Author Archives: ktowle

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Massachusetts #1 in Innovation…Again!




On March 1st, the Massachusetts Technology Collaborative launched the 20th Anniversary edition of the Index of Massachusetts Innovation Economy.  Last week, we joined innovation leaders at the Massachusetts State House, where our Executive Director Tim Connelly highlighted the key findings from the Index and noted how MassTech’s programs are helping drive critical areas for the innovation economy, including support for R&D infrastructure and talent development. 
The past twenty years of tracking these key economic indicators in the Index demonstrates that the Commonwealth’s enduring economic strength stems from our talented workforce and capacity for development of new innovations. The Index finds that despite the many challenges our economy has faced over the two decades, Massachusetts remains a global hub for new research and development in a wide range of industries. 
Below are some of the key findings from the Index and a link to download the full report.

2016 Index Highlights
Venture capital grew by 25% in 2015

Experienced steady 2.3% job growth

2nd highest overall level of R&D funding in the country in 2014

2nd in the LTS for Small Business Innovation and Research/Technology Transfer award dollars
2,698 STEM degrees per million residents

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National Entrepreneurship Week

SBA Region One Review

Brought to you by the U.S. Small Business Administration

It’s National Entrepreneurship Week….

As part of National Entrepreneurship Week (February 20-24), SBA will be sharing tips and tricks geared towards young entrepreneurs. If you’re thinking about starting or growing a business, check out the following resources:

National Entrepreneurship Week Build a Business Plan

Business plans are essential in helping entrepreneurs prepare, manage and direct their businesses, however, creating a plan can be intimidating and time consuming. Use SBA’s Business Plan Tool to help you get started.

National Entrepreneurship Week Mentorship

Entrepreneurs and startups are more likely to succeed with the help of a mentor. That may not come as a surprise – a mentor brings with him or her a wealth of knowledge, experience and insight that you won’t find anywhere else. Find a mentor through SBA’s network of resource partners.

National Entrepreneurship Week Starting a Business Online Course

SBA’s online course geared towards young entrepreneurs includes the basics of creating and financing a successful business. You will learn how to evaluate your ideas, choose the best financing options and legally register your business. Launch the course today.

National Entrepreneurship Week Crowdfunding Online Course

Increasingly, crowdfunding is becoming a popular way for people to get startup financing for their businesses. It works through a collective cooperation of people who network and pool their money and resources together, usually online, to support efforts initiated by others. Launch SBA’s course for an overview of crowdfunding.

6 Ways to Use Entrepreneurship Week to Grow Your Business

National Entrepreneurship Week (link is external) takes place this year from February 20-24. Microsoft is the major sponsor and organizer of the weeklong celebration of entrepreneurship. But other community supporters like Wix, Yelp, Square and LinkedIn are also helping to make the event happen.

So what exactly is National Entrepreneurship Week? It’s a weeklong celebration that offers a series of local events along with information and resources all aimed at helping entrepreneurs grow their businesses.

Because there are so many different events and opportunities throughout the week, there are many different ways you can use National Entrepreneurship Week to benefit your small business. Here are some tips for getting the most benefit for your small business.

  1. Find organizations that are providing information for entrepreneurship week, and check out their information
  2. Find companies observing entrepreneurship week with special offers for products and services
  3. Attend a workshop during entrepreneurship week in your local area
  4. Use it as a hook in your own business to make an offer
  5. Share with your team, especially management, resources you discover through entrepreneurship week events
  6. Use the hashtag for this week #wininbiz to develop your own special promotion

Read the complete SBA Blog here.

Region One Staffing Changes

Image of Acting RA Bob Nelson

Bob Nelson, District Director of the Massachusetts District Office has been named Acting Regional Administrator for New England. He is responsible for oversight of SBA’s programs and services in the states of Connecticut, Maine Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont.

Image of Maine DD Amy Bassett

Congratulations to Amy Bassett who was recently named as District Director for the Maine District Office. Ms. Bassett has worked for the SBA for 26 years in the New Hampshire District Office and most recently served as the deputy district director.

