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Warm Welcome

Holyoke Community College (HCC) President George Timmons received a warm community welcome during a reception on Sept. 12 at Gary Rome Hyundai in Holyoke. It was the first public reception for Timmons, who began his tenure as HCC’s fifth president on July 13. The reception included the presentation of a $5,000 check from the dealership to the HCC Foundation to benefit the college’s Thrive Student Resource Center.

 

Gary Rome (right) presents the check to Timmons (center) and HCC Vice President of Institutional Advancement Amanda Sbriscia (left).

Gary Rome (right) presents the check to Timmons (center) and HCC Vice President of Institutional Advancement Amanda Sbriscia (left).

 

Timmons shakes hands with Robert Gilbert, chair of the HCC board of trustees.

Timmons shakes hands with Robert Gilbert, chair of the HCC board of trustees.

 

Collaborative Effort

TommyCar Collision Center announced a collaboration with Hampshire County TRIAD seniors and law enforcement to provide a customized Jeep Wrangler for the organization’s community-outreach efforts. TRIAD is dedicated to improving quality of life for seniors in Hampshire County by fostering collaboration between law-enforcement agencies and senior organizations. TommyCar Collision Center performed bodywork and applied graphics to transform the Jeep Wrangler into a visually striking vehicle that embodies the TRIAD mission.

Pictured, from left: Hampshire County Sheriff Patrick Cahillane, Carla Cosenzi and Brice Herrick of TommyCar Collision, and Deputy Dave Fenton of the Hampshire County Sheriff’s Office.

Pictured, from left: Hampshire County Sheriff Patrick Cahillane, Carla Cosenzi and Brice Herrick of TommyCar Collision, and Deputy Dave Fenton of the Hampshire County Sheriff’s Office.

 

What’s on Tap

More than 70 Franklin County business and nonprofit leaders gathered at Cameron’s Winery and the Back Room Brewing Company in Northfield on Sept. 14 network and celebrate the unveiling of the winery’s new outdoor beer and wine gardens. Owned by Leslie and Paul Cameron (pictured, center, with Jessye Deane, executive director of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce & Regional Tourism Council), Cameron’s Winery and the Back Room Brewing Company features nine families of wine, beer, hard cider, and a charcuterie and cheese shop.

Leslie and Paul Cameron (pictured, center, with Jessye Deane, executive director of the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce & Regional Tourism Council),

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Pulling Up to a New Home

 

Last week, Balise Auto Group detailed plans to move its corporate headquarters from West Springfield to the third floor of the TD Bank building at 1441 Main St. in Springfield. The move is expected to bring more than 50 jobs to downtown Springfield at first, with more to come.

Pictured, from left: Balise Auto Group President Jeb Balise, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Balise Auto Group Chief Operating Officer Ben Sullivan, and Jack Dill, president and CEO of Colebrook Realty Services, which owns the TD Bank tower.

Pictured, from left: Balise Auto Group President Jeb Balise, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Balise Auto Group Chief Operating Officer Ben Sullivan, and Jack Dill, president and CEO of Colebrook Realty Services, which owns the TD Bank tower.

 

Community Support

 

Last month, Monson Savings Bank made a $1,000 donation to Springfield’s Hispanic-American Library in support of its newly established event, the New England Latino Festival, which took place at Riverfront Park in Springfield on Aug. 25-26. The first-time festival celebrated New England’s vibrant Latino community through food, music, and more, bringing together thousands of individuals from diverse cultural backgrounds.

Pictured: Monson Savings Bank President and CEO Dan Moriarty (left) and Hispanic-American Library Executive Director Juan Falcon.

Pictured: Monson Savings Bank President and CEO Dan Moriarty (left) and Hispanic-American Library Executive Director Juan Falcon.

 

Helping to Meet a Need

 

J. Jay Anderson (left), president and CEO of Pittsfield Cooperative Bank, recently presented a $1,000 donation from the bank to the People’s Pantry in Great Barrington. The People’s Pantry, located at Saint James Place, is a local nonprofit offering locally sourced food and other resources to clients experiencing food insecurity. “We are extremely grateful and appreciative,” said Beth Moser (second from left), president of the People’s Pantry. “We rely on our donors’ generous support to help reduce food-supply costs so that we can keep serving our community.”

J. Jay Anderson (left), president and CEO of Pittsfield Cooperative Bank, recently presented a $1,000 donation from the bank to the People’s Pantry in Great Barrington

J. Jay Anderson (left), president and CEO of Pittsfield Cooperative Bank, recently presented a $1,000 donation from the bank to the People’s Pantry in Great Barrington

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Patriot Awards

Four providers from the Emergency Department (ED) at Mercy Medical Center were recognized for providing medical care to visitors at the 2023 International Air Show at Barnes Air National Guard Base in Westfield. Dr. Matthew Cauchon, EMS medical director and associate director of Emergency Medicine at Mercy; along with Jillian Hevey, PA-C; Erica Nader, PA-C; and Mike Stevens, PA-C (not pictured), were given ESGR (Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve) Patriot Awards by Earl Bonett, ESGR area chair.

Patriot Awards

Pictured, from left: Air Force Lt. Col. Patrick LaFond, Mercy Director of Emergency Services Kelly Chevalier, Hevey, Cauchon, Nader, Mercy ED Nurse Manager Lisa Tyndall, Bonett, and Air Force Lt. Col. Peter Carr.

 

 

Fore a Good Cause

Feed the Kids raised $75,000 through its sixth annual online auction and golf tournament, held on Aug. 7 at Springfield Country Club, bringing the six-year total raised to more than $370,000. Proceeds benefit local organizations that work to ensure children do not go hungry, including Square One, the Holyoke School Backpack Program, Pioneer Valley Powerpacks, and No Kid Hungry. For the first time in the event’s history, a golfer achieved a hole in one.

Fore a Good Cause

Scott Trevethan (pictured) scored an ace on the ninth hole, winning a vacation from Curry Honda. (Photo by Jonathan Polep-Saffer)

 

 

Building a Reputation

Carr Hardware in Pittsfield was honored with the industry’s Retailer Beacon Award during the Hardware Conference Awards banquet on Aug. 18 in Marco Island, Fla. The hardware industry recognizes the best independent home-improvement retailers with the Beacon Awards. Carr was one of two Beacon Award winners across the U.S. this year, along with RP Lumber, which operates seven stores in five states.

Building a Reputation

Carr, led by President Bart Raser (pictured, second from left) was chosen based on its highly rated customer service, innovative marketing, and a strong commitment to the communities it serves.

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Matching Grant

bankESB is supporting an effort by the Amherst Hurricanes Athletics Boosters to replace and reorient a condemned 23-year-old track and field with an eight-lane track and year-round playing fields. Parents, families, and community members will be able to purchase a seat or row in the new stands that will receive a named plaque, and bankESB will match donations dollar for dollar up to $25,000.

Driving Hope

Pictured: bankESB Assistant Vice President and Amherst Branch Officer Jessica West and Senior Vice President of Retail Banking Gary Turku (far right) with members of the board of the Amherst Hurricanes Athletic Boosters. Photo by Sophia Lynne Photography.

 

 

Driving Hope

Hyundai Hope donated $15,000 to Baystate Health Foundation (pictured). It also donated $10,000 to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and $5,000 to the Thrive Center of Holyoke Community College (HCC), two local food sources combating food insecurity in the Greater Holyoke area. All donations were made as part of the car-seat safety event held at Gary Rome Hyundai on July 30.

Baystate Health Foundation

Baystate Health Foundation

 

 

Pathway to College

Springfield K-9 Officer Tom Horne and his K-9 partner, Alcatraz, recently demonstrated obedience training on the campus of American International College (AIC). The presentation, designed to showcase a potential career path for those interested in a degree in criminal justice, was part of an on-campus experience for visiting students and teachers from Duggan Academy in Springfield. Starting this fall, the AIC Pathway to College Program will provide Duggan’s high-school students with credit-bearing college classes.

Pathway to College

Springfield K-9 Officer Tom Horne and his K-9 partner, Alcatraz, recently demonstrated obedience training on the campus of American International College

 

 

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Helping Students Achieve

Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts (JAWM) recently received a $10,000 donation from the Joseph & Anna C. Dias Jr. Family Foundation, in partnership with LUSO Federal Credit Union, to fund age-appropriate financial-literacy programs for students in Ludlow. JAWM programs are offered at no cost to schools and community groups throughout the four counties of Western Mass.

Pictured: Joseph & Anna C. Dias Jr. Family Foundation trustee Maria Gomes (far right) presents the $10,000 check to JAWM President Jennifer Connolly (second from right) alongside a group of LUSO employees.

Pictured: Joseph & Anna C. Dias Jr. Family Foundation trustee Maria Gomes (far right) presents the $10,000 check to JAWM President Jennifer Connolly (second from right) alongside a group of LUSO employees.

 

 

Community Support

MONSON — Monson Savings Bank President and CEO Dan Moriarty recently presented a $2,250 donation to Stacey Perlmutter, director of Development for Shriners Children’s New England. The donation was made as a part of the 2023 Monson Savings Bank Community Giving Initiative, in which the public was given the opportunity to cast their votes to support their favorite local charitable organizations. Shriners Children’s New England is a local clinic providing specialty orthopedic, neuromuscular, cleft lip and palate, and urologic care exclusively to children.

Monson Savings Bank President and CEO Dan Moriarty recently presented a $2,250 donation to Stacey Perlmutter, director of Development for Shriners Children’s New England

Monson Savings Bank President and CEO Dan Moriarty recently presented a $2,250 donation to Stacey Perlmutter, director of Development for Shriners Children’s New England

 

Having a Ball

bankESB recently awarded $5,000 to the Belchertown Pickleball Community and the Belchertown Orioles Athletic Assoc. to support the initiative of building two new community pickleball courts at 59 State St. in Belchertown. The Belchertown Pickleball Community ​is a volunteer-run, not-for-profit organization created to better the pickleball experience in Belchertown.

Pictured, from left: Debbie Wood, Belchertown Pickleball Community leadership committee; David Gadouas, Alicia Austin, Gary Turku, and Andrew Inglot, bankESB; and Larry Davis, Belchertown Pickleball Community leadership committee.

Pictured, from left: Debbie Wood, Belchertown Pickleball Community leadership committee; David Gadouas, Alicia Austin, Gary Turku, and Andrew Inglot, bankESB; and Larry Davis, Belchertown Pickleball Community leadership committee.

 

Celebrating Success

Executives from Hyundai Motor America visited Gary Rome Hyundai on July 27 to present several awards, including the 2022 Hyundai Board of Excellence Award and the Global Dealer Award. Pictured on top: from left, Bob Kim, Hyundai’s vice president of National Sales, presents the Global Dealer Award to Gary Rome, president and CEO of Gary Rome Auto Group, and Kevin Schechterle, general manager of Gary Rome Hyundai. Pictured below: the team at Gary Rome Hyundai and visiting Hyundai executives celebrate the awards.

from left, Bob Kim, Hyundai’s vice president of National Sales, presents the Global Dealer Award to Gary Rome, president and CEO of Gary Rome Auto Group, and Kevin Schechterle, general manager of Gary Rome Hyundai

From left, Bob Kim, Hyundai’s vice president of National Sales, presents the Global Dealer Award to Gary Rome, president and CEO of Gary Rome Auto Group, and Kevin Schechterle, general manager of Gary Rome Hyundai

 

the team at Gary Rome Hyundai and visiting Hyundai executives celebrate the awards.

The team at Gary Rome Hyundai and visiting Hyundai executives celebrate the awards.

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Planting Seeds

Greenfield Cooperative Bank (GCB) recently announced a $25,000 donation to the Franklin County Community Development Corp. (FCCDC). GCB President and CEO Tony Worden called the donation “a way of expressing our gratitude and appreciation for their work, and our commitment to the local economy and community.” FCCDC Executive Director John Waite said the funds will be directed to giving all types of businesses, at all stages, assistance and resources to start or grow their ventures.

