Tonight I attended the Lowell City Council Transportation Subcommittee meeting on the Lord Overpass project. In attendance were six or seven representatives of VHB, the engineering firm hired by the state to oversee this project. Also in attendance were more than 30 Lowell residents, most representing groups or constituencies with…Read More »
We have set the dates for this spring’s Lowell Cemetery tours. Here are the dates and times: Friday, May 15, 2015 at 1 pm Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 10 am Friday, May 22, 2015 at 1 pm Saturday, May 23, 2015 at 10 am All of these tours will…Read More »
For too long our daily outside temperature was locked in the teens and any precipitation was unquestionably snow. Yesterday’s rain seemed odd, unusual, almost difficult to comprehend. It and the warmer temperatures are signs of spring and the rapidly receding snow offers hope that soon we’ll be able to enjoy…Read More »
The Northern Middlesex Council of Governments (NMCOG) is one of 13 statutorily-created regional transportation agencies in Massachusetts. Member communities of NMCOG are Lowell, Billerica, Chelmsford, Dracut, Dunstable, Pepperell, Tewksbury, Tyngsborough, and Westford. Its headquarters is at 40 Church St, Suite 200 in Lowell and its executive director is Beverly Woods. …Read More »
A New High School for Lowell? The Lowell Public Schools deserve some attention this Sunday. This coming Wednesday at 10 am, the Massachusetts School Building Authority will formally invite the city of Lowell to something called the “MSBA’s Eligibility Period.” According to the MSBA’s website, being invited to the Eligibility…Read More »
Mayor, city manager and councilors recognize Lowell DPW workers for effort they made in removing snow during this record-breaking winter. Cambodian New Year planning committee addresses the council about upcoming New Year celebration at Lowell Senior Center on April 4th from 9am to 3pm. Also the Cambodian flag raising is…Read More »
On Thursday April 9, 2015 at 7 pm, the Pollard Memorial Library will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the surrender of the Confederate Army of Robert E. Lee to Union forces under the command of Ulysses S. Grant on April 9, 1865. Although other Confederate armies fought on for another…Read More »
Walkability and Public Transportation On Friday I had a meeting in Boston and for the first time in months commuter rail seemed back to normal. The 8:25am train left Lowell on time and had only an average crowd. When I took that same train a month ago, it was packed…Read More »
Real estate sales in Lowell from last week. Sorry it’s later than usual.
March 23, 2015 – Monday
16 Floyd St for $188,000. Prior sale in 2009 for $122,000
18 Pine Hill St Unit 2 for $168,900. Prior sale in 1987 for $109,900
March 24, 2015 – Tuesday
19 Andrews St Unit 19 for $180,000. New condo
10 Middlesex Park for $180,000. Prior sale in 1958
5 Lenox St Unit 1 for $68,000. Prior sale in 2012 for $23,250
March 25, 2015 – Wednesday
18 Auburn St for $407,000. Prior sale in 2004 for $450,000
811-815 Central St for $196,000. Prior sale in 2015 for $170,000
85 Bunker Hill Ave for $182,000. Prior sale in 1977
418 Parker St for $150,000. Prior sale 2014 foreclosure
96 Mary Theresa Terrace for $124,000. Prior sale 2014 foreclosure
March 26, 2015 – Thursday
13 Powell St for $165,000. Prior sale in 2009 for $115,000
77 Sixth St for $215,000. Prior sale in 1991 for $60,000
55 Carroll Pkw for $250,000. Prior sale in 1978
2 Dudley Ct for $112,000. Prior sale 2015 foreclosure
70 Willie St for $545,000. Prior sale 2009 foreclosure
March 27, 2015 – Friday
353 Pawtucket Blvd Unit 10 for $87,000. Prior sale in 2006 for $79,000
14 Wannalancit St Unit A for $125,000. Prior sale in 2009 for $168,300
349 Pawtucket Blvd Unit 5 for $76,500. Prior sale in 1997 for $25,500
91 Longmeadow Dr for $327,000. Prior sale in 1957
273-277 University Ave for $400,000. Prior sale in 2006 for $430,000
527 Pawtucket Blvd Unit 303 for $269,000. Prior sale in 2007 for $317,500
674 Rogers St for $450,000. Prior sale in 2003 for $400,000
Several procedural votes allowing sidewalk seating for downtown restaurant, etc.
“Minor change to Acre plan” to incorporate Lord Overpass. Craig Thomas from DPD explains that this is the existing Lord Overpass plan. A small portion of it, the intersection at Fletcher Street, is within the boundaries of the existing Acre Plan as well as the JAM Plan (both are existing plans already certified by the state). Thomas explains that this just puts the state on notice that both plans will be impacted somewhat by the Lord Overpass project. Passes unanimously by voice vote.
Councilor Leahy gives report on Neighborhood Subcommittee meeting. Discussion of reserved parking placards in neighborhoods, especially those that have expired. Also talked about oversized trucks being illegally parked in neighborhood, also a number of cars with out of state license plates routinely parked in neighborhoods.
Public Hearing – amending Personnel Ordinance. Among other things, this would shift the city to bi-weekly payroll which would save the city money however it can’t be implemented until all unions agree to it. The CM says the school unions are refusing to agree to this but the city will continue negotiating. There are also adjustments to sick time, capping sick time buy back for new hires. It also makes the day after Thanksgiving a holiday for city employees. Passes unanimously.
