Gov. Baker Signs DiZoglio-Backed Campaign Finance Reform

Sen. Diana DiZoglio says a revised campaign finance law, signed this week by Gov. Charlie Baker, will help state officials identify discrepancies between candidates’ income and spending and their bank records. The depository reporting system, operated by the independent Office of Campaign and Political Finance directs candidates for public office to submit to “stringent campaign finance reporting requirements,” a statement from DiZoglio’s office said. Previously, the legislature and some mayoral candidates were exempt from using this reporting system. The senator said, “It’s important that voters be able to quickly access information about who is donating to candidates and where candidates are spending their money.”

By including all legislative and mayoral candidates in the depository reporting system, the law increases accountability by requiring more frequent reports disclosing campaign contributions and confirmation of expenditures reported in monthly statements filed by their designated financial institutions. By increasing filing frequency and pairing candidate disclosures with bank reporting, the law enhances transparency in statewide campaign finance activity.

United Way Distributes 750 Thanksgiving Meals in Valley; Group Sees Need Increase

Hundreds of volunteers joined United Way’s 20th Annual Thanksgiving Project at 20 locations, including the Merrimack Valley, to distribute more than 200,000 pounds of food in over 11,000 individual packages. United Way distributed more than 750 meals in partnership with Merrimack Valley Family Services, Greater Lawrence Community Action Council and Emmaus. Lawrence Mayor Daniel Rivera volunteered distributing meals at Merrimack Valley Family Services and state Sen. Diane DiZoglio and state Rep. Andy Vargas joined Haverhill City Councilor and Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce President Joseph Bevilacqua to distribute meals at Emmaus. This year, the United Way has seen a significant increase in need, with 3,500 more families requesting meals.  The meals were distributed from 20 locations throughout Greater Boston and expanded this year to include additional locations in New Hampshire. The 11,000 Thanksgiving bags from United Way include: onions, potatoes, canned corn, canned green beans, cornbread mix, stuffing, cranberry sauce, gravy, rice, beans and an aluminum turkey pan.

‘100 Years of Immigration History’ Subject of UMass Lowell iHub Talk in Haverhill

A century’s worth of immigration history in the region’s industrial cities is the subject of a talk next week by UMass Lowell Distinguished Professor Robert Forrant. He will discuss “100 Years of Immigration History in Haverhill, Lawrence and Lowell,” Wednesday, Dec. 4, at 6 p.m., at the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub, 2 Merrimack St., third floor, Haverhill. The talk, part of the iHub’s Cultural Speaker Series, discusses Massachusetts’ history of immigration dating back to the first settlement of newcomers, building colonies along the New England coast. “Today, Immigrants remain an integral part of diverse and thriving communities and make extensive contributions that benefit all,” according to a University statement.

Methuen Exchange Honors Pilz as Police Officer of the Year After Role in Capturing Murder Suspect

Methuen Police Officer Kenneth Pilz, who played the pivotal role in arresting a murder suspect last summer, was named last week as the 2019 Methuen Exchange Club Police Officer of the Year. Last July 27, Pilz was searching for a man wanted in connection with a Concord, N.H., murder, who was considered armed and dangerous. The man, later identified as 29-year-old Joseph Hanright, fled from police in a stolen vehicle that eventually crashed in the area of Jackson and Swan Streets in Methuen. After the pursuit had been called off for safety reasons, Pilz observed the man and casually began speaking to him, inviting him to share pizza during a break with other officers. The officer previously requested, and was awaiting, backup.

Merrimack Valley Chamber Holds Annual Thanksgiving Mixer Tonight at the Chateau

The Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce is having its Annual Thanksgiving Mixer tonight at the Chateau restaurant in Andover. The business networking event features Italian-style appetizers, door prizes and business referrals. There will also be a collection of canned/dry goods for the Merrimack Valley Food Bank. Members meet between 5 and 7 p.m., at the Chateau, 131 River Road, Andover. Admission is $10 for members and $20 for future members.

Despite Long ‘To-Do’ List, Santa Claus Plans Plaistow Tour Dec. 22

Despite last-minute chaos at the North Pole, Santa Claus is making time to accompany the Plaistow Fire Department on his annual town tour just three days before Christmas. Santa starts his tour at approximately 9:30 a.m., Sunday, Dec. 22, and continues throughout the day. To cover the town, Santa needs about eight to nine hours. He asks parents to listen for the siren in their neighborhoods and do not call, email or message the Fire/Police Department or 911 to find out where he is.

Groveland Police Arrest 17-Year-Old Haverhill Man for Car Breaks

Groveland Police say a 17-year-old Haverhill man is one of two men who broke into cars this week after arriving in a stolen vehicle. Police Chief Jeffrey Gillen reports the teenager, not named because of his age, was arrested and charged with receiving stolen property and breaking and entering into a motor vehicle. “Fortunately, someone saw this suspicious behavior and called us in time to respond and identify one of these individuals,” Gillen said. At about 9:21 p.m., Wednesday, police responded to a report of two males on Ashcroft Circle who had arrived in a suspicious vehicle and were walking into driveways and checking vehicle door handles. Five individuals were victims of the break-ins and the cars were unlocked.