1. From the EDC

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    1. 2nd Early Literacy Leadership Summit

      2nd Early Literacy Leadership Summit

      Please join us for Reading Success by 4th Grade's 2nd annual Early Literacy Leadership Summit virtually this Wednesday, March 3 from 9:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., convening community and state leaders and organizations in the realm of early literacy. 

       Register for the Summit at https://www.readby4thgrade.com/summit

      After registering, a Zoom link will be emailed to you prior to the event.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    2. STCC students find many reasons to follow MassTransfer road to UMass

      STCC students find many reasons to follow MassTransfer road to UMass

      Helder Serrazina, a 2020 Springfield Technical Community College graduate, expects to earn his bachelor’s degree in 2021 and then his master’s in 2024. Luciano Alvarez-Sanchez, also a 2020 STCC graduate, is on track to earn his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 2022. Kenneth White, who earned his associate from STCC in 2019, will graduate with a bachelor’s degree this year. All three STCC graduates are now studying at the University of Massachusetts Amherst – two enrolled in the prestigious and competitive Isenberg School of Management – thanks to the state Department of Higher Education’s MassTransfer program.

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    3. Downtown Northampton Association shifts focus to community health and stability during COVID (Guest viewpoint)

      Downtown Northampton Association shifts focus to community health and stability during COVID (Guest viewpoint)

      Thinking back to January 2020, it is difficult to imagine just how trivial the concerns I had on my plate that month would seem once March, then April and then May rolled around. I’ve resisted thinking about 2020 as some sort of gift with silver linings of any sort because the devastation that the year caused (and that is still playing out in downtown Northampton and across the commonwealth) is staggering, forever changing the landscape of our downtown community. But there have been some moments of light and hope and creativity, even amidst so much uncertainty.

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      Mentions: Northampton
    4. Agawam welcomes new development, plans major projects (Guest viewpoint)

      Agawam welcomes new development, plans major projects (Guest viewpoint)

      At this time last year, I’m sure that no one could have predicted the year that lay ahead. However, before we thankfully turn the page on 2020, we want to express our sincere appreciation to those who have worked so hard to deal with the new landscape that COVID-19 has created. All health and medical professionals must be recognized for their extraordinary efforts.

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      Mentions: Westfield
    5. Fire station, library projects help launch Greenfield’s rebound year (Guest viewpoint)

      Fire station, library projects help launch Greenfield’s rebound year (Guest viewpoint)

      Call me an eternal optimist, but I think some very good things are going to happen for local communities in 2021. To start, one of the things that gives me great hope is our demonstrated capabilities as a city to continue managing what has been the worst global pandemic in over 100 years. From a public health and emergency command perspective, Greenfield has stepped up time and time again to help keep our community and region as healthy and as safe as possible.

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      Mentions: Greenfield
    6. Franklin County enters ’21 with renewed enthusiasm (Guest viewpoint)

      Franklin County enters ’21 with renewed enthusiasm (Guest viewpoint)

      For each challenge presented to us in 2020, I am convinced that 2021 will provide an opportunity. One year ago today, none of us could have imagined the struggles, worries and loss that we were about to experience. But today I think it’s clear that we are poised to make a comeback. And it’s already starting here in Franklin County.

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    7. Outlook 2021: For Freedom Credit Union, pandemic accelerated adoption of online, mobile banking (Guest viewpoint)

      Outlook 2021: For Freedom Credit Union, pandemic accelerated adoption of online, mobile banking (Guest viewpoint)

      Freedom Credit Union was chartered in 1922 as the Western Massachusetts Telephone Workers Credit Union. Although we have been in business for 98 years and survived through many turbulent times, it’s safe to say that we have not faced a challenge like COVID-19. We operate 11 branches in Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties. On March 18, we made the difficult decision to close our doors to members and offer drive-up service only.

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    8. Amherst Area Chamber ready to roar into the ’20s (Guest viewpoint)

      Amherst Area Chamber ready to roar into the ’20s (Guest viewpoint)

      When asked a year ago to do an Outlook 2020 viewpoint for the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce, one never imagined the dual health and economic crisis that was about to shut us down flat. There was no curve. It was a steep drop. And with the closures of our flagship University of Massachusetts campus along with area colleges, our Amherst Area towns simply shut down overnight.

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    9. Clear, concise information from Chamber of Greater Easthampton crucial during COVID pandemic (Guest viewpoint)

      Clear, concise information from Chamber of Greater Easthampton crucial during COVID pandemic (Guest viewpoint)

      As I state the obvious, 2020 Did. Not. Turn. Out. How any of us had planned! Our long-term strategic planning over the past five years, however, has paid off. The Chamber of Greater Easthampton had already been shifting to a more agile chamber model and was able to adapt quickly and effectively to the sudden change of environment.

