Driver of Allegedly Stolen Car Receives Serious Injuries in Methuen Crash

The driver of an apparently stolen car was seriously injured Saturday night after striking a light pole and signal control box in Methuen. Methuen Police Chief Joseph E. Solomon said an officer noticed a dark-colored sedan traveling fast just before 11:30 p.m., on Howe Street near Marshal Street. A short time later, the car was discovered crashed at the intersection of Jackson and Pleasant Valley Streets. The as-yet unidentified driver was taken to a Boston hospital by medical helicopter. As of Sunday, he was listed in critical condition.

Senate Poised to Ban Hand-Held Phone Use by Drivers

The Senate next Thursday plans to take up legislation banning the hand-held use of cell phones while driving as part of legislation targeting distracted driving. The State House News Service reports a Senate committee on Thursday morning released a distracted driving bill that would prohibit anyone operating a vehicle from viewing video content and touching or holding a mobile electronic device, except to perform a single tap or swipe to activate or deactivate hands-free mode or a navigation device. Fines for violating the ban on hand-held cell phone use while driving would start at $100 for a first offense, and escalate to $250 for a second offense and $500 for a third offense. Subsequent violations would be considered surchargeable offenses for the purpose of calculating insurance costs. The legislation, if it were to clear both branches and be signed by Gov. Charlie Baker, would make Massachusetts the seventeenth state to ban hand-held cell phone use behind the wheel.

Judge Denies Foote’s Request to Travel Out of State Seven Months After Rankin Crash

Methuen’s Owen Foote had his request to travel out of state denied by a Haverhill District Court judge last week, seven months after police say he drove 70 miles an hour on the city’s residential Crystal Street, killing 17-year-old Jordan Rankin. Out on bail since his Oct. 31 arraignment on a motor vehicle homicide charge, Foote and his Boston-based attorney Benjamin P. Urbellis petitioned Judge Patricia Dowling to revise the conditions of his release so that he could travel to assist with his father’s Proscape landscaping business. As WHAV previously reported, Foote—behind the wheel of a company car during the Sept. 24, 2018 crash—has been stripped of his license and placed on house arrest, only allowed to leave for work purposes.

Methuen Police Arrest Canadian Men Accused of Stealing from ATMs

Methuen Police arrested two Canadian men Saturday believed to have stolen money from automatic teller machines. Searching the men’s car, Police Chief Joseph E. Solomon said officers recovered “large amounts of cash inside duffel bags as well as gift cards, debit cards, a printing device and an electronic device determined to be used to activate and utilize bank cards.”

Arrested were 30-year-old Tharushan Nirmalachandran, of Quebec, and 28-year-old Ajitharan Raveendran, of Ontario. Each were each charged with possession burglar’s tools and receiving stolen property of more than $1,200. Hudson, N.H., Police tipped off their Methuen counterparts that the men operated out of a Days Inn hotel room on Pelham Street. Methuen Police obtained search warrants for the hotel room and car and entered just before 7 a.m., Saturday.

Kohl’s Stores—Including Plaistow, N.H.—to Accept Amazon.com Returns in July

Not so happy with that Amazon.com purchase? Starting in July, Kohl’s in Plaistow, N.H. will take it back—without a box or a label—for free. This week, the Wisconsin-based Kohl’s department store chain announced that all locations plan to work with the online retailer to accept free, unpackaged returns of eligible Amazon items without a box or label at local Kohl’s stores. “We are thrilled to bring Amazon Returns at Kohl’s to all of our stores across the country,” Kohl’s CEO Michelle Gass said. “Amazon and Kohl’s have a shared passion in providing outstanding customer service, and this unique partnership combines Kohl’s strong nationwide store footprint with Amazon’s reach and customer loyalty.”

Items are eligible for return free of charge regardless of return reason and do not need to be packaged for shipping.

Groveland to Develop Community-Based Climate Change Preparedness Program

The Baker-Polito Administration this week awarded Groveland $25,000 to support the development of a community-based climate change program, Finance and Personnel Director Denise Dembkowski said. Town Planner Rebecca Oldham intends to use the funds to hold public listening sessions and workshops on how to handle possible flooding due to rising sea levels, she said. “This grant will enable us to work as a community to take essential proactive steps to ensure that we are as prepared as possible to face the inevitable impacts of climate change,” Oldham said. “I’m grateful for the support of the Baker-Polito administration on this critical issue, and am looking forward to building a stronger understanding of the challenges that lie ahead for us.”

Awarded to coincide with Earth Day, Groveland’s grant is one of 27 handed out across the Commonwealth through the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program.

Behavioral Health Conditions More Common Among Massachusetts Millennials, Says New Study

Older millennials in Massachusetts are more likely than their peers across the country to have behavioral health conditions, according to the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association report. Six of the top 10 conditions affecting millennials are behavioral health conditions—depression, hyperactivity, psychotic conditions and substance use disorders, the report said, and millennials aged 34 to 36 in Massachusetts experience more behavioral health conditions than the national average, with only seven states faring worse. “The fact that behavioral health conditions among Massachusetts millennials are above the national average may relate to the state of behavioral health care in Massachusetts,” Bruce Nash, chief physician executive at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, said in a statement obtained by the State House News Service. “We have more behavioral health professionals per capita than any other state. This larger care network means more diagnoses of these conditions.

Tentative Deal Ends Stop & Shop Strike

Stop & Shop employees are scheduled to clock back into work Monday, April 22 after a late night tentative deal reached on Easter Sunday ended a work stoppage at New England’s largest grocery store chain at locations in Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island. During the strike, dozens of stores—including North Andover and Methuen—turned away shoppers on one of the biggest holiday shopping weekends of the year as employees petitioned for higher wages and improved healthcare benefits. As part of the new three-year deals between Stop & Shop and the five United Food and Commercial Workers union representing employees, wages, medical and retirement benefits are set to increase, a company spokesperson said.