1. Articles from BusinessWest Staff

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    1. Peter Pan Bus Lines Resumes Service with CDC-approved Cleaning Process

      Peter Pan Bus Lines buses will be back on the road serving major cities along the Northeast corridor starting today, June 5, and the company has developed a new cleaning process to keep both customers and employees safe. “Shutting down was one of the hardest things we have ever done,” said Peter Picknelly, chairman of Peter Pan Bus Lines and third-generation leader of the family-owned company. “We also know that our customers have been through a lot as well. So, we are happy to be back on the road, serving our customers again, but now using the best cleaning and ...

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    2. Leadership Pioneer Valley Hosts Drive-in Graduation for Class of 2020 Leaders

      Leadership Pioneer Valley Hosts Drive-in Graduation for Class of 2020 Leaders

      Leadership Pioneer Valley (LPV) hosted a graduation ceremony for its nine-month regional leadership-development program, called LEAP, a little differently this year. This year’s group of 33 professionals from area businesses, nonprofits, and the public sector lined up in a parking lot at Holyoke Community College to hear video congratulations from employers and elected officials before receiving certificates. The program was also livestreamed on Facebook. “This class has risen to new challenges that weren’t anticipated by anyone and gotten closer as a result,” said Lora Wondolowski, executive director of LPV. “As a result, they have applied crisis-leadership techniques in ...

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    3. Hcc, Stcc Announce Small-business Resource Series

      Hcc, Stcc Announce Small-business Resource Series

      Holyoke Community College (HCC) and Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) will jointly host a series of online workshops in June and July for area employers who want to explore programs, services, and grant-funded workforce-training opportunities to boost their small businesses. Each of the three, 45-minute remote sessions will meet from 9 to 9:45 a.m. and focus on a different government funding source.

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    4. Basketball Hall of Fame Postpones Class of 2020 Induction Ceremony to 2021

      Basketball Hall of Fame Postpones Class of 2020 Induction Ceremony to 2021

      The Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2020 induction weekend has been moved to 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’re definitely canceling,” Jerry Colangelo, chairman of the board of governors of the Hall of Fame, told ESPN. “It’s going to have to be the first quarter of next year. We’ll meet in a couple weeks and look at the options of how and when and where.”

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    5. Pearson Wallace Insurance Sponsors Amherst Area Chamber Reopening Series

      Pearson Wallace Insurance Sponsors Amherst Area Chamber Reopening Series

      The Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, along with presenting sponsor Pearson Wallace Insurance, launched a three-part series for small businesses on the reopening of the economy, featuring local experts. “Due to the COVID-19 crisis and related health and safety restrictions being lifted with each phase of reopening Massachusetts as laid out by the Baker administration, we are working in concert to provide optimal support for a recovery plan,” said Claudia Pazmany, executive director of the Amherst Area Chamber. “As a chamber in the time of COVID-19, we have been working on a theme of ‘response, reopening, recovery.’ Every step we ...

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      Mentions: Amherst
    6. Monson Savings Bank Announces New Loan & Operations Center in Wilbraham

      Monson Savings Bank Announces New Loan & Operations Center in Wilbraham

      Because Monson Savings Bank continues to grow by adding new positions and new personnel, and has outgrown some of its spaces, some employees are moving this week into a new, 12,000-square-foot office space on the top floor at 75 Post Office Park in Wilbraham. This location will be the new Monson Savings Bank Loan & Operations Center.

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    7. State Releases Guidelines for Reopening of Childcare, Camps, Summer Programs

      State Releases Guidelines for Reopening of Childcare, Camps, Summer Programs

      The Baker-Polito administration released health and safety requirements that apply to the reopening of all childcare programs, recreational camps, and municipal or recreational programs not traditionally licensed as camps as part of the phased reopening of the Commonwealth. The Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) assembled a Health and Safety Working Group and solicited input from thousands of childcare providers from across the Commonwealth, as well as consulting with medical experts at Boston Children’s Hospital, to develop the “Massachusetts Child and Youth Serving Programs Reopen Approach: Minimum Requirements for Health and Safety.” These requirements must be implemented to ...

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    8. MCLA Innovation & Entrepreneurship Challenge Announces Three Winners

      MCLA Innovation & Entrepreneurship Challenge Announces Three Winners

      Although this year’s Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts (MCLA) Innovation & Entrepreneurship Challenge, held May 4-8, was a virtual affair, the college community still came together to view and vote for the three finalists’ pitches. The finalists, all seniors, who pitched their business ideas via video, were David Flight, Kimberly Granito, and Sierra Lamonde. The students were coached through a series of deliverables — determining a solution to a problem, developing a budget and business plan as the road map for the project or business, and presenting before a panel of judges.

