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Stepping Up to the Plate

Pellegrini, Seeley, Ryan & Blakesley (PSRB) announced a corporate sponsorship with the Worcester Red Sox, geared toward providing support to the team’s charitable efforts throughout Greater Worcester and sponsorship of its community calendar. The firm shot new television commercials on Aug. 16 on the field at Polar Park, and also announced the continuation of its relationship with Red Sox legend Dwight Evans as PSRB’s spokesperson. Pictured, from left: Charlie Casartello, the firm’s managing partner; Evans; and Patrick McHugh, a partner at PSRB.

 


 

Local Legal Lights

 

 

 

The Hampden County Bar Assoc. (HCBA) held its annual meeting, vendor show, and dinner on Aug. 12 at the Springfield Sheraton Hotel. Pictured top: Joseph Pacella is sworn in as president of the association for 2021-22 by District Court Judge Philip Contant. Bottom: Tahirah Amatul-Wadud (center) is presented with the Massachusetts Bar Assoc. (MBA) Community Service Award by MBA President Denise Murphy and HCBA President Thomas Wilson. Fifty-year members of the bar were also recognized during the evening.

 

 


 

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Margarita Madness


Margarita Madness 2021, the Amherst Area Chamber’s signature networking event, returned this year, outdoors, under the pavilion at the Young Men’s Club of Hadley made possible by presenting sponsor Steve Lewis Subaru and supported by more than 40 participants and sponsors for 20 margarita tastings. Funds were raised for CHD’s Not Bread Alone as well as the chamber’s work throughout the year to create, maintain and promote a vital, thriving business climate in the Amherst Area. Back row, from left, John Page, Membership & Marketing manager of the Amherst Area Chamber; Marissa Faldasz from The Hangar & Pub of Amherst, first prize winner of 2021 Margarita Madness with its Habanero Pineapple Ginger Margarita; Steve Lewis, CEO of Steve Lewis Subaru, presenting sponsor of Margarita Madness; Claudia Pazmany, executive director of the Amherst Area Chamber; and Samantha Heraty from the Hangar & Pub of Amherst; Lower row, left to right, Alex DeLiefde from the Hangar & Pub of Amherst; Youssef Fadel, of New England Promotional Marketing and founding chair of the Annual Margarita Madness 2021 Committee; and Chrystal Thompson, from the Hangar & Pub of Amherst.

 


 

To Honor America


Karen Nogueira, director of Client Relations for PV Financial Group, recently sang the national anthem at Fenway Park to open up a Red Sox game against the Tampa Bay Rays. Nogueira has been with PV Financial Group since 2006.

 


 

 

Hefty Deposit


Monson Savings Bank (MSB) announced it will donate $100,000 to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts to support people who struggle with food insecurity. MSB was a major charitable donor to the Food Bank’s capital campaign, which aims to raise $22 million for the new Chicopee facility that will serve as its future headquarters, set to open in 2023. Pictured, from left: Erica Flores, president of the Food Bank’s board of directors; Andrew Morehouse, executive director of the Food Bank; and Dan Moriarty, Monson Savings Bank president and CEO.

 


 

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Learning Takes Flight

Fly LUGU Flight Training is partnering with Boy Scouts of America to help the local troop earn their aviation merit badge. Flight instructors from Fly LUGU are volunteering their time to help the young Scouts attain the badge. Instructors are taking pride in teaching the boys airport operations and basic flight instruments, as well as demonstrating a proper pre-flight inspection on a Cessna 172. For many of the Scouts, it is their first time being up close to a small aircraft.

 


 

 

Grand Opening

Brenda Cuoco & Associates Real Estate Brokerage recently opened its second office location at 714 Bliss Road in the Longmeadow Shops. Cuoco has more than 16 years of experience in the industry and is looking forward to bringing her passion and knowledge to the Longmeadow market.

 

 


 

 

Movie Nights

North Square at the Mill District in Amherst will wind down its summer outdoor cinema series on Aug. 25 with a showing of Mamma Mia! Series partners include (pictured, from left) Tony Maroulis, vice president of Real Estate & Development at W.D. Cowls Inc.; Arthur Haskins, property manager of North Square at the Mill District; Cinda Jones, president of the Mill District; Claudia Pazmany, executive director of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce; and Yasmin Chin Eisenhauer, executive director of Amherst Cinema.

 

 


 

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Supporting Education

Elms College announced it has named its center dedicated to improving fairness and opportunity in K-12 education as the Cynthia A. Lyons Center for Equity in Urban Education (CEUE). Lyons has been a member of the Elms College board of trustees for the past 15 years, serving the last seven as board chair. In addition, the Lyons family committed $1 million in support of the CEUE, which was launched in 2019 to help bridge the 800-teacher annual gap across K-12 schools in Chicopee, Holyoke, and Springfield, especially in the STEM fields. Pictured, from left: William Lyons III, Cynthia Lyons, Elms President Harry Dumay, and Paul Stelzer, incoming chair of the Elms College board of trustees.

 


 

Heritage Week

Mercy Medical Center celebrated its Heritage Week on July 19-23, a time when the organization reflects on its early days and the many contributions the Sisters of Providence have made to the local community. Pictured: Mercy President Deborah Bitsoli presents a bouquet of flowers to Sister Mary Caritas, Mercy board member and former Mercy Hospital president, at a colleague barbeque, where Caritas recounted stories about the beginnings of the health ministry and thanked colleagues for their continued commitment to providing a healing environment.

 


 

Round Up for Change

Wild Oats Market in Williamstown recently celebrated the one-year anniversary of its Round Up for Change program with a $3,353.57 donation to the Williamstown Farmers Market’s Community Essentials Initiative. The program allows customers to round up their total purchase amounts at checkout to benefit a local nonprofit. All funds collected go directly to that month’s featured partner. Since initiating the program in June 2020, Wild Oats has donated more than $38,000 to 13 different organizations. Pictured, from left: Netse Lytle (center) of Wild Oats Market presents a check to MaryEllen Meehan (left) and Anne Hogeland from Williamstown Farmers Market.

 

 


 

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Supporting the Kids

 

Smith & Wesson recently committed $20,000 in corporate giving to Square One, in addition to funds donated by employees as part of their commitment to social responsibility. The company has previously supported the agency’s early-education and care initiatives and programs to support victims of domestic violence. It was also among the first businesses in the region to fund Square One’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. Pictured: Smith & Wesson’s Caitlin Roman (top) and Mark Smith (above) meet some preschool children from Square One’s Main Street classroom before the check presentation.

 


 

New Housing in Amherst

 

Gov. Charlie Baker (second from right) joined other state and economic-development officials on July 7 to cut the ribbon at the new apartment complex at North Square in Amherst. The 130-unit building at 75 and 85 Cowls Road, part of the Mill District, offers a mix of market-rate, affordable and low-income apartments with one, two and three bedrooms, and is more than 90% occupied. The Mill District development — a project of W.D. Cowls Inc., which is led by ninth-generation owner Cinda Jones (seventh from right) — also includes 22,000 square feet of retail space.

 


 

Grant Announcement

 

On July 13, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and Bay Path University President Sandra Doran jointly announced that two health-focused graduate programs at the university have recently received two federal grants. The master of science in physician assistant studies program has been awarded a five-year, $1.5 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration, Primary Care Training & Enhancement Program; and the master of science in clinical mental health counseling program is the recipient of a grant from the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training program totaling $1.43 million over four years, funded through the American Rescue Plan. At top, Doran addresses those gathered at a press conference at the university’s Philip H. Ryan Health Science Center in East Longmeadow. Above, Neal, with Bay Path physician assistant studies students behind him, addresses the audience.

 

 


 

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Grand Opening

On June 23, Bacon Wilson welcomed clients, neighbors, and friends to a grand-opening reception at its new facility at 99 Springfield Road in Westfield. The event, which included a ribbon-cutting ceremony officiated by Westfield Mayor Donald Humason, was the firm’s first opportunity for in-person festivities since the pandemic began. Pictured, from left: Attorney Chip Smith, Attorney Daniel McKellick, Managing Partner Kenneth Albano, and Attorney Jonathan Breton.

 


White Lion Roars

White Lion Brewing celebrated the grand opening of its Tower Square facility on June 26. Here, White Lion founder Ray Berry (left) joins several staff members behind the counter during the event.

 


 

Caring for the Community

UMassFive College Federal Credit Union collected 350 pounds of personal-care items during the month of May and donated them to the pantries of Amherst Survival Center and Northampton Survival Center. Donations were collected at the credit union’s Hadley and Northampton branch locations. Pictured: Sez Morales (left), Amherst Survival Center pantry coordinator, and Cait Murray, UMassFive Community Outreach manager, with some of the donations.

