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    1. UMass Online Programs Highly Ranked

      UMass Online Programs Highly Ranked

      Online programs at the University of Massachusetts received high marks again in this year’s Best Online Programs rankings by U.S. News & World Report. Two UMass programs ranked within the top 30 in the Best Online Bachelor’s Programs category, with UMass Amherst at No. 23, and UMass Lowell at No. 29. Amherst and Lowell were also the top two online bachelor’s programs in New England for the second consecutive year. In the same category, UMass Dartmouth ranked No. 113, rising ten spots over last year’s rankings, and UMass Boston ranked No. 93.

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    2. ‘Ice Invasion’ Happening in Downtown Springfield

      ‘Ice Invasion’ Happening in Downtown Springfield

      The Springfield Business Improvement District is again bringing more than a dozen ice sculptures to downtown Springfield for the 3rdAnnual Ice Invasion beginning today. This ice invasion coincides with the Winter Weekend being staged by the Boston Red Sox, making an exciting time for the city and its downtown. From the MassMutual Center and MGM Springfield up to the Springfield Museums and down to Union Station, visitors will be able to find an ice sculpture at almost every street corner. This year’s ‘invasion’ will feature a diverse lineup of sculptures, including Wally the Green Monster, baseball players ...

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    3. American Outdoor Brands Corp. Announces Leadership Transition

      American Outdoor Brands Corp. Announces Leadership Transition

      American Outdoor Brands Corp. announced that its board of directors has named Mark Smith and Brian Murphy co-presidents and co-CEOs of the company, effective immediately. Smith was most recently president of the Manufacturing Services Division of the company, while Murphy was most recently president of the Outdoor Products & Accessories Division. In their co-leadership roles, Smith and Murphy succeed James Debney, who has separated as president and CEO and as a director of the company, following the determination by the board of directors that he engaged in conduct inconsistent with a non-financial company policy.

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    4. Steve Lowell to Step Down in 2021 as Monson Savings Bank President

      Steve Lowell to Step Down in 2021 as Monson Savings Bank President

      Steve Lowell, who has served as president of Monson Savings Bank (MSB) for the last nine years, announced his retirement effective February 2021. He is looking forward to continuing to serve in a vital role with the bank as chairman of the board. The bank’s board of directors announced that Daniel Moriarty Sr. has been named the bank’s president effective February 2021. Moriarty has been with MSB for 22 years, serving as senior vice president and chief financial officer since 2011. He joined the bank in 1998 as an accounting manager, became controller in 2002, assistant vice president ...

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    5. TravelKuz Bus-design Contest to Raise Awareness of Big Brothers Big Sisters

      TravelKuz Bus-design Contest to Raise Awareness of Big Brothers Big Sisters

      FM Kuzmeskus/TravelKuz, Hale Custom Signs, and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County announced a call for entries for their first-ever collaborative bus-design contest. “We’ve got a brand spanking new coach. It’s still white from the factory,” said Pam Reipold, executive vice president of Operations at FM Kuzmeskus. “It was our mechanics, or ‘shop gods,’ as we affectionately call them, that came up with this idea. It’s brilliant, really. TravelKuz is such a huge fan of Big Brothers Big Sisters and the important work that they do. We are very excited to be able to support ...

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    6. The Starting Gate at GreatHorse Honored in WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards

      The Starting Gate at GreatHorse Honored in WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards

      The Starting Gate at GreatHorse was announced a winner of the 2020 WeddingWire Couples’ Choice Awards, an accolade representing the top wedding professionals across the board in quality, service, responsiveness, and professionalism reviewed by couples on WeddingWire. For its 12th annual Couples’ Choice Awards, WeddingWire analyzed reviews across more than 20 service categories, from venues and caterers to florists and photographers, to find the most highly rated vendors of the year. These winners exhibit superior professionalism, responsiveness, service, and quality when interacting with the millions of consumers who turn to WeddingWire each month to help ease their wedding-planning process.

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    7. Economist Says Stagnation More Likely Than Recession in 2020 - BusinessWest

      Economist Says Stagnation More Likely Than Recession in 2020 - BusinessWest

      ‘More of the same.’  For the past several years now, that’s essentially what most economists have been saying when asked about what to expect next year. And by ‘more of the same,’ they generally meant steady but decidedly unremarkable growth, which is what the nation, this state, and this region have been enjoying — and that’s the right word for it, because it certainly beats the alternative — for the past half-decade or so.

