Celebrating a Centennial of Tradition with Oak Hill Country Club

Oak Hill Country Club just recently celebrated their 100th anniversary. Back in 1921, the country club’s initial 9-hole golf course, designed by Wayne Stiles. Oak Hill expanded to an 18-hole course designed by Donald Ross in 1925, with additions such a pool area, dining facility, tennis court, and clubhouse shortly after.

According to their website, Oak Hill has been a prominent site for local and regional championships. Beginning with the 1935 Massachusetts Open – won by Gene Sarazen – Oak Hill has hosted 15 Massachusetts Golf championships, three New England Amateurs, three New England PGA championships, the 1966 Tri-State matches, and countless Mass Golf and USGA qualifying events. Local golf officials consider Oak Hill to be one of the state’s best competitive venues, a recognition that has resulted in the club being awarded a 7th Massachusetts Open Championship in its Centennial Year of 2021.

Nature, over time, has since then taken its toll on the original course design, and Audra Kirtland, Marketing Communication and Membership Director, and Jeremy Jarvis, General Manager, look to bright horizons with strategic planning to bring the course back to its original design and history.

“What sets us apart is the history of the Country Club in North Central Massachusetts,” said Kirtland. “We are just east of route 495, and we are very proud of the legacy and conditions that we have posted, including seven pro-amateurs and our exclusive Oak Hill memberships.”

Jarvis chimed in, including various plans to go back to the original Ross design. “We plan on upgrading and revisiting the original designs, as they changed over the years, including the topography of the course,” he said. “A lot of thought and strategic planning goes into the design to make up the 18 holes. The landscape itself changes over the century; bunkers need to be redone every ten or so years. There are a lot of different elements that go into it.”

In addition to updating and revamping the original course design, Oak Hill looks to expand on memberships, providing new opportunities for everyone that discovers this hidden gem.

Their website states that Oak Hill members come from a wide variety of business backgrounds and professions that coalesce into a diverse group that all have one thing in common – they love this club. “We truly believe that there is no other membership like that of Oak Hill.”

Oak Hill Country Club provides Family Golf membership, House membership, and Individual Golf packages for anyone interested in joining the private country club. All memberships include exclusive access to the clubhouse, practice facilities, tennis courts, and swimming pool area.

“Being in the location that we are [in Fitchburg, MA], we see all walks of life come through our doors: from blue collar to white collar, the small business owner, a roofing company… you name it!” Kirtland said.

Currently, Oak Hill Country Club has just under 400 memberships, and over 1,000 members.

“A unique aspect of the country club is that we are very family-oriented. We have a lot of generational families, which you don’t really see any more at country clubs,” Kirtland said.

In addition to the avid golfers and non-competitive folks, Oak Hill sets the scene for weddings and functions that are member-sponsored. The newly renovated Garden Room and customized wedding packages offer a unique compliment to your special day. The Garden Room is the perfect location and venue for large functions including birthdays, holiday parties, and other events. While the 1921 Room “offers a quaint and intimate space” for smaller gatherings or corporate functions.

“Here at Oak Hill, we strive to ensure competitiveness, fun, or a successful themed event. We do a lot to make sure that the reason they come is to have a good time at Oak Hill,” Jarvis stated.

“The relationships that we form with the different local businesses through the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce are incredibly beneficial; you get to know people and we love to share our facility with these different groups, knowing who we are and taking their business here for small events or dinner parties as well,” Kirtland said.

A naturally social distant activity, the championship golf course and memberships at Oak Hill Country Club are unlike any other. Rich with Massachusetts history, Oak Hill looks to set forth their strategic plan while revisiting and honoring their roots.

Oak Hill Country Club is located at 840 Oak Hill Road, Fitchburg, MA 01420 and the Clubhouse can be contacted via their website or by calling 978-342-2717. You can learn more about them on their website www.oakhillcc.org, or follow them on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Surveys Show Mixed Views Of Business Climate

State House News Service

Michael P. Norton

Larger Companies Optimistic, Small Biz Struggles Continue

Business surveys in Massachusetts are delivering mixed reviews this week.

Associated Industries of Massachusetts reported Monday that employers grew more confident in April despite high inflation and the economic contraction in the first quarter. The trade group’s business confidence index posted its third straight monthly gain, rising to 58.1 on a 100-point scale.