 

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Open to Making Connections

On June 9, Berkshire Bank hosted a ribbon cutting for its Reevx Labs at 270-272 Bridge St. in Springfield. Reevx Labs are collaboration spaces for the community where entrepreneurs and nonprofits can connect with peers and resources to achieve their missions. Pictured, from left: Lori Gazzillo Kiely, Berkshire Bank Foundation director and the bank’s Berkshire County regional president; Ronald Molina-Brantley, vice president, relationship manager, and team leader at Berkshire Bank; Sean Gray, the bank’s president and chief operating officer; Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno; state Sen. Adam Gomez; and Jim Hickson, managing director, middle market, and regional president of the bank’s Pioneer Valley and Connecticut region.

 


Spring Cleanup

On June 11, a team of volunteers from MassMutual participated in a spring cleanup of the Square One site at the Christian Life Center on Sumner Avenue in Springfield. They prepared garden beds, built shade tents, raked, organized, and more. It was the first time this team has been together in person since the beginning of the pandemic.


Remembering a Legend

While many are mourning the loss of legendary restaurateur Andy Yee, the Student Prince & the Fort celebrated his life with a 60th birthday bash on June 11. The event kicked off with a proclamation by Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, a welcome by Yee’s restaurant partner and friend Peter Picknelly, and a word from Rudi Scherff, longtime former owner of the Fort. The menu included Yee’s favorite dishes from the Fort kitchen, while the Fort bar served his favorite drink menu, and, because Yee loved music, guests enjoyed a lineup of live music with no cover charge.

 


Fresh Paint Springfield

The Fresh Paint Springfield mural festival recently transformed 10 large exterior walls into art in Mason Square and downtown. The locations and lead muralists include: top to bottom (below): 232 Worthington St., above the existing BLM mural, by Jeff Henriquez; 1106 State St., by Ryan Murray; Springfield City Library, Mason Square branch, 765 State St., by Betsy Casanas; and the corner of Dwight Street and Harrison Avenue, by Eric Okdeh; next page, clockwise from top left: 827 State St., by WMass Portrait Artists; Mosque 13, 727 State St., by Kay Douglas; 595 Main St., by Wane One; La Fiorentina, 883 Main St., by ARCY; Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services, 3 Rutland St., by Nero and SoulsNYC; and the Worthington Street side of the Taylor Street Parking Garage, by Stash. About 1,000 community members pitched in to create the murals, while the Community Mural Apprentice program paired 10 local artists with established muralists to learn how to engage with the community in designing and painting large, professional murals.

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Brewing Up Business

 

 

 

 

 

One Way Brewing opened its doors at 807 Maple Road in Longmeadow on May 22, marking the launch of Longmeadow’s first brewery. One Way Brewing released a flagship beer, Kickstarter, a New England IPA. Pictured at top: two of the many customers who showed up at the event, which featured lines stretched around the building for much of the day. Above, Jason Tsitso, partner and head brewer, loads up six-packs of beer for sale at the kickoff event

 

 


 

 

Honoring a Legacy

Springfield’s Sinai Temple and the Jerome S. Gurland Human Relations Award Committee recently selected Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity (GSHFH) as the 2021 award recipient. GSHFH Executive Director Aimee Giroux (pictured, right) met with Rabbi Jeremy Master (left) on May 26 to accept the honor. Award namesake Rabbi Gurland of Longmeadow, who passed away on May 20, had been an advocate for community service and interfaith relations. Giroux said the funds will be used to promote community involvement, primarily with youth volunteers through construction on its Bay Street project.

 


 

 

Customers’ Choice Community Grants

During a May 18 celebration at Look Park, Florence Bank awarded $100,500 to 32 community organizations through its 19th annual Customers’ Choice Community Grants Program. Each year, Florence Bank customers are invited to vote for their favorite local nonprofit; to qualify for a community grant, organizations must receive at least 50 votes. In 2020, almost 7,000 votes were cast. Pictured: Monica Curhan, senior vice president and Marketing director, joins President and CEO Kevin Day in leading the awards presentation.

 


 

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Open for Business in Chicopee

 

Florence Bank recently celebrated its third Hampden County branch with a ribbon-cutting ceremony highlighted by a $5,000 donation to the Boys & Girls Club of Chicopee. Pictured at top: Florence Bank staff and community leaders join bank President and CEO Kevin Day (center, flanked by Branch Manager Kimberly Downing and Chicopee Mayor John Vieau) in cutting the ribbon. Above: Day presents Lynn Morrisette, Marketing and Development director for the Boys & Girls Club of Chicopee, with the $5,000 donation.

 


 

Sock It to Stigma

Lenny Underwood, owner of Upscale Socks, teamed up with the Mental Health Assoc. (MHA) throughout May, Mental Health Awareness Month, with a new line of socks to support mental-health awareness. “I see how stigma relates to getting help — or not getting help — with mental wellness,” Underwood said. “It has been an issue I have seen and heard in my adulthood. But I’m optimistic when I see people in the public eye tell their story, being honest and vulnerable, because folks look up to others who are open and relatable. It helps to create more of a dialogue.” The socks will be available throughout the year at www.upscalesocks.com and at www.mhainc.org.

 


 

 

Protecting History

State Sen. Eric Lesser joined members of the Belchertown legislative delegation, local officials, and members of the community to celebrate the signing of an act providing for the permanent protection and stewardship of historic Lampson Brook Farm in Belchertown. The bill, sponsored by Lesser and supported by state Reps. Susannah Whipps, Jake Oliveira, and Thomas Petrolati, was signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker in January. This law allows for the permanent protection of the five separate parcels that make up the 430-acre historic site.

 

 


 

 

 

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Brewing Up Diversity

White Lion Brewery owner Ray Berry recently teamed up with the owners of three other Massachusetts breweries — C.J. Eldridge of Arcpoint, Kevin Merritt of Crue Brew, and Arnold Cazeau of 67 Degrees — on a project they hope will draw more people of color to the industry. The project is a beer called “As One” — a juicy New England IPA available during White Lion’s weekly “Cans to Go” sessions at the brewery. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this limited-release brew will help fund a scholarship at Holyoke Community College for students of color who enroll in its beer, cider, and winemaking program. Pictured: Cazeau and his wife, Stephanie (right), talk to Amanda Sbriscia, vice president of Institutional Advancement at HCC, at an event at White Lion announcing the project.

 

 


 

 

 

Grand Opening

Second Chance Home Care, located at 200 North Main St., Suite 4 South, East Longmeadow — a non-medical home-care agency that serves the elderly, special-needs, and autism population — recently held a grand-opening ceremony. Town Manager Mary McNally was in attendance to help cut the ribbon and welcome the Second Chance team (pictured), including Director Veronica Anderson (left), to East Longmeadow. Second Chance provides a full spectrum of home-care services ranging from assistance with daily living, special needs, and autism respite services to just a little help at home.

 

 


 

 

Delivering the Goods

Visiting Angels of West Springfield donated 200 St. Patrick’s Day goody bags to Mont Marie Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center located in Holyoke. These bags included St. Patrick’s Day treats and a little leprechaun for some festive spirit. These donations were distributed to the staff and residents of the healthcare center for their holiday party. Mont Marie Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center offers clinical services and specialized programs for the rehabilitation of their residents. Visiting Angels is a home-healthcare service that offers senior in-home care, elderly care, and care for those with dementia and Alzheimer’s.

 

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Students Serving Students

 

The Springfield College Center for Service and Leadership and the Humanics in Action Club recently delivered more than 200 fire-safety kits to Rebecca M. Johnson Elementary School, and 100 incentive kits to both Elias Brookings Elementary School and William N. DeBerry Elementary School. The fire-safety kits (top) include washcloths, emergency whistles, water bottles, granola bars, a face mask, soap, a toothbrush, and toothpaste, as well as donated items from the Springfield Fire Department, including a fire hat and a fire-safety booklet. The intention behind the fire-safety kits is that, in an emergency, the kids could grab the bag and have emergency supplies. The incentive kits (bottom) include an activity book, notebook, crayons, slime, DIY slap bracelets, positive notes, and erasers.

 

 

Fatal Rewards

 

The Holyoke Community College Theater Department’s fall 2020 production, a live-streamed virtual play called “Fatal Fisticuffs,” won two awards at this year’s Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival. The original work, written by HCC alumnus Tom Roche, was recognized with a merit award for innovation in digital theater. HCC student Nanette Mendieta of Holyoke won an award for excellence in stage management. Pictured: HCC Theater Professor Tim Cochran, right, directs a fight sequence with HCC alumnus actor Mike Pray for “Fatal Fisticuffs,” as streaming coach and HCC alumnus Cory Missildine, left, records the action against a green screen.

 

 

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Supporting Students

Jane Schwartzberg and James Machia, advanced manufacturing and technology students at Asnuntuck Community College, were each awarded a $2,500 scholarship through a 3M grant. The scholarships are available to students entering or currently enrolled in programs in mechatronics, advanced manufacturing technology, robotics, or industrial maintenance. Schwartzberg and Machia are pictured standing behind the Festo Mechatronics Learning System that 3M donated to Asnuntuck.

