1. Articles from masslive.com

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    1. Study of high speed rail between Springfield and Boston clears Massachusetts Senate

      Study of high speed rail between Springfield and Boston clears Massachusetts Senate

      Massachusetts state Sen. Eric Lesser's years-long bid to study high speed train service from Springfield to Boston appears to be back on the rails. Lesser's proposal for the state Department of Transportation to study the expansion of East-West rail service unanimously passed the state Senate Thursday afternoon as an amendment to the Senate's version of the state budget. The measure also made it into the final budget last year, but was axed by the veto of Gov. Charlier Baker.

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    2. Tickets still available for 'Seussian Celebration' fundraiser to benefit The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum

      Tickets still available for 'Seussian Celebration' fundraiser to benefit The Amazing World of Dr. Seuss Museum

      The Seussian Celebration fundraiser is from 5 to 7:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Springfield Monarch Place Hotel, 1 Monarch Place, Springfield. The cost is $100 a ticket and all of that money is a straight donation to the museum, Picknelly said, which makes it tax-deductible. The money will go toward the museum's $7.5 million capitol campaign, Seuss in Springfield: Building a Better Quadrangle. Registration is available online here or through the Springfield Museums.

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    3. MGM Springfield's housing development at historic Court Square building may include 'affordable housing' component

      MGM Springfield's housing development at historic Court Square building may include 'affordable housing' component

      An MGM Springfield official told the Massachusetts Gaming Commission on Thursday that it has delayed a market rate housing project due to a new location under consideration at Court Square that may include affordable housing units. Seth Stratton, vice-president and general counsel for MGM Springfield, said the site under consideration, a long-vacant block at 31 Elm St., is being discussed by city officials, Peter Picknelly's OPAL Real Estate Group and MGM. City officials and MGM have agreed that restoring that vacant block could be "transformative" event for that area, but those negotiations have delayed development of the housing component ...

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    4. People In Business: Tricia Canavan of United Personnel

      People In Business: Tricia Canavan of United Personnel

      The Springfield Regional Chamber has named Tricia Canavan, President/Owner of United Personnel as its 2017 Richard J. Moriarty Citizen of the Year. The award is given annually to honor the memory of Richard J. Moriarty, a long-time active participant in the Chamber and individual who gave of his time, talent and personal and professional resources to the local community. "In 2007, the Springfield Regional Chamber wanted to honor the legacy of longtime Chamber board member Rick Moriarty, and so the Chamber created the Richard J. Moriarty Citizen of the Year Award," said Chamber President Nancy Creed. "Since then, the ...

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    5. West Springfield gives tax break to Agri-Mark, agricultural cooperative planning multimillion-dollar expansion

      West Springfield gives tax break to Agri-Mark, agricultural cooperative planning multimillion-dollar expansion

      Agri-Mark, a farmer-owned cooperative best known for its Cabot and McCadam brands of cheese and butter, is planning a multimillion-dollar expansion at its West Springfield facility, according to Mayor William C. Reichelt, whose administration sweetened the deal by offering tax breaks to the co-op. Reichelt said Agri-Mark, which has facilities in upstate New York and across New England, is planning a project in the neighborhood of $12 million at its plant at the corner of Riverdale Street and Morgan Road. The expansion will create 12 new jobs, according to the mayor, with first dibs given to qualified West Side residents ...

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    6. Chicopee company plans $9 million expansion, city officials approve tax agreement

      Chicopee company plans $9 million expansion, city officials approve tax agreement

      A local distribution company plans to build an about $9 million addition onto its existing building in Willimansett and will add 22 new jobs in the process. J. Polep Distribution Services, located on 705 Meadow St., is planning a 32,000 square foot expansion to create a new cold dock and freezer and cooler area to its current building, City Council members said. The City Council recently approved a tax agreement that will give the company a five-year break on real estate taxes as an incentive for the company, which currently employs 486 full-time people, to remain in the current ...

