Pacers fall in 2OT to Commerce at Sectional semifinalsTitle (optional)

March 8, 2012 by

 

SPRINGFIELD– The tournament moved to a neutral site atAmericanInternationalCollegeand for theChicopeeboys’ basketball team, their inspiring run came to an end with a 60-53 loss to Commerce in double overtime.

 

The Pacers, seeded 7th had just knocked off 2nd ranked Putnam in their gym.  They began their semifinal with 3rd seeded Commerce by jumping out to an early lead.  After the first quarter, the margin was 9 points.  But the Red Raiders came back quickly and before the second quarter was half over, they led by 3.  The teams traded leads for the rest of the quarter and it was a two point difference at the half.  Great defense and some timely scoring in the third putChicopee on top as the game entered the fourth quarter.  The Pacers added to their lead in the opening of the fourth, but Commerce would not go away, even after their leading scorer in the game fouled out with nearly 5 minutes to go.  A three pointer in the final minute tied the game and sent it to overtime.

 

After four minutes of overtime, the score was still tied, but the Pacers had lost their top player, Jesus Sanchez to fouls with just over a minute and half to go in the first overtime.  Commerce got the early lead in the second extra frame, butChicopeeclosed to one with two minutes to go.  They would get no closer, as the Raiders went 5 for 6 from the line and added a trey to pull away for the 60-53 win.

 

The Pacers took control at the outset, scoring the game’s first 7 points.  Less than a minute into the game, Jesus Sanchez scored on a layup and then after a Raiders miss, Jovan Jackson buried a jumper.  A minute and a half passed beforeChicopeegot the next score, a Sanchez three pointer to make it 7-0.  It was another minute before Commerce finally got on the board with a layup by Jeimy Citron.  Nick Guerriero answered that in short order, with a layup of his own and when he completed the three point play with a free throw, theChicopeelead was 10-2.  Shadiar Thompson’s put back was answered by aJacksontrey with a minute to go.  The first quarter ended with a 13-4Chicopeelead.

 

The Red Raiders came alive in the second quarter, helped a lot by trips to the foul line.  Thompson, who was 0-2 in the first quarter was fouled just 18 seconds in and missed the first.  Then he hit the second and two more thirty seconds later.  He followed that with a turnaround and suddenly, it was a four point game.  AChicopeetimeout did not stem the tide as Kori Wilson followed with a jumper; then two from the line by Alex Lopez tied the game.  A minute later, Lopez hit a three and it was 12 unanswered Commerce points and a 16-13 lead.  Sanchez quickly got those two points back at the line and Lopez responded with 1 out of 2.  A Sanchez trey gaveChicopeethe lead at 18-17 and then over the next minute and twenty seconds he scored 4 more points to put the Pacers up by 5 points with 2:12 to go in the half.  The Raiders finsished out the quarter scoring the final 7 points—a basket by Cintron; a three by Antonio Cruzado and another basket by Cruzado on a goaltending call.  At the break, Commerce had a 24-22, after trailing by 9 at the quarter.  The big difference in the game was at the foul line, whereChicopeewas 3-5, while Commerce had 13 attempts and made 6 of them.  Sanchez led all scorers with 14 points and Thompson had 7 to top Commerce.  The Pacers had held Lopez, the Raider’s leading scorer to 6 through the first 16 minutes.

 

The Commerce run continued into the third quarter with a basket by Akeem Stewart and a free throw by Thompson.  Having scored 10 straight points, Commerce seemed to be taking charge and had a 5 point lead.  Chad Woodfine ended that streak with basket andLouLakequickly followed with a put back to put the Pacers to a point.  And it remained that way for nearly two minutes until Woodfine made a layup and was fouled.  The free throw putChicopeeup by two, but then Thompson responded with a three to give Commerce back the lead at 30-29.  Lake then scored and finished off the three point play with 2:35 to go andChicopeewas back in front by two.  A minute later George Dean buried a three and now it was 5.  With 21 seconds to Thompson made two free throws to end the quarter withChicopeein front, 35-32.