“Massachusetts companies remain optimistic about the sustainability of the economic expansion even amid tightening financial conditions and uncertainties related to COVID-19 and the war in Ukraine,” Sara Johnson, chair of the AIM Board of Economic Advisors, said in a statement.

Johnson said every element of the business confidence index was in optimistic territory in April, and the highest reading was recorded for employers’ views about the prospects of their own companies.

AIM analysts said Bay State businesses continue to be hampered by supply chain constraints and attributed prices increases and material shortages locally at least in part to COVID lockdowns in China and Russian’s invasion of Ukraine.

“Companies are being forced to use every bit of creativity they can muster to secure the supply of raw materials and get their products into key markets,” said AIM President John Regan.

The view from small businesses nationwide, as reported Tuesday by the National Federation of Independent Businesses, is markedly different.

The NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, which samples sentiments of NFIB members monthly, was unchanged in April, and the number of small business owners expecting better business conditions over the next six months decreased to the lowest level recorded in the 48-year-old survey.

NFIB Massachusetts chief Chris Carlozzi said the small business outlook in Massachusetts is “very similar” to the outlook nationally. Small businesses, he said, continue to struggle to fill open positions and are spending more for labor and materials, which leads to higher prices.

“All across the board you’re hearing these struggles continue,” Carlozzi told the News Service on Wednesday.

While some larger employers barreled through the pandemic by switching to remote work, Carlozzi said NFIB members in the retail, hospitality and services sectors were among those that were shut down completely during the pandemic and have struggled since to bring back workers. Many smaller businesses don’t have the same purchasing power as their larger counterparts, he said, and some have been forced to pivot to entirely new models of operation.

Carlozzi urged lawmakers to adopt unemployment insurance policies that would provide more relief to small businesses, avoid new “labor mandates,” and pass estate tax reforms that he said would make Massachusetts more competitive with other states. Gas tax relief, he said, would also help businesses that need to deliver their products and can’t escape record-high inflation and gas prices. Massachusetts lawmakers have so far rejected gas tax suspension plans.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics on Wednesday reported that inflation remains at extremely elevated levels, increasing 8.3 percent for the 12 months ending April, compared to the 8.5 percent increase for the 12-month period ending in March.

As he unveiled a $49.7 billion fiscal 2023 budget bill on Tuesday, Senate budget chief Michael Rodrigues flagged supply chains problems, the situation in Ukraine and “mounting inflation” as among the factors contributing to “increasing economic anxiety, turbulence and uncertainty at home.”

But Rodrigues said Massachusetts has shown “economic resilience” and described a state ready to meet future needs due to in part to the work of its taxpayers, who have helped post record budget surpluses and build the state’s rainy day fund to $4.6 billion, with a $6.7 billion balance in the forecast.

On Wednesday, HarborOne Bank released recent survey results indicating 91 percent of consumers in the bank’s footprint of eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island believe their communities “should be doing more to support small businesses” and their recovery from pandemic impacts.

HarborOne Bank President and Chief Operating Officer Joseph Casey characterized the results as “encouraging news” for local small businesses.

“There is no question that people in Eastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island are eager to patronize local merchants, restaurants, and service providers as more in-person spending resumes and strengthens,” Casey said.

Of all respondents surveyed by Seven Letter Insight, 86 percent described the local economy where they live to be at least “fair” and 54 percent said they have “resumed shopping, dining and purchasing with the same volume that (they) did before the pandemic,” with another 32 percent planning to do so.

The bank’s consumer perceptions poll, completed at the end of March, surveyed 452 respondents across six income categories. The poll also found 60 percent of respondents believe the pandemic is probably or definitely not over.

Baker-Polito Administration Releases Fiscal Year 2023 Capital Investment Plan

$2.78 billion to be invested in FY23 as part of $13.9 billion five-year plan

The Baker-Polito Administration released its Fiscal Year 2023 (FY23) Capital Investment Plan, which provides $2.78 billion in state bond cap spending in FY23 to support investments in transportation, economic development, climate resiliency, housing, education, technology and health and human services.

