, including acrylic, watercolor, colored pencil, chalk, and sculptures, were shown from the students of the Children’s Study Home’s Mill Pond School and Curtis Blake Day School, as well as artwork from the children of the Children’s Study Home’s residential programs. Local area artisans participated and donated art pieces to the event. The art was displayed for the evening and sold to raise money for the Children’s Study Home’s art and culturing programs.



Uplifting Women

More than 130 people attended the COMMversations 2019 event at the Springfield Museums. This Bay Path University student-directed event, in partnership with community collaborators, honored and recognized the voices of historic women of the past, pacesetters of the present, and those who are working in ‘brave’ spaces today to define a future for all. Featured speakers were Bay Path President Carol Leary, who was recognized for her 25 years of leadership at Bay Path, and Freedom Rider Jean Denton Thompson, who courageously fought for justice on the front lines of the civil-rights movement.

Allison Zacynski (left) and Tabitha Shustock were two of many Bay Path students who participated in COMMversations 2019


From left, state Rep. Brian Ashe, Leary, state Sen. Eric Lesser, Denton Thompson, Bay Path Professor Janine Fondon, and Marvena Shubrick, representing state Rep. Jose Tosado.


Harvest of Creativity

On Oct. 25, students and staff from DiGrigoli School of Cosmetology in West Springfield delivered creepy, cute, and festive Halloween pumpkins to the young patients of Shriners Hospitals for Children – Springfield and Baystate Children’s Hospital. A yearly tradition at DiGrigoli School, the students spent weeks painting, gluing, and designing their pumpkins. Paul DiGrigoli, owner of DiGrigoli School and DiGrigoli Salon, purchases 60 pumpkins every year to increase creativity among the students and teach them the importance of giving back. Once the pumpkins are designed and completed, they are judged by staff members, and prizes are awarded. A selection of the best are then hand-delivered to the child patients of the two Springfield hospitals.


Note-able Family

The Ja’Duke Theater announced a father/daughter duo as winners of the Valley Voice competition, which took place Oct. 26. The winner of the Valley Voice Kids & Teen division is 10-year-old Natalie Duff of Wilbraham. She competed in three rounds of performances to win the top spot, a cash prize of $500, and a one-hour recording session at Next Level Records. This division is designated for singers in grades 1 to 12. Natalie’s father, Jared Duff, was named the winner of the Valley Voice adult division. He also competed in three rounds of performances and won a cash prize of $1,000 and a one-hour recording session at Next Level Records.



Super 60

Now in its 30th year, the Springfield Regional Chamber’s Super 60 program celebrates the success of the fastest-growing privately-owned businesses in the region. Businesses on the Total Revenue and Revenue Growth categories for 2019 represent myriad sectors of the economy, including nonprofits, transportation, healthcare, technology, manufacturing, retail, and hospitality. They were feted on Oct. 25 at Chez Josef in Agawam.

Pictured at right: Michael Mancuso (left) of event sponsor People’s United Bank presents a plaque to Nate Costa, president of the Springfield Thunderbirds, honored in the Revenue Growth category.



Passing the Torch

The Family Business Center of Pioneer Valley (FBC) celebrated its 25 years of success and first leadership transition with a Legacy and Soul event on Oct. 23 at the Log Cabin in Holyoke. Founding Director Ira Bryck officially passed the torch to the new Executive Director Jessi Kirley (pictured belwo). FBC members, sponsors, friends, and family shared stories about Bryck and gave a show of support for Kirley. The night finished with dancing to local reggae band (and family business) ReBelle.



Keep the Ball Rolling

Joe Phillips (right), president of Phillips Insurance Agency Inc., recently delivered a $5,000 check to John Freedman (center) and state Rep. Brian Ashe for the eighth annual Joseph D. Freedman Bowl-a-Thon. John is the founder of the event, and Ashe will serve as master of ceremonies. The event is being held Saturday, Nov. 16 at AMF Lanes in Chicopee. All proceeds will benefit Camphill Village, a community for adults with developmental disabilities who live and work together, caring for each other. Last year, hundreds of bowlers enjoyed the bowling, face painting, and other activities.

