News from our members

Lunch at SJ Markham & Son, Inc. for National Get to Know Your Customer Day

January 18th is National Get to Know Your Customers Day!  SJ Markham & Son, Inc. is celebrating by inviting all current customers to lunch on Thursday, January 18th from 11am-2pm. As a family-run company, we pride ourselves on treating our customers like family and want to use this holiday to get to know everyone more. Stop by for a few minutes or spend your entire lunch break with Lisa, Michaela, Emma, and Dottie. There will be lunch and a raffle with multiple prizes. We hope to see everyone at 365 Main Street in Fitchburg, MA to celebrate!

See our Facebook Event for more details!

New Classes Scheduled

Now that the frigid Arctic air has left (albeit temporarily), it’s time to schedule classes so that people can apply for their LTCs and learn how to defensively protect themselves and their families.  Also, learn how to better your chances of survival in the event of an active shooter event wherever you might be.  With that said, following are the latest scheduled classes.  More to come as the weather gets warmer.

CLASS:           Active Shooter/Civilian Response

WHEN:          Saturday, February 17, 2018

TIME:            9 am to 12:15 pm

LOCATION:   Blackstone Valley Chamber of Commerce

670 Linwood Ave., Bldg. A

Whitinsville, MA 01588

COST:             $45 (payable by credit card, check or cash)


CLASS:          Home Firearm Safety with Live Fire

WHEN:         Saturday, February 24, 2018

TIME:            9 am to 4:30 pm

LOCATION:  South Fitchburg Hunting & Fishing club

60 Warren Road

Townsend, MA 01469

COST:           $125 (payable by credit card, check or cash)


Call A+ Firearms Training of MA to register for a class or acquire more information.


bankHometown announced today that Michael D. Hewitt, its President and Chief Executive Officer, has decided to retire on June 30, 2018. Sam S. Pappas, Chairman of the Board, stated that “We have been very fortunate to have Mike Hewitt as the leader of our Bank since 2013. His vast banking experience and strong leadership will be missed by us all. We wish Mike all the best in retirement.”
Mike Hewitt joined the Bank in 2011 and was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer in 2013. The Bank has more than doubled in size under his leadership and is widely considered to be one of the best performing banks in the region. Mr. Hewitt added that “I have truly enjoyed my time at bankHometown. I am grateful for having had the opportunity to work closely with the dedicated professionals on bankHometown’s Board of Directors over the past five years. It goes without saying that I will miss my daily interactions with bankHometown’s exceptionally talented staff and management team. With that said, after 40 years in banking, I am excited to turn my attention to spending more time with my family.”

To provide continuity and maintain the Bank’s strategic direction, the bankHometown Board of Directors has chosen to fill Mike Hewitt’s role with Matthew S. Sosik, the President and Chief Executive Officer of bankHometown’s mutual holding company. Mr. Pappas added that “This decision maximizes our flexibility and leaves many strategic opportunities available to us. Matt formerly served as President and Chief Executive Officer of bankHometown for a period of 17 years up until 2013. We are fortunate to have someone with the familiarity and experience with bankHometown who can seamlessly fill Mike’s role upon his retirement.”

bankHometown is headquartered in Oxford, Massachusetts and has $735 million in assets. In 2016, bankHometown merged its mutual holding company with that of bankESB, a $1.35 billion bank headquartered in Easthampton, Massachusetts. The two banks are now both subsidiaries of Hometown Financial Group, MHC, a $2.2 billion mutual holding company. The two banks operate autonomously and share many of their back office and administrative resources. Mr. Sosik stated that “We are committed to mutuality and strongly believe in the value of our mutual holding company model. We hope to attract other like-minded banks into our growing and successful company as scale and size have become critical elements of being successful in today’s banking environment.” Sosik further added that “As excited as I am about the future of our mutual holding company and our two affiliate banks, I am truly excited for Mike on his upcoming and well deserved retirement. Mike is a great banker, but he’s an even better person, and all of us wish him the very best in his retirement later this year.”

bankHometown has served its communities since 1889 and operates thirteen full service offices; eight in central Massachusetts and five located in northeastern Connecticut. Depositors of bankHometown have their deposits insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for amounts up to $250,000 with amounts in excess of $250,000 insured in full by the Share Insurance Fund, a private excess insurer.

Leominster Credit Union to hold annual Blanket Drive

Leominster Credit Union is collecting new blankets for the annual blanket  drive to provide warmth and aid to families in need in our local communities.  The blanket drive is in partnership with Massachusetts Credit Unions and the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless.  Donations may be dropped off at any Leominster Credit Union office through Friday, January 26, 2018. For more information contact Rachel Terrell at 978-466-7221 or  Blankets and clothing will be distributed to area shelters and organizations to help those in need.

