Saturday, August 1, 2015

foodWorks at Kate's Kitchen Graduation

The foodWorks at Kate’s Kitchen culinary education program is pleased to congratulate its most recent graduates. A graduation ceremony and dinner celebration was held on Tuesday, July 28th, attended by community leaders, family and friends. In addition to the ServSafe Food Handler Certification, each student was presented with an Official Citation from the Massachusetts Senate, courtesy of Senator Humason. Students pictured here are Joelene Christmas-Chase of Springfield, Zakeya Scott of Springfield, Michael Bowler of Holyoke, Natanael Crespo of Holyoke and Alcira Ortiz of Springfield. One graduate not pictured here Michaela Murray of Boston. 

foodWorks is a Culinary Education Program operated by the Providence Ministries Service Network through the Kate’s Kitchen meal site location in South Holyoke. Students earn their certification while preparing 150-200 meals that are served each day at Kate’s Kitchen. All students complete a week long internship before graduating with our partner, Log Cabin/Delaney House in Holyoke. Each graduate was offered an internship at the Delaney House Restaurant and are interviewing or have already secured employment in the community. Congratulations graduates!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Holyoke Medical Center Announces Appointment of Amy Pierno as Program Director of New Wound Care Center

Holyoke Medical Center has appointed Amy Pierno of South Hadley as the Program Director of the hospital's new Wound Care Center, which will open in August. Pierno brings extensive experience in acute and outpatient wound care and treatment. Pierno will be establishing operational processes for Wound Care Center staff as well as lead the Center's outreach, including educating hospital staff and local physicians as to accessing Wound Care services that will be available to patients five days a week.

"Amy Pierno is a welcome addition to HMC. She possesses an impressive skill set and track record in establishing and operating Wound Care Centers in the community setting," said Spiros Hatiras, President and Chief Executive Officer, Holyoke Medical Center and Valley Health Systems, Inc. "HMC's Wound Care Center is a strategic priority for us as we look to be the Pioneer Valley's healthcare provider of choice."

"As our population ages, and an increasing number of patients are diagnosed with chronic diseases, we must stay ahead of the curve in the way we deliver care," said Pierno. "I am excited to be working with a highly qualified team of healthcare professionals skilled in the most advanced therapies and treatment which lead to faster healing from the inside out."

HMC's Wound Care Center will be located at 18 Hospital Drive in Holyoke, and staffed with a physician, hyperbaric technician, wound care nurse and nurse manager, with Pierno serving as program director. The center's offerings include two hyperbaric oxygen chambers that will treat patients with serious wounds, including diabetic foot ulcers, damaging radiation treatment and bone infections.

Licensed to practice Physical Therapy in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a certified wound specialist by the American Board Wound Management (ABWM), Pierno is a recipient of Accelecare Wound Center's 2014 MVP Award, where she was one of six directors recognized nationwide for leadership, quality, accountability, teamwork and excellence. She also serves as Director on the ABWM Board of Directors, is an ABWM CWCA Exam Committee Leader as well as an American Physical Therapy Association Certified Clinical Instructor. Pierno was most recently the program director at the Accelecare Wound Centers and Baystate Franklin Wound and HBO Center in Greenfield, Massachusetts. Prior to that, she served as a Clinical Specialist, CWS-Wound Care at Stamford Hospital in Stamford Connecticut. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Sports Medicine from Merrimack College and a Master of Science degree in Physical Therapy from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut.

