from The Republican
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
By ELIZABETH R. LaFOND
HOLYOKE – It’s no longer a secret: Some residents have a CRUSH on Holyoke.
CRUSH – Citizens for the Revitalization and Urban Success of Holyoke – is a growing nonpartisan group that started with three enthusiastic residents looking to bring the artistic, political and business communities together. They created CRUSH and, in less than five months, gathered more than 160 members.
“There is a lot of energy in Holyoke and we wanted to capture it,” said Rebecca Lisi, city councilor at-large and doctoral candidate at the University of Massachusetts. “Our mission is to create positive change by facilitating connections between people, resources and ideas.”
James A.G. Sutter, of Sutter’s Jewelry, felt he was alone with his ideas to find ways for revitalizing and sustaining Holyoke. He and his wife, Rebecca, partnered with Lisi and merged their creative thoughts to form CRUSH.
“When we started telling our friends and acquaintances about our idea, they thought it was great,” Sutter said. “We learned that there is a large amount of people who have great creative ideas and want to make a change.”
Lisi and the Sutters joined Aaron M. Vega, of Vega Yoga, James N. Chevalier, Noel C. St. Jean, Craig Crouch, Brendan Ciecko, of One Minute Media, Laurie Landry and many others to lead monthly meetings. They also developed an electronic network online at www.crushonholyoke.org
“Our efforts are very much alive,” Vega said.
St. Jean agreed, saying, “Our Web site allows everyone to see projects and events in progress.”
Meetings take place the last Thursday of every month at the Waterfront Tavern. Membership is open to anyone interested in learning more about CRUSH or contributing ideas for future projects.
CRUSH also is planning an event, “Holyoke Unmasked, a New Year’s Eve Gala” at the Wistariahurst Museum on Dec. 31 from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. The event, catered by the Log Cabin Banquet & Meeting House, will include a cash bar and an array of entertainment.
Ticket reservations can be made at Sutter’s Jewelry and Vega Yoga, or by calling (413) 332-5660. Tickets can also be reserved by visiting www.crushonholyoke.org or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets are $50.
“We hope to attract people of all ages across the city and to really celebrate Holyoke with great food, great conversations and music for New Year’s,” Vega said.
“We like it here and we want to do stuff here,” Sutter said. “We’re not going anywhere and we’re totally committed to supporting Holyoke. We hope our New Year’s event will bring many people together and be a kick-off to announce CRUSH’s upcoming plans, including saving the Victory Theater.”