Joe Phillips (right), president of Phillips Insurance Agency Inc., recently delivered a $5,000 check to John Freedman (center) and state Rep. Brian Ashe for the eighth annual Joseph D. Freedman Bowl-a-Thon

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Empowering Women

Girls Inc. of the Valley hosted Joyce Roché, businesswoman and author of The Empress Has No Clothes: Conquering Self-Doubt to Embrace Success on Oct. 10 at the Delaney House. She was interviewed by Girls Inc. teens Maya and Janira and shared her story from humble beginnings to becoming the first African-American woman vice president of Avon.

Joyce Roché autographs copies of her book after the event

Maya, Girls Inc. Executive Director Suzanne Parker, Roché, and Janira.


Discussing Brexit

On Oct. 3, American International College hosted Stavros Lambrinidis, European Union ambassador to the U.S., and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal to discuss the history of the EU as well as the organization’s role in international trade. Lambrinidis told Neal and a packed audience that there is a “divorce” happening in the EU, referring to Brexit, the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the EU, and discussed the importance of a continued relationship with the U.S.



Smoothing Career Pathways

Under a new agreement with Springfield Technical Community College, students at Springfield High School of Commerce will be able to take courses at STCC and earn up to 20 college credits at no cost to them. The Early College initiative allows high-school students to explore high-need career pathways, avoid student-loan debt, and ultimately complete a college degree more quickly.

Pictured, from left: Matthew Brunell and Colleen Beaudoin, co-executive directors, Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership; John Cook, STCC president; Chris Gabrieli, chair, Massachusetts Board of Higher Education; Daniel Warwick, Springfield Public Schools superintendent; and Paul Neal, executive principal, Springfield High School of Commerce.



Earning an A+

The Parmar family of Pioneer Valley Hotel Group received the 2019 Legacy Award at the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual A+ Awards Dinner at Hadley Farms Meeting House on Oct. 3.

From left: state Rep. Mindy Domb, Elena Cohen of state Sen. Jo Comerford’s office, Laxman Parmar, Kishore Parmar, Shardool Parmar, and chamber Executive Director Claudia Pazmany.

Lisa Solowiej and Jocelyn Potter, A+ awardees for Community Service, are joined by their children and Pazmany to receive a citation from Domb for their leadership creating and coordinating the Amherst Survival Center Neighborhood Food Project.



Illusionist Performs for a Cause

Illusionist Jason Bishop and his dog, Gizmo, greet Treehouse Foundation youth Destiny and Sheyenne after his performances at the Armory at MGM on Oct. 13. The magician made Gizmo disappear and reappear, turned one-dollar bills into one hundred-dollar bills, and wowed the audience with his illusions and humor. Bishop performed two shows to benefit the Treehouse Foundation, an Easthampton nonprofit that supports children and youth who have experienced foster care.



Responding to the Call

Polish National Credit Union (PNCU) recently made a $10,000 donation to the Chicopee Fire Department. The donation will be used to purchase an industrial-sized washer extractor, an innovative machine that reduces the amount of carcinogens in turnout gear without damaging the equipment.

Chicopee firefighters with Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos, PNCU President and CEO James Kelly, Chicopee Fire Chief Daniel Stamborski, and Chicopee Fire Fighters Local 1710 IAFF President Glen Olbrych (fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh from left, respectively).



Mercedes-Benz of Springfield Turns Two

On Oct. 16, family and friends of dealership owners Michelle and Peter Wirth joined to celebrate the two-year anniversary of the dealership’s opening in 2017. Since launching the Chicopee location, the dealership has sold more than 2,000 cars. The celebration included cake, cupcakes, and balloon décor provided by Rise Event Production.





