AROUND THE VALLEY
Greater Haverhill Chamber Hosts 105th Annual Dinner
On Thursday, June 10, the Greater Haverhill Chamber hosted their 105th annual dinner at the Bradford Country Club.
The Chamber Service award was presented to Stephanie Guyette, associate director of UMass Lowell’s Innovation Hub. The Community Leadership award was given to Allison Heartquist, who works for the city of Haverhill. The Jerry Loy Outstanding Director of the Year award was received by Penelope Guerrero-Perez, a footwear design consultant. Northern Essex Community College President Lane Glenn received the Charles E. Billups award, which recognizes an individual that continuously supports the Greater Haverhill Chamber’s efforts.
(Photo caption: Greater Haverhill Chamber 105th Annual Dinner award recipients from left: NECC President Lane Glenn, Penelope Guerrero-Perez, Allison Heartquist and Stephanie Guyotte.)
Lawrence Partnership Announces New Executive Director
George Ramirez, a former state economic development official, has been named executive director of The Lawrence Partnership, the collaboration of business and civic leaders committed to building an inclusive and resilient economy in Lawrence.
Ramirez, who was born in Colombia and raised in Lowell, is an attorney and consultant to businesses and nonprofits. Ramirez previously served as executive vice president of operations for MassDevelopment and as general counsel to the secretary of housing and economic development under former Mass. Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration. Ramirez also served as chairman of the economic assistance coordinating council, a member of emerging technology fund advisory committee, and as a member of Patrick’s development cabinet. Earlier in his career, Ramirez served as a member of the Lowell City Council.
Ramirez will begin his role later this month.
State Sen. Diana DiZoglio Announces Run for State Auditor
This week, state Sen. Diana DiZoglio announced her run for state auditor.
“As state auditor, I will begin by auditing the Baker administration’s actions during the pandemic crisis,” DiZoglio said. “The millions of taxpayer dollars spent on no-bid contracts during the failed vaccine rollout requires greater transparency. I will also launch an audit into the tragedy surrounding the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home.”
DiZoglio reported that her other priorities include fighting for increased transparency, equity, accountability and accessibility, as well as addressing the abuse of nondisclosure agreements, which she states have been used to silence victims of harassment, discrimination and abuse.
Groundwork Lawrence Receives Honorary Degree from Merrimack College
Groundwork Lawrence (GWL) joined the 2021 Merrimack College graduate class to accept an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree from President Christopher E. Hopey.
GWL Executive Director Heather McMann accepted honorary degree on the organization’s behalf. During the ceremony, President Hopey recognized the empowering change that GWL has brought to marginalized communities within Greater Lawrence for over 22 years.
Hike for Hope 2021 Hike Event Raises $130,000 to Help Alleviate Food Insecurity
Lazarus House Ministries hosted its 22nd annual Hike for Hope Challenge, a virtual/in-person 5k walk/run, on the weekend of May 22. The 3-part challenge included the hike, food collection, and fundraising and was a 200-strong community gathered for the greater good many of whom walked the Andover route and stopped at the check points to win prizes at Town Hall, Spark Fitness, A3 Fitness and Free Christian Church.
Innovative Leadership Program Completes Its Second Cohort In Merrimack Valley
With state and local regulations recently lifted, over 100 regional leaders convened for the culmination of the inaugural Merrimack Valley LEADS fellowship, an executive leadership program delivered in partnership with Harvard Business School faculty.
In addition to a graduation ceremony, the event, hosted at NECC’s Haverhill Campus, featured presentations from 9 project teams that were organized through the program around the themes of food security, affordable/fair housing, youth mentoring, racial equity, and small business supports. As a result of the pitches, approximately $50,000 of funding was committed by philanthropists and foundations to launch projects to address these community and regional priorities.
LEADS was founded in 2018 in collaboration with the Lawrence Partnership. The initiative has since scaled to serve Lowell and Haverhill, and is scheduled to grow to another region in 2022.
The presentations were provided feedback from a high profile set of panelists, which included state officials, foundation heads, and corporate leaders. Panelists during the event included Beth Francis, president and CEO of Essex County Community Foundation, Mike Kennealy, secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing/Economic Development and U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan.
Trahan, State and Local Leaders Tour GLCAC Head Start Facility in Methuen, Tout American Rescue Plan Investments in Child Care Facilities
U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan toured Greater Lawrence Community Action Council’s (GLCAC) Methuen Head Start facility and met with its leadership to hear about the importance of continued federal investments in head start and child care programs like those in the American Rescue Plan.
Trahan was joined on the tour by state Sen. Diana DiZoglio, state Rep. Linda Dean Campbell, Methuen Mayor Neil Perry, GLCAC Director of Early Division Learning Justine Donovan, and GLCAC Methuen Head Start Supervisors Brenda Adorno and Connie Quinn.
GLCAC serves 507 children across their Methuen and Lawrence Head Start facilities. The organization offers a wide array of services to the most vulnerable in Methuen and the Greater Lawrence area, including health and mental health services, professional development, transportation, meals, case management, family engagement, parent training, transition to kindergarten, and more.
Additionally, GLCAC was also the recipient of a recent $5,882,634 federal Head Start grant through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Head Start. The program received $11.6 billion in funding for FY2020, an increase of $1.5 billion from the year before. Trahan continues to advocate for additional funding for this important program.
NECC Celebrates Early College Graduates
214 graduates from ten local high schools earned college credits in addition to their high school diplomas this year, as participants in Northern Essex Community College’s (NECC) Early College Program.
The students, along with their families, celebrated at an early college recognition ceremony held under a tent on NECC’s Haverhill Campus on May 13.