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    10. Outlook 2021: Modernizing natural gas distribution system is priority for Eversource (Guest viewpoint)

      Outlook 2021: Modernizing natural gas distribution system is priority for Eversource (Guest viewpoint)

      So much of what makes Massachusetts appealing to live or visit is its rich history and the historic value of its buildings and streets. Walking through many communities across the commonwealth is like taking a step back in time. But history also applies to the infrastructure we don’t see, which ironically sits just feet below the historic streets we love and appreciate.

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    11. For Northampton chamber, best is yet to come! (Guest viewpoint)

      For Northampton chamber, best is yet to come! (Guest viewpoint)

      At first glance, a 2021 outlook seemed like an unpredictable landscape during this unprecedented and challenging time. But as I considered the critical role that the Greater Northampton Chamber of Commerce plays in supporting a thriving economy and community, I am inspired by what we achieved in 2020 despite unimaginable odds.

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    12. Bradley International Airport looks to regain traffic as world emerges from COVID pandemic

      Bradley International Airport looks to regain traffic as world emerges from COVID pandemic

      Passenger traffic at Bradley International Airport through the first 11 months of 2020 was down 63% compared with the year before, with just more than 2.2 million people getting on or getting off airliners. In 2019, more than 5.6 million people had traveled through Bradley by the end of October, and the airport was on its way to drawing 7 million passengers in 2019, besting its 2018 mark of 6.7 million by more than 2%.

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    13. Outlook 2021: The story of MGM Springfield ‘remains early in writing’ (Guest viewpoint)

      Outlook 2021: The story of MGM Springfield ‘remains early in writing’ (Guest viewpoint)

      MGM Springfield stands hand in hand with the Springfield community, our local partners, team members, and guests during this time of unprecedented challenges. As we turn the page, we approach the future with optimism. The Foundation is Strong: Often the way forward begins with a look back. Prior to the pandemic, MGM Springfield was actively learning a new market and incorporating customer feedback and preferences into our resort experience. These are natural steps for a new property in a new market.

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    14. Heartbeat of Chicopee business community stays strong (Guest viewpoint)

      Heartbeat of Chicopee business community stays strong (Guest viewpoint)

      During a somewhat somber Zoom meeting the last week of the year, called to discuss relief grants for small businesses in Chicopee, a high-pitched, Cindy-Lou-Hoo voice shouted from outside the frame, “I love you, and I can’t wait to see you tomorrow!” My colleague’s daughter was bidding farewell to her classmates, having just wrapped up a day of virtual kindergarten, and, for a moment, we laughed, relieved to acknowledge the universal strangeness we experienced in 2020.

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    15. West of the River Chamber of Commerce adapts to new forms of networking (Guest viewpoint)

      West of the River Chamber of Commerce adapts to new forms of networking (Guest viewpoint)

      What a year! As the wild and turbulent 2020 has drawn to a close, we look back on how COVID-19 sent the global economy into the worst slump in a century and focus on what to expect beyond lockdowns, the virus and the vaccine in 2021. A new year, a new way of life. 2020 was a challenging year for business, family, education, and government. The beginning of 2020 was a time of unknown. Not sure how to navigate this new obstacle, we shut down, secluded and held tight.

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    16. Springfield Regional Chamber connects, gives voice to business (Guest viewpoint)

      Springfield Regional Chamber connects, gives voice to business (Guest viewpoint)

      Early last March, business leaders convened for the Springfield Regional Chamber’s 2020 Outlook luncheon, what would become the chamber’s final in-person event before the COVID-19 pandemic. As I listened to excellent speeches from U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and state Rep. Joseph Wagner, assistant majority leader, I envisioned a much different future than would ultimately play out in the coming months.

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    17. ‘No business should feel alone in 2021’: East of the River chamber sees glimmers of hope (Guest viewpoint)

      ‘No business should feel alone in 2021’: East of the River chamber sees glimmers of hope (Guest viewpoint)

      As the executive director of the East of the River Five Town Chamber of Commerce (ERC5), I’m always grateful to contribute to The Republican’s Outlook. However, let’s face facts: This 2021 article was a challenge. It’s more likely than not that mine is among a chorus articulating the impediments of 2020. The word “outlook” itself fuels feelings of hope, growth and prosperity where 2020 served quite the opposite. But, like all periods of adversity, we also saw glimmers of hope throughout 2020, and, since this is the 2021 Outlook, I choose to move forward with a ...

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    18. Outlook 2021: ‘Cautious optimism’ abounds for region’s tourism venues (Guest viewpoint)

      Outlook 2021: ‘Cautious optimism’ abounds for region’s tourism venues (Guest viewpoint)

      What a difference a year makes. In December 2019, the Western Massachusetts tourism industry appeared to be in its strongest position in decades. And, it was. We were enjoying a continued strong economy, stable gasoline prices and our solid inventory of one-of-a-kind attractions had been enhanced by key new investments.

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