Harvard Pilgrim Grant Helps Elder Services Expand Anti-Fall, Caregiver Programs

Elder Services of the Merrimack Valley recently received a $223,000 grant to expand training through its Healthy Living Center of Excellence aimed at preventing and managing falls and providing caregiver support. Coming from the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, the grant supports “Savvy Caregiver” and “Matter of Balance” trainings and workshops. The grant is renewable for a second year and includes workshop implementation, technical assistance and collaboration with health care partners. “In the first year of this grant, we expect to train 40 Master Trainers, who in turn will train community-based coaches to implement workshops for close to 750 program participants,” says Jennifer Raymond, chief strategy officer and director of the Healthy Living Center of Excellence. A Matter of Balance program is a community based, small group program that helps older adults reduce their fear of falling and increase activity levels.

Coach Company Reconsiders Boston Commuter Bus; Drops Newburyport

Area commuters may not have to scramble to find a new way to get to and from work in Boston after all. About two weeks after the Coach Company, which garages buses in Plaistow, N.H., said it will end its bus runs between the North Shore and Boston on April 19, the company announced it will keep most of those trips going. For about 40 years, Coach Company has shuttled residents from Boxford, Georgetown, Newburyport, Peabody and Topsfield in and out of Boston for work. Last month, the company said it would stop providing that service due to slumping ridership, a sharp rise in insurance costs and the lack of a state subsidy. On Wednesday, Coach Company owner Benton Smith announced that his company will continue to make trips in and out of Boston from Boxford, Georgetown, Peabody and Topsfield, but cannot keep its Newburyport service going due to specific issues there.

Updated: Lawrence Police Arrest Methuen Man Wanted in Connection with Break-In

Update: Methuen Police Chief Joseph E. Solomon reports Jouseph Caraballo was arrested by Lawrence Police last night on the Methuen warrant. Solomon said a resident recognized Caraballo from media coverage. Earlier Report:

Methuen Police are searching for a man, possibly armed, who is accused of breaking into a home. Police are seeking the public’s help in locating 44-year-old Jouseph Caraballo after he apparently fled following a reported 7 a.m. break-in at the Rooming House, 91 Broadway, according to Police Chief Joseph E. Solomon. Upon arrival, officers searched the building and reviewed surveillance footage, which showed a man later identified as Caraballo entering an apartment and leaving with items from inside.

Plaistow’s Coach Company to End Daily Boston Commuter Trips This Month

Some commuters are scrambling to find a new way to get to work in Boston after a company that has provided commuter bus service for decades announced that it will make its last trip later this month. When commuters from Boxford, Georgetown, Newburyport, Peabody and Topsfield got on the Coach Company bus that typically shuttles them between downtown Boston and the North Shore in late March, they were greeted by a notice informing them that the company “will be exiting the Boston commuter bus service effective April 19.”

The company, which has a corporate office in Merrimac and a garage in Plaistow, N.H., said its decision was based on finances and the lack of a subsidy from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation. “We had always been subsidized by the State to help operate the commuter service but, in the Duval [sic] Patrick era, we and all the other commuter transportation providers had our subsidy cut,” the company wrote in its note to riders. “We did what we could to try and make it work but unfortunately we have reached the point where we can no longer afford to operate the commuter service.”

In a brief interview with the News Service, Coach Company owner Benton Smith said two other factors led to the decision to stop Boston commuter service: increases in the company’s insurance costs and dwindling ridership. He said the cost of insuring the company’s commuter buses recently doubled due to a change in which the company’s buses are now considered to be garaged in Boston rather than New Hampshire because of the commuter runs.

Groveland Voters to Choose Selectmen, New Town Clerk; Brodie to Retire

No matter what happens during Groveland’s annual town election in May, there will be many new faces in Town Hall. Voters are not only being asked to fill a vacancy on the Board of Selectmen and name a new town clerk Monday, May 6, but identify people to fill four posts where none have expressed interest in the jobs. After a dozen years as town clerk, Anne Brodie tells WHAV she is looking forward to quieter times. “I’m ready to not have a commitment and want to spend more time with family and grandchildren,” she said. Brodie conceded, however, she is thinking ahead to some volunteer time helping the little ones at the library or seniors at Nichols Village.

Methuen Teen to Sign Copies of Second Sci-Fi Children’s Book ‘Handom’ Saturday

Methuen 19-year-old John R. Miller likes to stay busy. Pursuing a career in early childhood education at Northern Essex Community College, Miller spends time after school at track practice, draws, and travels as a motivational speaker. This weekend, he’s carving out time to celebrate the success of his second self-published sci-fi children’s book, “The Magical Heart of Handom,” with a local book signing at Mann’s Orchard. Stopping by WHAV’s “Win for Breakfast” morning show on Tuesday, Miller told host Win Damon his second book is the latest in his series about the imaginary characters from the H-13 colony he dreamed up as a child. “I used to wrestle and play with my own hands, pretending they were real people,” he told Damon.

UMass President Hints at Possible 2.5 Percent Tuition Hike

University of Massachusetts officials on Wednesday advanced a 1.5 percent tuition hike for medical school students, and shined a bit more light on what in-state undergraduates across the other four campuses might expect to pay next year. At a hearing in Fall River last week, UMass senior vice president of administration and finance Lisa Calise told lawmakers that if they include the university's full $568.3 million funding request in next year’s budget, UMass would be able to freeze tuition and fees for in-state undergraduate students. UMass President Marty Meehan reiterated that point Wednesday at a meeting of the Board of Trustees’ Administration and Finance Committee and added, “If not, our fiscal 2020 budget assumes a 2.5 percent increase for in-state undergraduate tuition.”

Gov. Charlie Baker, in his fiscal 2020 spending plan, recommended funding UMass at $558 million, which Meehan said fully funds the state’s share of collective bargaining costs. He said he hopes the House and Senate follow Baker’s lead in that area. Meehan said UMass officials are monitoring the state budget process and working with campuses including Lowell on developing the university’s fiscal 2020 budget, which will come before the UMass Board of Trustees in June.

Police: Child ‘Made Up’ Methuen Abduction Report

A Methuen boy’s claim he was assaulted during a botched kidnapping attempt on his way to Timony Grammar School Tuesday morning was determined to be unfounded, police tell WHAV. Area social media pages lit up with speculation Tuesday after a woman reported her neighbor’s fifth grade son was “almost abducted” by a 6-foot tall Hispanic man wearing a black hoodie and red Nike shoes. The woman went on to say the boy received a few “red marks and bruises” but was otherwise unharmed. Reached for comment Tuesday afternoon, Methuen Police Chief Joseph E. Solomon confirms the child made up the story. “We have confirmed that the incident was made up by the child,” Solomon said.