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Archive for October, 2012

The City of Lowell is seeking volunteers for the Citizens Advisory Committee that reviews grant applications and recommends funding allocations to the City Manager for the CDBG and ESG programs.

The City of Lowell seeks residents interested in volunteering to serve on the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) for our Annual Consolidated Plan. This volunteer committee plays an important role in the allocation of funds that benefit Lowell’s low- and moderate-income residents. The 7 to 9 member CAC is responsible for reviewing all grant applications submitted by non-profit organizations and city departments requesting funding under the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Emergency Shelter Grant (ESG) programs.

These grant funds are distributed annually through a competitive proposal process. CAC members review written grant applications, hear testimony from applicants at a public hearing, and meet during the winter months to formulate a recommended plan for awarding grants. This recommendation is then forwarded to the City Manager, and forms the groundwork for the City’s annual spending plan for these federal grants.

Because these funds are intended to benefit low and moderate income people as well as minorities; people of color and residents of Lowell’s lower-income neighborhoods are particularly encouraged to apply. All members must be residents of Lowell, and have no direct affiliation in an agency, project, or program funded with CDBG or ESG funds. Those members approved by the City Manager will be appointed to a one-year term.

If you are interested, please submit a letter of interest and resume/CV to Nick Pernice, Community Development Assistant (npernice@lowellma.gov) or 50 Arcand Drive, Lowell, MA 01852) no later than 4:00 PM on November 2, 2012. All materials received will be forwarded to the City Manager for his review and appointments. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Nick Pernice 978-674-4262 (x1418), or Allison Lamey 978-674-4262 (x1429) or by email.

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Earlier this year, we began publicizing the wonderful work our adopters put into our Adopt-an-Island program.  They all work extremely hard to ensure we can effectively display Lowell’s splendor.

This week, we travel to Central Street where LowellBank has developed their adopted island.  It is located where Central meets with Middlesex and Gorham and is complimented by a beautiful “Welcome to Lowell” sign.

LowellBank has truly made their work one that is enjoyed by all.  Not only have they kept up with the weeding and clean-up, but they also have added seasonal displays. 

LowellBank colleagues Patty Koczera and Michael Breda proudly stand  by their company’s masterpiece while a photo is taken.

If you or someone you know would like to adopt your own island, contact Henri Marchand in the City Manager’s Office at HMarchand@lowellma.gov.

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This year, CTI’s Community Action Awards is paying tribute to the education sector of the community on Thursday, October 25th from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m. at the UMass Inn and Conference Center.  CTI will be honoring many community partners including the Career Center of Lowell with the President’s Award for creating a stronger workforce development system in Greater Lowell by supporting both job seekers and employers with professional and workplace learning opportunities.

Part of the celebration also includes the “Community Service Award” honoring an individual who is part of the Career Center’s family, who exemplifies the ideals of community service and is committed to helping others.  Bessie Wallace has been nominated for this award.  CTI will be recognizing all nominees in this category and announcing the award recipient the night of the event.

 

Career Center of Lowell Highlights

  • The Career Center of Lowell Young Adult Department in the last 5 summers has provided valuable work experience opportunities for nearly 2,300 young adults through a wide variety of community partners including Community Teamwork.  In coordination with the Greater Lowell WIB Connecting Activities Program also placed over 400 young adults into private sector jobs these past four summers.
  • The Career Center of Lowell has been recognized by the Massachusetts Department of Transitional Assistance as achieving the #1 statewide performance in serving public assistance customers and placing them into employment through the Competitive Integrated Employment Services.
  • In FY12, The Greater Lowell Workforce Investment Board and Career Center of Lowell exceeded all six Workforce Investment Act federal performance standards for Economically Disadvantage Adults and Dislocated Workers. They achieved the number one ranking in four measures and number two ranking in two measures out of sixteen workforce areas. These federal standards measure entered employment rate, retention in employment and average earnings two and three quarters after placement. These performance outcomes play an important role in the achievement by the GLWIB as a “ High Performing WIB”
  • The Career Center of Lowell has served between eight and eleven thousand job seekers annually and an average of over 400 employer customers each year since opening in 1996
  • In the last 5 yrs, the Career Center of Lowell assisted over 20,000 job seeker customers to successfully enter employment.

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Starting in December, the Merrimack Valley Sandbox will host a 12-week accelerator program for start-ups in the region. This program will have mentors, workshops, and meeting space for entrepreneurs to work in. It will culminate in a business-plan competition for $25,000 in cash prizes. 