Pictured, from left: FCCDC Communications Director Kate Lawless, Waite, and Worden.

Pictured, from left: FCCDC Communications Director Kate Lawless, Waite, and Worden.

 

 

Inspiring Artwork

On June 29, Baystate Health dedicated a massive mosaic to its employees across the health system as a recognition of their courage and compassion during the COVID-19 pandemic. Made of hand-carved sculptural tiles by New England artist Natalie Blake, the artwork hangs in the Daly Lobby of Baystate Medical Center. The mosaic incorporates the seven chakras, or energy centers, of the human body and uses the earth’s elements to draw parallels between the chakras and the many teams that collaborate to deliver care. A smaller rendering of “Seven Chakra Earth Mandala” will be installed at other Baystate Health sites.

Jennifer Faulkner, Baystate’s vice president of Team Member Experience and Talent Management, led the ceremony.

Jennifer Faulkner, Baystate’s vice president of Team Member Experience and Talent Management, led the ceremony.

 

Common Knowledge

Located in the heart of downtown Greenfield, a newly installed business directory and community-information kiosk will serve as a year-round hub for Greenfield residents and visitors to discover the breadth of businesses, restaurants, and events featured throughout the city. The kiosk debuted on June 23, at the Greenfield City Common. The kiosk project was initiated last year when the city received a $47,500 grant from the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council.

business directory and community-information kiosk

Located in the heart of downtown Greenfield, a newly installed business directory and community-information kiosk

 

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Hooplandia Scores Big

The inaugural edition of Hooplandia saw thousands of basketball enthusiasts of all ages tip off on dozens of courts at the Eastern States Exposition — with featured games at the Basketball Hall of Fame — on June 23-25. The Northeast’s premier 3-on-3 tournament featured a visit from local legend Rebecca Lobo (top right); plenty of food, entertainment, and fun activities; and, of course, the tournament games, after which the champions in each division (like the girls team from Enfield pictured above) celebrated their victory. Pictured at right: Gene Cassidy (left), president and CEO of the Eastern States Exposition, shares a moment during the festivities with Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi.

 

local legend Rebecca Lobo

The Northeast’s premier 3-on-3 tournament featured a visit from local legend Rebecca Lobo

 

The girls team from Enfield

 

Gene Cassidy (left), president and CEO of the Eastern States Exposition with Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi.

Gene Cassidy (left), president and CEO of the Eastern States Exposition, shares a moment during the festivities with Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi.

 

 

Executive Leadership Breakfast

 

Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll was the keynote speaker at the college’s sixth annual Executive Leadership Breakfast on June 27. More than 150 people attended the event and heard Driscoll speak about the administration’s vision for the Commonwealth and for Western Mass. “Governor Healey and I are committed to making Massachusetts more affordable, competitive, and equitable,” Driscoll said. “Together, we will move Massachusetts forward and deliver results for every region of our state, including Western Mass.”

Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll pictured with Elms College President Harry Dumay

Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll pictured with Elms College President Harry Dumay

 

Running with a Purpose

Girls on the Run Western Massachusetts held its annual spring 5K on June 3 at Western New England University. More than 1,000 girls participated in the event, along with their families, coaches, running buddies, and community members. Girls on the Run is a positive, physical-activity-based, youth-development program that uses running games and dynamic discussions to teach life skills to girls grades 3-8. During two 10-week programs each year, girls participate in lessons that foster confidence, build peer connections, and encourage community service while they prepare for an end-of-season, celebratory 5K event.

Girls on the Run Western Massachusetts

Girls on the Run Western Massachusetts

 

Commemorating Juneteenth

Juneteenth was recognized in numerous ways around Western Mass. this year.  (Photos by Old Sturbridge Village and Silver Photography)

Old Sturbridge Village presented activities

Old Sturbridge Village presented activities geared toward helping visitors better understand the day’s significance, including musical and poetry performances, an “Uncomfortable Truths” walking tour, storytelling, soul food, and more.

 

Juneteenth Concert Celebrating Freedom

The Springfield community came together for a flag raising at Court Square and then filled Symphony Hall to enjoy the first annual Juneteenth Concert Celebrating Freedom, featuring guest conductor Kevin Scott, Avery Sharpe and his quartet, the Extended Family Choir, the Springfield Symphony Orchestra Chorus, and the orchestra’s musicians

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Back to School

Community leaders, educators, architects, and stakeholders recently gathered to celebrate the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Franklin Avenue Elementary School in Westfield. The event marked the official start of construction for this state-of-the-art educational facility.

Pictured, from left: Michael Delvecchio and Daniel Pallotta, project managers at P3 Inc.; Bert Gardner, vice president of Caolo & Bieniek Architects; David Fontaine, CEO of Fontaine Bros. Inc.; and Caolo & Bieniek President Curtis Edgin and Vice President James Hanifan.

 

 

Max on Monday

More than 200 people were on hand for the third monthly Max on Monday event, hosted by Max Tavern on June 5 at the Basketball Hall of Fame. Each month introduces several featured companies and one nonprofit for cocktails, connections, and complimentary hors d’oeuvres with the goal of reconnecting businesses and community. This month’s featured companies were Liberty Bank; the Dowd Agencies; Burgess, Robb & Grassetti; and Bacon Wilson.

Pictured, from left: Amanda Moulton of Naples Realty, Bob Borawski of Borawski Insurance, and Joe Premont of Liberty Bank.

 

Local Impact

Living Local 413, a nonprofit business community organization dedicated to helping the Western Mass. business community become stronger and more self-sustaining, hosted its first annual meeting on May 31 at Center Square Grill in East Longmeadow. The event introduced Robert Barkett as the newly appointed executive director and featured a ceremonial presentation to thank state Rep. Brian Ashe for securing a $100,000 grant for Living Local 413.

Pictured, from left: Barkett, Ashe, and Living Local 413 President Bill Cole.

 

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Supporting the Arts

Monson Savings Bank recently made a $4,000 donation to the Monson Arts Council in support of the local arts. “The Monson Arts Council does so much to bring the town of Monson and the surrounding communities together through the arts,” Monson Savings Bank President and CEO Dan Moriarty said. “As a lifelong resident of Monson, I am always so impressed by the events and workshops the council puts together.”

Pictured: Moriarty (right) presents the $4,000 donation to Susan James and David Dupuis of the Monson Arts Council.

Pictured: Moriarty (right) presents the $4,000 donation to Susan James and David Dupuis of the Monson Arts Council.

 

Learning and Growing

The West Springfield Boys & Girls Club announced to renovations have been completed for its Little Futures Preschool classrooms at its Main Street facility. The new classrooms are the result of a collaborative effort between the club’s early-childhood education professionals and Caolo & Bieniek Architects. The goal was to create a stimulating and nurturing environment for young children to learn, grow, and thrive. The project was partial funded through the Massachusetts Community Development Block Grant program administered by the Town of West Springfield.

West Springfield Boys & Girls Club Little Futures Preschool classroom

West Springfield Boys & Girls Club Little Futures Preschool classroom

 

Raise a Glass

Glendale Ridge Vineyard recently hosted about 30 wine enthusiasts for the latest event in its Vintner’s Tasting Series: Pétillant Naturel. Because every bottle tells a story, the tasting included an educational presentation by vintner Tim Beaudry, whose wine career has taken him to New Zealand, Napa, and Bordeaux, France. He shared his expertise, discussing how the wines taste as well as the story behind the four different styles of Pétillant Naturel and why he paired specific small bites with each of the wines.

tasting included an educational presentation by vintner Tim Beaudry

Glendale Ridge Vineyard wine tasting included an educational presentation by vintner Tim Beaudry

 

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Royal Sendoff

Students, faculty, staff, alumni, trustees, elected officials, and community members gathered at Holyoke Community College on May 3 to celebrate the leadership and legacy of retiring President Christina Royal. Among those in attendance was Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia (pictured below right with Royal), who delivered a proclamation recognizing her service to the city. Royal’s last day at HCC will be July 14. George Timmons will begin his service as HCC’s fifth president in June.

Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia with Royal

Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia with Royal

 

from left) state Sen. John Velis, Holyoke Director of Planning and Economic Development Aaron Vega, and state Rep. Pat Duffy.

from left) state Sen. John Velis, Holyoke Director of Planning and Economic Development Aaron Vega, and state Rep. Pat Duffy.

 

 

Kentucky Derby Party

On May 5, the Armory at MGM Springfield was the setting for hats, horses, and hors d’oeuvres to celebrate the 149th Kentucky Derby. The annual fundraiser for Square One was presented by lead sponsors PeoplesBank, USI Insurance, Alekman DiTusa, Baystate Health/Health New England, and Meridian Industrial Group. (Photos by Chris Marion Photography)

From left, Jenny MacKay of USI Insurance Services and Rob DiTusa and Ryan Alekman of Alekman DiTusa

From left, Jenny MacKay of USI Insurance Services and Rob DiTusa and Ryan Alekman of Alekman DiTusa

 

Jennifer Yergeau of PeoplesBank (left) with Kristine Allard, Square One’s vice president of Development & Communication

Jennifer Yergeau of PeoplesBank (left) with Kristine Allard, Square One’s vice president of Development & Communication

 

 

Exciting Chapter

On May 4, Link to Libraries hosted its signature biennial fundraising event at the Basketball Hall of Fame. In addition to raising $109,000, this year’s celebration marked a huge milestone for the nonprofit: the donation of its 1 millionth book to a child and school in need.

Susan Jaye-Kaplan, co-founder of Link to Libraries

Susan Jaye-Kaplan, co-founder of Link to Libraries, presents the millionth book to Mary Fitzgerald, librarian from Springfield’s Warner School, which was the first school to receive books from Link to Libraries when it was founded in 2008

 

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal with Laurie Flynn

U.S. Rep. Richard Neal with Laurie Flynn, president and CEO of Link to Libraries

 

 

Dealer of the Year

On May 4, Gary Rome Hyundai hosted the TIME Dealer of the Year Celebration, a reception honoring the company, which TIME magazine chose from a field of more than 16,000 dealerships nationwide. (Photos by Ivy Pohl)

Gary Rome (center)

Gary Rome (center) with Gary Gilchrist, vice chairman of the National Automobile Dealers Assoc., Jeff Jenkins and Keith Cail of Ally, Robert O’Koniewski of the Massachusetts State Auto Dealers Assoc., and, of course, Daisy

 

Rome greets (from left) Sister Mary Caritas SP, Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi, and his Chief of Staff Jon D’Angelo

Rome greets (from left) Sister Mary Caritas SP, Hampden County Sheriff Nick Cocchi, and his Chief of Staff Jon D’Angelo

 

 

 

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Spirit of Girls

Girls Inc. of the Valley’s annual signature event on April 28 exceeded its fundraising goal of $100,000, thanks to the support from corporate sponsors, including lead sponsor PeoplesBank, and generous individual donors. About 400 people attended “Spirit of Girls: Hall of Fame,” where they heard from current students, alumni, and parent speakers about the impact Girls Inc. programs have had on them. More than 50 volunteers worked to make this event happen. Funds raised directly support free summer programming for youth in Holyoke, Springfield, Chicopee, and beyond.

Girls Inc. of the Valley’s annual signature event on April 28

Girls Inc. of the Valley’s annual signature event on April 28

 

 

Seamless Transition

Maria Toyoda (left), provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs Western New England University (WNE), and Holyoke Community College (HCC) President Christina Royal recently signed a joint admissions agreement intended to strengthen existing academic and student-support partnerships and facilitate an easier transfer pathway for eligible HCC students to attend WNE after they complete their associate degrees and meet other conditions. Students who satisfy the requirements are eligible for several benefits, including guaranteed acceptance and junior status at WNE.