 


 

Tackling Tough Issues

Springfield College doctor of physical therapy (DPT) student Xavier Gibson was selected as one of two finalists in the annual physical therapy essay contest co-sponsored by the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy Consortium for the Humanities, Ethics, and Professionalism and the Journal for Humanities in Rehabilitation. Gibson’s essay — which highlights his responsibilities and obligations as a DPT student of color, the only student of color in his cohort, to come to terms with addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion issues in society and inequalities in healthcare — will be published in the JHR’s fall 2021 issue.

 


 

In the Bag

JGS Lifecare was selected as the nonprofit beneficiary of the Big Y Community Bag Program for the month of March at the Big Y located in Longmeadow. JGS Lifecare will receive a $1 donation every time the $2.50 reusable “Big Y Cares” Community Bag is purchased at this location during March, unless otherwise directed by the customer through the giving tag attached to the bag. “We are thrilled to receive the support of our local Big Y and our community,” said Susan Kimball Halpern, vice president of Development and Communications at JGS Lifecare (pictured).

 


 

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Paws in the Workday

Monson Savings Bank recently arranged to have a certified and trained therapy dog, Rose, visit all locations to give a little comfort, relief, support, and — of course — cuddles.  Rose and her owner, Tammy Warren, visit with Nicole Shea, customer service associate at the bank’s Hampden branch.

 


 

 

Community Support

Throughout December, Freedom Credit Union partnered with its members and the local community to raise funds online to benefit the Pioneer Valley USO. Freedom matched total donations up to $2,500, helping to raise a grand total of $7,500. Pictured: Freedom President and CEO Glenn Welch, holds the check with Vice President of Retail Administration Kara Herman. (Photo courtesy of Market Mentors)

 

 


Art of the Matter

 

After retiring from her career as professor and Communication Department chair at American International College in 2018, Mary Ellen Lowney, who also works part-time as the Communications and Community Relations manager for the Springfield Housing Authority, decided to add watercolor to her world. “I started painting in March 2019, more or less on a lark,” she said. She has developed her talent under the tutelage of Joan Nelson, who has a studio in Indian Orchard. “Painting is a fairly new hobby for me,” Lowney said. “I am finding it to be relaxing, creative, and very rewarding.”

 

 

 

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We’ll Drink to That

Ed Sunter, president of the Hampden County Estate Planning Council of Springfield; Julie Quink, treasurer; and John Arnold, past president, recently presented a check for $1,400 to Terry Maxey, executive director of Open Pantry of Springfield. In the second annual fundraiser, council members were invited to participate in a wine and beer tasting sponsored by Baystate Brewing Co. of Sturbridge, Progression Brewery of Northampton, White Lion Brewery of Springfield, and  Hardwick Winery.  Members enjoyed beer and wine samples in their homes and offices. Pictured, from left: Sunter, Arnold, and Maxey.

 


 

Investment in the Future

The Advanced Manufacturing Technology Program at Asnuntuck Community College (ACC) has received $15,000 in grant funding from the Gene Haas Foundation to use for student scholarships for tuition and books. The scholarship will be managed by the ACC Foundation, and awards will be given based on need and merit. Pictured, from left, are students Nina Rattray, Emma Mack, and Jonathan Paskewitz.

 

 


 

Young Woman of Impact

BusinessWest Editor and Associate Publisher George O’Brien and Sales Manager and Associate Publisher Kate Campiti recently presented Evelyn Humphries, a student at Longmeadow High School, with a plaque recognizing her as the inaugural People’s Choice Young Woman of Impact. The public chose Humphries from among five deserving nominees, honoring her impressive track record of service to the community, especially during the pandemic. The social-media-driven program was a popular addition to this year’s Women of Impact celebration, held on Jan. 28. Below: Humphries with her mother, Gina

 


 

 

Special Delivery

On Jan. 28, the Rotary Club of Springfield distributed 6,000 disposable personal protective masks to the city of Springfield. Mayor Domenic Sarno joined with Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris and John Perez, president of the Rotary Club of Springfield, on the front steps of City Hall for the PPE distribution. In total, 20,000 masks were donated to organizations serving Springfield’s residents, including the Gray House, Shriners Hospitals for Children, Open Pantry Community Services, the MLK Community Center, the New North Citizens Council, Square One, and Gandara Mental Services of Springfield.

 


 

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Recognizing 45 Years

Jim Conroy (left) and Jeff Gonyer (right) were recently recognized by President Eric Forish for their 45 years of service as Forish Construction team members. Conroy is a Massachusetts-licensed construction supervisor, and Gonyer is a Massachusetts-licensed hoisting and heavy-equipment operator, and also a federally licensed CDL driver.

 


 

 

Cold-weather Concerns

As the weather turns colder, many homeless individuals do not have functioning coats and cannot afford new ones. Led by team leader Fran Murphy, Meyers Brothers Kalicka recently conducted a coat drive within the office and collected 50 new and gently used coats to be donated to the Springfield Rescue Mission.

 


 

 

Page-turning News

Monson Savings Bank President and future CEO Dan Moriarty recently met with Hope Bodwell, library director of the Monson Free Library, to present a $1,000 donation of behalf of the bank. The donation was made following the public voting results of the 2021 Monson Savings Bank Community Giving Initiative.

 

 


 

 

Suit Your Socks

Lenny Underwood, owner of Upscale Socks, recently met Nikki Burnett (left), executive director of Educare Springfield, to donate 333 pairs of socks to the early-childhood education center, following the “Suit Your Soles” campaign in which Underwood matched a donation for every pair of socks purchased from Nov. 18 to Dec. 18.

 


 

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Superheroes Saving Lives

JGS Lifecare recently unveiled its new “Superheroes Saving Lives” campaign. Created in English and Spanish, the three-month campaign features videos from Ruth’s House Assisted Living Residence and Leavitt Family Jewish Home residents, who thank the staff for their heroic efforts in keeping them safe during the pandemic. The campaign slogan — “Not all superheroes wear capes. At JGS Lifecare, we wear masks” — emphasizes the fact that healthcare workers have emerged as real-life superheroes, risking their own health every day to save the lives of residents.

 


 

 

Hand in Hand

Mercy Medical Center is participating in an international art project recognizing healthcare workers for their efforts during the pandemic with small, handcrafted ‘hand medals’ designed to create a link between the creator and the recipient. Mercy’s participation in the Hand Medal Project is a partnership with Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Richmond, Va. and artists connected to VCU who crafted 400 hand medals for distribution to Mercy nurses. Pictured, from left: Darlene Cunha, chief Nursing officer, presents a hand medal to Joseph Culver, a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit, as Mercy President Deborah Bitsoli looks on.

 


 

 

Round Up with Carr

Through Carr Hardware’s recent “Round Up with Carr’” campaign, customers donated $1,221.82 to the Enfield Dog Park, in Enfield, Conn. and $1,423.25 to Gifts of Love in Avon, Conn. As a fundraiser for those organizations, Carr Hardware offered customers in those two communities the opportunity to round up their purchases to the nearest dollar over the holiday season. Pictured: Ken Cohn (left) and Heather McDonald (right) of Carr Hardware present a check to Karen Pugliese, president of Enfield Dog Park.

 


 

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Happy, Safe Holidays

Dr. Richard Fraziero, owner of Facial Cosmetic & Maxillofacial Surgery in East Longmeadow, and Ashley Swift, the practice’s Community Outreach director, brought some holiday cheer to the Chicopee Fire Department this year. In lieu of sending holiday cards, Fraziero decided to donate to local emergency first responders to aid them in purchasing more PPE to help keep them safe in these trying times.

 


 

No Shave November

TommyCar Auto Group partnered with the Hampshire County Sheriff’s Office to raise more than $7,000 for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute during their No Shave November campaign. Earlier this month, TommyCar co-owner Carla Cosenzi and Sheriff Patrick Cahillane presented the check to a representative from the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. (Photo by Market Mentors)

 

 


 

 

Being Accountable

Revitalize CDC and the BeHealthy Partnership (BHP) accountable-care organizations made up of Health New England, Baystate Health Centers, and Caring Health Center have supported patients at risk of contracting COVID-19 by providing them with essential supplies and access to nutritious food at home. The program specifically serves vulnerable members of the community who may face food insecurity and homelessness, allowing them to remain safe and healthy in self-isolation.

 

 


 

Holiday Cheer

Brownie Troop 65110 at Longmeadow’s Wolf Swamp Elementary School recently delivered handmade holiday greeting cards to the residents at Ruth’s House Assisted Living Residence. The troop also stood outdoors and sang holiday songs that residents enjoyed through the window.

 

 

 

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Celebrating Heroes

Supporters were out bright and early in the morning cold last week to cheer Hillcrest Commons staffers during a shift change for their tireless efforts the last several weeks caring for residents through the coronavirus surge. They planned to be out the following day for a similar morale-boosting event during the afternoon shift change.

 

 


 

 

I Can See Clearly Now

Several months ago, Jackie Santana (left), a deaf woman who depends on lip reading as well as sign language, wrote about her frustrations communicating with people wearing face masks in a newsletter published by the Holyoke Community College Ludlow Area Adult Learning Center, where she is a student. Inspired by Santana’s essay, Ash Aliengena (right), a literacy specialist at the center, started making masks with clear plastic windows and created a website offering free, accessible face-mask patterns, where people can “Click. Print. Cut. Trace. Go.” To date, Aliengena has hand-sewn more than 60 masks and donated most of them to people at the center and to public-school teachers in Holyoke.