The plan reflects a balanced and fiscally responsible approach to long-term planning, with funding dedicated to the care and maintenance of the Commonwealth’s existing assets as well as targeted new investments that will support Massachusetts’ economic development and growth in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In addition to outlining state bond cap allocations for FY23, the plan charts a pathway for capital investment across the next five years, providing a blueprint for a total of $13.9 billion in FY23–FY27 bond cap spending that leverages the unprecedented amount of federal funding the Commonwealth will benefit from in the coming years.

“The capital budget is an important vehicle for enabling long-term economic growth and improving the way state government serves its constituents, and our FY23-FY27 plan supports infrastructure initiatives that will benefit residents in every corner of the Commonwealth,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “We are proud to release our eighth Capital Investment Plan today, and we look forward to the lasting positive impacts it will drive in the coming years.”

“Our Administration’s capital plan invests in critical initiatives across the state and continues to provide local communities with resources that will enable them to better serve their residents,” said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. “With substantial funding for housing, education, climate change mitigation, technology infrastructure, public safety and more, this plan will make Massachusetts a better place to live, learn and work.”

Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito joined Administration and Finance Secretary Michael J. Heffernan today at the Quincy courthouse to release the capital plan. The plan provides $3.5 million in FY23 and budgets for $52.9 million over the next five years to continue efforts to replace the courthouse with a new Norfolk County regional justice center that consolidates court departments.

“The Baker-Polito Administration’s FY23–FY27 capital plan continues to be grounded in fiscal discipline and thoughtfully leverages available resources to maximize the impact of our capital spending,” said Secretary of Administration and Finance Michael J. Heffernan. “The plan carefully balances the maintenance of existing state assets and investments in new infrastructure– a responsible approach that will drive growth and deliver outsized benefits to the people of Massachusetts over many years.”

The capital plan continues the Administration’s approach to strategically using available funding sources. Along with funding to support the implementation of major transportation and environmental program expansions enabled by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) over FY23–FY27, the plan provides more than $700 million in state matching funds to allow Massachusetts to access opportunities for significant additional federal funds that support highways and bridges, municipal water infrastructure and electric vehicles infrastructure.

The FY23-FY27 plan continues efforts to strengthen and revitalize Massachusetts communities. It builds on the last seven years of capital investment as well as significant state and federal support over the last two years in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has included over $2.4 billion in total from the CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Fund and $2.9 billion in allocated state aid from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). ARPA also provided $3.4 billion in direct aid for municipalities, $2.6 billion for housing and economic development initiatives, $1.1 billion for transit, $315 million in child care stabilization funding, and $200 million in Child Care Development and Block grant funding.

Continuing efforts to protect the Commonwealth’s natural environment, the capital plan supports investments in climate resiliency measures, food security and public outdoor spaces. It also provides substantial new funding for building infrastructure projects across the higher education system, and maintains investments for information technology and cybersecurity upgrades, public safety and health and human services.

The FY23 capital plan’s $2.78 billion bond cap represents a responsible $125 million (4.7%) increase over FY22, which is in line with the recommendations of the Debt Affordability Committee.

The five-year plan will be supported by authorization the Administration has filed for across several bond bills, including the General Government Bond Bill, the MassTRAC infrastructure bond bill and the FORWARD legislation. The majority of spending in FY23 is covered by existing authorizations.

To view the FY23–FY27 Capital Investment Plan, visit: www.mass.gov/capital.

FY23 Capital Plan Highlights:

Transportation

The combined MassDOT and MBTA capital plan is funded from a variety of state and non-state sources. $1.1 billion of FY23 spending is supported by state bond cap.

  • $200 million for the Chapter 90 Program for local road and bridge repairs
  • $25 million for the Municipal Pavement Program, established in the 2021 Transportation bond bill to assist municipalities with roadway pavement improvements
  • $15 million for the Administration’s Municipal Small Bridge Program
  • $15 million for the Complete Streets Program
  • $8.5 million for the Shared Streets and Spaces Program, which was started in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic to help municipalities and businesses adapt their operations
  • $5 million for the Local Bottleneck Reduction Program
  • $5 million for Transit Infrastructure Partnership Program

Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM)

  • $171 million to continue work at Commonwealth-owned health care facilities, including the Department of Public Health’s Laboratory Campus in Jamaica Plain, the Newton Pavilion/Shattuck Hospital, and the Soldiers’ Homes in Holyoke and Chelsea
  • $6.8 million ($120 million over FY23-FY27) for new major higher education projects at Massasoit Community College, Salem State University, Springfield Technical Community College and University of Massachusetts Lowell
  • $50 million for smaller critical repairs and $24.3 million for accelerated building infrastructure projects across the higher education system
  • Planning efforts for the construction of a new Regional Justice Center in Quincy

