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    1. Bloomberg Philanthropies names Holyoke national finalist for $1 million art grant

      Bloomberg Philanthropies names Holyoke national finalist for $1 million art grant

      Bloomberg Philanthropies on Wednesday named the El Corazon de Holyoke (The Heart of Holyoke) and the city, along with 14 communities nationwide, as finalists for a Public Arts Challenge Grant. Holyoke competed with more than 200 applicants for the coveted grants of up to $1 million. Bloomberg Philanthropies will name three winners in the fall. The applications hail from communities with 30,000 or more residents.

       

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    2. PVTA gets boost in state budget, still plans service cuts

      PVTA gets boost in state budget, still plans service cuts

      The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority will get more money under the state budget passed Wednesday by the Legislature than it expected under the governor's budget proposal, but it might not be enough to stop planned service cuts. The Legislature's budget adds $455,605 in funding for the PVTA as compared with the last two budget cycles. Additional funding could come from the state Department of Transportation. But the gains could also be wiped out by Gov. Charlie Baker if he decides to veto portions of the budget.

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    3. Springfield officials celebrate opening of Holiday Inn Express in downtown (photos)

      Springfield officials celebrate opening of Holiday Inn Express in downtown (photos)

      City officials and other well-wishers gathered Wednesday at the new Holiday Inn Express on State Street, celebrating its recent opening which ended years of delays and anticipation. The 98-room hotel opened in April at the former Epiphany Tower, 145 State St., across the street from the MassMutual Center and a short distance from the MGM Springfield casino project.

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    4. Environmental bond bill could extend Western Massachusetts bike paths, fix water and sewer...

      Environmental bond bill could extend Western Massachusetts bike paths, fix water and sewer...

      Western Massachusetts could see an infusion of public dollars for capital projects under a $2 billion environmental bond bill passed by the state Senate last week. Wish-list amendments to the bill, successfully tacked on by the region's senators, include extending bike paths, upgrading water and sewer plants, fixing dams and reservoirs, cleaning up lakes and rivers, boosting outdoor recreation and improving urban parks.

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    5. United Financial Bancorp Announces Q2 Earnings

      United Financial Bancorp Inc., the holding company for United Bank, announced results for the quarter ended June 30, 2018. The company reported net income of $15.6 million, or $0.31 per diluted share, for the quarter ended June 30, 2018, compared to net income for the linked quarter of $15.8 million, or $0.31 per diluted share. The company reported net income of $16.2 million, or $0.32 per diluted share, for the quarter ended June 30, 2017.

       

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      Mentions: United Bank
    6. Work Opportunity Center Receives Westfield Bank Foundation Grant

      Work Opportunity Center Inc. announced it is a recipient of a $5,000 grant donation from the Westfield Bank Foundation. The money will be put toward the purchase of a vehicle for the Community Based Day Services (CBDS) program. The CBDS program of supports enables individuals with developmental disabilities to enrich their life and enjoy a full range of community activities by providing opportunities for developing, enhancing, and maintaining competency in personal, social, and community activities.

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    7. Health New England president and CEO Maura McCaffrey steps down

      Health New England president and CEO Maura McCaffrey steps down

      Maura McCaffrey, president and CEO of Health New England, has resigned effective immediately, according to  message Tuesday from Dr. Mark A. Keroack, president and CEO of Baystate Health, which owns Health New England. She's stepping down to focus on her health and be with her family, according to Keroack's message.  Health New England is a nonprofit health plan serving Western Massachusetts, Worcester County and members in Connecticut employed by Massachusetts companies.

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    8. Developer signs option agreement to preserve Mt. Tom land in Easthampton

      Developer signs option agreement to preserve Mt. Tom land in Easthampton

      If all goes as planned, nearly 24 acres on the northwestern flank of Mount Tom will be preserved as open space, with parking and access to hiking trails, rather than built as a subdivision called "Red Tail Drive." Developer Gary Campbell last week signed an option agreement with the Amherst-based Kestrel Land Trust, confirmed Mark Wamsley, the organization's conservation manager. He said Easthampton's Passcommuck Conservation Trust helped with funding, and that a pot of money is now being held in escrow.

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    9. Springfield City Council approves tax incentives for Willys-Overland downtown housing...

      Springfield City Council approves tax incentives for Willys-Overland downtown housing...

