AROUND THE VALLEY
GLFHC Honors Secretary Sudders During Annual Gala
The Greater Lawrence Family Health Center (GLFHC) celebrated the work of all those who guided residents through the COVID-19 pandemic during its 16th Annual Making a Difference Gala on Thursday, June 17.
The organization presented Massachusetts Secretary of Health & Human Services Marylou Sudders with the Making a Difference Award for her leadership through the pandemic. Sudders is head of the commonwealth’s COVID-19 Response Command Center and oversees 12 agencies and MassHealth, with a combined budget of $24 billion and 22,000 public employees who deliver essential services that touch the lives of one in four state residents.
The dedication and importance of community health centers (CHCs) was the focus of the event’s keynote speaker, U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan.
The gala raised nearly $85,000 through sponsorships and donations, which will benefit the health center’s Keeping the Promise Capital Campaign. The $3.5 million campaign will renovate its flagship Lawrence location and provide better medical services to patients throughout Greater Lawrence. The Haverhill Street site is the largest and busiest of GLFHC’s six locations, accounting for 33% of GLFHC’s 62,000 annual patient visits.
MRT Announces Five New Shows for the 2021-22 Season and Returns to Live, In-person Performances in November
With safety as a paramount goal, the Merrimack Repertory Theatre (MRT) announced five shows to continue the 2021-22 season, including a return to live, in-person performances in November. The season will include the world premiere of “The Rise and Fall of Holly Fudge” by Trista Baldwin, a new concert of Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway classics, the East Coast premiere of “Best Summer Ever,” and two productions that were postponed due to the pandemic.
The new roster will also include the previously announced “Wild Horses” by Allison Gregory, which will be available at alternative locations and on video from Sept. 15 to Oct. 3. The company will return to in-person performances at the Nancy L. Donahue Theatre in Liberty Hall with “The Rise and Fall of Holly Fudge,” on Nov. 26. After the holidays, the season will continue with the previously postponed “Erma Bombeck: At Wit’s End” by Allison Engel and Margaret Engel; the concert “Back Together Again: The Music of Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway;” and the east coast premiere of “Best Summer Ever,” written and performed by Kevin Kling.
In addition, the MRT will present a special, non-subscription musical event: “Woody Sez: The Life and Music of Woody Guthrie” in February 2022. For more details on all of the MRT’s upcoming shows, visit here.
Lawrence Partnership and MCCI Announce $1.1M Venture Loan Fund for Lawrence Businesses
The Lawrence Partnership and Mill Cities Community Investments (MCCI) have announced that 11 lenders and key partners including the city of Lawrence and Essex County Community Foundation have committed to supporting a renewed and restructured Venture Loan Fund to allow for greater flexibility in loans to small area businesses as a response to unprecedented challenges on the back end of the pandemic.
The $1.1M fund offers loans to established and start-up firms in Lawrence that cannot currently access financing from a traditional bank or credit union lender and leverages public, private and philanthropic investments around a shared goal: more businesses starting and growing in Lawrence.
The fund is capitalized by the following 11 financial institutions, each committing $100,000:. Enterprise Bank, Merrimack Valley Credit Union, Eastern Bank, Jean D’Arc, DCU, Pentucket Bank, Align Credit Union, The Savings Bank, Reading Cooperative Bank, Massachusetts Capital Growth Corporation and The Institution for Savings. The city of Lawrence and Essex County Community Foundation support the fund with loan loss reserves.
The program is open to Lawrence-based businesses that would benefit the community. Loans are between $5,000 and $100,000. Businesses interested in learning more about the Venture Loan Fund can visit here.
Baker-Polito Administration Announces Legislation to Make August and September 2021 Sales Tax Holiday Months
The Baker-Polito administration filed legislation to establish a sales tax holiday for the months of August and September. This plan aims to support local economies and promote economic growth and opportunity as the commonwealth continues to recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
State tax revenues for Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) continue to significantly exceed projections, with revenues to date 14.9% above benchmark. Strong revenues across the board have allowed the commonwealth to grow the size of the Stabilization Fund and be poised to end the fiscal year with a significant surplus for the FY21 budget. As a result, the Administration is proposing to support the commonwealth’s taxpayers and downtown economies by designating the entire months of August and September as sales tax-free.
If enacted, this proposal would be an expansion of the annual sales tax-free weekend, which the Administration officially designated as August 14 to 15.