 

Ten seconds in Sanchez hit two from the line and 20 seconds after that, Felix Vega made two free throws to give the Pacers a 7 point lead.  Thompson got two back at the line and before the first minute had passed; the Raiders were back at the line, though they missed them both.  On the second miss, Cintron got the rebound and the baskets to make it 39-36.  A minute later Lopez closed it to one.  Lakeand Guerriero answered that with 4:56 to play to bring it back to 5 points.  Right after the Guerriero basket, Thompson picked up his 5th and fouled out of the game.  Over the next 3 minutes all the scoring came from the line—Antonio Smith made two free throws for Commerce; Lake had two forChicopee; then Smith named one of two at 1:40 to make it a three point game.  With 52 seconds left, Smith buried a three from the top of the key to tie the game.  Neither team was able to score again, though both had ample opportunities, including a last second shot byChicopee.  That sent the game into overtime.

 

Chicopeewon the tap, but Commerce stole the ball and missed. Lakegot the Pacers the lead at 3:20.  Lopez answered 12 seconds later and then after aChicopeemiss, he made one of two from the line.  The teams went back and forth and then with 1:42 left Sanchez fouled out on an offensive foul.  Smith, seconds later hit the second of two free throws to make it a 2 point game.  With 1:12 to playLakeburied a jumper from the corner to deadlock the two teams at 48-48.  It would remain that way, forcing a second overtime.

 

Commerce won the tap and Lopez tapped in a miss to give them a 50-48 lead just nine seconds in. Chicopeemissed and Smith was fouled shooting a three.  He made one of the three foul shots and then 30 seconds later, Dayvon Williams made 1 of 2 from the line to give Commerce a 4 point lead.  Guerriero cut it to a point with a three from the upper right side of the key.  On the next trip down, Smith was fouled and made them both and that was followed by a Lopez three to make it a 57-51 game with a1:03 to play.  The Pacers tried desperately to find an opening to shoot a three, but had to settle for a layup by Dean with 36 seconds left.  At four points, it was still a two possession game.  Williams made one of two with 25 seconds left and then after a Pacer miss, Lopez iced the game with two more from the line for the 60-53 final.

 

In the end the 7 for 11 that Commerce had in the second overtime was the difference in the game.

 

Sanchez finsished with 16 points, whileLakehad 12, all in the second half and in overtime.  Guerriero finished with 8 and it was 5 apiece for Jackson, Dean and Woodfine.  Vega scored two.  Lopez came alive in overtime and scored 10 of his game high 18 in the two extra frames.  Thompson had 15 and Smith scored 10, all coming in the fourth quarter or later.  Cintron had six, Cruzado five and it was 2 each for Williams, Stewart and Wilson.

Pacers fall in 2OT to Commerce at Sectional semifinals

March 8, 2012 by

By Nate Rosenthal, Chicopee Register

SPRINGFIELD – The tournament moved to a neutral site at American International College and for the Chicopee boys’ basketball team, their inspiring run came to an end with a 60-53 loss to Commerce in double overtime.

 

The Pacers, seeded 7th had just knocked off 2nd ranked Putnam in their gym.  They began their semifinal with 3rd seeded Commerce by jumping out to an early lead.  After the first quarter, the margin was 9 points.  But the Red Raiders came back quickly and before the second quarter was half over, they led by 3.  The teams traded leads for the rest of the quarter and it was a two point difference at the half.  Great defense and some timely scoring in the third put Chicopee on top as the game entered the fourth quarter.  The Pacers added to their lead in the opening of the fourth, but Commerce would not go away, even after their leading scorer in the game fouled out with nearly 5 minutes to go.  A three pointer in the final minute tied the game and sent it to overtime.

 

After four minutes of overtime, the score was still tied, but the Pacers had lost their top player, Jesus Sanchez to fouls with just over a minute and half to go in the first overtime.  Commerce got the early lead in the second extra frame, but Chicopee closed to one with two minutes to go.  They would get no closer, as the Raiders went 5 for 6 from the line and added a trey to pull away for the 60-53 win.

 

The Pacers took control at the outset, scoring the game’s first 7 points.  Less than a minute into the game, Jesus Sanchez scored on a layup and then after a Raiders miss, Jovan Jackson buried a jumper.  A minute and a half passed before Chicopee got the next score, a Sanchez three pointer to make it 7-0.  It was another minute before Commerce finally got on the board with a layup by Jeimy Citron.  Nick Guerriero answered that in short order, with a layup of his own and when he completed the three point play with a free throw, the Chicopee lead was 10-2.  Shadiar Thompson’s put back was answered by a Jackson trey with a minute to go.  The first quarter ended with a 13-4 Chicopee lead.

