1. Articles from masslive.com

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    1. Owner cleans up vacant Black Pearl block in Springfield's South End

      Owner cleans up vacant Black Pearl block in Springfield's South End

      - Lawyers for the city and for a vacant restaurant-apartment block in the South End said the property is being maintained and cleaned under a recent Housing Court agreement. Jhanvi Hospitality, owner of the former Black Pearl property at 1127 Main St., has been keeping the site clear of trash and debris as required under a Western District Housing Court agreement reached in June, lawyers for both sides said recently. The three-building property, referred to as the Burbach-McKinney building, is across the street from the $960 million MGM Springfield casino, slated to open Aug. 24.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    2. Clean, Reliable Energy Key to Western Mass Jobs (Guest viewpoint)

      Clean, Reliable Energy Key to Western Mass Jobs (Guest viewpoint)

      The economic progress our region is seeing is undeniable. From the construction of MGM Springfield, to production of subway cars for the MBTA at the North American headquarters for CRRC Massachusetts Rail Co., to the renovated Union Station, with nearly $2 billion in economic development initiatives, Springfield and its surrounding communities are moving in the right direction. But even as our communities begin to band together to spur innovation, rebuild our manufacturing base and create good paying jobs for the future, that progress is undermined by a lack of clean, reliable, affordable energy.

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    3. House-passed National Defense Authorization Act includes $43 million for Westover Air...

      House-passed National Defense Authorization Act includes $43 million for Westover Air...

      A Western Massachusetts air reserve base is poised to receive millions in federal funding to construct a regional ISO maintenance hangar under a $716 billion national defense bill compromise that cleared the U.S. House Thursday.  The 2019 National Defense Authorization Act, which now awaits Senate approval, includes funding for an array of Pentagon initiatives and priorities across the United States, including $42.6 million for construction at Westover Air Reserve Base in Chicopee.

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    4. Holyoke, Boston developer continue pursuit of historic tax credits for Farr Alpaca Mill conversion to rental units

      Holyoke, Boston developer continue pursuit of historic tax credits for Farr Alpaca Mill conversion to rental units

      The city and WinnDevelopment continue to pursue historic tax credits and other incentives to convert the former Farr Alpaca Mill at 216 Appleton St., into 100 rental units. Winn and the Holyoke Redevelopment Authority entered into an agreement on the property. The former mill is situated between the Upper Canal and the Holyoke Police Department. WinnDevelopment, of Boston, plans to offer market and income-rate apartments. The company has regularly undertaken similar projects nationwide, including the Ludlow Mills and Residences at Mill 10, a 55-plus community in Ludlow.

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      Mentions: Holyoke
    5. Investment in the life sciences sector is critical to Massachusetts' future (Viewpoint)

      Investment in the life sciences sector is critical to Massachusetts' future (Viewpoint)

      Ten years ago, Massachusetts took a risk. With a 10-year, $1 billion initiative proposed by then-Gov. Deval Patrick, we chose to breathe life into a budding biotech and life sciences sector with the bold hope that funding new research would transform our state's economy. That investment has paid off. Students at Chicopee Comprehensive High School, Putnam Vocational Technical Academy, Springfield High School of Science and Technology -- and 146 other middle and high schools in the state -- have brand-new Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) equipment in their classrooms because of that investment.

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    6. Springfield's Chestnut Towers receives $10.2 million in state funding toward planned renovations

      Springfield's Chestnut Towers receives $10.2 million in state funding toward planned renovations

      Springfield's Chestnut Towers will receive $10.2 million in affordable housing funds for renovations, state Secretary of Housing and Development Jay Ash said Wednesday during a visit to the downtown complex. The new funding will supplement a $45 million investment by the property's management, Related Companies, to renovate and transform the 489-unit apartment complex, said Jeff Brodsky, the company's vice chairman, during a press conference.

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    7. Springfield plans environmental review before seeking buyer to redevelop junkyard lots

      Springfield plans environmental review before seeking buyer to redevelop junkyard lots

      The city is planning to hire a company for an environmental assessment of a 14-acre swath of tax-title properties along Bay and Tapley streets with the hope that it will lead to the sale, cleanup and redevelopment of the site. The city recently received a $99,940 grant from MassDevelopment, the state's economic development finance arm, that will pay for the environmental assessment before the city pursues a new owner to develop the site, city officials said. The site has past industrial uses including storage of automotive parts and metal recyling.

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    8. Greenfield library gets $9.4 million grant for new building

      Greenfield library gets $9.4 million grant for new building

      Plans to build a new library on Main Street got a boost with the announcement of a $9.38 million state grant. Saturday afternoon, project supporters gathered to celebrate the news from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners. The entire project cost is around $20.5 million, so the grant halves the amount that might be paid from municipal funds -- and the Greenfield Public Library Association said it would raise funds to further soften the tax blow.

