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Archive for the ‘Public Service’ Category

The email boxes of city employees will look a little emptier with the end of the annual food drive, but the donation truck food drive 4looks better than ever! City offices have been participating in friendly competition to raise food donations for the Merrimack Valley Food Bank. Naturally, in the spirit of competition the prizes included housing the coveted “City Hall Challenge Trophy,” a DD gift card and of course bragging rights.

The Top 3 winners were:

Team “Can Collect,” Treasury Department, with a total of 465 cans

Team “Forever Young,” Council on Aging and Veterans Administration, with a total of 381 cans

Team “Works Well,” Career Center, with a total of 225 cans

and runner up “Develop they Can,” the Department of Planning and Development

food drive 5food drive 3The biggest achievement however, came from the raising of 1440 items for the food bank and helping our city.  Thank you to everyone who donated! Every can counts!

If you’d like to get more information on how to help visit http://mvfb.org/how-to<-help/ there you can find information on having your own fund drives, food donations and volunteering.

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Spring means better weather and also the start of many events through out the city! Check out some of these events for the month of April.

Quilts Japan – The 11th Quilt Nihon Exhibition
ENDING APRIL 12TH 
Quilt Museum, 18 Shattuck St

The New England Quilt Museum is the only Northeast venue to showcase these award-winning quilts from the international competition of the Japanese Handicraft Instructors’ Association.

Whitewater Rafting on the Concord River
SEASON STARTS APRIL 5
It’s been a cold and snowy winter, so this is going to be great season for whitewater rafting on the Concord. Be sure to call first.

Share Your Story in support of Our Marathon Digital Archive
APRIL 9, 4:30PM 
Pollard Memorial Library
401 Merrimack St.

Our Marathon is a crowd-sourced archive related to the Boston Marathon bombing on April 15, 2013; the subsequent search, capture, and trial of the individuals who planted the bombs; and the city’s healing process. Members of the Our Marathon team will be at the library to talk about the project and help you share your story (or photos, text messages, social media, etc.). Please stop by and add your story to the website.

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LRTA PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT CLICK HERE FOR MORE INFORMATION

Notice of parking garages closing effective Tuesday, April 1, 2014.

Gallagher I and Gallagher II parking garages located at the Gallagher Terminal, Thorndike Street in Lowell will be closed due to the construction of a new parking garage, effective Tuesday, April 1, 2014.

The Rourke parking garage on Chelmsford St. will remain open.

The Rourke Garage located on Chelmsford St. at the the intersection of Westford Street, will be the only entrance open for pre-assigned monthly passholders and daily parkers. There will be a limited amount of spaces for the daily parkers and this parking will be on a first come/first serve basis.

The LRTA anticipates that there will be ample spaces for evening and weekend parking at the Rourke parking garage.

ALSO REMAINING OPEN DURING CONSTRUCTION
The Gallagher Terminal Lobby (Thorndike St)
The drop-off and pick-up area at the Gallagher Terminal (Thorndike St)
The LRTA bus hub at the Kennedy Center (Thorndike St)

The LRTA thanks you for your patience

Thank you for your patience and understanding during this major construction of a new garage at the Gallagher Terminal.

Please feel free to the LRTA at 978-459-0164 if you have any questions.

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The City of Lowell has been recently learned that it failed to meet a state established level of school spending The Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) completed their annual review for the FY13 and it was noted the net school spending (NSS) was missed by $3.8M.  To address this issue an action plan for FY14 and FY15 was released during the February 25, 2014 City Council meeting.

From the FY96 to FY08 Lowell had failed to meet its’ NSS requirement by as much of -4.9% (FY00) and often times came very close to exceeding the 5% deficiency allowed under law.  It was not until FY09 that Lowell had met the requirements in place and from FY09-FY11, Lowell spent $9,798,817 over the NSS requirement. In actuality the City exceeded DESE projected spending each fiscal year from FY07-FY12. 

The 2013 deficiency can be attributed to a number of factors that took place in the City that were difficult to fully project.  The change in employee and retiree health insurance, which resulted in several million dollars which directly benefitted the students, and dramatic savings in utility costs for all facilities, contributed to the deficiency.

