Thursday, July 2, 2015

“Creating a Tipped-Pot Planter” Garden Workshop

On Saturday, July 11, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. the Wistariahurst Gardeners and the Western Massachusetts Master Gardeners Association will present a workshop on creating “Tipped-Pot Planters” for home gardens. A tipped-pot planter allows gardeners to create an herb or ornamental garden in just 2½ square feet by whimsically stacking multiple pots vertically. 

At the workshop, participants will work alongside master gardeners to construct their own planter to take home. The workshop is open to the public. Registration is $45, which includes all materials.
Reservations required. 

Please visit or call the museum at 322-5660 to register.

Holyoke Rotary Announces Summer Concert Series

The Holyoke Rotary Club has announced the line-up of the 2015 "Positively Holyoke" Summer Concert Series. The free concerts will be held on Wednesday evenings, July 8 - July 29 from 6:00 - 8:00pm at Heritage State Park in Holyoke, MA. Performances canceled due to weather will be scheduled for the following evening (Thursday of the same week).
The 2015 Positively Holyoke Summer Concert Series has been made possible by the generous sponsorships from Major Sponsors: Holyoke Gas & Electric Department, Holyoke Parks & Recreation and Band Sponsors: Ross Insurance Agency Inc., O'Connell Care at Home and The O'Connell Companies.
Heritage State Park is a family-friendly area located between the Volleyball Hall of Fame, Holyoke Children's Museum, and Historic Holyoke Merry-Go-Round. The park has no formal seating and concert-goers are encouraged to bring folding chairs and picnic blankets.

"The Positively Holyoke Summer Concert Series began five years ago at the request of the City of Holyoke Parks & Recreation Department. The department approached the Holyoke Rotary Club with the knowledge that many local Rotary clubs provide this form of entertainment in the communities they serve. The events are fun and family-friendly," said Maureen Ross O'Connell, co-chairperson of the concert committee.

The four-week concert series will feature a 50/50 raffle each week.

Attendees are welcome to enjoy food at the Rotary Grill, brought to us this year by Sláinte, which will open at 5:30pm each week. 

Beer and wine will be available for purchase courtesy of Brennan's Place from 5:30pm - 8pm. New this year, attendees will be allowed to take their purchases from the Beer Garden on to the grounds of Heritage State Park. Coolers and beverages not purchased at the event will not be allowed.

Following is a schedule of concerts:
July 8, 2015: Out of the Blue (Rock & Roll)
July 15, 2015: Brass Attack (Classic/Modern Rock)
July 22, 2015: The Franny O Show (Cover/Original songs)
July 29, 2015: Ireland Parish (Irish ballads)
Free parking is provided in the Proulx Garage on Dwight Street after 5:00pm (entrance on Front Street).

To learn about the Positively Holyoke Summer Concert Series, visit For sponsorship opportunities, Maureen Ross O'Connell (413) 536-8380.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

City of Holyoke Announces 2015 Scholarship Recipients

Holyoke Mayor Alex B. Morse today announced the recipients of 9 scholarship awards to Holyoke Public School students, totaling $30,800, from three programs sponsored by the Massachusetts Green High Computing Center (MGHPCC) and the Comcast Leaders and Achievers Program.
“Higher education is a ticket to a better life and an important driver of our economy system. These scholarships will make a big difference for students who need just a little financial boost to help unlock their potential for contributing to our economy and our society,” said Mayor Alex Morse. “We are grateful to the MGHPCC and our other partners for their continued investment in the people and economy of Holyoke.”

“The scholarships funded by the MGHPCC and our member institutions are just one part of our commitment to the city and region,” said John Goodhue, the executive director of the MGHPCC. “We are delighted to continue strengthening our partnership with the city and its institutions by supporting young people who will help shape the region’s future.”
The scholarships come from three initiatives: one sponsored by the MGHPCC and open to all Holyoke Public School students; a second that is funded by the MHGPCC and administered by Holyoke Community College Foundation for Holyoke Public School students participating in the Cisco Networking Academy program; and a third that is sponsored by the Comcast Leaders and Achievers program.

“This generous financial support will make a difference in the lives of these students who have demonstrated a desire to excel,” added Dr. Sergio Paez, superintendent of schools. “Often times the difference between success and failure is opportunity, and this is definitely an opportunity to help these students continue their academic goals. Congratulations and best of luck to each one of them in all future endeavors. “

“Holyoke Community College is most pleased to be able to partner with the MGHPCC to provide scholarships to Dean Technical High School students to continue their Cisco Networking Academy coursework in college,” said William Messner, president of Holyoke Community College. “John Goodhue and his staff at the MGHPCC have been incredibly valuable community partners, and the Dean Tech. students are the beneficiaries of their support.”

