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bankESB Makes $500,000 Challenge Grant to Cooley Dickinson

EASTHAMPTON — Matthew Sosik, president and CEO of bankESB, announced that the bank has made a $500,000 challenge grant to support the Emergency Department at Cooley Dickinson Hospital. The funds will be used to support Transforming Emergency Care: Campaign for the Cooley Dickinson Emergency Department, a $19.76 million expansion, reconfiguration, and renovation effort to allow Cooley Dickinson to meet the ever-evolving emergency medicine needs of all members of the community, from infants to older adults. “Access to quality medical care is something we all count on, and Cooley Dickinson continues to do an amazing job treating our friends, family, and neighbors who live and work in our communities,” said Sosik. “bankESB is pleased to do its part in supporting Cooley Dickinson and its efforts to transform its Emergency Department into one that’s as up-to-date as possible and can unlock its full potential. We hope others will do the same.” According to Cooley Dickinson Hospital, its Emergency Department is 40% undersized to meet the community’s needs and cares for many patients who require critical medical attention. The number of patients visiting the department has doubled — from 17,000 in the 1970s to nearly 34,000 in recent years. Renovations are expected to break ground next spring. Organizations contributing to the Campaign for the Cooley Dickinson Emergency Department can increase the impact of their donations through this matching grant. bankESB will give one dollar for every two dollars donated to the Emergency Department campaign through Dec. 31, up to $500,000.

 

AIC Partners with STCC with Signing of Articulation Agreement

SPRINGFIELD — American International College (AIC) has signed an articulation agreement with Springfield Technical Community College (STCC), formally establishing a close academic relationship between the two-year college and the four-year institution. This accord between American International College and Springfield Technical Community College aligns academic programs that enhance the seamless transition of STCC graduates and qualified candidates from STCC, and promote a smooth, successful transfer to AIC. This articulation agreement offers time and cost savings for students by recognizing the coursework pursued at the community college and demonstrates the ongoing commitment of both AIC and STCC to the community and its students, by ensuring that educational pathways are created for all those who wish to consider a degree in higher education. At AIC, the program is referred to as Direct Connect. Direct Connect transfer students automatically receive a $4,000 scholarship in addition to their earned merit scholarship, before any need-based aid is awarded. This means Direct Connect students can earn up to $18,000 in financial gift aid, not loans, before being evaluated for additional need-based aid. And, unlike some other transfer articulation agreements, the Direct Connect program at AIC allows students to study and major in their area of interest while attending their community college.

 

Easy Company Brewing Launches in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD — Easy Company Brewing recently launched Springfield’s newest brewery Thursday at the Student Prince in downtown Springfield. Easy Company Brewing (ECB) is a veteran-owned business that is committed to donating 100% of its profits to veterans, first responders, and their families. The name and its mission are inspired by the men of Easy Company from WW II, made famous by the book and mini-series Band of Brothers. Following in the footsteps of the men of Easy, ECB is committed to brewing drinkable European style beers with “a little bit of American boldness and edge,” while honoring the men and women who serve or have served our country. All of ECB after-tax profits, will be donated through its companion foundation to a number of charities that do work on behalf our nation’s heroes. Founders Jeff St. Jean and John DeVoie served together in the Air National Guard, and have teamed up to create this new beer brand in the City of Homes. St. Jean is still serving, and DeVoie is one of the co-founders of Hot Table, a Springfield based fast casual restaurant company. ECB beers are currently contract brewed locally in Western Mass., but DeVeVoie and St. Jean hope to build a brewery and tap room in Springfield at some point. Their beers are currently available for sale at Table & Vine in West Springfield. Other retailers will follow this summer.

