AROUND THE VALLEY
MRWC Recognized by New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services
The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (NHDES) Drinking Water and Groundwater Bureau recently recognized the Merrimack River Watershed Council (MWRC) at its annual Drinking Water Source Protection Conference on Wednesday, May 19. The award was presented as part of a two-day conference held on May 19 and 20.
The MWRC received the agency’s Source Water Protection Award for work to protect New Hampshire’s drinking water. The organization was also recognized for its work to secure $6.9 million dollars in federal funding to coordinate water supply and conservation partners in a statewide effort to permanently protect critical water supply lands and improve land management practices, primarily on land protected by easements.
UML Geologist Identifies New Form of Quasicrystal
A UMass Lowell (UML) geologist is among the researchers who have discovered a new type of human-made quasicrystal created by the first test blast of an atomic bomb.
The formation holds promise as a new material that could one day help repair bone, insulate heat or convert heat to electricity, or aid in the use of prosthetics, according to UML Prof. G. Nelson Eby, a member of the university’s environmental, earth and atmospheric sciences department.
Eby is a member of the research team that identified the quasicrystal substance inside samples of trinitite they examined that were collected from the debris of the first atomic bomb detonated by the U.S. Army on July 16, 1945 in the New Mexico desert. Also known as atomic rock, trinitite is a glassy material produced by the extreme heat and pressure unleashed by detonated atomic devices.
The research team’s findings were published last month in the academic journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Baker-Polito Administration Announces $109 Million in Direct Federal Aid for Four Communities
The Baker-Polito Administration announced a total of $109 million in discretionary funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) will be distributed today to Methuen, Chelsea, Everett and Randolph. These four communities were amongst the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, but due to shortcomings in the federal ARPA funding formula, were set to receive disproportionately smaller amounts of federal funding compared to other hard-hit communities.
Methuen received $26.3 million in funding.
These municipalities will be able to use these funds to support costs related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including direct response efforts, addressing negative economic impacts, replacing revenue lost during the pandemic, making investments in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure, as well as other eligible expenditures.
DiZoglio Secures State Funds for Lake Gardner Beach Renovations
Among the local funds secured by state Sen. Diana DiZoglio in the fiscal year 2022 Senate budget is $100,000 toward renovations at Lake Gardner beach in Amesbury.
Recently, local stakeholders have been working to address a variety of issues at Lake Gardner. The city will be hiring a beach director this season to ensure a consistent presence at the beach and the local department of public works has been making improvements to the bathrooms. They are also considering a potential tenant, such as a coffee shop or kayak rental company, to use the small commercial space in the building.
However, the city needs improvement of the parking area and in particular access to the beach and surrounding park in order to ensure compliance with Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.
MCC Staff Members Awarded for Excellence During Pandemic
Two Middlesex Community College (MCC) staff members from their office of online learning received League Excellence Awards from the League for Innovation. Roxanne McCorry, MCC’s director of online learning and Blackboard support, and Daniela Loghin, MCC’s coordinator for academic resources, were recognized for supporting the college throughout the pandemic in the transition of coursework and student services to remote, virtual and limited contact systems.
Phil Sisson, MCC’s president-elect, calls McCorry and Loghin “consistently instrumental” to MCC’s success throughout the pandemic. Their support of faculty in the adjustment to online teaching has continued to be a valuable resource.
MRT Young Company to Switch to All In-Person Programs for Summer 2021
The Merrimack Repertory Theatre’s (MRT) Young Company, a summer intensive for teenagers, will return to in-person workshops this year, from July 12 to 30. The Young Company is an educational theater experience for students 14 to 18 years of age with an interest in all aspects of the performing arts and new play development. Director Robert Cornelius will return to lead the course.
Students will explore acting and performance, scene analysis and monologue work, as well as collaborative playwriting of their own original scripts. The students will be joined by nationally recognized playwrights, actors and directors.
Bread & Roses Awards Inaugural Robert Lanzoni Scholarship in Support of Education in Lawrence
Established to honor longtime Bread & Roses volunteer and executive director Bob Lanzoni, who passed away in Nov. 2020, the Robert Lanzoni Scholarship reflects his commitment and dedication to improving the lives of the people of Lawrence, particularly the many student volunteers who served with Bread & Roses.
Reflecting the educational challenges for students and their families in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a total of $6,000 was distributed to Si Se Puede, Esperanza Academy and Notre Dame Christo Rey High School.
UML Program for First-Generation College Students Receives $100K Grant
UMass Lowell’s (UML) nationally recognized program for first-generation college students is expanding its services with the support of a $100,000 grant from the Cummings Foundation.
The award will allow the UML River Hawk Scholars Academy (RHSA) to grow the academic and support services it provides to enhance educational, campus and community experiences for full-time UML students who are the first in their families to attend college.
Forty-one percent of UML undergraduates are first-generation college students. Over the last academic year, the River Hawk Scholars Academy assisted more than 400 participants and anticipates serving more than 400 students this fall. Since it began in 2017, more than 1,000 UML first-generation college students have benefited from the program.
Community Teamwork and MCC Awarded $100k Cummings Grants
Community Teamwork and Middlesex Community College (MCC) are two of the 140 local nonprofits that will receive grants of $100,000 to $500,000 each through Cummings Foundation’s $25 Million Grant Program.
