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Supporting the Kids

 

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

 


 

New Housing in Amherst

 

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

 


 

Grant Announcement

 

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

 

 


 

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Grand Opening

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

 


White Lion Roars

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

 


 

Caring for the Community

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

 

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Open to Making Connections

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

 


Spring Cleanup

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


Remembering a Legend

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

 


Fresh Paint Springfield

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

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Brewing Up Business

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

 


 

 

Honoring a Legacy

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

 


 

 

Customers’ Choice Community Grants

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

 


 

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Open for Business in Chicopee

 

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

 


 

Sock It to Stigma

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

 


 

 

Protecting History

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

 

 


 

 

 

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Supporting Students

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

 


 

Tackling Tough Issues

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

 


 

In the Bag

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

 


 

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Paws in the Workday

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

 


 

 

Community Support

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

 

 


Art of the Matter

 

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

 

 

 

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We’ll Drink to That

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

 


 

Investment in the Future

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

 

 


 

Young Woman of Impact

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

 


 

 

Special Delivery

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

 


 

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Superheroes Saving Lives

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

 


 

 

Hand in Hand

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

 


 

 

Round Up with Carr

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

 


 

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Help Where It’s Needed

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

 

 


 

 

Celebrating STEM Week

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

 


 

 

Supporting Girls

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

 

 


 

 

 

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Manufacturer of the Year

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


 

Grand Opening in Amherst

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

 


 

COVID-19 Relief

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

 


 

Halloween, 2020-Style

 

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

 


 

Celebrating STEM Week

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


 

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Education Equity

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

 


 

 

Driving for a Cure

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

 

 


 

 

The Bionic Kid

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

 

 

 


 

Class of 2020 Event Galleries Special Coverage

2020 40 Under Forty Virtual-Hybrid Celebration
Tues., Oct. 13 & Wed., Oct. 14, 2020

Scenes from Tuesday's 4 PM Event

Scenes from Tuesday's 6:30 PM Event

Scenes from Wednesday's 4 PM Event

Scenes from Wednesday's 6:30 PM Event

Amid new restrictions imposed by the governor on large gatherings and with a strong desire to keep everyone safe, it was decided that the most prudent course was to instead celebrate our honorees’ accomplishments with a hybrid platform.

The hybrid event has been spread out over two days on Tues., Oct. 13 and Wed., Oct. 14. Each “mini-event” will allow 10 honorees to celebrate in person at the Upper Vista of the Log Cabin. For those who can’t join us in person, we’ve created a livestream option so friends and family can cheer on the Class of 2020 from the safety and comfort of their home. The new two-night ‘Virtual Access Pass’ allows you to see all 40 of this year’s honorees accept their awards on Tuesday, Oct. 13 and Wednesday, Oct. 14!

The 40 Under Forty program for 2020 is sponsored by PeoplesBank and Health New England (presenting sponsors); Comcast Business, Isenberg School of Management, and Mercedes-Benz of Springfield (sponsors); the Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield (partner); and WWLP 22 News/CW Springfield (exclusive media sponsor).

Please refer to the below list to see when your 40 Under Forty honoree will be accepting their award.

2020 Sponsors Videos

2020 Presenting Sponsors

2020 Sponsors

2020 Partner

2020 Exclusive Media Sponsor

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Feed the Body – Feed the Mind

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

 

 


 

Red Alert


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

 


 

 

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Tourism Boost

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

 


Supporting Community Health Workers

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


J-Camp in a Box

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

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Brewing Up Some News

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

 


Meeting a Surging Need

Easthampton Community Center

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

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

 

 


Drive-by Party

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

 


 

 

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Camp Days

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

 


Food Donations

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

 


 

 

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Celebrating 40 Years

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

 


 

Sharing and Caring

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

 


 

Service Above Self

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

 


 

Special Delivery

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

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Breaking Ground

 

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


Feeding the Front Lines

 

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

 


Deserving Scholars

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

 

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Celebrating Carol Leary

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

 


 

Election Protection

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

 

 


 

Project Toybox

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

 


Sign and Drive

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

 


 

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Special Deliveries

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

load a cargo van with surplus produce and other food

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

ready to deliver a load of food

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

 


Needed Supplies

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

a box of shields designed and donated by UMass Amherst

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

 

 


Gear for the Front Lines

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

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Meeting the Need

Action Ambulance Supervisor Kyle Rondeau

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

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


Bedtime Stories

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

Mask Maker, Mask Maker, Make Me a Mask

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

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Community Support

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

 


 

Meeting the Need

 

The United Way of Pioneer Valley

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

 

 

 


 

A Story Worth Reading

Link to Libraries and MGM Springfield announced a partnership


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

 

 


 

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Customers’ Choice

$1,221 award

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

 

Tammy Walunas of the Smith Vocational High School PTO chats

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

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

 


Grand Tour

Grand Tour

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

 

Student trustee Yanira Aviles

Student trustee Yanira Aviles

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

 


 

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A photo essay of business happenings in Western Mass.

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Elevating the Brand

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

 


Supporting the Community

Florence Bank recently pledged $50,000

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

 


Highest Honors

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

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

 


Record Donation

Holyoke Community College (HCC) has received the largest donation

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

 


Advocating for Girls

Executives from Girls Inc. of the Valley recently joined executives

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

 


Read Across America Day

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

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

 


 

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Accessible Design Award

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

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


Grand Opening

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

 


Charitable Champions List

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

 


Getting a Boost

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

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


 

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A Home for Innovation

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

 


 

Scoring a Milestone

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

 


Car Wash for a Good Cause

 

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


Toward a New Home

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


Forging Connections

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


MassHire Grand Opening

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

 


Cannabis Conference

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

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

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

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

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

 


 

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HCC Gives Back to the Community

Representatives from four Holyoke Community College (HCC) student clubs delivered hundreds of winter care packages to agencies in Holyoke and Springfield that serve the homeless. Members of the HCC Military Club, Criminal Justice Club, Radio Club, and Sociology Club created hygiene kits (84 for women, 86 for men) that included basic toiletries, and also prepared 208 kits that included hats, mittens, scarves, and blankets and gave away winter coats.