U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan Applauds $1.8 Million Federal Research Grant for UML
U.S. Representative Lori Trahan applauded the awarding of $1,813,500 in federal grant funding to UMass Lowell (UML) by the Office of Naval Research (ONR). The grant will enable the university to collaborate with Brown University, the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), and the Naval Undersea Warfare Center on research for legged robots that will assist sailors with shipboard firefighting and maintenance.
The program, led by the NRL in partnership with UML and other leading research institutions, will increase the impact and use of robotics by the United States Navy and the Department of Defense.
JDCU Awards $17,000 in College Scholarships
To help defray the costs of higher education for local college students, Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union (JDCU) awarded $17,000 in college scholarships to members through its MoneyStrong College Scholarship and Employee Scholarship Programs. The recipients are comprised of both soon-to-be and current college students.
JDCU granted funds to 21 students. Of the winners, 17 are high school seniors gearing up for their freshman year of college, and four are currently attending various colleges in the area.
The scholarship winners include:
Michelle Ly from Chelmsford High School, UMass Lowell
Joseph Luis Dulac from Dover High School, Georgia Institute of Technology
Jason Tyler from Dracut High School, University of Connecticut
Lilly Saadah from Dracut High School, UMass Lowell
Skylar Phan from Dracut High School, University of Connecticut
Andrew Shapiro from Innovation Academy Charter School, Fordham University
Donna Ly from Lowell High School, UMass Lowell
Edmire Kabia from Lowell High School, UMass Lowell
Matthew Chege from Lowell High School, Howard University
Timothy Xuan Nguyen from Lowell High School, UMass Lowell
Haylee Coupal from Pinkerton Academy, UMass Lowell
Kylie Coupal from Pinkerton Academy, Rivier University
Halle Bangura from Tyngsboro High School, Princeton University
Trevor Freelove from Tyngsboro High School, University of Tampa
NECC Announces Funding Available to Help New and Returning Students
Northern Essex Community College (NECC) recently received an infusion of over $2.58 million from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund, which the college directing toward student support.
Specifically, the funding will be used to help current students pay off college debt and cover educational expenses related to the disruption caused by COVID-19 and to assist both new and returning students with educational costs for the summer and fall semesters of 2021.
The majority of the funding, $1.63 million, is direct student aid, designated to help students with educational expenses, which include tuition and fees, books, course materials, Internet, food, living expenses, etc. This funding is available to students taking credit courses, including high school students in the Early College Program, as well as students taking noncredit courses through Pies de Latinos, the Center for Adult Basic Education, and Corporate and Community Education.
NECC has also opted to use an additional $957,000 of the institutional funds which it received through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund to support students. The funding is being allocated for fall laptop bookstore credit, a “Start Right Grant” for new students, and “Finish What You Started” grants for returning students.
Merrimack College Class of 2021 Graduate Receives the Jaffarian Family Scholarship
Jaffarian Volvo Toyota named George Dimopoulos the winner of the Jaffarian Family Scholarship at Merrimack College. Dimopoulos graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business management and marketing this past May, with his junior and senior years occurring during the recent COVID 19 pandemic. Since graduation, he has joined Data Pivot Technologies in North Andover as a Sales and Marketing Specialist.
Pentucket Bank Bids Farewell to Retiring CEO Scott Cote
The leadership team at Pentucket Bank is preparing to say farewell to current Bank Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board Scott Cote as he nears the date of his retirement on June 30. Cote will remain in his role as chairman of the board following his retirement.
Scott Cote, who has been president since 2008, joined Pentucket Bank as executive vice president and Chief Credit Officer in 1998 following an already storied 25 years in banking.
In 1998, the bank was a mere $202 million in total assets, $30 million in capital and about 60 employees. Upon Cote’s retirement, it will boast $925 million in total assets, over $105 million in total capital and close to 140 employees. In addition, the bank grew by three new branch locations under his tenure.
Cote follows closely in the footsteps of his father, the late Edmund Cote, Jr. — who was the former Pentucket Bank president/CEO and chairman of the board — as a community leader in his own volunteer capacity with the Haverhill Rotary Club, the Greater Haverhill Foundation, the Wadleigh Foundation, NECC Foundation and the Greater Haverhill and Greater Salem Chambers of Commerce. He was also a past director of the Salem Boys & Girls Club and a recipient of the Man/Youth Award for Community Service in 2003.
New Interactive Tool Shows Breakdown of $3.4 Billion in Federal Aid Awarded to Municipalities
The Baker-Polito administration has published a new, interactive online tool that displays a breakdown by municipality of the $3.4 billion in direct federal aid awarded to local governments across Massachusetts. This direct aid is part of a total of $8.7 billion awarded to Massachusetts through the new Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund.