Economic Development

  • $97 million for MassWorks to provide municipalities and other public entities with funding for infrastructure projects that promote economic development
  • $35 million for the Life Sciences Capital Program to foster job growth and innovation in the life sciences industry
  • $21.7 million for the Underutilized Properties program to rehabilitate or redevelop blighted, abandoned, vacant or underutilized properties
  • $16 million for research and development projects that spur innovation and enhance job growth
  • $16 million for Advanced Manufacturing Innovation programs, established in the 2021 economic development bond bill, which supports research centers around emerging manufacturing technology
  • $12 million in Seaport Economic Council Grants

Housing

  • $151 million for the production and preservation of affordable housing in addition to programs that support neighborhood stabilization, transit-oriented housing, and climate resilient affordable housing
  • $110 million to support our state-aided public housing portfolio

Energy and Environmental Affairs

  • $34 million for improvements to campgrounds, recreational facilities, and comfort stations
  • $17.5 million for the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) Program to aid municipalities with climate change vulnerability assessments and planning and adaptation projects
  • $12.5 million for the Food Security Infrastructure Program
  • $12 million for inland dams and seawalls
  • $10 million in municipal matching grants through MassTrails to enhance and maintain shared use paths and recreational trails
  • $8.3 million for Greening the Gateway Cities, which has already planted nearly 33,000 trees and has a goal of planting at least 20,000 more trees over the next four years
  • $8 million for grants to municipalities for park improvements and open space protection

Public Safety

  • $5 million for the Protective Fire Equipment Grant Program which provides direct assistance to municipalities to ensure access to safe and reliable firefighter equipment
  • $4 million for the Municipal Body-Worn Camera Grant Program and $837,000 to support a pilot Body-Worn Camera program for correctional officers at the Department of Correction Souza-Baranowski maximum-security facility
  • Support for the Body Armor Replacement Program which provides a state match for the reimbursement of bulletproof vests by municipalities

Technology and Cybersecurity

  • $78.6 million for technology solutions to improve operational efficiency and performance of state government
  • $48.1 million for improvements to constituent-facing government applications to improve access to services
  • $27.5 million for IT technical infrastructure modernization
  • $11.3 million for cybersecurity
  • $5 million for Community Compact IT Grants, which support cities and towns in their efforts to modernize their technological infrastructure
  • $4 million for Municipal Fiber Grant Program to strengthen municipal IT security

Education

  • $15 million for Workforce Skills Capital Grants to improve students’ skills and knowledge and better meet the needs of employers in the Commonwealth
  • $6.9 million for Early Education and Out-of-School Time Grants to improve the indoor and outdoor space at early education and out-of-school time programs in which more than 50% of the children served are eligible for financial assistance

To view the full FY23 Capital Plan, please click here.

Local Students Awarded Scholarships through the Chamber Foundation of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce

Students will be recognized at Scholar’s Breakfast on May 13 at Great Wolf Lodge

The North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce today announced the recipients of the annual Chamber Foundation of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce scholarship program which recognizes the region’s most outstanding high school seniors.  The awardees will be acknowledged during the Chamber’s Annual Scholar’s Breakfast, scheduled for Friday, May 13 from 6:45 to 8:45 a.m. at Great Wolf Lodge, 150 Great Wolf Drive, Fitchburg.  This popular breakfast program is a celebration of student achievements and includes a strong turnout among students, parents, business and community leaders.

Proceeds from the breakfast program will benefit the Chamber Foundation and help support Chamber scholarships in future years.  Maria Milagros will serve as the Master of Ceremonies and keynote speaker for the Scholars Breakfast.  Maria Milagros (Vazquez) is an award-winning speaker, award nominated author, TEDx speaker, storyteller and empowerment life coach.

For the Class of 2022, a total of $52,000 in scholarships are being awarded this year from either endowments or funds provided by local companies and individuals.  The Scholarship Committee selected the recipients from among college-bound seniors who live in one of the 27 communities served by the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce based on a student’s overall merit, including academics, sports, volunteer work and employment.