Maria Toyoda (left), provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs Western New England University (WNE), and Holyoke Community College (HCC) President Christina Royal recently signed a joint admissions

Maria Toyoda (left), provost and senior vice president of Academic Affairs Western New England University (WNE), and Holyoke Community College (HCC) President Christina Royal recently signed a joint admissions

 

 

Reading and Talking

Throughout May, Mental Health Awareness Month, MiraVista Behavioral Health Center is partnering with Holyoke Public Library and Springfield’s city libraries to encourage awareness and conversations on the topic of mental wellness. Displays of books and other materials dealing with mental health are on display to promote understanding around mental health and encourage similar collaborations for libraries to become better resources on the topic.

Pictured: Jean Canosa Albano (left), assistant director for Public Services at Springfield Central Library, and Maria Pagan, director of Holyoke Public Library.

Pictured: Jean Canosa Albano (left), assistant director for Public Services at Springfield Central Library, and Maria Pagan, director of Holyoke Public Library.

 

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Future of Journalism

Bay Path’s student digital newsroom and online student publication, Network News, hosted three area media professionals during Academic Achievement Day on April 11. The discussion highlighted the state of journalism and the future of a digital world filled with artificial intelligence, social media, and new technology.

Pictured, from left: Kaylah Sheppard, Network News reporter; Janine Fondon, assistant professor and chair of Undergraduate Communications at Bay Path; George O’Brien, editor and associate publisher of BusinessWest; Julia Deridder, 2022-23 Network News editor, Rebecca Wehner, 2023-24 Network News editor; Aprell May Munford, reporter at the Republican; and Vanessa Pabón-Hernandez, senior director of Education & Community Engagement at New England Public Media.

 

 

That’s Entertainment

After being shuttered by the pandemic for more than three years, the STCC College Theater Workshop has returned to Springfield Technical Community College, which will host free performances of six 10-minute plays on Thursday, May 4 at 11 a.m., Friday, May 5 at 7 p.m.; and Saturday, May 6 at 7 p.m. at Scibelli Theater in Building 2. “Laughing for All the Wrong Reasons: A Night of Dark Comedy” is free, but donations to the STCC College Theater Workshop will be accepted.

Pictured: Lauren Tracy and Malissa Boone rehearse a scene for the upcoming production.

 

Ignite!

Bay Path University staged its 26th annual Women’s Leadership Conference (WLC) in April at the MassMutual Center. The more than 1,500 attendees at the event, which had the theme ‘Ignite,’ heard from several keynoters and could take in a number of breakout sessions.

Springfield Health and Human Services Commissioner Helen Caulton-Harris (left), Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, and Bay Path President Sandra Doran

 

Robin Roberts, Good Morning America co-anchor, was the closing keynoter and was interviewed by Doran

 

MassMutual employee and Springfield native Victoria Ann Rodriguez was emcee for the event

 

Employees at MassMutual (a WLC sponsor) gather for a group photo at the conference

 

 

 

 

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We the Women

On March 8, International Women’s Day, Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) put a spotlight on the work of the many women leaders within the campus and community. As part of its “We the Women” series, the event featured a panel discussion with female leaders who shared their journey to success.

We the Women

Panelists included, from left, Cindy Breunig, SAFE project director at STCC; Jennifer Wallace-Johnson, assistant professor of Social Work at STCC; Annamarie Golden, director of Community Relations at Baystate Health; and Cindy Gaynor-Harper, real-estate entrepreneur and STCC alumna.

 

Booking a Visit

Dr. Michael Krupa, CEO emeritus of MiraVista Behavioral Health Center and a licensed psychologist of more than three decades, recently read to preschool children at Square One’s Tommie Johnson Child & Family Center in honor of International Read to Me Day, which is celebrated each March 19. Krupa read the Margaret Wise Brown classic Goodnight Moon. Research shows that such early interaction supports brain development around language and thinking as children hear words connected to a story and pictures in a book.

MiraVista Behavioral Health Center

Dr. Michael Krupa, CEO emeritus of MiraVista Behavioral Health Center and a licensed psychologist of more than three decades, recently read to preschool children at Square One’s Tommie Johnson Child & Family Center in honor of International Read to Me Day, which is celebrated each March 19. Krupa read the Margaret Wise Brown classic Goodnight Moon

 

 

Raising Spirits

Monson Savings Bank recently donated $2,500 to Girls Inc. of the Valley in support of its fundraising event, Spirit of Girls, which aims to raise money to provide students living in Holyoke, Springfield, Chicopee, and surrounding areas with essential summer programming at no cost to their families.

Raising Spirits

Pictured, from left: Jessica Colson, Girls Inc. of the Valley director of Development & Communications; Dan Moriarty, Monson Savings Bank president and CEO; and Ruth Roy, Girls Inc. of the Valley campaign director.

 

 

Welcome to UMass

Javier Reyes (right), the next chancellor of UMass Amherst, sat down for a press conference on April 3 with his wife, Maritza Reyes (left) and UMass President Marty Meehan. In February, the UMass board of trustees named Reyes the successor to current UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble Subbaswamy, who will step down this spring after 11 years leading the university. Reyes currently serves as interim chancellor at the University of Illinois Chicago, and has also held administrative posts at West Virginia University and the University of Arkansas.

Javier Reyes (right), the next chancellor of UMass Amherst

Javier Reyes (right), the next chancellor of UMass Amherst

 

 

 

Legal Lunch Room

On March 30, Bacon Wilson, P.C. hosted students and faculty from Bay Path University in its first-ever Legal Lunch Room, to give an inside look at the opportunities that can come from working in a law firm. The women of Bacon Wilson who graduated from Bay Path shared how their individual journeys led each of them down a different path to the firm.

The women of Bacon Wilson who graduated from Bay Path shared how their individual journeys led each of them down a different path to the firm.

The women of Bacon Wilson who graduated from Bay Path shared how their individual journeys led each of them down a different path to the firm.

 

Ready to Protect and Serve

The 65th recruit officer candidate class of the Western Massachusetts Police Academy was saluted in a graduation ceremony held at American International College (AIC) on March 17. They marched to the music of a bagpipe into the Griswold Theater, where they were welcomed by family, friends, and fellow members of law enforcement. Among the newly minted officers was AIC Police Officer Curtis McGuire, AIC’s first-ever graduate of the academy. (Photo by Zachary Cunningham)

The 65th recruit officer candidate class of the Western Massachusetts Police Academy was saluted in a graduation ceremony held at American International College (AIC) on March 17.

The 65th recruit officer candidate class of the Western Massachusetts Police Academy was saluted in a graduation ceremony held at American International College (AIC) on March 17.

 

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Gift of Gratitude

Mercy Medical Center announced that Liberty Bank Foundation has pledged a gift of $25,000 to the fundraising effort to create the Andy Yee Palliative Care Unit. Following his cancer diagnosis, well-known restaurateur Andy Yee sought treatment at the Sister Caritas Cancer Center at Mercy Medical Center. Grateful for the care Yee received until his passing in 2021, his wife, Sarah, approached hospital leaders about creating a space dedicated to palliative care.

Gift of Gratitude

Pictured, from left: Mercy’s Geoffrey Hoyt; Liberty President and CEO David Glidden; Mercy and Trinity Health Of New England Medical Group President Deborah Bitsoli; Sister Caritas Cancer Center Director Dr. Philip Glynn; Sarah Yee and son Jamie Yee; and Liberty’s Tony Liberopoulos and Jeffrey Sattler.

 

 

Shining Stars

The Greater Chicopee Chamber opf Commerce’s signature Shining Stars Awards Gala, held March 3 at the Castle of Knights, recognized McKinstry Market Garden Inc. as Business of the Year, Holyoke Community College (HCC) as Nonprofit of the Year, Judith Corridan Danek as Citizen of the Year, and Mim Zayas as Volunteer of the Year.

Shining Stars

Pictured, back row, from left: Mike Knapik of Baystate Health; HCC President Christina Royal; Chicopee Mayor John Vieau; Bill McKinstry, Will McKinstry, and Warren McKi nstry of McKinstry Market Garden; Chicopee City Treasurer Marie Laflamme; Michelle Wirth of Mercedes-Benz of Springfield; and state Sen. Jake Oliveira. Front row, from left: Mim Zayas of Masis Staffing and Judith Corridan Danek of Health New England.

 

 

Celebrating Opportunities

 

ServiceNet recently hosted Massachusetts Secretary of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services Kate Walsh, acting Undersecretary of Human Services Dana Sullivan, and Commissioner of Disability Services Jane Ryder to its Rooster Café in Northampton. They were joined by state Sen. Jo Comerford and state Rep. Lindsay Sabadosa, among other guests. Participants in ServiceNet’s Rooster Café culinary program prepare meals and serve customers, using many ingredients from ServiceNet’s Prospect Meadow Farm in Hatfield.

Celebrating Opportunities

Pictured, from left: ServiceNet President and CEO Sue Stubbs, culinary program participant Dani Rizzo, ServiceNet Director of Vocational Services Shawn Robinson, Comerford, and Ryder.

 

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Reaching the Summit

Tonia Butler Perez

The Community College National Legislative Summit on Feb. 5-8 offered Springfield Technical Community College President John Cook and STCC trustees Jynai McDonald and Tonia Butler Perez (pictured at top left) an opportunity to speak with lawmakers about federal priorities, including reducing barriers to receive Pell Grants that help low-income students access higher education. Massachusetts featured a delegation of close to 40 people, including other community-college presidents and trustees as well as staff from the Massachusetts Assoc. of Community Colleges. Pictured at top right, from left: Cook, Butler Perez, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, and McDonald.

 

 

Brainstorming Visit

American International College (AIC) welcomed representatives from Holyoke Community College (HCC) to its Springfield campus on March 2 to celebrate a transfer agreement they signed last summer and brainstorm ideas for future partnerships. HCC President Christina Royal and AIC President Hubert Benitez (pictured at left) and a cadre of faculty and staff from both colleges toured the AIC campus and then sat down to talk over lunch. Last June, the two colleges signed an articulation agreement to make it easier and less expensive for HCC students to transfer to AIC through the latter’s Direct Connect program.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Closer to the Goal

Last week, Girls Inc. of the Valley hosted a milestone event to provide campaign fundraising updates for its new location at 480 Hampden St. in Holyoke. Mayor Joshua Garcia, state Rep. Patricia Duffy, and (pictured, from left) campaign co-chairs Bernadette Harrigan and Cynthia Medina-Carson made remarks, and the fundraising thermometer sign was updated as the campaign has now reached 90% of its $5 million goal. PeoplesBank will be financing the project through a loan to Girls Inc. of the Valley, in addition to a tax-exempt bond from MassDevelopment. This campaign launched in 2018 with a mission to expand the physical footprint of Girls Inc. of the Valley and establish a permanent headquarters in Holyoke, allowing it to serve a larger community. 

 

 

 

 

Meeting Basic Needs

In partnership with Holyoke Community College (HCC), United Way of Pioneer Valley (UWPV) recently opened a pantry providing shelf-stable food for Holyoke residents in the Picknelly Adult and Family Education Center (PAFEC) at 206 Maple St. The PAFEC Cupboard is open on Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. by appointment. In a geographic area with significant need for food, this pantry opened just as extra COVID-19 SNAP benefits came to an end on March 2. UWPV also operates the Chicopee Cupboard at 226 Exchange St. in Chicopee, as well as the Springfield Cupboard at 1441 Main St. in Springfield.

 

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Photos Past and Present

Holyoke’s rich industrial past, one that earned it the nickname ‘Paper City.’

Holyoke’s rich industrial past, one that earned it the nickname ‘Paper City.’

Old Holyoke Dam

Mountain Park

A view of Mountain Park, the popular amusement park that closed its doors in 1987.

 

Holyoke’s canals gave the city water power — and an identity.

Holyoke’s canals gave the city water power — and an identity.

 

City Hall has become a symbol of Holyoke.

City Hall has become a symbol of Holyoke.

 

One of the horses from the carousel

One of the horses from the carousel at Mountain Park, later moved to Heritage State Park, where it has become a popular attraction.

 

An aerial shot of Holyoke, one of its canals

An aerial shot of Holyoke, one of its canals, and one of its many distinctive mills.

