NoteWorthy is your weekly news roundup of happenings, movers and shakers, and community events in the Merrimack Valley.
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AROUND THE VALLEY
UMass Lowell Rolls Out Free Rides for Students and Employees
UMass Lowell has rolled out a new program that provides free, regional transportation services to students and employees. The program — being offered in partnership with the Lowell and Merrimack Valley regional transit authorities — was officially launched at an event today at University Crossing with UMass Lowell students, faculty and staff, along with transit authority representatives.
Through the partnership, UMass Lowell will pay the fares for students and employees, who can ride for free by simply showing their UMass Lowell ID card when boarding any route in the Lowell Regional Transit Authority system and the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority’s Haverhill-Lawrence-Lowell route.
With the new program, UMass Lowell is increasing transportation options — which include a network of campus shuttles and a free bicycle-sharing program — for the 20,000 students and employees that make up the university community. Approximately 100 of them, along with transit authority representatives, attended today’s event. The reduced vehicle trips that result from the program will contribute to the university’s goal of further decreasing its carbon footprint.
“Through this collaboration, UMass Lowell is able to expand the services it offers the university community and advance our sustainability efforts,” said UMass Lowell Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney. “Our new partnership with our local transit authorities will make it even easier for our students, faculty and staff to get to and from campus and to take advantage of all the region has to offer while supporting businesses and cultural venues.”
Citizens Bank Donates $50K to Granite United Way’s Free Tax Prep Program
Citizens Bank has generously donated $50,000 to Granite United Way’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program. A check presentation was made Jan. 18 at Workplace Success in Manchester, N.H., one of the most active VITA sites each year.
Individuals and families with household incomes up to $64,000 are eligible for free tax preparation through the VITA program. Taxes are prepared by IRS-certified volunteers who assist low-to-moderate income residents of the state to access the greatest amount of refunds. Both Granite United Way and Citizens Bank share a common goal of encouraging financial stability and recognize the importance of programs like VITA to families and individuals.
“The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program has served as a catalyst for bringing families out of that poverty line. We’re fortunate to have the support of a corporate partner such as Citizens Bank, who shares our commitment to developing financial stability for individuals and families across New Hampshire,” said Patrick Tufts, president and CEO of Granite United Way.
NECC and Northeastern Partnership Benefits Under-Represented Students
Northeastern University recently received a $5 million grant from the National Science Foundation that could benefit Northern Essex Community College engineering science students.
NECC is one of five colleges selected to partner with Northeastern on the grant, which is designed to support college transfer students from under-represented backgrounds who are studying and doing research in energy. Beginning this fall, three NECC engineering science students interested in the energy industry will be eligible to receive a $2,500 scholarship to support their education each year.
This opportunity is for the next five years with a potential opportunity to enroll at Northeastern University’s prestigious School of Engineering. The five-year program, titled Student Pathways Opening World Energy Resources — or S-POWER — ties in with a national initiative to increase diversity in the science, technology, engineering and math fields, as well as the energy sector.
Merrimack Valley Hospice Receives Deficiency-Free DPH Survey Rating
Merrimack Valley Hospice recently received a deficiency-free hospice agency survey rating by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.
DPH periodically reviews home health and hospice agencies, hospitals and skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities to ensure compliance with state and federal regulations and to assess the quality of care provided. The DPH surveyors conducted a thorough review of clinical documentation, administrative and clinical procedures, employee files, quality data and contracts. In addition, they conducted interviews with clinicians and accompanied staff on home visits to assess the quality of care in the home. At the conclusion of the six-day survey, Merrimack Valley Hospice was found to be in full compliance with all the conditions and regulations.
“With changing and increasingly stringent regulations, achieving a deficiency-free rating is extremely difficult to accomplish,” said John G. Albert, president and CEO of Merrimack Valley Hospice. “We are exceedingly proud of our dedicated and talented clinicians and support staff who are committed to our agency and the patients and families who rely on us for care.”
Women’s Health Care Relocates Satellite Office to Middleton
Women’s Health Care announced it will be relocating one of its satellite offices from Georgetown to Middleton. The Georgetown office closed Dec. 31, and the new location, adjacent to Middleton Family Medicine in Middleton, will open to patients on Feb. 1.
Dr. Mary Chang and Dr. Andrea Rollins will provide OB-GYN services at the new location every Thursday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The new office also has on-site ultrasound capabilities. It is conveniently located at 147 South Main St., Suite B in Middleton off Route 114.
Middlesex Paralegal Program Receives National Recognition
Middlesex Community College’s Paralegal Studies degree programs have been recognized for excellence by the Community for Accredited Online Schools in its 2016-17 national rankings.
Approved by the American Bar Association, MCC’s Paralegal Studies Programs offer two associate degree programs, a career track and a transfer track, as well as a one-year certificate program (for those who have already earned an associate or bachelor’s degree).
MOVERS & SHAKERS
Mary Duggan has joined Safe Mosquito Removal, the environment and pet/human-friendly mosquito control company recently acquired by Jeff’s Landscape, Inc. and Velvet Green Organic Lawn Care of Wakefield. Duggan will bring her environmental and customer service expertise, as well as her background in environmental studies, mosquito control, and consultation, to Velvet Green Organic Lawn Care’s safe mosquito removal division as its environmental science consultant.