1. Articles from Mary Serreze | Special to The Republican

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    1. Massachusetts Broadband Institute pulls funding from WiredWest, advises towns to walk away from proposed contract

      Massachusetts Broadband Institute pulls funding from WiredWest, advises towns to walk away from proposed contract

      The Massachusetts Broadband Institute has halted state funding to WiredWest, saying the rural broadband aggregator's draft operating agreement with member towns is "not compatible with the best interests of the Commonwealth, the towns, or their residents." The institute is further recommending that towns not sign a proposed WiredWest operating agreement, which is now before local officials with a Jan. 9 deadline for approval. "Because of overall concerns with project operations and sustainability, the MBI will not authorize expenditure of state funds" for the broadband model as described, institute director Eric Nakajima wrote in a Dec. 1 letter to local ...

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    2. Geoffrey Kravitz named economic development director for the town of Amherst

      Geoffrey Kravitz named economic development director for the town of Amherst

      Interim town manager M. David Ziomek on Monday announced his appointment of Amherst native Geoffrey Kravitz to the position of Economic Development Director. A graduate of Amherst Regional High School, Colgate University, and the University of Maryland School of Law, Kravitz will be the town's first economic development director.

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    3. Tennessee Gas sets date to submit federal pipeline application

      Tennessee Gas sets date to submit federal pipeline application

      Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. announced Wednesday that it will apply for federal approval of its Northeast Energy Direct pipeline project on Nov. 20, and hopes to have the pipeline in service by November 2018. The Kinder Morgan subsidiary had not previously settled upon a firm date for submitting its final filings with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. Tennessee Gas Pipeline must earn a Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the commission in order to build the 412-mile pipeline, which would bring natural gas from the Marcellus region of Pennsylvania to markets in the Northeast.

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    4. Pride CEO withdraws application for retail liquor license at unbuilt Hadley convenience store

      Pride CEO withdraws application for retail liquor license at unbuilt Hadley convenience store

       Pride Stations and Stores CEO Robert L. Bolduc on Wednesday night withdrew an application for a beer and wine license for a yet-to-be-built Rt. 9 convenience store. Bolduc told MassLive/The Republican he might return at a later date to try again for the alcohol license, but might simply submit plans to the Planning Board for a smaller store. "We are considering our options," he said. Conceptual plans show a 7,400 square-foot gas station and store on a two-acre portion of the former Aqua Vitae restaurant site, a 5.3-acre triangular parcel near the juncture of Bay Road. Bolduc ...

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    5. Sustainable food system entreprenuers to speak at Smith College

      Sustainable food system entreprenuers to speak at Smith College

      The entrepreneurs will present their business models and talk about how they tie into sustainable agriculture in the Pioneer Valley. Following the presentations, there will be an opportunity for more in-depth discussion, according to the group PVGrows. Presenters will include the Artifact Cider Project, Artisan Beverage Cooperative, NextChar, Robariah Farms, Stillman Quality Meats, Sutter Meats, and Tregaverne Food & Grocery, all located in the Pioneer Valley.

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    6. Conservation Law Foundation to fight Kinder Morgan's pipeline deals with Berkshire, Columbia, and Boston Gas

      Conservation Law Foundation to fight Kinder Morgan's pipeline deals with Berkshire, Columbia, and Boston Gas

      The Conservation Law Foundation has announced it will fight the state's approval of pipeline capacity contracts between three local gas distribution utilities and the Texas-based Kinder Morgan. CLF filed its appeal with the Massachusetts Dept. of Public Utilities and Supreme Judicial Court this week. The group, which opposes the project known as Northeast Energy Direct, maintains that the firm transportation agreements, approved by the DPU on Aug. 31, are building blocks for federal approval of a 421-mile natural gas pipeline that would cut through parts of Pennsylvania, New York, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

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    7. Massachusetts agency OKs pipeline deals between Kinder Morgan, Berkshire Gas, Columbia Gas and National Grid

      Massachusetts agency OKs pipeline deals between Kinder Morgan, Berkshire Gas, Columbia Gas and National Grid

      Berkshire Gas, Columbia Gas, and National Grid have all been approved to buy natural gas capacity on the proposed Kinder Morgan pipeline known as Northeast Energy Direct, spelling disappointment for pipeline foes in Western Massachusetts. The state's Department of Public Utilities approved the three 20-year contracts on Monday, ruling on a matter that had pitted Attorney General Maura Healey against the Department of Energy Resources. Healey had argued that the capacity contracts were not in the public interest, while the DOER advocated for the deals in filings before the DPU.