Founded in 1954, Leominster Credit Union (LCU) is a member-owned, not-for-profit financial cooperative with a full range of deposit, lending and other financial services. Headquartered in Leominster, Massachusetts, LCU is proud to claim nearly 50,000 members and more than $600 million in assets. LCU has seven branch locations in Leominster, Worcester, Clinton, Holden, Sterling and North Leominster with ATM services at all branch locations. LCU also provides 24 hour banking via Mobile and Online services. Visit or call 800-649-4646.

Chemical Safety & Preparedness workshop for employers

The North Central Career Center, the Montachusett Planning Commission and the MA Office of Technical Assistance will partner on a chemical safety and preparedness workshop for businesses & municipalities.  This free workshop is meant to provide hazardous materials users(businesses, manufacturing facilities, labs, etc.) tools to prepare for severe weather events, comply with emergency planning requirements and incorporate toxics use reduction in to their emergency plans.  Any entity responsible for chemical/industrial waste disposal looking to increase their awareness of these issues should attend.

The workshop is scheduled for March 13th, 2018, 9AM-noon at the North Central Career Center – 100 Erdman Way, Leominster.  You must register in advance by contacting Scott Percifull at 978-534-1481, X209 or

Alex Mooradian Appointed Board Chair at Jericho Road Worcester

Jericho Road Worcester, an organization dedicated to supporting Worcester area

nonprofits, announces the appointment of Attorney Alex Mooradian as the new Chairman of the Board of Directors.

Since 2009, JRW, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, has provided business skills to non-profits through its corps of skilled volunteers free of charge.   JRW has had recent success collaborating with AppleTree Arts, Clinton Adult Learning Center, and Abby’s House, just to name a few, providing services in strategic planning and fundraising.

Attorney Mooradian joined the JRW’s Board in December 2015.  He is an immigration attorney at the general practice of Glickman, Sugarman, Kneeland & Gribouski.  Attorney Mooradian represents clients in both deportation defense and immigration benefits cases, including extensive work with immigrant juveniles.  He is also Chair of  the Worcester County Bar Association’s Immigration Section, serves on the pro bono panel at Ascentria Care Alliance, and has engaged in numerous clinics and presentations for local agencies that serve immigrants.  Attorney Mooradian holds a B.A. from Northeastern University, a J.D. from Boston University School of Law, and speaks fluent Spanish.

JRW provides non-profits in the greater Worcester area with the skilled volunteers they need to achieve their visions, accomplish their mandates, and improve the quality of life in their communities.  The non-profits JRW serve have critical missions and passionate leadership and program staff, but frequently lack the operational resources needed to help them stay viable and grow. JRW provides business expertise through skilled volunteers at no cost to the organization.


Comics Are Art!—The Community Comes Together at Gallery Sitka to Celebrate Great American Art

Long before Roy Lichtenstein ever painted the glamorous young women he found in the Sunday funny papers or before Andy Warhol made paintings and lithographs out of the labels of Campbell’s soup cans, versatile illustrators were creating great art on newsprint and on pulp paper for pulp fiction. Gallery Sitka in Fitchburg will present artists in a community show of great American popular art by more than a dozen talented painters, sculptors and graphic artists.

Curating much of the work for the show is Jerry Beck, an artist in his own right and the creator of the Revolving Museum. As Founder and Artistic Director of what he calls “the ever-evolving” museum, Mr. Beck has worked with many communities to create “green art” (environmentally safe artwork), art-wear, video art, and other innovative kinds of expression.

Mr. Beck has a clear vision of the inspiration behind this show. “With the revolution of the medium in American popular culture, artists are being inspired by how comic-style impacts such dualities as the sacred and profane, the humorous and serious, the personal and political,” he explains. “This group art exhibition represents artists, youth, and the community — people who have used visual art as a means to expand the graphic and storytelling power of comic books.”

Artists showing at this event who are associated with the Revolving Museum are J. James Forsythe, Jerry Beck (both curating and exhibiting), Helen Obermeyer-Simmons and Steven Chabot.

Founder of Gallery Sitka Tamar Russell Brown is bringing talented people together not only to show art, but to bring the community around Fitchburg together. “At Gallery Sitka, community shows — especially like our upcoming comics show — are very important to us,” she says. “They engage the younger population and aspiring artists near the gallery. They also provide a platform for works of art that some people might not necessarily consider art, but which many other people appreciate and love outside of the traditional fine arts world. The comics show will showcase some lifelong professional artists as well as some young, local, up-and-coming talents.”

Artists in this show who regularly work with Gallery Sitka are Ekaterina Abramova, Jen Hemenway, Andre Mills, David L. Smith and Jonathan Route.

Other artists participating in this exhibit are Sarah Benson, Eduardo Cabello, David Leblanc, Christa-Belle Marlie, Matt Vaillette, Ruth Vega and Wren Curewitz. Artist PJ Bergin, based in Colorado, is also participating.