      The City Council approved tax incentives for the historic Willys-Overland property on Chestnut Street on Monday, providing property tax relief to the new owner to assist plans to convert the site to market-rate housing. The vote was 8-0 to approve the 10-year tax increment exemption agreement with Davenport Companies, under the name Chestnut Acquisitions LLC. Under the agreement, Davenport will have a total tax savings estimated at $310,000 over 10 years, according to the Assessors Department.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    10. PeoplesBank buys First National Bank of Suffield for $60M

      PeoplesBank buys First National Bank of Suffield for $60M

      PeoplesBancorp, parent of PeoplesBank, will buy First Suffield Financial, Inc., parent company of The First National Bank of Suffield, Connecticut, for $60 million. First Suffield Financial shareholders will receive $12,001.85 in cash per share, according to a news release. PeoplesBank is mutual bank and has 18 banking offices in Western Massachusetts and assets exceeding $2.4 billion.

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      Mentions: Holyoke
    11. Human Service Forum to Present Job Fair on Aug. 22

      The Human Service Forum will hold its first annual Human Services Job Fair on Wednesday, August 22 from 2 to 6 p.m. at La Quinta Inn & Suites, 100 Congress St., Springfield. This event is free and open to the public. Job seekers of all experience levels are invited to attend, and many bilingual positions are available. Attendees will have the opportunity to network with more than 25 local nonprofit organizations currently looking to fill a wide range of openings.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    12. Springfield has a lot of balls in the air this week with International Jugglers...

      Springfield has a lot of balls in the air this week with International Jugglers...

      The International Jugglers' Association will converge on the city for the next six days, drawing an estimated 600 jugglers and juggling enthusiasts from around the world. The International Jugglers' Association 71st convention is expected to pump more than $1 million into the region's economy. Local hotels alone have booked 1,100 hotel rooms over the six days of the event, said Mary Kay Wydra, president of the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau, in a press release.

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    13. Providence Behavioral Health Hospital announces cutbacks, promises to maintain services

      Providence Behavioral Health Hospital announces cutbacks, promises to maintain services

      Providence Behavioral Health Hospital in Holyoke will eliminate full- and part-time jobs in a restructuring announced last week. The hospital, part of Trinity Health of New England, can't yet say how many jobs will be eliminated. A prepared statement from the organization refers to service changes, but says no service will be eliminated entirely. Managers have been working, according to the release, to reduce partial hours or eliminate open or unfilled positions

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    14. Google Announces $100,000 Sponsorship for FutureWorks Career Center

      Google continued its Grow with Google tour in Springfield last week by announcing a sponsorship for FutureWorks Career Center totalling $100,000. The sponsorship will help FutureWorks deepen its available resources to prepare active job seekers with the digital skills necessary to obtain jobs and succeed in the workforce.FutureWorks will deploy Google’s Applied Digital Skills Curriculum its diverse group of youth and adult job seekers over the course of a year. Some of its staff will also be trained on Google for Jobs and teach active job seekers how to use the online platform to streamline their job ...

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    15. Westover wraps up Air Show drawing crowds of 60,000+

      Westover wraps up Air Show drawing crowds of 60,000+

      When Lucas and Liam Goncalves saw an information table for the U.S. Air Force they couldn't wait to meet the people sitting behind it. "Can we go talk to them?" Lucas, 7, asked and already started running as their mother gave them the OK. The two were among some of the most enthusiastic visitors to Sunday's Great New England Air and Space Show, which an estimated 63,400 people to Westover Air Reserve Base over the two days of the event.

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      Mentions: Chicopee
    16. MassDOT Announces $1.8 Million in Awards to Expand Industrial Rail and Freight

      The state Department of Transportation recently awarded five grants totaling more than $1.8 million as part of the Industrial Rail Access Program (IRAP), which helps increase rail and freight access, economic opportunity, and job growth. IRAP is a competitive, state-funded, public/private partnership program that provides financial assistance to eligible applicants to invest in improvement projects in rail infrastructure access. State funding for these five projects will be matched by more than $2.4 million in private funds.

