1. Articles from masslive.com

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    1. Polish National Credit Union closing Exchange Street branch following renovations to nearby Chicopee offices

      Polish National Credit Union closing Exchange Street branch following renovations to nearby Chicopee offices

      Polish National Credit Union plans to close its Exchange Street location. An announcement has been posted on the credit union’s website. The decision follows the recent elimination of Thursday, Friday and Saturday hours at Exchange Street location last week. There is no date given for the expected closure.

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    2. Southwick Country Club demolition underway; high-end housing being built

      Southwick Country Club demolition underway; high-end housing being built

      Demolition began this week of the old clubhouse building at Southwick Country Club as the high-end housing development now being built on the old course enters the next phase of construction. Construction for The Greens of Southwick on the west side of Routes 10 and 202 began in spring 2019 and more than 50% of those lots have been sold, according to a statement Tuesday from the developers and from Rovithis Realty.

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    3. Student Prince owners to open Wurst Haus, German-themed bar, at McLadden’s in Northampton

      Student Prince owners to open Wurst Haus, German-themed bar, at McLadden’s in Northampton

      Northampton has a reputation as a Bohemian town, soon it’ll have a taste of not only Bohemia, but of Bavaria and Fort Street in Springfield. Restaurant partners led by Andy Yee and Peter Picknelly closed the McLadden’s location at 27 Pleasant St. on Monday and are renovating it into the Wurst Haus, a casual German-themed bar restaurant based around the venerable Student Prince Cafe and The Fort Dining Room in downtown Springfield.

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    4. Springfield City Council sets new, lower tax rate but residents still likely to see bigger bill

      Springfield City Council sets new, lower tax rate but residents still likely to see bigger bill

      It was just 3 cents, but it made a world of difference for businesses looking to invest in the city. The City Council lowered residential and business tax rates for Monday night, but warned all property owners that their fiscal year 2020 tax bills are still likely to increase because the valuation of the average property has jumped up by nearly $10,000. The Council voted 11-0 to set the new residential rate at $19.53 per $1,000 value, a decrease of 16 cents over this year. The new rate for business, commercial and industrial property is $39.23 ...

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    5. Wilson’s department store in Greenfield closing after 137 years

      Wilson’s department store in Greenfield closing after 137 years

      Wilson’s, the region’s last remaining downtown department store, is closing with the retirement of company president Kevin J. O’Neil. The liquidation sale begins on Black Friday, Nov. 29, at 9 a.m. “After more than 38 years at Wilson’s, I have decided to retire. The time has come to enter a new phase of my life to enjoy more time with my wife and family,” O’Neil wrote. “As a result of my decision there will be a store closing sale and liquidation of all merchandise.”

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    6. Berkshire Wind turns on two more turbines; hits 19.6 megawatts atop Brodie Mountain in Hancock

      Berkshire Wind turns on two more turbines; hits 19.6 megawatts atop Brodie Mountain in Hancock

      Berkshire Wind has reached commercial operation with its two newest turbines, each rated at 2.3 megawatts each, according to Massachusetts Municipal Wholesale Electric Co., which is one of the owners. Construction on the second phase of the project, located in the towns of Hancock and Lanesborough, began in January. The project was financed with a private placement of $11.78 million.

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    7. ’Oh Lawdy’ — that’s the name of a sandwich — Granny’s Baking Table opens in downtown Springfield

      ’Oh Lawdy’ — that’s the name of a sandwich — Granny’s Baking Table opens in downtown Springfield

      Granny’s Baking Table in downtown Springfield has fresh biscuits, beignets, pies and coffee. What the bakery/restaurant, which opened Monday, Nov. 18, in a former dress shop at 309 Bridge St., doesn’t have is public WiFi and little tables for one or two people. Instead, co-owner Sonya Yelder points to the one long table surrounded by chairs that takes up much of the dining room.

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    8. Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno recommends lowest property tax rates in a decade; cites growth in property values

      Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno recommends lowest property tax rates in a decade; cites growth in property values

      Springfield’s property tax rates would go down under a proposal made Thursday by Springfield Mayor Domenic J. Sarno. Citing a rise in property values, Sarno proposed a residential tax rate of $19.52 per $1,000 of assessed value and $39.26 for commercial, industrial, and personal property. The current rates are $19.68 and $39.30, respectively.

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    9. SPARK Cowork opens in Holyoke, offering inclusive space for entrepreneurs

      SPARK Cowork opens in Holyoke, offering inclusive space for entrepreneurs

      SPARK Cowork, a space built for and by Holyoke residents has opened in downtown. The coworking space is the culmination of a years-long effort by Executive Director Tessa Murphy-Romboletti. It began with a need for space for an accelerator program to help aspiring entrepreneurs. Then came the funding. MassDevelopment provided $64,000 in funding, with the requirement that the grant be matched. Through a culmination of partners, the funding was raised and the search for space was next.

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    10. In second season, ValleyBike Share trips increased 42%; program to expand in 2020

      In second season, ValleyBike Share trips increased 42%; program to expand in 2020

      With ValleyBike Share’s second season drawing to a close, organizers say the short-term rental program had a busy year, with the number of trips increasing over 40%. Riders rolled up 196,000 miles this year, compared to 84,00 miles in the abbreviated first year of operation in 2018, said Wayne Feiden, Northampton’s director of planning and sustainability and one of the officials behind ValleyBike Share.