HCC Criminal Justice Professor Alex Sanchez, student John Serrano, student Sierra Palazzi, alumna Lindsey Pare, student Robert Vigneault, and student John Colleto hold some of the winter care packages. HCC also celebrated the 20th anniversary of its annual Giving Tree campaign this year, fulfilling the holiday wishes of 375 individuals from four nonprofits that aid and support some of the area’s most at-risk residents

Palazzi helps distribute gifts during the closing celebration for the Giving Tree campaign

 


 

No Shave November

TommyCar Auto Group joined forces with the Hampshire County Sheriff’s Office and Sheriff Patrick Cahillane for No Shave November, in which participants forgo shaving and grooming for one month to raise cancer awareness. Throughout November, deputies and staff in the Sheriff’s Office were able to opt out of the dress code prohibiting beards for a donation of $20 to the Tom Cosenzi Driving for the Cure Charity Golf Tournament, which supports the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Meanwhile, TommyCar Auto Group employees donated the money they would spend on shaving to the charity. In total, the Sheriff’s Office raised $2,700, which Carla Cosenzi, president of TommyCar Auto Group, matched, resulting in a donation of $5,400 to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

 


Florence Bank Open House

Florence Bank hosted its 12th annual holiday open house at its Williamsburg branch on Dec. 11.  Complimentary appetizers and refreshments from the Williamsburg Snack Bar were served, and local businesses, including Cichy’s Garage, O’Brien’s Auto Works, Williamsburg Market, Dove Business Associates, and Village Green, donated raffle prizes.

The event featured a performance of holiday carols by the Williamsburg Congregational Church Choir

Kristine Zdaniewicz, assistant branch manager at the Williamsburg branch (left), and April O’Brien, vice president and Williamsburg branch manager

 


Helping Families Celebrate the Season

Robinson Donovan, P.C. once again partnered with the Gray House for its Adopt-a-Family Christmas program to brighten the season for deserving families in the Western Mass. community. The Gray House pairs local businesses with families in need to fulfill Christmas wish lists for their children; this year, Robinson Donovan assisted five families. Through the help of participating businesses, the Gray House was able to provide more than 800 gifts from children’s wish lists in 2018. In addition to the Adopt-a-Family Christmas program, the organization hosts a general toy drive for children in the community with the help of local schools and shelters.

Robinson Donovan Partner David Lawless with Teresa Liberti, executive director of the Gray House

 


 

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Care Where It’s Needed

Baystate Health recently received a $1 million grant from TD Bank to further the health system’s commitment to the communities it serves by funding an innovative new mobile health clinic called the TD Bank – Baystate Health Bus, which will deliver preventive care to people in urban and rural communities who are not receiving services due to financial and transportation barriers, including a shortage of providers in their neighborhoods. As a mobile medical unit, the bus will be staffed by a multi-disciplinary healthcare team to bring health screenings, early detection, and referrals for needed treatment or other services directly to at-risk individuals.

At the announcement, from left: Mark Keroack, president and CEO, Baystate Health; Rebecca Blanchard, senior director of Education, Baystate Health; Steve Webb, regional vice president, TD Bank; Dr. Kevin Hinchey, chief education officer, Baystate Health; Christina Cronin, philanthropy officer, Baystate Foundation; and Scott Berg, executive director, Baystate Health Foundation

Keroack talks about the importance of the health bus

 


Going Above and Beyond

Polish National Credit Union (PNCU) has made a $10,000 donation to the Chicopee Police Department, to be used to purchase an aerial drone for public safety. Drones have become a critical tool for first responders, allowing for additional capabilities for search and rescue, surveillance, crash reconstruction, and other tasks.

Pictured, from left: PNCU board members John Murphy and Stephen Burkott with Chicopee Police Chief William Jebb.

 


 

STEM Center at STCC

On Dec. 11, Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) officially opened its STEM Center, featuring resources and services to assist students studying science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. Students who visit the facility can use a computer lab and study lounge and take advantage of other services, including exam proctoring, career exploration, and class support. In addition, the center features collaborative spaces for group study, tutoring, supplemental instruction, and group meetings.

Pictured: faculty and staff join STCC President John Cook, right, at the grand opening of the STEM Center at STCC. Barbara Washburn, interim dean of the School of STEM, second from right, cuts the ribbon with Vice President of Academic Affairs Geraldine de Berly.


 

Helping Students Thrive

A reception on Dec. 10 acknowledged a $50,000 donation from PeoplesBank to Holyoke Community College’s (HCC) Thrive Center, which assists students as they negotiate the complex bureaucracies associated with myriad issues, such as health insurance, food, housing and utility assistance, and credit repair. The money will be used to establish a dedicated fund for Thrive managed by the HCC Foundation, the college’s nonprofit fundraising corporation.

Pictured, from left: Thomas Senecal, president and CEO, PeoplesBank; HCC President Christina Royal; HCC student Christopher Royster; and Amanda Sbriscia, executive director, HCC Foundation.

 


 

Third Party Lender of the Year

Florence Bank was recently recognized by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) as the Western Massachusetts Third Party Lender of the Year for loans the bank administers to small businesses in the area. Third-party loans, called SBA 504 loans, are offered by the bank in collaboration with certified development corporations such as Granite State Development Corp., Bay Colony Development Corp., and BDC Capital/CDC New England.

Pictured, from left:  Peter Kontakos, office deputy district director, SBA Massachusetts; Erin Couture and Michael Davey, Florence Bank vice presidents in Commercial Lending; Robert Nelson, office district director, SBA Massachusetts; and Ili Spahiu, assistant district director for Lender Relations, SBA Massachusetts.

 

 

 

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Cutting the Ribbon

EforAll Holyoke recently cut the ceremonial ribbon at its new headquarters on High Street. The well-attended event featured remarks from a number of those responsible for creating EforAll, now a key component of the region’s entrepreneurship infrastructure, and also building a home for it, one complete with co-working space, in the city’s downtown.

Tessa Murphy-Romboletti, executive director of EforAll Holyoke, offers some remarks

 


History Lessons

Fifth-grade students at Springfield’s DeBerry School visited the Springfield Armory on Nov. 26 on a field trip organized by BusinessWest as part of its sponsorship of the school through the Link to Libraries Community Book Link Program. The students were reading recently about creation of the National Parks, which prompted a visit to the Armory, a National Historic Site. The students learned about the Armory’s importance to Springfield’s development and its lead role in bringing mass-production processes to the forefront. Here, the students pose in front of the historic photo that greets Armory visitors.

