Making News in Business, June 9



  • Lori Odierna

  • Stephanie Jimenez

Published: 6/27/2022 9:13:45 AM
Modified: 6/27/2022 9:11:14 AM
Northwestern DA announces Child Abuse Unit staffing changes

NORTHAMPTON — A steady stream of new cases involving the most vulnerable people within the Northwestern District has prompted Northwestern district attorney’s office to add a prosecutor’s position to its Child Abuse Unit amid a restructuring sparked by a retirement last fall.

Assistant District Attorney Lori Odierna was tapped to lead the unit upon the retirement in October of former longtime chief, Linda Pisano. Odierna has been with the Northwestern district attorney’s office since 2016 when she was hired as an assistant district attorney in the Northampton District Court.

She quickly showed interest and skill in handling child abuse cases, was appointed as the child abuse district court supervising attorney in January 2019. In that position she supervised all child abuse cases in the district courts, handling the most serious cases herself and mentoring district court assistant district attorneys working on these important prosecutions.

Previously, she served for 20 years as a prosecutor in the Hampden County district attorney’s office.

Meanwhile, Northwestern Assistant District Attorney Anne Yereniuk became the unit’s deputy chief, replacing assistant district attorney Frederic Bartmon who was named attorney in charge of the Northampton District Court in March. Assistant District Attorney Andy Covington, who had been attorney in charge for the Northampton District Court, joined the Child Abuse Unit in March upon his return from a three-month National Guard deployment to Fort McCoy in Wisconsin, where he worked in a team resettling 13,000 refugees from Afghanistan in Operation Allies Welcome.

Assistant District Attorney Stephanie Jimenez joined the Northwestern DA’s office at the end of November, after working for eight months for Attorney General Maura Healey’s office in the gaming enforcement unit and handling human trafficking cases. Prior to that she had worked for 10 years on child victim cases for the 20th judicial circuit in Florida. She returned to western Massachusetts in March of 2021 to be closer to family. She grew up in Easthampton, graduated from Easthampton High School in 2000 and earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Western New England University and then a law degree from Western New England Law School.

Florence Bank awards $100K through Customers’ Choice program

FLORENCE — Florence Bank celebrated its 20th annual Customers’ Choice Community Grants Program gala in May, awarding $100,000 to 45 nonprofits across the Valley.

The bank’s community grants program is an annual offering founded in 2002, and, through it, customers are invited to vote for their favorite local nonprofit in hopes it will receive a share of grant funding. Over the past 20 years, Florence Bank has tallied more than 141,000 customer votes and given grants totaling $1.4 million to roughly 164 different organizations.

Four organizations received the maximum amount of $5,000 this year: Cancer Connection Inc., Dakin Humane Society, Food Bank of Western Massachusetts and Friends of Williamsburg Libraries.

Next year, the bank will increase its grant program to $125,000.

Health care veteran joins Clarke Hearing Center

NORTHAMPTON — Clarke Schools for Hearing and Speech has hired Kelly Sitek as practice manager.

Sitek joins Clarke after spending 35 years working in health care. She served for 22 years at Baystate Health Systems, most recently as safety and emergency preparedness manager, Baystate Wing Hospital.

Clarke is based in Northampton and serves the Pioneer Valley. Sitek, who lives in Belchertown, has experience working in the Emergency Department and Operating Room at Mercy Hospital as a medical assistant, as well as with many supervisory roles. As practice manager, she will oversee Clarke’s financial, marketing, facilities, personnel management and administrative activities.

S. Hadley to hand out small business improvement grants

SOUTH HADLEY — The town is offering matching grants to local businesses and commercial property owners for facade improvements and outdoor furniture to activate the streetscape with the South Hadley Falls and the Village Commons commercial districts.

The South Hadley Falls Facade Improvement Program provides commercial business and property owners within the Falls with financial support for the enhancement of commercial building facades through reimbursable grants of up to $10,000. Total funding available is $50,000. Applications are due Friday, June 17. To learn more and complete an application, visit

The town is also offering reimbursable grants of up to $2,500 to commercial businesses and property owners within the Village Commons area for outdoor furniture and games to activate the streetscape within this commercial district. The Village Commons area includes the Village Commons shopping and residential development and extends outward to nearby businesses and restaurants near the intersection of Route 47 and 116. The purpose of this program is to attract visitors to the many businesses and restaurants within this district and provide enhanced outdoor amenities.

To learn more and complete an application, visit

For more information contact Anne Capra, director of planning and conservation, at 413-538-5030, ext. 6128, or at


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