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    1. Baker administration readies to barnstorm Western Massachusetts

      Baker administration readies to barnstorm Western Massachusetts

      Gov. Charlie Baker, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, and Baker's cabinet secretaries will fan out through Western Massachusetts on Friday to hold 15 events across the state's four western-most counties. The trip will include the governor's regular cabinet meeting, which will be held in Baker's Springfield office. Before and after the 10 a.m. meeting, Baker, Polito and several cabinet secretaries will be traveling around the region, with visits to a school, an opioid treatment center, Westover Air Reserve Base and Springfield's Union Station, among other locations.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    2. UMass Amherst Data Science Center Launch Event

      UMass Amherst Data Science Center Launch Event

      Bringing together leaders in academia, industry and government, the launch event for the UMass Amherst Center for Data Science will include a keynote presentation by the head of the Computer Information Science & Engineering directorate at the National Science Foundation, paired research presentations between academic researchers and industry in the areas of health and biomedicine, energy and sustainability, information economy, and business analytics and an introduction to the new Center's mission, research agenda and collaboration opportunities.

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    3. Hotel-focused tech company Thing5 to cut 100 jobs in Springfield

      Hotel-focused tech company Thing5 to cut 100 jobs in Springfield

      Thing5, a Springfield-based technology company focused on the hotel industry, will cut 100 jobs in the next couple months. The layoffs are scheduled to occur before May 1 at its Springfield office and that clients shouldn't feel any impact, Thing5 spokeswoman Carol Guerra said. "We have a lot of flexibility in terms of our customer needs," said Guerra. Guerra said the jobs are a combination of part-time and full-time.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    4. Argotec plans $20 million expansion, 50-job addition at Greenfield facility

      Argotec plans $20 million expansion, 50-job addition at Greenfield facility

      Argotec, a manufacturer of plastic film sheets for everything from waterproof clothing to bullet-resistant glass and smartphone screens, is planning a $20 million expansion in Greenfield that would see it add 50 jobs over the next 10 years. The expansion is detailed in paperwork submitted for state and local tax breaks. The inducement is expected to go before the Greenfield City Council soon and before a state review panel in March.

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      Mentions: Greenfield
    5. State awards $7M for municipal cleantech projects

      State awards $7M for municipal cleantech projects

      This is the first round of project grants from the state Department of Energy Resources' $40 million initiative, which is aimed at paying for clean energy projects that can help communities keep or restore power after a major disruption in electrical service. The funding for these project grants, along with a previous round of technical assistance awards, comes from alternative compliance payments made by major electric utilities if they fall short of the state’s renewable energy or alternative energy procurement goals.

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    6. Pipeline constraints will force this Mass. utility to stop accepting new customers

      Pipeline constraints will force this Mass. utility to stop accepting new customers

      Like their counterparts at other utilities, Berkshire Gas executives are always looking for new customers. But Berkshire will soon be forced to turn them away, at least in the eastern half of its service territory. Spokesman Chris Farrell tells me Berkshire Gas expects to declare a moratorium on new customers for its Franklin County territory, primarily in and around Greenfield, by the end of the year. And then, by mid-2015, the United Illuminating subsidiary will have to do the same for its adjacent Hampshire County territory, where UMass Amherst is its biggest customer.

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    7. MassMutual establishes $100M venture fund to back tech startups

      MassMutual establishes $100M venture fund to back tech startups

      Springfield-based MassMutual announced Thursday that it has formed MassMutual Ventures, a $100 million corporate venture capital firm focused on backing startups and businesses whose technologies could transform core insurance, retirement and asset-management industries. The new fund is managed by Doug Russell, MassMutual’s senior vice president, strategy and corporate development; Eric Emmons, who joined the firm after serving as the head of Siemens Venture Capital North America for the past five years; and Mark Goodman, who founded and managed two technology focused venture capital funds, Terawatt Ventures and Brookline Ventures. The new firm will manage its worldwide investments from its ...

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    8. Western Mass. firm using sound in bioprocessing raises $10M

      Western Mass. firm using sound in bioprocessing raises $10M

      FloDesign Sonics, a Wilbraham firm working on a way to use sound to separate particles from a liquid in drug development, has gotten a $10 million investment led by Bright Capital. The company said the Series A financing round also came from Springfield-based Ventry Industries, James Waters, founder of Waters Corp., and Jonathan Fleming of Oxford Biosciences.

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    9. Northeast Utilities gets clearance to move ahead with IT layoffs, service center closures

      Northeast Utilities gets clearance to move ahead with IT layoffs, service center closures

      A report filed with Connecticut’s Public Utilities Regulatory Authority show that Connecticut has taken the brunt of the job cuts so far. About 70 percent of the 220 merger-related job reductions that took place by the end of last September — 155 jobs — were in the Nutmeg State. There were 50 in Massachusetts and 15 in New Hampshire over the same time period. By the end of December, a total of 267 jobs had been cut from the NU-NStar work force, according to a filing with Massachusetts’ Department of Public Utilities. Northeast Utilities now has about 8,700 employees, down ...