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    9. Phase 2 of Economic Reopening to Include Guidance for Restaurants, Hotels

      Phase 2 of Economic Reopening to Include Guidance for Restaurants, Hotels

      The Baker-Polito administration provided an update on the plan to reopen the Massachusetts economy and preparations for phase 2. The administration will determine the start of phase 2 on June 6. On Monday, June 1, Gov. Charlie Baker will issue an executive order with a detailed list of sectors that fall into each phase. The order will allow phase 2 businesses to bring back employees in preparation for reopening. Through this order, professional sports teams can begin practicing at their facilities in compliance with the health and safety rules that all the leagues are developing. Facilities remain closed to the ...

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    10. UMass Amherst’s Olver Design Building Receives Architecture Institute’s Highest Honor

      UMass Amherst’s Olver Design Building Receives Architecture Institute’s Highest Honor

      The American Institute of Architecture’s (AIA) Committee on the Environment (COTE) announced recently that the John W. Olver Design Building on the UMass Amherst campus is a winner this year of its highest honor, the COTE Top Ten Awards. Projects “illustrate the solutions architects have provided for the health and welfare of our communities and the planet,” the AIA citation says. The COTE jury wrote of the Olver Building, “the space is made possible by an innovative wood-truss system showing us how to reach beyond the cross-laminated timber (CLT) systems to make larger spaces. Its courtyard guarantees views and ...

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    11. Elms College Distributes CARES Act Funds to 425 Students

      Elms College Distributes CARES Act Funds to 425 Students

      Elms College distributed funds to 425 students under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Stability (CARES) Act, the college announced. “We are pleased that we could ease the financial burden put on many of our students as they adapted to learning remotely during the pandemic,” said Financial Aid Director Richard O’Connor, adding that qualifying expenses included moving off campus and investing in technology to do classwork from home. “These funds have also helped offset childcare costs and preventive measures in addition to the treatment of COVID-19.”

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    12. Bay Path University Launches Certificate in Narrative Medicine

      Bay Path University Launches Certificate in Narrative Medicine

      Bay Path University is joining a growing movement that uses storytelling to strengthen the connection between the clinical and emotional facets of healthcare with the launch of a certificate in Narrative Medicine, offered through its master’s in Creative Nonfiction program. Through reflections on the giving and receiving of treatment; interactions with practitioners, patients, and agencies; and the journey of illness and recovery, the medical community has embraced the sharing of stories as a way to bring a depth of humanity to what’s so often experienced as an impersonal transaction.

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    13. Vanessa Otero Named Interim Director of Healing Racism Institute of Pioneer Valley

      The board of directors of the Healing Racism Institute of Pioneer Valley (HRIPV) announced that former board member Vanessa Otero has been named interim director through the end of the year to support and move forward the work of the institute. The institute also announced it has become a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. As part of that move, the HRIPV board has appointed Baystate Health executive and longtime social-justice advocate Frank Robinson as the organization’s first president.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    14. Rising Food Insecurity Prompts Big Y to Make Second Round of Donations

      Rising Food Insecurity Prompts Big Y to Make Second Round of Donations

      With regional food banks experiencing unprecedented demand, Big Y is providing an additional $125,000 in support to address the rise in food insecurity. With the donations made in March, Big Y has provided $250,000 in financial assistance to area food banks in addition to the healthy surplus food it provides to them on a weekly basis. Using the estimate that every dollar donated provides four meals, the Big Y financial assistance amounts to 1 million meals. “Our goal, our mission, is to feed families,” said Charlie D’Amour, president and CEO of Big Y. “We have people in ...

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    15. Employers Need to Proceed Carefully to Avoid Costly Missteps

      Employers Need to Proceed Carefully to Avoid Costly Missteps

      As businesses prepare for reopening, many employers are summoning laid-off and furloughed employees and notifying employees who have been working remotely to return to the physical workplace. Some employers are anticipating that their reopening may be a gradual process. Employers may do a ‘soft reopening’ in order to test workplace-safety measures such as social distancing. Some businesses may find, as a result of new safety procedures, that their workplace no longer requires certain positions. As a result, employers may not need the same number of employees or positions they had back in early March.