 


Early Literacy Leadership Summit

More than 100 community and state education leaders gathered at Reading Success by 4th Grade’s first Early Literacy Leadership Summit on Nov. 14 at UMass Center at Springfield in Tower Square. The summit featured a presentation by Junlei Li, Saul Zaentz senior lecturer in Early Childhood Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education (top right), whose work is significantly influenced and inspired by the pioneering work of Fred Rogers. Pictured at left: from left, Chrissy Howard, manager of Reading Success by 4th Grade; Springfield City Councilor Jesse Lederman; Literacy Champion Award honorees Tyeshia Weir and Melissa Blissett; Springfield City Councilor Tim Allen; Sally Fuller, retired program manager of Reading Success by 4th Grade and Literacy Champion Award honoree; and Robert Bolduc, CEO of Pride Stores and Literacy Champion Award honoree. Top left: panelists in the Out of School Time breakout session at the summit.

The summit featured a presentation by Junlei Li, Saul Zaentz senior lecturer in Early Childhood Education at Harvard Graduate School of Education whose work is significantly influenced and inspired by the pioneering work of Fred Rogers

From left, Chrissy Howard, manager of Reading Success by 4th Grade; Springfield City Councilor Jesse Lederman; Literacy Champion Award honorees Tyeshia Weir and Melissa Blissett; Springfield City Councilor Tim Allen; Sally Fuller, retired program manager of Reading Success by 4th Grade and Literacy Champion Award honoree; and Robert Bolduc, CEO of Pride Stores and Literacy Champion Award honoree

Panelists in the Out of School Time breakout session at the summit.

 


President’s Platinum Award

Country Bank recently held its annual staff recognition, which recognized the recipient of the President’s Platinum Award, Matt Croft, IT solutions architect (left). “Matt embodies the bank’s values and its mission,” said Paul Scully (right), president and CEO of Country Bank. One nominee wrote that “Matt shares his knowledge and continually collaborates with teammates by asking for their opinions and different viewpoints to solve problems. He analyzes situations, and if he sees that someone has a heavy workload to meet a deadline, he pitches in to lend a hand to hit the target date. He follows up with appreciation and sincere gratitude toward others for their efforts.”

 


 

Rock-solid Performance

Granite State Development Corp. approved 21 U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 504 loans totaling more than $8 million in its last fiscal year, making it the most active 504 lender in Western Mass. by both dollars and loan approvals. In addition, it ended the fiscal year ranked fourth in the country by approving 223 loans for $109,099,000.

Pictured, from left: Peter Kontakos, SBA deputy district director; Tracey Gaylord, vice president, Business Development, Granite State Development Corp.; Barbara Arena, vice president, Business Development, Granite State Development Corp.; Robert Nelson, SBA district director; and Ili Spahiu, SBA assistant district director for Lender Relations.

 


Stuff the Bus

The Springfield College campus community filled the Springfield College Athletics bus on Nov. 20 with more than 2,900 pounds of non-perishable food items as part of the annual Fill the Bus campaign, sponsored by the Springfield College Student Athlete Leadership Team, the Department of Public Safety, and the Division of Inclusion and Community Engagement. Fill the Bus is an annual tradition that allows students, faculty, staff, and community members to donate non-perishable food items to the Food Bank of Western Massachusetts, German Gerena Community School, and the Springfield College Food Pantry. Donations included canned fruit and vegetables, canned soup, cereal, crackers, granola bars, jelly, peanut butter, rice, and stuffing mix.


 

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Toys for the Kids

Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood and Massachusetts State Police Colonel Kerry Gilpin, along with Springfield police officers and state troopers, recently went shopping at Walmart on Boston Road on Tuesday morning with a special delivery in mind. Afterward, they made a large donation of toys to Baystate Children’s Hospital.

 


Honoring a Supporter

At the launch of the college’s first major gifts campaign in more than a decade, Springfield Technical Community College President John Cook announced the naming of the Tuohey Family Welcome Center at the Student Learning Commons. Brian Tuohey (pictured), a generous supporter of STCC, beamed with delight after hearing the news. His family, including his five children and 12 grandchildren, made a surprise appearance at the kickoff event on Oct. 22.

 


Celebrating 100 Years

Balise Auto Group recently held its 100th-anniversary employee-recognition event at the Basketball Hall of Fame.

President Jeb Balise

A shot of all Balise associates who have been with the company for 10 years or more

 


Food Fest West

The West of the River Chamber of Commerce (WRC) held its annual Food Fest West on Nov. 7  at Springfield Country Club in West Springfield. The event featured the foods of area restaurants, including Carrabba’s Italian Grill, bNapoli, 110 Grill, Hamel’s Creative Catering, Courtyard by Marriott, Pintu’s Indian Cuisine, Partners Restaurant, Springfield Country Club, Storrowton Tavern, Tekoa Country Club, and more. Storrowton Tavern in West Springfield won the People’s Choice Award.

Guests Kelli Lemelin and Ron Lemelin enjoy food from Springfield Country Club

 

A chef from bNapoli serves WRC Chairman Ryan McL

 


Where Health Matters

Health New England recently awarded five $50,000 Where Health Matters grants to organizations that have a positive impact among vulnerable population groups in Western and Central Mass. The honorees included Men of Color Health Awareness, or MOCHA (represented by Lamont Scott, pictured below); Square One (represented by Joan Kagan and Kristine Allard, pictured at bottom); 18 Degrees, a division of Berkshire Children and Families Inc.; Martin Luther King Jr. Family Services; and the Center for Youth Engagement at UMass Amherst.

Lamont Scott

Joan Kagan and Kristine Allard

 


Instilling a Love of Books

The start of the 2019-20 school year marked several significant milestones for Link to Libraries. First, thanks to the generosity of local businesses and families, including Monson Savings Bank (MSB), which now sponsors a record five schools, every public elementary school in the city of Springfield is now a part of Link to Libraries’ Community Book Link sponsorship program. During the 2018-19 academic year, Link to Libraries donated 23,000 new books to sponsored libraries throughout the region. In addition, a record 200-plus Link to Libraries volunteer readers began reading in classrooms in underserved elementary schools in Hampden, Hampshire, Berkshire, and Hartford counties.

