1. Articles from Contributor

    1-18 of 18
    1. Agawam Looks to an Energized Future - BusinessWest

      Agawam Looks to an Energized Future - BusinessWest

      As the world looks to generate energy from different sources and reduce waste, a new facility just opened in Agawam that contributes to both efforts.  What looks like a plain green building on Main Street is actually a plant that converts food waste into natural gas and fertilizer. Vanguard Renewables, based in Wellesley, approached Agawam Mayor William Sapelli about locating an organics-recovery facility in Agawam. After addressing some initial concerns about truck traffic and potential odor from the plant, the town gave the go-ahead.

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    2. For Banks, COVID-19 Disruption Leads to Innovation

      For Banks, COVID-19 Disruption Leads to Innovation

      Sometimes being thrown into a challenging situation leads to … well, a good idea or two. Or at least a new way of thinking. Back in March, when COVID-19 first hit, banks and credit unions in Massachusetts were designated essential businesses by Gov. Charlie Baker. That meant making sure everyone had access to their accounts while, at the same time, limiting in-person banking to appointments only, complete with masks, social distancing, and frequent sanitizing protocols.

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    3. Ludlow Keeps Building and Improving

      Ludlow Keeps Building and Improving

      Despite the unprecedented challenge of COVID-19, the town of Ludlow keeps building and improving. As coronavirus rates continue to rise across Massachusetts, Manuel Silva, chairman of the Ludlow Board of Selectmen, said officials in town are closely monitoring the number of cases there. A long-time selectman who served an earlier term as chairman, Silva said the pandemic has brought more challenges than a typical year. Like most places, Ludlow Town Hall is closed to the general public except by appointment. Silva said some town functions, such as the town clerk and tax collector’s offices, are conducting limited public business ...

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    4. Progress Continues on Projects in Longmeadow - BusinessWest

      Progress Continues on Projects in Longmeadow - BusinessWest

      For Longmeadow Town Manager Lyn Simmons, it’s been quite a first year on the job.  With 16 years of experience in municipal government in of Northampton — the last six years as chief of staff for Mayor David Narkewicz — Simmons became Longmeadow’s town manager a year ago this month. After three months on the job, Longmeadow — like the entire world — found itself in uncharted territory.

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      Mentions: Northampton
    5. Cannabis Industry Promises Workforce Opportunities

      Cannabis Industry Promises Workforce Opportunities

      When a new industry in Massachusetts reaches $1 billion in sales in only four years, it certainly gets people’s attention. The Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) recently announced that, four years after legalizing cannabis for adult recreational use, and only two years after the first retail shops opened, this relatively new industry surpassed that $1 billion mark on Oct. 30. “There are a lot of jobs that go along with a billion dollars in industry activity,” said Jeff Hayden, vice president for Business and Community Services at the Kittredge Center for Business and Workforce Development at Holyoke Community College (HCC).

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    6. A Paycheck Protection Program Update

      For many of us, 2020 has been nothing but a new four-letter word. Unemployment has run rampant, long-standing businesses have shuttered their doors, people have gotten sick, and many have lost loved ones. Those businesses remaining open have had to deal with shutdowns, employees on medical leave, and, ultimately, having to create a whole new way of doing business. To help businesses from a financial standpoint, the U.S. Congress intervened with the CARES Act back in March. A significant component of this act was the creation of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a series of government loans overseen by ...

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    7. Hadley Faces Challenges While Planning for Future - BusinessWest

      Hadley Faces Challenges While Planning for Future - BusinessWest

      Before the pandemic, up to 80,000 cars would travel on Route 9 in Hadley each day, bringing workers, students, and customers to and through the town.  Known for its agriculture, proximity to the Five College community, and a robust retail corridor along Route 9, Hadley has been challenged, like all towns, since the arrival of COVID-19. But efforts by a group of town officials are meeting those challenges to keep Hadley viable today and well into the future.


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    8. STCC Announces Events for Massachusetts STEM Week

      STCC Announces Events for Massachusetts STEM Week

      To celebrate Massachusetts STEM Week, Oct. 19-23, Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) announced a week-long series of events. STEM Week 2020 is organized by the Executive Office of Education and the STEM Advisory Council in partnership with the state’s nine regional STEM networks. It is a statewide effort to boost the interest, awareness, and ability for all learners to envision themselves in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and employment opportunities. The theme for the third annual statewide STEM Week is “See Yourself in STEM,” with a particular focus on the power of mentoring.