Graduating early college students earned an average of 23 credits — close to eight college courses each — which they will take to 40 colleges in the fall, including public universities and private institutions, such as UMass Amherst, UMass Lowell, Boston University, Clark University, Merrimack College and Providence College. Thirty-eight of the graduates will attend NECC.
Check out the full story on the graduates of the Early College Program here.
We Share A Common Thread Foundation Donates More Than $95k to Local Organizations
Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union (JDCU) recently held its 11th annual We Share A Common Thread Foundation fundraiser, raising more than $95,000 to support the foundation’s mission. The event kicked off online on Tuesday, April 27, and ended with an in-person walkthrough event on Wednesday, May 5, at Four Oaks Country Club. The We Share a Common Thread Foundation was established in 2011 to help support the lives of people in the community by assisting with food, shelter, clothing, health, and education.
This year’s event, allowed for the We Share A Common Thread Foundation to make donations to 132 non-profit organizations in 19 communities.
MassDevelopment Funds Business Assistance Programs through Transformative Development Initiative
MassDevelopment has awarded $390,000 in grants to multiple organizations to implement outdoor dining, business signage improvements, district branding and marketing plans, placemaking and wayfinding projects, public events, and more through locally developed business assistance programs in gateway cities. The grants were awarded through MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) Local program.
Created in 2017, TDI Local is a small-business grants program that supports local market development by fostering business, resident, and property-owner engagement, building community identity, and improving the public realm in TDI districts.
For this round, fiscal agents in TDI districts in Chelsea, Chicopee, Fall River, Fitchburg, Lawrence, Springfield, and Worcester (Main South) will receive $30,000 district grants.
The Essex Art Center in Lawrence, one of the projects who received a TDI award, will use the $30,000 district grant to implement a key component of a downtown action strategy, which was funded and managed by the Lawrence TDI Partnership, that includes improving pedestrian and auto-oriented placemaking and wayfinding on the corridor from Island Street and Canal Street into downtown Lawrence. The Canal Activation Program aims to create temporary creative visual markers, including asphalt and sidewalk art and a flash flower field installation, which are aimed at helping establish a future downtown arts and culture district.
Trahan Calls for Robust Investments to Stop Sewage Overflows, Bolster Renewable Energy Initiatives
U.S. Rep. Lori Trahan testified before the House Appropriations Committee about the need for long overdue federal investments in preventing combined sewage overflows (CSOs) that pollute waterways like the Merrimack River and strong support for the fusion energy research, a renewable energy source that holds unprecedented promises for America’s transition to a clean energy economy.
The Merrimack River Watershed Council estimates that hundreds of millions of gallons of untreated sewage are released into the Merrimack from urban treatment plants each year, and a recent Boston Herald report highlighted a recent discharge of 84 million gallons of wastewater and stormwater from Lowell’s combined sewage system as recently as April.
Downtown Amesbury Welcomes New Home Decor Boutique and Artisan Marketplace
This week, Aumnii Emporium opened its doors on 82 Main Street in downtown Amesbury.
Owner Tanya Webster, a Lawrence native, has strong family ties to Listuguj, a small Mi’qmaq reservation in Quebec. At a young age she learned traditional Mi’qmaq crafts such as basket weaving, dream catchers and moccasins.
The new Amesbury location will offer products like signs, supplies, and refinished furniture, as well as a space for other artisans to feature their own products and build their own business.
North Andover Merchants Association Announce Community Gift Card Program
The North Andover Merchants Association announced the new “Shop NA Community E-Gift Card,” a community-based digital gift card that makes it fun and easy to shop local. Purchase a Shop NA E-Card here to use at any of the participating shops in North Andover. With this card, you can write a personal message and send it to family, friends and colleagues via email, text, or physical copy. Recipients can choose to spend it at one of over 25 (and growing) participating merchants — or mix it up and spend flexibly at multiple locations.
MOVERS & SHAKERS
Lawrence City Council Recognizes 2021 Biology Grad
2021 Northern Essex Community College Biology Graduate Mariel Bloise received honors for her academic success from the Lawrence City Council, which recognizes one outstanding graduate from the city each year, based on a recommendation from Northern Essex President Lane Glenn. Bloise came to Lawrence from the Dominican Republic with her family in 2015. She began taking college classes as a high school senior through the NECC Early College Program. Bloise graduated from Northern Essex with high honors and is transferring to UMass Lowell to continue her studies in biology. Her goal is to enroll in physician’s assistant school after getting her bachelor’s, and she is considering dermatology as a specialty. She comes from a family of doctors (her uncle and cousins) which is what interested her in the medical field.
UML Educator Honored with Manning Prize
Stacy Szczesiul, an associate professor in the university’s college of education, has received the 2021 Manning Prize for excellence in teaching. Szczesiul joined UMass Lowell’s college of education in 2010. For the past five years, Szczesiul has taught exclusively in and served as coordinator of the college’s nationally recognized online leadership in schooling doctoral program, which has doubled in size since its inaugural cohort in 2016 and includes students who work as school administrators all over the world.
Covenant Health Welcomes Jennifer Newburger as Vice President of Quality Improvement and Safety
Newburger will provide leadership and direction to system-wide quality and safety programs, which specifically focus on the continuous improvement of quality of care; patient safety and satisfaction; as well as overall efficiency. Newburger earned her master of science in health education from Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., and a bachelor of art in sociology from George Mason University in Fairfax, V.A. She also attended Beth Israel Nursing School in N.Y. and is a registered nurse. In addition, Newburger is a certified professional in healthcare quality as well as a current member of the National Association for Healthcare Quality and American College of Healthcare Executives.