Principal Terry Powe and students from Elias Brookings Elementary School welcome their new sponsor, MSB President Steve Lowell, and Link to Libraries President and CEO Laurie Flynn

 

William Johnson, vice president of St. Germain Investments, reads to students at Lincoln Elementary School

Longtime volunteer Francie Cornwell reads to students at Homer Elementary School

 


A Challenge from the Commissioner

Carlos Santiago, commissioner for the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, spoke to a crowd at Holyoke Community College on Nov. 5. He emphasized the importance of reconceptualizing the work that educators have been doing for the past 20 to 30 years, examining the students that are coming into the system, and changing the perception of the students themselves.

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Empowering Women

Girls Inc. of the Valley hosted Joyce Roché, businesswoman and author of The Empress Has No Clothes: Conquering Self-Doubt to Embrace Success on Oct. 10 at the Delaney House. She was interviewed by Girls Inc. teens Maya and Janira and shared her story from humble beginnings to becoming the first African-American woman vice president of Avon.

Joyce Roché autographs copies of her book after the event

Maya, Girls Inc. Executive Director Suzanne Parker, Roché, and Janira.

 


Discussing Brexit

On Oct. 3, American International College hosted Stavros Lambrinidis, European Union ambassador to the U.S., and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal to discuss the history of the EU as well as the organization’s role in international trade. Lambrinidis told Neal and a packed audience that there is a “divorce” happening in the EU, referring to Brexit, the United Kingdom’s decision to leave the EU, and discussed the importance of a continued relationship with the U.S.

 


 

Smoothing Career Pathways

Under a new agreement with Springfield Technical Community College, students at Springfield High School of Commerce will be able to take courses at STCC and earn up to 20 college credits at no cost to them. The Early College initiative allows high-school students to explore high-need career pathways, avoid student-loan debt, and ultimately complete a college degree more quickly.

Pictured, from left: Matthew Brunell and Colleen Beaudoin, co-executive directors, Springfield Empowerment Zone Partnership; John Cook, STCC president; Chris Gabrieli, chair, Massachusetts Board of Higher Education; Daniel Warwick, Springfield Public Schools superintendent; and Paul Neal, executive principal, Springfield High School of Commerce.

 


 

Earning an A+

The Parmar family of Pioneer Valley Hotel Group received the 2019 Legacy Award at the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce’s annual A+ Awards Dinner at Hadley Farms Meeting House on Oct. 3.

From left: state Rep. Mindy Domb, Elena Cohen of state Sen. Jo Comerford’s office, Laxman Parmar, Kishore Parmar, Shardool Parmar, and chamber Executive Director Claudia Pazmany.

Lisa Solowiej and Jocelyn Potter, A+ awardees for Community Service, are joined by their children and Pazmany to receive a citation from Domb for their leadership creating and coordinating the Amherst Survival Center Neighborhood Food Project.

 


 

Illusionist Performs for a Cause

Illusionist Jason Bishop and his dog, Gizmo, greet Treehouse Foundation youth Destiny and Sheyenne after his performances at the Armory at MGM on Oct. 13. The magician made Gizmo disappear and reappear, turned one-dollar bills into one hundred-dollar bills, and wowed the audience with his illusions and humor. Bishop performed two shows to benefit the Treehouse Foundation, an Easthampton nonprofit that supports children and youth who have experienced foster care.

 


 

Responding to the Call

Polish National Credit Union (PNCU) recently made a $10,000 donation to the Chicopee Fire Department. The donation will be used to purchase an industrial-sized washer extractor, an innovative machine that reduces the amount of carcinogens in turnout gear without damaging the equipment.

Chicopee firefighters with Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos, PNCU President and CEO James Kelly, Chicopee Fire Chief Daniel Stamborski, and Chicopee Fire Fighters Local 1710 IAFF President Glen Olbrych (fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh from left, respectively).

 


 

Mercedes-Benz of Springfield Turns Two

On Oct. 16, family and friends of dealership owners Michelle and Peter Wirth joined to celebrate the two-year anniversary of the dealership’s opening in 2017. Since launching the Chicopee location, the dealership has sold more than 2,000 cars. The celebration included cake, cupcakes, and balloon décor provided by Rise Event Production.

 

 

 

 

Event Galleries Features Healthcare Heroes

Scenes from the October 2019 Gala

The 2019 Healthcare Heroes

There were eight winners in this third class, with two in the category of Lifetime Achievement, because two candidates were tied with the top score. The Heroes for 2019 are:

• Lifetime Achievement (tie): Katherine Wilson, president and CEO, Behavioral Health Network Inc.; and Frank Robinson, vice president, Public Health, Baystate Health;

• Health/Wellness Administrator/Administration: Emily Uguccioni, executive director, Linda Manor Assisted Living;

• Collaboration in Health/Wellness: Carol Constant, convener, Dementia Friendly Western Massachusetts; and director of Community Engagement, Loomis Communities;

• Community Health: Amy Walker, certified nurse midwife, Cooley Dickinson Health Care;

• Emerging Leader: Tara Ferrante, program director of the Holyoke Outpatient Clinic, ServiceNet;

• Innovation in Health/Wellness: Cristina Huebner Torres, vice president, Research & Population Health, Caring Health Center Inc.; and

• Patient/Resident/Client Care Provider: Shriners Hospitals for Children – Springfield.

Photography by Dani Fine Photography

Presenting Sponsors

Partner Sponsors

Supporting Sponsors

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They Shoot, They Score

In celebration of its 30th anniversary, Lexington Group hosted an Aeron Chair Hockey Tournament on Oct. 2. Lexington Group invited players and administrative staff from American International College and UMass Amherst to battle it out in a friendly competition (pictured at top left). AIC won and advanced to a match against the Springfield Thunderbirds, with the AHL squad prevailing. The event, which raised $18,000 for the Foundation of TJO Animals, was incorporated into an After-5 networking event co-hosted by BusinessWest, the West of the River Chamber of Commerce, and the East of the River Five Town Chamber of Commerce. West Springfield Mayor William Reichelt served as referee, Pat Kelley of Lazer 99.3 emceed and provided entertainment, and complimentary refreshments were provided by Log Rolling.

Two squads with Boomer, the Thunderbirds mascot

Lexington Group owner Mark Proshan (far left), Reichelt, and some of the players present the $18,000 check to the Foundation for TJO Animals

The cake created by Cerrato’s Bakery to commemorate Lexington’s 30th anniversary

 


 

 

Square One Tea Party

Square One held its 14th annual Tea Party on Oct. 4 at the Starting Gate at GreatHorse in Hampden. Proceeds will benefit the children and families served by Square One.  (Michael Epaul photography)

event sponsors Jenny Mackay and Maureen Gaudreau of USI Insurance

Keynote speaker Tasheena Davis, attorney and Springfield city clerk

Dawn DiStefano of Square One with event sponsors Peter Miniati and Jeff Ligori of Napatree Capital

 


 

New Home for Williamstown Police

Caolo & Bieniek Associates Inc., the Chicopee-based architectural firm, has completed construction at the new Williamstown Police Station. Built at the Turner House, formerly a center for veterans, the new station provides improved accessibility and safety, as well as the most current technologies in law enforcement.

