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Festival of Trees returns to Springfield

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SPRINGFIELD – A tradition returns to downtown with the opening on Nov. 28 of the 14th Annual Festival of Trees.

The fundraiser for the Boys & Girls Club of Springfield features elaborately decorated trees by area businesses, organizations and individuals. All of the trees will be raffled off at the end of the show’s run on Dec. 14.

Sarah Tsitso, executive director of the club, explained to Reminder Publications that with the addition of 11 trees this is the largest display in the event’s history.

She added this is the principal fundraiser for the organization, which brought in almost $100,000 last year. With the additional trees and new sponsors, Tsitso hopes the club will reach that $100,000 mark.


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Best Of Mass Burgers: 2014 contest winner announced

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The day MassLive readers and burger restaurants have been waiting for is finally here.

Our three judges – Ray Kelly, Nick O’Malley and Sarah Platanitis – have decided and the winner of the 2014 Best Of Mass Burgers contest is … Plan B in Springfield!

Plan B, the newcomer to the contest, wowed the judges with presentation, quality of meat and quality of service.

Nick O’Malley was keen on the “gorgeous some-pink patty, the chewy pretzel bun held up great, with a golden slap of cheddar and spiffy bacon melding with a wonderful sauce.”  Sarah Platanitis best liked the “Super tasty beef. Like the roll. Layers of toppings are distinct.” Ray Kelly enjoyed the “high-quality burger served with a spectacular side of truffle fries.”

We were sad to say goodbye to Local Burger, the 2011 champ and this year’s runner-up.  We enjoyed our visit and the burgers that we ate.  Nick O’Malley liked the grass-fed beef patty.  Sarah Platanitis thought the toppings were well-balanced.  Ray Kelly was especially pleased with his teriyaki burger, the best he has eaten since his visit to Maui.

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Making Parking Easy! New Downtown Springfield Program

Springfield – The Springfield Business Improvement District (SBID) has been diligently working with building owners, business owners, and professionals who work and play in Downtown; asking each their opinions and gathering feedback to continue to improve Downtown Springfield.

One comment gathered from these conversations was the limited parking in Downtown.  The SBID heard this and is excited to share a solution to encourage folks to experience Downtown Springfield without any parking headaches this upcoming Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

The Springfield Business Improvement District will be providing the Park with Ease” program.  Two valet stations will be set up along Main Street for your convenience.  The first will be located by Court Square and the MassMutual Center allowing for guests to enjoy a show at Symphony Hall, dinner at Nadim’s, a game at the MassMutual Center and more.  The other will be positioned North on Main at the corner of Worthington Street in the heart of the Dining District.  This location is closely located to many of the districts restaurants including Theodore’s, Panjabi Tadka, Adolfo’s, and the newly remodeled Student Prince/ The Fort; as well as City Stage.  The SBID is underwriting the service and therefore the cost for you is only $5 to valet.

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno stated, “Thank you to Chris Russell and the Springfield Business Improvement District for spearheading this great initiative. This is an exciting initiative that gives people another reason to patronize Downtown Springfield.”

Car acceptance is from 5-9pm, with retrieval continuing until midnight.


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Community TV Center named in honor of Ted Dimauro

ted d

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SPRINGFIELD — City officials, family members and other admirers gathered Monday to dedicate the new Community Television Center and studio at State and Main streets in honor of the late Mayor Theodore E. Dimauro, noting his leadership in negotiating and approving the city’s first cable television contract.

As recommended by a mayor-appointed tribute advisory committee, Mayor Domenic J. Sarnodedicated and named the center in honor of Dimauro during a ceremony at the studio at 1200 Main St. The audience included approximately 20 relatives of the late mayor including his son and daughter, Andrew T. Dimauro and Michele D. Sylvester.

Dimauro, a three-term mayor from 1978 to 1984, died Sept. 6, 2013 at the age of 80.

“Ted Dimauro was a shining light in the city of Springfield,” Sarno said. “As we move forward, Mayor Dimauro has a outstanding legacy, not only to neighborhoods but he was really at the forefront of the skyline of downtown. He loved his city, and he loved his family so, so much.”