Twenty-six scholarships of $2,000 will be provided to the following seniors during the Scholar’s Breakfast:

 

Isabella Allen

Oakmont Regional High School

Awarded: Benjamin Asher Scholarship

Bruna Biz

Fitchburg High School

Awarded: Chamber Foundation Scholarship

Lilly Comeau

Gardner High School

Awarded: Chamber Foundation Scholarship

Taya Corn

North Middlesex Regional High School

Awarded: Ronald Ansin Scholarship

Elsa Cranson

Wachusett Regional High School

Awarded: HealthAlliance Hospital Guild Scholarship

Carolyn Darman

Nashoba Valley Regional High School

Awarded: UMass Memorial HealthAlliance – Clinton Hospital, Inc. Scholarship

Shea Divoll

Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical High School

Awarded: George R. Wallace, Jr. and Alice G. Wallace Scholarship

Peter Epro

Leominster Center for Excellence

Awarded: Elizabeth and Anthony DiGeronimo Family Scholarship

Felicia Jamba

The Bromfield School

Awarded: Adams Family Scholarship

Emma Kenney

Groton-Dunstable Regional High School

Awarded: Salny Family Scholarship

Molly Kimball

Lunenburg High School

Awarded: Chamber Foundation Scholarship

Abigail Kirrane

Montachusett Regional Vocational Technical High School

Awarded: David L. McKeehan Scholarship

Mackenzie Kupfer

Fitchburg High School

Awarded: Leominster Credit Union Scholarship

Olivia Latino

Leominster Center for Technical Education Innovation

Awarded: UMass Memorial HealthAlliance – Clinton Hospital, Inc. Scholarship

Dominic Motoya

Leominster High School

Awarded: Edward J. Healey Scholarship

Adam Mullaney

Leominster High School

Awarded: Enterprise Bank and Trust Scholarship

Callie Nelson

Leominster High School

Awarded: M. Ruth Lee Scholarship

Caroline Oswitt

Wachusett Regional High School

Awarded: Patricia S. Alario Scholarship

Fiona Picone

Oakmont Regional High School

Awarded: Roderick W. & Donna M. Lewin Scholarship

Alisha Praileau

North Middlesex Regional High School

Awarded: Elizabeth and Anthony DiGeronimo Family Scholarship

Madeline Prechtl

Groton-Dunstable Regional High School

Awarded: Barbara Silva Scholarship

Ekaterina Rau

Saint Bernard’s Central Catholic High School

Awarded: M. Ruth Lee Scholarship

Margot Sonia

Nashoba Regional High School

Awarded: UMass Memorial HealthAlliance – Clinton Hospital, Inc. Scholarship

Nora Swaine

Leominster High School

Awarded: Rollstone Bank & Trust Scholarship

Sophie Thompson

The Bromfield School

Awarded: Chamber Foundation Scholarship

Sydney VanGilder

North Middlesex Regional High School

Awarded: Workers Credit Union Scholarship

 

Since the establishment of its scholarship program, the Chamber Foundation of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce has awarded more than a million dollars in scholarships to more than 625 students.  Many of these awards are made possible through contributions from members of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, with scholarships endowed through the Chamber Foundation often named in honor of prominent members of the North Central Massachusetts business community whose philanthropy and commitment to the community have helped shape the region.

“The North Central region is exceptional in its generosity, investment and commitment to supporting its future leaders,” said Roy M. Nascimento, President & CEO of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce.  “These scholarships are one way we can recognize local students as they continue their education through the support of organizations and individuals who help make these scholarships possible for our graduating seniors.”

The Chamber wishes to thank our Scholar’s Breakfast Premier Sponsor TD Bank; our Partner Sponsors Franklin Professionals Associates and Great Wolf Lodge; our Supporting Sponsors AIS, Inc., GFA Federal Credit Union, IC Federal Credit Union, Leominster Credit Union, Steel-Fab Inc., and Workers Credit Union; and our Gift Sponsor Fitchburg State University as well as the many Chamber members who contributed towards the scholarships.

The Chamber Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization focused on assisting in the betterment of the region through charitable activities.  Funds raised by the Chamber Foundation are utilized primarily for education and workforce development initiatives and charitable activities in North Central Massachusetts.

