Merrimack River Watershed Council Presents Four Curated Merrimack River Tours

Merrimack River Watershed Council is offering four river cruises this summer exploring the wildlife, history, landmarks and lesser-known eddies and forgotten places of the lower Merrimack River. Each of the tours—one Tuesday a month—motors through a different section of the river, guided by local experts who will educate and entertain with stories, information and insight meant to broaden knowledge and appreciation of the Merrimack. Passengers are also expected to be surprised with sightings of fish and fowl that inhabit the river. An “Islands and Villages Tour” takes place June 13 with a cruise up river from Newburyport to Rocks Village in Haverhill. Local historian and author Dyke Hendrickson shares stories and points of interest along the voyage.

Merrimack College Study Says Most Teachers Don’t Recommend Job; Mental Health Support Would Help

A newly released study by Merrimack College shows only 46% of current public educators would be “fairly” or “very likely” to advise their younger selves to choose teaching again and more than a 35% are considering leaving the profession altogether. Authors say the 2023 Merrimack College Teacher Survey, which was conducted by the Winston School of Education and Social Policy at Merrimack College, shines a spotlight on a pressing crisis facing American education. “While this should serve as a flashing red light to educational policymakers, the survey also provides insights into strategies that educational administrators and policymakers can employ to address this,” said Dean Deborah Margolis. “By prioritizing teacher mental health and wellbeing, and taking steps to build teacher morale, academic leaders can help create a healthier and happier school environment and retain more of their teachers.”

While the survey, conducted in partnership with the nonprofit, nonpartisan EdWeek Research Center, paints a dark picture overall for American public K-12 education, it reports there are areas that have seen notable improvements since last year. The percentage of teachers who are very satisfied with their jobs has nearly doubled to 20%, and the percentage of teachers considering leaving the profession within the next two years has dropped from 44% to 35%.

Methuen Man Pleads Guilty to Stealing $452,000 in Federal Aid, Buying Cell Phones to Hide Source

A 27-year-old Methuen man pleaded guilty last Thursday in federal court in Boston to using stolen identities to fraudulently obtain more than $452,000 in Economic Injury Disaster Loan funds from the Small Business Administration and to disguise the source of the money. Ramon Joseph Cruz Jr. pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and four counts of wire fraud and aiding and abetting. U.S. District Court Judge Richard G. Stearns scheduled sentencing for Aug. 20. Cruz was arrested and charged in December 2020 along with alleged co- accomplice Darwyn Joseph.

Greater Lawrence Tech To Grow School Library with Grant From the Laura Bush Foundation

Greater Lawrence Technical School is the recipient of a $5,000 grant from the Laura Bush Foundation for America’s Libraries. Superintendent John Lavoie said Greater Lawrence Tech was one of 300 schools across 36 states that was awarded funding. The grant will be used to pay for a new collection of books and library materials for the school’s library department. “I would like to thank Laura Bush and the Foundation for awarding us with this funding,” said Lavoie. “This funding will help us to add and improve our current collection of library books.

Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce Annual Small Business Recognition Awards Program June 9