Ms. Bassett, a native of New Hampshire, began her career with the New Hampshire District Office of the SBA in 1990 and held various positions during that time including deputy district director and lender relations specialist.  She succeeds Marilyn Geroux who retired on January 3rd after more than 47 years of dedicated service all with the Maine district office.

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February 17th, 2017
BOSTON – Representative Paul W. Mark (D- Peru) and Representative Gailanne Cariddi (D – North Adams) announce today that they have been named Chair of the House Committee on Redistricting and the Joint Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, & Agriculture, respectively, for the 190th General Court. Rep. Mark said, “I am grateful to Speaker DeLeo, the House leadership, and all of my colleagues for the opportunity to serve as chair of this important committee. It is a great honor to be chosen to serve as chair of a committee after only six years in the House. My district has not had a chairmanship since the 1980’s, and there aren’t many subjects more important to western Massachusetts than ensuring that our voices are properly represented at the State House and in Washington, DC.”
Representative Cariddi also expressed her gratitude to House leadership and is looking forward to commencing her Chairwoman duties for the Joint Committee on the Environment, Natural Resources & Agriculture, “This committee will be considering many important issues, especially relating to rural areas. It is important that Berkshire County and Western Mass have a voice on these issues. I’m honored to be chosen and excited to get to work.”. The Committee on Environment, Natural Resources, & Agriculture is responsible for considering all matters concerning the Division of Conservation and Recreation’ natural resources and the environment; air, water, and noise pollution and control; hunting and fishing; conservation; sewerage; agricultural and farming issues, and such other matters as may be referred.
“Conservation, recreation, and agriculture are part of the culture of Western Massachusetts. Decisions on this issues disproportionately affect the people of the region compared to other parts of the Commonwealth. I’m looking forward to being a voice for Western Mass.,” said Rep. Cariddi.
The Committee on Redistricting is charged with reviewing and implementing recommendations issued by the 2010 Special Joint Committee on Redistricting as well as preparing for and establishing best practices for the upcoming legislative division of the Commonwealth under the U.S. Constitution and under Article CI of Amendments to the Massachusetts Constitution. The committee also serves in an advisory capacity to other joint committees that will consider legislation that could impact the redistricting process.
Rep. Mark added, “Redistricting directly impacts the voice of the people and how they will be represented in both the Massachusetts General Court and the U.S. Congress. It’s a process that must be undertaken fairly, deliberately, and with time for public comment in order to ensure that every region, and every person, has equal representation under the law.”
In the Massachusetts House, Democratic members are nominated for committee assignments and chairmanships by House Speaker Robert DeLeo (D-Winthrop). Those nominations are then considered and ratified by the members of the House of Representatives.
Representative Mark and Representative Cariddi are both commencing their fourth terms in the Massachusetts State Legislature.  Descriptions of all Joint Committees and Standing Senate Committees, as well as the matters pending before them, can be viewed online:…

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UPDATE: Due to the inclement weather forecast for the area tonight, we are POSTPONING tonight’s “There Ought to be a Law” meeting scheduled at Adams Town Hall. The meeting will instead be held on MONDAY, FEBRUARY 6th in the Select Board Meeting Room at Adams Town Hall.

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ADAMS – After three years of darkness, the Veterans War Memorial tower is shining anew.

At 11 a.m. on Veterans Day – the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month – the beacon at the summit of Mount Greylock was illuminated, said Mike Case, western regional director of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.

And it has never burned so brightly.

There are now 12 banks of six light emitting diodes. Each diode emits 27,000 lumens, for a grand total of 1.9 million lumens. It is four times brighter than it was when it was shut down in 2013. Under the right weather conditions, the beacon is visible from 75 miles away.

Indeed, a ranger on Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire reported spotting the new beacon, Case said.

The lighting coincided with the seasonal shut down of the the largely completed, $2.8 million tower restoration project.

Case said there is still “about a week’s worth of cosmetic work to be done,” which will be completed after the roads reopen in the spring.

The tower looks “brand new,” he said. The rotunda is now easily accessible, and the moisture control system is effectively negating the water issues that had caused the tower to decay through decades.

After the reopening in the spring, Case said, “you’ll be able to walk right inside. Everything has been cleaned and polished. It’s absolutely gorgeous.”

