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    1. HCC’s Christina Royal Appointed to Regional, National Boards

      HCC’s Christina Royal Appointed to Regional, National Boards

      Holyoke Community College President Christina Royal has been appointed to the board of directors of the United Way of Pioneer Valley and the American Assoc. of Community Colleges’ Commission on College Readiness. Her appointment to the United Way board was unanimously approved at the regional nonprofit’s 95th-anniversary celebration and annual meeting on May 31. She began her three-year term on July 1.

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    2. Berkshire Bank Lends Support to Square One

      Berkshire Bank Lends Support to Square One

      Square One was awarded $10,000 by Berkshire Bank in support of its Adopt-a-Classroom program. “We are excited to continue our ongoing support of Square One’s Adopt-a-Classroom initiative program,” says Jim Hickson, senior vice president, commercial regional president. “Berkshire Bank is committed to making a difference in the lives of local children and their families.”

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    3. Northampton Facility Offers Affordable Space for Creatives

      Northampton Facility Offers Affordable Space for Creatives

      It’s been four long years since the Northampton Center for the Arts had a place to call home. But that’s about to change.  In September, the center will become the first tenant of a building at 33 Hawley St. in Northampton, purchased in 2013 by Northampton Community Arts Trust, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to preserve space for use by artists. It was conceived on the principle of a land trust, in which land is purchased with a particular intention, such as preservation.

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      Mentions: Northampton
    4. Brownfield Funding Aims to Promote Economic Redevelopment

      The U.S. Envirommental Protection Agency (EPA) recently awarded 14 communities in Massachusetts — most of them in Western Mass. — grants totaling $4.92 million for brownfield site revitalization and technical assistance. These communities are among 172 across the country to receive EPA brownfields funding.  Nationwide, a total of $56.8 million has been awarded by EPA to fund selected recipients for brownfield site assessment and cleanup as initial steps toward redeveloping vacant and unused properties, transforming them to productive reuse that will benefit communities and local economies.

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      Mentions: Chicopee
    5. Hampden Grows While Retaining Its Character

      Hampden Grows While Retaining Its Character

      In many ways, the town of Hampden seems like a throwback to an earlier way of life.  The Western Mass. community of just over 5,000 is just east of East Longmeadow and less than a 20-minute drive from the bustling metropolis of Springfield. But with its rural feel, old-fashioned New England charm, mom-and-pop businesses, and neighborly sensibility, it seems worlds away. There’s not even a traffic light in town. “Heck, the bear population is exploding now; there are sightings every day,” said John Flynn, chairman of the town’s three-member Board of Selectmen. “Once people are in this ...

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    6. Homebrew Showcase in Springfield to benefit the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange

      Homebrew Showcase in Springfield to benefit the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange

      A charity Homebrew Showcase on August 5 in Springfield will benefit a non-profit tasked with helping children in the commonwealth find permanent homes.  From 1 to 3 p.m. at Paddy's Irish Pub, located at 1060 Wilbraham Road in the Breckwood Shopping Center, the event will give the public a chance to sample the work of local amateur brewers in a fun, laid-back atmosphere and enjoy complimentary food while raising money for the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange (MARE). Tickets for the event are available with a $15 donation at the door or in advance by emailing: jumpingcometbrewing@gmail.com.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    7. Elms College Offers New Business-focused Degree-completion Options

      Elms College Offers New Business-focused Degree-completion Options

      Elms College Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership announced new bachelor’s degree completion programs that will prepare students for success in the worlds of entrepreneurship, accounting, and management and marketing. Business has long been an exciting career option. Startups were beginning to resurge in the U.S. in 2015, but the need for more entrepreneurs is vital to economic growth and job creation, according to a Kaufman Foundation survey. A 2014 Forbes survey found that 90% of startups fail, and 42% said the reason they fail is a lack of market need for their products. Elms is looking to make business-degree ...

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    8. Springfield students rack up the summer reading minutes, as part of program to increase...

      Springfield students rack up the summer reading minutes, as part of program to increase...

      Molly Goren-Watts of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission recently tested the children of the South End Community Center Summer Program on their math and reading skills. And she learned in the past three weeks, the children had read for a total of 222,000 minutes, so they don't let learning slip during the summer. The total will be updated in another three weeks. About 11,000 students are taking part in the program which was promoted by Sally Fuller, project director of Reading Success by 4th Grade, Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno and Allison Gearing Kalill of Brightside ...