Steven Chabot is a folk artist who creates memorable comic book art in paints as well as sculpture from wood. Classical American illustrators such as Norman Rockwell and N.C. Wyeth seem to live on in Mr. Chabot’s painting. His wood sculptures are meticulously carved pieces of found wood, raising images in high relief and then painted with watercolors.

Mr. Chabot re-imagines several characters in his comic book cover paintings. One of Batman’s (and Batgirl’s) most formidable enemies is Poison Ivy, the mad scientist (a botanist, of course) turned eco-terrorist and irresistible temptress. In Mr. Chabot’s rendition, she seems even more exotic and dangerous that the images of her in the original DC comic. She’s all green — all leaves and vines — from the neckline down, cream-white above, and topped off with a luxuriant head of hair of an impossibly bright shade of red. (We might call the color the artist has created “electric” red.) Poor Batgirl is overcome by the villainess’ herbal toxins and tied up in cords of dark green. She fades away into her uniform’s black and grey tones, and almost seems to disappear next to Poison Ivy’s shocking green and red. In a sense, Mr. Chabot has outdone other artists rendering this character and perhaps made Poison Ivy more powerful than her creators ever intended her to be.

Jerry Beck’s “Cowboy Boot” series is inspired by the art of graphic novels and comic books. Beck tries to reach the viewer in ways that “history and spirituality merge in a playful but provocative social commentary.” The cowboy boot does dominate the image of the pictures in this series. One notable example has two figures — they may be lovers — seated on a gigantic cowboy boot perhaps three or four times their size. The disjunction in scale does not end there. The lady “wears” on her head another figure who looks for all the world like a gunfighter from “Once Upon a Time in the West.”

  1. James Forsythe is a technical virtuoso whose canvases weave together politics, cartoon characters, and persons with secret identities. His “Once Bitten, Twice Shy” features figures familiar and strange. The viewer recognizes Sleepy (of “Seven Dwarfs” fame) and a cat who may be a close relative of Tom (the cat who’s always chasing Jerry and never catching him). But who the cowboys spoiling for a gunfight may be is anybody’s guess. Another vibrant painting blends explosively bright colors with drawings of a ’50s-style dad lecturing his little ones and an immense TV screen sporting enormous apple (or are they cherry?) pies.

Helen Obermeyer-Simmons explores the comic strip narrative in order to tell stories about the important men in her life. She employs alternative photographic processes to powerful effect.

Andre Mills is a portraitist and cartoonist based in Westford, Mass., where he operates his own firm, AKM Graphics. He does most of his work today in digital format. One good example of this is a digital rendition of a skateboarder leaping, completely upside down, his feet on the skateboard the highest part of him. Another picture takes the long view, so to say, of this same theme, by imagining a skateboarder leaping a couple hundred feet or more into the sky against the backdrop of a gigantic moon. Both the moon and the skateboarder’s altitude are completely fictional, of course. But this kind of approach is the essence of the art of the comics: both artist and viewer get to throw reality to the winds and see a world much bigger, more impressive, and in many ways much more fun than the humdrum, day-to-day world most of us live in.

Jen Hemenway has been doing comics of her own since establishing a magazine — or what people used to call a “zine.” Her paintings are stark and provocative, and consist mainly of fascinating faces. Some of her images are downright nightmarish. For example, in one, something like a title card, or legend, appears in the painting. The words are just as conspicuous as the image, the head and hands of one of the artist’s unnamed characters. The phrase in large block letters reads: “Art becomes the poetry you cannot speak.” The face is a stark and frightening one. He has large X’s in his eyes, which everyone will recognize as the universal comics shorthand for death. He also has his mouth sewn shut with stitches. This is appropriate, seeing as how the legend tells us that art is sometimes a message “you cannot speak.” The character quite literally cannot speak, much though he might want to. His torment seems even more severe when we see his hands on either side of his head, as if he’s about to bury his face in his hands. Yet for all this portrayal of agony, the message here is rather optimistic. After all, the legend states that visual art can communicate many things that words cannot. The picture that’s worth a thousand words gives the artist a way out, a means of expression that simply can’t be reduced to the superficial logic of spoken or written language.

Eyes also figure prominently in another painting. Here the green eyes of a beautiful woman appear to be cut out and pasted on to a face that is barely recognizable as a face. In fact, the face seems more like that of a bull, strangely in a glorious yellow rather than black. This jarring image is accompanied by a “cartoon” heart which seems to be radiating heat, and within which is another eye, this one perhaps that of a house cat or a lion. The overall effect is to blur the lines between human and “animal,” between intriguingly exotic and just plain scary.

PJ Bergin is an artist well-known for her work in a Korean technique called Joomchi, which employs mulberry (Hanji) paper, as well as beeswax (encaustic) and acrylic used to fortify and seal the surface for long-term stability. It is a form of sculpture that creates surprising surfaces and textures.

