Monson Savings Bank Elects New Corporators
MONSON — Monson Savings Bank announced the election of five new corporators. At the bank’s recent annual meeting, it was announced that Nikki Burnett, Cesar Ruiz, John Zienowicz, Ciara Speller, and Christian D’Amour had been elected by existing corporators. Burnett is the executive director of Educare Springfield. She also sits on national committees for the Educare Learning Network, such as the Educare Policy Work Group, the Collaborative Fundraising Advisory Board, and the Red Nose Day Advisory Board. Additionally, she is a trustee for the Community Foundation of Western Mass., and serves on the Distribution Committee as co‐chair; the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion subcommittee; and the Executive Committee. She is also a member of the Baystate Community Benefits Advisory Council. Ruiz is the founder, president and CEO of Golden Years Home Services. He was the first Hispanic popularly elected official in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, serving on the Springfield School Committee from 1980-1986. Prior to founding Golden Years, he worked in banking at Region’s Bank. He was recently recognized as one of business’s most influential Latinos by Hispanic Executive magazine. Zienowicz is the executive director of the Ware Council on Aging. Furthermore, he sits on the board of directors for the Quaboag Hills Community Coalition, the Ware Cable Access Television, and the Advisory Board for BHN Carson Center. He is a member of the Bay State Eastern Region Community Benefits Advisory Board, the Quaboag Region Coordinating Council, and the Quaboag Hills Substance Use Alliance. Speller is a weeknight news anchor for Channel 22 WWLP. She serves as a board member for local nonprofit I Found Light Against All Odds, is a member of the National Association of Black Journalists, volunteers for the Miss Western Massachusetts Scholarship Assoc., and is a panelist for Girls Inc. of the Valley. Additionally, she was the recipient of the “Leadership in Broadcasting Award” from Bay Path University in 2019 and a 2021 Boston/New England Regional Emmy Winner. D’Amour is the director of E-Commerce at Big Y World Class Market and a third-generation member of Big Y Foods’ founding D’Amour family. Prior to working at Big Y, he worked at Delta Dental of Rhode Island as a sales and marketing representative. Additionally, he holds a B.A. from Saint Michael College.
HNE Offers $100,000 in Grants for DEIB in Maternal/Infant Health
SPRINGFIELD — Health New England is offering $100,000 in grants for non-profit organizations that address inequities to improve maternal and infant health. The company’s Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging (DEIB) grants will award up to $10,000 per organization. The DEIB grants will fund non-profits whose programs address health equity and focus on engaging at least one social determinant of health (SDOH). SDOHs are conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work, and age that affect health, quality of life, and life expectancy. These may include socioeconomic status, food insecurity, education, access to health care, safe housing, discrimination, violence, and trauma, etc. Registered 501(c)(3) non-profits focused on communities in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, Hampshire, and Worcester counties are eligible. Eligible organizations can find out more and apply for the grant here. Submissions are due by midnight on May 30.
Mercy Medical Center Earns Fourth Consecutive ‘A’ Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade
SPRINGFIELD — Mercy Medical Center has received an “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. This latest recognition marks Mercy’s fourth consecutive “A” safety grade. The Leapfrog Group, an independent national watchdog organization, assigns an “A,” “B,” “C,” “D,” or “F” grade to general hospitals across the country based on over thirty national performance measures reflecting errors, accidents, injuries, and infections, as well as systems hospitals have in place to prevent harm. The Leapfrog Hospital Safety Grade is the only hospital ratings program based exclusively on hospital prevention of medical errors and harms to patients. The grading system is peer-reviewed, fully transparent and free to the public. Grades are updated twice annually, in the fall and spring.
Lee Bank Foundation Distributes $83,750 in First Grant Funding Round of 2022
LEE — Lee Bank Foundation has awarded $83,750 to 12 Berkshire area organizations and an additional grant to Pittsfield Public Schools in its first-round of 2022 community funding. Recipients were awarded grants ranging from $1,000 to $16,000 to support their local programming. Included in the awards are a series of Arts Access Grants for arts and culture organizations to expand access to programming for underserved audiences.
The following organizations received funding:
• Berkshire Center for Justice;
• Berkshire Community Diaper Project;
• Berkshire Concert Choir;
• Berkshire County Arc;
• Berkshire Historical Society;
• Berkshire Family YMCA;
• Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity;
• Community Access to the Arts;
• Great Barrington Public Theater;
• Roots Rising; and
• The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
Arts Access Grants of $1,000 each were awarded to Berkshire Concert Choir, Berkshire Historical Society, and Great Barrington Public Theater. Additionally, Lee Bank Foundation announced a $16,000 grant to the Pittsfield Public Schools — $1,000 for each school serving children and adults in Pittsfield, to coincide with the groundbreaking of the new Lee Bank branch on South Street. The deadline for the next round of 2022 Foundation funding is June 1. The application and more information can be found on the Community Impact section of Lee Bank’s website (https://www.leebank.com/community-impact/donations-sponsorships.html). To be considered for grant awards, applicants must be a (501)(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The Foundation is focused on funding programs that work to bridge income and opportunity gaps in our region. Funding requests should reflect one or more of Lee Bank Foundation’s primary focus areas: education and literacy; food security and nutrition; economic growth and development; health and human services; mentorship, internship and “school to work” initiatives; and arts and culture
Marriott Brand Restored on Downtown Springfield Hotel
SPRINGFIELD — The Marriott brand has been restored to a downtown Springfield hotel in preparation for a planned September opening. The Marriott ‘M’ logo was attached to the Tower Square Hotel recently, a milestone in a nearly four-year-long effort to restore a brand name that was lost in 2017. Extensive renovations of the property, projected to cost $40 million, are ongoing, with a grand reopening planned for this fall. The new Marriott will have 266 rooms.