       

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    17. Downtown Amherst development proposal includes commercial space, 58 studio apartments

      Downtown Amherst development proposal includes commercial space, 58 studio apartments

      Two meetings are planned next week to review a proposal to construct a four-story building with 1,000 square feet of commercial space and 58 studio apartments on an approximately one-third acre lot at 26 Spring St. downtown. The Amherst Design Review Committee will convene Tuesday at 6 p.m. at Town Hall; the Planning Board is scheduled to meet on Wednesday at 7:20 p.m.

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      Mentions: Amherst
    18. Massachusetts' second-largest wind farm expanding

      Massachusetts' second-largest wind farm expanding

      The Berkshire Wind Power Project atop Brodie Mountain in Hancock will expand by two additional turbines, each capable of generating 2.3 megawatts, by next spring. Owner Berkshire Wind Power Cooperative announced the expansion Thursday. The cooperative is a nonprofit entity consisting of 14 Massachusetts municipal utilities and the Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Co.

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      Mentions: Chicopee
    19. $1.5 million grant to help Springfield, Holyoke and Chicopee improve water quality in...

      $1.5 million grant to help Springfield, Holyoke and Chicopee improve water quality in...

      The Connecticut River Clean-up Committee has been awarded a $1.5 million grant to help the cities of Springfield, Holyoke and Chicopee reduce sewer overflows and wastewater discharges and improve water quality in the Connecticut River watershed. The Baker-Polito administration awarded the grant, which will be administered by the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, earlier this week. "The Connecticut River is a vital resource for communities along its banks and the funds announced today will support important ongoing community efforts to keep contaminants out of the river, greatly improving water quality and quality of life for local residents," said Gov. Charlie ...

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    20. Berkshire Community College Receives $5.5M for One Stop Student Success Center

      Berkshire Community College (BCC) has been awarded $5.5 million for a major project that will transform the first floor of the Field Administration building into a One Stop Student Success Center. Gov. Charlie Baker announced this award on July 10 at Westfield State University. Baker launched a capital investment plan for public higher education and encouraged the submission of proposals that would benefit the Massachusetts economy and support student success and completion.

       

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    21. Massachusetts House tacks $125 million in earmarks onto economic development bond bill

      Massachusetts House tacks $125 million in earmarks onto economic development bond bill

      State representatives on Tuesday night added $125 million in earmarked spending to a $666 million economic development bill before sending it along to the Senate.  The economic development bill, H.4714, is passed each year as a way to fund major projects around the state. It includes earmarks for specific projects, funding for economic development grants and money for job training.

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    22. A dealership built around a restaurant: Marcotte Ford nears completion of $8M building in Holyoke

      A dealership built around a restaurant: Marcotte Ford nears completion of $8M building in Holyoke

      Nothing says America like Mustangs, pickup trucks and pizza. Soon, at Marcotte Ford, you'll be able to buy any one of the three, or a sandwich or breakfast, or an Escape SUV or Ford parts, all under one roof.  "We did something crazy," said Bryan Marcotte, the second of three generations to run the dealership. "We decided to build a dealership around a restaurant." It's an idea Marcotte has had for a long time, starting with serving breakfast on Saturdays at the former dealership building. So the new Marcotte Ford dealership building will have at its center the ...

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      Mentions: Holyoke Westfield
    23. VSS, Valley Steel Stamp in Greenfield, plans major manufacturing expansion

      VSS, Valley Steel Stamp in Greenfield, plans major manufacturing expansion

      The excitement at Greenfield manufacturer VSS is not necessarily for the new 17,500-square-foot building the company has under construction. It's the $10 million to $12 million in equipment and 40 or so new employees company President Steven Capshaw plans to put in that building. The former Valley Steel Stamp has 60 employees now, up from 23 when the company moved into its current Greenfield Industrial Park location 10 years ago, Capshaw said.

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    24. Helping young men 'going to jail or ... going to die': Grand opening planned for ROCA's...

      Helping young men 'going to jail or ... going to die': Grand opening planned for ROCA's...

      ROCA, an organization committed to helping high-risk individuals, will hold a grand opening for its 384 High St., location July 24. The Holyoke agency works with male clients 17 to 24 years old who need assistance with job training, life skills or cognitive behavior issues. Since October 2017, ROCA shared office space with CareerPoint at 850 High St. The new location eliminates a 10-mile journey for participants who often traveled to ROCA's Springfield office for additional services. Christine Judd, ROCA's Springfield executive director, said the Holyoke office underwent renovations. Staff began moving in a few weeks ago. "The ...

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