1. Articles from BusinessWest Staff

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    1. MGM Emphasizes Safety as It Reopens After COVID-forced Shutdown

      MGM Emphasizes Safety as It Reopens After COVID-forced Shutdown

      Those visiting MGM Springfield after it reopens following a nearly four-month-long shutdown forced by COVID-19 will certainly recognize the place. But much will be different at One MGM Way, to put it mildly, when it opens to its M life members this week and the general public on July 13. Plexiglass dividers are now in place between some slot machines. Many of the table games — roulette and craps, for example — will not be open for play. There are seats only at the slot machines that are in use. Those that are not bear a simple round, black sign that reads ...

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      Mentions: Springfield
    2. Antonio Dos Santos Named Board Chairman of Westmass Area Development Corp.

      Antonio Dos Santos Named Board Chairman of Westmass Area Development Corp.

      The Westmass Area Development Corp. board of directors has elected Antonio Dos Santos its new chairman, replacing Carol Campbell as her term expires. Dos Santos joined the board in 2011 and has served in numerous roles, most recently as vice chair. He is a partner at the Springfield-based law firm Crear, Chadwell, Dos Santos & Devlin, P.C., specializing in business, commercial real estate, and commercial lending.

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    3. Northampton Jazz Festival Postpones 2020 Season

      Northampton Jazz Festival Postpones 2020 Season

      Due to the current regulations regarding community health and limitations on public gatherings brought on by COVID-19, the Northampton Jazz Festival has made the decision to postpone its 2020 festival scheduled for the first weekend in October. The Northampton Jazz Festival is a celebration of jazz music held yearly in downtown Northampton, collaborating with local businesses and performers to provide the community with musical performances. From jazz strolls to intimate venues with Grammy Award-winning performers, this weekend has become a staple of the community. Next year’s event will be held on Oct. 1-2, 2021.

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      Mentions: Northampton
    4. Here and Elsewhere, Business Confidence Depends on Health Data

      Here and Elsewhere, Business Confidence Depends on Health Data

      Diana Szynal is encouraged by what she sees on Main Street in Greenfield as restaurants and retail continue to emerge from months of closed doors. “I certainly see people making the changes they need to make,” she said, referring to Gov. Charlie Baker’s guidance for how — and at what capacity — to open businesses safely. “We’ve seen these business making the effort to reopen and get their staffs back to work and welcome back their customers.” But no one is fooling themselves into believing everyone is ready to go out again, said Szynal, executive director of the Franklin County ...

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      Mentions: Greenfield
    5. County’s Attractions Begin to Open in a Different Kind of Summer Season

      County’s Attractions Begin to Open in a Different Kind of Summer Season

      Magic Wings is a year-round operation, Kathy Fiore said — even when its doors are shut. “This is different from a clothing store,” said Fiore, who co-owns the butterfly conservatory in Deerfield with her brother. “When we closed our doors, we still needed to have staff here, because we have to take care of whatever is happening. Butterflies are laying eggs every day. Caterpillars are hatching out every day. We need to feed and care for the lizards, tortoises, birds, fish … all sorts of animals have to be taken care of.” And that means expenses that don’t disappear when no ...

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    6. Universal Plastics’ Pia Kumar Puts the Focus on Work-life Balance

      Universal Plastics’ Pia Kumar Puts the Focus on Work-life Balance

      Back in mid-March, Pia Kumar recalls, at the height of the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, there was a good deal of absenteeism at the five plants within the Universal Plastics fold — maybe 40% by her estimate, a number that spoke volumes about the high levels of fear and anxiety within the workforce. So Kumar, who co-owns the Universal family of businesses with her husband, Jay, and has the title ‘Chief Strategy Officer’ printed on her business card, did what she says comes naturally to her. She got on the phone. “I called every single employee that was not ...

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    7. Smith College Team Wins Ventilator-design Challenge

      Smith College Team Wins Ventilator-design Challenge

      The SmithVent team of engineering alumni, staff, and faculty are the winners of the CoVent-19 challenge to design an easily manufacturable ventilator for use during the coronavirus pandemic, according to Grécourt Gate, Smith College’s online news portal. The team’s breathing device was chosen from more than 200 submissions to the competition launched on April 1. “In two months, we went from knowing nothing to having a functional prototype,” said team co-leader Susannah Howe, director of Smith’s Engineering Design Clinic. “To see that trajectory in such a short period of time, with people who are volunteering their ...