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    8. Springfield College to Welcome Courts for Kids President Derek Nesland on Jan. 28

      Springfield College to Welcome Courts for Kids President Derek Nesland on Jan. 28

      Springfield College will welcome Courts for Kids President Derek Nesland to the campus on Tuesday, Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m. in the Fuller Arts Center. Nesland’s presentation, titled “Who Says There’s No Traveling in Basketball? Community Development Through Court Building Around the Globe,” will highlight the service-to-humanity mission provided by Courts for Kids, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that helps build multi-sport courts in economically disadvantaged areas throughout the world. Nesland’s presentation is part of the 2019-20 Humanics Triathlon project led by Distinguished Springfield Professor of Humanics Judy Van Raalte.

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    9. Singer Traciana Graves to Speak at Bay Path for Black History Month Event

      Singer Traciana Graves to Speak at Bay Path for Black History Month Event

      Although she’s known for her vocal work with artists like Celine Dion and Steel Pulse, these days vocalist, strategist, and speaker Traciana Graves is using her voice to deliver an even more powerful message — one of inclusivity. She believes people have the ability to change the world with the power of their voice, and she’ll bring that inspirational message to Bay Path University as the keynote speaker for its Black History Month celebration on Wednesday, Feb. 5.

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    10. Economic Outlook 2020 - BusinessWest

      Economic Outlook 2020 - BusinessWest

      ‘Optimistic skepticism.’ That’s the phrase one area bank president summoned as he talked about the year ahead and, more specifically, talk of a recession. While history — especially as it relates to the inverted yield curve — tells us one is very likely, most all other indicators, from unemployment and inflation rates to the stock market to the steady pipeline of work on the books at area construction-related firms we spoke with, say something else.

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    11. bankESB and Its Employees Support United Way of Hampshire County

      bankESB and Its Employees Support United Way of Hampshire County

      Matthew Sosik, president and CEO of bankESB, announced that the bank recently donated $61,000 to the United Way of Hampshire County. The bank directly pledged $25,000, while the bank’s employees contributed another $36,000 of their own funds in support of the United Way’s workplace campaign. That campaign provides employees with the opportunity to donate and direct funds, volunteer time, and advocate for causes that are most important to them.

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    12. Thomas & Thomas Looks to Secure a Stronger Future for Its Brand — and the Sport of Fly Fishing - BusinessWest

      Thomas & Thomas Looks to Secure a Stronger Future for Its Brand — and the Sport of Fly Fishing - BusinessWest

      Five years ago, South African Neville Orsmond, an avid fly fisherman, purchased the Thomas & Thomas company and went about resuscitating perhaps the iconic brand within that industry, one that is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. While putting the company on a solid foundation, he has also made it part of conservation efforts locally and globally that will help ensure this sport’s sustainability and preserve some of the most beautiful places in the world.

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    13. Swift River Building New Pharmacy at Home Campus - BusinessWest

      Swift River Building New Pharmacy at Home Campus - BusinessWest

      Swift River, a member of the Addiction Campuses treatment centers, announced the opening of a new pharmacy. The construction project began in 2019 and is expected to be completed this month.  Swift River has teamed up with Keiter Builders Inc. based in Florence, and Kuhn Riddle Architects of Amherst to lead in the design and construction of a new, 1,690-square-foot addition. The addition is a B-use occupancy including a nurse’s station, patient-service portals, exam rooms, and a pharmacy for the storage and dispensing of narcotic addition-treatment substances.

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    14. There’s a Distinct Buzz in Downtown Greenfield

      There’s a Distinct Buzz in Downtown Greenfield

      Let’s get the bad news out of the way. And it certainly is bad news. Wilson’s department store, an anchor and destination in downtown Greenfield for a century or so, will be closing its doors as its owner moves into retirement, leaving a very large hole to fill in the middle of Main Street. The store was practically synonymous with the city and its downtown, drawing visitors of all ages who wanted to shop in one of the last old-time department stores in this region and maybe in the state. “It’s devastating and it’s heartbreaking because ...

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    15. Report Details Region’s Workforce Needs — and How to Meet Them

      Report Details Region’s Workforce Needs — and How to Meet Them

      Healthcare. Education. Advanced manufacturing. In any conversation about the economic character of the Pioneer Valley — both its rich past and promising future — those three sectors would be high on the list of key factors. Indeed, a late-2018 report produced by the MassHire Hampden County Workforce Board and the MassHire Franklin Hampshire Workforce Board calls them ‘priority industries,’ meaning the most important to the region’s economic success, and they form the basis of a comprehensive ‘labor-market blueprint’ which aims to narrow workforce talent gaps and help companies — and the overall economy — grow.