 

 


 

 

Provider of Choice

 

Golden Years Home Care Services recently received the 2020 Best of Home Care – Provider of Choice Award, which is based on client satisfaction scores gathered by Home Care Pulse, an independent satisfaction-research firm for home care. Best of Home Care – Provider of Choice award-winning providers have contracted with Home Care Pulse to gather feedback by conducting live phone interviews with their clients each month. Because Home Care Pulse is a third-party company, it is able to collect honest and unbiased feedback.

 

 


 

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Serving Up Grants

The Greenfield Business Assoc. (GBA) recently awarded eight Greenfield businesses funding from the COVID-19 Business Reopening Outdoor Equipment Micro-Grant through MassDevelopment’s Commonwealth Places: Resurgent Places grant program. First-round grant awards were received by Brad’s Place, Denny’s Pantry, Hangar Pub and Grill, Hope & Olive, Main Street Bar and Grille, Mesa Verde, Terrazza, and the new Adam’s Donuts. Each of the eight recipients received grants of up to $1,200, and the GBA’s goal is to help at least eight more businesses with the remaining funds. Pictured: Mik Muller (right), GBA board president and owner of Montague WebWorks, hands a check to Michael Stone, manager of Hangar Pub and Grill.

 


 

 

Special Delivery

In anticipation of the Thanksgiving holiday and with more families in need amid the pandemic than usual, MBK rallied to deliver Thanksgiving food items to the Gray House. Led by team leaders Chelsea Cox and Sarah Rose Stack, the team collected donations and money before making the dropoff. The team went shopping for turkeys, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and all the traditional Thanksgiving fixings, and was able to fill four bins with food and make an additional monetary donation. The Gray House expected to feed between 800 and 1,000 families on Thanksgiving.

 


 

 

A Tasty Return

Seven culinary-arts students at Holyoke Community College have been on a slow simmer since March, when their first-semester schedules were interrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. They had just completed their seven-week introductory cooking course, but it’s tough to cook over Zoom, so their first semesters were put on hold until the fall. But the teaching kitchens at HCC’s Culinary Arts Institute reopened this fall, and the students were back at their stations, progressing through a series of accelerated, back-to-back classes designed to catch them up before the spring semester begins on Jan. 25.

 


 

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Help Where It’s Needed

Monson Savings Bank President Dan Moriarty (left) and CEO Steve Lowell (right) recently presented a $5,000 check to Andrew Morehouse, executive director of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. The bank made the donation to help address the food-insecurity challenges being faced by many local residents. “This year has been more difficult than ever for many residents,” Lowell said. “As a local community bank, it is our duty to help those most in need. We take our responsibility very seriously and do whatever is possible to help residents who are struggling.”

 

 


 

 

Celebrating STEM Week

As a way to celebrate STEM Week in Massachusetts last month, the Red Sox Foundation and the Museum of Science in Boston partnered to distribute nearly 650 at-home science and engineering design-challenge kits to children at Springfield’s Square One (pictured), the Lawrence YMCA, and the Lawrence Boys & Girls Club. The Try It! kits are a part of the virtual learning resources the museum has developed through its curricular division, EiE, and its MOS at Home digital platform, to provide families with all the materials needed to enjoy fun and engaging science education any time, any place.

 


 

 

Supporting Girls

The Junior League of Greater Springfield (JLGS) recently donated 90 backpacks to Girls Inc. of the Valley to be given to elementary-school girls. “The Junior League of Greater Springfield is committed to the promotion of literacy and serving women and children in our community. With the backpack-donation project, our volunteers recognized an urgent need for the girls of the Pioneer Valley and jumped into service,” said Jamie Margolis, assistant treasurer of JLGS. “It has never been more important to us to help lift and support young women in our community.”

 

 


 

 

 

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Manufacturer of the Year

State Sen. Eric Lesser, Senate chair of the Manufacturing Caucus, recognized Toner Plastics as the First Hampden and Hampshire Manufacturer of the Year in a virtual, reimagined fifth annual Manufacturing Awards ceremony also attended by state Rep. Jeff Roy, Manufacturing Caucus co-chair; House Speaker Robert DeLeo; Senate President Karen Spilka; and Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Michael Kennealy. This followed an in-person presentation of the award by Lesser (pictured, left) at the East Longmeadow facility on Oct. 15 alongside company President Jack Warren and members of his team.


 

Grand Opening in Amherst

bankESB recently celebrated the virtual grand opening of its newest branch location at 253 Triangle St., Amherst. The event was commemorated in a Facebook Live broadcast hosted by the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce. Pictured, from left: Claudia Pazmany, executive director of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce; Nancy Lapointe, senior vice president of Retail Administration at bankESB; Matt Sosik, bankESB president and CEO; Jessica West, bankESB assistant vice president and Amherst branch officer; and stste Rep. Mindy Domb

 


 

COVID-19 Relief

The state awarded Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) two grants totaling nearly $662,000 for COVID-19 relief. The money will be used to help keep the campus safe during the pandemic, compensate faculty for their work developing online courses, and boost student aid. Pictured: STCC President John Cook speaks at a news conference announcing the funding, alongside, from left, Heriberto “Herbie” Flores, president and CEO of Partners for Community; state Rep. Angelo Puppolo Jr; state Rep. Bud Williams; state Rep. Carlos Gonzalez; and Denise Hurst, vice president of Advancement and External Affairs at STCC.

 


 

Halloween, 2020-Style

 

The United Way of Pioneer Valley staged a unique, COVID-era Halloween-day celebration at the TD Bank building in downtown Springfield. Sponsored by Colebrook Realty Services and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, the event drew more than 3,000 cars, with those driving through dressed for the occasion. From top to bottom: Sarno waves to an approaching car; Paula Wysocka, a United Way staff member, gets into the spirit of the event; some of the goodies that were handed out to the young people being driven through; the entrance to the building was decorated for the holiday.

 


 

Celebrating STEM Week

As a way to celebrate STEM Week in Massachusetts last month, the Red Sox Foundation and the Museum of Science in Boston partnered to distribute nearly 650 at-home science and engineering design-challenge kits to children at Springfield’s Square One (pictured), the Lawrence YMCA, and the Lawrence Boys & Girls Club. The Try It! kits are a part of the virtual learning resources the museum has developed through its curricular division, EiE, and its MOS at Home digital platform, to provide families with all the materials needed to enjoy fun and engaging science education any time, any place.


 

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Education Equity

The Lumina Foundation recently awarded $1.2 million in grants to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, with half the money earmarked for six state colleges and universities. Holyoke Community College will use its $100,000 award to further the work of its Equity, Diversity and Inclusion task force and expand mentorship programs that focus on students of color, including its ALANA Men in Motion program (pictured, in pre-COVID days). Latinx students participating in the program at HCC show a fall-to-fall retention rate of 75%, compared to 45% for Latinx students not participating in ALANA.

 


 

 

Driving for a Cure

Carla Cosenzi and Tommy Cosenzi, owners of TommyCar Auto Group, recently donated nearly $100,000 to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute thanks to the generous support of sponsors of the 12th annual Tom Cosenzi Driving for the Cure Charity Golf Tournament. The event, named for their late father, drew the interest of nearly 148 golfers and 156 sponsors this year. Since the inception of the event, more than $1 million has been raised to support brain-tumor research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

 

 


 

 

The Bionic Kid

On Sept. 15, Shriners Hospitals for Children – Springfield outfitted 8-year-old patient Sam with the first custom-built, 3D-printed bionic arm in the health system. The device, known as the Hero Arm, customized for Sam with Marvel Comics superhero Iron Man covers, was made possible through a collaboration with UK-based bionics company Open Bionics and will enable Sam, a bilateral amputee, to live life to the fullest. Pictured: Sam shows off the arm alongside his mother, Michelle, and Brock McConkey, manager of Orthotics and Prosthetics at the hospital.

 

 

 


 

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First Responders Luncheon

The Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce recently hosted its annual First Responders Luncheon. Pictured below, from top to bottom: chamber board members and event organizers (from left) Hannah Rechtschaffen of the Mill District, Beth Pearson of Pearson Wallace Insurance, and Heidi Flanders of Integrity Development and Construction, gather outside Pasta E Basta to receive fresh lunches to deliver to first responders in seven communities the chamber serves; Amherst firefighters and EMTs gather for lunch at North Station, flanked by Rechtschaffen and Claudia Pazmany, executive director of the Amherst Area Chamber; Pearson (left) delivers meals to the Leverett Police and Fire departments.

 

 

 


 

Strike Out Hunger

KFC was the presenting sponsor of the Westfield Starfires Strike Out Hunger Campaign, donating $10 for every strikeout at Bullens Field during the 2020 season. $1,500 was presented at the Starfires season finale to benefit the Westfield Boys & Girls Club summer meals program. Pictured: Starfires Manager Tony Deshler, Director of Baseball Operations Evan Moorhouse, Westfield Boys and Girls Club Chief Advancement Officer Bo Sullivan, Starfires co-owner Christopher Thompson, Westfield Boys & Girls Club CEO Bill Parks, and Starfires pitcher of the year and strikeout leader Chase Jeter.