 

Two New Woman-owned Businesses Open in Thornes Marketplace

NORTHAMPTON — Two women entrepreneurs with a passion for artistry and design have opened shops in Thornes Marketplace, one offering Bohemian home décor and the other, women’s lingerie and loungewear. Cigdem “Chi” Turkomer, the owner of Le BonNton, originally located on Old South Street, moved into Thornes last June, relocating several times within the building over the past year and recently settling permanently on the second floor. In its fifth year, Le BonNton offers linens, furniture and other décor, which Turkomer also provides for a fee to couples through her wedding design service. On June 10 from 5-8 p.m., Thornes will host a fifth-anniversary celebration for Le BonNton in the shop, with music, local art displays and Turkish Delight sweets prepared by Turkomer.

Ali Ingellis, owner of Ooh La La, opened her boutique on the first floor of the historic shopping center in downtown Northampton in May. The lingerie and loungewear she designs and produces are inspired by history and nature, and she describes her shop as, “Beautiful, unapologetically feminine, intimate — like your best friend’s closet.”

 

MassMutual Center Sees Positive Economic Impact in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD — The MassMutual Center recently collaborated with Tourism Economics, an Oxford Economics company that measures local economic impact in local markets, to research the economic impact the venue had in Springfield and surrounding markets from July 2018 through June 2019 (FY19). Findings show that the MassMutual Center’s gross economic impact as well as Incremental Impact were significant. Tourism Economics found that in FY19, the MassMutual Center had more than 300,000 total attendees in the arena and convention center events, resulting in a total gross economic impact of $47.1 million, which generated 555 total jobs in the market and contributed $4.4 million in total state and local tax revenues. Of the total event attendees, 147,000 were out-of-town attendees, resulting in a total incremental impact of $34.9 million, which generated 443 total jobs in the market and contributed $3.2 million in total state and local tax revenues. Gross economic and incremental impacts were measured by money spent by the venue in the local economy to sustain operations, including spending on payroll, marketing costs, legal services, and professional services, as well as money spent by event attendees while attending events at the MassMutual Center and at off-site establishments, including local restaurants, hotels, retailers, and recreation/entertainment venues. Gross economic impact shows impact made by all event attendees, while incremental impacts focuses on the out-of-town event attendees.

 

Florence Bank Celebrates 20th Annual Customers’ Choice Community Grants Program

FLORENCE — Florence Bank celebrated its 20th annual Customers’ Choice Community Grants Program gala last month, awarding $100,000 to 45 nonprofits across the valley. And at the close of the event, President and CEO Kevin Day drew cheers from the audience of nonprofit leaders, announcing that giving will increase to $125,000. Day’s announcement was the second commemoration of the evening, the first coming as he called for bank and nonprofit staff and leaders to raise a glass to toast the event’s 20th year. “We can’t let that go without celebration,” he said. Florence Bank’s community grants program is an annual offering founded in 2002, and, through it, Florence Bank customers are invited to vote for their favorite local nonprofit in hopes it will receive a share of grant funding. Voting takes place all year long, online at www.florencebank.com/vote and in bank branches, and each customer has only one vote. To qualify for a community grant, organizations must receive at least 50 votes. In 2021, roughly 7,000 votes were cast, making 45 nonprofits eligible for a grant. Over the past 20 years, Florence Bank has tallied more than 141,000 customer votes and given grants to roughly 164 different organizations. At its 20th annual event, held May 19 at Frank Newhall Look Memorial Park, the bank offered awards to 45 nonprofits and celebrated a total of $1.4 million in community giving through this one channel. Six nonprofits received funding for the first time — some in Hampden County, where Florence Bank now has three branches and has established a presence as a good neighbor. Three recipients have accepted an award every year since the program launched. Four organizations received the maximum amount of $5,000 this year: Cancer Connection Inc., Dakin Humane Society, Food Bank of Western Mass., and Friends of Williamsburg Libraries.In addition to the four top vote-getters, these other organizations received an award: Friends of Lilly Library, $4,097; Northampton Survival Center, $3,782; Amherst Survival Center, $3,588; Our Lady of the Hills Parish, $3,564; Friends of Forbes Library, $3,539; Goshen Firefighters Association, $3,370; Friends of Northampton Legion Baseball, $3,224; Easthampton Community Center, $2,909; It Takes a Village, $2,909; Williamsburg Firefighters Association, $2,642; Northampton Neighbors, $2,400; Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Charter School, $2,303; Belchertown Animal Relief Committee, Inc. (BARC), $2,230; Manna Community Kitchen, $2,109; Shriners Hospitals for Children, $1,988; and J.F.K. Middle School PTO. Also, $1,867; Kestrel Land Trust, $1,867; Northampton High School PTO, $1,794; Riverside Industries, Inc., $1,770; R.K. Finn Ryan Road School PTO, $1,648; Cooley Dickinson Hospital, $1,624; Safe Passage, $1,624; Northampton Community Music Center, $1,527; Therapeutic Equestrian Center, $1,527; Amherst Neighbors, $1,503; Friends of M.N. Spear Memorial Library, $1,455; Edward Hopkins Educational Foundation, $1,430; Grow Food Northampton, $1,430; Smith Vocational High School PTO, $1,333; Whole Children, $1,309; Easthampton Elementary Schools PTO, $1,164; Pioneer Valley Habitat for Humanity, $1,139; Hitchcock Center for the Environment, $1,115; Revitalize CDC, $1,091; The Parish Cupboard, $1,067; Belchertown Police K-9 Unit, $1,042; Cooley Dickinson Hospital VNA & Hospice, $1,042; Historic Northampton, $1,018; Granby Senior Center, $994; Leeds Elementary School PTO, $994; and Ludlow Boys & Girls Club, $970.