Pictured, from left: Chris Kluchman, Housing Choice Program director, Department of Housing and Community Development; Jim Kolesar, assistant to the president for Community and Government Affairs, Williams College; Williamstown Selectwoman Anne O’Connor; state Sen. Adam Hinds; Williamstown Selectman Andrew Hogeland; Williamstown Town Manager Jason Hoch; Williamstown Police Chief Kyle Johnson; state Rep. John Barrett III; and James Hanifan, architect, Caolo & Bieniek Associates.

 

 


 

Grand Opening

The Sisters of Providence celebrated the grand opening of Hillside Residence, 36 units of elder affordable housing, on Sept. 27. The $9,250,000 housing development is located on the Hillside at Providence campus, formerly known as Brightside, at 100 Hillside Circle, West Springfield. This innovative facility’s objectives will demonstrate a nonprofit model of affordable elder housing and be integrated with Mercy LIFE, a Program for All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) offering health and care management services, with both organizations co-located on the same 27-acre campus devoted to elder programs.

 


 

Cooking Up Support

bankESB recently donated $10,000 to the Holyoke Community College Foundation to support students preparing for careers in the culinary-arts and hospitality industries.

Pictured, from left: Amanda Sbriscia, HCC vice president of Institutional Advancement and executive director of the HCC Foundation; Harry Montalvo, Community Development specialist at bankESB; Tiffany Raines, assistant vice president of the bank’s Holyoke branch; HCC president Christina Royal; and John Driscoll, board chair of the HCC Foundation, hold a ceremonial check for $10,000 at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute.

 


 

Bridging the Gap

On Sept. 24, Elms College launched the Center for Equity in Urban Education (CEUE). The CEUE will help bridge the 800-teacher annual gap across K-12 schools in the area, especially in specific roles such as special education, English-language learners, and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs. The center was made possible through the foundational support of the Irene E. & George A. Davis Foundation of Springfield and Cynthia and William Lyons III of Wilbraham. The launch ceremony included the signing of memorandums of understanding with leaders from schools in Chicopee, Holyoke, and Springfield.

Pictured, from left: John Davis, senior director, Davis Foundation; Modesto Montero, head of school, Libertas Academy Charter School in Springfield; Cynthia Lyons, chair, Elms College board of trustees; Elms College President Harry Dumay; William Lyons III; Daniel Baillargeon, superintendent, Catholic Schools Office, Diocese of Springfield; Stephen Zrike Jr., receiver/superintendent, Holyoke Public Schools; Daniel Warwick, superintendent, Springfield Public Schools; Rachel Romano, executive director, Veritas Preparatory Charter School in Springfield; and Paul Stelzer, vice chair, Elms College board of trustees.

 


 

Supporting Veteran Families

Revitalize Community Development Corp. and its JoinedForces initiative announced they were awarded a $730,000 grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development to continue their mission to support military veteran families. This statewide grant will be used to modify and rehabilitate the homes of more than 51 military veterans. The funds will be used to remedy safety hazards in the home; install energy-efficient features such as insulation, heating system repairs, and Energy Star appliances; and make age-in-place modifications, including the installation of grab bars and ramps. The announcement took place at the home of Lonnie Chappell, a U.S. Marine veteran who served in Vietnam, and his wife, Mary (pictured with U.S. Rep. Richard Neal and Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno).

 

 

 

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Dig In

With the help of local dignitaries, the Walhburgers chain broke ground on Sept. 20 at its newest location at the corner of Union and Main streets in downtown Springfield. Wahlburgers at MGM Springfield will be a casual-dining eatery, featuring its signature burgers and full bar. Founded by brothers Mark, Donnie, and Chef Paul Wahlberg, Wahlburgers will be filled with photos and memories celebrating the brothers’ life journeys from Dorchester neighborhood kids to rising chef and international celebrities.

The 4,400-square-foot space, set to open in 2020, will provide 120 jobs to the community.

 


 

Sweet Harvest

Loomis Village installed two beehives this spring with the help of the Hampden County Bee Keepers Assoc. The hives were tended to throughout the summer, and residents also had the chance to learn about beekeeping. By summer’s end, the facility harvested 54 pounds of honey, with the possibility of another harvest later in the year.

Pictured: resident Karen Hyvonen helps Hampden County Bee Keepers Assoc. members remove the caps from the combs. From there, the honey is extruded and strained before being bottled.

 


 

Car Wash for a Good Cause

During the weekend of Sept. 7-8, Mercedes-Benz of Springfield hosted a car-wash fundraiser benefiting Chris Thibault and his family. Thibault and his wife, Missy, own and operate Chris Teebo Films, a local production company that helped Mercedes-Benz get its start in Western Mass. more than two years ago. Chris has been diagnosed with stage-4 cancer and is fighting hard for his life.

Pictured, from left: dealership co-owners Michelle and Peter Wirth; Missy and Chris Thibault with son Brayden; and Rich Hesse, co-owner of the dealership, with son John.

 


 

Launching Women Luncheon

Carla Oleska, principal of Carla Oleska & Co. and former executive director of the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts, leads an exploration of glass ceilings women often don’t think about — the one within ourselves, the one they construct for other women, and, of course, the big, systemic one. The talk was part of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce’s Launching Women Luncheon.

More than 50 women leaders in business, government, and nonprofit organizations attended the first of the series at the Inn on Boltwood.

 


 

Revitalizing a Community

On Sept. 20, Revitalize CDC held its annual Green N Fit event. The organization and hundreds of volunteers rebuilt four homes throughout Holyoke in one day. Three out of the four homes are owned by military veteran families.

Pictured: Jeremy Ducharme from Blue Cross Blue Shield helps to paint the home of Carol LaBoursoliere, an 80-year-old widow of a military veteran who has lived in her home on Brown Avenue for 53 years. Other homes renovated were on Homestead Avenue and Norwood Terrace.