 

The Red Raiders came alive in the second quarter, helped a lot by trips to the foul line.  Thompson, who was 0-2 in the first quarter was fouled just 18 seconds in and missed the first.  Then he hit the second and two more thirty seconds later.  He followed that with a turnaround and suddenly, it was a four point game.  A Chicopee timeout did not stem the tide as Kori Wilson followed with a jumper; then two from the line by Alex Lopez tied the game.  A minute later, Lopez hit a three and it was 12 unanswered Commerce points and a 16-13 lead.  Sanchez quickly got those two points back at the line and Lopez responded with 1 out of 2.  A Sanchez trey gave Chicopee the lead at 18-17 and then over the next minute and twenty seconds he scored 4 more points to put the Pacers up by 5 points with 2:12 to go in the half.  The Raiders finsished out the quarter scoring the final 7 points—a basket by Cintron; a three by Antonio Cruzado and another basket by Cruzado on a goaltending call.  At the break, Commerce had a 24-22, after trailing by 9 at the quarter.  The big difference in the game was at the foul line, where Chicopee was 3-5, while Commerce had 13 attempts and made 6 of them.  Sanchez led all scorers with 14 points and Thompson had 7 to top Commerce.  The Pacers had held Lopez, the Raider’s leading scorer to 6 through the first 16 minutes.

 

The Commerce run continued into the third quarter with a basket by Akeem Stewart and a free throw by Thompson.  Having scored 10 straight points, Commerce seemed to be taking charge and had a 5 point lead.  Chad Woodfine ended that streak with basket and Lou Lake quickly followed with a put back to put the Pacers to a point.  And it remained that way for nearly two minutes until Woodfine made a layup and was fouled.  The free throw put Chicopee up by two, but then Thompson responded with a three to give Commerce back the lead at 30-29.  Lake then scored and finished off the three point play with 2:35 to go and Chicopee was back in front by two.  A minute later George Dean buried a three and now it was 5.  With 21 seconds to Thompson made two free throws to end the quarter with Chicopee in front, 35-32.

 

Ten seconds in Sanchez hit two from the line and 20 seconds after that, Felix Vega made two free throws to give the Pacers a 7 point lead.  Thompson got two back at the line and before the first minute had passed; the Raiders were back at the line, though they missed them both.  On the second miss, Cintron got the rebound and the baskets to make it 39-36.  A minute later Lopez closed it to one.  Lake and Guerriero answered that with 4:56 to play to bring it back to 5 points.  Right after the Guerriero basket, Thompson picked up his 5th and fouled out of the game.  Over the next 3 minutes all the scoring came from the line—Antonio Smith made two free throws for Commerce; Lake had two for Chicopee; then Smith named one of two at 1:40 to make it a three point game.  With 52 seconds left, Smith buried a three from the top of the key to tie the game.  Neither team was able to score again, though both had ample opportunities, including a last second shot by Chicopee.  That sent the game into overtime.

 

Chicopee won the tap, but Commerce stole the ball and missed.  Lake got the Pacers the lead at 3:20.  Lopez answered 12 seconds later and then after a Chicopee miss, he made one of two from the line.  The teams went back and forth and then with 1:42 left Sanchez fouled out on an offensive foul.  Smith, seconds later hit the second of two free throws to make it a 2 point game.  With 1:12 to play Lake buried a jumper from the corner to deadlock the two teams at 48-48.  It would remain that way, forcing a second overtime.

 

Commerce won the tap and Lopez tapped in a miss to give them a 50-48 lead just nine seconds in.  Chicopee missed and Smith was fouled shooting a three.  He made one of the three foul shots and then 30 seconds later, Dayvon Williams made 1 of 2 from the line to give Commerce a 4 point lead.  Guerriero cut it to a point with a three from the upper right side of the key.  On the next trip down, Smith was fouled and made them both and that was followed by a Lopez three to make it a 57-51 game with a1:03 to play.  The Pacers tried desperately to find an opening to shoot a three, but had to settle for a layup by Dean with 36 seconds left.  At four points, it was still a two possession game.  Williams made one of two with 25 seconds left and then after a Pacer miss, Lopez iced the game with two more from the line for the 60-53 final.

 

In the end the 7 for 11 that Commerce had in the second overtime was the difference in the game.

 

Sanchez finsished with 16 points, while Lake had 12, all in the second half and in overtime.  Guerriero finished with 8 and it was 5 apiece for Jackson, Dean and Woodfine.  Vega scored two.  Lopez came alive in overtime and scored 10 of his game high 18 in the two extra frames.  Thompson had 15 and Smith scored 10, all coming in the fourth quarter or later.  Cintron had six, Cruzado five and it was 2 each for Williams, Stewart and Wilson.

