News from our members

Massachusetts Promotes Ski Areas in New Winter Campaign

Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism collaborates with the Massachusetts Ski Areas Association for Advertising Campaign on TripAdvisor

The Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT) and the Massachusetts Ski Areas Association have collaborated to produce an online advertising campaign on TripAdvisor to promote learning to ski or snowboard at one of the Commonwealth’s 12 alpine ski areas.

“We’re thrilled to partner with the Massachusetts Ski Areas Association and TripAdvisor to highlight our spectacular winter activities and experiences across the state,” said Francois L. Nivaud, Executive Director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism. “We invite visitors to take a fresh look at Massachusetts snow sports, with plenty to offer beginners and advanced skiers and snowboarders. Beginners can master the art of skiing or snowboarding on pristine slopes and manageable trails, and enjoy all the comforts of cozy and family friendly lodges.”

MOTT and the MA Ski Areas Association are partnering with Massachusetts-based travel website TripAdvisor for a two-month long digital advertising campaign to drive winter sports enthusiasts to http://www.massvacation.com/skima/. The campaign launched January 5th and will continue through March 5th, targeting travelers interested in exploring wintertime New England outdoor activities. Promoting Massachusetts as a great destination for learning to ski or snowboard, the campaign will also encourage active skiers and snowboarders to invite a friend to join them on the slopes. This local effort coincides with National Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month in January, and will target snow enthusiasts in New York, Connecticut and Rhode Island, in addition to Massachusetts residents.

“MOTT has been a great partner in increasing the exposure of our ski areas with this effort,” said Paul Maloney, President of the Massachusetts Ski Areas Association and General Manager of Jiminy Peak Resort. “Skiing plays an important role in the state’s overall winter tourism, especially in the western part of Massachusetts.”

The Massachusetts ski areas will support January’s National Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month with special learn to ski or snowboard packages. Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito recently declared Friday, January 5th as “Massachusetts Learn to Ski & Snowboard Day” to bring extra attention to the sport and encourage more people to give it a try.

For more information on the ski areas or direct links to their websites, visit www.massvacation.com.

Devens Eco-Efficiency Center Roundtable

Does your facility have an environmental, health and safety (EHS) challenge you would like to review and discuss with your colleagues? Join the Devens Eco-Efficiency Center this Friday, January 12th, 8:00-9:30 am, 33 Andrews Parkway, Devens, to hear local businesses discuss confined spaces, emergency response, contractor certification/training, and EHS incident reporting. This is a great opportunity to partner and learn from your local peers! RSVP

Wachusett Mountain Receives Gov. Baker’s Massachusetts Learn to Ski or Snowboard Day Proclamation

Massachusetts State Representative Kim Ferguson presents a proclamation from Massachusetts Governor Charles Baker declaring January 5th as Learn to Ski or Snowboard Day.  She is joined by Wachusett President Jeff Crowley (front row far right), Wachusett Vice President Carolyn Stimpson (front row second from left).  Wachusett officials accepted the proclamation on behalf of the Massachusetts Ski Areas Association 12 ski area members.  Also featured is Michael Lucey (far left), of the Discover Central Mass Regional Visitors Council and members of the Wachusett Mountain Ski & Snowboard School instructor staff and students participating in the special program.  Wachusett hosted more than 60 beginner lessons on Friday as part of the special statewide promotion.

CREDIT: Wachusett Mountain/Andrew Santoro

 

VIDEO:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBUYZyDP-jU

6 Bridges Gallery and Habitat for Humanity NCM Partner to host Art Show and Online Auction in January

Habitat for Humanity North Central MA has partnered with 6 Bridges Gallery for the annual Home is Where the Art Is Art Show and Online Auction.  The Opening Reception for the show is at 6 Bridges Gallery on January 12, 2018 from 4:00 – 7:00pm.  The Reception kicks off the month-long exhibit and online auction.  The gallery is located at 77 Main Street in Maynard.  Middlesex Bank has signed on to sponsor the fundraising Art Show.

The public is invited to view the exhibit and to bid online on pieces to purchase from January 12 through February 3, 2018.  6 Bridges Gallery will also host the Closing Reception on February 3rd.  Funds raised from the sale and auction of the artworks will support Habitat home construction in Stow and Acton as well as critical home repairs in the 25 towns served by Habitat NCM.

The artists’ receptions and Art Show are free for attendees to view the art and meet the artists.  Light refreshments will be served.  All art features “reclaimed” and “repurposed” objects, many purchased from the Habitat NCM ReStore in Leominster, transformed into unique art pieces by local artists.