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New England Public Radio Goes Live From Springfield Downtown Studios

nepr 4

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SPRINGFIELD - New England Public Radio is now broadcasting from its new studios in downtown Springfield, space it hopes opens up a new era for the National Public Radio affiliate that had outgrown its facilities at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The public radio station, formerly known as WFCR Five College Radio, had been operating mostly out of obsolete space in an old  dormitory on the campus of the University of Massachusetts Amherst called Hampshire House. It is space the station still will use as a news bureau and for intern programs.

“We were like a crab that had crawled into a bottle,” said operations supervisor Bart Rankin. “If we grew any bigger, we would die.”

Regular broadcasting from Hampshire House ended Friday, said Martin Miller, CEO and general manager at New England Public Radio. Most weekend broadcasts are recorded ahead of time and played automatically. Monday morning was the first real live broadcast day in Springfield.

The new facility includes three studios, two announcer booths and two interview booths along with four control rooms. Miller said it allows reporters to conduct interviews, either here  or remotely, for shows to be broadcast live and for broadcasters to record shows for later presentation.

The studios in Amherst and Springfield allow reporters from the  NPR National Public Radio, British Broadcasting Corp. or the Canadian Broadcasting  Corp. to interview subjects here remotely and still get studio-quality sound, Miller said.

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Baystate Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice celebrates 100 years

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It was a night of celebration for the Baystate Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice.

They celebrated 100 years of caring for patients throughout Western Massachusetts at the Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History on Thursday night.

The visiting nurses serve patients seven days a week, helping them heal from surgeries, or cope with chronic illnesses.

Lyman Wood was chair of the event.

For him, the connection to the VNA is personal, as hospice nurses cared for his wife Merrie in her final days.

“It’s just a beautiful thing and it really makes you feel good and it makes you feel positive and it gives you a much better chance to relate to your relative, your spouse in my case,” he said.

The Baystate Visiting Nurses Association was one of the first in the nation to adopt hospice care into their program nearly 30 years ago.

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Hundreds attend Baystate VNA & Hopsice celebration

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Thursday night, the Baystate Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice celebrated 100 years of caring for the community. The celebration was held at the Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History.

Lyman Wood served as the chair for the 100th anniversary celebration. His late wife Merrie received hospice care, and he emphasized the importance of providing relief and allowing your loved ones to die in peace.

“That’s what hospice does so well, they performed at my home and I was very grateful to them for that. So I’m glad to be honoring them tonight in share of this dinner and event for Baystate.”

Hundreds of area residents came out to attend Thursday night’s event.

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Springfield Innovation Center Location Announced

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DevelopSpringfield will transform two neighboring vacant Bridge Street buildings into the Springfield Innovation Center, a nursery and proving ground for the next generation of Springfield start-up companies.

The center would combine the Valley Venture Mentors cooperative work-space and advising programs along with an innovation cafe and rental space for companies that have outgrown Valley Venture Mentors’ space but are not yet ready to fully strike out on their own, said Jay Minkarah, president and CEO of DevelopSpringfield.

“This is part of a really comprehensive plan for revitalization in the downtown area and the innovation district,” he said.

DevelopSpringfield is a public-private partnership aimed at revitalizing Springfield. Other projects include demolishing the old River Inn on State Street and the ongoing work at the Gunn Block, also on State Street.

The innovation Center will spur the growth of new, smart companies in a variety of industries.

“The innovation side is really where we are seeing so much of the growth in Massachusetts,”

Innovation Center

Innovation Center

Minkarah said. “Springfield really needs to grow as a center for innovation and entrepreneurship.”

The Springfield Innovation Center got a boost Tuesday when Gov. Deval Patrick announces with a $2.2 million grant from the state’s MassWorks Infrastructure Program. Patrick also announced an additional $4.2 million for the refurbishment of Union Station on Tuesday.

Monday night, the Springfield City Council voted to transfer 270 Bridge St. the Emerald City Cafe  to DevelopSpringfield for $10,000.

