1. Articles from BusinessWest Staff

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    1. Holyoke Is Growing, and Not Just Cannabis - BusinessWest

      Holyoke Is Growing, and Not Just Cannabis - BusinessWest

      It’s been more than three years now since Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse told a TV reporter, tongue in cheek (or not), that he wanted to rename Holyoke ‘Rolling Paper City,’ in a nod to its past — and its potential future as home to businesses in the cannabis industry spawned by a ballot initiative in the fall of 2016.


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    2. West of the River Chamber to Host Virtual Annual Meeting, Town Updates

      West of the River Chamber to Host Virtual Annual Meeting, Town Updates

      With the government-mandated social-distancing restrictions in place, the West of the River Chamber of Commerce’s annual meeting and town updates will be a virtual event this year. “We feel we need to continue to move forward in this new environment and show our business community that we are here, active, and supporting our members during this time” Executive Director Robin Wozniak said. The Zoom event will take place on Tuesday, June 23 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Not only is this a free event this year, but the West of the River Chamber board of directors want ...

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    3. Pandemic Will Change the Look of the Modern Office

      Pandemic Will Change the Look of the Modern Office

      Mark Proshan says predicting what’s coming next in his business — office furniture and design — has always been a difficult assignment. But now … it’s even more of a complicated guessing game. Indeed, in a sector where the landscape can change quickly and profoundly, and for a number of reasons — from a declining economy to changing tastes — the pandemic has produced an even greater sense of uncertainty about what lies around the bend, said Proshan, president of West Springfield-based Lexington Group.

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    4. Go Graphix

      Go Graphix

      Jim White says it took him 15 years to go from zero to 60 with his business. And 15 days to go from 60 to zero. That’s how the co-founder of East Longmeadow-based Go Graphix, a maker of signs, vehicle wraps, and a host of other marketing products, described that two-week period back in March when business came to a near standstill. That’s because most all of the company’s major clients — MGM Springfield, the MassMutual Center, sports teams like the Thunderbirds — came to a complete halt.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    5. 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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    6. 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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    7. 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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    8. 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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    9. 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
    10. 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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    11. 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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    12. 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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    13. 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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    14. 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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    15. 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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    16. 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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    17. 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
    18. 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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    19. 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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    20. 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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    21. 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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    22. 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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