To register for the Chamber’s Annual Scholars Breakfast, please contact the Chamber at 978.353.7600 ext. 222 or ext. 235 or email chamber@northcentralmass.com or register online at northcentralmass.com.  The cost is just $27 for Chamber members/$42 for non-members and includes a breakfast buffet.  Pre-registration is required. Supporting sponsorships and tables of ten are also available.  Proceeds from the breakfast program will benefit the Chamber Foundation

For more information on the Chamber Foundation of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce scholarship program or to view a list of the named scholarships, please visit northcentralmass.com or call 978.353.7600, ext. 222.

Baker-Polito Administration Announces Transition at Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs

Governor Charlie Baker and Lt. Governor Karyn Polito announced the departure of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Kathleen Theoharides and the appointment of current Undersecretary of Environmental Policy and Climate Resilience Beth Card as the incoming Secretary, effective May 6.

“Secretary Theoharides has been dedicated to making Massachusetts a national leader in climate solutions, including guiding the development of the offshore wind industry. Katie has done a tremendous job leading our administration’s statewide efforts to comprehensively plan for the effects of climate change, and I wish her all the best in the future,” said Governor Charlie Baker. “Beth Card has a deep knowledge of environmental policy and a wealth of experience in leading climate resiliency efforts in state government, and we are glad to appoint her as Secretary.”

“Under Secretary Theoharides’s leadership, we have developed nation-leading programs to help cities and towns across the Commonwealth make climate-resilient investments in their infrastructure,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito. “We are so grateful to Katie for her service to the Commonwealth, and welcome Beth into the cabinet.”

“I am deeply grateful to Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito for trusting me to serve the residents of the Commonwealth and to work with a team of dedicated public servants in our cabinet, at the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and across the Administration.  I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve done together to increase access to the outdoors, invest in our natural resources, and deploy climate change solutions, including the first utility scale offshore wind farm, expand the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness resiliency program in 95% of the state’s communities, and create new initiatives to cut emissions in our transportation and heating sectors,” said Secretary Theoharides. “I’ve worked closely with Beth Card throughout my time in state service and I respect her leadership qualities and close work with stakeholders, legislators, and local leaders. Much work remains as we seek to fund critical climate, clean water, parks and infrastructure projects, and I’m confident in Beth’s deep expertise in environmental policy, water quality and climate change and in her ability to build and lead strong partnerships to deliver great outcomes.”

“I am grateful to Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito for the incredible opportunity to serve as Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. The tireless efforts of Secretary Theoharides have resulted in the creation of critical climate change programs, investment in the Commonwealth’s renewable energy portfolio, and the advancement of the Administration’s decarbonization goals,” said incoming Secretary Card. “As we look ahead to the prospect of investing billions of dollars into our environmental, water and sewer, and port infrastructure for offshore wind deployment, I look forward to working alongside my colleagues and our many partners to continue the important work of our energy and environment programs and set a course for achieving commitments established in the Administration’s climate law.”

Under Secretary Theoharides’s leadership, the Baker-Polito Administration has advanced major climate initiatives and strengthened the resiliency of the Commonwealth’s infrastructure. Key accomplishments include:

  • Deployment of the nation’s first large-scale offshore wind farm and the development and selection of its second and third round of procurements that will bring 3,600 Megawatts of clean, affordable power to the Massachusetts grid – enough energy to power an estimated 608,000 homes.
  • Created a nation-leading climate resiliency partnership between the Commonwealth and its municipalities through the voluntary Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness program that in just four years enrolled over 95% of the state’s cities and towns while also leading the Administration’s effort to comprehensively plan for statewide climate change resiliency and invest over $1 billion for climate solutions.
  • Established an aggressive limit of net zero emissions by 2050, and developed the 2050 Decarbonization Roadmap Study, a first-in-the-nation planning effort to reach this milestone affordably and equitably.
  • Charted the deployment of clean energy strategies and policies to achieve emission limits for the next decade through the 2030 Clean Energy and Climate Plan, including advanced building codes, enhanced programs to improve low carbon transportation options and electric vehicle adoption, and power sector market reform.
  • Oversaw development of a critical updates to Massachusetts solar program, the renewable portfolio standard, the three-year energy efficiency plan, and creation of the Clean Peak Program.
  • Launched and managed one of the largest grant programs in EEA history, the $58 million Food Security Infrastructure Grant Program, awarding funding to farms, food pantries, non-profit organizations, communities, schools, and food distributors to build a more resilient local food system.
  • Helped to enshrine environmental justice protections into state law and created the EEA Environmental Justice Task Force.
  • Invested over $112 million to protect more than 36,500 acres of natural resources, maintain sustainable working forest, conserve critical wildlife habitat, protect water resources, and ensure continued public access to the property for hunting, fishing, hiking, wildlife observation, and other outdoor recreation.
  • Provided equitable access to the state’s park system including access to free swimming lessons across the Commonwealth.
  • Committed over $1.8 million to support the DCR Summer Night program that provided fun, engaging activities for young people across the Commonwealth.

