Sunday, October 19, 2014

Holyoke Hospital Auxiliary Association Annual Luncheon Features Author Alice Plouchard Stelzer

Dressed appropriately in period costume, Author Alice Plouchard Stelzer will discuss her book during the Holyoke Hospital Auxiliary Association's Annual Meeting and Luncheon on Friday, Oct. 31, at 11:30 a.m. in the Holyoke Medical Center Auxiliary Conference Center.

The Annual Meeting and Luncheon are open to the public. The event will begin with an 11:30 a.m. social, followed by lunch at Noon. The business meeting, election of officers and board members and the presentation will follow.

Stelzer's book, "Female Adventurers: The Women Who Helped Colonize Connecticut and Massachusetts," profiles a dozen unsung heroines who represent all the courageous women who migrated into the wilderness of New England in the 1630's. Stelzer has been traveling the state promoting her book and feels that dressing in period costume helps to engage readers.

According to, Stelzer has been writing for over 25 years as a publisher, magazine editor, newspaper editor, columnist, journalist and as a public relations consultant. Alice has also been a mentor/coach for writers and has taught writing workshops on journaling, creativity, autobiography/memoir, writing for your health and turning memoir into fiction. This is her first novel.

Stelzer, of Brewster, Mass., attended Springfield Technical Community College and the University of Massachusetts. She is a member of the Association for the Study of Connecticut History, Connecticut Society of Genealogists, New England Historic Genealogy Society, Cape Cod Writers Center, New England History Society, Business and Professional Women of Lower Cape Cod and the Cape Cod Genealogical Society.

Tickets to the Holyoke Hospital Auxiliary Association Luncheon and Annual Meeting are $10. Call Deborah Long-Smith of the Holyoke Hospital Auxiliary Association at (413) 534-2568 for more information or reservations. The deadline for reservations is Wednesday, Oct. 23.

For more than a century, the volunteer-run Holyoke Hospital Auxiliary Association has assisted Holyoke Medical Center in countless ways. The Auxiliary's charitable fund-raising efforts have helped to offer expanded services and health programs to the people of Western Massachusetts.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Holyoke Medical Center Receives Full Accreditation for Oncology Services

Holyoke Medical Center's Oncology Department Cancer Program recently received a full three-year accreditation with special commendations by the American College of Surgeons.

Holyoke Medical Center (HMC) has been accredited by the American College of Surgeons for over 30 years.

The commendations were awarded in the areas of clinical performance and compliance with standards for ACOS.

"This is the highest rating the hospital has ever achieved in its history of affiliation with the American College of Surgeons and we are very proud of this accomplishment," said Director of Oncology and Community Benefits Helen Arnold.

This accreditation is in addition to a full three-year reaccreditation for HMC's breast cancer program by the National Accreditation Program for Breast Centers (NAPBC) in 2013 which ensures that Holyoke Medical Center provides multidisciplinary, high quality patient-centered care for its breast cancer patients.

HMC was the first NAPBC accredited breast cancer center in Western Massachusetts.

The maintenance of these accreditations requires a rigorous examination at the time of survey and in the months leading up to survey of all policies, procedures, programs and data of the HMC cancer program and its staff, said Arnold.

"We received this accreditation because we are offering the highest quality of care to our cancer patients. We are very proud of our team and the teamwork that is given for the best patient care, and we have completed extensive research that has taken us to a much higher level than what is required," she said. "Hospitals are monitored to be sure that quality is maintained over time, and we have also been honored with this accreditation because of our commitment to do that on an ongoing basis."

Arnold credited the dedicated work of the members of the medical staff and nursing personnel, as well as the tumor committee members for the success in achieving these accreditations. She specifically recognized Cancer Registrar and Clinical Trials Coordinator Lynn Downey, who is the chair of HMC's tumor and cancer committee, for her stellar preparation and reporting of cancer data. Downey also oversees the accreditation reporting, requiring that the strict standards are upheld; she provides quality improvement reports on survival and treatment; and leads monthly reviews and provides recommendations for maintaining the certifications HMC has achieved.

