Bank Employees Collect Items for Soldiers
PITTSFIELD — Berkshire Bank conducted a company-wide care-package drive in mid-February through its employee-volunteer program to raise awareness of soldiers’ needs and show troops the support they have throughout Berkshire County, the Pioneer Valley, Eastern New York, and Southern Vermont. Bank officials partnered with local, service-connected organizations to distribute the care packages to soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Customers and the public were invited to participate in the care package drive by donating non-perishable foods, travel-sized toiletries, games, and certain clothing items. Peter Lafayette, Berkshire Bank Foundation’s executive director, noted in a statement that the bank was “very proud” to again sponsor the drive to benefit soldiers from the region. Organizations partnering on the project with the bank were the USO of the Pioneer Valley and Blue Star Mothers of the Capital District.
Springfield Partners for Community Action Relocates Offices
SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Partners for Community Action’s main office at 619 State St. and its weatherization office at 284 Main St., Indian Orchard, were moved the week of Feb. 14. Staff moved into renovated office space on the second floor of 721 State St., which houses Springfield Partners New Beginnings Childcare Center on its first floor. The main office phone number, (413) 263-6500, and staff extensions will not change. Weatherization staff can also be reached at this number. Visitors to the second floor of 721 State St. should park in the lot behind the building, which can be accessed from Monroe Street. For more information, visit www.springfieldpartnersinc.com.
Big Y Plans Store in Connecticut
SPRINGFIELD — Big Y Foods Inc. recently announced plans to open a World Class Market in Meriden, Conn. The company’s proposed 55,000-square-foot supermarket will be located in the 125,000-square-foot Townline Square shopping center on North Colony Road at its intersection with South Broad Street. Big Y intends to renovate the location vacated by ShopRite when it relocated to Wallingford in 2010. The Meriden Big Y will employ between 150 and 175 people. In other news, a Big Y World Class Market is under construction in Lee, and one in Franklin is scheduled to start construction later this year. Big Y has also announced plans to develop a Big Y World Class Market in the Foxfield Plaza in Foxborough. Big Y operates markets in Massachusetts and Connecticut. The Meriden market will represent Big Y’s investment of approximately $5 million into the community. In addition, the project will provide construction opportunities for local contractors during the renovation process. A late-spring opening is planned.
Authority Approves Baystate’s New ED Plan
SPRINGFIELD — The Massachusetts Public Health Council recently approved Baystate Medical Center’s request to meet urgent community needs by expediting construction of a new emergency department as part of Baystate’s Hospital of the Future project now underway. The council of the Mass. Department of Public Health considers and approves or denies determination-of-need applications for health care building projects such as Baystate’s. The new ED, 70,000 square feet, nearly doubles the number of treatment areas, including a separate pediatric triage and treatment area, an urgent care center, eight rooms specifically designed for behavioral-health services, and an adjacent space for diagnostic imaging such as X-ray scanning. The new ED is scheduled to open by early fall of 2012, just a few months after the March 2012 opening of the first phase of the building project. For more information, visit www.baystatehealth.org/hospitalofthefuture.
UMass Spending on Financial Aid Rises to $130.5M
BOSTON — Illustrating its commitment to affordability, the University of Massachusetts is directing $130.5 million of its own funds to student financial aid this year, according to a recent report to the UMass Board of Trustees Committee on Administration and Finance. During the past eight years, UMass spending on financial aid has risen from $35.6 million to $130.5 million, an increase of 267%. In a statement, UMass President Jack Wilson noted that “we understand that higher education is the path to a better life for students and is critical to our future as a Commonwealth, and therefore the University of Massachusetts is doing everything it can to maintain access and affordability.” According to the report, 25,681, or 61%, of the university’s 41,947 in-state undergraduate students are receiving some amount of need-based financial aid this year.
Kindred Hospital Has Deficiency-free Survey
SPRINGFIELD — Kindred Hospital officials recently announced that its survey for Park View Rehabilitation & Nursing Center, a specialty neurobehavioral unit, was deficiency-free. The center, located within the hospital, provides services to individuals with acquired brain injuries, neuropsychiatric disorders, and other neurological/behavioral disorders. Massachusetts conducts on-site inspections that determine whether its nursing homes meet the minimum Medicare and Medicaid quality and performance standards. During the nursing-home inspection, a team evaluates whether the facility is meeting residents’ needs. Marcia B. Zimmer, executive director of the center, noted in a statement that she was “proud of the team of caregivers.” Zimmer added, “it’s an honor to have a deficiency-free survey, and I would like to thank the staff for their hard work in providing the quality care our residents deserve and expect.”
Baystate Home Infusion Opens Branch at Hospital
WARE — Baystate Home Infusion & Respiratory Services (BHI&RS) recently opened a second store at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital. Located on the first floor of the hospital, the firm offers a wide selection of medical equipment and is staffed by trained advisors. “A great advantage to the retail showroom is that customers can view many different personal-care items and also try out a wide range of medical products such as canes, walkers, crutches, hospital beds, wheelchairs, rollators, and transport chairs,” said Gisele Livingstone, customer service coordinator, in a statement. With trained Sigvaris fitters on staff, the store also offers a wide range of medically approved Sigvaris compression stockings, socks, and hosiery. The firm accepts most major insurances, and staff can work directly with customers to obtain coverage for products and services that qualify.
Easthampton Savings to Open New Loan Center
EASTHAMPTON — William Hogan Jr., president and CEO of Easthampton Savings Bank, announced that the bank will submit building plans to the city of Easthampton to construct a 28,000-square-foot loan center with a banking office at the corner of Northampton and O’Neill streets in town. This facility, which will be called the Easthampton Savings Bank Loan Center, will house the entire lending team and operations departments, as well as provide banking services with a new branch office. Thanks to the recent zone change by the city, there will be a drive-up window and a drive-up ATM at this location. The bank’s current drive-up ATM will be temporarily relocated across the street during construction. “With our expansion into this facility, we will be adding 14 new jobs in the community as well as generating approximately $60,000 annually in new tax revenue to the city,” Hogan said. “We will be constructing this building as green as possible and are currently exploring the feasibility of solar power. We will also provide bike racks to encourage customers to visit the bank from the nearby bike path.” The bank hopes to break ground this summer and be open for business in the spring of 2012. The bank’s main office is located at 36 Main St. in Easthampton.