In order to address the net school spending deficiency the following actions were prepared:

• A transfer of $2M from the City’s Chapter 17 account to the Lowell School Department.  These funds need to be repaid into the Chapter 17 account during FY15.  At this point it is expected that there will be available Free Cash to transfer into the Chapter 17 account as there is an expected reduction in the FY14 Charter school assessment and an increase in the FY14 Charter School reimbursement

• Amended filing with the state for non-direct City spending for education for FY13 and full accounting of spending for FY14 based upon full capture of school maintenance costs and the health insurance costs of school nurses.

• An increase of $800K in direct spending on education spending for FY15 along with increased in direct spending for pensions and refined health insurance. 

This action plan is intended to address the issue of the underfunding of our schools in a timely manner.  If all recommendations are implemented, the accrued shortfall amount is projected to be $0 by the end of FY15.

 

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WINTER STORM TIPS

The series of storms Massachusetts has been receiving continue to present a variety of challenges.  Following are a number of important helpful tips to consider regarding the dangers of roof collapses, power outages and traveling.

ROOF COLLAPSE

• As the snow on most roofs has frozen, removing any new snow and its additional weight will be very important.
• If not cleared off, snow piled high on roofs can act as a sponge, absorbing any rain, which we might receive, adding additional stress to structures.
• Relatively flat roofs are particularly vulnerable.
• In many other cases, roof ice dams have formed causing water build-up, leading to interior damage.
• Be on the alert for large accumulating snow build-up or snowdrifts.
• If roof snow can be removed or ice dams broken up safely from the ground with the use of a snow rake (available at most hardware stores), do so.
• Avoid working from ladders, as ladder rungs tend to ice up, snow and ice collect on boot soles, and metal ladders and snow rakes conduct electricity if they come into contact with a power line.
• Protective headgear and eye protection is recommended.
• Flat roofs can be shoveled clear, but only if it is determined that the roof is safe to stand upon. Exercise care when on the roof to avoid potentially dangerous falls.
• Flat roof drainage systems should be kept clear to minimize the risk of excess roof ponding in the event of subsequent heavy rainfall or melting.
• Large icicles can form on roof overhangs, but do not necessarily mean ice damming is occurring. Icicles overhanging walkways can be dangerous and should be carefully removed.
• All of the above actions should only be performed by able-bodied adults. The snow is heavy, and roofs and other surfaces may be slippery.

LOSS OF POWER

• Wet snow can transition to sleet and freezing rain, leading to possible ice buildup on trees and powerlines.  This has the potential to cause power outages. The weight of a one-half inch build-up can be enough to snap tree limbs, causing them to fall and bring down power lines disrupting electrical service.
• The use of candles is strongly discouraged.
• Ensure you have a well-stocked Emergency Supply Kit in case you lose power for an extended period.  It should include a flashlight, portable radio, extra batteries, non-perishable food, bottled water, first aid kit, prescription drugs, etc.).
• If utilizing an emergency generator, read, understand and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Always operate emergency generators outdoors and away from any open window.  Make sure your generator is properly installed and grounded as you may be liable for damage or injury to other people and property that may result from improperly installed or operated equipment.
• Ensure that your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors are working correctly and have fresh batteries.
• Check your outside fuel and dryer exhaust vents, making sure that they are not obstructed by snow or ice. Never use cooking equipment intended for outside use indoors as a heat source or cooking device. Never use your oven for heat.
• Space heaters need space, so use them in a 3-foot circle of safety, free of anything that catch fire. Space heaters are not designed to replace your central heating system, they are only designed to provide a little extra heat on a temporary basis. So be sure to turn them off when you leave room or go to bed at night.
• If you lose your heat, seal off unused rooms by stuffing towels in the cracks under the doors. At night, cover windows with extra blankets or sheets.
• Let water drip a trickle to prevent pipes from freezing and open cupboards under sinks to let heat circulate around the pipes.
• If pipes freeze, remove insulation, completely open all faucets and pour hot water over the pipes, starting where they are most exposed to the cold.
• Be extra cautious if you go outside to inspect for damage after a storm.  Downed or hanging electrical wires can be hidden by snowdrifts, trees or debris, and could be live.  Never attempt to touch or move downed lines.  Treat a downed wire as a live wire.
• Questions or issues should be directed to Mass 2-1-1.
• Be a Good Neighbor and check on the elderly or infirm who live around you.