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    8. Springfield Library & Museums Assoc. to Receive $100,000 Grant from NEA

      Springfield Library & Museums Assoc. to Receive $100,000 Grant from NEA

      National Endowment for the Arts Chairman Mary Anne Carter has approved more than $84 million in grants as part of the NEA’s second major funding announcement for fiscal year 2020. Included in this announcement is an Our Town award of $100,000 to​ the Springfield Library & Museums Assoc. in partnership with the Springfield Cultural Partnership for Spark!: Igniting Our Community, a project in the newly renovated Pynchon Park to envision and create public art that serves to connect the city, residents, and visitors.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    9. PVPC Receives Grant from Tufts Health Plan Foundation for Age-Friendly Initiative

      PVPC Receives Grant from Tufts Health Plan Foundation for Age-Friendly Initiative

      The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) received a $195,000 grant from Tufts Health Plan Foundation to convene a Pioneer Valley Age Friendly Collaborative that will engage member communities in planning for an aging population. This is one of 13 new community investments totaling $1.7 million that reflect the foundation’s support of collaborative community efforts and systems change to advance healthy aging. “We have an opportunity to think differently about how our systems are addressing community needs,” said Nora Moreno Cargie, president of Tufts Health Plan Foundation and vice president for corporate citizenship at Tufts Health Plan. “We ...

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    10. Bay Path Course Aims to Help Women in Food Service, Hospitality, Retail, Travel

      Bay Path Course Aims to Help Women in Food Service, Hospitality, Retail, Travel

      As women continue to experience the devastating impact of unemployment due to COVID-19, representing close to 60% of all lost jobs this spring, the food-service, hospitality, retail, and travel industries have been some of the hardest hit. Further delivering on its mission of empowering women, at a time when many are forced to reimagine their lives, Bay Path University is offering a free three-credit online undergraduate college course in August. The course, “Fundamentals of Digital Literacy,” will help women expand their digital technology skill set and be better prepared for the workforce of the future. The course is offered through ...

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    11. Springfield College English Professor Finalist for Mass Cultural Council Artist Fellowship

      Springfield College English Professor Finalist for Mass Cultural Council Artist Fellowship

      Springfield College Associate Professor of English Justine Dymond has been selected by the Mass Cultural Council (MCC) Artist Fellowships Program as a finalist in the category of fiction/creative nonfiction on the strength of her lyrical essay titled “Brave of Worms.” “I am so very excited with the news and the peer recognition that comes with the selection as a finalist for the MCC artist fellowship,” said Dymond, who joined the Springfield College humanities faculty in the fall of 2008. “I am thrilled to be in the company of the other finalists and fellows. Since it’s a statewide honor ...

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      Mentions: Springfield
    12. State Announces Updated Travel Guidelines to Support COVID-19 Response

      State Announces Updated Travel Guidelines to Support COVID-19 Response

      The Baker-Polito administration announced new COVID-19 public health guidelines on travel and transportation. Effective today, July 1, all travelers arriving to Massachusetts, including residents returning home, are instructed to self-quarantine for 14 days. This guidance does not apply to travelers from Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, New York, or New Jersey. Additionally, workers designated by the federal government as essential critical infrastructure workers are also exempt from this directive. Travelers who are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 are instructed to not travel to Massachusetts.

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    13. Pittsfield Cooperative Bank Supports Resilience Fund for Farmers

      Pittsfield Cooperative Bank Supports Resilience Fund for Farmers

      Berkshire Agricultural Ventures (BAV) announced it has been awarded a $5,000 grant from Pittsfield Cooperative Bank to support its Resilience Fund for Farmers. This new fund was established in response to the COVID-19 crisis and the resulting impact on local farmers, who are hurting right now as stores, restaurants, and other income-generating avenues like farmers’ markets and CSA are closed or operating in different, logistically challenging ways due to the virus. Despite these challenges, many farmers are reaching out to contribute healthy food to the neediest among us and sell as much as they can directly to consumers.