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      Mentions: Greenfield
    8. GCC and Cooley Dickinson collaborate to train licensed practical nurses

      GCC and Cooley Dickinson collaborate to train licensed practical nurses

      Greenfield Community College and Cooley Dickinson Health Care in Northampton have announced they will work together to train new, entry-level nurses. Starting this year, the college's ten-month Practical Nursing Certificate Program will be housed at 10 Main Street in Florence, a space leased by Cooley Dickinson. The program prepares students for certification as a Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN), but does not guarantee they will pass the required licensure examination. However, GCC graduates have a good record of passing the exam, according to the college.

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    9. Berkshire Gas parent company UIL Holdings invests in Kinder Morgan pipeline

      Berkshire Gas parent company UIL Holdings invests in Kinder Morgan pipeline

      The parent company of Berkshire Gas has announced an $80 million investment in Northeast Energy Direct, the interstate pipeline proposed by Kinder Morgan's Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. UIL Holdings Corporation announced on Friday that it will acquire a 2.5 percent interest in Northeast Expansion LLC. "We are pleased to have this opportunity to participate in this critical investment in New England's energy infrastructure," said James P. Torgerson, UIL's president and chief executive officer in a statement. "The NED project will bring abundant, low-cost and critically-needed natural gas supplies to the heart of New England, helping alleviate ...

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    10. Leverett municipal broadband network topic of State Department tour

      Leverett municipal broadband network topic of State Department tour

      LEVERETT — A foreign journalist from China was among those touring this small Franklin County community Wednesday to learn about the town's innovative municipal broadband network, a fiber optic service which went live in March. Zhang Wei, chief correspondent for the Economic Daily, took notes and asked questions as those involved in planning, marketing, financing, deploying, and managing the network spoke of their experiences The press event was organized by the U.S. State Department's Bureau of Public Affairs, which works with 1,400 credentialed journalists from around the world.

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    11. Kinder Morgan board OKs scaled-back version of Tennessee Gas Pipeline's controversial NED project

      Kinder Morgan board OKs scaled-back version of Tennessee Gas Pipeline's controversial NED project

      If the so-called "market path" of the controversial Northeast Energy Direct natural gas pipeline is ever built, its capacity will apparently be much smaller than the original top estimate of 2.2 billion cubic feet per day. Kinder Morgan announced Thursday that its board of directors had authorized its subsidiary Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. to proceed with a $3.3 billion investment in a 30-inch pipeline carrying up to 1.3 billion cubic feet of gas daily from Wright, New York to Dracut, Massachusetts.

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    12. FERC to hold Greenfield scoping session on environmental impact of Kinder Morgan pipeline

      FERC to hold Greenfield scoping session on environmental impact of Kinder Morgan pipeline

      The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) will visit Greenfield on July 29 to conduct a formal scoping session regarding the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co.'s Northeast Energy Direct project. The public meeting will mark the beginning of a 60-day period during which FERC will decide upon the scope of issues to be included in an environmental impact statement for the project, which is required under the National Environmental Policy Act, or NEPA.

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      Mentions: Greenfield
    13. Deerfield zoning board OKs 6-megawatt solar farm

      A Chicago company that wants to build a 6-megawatt solar farm in Deerfield won a variance from the town's Zoning Board of Appeals on Thursday. Lake Street Development proposes the facility on 18 acres of a 200-acre site near the East Deerfield Quarry, reports the Greenfield Recorder. The property near 901 River Road is owned by All States Materials Group. Lake Street would lease the land, which is crossed by an Eversource Energy right-of-way.