 


 

 

Open for Business

Architecture Environment Life President Kevin Rothschild-Shea (left) and architect Rick Morse stand in front of New Valley Bank’s first location, a building they designed. The office, located at 1930 Wilbraham Road in Springfield, opened the week of Sept. 9 and is the first new bank to open in Massachusetts in a decade.

Sixteen Acres banking veteran Kimberly Marion will oversee the location and lead the bank’s retail efforts in the market as vice president and personal banking officer

 

 


 

New Life for the Pedlar

The Hildreth House, built in 1882 and home for more than 70 years to the Yankee Pedlar Inn, is now the Pedlar Banking Center, restored and renovated by PeoplesBank. The interior of the LEED-certified building now houses a community room, which will be available to nonprofit organizations free of charge. A new addition was added in the rear of the Hildreth House to provide space for the bank lobby, service counter, and support offices, as well as the drive-through canopy.

Pictured: Mason Lebron of Dowd Insurance Agency and Victor Rodriguez, mortgage consultant at PeoplesBank, celebrate the building’s grand opening.

 


Climate Strike

Organizers encouraged those attending to call their representatives and demand action be taken to mitigate the warming of the planet.

The Interfaith Council of Springfield and the Unitarian Universalist Society of Greater Springfield organized a ‘solidarity vigil’ in collaboration with the global Climate Strike on Sept. 20 in Springfield’s Court Square. Members of the community gathered to speak on the issue of climate change and joined in song.

 

 


Back(pack) to School

First American Insurance Agency, an independent insurance firm, recently donated more than 200 backpacks to nine Chicopee elementary schools. Notebooks, pencils, and glue sticks filled each bag, along with Kleenex and a bookmark.

Pictured, from left: First American’s Noni Moran, Julianne Rossi, Dennis Murphy, Jenna Dziok, and Katelyn Morgan.

 

 


Bridging the Generations

Springfield College and Loomis Lakeside at Reeds Landing have developed an intergenerational Students in Residence program for graduate students in the School of Health Sciences. Julie Torchia and Allie Tupaj, both doctor of physical therapy students, moved into a two-bedroom apartment at Loomis Lakeside this fall and will contribute to social and educational aspects of community living at the facility, logging eight hours of community-engagement project work each week.

Pictured, from left: Brooke Hallowell, dean of the School of Health Sciences at Springfield College; Torchia; Tupaj; Springfield College President Mary-Beth Cooper, Loomis Communities President Lauren Scruggs; and Loomis Lakeside at Reeds Landing CEO Craig Johnsen

 

 

 

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Senior Games

During the weekend of July 13-14, Springfield College hosted the Massachusetts Senior Games, as it has since 1991. Hundreds of participants took part in a range of events, including track and field, swimming, racquetball, and more. Pictured at left: from left, Springfield College Professor Emeritus Beth Evans, occupational therapy master’s student Renée deLisser, and Joan Simmons, associate professor of Occupational Therapy, get ready for the Senior Games. At right: Davis Cox, Massachusetts Senior Games board of directors president, prepares for the event at Blake Track at Springfield College.

From left, Springfield College Professor Emeritus Beth Evans, occupational therapy master’s student Renée deLisser, and Joan Simmons, associate professor of Occupational Therapy, get ready for the Senior Games.

Davis Cox, Massachusetts Senior Games board of directors president, prepares for the event at Blake Track at Springfield College.

 


 

Patio Party

The Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce partnered with Young Professionals of Amherst and Northampton Area Young Professionals for a patio party on July16 at the Courtyard by Marriott.

Pictured, from left: Youssef Fadel of New England Promotional Marketing, Regina Curtis of the Greenfield Community College Foundation, Dawn Creighton of Associated Industries of Massachusetts, and Vince Jackson of the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce.


 

Planners Tell All

On July 17, Michael’s Party Rental teamed up with Meeting Professionals International of the Connecticut River Valley and CJC Creative to host a “Planners Tell All” event. A panel of corporate and special-event planners joined local wedding/meeting planners and suppliers at the Michael’s warehouse for a night of networking and education.

Pictured, from left: Jackie Martucci, owner of Events by Jackie M; Lisa Antonecchia, owner of Creative Concepts by Lisa; Erin Tierney, lecturer at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst; and Amanda Cristina, senior meeting planner at LIMRA.

 


 

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Connecting Youth with Careers

River East School-to-Career recently held its annual breakfast meeting at the Ludlow Country Club. The program places high-school students from Belchertown, Ludlow, Monson, Palmer, Ware, and Pathfinder Regional Vocational Technical High School in a business environment to gains skills through part-time jobs and internships. Seven student-mentor teams were honored for their outstanding work performance and providing students with job opportunities. Hampden Veterinary Clinic and Baystate Health Eastern Region accepted the Business Champion Award for providing work-based learning opportunities to students each year for the past 15 years.

From left, Jennifer Gouvin, president, River East School-to-Career board of directors; Lori Manseau, manager, Rehabilitation Services, Baystate Wing Hospital, accepting the award on behalf of Baystate Wing and Baystate Mary Lane; and Loretta Dansereau, director, River East School-to-Career Inc.

From left, Gouvin; Dr. Penny Peck, owner, Hampden Veterinary Clinic; and Dansereau.

A Bed for Every Child

The Cooperative Credit Union Assoc. Inc. (CCUA), on behalf of Massachusetts credit unions, along with members of the Massachusetts Credit Unions Social Responsibility Committee, recently presented a $202,725 check to the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless at the third annual Stephen D. Jones Credit Union Charity Golf Tournament in support of “A Bed for Every Child.”

From left: Charlene Bauer, Metro Credit Union; Ronald McLean, CCUA; Rui Domingos, Naveo Credit Union; Mark Cochran, Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union on behalf of the Stephen Jones Family; Kevin Zipps, Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union; Tina Baptista, Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless; Paul Marotta, Hanscom Federal Credit Union; David Plantier, MassMutual Federal Credit Union; and Peter Panaggio, St. Anne’s Credit Union. Committee members not pictured include Sarita Ledani, RTN Federal Credit Union; Robert Lockett, Workers’ Credit Union; Melissa Morin, Credit Union of the Berkshires; and Jon Reske, UMassFive College Federal Credit Union

Xtraordinary Day of Service

Berkshire Bank employees recently came together to package more than 50,000 meals for Rise Against Hunger, which will be sent to nations where starvation is a key concern. The donation was a part of the bank’s annual Xtraordinary Day of Service, when the bank closes its offices early to empower employees to volunteer in their local communities. The event is in its fourth year. The volunteer work for Rise Against Hunger was one of 37 projects completed as a part of Xtraordinary Day. More than 90% of Berkshire Bank’s workforce participated in the event, totaling over 6,000 hours of volunteer work in a single day throughout the bank’s footprint.

