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    1. Berkshire Bank acquires Commerce Bank in Worcester, moves headquarters to Boston | masslive.com

      Berkshire Bank acquires Commerce Bank in Worcester, moves headquarters to Boston | masslive.com

      Berkshire Hills Bancorp, the holding company of Berkshire Bank, will buy Commerce Bancshares Corp., the parent company of Commerce Bank and Trust Company in Worcester, for $209 million and move the combined bank's headquarters to Boston's Financial District as part of a major push east into the metro Boston market. Berkshire Bank, with headquarters at 24 North St. in Pittsfield, has 332 employees at its facilities. No jobs will be moved or lost, spokeswoman Rachel Mabee said Monday. She said senior executives will have offices in both Boston and Pittsfield, and Pittsfield remains its regional headquarters and operational ...

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      Mentions: Berkshire Bank
    2. Tru by Hilton Breaks Ground on Chicopee Hotel

      Hilton recently broke ground on a new Tru by Hilton property located in Chicopee. The celebration marked the first groundbreaking of the company’s Tru by Hilton in Massachusetts. Attendees, numbering about 150, included a roster of dignitaries and executives who were instrumental in pushing the project forward, including state Sen. James Welch; state Reps. Michael Finn, Joseph Wagner, and Angelo Puppolo; and Chicopee Mayor Richard Kos. The 108-room, four-story hotel is located at 440 Memorial Dr. and is owned by BK Investments. It is expected to be completed in May 2018.

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    3. Springfield's Central Downtown Farmers Market opens for 2017 season (photos)

      Springfield's Central Downtown Farmers Market opens for 2017 season (photos)

      Springfield's Central Downtown Farmers Market has opened for the season, offering items such as local honey, vegetable plants, bread and more.  Every Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. through Oct. 27, vendors will be under their tents ready to serve the public, although high winds on opening day caused some of those canopies to be taken down.  Stop by and see Jennifer Cruz, who will be happy to tell you about her Springfield Macarons, the little French cookies that she makes in her city kitchen. Say hello to Mark Gurney, of Hampden, who will ...

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      Mentions: Palmer Springfield
    4. Westfield Education to Business Alliance calls job skills 'survival' skills

      Westfield Education to Business Alliance calls job skills 'survival' skills

      There are five elements to the handshake: eye contact, smile, extend arm, grip, timing. That bit of information might not sound like high school-level work compared to algebra II, English lit and the advanced manufacturing shop. But students need to learn it somewhere, and Westfield's public schools are doing it. "People call them 'soft skills,'" said Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski. "I call them survival skills." Skills, which ones to get and and how to get them is the topic when the Westfield Education to Business Alliance gets together once a month.

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    5. Massachusetts Adds 3,900 Jobs in April

      Massachusetts Adds 3,900 Jobs in April

      The preliminary job estimates from the Bureau of Labor Statistics indicate Massachusetts added 3,900 jobs in April. Over-the-month job gains occurred in professional, scientific, and business services; education and health services; trade, transportation, and utilities; other services; information; and manufacturing. “Through the first four months of 2017, Massachusetts has added over 20,000 jobs, with much of those gains coming from key sectors of the economy like professional, business, and scientific services,” Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Ronald Walker II said. “These job gains, coupled with large increases to the labor force and a low unemployment rate, are signs ...

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    6. Springfield Central Cultural District Seeks Pop-up Gallery Proposals

      Springfield Central Cultural District Seeks Pop-up Gallery Proposals

      The Springfield Central Cultural District (SCCD) has issued a call to artists for a unique opportunity in downtown Springfield. The Cultural District is searching for artists to host a solo show in their Art Stop pop-up gallery program and sell their work in one of three locations downtown – New England Public Radio (NEPR), UMass Springfield, and 1550 Main. The RFP asks for proposals from artists of all mediums to show their work from July to October. Requirements to what the art should look like are fairly laid-back, to best enable creative expression. All art will be available for sale during ...

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    7. RFP Issued for Young Women’s Initiative Springfield Partnership

      RFP Issued for Young Women’s Initiative Springfield Partnership

      The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts is accepting applications for $150,000 in funding over three years from Springfield-based nonprofit organizations serving young women to partner with the fund in implementing the Young Women’s Initiative (YWI) Springfield Partnership, a national, multi-sector, three-year pilot program focused on driving long-term prosperity for young women in the city of Springfield. The successful organization, or collaborative group of organizations, will lead and facilitate the Young Women’s Advisory Council, comprising up to 20 young women ages 12 to 24. Bright, self-motivated, and collaborative young women with a history of community leadership and ...

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      Mentions: Springfield
    8. House Speaker DeLeo: 'Why don't you look at Springfield?'

      House Speaker DeLeo: 'Why don't you look at Springfield?'

      DeLeo, D-Winthrop, described the conversation Thursday in a speech to the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts. He said he asked about all the GE subsidiaries that might follow the home office to Massachusetts. Yes, he was told, various GE businesses might follow. "Why don't you look out west?" DeLeo told the executive. "Why don't you look in Springfield? That's where the real estate is going to sell for much less than what you are paying in the Seaport district." The EDC is a regional economic development organization that works to bring businesses to the region, helps ...

