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    1. Florence Bank Breaks Ground on New Springfield Branch

      Florence Bank Breaks Ground on New Springfield Branch

      Florence Bank broke ground last week on its second Hampden County branch, at 1444 Allen St. in Springfield, and leaders said the full-service location will open later this year. “We’re coming to Springfield,” John Heaps Jr., Florence Bank’s president and CEO, told a crowd of roughly 50 people who gathered for the celebratory event. “Our focus is on our customers and on helping to reinvigorate the community.” Heaps grew up in the Springfield area, and he said the expansion into Springfield “is like coming back home. I used to hang around here. This feels great.”

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    2. GreatHorse says it's working with Hampden to get 'all necessary approvals' for banquet center expansion, but critics of exclusive country club say otherwise

      GreatHorse says it's working with Hampden to get 'all necessary approvals' for banquet center expansion, but critics of exclusive country club say otherwise

      A lawyer for GreatHorse says the golf and country club expanded its Starting Gate banquet facility in anticipation of the Town of Hampden bringing water and sewer service to the Springfield suburb, leaving the exclusive "lifestyle club" susceptible to potential state violations. But after facing increasing pressure from the public, town officials late last year withdrew their application for a $2 million state grant that would have paid for part of the estimated $4.8 million project to bring sewer service to Hampden's west side business district. The area includes GreatHorse, Rediker Software, restaurants, stores and other commercial facilities.

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    3. 'It was great': Now arriving, the first batch of CTrail Hartford Line weekday riders

      'It was great': Now arriving, the first batch of CTrail Hartford Line weekday riders

      Marcello Toro took Monday what he hopes was the first of many trips on CTrail and the Hartford Line from Hartford to Springfield's Union Station. Toro took the 12:26 p.m. train Monday from Hartford and arrived at 1:05 p.m. - five minutes ahead of schedule - for a 2 p.m. job interview with MGM Springfield at the MassMutual Center. If he gets his job as a line cook at the $960 million resort casino that opens Aug. 24, Toro said he hopes to use CTrail for his daily commute into work. "It was great," he said ...

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    4. Gov. Charlie Baker signs $623 million life sciences bill

      Gov. Charlie Baker signs $623 million life sciences bill

      Gov. Charlie Baker on Friday signed into law a $623 million life sciences bill. The bill authorizes the state to borrow and spend up to $473 million over five years and provide tax credits of up to $150 million. "This bill demonstrates the Legislature's commitment to economic development and workforce training by providing the tools and resources to allow for the continued investment in our people, our infrastructure, and our Massachusetts-based companies," said Rep. Joseph Wagner, D-Chicopee, House chairman of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, in a statement.

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    5. Massachusetts Senate passes ambitious clean energy bill

      Massachusetts Senate passes ambitious clean energy bill

      Massachusetts would run on 100-percent renewable power by 2047 under comprehensive energy legislation passed by the state Senate Thursday night. The idealistic goal would be reached by increasing the state's renewable portfolio standard by 3 percent every year, instead of the current 1 percent. The RPS dictates how much renewable energy electrical utilities such as Eversource and National Grid must buy.

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    6. MGM Springfield, city officials prepare for deluge of casino visitors, traffic in opening week

      MGM Springfield, city officials prepare for deluge of casino visitors, traffic in opening week

      Representatives of MGM Springfield and the city said Friday they are discussing ways to cope with the potential record numbers of people and traffic that will visit the downtown area during the opening days of the $960 million resort casino. The logistical plans and strategies for the deluge of traffic is not yet finalized, but communication with the public and local businesses will be critical in advance of the casino's grand opening on Aug. 24, said MGM and city officials. The issue was discussed Friday at a meeting of the City Council Casino Oversight Committee at City Hall.

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      Mentions: Springfield MGM
    7. Craft breweries popping up across Greater Springfield

      Craft breweries popping up across Greater Springfield

      When you think of Wilbraham, Massachusetts -- birthplace of Friendly's Ice Cream and where Timothy Merrick was immortalized in song after dying from a rattlesnake bite up on "Springfield Mountain" -- beer may not be the first thing that pops into your mind. But craft breweries are suddenly popping up all over Greater Springfield, including two here in Wilbraham, Springfield's eastern neighbor, and one apiece in neighboring Ludlow and Hampden. Talks are also in the works to bring independent brewers to West Springfield, according to Mayor Will Reichelt, who has been trying to make West Side more appealing to millennials ...

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    8. First CTrail commuter train leaves Springfield for Hartford

      First CTrail commuter train leaves Springfield for Hartford

      U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal and other local dignitaries made the ceremonial first trip south Friday on CTrail from the renovated Union Station to Hartford. "This was a wise expenditure of the public purse and those of us who voted for it had ought to defend it," Neal said upon reaching Hartford. Reminiscent of driving the golden spike that completed the transcontinental railroad, the party from Springfield headed south to Hartford where they met up with Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy and a party of Connecticut officials headed north from New Haven.

