Georgetown Begins Recounting Ballots in 2nd Essex State Rep. Race Where Mirra was up 10 Votes

Election recounts begin today to determine the outcome of the 2nd Essex District state representative race, where incumbent Leonard Mirra was up 10 votes over challenger Kristin E. Kassner out of 23,509 ballots cast. Georgetown is the first of several communities this week to undertake the hand recount before its board of registrars as ordered last week by Secretary of State William F. Galvin. Georgetown’s recount takes place at John Perley School gymnasium, 51 North St., Georgetown. The district was dramatically reconfigured following the U.S. census and drops such area communities as Haverhill, Groveland and Merrimac and West Newbury. Besides Georgetown, it now includes Hamilton, Ipswich, Newbury, Rowley and one precinct in Topsfield.

UMass Lowell Receives $2.1 Million Grant to Research Treatments for Jaw-Joint Disorders

How does a squirrel produce enough jaw force to crack a nut? According to UMass Lowell, the answer is, “It’s complicated,” but it has the potential to lead to new treatments for jaw-joint disorders, develop new dental protheses, fight diseases like muscular dystrophy and more. The National Science Foundation awarded $2.1 million to a team of scientists led by UMass Lowell to tackle this complex problem. Over the next three years, the team will study bite performance to determine whether the action is influenced primarily by muscle size and shape, skeletal geometry or the presence of what’s known as “masticatory myosin,” a fibrous motor protein that enables muscles to contract. One of the questions the research hopes to answer is why this type of myosin is present in some animals, including sharks and grey squirrels, but not others, including humans and red squirrels.

Lupoli Companies Names Armstrong Vice President of Construction

Gary Armstrong recently joined Lupoli Companies of Lawrence as vice president of construction. Lupoli Companies is developer of a $160 million mixed residential and retail project on a 4.5-acre Merrimack Street, Haverhill, parcel, involving the Herbert H. Goecke Jr. Memorial Parking Deck. The company previously constructed the “Heights,” a 10-story mixed use building also in downtown Haverhill. Armstrong has 35 years of experience in the construction industry in a wide range of operational roles. He has worked throughout the east coast and spent the last several years with Turner Construction in its Boston office.

Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra Presents ‘Home for the Holidays’ Concert

The Merrimack Valley Philharmonic Orchestra is offering a “Home for the Holidays” concert featuring rising star soprano Isabella Phair and Voices of Hope. The concert happens Sunday, Dec. 4, at 2:30 p.m., at the Timberlane Performing Arts Center, 40 Greenough Road, Plaistow, N.H.

Musical performances include dongs from Frozen along with seasonal hits like Sleigh Ride and Jingle Bells. Special guest, Timberlane superintendent Chris Kellan will also be reading “T’was the Night Before Christmas.” Attendees may also visit with Santa. Tickets cost $25 for adults, $20 for senior citizens, $10 for students and teachers and $5 for children under 12.

No Injuries and Firefighters Save Pets During Three-Alarm Plaistow, N.H., Condo Fire

The Plaistow, N.H., Fire Department battled a three-alarm blaze Thursday afternoon in one of a four units of a condominium building. Plaistow Emergency Communications Center received 911 calls at 2:41 p.m., for the building at 120 Newton Road. Within 34 minutes, firefighters were able to contain the fire—which, so far, has been deemed accidental—to the unit where it began. There were no injuries reported and several animals were rescued. “Crews quickly began an aggressive interior fire attack and were met with heavy fire, high heat, and no visibility.

Lawrence Man Pleads Guilty to Selling Fentanyl Five Times Last Spring in Methuen

A Lawrence man who sold fentanyl to a “cooperating Methuen witness” five times between February and May this past year, pleaded guilty to drug dealing  this week in U.S. District Court. Forty-two-year-old Rafael Sierra-Baez pleaded guilty to distribution and possession with intent to distribute fentanyl. U.S. Senior District Court Judge Douglas P. Woodlock scheduled sentencing for next March 28. Sierra-Baez was arrested and charged last May 19.

Pentucket Arts Foundation Puts on Third Annual Makers Market

Pentucket Arts Foundation offers presents, concessions and more at the third annual Makers Market in Groveland. The market is on Saturday, Dec. 3, from 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m., at Veasey Memorial Park, 201 Washington St., Groveland. Thirty-five local artists and artisans are presenting products such as handmade wire, metal and beaded jewelry, pottery and ceramics, textiles, soap and candles, paintings, knitted goods, holiday decorations and more. The concession table includes goods from Long Hill Farm, Grant Family Farm and Burwell Coffee Roasters.

Sleigh Rides, Food Trucks and More at Methuen Tree Lighting Sunday

Holiday activities are taking place Sunday night at the Methuen tree lighting. The lighting happens Sunday, Dec. 4, from 4-8 p.m., at the Loop, 90 Pleasant Valley St., Methuen. Activities include live music, sleigh rides, pictures with Santa, pony rides, interactive games, holiday train rides, food trucks and more. For any questions, contact Methuen Parks and Recreation at 978-983-8590 or [email protected]