1. Articles from masslive.com

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    1. DevelopSpringfield hopeful that financing to restart work on downtown Innovation Center on...

      DevelopSpringfield hopeful that financing to restart work on downtown Innovation Center on...

      DevelopSpringfield's dormant Innovation Center project at 270-284 Bridge St. could restart construction in the next few months once DevelopSpringfield gets an expected loan from MassDevelopment, the state's economic development and finance agency. Little work has been done at the site for about a year. Once the loan is approved, work could restart at 270-284 Bridge Street in as little as 30 days, said Nicholas Fyntrilakis, chairman of the DevelopSpringfield board of directors on Wednesday. MassDevelopment said Wednesday through a spokeswoman only that it has not yet closed on a deal for the Innovation Center.

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    2. MGM Springfield reveals $960 million resort casino to open earlier than expected (photos, video)

      MGM Springfield reveals $960 million resort casino to open earlier than expected (photos, video)

      MGM Resorts International will open its Springfield casino ahead of schedule on Aug. 24, culminating a seven-year journey from vision to operation. "It has just come together amazingly well," MGM Resorts President Bill Hornbuckle told The Republican this week. "It's extremely exciting. Our commitment is to Springfield. Our commitment is to get this open successfully. We are well on track to do that." MGM had committed to opening the $960 million resort casino by September, describing its project as "New England's first integrated luxury resort and entertainment destination."

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    3. Baystate Health secures $1M earmark in House budget

      Baystate Health secures $1M earmark in House budget

      Baystate Health has secured a $1 million earmark in the House version of the state budget, which is being debated this week. "This represents an affirmative step in our quest to equalize the state's commitment to serve the Medicaid population of Western Massachusetts," said Mark Keroack, president and CEO of Baystate Health, in a statement. Baystate has been seeking money annually through the state budget process to make up for what it describes as regional inequities in Medicaid payments.

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    4. Springfield launches $1.07 million Stearns Square project after delayed start, lower bid (photos)

      Springfield launches $1.07 million Stearns Square project after delayed start, lower bid (photos)

      A West Springfield construction company has begun a $1 million renovation project at Stearns Square and Duryea Way that includes a refurbished historic fountain and improved pedestrian ways. JL Construction Corp. was awarded the project after submitting the low bid of $1,068,000 in February, said Peter Garvey, the city's director of capital asset construction. JL Construction was the low bidder of nine bids submitted. Prior bids submitted in November were deemed too expensive, triggering the city to rebid the project and delay the work, Garvey said.

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    5. Boston developer offers $300,000 for Springfield land as part of downtown apartments project at Willys-Overland building

      Boston developer offers $300,000 for Springfield land as part of downtown apartments project at Willys-Overland building

      A Boston company has offered to pay the city $300,000 for seven tax-title downtown lots on Worthington and Winter streets as part of a $13.8 million project for market rate apartments and retail space at the adjacent Willys-Overland building. The offer made by Davenport Advisors LLC, of Boston, was the sole bid submitted for the city lots by Monday's deadline. The bid has been referred to a city review committee that will submit its recommendation to Mayor Domenic J. Sarno to accept or reject the offer, officials said.

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    6. MassINC: Building near commuter rail could transform cities

      MassINC: Building near commuter rail could transform cities

      Vacant land surrounding commuter rail stops in Gateway Cities has the potential to house approximately 140,000 people and create a similar number of new jobs. But improvements to commuter rail service is required to encourage development in these areas, according to a study being released Tuesday by the MassINC think tank. At the same time, the study finds, investment in real estate could spur more ridership. "In order to get the most from the billions of dollars we commit to operating commuter rail along these right-of-ways, it's critical to think about what mix of policies could spur reinvestment ...

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      Mentions: Springfield
    7. Mount Holyoke College names Sonya Stephens new president

      Mount Holyoke College names Sonya Stephens new president

      The Mount Holyoke College Board of Trustees on Monday named Sonya Stephens, acting president of the South Hadley school since June 2016, the 19th president of the college. "We are thrilled to say that we did not have to look further than our own campus to locate the individual who provides both the continuity and the vision to lead the college into the future," Board of Trustees chair Barbara Baumann said. Stephens was appointed acting president when Lynn Pacquerella stepped down. She will officially take the office effective July 1 and will be formally inaugurated in September.

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    8. Mayor Reichelt's idea to lure breweries, businesses 'offering a fun social experience" gaining steam in West Springfield

      Mayor Reichelt's idea to lure breweries, businesses 'offering a fun social experience" gaining steam in West Springfield

      Mayor Will Reichelt's push to tweak the town's zoning regulations to make West Springfield a more "fun social experience" for residents and out-of-towners alike has earned support from the Planning Board and a committee that is reviewing the zoning regulations. On April 18, the Planning Board unanimously voted to issue a favorable report on the mayor's proposal to amend the Zoning Ordinance to add recreational uses, breweries, distilleries and wineries to the town's industrial zoning district.