About Bethany Card:

In 2021, Beth Card joined the Baker-Polito Administration as Undersecretary of Environmental Policy and Climate Resilience in the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. As Undersecretary, Card serves as chief environmental advisor to the Secretary and directs efforts that, in coordination with elected officials and external stakeholders, protect, preserve, and enhance the Commonwealth’s environmental resources while ensuring a clean energy future for the state’s residents. A key focus of this work has been development of approaches to invest in environmental infrastructure under the American Rescue Plan Act and implementation of the Administration’s comprehensive climate change law. During her tenure, the Administration successfully established an approach to investing in the Commonwealth’s water and sewer infrastructure, environmental infrastructure and state parks. Further she and her team have worked on successfully permitting two offshore wind projects in a way that balances the need for renewable energy projects with careful mitigation of fishing industry impacts.   Beth has also played a key role in advising on implementation of the environmental justice initiatives in the Commonwealth.

Beth has more than twenty-five years of service in state agencies and quasi-governmental organizations where she has been a leader on environmental policy development and implementation of regulatory programs. Prior to joining the Baker-Polito Administration, Beth served as the Director of Environmental and Regulatory Affairs for the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority (MWRA). During her time at MWRA, Card developed and oversaw the implementation of environmental policies on behalf of the Authority that provides water and sewer services to 3.1 million people and more than 5,500 large industrial users in 61 metropolitan Boston communities. Before joining MWRA, Beth worked at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP) for over six years as both Deputy Commissioner for Policy and Planning and Assistant Commissioner, Bureau of Water Resources. Her portfolio as MassDEP included programs that manage water and air resources as well as waste management. She was instrumental in work related to implementation of the global warming solutions act, the lead in schools initiative, wastewater planning on Cape Cod, and revising water management act requirements.

Card received a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in Environmental Conservation and Business Administration from the University of New Hampshire and a J.D. from the Massachusetts School of Law.

Ms. Card lives in Newburyport, Massachusetts with her husband and young son.

2022 Member Decals Now Available!

Proudly display the new member decal outside your establishment.

Contact the chamber to get yours mailed, or pick it up at the Chamber Office.

 

Thanks for being a proud member!

 

860 South Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420

chamber@northcentralmass.com

Chamber Board Kicks off Strategic Planning Process

The boards of the Chamber, the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation and Visit North Central Massachusetts met earlier this week to begin working on the chamber’s next strategic plan. They reviewed the great progress made on our current strategic plan and discussed a variety of topics that are crucial to supporting our members and keeping our region a vibrant place to live, work and visit.

We would love to hear from you. What can the Chamber and our affiliate organizations do over the next three years to support your organizations and the communities of North Central Massachusetts? Please send us your ideas and share your successes by emailing rnascimento@northcentralmass.com.

North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation approves real estate purchase for Baldwinville Station Restaurant

Funding supports popular family-owned and operated restaurant

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC), the economic development arm of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce recently granted a $67,000 loan in partnership with Athol Savings Bank to purchase the real estate that houses Baldwinville Station Restaurant at 9 Circle Street in Baldwinville.

The Baldwinville Station Restaurant is a family-owned and operated breakfast and lunch establishment, which is open 5:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. seven days a week and is a popular breakfast spot in Baldwinville.

“When we bought the business four years ago, we concentrated on running the restaurant like we had when we owned Rockin’ Robins on Main Street in Athol,” said Shawn Graham, who has owned the business since 2018. “Thanks to this partnership with Athol Savings Bank and support from the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation, we’re able to focus on taking care of our loyal customers.”.  Visit https://www.baldwinvillestation.com for more information.