Holyoke Medical Center Announces Appointment of John Kovalchik to Manage Center for Behavioral Health

Holyoke Medical Center has announced the appointment of South Hadley native John Kovalchik, LICSW, as Manager of the hospital's Center for Behavioral Health. With extensive experience leading healthcare, community-based behavioral health and child welfare services, Kovalchik will spearhead the delivery of the Center's Outpatient Services as well as the facility's Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Program.
"We are pleased to welcome John to this key role at Holyoke Medical Center. His experience managing clinical and outpatient services makes him uniquely qualified to support the Center for Behavioral Health," said Spiros Hatiras, Holyoke Medical Center's President and Chief Executive Officer.
Kovalchik said, "I am honored to join Holyoke Medical Center. I am committed to relentlessly partnering across hospital departments and community-based organizations to ensure that the clients of our programming and services receive the quality care they need at a difficult time. This includes building on our success, and working to improve patient navigation and user experience."
Holyoke Medical Center's Center for Behavioral Health's unparalleled level of psychiatric services and array of programs support individuals, families and groups. These include access to smoking cessation programs, treatment for gambling addiction, group-based sessions, psychiatric evaluation, medication management and family interventions.
Holyoke Medical Center's Behavioral Health division has seen more than 17,000 patient visits over the past calendar year.
Kovalchik was most recently Director of Clinical Services at The Children's Study Home in Springfield, Massachusetts, where he directed all clinical programming and served as a member of the organization's senior leadership team. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Western New England University in 1992 and a Master's Degree of Social Work from the University of Connecticut in 1998.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Wistariahurst Museum Presents "The Lavender Blues" by Sarah Kilborne

On Saturday, August 1 at 7 p.m., modern cabaret performer Sarah Kilborne, great- great- granddaughter of William Skinner and the author of American Phoenix, returns to Wistariahurst with a brand new show that brings to light the quiet yet powerful emergence between the world wars of songs that spoke about what it was like to be gay or "in the life." From such legends as Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Gladys Bentley and Josephine Baker, Kilborne performs songs – written almost a century ago – that describe what it is like to be non-binary. Tickets to the performance are $20 or $15 for Museum members and can be purchased ahead of time at

The Lavender Blues will take audience members on a musical journey that illuminates a courageous and colorful time in America’s past when pioneering artists sang boldly about sexual and gender fluidity, something radical even for today – and as deliciously fun and inspiring as ever. “It is music history. It is queer history. It is women’s history. It is entertainment. It is life,” says Sarah Kilborne, author, performer and activist, of the upcoming program.

Kilborne is the founder of the Kiss for Equality campaign, which raises awareness about LGBTQ rights, and she has written about LGBTQ issues for the Huffington Post, Slate, the Advocate and more. Her most recent book American Phoenix, about her ancestor William Skinner, was praised by Kirkus Reviews as ‘perfect for readers who like to root for the underdog.” In 2013 she produced a music video for marriage equality which leading activist David Mixner called “pure joy.”

The concert is the final in a summer series designed by Wistariahurst Museum to present music that reflects the diversity and artistry of the Pioneer Valley community.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Celebrate Holyoke PreParty

On July 31, the Celebrate Holyoke Planning Committee invites the public to enjoy an evening of music, food, and company in support of Celebrate Holyoke 2015 at 6PM at Gateway City Arts – 92 Race Street in Holyoke. Tickets are available at the door for $5 or a suggestion donation of $10 to help put on this year's free admission three-day festival. View the PreParty Facebook event here:

Guests will enjoy free snacks and live musical performances from UnionJack British Invasion Band, Great Smokey, and others.The GCA Beer Garden will be open and serving dinner and drinks (more info here:!summer-beer-garden/c1y44). In addition to great food and music, there will be a 50/50 raffle, Celebrate Holyoke t-shirts for sale, and opportunities to purchase discounted Slide the City tickets.

Please follow Celebrate Holyoke on social media for updates!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Slide the City Tickets & Celebrate Holyoke Pre-Party to be Held at Gateway City Arts on Friday July 31

HOLYOKE – Celebrate Holyoke will return to downtown Holyoke this year from August 21 to 23 in and around Heritage State Park. Slide the City, a 1000 ft slip and slide, will take place nearby on Saturday August 22. Discounted tickets are available in the Mayor’s office in the weeks prior to the event.

The committee is actively seeking media partners to help market this great community event; those interested should contact Sigrid von Wendel at 413-210-5619, by email or visit for more information. A limited amount of Slide the City tickets are available for giveaways and promotions.