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    7. Seven more rural hilltowns win state broadband grants

      Seven more rural hilltowns win state broadband grants

      Republican Gov. Charlie Baker has released state broadband grants to six more rural towns that plan to build their own high-speed fiber-to-the-home networks. Announced Wednesday were $6.8 million in direct infrastructure grants to Charlemont, Colrain, Cummington, Heath, New Salem, Otis, and Rowe. Earlier this month, the Baker-Polito administration awarded $4.6 millionto Ashfield, Leyden, Mt. Washington, Plainfield, Shutesbury, and Windsor.

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    8. MassMutual gives $1 million and Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield goes with $30 million renovation and endowment plan

      MassMutual gives $1 million and Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield goes with $30 million renovation and endowment plan

      Promising to create the most technologically advanced sports museum in the world, officials at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Wednesday accepted a $1 million donation from the Springfield-based MassMutual Foundation. The money will go toward creating the hoop shrine's first endowment, which has a $15 million goal to ensure its financial security, and toward $15 million in renovations to the building at 1000 Hall of Fame Ave. on Springfield's Connecticut River waterfront. The Hall of Fame is at $22.7 million toward its total $30 million goal in a campaign that began two and a ...

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    9. Five College Consortium to celebrate opening of book annex in Hatfield

      Five College Consortium to celebrate opening of book annex in Hatfield

      The Five College Consortium is celebrating the opening of its $14 million annex in Hatfield with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday and tours of the 35,000-square-foot facility.  The annex provides shelf space for up to 2.5 million items from the Five College Repository Collection and from libraries of the campuses of the consortium --Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke and Smith colleges and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. That frees up space on the campuses for new materials and other academic needs.

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    10. Chicopee approves tax agreement for new Memorial Drive hotel

      Chicopee approves tax agreement for new Memorial Drive hotel

      The city will cut taxes for the next five years for business owners who have razed a 50-year-old hotel on Memorial Drive and are in the process of replacing it with a new Tru by Hilton. Chicopee Hospitality LLC, owned by Dennis and Hershal Patel, will invest $11.29 million into the project to build a 108-room, nearly 50,000 square foot hotel at 450 Memorial Drive. The old Days Inn has been demolished and the new one is under construction and expected to open in a year.

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    11. Easthampton's Five Star Building Corp. expands into Boston area | masslive.com

      Easthampton's Five Star Building Corp. expands into Boston area | masslive.com

      Kevin Perrier, CEO and President of Five Star Building Corp., has opened a new corporate office at the Charlestown Navy Yard in Boston.  While known in Easthampton for his restoration of smaller historic commercial properties -- including the Button Building and former Parsons Street School -- Perrier's contracting and construction management firm has grown to serve clients across Massachusetts, and projects $70 million in sales for 2017.

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      Mentions: Easthampton
    12. Massachusetts dairy farmers to turn manure into renewable energy

      Massachusetts dairy farmers to turn manure into renewable energy

      Luther Belden Farm in Hatfield and Rockwood Farms in Granville are embarking on a project to turn cow manure into electricity as a way to become self-sustaining and stabilize their finances in what they say is a volatile market. The farms are working in partnership with the the Hampshire Council of Governments and Pennsylvania-based startup Ag-Grid Energy. The farms hope to break ground on two on-site agricultural anaerobic digesters this summer. "We're just getting started. They say we'll be breaking ground in June," said Richard Woodger, 73, owner of Rockwood Farm. "The reason we're doing this is ...

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    13. 30 computer tablets helping kids read at Holyoke Boys-Girls Club thanks to Holyoke Rotary donation

      30 computer tablets helping kids read at Holyoke Boys-Girls Club thanks to Holyoke Rotary donation

      The Holyoke Boys and Girls Club bought 30 computer tablets, books and other items to help children read thanks to a $12,000 grant from the Holyoke Rotary Club. "Recognizing that technology is a strong motivator with our youth, the tablets will help create a literacy and technology-rich environment at each of our satellite sites," Eileen D. Cavanaugh, executive director of the Holyoke Boys and Girls Club, said in a press release issued by the Rotary Club on Tuesday. "We are grateful to the Holyoke Rotary for supporting the club and helping us to make sure that our programs involve ...

