Bringing Home The Honors from CTI

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Each spring, Community Teamwork, Inc. hosts an annual Spring Celebration gala to help support its programming in the Merrimack Valley region.  This year’s gala was themed “Leading the Way Home” and recognized three groups of honorees that have contributed to ending homelessness, particularly among youth, in the region.

Among the honorees were Mayor William Samaras and his predecessor former Mayor and current State Senator Edward Kennedy. Both were honored for the annual Mayor’s Holiday Fest for Homeless Youth, a rock ‘n roll fundraiser designed to raise funds for youth homelessness services.

The Mayor’s Holiday Fest was the brainchild of Senator Kennedy, who attended a similar function in Somerville for several years.  The first annual Mayor’s Holiday Fest took place in 2017 and raised approximately $11,000.  When Kennedy handed off the keys to Room 50 to Mayor in 2018, he challenged his successor to continue the tradition and top his mark–and he did.  The second annual Mayor’s Holiday Fest raised over $18,000.  The tradition will continue later this year with the goal of raising over $20,000 in 2019.

Other honorees for 2019 included Jay Linnehan, President and CEO from the Greater Lowell Community Foundation and The Sisters of Charity of Ottawa and Eric Cousineau for the work done at Bachand Hall.

SpringCelebrationTV.JPGIn addition to the standard speeches and cocktail hour, the CTI Spring Celebration Gala featured an interactive video program where attendees could vote on the answer to certain trivia questions.  Hosted by the CTI youth broadcast team, each honoree was given a segment with one or two questions introduced by a friend or family member of the honoree.  Guests were then invited to vote via their cell phone for the answer they best felt matched the individual or group in question.

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For instance, if Ed Kennedy was a member of the Rolling Stones, which one would he be?

You may think its Mick Jagger, but the correct answer is Keith Richards.  At least according to Frank Heslin, Ed’s cousin and the chairman of the Holiday Fest committee.

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The audience agreed!

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Other honorees received similar trivia treatment with Mayor Samaras’s friends from Long Meadow Golf Club and his granddaughters each giving a different side of his personality.

Each honoree was giving a framed artistic rendering of their home as an award.  Mayor Samaras spoke in accepting the award as well as Senator Kennedy’s wife Susan, as the Senator was in Boston, unable to attend due to the final night of Budget Week at the State House.

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Armenian Flag Raising

April 24th is Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day and every April, the Armenian-American community of Lowell gathers at Lowell City Hall to mark the occasion with the raising of the Armenian flag.  On Saturday, April 20th, the 2019 Armenian Flag Raising was held in the front lobby of Lowell City Hall and followed by a brief reception in the Mayor’s Reception Room. In addition to Mayor Samaras and the Lowell City Councilors in attendance, Emily Byrne from the office of U.S. Representative Lori Trahan also presented a citation from the Congresswoman

MSBA approves LHS Plan, Project One Step Closer

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On April 10th, the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts School Building Authority officially approved Lowell High School‘s budget and scope and committed $210 million in state funds towards the project.

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Mayor William Samaras, City Manager Eileen Donoghue, State Senator Edward Kennedy, and school committee members Dominik Lay and Robert Hoey were in attendance for the board meeting at MSBA’s headquarters in Boston.

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State Senators Ed Kennedy of Lowell and Diana DiZoglio of Methuen look at the agenda.  DiZoglio attended to show support for the Pentucket School in her district but also expressed support for the Lowell High School project as well

 

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Last month, LHS project team members hosted a public forum at the Lowell Senior Center to present updates on the project including some of the latest renderings of the new building and campus in the heart of Lowell’s downtown.

 

 

A new Community pharmacy

“This is like a return to the corner drug store”

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Mayor William Samaras noted the back to the future like quality to the newest pharmacy in Downtown Lowell.

Community, a Walgreens Pharmacy is the name of a new branch of specialty pharmacies that provides patient care to help those managing complex conditions.  By removing the retail store element, it allows staff to work closely with clients and provide comprehensive support to their pharmacy needs.

Walgreens executives from as far as New Jersey attended the ribbon cutting on March 21st in the former Babylon Restaurant location on Merrimack Street.

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Irish Flag Raising

Although delayed by a week due to weather, it is only fitting that the rescheduled date of the St. Patrick’s Cultural Committee’s Irish Flag Raising at Lowell City Hall would be none other than March 17th.  Last year’s celebration marked the 35th Irish Cultural Week in the City of Lowell.  Mayor William Samaras, State Senator Edward Kennedy, Vice Chair Vesna Nuon, and many other members of the Lowell City Council participated in this year’s edition #36.

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Celebrating a century (+) of Lithuanian Independence in Lowell

“In honor of the Lithuanians who came to Lowell for a Better Life”

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Lithuanian monument on the centennial of independence (Photo: Jen Myers)

Those words adorn the Lithuanian monument in Lowell’s JFK Plaza.  Lowell’s Lithuanian community dates back longer than the modern state of Lithuania.  Like many other immigrants and refugees in Lowell, hundreds of Lithuanians fled oppression to work in Lowell’s textile mills, in the late 19th century,

Although they had settled in a new world, many expats kept in touch with the struggles in the old one, as the ancient nation of Lithuania struggled through centuries of occupation by Russian (and briefly German) governments.  The overthrow of Russia’s tsarist regime in 1917 opened the door for the reestablishment of Lithuania as an independent state.

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D.L.K.V. Club in Lowell

101 years ago this month, the Act of Reinstating Independence of Lithuania was signed.  On February 16th, 1918, the transitional council of Lithuania proclaimed the restoration of their country as an independent state governed by democratic principles, with Vilnius as its capital.  That document has served as the basis of subsequent Lithuanian constitutions and February 16th is celebrated as Lithuanian Independence Day.

Two years later, Lithuanian Americans in Lowell established the Grand Duke of Lithuania Vytautas (D.L.K.V.) club, named after the famous Lithuanian leader under whose rule Lithuania was the largest medieval European state.

Although the group sold their building on Central Street in 2017, the club’s charter remains intact and they are preparing to celebrate their 100th anniversary next year.

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It was with the backdrop of these recent and upcoming centennial anniversaries that the Lowell City Council welcomed the Lithuanian community to Lowell City Hall on February 16th, 2019 for the annual raising of the Lithuanian flag.

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Vice Chair Vesna Nuon presented a citation on behalf of Mayor William Samaras and State Senator Ed Kennedy brought greetings from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in his dual role as city councilor and state legislator.

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Vice Mayor Nuon spoke about the Lithuanian struggle for independence within the context of his own experiences as a refugee from Cambodia, (even after achieving freedom from the Russian empire in 1918, the country spent much of the 20th century under Soviet rule before finally becoming independent again in 1990).  Senator Kennedy also spoke about attending the Lithuanian flag raisings during his own term as mayor from 2016-2017.

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Unveiling of the Lithuanian monument, June 2012 (Photo Credit: Greg Page)

Both of the councilors were also on the Lowell City Council in 2012 when the Lithuanian monument in JFK Plaza was dedicated during the term of Mayor Patrick Murphy.

The monument’s design incorporates an important symbol of Independence the charging knight on the chield known as the “Vytis”, Lithuania’s national coat of arms. “Lietuva” the Lithuanian word for the country is inscribed below. The side banners reflect the “juosta” or woven sash in the stylized tulip design, a prominent feature in Lithuanian art and costume.

Following the speaking program and the singing of the American and Lithuanian national anthems, the flag of Lithuania was raised outside Lowell City Hall.

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More photos from the 2019 Lithuanian Independence Day Celebration in Lowell:

For More: 2018 Lithuanian Flag Raising Photos