Surprise Gift

On June 21, Richard’s Fuel and Heating celebrated its 500th Mitsubishi Electric Heating and Cooling mini-split installation with an event that surprised lucky customer Lisa Bartlett, as well as the installation technicians. Briget Michaud, business manager at Richard’s Fuel and Heating and one of the organizers of the promotion, showed up with a cake and balloons and presented Bartlett with a gift certificate covering half her unit and installation costs. Richard’s Fuel and Heating also donated $500 to the Easthampton Council on Aging.

From left: Michaud, Bartlett, and Sean Gallagher from BellSimons Co., the Mitsubishi Electric rep for Richard’s Fuel and Heating.

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A New Chapter

Fifth-graders at DeBerry Elementary School were honored at graduation ceremonies staged earlier this month. BusinessWest, which sponsors the school as part of Link to Libraries’ Business Book Link program, was on hand to present Most Improved Reader awards and hand out graduation presents — yes, books to read over the summer. And there was a special guest there as well. At right, Bob Charland, a.k.a. ‘the Bike Man,’ presents bicycles to most-improved readers J’Siah Turner Goode and Yaneliz Andino. They were also presented with plaques from BusinessWest. At left, BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien presents a book to fifth-grader Noah Peralta. Looking on are, from left, Maria Nunez, paraprofessional; Laura Sacco, fifth-grade teacher, and Beth Fazio, principal.

Bob Charland, a.k.a. ‘the Bike Man,’ presents bicycles

At right, Bob Charland, a.k.a. ‘the Bike Man,’ presents bicycles to most-improved readers J’Siah Turner Goode and Yaneliz Andino. They were also presented with plaques from BusinessWest

BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien presents a book

BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien presents a book to fifth-grader Noah Peralta. Looking on are, from left, Maria Nunez, paraprofessional; Laura Sacco, fifth-grade teacher, and Beth Fazio, principal


Thrive After 55

About 1,000 area residents turned out to state Sen. Eric Lesser’s third annual Thrive After 55 Wellness Fair on June 21 to learn about local resources available to help them plan for retirement. This was the biggest Thrive fair yet, with 81 organizations providing information. Health New England, Springfield College, and the New England Dermatology & Laser Center returned as sponsors of the fair this year, in addition to a new sponsor, the Center for Human Development. HCN, BusinessWest’s sister publication, was a media sponsor. This year’s program included five educational seminars, on topics including estate planning and elder law, diet and nutrition, and an interactive demonstration of chair yoga and movement.


Woman of the Year

The Professional Women’s Chamber (PWC) recently honored Denise Hurst (right), vice president of Advancement & External Affairs at Springfield Technical Community College, with its coveted Woman of the Year award at a celebration at the Springfield Sheraton. Hurst is also currently secretary-treasurer for the Massachusetts Assoc. of School Committees Inc. and has served on the Springfield School Committee since 2009. She is an inaugural graduate of the Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact, a member of the League of Women Voters and the Collective Majority, and a graduate of the 62nd Citizens’ Legislative Seminar, Massachusetts Senate. She and her husband, Springfield City Council President Justin Hurst, are both BusinessWest 40 Under Forty alumni.

Hurst, fourth from left, with members of the PWC board.

Hurst, fourth from left, with members of the PWC board.


Seeing Purple

On June 21, the Bertera Auto Group and Fedor Financial Group, LLC in West Springfield went purple in support of the Alzheimer’s Association’s “Longest Day” fundraising event. Pictured here, Michael Bertera, right, president of Bertera Auto Group; David Fedor, president of Fedor Financial Group and volunteer for the Alzheimer’s Assoc.; and Bianca Walker, director of Fundraising for the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, share a moment.


Scholarship Winners

Monson Savings Bank recently distributed more than $20,000 in scholarships to graduating high-school seniors. The students were invited to the bank’s corporate headquarters for a celebration, where President Steven Lowell, seen here with the honorees, spoke to them about their future and congratulated each on their hard work and accomplishments. They are: Edward Wurszt, Hunter Acconcio, and Timothy Connors (Minnechaug High School); Derek Joyce, Liam Metcalfe, Taylor Mitchell, and Hannah Somers (Monson High School); Shelby Tweedie, Kayla Smith, and Travis Orszulak (Ware High School); and David Krutov (homeschooled).


JGS Lifecare’s Day of Tournaments

JGS Lifecare recently staged the 39th annual Frankel-Kinsler Day of Tournaments, which raised more than $97,000 for the care of the community’s elders. The day featured a golf tournament, but also many other competitions as well, in tennis, bridge, canasta, and mahjong. The event provides JGS a way to continue to honor the memory of Michael Frankel, former chairman of the JGS Lifecare board of directors, and the families of Raymond and Herman Kinsler, longtime leaders and supporters, for their exemplary commitment to those served by JGS Lifecare.

Seymour Frankel, father of Michael Frankel, is surrounded by his family

Seymour Frankel, father of Michael Frankel, is surrounded by his family

From left, Susan Goldsmith, JGS Lifecare board chair; state Sen. Eric Lesser; and Richard Halpern, JGS Lifecare board member, share a moment at the cocktail reception


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Cutting the Ribbon

New Valley Bank & Trust recently staged a grand opening at its headquarters at Suite 910, One Monarch Place.

Mayor Domenic Sarno welcomes the bank to the city

Mayor Domenic Sarno welcomes the bank to the city

Sarno and bank Chairman Frank Fitzgerald cut the ceremonial ribbon alongside board members and dignitaries

Sarno and bank Chairman Frank Fitzgerald cut the ceremonial ribbon alongside board members and dignitaries

Fitzgerald thanks the almost 300 local investors who raised $23.5 million to get the bank started, well in excess of what is needed by regulatory requirements

Fitzgerald thanks the almost 300 local investors who raised $23.5 million to get the bank started, well in excess of what is needed by regulatory requirements

 

Innovation Fest

On June 12, Valley Venture Mentors (VVM) staged the region’s inaugural Innovation Fest, a day-long celebration of entrepreneurship and innovation that featured seminars, networking, the awarding of cash prizes to finalists in VVM’s accelerator program, walking tours of downtown, and much more.

