Friday, September 15, 2017

National Hispanic Heritage Month

The City of Holyoke is happy to announce the celebration of the month long National Hispanic Heritage Month. We invite everyone to participate and learn about the varied Hispanic cultures being celebrated as well as recognizing their contributions to our City.

This year will mark the fourth anniversary the event has been held in Holyoke. The “kick-off” for the celebrations will be this Monday, September 18th at 4:30 PM until 6:30 PM in front of City Hall.

Mayor Alex Morse will dedicate this month of celebration in memory of Daniel Escobar and Jafet Robles-- two local leaders who worked hard to make their communities better. This ceremony will also feature live music by the Mariachi group “Son De Mi Tierra”

The Hispanic Heritage Month was first started in 1968 and is currently celebrated nation wide. The National Hispanic Heritage Month goes from September 15th to October 15th starting at a day in which five separate Latin American nations celebrate their Independence: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Mexico’s Independence, September 16, also falls during Hispanic Heritage Month as does “Dia de la Raza” (Columbus Day) on October 12.

Many other events are being planned throughout the month such as film screenings, art shows, poetry exchanges, a street performance of music and dance.

Friends of Holyoke Public Schools to Host Smartphone Trivia Back-to-School Fundraiser Event

The Friends of Holyoke Public Schools invites community members, businesses, teachers and parents to attend its upcoming Smart Phone Trivia Night, a fundraiser to benefit teachers and students in the Holyoke Public Schools.

The event will take place on Thursday, September 21 from 6 to 11pm at the Summit View Banquet House Pavilion, 555 Northampton Street. Smartphone Trivia begins at 7pm. Eight members is the maximum for each team. The registration fee is $25 per person which includes food and music. There will also be a cash bar. Winners will receive cash prizes. This event has been sponsored by major sponsors at Dowd Insurance Agency as well as with support from Ross Insurance Agency, Easthampton Savings Bank, Log Cabin Delaney House, Edward Jones Investments and the Holyoke Credit Union. Sponsorship opportunities are still available.

Smartphone Trivia ditches the pencil and paper for a more interactive trivia game using only a smart device, like a phone or tablet. Please join us for a fun-filled, fast-paced night of trivia, food, drinks and raffle prizes to help us raise funds to continue the important contributions to our public school students.

To register a team or help sponsor the event, grab your friends or co-workers and visit for more information.

Friends of Holyoke Public Schools is a non-profit organization formed to help support extra programming for our city’s classrooms, teachers and students. This year the Small Grants Program funded eight grants submitted by classroom teachers for a total of over $10,000. Holyoke’s Summer Strings and the Holyoke High School’s annual theater productions are among other activities that have been supported.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Enjoy a Bike Tour of Holyoke!

Saturday & Sunday, September 16 & 17
11 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Reserve your spot on our Holyoke History Bike Tours this weekend!

Enjoy the last of the summer weather as we explore the Mansion area of Fairfield Avenue on Saturday and the Mill area downtown on Sunday.
Choose one or join us for both!

Limited spots still available!

Sign up for the Saturday Mansions Tour

Sign up for the Sunday Mills Tour

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Mayor Morse Announces 2017 CDBG Allocations

On Wendsday August 30th, Mayor Alex B. Morse announced the 2017 Community Development Block Grant awards at an event held in gardens of Wistariahurst Museum, and attended by over thirty community members and representatives of municipal departments and non-profit agencies.

Mayor Morse presented the grant awards totaling over $1.6 million for a variety of activities intended to improve the lives of Holyoke’s residents. Activities funded this year include:

$252,446 for sidewalk repairs; $169,370 in Public Services to agencies providing housing, basic needs, employment skills, and educational services; $200,000 for demolition of vacant, blighted buildings; $134,500 for a targeted code enforcement program; $50,000 for small business grants offered through the SPARK Program; $427,000 for park rehabilitation at Veterans, Carlos Vega, Ely Court, McNulty, Soucy and Pulaski Parks; and $100,000 to OneHolyoke CDC’s Neighborhood Improvement Program for housing rehab assistance to owner occupants.

Mayor Morse noted “I am proud of the partnership between these agencies and the municipal departments as they tackle our community’s greatest challenges and work to better the lives of all Holyoke residents.”

Home ownership continues to a priority for Mayor Morse. A $3000 grant was made to the Holyoke Housing Authority to provide first time home buyer classes in conjunction with the City of Holyoke’s Buyers Assistance Program which provides down payment assistance to first time home buyers. Representatives from the Greater Springfield Habitat for Humanity were on hand to announce their recruitment of potential homeowners for a home to be built at 270 Pine Street funded with City of Holyoke HOME Investment Partnership funds.

Mayor Morse announced that the Office for Community Development would be offering a workshop for organizations (for profit and non-profit) to learn about CDBG funds, how to access grant funds to grow their agency, services or businesses, and how to develop a CDBG proposal for the upcoming FY2018 application cycle. The workshop is free and will be held on Wednesday October 4, 2017 from 5:30 pm- 7:30 pm in the City Hall Annex, 4th Floor Conference Room.

In support of the Community Preservation Act, Mayor Morse allocated $15,000 to the development of a Community Preservation Plan to guide the use of CPA funds for housing, open space and recreation and historic preservation.

Mayor Morse states “Now that the City has enacted the Community Preservation Act, it is important to have thoughtful planning of the use of CPA funds to ensure maximum community benefit.”

The Community Development Block Grant Program is one of the country’s longest running entitlement grant programs offered by the United State Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Holyoke has been a recipient of CDBG funds since 1975.

For more information, please contact the Mayor’s Office at 413-322-5510 or the Office for Community Development at 413-322-5610.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Cabaret at Holyoke Public Library with Mary Jo Maichack!