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      Mentions: Amherst Greenfield
    14. Developer now signing leases for luxury apartments at former Parsons Street School in Easthampton

      Developer now signing leases for luxury apartments at former Parsons Street School in Easthampton

      Perrier and his company Norwich Properties bought the 113-year-old building from the city in December for $10,000, and was the only entity to respond to a request for proposals that required the building be preserved. "We've invested over $2 million in the project," said Perrier, who is also president of Five Star Building Corp., the general contractor for the project. "We developed it on our own, without historic preservation or affordable housing tax credits. It's all market-rate." A tour of the building Wednesday revealed interior subcontractors hard at work, and apartments in various stages of finish. "We ...

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    15. Owner of derelict Easthampton mill, owing back taxes, seeks 'reasonable offer' or development partner

      Owner of derelict Easthampton mill, owing back taxes, seeks 'reasonable offer' or development partner

      The owner of a vacant and derelict factory complex at 1 Ferry St. says he has still not abandoned his dream of redeveloping the 18-acre site, but would also consider selling it. Daniel Messier of Ferry Street Partners, reached Tuesday, said he has been working over the past year to clean up the site and that he is waiting for the economy to turn around. Messier said he's open to reasonable offers for the property, or joining forces with an investment partner.

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    16. Shutesbury group opposes solar farm on W.D. Cowls forest land

      Shutesbury group opposes solar farm on W.D. Cowls forest land

      A group of Shutesbury residents called "The Alliance for Appropriate Development" seeks a moratorium on commercial solar farms and wind turbines until a zoning bylaw can be developed and adopted to regulate such renewable energy facilities. Lake Street Development Partners of Chicago will need a special permit from the Planning Board to build a 6.2-megawatt solar farm on 30 acres of forest land owned by W.D. Cowls, Inc. The land is located off Pratt Corner Road near the Leverett line and is near an existing electrical substation. It is part of a larger 850-acre Cowls-owned site known as ...

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    17. DPU hearing tonight on Berkshire Gas pipeline deal with Kinder Morgan

      DPU hearing tonight on Berkshire Gas pipeline deal with Kinder Morgan

      Berkshire Gas seeks to purchase up to 36,000 dekatherms per day from the pipeline known as Northeast Energy Direct, or NED. The 36-inch line would cross Western Massachusetts on its way from Pennsylvania and Wright, New York, to a regional gas distribution hub in Dracut. Berkshire is the first of several local gas companies lined up to seek DPU approval for a capacity deal on the pipeline, which would be sized to carry up to 2.2 billion cubic feet per day to various markets in the Northeast, including possible export.

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    18. Springfield non-profit plans 64-bed detox center at former Lunt Silversmiths site in Greenfield, pending environmental cleanup

      Springfield non-profit plans 64-bed detox center at former Lunt Silversmiths site in Greenfield, pending environmental cleanup

      Greenfield Mayor William Martin said the development entity he is negotiating with on behalf of BHN is 401 Liberty Street, LLC. Principals of the corporation, founded in November, 2013 to market, sell, and manage real estate, are attorneys Raipher D. Pellegrino and Joseph A. Pellegrino of 265 State St. in Springfield, according to records filed with the Massachusetts Secretary of State.

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    19. DPU agrees to hold Western Mass. hearing on Berkshire Gas-Tennessee Gas pipeline deal

      DPU agrees to hold Western Mass. hearing on Berkshire Gas-Tennessee Gas pipeline deal

      The Department of Public Utilities has agreed to hold a Western Massachusetts hearing on a proposed natural gas pipeline access deal between Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. and and the Pittsfield-based Berkshire Gas Co.  The hearing will be held Thursday, June 11 at the Greenfield Middle School at 195 Federal St. at 7 p.m. The DPU, which plans a Boston hearing on the proposed contract on May 26, agreed to the Western Massachusetts hearing after receiving a letter from state Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D-Amherst).