ROAD SAFETY

• The public is urged to stay off the roads. Obviously, road conditions will be hazardous to drivers. Additionally, the lower the traffic volume, the easier it will be for cleanup crews to do their jobs and for emergency vehicles to reach people in distress.
• The high snow banks and narrow streets present many dangers, such as cross-traffic pulling out in front of you unexpectedly, and children waiting at school bus stops or playing on snow banks.
• Utilize Public Transportation when possible.
• For those who have to drive, we urge them to drive slowly and, because stopping times will be compromised, to leave a great deal of space between themselves and the vehicle in front of them (at least 4 vehicle lengths).
• Motorists on all state highways and roadways should be aware that State Police will consider the weather conditions when determining what speed is reasonable. In cases of severe inclement weather, the posted speed limit is clearly not a reasonable speed. State Police urge motorists on all state highways and roadways to driver under 40 mph during snow and ice events, and we will consider anyone exceeding that speed limit to have operating at a speed greater than reasonable and, in extreme cases, to be operating negligently, and we will take appropriate enforcement action.
• Likewise, State Police recommends that all truckers and drivers of tractor-trailer units to err on the side of caution and pull off state highways in severe inclement weather. Commercial carriers are urged to plan ahead to make appropriate scheduling changes to keep their own drivers and other motorists safe. In inclement weather certain highway exits and grade inclines are difficult for trucks to navigate safely.
• Drivers should have a cellular phone with them, and if they get into distress, they should call 911 on the cell to be immediately contacted to a State Police Communications Center.
• Drivers should also have a blanket, warm clothing and flashlight with them in the case that they do get stranded and have to wait for emergency responders.
• Drivers who get stranded should stay with their motor vehicles if it is safe to do so (i.e., if the vehicle off to the side of the road in a safe place). Motorists who get stuck in snow banks should be aware of the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning if the snow is blocking their tailpipe, and take appropriate action by shutting the engine and opening a window.
• All motorists are reminded to clear snow and ice from their car windows, roofs and license plates. Failure to do so can cause a public safety hazard as snow and ice blows off and strikes other vehicles or hampers drivers’ visibility. Drivers who fail to properly clean their cars of snow or ice can be cited for impeded operation, for transporting an unsecured load, or for a license plate violation if snow obscures the license plate. For the same reasons, truckers are reminded to clear snow and ice from their roofs or trailer units.
• Motorists are warned to be extremely vigilant for pedestrians walking on streets made narrow by snow banks, and also to take great care and to go slowly when approaching intersections with limited visibility caused by snow banks.
• If possible help shovel out fire hydrants and storm drains on your street

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Holiday Schedule 21714UPDATE

City Offices closed, curbside collection delayed

Municipal trash & recycling carts will be emptied as follows:

 

-Career Center (recycling) collection remains on Fri-blue (2/21/14)

-Cemetery Office follows residential collection; moves to Thu-green

-City Hall/ JFK (recycling) collection remains on Fri-blue (2/21/14)

-DPW (recycling) collection remains on Fri-green (2/21/14)

-Health Dept. follows residential collection; moves to Fri-green (2/21/14)

-LFD follows residential collection [all location one (1) day delay]

-Library (recycling) collection remains on Fri-blue (2/21/14)

-LRWU (recycling) using SSR dumpster

-Parking Office [John St] (recycling) remains on Fri-blue (2/21/14)

-Parks [Stedman St] using SSR dumpster

-Senior Center (recycling) collection remains on Fri-blue (2/21/14)

-Schools follow residential collection; [*all location one (1) day delay*]

[schools only] * “Friday” collections remain on Friday (2/21/14)

 

Note;

Kindly report errors or problems to the SW&R Office at recycle@lowellma.gov.

