The Place: One-On-One with Philanthropist and Businessman Doug Pitt

But, people in the Ozarks know him as a dedicated philanthropist and successful businessman. The Place’s Michael Gibson sat down with Doug to …

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – Doug Pitt is known to many as the brother of Academy Award-winning actor Brad Pitt. But, people in the Ozarks know him as a dedicated philanthropist and successful businessman. The Place’s Michael Gibson sat down with Doug to discuss what fuels his compassion and drive to go good.

Copyright 2020 KY3. All rights reserved.

Pioneer Valley tourism promotion gets $250K boost from state as industry emerges from …

… Legislature’s Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, was able to get the money in the Bureau’s hands now before …

SPRINGFIELD — The Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau will step up its advertising — in states were folks can legally visit Massachusetts without first quarantining, and here at home — with $250,000 in funding announced Monday by state Sen. Eric P. Lesser.

The money comes from the $1.1 billion supplemental budget signed into law last week by Gov. Charlie Baker.

Lesser praised the region’s $928 million travel and tourism industry as a job creator that needs a boost as the state recovers from shutdowns related to the coronavirus pandemic.

“It provides job opportunities across all education and skill levels,” Lesser, D-Longmeadow, said Monday at a news conference outside the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield. “It provides job opportunities to people of color, to immigrants. It’s an income to many of our families here in the region.”

The money helps keep those jobs and helps employers gain confidence to bring people back, he said.

“To promote travel and tourism as a region,” Lesser said. “For people to come and travel and tour in a safe, social distanced, way.”

Also last week, Baker announced travel restrictions including a 14-day quarantine for those visiting the state for any reason from outside New England, New York, New Jersey and Hawaii.

All those, save for the Aloha State, are in the Pioneer Valley’s target market for tourism attractions in Hampden, Hampshire and Franklin counties, said Mary Kay Wydra, president of the Greater Springfield Convention & Visitors Bureau.

The $250,000 is the same amount the Bureau generally gets in the state budget each year for tourism promotion. But there is no state budget yet this year and Lesser, who chairs the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies, was able to get the money in the Bureau’s hands now before the summer tourism season is lost — and in plenty of time to promote the all-important fall foliage season.

“It’ll be hard without the Big E,” Wydra said, citing the cancellation of the popular fair this year. “But what better way to see foliage than by ziplining through it? What better way to see fall foliage than from the Connecticut River.”

Thirty-million people live within a half-day’s drive, she said.

Billboards are already up on Interstate 91 in Hartford and New Haven, Connecticut.

The region’s tourism economy continues to reel from the pandemic’s impact. Major attraction Six Flags New England is not yet open due to coronavirus restrictions. Restaurants are still reopening. MGM Springfield is running at about one-third of its normal capacity and employment.

“We’ve been hit hard,” Lesser said.

The Hall of Fame itself reopened earlier this month following the coronavirus shutdown and, coincidentally, a $23-million renovation.

John Doleva, president and CEO of the Hall of Fame, said Monday the shrine is running at about 35% of its normal attendance. The hall expects total visitor traffic for the year will be about 60% of its annual average of 250,000 visitors.

But 35 percent is heartening given restrictions on how many people can tour the exhibits at one time and other coronavirus precautions and concerns. Doleva shook his head when asked how long the hall can go on at 35%.

“that’s what this money is for—to grow visitation and attendance to the region and allow all of us to maximize the opportunity,” he said.

Hampden County’s hotel occupancy in June was 40%, Wydra said — well off what it would be normally in June, but good for third-best in the state. She said that’s all leisure travel because most corporate travel is canceled, and no venues are hosting conventions and events.

Peter Rosskothen said his D.Hotel & Suites in Holyoke is running at about 45% occupancy.

“We won’t be happy until we get to 60%, but it’s growing,” he said.

Much of the business is local, made up of folks who are not traveling very far but just want to get away overnight for a nice dinner and a trip to the spa.

Wydra said that while she’s hoping for good news, the Bureau has the ability to pull back or cancel its advertising if coronavirus trends get worse and more travel restrictions follow.

Mercy hospital receives 5-star rating from government

Mercy was honored in 2016, 2017 and 2018 as one of the Top 5 Large Health Systems by IBM Watson Health, which ranks hospitals based on quality …

Jack Flaherty and other Cardinals players visit Mercy Hospital

Posted!

A link has been posted to your Facebook feed.

Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty talks with Zayden, 4, Isabella, 6, and their mom Bre Linton, of Aurora, during the Cardinals Caravan visit to Mercy Hospital on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019.

