Tuesday, May 24, 2016

The Valley Talent Showcase

What:  The Valley Talent Showcase          
When:  June 3 Friday 7:30pm
Where: Gateway City Arts, 92 Race St. Holyoke, MA

DescriptionSeventh edition of a monthly event produced by Mark Sherry that’s held on the first Friday of each month.  Five Bands or solo acts are selected from a wide variety of musical genres to compete for several hundred dollars of gift certificates and cash prizes from various  local sponsoring businesses. 

All the monthly winners will compete on September 9 for a headline gig at The Big E, $500 cash, and 20 hours free studio recording time at Northfire Studios in Amherst.  Celebrity judges each month include well known musicians, elected officials (mayors, State Senators and Representatives).

Suggested Donation $10 (or what you can afford)

Who’s Appearing: This months' contestants:

Wishbone Zoe (Westfield MA); Malado Music (Springfield MA); Avi Jacobs (Charleston SC/Northampton MA) ; Rebirth(Amherst MA); Reverend Dan and the Dirty Catechism(Western Mass).   
Rool Bunk(Northampton MA) will appear at 7:30 as a special Youth Division entrant

Last month;s winners "Esperanto" (Westfield MA) will open the show.

Guest Judges: Dr Elissa Brill Pashkin,  Chairperson Music Dept @HCC & Anne-Alise Pietruska, The Big E, Eastern States Exposition

Event Sponsors: Gateway City Arts, Eastern States Exposition -The BIG E, Greater Holyoke Chamber of Commerce , Salon 413, The Dam Café, Turn it Up, Brew Practitioners, 93.9 The River, Westfield Bank, Holyoke Liquor Mart, , Valley Quarterly, Capri Pizza, ATC Audio, Northfire Recording Studio

Contact Info:  Mark Sherry, Producer (413) 374-7671 marksherry@gatewaycityarts.com

Monday, May 23, 2016

Holyoke High Business Club Visits Center City Businesses

Last month, students from the Holyoke High School Business Club visited various businesses in Holyoke to learn about current activities supporting Holyoke’s growing diverse economy. Approximately 41 students spent the day learning about economic development with visits to Universal Plastics, Wistariahurst Museum, the Holyoke Gas & Electric fish lift, and Brick Co-Workshop.

During lunch at Wistariahurst, students heard from Mayor Morse about the City’s economic development initiatives and Rosa Pantoja, owner of Luna Designs and Pantoja Tax Services, who discussed the challenges and rewards of being a small business owner in Holyoke. The day concluded with a walking tour of the Holyoke Innovation District.This was the 9th annual field trip organized by the Holyoke Office of Planning & Economic Development.

Once again, the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority donated transportation to make the trip possible and each business owner volunteered their time to host tours and teach students about how their investments are contributing to the local economy while also reinventing former and current industrial spaces into creative, thriving businesses.

“Holyoke’s fortunate to have business owners that continue to go above and beyond for our community,” said Mayor Alex Morse. “As we strive to create a better city for Holyoke’s young people, it is vital that we encourage them to take an interest in and be a part of what’s happening in Holyoke.”

“We had a great time hosting the students this year,” said Joe Peters, CEO of Universal Plastics at 75 Whiting Farms Road in Holyoke. “It’s important that our young people are aware of the career opportunities that exist for them right in their own hometown. There is still a misconception that exists around jobs in manufacturing, and it’s important for us as business owners to change that perception by offering tours and introducing students to Holyoke’s innovative and thriving business community.”

"This is our ninth year that we've worked with the city to organize this field trip, and every year we learn something new about Holyoke's many different businesses," HHS Business Club advisor Jill Reardon said. "The artists at Brick taught us about how they can take their passion and turn it into a career; the employees at Universal Plastics walked us through what they manufacture every day; and our tour at the fish lift was a great opportunity to highlight what an important asset the Holyoke Gas & Electric is. We're looking forward to next year!"

Friday, May 20, 2016

Holyoke Receives $50K for Creative Placemaking Project Under I‐391

Holyoke has been designated as one of 64 successful “Our Town” grant recipients by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) this year, one of only 9 in the Vacant Properties category. Chairman Jane Chu announced last week that the City will be receiving $50,000 among $4.3 million in support for projects across the nation. The funds were pursued by the Office of Planning & Economic Development (OPED) as part of the gateway improvements to South Holyoke and Springdale neighborhoods as identified in Holyoke’s Master Plan, particularly to improve the area under I‐391 on Main Street.