 

It was a frustrating end to a great season for the Chicopee team.

 

Two teens tackle problem of hunger in Chicopee

August 18, 2011 by

Two teens tackle problem of hunger in Chicopee

By Kathleen Mitchell
Staff writer

CHICOPEE – Danielle Dobosz and Lisa Mindell are exceptional teenagers. The two Chicopee High School students, who are entering their senior year this fall, have spent four years as junior members on the Board of Directors of Lorraine’s Soup Kitchen and Pantry. They have also devoted countless hours to making a difference in the community and are passionate about helping to raise funds and soliciting help from student volunteers to ensure that no one in the city goes hungry.
“I am very proud of them,” said Al Picard, president of Lorraine’s Board of Directors. “It’s been a joy to watch the transformation of these two young women. They started out wanting to learn more about Lorraine’s and have grown into advocates and full participants on the Board. They continuously engage in community service work in meaningful ways and have helped coordinate fundraisers among their peers, attended them and done extraordinary work. This has become an integral part of their lives and they will both be outstanding community leaders in the future.”
The teens’ interest in Lorraine’s began when they were in the eighth grade at Bellamy Middle School. They are participants in the Resources for Enrichment and Advancement program, known as REACH, which is designed to challenge academically advanced students. The program includes complex projects and problem solving, and they had been given an assignment to identify a problem in the community and come up with a solution.
Their advisor, Irene Czierwiec, had Picard, who was then vice principal at Bellamy and a board member at Lorraines, speak to the class about the soup kitchen and their quest to find a new location after the organization received a notice that they would have to relocate from their home in Chicopee Center.
“Our group of 12 students decided to raise money and awareness about Lorraine’s. We wanted to change the perception people had about their clients and let people know they truly needed help and were going through tough times,” Mindell said.
Dobosz agreed, “We did a lot of research on the stereotypes people have about the soup kitchen’s patrons,” she said. “It bothered us that so many people held stereotypes and that what they believed wasn’t true.” She added that they had visited Lorraines’s, met some of the people who used the facility and saw the empty shelves, as the pantry’s food supply was very low at the time.
Although Callaway Golf had offered the non-profit soup kitchen a piece of land on 170 Pendexter Ave. to use as a site for a new building, a number of neighbors opposed the idea. Opinions were voiced during a public hearing and City Council meeting that Mindell and Dobosz chose to attend.
They were both surprised at the reactions they heard and spoke out in favor of the new location.
“It was quite interesting and a great learning experience to see how Lorraine’s was viewed,” Mindell said. “There wasn’t much support from the neighbors at the time, which shocked us. It really changed how we approached our project. We became advocates, because it seemed as if no else was and we felt the donation of land was an amazing opportunity for Lorraine’s.”
Dobosz concurred. “We really defended the soup kitchen. And after the meeting, we started to get more interested in the project than the rest of our class,” she explained. “It registered that I could do a lot more for them than I had originally thought.”
Picard said neighbors initially had fears and concerns about the soup kitchen’s relocation to Pendexter Avenue. “But over time, their support has grown and is really wonderful. The neighbors are very supportive of our efforts and we are truly blessed with all that they have done for us since we opened this site two years ago,” he said.
When Picard returned to the REACH class after the City Council meeting, he was surprised at the transformation he saw in Mindell and Dobosz, “They had been quiet and soft spoken, but by the second meeting the two of them spoke very vociferously about their experiences at City Council. They wanted to know what else they could do,” he said.
Shortly after, they were invited to join the Board of Directors. The two teens were quiet during their first meetings. But they were active in school, heading up food drives and urging their classmates and sports teams to volunteer for fundraisers. They met with great success, and as their confidence grew and they saw that the adults on the Board truly respected their input and opinions, they became more assertive.
One of their first projects, associated with their eighth grade REACH project, was to organize and hold three neighborhood food drives. “We created flyers and distributed them, then picked all of the food up,” Mindell said.
They have continued to spearhead food drives at Chicopee High School. “We like to make things happen. It’s great to have such an instrumental role. The sports teams at our school do a lot with Lorraine’s and whenever we have an event or need volunteers, we go to the coaches,” Mindell said.
Last Spring, Lorraine’s piggybacked on the annual Parks Department city-wide cleanup effort, with the support of Parks and Recreation Department Superintendent Stanley Walczak, School Superintendent Richard Rege Jr. and Mayor Michael Bissonnette.
Lorraine’s recruited more than 200 students and adults who obtained pledges and helped with the clean-up on April 30 in other areas of the city.
“Lisa and Danielle had their track team there and they also recruited the CHS ladies softball team and the boys’ track team,” Picard said. “There were between 90 and 100 students from Chicopee High School alone.”
Mindell said they have learned a lot from the experience and will continue to be advocates. “Not many young people have the opportunity to be so committed and play such an important role in the community. There is always something we can help out with and we have learned so much about what goes into creating a successful soup kitchen,” she said. “It takes a collaboration of people with different skills and insights. And when you see the faces of the people at Lorraine’s and how thankful they are to get help, it makes you more passionate,” she added. “We are lucky and so we should use our strengths to help others.”
Dobosz said it is rewarding to be a liaison between the school and the soup kitchen and her passion continues to grow. “There are kids who want to volunteer but don’t know about opportunities. Plus, the soup kitchen needs help. And the more I connect with people involved with the kitchen, the more personal and important it has become to me,” said the 17-year-old.