 

The Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center

The Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center is part of a new era for Holyoke’s business community.

 

This mural created by the artist known as BORDALO II

This mural at 44 Clemente St., created by the artist known as BORDALO II, is part of the Beyond Walls initiative that has changed the landscape in downtown Holyoke and beyond.

 

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Great Outdoors

 

Florence Bank recently pledged $100,000 to Hampshire Regional YMCA to support its $1.5 million mission-expansion campaign to expand available program space by developing an outdoor exercise ‘airnaseum,’ or open-air gymnasium. The YMCA hopes to break ground on the project in the spring and evolve it over several years, as funds are gathered. The airnaseum and other improvements will benefit both children and adults.

Great Outdoors

Pictured, from left: Florence Bank President and CEO Matt Garrity awards the ceremonial check to YMCA staff members Mark Cabral, Basil Bartlett, Diana Carcamo, Genevieve Ledbetter, Jennifer Allen, Stephanie Kirkendall, and CEO Julie Bianco.

 

 

 

Art of the Matter

Amy Johnquest

Amy Johnquest

Amy Johnquest established the Taber Art Gallery at Holyoke Community College 24 years ago and since then has been its only director. Planning to retire at the end of the spring semester, she recently curated her final exhibition, “Upward and Onward,” an homage to her quarter-century at the gallery. Johnquest invited friends, family members, and colleagues to contribute their art to “Upward and Onward,” which also includes photos and paintings of herself as a child growing up in Ohio. The result is an exhibition of some 150 pieces from more than 40 contributors. The Taber Art Gallery is free and open to the public Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

 

 

 

KeyBank to Food Bank

 

The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts recently received a $225,000 community-impact grant from KeyBank Foundation, payable over three years, to increase the availability of culturally appropriate food at 25 Mobile Food Bank distribution sites. The program reaches underserved populations throughout Western Mass. that do not have access to healthy foods, including families, seniors, and children.

KeyBank to Food Bank

Pictured: Food Bank Executive Director Andrew Morehouse (far left) and Matthew Hummel, KayBank market president for Connecticut and Massachusetts (second from right), are flanked by their respective team members during the ceremonial check presentation.

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Continuing Support

 

bankESB and its employees recently made donations to the United Way of the Franklin & Hampshire Region. Employees pledged more than $31,000 of their own funds in support of the bank’s United Way workplace campaign. Combined with the bank’s direct contribution, the total donation was $56,714. bankESB and its employees have donated more than $640,000 to United Way organizations in Western Mass. over the last decade.

bankESB

Pictured, from left: bankESB’s Eliza Diaz and Stephanie Vincelette, the United Way’s Holly Martineau, bankESB President and CEO Matthew Sosik, and the United Way’s Anne Howland and Leighanne Sullivan.

 

 

Come Together

The Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield (YPS) kicked off the new year with its annual membership-drive networking event on Jan. 19 at Springfield Country Club. The ‘Throwback’ Third Thursday membership drive and board alumni night was hosted by former YPS board members Amie Miarecki and Alfonso Santaniello and presented by the Westfield Starfires with support from America’s Box Choice and LiftTruck Parts & Service.

(Photo by Lenny Underwood)

(Photo by Lenny Underwood)

 

 

Looking Up

As construction continues on the S. Prestley and Helen Blake Ambulatory Care Center at the Johnson Memorial Hospital campus, a topping-off ceremony was held to mark the completion of the project’s main structure with the placement of the top steel beam. The more than $40 million expansion and renovation project on the hospital’s Enfield, Conn. campus aims to create a comprehensive hub for outpatient services, including the Karen Davis Kryznowek Cancer Center, the Johnson Medical Office Building, the Nirenberg Medical Center, and the Johnson Surgery Center.

 Dr. Michael Aron

Dr. Michael Aron, orthopedic and hand surgeon, outlines the benefits of the project.

 

 

Sharing Real-world Knowledge

Massachusetts State Trooper and American International College alumnus Nicholas Maratea, who earned his MBA at AIC in 2017, recently visited campus to speak with Professor Gary Boisseau’s “Introduction to American Politics” classes regarding the Fourth Amendment, which deals with search and seizure.

(Photo by Zachary Cunningham)

(Photo by Zachary Cunningham)

 

 

Place Your Bets

On Jan. 31, the state’s first legal sports wager was placed at the BetMGM Sportsbook & Lounge at MGM Springfield by Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, along with Boston hockey legend Ray Bourque. The BetMGM Sportsbook & Lounge features a 45-foot, LED viewing wall and four betting windows, and 18 sports-betting kiosks are located throughout the gaming area. 

Chris Kelley

Chris Kelley, president and chief operating officer for MGM Resorts’ Northeast Group, stands below one of the casino’s large screens displaying betting lines.

 

 

 

Creating Another Link

Link to Libraries (LTL) recently welcomed Weiss Consulting as the new sponsor of Lambert-Lavoie Elementary School in Chicopee. The Link to Libraries Community Book Link program establishes a three-year partnership between a business or family and a local school. Weiss’ sponsorship ensures there will be a steady stream of approximately 200 new books to Lambert-Lavoie’s library each year.

Brenda Shepard (left), Lambert-Lavoie school librarian, with Anne Weiss, owner of Weiss Consulting, and the plaque given to the company by LTL to commemorate the sponsorship.

 

Weiss and Amy Anderlonis (back right), executive vice president of Link to Libraries, meet with a group of fifth-graders.

 

United Effort

Monson Savings Bank recently announced more than $8,000 in donations to to the United Way of Pioneer Valley. Bank employees donated and pledged a total of $5,242 during an annual two-week drive, and other donations were generated through an internal bingo game, the bank’s TGIF Dress Down Program, and support of the United Way’s Chicopee Food Cupboard.

United Way’s Walter Rice, MSB President

Pictured, from left: the United Way’s Walter Rice, MSB President and CEO Dan Moriarty, MSB’s Michael Rouette, and the United Way’s Lee Drewitz and Emmanuel Reyes.

 

 

Lending a Hand

The law firm Pellegrini, Seeley, Ryan & Blakesley (PSRB) recently donated thousands of bottles of hand sanitizer to organizations focused on children. The hand sanitizer, originally provided to the firm by Just Because Inc., a food bank serving Massachusetts, was distributed locally by the law firm staff to Boys and Girls Clubs in Springfield, Westfield, Chicopee, and West Springfield along with YMCAs in Springfield and Westfield.

Pictured, from left: attorneys Earlon Seeley III, Peter Moran, Michael Cardaropoli, and Patrick McHugh.

Pictured, from left: attorneys Earlon Seeley III, Peter Moran, Michael Cardaropoli, and Patrick McHugh.

 

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Trees of Hope

Ronald McDonald House of Springfield and partnering sponsor Gary Rome Hyundai raised $175,686 through the second annual Trees of Hope event, far surpassing last year’s tally of $126,823.

 

Trees of Hope

Pictured, from left: Cathy Riley of Gary Rome Hyundai (GRH); Rosemarie Zello and Celine Hamilton Quill from Ronald McDonald House (RMH); Brianna Zemrock, Daisy Rome, and Gary Rome from GRH; RMH Executive Director Michelle D’Amore; and Dara Davignon and Brittany Zabielski from GRH.

 

 

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

The second annual Neighbors Helping Neighbors fundraising drive at bankESB collected $35,000 for 14 local food pantries. Throughout November, the bank invited customers, employees, and community members to donate at bankESB branches. All donations were matched by bankESB and the total divided equally among food pantries in Western Mass. communities the bank serves.

 

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Pictured: bankESB Vice President and Easthampton Branch Officer Gary Turku presents a $2,500 check to Jillian Morgan of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.

 

New Name, Broader Mission

On Jan. 25, the Children’s Study Home rebranded as Helix Human Services. Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and members of the community joined board members, faculty, staff, and Executive Director Will Dávila (pictured at podium) for the unveiling at the Merriam-Webster building in Springfield. The need to rebrand the agency was identified during a seven-month strategic-planning process that involved representatives of the board and staff. Now, Helix Human Services focuses on helping not only children and women, but all adults and families affected by trauma.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and members of the community joined board members, faculty, staff, and Executive Director Will Dávila (pictured at podium) for the unveiling at the Merriam-Webster building in Springfield

 

New Name, Broader Mission

Executive Director Will Dávila (pictured at podium) at the unveiling of the Merriam-Webster building in Springfield

 

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No Shave November

No Shave November campaign 1

No Shave November campaign 2

No Shave November campaign 2

 

TommyCar Auto Group joined forces with the Hampshire County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Patrick Cahillane for their No Shave November campaign to raise awareness and funds for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. This year, the Sheriff’s Office raised $2,440, which was matched by TommyCar Auto Group. In addition, TommyCar customers were also able to donate their TommyCar rewards points (which can be earned through vehicle servicing and spent toward a new car), adding another $3,736 for a grand total of $8,616, topping last year’s tally by $2,700.

 

 

 

Fighting Hunger

Pictured: two staff members at the Center for Access Services at STCC — Helen Angeles, assistant, and Luis Martinez, special programs coordinator — stand in the food pantry on campus known as the Ram Minimart.

Pictured: two staff members at the Center for Access Services at STCC — Helen Angeles, assistant, and Luis Martinez, special programs coordinator — stand in the food pantry on campus known as the Ram Minimart.

Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) received a $180,000 state grant to help students facing food insecurity. The Hunger Free Campus Initiative, a grant program funded through the American Rescue Plan Act, is intended to support college students who are experiencing food insecurity to reduce barriers to success.

 

 

Sparking Change

Monson Savings donation

Pictured, from left: MSB President and CEO Dan Moriarty with Girls Inc. of the Valley’s Adrienne Garcia, Marketing & Communications coordinator; Ciara Speller, board member; and Alyssa Sirani, Development coordinator.

Monson Savings Bank (MSB) recently donated $1,000 to Girls Inc. of the Valley in support of its event, Speaking Out: Sparking Change. “This event invited members of the community to network and listen to a panel of inspiring local leaders,” said Suzanne Parker, executive director of Girls Inc. of the Valley.

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Supporting Community

Monson Savings Bank recently made a $10,000 donation to the Hispanic-American Institute in Springfield, a nonprofit corporation that is committed to encouraging social, educational, and economic development in Hispanic communities in the continental U.S., Puerto Rico, and Latin America. In addition to the Springfield branch, the institute has offices and staff in Boston; Albuquerque, N.M.; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Pictured, from left: Dan Moriarty, Monson Savings Bank President and CEO; Veronica Garcia, CEO of Latino Marketing Agency; and John Perez, project office manager at the Hispanic-American Institute Inc.

Pictured, from left: Dan Moriarty, Monson Savings Bank President and CEO; Veronica Garcia, CEO of Latino Marketing Agency; and John Perez, project office manager at the Hispanic-American Institute Inc.

 

 

New Location, Higher Gear

On Dec. 13, Springfield Auto & Truck Equipment held a ribbon cutting at its new location at 797 Berkshire Ave. in Indian Orchard. The move represents a significant expansion from a 3,800-square-foot facility to a 12,000-square-foot building, which includes a 5,000-square-foot showroom for product displays.

Local dignitaries in attendance at the ribbon cutting included Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, state Reps. Angelo Puppolo and Orlando Ramos, Hampden County Sheriff Nicholas Cocchi, Indian Orchard Citizen’s Council Vice President Yolanda Cancel, and Springfield Chief Development Officer Timothy Sheehan.

Local dignitaries in attendance at the ribbon cutting included Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, state Reps. Angelo Puppolo and Orlando Ramos, Hampden County Sheriff Nicholas Cocchi, Indian Orchard Citizen’s Council Vice President Yolanda Cancel, and Springfield Chief Development Officer Timothy Sheehan.

 

 

Meeting Critical Needs

American Eagle Financial Credit Union announced $7,500 in donations to local food- and housing-assistance organizations within the credit union’s service area. The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, Connecticut Foodshare, and Hands on Hartford each received a $2,500 donation.