 

 

 

 


 

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Feed the Body – Feed the Mind

Link to Libraries and the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts announced a partnership to provide books and meals to hundreds of local families in need in Western Mass. In partnership with Northampton Radio Group and Springfield Rocks Radio Group, the organizations launched the “Feed the Body – Feed the Mind” campaign, distributing children’s books and meals to families at several Food Bank member organizations’ designated meal-pickup sites in Springfield, Easthampton, Greenfield, and Holyoke.

 

 


 

Red Alert


Springfield was among cities nationwide to participate in a Red Alert event on Sept. 1 to draw attention to the plight of the entertainment and live-event industry. Zasco Productions, LLC lit up downtown Springfield (pictured) in the color red to raise awareness of the 12 million event professionals currently out of work due to COVID-related economic shutdowns. In addition, CJC Event Lighting lit up its offices, Chez Josef, and the Log Cabin.

 


 

 

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Helping Local Kids

Carr Hardware in Pittsfield launched a program called ​“Round Up for the Schools”​ to benefit local Berkshire County school districts. Customers have the option to round up the cost of their purchases to the nearest dollar, and Carr will then match those donations and purchase needed personal protective equipment, such as masks, gloves, sanitizer, and other items, to donate to local schools, said company President Bart Raser (pictured). Carr Hardware will also have collection jars stationed at all locations for customers to donate.

 


 

 

Boosting Access to Food

 

Florence Bank donated $5,000 to Chesterfield’s Community Food Cupboard, which was recently established by Chesterfield’s Council on Aging and a group of volunteers to help needy families access food during the COVID-19 crisis. The team includes members of the Select Board, trustees of the Chesterfield Library, along with Council on Aging board members and the Chesterfield Finance Committee. Pictured, from left: Chesterfield Community Food Cupboard volunteer Denise Cormier, Florence Bank Branch Manager and Vice President April O’Brien, and Janice Gibeau, director of Chesterfield’s Council on Aging.

 


 

 

Ribbon Cutting at F45 Training

 

Dan and Jessye Deane recently opened F45 Training at 1464 Riverdale St. in West Springfield. The interval training studio is a franchise out of Australia that is just getting its start in the U.S. Unlike traditional box gyms, F45 blends high-intensity interval training, functional training, and circuit training and pulls from 4,100 exercises, ensuring that no workout is ever the same. Pictured, from left: Brennan McKenna, West Springfield Mayor Will Reichelt, Dan Deane, Jessye Deane, Charley, Brady, Cooper, and Kristina Cordova.

 


 

 

Driving for the Cure

It wasn’t exactly business — or even golf — as usual, but the 12th Annual Tom Cosenzi Driving for the Cure Charity Golf Tournament was staged Aug. 17 at Twin Hills Country Club in Longmeadow. The field was smaller than in years past — 140 golfers — and there were other changes made due to COVID-19, but roughly $70,000 was raised to aid research into cures for brain cancer. Top to bottom: Tom Cosenzi Jr. and Carla Cosenzi, co-owners of TommyCar Auto Group and founders of the tournament, named in honor of their father, who succumbed to brain cancer in 2009; Golfers line up at the registration table; The event T-shirts tell the story; over the years, the tournament has raised more than $1 million to fight brain cancer.

 


 

Open for Business

 

Sport Clips Haircuts Hadley owner Ian Coogan was joined recently by his wife, Lisa Scheff, and daughter, along with state Rep. Dan Carey, Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Claudia Pazmany, and the Sport Clips team to cut the ribbon at the grand opening ceremony for their new location along Route 9 in Hadley.

 


 

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Tourism Boost

State Sen. Eric Lesser (center) recently joined John Doleva (left), president and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and Mary Kay Wydra (right), president of Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau, to announce $250,000 in funding for tourism marketing in the Pioneer Valley. “This funding for tourism marketing will help us begin to rebuild and bring business to our restaurants, attractions, and hospitality industry across the board,” Lesser said. The funding is part of a $1.1 billion coronavirus-response package signed into law on July 24.

 


Supporting Community Health Workers

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal (pictured with Holyoke Community College President Christina Royal) recently visited HCC to announce the awarding of a four-year, $1.89 million federal grant aimed at helping families impacted by opioid use. The funds — $399,676 in the first year — will enhance HCC’s existing Community Health Worker training program with the goal of increasing the number of CHWs qualified to work on integrated opioid-use-disorder teams in area health centers in medically underserved communities.


J-Camp in a Box

The Jewish Community Center of Springfield and Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts have partnered to provide “J-Camp in a Box” this summer to over 400 children, ages 5-12, including 250 refugee and low-income youths. The first box was distributed in July, and the second box went home to campers earlier this month. With summer camps closed across the state due to COVID-19, these ‘campers’ are staying busy with two boxes full of activities to do at home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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Brewing Up Some News

Joined by state Rep. Tom Petrolati and leadership from Westmass Area Development Corp., Loophole Brewing Services announced plans for its new location at 90 First Ave. in Ludlow. The planned 21,000-square-foot brewery, taproom, and beer garden will occupy the former jute-processing building on a 2.5-acre parcel at the eastern end of the Ludlow Mills complex. Loophole co-founders Jeff Goulet, Aaron Saunders, and Todd Snopkowski plan to acquire the space from Westmass. In addition to the brewing operations, Loophole plans to have food offerings and more for taproom and beer-garden guests.

 


Meeting a Surging Need

Easthampton Community Center

Easthampton Community Center Executive Director Robin Bialecki and Thomas Conner, Florence Bank branch manager and vice president

Florence Bank donated $7,500 to the Easthampton Community Center to support its Food Pantry Program that serves 22 towns throughout the Pioneer Valley and provides food each month to 6,000 food-insecure individuals in need, including more than 600 children in the greater Easthampton area through the Kid’s Summer Pantry Program.

 

 


Drive-by Party

On July 15, Fleming Cocchi, a longtime resident of Wilbraham, turned 100 years old, and Visiting Angels of West Springfield, the home-care service that has taken care of Cocchi and his wife since 2014, organized a drive-by celebration. A parade of friends, family, and community members — including fire trucks and police cars — gathered to drive by Cocchi’s house with signs, balloons, bows, and birthday wishes. Cocchi waved from his porch with a big smile on his face as the cars and trucks passed by.

 


 

 

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Camp Days

The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holyoke opened its seven week, in-person summer camp on July 6, serving up to 75 youth a day. The camp will help kids combat summer learning loss while focusing on one primary theme: diversity. With the topic of racism at the forefront of the country and Holyoke being a community of color, the club will continue to create a platform to educate children on inclusiveness, acceptance, and equality for all. Program activities will incorporate elements of diversity, and additional activities will include project-based learning, targeted literacy support, STEM and coding, arts and crafts, daily challenges, sports and recreation, gardening, culinary arts, dance, non-contact boxing, and more.

 


Food Donations

The United Way of Pioneer Valley recently received its first food shipment — 11 pallets of shelf-stable food items, pre-packaged in boxes, made to feed a family of four for several days — secured through a relationship with MEMA as part of pandemic-response efforts. If a family needs assistance and isn’t covered by one of the community agencies receiving food, they can call (413) 737-2691 for assistance. Pictured: Jennifer Kinsman, director of Community Impact, and Emmanuel Reyes, Thrive financial coach, unwrap a pallet of food.

 


 

 

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Celebrating 40 Years

Robert MacDonald, executive director of Work Opportunity Center Inc. (WOC) was recently honored with a Zoom anniversary celebration for his 40 years of leadership. WOC provides services to individuals with developmental challenges, including community integration, work skills, and community employment. Agawam Mayor William Sapelli, Springfield Mayor Dominic Sarno, and West Springfield Mayor William Reichelt all offered proclamations. Pictured, from left: Mary Akers, assistant executive director; Dale Lapointe, board secretary; Joanne Roberts, board member; MacDonald; Steve Robinson, board president; and Rick Hanchett, vice president.

 


 

Sharing and Caring

Cooley Dickinson Health Care employees recently donated hundreds of personal-hygiene products ranging from hair brushes and razors to deodorant, soap, and toothpaste to the Amherst and Northampton Survival Centers and the Easthampton Community Center. Pictured, from left: Jeff Harness, Cooley Dickinson’s director of Community Health and Government Relations; Robin Bialecki, executive director of the Easthampton Community Center; and Angela Belmont, chief Nursing officer at Cooley Dickinson Hospital.

 


 

Service Above Self

Last month, John Doleva, president and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame; and Frank Colaccino, Hall of Fame governor, CEO of the Colvest Group, and chair of the Westfield Bank 2019 Service Above Self luncheon committee, presented a check for $6,500 to the Rotary Club of Springfield, which is planning to award $10,000 in grants to Springfield-based nonprofit organizations that benefit the Greater Springfield community, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pictured from left: Paul Lambert, Rotarian and vice president of Enshrinement Services & Community Engagement at the Hall of Fame; Doleva; Colaccino; and Sue Mastroianni and Jack Toner, past presidents of the Rotary Club of Springfield.