VVM CEO Kristin Leutz welcomes attendees to the festival

VVM CEO Kristin Leutz welcomes attendees to the festival

Tessa Murphy-Romboletti, executive director of SPARK EforAll Holyoke, and Bill Cole, president of Living Local, present a program called “Reviving Main Street”;

Tessa Murphy-Romboletti, executive director of SPARK EforAll Holyoke, and Bill Cole, president of Living Local, present a program called “Reviving Main Street”

Michael Molinari, a principal with Autodrop3d

Michael Molinari, a principal with Autodrop3d, a New London, Conn.-based company that has created an automated ejection system for 3D printers, took home the top prize ($10,000) among the accelerator finalists

the five accelerator finalists

the five accelerator finalists, all holding their ceremonial checks, gather with VVM mentors and supporters

Mayor Domenic Sarno welcomes visitors to Springfield.

Mayor Domenic Sarno welcomes visitors to Springfield.

 

Innovation Accelerator Graduation

The 2019 Innovation Accelerator, a program that transforms nonprofit leaders’ thinking by bringing a culture of innovation into their organizations, recently graduated its fourth cohort. The event, held at TechSpring in Springfield, hosted three graduating Innovation Accelerator teams. With numerous funders and business and foundation executives in attendance, they supported, learned, and provided a pathway to potential funding for initiatives realized during the six-month class. Each team pitched its best plan to create mission-aligned revenue for their organizations. They also had to clearly demonstrate the core assumptions underlying their new ventures, how they tested those assumptions, the evidence they gathered, and what they learned.

from left, students

from left, students Cody Andrews, Julie Lococo, Monique Whiting, and James O’Neill (Viability) present to sharks John Goodhue (Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center), Joe Minton (Digital Development Management), Marty Caine (Wolf & Co.), Ali Usman (Pixeledge), and Paul Silva (Innovation Accelerator)

from left, Kelly Minton (Innovation Accelerator), student Rose Egan (Community Education Project), and Silva

from left, Kelly Minton (Innovation Accelerator), student Rose Egan (Community Education Project), and Silva

students Ethan Ferris and Will Swyers

students Ethan Ferris and Will Swyers, co-founders of Xernai, talk with sharks Caine and Dana Barrows (Northwestern Mutual)

 

The Business of Cannabis

The Springfield-based law firm Bulkley Richardson staged an informational forum on June 18 as part of an ongoing series on the many legal aspects of operating a cannabis-related business. The featured speaker was Tina Sbrega, president and CEO of GFA Federal Credit Union, to talk about how her financial institution became the first in the state to serve recreational marijuana companies. The event drew about 50 business professionals. Sbrega explained that the process of banking the cannabis industry involves a host of regulations because the drug is illegal at the federal level.

Picture This

Email ‘Picture This’ photos with a caption and contact information to [email protected]
A photo essay of recent business events in Western Massachusetts April 29, 2019

Cutting the Ribbon

Ribbon-cutting ceremonies were staged on April 12 for the Isenberg Business Innovation Hub, which opened to students this past January. The stunning addition to the Isenberg School of Management was hailed as a critical turning point in the history of the school, a facility that provides much-needed additional space and an opportunity to climb higher in the ranks of the nation’s leading business schools.

officials cut the ribbon

officials cut the ribbon

Bjarke Ingels, founding partner of the Bjarke Ingels Group

Bjarke Ingels, founding partner of the Bjarke Ingels Group, which partnered with Goody Clancy on the design of the hub, addresses those gathered

an exterior shot of the building

an exterior shot of the building

an aerial shot of the hub shows how it connects with the existing Isenberg building

an aerial shot of the hub shows how it connects with the existing Isenberg building


Creating a Buzz

Springfield Technical Community College’s student radiology team placed first at the 2019 Massachusetts Society of Radiologic Technologists Buzz Bowl competition. With six community colleges participating, Buzz Bowl challenges students’ knowledge in the field of radiologic technology. STCC’s seven-member team did not lose a match in the competition, which featured questions in the categories of safety, image production, radiographic procedures, patient care, and more.

STCC students who participated in the competition

STCC students who participated in the competition included Brian Griffin, Kurt Reeter, Briana Rudman, Hillary Ladeau, Selenia Hernandez, Julie Korman, and Sabrina Provost.


Jobs for Youth

The Franklin Hampshire Workforce Board brought a team of youth and business service staff at the recent [email protected], encouraging members to hire a youth this summer. From school-to-career programs for in-school youth to partner programs such as Community Action’s Northampton Youthworks project, the team aims to match youth with jobs at area firms. This year, they are also developing STEM internships for youth with the help of Collaborative Educational Services.

Pictured, from left, are Marija Boily, business service representative

Pictured, from left, are Marija Boily, business service representative, MassHire Franklin Hampshire Career Center; Rebecca Bannasch, employer partnership specialist, Community Action; Patricia Crosby, executive director, and Jennifer Droesch, executive assistant, MassHire Franklin Hampshire Workforce Board.


Record Haul for Riverside

On April 5, more than 400 people attended Riverside’s signature annual event at One Cottage Street in downtown Easthampton, helping to raise $112,000, the most ever in the 15-year history of the event. Guests enjoyed food, drink, and more than 250 silent and live auction items to bid on.

Pictured, from left: Susan Lapointe

Pictured, from left: Susan Lapointe, Riverside’s director of Development; Irene Lamson, Riverside supporter; Silas Kopf, master of ceremonies; and Matthew Sosik, president and CEO of presenting sponsor bankESB, conduct the live auction.


Supporting High Achievers

Michael Ostrowski, president and CEO of Arrha Credit Union, recently congratulated the 2019 Anthony J. Serafino Scholarship winners. Five $1,000 scholarships were awarded by Arrha to worthy students based on scholastic merit and civic achievement.

Pictured, from left: Ostrowski

Pictured, from left: Ostrowski; recipients Jessica Smith of Minnechaug Regional High School, Isaac Schein of Longmeadow High School, Taylor Woods of Pioneer Valley Christian Academy, Quinn Serafino of West Springfield High School, and Kaylee Fife of Tantasqua Regional Senior High School; and Erin Panteleakis, director and scholarship committee chair at Arrha.