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    20. Senate President Stanley Rosenberg calls for Western Massachusetts hearing on Tennessee Gas pipeline deal with Berkshire Gas

      Senate President Stanley Rosenberg calls for Western Massachusetts hearing on Tennessee Gas pipeline deal with Berkshire Gas

      Massachusetts Senate President Stanley Rosenberg, D-Amherst, has asked the Department of Public Utilities to schedule a public hearing in the western part of the state on a proposed pipeline capacity deal between Berkshire Gas and the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Company. "This agreement will have a significant impact on the region, and I think it's critical that we ensure that the public is engaged in this process," Rosenberg said.

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    21. Greenfield car dealership building torn down; new Toyota facility on tap: video, photos

      Greenfield car dealership building torn down; new Toyota facility on tap: video, photos

      An mid-20th-century car dealership building at 1 Main St. is no more. Crumpled sections of the old Toyota-Ford of Greenfield building could be seen traveling through the air Thursday, hoisted by a giant crane, as workers labored to demolish the outdated showroom. "The manufacturers want the dealerships to have more modern facilities," said sales manager Craig Bodenstein. "We'll start building the new showroom as soon as the old one is cleared away."

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      Mentions: Greenfield
    22. Kinder Morgan plans pipeline metering station in Longmeadow

      Kinder Morgan plans pipeline metering station in Longmeadow

      Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. plans to build a new metering station on land near the Longmeadow Country Club, according to maps included with an environmental report released by the energy company Friday. The metering station would be located near an existing natural gas pipeline owned and operated by the Kinder-Morgan subsidiary. The Longmeadow facility is one of 15 metering stations the company proposes to construct within New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New Hampshire as part of its interstate Northeast Energy Direct project, which would involve both new pipeline and upgrades to existing lines and related infrastructure.

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      Mentions: Westfield
    23. Gov. Charlie Baker to speak at 2015 Hampshire & Franklin Municipal Conference

      Gov. Charlie Baker to speak at 2015 Hampshire & Franklin Municipal Conference

      Gov. Charlie Baker will deliver keynote remarks at an upcoming conference geared toward local officials and municipal employees. Baker is one of several state officials scheduled to appear at the 2015 Hampshire & Franklin Municipal Conference set for March 21 in Northampton. Atty. General Maura Healey will conduct a session on the state's Open Meeting Law. Mass. Broadband Institute Director Erik Nakajima will deliver a rural broadband update, and Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack will join MassDOT officials and State Senator Tom McGee in a discussion of transportation financing.

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      Mentions: Northampton
    24. Developer pans Easthampton anti-big box zoning proposal at 'informal' meeting of Economic Development Industrial Commission

      Developer pans Easthampton anti-big box zoning proposal at 'informal' meeting of Economic Development Industrial Commission

      A proposed zoning amendment designed to limit so-called "big box development" is set for a Feb. 18 public hearing, despite an assertion from developer Bernard Gawle during a recent meeting that the measure will "kill new growth."  The amendment, introduced by City Council President Joseph McCoy in October, would limit the size of any development to 50,000 square feet, with an exception for "wholesale, transportation, and industrial" uses within the industrial zoning district. A joint hearing of the Planning Board and City Council Ordinance Committee is set for Wednesday at 7:15 p.m. at the Municipal Building at ...

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    Holyoke City Council approves sale of former Lynch School to Florida developer for $750,000 Northampton mayor welcomes Zipcar to downtown Easthampton mill complex at 1 Ferry St. on the market for $3.1 million Public invited to legislative summit to identify priorities for Western Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick: 'Water innovation the next frontier'; UMass Amherst professor receives $4.1 million EPA grant for drinking water research Women's Fund of Western Massachusetts announces new round of grant funding Parsons Street School in Easthampton sold; 17 market-rate apartments planned Developer now signing leases for luxury apartments at former Parsons Street School in Easthampton Pride CEO withdraws application for retail liquor license at unbuilt Hadley convenience store Massachusetts Broadband Institute pulls funding from WiredWest, advises towns to walk away from proposed contract Toys R Us plans to reopen stores before Christmas New owner of Strathmore Paper mill in Russell works on cleanup, mulls plans after tax sale