Pictured: Teresa Knox, COO of American Eagle Financial Credit Union (right), presents the $2,500 donation to Jillian Morgan, director of Philanthropy at the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.

Pictured: Teresa Knox, COO of American Eagle Financial Credit Union (right), presents the $2,500 donation to Jillian Morgan, director of Philanthropy at the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.

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Thriller of a Gift

gift

Pictured, from left: Stacey Warren, Hampton Inn and chamber 5K committee co-chair; Kate Riley, Riley Home Realty and chamber 5K committee; Melissa Breor, Chicopee Chamber of Commerce executive director; Aida Gaouette, Lorraine’s board member; Cathy Desorcy, Lorraine’s board secretary; Kim Caisse, Lorraine’s executive director; Kenneth Fontanez, Westfield Bank and Lorraine’s board member; and Heather Leclerc, Riley Home Realty and Lorraine’s board member.

The Greater Chicopee Chamber of Commerce presented a $4,172 donation to Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen & Pantry, the result of the chamber’s 2022 Thriller 5K held at the end of October. On race day, 236 pounds of food donations were also collected for Lorraine’s.

 

 

 

Marathon Effort

Mayflower Marathon food drive

Rock 102 hosted its 29th annual Mayflower Marathon food drive to benefit Springfield’s Open Pantry

On the three days before Thanksgiving, Rock 102 hosted its 29th annual Mayflower Marathon food drive to benefit Springfield’s Open Pantry. This year, the tradition found a new home at MGM Springfield, where Bax & Nagle broadcast for 52 hours while collecting non-perishable food donations for Open Pantry. The effort filled more than three 53-foot tractor-trailer trucks and raised more than $174,000 in food and cash donations. The Springfield Thunderbirds Foundation added a donation of $10,500 in both cash and food.

 

 

Supporting Critical Work

The Massachusetts Bankers Assoc.

The Massachusetts Bankers Assoc. (MBA) recently awarded the Children’s Advocacy Center of Franklin County and North Quabbin (CAC) a $5,000 grant

The Massachusetts Bankers Assoc. (MBA) recently awarded the Children’s Advocacy Center of Franklin County and North Quabbin (CAC) a $5,000 grant, thanks to a nomination from Greenfield Cooperative Bank. The MBA Charitable Foundation awarded 52 grants, totaling $162,000, to nonprofits over eight geographic regions across the Commonwealth. Member banks were asked to nominate deserving organizations in their community. CAC Executive Director Irene Woods (center) noted that “this award will allow us to meet the mental-health needs of children that have experienced sexual abuse and have had their worlds turned upside down by trauma.”

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Marching Against Hunger

For the 13th consecutive year, Monte Belmonte, radio personality at WRSI 93.9 the River, led a 43-mile, two-day march on Nov. 21-22 to benefit the mission of the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts to feed neighbors in need. This year’s event has raised close to $500,000 and will help provide nearly 2 million meals across Western Mass. During the annual march, Belmonte, joined by supporters and civic leaders, pushes an empty shopping cart, as a metaphor for hunger, from Springfield to Greenfield while broadcasting live on WRSI to raise awareness about food insecurity, while inviting listeners to donate funds to provide emergency food assistance across Western Mass.

Marching Against Hunger

Marching Against Hunger

Marching Against Hunger2

Marching Against Hunger2

 

 

Revving Up

On Nov. 28, Balise Auto Group held a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new Balise Kia building at 635 Riverdale St. in West Springfield. Balise also announced a Giving Tuesday match to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of West Springfield.

West Springfield Mayor William Reichelt, flanked by Balise Auto Group owner Jeb Balise and Dan D’Angelo, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of West Springfield, cuts the ribbon

West Springfield Mayor William Reichelt, flanked by Balise Auto Group owner Jeb Balise and Dan D’Angelo, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of West Springfield, cuts the ribbon

the employee team at Balise Kia

the employee team at Balise Kia

 

 

Season of Giving

The Hampden County Bar Assoc. held its annual Toast to the Season on Nov. 17 at the Student Prince in Springfield. Members were asked to bring a donation to Toys for Tots, which resulted in a large donation to the Toys for Tots program. The toy donations were dropped off at Western Mass News, and cash donations were made directly to Toys for Tots. Pictured below: from left, Meaghan Murphy, Kathryn Crouss, Christopher Pierson, and Ryan O’Hara. At right: from left, Jonathan Allen, Judge Barbara Hyland, and Ellie Rosenbaum.

From left, Meaghan Murphy, Kathryn Crouss, Christopher Pierson, and Ryan O’Hara

From left, Meaghan Murphy, Kathryn Crouss, Christopher Pierson, and Ryan O’Hara

 

From left, Jonathan Allen, Judge Barbara Hyland, and Ellie Rosenbaum

From left, Jonathan Allen, Judge Barbara Hyland, and Ellie Rosenbaum

 

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Super 60 Returns

After a two-year hiatus, the Springfield Regional Chamber celebrated its Super 60 on Nov. 10 at the MassMutual Center.

keynote speaker Myke Connolly of Stand Out Truck shares the story of his entrepreneurial journey

keynote speaker Myke Connolly of Stand Out Truck shares the story of his entrepreneurial journey

 

attendees take in the annual celebration of the region’s top companies for total revenue and revenue growth

attendees take in the annual celebration of the region’s top companies for total revenue and revenue growth

 

from left, Springfield Thunderbirds President Nate Costa, Mercedes-Benz of Springfield co-owner Peter Wirth, Thunderbirds Managing Partner Paul Picknelly, Mercedes-Benz co-owner Michelle Wirth, and Thunderbirds Director of Business Development Matthew McRobbie

from left, Springfield Thunderbirds President Nate Costa, Mercedes-Benz of Springfield co-owner Peter Wirth, Thunderbirds Managing Partner Paul Picknelly, Mercedes-Benz co-owner Michelle Wirth, and Thunderbirds Director of Business Development Matthew McRobbie

 

Appleton Corp. President Matt Flink (center) and his team

Appleton Corp. President Matt Flink (center) and his team

 

chamber President Diana Szynal with Dave Fontaine Jr., CEO of Fontaine Brothers.

chamber President Diana Szynal with Dave Fontaine Jr., CEO of Fontaine Brothers.

 

 

Bringing Jobs to Springfield

On Nov. 10, DUC-PAC, a specialty producer of aluminum, copper, and other metal ductwork, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony at its new manufacturing and warehouse space in Springfield. After being located in East Longmeadow for decades, DUC-PAC chose Springfield as its new home, refurbishing 1125 Page Blvd., which once housed four separate businesses. DUC-PAC brought 58 existing employees to the city and have added eight more.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Chief Development Officer Tim Sheehan, Deputy Director Brian Connors, and East Springfield Neighborhood Council President Kathy Brown joined DUC-PAC owners Greg and Heidi Merchant for the ceremonies and a tour.

Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, Chief Development Officer Tim Sheehan, Deputy Director Brian Connors, and East Springfield Neighborhood Council President Kathy Brown joined DUC-PAC owners Greg and Heidi Merchant for the ceremonies and a tour.

 

Load Up the Van

On Nov. 15, Rachel’s Table unveiled its first refrigerated van, made possible by a $75,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds. Rachel’s Table also announced a new food-rescue partnership with MGM Springfield and that it would receive an additional $75,000 from the FY23 state budget to support the program’s food-rescue work.

Pictured, from left: Armando Oliveras from state Sen. Adam Gomez’s office, state Reps. Jacob Oliveira and Carlos Gonzalez, Rachel’s Table Director Jodi Falk, Lesser, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, MGM Springfield Executive Director of Hospitality Chris Smigel, and MGM Springfield President Chris Kelley.

Pictured, from left: Armando Oliveras from state Sen. Adam Gomez’s office, state Reps. Jacob Oliveira and Carlos Gonzalez, Rachel’s Table Director Jodi Falk, Lesser, Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno, MGM Springfield Executive Director of Hospitality Chris Smigel, and MGM Springfield President Chris Kelley.

 

Honoring Historic Preservation

On Nov. 10, Home City Development Inc. (HCDI) received an award from the Springfield Preservation Trust for historic preservation of the Elias Brookings Apartments. HCDI hosted the Springfield Preservation Trust’s annual preservation awards ceremony in the community room at the Elias Brookings Apartments, where a total of 15 individuals and organizations (including HCDI) were recognized.

Pictured, from left: Thomas Kegelman, HCDI executive director; Derek Strahan, Springfield Preservation Trust president; and Peter Serafino, HCDI director of Real Estate Development.

Pictured, from left: Thomas Kegelman, HCDI executive director; Derek Strahan, Springfield Preservation Trust president; and Peter Serafino, HCDI director of Real Estate Development.

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Historic Transformation

Collins Electric Co. in Chicopee was recently recognized by the National Electrical Contractors Assoc. with a Project Excellence Award in Education in the over $1 million category for Smith College Neilson Library. The project involved 150,000 square feet with 5,000 LED, energy-efficient light fixtures; glass skylights; dimming; and window-shade controls. Strict attention was paid to controlling temperature and humidity, as well as tight security, for the library’s rare-books collection.

Collins Electric Co

Pictured, from left: Larry Eagan, president and CEO; Andrew Collins, vice president of Operations; Patrick Egan, vice president of Finance; and Mike Blaxland, project manager

 

Serving Up a Milestone

As part of its 50th-anniversary celebration, Greater Springfield Senior Services (GSSSI) recently hosted a luncheon for its staff, providers, local politicians, and community partners at the Carriage House at the Barney Estate in Springfield. The event featured speeches by Springfield Mayor Dominic Sarno and GSSSI Executive Director Jill Keough, and a letter of recognition from U.S. Rep. Richard Neal.

Greater Springfield Senior Services

Pictured, from left: state Reps. Jacob Oliviera and Carlos Gonzalez, and GSSSI’s Nilsa Cintron, Keough, and Magy Ramos.

 

 

Meeting a Growing Need

Johnson Memorial Hospital in Stafford, Conn. recently held a ribbon-cutting ceremony and blessing to celebrate the opening of the new, 15-bed Lillian “Dolly” Santilli Geriatric Wellness Pavilion, as part of efforts to expand the hospital’s array of behavioral-health services.

 

Dr. Robert Roose

Pictured: Dr. Robert Roose, chief administrative officer of Johnson Memorial Hospital and Mercy Medical Center, addresses the gathering as Stuart Rosenberg, president of Johnson Memorial Hospital, looks on.

 

Johnson Memorial Hospital administrators

Donors Diane Lerz and Larry Santilli (center) join Johnson Memorial Hospital administrators, board members, and colleagues as they prepare to cut the ribbon.

 

 

Answering the Call

Representatives from PeoplesBank recently visited the Gray House to present the agency with a donation to cover the cost of replacement doors and frames that were damaged last May during a robbery. “I take great comfort in knowing that we live in a community that truly cares,” McClintock said.

Johnson Memorial Hospital

Pictured, from left: PeoplesBank’s Jaimee Guerra, banking center assistant manager (center), and Monica Borges, banking center senior specialist (right), present Gray House Executive Director Kristen McClintock (left) with the donation.

 

 

 

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Community Effort

Freedom Credit Union

Pictured, from left: Freedom Credit Union’s Stephen Phillips, Facilities Maintenance; Kara Herman, vice president, Retail Administration; and David Chase, vice president, Member Business Lending, get ready to deliver food

 

For 100 days, from Memorial Day until Labor Day, Freedom Credit Union accepted cash and non-perishable food donations at all its branch locations as part of its year-long 100th-anniversary celebration. Donations from members, staff, and the community totaled more than $4,100 for the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and 930 pounds of food for the Gray House in Springfield.