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They Shoot, They Score

In celebration of its 30th anniversary, Lexington Group hosted an Aeron Chair Hockey Tournament on Oct. 2. Lexington Group invited players and administrative staff from American International College and UMass Amherst to battle it out in a friendly competition (pictured at top left). AIC won and advanced to a match against the Springfield Thunderbirds, with the AHL squad prevailing. The event, which raised $18,000 for the Foundation of TJO Animals, was incorporated into an After-5 networking event co-hosted by BusinessWest, the West of the River Chamber of Commerce, and the East of the River Five Town Chamber of Commerce. West Springfield Mayor William Reichelt served as referee, Pat Kelley of Lazer 99.3 emceed and provided entertainment, and complimentary refreshments were provided by Log Rolling.

Two squads with Boomer, the Thunderbirds mascot

Lexington Group owner Mark Proshan (far left), Reichelt, and some of the players present the $18,000 check to the Foundation for TJO Animals

The cake created by Cerrato’s Bakery to commemorate Lexington’s 30th anniversary




Square One Tea Party

Square One held its 14th annual Tea Party on Oct. 4 at the Starting Gate at GreatHorse in Hampden. Proceeds will benefit the children and families served by Square One.  (Michael Epaul photography)

event sponsors Jenny Mackay and Maureen Gaudreau of USI Insurance

Keynote speaker Tasheena Davis, attorney and Springfield city clerk

Dawn DiStefano of Square One with event sponsors Peter Miniati and Jeff Ligori of Napatree Capital



New Home for Williamstown Police

Caolo & Bieniek Associates Inc., the Chicopee-based architectural firm, has completed construction at the new Williamstown Police Station. Built at the Turner House, formerly a center for veterans, the new station provides improved accessibility and safety, as well as the most current technologies in law enforcement.

Pictured, from left: Chris Kluchman, Housing Choice Program director, Department of Housing and Community Development; Jim Kolesar, assistant to the president for Community and Government Affairs, Williams College; Williamstown Selectwoman Anne O’Connor; state Sen. Adam Hinds; Williamstown Selectman Andrew Hogeland; Williamstown Town Manager Jason Hoch; Williamstown Police Chief Kyle Johnson; state Rep. John Barrett III; and James Hanifan, architect, Caolo & Bieniek Associates.




Grand Opening

The Sisters of Providence celebrated the grand opening of Hillside Residence, 36 units of elder affordable housing, on Sept. 27. The $9,250,000 housing development is located on the Hillside at Providence campus, formerly known as Brightside, at 100 Hillside Circle, West Springfield. This innovative facility’s objectives will demonstrate a nonprofit model of affordable elder housing and be integrated with Mercy LIFE, a Program for All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) offering health and care management services, with both organizations co-located on the same 27-acre campus devoted to elder programs.



Cooking Up Support

bankESB recently donated $10,000 to the Holyoke Community College Foundation to support students preparing for careers in the culinary-arts and hospitality industries.

Pictured, from left: Amanda Sbriscia, HCC vice president of Institutional Advancement and executive director of the HCC Foundation; Harry Montalvo, Community Development specialist at bankESB; Tiffany Raines, assistant vice president of the bank’s Holyoke branch; HCC president Christina Royal; and John Driscoll, board chair of the HCC Foundation, hold a ceremonial check for $10,000 at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute.



Bridging the Gap

On Sept. 24, Elms College launched the Center for Equity in Urban Education (CEUE). The CEUE will help bridge the 800-teacher annual gap across K-12 schools in the area, especially in specific roles such as special education, English-language learners, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs. The center was made possible through the foundational support of the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation of Springfield and Cynthia and William Lyons III of Wilbraham. The launch ceremony included the signing of memorandums of understanding with leaders from schools in Chicopee, Holyoke, and Springfield.

Pictured, from left: John Davis, senior director, Davis Foundation; Modesto Montero, head of school, Libertas Academy Charter School in Springfield; Cynthia Lyons, chair, Elms College board of trustees; Elms College President Harry Dumay; William Lyons III; Daniel Baillargeon, superintendent, Catholic Schools Office, Diocese of Springfield; Stephen Zrike Jr., receiver/superintendent, Holyoke Public Schools; Daniel Warwick, superintendent, Springfield Public Schools; Rachel Romano, executive director, Veritas Preparatory Charter School in Springfield; and Paul Stelzer, vice chair, Elms College board of trustees.