North Brookfield Savings Named Among ‘Top Extraordinary Banks’
NORTH BROOKFIELD — North Brookfield Savings Bank, was recently named among the top extraordinary banks in the United States by The Institute for Extraordinary Banking. This award comes on the heels of the Community Choice Central Mass. Best Bank Award it received for 2021. North Brookfield Savings Bank was recognized with the institute’s Banky Award for its commitment to strong community banking. This recognition is given to top community banks across the country to help people find the best banks in their communities.
Massage Clinic to Open at Asnuntuck Community College
ENFIELD, Conn. — The public is invited to make a reservation for a massage through Asnuntuck Community College’s massage clinic. Massages can provide physical and mental benefits. Massage can loosen tight muscles, lower blood pressure, and assist in recovery from injuries and illness. Students enrolled in ACC’s Massage Therapy program provide the massages for the clinic. The appointments begin May 23, and run until August 16 on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. Appointment times are 9 a.m., 10:15 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:15 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. Rates are $30 for 50 minutes, and $60 for 100 minutes. Gift certificates are available. Tipping is not allowed by state law. Reservations are required. Visit https://asnuntuck.edu/massage/ to learn more about the clinic.
Spectrum Home Health & Hospice Care Named to ‘Elite List’
LONGMEADOW — JGS Lifecare, a not-for-profit healthcare system serving seniors and their families in Western Mass. for more than 110 years, announced that Spectrum Home Health & Hospice Care, one of its subsidiary organizations, has made the 2022 Hospice Honors Elite list. Hospice Honors is a prestigious annual national program from HEALTHCAREfirst that recognized hospices that continuously provide the highest level of quality care as measured from the caregiver’s point of view. HEALTHCAREfirst is a leading provider of billing and coding services, CAHPS surveys, and advanced analytics. It acknowledges the highest performing agencies by analyzing the performance of the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) hospice survey satisfaction measures. Award criteria were based on Hospice CAHPS survey results for an evaluation period of October 2020 through September 2021. Award recipients were identified by evaluating performance on a set of 24 quality indicator measures. Performance scores were aggregated from all completed surveys and were compared on a question-by-question basis to a National Performance Score calculated from all hospices contained in the HEALTHCAREfirst’s Hospice CAHPS database. Hospice Honors recipients include those hospices scoring above the HEALTHCAREfirst national performance score on 20 of the 24 evaluated questions. HEALTHCAREfirst holds a special recognition, Hospice Honors Elite, to honor hospices scoring above the HEALTHCAREfirst National Performance Score on all 24 of the evaluated questions.
‘Together HCC’ Raises $192,000 for Scholarships, Student Aid
HOLYOKE — Alumni, faculty, staff, and friends of Holyoke Community College led a historic day of giving last month, raising more than $192,000 for student support programs during its one-day ‘Together HCC: Drive to Change Lives’ campaign. Organizers had set a goal of 300 donors for the 24-hour, April 26, fund drive. The final tally was 418, a 41% increase from 2021. Auto dealer Gary Rome, an HCC Foundation board member, led the way with a $5,000 challenge when the campaign met its goals of securing 300 donors. Another alumni donor was Dylan Pilon, ’12, of Springfield, a former scholarship recipient who graduated from HCC debt free, which allowed him to start his own company, Cloud 9 Marketing in East Longmeadow. In addition to Rome and Pilon, Peg, ’58, and Gary Wendlandt, Jim Izatt, ’59, trustee Robert Gilbert, Foundation board member Carl Eger, ’56, and Shirley Eger, and HCC President Christina Royal all posed matching and challenge gifts for the campaign.
‘Parklets’ Come to Downtown Amherst
AMHERST — The Amherst Business Improvement District (BID) has received an $80,750 grant from the Regional Economic Development Organization (REDO) for outdoor seating accommodations on Amity Street and South Pleasant Street that have been dubbed ‘parklets.’
The grant is funded through the Massachusetts Office of Business Development and is being administered through the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council. It will cover the materials, labor, and insurance costs.
Each parklet will be located in front of a designated food-and-drink establishment for that establishment’s use, and the sidewalk next to each parklet location will be maintained as a pedestrian pathway. These ‘parklets’ will also be accessible to those with disabilities in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act standards for accessible design.
The Amherst BID is managing this project with support from the Amherst Planning Department staff. The parklets are being constructed by Keiter Corporation, a Florence-based construction company. Additionally, Evan Jones from Cowls Building Supply, located in Amherst, worked with the BID to procure the materials at a reduced cost.
“The main goal of this project is to help activate the downtown streetscape by providing extended sidewalks to serve as outdoor dining spaces, to attract residents and visitors and support local businesses. As the town explores urban design standards and streetscape designs for the downtown, this pilot project is an excellent opportunity for all stakeholders to learn from and enjoy,” said Maureen Pollock, Amherst planner.
The parklets are expected to be fully constructed by Saturday.