More than two dozen local businesses and organizations are set to be honored when the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce conducts its Annual Small Business Recognition Awards Program early next month. As he has previously, Robert Nelson, Massachusetts director of the U.S. Small Business Administration, is expected to address recipients and guests Friday, June 9, from 7:30-9 a.m., at Renaissance Golf and Country Club, 377 Kenoza St., Haverhill. Singled out for their “Perseverance,” despite the economy, pandemic and other setbacks over the years, are Maria’s Restaurant and Veterans Northeast Outreach Center, both of Haverhill. Other award categories and winners are Business Assistance, Better Business Bureau and Score; Hospitality & Tourism, Benson’s Ice Cream and Lawrence History Center; Discovery/Education, Clarendon Early Education Services and Clark School; Environmental, Groundwork Lawrence and Nexamp; Healthcare, Cedardale Health & Fitness and Home Instead; Innovative, MeVa Transit and Professional Center For Child Development; Longevity, Paper Potpourri and Rumbo; Manufacturing/R&D, Joseph’s Bakery and Seica; Arts & Culture, Addison Gallery Of American Art and North Andover Historical Society; Diversity Owned, Peachbox and Nandi Security; Non-Profit/Community Service Bethany Community Services and Planet Aid; Media, BC Media Productions and WHAV;  Retail, Doyon’s Appliance and Smolak Farms; Service, American Training and Distinctive Window Coverings; Veteran-Owned, Adam Hogue of Northern Peak Financial and Kevin Dennehy of Global Tech. Communications; Wholesale Induspad and Planted Donuts; Women In Business, Stephanie Vanderbilt of Coastal Windows & Exteriors and Sheila Doherty of Doherty Insurance Agency; Special Salute to Family-Owned Businesses, A&M Auto Body, Silverio Insurance Agency, Sonny Valley and the Tomacchio Family.

Markey Plans Greater Lawrence Family Health Center Stop in Push for ‘Green New Deal for Health’

U.S. Sen. Edward J. Markey is expected to make a Wednesday visit to Greater Lawrence Family Health Center, which operates primary care clinics in Lawrence, Haverhill and Methuen. The visit is one of three stops this week to celebrate federal grants for community projects, meet with environmental and health justice advocates and address New England business leaders on, what he called, the “urgent need to address the climate crisis.”

Markey is scheduled to “celebrate the introduction of Green New Deal for Health and underscore the need for new, transformational climate and health investments in Massachusetts’ systems of care” Wednesday afternoon, at Greater Lawrence Family Health Center’s north site at 150 Park St., Lawrence. His office said the senator will stress the need to secure major new investments in health care by passing the Green New Deal for Health. Markey begins the week with a stop in Pittsfield today to celebrate newly-awarded federal funding for the Berkshire Family YMCA, which will be used to help make the building greener and provide more access to recreation and quality, affordable child care. Tomorrow, he will be at the New England Aquarium to deliver the keynote address at the New England Council’s meeting on the economic impact of climate change on the region’s economy.

Amesbury Mayor Gove Becomes Chair of MeVa Transit Public Bus Advisory Board

Amesbury Mayor Kassandra Gove is taking the place of one of her former subordinates as chair of the Merrimack Valley Transit Advisory Board. Gove was unanimously elected last week to serve the quasi-government bus company now known as MeVa, but formerly as the Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority, based in Haverhill. She succeeds Angela Cleveland, who served as Amesbury’s director of Community and Economic Development until April and now works at Rochester, N.H.-based Strafford Regional Planning Commission as senior regional planner. “Amesbury has a close relationship to MeVa as home to their Nicholas J. Costello Transportation Center, one of only three bus hubs in the region. My staff and I have worked closely with our residents, businesses and other key stakeholders to prioritize the expansion of local transit service in partnership with MeVa and to elevate their presence in our neighborhoods,” said Gove.

State Awards First-Time Homeownership Education Grants to Area Groups

Merrimack Valley Housing Partnership, Lawrence Community Works and ACT Lawrence are among 23 organizations across the state to receive help presenting first-time homeownership education programs and operating foreclosure prevention counseling centers. This week, consumer counseling organization Merrimack Valley Housing Partnership was awarded $151,000, while ACT Lawrence received $110,000 and Lawrence Community Works $91,544 from the Division of Banks within the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. Programs assist homeowners who are experiencing financial hardship and prospective homebuyers who are determining if homeownership is right for them. “These grants and the programs they support will empower consumers as they embark on their homeownership journey and help them build long-term, sustainable wealth,” said Layla R. D’Emilia, undersecretary of the Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. Commissioner of Banks Mary L. Gallagher added, “First-time home buyers and foreclosure counseling sessions around the state will help Massachusetts residents become better informed about and confident in their personal financial decisions.”

Since the inception of the grant program in 2008, the Division of Banks has awarded more than $24 million to organizations that have assisted more than 90,000 consumers.