The 106th Lithuanian Independence Day Ceremony, featuring traditional food, period music and dancing, takes place Sunday in Lawrence. The celebration takes place Sunday, Feb. 18, noon, at the Holy Rosary Shrine Center, 34 Common St., Lawrence. Beforehand, at 10 a.m., a mass for the Lithuanian Nation is set. The noon program and ceremony feature a traditional dinner, song and dance festival and presentation of artifacts.
State Sens. Bruce E. Tarr, Barry R. Finegold and Pavel M. Payano will address members and guests of the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce next month for the Annual State Senate Forum. During the breakfast meeting, they will provide a report on happenings affecting the region. The forum takes place Friday, March 15, from 7:30-9 a.m., at Samuel’s Restaurant at Andover Inn, 4 Chapel Ave., Andover. Admission is $35 for members and $50 for non-members.
Supportive housing services are expanding to senior housing in Marblehead and Georgetown. AgeSpan is bringing supportive services to senior housing in Marblehead and Georgetown—with the aim of helping residents 60 and older remain independent. AgeSpan, formerly known as Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley and North Shore, will provide services at Old and New Farrell Court in Marblehead and Trestle Way in Georgetown —thanks to new contracts with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Elder Affairs. The three properties have a combined 238 units. Each location will have a dedicated AgeSpan resident service coordinator, along with 24/7 emergency coverage through a contracted vendor.
Graduating high school seniors who plan to continue their education in the arts may be eligible to receive the $1,000 Robert Gablosky Memorial Art Scholarship. It is open to public, private and home-schooled seniors from within the districts of Haverhill, Methuen, North Andover, Masconomet, Pentucket and Timberlane. The scholarship is named for late Haverhill Gazette staff writer Robert J. Gablosky, who also founded the Greater Haverhill Arts Association in 1971. Gablosky died in 2017 at age 88. The Greater Haverhill Arts Association administers the scholarship on behalf of the Gablosky family.
State Auditor Diana DiZoglio may be responsible for brokering at least a temporary truce between some Merrimack Valley mayors when she joined them recently on a Merrimack Valley Transit—or MeVa—bus. Haverhill Mayor Melinda E. Barrett, Amesbury Mayor Kassandra Gove and Newburyport Mayor Sean Reardon appeared smiling together despite grueling differences of opinion recently over the future of Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School. They joined DiZoglio in a bus video on social media, along with Lawrence Mayor Brian A. DePeña and Methuen Mayor Neil Perry, Jan. 18 just days ahead of the Whittier Tech replacement vote. MeVa Administrator Noah Berger told WHAV both the state auditor’s office and his agency recognize false impressions around state audits or riding a bus can be corrected.
The Merrimack Valley Food Bank, which serves Greater Haverhill, Lawrence and Lowell pantries with locally grown food, was formally awarded $50,000 Tuesday under the state’s Local Food Purchase Assistance Plus grant. The Merrimack Valley Food Bank will use the grant to purchase and distribute food year-round to its network of 100 food pantries, meal sites, temporary residence homes and many other food distribution sites in 33 communities throughout the Merrimack Valley. Being small, the Food Bank is able to meet consumer needs and wants through its diverse network of growers across the region. “One of the most effective ways to combat hunger and food insecurity in our state is to strengthen our local food systems,” said Gov. Maura Healey. “We’re proud to support our community leaders who are at the heart of these critical initiatives that help to make sure that everyone, no matter where they live, has access to fresh, healthy, and locally grown food.”
Grants totaling $8.2 million were distributed statewide by the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources to support greater food access to residents in underserved Massachusetts communities.
The Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce’s planned Business Networking Mixer at The Savings Bank in Andover has been postponed because of the pending snow storm. The event now takes place Tuesday, March 5, from 5-7 p.m., at The Savings Bank, 84 Main St., Route 28, Andover. There will be appetizers and beverages as well as a business card drawing for door prizes. Admission is $10 for members and $20 for non-members and spots may be reserved at MerrimackValleyChamber.com or by calling 978-686-0900. Those who previously signed up remain registered.
Leaders from Haverhill and Methuen are among those named Monday by Essex County Community Foundation as the next cohort of “Creative County ChangeMakers.”
Local members include Noah Greenstein and Hailey Moschella of Haverhill and Loida Dominguez of Methuen. Since 2021, Creative County ChangeMakers program has graduated 33 cross-sector creatives who, the Foundation says, have “inspired their communities to think differently about the role arts and culture plays.”
“We have an incredible group of participants this year,” says Creative County Program Director Karen Ristuben, who leads the ChangeMakers program with Lisa Miller-Gillespie and Danielle Coates-Connor. “They are innovative, energetic and eager to begin their journey with ChangeMakers and we can’t wait to see where they take it.”
Greenstein is an actor, director and theatre arts teacher at Urban Bridges, a nonprofit empowering women and youth through a variety of services, Haverhill, and Moschella is co-head of Wisteria Montessori School and director of the Haverhill Art Walk. Dominguez is a singer-songwriter and founder of InPower Love Coaching, which helps to empower women. ChangeMakers receive a small grant to start community-based projects, which in past years have included an art exhibit curated by and featuring black, indigenous and other people of color in Lawrence, a community gathering focused on public art in Lynn and trainings in Haverhill to educate municipal leaders about the importance of art and culture in city planning.