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Image

Please click photo to see an enlarged version of the 2014 Firefighter Examination

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Commission Openings

The City of Lowell has over twenty Boards, Commissions, and other Advisory Bodies charged with performing the critical role of informing the public and its officials about important and complex issues. These Advisory Bodies also provide citizens the opportunity to provide input on the policies that shape their government and their City. Over 100 dedicated citizens appointed by the City Manager (and possibly requiring City Council approval) provide an invaluable service to the City through their work on Advisory Bodies.

We currently have three open positions: (1) Conservation Commission Member, (1) Immigration Assistance Commission Member, (1) Pollard Memorial Library Board of Trustees Member.

City of Lowell Conservation Commission Overview

The Conservation Commission is responsible for overseeing the protection of wetlands, riverbanks, and wildlife as defined by the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act. The Commission also issues permits and orders of conditions for work to be performed near protected areas under the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act MGL Ch. 131 s. 40, and The Lowell Wetlands Ordinance, Chapter 280 sections 1-13. Seven (7) members are appointed by the City Manager to a (3) year term. City Council Confirmation is not required. Statute Reference: MGL C.40 s.8C; Accepted 10/04/1960, Specials 1993.

Commission meetings are held on the first (1st) and third (3rd) Wednesday of the month at 7:00 pm in the City Council Chambers.

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City of Lowell Immigration Assistance Commission Overview

The Immigration Assistance Commission advises the City Manager on issues pertaining to the well-being of Lowell’s diverse immigrant and refugee population. The amendments to Section 9-25 are intended to clarify that 9 Members are appointed by the City
Manager. If the Manager is automatically a member he is appointing nine people other than himself. The City Manager or designee should be an ex officio member because he does not appoint himself. He designates an alternate if he so desires. In total there will be 13 members: 9 appointed by the City Manager and the City Manager himself; the Mayor or designee; a City Councillor or designee and a School Committee member or designee. City Council Confirmation is required. New Code Article VIII S 9-25, 26, 27 Adopted 3/23/2010.

Commission meetings are held ad-hoc, as deemed necessary by the Commission Chairperson.

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Pollard Memorial Library Board of Trustees Overview

The Library Board of Trustees have responsibility through the City of the general care, administration, and policy making for the library. The Board engages in an ongoing planning process, which assesses the needs of the library and the role of the library in the community and ensure that the library develops to meet those needs. Nine (9) members, including the City Manager as ex officio President of the Board are appointed by the City Manager to a four (4) year staggered term to expire December 31st. City Council Confirmation is required. Statute Reference: C.231 Acts 1888 Code 17-166 (Stagger Terms); New Code Sec.39-1.

The Library Board of Trustees meet on the first (1st) Wednesday of the month at 5:30pm in the Pollard Memorial Library.

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If interested in either of these positions, please contact Lynda Clark at lclark@lowellma.gov with a copy of your resume.

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Lowell Police Department – Gun Buyback 2013

Where: Lowell Department of Public Works, 1365 Middlesex Street Lowell

When: November 2, 2013

Time: 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM (Rain or Shine)

Who: City of Lowell Residents

Residents interested in turning in their weapons must arrive at the DPW parking lot during the specified hours and leave their firearms locked in the trunk of their motor vehicle. A police officer will remove the firearm from the trunk and assist the resident through the process. There is no limit to the number of weapons accepted; however, compensation will only be provided for a maximum of 3 weapons per person.

Compensation Rates:

$50.00 for a rifle or shotgun

$100.00 for a handgun

$150.00 for a modern “semi automatic” sporting rifle

If you require further assistance or have questions please contact Detective Evans-Witts or Detective Byrne

Firearms Licensing Division

978-674-1879

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The City of Lowell has an open seat on the Conservation Commission. The Conservation Commission is responsible for overseeing the protection of wetlands, riverbanks, and wildlife as defined by the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act and City Wetlands Ordinance (Ch. 280, Sec. 1-13). Projects either directly in a resource area (ex. Floodplain) or within a certain distance of a resource area (ex. within 100 feet of wetlands) can be subject to Commission review. The level of review from the Commission generally varies upon the size and scale of the proposed project, as well as the affected resource area.

If you would like to volunteer to contribute to how your City looks and operates, please consider serving your City on the Conservation Commission.

Contact Lynda Clark at (978) 674-1001 or lclark@lowellma.gov for further details.

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