Named one of “fifty essential summer music festivals” by The New York Times, Green River Festival celebrates thirty three years with three days of music: a spectacular lineup of over 40 acts on four stages, the best in local food, beer and wine, handmade crafts, a wide array of kid's activities, camping, and hot air balloon rides and a balloon illumination, for Western Massachusetts' largest outdoor event of the summer. This is the only music festival in the country that features hot air balloons.
This week the Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism (MOTT) will roll out the FY2020 Tourism Marketing Grant application. Many local businesses and residents don't realize the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce also serves as the Franklin County Regional Tourism Council (RTC). Being an RTC means that the Chamber applies for and manages a state grant designed to promote tourism in the Commonwealth. Here in Franklin County we have identified our best tourism assets as outdoor recreation, craft beverages and arts and culture with our target market being within a day's driving distance.
Each year we provide MOTT with a detailed marketing plan on how best to draw tourists to Franklin County including promoting many events such as CiderDays, the Green River Festival, and Crafts of Colrain, as well as plans to draw people to the wonderful opportunities we have for outdoor recreation such as skiing, river sports, hiking, fishing and golfing. We strive to attract people to the quaint New England charm of Shelburne Falls, the bustling art scene of Turners Falls, the beautiful serenity of Northfield and the historic significance of Deerfield.
But why don't you see these efforts? The answer is simple. One stipulation of the grant is that all of our marketing and publicity efforts happen outside a 50 mile radius of Franklin County. And what do these efforts look like? We use all forms of promotion in our efforts - digital marketing, print marketing, radio ads, and even billboards. We are proud to partner with businesses like Berkshire East and Zoar Outdoor at trade shows like the one we will be attending at MGM Grand/Springfield in late April. We produce a guidebook that is distributed along the eastern seaboard as well as far north as Canada and as far south as Florida. We are happy to report that all of these efforts benefit many other Franklin County businesses as well such as lodging, retail, and restaurants. We are excited to get started on our next grant application and will make sure we show the rest of New England how much Franklin County has to offer to its visitors!
February Theme for Franklin County Chamber of Commerce’s 100th Anniversary: Business and Community Partnerships with High Schools
This month’s #FCCC100 theme explores the ways we can partner with Franklin County public and private high schools. We will host a special breakfast panel with school representatives and businesses, hold a workshop on specific related opportunities available, feature a school – community resource page on our website, along with other activities.
The February 22nd breakfast will feature a panel of education and business representatives from the public and private sector, who will highlight school-business partnerships that are vital to the cultural health and economic diversity of our region.
The panel, moderated by Shannon Doran, the Connecting Activities School-to-Career Coordinator from MassHire Franklin Hampshire Workforce Board, will include:
• Yogesh Malik, Premier Banker & Infinex Investment Executive at Greenfield Savings Bank
• Jocelyn Croft, Coordinator of Vocational and Technical Education at Franklin County Technical School (FCTS)
• Stephanie Luebbers, Head of School at Stoneleigh-Burnham School
• Colleen Moynihan, New England Business Association (NEBA)
• Rebecca Bannasch, the Employer Partnership Specialist Community Action Youth Programs
In particular, professionals will gain insight into how they can collaborate with schools and community partners to co-create a workforce that has the employability and technical skills needed in today's workplace. As important as employer engagement is for the growth and success of in-school youth, it has a correlating impact on the growth and success of the local and state economy. Whether you are or are not hiring youth or collaborating with schools on career development education, please come be a part of this conversation and the solution. This topic is chock full of hope and potential for our region.
Thanks to our breakfast sponsor - MassHire Franklin Hampshire Regional Workforce Board and Greenfield Savings Bank.
Stay After Workshop - How to Create a Win-Win Youth Internship (or Job)
Happening directly after the breakfast, this workshop is designed to serve as a practical "nuts and bolts" follow-up to the breakfast panel for professionals who are interested in creating win-win internships for youth - short or long-term, paid or unpaid. Please join us if you would like to identify next steps, learn about useful tools, and get direct support in developing internships.