 


 

Special Delivery

Amid COVID-19, the need for organizations such as Open Pantry Community Services has grown. Matt Ogrodowicz of Meyers Brothers Kalicka, P.C. led a charge to collect food and donations at MBK over a two-week period. He shared Open Pantry’s mission as well as its high-demand items, including cereal, pasta, canned goods, peanut butter, and spaghetti sauce. Staff at MBK donated food and/or money, which Ogrodowicz used to shop for additional items on the high-demand list. With the combined efforts, MBK was able to donate 279 pounds of food to Open Pantry.

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Breaking Ground

 

Florence Bank broke ground earlier this month on its third Hampden County branch at 705 Memorial Dr. in Chicopee, the former Hu Ke Lau site. The full-service location will open later this year. The bank has been working with Marois Construction of South Hadley, HAI Architecture of Northampton, and R. Levesque Associates, an engineering firm in Westfield, on the project. Pictured: Florence Bank President and CEO Kevin Day (left) poses with Chicopee Mayor John Vieau at the groundbreaking.


Feeding the Front Lines

 

Ludlow-based Pioneer Valley Financial Group and Mill’s Tavern & Grille recently partnered to cook and deliver food to front-line workers during the pandemic. Starting on April 10, PV Financial donated $350 to Mill’s Tavern each week to help pay for the cost of food and delivery, while a GoFundMe campaign raised more than $2,280 from the community. The donations have allowed Mill’s Tavern and PV Financial to deliver more than 400 meals to hospitals, police and fire departments, and pharmacies across Western Mass., including the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke (pictured), Baystate Mary Lane in Ware, and CVS Pharmacy in Ludlow.

 


Deserving Scholars

This spring, the Holyoke Community College Foundation awarded nearly $210,000 in scholarships to 200 incoming, current, and transferring HCC students and will set a record for the number of scholarships it distributes for the 2020-21 academic year, with 233. The number of applications for scholarships this year increased by 22%, from 391 to 479. Pictured: HCC business major Alexandra Clark is the recipient of this year’s Marguerite I. Lazarz Memorial Scholarship from the HCC Foundation.

 

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Summer Fun

The law firm Pellegrini, Seeley Ryan & Blakesley donated $3,000 and employees’ time to provide and distribute summer-activity backpacks to 300 children for the Boys & Girls club of Greater Westfield. The backpacks were stuffed with art supplies, puzzles, games, soccer and gym balls, and other items for children.

Attorney Patrick McHugh stuffs a backpack

Attorney Patrick McHugh stuffs a backpack

 

Ayame Anthony is pleased with her haul

Ayame Anthony is pleased with her haul

 

 


Feed the Fight

Peter Pan Bus Lines and the Bean Restaurant Group recently teamed up with U.S. Rep. Richard Neal to show appreciation for first responders. On May 26, as part of the “Feed the Fight” project, Neal helped deliver more than 300 meals to Mercy Medical Center in Springfield. Supported by a donation from Neal’s campaign and organized by Peter Pan and the Bean Group, the project rewards the hard work of frontline healthcare workers while also supporting local Western Mass. restaurants.

 

 


Bridging the Gap

bankESB recently donated $5,000 to the Easthampton Community Center to support the Kid’s Bag Pantry program, which typically provides each child up to age 18 with a bag of food monthly during the school year and weekly during the summer months. This year, the weekly program began in March due to school closures, contributing to a shortfall in funding. Pictured: Easthampton Community Center Executive Director Robin Bialecki (left) receives the donation from Natalie Didonna, assistant vice president and branch officer at bankESB’s Easthampton office.

 

 


 

 

 

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Celebrating Carol Leary

On May 17, what would have been Bay Path University’s 123rd commencement celebrating the class of 2020, President Carol Leary and her husband, Noel, were treated to a surprise drive-by parade commemorating Carol’s retirement after 25 years. For 20 minutes, more than 200 cars snaked down Route 5 in Longmeadow blasting their horns. Headed by Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, the decorated cars featured a giant teddy bear, an inflated flamingo raft tied to a car roof, numerous signs expressing ‘carpe diem’— the official school motto — and, of course, balloons. While maintaining their social distance, the parade of alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends shouted their thanks and well wishes to the Learys. (Photos by Leah Martin)

 


 

Election Protection

Scott Rote, president of Wheeler & Taylor Insurance, recently called Charles Burger, director of the Southern Berkshire Regional Emergency Planning Committee, wanting to donate 2,000 surgical masks. Then the agency went a step further, procuring foam, elastic strapping material, and 200 sheets of polycarbonate plastic and constructing face shields to be used by poll workers in upcoming elections. Burger will allocate the personal protective equipment to the 12 towns in Southern Berkshire County. After the face shields are used for elections, they will be cleaned and repurposed.

 

 


 

Project Toybox

The United Way of Pioneer Valley recently partnered with numerous community organizations to deliver more than 1,000 educational, age-appropriate to families hit hard by COVID-19. Thanks to its partnership with Good360, the toys arrived at the United Way’s office on May 13 and are being distributed to the following organizations who will pass them along to children in need: Boys & Girls Clubs of West Springfield, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Westfield, Boys & Girls Clubs of Springfield, Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Holyoke, YMCA of Greater Springfield, and Holyoke Housing Authority. Pictured: the United Way’s Joe Mina moves a pallet of donated toys.

 


Sign and Drive

Bulkley Richardson trusts and estates attorneys have been coordinating parking-lot and driveway signings for higher-risk clients in need of executing legal documents. Keeping the health and wellness of clients a top priority, these arrangements, and others, are made so that an office visit is not required.

 


 

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Special Deliveries

With campus closed, Holyoke Community College donated its perishable food supplies to three area nonprofits: Martin Luther King Jr. Family Center in Springfield, the YWCA Transitional Living Program in Holyoke, and Easthampton Community Center. The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts helped coordinate the donations.

load a cargo van with surplus produce and other food

Sarah Schmidt, director of programming for HCC’s Center for Excellence, and Stacy Graves, coordinator of the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute, load a cargo van with surplus produce and other food

ready to deliver a load of food

Mark Pronovost, director of Aramark/HCC Dining Services, gets ready to deliver a load of food to the Easthampton Community Center.

 


Needed Supplies

UMass Amherst recently donated 300 face shields — developed by UMass researchers, engineers, nurses, and other healthcare professionals — to the Skilled Nursing Center at Loomis Lakeside at Reeds Landing. UMass contributed more than $30,000 toward the initial production of face shields and hundreds of volunteer hours designing, testing, revising, and manufacturing them.

a box of shields designed and donated by UMass Amherst

Tomara Meegan (left), assistant director of Nursing and infection preventionist at Loomis Lakeside, and Patty Coughlin, director of Nursing at Loomis Lakeside, carry a box of shields designed and donated by UMass Amherst.

 

 


Gear for the Front Lines

Lenco Armored Vehicles recently donated nearly $300,000 worth of personal protective equipment to regional first responders working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic, including sanitizer, disinfecting wipes and spray, respirators, masks, eyewear, gloves, protective clothing, and power air respirator supplies — about 35,000 pieces of equipment in all. Recipients include Dalton, Lanesborough, Pittsfield, and Richmond fire departments; Dalton, Lanesborough, and Pittsfield police departments; County Ambulance and Action Ambulance in Pittsfield; and the emergency room at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield.

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Meeting the Need

Action Ambulance Supervisor Kyle Rondeau

Action Ambulance Supervisor Kyle Rondeau, HMC President and CEO Spiros Hatiras, and HMC Chief Operating Officer Carl Cameron.

Holyoke Medical Center has shared personal protective equipment (PPE) with local first responders, including Action Ambulance, South Hadley Fire Department, and the city of Springfield. The donations included 700 face shields, 1,000 KN95 face masks, and 1,500 standard face masks for the responders to give to people they interact with at a distance closer than six feet. Holyoke Medical Center executives also spoke with officials in other surrounding municipalities, most of which had an adequate current supply of masks and face shields.


Bedtime Stories

Link to Libraries recently launched a new initiative called “Link Live: Bedtime Stories,” airing on Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 8 p.m. on Facebook Live. Children’s book authors are reading their own books and then taking questions from participants. With the use of Facebook, children and their parents can not only enjoy being read to, but also have the unique opportunity to interact with the author in real time. The first authors who participated were Ashley Morse (The Big E Book, pictured), Jamie Michalak (The Coziest Place), Anika Aldamuy Denise (The Love Letter), Josh Funk (Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast), and Cynthia Platt (A Little Bit of Love). Link to Libraries is planning to extend the program into May and will release an updated schedule soon.