 

Monson Savings Bank Donates Bikes to YWCA of Western Mass.

MONSON — In the spirit of its 150th Anniversary, Monson Savings Bank announced earlier this year that it will be launching its 150 Build-a-Bike campaign. The community bank has purchased more than $20,000 worth of bikes to donate to local children and they have partnered with various non-profits in the area to host Build-a-Bike events throughout the year. Most recently, Monson Savings delivered 10 bikes and 10 helmets to YWCA of Western Mass. Members of the Monson Savings team delivered the bikes that they helped to assemble with Ray Plouffe, owner of Family Bike Shop in East Longmeadow. Many members of the team expressed feelings of gratitude and a sense of fulfillment after building and delivering the bikes. “All of us were very excited to come together for the YWCA Build-a-Bike event. Our team had a great time getting to know the YWCA team and confirming our knowledge about all of the incredible ways they help those in need,” said Dan Moriarty, President and CEO of Monson Savings Bank. “Plus, it was wonderful to deliver the bikes and hear how the YWCA plans to make a safe, designated area for children to enjoy the bikes as they receive support from the organization.” Throughout the summer, Monson Savings Bank will also partner with I Found Light Against All Odds and the Springfield Housing Authority, South End Community Center, and Educare Springfield to host more 150 Build-a-Bike events, continuing to spread happiness to children and families throughout the area. To learn more about Monson Savings Bank’s 150th anniversary, the bank’s historical timeline, and to view a full schedule of events visit www.monsonsavings.bank/anniversary.

 

Caolo & Bieniek Architects Selected to Design Northfield Emergency Services Facility

CHICOPEE — Caolo & Bieniek Architects (CBA) has been selected, and has begun work, on designing options for a public safety complex to serve the town of Northfield. The CBA design team boasts 60 years of experience working in Western Mass., with extensive knowledge in the construction of public safety complexes, police stations, fire stations, and emergency service facilities. The team will compose a feasibility study assessing program needs and developing Phase 1 – programing and conceptual design. The focus of the study is to explore design options that accommodate the town’s Fire Department, Police Department, and Emergency Medical Services Department. Each department’s current condition is in need of attention and redesign to better enable department members to effectively serve their community.