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    9. West of the River Chamber to Host Annual Meeting June 15

      West of the River Chamber to Host Annual Meeting June 15

      The West of the River Chamber of Commerce announced its annual meeting and business grant drawing will take place Thursday, June 15 at 7 a.m. at Chez Josef in Agawam. The event will kick off with the welcoming of new chairman Frank Palange of V&F Auto and the incoming board of directors. Following these introductions will be a special presentation given by Drew Crandall of Keep In Touch. The topic will be “Serving Customers Well Without Caving In.” The names of two West of the River Chamber businesses will be drawn to receive a $500 business grant from ...

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    10. Night school program for in-demand advanced manufacturing jobs hits milestone

      Night school program for in-demand advanced manufacturing jobs hits milestone

      A night-school program at Franklin Technical School that trains adults for in-demand jobs in advanced manufacturing will graduate its 100th student since getting its start four years ago. Fourteen advanced manufacturing trainees will receive certificates of completion Friday. The training is free to those who qualify. It is aimed at those who are unemployed or underemployed at a job that pays too little. The Advanced Manufacturing Pipeline Computer Numerical Control training program is a non-credit, 15-week, 300-hour, hands-on curriculum. It's offered by Greenfield Community College in partnership with the Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board, the Franklin Hampshire Career Centers ...

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    11. Dietz & Co. Makes an Historic Move into Union Station

      Dietz & Co. Makes an Historic Move into Union Station

      Kerry Dietz was asked about the circumstances that will bring the architecture firm she put her name on 32 years ago to the second floor of the recently renovated Union Station this summer, making her company the celebrated first tenant in the spacious office area of the landmark.  She paused for a long moment, as if she were reconstructing (that’s one industry term) the timeline of events in her mind, before summoning another phrase used by those in her profession.

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    12. Springfield Armory Is Once Again Changing the Landscape

      Springfield Armory Is Once Again Changing the Landscape

      While steeped in history, the Springfield Armory property — now a National Historic Site managed by the National Park Service, has become somewhat of a forgotten, or overlooked, part of the city’s past. But James Woolsey, superintendent of the site since 2012, has aggressively worked to shift that equation by changing the landscape at the facility — in all kinds of ways.

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    13. Advanced-manufacturing Partnership Graduates 100th Student

      On Friday, May 19, 14 advanced-manufacturing trainees will receive certificates of completion and start down the pathway toward precision-machining careers in Pioneer Valley manufacturing companies. The current cohort of students in the Advanced Manufacturing Pipeline – Computer Numerical Control (AMP-CNC) training program hail from across Franklin and Hampshire counties, including Belchertown, Colrain, Easthampton, Greenfield, Montague, Northfield, South Hadley, and Shelburne. Among these trainees will be the 100th graduate of a successful job-training partnership that began four years ago to address a shortage of skilled machinists in the Valley’s precision-manufacturing industry. The event will be held at 4 p.m. at ...

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    14. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announces Collaborative Workspace funds at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke

      Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announces Collaborative Workspace funds at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke

      The Baker administration on Tuesday announced $2.15 million in grants to help companies create shared workspaces in Massachusetts, part of a growing trend of support for artists and entrepreneurs. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito joined Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse at Gateway City Arts to announce the second round of grants under the Collaborative Workspaces Program, run by MassDevelopment. The funding includes $1.5 million in state money and $645,000 from the Barr Foundation, a Boston-based nonprofit organization. The Barr Foundation has pledged to contribute nearly $2 million over the next three years for arts-related collaborative workspaces.

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    15. Maple Commons in Springfield gets makeover with $21M MassHousing financing

      Maple Commons in Springfield gets makeover with $21M MassHousing financing

      MassHousing, the state's quasi-public housing finance agency, has provided $21 million to First Resource Companies for extensive renovations at the 173-unit Maple Commons Apartments in downtown Springfield. In total, the cost is expected to reach $35 million. The Maple Commons Apartments are in a number of buildings scattered on High Street, School Street and Union Street with a total of 102 one-bedroom apartments, 63 two-bedroom apartments and eight three-bedroom apartments. Work will include building envelope repairs; replacement of windows, boilers and roofs; upgrades to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; and apartment upgrades.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    16. Innovation, automation and Deflategate-testing robots seen at Eastec manufacturing expo in West Springfield (photos, video)

      Innovation, automation and Deflategate-testing robots seen at Eastec manufacturing expo in West Springfield (photos, video)

      Eastec, the every-other-year industrial exhibition, opened Tuesday at the Eastern States Exhibition Center run by the trade group SME. The show will run through Thursday with 549 exhibitors, including local manufacturers like Smith & Wesson and Lenox American Saw, in 146,000 square feet filling five buildings at The Big E. Smith & Wesson touted its newly named Precision Components business, which uses manufacturing abilities developed for firearms to make parts for other companies, said Rick Fowich, director of sales and marketing. That includes the firearms plant in Springfield and the plastics plant in Deep River, Connecticut. The machine that makes a ...