Supporting Veteran Families

Revitalize Community Development Corp. and its JoinedForces initiative announced they were awarded a $730,000 grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to continue their mission to support military veteran families. This statewide grant will be used to modify and rehabilitate the homes of more than 51 military veterans. The funds will be used to remedy safety hazards in the home; install energy-efficient features such as insulation, heating system repairs, and Energy Star appliances; and make age-in-place modifications, including the installation of grab bars and ramps. The announcement took place at the home of Lonnie Chappell, a U.S. Marine veteran who served in Vietnam, and his wife, Mary (pictured with U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno).




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Dig In

With the help of local dignitaries, the Walhburgers chain broke ground on Sept. 20 at its newest location at the corner of Union and Main streets in downtown Springfield. Wahlburgers at MGM Springfield will be a casual-dining eatery, featuring its signature burgers and full bar. Founded by brothers Mark, Donnie, and Chef Paul Wahlberg, Wahlburgers will be filled with photos and memories celebrating the brothers’ life journeys from Dorchester neighborhood kids to rising chef and international celebrities.

The 4,400-square-foot space, set to open in 2020, will provide 120 jobs to the community.



Sweet Harvest

Loomis Village installed two beehives this spring with the help of the Hampden County Bee Keepers Assoc. The hives were tended to throughout the summer, and residents also had the chance to learn about beekeeping. By summer’s end, the facility harvested 54 pounds of honey, with the possibility of another harvest later in the year.

Pictured: resident Karen Hyvonen helps Hampden County Bee Keepers Assoc. members remove the caps from the combs. From there, the honey is extruded and strained before being bottled.



Car Wash for a Good Cause

During the weekend of Sept. 7-8, Mercedes-Benz of Springfield hosted a car-wash fundraiser benefiting Chris Thibault and his family. Thibault and his wife, Missy, own and operate Chris Teebo Films, a local production company that helped Mercedes-Benz get its start in Western Mass. more than two years ago. Chris has been diagnosed with stage-4 cancer and is fighting hard for his life.

Pictured, from left: dealership co-owners Michelle and Peter Wirth; Missy and Chris Thibault with son Brayden; and Rich Hesse, co-owner of the dealership, with son John.



Launching Women Luncheon

Carla Oleska, principal of Carla Oleska & Co. and former executive director of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, leads an exploration of glass ceilings women often don’t think about — the one within ourselves, the one they construct for other women, and, of course, the big, systemic one. The talk was part of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce’s Launching Women Luncheon.

More than 50 women leaders in business, government, and nonprofit organizations attended the first of the series at the Inn on Boltwood.



Revitalizing a Community

On Sept. 20, Revitalize CDC held its annual Green N Fit event. The organization and hundreds of volunteers rebuilt four homes throughout Holyoke in one day. Three out of the four homes are owned by military veteran families.

Pictured: Jeremy Ducharme from Blue Cross Blue Shield helps to paint the home of Carol LaBoursoliere, an 80-year-old widow of a military veteran who has lived in her home on Brown Avenue for 53 years. Other homes renovated were on Homestead Avenue and Norwood Terrace.




Open for Business

Architecture Environment Life President Kevin Rothschild-Shea (left) and architect Rick Morse stand in front of New Valley Bank’s first location, a building they designed. The office, located at 1930 Wilbraham Road in Springfield, opened the week of Sept. 9 and is the first new bank to open in Massachusetts in a decade.

Sixteen Acres banking veteran Kimberly Marion will oversee the location and lead the bank’s retail efforts in the market as vice president and personal banking officer




New Life for the Pedlar

The Hildreth House, built in 1882 and home for more than 70 years to the Yankee Pedlar Inn, is now the Pedlar Banking Center, restored and renovated by PeoplesBank. The interior of the LEED-certified building now houses a community room, which will be available to nonprofit organizations free of charge. A new addition was added in the rear of the Hildreth House to provide space for the bank lobby, service counter, and support offices, as well as the drive-through canopy.

