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    1. Valley mentor group helps business startups thrive: Aim to counter 7 out of 10

      Valley mentor group helps business startups thrive: Aim to counter 7 out of 10

      Scott Foster, Valley Venture Mentor co-founder and president, said a cooperative spirit is built into the program, and he believes business startups need all the encouragement they can get. Seven out of 10 new businesses are doomed to fail, he said. The idea is to create a “vibrant economic ecosystem” by identifying and nurturing startups with the potential to thrive. Although the focus is on western Massachusetts entrepreneurs, people from all over the region are welcome to participate. Some businesspeople come from as far away as Vermont. VVM recently received a grant of almost $150,000 from the Massachusetts Technology ...

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    2. Talk of high-speed rail between Springfield and Boston heats up; meeting next

      Talk of high-speed rail between Springfield and Boston heats up; meeting next

      Gov. Deval Patrick has voiced his support for the Inland Route project in the last few years. Just last week, the governor’s administration unveiled a five-year, $12.4 billion capital investment plan that calls for $249 million to improve freight systems along critical rail corridors. Included in this funding are the Inland Route and Knowledge Corridor projects. Additionally, when he unveiled a $1 billion transportation bond bill in the fall of 2012, Patrick called for $362.4 million over 10 years for the project.

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    3. Northampton gets $3M from state for Three-County Faigrounds drainage project to ease flooding, pave way for renovation | GazetteNet.com

      Northampton gets $3M from state for Three-County Faigrounds drainage project to ease flooding, pave way for renovation | GazetteNet.com

      Mayor David J. Narkewicz, who worked with state Sen. Stanley Rosenberg, D-Amherst, and state Rep. Peter V. Kocot, D-Northampton, over the last year to secure the funding called Gov. Deval Patrick’s decision to release the money as part of a transportation bond bill a “very big deal.”  “This is a significant breakthrough ... it solves a municipal problem which will help people and neighborhoods and has the added effect of helping with the redevelopment of the fairgrounds,” Narkewicz said.  Other area projects set to receive funding include an additional $10 million for the new “Last Mile” program to expand broadband ...

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    4. Mayors urge more Amtrak shuttles between Springfield and Vermont | GazetteNet.com

      Mayors urge more Amtrak shuttles between Springfield and Vermont | GazetteNet.com

      The mayors of Northampton, Greenfield and Holyoke are lobbying the state to increase the number of daily Amtrak shuttles planned for their communities when new high-speed passenger rail service begins next year.  The extension of the New Haven/Springfield Amtrak Shuttle north will provide a significant economic boon to both the region and to their respective communities, the three mayors said in a letter this week to Richard A. Davey, the state’s transportation secretary.

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    5. Local arts groups get creative with DIY fundraising

      Local arts groups get creative with DIY fundraising

      Its a constant battle in the arts: finding sources of funding, whether for staging a concert, putting on a play or producing a portfolio of paintings. But instead of writing grant proposals to foundations and other funding sources and hoping theyll come through, some local artists and supporters are turning to the do-it-yourself model.

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    6. Grant will make two downtown Northampton buildings greener

      Grant will make two downtown Northampton buildings greener

      Two prominent city buildings are in line for an energy makeover thanks to $98,000 in grant funds from the state’s Green Communities program. The money will be used to reduce energy use for heating and cooling at the Academy of Music and at Memorial Hall. Officials expect the work will reduce annual consumption of natural gas by 20 percent at the Academy and 13 percent at Memorial Hall.

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    7. Hadley convention center plan hailed by area businesses

      The redevelopment of the Three County Fairgrounds in Northampton will include an 80,000-square-foot exhibition hall and meeting space when it opens sometime within the next three to five years, said Bruce Shallcross, general manager of the fairgrounds. Unlike Parmar's facility, however, it will not offer overnight accommodations. Instead, it will focus on trade shows, much like the Big E in West Springfield, Shallcross said.

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    8. $400,000 grant boosts job training at Soldier On in Leeds

      NORTHAMPTON - A veterans organization in Leeds will receive federal money to provide its clients job training and other employment assistance, it was announced Monday.

      Soldier On will receive $400,000 this year to continue work on two programs that, in the past year, have assisted 150 veterans at risk of becoming homeless in the four western Massachusetts counties.

      "This is part of the continuing care for the veterans who we serve," said Michael Hagmaier, senior vice president for Soldier On.

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    9. Close proximity: A vision for the Valley: Smart planning

      It goes on to describe a goal of "mutual consistency" among the master plans of neighboring towns and to offer a system of review of local planning coupled with recommendations for adjustment and the tools and resources to accomplish them. (Amherst is already tapping into this support in the form of PVPC assistance in crafting a Transfer of Development Rights bylaw that would help protect undeveloped outlying areas by trading building permits to denser areas.) When member towns commit to this process, they naturally bring zoning and development into line with anti-sprawl objectives across town borders.

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    10. Silverscape Designs closes store in dowtown Amherst

      he closing of the Amherst store leaves a gap in downtown's north end, one that may be difficult to fill, said Tony Maroulis, executive director of the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce. The building's space limitations make it an unlikely home for a national chain like Gap, he said, but it could house a "mom and pop" retail or service-oriented business.

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      Mentions: Amherst Northampton
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