NoteWorthy – 6/3/18

Joseph Girard-Meli on June 3rd, 2018

NoteWorthy is your weekly news roundup of happenings, movers and shakers, and community events in the Merrimack Valley.

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NoteWorthy - 6/3/18

Photo credit: Sabrina Boggio.

CocoRay’s Opens in South Lawrence

Ray Gonzales, the first participant in the Lawrence Partnership’s Revolving Test Kitchen, celebrated the grand opening of the first permanent location of CocoRay’s Borinquen Taqueria at 147 Parker St. in Lawrence on May 25. Located at the corner of Andover Street and Rt 114, the popular eatery’s reopening was welcome news for their many fans as evidenced by the line of patrons who were out the door for many hours. Featuring a mix of Puerto Rican and Mexican food, soups, salads and smoothies, CocoRay’s opening is notable as Lawrence increasingly becomes a culinary destination.

Photo credit: Sabrina Boggio.

CocoRay’s Borinquen Taqueria
147 Parker St.
Lawrence, Mass.
(978) 688-2626



L-r: Kathleen Connolly, Health Policy Commission; Marc Myer, MD, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation; Dianne Anderson, Lawrence General president and CEO; Christin Price, MD, Brigham Health Bridge Clinic; Paul Moakley, Time magazine; Dan Hale, MD, event organizer and medical director of the Lawrence General pediatric hospitalist service.

Lawrence General Holds Opioid Crisis-Focused Healthcare Leadership Summit

On Tuesday, May 22, an attentive audience of close to 150 gathered at the Andover Country Club for Lawrence General’s fifth annual Healthcare Leadership Summit. This year’s topic was “Leading Teams to Address the Opioid Epidemic” and brought together experts from around the country to discuss efforts to reverse the opioid crisis, the worst addiction epidemic in American history.

Presenters at the Summit included Marc Myer, MD, Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation; Paul Moakley, TIME magazine; Kathleen Connolly, Health Policy Commission; and Christin Price, MD, Brigham Health Bridge Clinic. Two of the speakers at the event incorporated Lawrence General into their presentations. Kathleen Connolly discussed how the hospital is using grant money received from the Health Policy Commission to improve outcomes for the vulnerable babies in its Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome program. Paul Moakley from TIME magazine also included a question and answer period in his presentation with a local mother in recovery who gave birth at Lawrence General last year and was featured in “The Opioid Diaries,” a special multimedia edition of TIME magazine that came out in March 2018.


L-r: Dana Boucher, Amy Sullivan and Maria Blakeman.

2018 Paws and Claws Fundraiser Hits $9,000 Goal

The 8th annual Paws and Claws for a Cause event for the benefit of the Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire reached its fundraising goal of $9,000. The event was held at Sullivan Framing and Fine Art Gallery in Bedford, N.H. It was spearheaded by Dana Boucher, Bedford artist and entrepreneur, and Amy Sullivan, owner of Sullivan Framing.

The unique event features 40 local artists each donating an original 6-inch by 6-inch work of art. The event is enjoyed by guests that browse the artwork, and enjoy delightful food from the Copper Door Restaurant and wine sampling by Martignetti Companies. Guests purchase the artwork and optional framing, and 100 percent of the sales goes directly to the Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire.


Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union’s Mark S. Cochran, president and chief executive officer, and Michelle Silveira, senior vice president and chief marketing officer.

Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union Nearly Sweeps The Banking Choice Awards

Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union was recently recognized at The Warren Group’s Banking Choice Awards for being one of the top three credit unions in Overall Quality, Community Contribution and Customer Service. The Banking Choice Awards recognizes both credit unions and banks that regularly exceed expectations when it comes to serving their customers and the community.

The Warren Group surveyed more than 30,000 individuals, 20,000 of which were from Massachusetts, to determine their satisfaction and perception of the financial institutions they bank at and of those for which they are simply aware. The responses were divided into four main categories: Customer Service, Technology, Overall Quality and Contribution to the Community.


Methuen Sons of Italy Hold “Night at the Races” Fundraising Event

The Methuen Sons of Italy held their first-ever “Night at the Races” fundraising event on May 19. Through the money raised during their events, such as the annual Methuen Road Race, the Sons of Italy make charitable contributions to local organizations such as the Veterans Northeast Outreach Center in Haverhill. The organization is also in the process of funding a “Heritage Walkway” in front of the Merrimack Street lodge. Interested parties can learn more here.


Fifteen Local Latinas Complete Training, Will Serve on Area Nonprofit Boards

On May 21, fifteen local professional women, all Latinas, completed Cultural Inclusion for Lawrence & Haverhill Non-Profit Boards, a program spearheaded in 2013 by Community InRoads and YWCA Northeastern Massachusetts. Including this year’s class of 15 – who are coincidentally all women — the program has graduated 79 “ethnic minorities” interested in serving on boards of nonprofit organizations. Cultural Inclusion was created to promote the need for inclusiveness among Merrimack Valley nonprofits.

“Inclusiveness on a nonprofit board should be more than a box that gets checked off once a seat in the board room is filled by a person of color or ethnic minority,” said Joan Kulash, executive director of Community InRoads. “Inclusivity means so much more than that. It means that every board member feels welcome, feels included and respected, and that their voice and contributions are valued.”