DevelopSpringfield already owns the neighboring Doubleday Building at 276-284 Bridge St., Minkarah said.

Design work on the 16,450-square-foot project begins soon. He said he hopes that the core of the project, Valley Venture Mentors, can occupy the space starting in January 2016.

Valley Venture Mentors is currently using temporary space in Tower Square as co-working space. It’s a collaborative office where entrepreneurs can bounce ideas off one another, compete for prizes and work with mentors.

“There will be a ground-level presentation and function space, where entrepreneurs can come in for workshops and participate in pitch contests,” Minkarah said.

Pitch contests offer people with ideas for new business prizes based on a short “elevator pitch,” or a sales talk given in the time it takes to ride an elevator.

The Innovation Cafe is a notion put forth by Paragus Strategic IT CEO Delcie Bean and others. The idea is to have a hang-out for tech start ups with coffee and food as well as lots of computer connectivity and large computer display screens so business people can give presentations right at their tables.

Pending MassDOT Board Approval, Assembly of New Red and Orange Lines Cars Will Take Place in Springfield

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SPRINGFIELD – Tuesday, October 21, 2014 – Governor Deval Patrick today announced that the MBTA will present to the Board of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) the recommended company to manufacture and deliver 284 new subway cars for the Red and Orange Lines, replacing decades-old vehicles. Joined by MassDOT Secretary & CEO Richard A. Davey and MBTA General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott, as well as state and local officials, Governor Patrick announced that the recommended company, CNR MA, will build a 150,000 square foot facility in Springfield to assemble the vehicles, creating over 250 new manufacturing and construction jobs in the region. The contract is pending approval by the MassDOT Board of Directors, which is schedule to meet on Wednesday to vote on the recommendation.

The contract with CNR MA will include the purchase of 152 new Orange Line Vehicles and 132 new Red Line vehicles to replace the 44-year old Red Line cars and 32-year old Orange Line cars. The contract also includes the option to purchase an additional 58 Red Line cars. The new cars will provide improved reliability, accessibility and energy efficiency. New car features include increased capacity and additional seating, wider and electrically operated doors, four accessible areas per car, LED lighting, modern HVAC systems and advanced passenger information and announcement systems.

“This is a critical investment in the future of public transportation in Greater Boston and in the economic wellbeing of Western Massachusetts,” said Governor Patrick. “It will open up opportunities for the residents of the Pioneer Valley by creating quality construction and manufacturing jobs that will propel growth in the region for years to come.”

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno stated, “CNR Changchun Railway, Welcome to Springfield and its back to the future! Our constant public, private and non-profit meetings and collaborative efforts in providing world class precision manufacturing education and training are paying off. Thank you to CDO Kevin Kennedy and our Economic Development Team, our positive Springfield story is out; we are a great City to do business in. Thank you Governor Patrick, Secretary Davy, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, “MBTA” and CNR Changchun Railway for your continued belief and investment in our Springfield – “all aboard”!

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White Lion, Springfield’s first craft brewery, draws big crowd at launch party


white lion

Story courtesy of MassLive.Com

SPRINGFIELD — Budweiser may be the “king of beers,” but the king of beasts may soon be taking a bite out of the the royal market share locally.

White Lion Brewing, Springfield’s first craft brewery, held a launch party at Springfield Museums Tuesday night, drawing an enthusiastic and appreciative crowd of more than 300 guests. Founded by Raymond Berry, the nascent operation currently contract brews in Ipswich, but hopes to open a brewing plant in downtown Springfield within the next two years.

The event was populated by movers and shakers in the city, including Mayor Domenic Sarno, former state Sen. Brian P. Lees and others.

“This is great for Springfield. Ray has really done this the right way,” Lees said. “As a former marketing major, he really has set it up to have the ability for it to be a home run.”

Berry was thrilled with the turnout. He said holding the event at the Lyman and Merrie Wood Museum of Springfield History was both humbling and fitting.

“This is history for the city of Springfield, and it feels good to in this environment surrounded with all the great historical firsts of Springfield,” he said.


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