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    11. People’s United closing branches following United Bank merger

      People’s United closing branches following United Bank merger

      Connecticut-based People’s United Bank plans to close three Springfield-area branches in April as part of its takeover of the former United Bank. The branches, closing because they are near other locations, are:

      • a former United branch at 1355 Boston Road in Springfield;
      • a former United Branch at 1414 Main St. in Springfield, at Monarch Place;
      • a location at 85 Elm St. in West Springfield that People’s United bought in 2018 from Farmington Bank.
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    12. Springfield tax levy set at $216.3M; rates to be determined

      Springfield tax levy set at $216.3M; rates to be determined

      The city’s tax levy — the total amount of real estate and personal property taxes it expects to bill in the current fiscal year — will be $216.3 million. That’s up from $205.3 million last year, said Springfield Assessor Richard J. Allen. The 5.4% increase is driven by a $5.9 million jump in the total value of all the real estate and taxable personal property in Springfield, including business and industrial equipment and tools, Allen said.

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    13. Deborah Bitsoli named president of Mercy Medical Center and affiliates

      Deborah Bitsoli named president of Mercy Medical Center and affiliates

      Deborah Bitsoli has been named president of Mercy Medical Center and its affiliates, effective Dec. 2. “Deborah is a respected, visionary leader with extensive experience in health care operations. Her dedication to our Mission and tremendous enthusiasm, in combination with her focus on quality, safety and growth, will serve Mercy and the greater Springfield community well,” Paul Mancinone, the hospital’s board chairman, said in an announcement.

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    14. Breakthrough Worship Center opens at former Melha Shriners building in Springfield

      Breakthrough Worship Center opens at former Melha Shriners building in Springfield

      Breakthrough Worship Center plans to show off its new location at the former Melha Shrine Center on 133 Longhill St. with a ribbon cutting ceremony Sunday, Nov. 24, at 10:30 a.m. "The BWC community is excited about the grand opening of this building as it will allow us to expand our ministry to the Lord and add more activities that will serve the community we live in, said Pastor Dmitriy Mozolevskiy in a news release.

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    15. ‘We just don’t think it is fair’: Businesses speak out ahead of annual Springfield commercial vs. residential tax argument

      ‘We just don’t think it is fair’: Businesses speak out ahead of annual Springfield commercial vs. residential tax argument

      Springfield officials are deciding how much of the city’s property tax levy — the total amount in taxes it will bill for the fiscal year — will be paid by owners of residential property and how much will be paid by businesses. The city relies on money from taxes on residential property and from businesses in taxes on commercial property, industrial property and what’s called “personal property” owned by businesses, such as tools and equipment.

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    16. Legion Paper plans distribution hub at former Canson Paper plant in South Hadley

      Legion Paper plans distribution hub at former Canson Paper plant in South Hadley

      Legion Paper announced this week that it has opened a new distribution center for its fine art paper business at the former Canson paper converting plant at 21 Industrial Drive. Canson Inc., a maker of fine papers for art and photo printing, closed its plant and laid off 67 people earlier this year as operations were consolidated in Wisconsin. Canson’s owners — Italian conglomerate Fabbrica Italiana Lapis ed Affini S.p.A., or FILA — purchased Pacon Corp. of Wisconsin in 2018.

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    17. Developers of Holyoke Cubit building launch coworking space

      Developers of Holyoke Cubit building launch coworking space

      Cubit building owners Denis and Marco Luzuriaga recently launched Cubit Coworks, offering desk, office and creative spaces that they showed off at an open house Thursday evening. Marco Luzuriaga said Cubit Coworks is a shared office without a long-term lease. Clients pay a monthly membership for a variety of spaces and desk options. The space also includes a kitchen, coffee bar, meeting rooms, a comfortable lounge, shower and restrooms. It taps into Holyoke Gas & Electric’s fiber-optic network for wireless connectivity. Coworks plans to install printers in every office and a central high-speed printer.

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    18. Amherst chamber, Mill District will host forum on housing and economic development - masslive.com

      Amherst chamber, Mill District will host forum on housing and economic development - masslive.com

      The Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce and the Mill District will host a public forum Monday on housing and economic development that will include remarks by a state official discussing Gov. Charlie Baker’s Housing Choice Initiative.  Chris Kluchman, the Housing Choice program director at the state Department of Housing and Community Development, will discuss the administration’s housing initiative.

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    19. Bradley International Airport begins flights to Miami on Frontier Airlines - masslive.com

      Bradley International Airport begins flights to Miami on Frontier Airlines - masslive.com

      Frontier Airlines made its first flight Thursday from Bradley International Airport to Miami.  It is a seasonal service running nonstop Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays through April aboard an A320 Neo aircraft, Bradley said in a news release. The outbound flight departs from Bradley at 8 p.m. and arrives at Miami International Airport at 11:23 p.m. The inbound flight leaves Miami at 3:55 p.m. and arrives at Bradley at 7:04 p.m.

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    20. ‘With a tournament on the line’ Callaway Golf finishes $40M expansion, adds staff to Chicopee golf ball factory

      ‘With a tournament on the line’ Callaway Golf finishes $40M expansion, adds staff to Chicopee golf ball factory

      Jobs making golf balls at Callaway Golf Ball Operations Inc. in Chicopee come with all the usual benefits plus one unique perk: Company-paid visits to Annie’s Driving Range. If you are going to make golf balls, you must know about golf. “It’s all part of our on-boarding,” said Vincent J. Simonds, senior director, global golf ball operations for Callaway. “I want people to think about the quality and consistency of each ball they make. Is this a ball they would want to put into play on a golf course with a tournament on the line?”

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    21. United Way recognizes local heroes at Springfield awards luncheon - masslive.com

      United Way recognizes local heroes at Springfield awards luncheon - masslive.com

      The Lifetime Achievement Award was given to Steve Lowell, president of Monsons Savings Bank and a member of the United Way of Pioneer Valley board of directors. He has been involved in community service, particularly focused on financial literacy, for the past 30 years. “This is a very humbling experience. What I do, I do because I enjoy it. It’s been great to help the people of the Pioneer Valley get some of the things that they can’t afford,' he said.

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