Tom Duggan’s Notebook – April/May 2017


Two, free, grant-funded educational programs designed to train unemployed and under-employed individuals in high-demand manufacturing positions, will be offered through Northern Essex Community College’s Center for Corporate and Community Education beginning in May.
Individuals who have graduated from high school or have a high school equivalency, are between the ages of 17 and 29 and lack the education, skills, or experience necessary to obtain a middle or high-skilled job, are eligible for either program. Participants must be able to pass eighth grade math and reading.

Both programs, which are noncredit, are funded by a federal TechHire grant to provide workforce training in.

The Quality Training Program teaches the concepts and skills needed to become a quality assurance or quality control associate. It is a six-week, 120-hour program that will run May 15 through June 22, Mondays through Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at NECC’s Riverwalk, 360 Merrimack St., Lawrence.

A total of 13 students will be accepted into the quality program. This program will be offered five more times over the next few years.

Students who successfully complete the program will be prepared to sit for an American Society for Quality (ASQ) certification exam. They will be trained to work as an improvement associate, internal auditor, or document control specialist quality inspector.

The Computer Numeric Controlled (CNC) Machining Program will provide both classroom and hands-on experience. The 11-week, 404-hour program is divided into a foundational skills training and technical training. The classroom training will begin May 30 and run through June 23rd, meeting 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday at Riverwalk. From June 26 through August 11, students will receive technical training at either Whittier Regional Vocational High School in Haverhill or Greater Lawrence Technical School in Andover from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A total of 24 students will be accepted into the CNC Program.

In addition to be able to sit the certification tests, CNC students will participate in career readiness sessions including resume writing, interviewing skills, industry tours, and a job fair.

Information sessions for both the quality and CNC programs will be offered as follows: CNC: Tuesday, April 25, 6:30 p.m. at Whittier Regional Technical High School, 115 Amesbury Line Road, Haverhill, or Tuesday, May 2, 6:30 p.m. at Greater Lawrence Technical School, 57 River Rd, Andover, MA.
Quality: Thursday, April 27, 3:30 p.m. at Valley Works Career Center, 255 Essex St, Lawrence.

For additional information or to make reservations for any of these sessions, contact Routhier, at, or 978-659-1217.


Schedule Your Audition for the 2017-2018 Concert Season. Saturday, June 10 — Ipswich High School, 134 High Street, Ipswich, MA

To register for an audition, check the audition requirements for your instrument, or learn more about NMYO, go to and click on the Audition page or email Feel free to phone us with your questions at (978) 309-9833.


State Rep. Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) will host Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Day at the State House on Tuesday, April 25th. DiZoglio recently sponsored a resolution, co-sponsored by more than 40 other legislators from across the Commonwealth, proclaiming the month of April as Parkinson’s Disease Awareness Month in Massachusetts. The Representative will present the resolution during the event. The Awareness Day, which is scheduled to begin at 11AM in Room 428 of the State House, is free and open to the public.


State Representative Frank A. Moran (D-Lawrence) joined his colleagues this week in the Massachusetts House of Representatives to pass legislation that includes a $200 million bond authorization for Chapter 90 funding to help municipalities complete road, bridge, and infrastructure improvement projects. In the Seventeenth Essex district, represented by Frank A. Moran in the State House of Representatives, the allocation of this Chapter 90 funding will be:

City of Lawrence $1,336,872
Town of Andover $1,364,728
City of Methuen $1,187,022

The bill also appropriates $70 million to replace the Registry of Motor Vehicle’s information technology infrastructure.

“In authorizing this Chapter 90 bond, the House of Representatives ensures that essential funding is provided to help cities and towns improve infrastructure statewide, including the Seventeenth Essex district, that necessitates much needed improvement,” State Representative Frank A. Moran (D-Lawrence) said; then Moran continued: “Without this Chapter 90 funding, many structurally vulnerable roads and bridges across the state needing repairs would remain neglected due to cash-strapped municipalities.”


The 45th annual North Andover Sheep Shearing Festival returns for its traditional spring celebration on Sunday, May 21st, on the North Andover Town Common from 10:00 a.m. to 4pm. The festival attracts thousands of people each year, is accessible from I-495, exit 42. (GPS location is 800 Mass Ave.) Admission and events are free.

Among the festival’s most popular attractions are the sheep herding and sheep shearing demonstrations. David Kennard returns from Wellscroft Farm in NH to round up the sheep with his Border Collies. Before his dogs demonstrate their abilities, David Kennard challenges children to try rounding the sheep into their pens faster than his Border Collies. Even though children have yet to top his dogs, they always succeed in having a great time. In addition, Andy Rice of Hogget Hill Farm in Brattleboro, Vermont will demonstrate sheep shearing.

Entertainment includes sheep shearing, wool spinning demonstrations, a juried crafts fair, and pony rides, available for a fee. There will be blacksmithing and other demonstrations. In addition, a wide range of foods will be available from vendors.

As an added convenience, there will be free parking at the Franklin and Middle Schools, with free shuttle service to and from the festival for the duration of the event.

The North Andover Sheep Shearing Festival is presented by the North Andover Festival Committee, a volunteer citizen’s group dedicated to enhancing life in North Andover through periodic community events.