Habitat for Humanity North Central Massachusetts is a non-profit housing ministry that builds and repairs simple, decent houses with people in need. It is the local affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, serving 25 towns and cities in north central Massachusetts, including Acton, Ashburnham, Ashby, Ayer, Berlin, Bolton, Boxborough, Clinton, Fitchburg, Gardner, Groton, Harvard, Hudson, Lancaster, Littleton, Lunenburg, Leominster, Maynard, Pepperell, Princeton, Shirley, Sterling, Stow, Townsend, and Westminster.  Habitat NCM also operates the Leominster ReStore which raises funds through the sale of discounted or recycled materials and furniture.

MWCC to Save Students Money with New Open Resources Pilot Program

Mount Wachusett Community College is moving forward with a pilot program aimed at reducing the cost of books for students by tapping into Open Educational Resources (OER).

“When faculty do this in their classroom, it would essentially mean free books for students,” said MWCC Librarian Ellen Pratt. “Commercial textbook provide essentially a course to the students. So this funding will allow professors to work through OER to create their own.”

The program, which will be funded by a recently announced $16,235 Performance Incentive Fund grant from the Department of Higher Education as well as college funds, will support 12 faculty fellows who will work with library staff to develop course curriculum using open resources.

“We will be partnering the faculty with a librarian to help with a lot of this research. They will be partnering to dig down deep and see what is already out there. There is so much out there already that we don’t have to re-invent the wheel,” said MWCC Dean of Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment Michelle Paranto.

Students in those classes will see significantly reduced costs associated with class materials, such as textbooks. This is especially important for students on financial aid, said Pratt, because sometimes there is a lag between classes starting and financial aid disbursement.

“If students have the materials on the first day of class they are more successful,” she said.

The pilot program is part of an ongoing effort at the college to incorporate OERs into the classroom. Professors in MWCC’s criminal justice program have already been incorporating OERs into the classroom, with one class going exclusively OER using government documents and online material available through fair use or creative commons copyright licensing.

Instructors have found that the OER resources not only cut costs for students but can also allow professors to become more engaging with their course materials. There’s inherent flexibility within the OER model that allows professors to branch out more and tap into online resources that students are already comfortable with.

“Giving internet assignments is so easy to them. It’s me going to them,” said Chair of Mount Wachusett Community College’s Criminal Justice Program Reed Hillman who explained he looks forward to the library’s involvement in the pilot. “The library has so many resources and is great to work with.”

The pilot program will run for one year with plans to continue it the following year.

Performance Incentive Fund (PIF) grants are issued by the Department of Higher Education and seek to incentivize the state’s higher education institutions to produce cost savings for students through collaboration across the campuses. Since 2012, the fund has awarded more than $25 million in grants.

Governor Baker Declares January 5 as ‘Massachusetts Learn to Ski or Snowboard Day’

As ski areas across the state prepare to kick off the important Christmas Holiday Week, Governor Charles D. Baker has just announced a proclamation declaring January 5, 2018 as Massachusetts Learn to Ski or Snowboard Day.


This marks the first time that such an official proclamation has been made recognizing the state’s 12 alpine ski areas.  January is also National Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month across the United States which is also strongly supported by the Massachusetts Ski Areas.  The Official Proclamation reads:

 

  • Whereas The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has 12 alpine ski areas spread throughout the state offering a variety of terrain for all ability levels, and
  • Whereas Massachusetts Ski Areas offer skiing and snowboarding for all ages with excellent instructional programs and rental equipment, and
  • Whereas skiing and snowboarding provide healthy, family-oriented, outdoor, life-long physical activities, and
  • Whereas Massachusetts ski areas generate more than 1.5 million skier visits annually and are a major contributor to the state’s tourism economy during the winter, and
  • Whereas introducing new kids and adults to learn to ski or snowboard through the ski areas’ numerous instructional programs is important to inspire families to learn the sport and engage in new experiences together to share adventures that will last a lifetime; and
  • Whereas this year, we celebrate more than 75 years of skiing in the Commonwealth from small hills near Boston to the mountains in the Berkshires, our ski area partners throughout the state who help us promote these recreational resources of our Commonwealth, and
  • Whereas We invite every Massachusetts resident, whether a kid or kid at heart, to learn to ski or snowboard and share your adventures @MassLearntoSkiDay, @MassLearntoSnowboardDay, #skiMA to inspire others to experience our incredibly diverse ski areas and to continue a rich legacy of this New England wintertime sport for recreation “close to home” for the benefit and well-being of the people of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; and

Now, Therefore, I, Charles D. Baker, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, do hereby proclaim January 5, 2018 to be MASSACHUSETTS LEARN TO SKI OR SNOWBOARD DAY  and urge all the citizens of the Commonwealth to take cognizance of this event and participate fittingly in its observance.

The Massachusetts Ski Areas Association and Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism have also teamed up for a unique digital advertising campaign launching January 5th on TripAdvisor promoting learning to ski or snowboard at one of the state’s 12 ski areas. The theme of the campaign is to remind travelers that Massachusetts ski areas are an ideal place to learn to ski or snowboard.  Ski areas throughout Massachusetts offer learn to ski packages which included beginner lessons, rental equipment and beginner lift tickets.

