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    1. People in Business: Big Y Appoints New Distribution Leader

      People in Business: Big Y Appoints New Distribution Leader

      Big Y Foods, Inc. is pleased to announce the appointment of Stephen M. Creed to the new position of senior director of distribution and logistics. Creed is responsible for leading Big Y’s distribution teams as they transition into their newly expanded 430,000 square foot space. He reports to Michael P. D’Amour, executive vice president and COO. Creed has over 40 years of experience in the distribution industry, mostly within the supermarket realm. He began his career in 1979 with Stop & Shop, Inc. where he held various positions including both produce and grocery receiving and operations. Throughout his ...

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    2. UMass Amherst’s Institute for Applied Life Sciences Joins Massachusetts Digital Health R&D Sandbox Program

      UMass Amherst’s Institute for Applied Life Sciences Joins Massachusetts Digital Health R&D Sandbox Program

      The Massachusetts eHealth Institute at MassTech (MeHI) has selected six new healthcare research and development (R&D) hubs to join the Digital Health Sandbox Network including the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS), the state program announced this week. The Sandbox Program connects digital health startups to cutting-edge R&D facilities in the Commonwealth and allows Massachusetts startups to apply for funding to test their innovations at one of the networks’ labs, now including IALS. Sandbox R&D facilities provide a range of services supporting validation and testing for digital health companies throughout their life ...

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    3. Gaming Commission Approves Safety Requirements for Casino Reopening

      The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) voted 5-0 on Tuesday to approve detailed guidelines outlining the minimum requirements for the reopening of the state’s two resort casinos and single slots facility. During a remote public meeting, the five gaming commissioners adopted health and safety rules that MGM Springfield, Encore Boston Harbor, and Plainridge Park Casino must meet in anticipation of the resumption of casino operations, scheduled for phase 3 of the Commonwealth’s reopening plan.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    4. ValleyBike Share Launches 2020 Season

      ValleyBike Share Launches 2020 Season

      ValleyBike Share  — the electric-assist bike-share program of the Pioneer Valley that includes Amherst, Easthampton, Holyoke, Northampton, South Hadley, Springfield, and the UMass Amherst campus — has launched the 2020 season in select locations. Remaining stations will be opened over the following weeks. ValleyBike boasts more than 40,000 active members, who have ridden more than 280,000 miles on 126,940 trips.

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    5. MASSACHUSETTS - PHASE II, STEP 2 BEGINS MONDAY, JUNE 22ND

      MASSACHUSETTS - PHASE II, STEP 2 BEGINS MONDAY, JUNE 22ND

      On Friday, the Baker-Polito Administration announced that Step Two of Phase II of the Commonwealth’s four-phase reopening plan, Reopening Massachusetts, begins Monday, June 22 to allow additional industries to resume operations under sector-specific guidelines. Businesses and sectors set to begin operating in Step Two of Phase II are subject to compliance with all mandatory safety standards. 

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    6. Chef Wayne’s Big Mamou restaurant in Springfield closing; takeout kiosk will remain open

      Chef Wayne’s Big Mamou restaurant in Springfield closing; takeout kiosk will remain open

      Wayne Hooker, known to thousands as “Chef Wayne,” announced Monday that he is retiring on July 1 and closing his popular Chef Wayne’s Big Mamou restaurant on Liberty Street. He made the announcement on his Facebook page. While he is closing the main location that he has operated for 25 years, Hooker said he will continue to run his Chef Wayne’ Big Mamou Cajun on the Go takeout kiosk on Worthington Street.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    7. State Launches Step Two of Second Phase of Economic Reopening

      State Launches Step Two of Second Phase of Economic Reopening

      The Baker-Polito administration announced that the second step of phase 2 of the Commonwealth’s four-phase reopening plan will begin today, June 22, to allow additional industries to resume operations under sector-specific guidelines. The following will be eligible to reopen today: indoor table service at restaurants; close-contact personal services, with restrictions; retail dressing rooms, by appointment only; and offices, at 50% capacity. In order to give those businesses time to prepare, the administration had previously released sector-specific guidance in advance of phase 2 for industries including restaurants, close-contact personal services, and sectors not otherwise addressed.

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    8. Community Foundation’s $35,000 Grant Boosts HCC Student Emergency Fund

      Community Foundation’s $35,000 Grant Boosts HCC Student Emergency Fund

      After COVID-19 broke, applications to the President’s Student Emergency Fund at Holyoke Community College (HCC) soared. The fund, established by President Christina Royal through the HCC Foundation, is meant to assist students facing unanticipated financial burdens, such as a lack of affordable housing, childcare expenses, and transportation. For the 2019-20 academic year, 93% of student requests to the fund have come since mid-March. As HCC transitioned to remote learning, nearly $25,000 has been distributed to help students facing income loss and struggling to pay their bills in the midst of the pandemic.

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    9. Northfield Drive-In’s opening night brings moviegoers ‘a little bit of normalcy’ amid coronavirus pandemic

      Northfield Drive-In’s opening night brings moviegoers ‘a little bit of normalcy’ amid coronavirus pandemic

      Even in the 1980s drive-in theaters were already relics — fading love letters to the early days of America’s romance with the automobile. “Nationwide, drive-ins sputter along,” said the headline of a 1988 Associated Press story that described the number of theaters falling by half over 30 years, from a peak of just over 4,000 in 1958. Another 30 years on, only 321 were operating last year, according to the National Association of Theater Owners.