Pictured: Mason Lebron of Dowd Insurance Agency and Victor Rodriguez, mortgage consultant at PeoplesBank, celebrate the building’s grand opening.


Climate Strike

Organizers encouraged those attending to call their representatives and demand action be taken to mitigate the warming of the planet.

The Interfaith Council of Springfield and the Unitarian Universalist Society of Greater Springfield organized a ‘solidarity vigil’ in collaboration with the global Climate Strike on Sept. 20 in Springfield’s Court Square. Members of the community gathered to speak on the issue of climate change and joined in song.



Back(pack) to School

First American Insurance Agency, an independent insurance firm, recently donated more than 200 backpacks to nine Chicopee elementary schools. Notebooks, pencils, and glue sticks filled each bag, along with Kleenex and a bookmark.

Pictured, from left: First American’s Noni Moran, Julianne Rossi, Dennis Murphy, Jenna Dziok, and Katelyn Morgan.



Bridging the Generations

Springfield College and Loomis Lakeside at Reeds Landing have developed an intergenerational Students in Residence program for graduate students in the School of Health Sciences. Julie Torchia and Allie Tupaj, both doctor of physical therapy students, moved into a two-bedroom apartment at Loomis Lakeside this fall and will contribute to social and educational aspects of community living at the facility, logging eight hours of community-engagement project work each week.

Pictured, from left: Brooke Hallowell, dean of the School of Health Sciences at Springfield College; Torchia; Tupaj; Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper, Loomis Communities President Lauren Scruggs; and Loomis Lakeside at Reeds Landing CEO Craig Johnsen




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Project SEARCH

Springfield College is once again collaborating with New England Business Associates and recently introduced the second cohort of interns participating in the community’s Project SEARCH program. The second cohort started at Springfield College the week of Sept. 2-6, and will continue on throughout the 2019-20 academic year. Project SEARCH’s mission is to help young adults with disabilities transition from school to work through a community agency partnership while gaining employability skills. The model involves an extensive period of training and career exploration, innovation adaptations, long-term job coaching, and feedback from teachers, job coaches, and employers.

Pictured, from left: Project SEARCH participants Zach and Jose; Springfield College Director of Multicultural Affairs Felicia Lundquist; and Ruth Poirier, New England Business Associates Project SEARCH program coordinator and division supervisor.


Effective Gateway

The Gateway to College program at Holyoke Community College (HCC) has been recognized for the third year in a row for its outstanding graduation rate, one of the best of all programs of its kind in the nation. The award for Graduation Achievement was presented in July to HCC Gateway’s director, Vivian Ostrowski (left, with Julissa Colon, special programs coordinator). Gateway to College is an alternative high-school program that offers dropouts and struggling teens a chance to earn their high-school diplomas through dual enrollment by taking college classes. Gateway students also collect transferable college credits they can apply toward a college certificate or degree. Since 2008, 384 students have earned their high-school diplomas through HCC’s Gateway to College program, and 33 have continued on to earn their associate degrees from HCC.

HCC Gateway’s director, Vivian Ostrowski (left, with Julissa Colon, special programs coordinator).


Pedal Power

More than 300 participants and volunteers gathered on Aug. 25 at Greenfield Community College for Wheeling for Healing, Baystate Franklin Medical Center’s yearly ride, walk, and run benefit to support oncology services. Past donations have been used to purchase state-of-the-art equipment such as new infusion chairs and exam tables to ensure patient comfort, support improvements for a better healing environment, and fund programs such as art therapy and yoga to encourage wholesome healing for patients and survivors.