Corey Robinson, president of Local 1705 has petitioned to address the council. CM Murphy explains that the union has filed a grievance on the issue of the assignment of overtime. They met last week and agreed to try to resolve this through negotiations. Says it’s a pending grievance and that any public comment on it at this point would be out of order and asks that it the administration be allowed to negotiate in the normal course of procedure and not at a public hearing. City Solicitor corroborates that and says they are meeting with the union’s attorney yesterday. The union rep says he doesn’t intend to speak about the details of the grievance. He begins by saying the union members were congratulated in the council chambers last Tuesday and the next day “we were stabbed in the back.” The mayor cuts him off and asks for a motion to delay this until after the litigation is resolved. (Someone in the crowd keeps shouting from the floor and the mayor silences his). Mr. Robinson says he isn’t meeting with anyone tomorrow. Council votes to delay.
Motion by CC Mercier to study possibility of a delayed red light or a left turn signal onto French St from Bridge Street (especially to assist people going to Lowell High). Passes.
Motion by CC Belanger and Samaras asking CM to meet with UMass Lowell to investigate the process for selling naming rights for city buildings, especially school buildings. CC Belanger mentions the possibility of a new high school and refers to a city solicitor report that said it was legal. He says he’s looking for ways to minimize the bill that will be paid by the taxpayers for a new high school. CC Samaras says he is interested not only in naming buildings, but also for possible sponsors of programs in science or the arts. He says UMass Lowell has done a wonderful job of this and would like to learn how they did it.
Mayor asks for suspension of the rules to discuss new information that arose yesterday at a meeting at Lowell General Hospital. CC Mercier talks about a proposal to increase the number of beds at the Tewksbury State Hospital for addiction treatment. Suggests the council pass a resolution in favor of this expansion. Chief Taylor endorses the council endorses this. Says everyday on average the city responds to 2 opioid overdoses but there’s a lack of facilities that provide follow up treatment.
Meeting adjourns at 7:29pm
The Chair of Massachusetts Democratic Party came to Lowell last evening as part of a series of regional meetings with local and regional Democratic DSC members, local town/ward/city committee chairs and interested Democratic activists. Chairman Tom McGee had already spent a good part of his day with other Democrats – including President Obama and Vice-President Biden – while attending the dedication of the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate next door to the John F. Kennedy Library in Dorchester. The well-attended meeting was held at the East End Club where the LDCC usually meets. Here are some brief notes from the meeting.
Forty or so area Democrats gathered last night at the East End Club in Lowell for a meeting with Mass Democratic Party Chair Tom McGee. Introduced by his State Senate colleague Senator Eileen Donoghue, McGee had traveled up from Boston after attending the ceremony opening the Edward M. Kennedy Institute – headline by President Obama, VP Biden and current and former members of the US Senate. Saying he was there to listen to local Democrats, McGee asked everyone to introduce themselves. Around the room DSC members, Ward and Town Committee Chairs and members, Congressional and State Senate staffers, MDP staffers, elected officials, interested activists, current and former candidates from Lowell and nine area communities (Arlington, Chelmsford, Dracut, Dunstable, Groton, Pepperell, Methuen, Lawrence and Tewksbury) shared information. The Chair noted that the 2015 “Call to Convention” was sent out recently by e-mail and that the window for local caucuses covered the period from May 2 to June 28. He also noted that there are over 21,000 members of the Democratic party organization in the city wards and town committees. Topics from the floor (randomly) included: our role in the presidential and local campaign activities in nearby NH; putting together the ward/town committee lists/legal paperwork for the 2016 primary ballot; the need for vibrant, active local committee; rules for electing delegates to the 2016 Dem National Convention; voter registration polices; MDP communication with locals – new technology, e-mails, Twitter, Facebook, etc; the GOP strength with “unenrolleds” in local towns; sharing a strong, simple direct Democratic message; discussion of the mechanics of the state conventions and delegate difficulties; a new approach to the convention nominating process; having an earlier convention; “leaving no ballot line unfilled”; individual “Letters to the Editor” about “Why I am a Democrat”; coming back to Lowell for the June, 2016 convention; the “Re-occuring Donors” project; the April 27th Roosevelt dinner; the “Promises Watch” campaign; the Chair’s Monthy Newsletter; e-mail updates and events calendar; the “1965 Project” for voter registration; using the MDP’s new Voter campaign technology. A few activists shared their “door-to-door” campaigning experiences. Those present seemed happy with the session and many lingered to speak informally with McGee, his MDP staff and each other.
Among those attending ~ State Rep Tom Golden, Nancy & Richard Pitkin, Arthur Sullivan, Mike Demaras, Christopher Jenkins, Patti Kirwin-Keilty, Ray Russell, Judith Durant, Jack Mitchell, Geoff Feldman, Carol Carbonell, Linda Copp, Jackie Doherty, Chris Mullin, Tara Keefe – all of Lowell; Tom McGrath and Ginny Wellwood of Pepperell; Marie Sweeney, Cathy Dwyer, Rita O’Brien Dee, Mark Kratman and Donna Bell of Tewksbury; Jen Mieth of Groton, Pat Deal of Arlington, John Dyer of Dracut, Dan Devlin of Dunstable, Denise Perrault of Lawrence and many more…..
The Lowell City Committee met after the session with Chairman McGee.
For more information about the Massachusetts Democratic Party check out the wesite ~ http://massdems.org/