Governor addresses many issues at forum

August 9, 2009 by

By Etta Walsh
Correspondent

CHICOPEE – About 300 people turned out Thursday for the opportunity to speak face-to-face with Governor Deval Patrick, at a town hall-style forum held outdoors in the Chicopee Public Library’s amphitheater.
The forum lasted more than two hours before Patrick’s aides were able to extricate the state’s chief executive from the crowd that continued to surround him, seeking answers to questions driven by personal circumstances that they hoped had policy solutions.
Questions ranged from legalization of marijuana to abstinence-only sex education in public schools, from education reform to environmental policy on harvesting trees from state forests.
It wasn’t until after the forum ended that a news reporter asked Patrick directly if he plans any further tax hikes, to offset the Commonwealth’s tanking revenues, which fell $24 million short of estimates in July.
Patrick said no new tax hikes are planned.
“It’s a crummy time to raise taxes,” he said. “Everybody’s hurting. I certainly can’t see adding to that.” That might mean “very difficult choices” in allocating state funds to programs, “but that’s the times we’re in,” the governor said.
At one point during the question-and-answer period with one participant, who asked for additional funding for legal services for the poor, Patrick said the state’s falling revenues during the current economic downturn made that additional funding unlikely.
He said state revenues this year are $9 billion short of last year, causing steep cuts in spending on human services.
“I know there is a human face behind every one of those decisions,” he said. But even cutting every single state employee from the budget would mean “we’d still have a $1 billion-plus gap.”
“We’re not going to be able to cut our way to a better tomorrow,” he told the crowd. “But there are some early signs that we are heading in the right direction.”
(For more details on the governor’s visit, see the Aug. 20 edition of the Chicopee Register.)

What do you think of the proposal the School Committee is studying which could mandate that all Chicopee students should wear school uniforms?

May 19, 2009 by

The Chicopee Register thinks it’s a good idea. Although it might cause some problems at first, until everyone got used to it, students would be able to pay more attention to their work and less attention to how others were dressed. Most private schools have their students wear uniforms, so why not Chicopee? Having to dress appropriately prepares students for the world of work where they can’t wear sloppy clothing. In addition, reports from Springfield School officials show that adopting a dress uniform code has resulted in good things in their schools.