 

Pellegrini, Seeley, Ryan & Blakesley Provides Financial Gift to Community Legal Aid

SPRINGFIELD — The law firm of Pellegrini, Seeley, Ryan & Blakesley recently made a $3,500 donation to support Community Legal Aid of Central and Western Massachusetts.Community Legal Aid Executive Director Jonathan Mannina Esq., in accepting the donation said, “with the firm’s gift, PSRB is helping to pass on the American promise of equal Justice under the law. With Pellegrini, Seeley, Ryan & Blakesley’s support, Community Legal Aid will be able to continue to serve some of the most vulnerable members of our community.” “It is critical to us as a firm, that the work of the Community Legal Aid continue,” said Charlie Casartello Jr., Managing Partner at Pellegrini, Seeley Ryan & Blakesley. “For 70 years, they have provided invaluable advocacy for and support to people who otherwise would not be able to afford legal representation in central and western Massachusetts. The impact they make is tremendous and we are proud that we can make a difference in their mission.”

Company Notebook

STCC Receives $55,000 from Community Foundation

SPRINGFIELD — Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) received two grants worth $55,000 from the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts. A $30,000 Flexible Funding Grant awarded to the STCC Foundation will be used to boost the student-empowerment fund, which was created as a resource for students facing a variety of barriers standing in the way of their ability to complete their education. Students in need of support for short-term housing, transportation, childcare, academic program resources, and nutritious meals can apply for the help they need through the empowerment fund, freeing them to focus on their studies and complete their programs. A separate $25,000 grant from the Community Foundation will be used to fund the STCC’s COVID-19 vaccine video. STCC has created a video to promote vaccinations. All community colleges in the Commonwealth are requiring students, faculty, and staff to be fully vaccinated by the start of the spring semester in January. This vaccine requirement is aimed at ensuring the safest learning and working environment possible for all members of the STCC community. The STCC Foundation, a nonprofit organization, helps STCC meet its goals and commitment to provide superior educational opportunities to the community.

 

U.S. Tsubaki Supports Innovation, Entrepreneurship at WNE

SPRINGFIELD — Western New England University (WNE) announced that Chicopee-based U.S. Tsubaki Automotive (USTA) made a gift of $12,500 to support the university’s colleges of Business and Engineering’s Product Development and Innovation (PDI) course over the next five years. Taught in the fall semester, PDI is comprised of business and engineering students who develop an idea at the onset of class and grow the concept into a limited, functional prototype supported by a business plan. Student teams demonstrate their project innovations at the annual PDI Showcase held the first week of December. Attending the event are members of the university’s board of trustees and several area economic-development leaders and investors. The attendees invest ‘Golden Bear investment dollars’ into the innovations they believe have the most commercial potential. Some of the innovations continue as senior design projects, while others compete in the Grinspoon Spirit Awards and the Draper Competition. The university patents select innovations that have the most potential.

 

Springfield WORKS Wins $100,000 Grant in Partnership with Home City Development

SPRINGFIELD — A $100,000 Urban Agenda Grant was recently awarded to Springfield WORKS, the lead applicant in a team including Home City Development Inc. as the primary partner. The funds will be used to facilitate a community-wide collaboration, with the Western Massachusetts Economic Development Council to manage, coordinate, and support the work of numerous participating program partner organizations, in efforts to help families in Springfield achieve economic stability. The funds will go toward the 2Generation/Whole Family Approach to Pathways to Careers and Home Ownership Program, which is a holistic, creative, and collaborative approach that helps low-income families access career-development tools and training to successfully position individuals on a positive career trajectory. This program will focus on adults and children, addressing the gaps and barriers within multiple systems, including the ‘cliff effect,’ which makes transitioning out of state assistance programs challenging. This project also brings a gender- and racial-equity lens to workforce strategies. Home City Development is the main partner in this project, which means all program participants are Home City Development residents. The program will incorporate the Springfield WORKS’ 2Generation/Whole Family Approach with Home City Development’s HUD Family Self Sufficiency program. Other partners include Dress for Success of Western Massachusetts, HCS Head Start, EforAll, Families First, Springfield Partners for Community Action, and MassHire Springfield. Springfield WORKS leverages employer partners including Baystate Health, MGM Springfield, United Personnel/Masis, Springfield Public Schools, and others for career pathway opportunities.