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    9. MGM Springfield culinary team preps for mass hiring

      MGM Springfield culinary team preps for mass hiring

      Chris Smigel, assistant executive chef at MGM Springfield, moved up the career ladder at the soon-to-open casino before he was even hired. A Westfield native who got his culinary training at Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island, Smigel applied to MGM hoping for a job as a chef running one of its restaurants. Instead, he was hired to oversee culinary operations for all MGM-operated facilities on the property in Springfrield's South End. It's a step up for him, having worked for Hyatt Hotels for 10 years with stops Austin, New Orleans and, most recently, Cambridge. The MGM Springfield ...

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    10. Western Massachusetts hospitality workers named finalists for 2018 Howdy Awards

      Western Massachusetts hospitality workers named finalists for 2018 Howdy Awards

      The Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau has revealed the 55 finalists for the 2018 Howdy Awards. The Visitor's Bureau will host its Howdy gala May 21 at the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel. Tickets are on sale now and are $75 per person. Those interested are asked to call Michele Goldberg at 413-755-1344. The Visitors Bureau created the Howdy Awards in 1996 as a way to honor front-line hospitality workers.

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    11. Amherst, Hampshire, Smith join college solar energy collaborative

      Amherst, Hampshire, Smith join college solar energy collaborative

      Five New England liberal arts colleges have joined together to create a solar power facility that will offset 46,000 megawatt-hours of their collective electrical use. The partnership represents the first collaborative purchase of New England-generated solar electricity by higher-education institutions, according to a press release. The facility will be built in Farmington, Maine, and is expected to open in 2019. Each of the colleges will purchase zero-carbon electricity from the site to reduce carbon emissions from campus electricity use. Participating colleges are Bowdoin in Brunswick, Maine, Amherst and Hampshire in Amherst, Smith College in Northampton and Williams College in ...

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    12. 'Opportunity Zones' designation could spur Westfield Urban Renewal

      'Opportunity Zones' designation could spur Westfield Urban Renewal

      The city's downtown corridor was designated an Opportunity Zone this week by Gov. Charlie Baker. Mayor Brian P. Sullivan said this will help attract investors to Westfield. "The Opportunity Zone designation has potential to be very beneficial to the revitalization of the city's downtown," said Sullivan. "It is another tool in the toolbox for developers and people looking to invest in our community. We are very thankful that Governor Baker and (Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay) Ash share our vision for Westfield." Westfield Advancement Officer Joe Mitchell was thrilled Baker recognized the city.

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    13. Valley Opportunity Council wants to hire low-income and at-risk youth for summer

      Valley Opportunity Council wants to hire low-income and at-risk youth for summer

      The Valley Opportunity Council is taking applications for summer jobs for low-income and at-risk youth between the ages of 14 and 21. The program, which is done in collaboration with the Regional Employment Board of Hampden County, offers a structured, well-supervised work experience where employees will learn a variety of job skills while earning a paycheck.

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    14. Afghan girls education advocate Shabana Basij-Rasikh to speak at Springfield Public Forum April 25 | masslive.com

      Afghan girls education advocate Shabana Basij-Rasikh to speak at Springfield Public Forum April 25 | masslive.com

      Afghan women's rights advocate Shabana Basij-Rasikh will speak before at the Springfield Public Forum on Wednesday, delivering a talk on her efforts to educate girls in her home country.  Basij-Rasikh was born in Kabul and lived there under the Taliban, which had banned girls from attending school. To receive an education, she dressed as a boy to go to classes, the Springfield Public Forum said in a press release.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    15. Westfield State University partners with UMass on law program

      Westfield State University partners with UMass on law program

      Westfield State University and the University of Massachusetts School of Law in Dartmouth are partnering on a new law program. Under the new initiative, called 3 Plus 3, students who complete the six-year program will obtain both a bachelor's degree and a law degree. The idea for the program was to include diverse majors, such as business, ethics, gender studies and English. This is in addition to criminal justice, political science and other majors related to law.

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    16. From Lenox to Nantucket, 36 Massachusetts communities get state energy efficiency grants;...

      From Lenox to Nantucket, 36 Massachusetts communities get state energy efficiency grants;...

      Gov. Charlie Baker's administration awarded $4 million in energy efficiency grants to 36 Massachusetts cities and town during a ceremony at the Ware High School auditorium on Thursday. The money will be used by the municipalities' water and wastewater treatment facilities to reduce energy use, improve energy efficiency and in some cases generate renewable energy. The announcement was timed to coincide with Earth Day, which will be on Sunday.