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    9. Monarch Place Starbucks: Cornerstone Cafe to stay, get new coffee brand

      Monarch Place Starbucks: Cornerstone Cafe to stay, get new coffee brand

      The Cornerstone Cafe -- the locally owned  coffee, soup and sandwich shop in Monarch Place -- will continue operating once a new Starbucks sets up shop in the downtown office tower. Paul Picknelly, building owner and president of Monarch Enterprises said in an email Tuesday that Conerstone will stay, but that the cafe is searching for a new high-quality coffee brand to serve. Cornerstone now sells Starbucks Coffee.

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    10. Starbucks to open downtown Springfield store at Monarch Place

      Starbucks to open downtown Springfield store at Monarch Place

      Starbucks is opening a storefront in Monarch Place, the 25-story commercial building on Main Street connected to the 325-room Sheraton hotel. The Springfield Business Improvement District confirmed Monday that Starbucks would be Monarch Place's newest tenant, after teasing the coffee chain's arrival in a Facebook post on Friday.

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    11. Holyoke Machine Co., oldest manufacturer in Paper City, shuts down and plans to auction off equipment (photos, video)

      Holyoke Machine Co., oldest manufacturer in Paper City, shuts down and plans to auction off equipment (photos, video)

      A manufacturer in Connecticut recently called James Sagalyn, owner of Holyoke Machine, looking for repairs on a giant drive shaft for one of the production machines in his shop. For the first time since Abraham Lincoln was in the White House, Holyoke Machine can't help. In February, Sagalyn closed Holyoke Machine, a machine shop founded in 1863 that built the "Hercules" water turbines that helped make Holyoke famous and whose foundry cast doors for the U.S. Capitol building.

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    12. Hadley planners considering proposal for new Manny's location

      Hadley planners considering proposal for new Manny's location

      The owners of the Hadley Village Shops have filed for site plan approval of construction of a 7,140-square-foot retail building that a town planner said is for Manny's TV and Appliances to relocate there. Planning Board member William Dwyer said a hearing on the proposal has been continued to Aug. 1. He said one page of the application includes a rendering of the building showing the Manny's logo. The Hadley Village Shops are at 41 Russell St. (Route 9), about a half-mile from the Calvin Coolidge Bridge and the Northampton border.

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    13. Owners of former Black Pearl building in Springfield plans rehab ahead of MGM casino...

      Owners of former Black Pearl building in Springfield plans rehab ahead of MGM casino...

      A lawyer for the owners of the vacant, boarded-up Black Pearl property in the South End said Friday that renovations will begin this fall for a new restaurant. The work is scheduled to be completed well ahead of the MGM Springfield casino across the street, he said. Attorney Bart Heemskerk, who represents property owner Jhanvi Hospitality LLC, said the company reached a signed agreement with the city on Friday in Housing Court to clean the property at 1127 Main St. and to monitor it on a daily basis.

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      Mentions: Springfield MGM
    14. Eversource pulls plug on Hadley solar array, plans one in Franklin County instead

      Eversource pulls plug on Hadley solar array, plans one in Franklin County instead

      Eversource has withdrawn plans to develop a solar array on South Maple Street and is now looking at building it on a similarly sized property in Sunderland. The energy company listened to concerns from Hadley residents and "we agreed to look for other sites working with Kestrel Land Trust," said Eversource spokeswoman Priscilla Ress in an email.

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      Mentions: Amherst
    15. Springfield, MassDOT team up to complete Gerena School repairs

      Springfield, MassDOT team up to complete Gerena School repairs

      State and city officials are working on getting the necessary permits to begin repairs on the German Gerena Community School tunnel, said Sen. James Welch, D-West Springfield, and Rep. Carlos Gonzalez, D-Springfield, during a small community meeting Thursday. For years the school has been plagued with mold, leaks and flooding in its tunnel, which not only serves as a passageway under Interstate 91 between the Plainfield Street side and the Main Street side of the North End neighborhood, but also has several classrooms meant to serve as a community center.

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    16. 11-acre site in Holyoke getting groomed to attract developers

      11-acre site in Holyoke getting groomed to attract developers

      Tasks like soil borings and wetlands delineations are being carried out on 11 acres on Whiting Farms Road in a grooming that city officials hope will attract a buyer. "The idea is to advance predevelopment actions so that it's more 'site ready,' " said Marcos A. Marrero, director of the Planning and Economic Development Department. "We'll be doing things such as soil borings, utility hookup survey, wetland delineation and some conceptual design patterns that can help us market the property and make it 'easier/lower risk' for a developer to advance a proposal," he said in a recent email ...