The tower was closed in 2013 after water infiltration caused cracking of the exterior stonework and degradation of the interior walls, causing pieces to start falling from the walls and ceilings.

It has been plagued by chronic moisture problems caused by the endless freezing, expanding, thawing, contracting and condensation that comes with extreme weather and temperature changes.

Every winter, the south side of the tower is completely coated by ice, or hard rime frost, in a natural freezing and thawing cycle that is hard to protect against. Moisture creeps into the cracks in the granite stonework and freezes, causing the smaller cracks to grow and allowing moisture through to the interior.

The elevation at the summit of Mount Greylock is 3,491 feet – the highest point in the state. Mount Greylock’s summit is the only subarctic, or boreal, climate in southern New England.

Renovation work began in 2015. Before work stopped in October of that year, workers were able to remove interior finishes needing replacement, repoint masonry on terrace walls, clean the exterior masonry on the tower, and set new concrete on the terrace for the new handicapped-accessible front door.

Allegrone Construction of Pittsfield was the primary contractor on the project.

The 93-foot-tall granite stone tower was constructed in 1932. The water infiltration issues prompted a total reconstruction in the 1970s and major repairs in the 1990s.

This round of repairs includes the resealing of the exterior, repair of ventilation fans, and the installation of a new dehumidification system. In combination with sealants developed specifically for this project and applied between the exterior granite stones, moisture inside the tower will be significantly reduced, hopefully preventing further long-term damage.

Case said the moisture control apparatus is working quite well.

“After we got it running, there was not a drop of water in the tower and there hasn’t been any since,” he said.

There was also a cap installed on the railing of the spiral stairway leading to the observation deck at the top of the tower, as well as new lighting in the memorial and the stairwell.

The project is funded through an $800,000 federal grant, a $1.4 million commitment from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, and nearly $600,000 from the Department of Conservation and Recreation.

Not including the tower repairs, Mount Greylock has seen $22.5 million in improvements since 2006, including the rehabilitation of its historic parkways, the rehabilitation of its visitor center, and interpretive development.

The tower was built with granite blocks in 1931-32 for about $200,000. It was designed by Boston-based architects Maginnis & Walsh, and built by contractors J.G. Roy & Son of Springfield.

It was dedicated in 1933, according to the Mount Greylock State Reservation website, as “a tribute to courage, endurance, loyalty and self-sacrifice, wherever these qualities have been shown, by the state’s men and women in the uniform of the state or nation,”

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Program to Fund Legal Aid Groups and Nonprofits Focused on Helping Massachusetts Veterans
BOSTON – On Veterans Day, Attorney General Maura Healey announced a new grant program focused on providing legal assistance to veterans transitioning back into civilian life.
The Legal Assistance for Our Veterans Grant program will provide assistance to veterans seeking health benefits through the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) healthcare system, housing and education assistance, discharge status upgrades, general legal representation and veteran-specific employment.
“Our veterans and service members have dedicated their lives to serving our country and keeping us all safe, and we need to do everything we can to make sure that they have the representation and tools needed to transition back into civilian life,” AG Healey said. “Our goal with this grant is to improve services for veterans and service members in Massachusetts and ensure access to all the benefits and protections they have earned.”
The grant program will utilize $355,000 from a judgment the AG’s Consumer Protection Division secured against Verizon and Sprint. The AG’s Office will give special consideration to applicants who can demonstrate that the grant will be used to serve underrepresented veteran populations including women, minorities and LGBTQ veterans.
The Legal Assistance for Our Veterans Grant is open to existing legal aid groups or nonprofit organizations with experience working with veterans, and with a focus on increasing access to services for veterans.
This is a two-year grant program that will start on Feb. 1, 2017 and will end on Jan. 21, 2019. Interested applicants can visit the AG’s website, for more information and for application instructions. Applications must be received by 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 16, 2016.

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Attorney General Maura Healey has announced the creation of a new hotline to report incidents of bias-motivated threats, harassment or violence.  Citizens can call the Attorney General’s office at 1-800-994-3228 to report an incident, or they can fill out a civil rights complaint form at this link, or contact the office through one of their social media platforms, including Facebook and Twitter

Rep. Cariddi on Facebook