This year’s recipients are:

MGHPCC Scholarships ($5,000 each)
Grace Hamel (Northeastern University)
Amelia Vega (University of Massachusetts Amherst)

Cisco Networking Academy ($3,300 each)
Karlos Guiterrez Ramos
Chris Vega Perez
Hector Luis Sifonte
David Cruz
Robert Fonseca
Lexter Santiago

The Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship Award ($1,000)
Nick Alger

The MGHPCC scholarships are available to one or more graduates of Holyoke Public Schools accepted into an MGHPCC member university. The program is open to students in any major and not limited to students of computer science or other scientific disciplines. Recipients are chosen on the basis of an 800-word essay answering the question, “What do you see as the three biggest challenges currently facing Holyoke, and what would you do to address them?”
The MGHPCC, in conjunction with the Holyoke Community College Foundation, provides scholarships to high school students to continue their Cisco Networking Academy coursework in college and to become a Cisco Certified Network Associate. The Cisco Networking Academy programs and scholarships are the product of a partnership among the MGHPCC, Holyoke Community College and Dean Technical High School. The partnership was established in 2012 with a grant secured from the Urban Research Park Community Development Entity by the MGHPCC.
The Comcast Leaders and Achievers® Scholarship Program is available to one student per school nominated by a principal or guidance counselor. Funded through the Comcast Foundation, the program recognizes high school seniors from Comcast communities for their commitment to community service, academics and demonstrated leadership.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Mayor Alex Morse to Hold Summer Series of Neighborhood Meetings

Starting July 7, Mayor Alex Morse will begin a summer-long series of neighborhood meetings. The purpose of this second annual “Summer Tour” is for the mayor, as well as representatives from various city departments, to spread the word about the progress being made throughout the city. The mayor and these representatives will also be available for questions and feedback.

“When I did the tour last summer, a lot of folks were surprised and excited to hear about some of the projects happening throughout the city. I got to have a lot of great conversations with people about the issues they care about, and to address basic quality of life issues. This is my favorite part about my job: getting to interact with the people I serve. Folks want to know that their government is working for them, and the summer tour gives me the chance to explain exactly how my administration is doing that. By appearing along with representatives from our various departments, I hope to continue finding ways to make our government smarter and more responsive. It’s an exciting time to live in Holyoke, and I am looking forward to bringing that message to every neighborhood in our city,” Mayor Morse said.

The mayor plans to highlight some of the economic development happening Holyoke, including the millions of dollars in private investment in the Holyoke Innovation District, new development in other areas of the community, and the expansion of existing businesses. He will also be providing an update on policy initiatives unveiled last year, including innovating policing strategies, an effort at blight reduction, infrastructure projects, and the planting of trees throughout the city. The mayor will also discuss the infrastructure projects happening in particular neighborhoods.

At this point, four events have been scheduled:
-July 7th, 6 PM, Holyoke Public Library
-July 8th, 6 PM, Morgan School
-July 16th, 6 PM, Marian Center
-July 29th, 1 PM, Senior Center

More dates are in the process of being scheduled and will be released in the coming days and weeks. For more on the “Summer Tour,” see the mayor’s blog post about last year’s tour:

Friday, June 26, 2015

Holyoke Medical Center Receives National Accredidation from College of American Pathologists

Holyoke Medical Center has once again been awarded accreditation from The Accreditation Committee of the College of American Pathologists (CAP). The accreditation was awarded to Holyoke Medical Center based on results of a recent on-site inspection as part of the CAP's Accreditation Programs.

"We are pleased to receive this national accreditation which reflects the dedicated commitment of our laboratory professionals to strict quality control. Patients rely on the quality and accuracy of our test results and we strive to continually improve these critical services," said Spiros Hatiras, Holyoke Medical Center President and CEO.

Holyoke Medical Center laboratory professionals perform over one million tests annually in Anatomic Pathology, Clinical Chemistry, Cytology, Hematology, Immunology, Microbiology, and Transfusion Medicine. The U.S. federal government recognizes the CAP Laboratory Accreditation Program, begun in the early 1960s, as being equal-to or more-stringent-than the government's own inspection program.

