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    1. HCC Offering Free Hotel Industry Training Starting Feb. 1

      HCC Offering Free Hotel Industry Training Starting Feb. 1

      Interested in beginning a career in the hospitality industry? Holyoke Community College (HCC) is running a free, six-week hotel training program starting Tuesday, Feb. 1. The hands-on, in-person classes for hotel front-desk workers and hotel-room attendants will take place in HCC’s hotel-training lab on the second floor of the HCC MGM Culinary Arts Institute on Race Street in downtown Holyoke. The program runs on Tuesday and Thursdays, Feb. 1 through March 10, 5:30-8:30 p.m. The course will provide students with up-to-date knowledge of the hotel industry, hands-on experience for front-desk and/or room-attendant roles, workplace skills ...

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    2. Westfield Athenaeum and MOSSO to Launch Three-concert Chamber Music Series

      Westfield Athenaeum and MOSSO to Launch Three-concert Chamber Music Series

      The Westfield Athenaeum will present a three-concert chamber music series beginning Thursday, March 10 at 7 p.m., with Musicians of the Springfield Symphony Orchestra (MOSSO) providing the music. MOSSO violinist Beth Welty is bringing her ensemble, the Aryaloka Quartet, to the Athenaeum to kick off the series. Guy McLain, executive director of the Westfield Athenaeum, will offer a pre-performance talk at 6 p.m., which is free to ticket holders.

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    3. Pride Stores Owner Bob Bolduc Sells Chain to Arclight Capital Partners

      Pride Stores Owner Bob Bolduc Sells Chain to Arclight Capital Partners

      Eight months after announcing plans to sell the chain, Pride Stores CEO Bob Bolduc announced a sale to Arclight Capital Partners. The 31 stores — with several more in development — will keep the Pride name, and the company’s customers and 525 employees will see little change in day-to-day operations, Bolduc told local news outlets, which is one of the reasons Arclight won out over several other interested parties.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    4. Western New England University Again Earns Top National Rankings for Online Programs

      Western New England University Again Earns Top National Rankings for Online Programs

      In newly released rankings by U.S. News & World Report, Western New England University (WNE) was again recognized among the 2022 Best Online Programs. Among online MBA Programs, WNE made significant gains, jumping 71 places and ranking 153rd (up from 224th in 2021); among Online Graduate Business Programs (Non-MBA), the university ranked 110th (up from 129th in 2021); and among Online Master’s in Engineering Programs, it ranked 79th, up from 104th. The rankings place Western New England University in the top 10 in Massachusetts for accredited online MBA and graduate business programs and in the top three in Massachusetts ...

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    5. State Treasurer, Citizens Launch Worth and Wealth Seminars to Empower Women

      State Treasurer, Citizens Launch Worth and Wealth Seminars to Empower Women

      State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg’s Office of Economic Empowerment and Citizens have launched registration for their new Worth and Wealth Seminars. These free virtual trainings will equip Massachusetts women with financial skills and knowledge to build confidence in their economic futures. Participants can choose to enroll in one of the two English-speaking sessions taking place in February and March, or in the Spanish-speaking session scheduled in April.

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    6. Western New England University Debuts Oscar Sort Intuitive Trash Robot

      Western New England University Debuts Oscar Sort Intuitive Trash Robot

      Western New England University (WNE) is the first U.S. institution of higher education to feature Oscar Sort, an AI-driven, intuitive, trash-sorting robot. This intuitive robot educates the campus community at the point of recycling and disposal and helps them to better understand how waste is measured, reduced, and eventually eliminated. Oscar Sort is a signature product of Intuitive AI, a startup company founded by two students at Simon Fraser University in Canada. Oscar uses a display screen and AI camera to identify recycling from trash and instructs users which bin to use when disposing of waste.

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    7. BusinessTalk with Cheryl Malandrinos, president of the Realtor Association of Pioneer Valley

      BusinessTalk with Cheryl Malandrinos, president of the Realtor Association of Pioneer Valley

      On this installment of BusinessTalk, BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien has a lively, wide-ranging discussion with Cheryl Malandrinos, president of the Realtor Association of Pioneer Valley. The two talk about the still white-hot housing market in the region and the forces behind it — everything from soaring demand to historically low levels of inventory. She also offers her outlook on if, when, and to what extent, the current picture will change. It’s all must listening, so join us on BusinessTalk, a podcast presented by BusinessWest in partnership with Living Local.

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    8. MassDevelopment’s $106.7 Million Bond Catapults Springfield College Projects

      MassDevelopment’s $106.7 Million Bond Catapults Springfield College Projects

      MassDevelopment has issued a $106,675,000 tax-exempt bond on behalf of Springfield College, which will use proceeds to fund several capital projects. The college will use $45,095,000 to build and equip a new environmentally friendly and sustainable, 76,000-square-foot health sciences building; this portion of the financing received the Green Bond designation by Kestrel Verifiers, which are approved verifiers accredited by the Climate Bonds Initiative. The college will use the remaining proceeds to build an academic quad and campus pavilion; renovate classrooms, residence halls, administrative buildings, and the existing health sciences building; improve a steam-plant facility; upgrade ...