These discretionary federal dollars are available to every local city, town, and county to support urgent municipal COVID-19 response efforts, replace lost revenue, stabilize households and businesses, and address the existing disparities that the pandemic exacerbated.
The new online resource consists of an interactive map that shows the breakdown of the $3.4 billion that is available to local cities, towns, and counties through the Coronavirus Local Fiscal Recovery Fund. The website also contains detailed information on funding allocations and the distribution process, as well as general information on the usage of these funds. To view the interactive map and this municipal funding information, click here.
PRNWR Announces Berry Picking and Fall Archery Deer and Turkey Hunt Lotteries
For anyone interested in picking cranberries and beach plums on the Plum Island refuge this year, the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge will soon conduct a lottery to determine who receives the limited number of free berry picking permits that have been allocated for this year. To apply to the permit lottery, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and write “Berry Picking Permit Lottery” on the subject line. The body of the email should include your name, phone number, and, if applicable, an email address.
For those lacking access to email, please type or neatly print the same personal contact information on a card and mail or drop it off at refuge headquarters (write “Berry Picking Permit Lottery” on the card or envelope). The mailing address is Parker River NWR, 6 Plum Island Turnpike, Newburyport Mass., 01950. Permit lottery applications will be accepted from July 1 thru July 30. Permit selectees will be notified by August 10 and will be provided with additional details at that time.
PRNWR officials have also announced that the application window for the fall archery deer and turkey hunt at Great Bay National Wildlife Refuge is Thursday, July 1 through Friday, July 30. The hunt will be by permit only, with permittees selected by lottery. A total of 25 permits will be issued for this hunt. The hunt lottery application will be available on the Great Bay NWR homepage, found here, on Monday, June 28. Alternatively, interested hunters can pick up the lottery application at the Parker River NWR headquarters in Newburyport or at the kiosk that is located at the Great Bay NWR visitor parking area in Newington N.H. Lottery entries can be mailed-in, dropped off, emailed, or faxed and all entries must be received by Friday, July 30.
Lowell Community Health Center Introduces the New Smiles4Families Fund
One of the main goals of the Lowell Community Health Center is to ensure that all members of the greater Lowell community have access to both quality and culturally responsive health care, regardless of ability to pay. This year, they are hosting the Smiles4Families fund in order to help more patients cover the cost of essential, often expensive dental care that isn’t covered by insurance.
Many patients at the Lowell Community Health Center have already gone without dental care for years because of factors such as high costs, and the global pandemic has only added to that need. If you are interested in helping them reach their $20,000 goal to help assure that each patient has access to all necessary dental health care, visit here.
MOVERS & SHAKERS
Haverhill Bank Welcomes Two New Officers
Angelita Martinoli of Haverhill was named vice president of human resources and has 20 years of experience in the field. Martinoli has a bachelor’s degree from Southern New Hampshire University.
Elizabeth Cronin of Haverhill was named assistant vice president of compliance. Cronin has more than 30 years of management experience and holds a bachelor’s degree from Gordon College.
JDCU Executive Graduates LEADS
Brian Sousa, senior vice president and chief lending officer, recently graduated from Leaders Engaged and Activated to Drive System-wide change (LEADS) as part of the class of 2020-2021. Sousa has 29 years of experience in the lending and real estate industries. A graduate of UMass Lowell, Sousa has long-standing roots in the Lowell, serving on several boards for organizations including the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell, the Senior Advisory Board for the Lowell Community Health Center, and the Advisory Board of Catie’s Closet, Inc.
NECC Human Services Major is New Student Trustee
Chrissy Grace of Haverhill will join the Northern Essex Community College (NECC) Board of Trustees as the newly student-elected representative. Grace graduated from high school in 2004 and quickly found success working in the tech field as a product representative. Inspired to take on a new challenge by seeing her young daughter adapt and thrive during the pandemic, Grace decided to enroll at NECC for the Spring ’21 semester as a Human Services major. She hopes that she can use her role as student trustee to encourage others to get involved. Grace finished her first semester with a 4.0 grade point average. After earning her associate degree, she plans to transfer to a four-year school to get her bachelor’s and then go onto work with senior citizens.
Whitten Promoted to Director of Merrimack Valley Planning Commission
Jerrard Whitten, of Newbury, is a veteran of the Haverhill-based Merrimack Valley Planning Commission and has been named the organization’s executive director. Whitten is a graduate of the University of New Hampshire with a master of science in resource administration and management and a bachelor of science in resource economics.
Photo courtesy of the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission.