International EC Acquires MacDuffie School
SPRINGFIELD — Representatives of the MacDuffie School recently announced the planned sale of all school operations, not including the school’s city real estate, to International EC LLC, the group that acquired the former St. Hyacinth seminary campus in Granby in June. International EC is establishing an independent school in Granby and will absorb MacDuffie’s curriculum, corporate identity, intellectual property, furnishings, computers and business equipment, and faculty as it establishes a school serving grades 6 through 12 beginning next fall. The school, currently in its 120th year of operation, will continue as a day and boarding school. Massachusetts attorney-general approval is needed since the sale involves a nonprofit entity, the MacDuffie School, being acquired by a privately held company. Michael A. Serafino, chairman of MacDuffie’s Board of Trustees, noted in a statement that the acquisition “represents an exciting new chapter in MacDuffie’s history, offering the student body a larger campus with enhanced classroom space, outstanding boarding facilities, state-of-the-art technology, and athletic fields in a college-preparatory environment with high academic standards.” Serafino added that, in the highly competitive academic marketplace for private middle and secondary schools, “this move represents a chance to expand and promote the MacDuffie mission in a way that our current location, with space and infrastructure limitations, would not allow.” The sale of assets does not include the campus on Ames Hill Drive, and a workgroup has been established to ensure that the campus is maintained and secured after the school’s operations move to Granby. Efforts to prepare the campus for sale have started, according to Serafino. International EC, LLC has three managing partners — Craig Brewer, who currently oversees a large private high-school program for international students in the U.S.; Wayne Brewer, who is currently the CEO of International Student Exchange, and Dal Swain, the owner and president of FLS, which has a network of ESL schools for foreign students.
More Than 3,700 Sack Hunger at Big Y
SPRINGFIELD — In a chain-wide effort to help the hungry within their local communities, all Big Ys have initiated this year’s Sack Hunger program. The program consists of a large, green, reusable grocery bag filled with staple non-perishable food items selected by the food banks. Customers purchase a pre-assembled bag for $10, and Big Y then distributes the bags to that region’s local food bank. In turn, the food banks distribute the filled sacks to area soup kitchens, food pantries, senior food programs, day-care centers, as well as many of their other member agencies. All of the donated sacks will be distributed within the supermarket’s marketing area, so every donation stays within the local community. The Sack Hunger Campaign began Nov. 8 and will run through the rest of this year. So far, almost 4,000 bags have been sold. All five food banks within Big Y’s marketing area will be participating in Sack Hunger. These food banks represent more than 2,100 member agencies throughout the region. They are the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, the Greater Boston Food Bank, the Worcester County Food Bank, Foodshare of Greater Hartford, and the Connecticut Food Bank. The sacks include the following non-perishable Big Y items: corn flakes, long-grain rice, elbow macaroni, kidney beans, peanut butter, cut green beans, sweet peas, whole kernel corn, chunk light tuna, and quick oats. Sacks are available at all Big Y Supermarkets and Fresh Acres. Big Y hopes to provide at least 5,000 bags to area food programs by the end of the program.
WMECo Starts Construction on Reliability Project
SPRINGFIELD — Western Massachusetts Electric Company (WMECo) recently broke ground for the Greater Springfield Reliability Project, a $795 million transmission upgrade designed to strengthen the region’s power grid, meet mandatory reliability standards, and allow power to move more freely around the Greater Springfield and North-Central Conn. area. Construction on the project has started at the new Cadwell Switching Station in Springfield and at the existing Agawam Substation. Construction of the overhead transmission line in Massachusetts is expected to begin on existing rights of way in early 2011. The creation of approximately 1,000 jobs is anticipated at the peak of construction, while adding about $11 million in much-needed tax revenues to towns along the project route. The project includes work along 39 miles of an existing transmission right of way between Ludlow and Bloomfield, Conn. The 27-mile portion in Massachusetts includes new 345-kilovolt (kV) transmission lines, new and reconstructed 115-kV lines, two new switching stations, and several substation upgrades. In Connecticut, construction is expected to begin with a substation upgrade in Bloomfield in mid-2011, and construction of the overhead line is expected to begin in late 2011. The project is expected to be in service in 2013. For more information about the initiative, visit www.neewsprojects.com
LENOX Earns OSHA ‘Star’
EAST LONGMEADOW — LENOX has been recertified for an additional five years in the prestigious ‘Star’ Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) of the U.S. Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). LENOX has maintained this elite health-and-safety certification for more than 10 years. OSHA’s verification for the Star certification includes an application review and a rigorous on-site evaluation by a team of OSHA safety and health experts. In 1997, LENOX became the first cutting-tool company in the country to receive this honor. Since then, LENOX has earned recertification in 2000, 2005, and now in 2010. Sites that make the grade must submit annual self-evaluations and undergo periodic onsite re-evaluations to remain in the programs. The plant, which employs 720 workers, manufactures power-tool accessories and blades including band-saw blades, hack saws, hole saws, utility knives, and reciprocating saw blades. The VPP promotes effective worksite-based safety and health, according to Mike Avery, director of safety and security for LENOX.