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    16. New Mercy President Leads by Example Amid Stern Challenges

      New Mercy President Leads by Example Amid Stern Challenges

      Debbie Bitsoli understood she was taking on a huge challenge when she accepted the role of president and CEO of Mercy Medical Center and its affiliates late last fall. But she certainly wasn’t expecting anything quite like this. Indeed, the first six months of her tenure have been dominated not only by a global pandemic that has tested hospitals, and especially smaller community hospitals, in every way imaginable, but also a painful and controversial decision to close inpatient beds at Providence Behavioral Hospital, one of Mercy’s affiliates (more on that later). Overall, it has been a pressure-packed, greatly ...

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    17. SBA Issues New Guidance Regarding PPP Loan Forgiveness

      SBA Issues New Guidance Regarding PPP Loan Forgiveness

      The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) was created by the CARES Act to provide forgivable loans to eligible small businesses to keep American workers on the payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic. The SBA recently provided updates to its PPP guidance and also released the form application for PPP loan forgiveness, which will help small businesses seek forgiveness at the conclusion of the eight-week covered period, which begins with the disbursement of their loans. Here are five common questions area attorneys have been hearing from business owners concerned about how PPP funds may be used in order to be forgiven.

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    18. Massachusetts Implements Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation

      Massachusetts Implements Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation

      The Baker-Polito administration announced that Massachusetts residents who are eligible for the federal CARES Act and qualify for having exhausted their regular unemployment compensation may now receive the new Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC). The launch of this program marks the third and final benefit available for the Commonwealth through the CARES Act.  PEUC provides up to 13 additional weeks of benefits to an individual who has exhausted all rights to any regular unemployment compensation and who meets other eligibility requirements of the CARES Act. PEUC will automatically begin for individuals who have been receiving regular standard unemployment benefits on ...

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    19. Monson Savings Bank Delays Branch Reopenings

      Monson Savings Bank Delays Branch Reopenings

      Although several governments are allowing some businesses to reopen, leaders at Monson Savings Bank feel it is important to keep their employees and customers safe, so, for the health and safety of everyone, the bank’s lobbies will remain closed. Monson Savings Bank will continue to meet the needs of customers with drive-up locations, ATMs, online banking, mobile check deposit, and night drop. Curbside banking and safe deposit are available by appointment at (413) 267-4646.

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    20. Bay Path Launches New Master’s Program in Learning, Design, and Technology

      Bay Path Launches New Master’s Program in Learning, Design, and Technology

      As an onslaught of complex challenges, and the urgency to develop innovative solutions to meet them, promise to reshape higher education, Bay Path University announces the launch of a new master’s program in Learning, Design, and Technology (LDT) this fall. The fully online program will tap into Bay Path’s long-standing position as a leader in the use of emerging technologies, creative curricula, and learning analytics to train professionals looking to shape the ongoing evolution of higher education by applying technology to the development of innovative, accessible, and impactful learning processes.

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    21. Family Business Center Shutting Down After Quarter-century of Programming

      Family Business Center Shutting Down After Quarter-century of Programming

      After almost 26 years of providing a learning environment for business leaders of Western Mass., the Family Business Center (FBC) of Pioneer Valley is closing its doors, effective immediately, and no further programming will be provided, according to a statement from its board of directors, Charlie Epstein, Ross Giombetti, Howard Cheney, and Jim Young.

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      Mentions: Northampton
    22. Paragus IT Named to Forbes ‘Small Giants’ List

      Paragus IT Named to Forbes ‘Small Giants’ List

      Every year, Forbes publishes its “Small Giants” list highlighting 25 businesses “whose commitment to greatness over fast growth has enabled them to best serve their customers, employees, and communities.” This year, Paragus IT was recognized as an innovator in the small-business world, with Forbes citing the Hadley-based firm’s employee-ownership structure and mission to make IT fun, among other features.

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    23. UMass President to Propose Tuition Freeze for Upcoming Academic Year

      UMass President to Propose Tuition Freeze for Upcoming Academic Year

      Pointing to the financial hardships that many Massachusetts families are facing and in consultation with campus chancellors, UMass President Marty Meehan said he will recommend a tuition freeze for the university’s nearly 50,000 in-state undergraduate students during the upcoming academic year. “During this time of stress and uncertainty for our students and their families, we need to keep our high-quality programs and the benefits of a UMass degree as accessible and affordable as possible,” said Meehan, who will formally propose the freeze when the board of trustees meets next month. “In addition to keeping tuition at current levels ...

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