 

For a complete list of Massachusetts ski areas visit https://www.massvacation.com/skima/.   For more information on National Learn to Ski & Snowboard Month visit www.skiandsnowboardmonth.org/.

Leominster Credit Union Shares the Holiday Spirit

Leominster Credit Union employees donated dozens of presents to Kylee’s Kare Kits for Kidz.  LCU employees adopted 12 children, through Kylee’s Kare, in the spirit of making the holidays better for those less fortunate.

In the same spirit of giving, the employees also donated bags of can goods and non-perishable items to local organizations to assist with meals this holiday season.  Ginny’s Helping Hand of Leominster was one of the recipients.

Let’s Fix This – Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Roundtable

Let’s Fix This – Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Roundtable Friday, January 12, 2018, 8:00-9:30 am: Does your facility have an environmental, health and safety (EHS) challenge you would like to review and discuss with your colleagues? Do you have an EHS success story you can share with the group? This month the group will present and discuss their EHS challenges and successes. This is a great opportunity to partner and learn from your local peers. Meeting to be held at the Devens Eco-Efficiency Center, 33 Andrews Parkway, Devens. RSVP to Tracy Pierce: tracypierce@ecostardevens.com, members free, nonmembers $30.00.

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS (RFP) FOR THE PURCHASE, RENOVATION & REDEVELOPMENT OF THE HISTORIC MEETING HOUSE – WESTMINSTER, MA

The Town of Westminster Massachusetts is requesting proposals for the acquisition, renovation and redevelopment of a most noteworthy and remarkable town-owned historic building:  the Historic Meetinghouse built in 1839, located at 3 Bacon Street.  Used as the Town Hall until 2006, the building is located within the socially, culturally and economically emerging Village Center District. The building offers a unique opportunity for a high-quality redevelopment (residential, retail, office or a mixture of uses) that can seamlessly integrate itself into the fabric of our Village Center and be a community asset for years to come.

Deadline for RFP submission is Friday February 16th, 2018. To obtain a copy of the RFP, please contact Town Planner Stephen Wallace (978-874-7414 or swallace@westminster-ma.gov ) or visit the Town of Westminster municipal website: www.westminster-ma.gov

bankHometown CONTINUES NEIGHBORS HELPING NEIGHBORS PROGRAM

Michael Hewitt, President and CEO of bankHometown, the 2017 Neighbors helping Neighbors Campaign has resulted in total donations of $25,000.

This is the 14th year that bankHometown has challenged local residents and businesses to help support local food pantries. It’s a way for the bank and its customers to make a real difference in the lives of local residents.

Customers of the bank and community members are invited to be a “Hometown Hero” for a $1 donation or a “Hometown Superhero” for a $5 donation. In addition to the in-branch fund drive, bankHometown also sends a letter to business customers inviting their contributions. bankHometown then matches all of the donations dollar for dollar and splits the funds among food pantries that serve the areas surrounding each of its thirteen offices in Massachusetts and Connecticut.

This year’s Neighbors Helping Neighbors donations benefit the Oxford Ecumenical Food Shelf at the Oxford Community Center; Food Share, a Southbridge-based program that serves residents of Sturbridge, Charlton and Southbridge; the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry at Sacred Heart Church in Webster; the Athol Salvation Army Food Pantry; CARE Food Pantry in Clinton, the Auburn Youth and Family Services, Inc. Food Pantry and Ginny’s Helping Hand in Leominster. The Connecticut pantries being served this year are Daily Bread in Putnam; Friends of Assisi in Killingly and Thompson Ecumenical Empowerment Group (TEEG) in Thompson.

At the check presentation each organization shared a bit about their particular program and how they are striving to feed the hungry in their communities. John Kneeland of the Ecumenical Food Shelf in Oxford stated that they “are able to leverage each $1.00 raised to buy the equivalent of about $4.00 worth of food”.

Each representative also shared how the generous donations raised collectively from our customers, employees, and the bank, would positively impact their programs and why it means so much that the local communities stepped forward to help.  Karen Osbrey of The Daily Bread located in Putnam, CT shared that “IHSP continues to respond to the ever-changing economic challenges in northeast Connecticut, but we can’t accomplish this alone.  That is why we are so grateful for our many community partners, like bankHometown.” Collectively, the recipients provide meals to thousands of individuals and families each month.

Lt. Michael Buzzard of the Athol Salvation Army shared “in addition to the donation received today, I am also so appreciative of the support that bankHometown employees provide throughout the year whether it is spending time on committee work, fundraisers or other support of our programs”.

Michael D. Hewitt, President and CEO of bankHometown added that branch employee involvement in the community “is yet another example of Neighbors Helping Neighbors.”

To date, more than $142,500.00 has been distributed through this program.