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    10. Business Talk With Christina Royal

      Business Talk With Christina Royal

      We are excited to announce that BusinessWest, in partnership with Living Local, has launched a new podcast series, Business Talk. Each episode will feature in-depth interviews and discussions with local industry leaders, providing thoughtful perspectives on the Western Massachuetts economy and the many business ventures that keep it running during these challenging times.

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    11. MassMutual $500,000 donation to Urban League of Springfield will help promote equality

      MassMutual $500,000 donation to Urban League of Springfield will help promote equality

      A $500,000 donation made by the Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Co. to the Urban League of Springfield will be used to support the Black community through scholarships and upgrades to Camp Atwater. Henry M. Thomas III, president of the Urban League of Springfield, said the funding is an investment in the community.

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    12. MassLive Media announces incentive program with up to $1 million in matching marketing grants to help businesses rebuild following mandated shutdowns

      MassLive Media announces incentive program with up to $1 million in matching marketing grants to help businesses rebuild following mandated shutdowns

      For about three months many businesses across Massachusetts have been closed due to mandated shutdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic. As some businesses have been cleared to open up, under strict guidelines as part of the state’s four-phase reopening plan, others are still waiting for approval from Gov. Charlie Baker.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    13. Understanding the Employee Retention Credit

      Understanding the Employee Retention Credit

      Businesses that either repaid in a timely fashion or did not receive a loan pursuant to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) should explore their eligibility for the new Employee Retention Credit, one of the tax-relief provisions of the CARES Act passed on March 27. Like the PPP loan program, the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is aimed at encouraging eligible employers to continue to pay employees during these difficult times. Qualifying businesses are allowed a refundable tax credit against employment taxes equal to 50% of qualified wages (not to exceed $10,000 in wages per employee). Let’s take a look ...

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    14. Landscapers Say Homeowners Are Focused on Lawns, Yard Projects

      Landscapers Say Homeowners Are Focused on Lawns, Yard Projects

      On his daily commute from Wilbraham to East Longmeadow, Dave Graziano has never seen lawns as green as they are this year — even with the recent lack of rain. And as project manager for the landscape division of Graziano Gardens, he knows a thing or two about green lawns. “More than ever, people are working on their homes and their yards,” Graziano said. “Because they’ve been stuck at home for the last few months, they’re way ahead in their yardwork projects.”

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    15. Area Restaurants Begin to Reopen to Eager Guests

      Area Restaurants Begin to Reopen to Eager Guests

      Lisa Pac has been brewing beer for almost two decades, eventually growing a home-brewing enterprise into Skyline Beer Co., a restaurant, craft beer and wine bar, bakery, and home-brewing supply store in Westfield. In December, she and business partners Dana Bishop and Daniel Osella realized a dream of moving into a much larger space in the Whip City — a 4,500-square-foot restaurant, tasting room, and 10-barrel brewery on five scenic acres. Early receipts were very strong, and things were looking up. And then March happened. “At first, when COVID hit, we shut down for a couple days and had to ...

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    16. Tourism and Hospitality Sector Ramps Up for Uncertain Summer

      Tourism and Hospitality Sector Ramps Up for Uncertain Summer

      As he talked with BusinessWest about his industry and his family’s hotel group, Kishore Parmar kept glancing back and forth between the lobby of the Hampton Inn in Hadley and the parking lot outside. He did so with a look that blended something approaching disbelief — still, after roughly three months of the same view — with resignation. “This lobby is essentially empty, and this is not how it is,” he explained. “If this were a normal day in June, you’d see families, you’d see business people in and out, there would be staff going up and down the ...

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    17. Springfield east-west rail, faster broadband internet, green technologies highlight $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill

      Springfield east-west rail, faster broadband internet, green technologies highlight $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill

      A $1.5 trillion infrastructure construction bill introduced Thursday in Washington by House Democrats including U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Springfield could fund the transition away from fossil fuels, bring faster internet to rural central and Western Massachusetts as well as east-west rail.

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    18. Massachusetts Announces Additional Tax-relief Measures for Businesses

      Massachusetts Announces Additional Tax-relief Measures for Businesses

      Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Senate President Karen Spilka, and House Speaker Robert DeLeo announced additional administrative tax-relief measures for local businesses that have been impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, especially in the restaurant and hospitality sectors. This tax relief builds upon previous, similar tax extensions and includes postponing the collection of regular sales tax, meals tax, and room-occupancy tax for small businesses that would be due from March through August, so that they will instead be due in September. Additionally, all penalties and interest that would otherwise apply will be waived.

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      Mentions: Robert DeLeo
    19. STCC Receives $35,000 COVID-19 Relief Grant from Community Foundation

      STCC Receives $35,000 COVID-19 Relief Grant from Community Foundation

      Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) received a $35,000 grant to help students affected by the COVID-19 health crisis. The Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts awarded the grant through the COVID-19 Response Fund for the Pioneer Valley. STCC was one of several organizations to receive financial help in the latest round of awards through the COVID-19 Response Fund.

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    20. UMass Amherst Contributes to Development of Open-source N95 Respirator

      UMass Amherst Contributes to Development of Open-source N95 Respirator

      In one of the latest COVID-19 response projects at UMass Amherst, the Advanced Digital Design and Fabrication (ADDFab) laboratory is collaborating with a global network of design, engineering, and manufacturing experts to help develop an open-source N95 face mask. ADDFab, one of the core facilities at UMass’s Institute for Applied Life Sciences, has been rapidly preparing 3D prints of prototype parts and molds for Cofab Design in Holyoke. Cofab business partner and design engineer Aaron Cantrell is one of the primary leaders of the Open Standard Respirator project, a nonprofit effort to broaden protective equipment supply for COVID-19 and ...

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