As a microloan lender, NCMDC can provide loans to small businesses up to $250,000 for working capital, real estate, equipment, inventory, expansion and working with our banking partners to provide gap financing for the final piece of a project.

For more information about the NCMDC loan programs, please call 978.353.7607 or visit NorthCentralMass.com or ChooseNorthCentral.com.

North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation approves financing for Lyla’s Beauty Bar

Funding supports purchase of new equipment for local day spa

The North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation (NCMDC), the economic development arm of the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce recently granted a $50,000 loan to support the purchase of a new laser system equipment for Lyla’s Beauty Bar in Acton, which offers laser hair removal, electrolysis and skin rejuvenation.

“When I opened Lyla’s Beauty Bar in December 2019, I needed a loan to help with the startup costs of establishing my new business,” said Surinee Piwchuen, owner, Lyla’s Beauty Bar. “Thanks to my continued relationship with the North Central Massachusetts Development Corporation, I’m now able to expand our services to include body sculpting for customers using a new laser system.”.  For more information visit https://lylabeautybar.com.

As a microloan lender, NCMDC can provide loans to small businesses up to $250,000 for working capital, real estate, equipment, inventory, expansion and working with our banking partners to provide gap financing for the final piece of a project.

For more information about the NCMDC loan programs, please call 978.353.7607 or visit NorthCentralMass.com or ChooseNorthCentral.com.

Inspire Counseling Leads a Positive Change in the Community They Call Home

Just by the nature of its name, ‘Inspire’ Counseling and Support Center, (located at 29 Main St. in Leominster) sounds like the right place to go for individuals in need of a wide range of behavioral health services. It opened its doors in June of 2021, with a leadership team of 9 and 8 onsite full-time employees.

Offering such a wide range of during the heart of the COVID 19 pandemic at a time when more people than ever can use assistance has been especially important, according to Chief Operating Office Jennifer R. Dellasanta.

“We have learned a lot in the past couple of years,” she said. “One of the most important is that people are recognizing more and more the significance of mental wellness. This past 2 years affected everyone and whether someone wants to come in just to vent, a lot of times talking something out to another person just gives us a sense of release, or to gain some guidance on coping skills, or come in for a group to see that they are not alone and there are other support systems out there, is so important and we are here to provide that.”

“We have learned is how to be flexible,” she added, “we offer telehealth because you don’t have to physically be here to get the help you need. Our entire team understands we need to be flexible and that we are here to help. We have become more united than ever and have kept our mission up front, as well as truly being employee centered, so that we have healthy and happy team members so that we can provide the best quality services to others.”

The Center’s mission is to “inspire brighter and healthier lives.” It is part of a network of centers located in five states including Florida, Tennessee, Indiana and Kansas in addition to Massachusetts. As for doing business in North Central Massachusetts, Dellasanta notes: “Most of our team either live in Leominster or somewhere in North Central MA, so we really care about the services we are providing and truly promote our mission. These communities have welcomed us with open arms and we are utilizing their suggestions to give back and provide the services that they need.”

“We did our research before opening up in Leominster, she added, “by talking with community members and other community providers about what the need was in Leominster. We found there were resources lacking for children, adolescents, substance use and mental health. We are open later in the evening until 7pm so that working families and kids in school have a resource to not interrupt their work/school day. We offer both in person and telehealth groups, counseling, case management, family/couples counseling and medication management. We are very involved in supporting the community, because we live here and want to see our community thrive.”

Dellasanta describes Inspire’s workplace culture as “employee centered – meaning we focus on making sure that our mission not only applies to our clients and communities, it also extends to our team. We all need to be more focused on wellness in all areas.”

In promoting the Center’s services, Dellasanta credits their Marketing Director, as well as social media and being “face to face with people to let them know what we are offering and if there are other suggestions that they feel would benefit the community.”

“We pride ourselves on having someone always pick up the phone when you call us, no automated recording, if we are not available and you leave a voicemail someone calls you back within 24 hours,” she added.

Dellasanta credits much of the Center’s success to CEO Melissa Lucas who she says “has been an amazing source of strength for us since she took over and has completely overhauled how we function as a team. We would not have the amazing team we have right now if it were not for her leadership.”