Buy Photo
Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty talks with Zayden, 4, Isabella, 6, and their mom Bre Linton, of Aurora, during the Cardinals Caravan visit to Mercy Hospital on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. Andrew Jansen/News-Leader
Buy Photo
Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty talks with Zayden, 4, Isabella, 6, and their mom Bre Linton, of Aurora, during the Cardinals Caravan visit to Mercy Hospital on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019.

Buy Photo
Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty talks with Zayden, 4, Isabella, 6, and their mom Bre Linton, of Aurora, during the Cardinals Caravan visit to Mercy Hospital on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. Andrew Jansen/News-Leader
Buy Photo
Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty signs autographs during the Cardinals Caravan visit to Mercy Hospital on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019.

Buy Photo
Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty signs autographs during the Cardinals Caravan visit to Mercy Hospital on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. Andrew Jansen/News-Leader
Buy Photo
Cardinals second baseman Max Schrock puts a hat on Zayden Linton, 4, of Aurora, during the Cardinals Caravan visit to Mercy Hospital on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019.

Buy Photo
Cardinals second baseman Max Schrock puts a hat on Zayden Linton, 4, of Aurora, during the Cardinals Caravan visit to Mercy Hospital on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. Andrew Jansen/News-Leader
Buy Photo
Cardinals utility player Yairo Munoz signs a T-shirt during the Cardinals Caravan visit to Mercy Hospital on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019.

Buy Photo
Cardinals utility player Yairo Munoz signs a T-shirt during the Cardinals Caravan visit to Mercy Hospital on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. Andrew Jansen/News-Leader
Buy Photo
Cardinals utility player Yairo Munoz signs a hat during the Cardinals Caravan visit to Mercy Hospital on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019.

Buy Photo
Cardinals utility player Yairo Munoz signs a hat during the Cardinals Caravan visit to Mercy Hospital on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. Andrew Jansen/News-Leader
Buy Photo
Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty high-fives Brily Elliot, 7, during the Cardinals Caravan visit to Mercy Hospital on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019.

Buy Photo
Cardinals pitcher Jack Flaherty high-fives Brily Elliot, 7, during the Cardinals Caravan visit to Mercy Hospital on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. Andrew Jansen/News-Leader
Buy Photo
Fredbird waves as he walks into the room at Mercy Hospital during the Cardinals Caravan on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019.

Buy Photo
Fredbird waves as he walks into the room at Mercy Hospital during the Cardinals Caravan on Friday, Jan. 18, 2019. Andrew Jansen/News-Leader
Buy Photo

Interested in this topic? You may also want to view these photo galleries:

    Replay
Autoplay
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

Last SlideNext Slide

CONNECTTWEETLINKEDINCOMMENTEMAILMORE

Mercy Hospital Springfield has received a 5-star rating from the U.S. government.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released the latest hospital quality ratings on its Hospital Compare website, and Mercy got the top rating at 5 stars, according to a news release from the hospital.

The ratings include over 100 measures and are divided into seven categories: mortality, safety of care, readmission, patient experience, effectiveness of care, timeliness of care and effective use of medical imaging, the press release stated.

“This shows our patients that we’re consistently providing them with the right care at the right time, without unnecessary testing,” stated Brent Hubbard, president and COO of Mercy Hospitals Springfield. “Less than 7 percent of hospitals in the nation earn a 5-star rating, and it’s acknowledgment from CMS that we are keeping our patients safe and providing them with truly effective healing.”

Answer Man: What is that contraption at Mercy along National? Art? Exercise equipment?

More: Mercy’s virtual medicine for youths with mental issues featured in Wall Street Journal

The Leapfrog Group also named Mercy Hospital Springfield as a Top Hospital and gave it an A-grade for patient safety, according to the press release. Mercy was honored in 2016, 2017 and 2018 as one of the Top 5 Large Health Systems by IBM Watson Health, which ranks hospitals based on quality and safety measures.

“There’s something all these numbers can’t show, and that’s our co-workers’ commitment to bringing to life the healing ministry of Jesus,” Hubbard said. “It’s our mission and what inspires us to continually look at ways to improve our care. We want our patients to feel physically and spiritually supported… At Mercy, we want to be your provider of choice so we can keep your family healthy and our community strong.”