If you are an early-stage entrepreneur, do not miss out on this opportunity to help launch your business!

If you are an executive, investor, entrepreneur, or technical expert looking to support and guide start-ups, apply to become a mentor!

The deadline to apply is November 1, 2012 at midnight.

For more information and to apply, visit our website by clicking here.

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The Department of Public Works has a new weapon in its battle against those unruly roadside encroachers—brush, weeds and grasses.  A recently acquired boom flail mower will be used to beat back the wild overgrowth that springs up every summer and seems to be flourishing particularly well this year.  Like a weed whacker on steroids, it will make short work of summer growth along roadways and other areas around the city.  Already it has been utilized on Barker Avenue and By Street, Douglas Road and Middlesex and Jackson Streets to clear roadsides and empty lots.

With its long arm, the mower also provides us with the ability to mow along embankments that are difficult to access.  The mower is an accessary attachment for our new trackless vehicles purchased last year and can do its work either horizontally or vertically.

This new tool will reduce costs for a variety of roadside maintenance projects as only one operator will be required to clear most areas.  This work was previously done by hand or with hand power trimmers.  Safety will also be improved and the trackless vehicle will also have less of an impact on passing traffic.

Centralville roadway before mower attack.

Mower in action along same stretch.

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After months of competition, the top entrepreneurs are going head-to-head in the Sandbox Final Showdown!  Many local businesses and non-profits have applied to the competition in hopes of making their ideas renown and earn funding.  After holding four contests, nine finalists are in the running to make their final pitch for a chance to win $10,000!  

Special guest judges

Your finalists:

Dapper Diaper Delivery

Disposable diapers tax natural resources, fill landfills, and expose babies to harsh toxins. Dapper Diaper Delivery provides families with rental, pick-up, delivery, and cleaning of re-usable cloth diapers in the greater Merrimack Valley.

Emergency Medical Info Kits

Emergency Medical Info Kits provides individual’s emergency contact information and medical history data readily available in a magnetic vinyl envelope in case of a medical emergency.

Energy Harvesters

With people highly reliant on their electronic devices, running out of battery power is not an option. Energy Harvesters’ Walking Charger™ addresses the problem and provides the ability to “charge your mobile electronics batteries anytime anywhere™”.

Fire Drops, LLC

Organic cough drops made from Cayenne pepper. It not only relieves your sore throat, but attacks the virus that is causing it.

Green Bikes of Lowell

Green Bikes is promoting a bicycle sharing program in the Lowell. Green Bikes are GPS-enabled bikes that you can find and unlock using your mobile phone. This is a fun and affordable way to encourage green transportation in the city.

Operation Canine

Many service veterans suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury. Although service animals can help alleviate symptoms like depression, panic attacks, and nightmares, veterans usually have to wait up to five years before being matched with a dog. Operation Canine would provide local veterans with the opportunity to be matched with a service dog in a timely manner.

RebelWomen

Women launching lifestyle and home-based businesses cite that care-giving responsibilities and/or current career demands makes it challenging to tap into existing networking opportunities, business support, and mentoring. RebelWomen.com is a platform for women entrepreneurs to connect with one another in a supportive environment, share their knowledge with a larger community, learn how to enhance their business endeavors, and promote their ventures.

Stories in the Streets

Stories in the Streets© brings stories, storytelling and books to families and children wherever they gather. This project reaches families in Lawrence whether it be at a farmer’s market, a park playground, a community festival, a food bank line, or a more traditional literacy venue, such as school auditorium or public library. Stories in the Streets© gives a free book to every child that listens to a story.

Tell My Circle

Tell My Circle is an affordable mobile/web customer referral system. They call it “Faster Referrals(TM)”.  The solution is unique in that customers of their business clients get an immediate discount at point of sale for posting referrals on Facebook and/or Twitter.

Videographer Startup Boost

Videographer Startup Boost offers video and social media entrepreneurs training in videography, editing, social media services, customer service, and business development. This project is a partnership between the Lowell Telecommunications Corporation and the Merrimack Valley Small Business Center

Keep a look out for Special Guest Judges on the panel!  Join us Thursday, October 18th from 6:00-8:30 to find who will be declared the winner.

Location: UMass Lowell – Cumnock Hall
                31 University Ave
                Lowell, MA 01854                                                       

To learn more about the program, or if you would like to submit your idea to the next Sandbox Pitch Contest, click here.