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    9. HCC Spring Women’s Leadership Series Begins Jan. 26

      HCC Spring Women’s Leadership Series Begins Jan. 26

      Holyoke Community College (HCC) will begin its spring 2022 Women’s Leadership Series on Wednesday, Jan. 26 with Dawn DiStefano, president and CEO of Square One in Springfield, who will give a presentation titled “What’s the Worst That Can Happen?” All sessions run from noon to 1 p.m. on the last Wednesday of the month over Zoom. During each session, participants will join prominent women leaders for discussions on relevant topics and ideas to help their leadership development. They will also have the opportunity to form a supportive network to help navigate their own careers.

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    10. Florence Bank Hires Jim Hickey as VP, Director of Marketing Operations

      Florence Bank Hires Jim Hickey as VP, Director of Marketing Operations

      Florence Bank hired a Greenfield native with 25 years of strategic marketing experience with a focus in the banking sector to serve as vice president and director of Marketing Operations. Jim Hickey stepped into the new role in mid-November after keeping his eye on Florence Bank for many years because he respects its creative marketing strategy, customer-focused approach to banking, and community engagement. “I value what the bank stands for,” Hickey said. “Customer service drives everything we do here. That’s refreshing. Also, the level of community support the bank provides is impressive. It steps up and pitches in. I ...

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      Mentions: Greenfield
    11. Mergers and Acquisitions Continue to Dominate the Insurance Industry

      Mergers and Acquisitions Continue to Dominate the Insurance Industry

      If you think you’ve seen more headlines than usual lately about insurance agencies being bought and sold, you’re not mistaken. In fact, 2021 was the fifth straight record-setting year for M&A activity in the insurance world. The reasons range from federal fiscal trends to a desire to broaden an agency’s expertise; from pandemic fatigue to the aging of the Baby Boomers who built and grew many of these firms. The idea, area leaders say, is to grow strategically, with customer service and company culture at front of mind.

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    12. Continuing a Proud Tradition

      Continuing a Proud Tradition

      BusinessWest launched its Top Entrepreneur program back in 1996 to recognize individuals, groups, and institutions that were honoring a tradition that went back centuries and made Greater Springfield a hub for innovation and industry. For much of that decade, and into the next one, the list of honorees was top-heavy with those from the IT sector, as might be expected. Indeed, that realm was booming, and a legion of young entrepreneurs were starting businesses focused on hardware, software, and developing solutions for clients.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    13. Northampton Leaders Seek to Boost Economy

      Northampton Leaders Seek to Boost Economy

      As 2022 begins, Gina-Louise Sciarra starts the new year as Northampton’s new mayor. As she settles into the job, the city faces big opportunities and challenges, especially the constant challenge of managing COVID-19 and its variants. Even as the pandemic adapts, Sciarra said she’s confident the workers and businesses in Northampton will also adapt and keep moving forward. “We have to help our businesses through this really difficult time and figure out what the next stage of our economy is going to look like,” Sciarra said. “We have a special downtown that we want to stay vibrant and ...

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      Mentions: Northampton
    14. Springfield YPS and the Ad Club to Host Annual Membership Event on Jan. 20

      Springfield YPS and the Ad Club to Host Annual Membership Event on Jan. 20

      The Young Professional Society of Greater Springfield (YPS) and the Advertising Club of Western Massachusetts will host an annual Mix & Mingle membership event to support young professionals and encourage them to become more involved and invested in their local communities. The event will take place on Thursday, Jan. 20 from 5:30 to 8 p.m. at Paper City Bar & Grill, 241 Whiting Farms Road, Holyoke. Members can register for the event by clicking here. “I am thrilled to be parenting up with Springfield YPS to bring together the area professionals and creative community. I believe in the mission behind ...

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    15. PeoplesBank Sets New Record for Charitable Contributions in 2021

      PeoplesBank Sets New Record for Charitable Contributions in 2021

      With a focus on food insecurity, housing, and literacy, PeoplesBank announced a record level of charitable contributions, with donations reaching $1,315,000 over the past year with a total of close to $11 million donated since 2011. The bank has doubled its donations in the last five years. “It is a big part of who we are as an organization, our employees, and how they volunteer in the community,” said Tom Senecal, president and CEO of PeoplesBank. “I see 2022 as a tremendous opportunity for us to give back and be committed to the communities that we serve.”

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      Mentions: Holyoke
    16. Monson Savings Bank Announces $15,000 in Donations Through Community Giving Initiative

      Monson Savings Bank Announces $15,000 in Donations Through Community Giving Initiative

      The people have voted, and the results are in for the Monson Savings Bank (MSB) 2022 Community Giving Initiative. After MSB asked its community members to cast their vote for their favorite nonprofit, they did just that with great enthusiasm, submitting over 3,500 votes. In total, 373 organizations were nominated. Now that the votes have been tallied, Monson Savings Bank is donating a total of $15,000 to the top 10 vote recipients to stay true to their longstanding mission of supporting of local communities.