During this workshop, professionals will learn about services available to employers working with youth. They will also be introduced to a number of time saving and quality increasing tools. This includes the easy-to-use MA Work-Based Learning Plan (WBLP), which has been used to design and evaluate thousands of youth internships and jobs across the state. Participants will also get some examples of highly teachable, easy-to-delegate entry-level technical skills that can be included in internship/job descriptions. Furthermore, employers will get a quick introduction to employer resources at www.fhyouth.org as well as other useful online resources.
At the end of the workshop, Shannon will be available to provide assistance with next steps and/or scheduling a (free) youth internship consultation. RSVP for this workshop here.
2019 is the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce’s 100th Anniversary year and we are dedicating each month to a theme of importance for Franklin County. We kicked off the celebration with a breakfast featuring veteran Greenfield Recorder reporter, Richie Davis, who discussed the history of Greenfield Board of Trade, which became incorporated in 1919 as Greenfield Chamber of Commerce. He included some relative info about circumstances locally and globally and share highlights of news items over his past forty years reporting for The Recorder. We also honored members who have been with us for 100 years including Eversource Energy, Berkshire Gas, Wilson’s Department Store, WHAI, and the Greenfield Recorder.
Below are the themes for the year which we will be celebrating at our breakfasts, Business After Hours, and with special events and information. Please join us in using #FCCC100 when posting about the anniversary events on social media!
January: 100th Anniversary Kick-Off
February: Business and Community Partnerships with High Schools
March: Transportation: Roads, Bridges, and Trains for Franklin County
April: Celebrating the Contribution of Today’s Immigrants
May: Celebrating Entrepreneurs
June: Breath of Fresh Air: Outdoor Recreation
July: Sense of Place & Placemaking: Historical and Cultural Organizations
September: Service & non-profit organizations
November: Apples & Cider Days (25th Anniversary Year for Festival)
The Berkshire Gas Company (“Berkshire” or the “Company”), in consultation with the
Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources (“DOER”), is making available grant funds
(“Settlement Funds”) in the aggregate amount of one million dollars ($1,000,000). The Settlement
Funds will be allocated for jobs, economic development, or alternative heating programs for
municipal owned buildings, low-income and moderate-income residential consumers, or
residences or businesses impacted by the Berkshire moratorium on new or expanded gas service
interconnections, as determined by DOER. The focus of the grant funding shall be on alternative
heating programs for municipalities, businesses and non-profit or economic development agencies
that utilize alternative heating technologies, as further described herein. The DOER shall review
all grant applications for completeness and eligibility in consultation with the Company and may,
at its sole discretion, award grants to applicants (“Applicant”) of eligible projects (“Project”) in
Berkshire’s Eastern Division (as defined below). Berkshire shall assist with publication of this
request for proposals (“RFP”), be responsible for, and make the actual grant payments to Projects
that receive grants as directed by the DOER. Projects that are awarded a grant will execute
documentation with DOER, as DOER shall have the responsibility to monitor such Projects,
determine eligibility for payment and the completion of required deliverables and the Company
shall be responsible for paying the grants, as directed by DOER. The Settlement Funds for this
grant program shall be provided by Berkshire pursuant to the Settlement Agreement.
The following entities shall be eligible for grants awarded pursuant to this RFP: (i) businesses;
(ii) municipalities and other local government entities such as regional public safety or school
districts; (iii) economic development agencies; and (iv) other non-profit agencies that provide
services to low and moderate income residents (collectively, the “Applicants”).
An Applicant must submit a proposal for Project(s) located in the eight Eastern Division
communities of the Company’s service territory and explain how it was affected by the Company’s
gas moratorium. The Eastern Division of the Company’s service territory consists of the following
municipalities: Amherst, Deerfield, Greenfield, Hadley, Hatfield, Montague, Sunderland, and
Whately (collectively, the “Eastern Division”). Grants shall be awarded to support Projects that
promote or use alternative heating programs. DOER has determined that eligible alternative
heating programs must utilize one or more of the following alternative heating technologies:
- biomass heating systems (excluding biomass stoves);
- air source and ground source heat pumps;
- solar thermal;
- anaerobic digesters; or
- deep geothermal.