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      Mentions: Northampton Holyoke
    17. Hatfield and Williamsburg preserve 128 acres on Horse Mountain with help from Kestrel Land...

      Hatfield and Williamsburg preserve 128 acres on Horse Mountain with help from Kestrel Land...

      The Horse Mountain ridge forms an iconic landscape element separating the towns of Williamsburg and Hatfield. Now 128 acres of the ecologically diverse forest land will be preserved forever, serving recreation, wildlife habitat, and resiliency in the face of climate change. Over the course of many months, Kestrel Land Trust worked with the two communities, secured grants, and helped coordinate a complicated process. The towns now own the land, with 34 acres in Williamsburg and 94 acres in Hatfield.

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      Mentions: Amherst Northampton
    18. Tech Foundry nonprofit seeking students from Springfield neighborhoods hit by natural disasters

      Tech Foundry nonprofit seeking students from Springfield neighborhoods hit by natural disasters

      Springfield's Tech Foundry job training nonprofit is recruiting potential students from city neighborhoods that have faced both natural disasters and economic disadvantage. "We are currently recruiting in these neighborhoods asking residents if they have the ambition, aspiration and commitment to take advantage of this 'no-cost' program and start a career in Information Technology," Tech Foundry Director of Strategic Partnerships Jonathan Edwards said in a statement. "Students who apply for and are accepted into the Tech Foundry program will ultimately begin a career that can help them attain a job where entry-level salaries will pay between $30,000 and $40 ...

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    19. Ski Butternut one step closer to buying Blandford Ski Area

      Ski Butternut one step closer to buying Blandford Ski Area

      The owner of Ski Butternut and Otis Ridge ski areas in the Berkshires plans to start work this fall upgrading the snowmaking and snow-grooming equipment at the venerable Blandford Ski Area now that he's one step closer to buying it. Members of the Springfield Ski Club voted Tuesday night to move forward with serious discussions aimed at selling the 132-acre property to Ski Butternut and its owner Jeff Murdock, said Dave Fraser, the club's marketing and publicity chairman. The price is still being negotiated. Both sides said Wednesday they don't even have a formal purchase-and-sale agreement yet.

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    20. Springfield developer plans 45-unit housing project at former Brookings School wrecked by tornado

      Springfield developer plans 45-unit housing project at former Brookings School wrecked by tornado

      The city recently approved the sale of the former Elias Brookings School on Hancock Street to a local nonprofit development group planning to restore the tornado-damaged building as a mixed income housing complex. Home City Development Inc., formerly Better Homes Inc., was the winning bidder for the city-owned property, offering $215,000 for the site to restore it for 45 units of mixed-income housing. The building in the Six Corners neighborhood has been vacant and boarded since June 2011 when it was struck and heavily damaged by a tornado.

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    21. 'Big crowd' at South Hadley meeting to unveil 'smart growth' zoning proposal surprises officials

      'Big crowd' at South Hadley meeting to unveil 'smart growth' zoning proposal surprises officials

      Curiosity about a proposal to stimulate economic development near the former Big Y plaza brought a big crowd to a recent public forum. The initiative targets an approximately 14-acre plot on Newton and Lyman streets, that includes the plaza, for both commercial and residential development. The proposal, according to a town document released prior to the July 11 meeting, would create the "Newton Street/Lyman Street Smart Growth District." Separate residential and business zoning districts currently govern land use in that area. Town officials hope to adopt a regulation known as 40R, which refers to a chapter of Massachusetts general ...

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    22. Bay Path, Girls Inc. of Holyoke Partner for STEM Summer Event

      Bay Path, Girls Inc. of Holyoke Partner for STEM Summer Event

      A group of 15 second-year students from Girls Inc. of Holyoke will participate in “Eureka! Too Fast, Too Furious: the Physics of Car Racing” at Bay Path University today, July 19, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Led by Bay Path faculty and students, participants from Girls Inc. will have the opportunity to perform hands-on scientific activities and take a tour of campus. They will learn about what Bay Path University has to offer and how it differs from other universities they have been exposed to.

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      Mentions: Holyoke
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