Federal stimulus money to fast-track sewer improvements

May 15, 2009 by

By Etta Walsh
Correspondent
CHICOPEE – Federal stimulus money will fast-track sewer improvements to the Lorraine Street-McKinstry Avenue area that is periodically hit by severe flooding.
Residents of the area turned out for a public meeting last week that detailed the work that will bring relief from the severe flooding that has homeowners pumping out flooded basements and draining swampy yards after heavy rains.
Between 30 and 40 residents turned out for the meeting, held at the Chicopee Boys and Girls Club on 580 Meadow St., according to Ward 3 City Councilor John Vieau, who represents the district. The city is receiving about $21 million in federal stimulus funds that will finance fast-tracked, “shovel-ready” sewer projects in Chicopee this year.
“A lot of people are really thankful that things have progressed so quickly,” the councilor said. “I’m ecstatic.”
Mayor Michael Bissonnette, Department of Public Works Supervisor Stanley Kulig and Wastewater Treatment Plant Chief Operator Thomas Hamel are all supportive of the sewer project and worked to gain federal stimulus funds for its construction, he said.
Vieau said that last year’s extremely active hurricane season highlighted the flooding problems in the area, which has a history of flooding. One home had to be evacuated when eight feet of water flooded its basement and shorted out the electrical panel, according to Vieau.
“We did have a severe season last year,” Vieau said.
Hamel said the project’s target area includes portions of lower McKinstry and Shaw Park avenues, Meetinghouse Road, and Lorraine, Stedman, Roy, Vivian and Meadow streets.
Hamel said the work will:
• Install 2,500 feet of 60-inch-wide storm-drain pipe on McKinstry Avenue, between Meadow and Chicopee streets, connecting to the separated storm-drain pipe system on Jones Ferry Road, to reduce the magnitude and frequency of sewer back-ups along Meadow Street and its side streets.
• Install 5,000 feet of storm-drain pipe in those neighborhoods, connecting to the storm drain on Meadow Street. Existing separated storm-drain pipes within Sarah Jane Sherman Park and the Stefanik School parking lot will also be connected to the Meadow Street storm-drain system.
“This project will substantially reduce the storm-related overland street flooding and sewer backups within the project area and will also reduce the combined sewage flow that would be treated at the Jones Ferry facility,” Hamel said.
The projects will go out to bid this summer and construction will probably start this autumn, according to Hamel.
The wastewater treatment facility is also collecting information from residents and businesses in the area that have sump pumps or drain systems, so the city can provide a pipe in the street enabling them to hook into the city’s storm water drainage system. For information, call the Wastewater Treatment Facility, 80 Medina St., at 594-3585.
Other sewer projects that are pending in the city include Chicopee Falls, from Wheatland Avenue to East Street, and upper Granby Road.
The city is under a $150 million order from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to separate sewer and storm water pipes throughout the city, to prevent untreated sewage from flowing into the Chicopee and Connecticut rivers.

Efforts underway to establish athletic Hall of Fame

May 11, 2009 by

By Etta Walsh
Correspondent
CHICOPEE – An effort to establish a Hall of Fame, to honor outstanding former public-school athletes, is under way with a June golf tournament to raise funds and a November ceremony set to induct the first members.
The effort is spearheaded by James Blain, director of athletics for Chicopee public schools, who is serving as president of the group. Treasurer is James Raschilla and secretary is Jean McGuire.
“I decided, in my first year, that I wanted to create a Hall of Fame,” said Blain, who became the School Department athletic director in July. “Many, many former athletes have brought pride, honor and distinction to Chicopee.”
Blain said all former star athletes from Chicopee High and Chicopee Comprehensive High schools are eligible for the Hall of Fame. Two plaques, with star athletes’ names engraved, will be mounted outside the gymnasiums of both schools, he said.
And the effort will also recognize the contributions made by coaches and those who have contributed to school sports, “those who have been advocates for kids,” he said.
Athletes must have graduated from CHS or Comp at least 10 years ago, to be included in the Hall of Fame, he said.
Coaches must have had “substantial impact” on their student athletes, both on and off the playing fields, and contributors must have shown “significant support” for interscholastic programs, he said.
More than 100 nominees have been suggested for the Hall of Fame and volunteers are combing through the paperwork now, with between 45 and 60 expected to be chosen as the first inductees, Blain said.
A Nov. 13 induction ceremony will be held at the Castle of Knights, 1599 Memorial Dr., he said.
A golf tournament, the sole source of fundraising for the effort to establish the Hall of Fame, will be held June 20 at Chicopee Country Club, Blain said.
His committee estimates it will need $10,000 to create the Hall of Fame, purchase plaques for each inductee, and mount the wall plaques at each high school, he said.
Foursomes cost $100 per golfer, including carts, T-shirts and lunch. Space is limited to 36 foursomes.
Sponsorships are also available, for $700, $600 and $500, which includes foursomes, carts, greens fees, lunch on the course, an after-tournament banquet, T-shirts and recognition for sponsoring organizations at specific tees.
Tee box sponsorships are available for $100.
Check-in deadline for the tournament is at noon, with a 12:30 p.m. shotgun start, he said.
Cost to attend the after-tournament banquet only, at American Legion Post 452, 43 Exchange St., is $20.
Tournament applications are due June 1. For information and applications, call Blain at Chicopee High, 594-3574, or email him at jblain@chicopee.mec.edu.