“We are honored that Holyoke has been recognized for its strategy of infusing creativity into its DNA in order to improve the quality of life for our residents,” said Mayor Alex Morse. “We appreciate the NEA’s support in helping move this project forward and look forward to the process of reimagining this key gateway to our downtown.”

The Our Town grant program supports creative placemaking projects that help to transform communities into lively, beautiful, and resilient places with the arts at their core. “For six years, Our Town has made a difference for people and the places where they live, work, and play,” said NEA Chairman Jane Chu. “Projects such as the one led by the City of Holyoke help residents engage the arts to spark vitality in their communities.”

OPED achieved the NEA grant in partnership with the Center for Design Engagement (CDE) – a non‐profit design firm founded by professors Joseph Krupczynski‐Acevedo and Caryn Brause from the UMass Amherst Department of Architecture – which completed the installation of the “Arrivals” project under the rail bridge on Mosher Street in August of 2015.

“We are excited to be the participating in this project as the primary partner, providing creative placemaking planning and designing the pilot public art installation,” said CDE’s Krupczynski and Brause. “The transformation of the I‐391 underpass into a safe, well‐lit, attractive connector between downtown, South Holyoke, and other neighborhoods will make this space more accessible for pedestrians and create a great gateway for the city. The project also provides an
opportunity to change perceptions of the neighborhood, engage local residents and support their efforts to build optimism, pride, and economic opportunity in their community.”

The funding will kick‐start a series of community engagement sessions to design and develop the space that could potentially include a landscaped park with a galley of public art and other artistic elements, creative lighting under the raised highway and other recreational amenities. In‐kind contribution from the Holyoke Gas & Electric for lighting and the City Department of Public Works for grading and seeding is being planned, while OPED seeks the projects full design and aggregating funding for its completion.

“We’re happy to achieve this funding which will accelerate the project’s implementation, which we’ve been pursuing for several months as part of a long‐held community aspiration” said Marcos A. Marrero, Director of Planning and Economic Development. “It's humbling that the NEA recognizes that Holyoke is a good place in which to invest their very competitive dollars.”
In late 2014 the I‐391 underpass project garnered Holyoke a place in the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s (MassDOT) Infra‐Space program, which seeks collaborations to revitalize under‐utilized areas surrounding transportation infrastructure, such as elevated roads, bridges, and viaducts. The City of Holyoke was granted access to the area under I‐391 on Main Street between the Springdale and South Holyoke neighborhoods in order to create a more attractive gateway to downtown, a more pedestrian friendly connection between the neighborhoods, and a space residents could use for cultural and recreational activity.

For a complete list of projects recommended for Our Town grant support, please visit the NEA web site at arts.gov. The NEA’s online resource, Exploring Our Town, features case studies of more than 70 Our Town projects along with lessons learned and other resources.

Mayor of Holyoke Announces Over $1.124 Million in Community Development Funding

Mayor Alex B. Morse is pleased to announce that he has finalized his FY2016 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) awards and will be submitting the City of Holyoke's 2016 Annual Plan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) next week. The City of Holyoke has been awarded $1,124,880 in Community Development Block Grant funds from HUD.

This year, the Mayor allocated $763,672 towards neighborhood and community improvements. CDBG funding of $131,753 will support two full time positions devoted exclusively to Code Enforcement efforts in targeted neighborhoods to effectively reduce blight, improve housing conditions and support homeowners and businesses. The City will utilize CDBG funds to complete the environmental remediation of the former National Guard Firing Range on Mountain Road and also to provide a playground for the young residents of Beaudoin Village. The City of Holyoke will partner with Revitalize CDC to bring its GreenNFit Program to the City for the first time. The GreenNFit Program will improve up to ten homes on one block in a one day rehab event. This year, the Mayor has allocated $60,000 to rehabilitate Soucy Park, over $89,000 to renovate the sidewalks of the City, and and $200,00 for the Center City Pedestrian Pavilion.