Community Teamwork will use the funding from the Cummings Foundation, to support its culinary arts vocational tract for at-risk youth interested in entering the hospitality industry. After a recent successful capital campaign, Community Teamwork was able to install a commercial kitchen at its Youth Opportunity Center.
For MCC, funding from the Cummings Grant will go toward helping students enrolled in MCC’s entrepreneurial or certificate programs launch and grow their businesses. MCC can also connect students with resources such as mentors, networking, budget review and personal support.
GLCF awards $180K in additional COVID-19 Response Grants to Address Youth Food Insecurity
The Greater Lowell Community Foundation (GLCF) announced it deployed a new round of COVID-19 related grants, providing an additional $180,000 to 17 area nonprofits in greater Lowell addressing youth food insecurity needs. These grants were part of the latest round of distributions from the commonwealth COVID Grant Program and GLCF COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund.
The 17 nonprofits receiving grants in the latest round of the GLCF COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund to address youth food insecurity include the Billerica Community Pantry Inc., the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Lowell, Community Teamwork Inc., Girls Inc. of Greater Lowell, Greater Lowell Family YMCA – Merrimack Valley Food Bank Inc., Middlesex Community College, Mill City Grows, YWCA of Lowell and more.
Since March 2020, through grants from its GLCF COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, Massachusetts COVID Relief Fund, and Commonwealth COVID Grant Program, the foundation has supported 127 local nonprofit organizations with 301 grants totaling over $4.1 million.
Museum of Printing President Celebrates 80th Birthday
Museum of Printing President Frank Romano is celebrating his 80th birthday this year and the museum is asking everyone to join in the celebration of what they are calling a Year of Frank.
Romano, who spent over 60 years in the printing industry, generously donated the building and his voluminous library to the museum. He founded the publication TypeWorld and has been the editor for many editions of “Pocket Pal: The Handy Book of Graphic Arts Production.” He also spent years as a professor at Rochester Institute of Technology and California Polytechnic State University, and is the author of more than 60 books on topics related to the printing industry.
Haverhill Mayor Announces $462K in Southwick Tax Breaks Returned to City
The city of Haverhill has successfully recovered $462,000 in tax breaks it gave the owners of the former Southwick Clothing factory in exchange for opening a manufacturing facility in Haverhill’s Broadway business park in 2014.
The 2014 agreement, approved by the mayor and city council, granted Southwick’s parent company, Golden Fleece Manufacturing Group LLC, the tax credits in exchange for moving from Lawrence to Haverhill, keeping 468 permanent local jobs and adding another 70 new jobs by 2018. The company was in talks at the time to move its jobs and the plant, which was known for making Brooks Brothers suits, outside the United States.
When Southwick abruptly announced last year that it was declaring bankruptcy and closing the Haverhill factory, Fiorentini declared he would fight to recoup the back taxes. After the city filed a claim in federal bankruptcy court, the parties were able to reach an agreement and the city received a check for $461,924.72 last month.
The city cannot spend the funds until they are certified by the state Department of Revenue as so-called free cash, which is expected in October or November.
The court’s bankruptcy court ruling paved the way for the owners of the former Southwick factory to sell the property at 25 Computer Drive for $14 million to Boston-based Eastern Real Estate. The new owners are leasing the property to Amazon, which is currently renovating the building with plans to open a “last-mile” merchandise delivery hub there. Amazon is one of three companies, including a high-tech center and a large food-making plant, that are brining approximately 750 jobs to Haverhill this year.
Martha Velez of Lawrence Chosen to Receive Community Leadership Award
On Thursday, the Massachusetts Public Health Association (MPHA) announced that it will present its Community Leadership Award to Martha Velez of Lawrence for her outstanding service to the community during the COVID-19 pandemic and following the 2018 Columbia Gas explosions. The Community Leadership award is given to an elected or appointed official who has made a major contribution to the health of residents in their community.
Velez is the director of human services for the city of Lawrence, overseeing the council on aging, veterans’ services office, recreation department, Mayor’s health task force, and the human rights committee.
Lowell General shifting vaccination program from regional site into hospital operations
As the demand for a large-scale regional mass vaccination site diminishes in Greater Lowell, Lowell General Hospital (LGH) will shift its Mass Vaccination Program into normal hospital operations at its Saints Campus beginning Tuesday, June 22.
Since December, 2020, the MVP program has administered more than 140,000 doses of the vaccine, first at Lowell General’s main campus and then at the Cross River Center, where as many as 3,000 doses per day were administered at the peak of demand.
The last day of operations at Cross River Center will be Tuesday, June 15.
To schedule an appointment, members of the community should to continue to visit LowellGeneralVaccine.com and click the SCHEDULE MY APPOINTMENT button. The website will redirect patients once appointments are shifted to the hospital’s central scheduling phone line in the coming weeks.
MOVERS & SHAKERS
NECC Grad Selected for State Department Fellowship
Enoch Masih of Andover, a Northern Essex Community College (NECC) computer and information science program graduate, is one of only 15 students from across the country to be selected for the prestigious Foreign Affairs Information Technology Fellowship program, funded by the U.S. Department of State. While working at a nearby Apple store, Masih discovered that he might have a future in the technology industry. Masih was involved on-campus as peer tutor and a member of the National Society of Leadership & Success. Masih graduated from NECC in Dec. 2020 and will transfer to UMass Lowell this fall to get his bachelor’s in information technology.