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    17. HCC Professor Vanessa Martinez Honored for Inspiring Civic Engagement

      HCC Professor Vanessa Martinez Honored for Inspiring Civic Engagement

      Holyoke Community College (HCC) Professor of Anthropology Vanessa Martínez is the recipient of the 2022 Thomas Ehrlich Civically Engaged Faculty Award from Campus Compact, a national coalition of colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. The award, presented in partnership with Brown University’s Swearer Center, recognizes senior faculty who practice exemplary, engaged scholarship through teaching and research. Recipients are selected on the basis of their collaboration with communities, institutional impact, and high-quality academic work.

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    18. BusinessTalk with State Senator Eric Lesser

      BusinessTalk with State Senator Eric Lesser

      BusinessWest Editor George O’Brien has a lively, wide-ranging discussion with State Senator Eric Lesser. The two talk about everything from the prospects for high-speed rail finally becoming reality, to Lesser’s recent decision to run for lieutenant governor. There’s a lot to unpack, and it’s all must listening, so join us on BusinessTalk, a podcast presented by BusinessWest in partnership with Living Local.

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    19. NIH Grant Will Support Trailblazing Research in UMass Amherst Lab

      NIH Grant Will Support Trailblazing Research in UMass Amherst Lab

      Jianhan Chen, a UMass Amherst chemistry and biochemistry and molecular biology professor, has received a five-year, $2 million National Institutes of Health (NIH) grant to support research in his computational biophysics lab aimed at better understanding the role of intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) in biology and human disease. The grant falls under the National Institute of General Medical Sciences MIRA program, which stands for Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award. It’s designed to give highly talented researchers more flexibility and stability to achieve important scientific advances in their labs.

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    20. Leadership Pioneer Valley Kicks Off Board-development Program

      Leadership Pioneer Valley Kicks Off Board-development Program

      Leadership Pioneer Valley will offer programming starting in January focused on leadership and board development for regional nonprofits through its Leaders OnBoard program. On Wednesday, Jan. 26, Leaders OnBoard will kick off its year of board-development events with “Board Basics,” a free, two-hour training led by Eric Phelps from Rainmaker Consulting that covers topics like what it means to sit on a board, roles and responsibilities, and how to be effective as a board member. To register, e-mail Samantha Rudd at srudd@leadershippv.org. The next “Board Basics” will be offered in March.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    21. Former North Adams Mayor Tom Bernard to Lead Berkshire United Way

      Former North Adams Mayor Tom Bernard to Lead Berkshire United Way

      Tom Bernard, who just wrapped up his last term as mayor of North Adams, has been selected to lead Berkshire United Way (BUW) as the new president and CEO starting Jan. 24. “I’m thrilled to begin the next chapter of my career as part of the Berkshire United Way team,” Bernard said. “The organization’s mission is clear and critical, and the board, staff, partner agencies, and individuals we serve are laser-focused on building a stronger and more resilient community throughout the Berkshires. Our work has been a cornerstone of supporting individuals and strengthening families for nearly a century ...

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    22. UMass, NBA Hoops Star Marcus Camby Partners with White Lion Brewing Co.

      UMass, NBA Hoops Star Marcus Camby Partners with White Lion Brewing Co.

      UMass and NBA star Marcus Camby has joined White Lion Brewing Co. in a strategic partnership. White Lion currently distributes a small independent portfolio of artisan brands in Massachusetts, primarily in the western part of the state. Camby’s goal is to help open new markets throughout New England and beyond, as well as release his own portfolio of beer brewed by White Lion.

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    23. State Treasurer Announces $23.9 Million in Grants for 33 Municipal Water Projects

      State Treasurer Announces $23.9 Million in Grants for 33 Municipal Water Projects

      State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, chair of the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust, announced that more than $23.9 million in grants were awarded for 33 projects in 26 communities across the Commonwealth. The grant funds are awarded to cities, towns, counties, and water utilities most in need of financial assistance to help pay for improvements to drinking water and wastewater infrastructure. The $23.9 million in grants is associated with 33 projects being funded by $229 million in low-interest loans by the trust. These funds reduce the total loan amount and are meant for communities that may not be able to ...

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    24. Hampshire College Receives $5 Million Gift Honoring Alumnus Ken Burns

      Hampshire College Receives $5 Million Gift Honoring Alumnus Ken Burns

      Hampshire College announced a new $5 million investment in its Change in the Making campaign. This second $5 million gift to the campaign, given by an anonymous benefactor, will fund the Ken Burns Initiative to Transform Higher Education, propelling implementation of Hampshire’s innovative approach to undergraduate liberal-arts education. “This is yet another historic moment for Hampshire College,” President Ed Wingenbach said. “We’re reinventing the liberal arts by placing globally relevant questions at the center of our curriculum and challenging students to become agents of momentous change.

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