Continuing his support of the creative economy, Mayor Morse has allocated $24,059 to the installation of art in public places. Other large allocations of funding are going towards Olde Holyoke Development Corp. which will receive $30,000 towards its Neighborhood Improvement Program. Mayor Morse states "I look forward to continuing the City's partnerships with funded agencies and to making CDBG investments that improve the lives of our residents and community. I urge residents and businesses to contact the Office for Community Development for referrals to funded programs including grants for homeowner improvements, façade improvement grants for businesses, homebuyer assistance, job training programs and other basic services."

Mayor Morse states " I have provided significant CDBG funding to activities intended to improve the quality of life for residents including scholarships for culinary job training, rehab of Soucy Park, improved sidewalks, and the completion of the Center City Pedestrian Pavilion."

Mayor Morse has allocated $164,800 to nineteen Public Service activities to support agencies providing educational, job training, youth and quality of life services.These funds will be received by the Boys and Girls Club, Girls Inc., Center City Boxing, Greater Holyoke YMCA, Homework House, Therapeutic Equestrian Center, Westmass Eldercare, the Care Center, Chamber Centennial Foundation, Community Education Project, Enlace de La Familia, the City of Holyoke Police Department, Holyoke Housing Authority, Womanshelter Companeras, Providence Ministries, and HAP Housing.

Mayor Morse states, “The most important thing we can do is provide the basic necessities every human being needs. That means food and shelter as well as safety for the citizens of Holyoke in order for them to feel they are living in a community that can be supportive in as many ways as possible.”

For more information on the Community Development Block Grant Program, please contact the City of Holyoke Office for Community Development at 413-322-5610.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Sunday Romance on The Canal

Sunday Romance on The Canal
Classical Music Concert with Music for Flute, Cello and Piano

MAY 22 / 3:00pm

Tickets: $15 Suggested Donation

Location: Gateway City Arts, 92 Race Street, Holyoke, MA 01040

Contact: Gateway City Arts / 413-650-2670 / hello@gatewaycityarts.com

About: Alice Jones (flute), Anneke Schaul-Yoder (cello), and Derin Öge (piano) present piquant and eclectic programs of chamber music, with a focus on lush colorscapes and compelling rhythms.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Huge Book Sale at the Holyoke Public Library

The Friends of the Holyoke Public Library is hosting a gigantic book sale to benefit services at the library. Come support the Library and get great reading material for both adults and children for the next year! Friday May 20th 12 noon-4pm and Saturday May 21st 8:30am-4pm. Most books are $1/hardcover and 50 cents/paperback; discounts during the last hour on Saturday. 

Location: Community Room at the Holyoke Library, 250 Chestnut Street, Holyoke. For questions contact Tim Damon at 413-420-8110.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Mayor Presents Proclamation for National Women’s Lung Health Week

On Thursday, May 12th, Mayor Alex Morse presented a proclamation to two representatives from the American Lung Association of the Northeast in honor of National Women’s Lung Health Week.

From May 8th to May 14th this year, the American Lung Association supported the initiative LUNG FORCE in order to raise awareness through National Women’s Lung Health week. Unknown to many, lung cancer is the number one killer of women in the United States, and LUNG FORCE aims to unite the nation against this disease.

One representative that spoke at the event was Ruth Canovi the Director of Public Policy for the American Lung Association in Connecticut. She lost her uncle to lung cancer and experienced the hardships that come with having a loved one struggle through treatment. In her current position, she works in all different realms of lung health (issues related to healthy air, tobacco, lung health and health care) and greatly appreciated the opportunity to raise awareness.

Also having the chance to speak was Amy Caruso, a grassroots volunteer with the American Lung Association who lost her mother to cancer. She joined the organization to raise funds and fight the stigma so often attached to lung cancer. Although her mother had lung cancer, she had never smoked. Through her efforts, she aspires to foster empathy and support for all who live with lung cancer.

Mayor Morse says, “I want to thank both Ruth and Amy for taking the time out of their day to come here to receive this proclamation. It was a great opportunity to meet these young women who are working everyday to make a difference in the lives of those who have lung cancer and aid their loved ones. Unfortunately, lung cancer is not seen as high of a concern for many people, yet it is the number one killer of men and women in the U.S. With this proclamation, the three of us hope to gather more support for lung cancer patients.”

For more information on National Women’s Lung Health Week, please visit: http://www.lungforce.org/ and http://www.lung.org/