 

___________________

 

Funding the Fun

Funding the Fun

Pictured: Adriano dos Santos (right), Monson Savings Bank’s Hampden branch manager, delivers the $1,450 donation to Wendy Cowles, outreach coordinator for the Hampden Senior Center

Monson Savings Bank recently donated $1,450 to the Hampden Senior Center in support of the facility’s many fun events it hosts throughout the year. The donation will help offset the cost of the center’s Alzheimer’s Association Dinner, Grandparents Day, Halloween Luncheon, Thanksgiving Grab and Go Lunch, and Holiday Luncheon.

 

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Meeting of the Minds

The accounting and tax firm Meyers Brothers Kalicka hosted a gathering for emerging leaders from across the area on Oct. 20 in the parking lot outside its offices in Holyoke. Leaders from Western Mass. and Northern Conn. gathered for networking, local brews, pub fare, trivia, games, and good conversation.

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Jazzing Things Up

The annual Northampton Jazz Festival filled the streets, parks, bars, restaurants, and other downtown venues with free jazz performances on Sept. 30 and Oct. 1.

(Ron Carter photo by Ricard Torres; other photos by Julian Parker-Burns)

bassist and cellist Ron Carter

the Ron Carter Quartet, led by noted bassist and cellist Ron Carter (pictured), close out the two-day event with a ticketed performance at the Academy of Music

 

Ashley Pezzotti sings at the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence

Ashley Pezzotti sings at the Unitarian Society of Northampton and Florence

 

Eh La Bas, led by trumpeter Bria Skonberg, a quintet of Canadian-born musicians that came together exclusively for the Northampton Jazz Festival, close out the free daytime performances at Pulaski Park on Oct. 1;

Eh La Bas, led by trumpeter Bria Skonberg, a quintet of Canadian-born musicians that came together exclusively for the Northampton Jazz Festival, close out the free daytime performances at Pulaski Park on Oct. 1;

 

78rpm DJ Matthew “Fat Cat” Rivera (left) holds a record he just played alongside the great nephew of W.C. Handy, known as “the father of the blues,” at Pulaski Park.

78rpm DJ Matthew “Fat Cat” Rivera (left) holds a record he just played alongside the great nephew of W.C. Handy, known as “the father of the blues,” at Pulaski Park.

 

 

 

Teaming Up for Child Safety

 

Baystate Health and Rocky’s Ace Hardware recently joined forces with Square One on the issue of electrical-outlet safety. UMass Chan Medical School – Baystate student Kendall Burdick initiated the idea to provide electrical-outlet safety plugs to all Square One households, and Rocky’s stepped in to donate thousands of outlet plugs to support the safety initiative.

Pictured, from left: Melissa Blissett of Square One; Burdick; Yolanda Marrow of Baystate Health; Jonathan Cosenzi, Rocco Falcone, and Caitlin Petrone of Rocky’s Ace Hardware; Kristine Allard of Square One; Ida Konderwicz of Baystate Health; and Dawn DiStefano of Square One.

Pictured, from left: Melissa Blissett of Square One; Burdick; Yolanda Marrow of Baystate Health; Jonathan Cosenzi, Rocco Falcone, and Caitlin Petrone of Rocky’s Ace Hardware; Kristine Allard of Square One; Ida Konderwicz of Baystate Health; and Dawn DiStefano of Square One.

 

 

 

Fore the Kids

 

 

Professional Drywall Construction Inc. (PDC), a commercial drywall company headquartered in Springfield, raised $45,500 for Baystate Children’s Hospital at its sixth annual PDC Charity Golf Tournament on Sept. 8 at Southampton Country Club. The tournament featured an 18-hole round of golf, lunch, and a dinner reception. A total of 108 golfers participated in the tournament, and nearly 40 sponsors helped PDC surpass its fundraising goals.

Pictured: PDC Owners Nick Shaink and Ron Perry with representatives from Baystate Children’s Hospital. (Photo by Market Mentors)

Pictured: PDC Owners Nick Shaink and Ron Perry with representatives from Baystate Children’s Hospital. (Photo by Market Mentors)

 

 

 

 

 

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Supporting Latino-owned Businesses

State Sen. John Velis and state Rep. Pat Duffy recently presented $150,000 in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to Partners for Community Inc. for a grant program that will support Latino-owned businesses in the city of Holyoke. Velis and Duffy filed and secured $100,000 and $50,000, respectively, in the recent ARPA legislation. The presentation was held at Fiesta Café, the first recipient of grant funding from Partners for Community.

Pictured, from left: Veronica Garcia of Partners for Community, Duffy, Velis, Fiesta Café owner Juan Montano, and Jordan Hart, executive director of the Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce

Pictured, from left: Veronica Garcia of Partners for Community, Duffy, Velis, Fiesta Café owner Juan Montano, and Jordan Hart, executive director of the Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce

 

 


 

Another Branch on the Giving Tree

bankESB recently made a $5,000 donation to Behavioral Health Network Inc. toward the Katherine B. Wilson Staff Excellence Fund to support the career and professional development of the organization’s workforce. The donation was made as part of the bank’s charitable giving program, the Giving Tree.

Sue deVillier, vice president and Agawam branch officer at bankESB

Pictured, from left: Sue deVillier, vice president and Agawam branch officer at bankESB; Steve Winn, BHN president and CEO; and Melissa Soto, vice president of Commercial Lending for bankESB.

 

 


 

Joining Forces

Allied Flooring, Paint and Design, located at 350 Main St. in Agawam, announced it has acquired neighboring Budget Cabinet Sales. Budget Cabinet, located at 300 Main St., will keep its name and be managed by Jill Stefanik (pictured at center), who has been promoted from her position as a sales and design associate at Allied. The previous owners of Budget Cabinet Sales, the Lloyd family, will remain part of the business, along with the other store employees. While Jorge Morgado (left) and Mario Tedeschi (right) now own both Allied and Budget Cabinet, they will operate them as separate entities.

 

Jorge Morgado (left) and Mario Tedeschi (right)

Jorge Morgado (left), Jill Stefanik (pictured at center) and Mario Tedeschi (right)

 

 


 

Opening Bell

 

Representatives of Easthampton Public Schools, the Massachusetts School Building Authority (MSBA), and Caolo & Bieniek Architects were among those on hand to cut the ribbon on Maple Elementary School, a new, modern school serving pre-kindergarten through grade 8.

Pictured, from left: Jack McCarthy, MSBA executive director; Bertram Gardner IV, project architect at Caolo & Bieniek; Allison LeClair, Easthampton superintendent; and James MacDonald, MSBA CEO.

Pictured, from left: Jack McCarthy, MSBA executive director; Bertram Gardner IV, project architect at Caolo & Bieniek; Allison LeClair, Easthampton superintendent; and James MacDonald, MSBA CEO.

 

 


 

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Messages of Inclusion

Florence Bank has launched a new brand commercial featuring more than a dozen local residents of all ages, abilities, and ethnicities to raise awareness about access and inclusion and to inspire and encourage community members to overcome barriers. Among the featured individuals are Samantha Bertini, a ninth-grade wrestler at Ludlow High School, who competes in the boys’ division even though she weighs in at 97 pounds and is a few inches shy of five feet; and Emma Boyer-Martinez, a 7-year-old from Holyoke who lives with disabilities that make some activities more difficult for her, but loves horses and riding and takes part in therapeutic lessons that help her build strength and balance.

Samantha Bertini, a ninth-grade wrestler at Ludlow High School, who competes in the boys’ division even though she weighs in at 97 pounds and is a few inches shy of five feet

Samantha Bertini, a ninth-grade wrestler at Ludlow High School, who competes in the boys’ division even though she weighs in at 97 pounds and is a few inches shy of five feet

 

Emma Boyer-Martinez, a 7-year-old from Holyoke who lives with disabilities that make some activities more difficult for her, but loves horses and riding and takes part in therapeutic lessons that help her build strength and balance

Emma Boyer-Martinez, a 7-year-old from Holyoke who lives with disabilities that make some activities more difficult for her, but loves horses and riding and takes part in therapeutic lessons that help her build strength and balance

 

 


 

Friendly Flag Football Game

On Aug. 23, state Sen. John Velis spent time with the Agawam Youth Football Assoc., which included a friendly game of flag football at Kirk Parker Field. “I had an absolute blast running routes and getting to know the coaches, volunteers, and players on the team,” Velis said. “Thank you to the kids for taking it easy on us. If you see any of your elected officials limping around town, you now know why.” He added, “whether it is football, hockey, softball, or anything else, youth sports are one of the best ways for kids to learn team-building skills while bringing our community together.”

On Aug. 23, state Sen. John Velis spent time with the Agawam Youth Football Assoc

On Aug. 23, state Sen. John Velis spent time with the Agawam Youth Football Assoc

 


 

Supporting Healthy Kids

For the second consecutive year, the Enterprise Holdings Foundation has awarded funding to support Square One’s Campaign for Healthy Kids. This year’s gift totaled more than $14,000. Last summer, Enterprise Holdings launched its inaugural local ROAD Forward grants to nearly 700 nonprofits, addressing social and racial equity gaps facing youth and families in local communities.

Pictured: Shawn Fleming, group Human Resources manager at Enterprise Holdings, presents the check to Square One President and CEO Dawn DiStefano (left) and Kristine Allard, vice president of Development & Communication.

Pictured: Shawn Fleming, group Human Resources manager at Enterprise Holdings, presents the check to Square One President and CEO Dawn DiStefano (left) and Kristine Allard, vice president of Development & Communication.

 

 

 

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Critical Improvements

Sen. John Velis recently presented American Rescue Plan Act earmark funding of $50,000 to American Legion Post 185, to fund much-needed maintenance and improvements to its existing building in Feeding Hills. Velis was joined at American Legion Post 185 by Post Commander Wayne Keating, City Counselor Anthony Russo, members of American Legion Post 185, and members of the greater Agawam community. With the funding secured, Post 185 will move forward with plans for a new roof and insulation, among other improvements to the facility.

Sen. John Velis recently presented American Rescue Plan Act earmark funding of $50,000 to American Legion Post 185, to fund much-needed maintenance and improvements to its existing building in Feeding Hills.

Sen. John Velis recently presented American Rescue Plan Act earmark funding of $50,000 to American Legion Post 185, to fund much-needed maintenance and improvements to its existing building in Feeding Hills.

 


 

Need a Lift?

Baystate Wing Hospital and Quaboag Valley Community Development Corp. recently announced the funding of a new Quaboag Connector van dedicated to providing transportation to convenient-care and primary-care services for area residents. The curb-to-curb service will provide non-emergency medical transportation, allowing patients to request rides to and from medical appointments at Baystate Wing Hospital facilities.

Pictured, from left: Jan Mayforth, chief financial officer, Baystate Wing Hospita; Molly Gray, president and chief administrative officer, Baystate Wing Hospital;  Stuart Beckley, Ware town manager; and Melissa Fales, Quaboag Valley Community Development Corp.

Pictured, from left: Jan Mayforth, chief financial officer, Baystate Wing Hospita; Molly Gray, president and chief administrative officer, Baystate Wing Hospital;  Stuart Beckley, Ware town manager; and Melissa Fales, Quaboag Valley Community Development Corp.

 

 


 

 

Jazz & Roots Festival

Springfield’s Jazz & Roots Festival brought some great music, large crowds, and a great amount of energy to the Stearns Square area on August 12 and 13. The festival, staged in front of a new mural facing the square, featured a number of local and regional acts, including FAT, Mitch Chakour & Friends Band, Janet Ryan & Straight Up, The Buddy McEarns Band, & Shor’ty Billups.

 

 

 


 

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Giving Back

Monson Savings Bank has been emphasizing its culture of philanthropy and giving back to local communities during its 150th-anniversary year, including these three recent donations.

bank President and CEO Dan Moriarty (right) and Dina Merwin, the bank’s senior vice president, chief risk and senior compliance officer (center), visit Leo Williams, president and CEO of Springfield Neighborhood Housing Services, to present his organization with a $5,000 donation.

Bank President and CEO Dan Moriarty (right) and Dina Merwin, the bank’s senior vice president, chief risk and senior compliance officer (center), visit Leo Williams, president and CEO of Springfield Neighborhood Housing Services, to present his organization with a $5,000 donation.