During the CAP accreditation process, designed to ensure the highest standard of care for all laboratory patients, inspectors examine the laboratory's records and quality control of procedures for the preceding two years. CAP inspectors also examine laboratory staff qualifications, equipment, facilities, safety program and record, and overall management.
Holyoke Medical Center has been accredited by CAP since 1980 and is one of more than 7,600 CAP-accredited facilities worldwide.

About Holyoke Medical Center
Holyoke Medical Center (HMC) is a 198-bed facility with over 1,200 employees serving individuals and families throughout the cities and towns of Holyoke, Chicopee, South Hadley, Granby, Easthampton, Southampton, West Springfield and Belchertown. The medical staff includes more than 300 physicians and consulting staff. Among some of top-rated services at HMC is the award-winning HMC Stroke Service which has been consistently rated as one of the best in the state by The American Heart and Stroke Association. Areas of clinical emphasis also include behavioral health, critical care, emergency care, orthopedics, oncology, rehabilitation, women's health services, and speech and hearing services. Holyoke Medical Center is a member of Valley Health Systems in Holyoke which also includes the affiliates Holyoke Visiting Nurse Association & Hospice Life Care, Western Mass Physician Associates and River Valley Counseling Center.­­

About the College of American Pathologists
As the leading organization with more than 18,000 board-certified pathologists, the College of American Pathologists (CAP) serves patients, pathologists, and the public by fostering and advocating excellence in the practice of pathology and laboratory medicine worldwide. The CAP's Laboratory Improvement Programs, initiated 65 years ago, currently have customers in more than 100 countries, accrediting 7,600 laboratories and providing proficiency testing to 20,000 laboratories worldwide. Find more information about the CAP at Follow CAP on Twitter: @pathologists.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Stories of Wistariahurst from a Skinner Descendent

On Sunday, June 28 at 3:00 p.m. Wistariahurst Museum will host Allerton Kilborne, the last living Skinner descendent to have lived at the historic estate, for a talk and special tour. Mr. Kilborne will share his memories of living at Wistariahurst with his grandmother, Katherine Skinner Kilborne, and a full time staff which he remembered in detail and with great affection. An historian himself, Mr. Kilborne weaves his personal memories into the broader narrative of Holyoke. The event, which will offer a lively mix of Holyoke history and personal memories, is open to the public and tickets are $12, or $10 for Museum members.

Mr. Kilborne will lead a personalized tour of the house following his talk. Acquiring its name from the flowering vine, the twenty-six room mansion features parquet floors, vaulted ceilings, elaborate woodwork and two marble lions that have guarded the entrance since the late nineteenth century. The estate was kept in the Skinner family until 1959 when Katharine Skinner Kilborne and her 3 children gave Wistariahurst to the City of Holyoke for cultural and educational purposes.

Holyoke Raises Legal Tobacco Sale Age to 21

The Holyoke Board of Health Commission voted unanimously to accept the following amended regulations effective immediately at a regular meeting held June 11, 2015 at 5:00PM at the City Hall Annex: Smoking in Certain Public Places; Sale of Tobacco Products to Minors; and Sale and Use of E-Cigarettes. Changes to the regulations include raising the legal age to purchase tobacco products including electronic cigarettes and liquid nicotine products from eighteen (18) to twenty-one (21); removal of an exemption to allow parents and/or guardians to purchase tobacco for underage persons; and incorporate electronic cigarettes in the ban on smoking them in public places. Minor changes were made to reflect current state and local permitting fees and violations for retail tobacco permit holders.
The Board of Health determines the purpose of these regulations to be to reduce nicotine addiction, prevent reduced lung growth, lung function, and early cardiovascular damage for Holyoke’s youth. Holyoke pediatrician Dr. David Norton told commissioners “I am a long term member of the Mass Med Society Committee on Public Health and am very interested in seeing this initiative spread. The data on reducing teen smoking in the towns that started this are amazing-- teen smoking reduction by 50% in Needham and Arlington in two years - mainly because no one of high school age can buy cigarettes. This is of course the age when most smokers get addicted, so the long term impact would be powerful”. The local Tobacco Control Program was invited to present during their regularly scheduled meeting on May 21, 2015 on the implications of raising the minimum age of legal access (MLA) to tobacco products citing the Institute of Medicine pointing out the initiation age of tobacco use being critical stating 90% of smokers report their first use before reaching 19 years of age, and almost 100% before they reach 26.
For any additional information on tobacco control or the tobacco regulations in Holyoke, please call (413) 322-5595.