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    14. Bay Path Honors Carol Leary for 25 Years of Service

      Bay Path Honors Carol Leary for 25 Years of Service

      At its recent annual meeting, held virtually, the board of trustees of Bay Path University, on behalf of the entire Bay Path community, surprised retiring President Carol Leary with a celebration in her honor. “Carol Leary led a remarkable transformation of Bay Path during her 25-year tenure. The board was honored to pay tribute to her and express gratitude for the countless ways she and her husband Noel have impacted Bay Path and the Western Massachusetts community,” said Jonathan Besse, board chair.

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      Mentions: Carol A. Leary
    15. Big E Cancels 2020 Fair

      Big E Cancels 2020 Fair

      For the safety of fairgoers, staff, vendors, entertainers, exhibitors, sponsors, suppliers, and the broader community, the leadership of the Eastern States Exposition have canceled the 2020 Big E. “Please know that this decision was not made lightly,” a statement noted. “The Big E fair is so much more than just a fair; it is tradition, it is celebration, it is the showcase of everything we are so proud of in New England. This is why our hearts are heavy as we bring you this news.” The fair has been put on hold before, during both World War I and World ...

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    16. Easthampton Chamber Partners with City on Sustaining Small Business Grant Program

      Easthampton Chamber Partners with City on Sustaining Small Business Grant Program

      The Greater Easthampton Sustaining Small Business Grant (SSBG) program is part of a larger collaboration between the Greater Easthampton Chamber of Commerce and the city of Easthampton, within the Blueprint Easthampton initiative. The initial intent of the SSBG is to provide local small and micro businesses, as well as the nonprofit community, with short-term, immediate financial aid to those who have sustained economic loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so that businesses may continue their operations.

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      Mentions: Easthampton
    17. UMass Amherst Announces Fall 2020 Reopening Plan

      UMass Amherst Announces Fall 2020 Reopening Plan

      UMass Amherst announced its fall 2020 reopening plan, noting that, while almost all courses will be taught remotely this fall, students will be given the option to live on campus under exacting public-health restrictions. No students will be required to return to campus, and students will determine which option, taking courses while living at home or in campus residence halls, is best according to their personal health, educational path, and home environment.

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    18. Institute for Applied Life Sciences at UMass Amherst Joins Digital Health Sandbox Network

      Institute for Applied Life Sciences at UMass Amherst Joins Digital Health Sandbox Network

      The Massachusetts eHealth Institute at MassTech (MeHI) selected six new healthcare research and development (R&D) hubs to join the Digital Health Sandbox Network, including UMass Amherst’s Institute for Applied Life Sciences (IALS). The Sandbox Network 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 cycles.

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    19. United Way of Pioneer Valley to Begin Distributing Hundreds of Boxes of Food

      United Way of Pioneer Valley to Begin Distributing Hundreds of Boxes of Food

      Starting on Tuesday, June 30, United Way of Pioneer Valley will start distributing hundreds of boxes of shelf-stable food items to community partner agencies for distribution to potentially thousands of needy clients during the COVID-19 pandemic. The boxes of shelf-stable food have been secured through United Way’s relationship with MEMA as they distribute food throughout the Commonwealth in response to the ongoing pandemic. The first truckload will arrive at United Way headquarters in Springfield on June 30 at 10 a.m.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    20. Asnuntuck to Offer Information Sessions This Summer

      Asnuntuck to Offer Information Sessions This Summer

      Asnuntuck Community College has scheduled several virtual information sessions with the Admissions and Financial Aid departments during the summer. The sessions will be held on Tuesday, June 30 at 5 p.m.; Monday, July 13 at 5 p.m.; Wednesday, July 22 at 3 p.m.; Tuesday, July 28 at 5 p.m.; and Thursday, Aug. 6 at 3 p.m. Prospective students need to attend only one of the sessions.

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    21. STCC Announces Program and Budget Decisions Due to COVID-19 Impact

      STCC Announces Program and Budget Decisions Due to COVID-19 Impact

      Responding to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will restructure academic departments and discontinue some programs with low enrollment. Geraldine de Berly, Vice President of Academic Affairs, announced the restructuring plan and listed seven programs to be discontinued in a campus e-mail. The program discontinuations will affect approximately 95 students, but those individuals will be able to complete their degree or certificate at STCC. Across an academic year, about 7,000 students enroll at STCC in about 90 different programs.

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