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    9. Advanced Education Has Benefits for Employees and Employers

      Advanced Education Has Benefits for Employees and Employers

      As access to online education grows, the number of professionals seeking to advance their education also increases. In 2017, one in six students enrolled entirely online, and one in three enrolled in at least one online course. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, schools around the country shut down their physical locations, and students were forced to move to online learning. Now that most students have taken some form of online classes, it is likely that many will choose to continue this method of learning.

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    10. Westfield Leaders Take Optimistic View

      Westfield Leaders Take Optimistic View

      While communities nationwide continue to grapple with what he calls the “grumpy cloud” of COVID-19, Westfield Mayor Donald Humason is looking to project a little sunshine. “A lot of it has to do with the attitude in Westfield,” the mayor said. “We’re optimistic, and we want people to come to our community because it’s a great place to live, work, go to school, and run a business.”  Kate Phelon, executive director of the Greater Westfield Chamber of Commerce, agreed, and wants everyone to know Westfield is open for business.

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      Mentions: Westfield
    11. Understanding the Employee Retention Credit

      Understanding the Employee Retention Credit

      Businesses that either repaid in a timely fashion or did not receive a loan pursuant to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) should explore their eligibility for the new Employee Retention Credit, one of the tax-relief provisions of the CARES Act passed on March 27. Like the PPP loan program, the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) is aimed at encouraging eligible employers to continue to pay employees during these difficult times. Qualifying businesses are allowed a refundable tax credit against employment taxes equal to 50% of qualified wages (not to exceed $10,000 in wages per employee). Let’s take a look ...

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    12. Landscapers Say Homeowners Are Focused on Lawns, Yard Projects

      Landscapers Say Homeowners Are Focused on Lawns, Yard Projects

      On his daily commute from Wilbraham to East Longmeadow, Dave Graziano has never seen lawns as green as they are this year — even with the recent lack of rain. And as project manager for the landscape division of Graziano Gardens, he knows a thing or two about green lawns. “More than ever, people are working on their homes and their yards,” Graziano said. “Because they’ve been stuck at home for the last few months, they’re way ahead in their yardwork projects.”

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    13. 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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    14. Confused About How to Use PPP Funds? Here Are Some Answers

      Confused About How to Use PPP Funds? Here Are Some Answers

      The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), part of the CARES Act, was launched just over a month ago to much fanfare and promise, but has been bogged down since with technical malfunctions, overwhelmed bankers, political missteps, and incomplete guidance from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). Current guidance on the forgiveness of these loans is scant, additional guidance has been recently posted, and more is expected in the near future. The SBA’s FAQs for PPP have been updated several times a week since they were originally published on April 3, reflecting the current thinking of the SBA in interpreting ...

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    15. CARES Act Aims to Support Economy During Viral Pandemic - BusinessWest

      CARES Act Aims to Support Economy During Viral Pandemic - BusinessWest

      The act passed in the Senate by a unanimous vote late on March 25 and was passed in the House of Representatives on March 27. The President signed the bill into law later that day.  The CARES Act looks to make a significant impact on the economy by providing loan forgiveness, supporting small businesses, enhancing unemployment insurance, and providing federal loans to industries severely impacted by the pandemic.

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    16. The Food Bank Needs Your Help in This Time of Crisis

      The Food Bank Needs Your Help in This Time of Crisis

      We’ve all been to the supermarkets. Households are stocking up on food in response to coronavirus (COVID-19). But let’s not forget there are tens of thousands of individuals across Western Mass. who can’t even get to a supermarket — elders, people with disabilities, and households who must rely on unreliable public transportation. Others can, but they can’t even afford to buy enough food to feed their families, much less stock up for two weeks’ worth as suggested by public officials.

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    1-18 of 18
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    Business Owner Says Working at Home Is an Acquired Skill The Food Bank Needs Your Help in This Time of Crisis CARES Act Aims to Support Economy During Viral Pandemic - BusinessWest Confused About How to Use PPP Funds? Here Are Some Answers EANE Relates the Most Common Issues Posed to Its Hotline Understanding the Employee Retention Credit Landscapers Say Homeowners Are Focused on Lawns, Yard Projects Hadley Faces Challenges While Planning for Future - BusinessWest Cannabis Industry Promises Workforce Opportunities BusinessTalk with Rick Sullivan, president and CEO of the Western Mass. Economic Development Council Beveridge Family Foundation Donates $50,000 to MHA to Keep Residents Warm ESE President and CEO, Eugene J. Cassidy, Elected  Chairman of the International Association of Fairs and Expositions