Mass. Attorney General Offers Savings Tips and Resources as Home Energy Costs Rise

With electricity rates set to soar to record high prices this summer, Attorney General Maura Healey has launched a campaign to educate customers about programs available to reduce energy usage and lower bills. Inflation, the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine and other factors are driving up fossil fuel prices and, in turn, energy rates for customers across the country this summer. As part of a new education campaign, the attorney general’s office is airing radio PSAs, including over WHAV; distributing multilingual flyers; updating its website; and conducting trainings and webinars. “As temperatures rise this summer, so will your monthly bills. We want families who are worried about paying their monthly bills to know that help is available to manage these record high energy rates,” said Healey.

Lawrence Community Access Television Hosts Merrimack Valley Chamber July 7

Lawrence Community Access Television is hosting members of the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce for a free business networking mixer. There will be tours, an overview of service provided by Lawrence Community Access Television, appetizers, business card drawing for door prizes and networking among attendees. The event takes place Thursday, July 7, from 4-6 p.m., at Lawrence Community Access Television, 468 Essex St., Lawrence. Parking is available on street or in an adjacent paid parking lot. Those wishing to register for the free event may visit merrimackvalleychamber.com or call 978-686-0900.

State to Close Interstate 93 Ramps to I-495 Overnights This Week

Those who take Interstate 93 to reach I-495 are advised there will be a series of ramp closings next week to excavate and install electrical conduits and do other work on the right shoulder of the ramps. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation said there will be temporary, one-at-a-time closings of the I-93 southbound ramp at exit 40A to I-495 northbound and the I-93 northbound ramp to I-495 southbound. Traffic will be directed to detours. Work takes place nightly from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m., Tuesday, July 5, to Friday, July 8. Transportation officials advise drivers to seek alternate routes, reduce speed and use caution at and near the work zone.

Methuen Independence Day Festivities Now Set for July 9 at the Loop With Bands and Food

Methuen has updated its Fourth of July plans with fireworks and festivities taking place Saturday, July 9. The event features the city’s Independence Day Celebration and Fireworks display along with music by the B Street Bombers and Veterans Den Band and food trucks. Festivities begin at 6 p.m., Saturday, July 9, The Loop in Methuen. The on and off ramps of Route 213, exit 4, will be closed from noon – midnight that day for set-up. During that time, motorists are advised to use exit 3, Pleasant Valley Street.

State Awards COVID-19 Grants to Haverhill and Lawrence Nonprofits Among Others

Haverhill’s Leaving the Streets Ministries and two Lawrence organizations are among those receiving additional state grants targeted to communities hardest hit by COVID-19. The money comes from the Massachusetts Vaccine Equity Initiative, aimed at increasing awareness and access to the COVID-19 vaccine and mitigating impacts of the pandemic. The latest grants are part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s $58 million vow to promote vaccine access and confidence, primarily in communities of color. Grants of between $38,500 and $125,000 were awarded to Leaving the Streets Ministries, founded by Chaplain Jesus Ruiz and his wife Wanda; Asociacion Ministerial Evangelica Del Area de Lawrence; and Centro de Apoyo Familiar of Lawrence. “Throughout the pandemic, we have turned to trusted community-based organizations who know their communities best,” said Public Health Commissioner Margret Cooke.

Plaistow Reports Delays in Cardboard Collection at Dumpsters, Asks Residents to Hold Off

Plaistow, N.H., officials are asking residents to hold off on leaving cardboard at recycling dumpsters until the town resolves a delay in having the bins emptied. The town is working with JRM Hauling of Peabody for a resolution. JRM signed a new contract with Plaistow last fall that included semi-automated trash and recycling collection. Residents may continue to use household recycling carts to dispose of cardboard, but are asked not to stack the material near the dumpster locations. Dumpster locations were established on the cemetery side of Stephen C. Savage Way; Public Works Garage, 144F Main St.; Vic Geary Center, 8 Greenough Road; and the Red Oak Drive turnabout between the commercial and residential areas.

Lynn Social Worker Leigh Launches Campaign for Essex County Sheriff

Virginia Leigh, candidate for Essex County sheriff, plans to kick off her campaign formally at the end of next week. Leigh is a clinical social worker running against incumbent Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger. In a statement, she promised to “to put an end to the revolving door at the county jail by using her mental health expertise to change outcomes and a culture of politics as usual.”

“A majority of county prisoners are incarcerated for crimes related to mental health and substance use,” Leigh said, adding “Voters are the only people who can hold a sheriff accountable, so after six long years under politics as usual, it’s time to elect a different kind of Sheriff.”

Leigh said she has 12 years of experience working as a clinical social worker in detention centers, community health centers and schools. She said most people held by the county will return to their local communities, while still struggling with major mental illness and substance use problems. “If you effectively lower recidivism, you strengthen communities by reducing the cost of housing prisoners, lowering rates of re-offending and preventing future victims,” Leigh said. Her campaign kickoff is Saturday, July 9, 5 p.m., at the Galleries at Lynnarts, 25 Exchange St., Lynn.