 

Moriarty presents Laurie Flynn, president and CEO of Link to Libraries, with a $1,500 donation as a part of the bank’s Community Giving Initiative

Moriarty presents Laurie Flynn, president and CEO of Link to Libraries, with a $1,500 donation as a part of the bank’s Community Giving Initiative

 

Moriarty visits Shriners Children’s Hospital in Springfield to present Stacey Perlmutter, the hospital’s director of Development, with a $2,250 donation, also part of the Community Giving Initiative

Moriarty visits Shriners Children’s Hospital in Springfield to present Stacey Perlmutter, the hospital’s director of Development, with a $2,250 donation, also part of the Community Giving Initiative

 

 


 

Service Above Self

 

Rotary Club of Amherst recently prepared its annual donation of 150 stuffed backpacks with the help of UMass Hockey volunteers at the Inn on Boltwood. This is the Rotary’s 12th year supporting the Amherst Regional Public Schools’ Project Backpack. Organizers included Ellen Carey of Davis Financial Group and Anna Holhut of Amherst Insurance Agency, with the support of Rotary Club of Amherst members and President Claudia Pazmany.

(Photos by Thaddeus Dabrowski)

 


 

Strengthening Wellness and Family

bankESB recently donated $5,000 to the Hampshire Regional YMCA to help fund continued wellness programming and family services in Hampshire County. This brings the bank’s total contributions to the organization over t he past two years to more than $20,000. Pictured, from left: Nancy Lapointe, bankESB senior vice president of Retail Banking; Natalie Didonna, bankESB assistant vice president and branch officer of the Northampton Street branch in Easthampton, as well as a Hampshire Regional YMCA board member; and Julie Bianco, CEO of Hampshire Regional YMCA.

Nancy Lapointe, bankESB senior vice president of Retail Banking; Natalie Didonna, bankESB assistant vice president and branch officer of the Northampton Street branch in Easthampton, as well as a Hampshire Regional YMCA board member; and Julie Bianco, CEO of Hampshire Regional YMCA.

Nancy Lapointe, bankESB senior vice president of Retail Banking; Natalie Didonna, bankESB assistant vice president and branch officer of the Northampton Street branch in Easthampton, as well as a Hampshire Regional YMCA board member; and Julie Bianco, CEO of Hampshire Regional YMCA.

 

 


 

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Achieving the Dream

Gateway to College at Holyoke Community College (HCC), an alternative high-school program for dropouts and students at risk for dropping out, has been recognized with a national award for its outstanding graduation rate. The award recognizes institutions that exceed Gateway’s national graduation benchmark of 50%. HCC’s three-year graduation rate was 88%, while the network average was 68%.

Pictured, from left

Pictured, from left: Gateway’s former Special Programs Coordinator Julissa Colon (now director of HCC’s El Centro program), Gateway to College Director Vivian Ostrowski, and Shannon Glenn, Gateway’s resource specialist.

 


 

Moment of Gratitude

In a fast-paced work environment and especially over the last few months, the leadership of A Better Life Homecare feel it is important to recognize their workforce’s perseverance and loyalty. To that end, on May 11, A Better Life Homecare honored employees’ dedication by providing them with a dinner at Dewey’s Jazz Lounge in Springfield. The evening served as a time to acknowledge the post-pandemic struggles faced within the healthcare field, as well as celebrating the agency’s ability to overcome obstacles by excelling in communication and unity. Employees shared anecdotes, laughed, and enjoyed the evening together.

A Better Life Homecare honored employees’ dedication by providing them with a dinner at Dewey’s Jazz Lounge in Springfield

A Better Life Homecare honored employees’ dedication by providing them with a dinner at Dewey’s Jazz Lounge in Springfield

 


 

Stepping Up for Fitness

Employees at Monson Savings Bank (MSB) outstepped a team of town of Monson employees to win the Monson Step-Up Fitness Challenge, a walking competition run by Health New England. From June 1-21, MSB’s team of 56 employees walked, on average, four and a half miles per day compared with town of Monson employees, who walked approximately three miles per day. In honor of their win, Health New England is donating $500 to Educare of Springfield, the bank’s chosen charity.

Pictured, from left: bank employees Caitlin O’Connor, Dodie Carpentier, Carla Carnevale, and Kandy Tranghese.

Pictured, from left: bank employees Caitlin O’Connor, Dodie Carpentier, Carla Carnevale, and Kandy Tranghese.

 


 

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Sharing the Wealth

Berkshire Bank recently presented a total of $205,000 in funding last month to Springfield nonprofit organizations, including $75,000 to the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, $25,000 to Revitalize CDC, $5,000 to Martin Luther King Jr. Charter School of Excellence, and $100,000 to Common Capital, a subsidiary of Way Finders (pictured).

Berkshire Bank

From left: Jason Niles, My Banker team lead at Berkshire Bank; Nitin Mhatre, CEO of Berkshire Bank; Raymond Lanza-Weil, president of Common Capital; Callie Niezgoda, vice president of Lending at Common Capital; Keith Fairey, CEO of Way Finders; and Ellen Stenfield and Rosemary Morin of Berkshire Bank.
Photo courtesy of Berkshire Bank.


 

Community Support

Florence Bank announced that it recently donated $50,000 to the Easthampton Community Center through its Florence Savings Easthampton Branch Charitable Foundation Inc.

Florence Savings

Pictured, from left: Robin Bialecki, executive director of the Easthampton Community Center; Nancy LaBombard, Florence Savings Easthampton Branch Charitable Foundation board member; Anita Sedlak, vice president and branch manager of Florence Bank’s Easthampton office and a foundation board member; and Virginia Smith, also a board member.

 


 

Preserving a Moment in Time

 

As part of an ongoing commemoration of Monson Bank’s 150th anniversary, employees joined together to bury a time capsule that will be excavated and opened in 25 years at the bank’s 175th anniversary in 2047. Some of the items included were photos, business cards, brochures, a piggy bank, letters, deposit slips, 150th-anniversary articles, and, of course, Monson Savings branded masks and hand sanitizer.

Monson Savings Bank

Dan Moriarty, president and CEO of Monson Savings Bank (pictured), led the crew to the time capsule burial location for a brief ceremony.

 


 

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Marking the Spot

To memorialize its 150th anniversary, Monson Savings Bank Bank recently unveiled a historical marker at the original location of the bank in Monson. The event took place on June 1, a day chosen since it was the first day Monson Savings Bank accepted deposits in 1872. Guests gathered nearby the Monson Town Offices, where the original granite building stood that housed Monson Savings Bank at its incorporation in 1872. A granite block from the original building reading “BANK” was expertly placed at the base of the historical bronze plaque marker located on a pole. Surrounding the display was a new landscaped area.

Seen with the plaque are Dan Moriarty, president and CEO of MSB, left, and Michael Rouette, executive vice president and COO.

Seen with the plaque are Dan Moriarty, president and CEO of MSB, left, and Michael Rouette, executive vice president and COO.

 


United Way Awards

Berkshire United Way (BUW) recently presented Jewish Family Service of Western Mass. with the Robert K. Agar Jr. Volunteerism Award and Shirley Edgerton with the Daniel C. Dillon Helping Hands, Caring Heart Award during its LIVE UNITED Community Celebration at Berkshire Money Management in Dalton.

Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts CEO Maxine Stein

Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts CEO Maxine Stein, second from left, and Gabriela Sheehan, Berkshires Resettlement Coordinator, with Mike Stoddard, BUW Board Chair, left, and BUW President and CEO Tom Bernard.

 

Stoddard and Bernard with Edgerton

Stoddard and Bernard with Edgerton

 


Sign of the Times

American International College president Hubert Benitez and Holyoke Community College President Christina Royal sign an articulation agreement formally establishing a close academic relationship between the two-year college and the four-year institution. The accord between AIC and HCC aligns academic programs that enhance the seamless transition of HCC graduates and qualified candidates from HCC, and promotes a smooth, successful transfer to AIC.

American International College president Hubert Benitez and Holyoke Community College President Christina Royal

American International College president Hubert Benitez and Holyoke Community College President Christina Royal

 

 


 

 

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Celebrating Andy Yee

State and local officials, leaders at Mercy Medical Center, and friends and family of the late Andy Yee gathered at the medical center on June 14 for the announcement of plans to create a palliative care unit that will bear Yee’s name. The unit, which is expected to open before the end of the year, will be located on the fifth floor of Mercy Medical Center and will be overseen by Dr. Philip Glynn, medical director of the Mercy’s Sister Mary Caritas Cancer Center, and Laurie Loiacono, M.D., Chief of Critical Care. The unit will be designed to provide an inviting, soothing space for end-of-life care for patients and families, as well as patients with chronic illnesses requiring pain and symptom management. All clinical staff involved in caring for patients and family members on the new unit will receive specialized training that focuses on palliative care.

 

Gov. Charlie Baker addresses those gathered while Deborah Bitsoli, president of Mercy Medical Center, looks on

 

Glynn offers some remarks as Bitsoli, Baker, and Yee’s wife, Sarah Yee, look on

Glynn offers some remarks as Bitsoli, Baker, and Yee’s wife, Sarah Yee, look on

 


 

Supporting Way Finders

Community Bank recently supported Way Finders’ first-time homebuyers class with a $5,000 donation. Way Finders works to strengthen housing stability and economic mobility, and to build thriving neighborhoods in communities throughout Western Massachusetts, including Hampden and Hampshire counties.

From left, Community Bank Branch Manager Gilbert Nieves, Mortgage Loan Officer Sandra Desautels and Way Finders Homeownership & Financial Education Manager Araceli Rivera.

From left, Community Bank Branch Manager Gilbert Nieves, Mortgage Loan Officer Sandra Desautels and Way Finders Homeownership & Financial Education Manager Araceli Rivera.

 


 

United Way Celebration

United Way of Pioneer Valley recently staged a luncheon in honor of its 100th anniversary year, with special guest Chirlane McCray, the former first lady of New York City and native of Springfield, Massachusetts. To celebrate reaching this milestone, the agency recognized several companies and individuals with awards.

McCray is introduced by Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno

McCray is introduced by Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno

 


 

Another Leap Year

Mercy Medical Center colleagues gathered on June 16 to celebrate the hospital’s fourth consecutive “A” Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade for spring 2022. This national distinction recognizes Mercy Medical Center’s achievements in protecting patients from preventable harm and error in the hospital. Members of Mercy Executive Leadership team and board of directors congratulated colleagues and medical staff on the achievement. Colleagues also received commemorative tee-shirts and enjoyed ice cream treats from a Ben & Jerry’s food truck.

Sister Mary Caritas, SP; Sister Ruth McGoldrick, SP; and Deborah Bitsoli, president of Mercy Medical Center and Trinity Health of New England Medical Group.

Sister Mary Caritas, SP; Sister Ruth McGoldrick, SP; and Deborah Bitsoli, president of Mercy Medical Center and Trinity Health of New England Medical Group.

 

Dr. Robert Roose, chief administrative officer and chief medical officer; and Bradley Harmon, Executive Director of Mission Integration

Dr. Robert Roose, chief administrative officer and chief medical officer; and Bradley Harmon, Executive Director of Mission Integration

 


 

DeBerry

BusinessWest Magazine, the long-time sponsor of Springfield’s DeBerry Elementary School through Link to Libraries’ Community Book Link Program, recently presented ‘Most-improved Reader’ awards to two fourth-graders at the school. The students, Christopher Vega and Eliany Martinez, were presented bicycles by BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien and Bob Charland, creator of the nonprofit Pedal Through Youth, which provides bicycles and other items to those in need. In addition, each student received a book to read over the summer. At right, O’Brien center, right) and Charland present the bikes to Elainy and Chrstopher and gathered family members. At right, the fourth graders show off their books.