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    10. Debate over the future of solar energy in Massachusetts heats up at the State House

      Debate over the future of solar energy in Massachusetts heats up at the State House

      The debate in the State House is turning to the second program that has helped spur solar energy throughout the state — net metering. This allows installers of solar panels — all renewable energy projects, really, but solar is the predominant type — to gain credits by 'selling' excess power onto the grid. The Legislature has capped the use of net metering to no more than 3 percent of an electric utility’s power usage, with parallel limits established for public-sector solar and privately owned projects. National Grid’s cap for public-sector users has essentially already been hit, and the others are close ...

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    11. Columbia Gas rate hike is the latest sign of New England's pipeline constraints

      Columbia Gas rate hike is the latest sign of New England's pipeline constraints

      In announcing the new rates for Columbia Gas customers, the state Department of Public Utilities on Friday chose to highlight the fact that the agency reduced the rate requests from what the gas company originally sought. But rates are still going up for more than 300,000 customers in the Springfield, Brockton and Lawrence areas — whether they like it or not.

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      Mentions: Springfield
    12. Transportation Secretary says state working to buy Western Mass. train tracks

      Davey said he expects all construction on all three projects, including phase one work repairing Interstate 91 near the Interstate 291 ramp, to begin in 2014 if the state Senate passes a pending authorization bill already passed by the House. That $260 million first phase also includes planning for the possibility of rebuilding the 2.5-mile stretch of highway either at or below grade. Doing so would reconnect the city to its waterfront for the first time since the highway was built in the 1960s.

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    13. Northampton loses bid for mitigation funds from MGM casino project in Springfield

      The Massachusetts Gaming Commission members voted today to deny Northampton 'surrounding community' status, for the MGM Springfield casino project, rendering the city ineligible to receive mitigation funds.  'We took a look at proximity and there are significant arguments that Northamapton is not proximate (to the proposed casino), said John Ziemba, ombudsman to the Mass. Gaming Commission. Northampton is located approximately 20 miles north of Springfield.

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    14. Speaker DeLeo will try to help Gateway Cities with new economic development bill

      Speaker DeLeo will try to help Gateway Cities with new economic development bill

      As speaker of the House of Representatives, Bob DeLeo gets to attend any number of ribbon cuttings in and around Boston. But there haven't been many to attend outside of the Boston metro area, in the state's post-industrial cities or in its rural regions.  It's why DeLeo is going to make helping out these so-called 'Gateway Cities' — the Lawrences, the Fall Rivers, the Springfields — an important part of an economic development bill that he'll be unveiling later in the spring.

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    15. Beginning today, doctors can grab far-flung medical records in emergencies

      Beginning today, doctors can grab far-flung medical records in emergencies

      The simulation shows that the HIE is now capable of responding to queries and able to “pull” information from a variety of institutions. In October of 2012, Patrick participated in the Phase 1 launch of the HIE by sending his electronic medical record from Massachusetts General Hospital to Baystate Health in Springfield. This demonstrated the “push” functionality of the HIE, which does not help doctors collect information in an emergency.

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    16. State doles out $10M in 'Robin Hood' hospital funds

      State doles out $10M in 'Robin Hood' hospital funds

      “Community hospitals are an essential part of our health care delivery system and today commissioners voted to support critical investments that will strengthen CHART hospitals’ foundation and enable them to promote transformation,” Dr. Wendy Everett, HPC vice chair, said in a statement. “These awards are an important step toward achieving high-value, better outcomes, and more affordable health care in Massachusetts.”

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    17. People's United lures Citi executive for Mass. job

      People's United Bank has lured a regional commercial lending executive away from Citibank to help grow the Bridgeport, Conn.-based bank's private banking business in Boston. People's said in a statement that as senior vice president and senior private banker, Lisa Hudson will be responsible for growing the $32 billion bank's private banking business in metro Boston.

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    18. Beginning today, doctors can grab far-flung medical records in emergencies

      At Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center today, Governor Deval Patrick will participate in a simulation that will demonstrate a health information exchange that has real power to improve care and lower costs. The launch of this second phase means that the HIE is finally fully operational. The state was the first out of the gate with funding for the HIE, now called the HIway, back in 2009, after the approval of the federal HITECH act. The state won a total of $14 million from the Office of the National Coordinator, the health IT agency, and another $20 million from Medicaid ...

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    19. United Bank to merge with Connecticut's Rockville Financial, ups competition with Berkshire Bank

      At $4.8 billion post merger, United would have been the fourth-largest bank based in Massachusetts, had it opted to remain headquartered in the Bay State. Instead, United will become the third-largest bank in the Nutmeg State, behind only People’s United Bank and Webster Bank. United's new headquarters will be in Glastonbury, Conn., where Rockville’s administrative offices were relocated in 2011.

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    20. Hampden Bank keeps activists off board, will consider sale anyway

      Hampden Bank keeps activists off board, will consider sale anyway

      Hampden Bank’s shareholders have rejected an effort by a Texas hedge fund to put two members on the bank’s board of directors and push the bank toward a sale. Nonetheless, the bank said it will still evaluate whether a sale makes sense.

      In a regulatory filing, Hampden Bancorp, parent of the Springfield-based bank, says it hired investment bank Sterne, Agee & Leach Inc. to identify and evaluate “strategic and/or operating scenarios intended to maximize shareholder value.”

       

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