In addition to managing HMC's two cancer support groups and coordinating community cancer-related prevention, education and outreach programs, Nurse Navigator Jolene Lambert accompanies HMC cancer patients through every step of their experience from diagnosis through treatment and HMC's new survivorship program.

"When patients have finished treatment, they receive a care plan as to what they can expect in the future, when they should have screenings and how best to follow up. A copy is given to their primary care physician and we are working to establish a survivorship type of clinic where patients come, see a doctor and ancillary department staff if they are having a problem," she said.

Dr. Renuka Dulala has joined Dr. Zubeena Matteen in the Oncology Department at HMC, where every registered nurse is certified in oncology nursing and to give chemotherapy. HMC also welcomes Licensed Social Worker Laura O'Connor to their Oncology team.

For more information, call the Holyoke Medical Center Department of Oncology at 413-534-2543.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Holyoke Redevelopment Authority and Northeast Utilities Sign $250,000 Mitigation Agreement

Environmental assessment work is expected to begin this fall at the former Parsons Paper site following an agreement reached between the Holyoke Redevelopment Authority (HRA) and Northeast Utilities (NU), which provides the HRA with $250,000 to complete a full environmental assessment of the site, and use any remaining funds towards cleanup and demolition, in preparation for the development of the property. The assessment of the site is expected to begin in the coming weeks and is expected to be completed by the winter.

The cleanup, demolition and re-use of the Parsons Paper site is a major component of our Urban Renewal Plan titled “Connect. Construct. Create . – A plan for the revitalization of Center City Holyoke” approved in 2013. “This agreement allows the HRA to immediately completely document current environmental conditions of the site, while also leveraging these funds for the removal of any remaining contaminants that may be found. Once remediated, this four acre parcel of land will be prime real estate for commercial or industrial development and we’re excited to move this major component of the Urban Renewal Plan forward” said Marcos Marrero, Director of Planning and Economic Development for the City and Executive Director for the Redevelopment Authority.

The agreement provides for additional environmental improvements as part of NU’s efforts to address impacts from prior Manufactured Gas Plant operations associated with the former Holyoke Water Power Company. Over the past 15-years, NU has been completing assessment and remediation efforts along the Connecticut River and plans to undertake additional remediation efforts in the area near the Holyoke Dam during late 2015 or early 2016.The company’s commitment to the HRA represents environmentally beneficial project associated with those efforts approved by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.

“My administration continues to prioritize making sites ready and available for development,” Mayor Morse said. “Parsons has been unused and blighted for years, and this work will allow the City to move forward on redeveloping one of the downtown’s largest parcels. I’d be remiss if I did not thank Northeast Utilities for their contribution, in addition to praising the work of both the Planning and Economic Development Office and the Holyoke Redevelopment Authority for taking this opportunity to make strides in moving our Urban Renewal Plan forward.”

“The environmental benefits from this work are significant,” Holyoke Gas and Electric director James Lavelle commented. “Developing a better understanding of the condition of the land at the former Parsons Paper site will not only advance remediation of any soil conditions, but it could also allow us to explore the possibility of moving water through the site, from the first level canal to the second level. That would improve water quality throughout the canal system and the river and potentially allow for additional hydroelectric generation.”

Situated between the first and second level canals at 84 Sargeant Street, the four acre site is located near South Holyoke, comprising one of the ten areas designated within the City’s Urban Renewal Plan. The site was first developed in the late 1800’s and was known as Parsons Paper Mill until the facility closed its doors in 2004. In 2008, a fire significantly destroyed a majority of the abandoned building’s structures, and the City officially took ownership of the property in 2012.

Prior to the fire, four reportable environmental releases at the site were assessed, remediated and closed in compliance with Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection regulations. In 2010, the US Environmental Protection Agency completed a $2,000,000 clean-up of asbestos and other hazardous materials found at the site and in the fire debris. While those clean-up efforts addressed the acute environmental hazards at the site, a holistic environmental assessment of the entire site as it exists today is needed to further address any remaining environmental issues from its historical use as a paper mill.