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      Mentions: Greenfield
    9. There are still jobs at MGM Springfield, and Job Talk Tuesday at Cambridge College will have the details

      There are still jobs at MGM Springfield, and Job Talk Tuesday at Cambridge College will have the details

      MGM Springfield is boosting its Job Talk Tuesday program by moving it to Cambridge College in Tower Square with a live, in-person question and answer format. The new format will begin Tuesday and continue for the next month, MGM Springfield said in a press release. The change occurs as MGM's resort casino plans for a Aug. 24 opening and hiring efforts continue. Job Talk Tuesday has been a weekly MGM Springfield Facebook Live Q&A session in which MGM Springfield workforce development representatives answer questions as they are posted on MGM's Facebook page.

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      Mentions: Springfield MGM
    10. Wayne Phaneuf, executive editor of The Republican, to be honored with Yankee Quill Award

      Wayne Phaneuf, executive editor of The Republican, to be honored with Yankee Quill Award

      Wayne E. Phaneuf, executive editor of The Republican and Sunday Republican, will be honored this fall with the Yankee Quill Award, the highest individual honor bestowed on journalists in New England. Phaneuf, whose career spans 49 years with The Republican and its predecessor publications, is among five honorees who will be recognized in October at the fall conference of the New England Newspaper and Press Association. Established in the 1960s and presented by the New England Academy of Journalists, the Yankee Quill "recognizes the lifetime achievement of those who have had a broad influence for good, both inside and outside ...

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    11. ArtWalk, Downtown Live concerts draw visitors to downtown Westfield (photos)

      ArtWalk, Downtown Live concerts draw visitors to downtown Westfield (photos)

      Downtown was bustling with activity Friday night, from the Downtown Live concert to the ArtWalk, visitors walked, shopped, ate and even danced. The ArtWalk is a monthly event hosted by ArtWorks Westfield, a local organization that promotes the artistic diversity of the city and surrounding communities. ArtWorks board member Donna Carmel said the group hosts the ArtWalk the third Friday of every month from 5 to 8 p.m. downtown. Four different local artists are highlighted each month and display their work at Rosewood Gifts, Two Rivers Burrito, Mama Cakes and Blended Vintage Marketplace.

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    12. International juggling competition in Springfield is all about numbers (photos, video)

      International juggling competition in Springfield is all about numbers (photos, video)

      Competitors from the International Jugglers' Association took part Friday in the Numbers Championships, one of the many events held during the organization's 71st annual festival this week at the MassMutal Center. The event serves as a challenge to the jugglers as they try to successfully juggle the greatest numbers of balls, clubs and rings in a set amount of time.

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    13. Chicopee eyes tax deal to help develop apartments in Cabotville Mill

      Chicopee eyes tax deal to help develop apartments in Cabotville Mill

      Tax break details for the redevelopment of the Cabotville Mill complex still have to be worked out, but city leaders are already looking beyond converting the old factory buildings into housing to the dream of drawing customers to the nearby shops and restaurants. "I think it could revitalize the whole downtown,'' City Councilor James K. Tillotson said. "I think all those businesses are really looking forward to it. We would entice more small restaurants and markets, and some specialty shops,'' Tillotson said.

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    14. Grant program could provide money for security upgrades for Massachusetts nonprofits

      Grant program could provide money for security upgrades for Massachusetts nonprofits

      A $150,000 grant program included in the state budget could help Massachusetts nonprofits afford security updates to their buildings. "It's very important that we provide these organizations with this type of funding, because a lot of them are shoestring organizations that don't have the budget to put these types of protections in place," said state Sen. Eric Lesser, D-Longmeadow, who sponsored the amendment for the grant program.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    15. Hundreds of jugglers descend on downtown Springfield for 71st annual festival (photos, video) | masslive.com

      Hundreds of jugglers descend on downtown Springfield for 71st annual festival (photos, video) | masslive.com

      With workshop names like 'Factory Variations with 3 Balls,' and '4-5 Club Multiplex,' you might not know what is being taught this week at the MassMutual Center in downtown Springfield.  But one peek into the center's exhibition hall will answer all your questions as plastic juggling clubs fly from person to person and balls are tossed into the air.  Juggling enthusiasts from all over the world are in Springfield from July 17-22 for the 71st International Jugglers' Association Annual Festival.

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    16. As casino opening looms, MGM Springfield on course to meet hiring goals for diversity, Springfield residents

      As casino opening looms, MGM Springfield on course to meet hiring goals for diversity, Springfield residents

      MGM Springfield officials told the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Thursday that they are well on course with the hiring of 3,000 casino employees, as pledged, and with meeting goals for local hiring and diversity. Gaming Commission officials praised the effort and results during its meeting in Boston, occurring as the $960 million resort casino is a month away from opening on Aug. 24. As MGM Springfield President Michael Mathis quipped during the meeting, just before 11 a.m. -- the casino is scheduled to open in "36 days and 3 minutes."