Name That Ice Cream

In collaboration with Gran-Val Scoop, maker of gourmet homemade ice cream, Bulkley Richardson recently launched a challenge to create a new ice-cream flavor. The top three flavors were produced by Gran-Val Scoop and sampled by attorneys and staff at Bulkley Richardson on Aug. 20. The overwhelming winner was Executive Director Betsey Quick with ‘Butter Representation,’ a play on the law firm’s tagline, ‘better representation.’ The flavor consisted of peanut-butter ice cream with marshmallow and fudge swirls and crushed peanut-butter cups.


Community Support

Phillips Insurance Agency recently donated $1,000 to the Melha Shriners. Chris McMaster of Phillips Insurance (right) recently presented the check to Shriner Shonn Monday to support the 2019 Shriners Music Feztival, held Sept. 7 at the Three County Fair in Northampton.

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A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts / August 2019

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Rolling Away

Food Truck Friday at MGM Springfield is coming to a close on Sept. 13 and has been a big success, drawing large crowds and long lines to the end-of-week fun. Business owners, employees working in the area, families, and more have been visiting the casino to indulge in the wide variety of foods provided by the trucks.

Lydia Riccio takes lunch on a busy Friday at Murphy’s Mobile, where the Reuben sandwich tops the list of the truck’s most popular items.

Sandra Torres (left) and Danielle Powell, both employees at MGM, enjoy a snow cone during a recent Food Truck Friday.



Overcoming Barriers

Energy provider Eversource recently announced it will bring the Dress for Success Professional Women’s Group to Western Mass. as part of a new partnership with the global nonprofit to support women overcoming barriers to employment so they can thrive in work and in life. Operating in more than 150 cities in 30 countries, Dress for Success provides an extensive network of support to empower women, including professional attire and development tools that build confidence for success. The partnership was announced late last month at a fundraiser for Dress for Success at the Valentine Mansion.

from left: Jessica Dupont, Dress for Success Western Mass. board president; Eversource Transmission President Katherine Prewitt; Margaret Tantillo, executive director of the Dress for Success Western Mass. chapter; and Kassandra Carrasquillo, a participant in the Dress for Success program



Getting a Taste

Members of the media were invited to the Carriage House at Storrowton Village on Aug. 23 to taste and rate some of the foods that are set to hit the streets of the Big E this month.

Chef Antoine Alston and Manager Pam Vadnais of Storrowton Tavern serve up cheeseburger chowder and fried oysters

a table of tastes from Noujaim’s Mediterranean Bistro

the signature Big E cream puff will be topped with a chocolate ganashe for the first time ever

a cucumber-flavored vodka will be one of V-One’s fair selections



Just Down the Road

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

from left, David Hess, David Griffin Jr., David Griffin Sr., Jackie Routhier, Diane Cygan, John Dowd Jr., and Jack Dowd

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Senior Games

During the weekend of July 13-14, Springfield College hosted the Massachusetts Senior Games, as it has since 1991. Hundreds of participants took part in a range of events, including track and field, swimming, racquetball, and more. Pictured at left: from left, Springfield College Professor Emeritus Beth Evans, occupational therapy master’s student Renée deLisser, and Joan Simmons, associate professor of Occupational Therapy, get ready for the Senior Games. At right: Davis Cox, Massachusetts Senior Games board of directors president, prepares for the event at Blake Track at Springfield College.

From left, Springfield College Professor Emeritus Beth Evans, occupational therapy master’s student Renée deLisser, and Joan Simmons, associate professor of Occupational Therapy, get ready for the Senior Games.

Davis Cox, Massachusetts Senior Games board of directors president, prepares for the event at Blake Track at Springfield College.



Patio Party

The Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce partnered with Young Professionals of Amherst and Northampton Area Young Professionals for a patio party on July16 at the Courtyard by Marriott.

Pictured, from left: Youssef Fadel of New England Promotional Marketing, Regina Curtis of the Greenfield Community College Foundation, Dawn Creighton of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, and Vince Jackson of the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce.


Planners Tell All

On July 17, Michael’s Party Rental teamed up with Meeting Professionals International of the Connecticut River Valley and CJC Creative to host a “Planners Tell All” event. A panel of corporate and special-event planners joined local wedding/meeting planners and suppliers at the Michael’s warehouse for a night of networking and education.

