Mendel, Aitken Help Westfield State Women Top MCLA

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WESTFIELD, Mass. -- Hoosac Valley graduate Alison Mendel scored 15 points and passed out three assists Saturday to help the Westfield State women's basketball team earn a 103-59 win over MCLA.
 
Pittsfield High grad Isabella Aitken finished with nine points and four assists for the Owls, who were led by Chelsea Mousettee and Melissa Gray with 21 points apiece.
 
Drury graduate Brooke DiGennaro scored nine points for the Trailblazers, who got 17 from Jasmine Pszczola.
 
Westfield State (13-12, 10-2 MASCAC) will be seeded second in this week's MASCAC tournament. MCLA finishes the season at 2-21 and 0-12.
 
Men's Basketball
WESTFIELD, Mass. -- The Westfield State men's basketball team received a game-high 31 points and 11 rebounds from Vawn Lord as the Owls took down the MCLA Trailblazers, 89-73, in the regular season finale for both programs.
 
The Owls clinched the top seed in next week's MASCAC tournament with the win as they end the season at 18-7 overall and 10-2 in the conference. The Trailblazers will either be the third or fourth seed in next week's conference championships pending other results in the MASCAC. MCLA finishes play at 14-10 overall and 7-5 in the MASCAC.
 
Lord was 10-for-20 from the floor and scored 21 of his points in the second half. He went 11-13 from the line as the Owls held a decisive FT advantage over MCLA. MCLA was just 3-for-8 from the charity stripe while the Owls converted 29 of 40 attempts.  
 
MCLA never led in this contest as the Owls earned a split in the season series.  Westfield jumped out to a sizable early lead at 15-4, but MCLA eventually fough their way back to tie things up at 22-22. The Owls would score the final four points of the opening half to take a 34-29 lead into the locker room.
 
In the second half, the lead quickly grew to double figures. Later in the half, the Owls owned their largest lead of the night at 78-57 after a Lord three point play before MCLA made a final run in the final three minutes. 
 
The Trailblazers were led by Noah Yearsley's team best 22-point night. He made five 3-pointers in defeat. Chris Becker and Taconic graduate Quentin Gittens each ended with 12 points for MCLA.
 
MCLA will play either Fitchburg State or Salem State on Tuesday night at 6 p.m. in the MASCAC quarterfinal round.
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CARES Act Offers Help for Investors, Small Businesses

Submitted by Edward Jones

As we go through the coronavirus crisis, we are all, first and foremost, concerned about the health of our loved ones and communities. But the economic implications of the virus have also weighed heavily on our minds. 

However, if you're an investor or a business owner, you just got some help from Washington – and it could make a big difference, at least in the short term, for your financial future. Specifically, the passage of the $2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act offers, among other provisions, the following:

* Expanded unemployment benefits: The CARES Act provides $250 billion for extended unemployment insurance, expands eligibility and provides workers with an additional $600 per week for four months, in addition to what state programs pay. The package will also cover the self-employed, independent contractors and "gig economy" workers. Obviously, if your employment has been affected, these benefits can be a lifeline. Furthermore, the benefits could help you avoid liquidating some long-term investments you’ve earmarked for retirement just to meet your daily cash flow needs.

* Direct payments: Individuals will receive a one-time payment of up to $1,200; this amount is reduced for incomes over $75,000 and eliminated altogether at $99,000. Joint filers will receive up to $2,400, which will be reduced for incomes over $150,000 and eliminated at $198,000 for joint filers with no children. Plus, taxpayers with children will receive an extra $500 for each dependent child under the age of 17. If you don't need this money for an immediate need, you might consider putting it into a low-risk, liquid account as part of an emergency fund.

* No penalty on early withdrawals: Typically, you would have to pay a 10 percent penalty on early withdrawals from IRAs, 401(k)s and similar retirement accounts. Under the CARES Act, this penalty will be waived for individuals who qualify for COVID-19 relief and/or in plans that allow COVID-19 distributions. Withdrawals will still be taxable, but the taxes can be spread out over three years. Still, you might want to avoid taking early withdrawals, as you’ll want to keep your retirement accounts intact as long as possible.

* Suspension of required withdrawals: Once you turn 72, you will be required to take withdrawals from your traditional IRA and 401(k). The CARES Act waives these required minimum distributions for 2020. If you're in this age group, but you don't need the money, you can let your retirement accounts continue growing on a tax-deferred basis.

* Increase of retirement plan loan limit: Retirement plan investors who qualify for COVID-19 relief can now borrow up to $100,000 from their accounts, up from $50,000, provided their plan allows loans. We recommend that you explore other options, such as the direct payments, to bridge the gap on current expenses and if you choose to take a plan loan work with your financial adviser to develop strategies to pay back these funds over time to reduce any long-term impact to your retirement goals.

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