Her submission to the show is a collage on Hanji paper displaying raspberry, cobalt, rich yellow and other colors, with single panels of comic strips interspersed. She also uses snippets of Asian calligraphy in her Joomchi pieces. Her working method is based more on instinct than on preconceived notions. “I trust in the discovery process and follow a kind of sensory intuition, letting my hands and eyes guide me, uninhibited by conscious thought,” Ms. Bergin explains.

This event will take place at Gallery Sitka, 454 Main Street, Fitchburg, Mass., on Saturday, Jan. 13, 2 – 4 p.m. Visit the and to learn more about the work of these remarkable artists.

MWCC Job Fair

It’s hard to believe, but Spring Term 2018 is in full swing at Mount Wachusett Community College with students enrolled at our Gardner, Leominster and Devens campuses!  As a participant of last year’s Job Fair and/or a currently active recruiter on-campus, I am sending you a priority invite to attend this year’s Job Fair 2018 hosted on our Gardner campus, Wednesday, March 28th  in addition to offering our other recruiting options.

Feel free to choose any or all recruitment options as follows:

  Option 1         Join us for Job Fair 2018: Wednesday, March 28th:     SAVE THE DATE FLYER WITH DETAILS ATTACHED!  (Please let us know if you would like to be designated as a Veteran Friendly Employer.)

 Reserve your table today by (Free to our participating employers!)

 Option 2         Free Online Job Posting:  Don’t forget to take advantage of our Online Job Posting offered free to participating employers!  Jobs are posted year round, including full-time, part-time and temporary positions.  Positions that are emailed are also routed directly to major specific faculty and announced in class.  Please email to:

(Please keep in mind that MWCC offers job placement information to students and employers as a college and community service.  This service does not imply the screening of either applicant or employer and as such, the college may not be held liable for situations occurring in employment resulting from job referral.)

Option 3         On-Campus Recruiting Table:  Every Monday through Thursday, we feature one employer at our Recruiting Table.  The table is located in a high traffic area to maximize your exposure to a large number of students.  Your company is advertised to faculty and students in advance.

                        Tables are FREE for our participating employers! Call to reserve now!


Today Simonds International and Burton Saw. announced the merger of the companies in a transaction that will create the leading producer and marketer of cutting tools and related equipment for the primary wood fiber industry. The combined entity, Wood Fiber Holdings, Inc., will continue to operate in the United States and Canada with 12 facilities located in the major wood fiber regions of North America. All products and customers segments currently served by Burton, Simonds and B.G.R. Saws will continue uninterrupted during the integration process and thereafter.
Ray Martino, President and Chief Executive Officer of Simonds said: “This merger will combine the two leading companies in our industry with a deep history of product innovation, quality products and customer focused organizations providing value added services to our customers. The cultures of the two companies are similar and will strengthen our service to the industry. The Burton, Simonds and B.G.R. brands are prominent in the industry and will remain a core part of the combined company in the future.”

Craig Tompkins, President and CEO of Burton Saw said: “The merger brings together the strengths of two great companies with a common goal, efficient and innovative solutions to the industry we serve. The products and services offered by the merger will enable both companies to go beyond current offerings and bring a complete solution through products, services and equipment that reflect the needs of the marketplace.”

About Simonds International
Simonds International, founded in 1832, is a leading supplier and marketer of cutting tools and related products to the wood, pulp, paper and tree care industries. B.G.R. Saws was established in 1968, through almost 50 years of history the company developed into a sawmill source for their saw needs as well as innovative line of filing room equipment. Simonds and B.G.R. merged in May of 2017. For more information, call (800) 343- 1616 or visit

About Burton
Burton Saw and Supply, founded in Vancouver, BC in 1903, originally sold only saw manufacturer supplies to the mills of Western Canada. In 1927, The Burton Saw Company moved to Eugene, Oregon and transformed itself into the leading provider of products, equipment and technical solutions to the saw filing and knife grinding rooms, as the company expanded throughout North America. For more information visit our website at


Today Simonds International announced the establishment of a new customer focused facility in Florence, South Carolina. The facility will consolidate some distribution and customer service activities for the Southeastern United States wood fiber markets. In addition, the facility will have a new industry training center and state-of-the-art filing room to assist customers with their education and hands-on training needs.
Ray Martino, President and CEO, of Simonds said, “The new facility will enable our company to transfer the deep knowledge of our technical employees to the industry and demonstrate the operation of our new filing room technology. The ultimate objective is to improve the productivity of our customer base.”

About Simonds International
Simonds International, founded in 1832, is a leading supplier and marketer of cutting tools and related products to the wood, pulp, paper and tree care industries. For more information, call (800) 426-6226 or visit