Pictured, from left: Jackie Martucci, owner of Events by Jackie M; Lisa Antonecchia, owner of Creative Concepts by Lisa; Erin Tierney, lecturer at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst; and Amanda Cristina, senior meeting planner at LIMRA.



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Connecting Youth with Careers

River East School-to-Career recently held its annual breakfast meeting at the Ludlow Country Club. The program places high-school students from Belchertown, Ludlow, Monson, Palmer, Ware, and Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School in a business environment to gains skills through part-time jobs and internships. Seven student-mentor teams were honored for their outstanding work performance and providing students with job opportunities. Hampden Veterinary Clinic and Baystate Health Eastern Region accepted the Business Champion Award for providing work-based learning opportunities to students each year for the past 15 years.

From left, Jennifer Gouvin, president, River East School-to-Career board of directors; Lori Manseau, manager, Rehabilitation Services, Baystate Wing Hospital, accepting the award on behalf of Baystate Wing and Baystate Mary Lane; and Loretta Dansereau, director, River East School-to-Career Inc.

From left, Gouvin; Dr. Penny Peck, owner, Hampden Veterinary Clinic; and Dansereau.

A Bed for Every Child

The Cooperative Credit Union Assoc. Inc. (CCUA), on behalf of Massachusetts credit unions, along with members of the Massachusetts Credit Unions Social Responsibility Committee, recently presented a $202,725 check to the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless at the third annual Stephen D. Jones Credit Union Charity Golf Tournament in support of “A Bed for Every Child.”

From left: Charlene Bauer, Metro Credit Union; Ronald McLean, CCUA; Rui Domingos, Naveo Credit Union; Mark Cochran, Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union on behalf of the Stephen Jones Family; Kevin Zipps, Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union; Tina Baptista, Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless; Paul Marotta, Hanscom Federal Credit Union; David Plantier, MassMutual Federal Credit Union; and Peter Panaggio, St. Anne’s Credit Union. Committee members not pictured include Sarita Ledani, RTN Federal Credit Union; Robert Lockett, Workers’ Credit Union; Melissa Morin, Credit Union of the Berkshires; and Jon Reske, UMassFive College Federal Credit Union

Xtraordinary Day of Service

Berkshire Bank employees recently came together to package more than 50,000 meals for Rise Against Hunger, which will be sent to nations where starvation is a key concern. The donation was a part of the bank’s annual Xtraordinary Day of Service, when the bank closes its offices early to empower employees to volunteer in their local communities. The event is in its fourth year. The volunteer work for Rise Against Hunger was one of 37 projects completed as a part of Xtraordinary Day. More than 90% of Berkshire Bank’s workforce participated in the event, totaling over 6,000 hours of volunteer work in a single day throughout the bank’s footprint.

Surprise Gift

On June 21, Richard’s Fuel and Heating celebrated its 500th Mitsubishi Electric Heating and Cooling mini-split installation with an event that surprised lucky customer Lisa Bartlett, as well as the installation technicians. Briget Michaud, business manager at Richard’s Fuel and Heating and one of the organizers of the promotion, showed up with a cake and balloons and presented Bartlett with a gift certificate covering half her unit and installation costs. Richard’s Fuel and Heating also donated $500 to the Easthampton Council on Aging.

From left: Michaud, Bartlett, and Sean Gallagher from BellSimons Co., the Mitsubishi Electric rep for Richard’s Fuel and Heating.

Picture This

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A New Chapter

Fifth-graders at DeBerry Elementary School were honored at graduation ceremonies staged earlier this month. BusinessWest, which sponsors the school as part of Link to Libraries’ Business Book Link program, was on hand to present Most Improved Reader awards and hand out graduation presents — yes, books to read over the summer. And there was a special guest there as well. At right, Bob Charland, a.k.a. ‘the Bike Man,’ presents bicycles to most-improved readers J’Siah Turner Goode and Yaneliz Andino. They were also presented with plaques from BusinessWest. At left, BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien presents a book to fifth-grader Noah Peralta. Looking on are, from left, Maria Nunez, paraprofessional; Laura Sacco, fifth-grade teacher, and Beth Fazio, principal.

