As N.H. Democrats Cast Ballots Today, UMass Lowell Poll Shows Sen. Sanders Ahead; Buttigieg 2nd

As New Hampshire voters cast ballots in today’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary, a UMass Lowell has Sen. Bernie Sanders out front and former South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg surging to second place. The UMass Lowell Center for Public Opinion reports, however, 40 percent of likely voters say they could still change their mind. “We are now looking at a race with a leader. After the chaos surrounding the Iowa caucus, Bernie Sanders has emerged as the candidate to beat in a state he won by more than 20 points in 2016.

Congresswoman Trahan Seeks Boomer Access to Retirement Plans; Says Bipartisanship Alive

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The Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee held a Congressional Breakfast Forum in Andover on Monday. The group’s president, Haverhill City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua introduced the featured speakers for the event, 6th District Congressman Seth Moulton and 3rd District Congresswoman Lori Trahan. The two spoke about issues that they believe effect local businesses. Rep. Trahan brought up the need for congress to encourage and protect citizens retirement savings. “We do have a retirement savings problem in this country.

U.S. Rep. Moulton Calls for Improved Commuter Rail; ‘Bad Traffic’ Holding Region Back

Part 1 of 2

The Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee held a Congressional Breakfast Forum in Andover on Monday. The group’s president, Haverhill City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua introduced the featured speakers for the event, 6th District Congressman Seth Moulton and 3rd District Congresswoman Lori Trahan. The two spoke about issues that they believe effect local businesses. Moulton spoke first about the need for improved commuter rail systems.

“For all the different ways that Massachusetts leads the nation, the number one thing that is holding our region and your businesses back is the fact that we lead the nation in bad traffic. If we are going to out compete other cities in America for new jobs, we have to reimagine our communities and our commutes,” Moulton said.

DiZoglio Lends Support to Bill Providing Undocumented Immigrant Driver’s Licenses

To overcome a veto from Gov. Charlie Baker, supporters of legislation that would make it possible for undocumented immigrants to receive standard driver’s licenses would need to amass two thirds majority support for their bill in both branches. Last week, supporters cleared that threshold at the committee level in the first test of the bill’s strength. After Senate Transportation Committee Chairman Joseph Boncore’s staff declined to release how his committee’s members voted on the bill, or even the total vote, the House chairman, Rep. William Straus, released both the total and the breakdown to the News Service, following a request for the information. The committee approved the bill on a 14-4 vote, with Sen. Diana DiZoglio of Methuen, among those in favor. All four votes against the bill came from Republican lawmakers—Sen. Dean Tran of Fitchburg, and Reps.

Sheriff Coppinger Dedicates Prison Addiction Treatment Center; More Than 300 Receiving Services

More than 300 offenders serving time in Essex County jails are now receiving drug addiction and treatment services. Essex County Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger and state Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders dedicated the new Medication Assisted Treatment Center Thursday at the Middleton House of Correction. “Today’s event celebrates the accomplishment of the newly completed physical space that delivers the described MAT services. Within the 1,600 square foot center, patients can receive all necessary interventions, treatment and services necessary for patient care and success. Since the start of MAT services at the Essex County Sheriff’s Department 339 inmates have become patients,” Coppinger said.

Left Lane of Ward Hill Connector Bridge Over I-495 to Close Eight Months For Repairs

The left lane of the Ward Hill Connector bridge over I-495 is closing for repairs for eight months, beginning Friday. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation reports the closure is necessary to repair the deteriorated concrete substructure of the bridge. Repair plans are being developed and work is anticipated to begin in the summer. A steel barrier system will be installed to close the left travel lane to keep traffic away from the weakened bridge.

Haverhill, Lawrence Receive State Grants to Boost Police Staffing or Pay Overtime

Haverhill and Lawrence are among 16 communities sharing $4.6 million in state money to boost staffing levels. Haverhill received $255,200, while Lawrence received almost $1 million from the Massachusetts Municipal Public Safety Staffing Grant program. The money may be used to restore, retain or hire personnel, or for overtime, if needed, to provide adequate shift coverage. Haverhill Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro thanked Gov. Baker’s office in a statement Friday. He said, “The grant allows cities like Haverhill to bridge the financial gap needed to assist with proactive community-oriented policing.”

Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera said the annual state allotment has helped that city “to consistently grow our Police Department.

‘State of the Waters Conference:’ Pilot Program Coming to Warn of Sewer Discharges

For those boating, swimming on just relaxing on a Merrimack River beach, there will be advance warning when there has been a sewage overflow or spill. Sen. Diana DiZoglio told attendees to Friday’s “State of the Waters Conference” to expect any combination of color-coded flags, smartphone apps or web notifications. A pilot program will soon take place in Newburyport, modeled after a similar program on the Charles River. Moreover, she said, the 1970s federal legislation largely cleaned up the nation’s rivers when no one would go near the water. “It smelled.