 

MCLA Department of Business Administration Earns ACBSP Accreditation

NORTH ADAMS — MCLA’s Department of Business Administration has earned accreditation from the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). This accreditation covers all the department’s business-degree paths, as well as the college’s MBA program. A global accreditation agency, ACBSP focuses on recognizing teaching excellence, determining student learning outcomes, and a continuous improvement model. ACBSP’s student-centered teaching and learning approach, which is measured and analyzed for quality, ensures that students gain the right skills from their educational investment. Institutions with programs accredited by ACBSP are committed to continuous improvement that ensures their business program will give students the skills employers want. MCLA’s Department of Business Administration already has an excellent track record for job placement. Recent graduates have secured full-time work at major national companies like BDO Consulting, General Dynamics, and Google. MCLA accounting majors who sit for the certified public accountant exam currently have a 100% pass rate.

 

Hancock Associates Acquires Sherman & Frydryk

DANVERS — Hancock Associates, a leading provider of land-surveying, civil-engineering, and wetland-science services, recently announced it has acquired Sherman & Frydryk, LLC, a land-surveying and civil-engineering firm located in Palmer. With roots dating back to 1950, Sherman & Frydryk’s long list of clients includes residential and commercial developers, municipalities, service utilities, MassDOT, hospitals, and more throughout Hampden, Hampshire, and Worcester counties and the surrounding areas. Sherman & Frydryk will operate as a division of Hancock Associates. Don Frydryk will serve as regional office manager, and the current staff will continue to be part of the Sherman & Frydryk team. The acquisition assists Hancock in expanding services to Central and Western Massachusetts. It also adds historical survey records from W.H. and H.W. Brainerd, John Casey, Nathaniel Clapp, Charles Dingman, R.O. and G.F. Dingman, Kenneth Sherman, Sherman and Woods, Sherman & Frydryk, Richard Stowe, and Arthur Sullivan to Hancock’s collection of land-surveying and civil-engineering resources.

 

Junior Achievement Gets Support from Balise Auto Group

SPRINGFIELD — Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts is getting assistance from a local auto dealer for one of its educational programs about car ownership. Balise Auto Group volunteers will present JA All About Cars, a Junior Achievement program that explores the personal-finance considerations that go into purchasing a vehicle, to nearly 200 students in six area high schools during December. JA All About Cars programs are funded by a grant from American Honda Finance Corp. Through the program, students make a real-world connection to the car-buying experience, motivating them to make good financial decisions when buying or leasing. Following participation in the program, students will be able to consider whether a dream car is a realistic purchase for most people, explore their driving needs and things to consider when choosing a car, identify a car that meets their needs, and research the cost and understand the pros and cons of financing or leasing a car.

 

Frontier Launches Non-stop Service From Bradley to Cancun, San Juan

WINDSOR LOCKS, Conn. — The Connecticut Airport Authority (CAA) announced the debut of new, non-stop service from Bradley International Airport to Cancun, Mexico and San Juan, Puerto Rico on Frontier Airlines. The service to Cancun International Airport will commence on Feb. 17 and will operate seasonally, three times a week. The service to San Juan Airport will commence on Feb. 18 and will operate year-round, three times a week. To view flight times and booking options, visit www.flyfrontier.com. In addition to the service to Cancun and San Juan, Frontier offers non-stop service from Bradley to Atlanta, Denver, Miami, Orlando, and Raleigh-Durham. The airline has been operating at Bradley since 2018.

 

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