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Make a plan to vote this November.  First step, Register!  The deadline to register for the upcoming election is Wednesday, October 17th at 8:00pm.  You can find the paperwork in the Elections Office, located on the basement floor of City Hall.  You can also find out what precinct you live in and the location of your voting site.

In addition, if you need to change any information, such as an address or party affiliation, please visit the Elections Office before the deadline.

For more information contact us at 978-674-1197 or visit our website by clicking here.

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The City of Lowell Parking Department announces the launch of the Reserved Dwelling Parking Sign Exchange program. Residents with Reserved Dwelling Parking signs, used to reserve a parking space on the public street, are encouraged to exchange their old sign for the new sign. 

The Exchange Program will run from Monday, October 15th to Thursday, December 13th and take place at the Joseph A. Downes Garage, 75 John Street, Lowell, Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.; with extended hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.  Parking will be validated at the Downes Garage for the purpose of the exchange. 

Residents who exchange their signs during the Exchange Program will have the $10 fee waived for the first year.  The old Reserved Dwelling Parking signs will be void effective December 14, 2012.   Spaces reserved by old signs will not be enforced for voided signs.

The Reserved Dwelling Parking Space program exists under Lowell Code of Ordinances Section 226-85 through 226-87.  In accordance with the City’s Ordinance each residential building that fronts a public street may have one parking space reserved on the public street adjacent to the building, for use by the occupants.  The reserved parking space is identified by a sign, issued by the City of Lowell. 

On June 12th the Lowell City Council adopted changes to the Reserved Dwelling Parking Space Ordinance with the goals of improving how the program functions and is enforced.  Changes included clarify the size and location of the reserved parking space, and requiring annual renewal of the reservation.

Prior to the ordinance revision, reserved parking spaces on public streets were provided for $10 each, and never expired.  The annual renewal requirement was added to address spaces reserved long after the property had changed occupants and/or no longer needed the space.  The new renewal fee is $10 per year.  This fee is waived for residents 70 years or older who qualify for the senior real estate tax exemption.  This fee will also be waived for existing sign holders who exchange their old sign during the Sign Exchange Program.

Residents seeking to reserve a new parking space may apply at the Parking Department during the Sign Exchange Program, or generally during normal Parking Department business hours.  New reservations are subject to the $10 first year fee. 

For additional information about the Exchange Program visit the Lowell Parking Department webpage at www.Lowellma.gov, or contact the Lowell Parking Department, 978-674-4014.

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Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce has nothing on the creative teams involved in a collaborative project the City of Lowell embarked on with University of Massachusetts Lowell.  The City of Lowell teamed up with UML around a grant from “Creative Economy Initiative Fund” to provide “real world” experience for a class of graphic design students lead by UML professor Karen Roehr.  The class mounted a marketing campaign from inception, to design, to launch for the City of Lowell.   

The class simulated an ad agency, with Professor Roehr as “Creative Director” and the students dividing into teams to “pitch” a campaign to the City of Lowell as client.  The teams, with direction from the City’s Economic Development office, not only came up with a design concept and created story boards but also thought about what advertising mediums would be incorporated, contacted vendors and priced the campaign.   The teams worked with photography students to capture the images use for the graphics.

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Judges Theresa Park, Erin Findlen and City Manager Bernie Lynch were impressed by the thoughtfulness, creativity and professionalism that went into all the design pitches but were particularly taken with one campaign.    The winning team lead by Jason Taylor ’13, Juliana DeSouza ’12  and Mike Noonan ’12 came up with a campaign around the concept of “Lowell by the numbers” offering Lowell as an urban alternative to Boston but uniquely its own place.  “The graphics are clean and eye catching,” praised City Manager Lynch,” and the clever tag line concept is adaptable to many different  city amenities.”  After showing their sample work to Beer Works and the Spinners both organizations gave permission to use their corporate name in the graphics. 

The project was not just a theoretical exercise. Graphics from the campaign are now on display at the Dugan Gallery at Duggan Hall through October 11, 2012.  More importantly, you can find their work in the Burlington Mall and at bus stops and bus tails around the Somerville area promoting the City of Lowell.  The experience of working with these talented UML students on a project to promote the city illustrates the point made by Lowell Plan Breakfast keynote speaker Carol Colletta; the three factors determining the success of cities are quality of talent, quality of place, and quality of opportunity.  The teams were certainly inspired by what Lowell has to offer and conversely the talent exhibited by these students is inspirational.  Let’s hope these new graduates find opportunities here to keep their talent local!

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