AROUND THE VALLEY
Dune Renourishment Project to Begin on Salisbury Beach
The state legislative delegation and local stakeholders announced the approval and commencement of a dune renourishment project on Salisbury Beach.
Following a significant storm this past February and several instances of dune erosion and storm surges in Salisbury, funding has been secured and allocated for the purchase of sand and permits have been approved for dune renourishment on Salisbury Beach. The approval of the project comes on the heels of months of advocacy from the state delegation and local stakeholders.
The project will consist of the placement of sand along numerous dunes in the North End Boulevard area, aimed at improving public ways and providing residents with protections for their properties.
Baker-Polito Administration Announces $30 Million in Additional Support for Massachusetts Small Businesses and $2.8 Billion in Federal COVID-19 Funding
The Baker-Polito administration announced $30 million in state funding across four grant programs administered by the Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation (MGCC) to help small businesses recover.
Among these investments, the administration announced the award of $4 million to 45 nonprofit technical assistance providers to continue working with small businesses and entrepreneurs from traditionally underserved communities to grow and expand their businesses. In addition, the administration announced $14.7 million in awards to 15 organizations under MGCC’s Community Development Financial Institution and Community Development Corporation’s (CDFI and CDC) Match Grant Program, which funds both lending and mini-grant programs for small businesses.
This round of Small Business Technical Assistance Grant program awards represents a $4 million commitment to qualifying nonprofits that help businesses build operational capacity and strengthen ongoing business development activities, such as one-on-one guidance around applying for loans, building a business plan, and budgeting.
The administration also announced a plan to immediately put to use approximately $2.815 billion of the commonwealth’s direct federal aid to support key priorities including housing and homeownership, economic development and local downtowns, job training and workforce development, healthcare, and infrastructure.
The plan was announced at the Mount Washington Homes in Haverhill and includes $200 million for programs that aim to close the wealth gap faced by communities of color by connecting first-time homebuyers with homeownership opportunities.
GLCF Announces New Steven Joncas Community Connector Award at Annual Meeting
Over 150 residents, business leaders, and nonprofit professionals attended the virtual Greater Lowell Community Foundation (GLCF)’s 2021 annual meeting on Tuesday, June 8. GLCF announced that a new Steven Joncas Community Connector Award has been established by the foundation in honor of outgoing longtime board member’s commitment to the community.
The inaugural GLCF Steven Joncas Community Connector Award will be given at GLCF’s Celebrate Giving on October 13. The award will be given to a community member nominated by individuals and organizations who has stood out in their support of the Greater Lowell community through one or more extraordinary acts during the year. The award recipient will be able to select a Greater Lowell nonprofit to receive $1000 from GLCF. Nominations for the GLCF Steven Joncas Community Connector Award will open in September.
Lowell General Ends Operations at Cross River Center Vaccination Site
Lowell General Hospital has closed its regional vaccine site at Cross River Center and will shift its COVID-19 vaccination efforts to the Saints campus beginning Tuesday, June 22.
All future vaccination appointments will be at the Chest and Immunization Center located on the fourth floor of the Saints campus at 1 Hospital Drive. 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.
Home Health VNA Awards Memorial Scholarship to Greater Lawrence Technical School Graduate
Home Health VNA has awarded a scholarship presented annually in memory of a former employee to Rechelly Paula, a Lawrence resident and graduate of the Health Careers Department at Greater Lawrence Technical School in Andover. Paula plans to study nursing at Barry University in Miami this fall with the goal of becoming a physician assistant.
The $500 scholarship was established in 1995 as a tribute to Lisa Santiago Ventura, who sustained fatal injuries after being struck during a high-speed police chase while driving to care for a patient. In her memory, Home Health VNA awards the Lisa Santiago Ventura Memorial Scholarship to a graduating senior of Greater Lawrence Technical School where she was once a student.
At Greater Lawrence Technical School, Paula was vice president of the Class of 2021 and nominated as a 2021 U.S. Presidential Scholar in Career and Technical Education. A member of the National Honor Society with a 4.02 GPA, she gained work experience in nursing home and hospital settings and was a four-sport athlete competing in softball, basketball, cross-country and swimming.
NECC Joins President Biden’s COVID 19 Challenge
Northern Essex Community College (NECC) has joined the White House COVID-19 College Vaccine Challenge, along with colleges and universities across the country. Announced by the White House and U.S. Department of Education earlier this month, the challenge is part of President Joe Biden’s goal to get 70% of U.S. adults vaccinated with at least a first dose by July 4.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 44.4% of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated, 58% in Massachusetts. In Essex County 54% of the population has been fully vaccinated, with some communities lagging behind, such as Lawrence, where 37.9% of the population is vaccinated.
Participating colleges commit to three actions: engaging every student, faculty, and staff member; organizing campus communities around vaccine efforts; and delivering vaccine access for all.
JDCU teams with Lowell General to Calm Children in the ED
A trip to the emergency department can be a frightening experience for anyone, let alone children. Jeanne D’Arc Credit Union (JDCU) teamed up with Lowell General Hospital to bring smiles to those scared faces by donating the Smile Station, a cart loaded with card games, fidget toys, activity books, and more. The goal of the Smile Station is distracting and entertaining a young patient in a time of high anxiety. Pediatric patients comprise about 1 in 5 visits to Lowell General’s emergency department.
The donation is part of the Small Acts That Give Back program, a longtime effort by Jeanne D’Arc to spread joy to neighbors and members of the community. A cart was donated to both the main and Saints campus emergency departments.