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    17. Seen@ 2017 Howdy Awards honoring Western Mass. hospitality workers for service excellence

      Seen@ 2017 Howdy Awards honoring Western Mass. hospitality workers for service excellence

      The Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau honored eleven hospitality workers Monday night at the 22nd Annual Howdy Awards for Hospitality Excellence. The gala dinner, held at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House in Holyoke, attracted more than 300 tourism industry professionals. The idea is to thank the workers who often do thankless jobs but whose efforts are critical to the region's tourism industry. "We're proud and happy to present the Howdy Awards to honor just some of the most important people in the hospitality industry, the front-line workers," said GSCVB President Mary Kay Wydra in a statement ...

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    18. 100th CNC Machinist Trainee to Graduate from Advanced Manufacturing Training Partnership on May 19

      100th CNC Machinist Trainee to Graduate from Advanced Manufacturing Training Partnership on May 19

      TURNERS FALLS, MA - On Friday, May 19, fourteen advanced manufacturing trainees will receive certificates of completion and start down the pathway toward precision machining careers in Pioneer Valley manufacturing companies.  The current cohort of students come from across Franklin and Hampshire counties, including Belchertown, Colrain, Easthampton, Greenfield, Montague, Northfield, South Hadley, and Shelburne.  Among these trainees will be the 100th graduate of a successful job training partnership that began four years ago to address a shortage of skilled machinists in the Valley’s precision manufacturing industry.  The event will be held at 4 p.m. at the Franklin County Technical ...

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    19. $36.3 million onset of Lyman Terrace renovation marked by ceremony in Holyoke

      $36.3 million onset of Lyman Terrace renovation marked by ceremony in Holyoke

      A ceremony marked the beginning of the first phase of construction of the $36.3 million renovation of the Lyman Terrace public housing complex on Monday with U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Springfield, praising the city's commitment. "It's a very complicated project, and I think that there are few things in urban life that are more challenging than housing. It's like a big game of musical chairs and you hope when it's done that everybody gets a chair," Neal said after the ceremony. The ceremony was for onset of the combination of demolition, construction and ...

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    20. Springfield-based MassMutual celebrates 166th birthday with a new logo

      Springfield-based MassMutual celebrates 166th birthday with a new logo

      MassMutual unveiled a newly refreshed brand Monday to celebrate its 166th birthday. The company said its new branding strategy celebrates the gift of interdependence.The logo features the letter M spelled out in dots. MassMutual changed logos Monday at its headquarters on State Street and its offices in Enfield. The old logo is down from the MassMutual-owned Tower Square office tower on Main Street. The MassMutual name remains on the building, however. Johannes Leonardo advertising agency in New York City did strategy and creative work on the campaign. The Working Assembly, also of New York, design studio, did the logo ...

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    21. Women's Fund seeks applicants for $150K in partnership money

      Women's Fund seeks applicants for $150K in partnership money

      The Women's Fund of Western Massachusetts is inviting nonprofits that serve young women to apply, by midnight June 2, for $150,000 in funds over three years as a partner in a pilot program here designed to help this population succeed economically. Ellen T. Moorhouse, the fund's program officer, said the fund is seeking proposals from a "Springfield-based organization or collaborative of organizations serving young women to help guide implementation" of its Young Women's Initiative Springfield Partnership.

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    22. United Way of Pioneer Valley Board Names Jim Ayres President, CEO

      United Way of Pioneer Valley Board Names Jim Ayres President, CEO

      United Way of Pioneer Valley (UWPV) announced that its board of directors has appointed Jim Ayres the organization’s next president and CEO, effective June 12. Ayres, who currently serves as the CEO of the United Way Hampshire County, will succeed Dora Robinson, UWPV’s most recent president and CEO and current president emeritus. “After a comprehensive search, the board is thrilled to have found a strong leader with a proven track record to lead this organization that is such an integral part of the Pioneer Valley,” said Ben Markens, United Way Pioneer Valley board chair. “The board of directors ...

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    23. White Lion creates beer for Union Station reopening

      White Lion creates beer for Union Station reopening

      White Lion Brewing Co. has created a beer called Legendary Union to celebrate the reopening next month of Springfield Union Station. It will release the new brew next week, in time for the first White Lion Wednesday get-together downtown and during American Craft Beer Week. "White Lion is a part of the fabric of the city of Springfield and of Western Massachusetts. Union Station is a significant development for the city of Springfield and the region. It calls for a special beer," said Raymond Berry, company president and general manager.

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    24. Multi-faceted Plan in Greenfield Reaps Success

      Multi-faceted Plan in Greenfield Reaps Success

      Mayor William Martin recently acquired a book about Greenfield that was published in 1912. He keeps it in his office, and during a recent visit by BusinessWest, he culled through it and pointed out initiatives integral to the town’s economic development that mirror historic advances in the book that were considered progressive in the early 20th century. They include increasing density downtown, attracting businesses where growth is occurring, and developing town-owned energy companies, while continuing to meet the needs of residents. “We have taken ideas from the past and brought them into the modern day, which is very, very ...

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