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    17. Holyoke city employees learn to create healthy meals at Hcc Mgm Culinary Arts Institute

      Holyoke city employees learn to create healthy meals at Hcc Mgm Culinary Arts Institute

      During the first day of the two-part class, Jim Crowley grilled some salmon that he ate with fresh, locally grown produce. "It's fantastic on a salad," said Crowley, who works for Holyoke Gas & Electric. "So when you're eating it, it doesn't feel like you're on a diet. You're just eating better food." Crowley was one of several city of Holyoke employees and their spouses who took a two-day course and learned to prepare healthy meals at the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute. After preparing them in the industrial sized kitchen, they sat down to enjoy ...

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    18. Bloomberg Philanthropies names Holyoke national finalist for $1 million art grant

      Bloomberg Philanthropies names Holyoke national finalist for $1 million art grant

      Bloomberg Philanthropies on Wednesday named the El Corazon de Holyoke (The Heart of Holyoke) and the city, along with 14 communities nationwide, as finalists for a Public Arts Challenge Grant. Holyoke competed with more than 200 applicants for the coveted grants of up to $1 million. Bloomberg Philanthropies will name three winners in the fall. The applications hail from communities with 30,000 or more residents.

       

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    19. PVTA gets boost in state budget, still plans service cuts

      PVTA gets boost in state budget, still plans service cuts

      The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority will get more money under the state budget passed Wednesday by the Legislature than it expected under the governor's budget proposal, but it might not be enough to stop planned service cuts. The Legislature's budget adds $455,605 in funding for the PVTA as compared with the last two budget cycles. Additional funding could come from the state Department of Transportation. But the gains could also be wiped out by Gov. Charlie Baker if he decides to veto portions of the budget.

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    20. Springfield officials celebrate opening of Holiday Inn Express in downtown (photos)

      Springfield officials celebrate opening of Holiday Inn Express in downtown (photos)

      City officials and other well-wishers gathered Wednesday at the new Holiday Inn Express on State Street, celebrating its recent opening which ended years of delays and anticipation. The 98-room hotel opened in April at the former Epiphany Tower, 145 State St., across the street from the MassMutual Center and a short distance from the MGM Springfield casino project.

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    21. Environmental bond bill could extend Western Massachusetts bike paths, fix water and sewer...

      Environmental bond bill could extend Western Massachusetts bike paths, fix water and sewer...

      Western Massachusetts could see an infusion of public dollars for capital projects under a $2 billion environmental bond bill passed by the state Senate last week. Wish-list amendments to the bill, successfully tacked on by the region's senators, include extending bike paths, upgrading water and sewer plants, fixing dams and reservoirs, cleaning up lakes and rivers, boosting outdoor recreation and improving urban parks.

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    22. Health New England president and CEO Maura McCaffrey steps down

      Health New England president and CEO Maura McCaffrey steps down

      Maura McCaffrey, president and CEO of Health New England, has resigned effective immediately, according to  message Tuesday from Dr. Mark A. Keroack, president and CEO of Baystate Health, which owns Health New England. She's stepping down to focus on her health and be with her family, according to Keroack's message.  Health New England is a nonprofit health plan serving Western Massachusetts, Worcester County and members in Connecticut employed by Massachusetts companies.

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    23. Developer signs option agreement to preserve Mt. Tom land in Easthampton

      Developer signs option agreement to preserve Mt. Tom land in Easthampton

      If all goes as planned, nearly 24 acres on the northwestern flank of Mount Tom will be preserved as open space, with parking and access to hiking trails, rather than built as a subdivision called "Red Tail Drive." Developer Gary Campbell last week signed an option agreement with the Amherst-based Kestrel Land Trust, confirmed Mark Wamsley, the organization's conservation manager. He said Easthampton's Passcommuck Conservation Trust helped with funding, and that a pot of money is now being held in escrow.

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    24. Springfield City Council approves tax incentives for Willys-Overland downtown housing...

      Springfield City Council approves tax incentives for Willys-Overland downtown housing...

      The City Council approved tax incentives for the historic Willys-Overland property on Chestnut Street on Monday, providing property tax relief to the new owner to assist plans to convert the site to market-rate housing. The vote was 8-0 to approve the 10-year tax increment exemption agreement with Davenport Companies, under the name Chestnut Acquisitions LLC. Under the agreement, Davenport will have a total tax savings estimated at $310,000 over 10 years, according to the Assessors Department.

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      Mentions: Springfield
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