AROUND THE VALLEY
UMass Lowell Secures $11.7M in Research Funding
UMass Lowell research projects, ranging from developing new protective gear and sensors to ensure food and water are safe to advanced wireless communications, were recently awarded nearly $12 million in federal funding through the Fiscal Year 20 Defense Appropriations bill.
“UMass Lowell’s HEROES collaborative has a long history of developing vitally important initiatives that keep our troops safe and healthy,” said Rep. Lori Trahan. “When I toured the center last year, I saw firsthand the incredible work being done to reimagine new uniforms that protect our troops and come up with innovative ways to protect their food and water supplies. This increase in funding shows just how necessary their work is to our men and women in the armed forces. I look forward to joining Senators Warren and Markey in continuing to support the innovation of the university, the HEROES program and the Combat Capabilities Soldier Center.”
“The scale of this funding is a powerful demonstration of the expertise of our outstanding faculty and researchers as well as clear evidence of the important role UMass Lowell plays as a national research institution,” said UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacquie Moloney. “We are especially grateful to Rep. Trahan and other members of the Massachusetts legislative delegation for their help in securing this research funding as well as their ongoing support of this university.”
Two dozen projects are being conducted through UMass Lowell’s HEROES (Harnessing Emerging Research Opportunities to Empower Soldiers) collaborative, which works with the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Soldier Center (CCDC SC), formerly known as Natick Labs.
Lawrence Emergency Rental Assistance Program Announced
Low-income Lawrence residents and families who owe back rent or are homeless as a direct result of the COVID-19 pandemic may qualify for the City of Lawrence’s emergency Rental Assistance Program. Residents will qualify if they owe back rent since March 10, they owe six months or less in back rent, they are a permanent resident of Lawrence, or they owe back rent or are tieless due to the pandemic.
Blue Cross Grants Additional COVID-19 Relief Funding to Lowell Organizations
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, announced an additional $400,000 in grants to nonprofits and regional funds across Massachusetts — including to three organizations in Lowell — to support communities of color most impacted by COVID-19, address the ongoing food insecurity crisis and provide support to teachers and students to aid in the safe reopening of schools. These recent donations bring Blue Cross’ total value of community COVID-19 support to $10.6 million.
A total of $270,000 will be distributed as part of Blue Cross’ COVID-19 Rapid Response Grants. This second round of grants is awarding $10,000 to 27 organizations serving communities of color most impacted by COVID-19. Lowell recipients for this wave include the Greater Lowell Community Foundation, Lowell Community Health Center and the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell. The first round of grants, distributed in April, provided $240,000 in funding to 24 community organizations supporting essential and frontline organizations addressing food access, basic needs, and support to first responders, health care and retail workers.
Greenbelt and Town of Ipswich Working to Conserve Kamon Farm
Essex County’s Land Trust is working with the town of Ipswich to permanently protect Kamon Farm, 93 acres on Pineswamp Road in Ipswich. At the October 17 Town Meeting, Ipswich residents voted unanimously in favor of allocating up to $450,000 in Open Space bond funds to support the project. Greenbelt has committed to privately fundraise $400,000 to acquire and conserve the land, and the potential for $400,000 from the Massachusetts Local Acquisition for Natural Diversity (LAND) grant program is still pending.
Kamon Farm holds tremendous conservation value, and preserving it will help protect Ipswich’s drinking water supply, conserve breathtaking rural views and wildlife habitat, allow public access to trails connecting to Turkey Hill Conservation Area and provide the potential for farming compatible with drinking water supply goals. Learn more, see photos and videos at ECGA.org.
Local Senior Transportation Program Wins a National Aging Achievement Award
Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley and North Shore has received a 2020 Aging Achievement Award from the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a) for its CareRide program, an on-demand transportation initiative that provides subsidized rides to non-emergency medical appointments for adults age 60 and over in the Greater Lowell area. CareRide was among 44 local aging programs to receive honors at the n4a Virtual Conference and Tradeshow on September 22.
Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley and North Shore Receives $20,000 Grant
Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley and North Shore has received a $20,00 grant from Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation (EBCF). The grant is part of a commitment from the Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation to provide financial support to local organizations focused on COVID-19 relief.
EBCF is providing a total of $8 million in COVID-19 philanthropic support in the communities it serves. It is receiving a grant for its work in helping elders, older adults with disabilities, and their families in our communities, as they cope and adjust to new circumstances in food insecurity, financial challenges, and isolation brought on by the virus.
Researchers to Track How Coastal Storms Impact Groundwater Quality
Led by UMass Lowell’s James Heiss — assistant professor in the Department of Environmental, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences — the team will use computerized sensors installed at sites along the shoreline to measure groundwater flow to track how such storms may affect the amount of saltwater in beach aquifers. The team is collaborating with UMass Lowell computer science professor Fred Martin to develop the sensor network.
Catie’s Closet Fills the Bus With 51,200 Pieces of Clothing
As Catie’s Closet’s Fill the Bus initiative ends, the organization is celebrating the successful collection of over 51,200 pieces of clothing to support local students experiencing poverty.
The organization gathered over 2,048 bags of donated clothing, received more than 162 “Confidence Packs” and welcomed 287 participants in its 5K. Catie’s Closet exceeded all goals for this year’s event, and numbers are expected to grow as drives are still ongoing and donations continue to roll in.
Each piece of clothing, toiletry item and school supply will go directly to students living in poverty across Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Catie’s Closet currently serves 55,000 students in need of basic essentials.
Fill The Bus ran from August 5, 2020 through September 30, 2020. Due to restrictions caused by COVID-19, Catie’s Closet, which is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this year, offered several virtual opportunities for individuals and companies to participate, including hosting virtual company and individual drives, dropping off donations, shopping from Amazon Smile wish lists and participating in the first virtual Catie’s Closet 5K.
New Section of Haverhill Riverfront Boardwalk Officially Opens
Andy Vargas and developer Sal Lupoli officially opened a new section of the Rep. Brian S. Dempsey Boardwalk behind The Heights at Haverhill development on Friday afternoon. The new section was made possible through a coordinated effort by the city, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts through a MassWorks grant and Lupoli.
The boardwalk now runs the full length of Merrimack Street beginning at the Basiliere Bridge behind Harbor Place. The city hopes to further extend the boardwalk to the Comeau bridge in the future. The boardwalk was named after former state representative Brian S. Dempsey who as chairman of the House Ways and Means committee secured funding for the redevelopment of several parcels that are now part of Harbor Place.
Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union Awards $1,500 to Place of Promise
Place of Promise is the latest nonprofit organization to be awarded a $1,500 donation from Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union’s We Share a Common Thread Foundation, as part of the third-quarter (June-September) Give-a-Click program.
The Give-A-Click program runs quarterly on the We Share a Common Thread Foundation website. Community members visit the site, learn about the worthy non-profit contestants, and cast their vote for the one they would like to support. The organization with the most votes at the end of the quarter is awarded a $1,500 donation from the Foundation. Place of Promise is a locally operated, faith-based, nonprofit organization in Lowell.
MOVERS & SHAKERS
Alan Collopy Joins Haverhill Bank as Vice President, Information Technology
Alan Collopy recently joined Haverhill Bank as vice president, information technology. Prior to joining Haverhill Bank, Collopy worked as information technology officer at Cambridge Trust Company and has 25 years of banking and information technology experience. Collopy is an active member in the DRI Organization for Disaster Recovery Professionals. “Alan brings a depth of knowledge of information technology that will be an asset to the bank,” said Haverhill Bank President and CEO Thomas Mortimer.