Langone’s Florist Opens at Tower Square
SPRINGFIELD — Brent Bertelli, owner of Langone’s Florist, recently signed a lease to take the former Longmeadow Flowers space located on the street level of Tower Square. This new endeavor is the second Langone’s Florist operation. The original store, located at 838 Main St., has been family-owned and operated since 1967. Bertelli said he hopes to expand the business and offer more products and services to the downtown clientele through the new location. Langone’s Florist offers custom florals, tropical plants, silk arrangements, seasonal décor, and a diverse collection of gifts.
WORCESTER — Fallon Community Health Plan recently distributed more than $170,000 to dozens of designated food pantries and hunger-relief programs throughout Massachusetts. The donations represent the total net proceeds from its annual fund-raising event in September. This year’s record-breaking result is due to the participation of 96 organizations that generously contributed to the effort. Organizations specifically recognized for their donations include Booz & Co., CVS Caremark, the Revere Group, Epstein Becker & Green, Fallon Clinic, Acton Medical Associates, Beacon Health Strategies, Income Research & Management, and Protector Group. Fallon will support the following regional hunger-relief programs: Alliance to Develop Power, Springfield; Amherst Survival Center; Berkshire Community Action Council, Pittsfield; Christian Pentecostal Church, Holyoke; Elder Services of Berkshire County Inc., Pittsfield; Gandara Mental Health Center, West Springfield; Jubilee Cupboard, Ware; Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen & Pantry, Chicopee; Open Pantry Community Services Inc., Springfield; Providence Ministries for the Needy Inc., Holyoke; Western MA Labor Action, Pittsfield; and the Westfield Food Pantry. Founded in 1977, Fallon is a national, not-for-profit health-care-services organization.
Baystate Rug and Flooring Receives Honor
CHICOPEE — Baystate Rug and Flooring was recently awarded the honor of being Mohawk Industries’ North American Flooring Store of the Year. Mohawk Industries awarded the firm the prestigious award based on criteria including sales, growth, marketing techniques, product knowledge, community service, and best practices. Baystate Rug competed regionally, winning the title of Northeast Flooring Store of the Year, before winning the national championship for all of Canada and the U.S. Joseph Montemagni, president of Baystate Rug, noted that, in order to qualify, “Mohawk evaluated our store’s business practices, our employees’ training, their product knowledge, and reviewed our commitment and involvement in our community.” Baystate Rug is a family-owned flooring company that specializes in retail and commercial flooring, installation, and decorating services. A diversified product selection includes carpet, ceramics, hardwoods, resilient, laminate, green flooring products, area rugs, and window treatments.
Bradley’s Paradies Shops Receive Awards
WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — Bradley International Airport’s prime retailer, the Paradies Shops, was recently honored with several awards recognizing its top-performing managers and first-class associates at the company’s annual management seminar and vendor show in Georgia. The seminar celebrates the accomplishments of managers and both customer-facing and support-level associates who exemplify the company’s mission statement “to exceed the expectations of the customers and business partners we serve.” The Paradies Shops has operated at Bradley for almost 25 years, serves 78,000 customers per month, and runs six retail stores at the airport. Its team at Bradley, led by General Manager Deb Donahue, received numerous awards, including Best Customer Service, Best 401(k) Participation, and the coveted Public Relations Award. These honors are considered qualifying awards and are the basis for the revered awards that recognize the best of the best within the company. Taking home the top honors as one of four Executives of the Year was Judy Heit, a regional merchandise planner based at Bradley. Additionally, Patty Tucker, also of Bradley International, was selected as one of three Assistant Managers of the Year. The Paradies Shops, a family business established in 1960, operates more than 500 stores in more than 70 markets across the U.S. and Canada.