The fourth graders show off their books

The fourth graders show off their books

 

O’Brien center, right) and Charland

O’Brien center, right) and Charland present the bikes to Elainy and Chrstopher and gathered family members

 


 

 

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Customers’ Choice Grants

Customers’ Choice Community Grants Program gala

Jim Gipe / Pivot Media

Florence Bank recently celebrated its 20th annual Customers’ Choice Community Grants Program gala, awarding $100,000 to 45 nonprofits across the Valley. At the close of the event, president and CEO Kevin Day drew cheers from the audience of nonprofit leaders, announcing that giving will increase to $125,000. Here, Day raises a glass to celebrate the program with nonprofit leaders.

 


 

Sign of the Times

American International College President Hubert Benitez, left, and Springfield Technical Community College President John Cook

American International College President Hubert Benitez, left, and Springfield Technical Community College President John Cook sign an articulation agreement formally establishing a close academic relationship between the two-year college and the four-year institution. The accord between AIC and STCC aligns academic programs that enhance the seamless transition of STCC graduates and qualified candidates from STCC, and promote a smooth, successful transfer to AIC. The articulation agreement offers time and cost savings for students by recognizing the coursework pursued at the community college and demonstrates the ongoing commitment of both AIC and STCC to the community and its students, by ensuring that educational pathways are created for all those who wish to consider a degree in higher education.

 


 

To a Higher Gear

Monson Savings Bank team members deliver bicycles to the YWCA of Western Massachusetts

Monson Savings Bank team members deliver bicycles to the YWCA of Western Massachusetts as a part of its 150 Build-a-Bike Campaign, a component of the bank’s 150th birthday celebration. From left: Diana Guzman, YWCA director of Human Resources; Asia Bradford, YWCA director of Adult Residential Programs; Dalila Cardona, YWCA clinical director; Rob Chateauneuf, Monson Savings Bank senior vice president and senior commercial loan officer; Michael Rouette, Monson Savings Bank executive vice presisdent & COO;  Dan Moriarty, Monson Savings Bank president & CEO;  Elizabeth Dineen, YWCA of Western Massachusetts executive director; Ray Plouffe, Family Bike Shop owner; Monika Konopko, YWCA chief financial officer; Yhissa Ocasio, YWCA director of Youth, HIV, and Court Support Programs; Terri Fox, Monson Savings Bank senior vice president and chief retail officer; and Corinne Sawyer, Monson Savings Bank vice president and director of Business & Municipal Banking.

 


 

Donation to CDH

Matthew Sosik, president and CEO of bankESB

Matthew Sosik, president and CEO of bankESB, recently announced that the bank has made a $500,000 challenge grant to support the Emergency Department at Cooley Dickinson Hospital. The funds will be used to support Transforming Emergency Care: Campaign for the Cooley Dickinson Emergency Department, a $19.76 million expansion, reconfiguration, and renovation effort to allow Cooley Dickinson to meet the ever-evolving emergency medicine needs of all members of the community, from infants to older adults. From left: Nancy Lapointe, bankESB senior vice president, retail banking; Dr. Lynnette Watkins, president and CEO of Cooley Dickinson Hospital; Sosik; and Karen Craig, assistant vice president, branch officer for bankESB’s King St., Northampton office

 


 

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Square One Derby Party

The Annual Square One Derby Party made a triumphant return on May 7 at The Armory at MGM Springfield after being on placed on pause for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 200 guests who attended, all dressed in classically exuberant and colorful Kentucky Derby attire, enjoyed drinks and hors d’oeuvres while watching the heartwarming win of dark-horse (pun intended) Rich Strike unfold in an exhilarating race played out on giant screens at the Armory. Square One raised nearly $50,000 to help the children and families served by the agency from ticket sales and the generosity of event sponsors: PeoplesBank, Alekman Ditusa LLC, and USI Insurance Services.

attendees cheer on their favorite as the horses head for the finish line

Attendees cheer on their favorite as the horses head for the finish line

 

Dawn DiStefano, president and CEO of Square One

Dawn DiStefano, president and CEO of Square One, addresses those gathered for the party

 

Tammy Bordeaux, regional manager and vice president

Tammy Bordeaux, regional manager and vice president of PeoplesBank, offers remarks

 

get together before the race

From left, Andrea Hickson-Martin, chair of the Square One board of directors, Robyn Newhouse, vice president of The Republican, and Crystal Neuhauser, vice president of Institutional Advancement at Bay Path University, get together before the race

 

Brenda Cuoco & Associates Real Estate Brokerage

The Brenda Cuoco & Associates Real Estate Brokerage team poses for a photo

 


 

Celebrating 75 Years

Holyoke Community College celebrated its 75th anniversary on May 5 with a range of lively festivities. The food was prepared by HCC Culinary Arts students and chefs from MGM Springfield, and beverages were provided by White Lion Brewing and Arcpoint Brewing. Live music was performed by HCC music students and faculty, which led to dancing and contributed to the fun party atmosphere. Open houses and tours were held so visitors could explore the Commonwealth’s oldest community college and see the types of work students have been accomplishing this year. Panel discussions were also held over Zoom to include virtual options for this otherwise in-person event. The festivities concluded with a community reception at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute. The celebration was free and open to the public.

Clockwise, from top left, HCC President Christina Royal offers remarks; HCC Culinary Arts students prepare hors d’oeuvres; attendees of the early education open house pose for a photo; from left, David Bartley, former HCC president and Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Royal, and Will Puello, Holyoke city councilor, pose for a photo after HCC was presented with an official resolution from the City Council.

HCC President Christina Royal offers remarks

HCC President Christina Royal offers remarks

 

HCC Culinary Arts students prepare hors d’oeuvres

HCC Culinary Arts students prepare hors d’oeuvres

 

early education open house

Attendees of the early education open house pose for a photo

 

HCC was presented with an official resolution from the City Council

From left, David Bartley, former HCC president and Speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, Royal, and Will Puello, Holyoke city councilor, pose for a photo after HCC was presented with an official resolution from the City Council

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Common Threads

 

Dress for Success Western Mass. staged its annual fundraising event, Common Threads, on April 25 at the Sheraton in Springfield. More than 300 people turned out for the event, which featured inspirational stories from women who were helped by the agency in their efforts to find employment in a field where they can build a career, a keynote address from Holyoke Community College President Christina Royal, and the presentation of several awards, including the Distinguished Alumna award to Kassandra Carrasquillo; the Volunteer of the Year award to Bridget Haley; and the Outstanding Contributor Award to Dawn Creighton.

 

audience members take in the proceedings

audience members take in the proceedings

 

Briceyda Landaverde, of Western Mass News, serves as emcee for the evening

Briceyda Landaverde, of Western Mass News, serves as emcee for the evening

 

posing for a selfie are Creighton, Jennifer Metsch, Royal, Ramona Reno, and Karen MacGeorge

posing for a selfie are Creighton, Jennifer Metsch, Royal, Ramona Reno, and Karen MacGeorge

 

Delphine Kabatesi, left, and Jill Schibelli, Margaret Fitzgerald Mentoring Program participants

Delphine Kabatesi, left, and Jill Schibelli, Margaret Fitzgerald Mentoring Program participants

 

Royal delivers her talk, which focused on mentors in her life

Royal delivers her talk, which focused on mentors in her life

 


 

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150th Anniversary Reception

To commemorate Monson Savings Bank’s incorporation on March 27, 1872, the bank recently invited members of the community to attend a 150th Anniversary Reception at the Monson branch. Dan Moriarty, president and CEO of Monson Savings Bank, along with MSB team members, welcomed guests as they joined the celebration. Dignitaries, including local professionals, government officials, and community members attended the reception to show their support for the institution.

State Sen. Anne Gobi and Rep. Brian Ashe (right), seen with Moriarty, presented Monson Savings Bank with citations, and commended the bank for reaching the momentous anniversary

 

From left, Michael Rouette, MSB’s executive vice president and COO; Laurel Peck, MSB Retail Operations specialist; Sandra Letendre, veteran MSB employee; and Moriarty

 

Moriarty, left, with past president Neil Marshall, center, and past president (and now chairman of the board) Steve Lowell

 


 

Soofa Wraps

Business and civic leaders gathered in downtown Amherst recently for the unveiling of new ‘Soofa signs,’ 100% solar-powered electronic displays placed in the downtown area to better communicate local events and resources, and to help promote local businesses. The signs will communicate COVID-19 updates, public health guidelines, town updates, and local business offerings. The initiative was sponsored by UMass Five College Credit Union.

From left: Claudia Pazmany, executive director, Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce; UMass Five College Credit Union team members: Taylor Robbins, Cash Management specialist; Craig Boivin, vice president of Marketing; and Rich Kump, President & CEO; Dave Ziomek, Assistant town manager/director of Conservation & Development, Town of Amherst; state Rep. Mindy Domb; and Jeff Simpson, chief Commercial Officer and vice president of Commercial Lending of UMass Five. (Missing are Gabrielle Gould, president of the Amherst Business Improvement District, and Brianna Sunryd, Communications manager and Community Participation officer for the Town of Amherst — partners who made the initiative possible).

 


 

Urban League Donation

Balise Toyota and Balise Lexus donated to the Urban League of Springfield and nominated the organization for additional funds through the Toyota Dealer Match Program, resulting in a total donation of $30,000. The funds will be used to support new development and improvements at the league’s historic Camp Atwater, with youth development activities and facilities upgrades as the primary objectives.

From left, Ken Maffia, general manager of Balise Toyota; Henry Thomas III, president and CEO of the Urban League of Springfield; Alex Balise, director of Marketing for Balise Auto Group; Dee Thomas; and Tim Cardillo, general manager of Balise Lexus.


 

Celebrating 125 Years

 

Bay Path University celebrated its 125th anniversary and the inauguration of its sixth president, Sandra Doran, on April 8. An evening gala at the MassMutual Center followed earlier inauguration ceremonies at Symphony Hall.

A wide view of the inauguration

 

At the ‘Presentation of Symbols’ are, from left, Jonathan Besse, chairman of the Bay Path board of trustees, Doran, retired Bay Path President Carol Leary

 

Later at the ball … clockwise, from left, with Doran, second from left, are Madeline Landrau, Relationship Manager at MassMutual, Judy Matt, president of the Spirit of Springfield, and Kathy Tobin, director of Annual Giving and Events at Baystate Health

 

Michelle and Peter Wirth, co-owners of Mercedes Benz of Springfield, rally the audience during the fund-raising segment of the program

 

Ruth Carter, Academy Award winner for Best Costume Design, addresses the audience

 


 

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Winning Team

Florence Bank recently completed a five-year, $100,000 donation to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to support its multi-phase, multi-year renovation. In addition, Florence Bank customers using their debit card will get 50% admission discounts to the Hall during school vacation week, April 18-22. The collaboration between the bank and museum began roughly a decade ago and has grown to support programming of all kinds. Pictured: Florence Bank President and CEO Kevin Day and John Doleva, president and CEO of the Hall of Fame.

 


 

Long-distance Partnership

Representatives from Elms College and Yarmouk University in Irbid, Jordan recently signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) allowing qualified students at Yarmouk to complete their master’s degree in biotechnology via Elms College’s online learning platform. Pictured, from left: Elms College President Harry Dumay; Sudad Saman, assistant professor of biology at Elms College; Almuthanna Khalaf Ahmad Alkaraki, head of the Biological Sciences department at Yarmouk University, and Khalid Al-Batayneh, dean of the College of Sciences at Yarmouk University, both on screen via Zoom; Janet Williams, professor of Biology at Elms College; and Walter Breau, vice president of Academic Affairs at Elms College.

 


 

Gyro-ic Return

Le Greque celebrated a grand reopening at Tower Square on March 25, the date the Greek restaurant opened 40 years ago. Husband-and-wife team Kyriakos ‘Kyri’ and Diana Varypatakis started dishing up gyros and other Greek specialties for the first time in two years since closing at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Pictured: Diana Varypatakis with the framed cash from the eatery’s first sale on March 25, 1982.