Mask Maker, Mask Maker, Make Me a Mask

When the COVID-19 pandemic made wearing face masks a public health concern, those masks suddenly become hard to find — and Lauren Hummel and Donna Fournier sprang into action. Fournier’s mother taught her to sew long ago, and she had a lot of fabric on hand, so she started making masks — 50 to begin with, mostly for her family. Hummel started by making a mask for herself, and friends reached out wondering if she would make masks for them. Both eventually connected with the Mental Health Assoc. to make masks for staff who work in MHA’s group homes, who are considered essential workers. Hummel got her daughter, Kellie, involved as well (pictured), and MHA continues to look for volunteer sewers.

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Community Support

Earlier this month, UMassFive College Federal Credit Union reached out to support community members and healthcare workers heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, sponsoring 150 portions of chicken pot pie (made fresh and delivered by Log Cabin Rolling) that were served at the Amherst Survival Center daily community meal, and also sponsoring the delivery of 200 meals to emergency-room staff, split between Springfield’s Mercy Medical Center and Worcester’s UMass Memorial Medical Center. These meals were delivered to the staff at lunchtime, with extra meals to support the next shift as well.

 


 

Meeting the Need

 

The United Way of Pioneer Valley

The United Way of Pioneer Valley recently donated 5,000 frozen meals to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts. The transfer took place at Springfield City Hall, with Mayor Domenic Sarno and United Way President and CEO Paul Mina, in attendance. With the economic effects of COVID-19 causing many area businesses to close, the Food Bank and the food pantries it serves have seen a dramatic increase in need. This donation was a part of the Western Massachusetts United Ways’ combined efforts to provide relief for COVID-19. Pictured: Mina (left) and Tom Leporati of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts handle a pallet of food.

 

 

 


 

A Story Worth Reading

Link to Libraries and MGM Springfield announced a partnership


Last month, Link to Libraries and MGM Springfield announced a partnership to promote learning and literacy in support of Springfield students who are out of the classroom and learning from home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Link to Libraries and MGM Springfield donated more than 1,000 books to children ranging from kindergarten through high school. The books were distributed to families through the 15 schools designated as lunch pick-up sites.

 

 


 

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Customers’ Choice

$1,221 award

Florence Bank President Kevin Day presents Nikki Lewis, coalition coordinator of first-time grant award winner West Springfield CARE Coalition, with a $1,221 award.

 

Tammy Walunas of the Smith Vocational High School PTO chats

From left, Tammy Walunas of the Smith Vocational High School PTO chats with It Takes a Village volunteer Sierra-Rae Bottum and Mollie Hartford, co-executive director

Florence Bank gave $100,000 to 57 area nonprofits on March 10 at its annual Customers’ Choice Community Grants Program celebration at the Garden House at Look Memorial Park, putting the program over the $1.2 million mark in grants made to community nonprofits over almost two decades. The recipients each garnered at least 50 votes from bank customers in 2019, and the bank also awarded $500 each to six organizations that received between 40 and 49 votes.

 


Grand Tour

Grand Tour

From left, John LaFrancis, chair, Mechanical Engineering Technology; STCC President John Cook; state Rep. Jeffrey Roy; state Sen. Anne Gobi; state Rep. Stephan Hay; STCC graduate Elizabeth Ryan; state Rep. Mindy Domb; and state Rep. Aaron Vega

 

Student trustee Yanira Aviles

Student trustee Yanira Aviles

From the patient simulation center to the mechanical engineering technology lab, state lawmakers toured Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) last month to get a better understanding how it is preparing students for careers and boosting the economic vitality of the region. STCC was the 25th stop for the Joint Committee on Higher Education, which plans to visit all 29 Massachusetts public colleges and universities.

 


 

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A photo essay of business happenings in Western Mass.

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Elevating the Brand

Valley Vodka Inc., maker of V-One Vodka, announced a new partnership with Julious Grant and Ty Law. Grant brings 29 years of executive-level experience in the spirits industry, having held senior leadership roles in sales and marketing in some of the most successful companies in the world. Law, an NFL Hall of Famer, won three Super Bowls as a cornerback with the New England Patriots. This partnership comes on the heels of Valley Vodka Inc. completing a multi-million-dollar purchase and renovation of its own ‘farm to glass’ distillery in Kamien, Poland. “With our new distillery, expanded production, and new packaging, this is the perfect time to introduce more people to our clean-drinking vodka,” V-One creator Paul Kozub said. “Julious and Ty are tremendous assets to help us expand distribution and increase brand awareness.” Pictured, from left, are Grant, Kozub, and Law.

 


Supporting the Community

Florence Bank recently pledged $50,000

Florence Bank recently pledged $50,000 to the YMCA of Greater Springfield to help fund the new wellness and childcare center that opened at Springfield’s Tower Square on Dec. 5. The new, state-of-the-art facility includes a 15,000-square-foot education center that serves infants through elementary-school students. Additionally, the facility includes a new, 12,000-square-foot wellness center with premium strength and conditioning equipment in a space that overlooks the city. Pictured, from left: Jeffrey Poindexter, YMCA of Greater Springfield board chair; Dexter Johnson, YMCA of Greater Springfield president and CEO; and Nicole Gleason, Springfield branch manager and vice president of Florence Bank.

 


Highest Honors

For the third consecutive year, the Beta Gamma Sigma (BGS) Chapter at Western New England University

For the third consecutive year, the Beta Gamma Sigma (BGS) Chapter at Western New England University earned the “highest honors” designation for its campus engagement and programming for the 2018-19 academic year. One indicator of the chapter’s engagement is participation at the annual Global Leadership Summit (GLS), which chapter President Tessa Wood and Secretary Kathryn Wells attended last year. The GLS enables delegates to participate in professional-development workshops and share best practices with student leaders from other BGS chapters worldwide. Pictured, from left: chapter members Wood, Finance Chair Emily Sajdak, Service Chair Krystyna Germano, and Vice President Teddy Doyle.

 


Record Donation

Holyoke Community College (HCC) has received the largest donation

Holyoke Community College (HCC) has received the largest donation in the college’s 74-year history — $7.5 million — from the Elaine Nicpon Marieb Foundation, established by the late Elaine Marieb, a longtime HCC faculty member, alumna, best-selling textbook author, and Northampton native. The donation includes $5 million outright and a $2.5 million matching gift that will go toward future renovations of HCC’s main science facility, the Marieb Building, as part of a multi-phase plan to expand the recently opened Center for Life Sciences to encompass the entire three-story structure. Pictured: HCC Biology Professor Emily Rabinsky (center) teaches a biotechnology lab in the Center for Life Sciences.

 


Advocating for Girls

Executives from Girls Inc. of the Valley recently joined executives

Executives from Girls Inc. of the Valley recently joined executives from Girls Inc. of Lynn, Worcester, and Berkshires on the State House floor to highlight the Eureka! program — which prepares teenage girls to participate and excel in cutting-edge, dynamic STEM careers — and advocate for its inclusion in the state budget. Pictured, from left: Ruth Roy, campaign director, Girls Inc. of the Valley; Kelly Marion, CEO, Gladys Allen Brigham Community Center, home of Girls Inc. of the Berkshires; Victoria Waterman, CEO, Girls Inc. of Worcester; Agnes Nkansah, Girls Inc. of Worcester Eureka! alumna and student at Brandeis University; Suzanne Parker, executive director, Girls Inc. of the Valley; Deb Ansourlian, executive director, Girls Inc. of Lynn; Brenda Nikas-Hayes, director of Eureka!, Girls Inc. of Worcester; Sidney Hamilton, outreach and site coordinator, Girls Inc. of the Berkshires; Lena Crowley, director, Teen and Middle School Program, Girls Inc. of Lynn; and Alexandra DeFronzo, supervisor of STEM Programs, Girls Inc.

 


Read Across America Day

First American Insurance Agency recently took part in Read Across America Day

First American Insurance Agency recently took part in Read Across America Day by reading to students at Saint Stanislaus School as part of its Kids First campaign. The campaign is an ongoing effort to support children and teens in Western Mass. through education and play. The staff volunteers time and resources through several activities and fundraisers throughout the year. Pictured, from left: Theresa Kelly, Kristie Learned, Ginger Marszalek, and Meghan Harnois from First American Insurance Agency.

 


 

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A Visit from the First Lady

On Feb. 21, Massachusetts First Lady Lauren Baker paid a visit to Square One’s Tommie Johnson Child & Family Center, where she spent the afternoon learning about Square One’s work with children and families in the region. She was greeted by Square One educators, therapists, and children, who welcomed her with songs and gifts for the children Baker engages with in her work with the Wonderfund of Massachusetts.

 


Advocating for Community Colleges

James Lombella (left), North-West regional president of Connecticut Community Colleges, and Eileen Peltier (right), dean of Workforce Development and Continuing Education for Asnuntuck, Northwestern Connecticut, and Tunxis community colleges, traveled to Hartford in February to represent the 12 Connecticut community colleges as part of a 2020 Skills Summit organized by the National Skills Coalition. Lombella and Peltier met with staff from the office of state Sen. Richard Blumenthal and state Rep. Joe Courtney (center) to provide updates on the community colleges and seek support for Pell grants for students in non-credit programs that provide industry licensure and credentials.