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    9. UMass Amherst Lauds $47 Million in Capital Authorization For New Biotechnology and Precision Manufacturing Initiative

      UMass Amherst Lauds $47 Million in Capital Authorization For New Biotechnology and Precision Manufacturing Initiative

      Legislation signed today by Governor Charlie Baker will provide nearly $463 million in capital and reauthorize a tax incentive program to continue to grow Massachusetts’ life sciences industry. Included in the capital authorizations is $47 million for UMass Amherst to build and equip a Biotechnology and Precision Manufacturing (BPM) research and training facility. “This legislation will greatly benefit the Massachusetts economy and provide exciting new opportunities for our students to prepare for successful careers in the life sciences,” said UMass Amherst Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy. “This is yet another aspect of partnership with the state to position the Commonwealth and ...

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    10. Gov. Charlie Baker praises 130-unit North Amherst housing project at groundbreaking

      Gov. Charlie Baker praises 130-unit North Amherst housing project at groundbreaking

      Gov. Charlie Baker and other officials were among nearly 100 people who filled a tent and spilled out onto the lawn Thursday afternoon to celebrate the groundbreaking for North Square at the Mill District, a 130-unit housing project that includes 26 affordable homes. Beacon Communities, the project developer, secured state low-income tax credits in December, necessary to help finance the project.  "This is a complete re-imagination of how this site at this point in time and into the future should be designed to support this community and its future," Baker said. "These are the kinds of things that we as ...

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    11. Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield unveils $1.6 million entrance and lobby improvements

      Baystate Noble Hospital in Westfield unveils $1.6 million entrance and lobby improvements

       Baystate Noble Hospital officials unveiled their new $1.6 million front entrance and lobby as well as the theme of the 2018 Baystate Noble Ball: "It's Magic!" The entrance improves access and complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Automatic sliding doors, re-grading of the circular driveway and walkways to create a level surface, and a protective drive-under canopy improved the exterior.

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    12. Historic B-29 plane, others coming to Westover Municipal Airport in Chicopee

      Historic B-29 plane, others coming to Westover Municipal Airport in Chicopee

      A historic B-29 Superfortress bomber plane, one of only two in the world that still fly, will be on display at the Westover Metropolitan Airport next week and will even be open for rides. The Commemorative Air Force will be bringing three historic aircraft to the airport on 255 Padgette St., from June 20-24. The B-29 will be joined by two other planes, a C-45 Expeditor and a T-6 Texan. People will be able to view all three aircraft between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. all five days at a cost of $10 for adults, $5 for youth ...

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    13. Want to land a job at the soon-to-open MGM Springfield casino? Here's another opportunity

      Want to land a job at the soon-to-open MGM Springfield casino? Here's another opportunity

      If you are still looking to be a part of the MGM Springfield roster ahead of the casino's Aug. 24 grand opening, you still have a chance. The next invite-only hiring event is scheduled for this coming Monday and Tuesday, June 18-19. According to the casino company, all departments will be represented at the event, but recruiters will primarily be focused on food & beverage positions, including cooks, kitchen stewards, servers, bar porters, hosts, runners, and pantry and counter workers.

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      Mentions: Springfield MGM
    14. Greylock Works Transforming Mill with Help from MassDevelopment

      Greylock Works Transforming Mill with Help from MassDevelopment

      MassDevelopment has provided a $1.1 million loan to Greylock WORKS LLC, the developer of the Greylock Mill, a former cotton-spinning mill campus in North Adams that Greylock WORKS is transforming into a mixed-use commercial development. The organization will use loan proceeds to continue renovations of the Weave Shed, which includes a 26,000-square-foot event venue and commercial kitchen where the owners have been producing regional festivals and dance parties, as well as hosting weddings and other private events. “The Baker-Polito administration has created a toolbox of flexible resources to support significant opportunities for economic growth in municipalities across the ...

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      Mentions: MassDevelopment
    15. Chicopee approvals granted for $45M hotel, restaurant complex; more permits needed

      Chicopee approvals granted for $45M hotel, restaurant complex; more permits needed

      The Planning Board approved a site plan for an about $45 million business complex off Burnett Road that will include a hotel, gas station and several restaurants, but the developers will need other permits before they can begin construction. The approval, granted in a 7-0 vote last week, is contingent on developer Dinesh Patel receiving permits from the state Department of Transportation to create an entrance to the complex off what is technically Interstate 291. The final plans will also have to be reviewed and endorsed by the city engineer and other city officials before building begins.