Join Us!
In the Wee Small hours
As Mary Jo Maichack delight us with her Cabaret Show
Tuesday, September 26, at 6:00pm
Holyoke Public Library
250 Chestnut Street, Holyoke, MA 01040

It’s a Moveable feast of Songs & Stories for Adults with Personal Tales and Tunes from the Great American Songbook with Vocalist & Storyteller Mary Jo Maichack

Thrill to moving personal stories with great interpretations of standards from this subtle vocalist and storyteller with pro keyboard accompaniment, as seen at Pittsfield’s Colonial Theatre, Lenox’s Gateways Inn, Norman Rockwell Museum, Cranwell Resort, Nantucket Great Harbor Yacht Club

Songs are interwoven with personal tales of a Berkshires family that loved music and talk, with Vaudeville roots.

This program is supported in part by the Holyoke Cultural Council, a local agency supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council, a state agency and by supporters like you!

For more information and registration, please call 413-420-8101

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Annual Celebration of El Grito de Lares 2017 at Holyoke Public Library

Hispanic-American Library Inc. and the Holyoke Public Library
invite you to the Annual Celebration of El Grito de Lares
Guest Speaker:
Dr. Solsiree del Moral
"Modern Puerto Rico: A First Reading"
Friday, September 22, 2017 at 6:00pm at the Holyoke Public Library

Dr. Solsiree del Moral is an Associate Professor   of American Studies and Black Studies, and Chair of American   Studies in Amherst College. She is the author of Negotiating
  Empire: The Cultural Politics of Schools in Puerto Rico, 1898-1952   (University of Wisconsin Press, 2013). The book is a history of U.S.   Empire, Puerto Rican educators, and colonial schools in the first half of the twentieth century.
Dr. del Moral will talk about five books on Puerto Rican history that she considers essential to understanding Puerto Rico and US colonialism.
This presentation is based on del Moral's review essay published in Radical History Review, May 2017 edition, titled to Puerto Rico – A US Colony in a Postcolonial World?
She is currently working on two research projects. One studies the English language children's literature assigned to Puerto Rico's colonial classrooms in the early 20thcentury. The second is a history of the children and youth incarcerated in state institutions in the 1940s and 1950s in Puerto Rico.

Celebration: The "Grito de Lares" is Puerto Rico's first and only cry for Independence. On September 23, 1868 between 600 to 1000 men, mostly Puerto Rican born and from the west of the Island, revolted for Independence from Spain. Of the arrested, most were innocent jíbaros, their only guilt was being passive victims of the political regime. The citizens of the Capital as well as the wealthy were indifferent to the independence movement. The men were poorly armed without aid, protection or training. The revolt which was planned for September 29th began instead on the 23rd as a result of betrayal.

The reasons for the defeat were: the betrayal of the plan; Betances' inability to arrive with the weapons or ammunition; and the fact that the general citizenry was lukewarm to the movement.

The reason for the insurrection were: POVERTY, SLAVERY, taxation, lack of opportunity, and military rule.

The revolt was not a total loss. Shortly after the revolt Spain gave the Island many liberal reforms. It extended to Puerto Rico some of the liberal constitution that it had allowed during the war in Spanish America. Puerto Rico received provincial status and Spanish Citizenship was granted to the criollos. Some political reforms granted were allowing Boricuas to participate in special elections and to organize themselves into officially recognized political parties. Abolition of slavery began slowly in 1869 and was completed in 1873 giving freedom to some thirty two thousand slaves. (In 1827 there were approximately four times the number of free Africans in Puerto Rico than slaves. Partly due to the creole's distaste for slavery, often freeing their own slaves.) The libreta system was also canceled during the same year. Some of these concessions were canceled or changed later on but nevertheless the insurrection was fruitful and resulted in an improved lifestyle for the Puerto Ricans.
El Grito de Lares is now immortalized. In 1969 Governor Luis A. Ferré, a statehood supporter, declared September 23rd a National Holiday. Lares was declared a Historic Site by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture. Lares is known as the birthplace of Puerto Rican Nationalism.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Wistariahurst to host Bicycle Tours of Holyoke

On September 16 and 17, Wistariahurst will host two guided Bicycle Tours of Holyoke, each focusing on an historic area of Holyoke.

On Saturday, September 16 from 11 am to 12:30 pm, the tour will visit The Mansions of Holyoke. Cycle around the elegant homes built by the Holyoke industrialists of the 19th and 20th centuries. Ride through the highlands and the Fairfield Avenue Historic District with their grand Victorian houses. Learn about the families, architects and builders of these magnificent homes. This route will begin at Kennedy Park and tour around Fairfield Avenue, Lexington Avenue, Madison Avenue and River Terrace.

On Sunday, September 17 from 11am to 12:30 pm, the tour will visit The Mills of Holyoke. This tour will focus on the history of the nationally recognized historic district around the canals and nearby mills. Learn about the city’s industrial history and canal landscapes, while seeing how the landscape is evolving and the mills being reused in the City today. The tour route will begin and end at Holyoke Heritage State Park and will include stops on Race Street, Bridge Street and Lyman Street.

Both tours will be led by Craig Della Penna, a local Holyoke historian and real estate broker. He is the author of five books and numerous op‐ed pieces/guest editorials on the value of rail trails and greenways in the context of residential real estate and smart growth development.

Each tour will begin with a review of basic bicycle safety. Please come prepared with your own helmets, water, bicycle and enthusiasm for history. Tickets for the Bicycle Tours may be purchased online at Admission for each tour is $15. Admission to both tours is $25. Tickets must be purchased in advance.