Westover breaks ground for Navy Reserve Seebees building

April 30, 2009 by

By Etta Walsh
Correspondent
CHICOPEE – Yet another new structure is under construction at Westover Air Reserve Base, this time a $6.8 million headquarters for Navy Reserve Seabees.
Last year, the base broke ground for a $31.4 million Armed Services Reserve Center, to consolidate operations from several locations to Westover.
The newest addition to the base is the $6.8 million headquarters for the Navy Reserve Seabees, which will house 550 reservists from the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 27, along with 14 active-duty personnel who are relocating from Brunswick Naval Air Station, Maine, which will close in 2011.
Congress approved the construction funds last year.
The battalion, one of 12 reserve mobile construction battalions in the country, provides support to military units, particularly the U.S. Marine Corps. As of last October, the battalion had deployed 500 personnel throughout the Middle East in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Battalion 27 has detachments conducting military drills at 10 Navy Operational Support Centers in seven states throughout New England and upstate New York.
Attending last week’s groundbreaking ceremony were Col. Robert Swain, commander of Westover’s 439th Airlift Wing; Mayor Michael Bissonnette; James Robbins, commander of the Civil Engineer Corps; and Kevin Kennedy, aide to U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal, D-Springfield.
The new construction at the base is due to the decision of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure Commission to close and consolidate military operations throughout the United States.
The Westover expansion includes the transfer of all military operations from Bradley International Airport in Hartford, Conn., and Barnes Municipal Airport in Westfield. The 103rd Airlift Wing will remain at Bradley.
Barnes National Guard Air Base, also in Westfield, home to the 104rd Airlift Wing, remains in operation.
The new Armed Forces Reserve Center will house up to 1,600 personnel from Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy Reserve operations. The base will also host the Massachusetts Army National Guard.
That new center is expected to open this summer or fall.
Westover’s 2,500 acres make it the largest Air Reserve Base in the country and the closest to Europe.
In addition to housing the 439th Airlift Wing, the base is also home to several other military tenants including Marine Air Support Squadron Six; Marine Machine Gun Platoon; 4thMarine Aircraft Wing Reserve Training Center; the U.S. Armed Forces Reserve Training Center; a Reserve Readiness and Mobility Squadron, Marines Machine Gun/Anti-Terrorism Platoon; the U.S. Army Reserve 226th Transportation Company; and the Springfield Military Entrance Processing Station.

Westover Air Reserve Base, UMASS plan collaborations with Job Corps

April 23, 2009 by

By Etta Walsh
Correspondent
CHICOPEE – The commander of Westover Air Reserve Base thinks he can make his military budget go farther if he can work out a deal with Westover Job Corps to use students at the federally funded job-training program to do some work at the base.
Col. Bob Swain, commander of the 439th Airlift Wing, said students at the Johnson Road Job Corps center are training in the building trades, culinary crafts and computer systems – skills that could be put to good use at the largest Air Reserve base in the country.
Job Corps Director Curtis Price said he is interested in Swain’s proposal for collaboration, which the commander voiced at last week’s luncheon of the Job Corps’ Community Relations Council.
“I look forward to working with you,” Price told Swain.
Swain said even though the Job Corps is located on former Westover base property, declared surplus many years ago, there is little interaction between the base and the job-training program.
“It’s like we’re neighbors who don’t get to know each other,” Swain said. The commander said he is unsure what shape collaboration would take, or how it would be accomplished. But the opportunity is there and should be investigated, he said.
“These are the types of people we want to hire,” he said. “If they’re local, they’re going to stay with us.”
One area of collaboration could be using Job Corps culinary arts students to cater events at the base’s Galaxy Club, Swain said. He also said personnel from the air base could act as mentors for the Job Corps students.
The Westover Job Corps program has 550 students, aged 16 to 24.
“This is a great program.” Swain said.
Westover Air Reserve Base is an economic engine for the region, pumping $195 million into the economy within a 50-mile radius of the 2,500-acre base during 2008. The base employs 3,600 workers, including military personnel, Civil Service workers and private contractors.
The air base isn’t the only large area employer interested in establishing closer ties with the Job Corps program.
Juan Martinez of the University of Massachusetts-Amherst’s Human Resources office, said he wants to get more Job Corps students assigned to positions at the 1,450-acre university, which has 26,000 full-time students and 1,200 faculty members.
Describing the campus as a small city, with its own healthcare center, police force, full-time maintenance crew and seven dining facilities, Martinez said he has placed Job Corps students in food-service and maintenance jobs on campus and hopes to use students studying healthcare services in the campus healthcare center.
“For myself, for UMass, it’s been a very good partnership,” Martinez said.
He said getting Job Corps students into university positions helps the students consider going to classes at UMass.
“I don’t just want to hire them. I want them to look around and say, ‘I could go here,’” Martinez said.

