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    1. Gov. Deval Patrick unveils $1.8 billion statewide plan for projects including new student center at Springfield community college

      Gov. Deval Patrick unveils $1.8 billion statewide plan for projects including new student center at Springfield community college

      Gov. Deval L. Patrick on Wednesday released a plan to spend $1.8 billion on capital projects this fiscal year, including $400,000 for a student activity center and library at Springfield Technical Community College, $51 million to modernize a science building at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and $10 million to expand high-speed Internet to rural Western Massachusetts.  The plan also includes $3 million for a drainage project at the Three County Fairgrounds and the surrounding neighborhood in Northampton.

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    2. Amherst chosen to participate in latest round of Solarize Mass program

      Amherst chosen to participate in latest round of Solarize Mass program

      The town is one of four area communities chosen to participate in the second round of the Solarize Mass program. The program is a partnership between the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center and the Green Communities Division of the Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources and provides lower pricing for small-scale solar-electric installations on local homes and businesses.

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    3. Chicopee approves tax break for Menck Windows

      Chicopee approves tax break for Menck Windows

      The company, which is in a joint venture with Menck Fenster a 130-year-old German company, initially plans to hire 20 to 30 employees and hopes to expand to at least 50 within five years.  Before the City Council meeting, Todd Bachelder, president and chief executive officer for Menck USA, asked for a quick approval so the company could begin installing equipment and be ready for business for the end of the 2014 construction season.  The approval enables the company to appear before the state Economic Assistance Coordinating Council this month to request economic development incentive grants or tax credits.

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      Mentions: Chicopee
    4. UMass to make $2 million in improvements to campus security following independent review

      UMass to make $2 million in improvements to campus security following independent review

      The University of Massachusetts has agreed to spend more than $2 million during the next three years to make the 51 residence halls safer. Improvements will include the installation of a computerized visitor entry system following the recommendations of a safety firm hired to review campus security. UMass hired Business Protection Specialists, Inc., a security consulting firm based in Canandaigua, N.Y., to review campus safety in March following the report of a gang rape on campus in October 2012.

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    5. Population in Lower Pioneer Valley expected to fall as people age, according

      Population in Lower Pioneer Valley expected to fall as people age, according

      By 2015 there will likely be more people dying than being born in the Lower Pioneer Valley, contributing along with the outmigration of aging baby boomers to a steady decline in population that will likely challenge the region and its economy. "The implications are statewide and nationwide," said Susan Strate, manager of the University of Massachusetts Donahue Institute Population Estimates Program in Hadley.

       

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    6. Plane Speaking | BusinessWest

      Plane Speaking | BusinessWest

      Fran Ahern acknowledged that the analogy isn’t perfect, but, for the most part, it works, and it helps him effectively tell the story of one of the region’s least-known — and least-understood — business success stories.
      “We’re a service center for airplanes,” said Ahern, general manager of Gulfstream’s sprawling operation at Barnes Municipal Airport in Westfield. He would go on to draw a number of loose comparisons between his operation and the corner garage or auto dealership where one might bring their Buick for new tires, a tuneup, or an inspection sticker.

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    7. Survey: Massachusetts business confidence rebounds in November, but government dysfunction keeps holding it back

      Survey: Massachusetts business confidence rebounds in November, but government dysfunction keeps holding it back

      Employers across Massachusetts gained confidence in the economy in November, but it appears to be a continuation of an up-and-down seesaw of sentiment and not evidence of sustained improvement, according to Associated Industries of Massachusetts.  'We just don't reach liftoff,' said Andre Mayer, senior adviser for Associated Industries , saying that ongoing budget squabbles in Washington stall momentum. 'The fluctuations month to month are understandable. We can tell what is making the changes. It's not random fluctuations. It's not progress, either.'

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    8. Women’s Conference Announced for Kittredge Center

      Women’s Conference Announced for Kittredge Center

      Day-long empowerment conference will engage women with success strategies. Event features renowned speakers and techniques geared toward achieving Life Domination. The conference invites women from Western Massachusetts and New England to learn strategies and techniques for personal growth and success from career and relationship experts, award-winning authors, national radio hosts, and successful entrepreneurs.

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    9. Easthampton seeking bids for infrastructure work on Pleasant Street mill project

      Easthampton seeking bids for infrastructure work on Pleasant Street mill project

      The MassWorks Infrastructure Program last fall awarded $2.75 million to help Michael Michon, owner of Mill 180 on Pleasant Street, Will Bundy, owner of Eastworks Mill, and James Witmer, owner of the Brickyard, with their proposal to connect their buildings and flip the buildings' entrances to open on the side facing the Manhan Rail Trail instead of Pleasant Street. The infrastructure work must be completed first. Bids are due back in the city Jan. 6, City Planner Jessica Allan said. She said the city hopes, with help of their consultant R. Levesque Associates, Inc. of Westfield to award the ...

