Merrimack Valley Area Gains Jobs While State Sees Overall Seasonal Drop in October

The Merrimack Valley area, including Haverhill, Methuen and Lawrence, gained the highest percentage of jobs last month, while there was a slight overall drop statewide. The revised job report shows a statewide seasonally adjusted preliminary jobs estimate decrease of 800 jobs in October, but an over-the-year gain of 77,100 jobs. Of the 15 areas for which employment estimates are published, 13 areas gained jobs compared to the previous month. The largest percentage increases occurred in the Haverhill-Newburyport-Amesbury statistical area at 1.6%; Lawrence-Methuen-Salem, 1.1%, and Peabody-Salem-Beverly, 1%. From October 2022 to October 2023, 14 areas gained jobs.

Lawrence Firefighter Paul King Receives Citation at Firefighter of the Year Awards

Lawrence Firefighter Paul King was among those honored this week during the 34th annual Firefighter of the Year Awards ceremony for his role in rescuing a driver from an overturned car in the Spicket River. Gov. Maura Healey and Public Safety Secretary Terrence M. Reidy joined State Fire Marshal Jon M. Davine Tuesday to honor firefighters from across Massachusetts. “Each year, the Firefighter of the Year Awards recognize acts of bravery, heroism and service that are truly remarkable—even by the remarkable standards set by Massachusetts firefighters,” said Healey. “From structure fires to rushing waters, this year’s recipients defied grave danger to protect lives and preserve property. It’s an honor to celebrate them as individuals and teams. They represent the very finest in a tradition of helping others in times of danger and crisis.”

King was awarded the Governor’s Citation for Meritorious Conduct.

DiZoglio Effort to Force Audit of Legislature Advances with Report of Collecting 100,000 Signatures

Chris Lisinski, State House News Service. State Auditor Diana DiZoglio and her hodgepodge of political allies took a major step toward asking voters for the authority to probe the legislature, announcing they gathered enough signatures to remain on track for a 2024 ballot question. The ballot question campaign backed by the Methuen Democrat said this week it collected signatures from more than 100,000 registered voters, significantly more than the 74,574 certified signatures required to be filed with local election officials by the end of the day Wednesday. “Our campaign resonates with the people of Massachusetts because they want our leaders to fix the numerous, simultaneous crises our Commonwealth is facing—whether that’s in housing, healthcare, transportation, mental health, addiction or others,” DiZoglio said in a statement circulated by the ballot question campaign. “Beacon Hill cannot continue its closed-door, opaque operations with so much at stake.

Winter Parking Rules in Effect in Haverhill and Groveland; Methuen Starts Dec. 1

Winter parking rules are now, or soon will be, in effect in several area communities, including Haverhill, Methuen and Groveland. Haverhill’s Winter Overnight Parking Ordinance went into effect last week and will remain through next April 1. For the months of November and December, from 6 p.m.-6 a.m., all vehicles must park on the even side of the street. The side of the street will alternate during other months. Those parking on a street where a no parking restriction is in effect must follow the permanent signage.

Essex County Sheriff’s Department’s Ridley, STAR Programs Win Awards

Essex County Sheriff’s Department’s Sgt. James Ridley and the Supporting Transitions And Re-entry Program—known as STAR—recently received top honors last week from the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association. Ridley, a Lynn resident and 19-year veteran of the department, was named Correctional Supervisor of the Year for exhibiting outstanding leadership during critical situations, including performing CPR and directing life-saving efforts for an unresponsive individual, as well as administering Narcan to save another man’s life during a medical emergency. “These are just a few examples of Sgt. Ridley jumping into action to prevent death and serious injury as he frequently does with his quick-thinking and excellent communication and de-escalation skills,” said Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger.

Merrimack Valley Chamber Next Generation Leaders Plan Game Night Dec. 12

The Next Generation Leaders of the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce are having a networking game night next month. Members, generally ages 21-45 years old, will network and play Tuesday, Dec. 12, from 5-7 p.m., at Studios 15, 6 Chestnut St., Suite 214, Amesbury. Admission is $10 for members and $20 for non-members. Those interested may register online at or by calling 978-686-0900.

Groveland, West Newbury, Other Fire Departments Take Part in Live Fire Training

Groveland and West Newbury firefighters were among those last weekend completing successful live fire training in collaboration with the Massachusetts Fire Academy. Fire Chief Robert Valentine said the Groveland Fire Department hosted the training last Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 18 and 19, which included participation from 45 firefighters across Essex County, including from Groveland, Georgetown, Boxford, Amesbury, Newbury/Byfield, West Newbury, Newburyport, Melrose, Manchester, Topsfield and Lynn. “It was a great weekend of training for everyone from probationary firefighters to chief officers, and this was a great shared experience for all. Everyone gained valuable knowledge from this training, and I am proud of our members for their commitment to the fire service,” Valentine said.

Plaistow Fire Department Plans Information Sessions on New Ambulance Service

Plaistow, N.H., residents with questions about the new ambulance service coming to town are invited to learn more at one of the upcoming informational nights. The first session takes place Thursday, Nov. 30, 6 p.m., at the Plaistow Fire Department, 27 Elm St., Plaistow, N.H. Two additional sessions take place Friday, Dec. 8, and Tuesday, Jan. 16, both at 6 p.m., at the Plaistow Public Library, 85 Main St., Plaistow.