United Way Announces Winners of Competitive Grant Awards and Launches New Technology Partnership

The United Way of Massachusetts Bay and Merrimack Valley today announced it will distribute $30.8 million in support of strategies, organizations, partnerships and programs aimed at solving entrenched poverty and effecting upward mobility among those most in need across the region. United Way will award strategic grants to 146 nonprofit partners, distribute dollars designated by donors to organizations in the region and fund innovative initiatives and public policy work.

United Way announced it has selected to fund the following strategic partners in the Merrimack Valley: Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence, YouthBuild Lawrence, YWCA of Northeastern Massachusetts, Family Services of the Merrimack Valley, Greater Lawrence Community Action Council, Lawrence CommunityWorks, The Community Group, Girls Inc. of Greater Lowell, Boys & Girls Club of greater Lowell, UTEC, Community Teamwork, Community Action, Inc., Girls Inc. of Greater Haverhill, Emmaus, Inc., The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Haverhill, St. Ann’s Home & School, and the Boys and Girls Club of Lower Merrimack Valley.


Mary Immaculate Earns Coveted Five-Star Rating from Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Covenant Health is very pleased to announce its member facility, Mary Immaculate Nursing/Restorative Center has been recognized with a coveted five-star overall rating by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Nursing Home Compare Rating System. The rating system features a five-star overall quality score, which is based on a facility’s performance in three specific categories, each with its own associated five-star rating. They include:

Health Inspections – measured on outcomes from State inspection surveys
Staffing – measured on staffing levels reported at the time of a State health inspection
Quality – measured on the CMS Minimum Data Set, a process to clinically assess residents

“Each and every day, our team strives to deliver the very highest quality of care for all our residents,” said Del G. Downing, Administrator, Mary Immaculate Nursing/Restorative Center. “We’re proud to have earned this outstanding CMS rating. It sends a clear message to our referral sources, patients, and their families that Mary Immaculate is a facility they can truly trust to provide exemplary care.”



Robert Wheeler has been named Chief of Human Resources at Lowell Community Health Center (Lowell CHC). Wheeler previously served as Senior Vice President, Chief Human Resources officer for the South Shore Health System. He brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge in all aspects of human resources and an understanding of the unique health care setting here at Lowell CHC. During my time at South Shore, we saw tremendous change and growth, not unlike what Lowell CHC is now experiencing,” Wheeler said. “Although that can be challenging, it’s also an exciting time, when you can honor the best of where you’ve been while embracing what is new.” A history buff and foodie who lives in Somerville, Wheeler said he is looking forward to getting to know the Lowell community. Wheeler describes the workforce of the health center as an ensemble, where no one person controls everything, and everyone’s role is important. “The thing I love about working in health care,” said Bob, “is that you really have a chance to impact lives. As powerful as I knew health care was, it is tremendously amplified when you work in community health. The people who use our services really depend on them, and the people who work here really do care.”



June 7

Attendees of The Palace Theatre’s 19th Annual Gala Event will enjoy performances by the cast of the Palace Theatre’s Professional Production of 42nd Street while savoring delicious hors d’oeuvres and desserts from some of the best local restaurants at Manchester Country Club. Bedford, N.H. |

June 8

The Northeast Independent Living Program Golf Tournament for Independence will be held at the Merrimack Valley Golf Club at 7 a.m. Funds raised will allow NILP continue to provide services and advocacy to people with disabilities who wish to live independently in the community. Methuen, Mass. |

June 10

Get Johnny Out of a Johnny is a campaign to raise funds for Methuen resident John Melia who is in need of a liver transplant due to a rare autoimmune disease. John is a nurse at Lawrence General Hospital. The kickoff event will be held at The Stevens Estate from 2:00 – 6:00 p.m. and will include music, dancing, food and a cash bar. $25 at the door. Donations can also be made at the site listed here. North Andover, Mass. |

Lowell General Hospital will hold its 18th annual TeamWalk for CancerCare. Funds raised enable the hospital to provide assistance, support, and services to help people feel better, build confidence and instill hope throughout their battle with cancer. Lowell, Mass. |

June 16

First Lt. Derek Hines Soldiers Assistance Fund will once again be returning to Cashman Park on Saturday, June 16, 2018, for the 7th Annual Flag Day 5K. As before, the course will go through the beautiful city of Newburyport and will end along the water. Newburyport, Mass. |

The 43rd annual Strawberry ‘n’ Arts Festival will be held at First Parish Church United from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event is free and features food, crafts and live entertainment. Westford, Mass. |

June 18

Join the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce for its 29th Annual Golf Tournament. Registration will begin at Ferncroft Country Club at 12:15 p.m. Middleton, Mass. |

Northern Essex Community College will hold its NECC Athletics Golf Tournament at Atkinson Resort & Country Club from noon to 5:30 p.m. Proceeds benefit the athletics program, which sponsors eight intercollegiate athletic programs for men and women. Atkinson, N.H. |

June 21

Mill City GrowsAnnual Farm to Cocktail Party will once again take place at UTEC, celebrating the spirit of community and the region’s thriving local food movement with live music, live and silent auctions, plus signature farm-inspired apps and cocktails. Lowell, Mass. |


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