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      Mentions: Chicopee
    16. With CTrail ready to roll, travelers ponder if they'll use Springfield-Hartford-New Haven train line

      With CTrail ready to roll, travelers ponder if they'll use Springfield-Hartford-New Haven train line

      CTrail's Hartford Line begins service Saturday. CTrail and Amtrak trains will provide a total of 34 daily trips on weekdays, 12 trips on Saturdays, and 13 trips on Sundays and holidays. A timetable is available at hartfordline.com. On Friday, U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal and others will cut a ribbon at Springfield Union Station for a ceremonial launch. A party of officials from Springfield will take a train to Hartford, where they'll meet Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy, who's planning to take a train north from New Haven.

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    17. Springfield Union Station offers commuter parking rate as CTrail service begins

      Springfield Union Station offers commuter parking rate as CTrail service begins

      Starting Monday, with the arrival of CTrail train service from Springfield to Hartford and New Haven, commuters will be able to park in Springfield Union Station's parking deck for $5 a day. And starting in July, they'll be able to park in the Union Station garage for $65 a month, according to a news release issued Wednesday. Parking at Union Station will be free this Saturday and Sunday when CTrail offers free trips as a way to introduce folks to the service. Local officials, including U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Springfield, will take a ceremonial ride Friday ...

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    18. Hannoush Jewelers will open store at MGM Springfield casino

      Hannoush Jewelers will open store at MGM Springfield casino

      Hannoush Jewelers will have a store at the MGM Springfield casino, the Springfield-based chain and MGM announced today. "We are going to build, or we are in the process of building, a beautiful new store," Camile Hannoush said. "A new prototype, a whole new look. Springfield is our home." The Hannoush brothers -- Elias, Joseph, Anthony, Norman, Peter, George, Camile and Nabil -- got their start locally working for Kay Jewelers in the Eastfield Mall back in 1978. They opened their first store in Chicopee two years later.

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    19. Gov. Charlie Baker expected at groundbreaking for North Amherst housing project

      Gov. Charlie Baker expected at groundbreaking for North Amherst housing project

      Gov. Charlie Baker is expected to be on hand Thursday to celebrate Beacon Communities' 130-unit housing project in North Amherst's Mill District. According to his deputy press secretary, the governor is planning to attend the 2 p.m. groundbreaking ceremony. State, local and project officials are also expected to speak. Work on the project began earlier this spring.

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      Mentions: Amherst
    20. Northampton mayor sees busy train station getting busier with planned north-south Knowledge Corridor service expansion

      Northampton mayor sees busy train station getting busier with planned north-south Knowledge Corridor service expansion

      Northampton Mayor David J. Narkewicz knows that an old technology -- the passenger train -- is a big part of his city's future. "You can see it when you drive past the station," Narkewicz said Tuesday of his city's open-air Amtrak station on Pleasant Street at the edge of downtown. "There are people lined up in the parking lot." It's a scene he feels he'll see more often starting in June 2019 when expanded train service from Springfield on the Knowledge Corridor line through Holyoke and Northampton to Greenfield begins.

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    21. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker cites MassMutual expansion, job creation in Springfield economic development speech

      Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker cites MassMutual expansion, job creation in Springfield economic development speech

      Gov. Charlie Baker spoke before a large audience of business executives and property developers Tuesday at the MassMutual Center, but at times he was talking to just two men. State Sen. Eric P. Lesser, D-Longmeadow, and State Rep. Joseph F. Wagner, D-Chicopee, each chair the committees reviewing the Baker administration's $610 million economic development bill.

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    22. Expanded north-south rail service from Springfield to begin in June 2019

      Expanded north-south rail service from Springfield to begin in June 2019

      The commonwealth of Massachusetts has an agreement with Connecticut authorities and Amtrak to provide on a pilot basis two extended daily CTrail trains from Springfield with stops in Holyoke, Northampton and Greenfield. One train will run in the morning and one later in the day -- both north and south -- on the Knowledge Corridor line paralleling the Connecticut River. The only train traveling north of Springfield now is Amtrak's Vermonter, which runs once a day in each direction.  The pilot project, revealed Tuesday by Gov. Charlie Baker at a news conference in Springfield's Union Station, will cost Massachusetts $1 ...

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    23. Ludlow’s Mill Project Is Right on Schedule

      Ludlow’s Mill Project Is Right on Schedule

      Eric Nelson said he recently had cause to look over the occupancy permit issued to Westmass Area Development Corp. for the property now known as Ludlow Mills. The date on the document — April 2012 — gave him both pause and more evidence that time does, indeed, fly. Yes, it’s been more than six years since this ambitious project — a blend of both brownfield and greenfield development — was launched, and, for the most part, it is on schedule, said Nelson, president of Westmass for roughly half the duration of this effort. And by on schedule, he was referring to the pace ...

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