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      Mentions: Holyoke
    14. Springfield unemployment rate rises, but more people working

      Springfield unemployment rate rises, but more people working

      The city's unemployment rate inched upward in April to 6.9 percent. That's a tenth of one percentage point higher than the March rate of 6.8 percent, but lower than the 7.1 percent recorded a year ago in April, 2016, according to statistics released Tuesday by the state Executive office of Labor and Workforce relations and the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Local jobless numbers are not adjusted for seasonal changes in the economy. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the statewide unemployment, unadjusted for seasonality, rate for April was 3.8 percent.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    15. Loomis House in Holyoke sold to Berkshire Health Systems

      Loomis House in Holyoke sold to Berkshire Health Systems

      The Loomis Communities has sold its Loomis House property at 298 Jarvis Ave. to Berkshire Healthcare Systems, of Pittsfield, for an undisclosed sum. According to a joint press release issued Monday, Loomis is keeping its other properties: Applewood in Amherst, Loomis Village in South Hadley and Loomis Lakeside at Reeds Landing in Springfield. Loomis, whose corporate office is at 246 North Main St. in South Hadley, began 115 years ago as Holyoke Home for the Aged, said David W. Scruggs, president and CEO of Loomis. "It was a tough decision to sell," Scruggs said. "This is our roots. This is ...

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    16. Berkshire Bank acquires Commerce Bank in Worcester, moves headquarters to Boston | masslive.com

      Berkshire Bank acquires Commerce Bank in Worcester, moves headquarters to Boston | masslive.com

      Berkshire Hills Bancorp, the holding company of Berkshire Bank, will buy Commerce Bancshares Corp., the parent company of Commerce Bank and Trust Company in Worcester, for $209 million and move the combined bank's headquarters to Boston's Financial District as part of a major push east into the metro Boston market. Berkshire Bank, with headquarters at 24 North St. in Pittsfield, has 332 employees at its facilities. No jobs will be moved or lost, spokeswoman Rachel Mabee said Monday. She said senior executives will have offices in both Boston and Pittsfield, and Pittsfield remains its regional headquarters and operational ...

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      Mentions: Berkshire Bank
    17. Springfield's Central Downtown Farmers Market opens for 2017 season (photos)

      Springfield's Central Downtown Farmers Market opens for 2017 season (photos)

      Springfield's Central Downtown Farmers Market has opened for the season, offering items such as local honey, vegetable plants, bread and more.  Every Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. through Oct. 27, vendors will be under their tents ready to serve the public, although high winds on opening day caused some of those canopies to be taken down.  Stop by and see Jennifer Cruz, who will be happy to tell you about her Springfield Macarons, the little French cookies that she makes in her city kitchen. Say hello to Mark Gurney, of Hampden, who will ...

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      Mentions: Palmer Springfield
    18. Westfield Education to Business Alliance calls job skills 'survival' skills

      Westfield Education to Business Alliance calls job skills 'survival' skills

      There are five elements to the handshake: eye contact, smile, extend arm, grip, timing. That bit of information might not sound like high school-level work compared to algebra II, English lit and the advanced manufacturing shop. But students need to learn it somewhere, and Westfield's public schools are doing it. "People call them 'soft skills,'" said Superintendent Stefan Czaporowski. "I call them survival skills." Skills, which ones to get and and how to get them is the topic when the Westfield Education to Business Alliance gets together once a month.

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    19. House Speaker DeLeo: 'Why don't you look at Springfield?'

      House Speaker DeLeo: 'Why don't you look at Springfield?'