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    10. Big Picture | BusinessWest

      Big Picture | BusinessWest

      Bob LePage spends a lot of time talking to employers from many different sectors, from healthcare to hospitality; financial services to manufacturing. And they all have one thing in common — a need for quality workers.  He related a conversation he had with the head of an area manufacturing firm. “He said, ‘we have more work than we have capacity. And what’s the biggest capacity constriction? Lack of workers. If I could find them, I’d add a shift, I’d add another line. Our challenge is, we need more qualified workers, whether that’s taking assemblers and upscaling them ...

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    11. Noble Hospital opens express care facility

      Noble Hospital opens express care facility

      Noble Hospital and the Noble Health Network has opened a express care facility at 57 Union Street in Westfield.  Noble Express Care is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.  According to a release, Noble Express Care serves patients if a primary care physician is unavailable, regular offices are closed, or for people who don't want to wait at the emergency room for a non-emergency.

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      Mentions: Westfield
    12. West Springfield approves $2.6 million in bonding for library project

      West Springfield approves $2.6 million in bonding for library project

      The Town Council on Monday voted 9-0 in favor of granting the library renovation and expansion an additional $2.6 million in bonding funds, bringing the total amount of the project’s budget to $16 million.  Council President Kathleen Bourque stated that if other funding sources for the library project become available, the $2.6 million may not be used in full.

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    13. Bradley seeks longer reach in 2014

      Bradley seeks longer reach in 2014

      North Carolina. Ohio. California. Europe.The Connecticut Airport Authority has some lofty destination goals in 2014 for Bradley International Airport in Windsor Locks. All those goals might not be realized next year, but the authority will be well on the way to fulfilling them, said CAA Executive Director Kevin Dillon.

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    14. Greenfield Community College receives grant for programs in science, technology, engineering and math

      Greenfield Community College receives grant for programs in science, technology, engineering and math

      Massachusetts has won a grant from Complete College America (CCA) to aid the state’s efforts to increase the number of college students who complete degree and certificate programs in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields, the Department of Higher Education announced. The technical assistance grants are supported by the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.  Greenfield Community College will be one of the beneficiaries of the grant.

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    15. Associated Industries of Massachusetts survey finds huge variability in health insurance premium changes under 'Obamacare'

      Associated Industries of Massachusetts survey finds huge variability in health insurance premium changes under 'Obamacare'

      Employees of MicroTek in Chicopee will be paying a little bit more for their health insurance in 2014, as some provisions of the Affordable Care Act begin to kick in. But the impact will not be major. MicroTek CEO Anne Paradis said the company was able to renew its health coverage for January and offer the same two plans it has previously. The new rates are not unusually high.

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    16. Community preservation funds in Massachusetts bolstered by $25 million from

      Community preservation funds in Massachusetts bolstered by $25 million from

      Cities and towns around the state this year are benefiting from a doubling of state-matching money for a program that raises local funds for land conservation, historic preservation and affordable housing. The state contribution, totaling $55 million, doubled from last year mainly because the program – the Community Preservation Act – for the first time received $25 million from the state budget surplus. Each year since 2003, communities have received a state match if voters have adopted the act by approving a property tax surcharge of up to 3 percent to raise local money.

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    17. Future of Springfield courthouse in question as plans for I-91 reconstruction and casino move forward

      Future of Springfield courthouse in question as plans for I-91 reconstruction and casino move forward

      The Springfield courthouse is among the busiest in the state; its District Court, for instance, the fifth busiest for criminal and civil caseloads, behind Boston Municipal Court, Lowell, Quincy and Worcester district courts, according to the most recent figures available. Legislators, led by state Sen. Gale P. Candaras, D-Wilbraham, are pressing for the Trial Court to complete a study on how the more than $200 million I-91 project, in particular, will affect both the hall of justice and the Springfield Juvenile and Housing Courts, all located on State Street opposite the highway viaduct. The road reconstruction project could begin as ...

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    18. State awards $1 million in grants for recreational trails, bridges in Westfield, Ware, Monson, Chesterfield, Hardwick and Worthington

      State awards $1 million in grants for recreational trails, bridges in Westfield, Ware, Monson, Chesterfield, Hardwick and Worthington

      More than $1 million in grants will go regional non-profit agencies and municipalities to pay for work on 32 trails across the state. The funding was announced by Gov. Deval Patrick and members of his administration who said the $1,023,284 in grants were awarded in conjunction with a required contribution from the recipients. The money includes funding for recreational trail projects in Westfield, Ware, Monson, Chesterfield, Hardwick and Worthington.

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    19. Downtown Springfield merchants, local leaders praise plans for UMass satellite campus at Tower Square

      Downtown Springfield merchants, local leaders praise plans for UMass satellite campus at Tower Square

      “It’s a big day for Springfield,” said Kevin Kennedy, the city’s chief development officer. “It’s very important to the revitalization, the vitality of downtown, to bring college-aged students down here. It will do a world of good for the downtown. We’re very excited.

      “Springfield is on the way back and this is really a big step,” Kennedy said.

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