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    17. Gov. Charlie Baker looks to spur investments in Springfield, other 'Opportunity Zone'...

      Gov. Charlie Baker looks to spur investments in Springfield, other 'Opportunity Zone'...

      Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has recommended that Springfield and several other communities across the state be deemed "opportunity zones" -- a designation created under the GOP tax law to open municipalities to private, tax-free investments.  Baker, in paperwork submitted to the U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday, suggested that a total of 138 communities -- the maximum amount allowed for Massachusetts -- be considered for the "Opportunity Zone" program, according to officials.

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    18. Mayor Reichelt: West Springfield zoning changes could make city 'more exciting' for developers, beer-brewing companies

      Mayor Reichelt: West Springfield zoning changes could make city 'more exciting' for developers, beer-brewing companies

      With news that West Springfield is working to bring Two Weeks Notice Brewing Co. to the city, the mayor has proposed changing zoning regulations to include recreational facilities, breweries, distilleries and wineries in the city's industrial zones. "We're in talks with a couple (of breweries) now, namely Two Weeks Notice, to relocate in town," said Mayor William C. Reichelt, who is petitioning the Town Council to approve changes to make the city's industrial sites "more exciting to developers."

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    19. Westfield's special permitting process could be revamped

      Westfield's special permitting process could be revamped

      The Westfield City Council's ad hoc Business Development Committee has been revived under Chairman Michael Burns (Ward 4) and plans to revamp the special permit process. City Advancement Officer Joe Mitchell is working with the committee and said most communities' special permits go through the planning board. He said that makes sense because the planning board works with businesses every step of the process. But over the years, some Westfield councilors requested that special permits go before the council. "Different councilors felt it was their purview to issue special permits," said Mitchell.

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    20. Holyoke SPARK to offer social media tips to businesses

      Holyoke SPARK to offer social media tips to businesses

      Business owners will get tips on how to make the most of a social media presence at a Holyoke SPARK event today from 5 to 7 p.m. at Holyoke Hummus, 285 High St. "Do you have burning social media questions you need answers to for the life of your business? Bring your questions and your knowledge and join the conversation," a press release said. SPARK stands for Stimulating, Potential, Accessing, Resource & Knowledge. The federal and state granted-funded program began in March 2015 to help entrepreneurs become business owners.

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      Mentions: Holyoke
    21. Eastern States Exposition donates over $240K to Big E/West Springfield Trust

      Eastern States Exposition donates over $240K to Big E/West Springfield Trust

      The Eastern States Exposition has donated over $240,000 to The Big E/West Springfield Trust Fund, the largest contribution since the fund was established 24 years ago. The sum represents 1 percent of the ESE's gross revenues for 2017. "This is a special year because it's the biggest check we've been able to give to the town," ESE President Eugene J. Cassidy said Wednesday, presenting a check for $240,198 to West Springfield Mayor William C. Reichelt. "Your success is our success," said the mayor, who is one of three trustees responsible for administering the fund ...

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    22. Western Mass News will open standalone studio at MGM Springfield

      Western Mass News will open standalone studio at MGM Springfield

      Western Mass News will have a standalone studio on the grounds of the MGM Springfield casino when it opens in September. MGM Springfield announced Tuesday that the studio will "go live" near the resort's outdoor plaza and will broadcast select news on a daily basis when the casino opens. The studio will have floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing those passing by to see live broadcasts and interviews. When the studio is not in use, guests will be invited inside to see the "Western Mass News experience," officials said.

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    23. When will CTrail Hartford Line train service to Springfield begin?

      When will CTrail Hartford Line train service to Springfield begin?

      Commuter train service from Springfield to Hartford and New Haven, Connecticut, begins Friday June 15, the Connecticut Department of Transportation announced Tuesday afternoon. That day will feature an inaugural event for the train service and will be followed by free weekend train service Saturday and Sunday, June 16 and 17.

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    24. Washington company's $722,000 gift brings state-of-the-art equipment to UMass Center at Springfield nursing students

      Washington company's $722,000 gift brings state-of-the-art equipment to UMass Center at Springfield nursing students

      The company behind the equipment that monitored Neil Armstrong's vital signs when he walked on the moon has donated $722,000 in state-of-the-art gear to the nursing lab at the University of Massachusetts Springfield Center in Tower Square. And what Spacelabs Healthcare President Sujit Kumar wanted to talk about during Tuesday's celebration of the gift is the next step in his Washington-based medical equipment company's relationship with UMass.

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