Northeast Utilities (NYSE: NU) operates New England’s largest energy delivery company. NU and its companies are committed to safety, reliability, environmental leadership and stewardship, as well as expanding energy options for its more than 3.6 million electric and natural gas customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Learn more about NU and its family of companies at

October 19th Buy Holyoke Now "Open House Extravaganza"

Mayor Alex B. Morse and the Buy Holyoke Now Committee invite everyone to join them for the “Open House Extravaganza” events this upcoming weekend.

This Saturday, October 19th from 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m., the committee will host the “Open House Extravaganza” event, which consists of 12 Open Houses happening all around the city. The Open House event will kick off at 5 Moss Avenue in Holyoke.

Buy Holyoke Now is a collaborative effort by an extensive network of lenders, nonprofit groups, real estate professionals, attorneys, insurance agents, and home inspectors. Together they provide discounted costs and other incentives in an effort to encourage homeownership throughout the City of Holyoke.

For more information, please contact the Mayor’s Office at 413-322-5510 or visit our website at

Sunday, October 12, 2014

The Fair Magelone; a Romantic Love Story In Words and Music

On Sunday, October 19 at 3 pm, Wistariahurst Museum will present an unusual complete performance of the Magelone Lieder of Johannes Brhams, featuring four prominent local artists: tenor Peter W. Shea, soprano Louise Fauteux, pianist Monica Jakuc Leverett and narrator Vivienne Carey.

The Magelone Lieder, Op. 33, are the closest that Brahms ever got to opera or narrative music. At the height of the Romantic period German poet, Ludwig Tiek wrote a novella, The wondrous love story of the fair Magelone and Count Peter of Provence, based on a fifteenth-century French romance. The story tells of two young lovers who meet, elope, are separated by bad fortune, and are reunited at the end. Each of the eighteen chapters of the novella ends with a poem reflecting on the feelings of the protagonists. Brahms sets fifteen of these poems to music in the 1860s- his only true song cycle. Most of the songs don’t recount the action of the story, so a fully satisfactory performance includes a speaker reading Tieck’s tale.

In Wistariahurst’s presentation tenor Peter W. Shea and soprano Louise Fauteux will sing the songs of the male and female characters in the original German, interspersed with English narration read by British actress Vivienne Carey. The complete performance takes an hour and a half. It is a rarely performed work that contains some of Brahms’ most rapturous and ecstatic music.

This event is sponsored by New England Public Radio and the NEPR News Network.

Holyoke Public Library Annual Meeting

The public is invited to attend the 144th Annual Meeting of the Holyoke Public Library Corporation to be held in the Library Community Room at 250 Chestnut Street, Holyoke, at 4:00 PM on Tuesday, October 14th.

Highlights of the meeting will focus on the completion of the first full year that the library has been operating in its expanded and renovated space. Reports will be presented by Terry Plum, President of the Library Board, Maria Pagan, Director of the Library, as well as the Treasurer, Trustees of the Endowment and others.

A report will also be presented by the Nominating Committee, following which will be the election of new Corporators, and a total of seven Member-Directors, after which there will be a brief meeting of the newly elected Member Directors and City Directors to elect officers for the coming year.

At 6:30 PM that same evening, the library will be hosting a special program, to which the public is also invited, featuring two dynamic women, Nancy Sporborg and Pat Piper, who set a goal for themselves of climbing the 100 highest mountain peaks in New England - and accomplished that seemingly insurmountable challenge!

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Alchemists: A fantastical interactive circus performance event

The Alchemists will have two shows on October 24 and 25 at 7:30pm at Gateway City Arts, 92 Race Street, Holyoke, MA. The Alchemists is a fantastical interactive circus performance event, a journey of mysticism, secrets, and discovery. Aid three acrobatic alchemists in their search to find each other and unlock the secrets of transformation through circus, dance, theatre, and human connection.  

This performance is appropriate for ages 8+. Audience members will be moving during the performance, but there are no stairs. Seats are available if needed. Please contact the venue with any questions about accessibility. 
Tickets can be purchased at There is a sliding scale for ticket costs from $15-$25. For more information please contact Gateway City Arts at (413) 650-2670 or or visit our website,