New Job Corps director institutes change

April 21, 2009 by

By Etta Walsh
Correspondent
CHICOPEE – Curtis Price didn’t waste any time in addressing complaints about Westover Job Corps students, the subject of complaints by Fairview residents for rowdy, disruptive behavior when off campus.
Price, who formerly worked at Job Corps centers in Penobscot, Maine, Centerville, Utah, and Gary, Texas – the largest Job Corps center in the country – became interim director of the Westover center in early February.
One of his first actions was to get in his car and drive up and down James Street, visiting Fariview businesses and asking owners what they wanted him to do to address neighborhood complaints.
“I did a lot of listening,” said Price, who became full-time director of the center in March. “I wanted to hear the issues from their point of view. One of the business owners was nice enough to go with me in my car and show me areas of concern.”
He added, “Sometimes, you just have to hear the brutal truth. It provides an opportunity for us to make some changes.”

Neighbors complained

In February, nearly 200 Fairview residents turned out for a neighborhood meeting with city officials, complaining that Job Corps students congregate in public parks to drink, smoke marijuana and deface public property. Some children had bicycles and music players stolen by Job Corps students, they said.
Ward 9 City Councilor Ronald Belair said neighbors complained about “overall disrespect” from Job Corps students when they are off campus. The center has 550 students, aged 16 through 24.
Top Job Corps officials recruited him to address those concerns, Price said.
“That had been a point of emphasis,” he said. “They wanted me to concentrate on improving the relationship with the community.”
Price said he has had several meetings with city officials and community representatives, resulting in some new policies being instituted at the center, including:
• A 10 p.m. weekday curfew for students has been scaled back to 8 p.m.;
• Job Corps security vehicles patrol the neighborhood surrounding the Westover Road center;
• More bus trips have been scheduled for students, to bring them to retail and recreation centers, reducing their need to walk to neighborhood venues and congregate there in numbers;
• Meetings of the center’s Community Relations Council have been increased from every three months to every month;
• On-campus recreation activities for students have been increased; and
• Job Corps officials instituted a quicker response time to neighborhood complaints.
“The students didn’t like the negative press,” Price said. “They want to be good neighbors.”
So far, the changes seem to be working, he said.
“I have found the community to have concerns, but also be responsive to the changes we have made, and are making, here,” he said, adding that community feedback to the changes has been “encouraging.”

Community projects

A recent Job Corps cleanup of Prescott Park on Access Road brought out some neighbors who pitched in, he said. One neighbor even took photos of the event, which he shared with the center, Price said.
Belair “has been very involved” in working with the center, to address neighborhood concerns, Price said, as have been other community representatives.
Price said that while Job Corps has traditionally contributed volunteer labor to numerous municipal and community projects, the pace has been stepped up in recent weeks. Students have “adopted” nearby James Street and conducted a cleanup there, as well as at neighboring Selser Elementary School, the center’s next-door neighbor.
“We’re out there every Saturday, doing some community project, big or small,” he said.
The center has also instituted a “respect initiative” for students, emphasizing self-respect, respect for others and the community, and a focus on the future, said Price, a former head basketball coach at West Virginia State College.
“It’s our behavior when we are in the community that’s the problem,” he said. “It’s how we carry and respect ourselves. That is key.”

Healthy choices

“We want to help them make healthy choices,” he said of students. “There’s nothing like seeing young people come in and grow. To have that opportunity is a blessing.”
“Job Corps is a microcosm of society,” said John Arthur, the center’s business and community liaison. “We have many good kids here.”
Some students didn’t like the new, tougher Job Corps policies and have left the program, Price said.
“We let some students go who didn’t adhere to those policies,” he said. “I had visited here several times and saw how much the students wanted a change. You have to give them a chance to perform. Those who don’t want to, this isn’t the place for them.”
Price said Job Corps will continue to emphasize good community relations with students.
“We don’t see an end to this process,” he said. “It’s an ongoing effort.”
He added, “I have the best job in the world. The students inspire me and challenge me. There is such a difference in when students come in and when they leave. They’re not the same – and they shouldn’t be.”


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