Bob Charland, a.k.a. ‘the Bike Man,’ presents bicycles

At right, Bob Charland, a.k.a. ‘the Bike Man,’ presents bicycles to most-improved readers J’Siah Turner Goode and Yaneliz Andino. They were also presented with plaques from BusinessWest

BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien presents a book

BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien presents a book to fifth-grader Noah Peralta. Looking on are, from left, Maria Nunez, paraprofessional; Laura Sacco, fifth-grade teacher, and Beth Fazio, principal

Thrive After 55

About 1,000 area residents turned out to state Sen. Eric Lesser’s third annual Thrive After 55 Wellness Fair on June 21 to learn about local resources available to help them plan for retirement. This was the biggest Thrive fair yet, with 81 organizations providing information. Health New England, Springfield College, and the New England Dermatology & Laser Center returned as sponsors of the fair this year, in addition to a new sponsor, the Center for Human Development. HCN, BusinessWest’s sister publication, was a media sponsor. This year’s program included five educational seminars, on topics including estate planning and elder law, diet and nutrition, and an interactive demonstration of chair yoga and movement.

Woman of the Year

The Professional Women’s Chamber (PWC) recently honored Denise Hurst (right), vice president of Advancement & External Affairs at Springfield Technical Community College, with its coveted Woman of the Year award at a celebration at the Springfield Sheraton. Hurst is also currently secretary-treasurer for the Massachusetts Assoc. of School Committees Inc. and has served on the Springfield School Committee since 2009. She is an inaugural graduate of the Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact, a member of the League of Women Voters and the Collective Majority, and a graduate of the 62nd Citizens’ Legislative Seminar, Massachusetts Senate. She and her husband, Springfield City Council President Justin Hurst, are both BusinessWest 40 Under Forty alumni.

Hurst, fourth from left, with members of the PWC board.

Hurst, fourth from left, with members of the PWC board.

Seeing Purple

On June 21, the Bertera Auto Group and Fedor Financial Group, LLC in West Springfield went purple in support of the Alzheimer’s Association’s “Longest Day” fundraising event. Pictured here, Michael Bertera, right, president of Bertera Auto Group; David Fedor, president of Fedor Financial Group and volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Assoc.; and Bianca Walker, director of Fundraising for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, share a moment.

Scholarship Winners

Monson Savings Bank recently distributed more than $20,000 in scholarships to graduating high-school seniors. The students were invited to the bank’s corporate headquarters for a celebration, where President Steven Lowell, seen here with the honorees, spoke to them about their future and congratulated each on their hard work and accomplishments. They are: Edward Wurszt, Hunter Acconcio, and Timothy Connors (Minnechaug High School); Derek Joyce, Liam Metcalfe, Taylor Mitchell, and Hannah Somers (Monson High School); Shelby Tweedie, Kayla Smith, and Travis Orszulak (Ware High School); and David Krutov (homeschooled).

JGS Lifecare’s Day of Tournaments

JGS Lifecare recently staged the 39th annual Frankel-Kinsler Day of Tournaments, which raised more than $97,000 for the care of the community’s elders. The day featured a golf tournament, but also many other competitions as well, in tennis, bridge, canasta, and mahjong. The event provides JGS a way to continue to honor the memory of Michael Frankel, former chairman of the JGS Lifecare board of directors, and the families of Raymond and Herman Kinsler, longtime leaders and supporters, for their exemplary commitment to those served by JGS Lifecare.

Seymour Frankel, father of Michael Frankel, is surrounded by his family

Seymour Frankel, father of Michael Frankel, is surrounded by his family

From left, Susan Goldsmith, JGS Lifecare board chair; state Sen. Eric Lesser; and Richard Halpern, JGS Lifecare board member, share a moment at the cocktail reception