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    16. Eversource Announces Goal to Be Carbon-neutral by 2030 - BusinessWest

      Eversource Announces Goal to Be Carbon-neutral by 2030 - BusinessWest

      As part of its commitment to environmental sustainability, Eversource Energy announced an industry-leading goal to be carbon-neutral by 2030. The energy company plans to achieve this aggressive goal through a series of targeted steps across its operations to reduce carbon emissions while also continuing to support regional economic growth and maintaining safe and reliable service for its approximately 4 million customers.

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    17. Fresh Paint Springfield Festival Releases Economic Impact Report

      Fresh Paint Springfield Festival Releases Economic Impact Report

      Fresh Paint Springfield, the first-ever downtown mural festival that took place in June 2019 and transformed 10 large exterior walls into art, has released a report on the positive economic impact that occurred in Springfield from last year’s festival. Fresh Paint Springfield has also announced plans for a 2020 festival, which is set to take place June 1-13, 2020 and will paint exterior walls in Mason Square and downtown Springfield. Nominations for 2020 murals on walls in Mason Square or downtown can be made at www.freshpaintspringfield.com/walls.

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    18. BusinessWest Seeks 40 Under Forty Nominations

      BusinessWest Seeks 40 Under Forty Nominations

      BusinessWest is currently accepting nominations for the 40 Under Forty class of 2020. The deadline for nominations is Feb. 14. Launched in 2007, the program recognizes rising stars in the four counties of Western Mass. Nominations, which should be detailed in nature, should list an individual’s accomplishments within their profession as well as their work within the community. Nominations can be completed online at businesswest.com/40-under-forty-nomination-form.

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    19. GCC, Double Edge Theatre to Grow Performing Arts in Franklin County

      GCC, Double Edge Theatre to Grow Performing Arts in Franklin County

      This spring, Greenfield Community College (GCC) and Double Edge Theatre will embark on a formal collaboration to grow the role of visual and performing arts within the college and Franklin County. Kicking off with an experimental-performance class taught by Double Edge at GCC next semester, this partnership will evolve into a multi-year endeavor to engage a diverse mix of students and community members in longer productions and spectacles. “We’re in the early stages of planning, but the excitement is obvious for both parties,” said GCC Theater Department Chair Tom Geha, who has been instrumental in getting this partnership off ...

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    20. North Adams Vision Plan Offers Optimistic View - BusinessWest

      North Adams Vision Plan Offers Optimistic View - BusinessWest

      Seven priorities, 43 goals, 95 policies, and 355 actions.  This tall list makes up the master plan for the city of North Adams. The Vision 2030 Plan was launched in 2011, and just this year, Mayor Thomas Bernard and cohorts revisited the plan to check up on the progress made to date.  “We had a really good session in October where we got some interesting suggestions for setting priority areas around marketing and promotion to move the needle on some of the economic developments,” he said.

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    21. Broker Says Boston’s Challenges Can Become Springfield’s Opportunities - BusinessWest

      Broker Says Boston’s Challenges Can Become Springfield’s Opportunities - BusinessWest

      Evan Plotkin was talking about how “something has to give.”  With that one phrase, he was talking about the commercial real-estate markets in the central business districts of Boston and Springfield.  In the Hub, said Plotkin, president of NAI Plotkin, rents are sky-high and continue to climb — to more than $100 per square foot in some locations and to roughly $63 per square foot on average, with more space being built to accommodate soaring demand. Meanwhile, traffic, congestion, and problems with mass transit are strangling businesses, he said, to the point where meetings can’t start until 10 a.m ...

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    22. Howdy Awards Program Calls for Nominations

      Howdy Awards Program Calls for Nominations

      Through March 1, the Greater Springfield Convention and Visitors Bureau (GSCVB) is providing an opportunity to thank individuals who provide great service by nominating them for a Howdy Award for Hospitality Excellence. To nominate someone, visit explorewesternmass.com and click on the Howdy logo. For 25 years, the Howdy Awards for Hospitality Excellence program has recognized outstanding restaurant servers, attraction attendants, bartenders, hotel personnel, retail clerks, and others across Hampden, Hampshire, and Franklin counties. Official categories include accommodations, attractions, banquets and meetings, beverage, food casual, food tableside, public service, retail, transportation, and people’s choice (a category voted on by ...

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    23. Pilot Precision Products Recognized at 16th Annual Economic Impact Awards

      Pilot Precision Products Recognized at 16th Annual Economic Impact Awards

      Pilot Precision Products, which opened the doors to its new, 24,000-square-foot facility in South Deerfield in April, received a Silver award in the Western Mass. division at the 2019 Team Massachusetts Economic Impact Awards. Nineteen companies from across the Commonwealth were selected as finalists for MassEcon’s 16th annual celebration of firms for their outstanding contributions to the Massachusetts economy.

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