      DeLeo, D-Winthrop, described the conversation Thursday in a speech to the Economic Development Council of Western Massachusetts. He said he asked about all the GE subsidiaries that might follow the home office to Massachusetts. Yes, he was told, various GE businesses might follow. "Why don't you look out west?" DeLeo told the executive. "Why don't you look in Springfield? That's where the real estate is going to sell for much less than what you are paying in the Seaport district." The EDC is a regional economic development organization that works to bring businesses to the region, helps ...

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    20. Night school program for in-demand advanced manufacturing jobs hits milestone

      Night school program for in-demand advanced manufacturing jobs hits milestone

      A night-school program at Franklin Technical School that trains adults for in-demand jobs in advanced manufacturing will graduate its 100th student since getting its start four years ago. Fourteen advanced manufacturing trainees will receive certificates of completion Friday. The training is free to those who qualify. It is aimed at those who are unemployed or underemployed at a job that pays too little. The Advanced Manufacturing Pipeline Computer Numerical Control training program is a non-credit, 15-week, 300-hour, hands-on curriculum. It's offered by Greenfield Community College in partnership with the Franklin Hampshire Regional Employment Board, the Franklin Hampshire Career Centers ...

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    21. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announces Collaborative Workspace funds at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke

      Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito announces Collaborative Workspace funds at Gateway City Arts in Holyoke

      The Baker administration on Tuesday announced $2.15 million in grants to help companies create shared workspaces in Massachusetts, part of a growing trend of support for artists and entrepreneurs. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito joined Holyoke Mayor Alex Morse at Gateway City Arts to announce the second round of grants under the Collaborative Workspaces Program, run by MassDevelopment. The funding includes $1.5 million in state money and $645,000 from the Barr Foundation, a Boston-based nonprofit organization. The Barr Foundation has pledged to contribute nearly $2 million over the next three years for arts-related collaborative workspaces.

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    22. Maple Commons in Springfield gets makeover with $21M MassHousing financing

      Maple Commons in Springfield gets makeover with $21M MassHousing financing

      MassHousing, the state's quasi-public housing finance agency, has provided $21 million to First Resource Companies for extensive renovations at the 173-unit Maple Commons Apartments in downtown Springfield. In total, the cost is expected to reach $35 million. The Maple Commons Apartments are in a number of buildings scattered on High Street, School Street and Union Street with a total of 102 one-bedroom apartments, 63 two-bedroom apartments and eight three-bedroom apartments. Work will include building envelope repairs; replacement of windows, boilers and roofs; upgrades to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; and apartment upgrades.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    23. Innovation, automation and Deflategate-testing robots seen at Eastec manufacturing expo in West Springfield (photos, video)

      Innovation, automation and Deflategate-testing robots seen at Eastec manufacturing expo in West Springfield (photos, video)

      Eastec, the every-other-year industrial exhibition, opened Tuesday at the Eastern States Exhibition Center run by the trade group SME. The show will run through Thursday with 549 exhibitors, including local manufacturers like Smith & Wesson and Lenox American Saw, in 146,000 square feet filling five buildings at The Big E. Smith & Wesson touted its newly named Precision Components business, which uses manufacturing abilities developed for firearms to make parts for other companies, said Rick Fowich, director of sales and marketing. That includes the firearms plant in Springfield and the plastics plant in Deep River, Connecticut. The machine that makes a ...

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    24. Seen@ 2017 Howdy Awards honoring Western Mass. hospitality workers for service excellence

      Seen@ 2017 Howdy Awards honoring Western Mass. hospitality workers for service excellence

      The Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau honored eleven hospitality workers Monday night at the 22nd Annual Howdy Awards for Hospitality Excellence. The gala dinner, held at the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House in Holyoke, attracted more than 300 tourism industry professionals. The idea is to thank the workers who often do thankless jobs but whose efforts are critical to the region's tourism industry. "We're proud and happy to present the Howdy Awards to honor just some of the most important people in the hospitality industry, the front-line workers," said GSCVB President Mary Kay Wydra in a statement ...

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