More Top Springfield News:

GLVC keeps 2 Lady Panthers suspended, suspends 1 more for leaving bench

Orange Leaf reopens in Springfield

Domestic assault left Springfield woman in critical condition, police say

CONNECTTWEETLINKEDINCOMMENTEMAILMORE
Read or Share this story: https://www.news-leader.com/story/news/local/ozarks/2019/03/14/springfield-mercy-hospital-government-awards-5-star-rating/3154173002/

Ride To Vote: Transit Center Is Polling Location, Lyft Offers Free Rides for Voters

For the first time ever, Greene County will have a central polling location at the downtown CU Traffic Center, and Lyft is offering free rides on Election …

Ride To Vote: Transit Center Is Polling Location, Lyft Offers Free Rides for Voters

Invisible placeholder

Ride_To_Vote__Transit_Center_Is_Polling__0_20180928033342
Ride To Vote: Transit Center Is Polling Location, Lyft Offers Free Rides for Voters
Ride_To_Vote__Transit_Center_Is_Polling__0_20180928033342

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Greene County is meeting people where they are at this November so that you worry less about how to get to the polls and more about how you’re voting.

For the first time ever, Greene County will have a central polling location at the downtown CU Traffic Center, and Lyft is offering free rides on Election Day.

The goal is to make sure transportation and time are not a challenge this November.

“Sometimes you can’t get back, or you get off work late,” said Joseph Barney, a Springfield resident who rides the bus and whose polling location is on the southeast side of town.

But a couple of efforts this November are making it easier for voters like him to exercise their right to vote by offering them a ride to vote.

Lyft is offering free and discounted rides on Nov. 6th. And in Greene County those who ride the bus can vote at the CU Transit Center in downtown Springfield.

“As long as they can get to their bus stop they normally go to, then come here, cast their ballot regardless of where they live,” said Shane Schoeller, Greene County Clerk.

Schoeller says it’s the first time the community room at the Transit Center will be a central polling location.

“Looking forward to finding out just how busy it will be the day of the election,” he said.

Some voters say they’re on board.

“I’ll use it if they have them if we’re allowed to use them,” said Barney.

You are allowed and encouraged to do so if you can’t make it to your regular polling location.

“I’m always down here anyway, so it will work out great for me,” Barney said.

180,000 people are registered to vote in Greene County and Schoeller believes 10,000 more could register before Election Day.

“The first election I had as county clerk in 2015, we had two races that ended in a tie here in Greene County,” Schoeller said. “And so you never know when you could be that one vote that can break that tie.”

With seven issues on the ballot in Greene County, he hopes voters will show up.

“At least I know, this is what we need, this is what we want. And hopefully it will change some of the things and make it better,” Barney said. “Not everything works that way but I’m just giving my voice, that’s the best thing I could say about it.”

But you don’t have to ride the bus to use that central location, it is open for anyone. Another central polling location is at MSU’s Welcome Center.

You have until Oct. 10th to register to vote.

    MGM Springfield gives sneak preview of Regal Theatre

    Residents from all over western Massachusetts flocked to opening week at MGM Springfield’s new “Regal Theatre.” It’s located on the second level of …

    MGM Springfield gives sneak preview of Regal Theatre

    Invisible placeholder

    regal cinemas preview_1537738735361.jpg.jpgCopyright 2018 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
    MGM Springfield gives sneak preview of Regal Theatre
    regal cinemas preview_1537738735361.jpg.jpg

    SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – MGM Springfield previewed its brand new state-of-the-art movie theatre Sunday.

    The state’s first full scale casino, now has a state-of-the-art movie theatre to match.

    Residents from all over western Massachusetts flocked to opening week at MGM Springfield’s new “Regal Theatre.” It’s located on the second level of the resort, accessible by elevator or escalator.

    The state-of-the-art movie theatre holds 674 people and features seven auditoriums, with reclining seats. And it’s accessible to all.

    The casino’s movie theater officially opens Thursday, but Sunday, movie goers were treated to $3 movies & snacks.

    22News spoke with Rachel Lueras, the marketing manager for Regal Theater and she said in addition to your “traditional” movie food, the theatre offers its patrons with a palate something extra.

    “We also have a full menu, with entrees, appetizers and desserts, as well as a full bar,” Lueras said, “So you can come and have dinner and a movie, when you come see a movie here.”

    And there’s plenty of lounge space to relax, while you wait for your movie to start.

    22News spoke with Nicholas Smetana, a construction worker from Belchertown, who was eager to show his family his hard work, “I just kinda wanted to see the fruits of our labor, you know. And its nice to see the accomplishment we did.”

    Part of the proceeds from ticket sales this week will benefit “Square One” and “Head Start.” A federally funded early childhood education program.