Grand Opening

Brenda Cuoco & Associates Real Estate Brokerage celebrated its grand-opening ceremony on Feb. 8. The office opened for business in Wilbraham in November. State Rep. Angelo Puppolo presented Cuoco, who has been a real-estate agent for 15 years, with a House of Representatives citation.

The brokerage team, from left, Amy Beaulieu, MaryKate Caron, Paula Lynch, Alyssa Stout, Brenda Cuoco, Tammy Sandomierski, Kathleen Brenner, Paige Belcastro, and Cori Bessette

 

From left: Puppolo, David Cuoco, Brenda Cuoco, Marco Cuoco, and Antonio Cuoco

 


Giving Back to the Community

Community Bank N.A. announced that its annual charitable giving reached more than $2.6 million in 2019 through sponsorships, donations, and grants, with its branches across Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont donating to more than 2,500 local organizations. In Massachusetts, it supported a variety of organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club of Springfield, the YMCA of Greater Springfield, Springfield Rescue Mission, Open Pantry Community Services, Way Finders, Gardening the Community, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampden County, and (pictured) the Western Regional Office of the Massachusetts Small Business Development Center (MSBDC).

From left: Community Bank N.A. Springfield Branch Manager Gilbert Nieves, Commercial Banking Team Leader Keith Nesbitt, MSBDC Regional Director Samalid Hogan, MSBDC Client Services Coordinator and Office Manager Lynn Shedd, and MSBDC Senior Business Advisor Anita Elisaon.

 

 


Art History

Tower Square unveiled a James Kitchen sculpture in its Center Court on Feb. 26. The 11-foot-high sculpture, titled “Tower Squares,” is comprised of intricate, stacked blocks, a la Dr. Seuss, filled with parts and pieces recycled from Springfield’s past. Visitors will discover a 1940s Indian motorcycle seat, pipe wrenches invented by Solymon Merrick in 1835, a clip-on ice skate patented by Everett Barney in the 1800s, a basketball hoop, ice tongs, hammers, gears that turn, doorbells that ring, faucets, and much more. The entire installation is interactive, inviting children and adults to explore its components. The statue will be a permanent feature of the building.

 

 


 

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Accessible Design Award

At its annual awards gala, the Boston Society of Architects (BSA) presented Caolo & Bieniek Associates Inc. with the 2019 Accessible Design Award for its work at Westfield State University’s Davis Hall. The award honors design excellence in buildings that are accessible for people of all abilities, with an emphasis on projects that exceed the legal accessibility requirements in anticipation of diverse user needs and benefits. The residence-hall addition and renovation, designed in coordination with the university and Stegman+Associates Inc., includes new private and multi-user restrooms, providing access to all students.

Pictured, from left: Janet Stegman, owner, Stegman+Associates; Janet Chrisos, deputy director, Massachusetts State College Building Authority; Steven Taksar, vice president, Administration & Finance, Westfield State University; Curtis Edgin, president, Caolo & Bieniek Associates.


Grand Opening

The Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce celebrated the ribbon cutting and grand opening of Hadley Dental Care on Jan. 31. More than 50 community and business leaders stopped by to see the state-of-the-art technology and hear about the client-centric care offered by Dr. Tapan Pujara, DDS and Dr. Chaitalee Ganatra, DDS (pictured). The practice is located at 1 Mill Valley Road, Unit D, Hadley. A celebration followed the ribbon cutting next door at the Taproom, featuring networking, food, and prizes.

 


Charitable Champions List

Pioneer Valley Financial Group is one of 20 financial-advisory firms selected for the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation’s 2019 Charitable Champions List, which recognizes advisory firms for their exemplary efforts to give back to their communities by promoting a culture of philanthropy among employees and financial advisors. Invest in Others received dozens of applications, which were evaluated blindly by a judging panel made up of financial advisors. Applications were evaluated on criteria including employee benefits, company contributions, and philanthropic events and programs offered by the firms.

 


Getting a Boost

Led by state Rep. Carlos Gonzalez, the Springfield legislative delegation was able to secure a $250,000 appropriation for the UMass Center at Springfield. On Feb. 10, a ceremonial check was presented by the delegation at the center, located in Tower Square in downtown Springfield. At that event, UMass Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy introduced Jamina Scippio-McFadden as the new director of the center, which opened its doors in 2014. Pictured below: Scippio-McFadden and Gonzalez address those gathered for the check presentation.

From left, state Sen. James Welch, state Rep. Angelo Puppolo, McFadden, Gonzalez, state Rep. Bud Williams, and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno gather around the ceremonial check.


 

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A Home for Innovation

On Jan. 23, DevelopSpringfield celebrated the completion of the Springfield Innovation Center at 276 Bridge St., a $7.1 million project funded through state and federal tax credits, grants, foundation money, and private financing. U.S. Rep. Richard Neal (left, with Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno), who helped secure more than $1 million in federal tax credits to finance the project, noted that innovation is a key part of the country’s — and the region’s — story, and needs to continue to be. State Sens. Eric Lesser and James Welch and state Rep. Carlos Gonzalez were also on hand for the ceremony.

 


 

Scoring a Milestone

The Tom Cosenzi Driving for the Cure Charity Golf Tournament celebrated an important milestone in 2019, pushing past the $1 million mark in donations to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. The tournament hosted its 11th annual tournament on Aug. 19 at Twin Hills Country Club and Elmcrest Country Club, where attendees heard from Dr. Patrick Wen from the Neuro-Oncology Department at Dana-Farber (pictured, left, with Carla Cozenzi and Tommy Consenzi of TommyCar Auto Group) about the impact of the tournament on brain-cancer research. In its 11 years, the tournament has raised $1,086,487.50 for Dana-Farber.

 


Car Wash for a Good Cause

 

Balise Motor Sales helped make a difference this holiday season by raising $13,341.51 for Square One. Balise donated the first month’s payment from each unlimited monthly car-wash plan purchased in December at two Western Mass. locations. Balise is a longtime supporter of Square One, donating $5,000 in 2018 to support its Adopt-a-Classroom program, $10,000 in 2017 to help build a new indoor playspace, and $10,000 in 2016 to support the organization’s new fitness program, LAUNCH. Pictured, from left: Joan Kagan and Kristine Allard from Square One, Alexandra Balise from Balise Motor Sales, and Dawn DiStefano from Square One.


Toward a New Home

Florence Bank has pledged $7,500 to the Harmony House of Chicopee to help fund a renovation and expansion that will allow the nonprofit to improve services and care for more terminally ill individuals who live alone or lack a capable caregiver. Harmony House is currently fundraising to cover the cost of the $600,000 home renovation. It recently broke ground on a permanent and much larger home in the Aldenville section of Chicopee. Pictured, from left: Ger Ronan, president, Yankee Home; Maureen Buxton, West Springfield branch manager, Florence Bank; Ruth Willemain, Harmony House founder; Amy Corcoran, president, Harmony House board of directors; and Pamela Quirk, RN, house operations and volunteer committee chair, Harmony House.


Forging Connections

State Sen. Eric Lesser and state Rep. Brian Ashe toured Toner Plastics in East Longmeadow recently with members of the FORGE Manufacturing Initiative, which builds and fosters connections between regional suppliers and innovative startups across the Commonwealth. They were also joined by QUIKCORD, a regional startup that has worked with Toner Plastics to develop a life-saving utility case for military paracord. Pictured, from left: Lesser and Ashe take in the tour with Toner Plastics President Jack Warren.


MassHire Grand Opening

On Jan. 14, MassHire Springfield Career Center held a grand-opening celebration at its new facility on the third floor of 95 Liberty Street. About 125 people attended the event, which included guided tours of the 13,200-square-foot facility. Pictured, from left: state Rep. Carlos Gonzalez; Rosalin Acosta, state secretary of Labor & Workforce Development; Kevin Lynn, executive director of MassHire Springfield Career Center; Shayvonne Plummer, Springfield Office of Planning & Economic Development; Talia Gee, Springfield chief Diversity & Inclusion officer; and Gary MacDonald, vice president of AIM HR Solutions.

 


Cannabis Conference

The Springfield Regional Chamber hosted the region’s first-ever cannabis conference on Wed., Jan. 28: “The Buzz About Cannabis: Marijuana in the Marketplace and the Workplace.” Employers and employees from all over Western Mass. attended the conference to get some help navigating the brand new complex world of marijuana in Massachusetts.

Theory Wellness, soon to open a new location in Chicopee, presents at the exhibitor marketplace

Scott Foster, attorney at Bulkley Richardson, and Tina Sbrega, CEO of GFA Credit Union, present “Business Structure and Banking in the Cannabis Industry”

Daniel Fogarty and Mikayla Bell from NETA show their products at the exhibitor marketplace

Joanne Berwald, vice president of HR at Mestek, Erica Flores, attorney at Skoler Abbott, and Pam Thornton, director of Strategic HR Services at the Employers Assoc. of the NorthEast, answer questions about cannabis in the workplace