For the purposes of this RFP, eligible Projects must satisfy one of the following requirements:
1) Jobs and Economic Development – Projects shall support job retention or job creation by
allowing for the use of alternative heating technologies for:
- new construction:
- the expansion of facilities; or
- the replacement of inefficient building heating systems.
2) Municipal Owned Buildings – Projects include local government facilities such as those
owned by regional school or public safety districts. Projects shall provide for the
installation of alternative heating technologies for:
- i. new construction;
- the expansion of facilities; or
- the replacement of inefficient building heating systems.
3) Low and Moderate Income Residential Customers – Projects must provide support to low
and moderate income populations through programs that utilize alternative heating
- replace residential heating systems;
- allow for the construction of new residential units; ort
- hat provides secondary heating for residential units.
To apply for a grant, applicants must submit a completed application (Appendix A) along with
Data Requirements (Appendix B) in a PDF file format to:
Renewable Energy Program Coordinator
Massachusetts Department of Energy Resources
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 1020
Boston, MA 02114
With a copy to:
Christopher C. Farrell, Manager,
Corporate Communications and Government Relations
The Berkshire Gas Company
115 Cheshire Road
Pittsfield, MA 01201-1879
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis (“first come, first serve”) until all Settlement
Funds have been expended. DOER anticipates completing the award of funds by March 1,
2019. Applicants whose Projects provide a cost share component and which may include funds
from other governmental or non-governmental entities will be given preference. Grant moneys
shall not be used to pay for feasibility studies, decommissioning, removal of old systems, or
costs for compliance. The application and data submission requirements detailed in Appendices
A and B should be filled out with as much detail as possible when submitting an application.
Neither DOER nor Berkshire makes any promise or representation as to the availability of
Settlement Funds for any Applicant or the suitability or eligibility of any Project. Neither the
DOER nor Berkshire makes any representation, warranty or promise as to the appropriateness,
quality, suitability, or efficacy of any eligible technology or its suitability or effectiveness for use
or installation in Applicants’ premises or facilities. DOER and Berkshire reserve the right to
provide grant funding for all or any portion of a project submitted in connection with this RFP.
A selected applicant will be responsible for:
- Completing the Project according to a timeline specified in the bid and grant
documentation. No Settlement Funds will be disbursed to a successful Applicant
until such Applicant certifies to the DOER that its eligible Project is complete and
operational or has met other milestones as agreed to in its grant documentation. A
Project awarded a grant must be completed within 18 months from the date of
- Allowing representatives from the DOER and Berkshire access to the Project site or sites
upon reasonable request including in order to confirm completion of all eligible
deliverables associated with the Project.
- Promptly informing the DOER of any changes to the Project scope or timeline.
• Filing quarterly progress reports with the DOER.
- Such other deliverables and responsibilities as shall be provided in any grant
Head to Franklin County and leave life behind for the afternoon or weekend. Take to the rolling hills, lush river valleys, and charming towns of western Massachusetts to unwind. Here are eight transcendent views to start you off. Read more
Franklin County sugarhouses are yielding the first taste of spring as the maple sap begins to flow. Whether you kick off spring with breakfast at a sugarhouse or pick up fresh maple products including syrup, candy, spread, or other maple items, there are delicious options awaiting. Read more
With Franklin County’s rural landscape featuring more than 75 percent of its acreage in forest and open land, it is no surprise that winter recreation abounds. Whether your destination is a resort or multi-activity facility or a quiet pond, the most rural county in Massachusetts is sure to please. From downhill and cross-country skiing to snowshoeing and snowmobiling, we’ve got your winter adventures covered. Bring your sports equipment and hit one of the many state forest trails, or travel light and check out the full-service options at Berkshire East or Northfield Mountain. Make it a weekend and stay at a cozy inn or rustic cabin and dine out for delicious meals of locally sourced foods and be sure to sample local micro brews, wine, or spirits. Read more