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Veterans’ workshops help open door to life-sciences jobs

February 27, 2014 10:00 AM
The following was submitted by University Relations at UMass Lowell:

UMass Lowell student-veterans will learn how to translate their military experience into skills that will help them build careers in the life-sciences industry through Edge4Vets, a workshop series that kicks off Friday, Feb. 28. UMass Lowell is the first university in Massachusetts to offer the program, which has a growing national reputation for success helping veterans land civilian jobs. 

Student-veterans who complete the series will earn a guaranteed interview for an internship from one of the program’s sponsors, Covidien, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Fresenius Medical Care and Haemonetics. Representatives from these companies are among the experts who will help participants assess their strengths, develop confidence and make connections to help them launch their careers after graduation.

More than 1,450 student-veterans attend UMass Lowell, which is ranked among the most military-friendly schools in the nation by G.I. Jobs magazine. The university is home to award-winning ROTC units, an active student-veterans’ organization and an Office of Veterans’ Services, which serves this population’s specific needs.   

Edge4Vets was developed by Tom Murphy, founder of the Human Resiliency Institute at Fordham University. An employee training expert, he is the author of “Reclaiming the Sky: 9/11 and the Untold Story of the Men and Women who Kept America Flying,” which shares the on-the-job courage of aviation workers on that day and beyond. The lessons in resiliency he learned, coupled with his own sense of loss and renewal as a result of Sept. 11, led him to develop Edge4Vets.  

Murphy and Chris Reinke, a veteran who successfully used Edge4Vets to land a job with Covidien, will attend the kickoff and will be available for interviews, along with UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan; Janine Wert, UMass Lowell’s director of veterans’ services; and Michael Dunford, Covidien’s senior vice president of human resources.  

Edge4Vets participants will attend two more workshop sessions in March before being paired with mentors through the Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services who will also assist them in their career transition.

The event will be held at the UMass Lowell Inn & Conference Center, 50 Warren St., Lowell. For directions and parking information, contact UMass Lowell media relations.

Press conference today to update ongoing investigation of December 2013 shooting

February 10, 2014 01:00 AM
The following was submitted by the Office of the Middlesex District Attorney:

Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan and Lowell Police Superintendent William Taylor will hold a press conference to announce multiple arrests and to give an update on the ongoing investigation into the fatal shooting that took place on December 18, 2013 at an apartment building on 2nd Street in Lowell.
Press conference to follow scheduled arraignments of two co-defendants in Lowell District Court this morning.  Two additional co-defendants have been arrested and are being held in Nashua, NH and Utica, NY.  A warrant has been lodged against a fifth co-defendant who is currently in custody on an unrelated matter.
WHEN:          Today, Monday, February 10, 2014 at 3:00pm
WHERE:        Lowell Police Department, 50 Arcand Drive, Lowell, MA 01852

20 medical marijuana dispensary licenses awarded in Mass.

January 31, 2014 12:24 PM

State health officials Friday released the names of companies that will receive the first 20 licenses to open medical marijuana dispensaries in Massachusetts.

In Middlesex County, licenses will go to facilities slated for Lowell, Ayer, Newton, and Cambridge. In Norfolk County, the locations are in Brookline and Quincy. In Suffolk County, two are slated in Boston.

In Plymouth county, licenses will go to facilities slated for Plymouth and Brockton. And in Worcester County, the locations are in Milford and Worcester. In Essex County, they are slated in Salem and Haverhill.

Here are the others: Mashpee and Dennis in Barnstable County; Taunton and Fairhaven in Bristol County; Holyoke in Hampden County; and Northampton in Hampshire County.

Counties without a selected dispensary include Berkshire, Franklin, Dukes and Nantucket.

Free rides after 8 p.m., extra service on MBTA for New Year's Eve

December 26, 2013 10:48 AM

The MBTA said it will continue its annual tradition of offering free rides after 8 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, while boosting service on its subway and commuter rail lines to accommodate people traveling to celebrate First Night.

On New Year’s Eve, the T's Green, Red, Orange, and Blue lines will operate on modified weekday schedules with extra trains running at “rush-hour levels of service” from about 3 p.m. until 2 a.m., officials announced.

The T’s commuter rail lines will also run on modified weekday schedules with additional service, including a number of lines that will see extra outbound service and some delayed outbound departures between midnight and 2 a.m., officials said.

To see a detailed list of extra commuter rail service and delayed departure times, click here.

Meanwhile, the T’s Silver Line, buses, trackless trolleys, express bus routes and boats will run on regular weekday schedules on New Year’s Eve, officials said.

The T’s paratransit service, the RIDE, will run on a regular weekday schedule with extended hours until 2:30 a.m.

On New Year’s Day, the four subway lines will run on Sunday schedules as will the Silver Line, the RIDE, the commuter rail and buses, meaning some commuter rail and bus lines will not operate, officials said.

For a detailed list of subway and bus routes that will not run on New Year’s Day, click here.

The T will not run boat service on New Year’s Day.

City officials have encouraged people traveling in and around Boston on New Year's Eve to ride public transit, including the T. A number of streets will be closed to traffic, while parking will be banned on others. For a detailed list, click here.

E-mail Matt Rocheleau at
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Man charged with 13 counts of insurance fraud

December 23, 2013 01:51 PM

This press release was provided by the Middlesex District Attorney's office

A local man has been charged with insurance fraud for billing for more than $30,000 in acupuncture and other services he did not provide through businesses he operated in Lowell and Medford, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan informed the public today.

Yongshuo Qu, 45, who reportedly resides in both Medford and Hudson, NH, has been charged with insurance fraud (13 counts) and attempted larceny (7 counts). He was indicted by a Middlesex Grand Jury and arraigned December 19 in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn. Clerk Magistrate Michael Sullivan released him on personal recognizance with conditions that he surrender his passport and he stay away from and have no contact with victims, witnesses or colleagues.

His next court date is January 30 for a pre-trial hearing.

“This defendant allegedly filed hundreds of fake insurance claims in an attempt to be paid for work or services that he did not do,” District Attorney Ryan said. “This type of fraud and abuse of the system costs everyone money. We commend the Massachusetts Insurance Fraud Bureau for their work in pursuing this matter and thank them for their collaboration with the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office.”

According to authorities, the defendant is a licensed acupuncturist and resident agent for two businesses, HealthLand LLC in Lowell and Back2Balance in Boston. He advertises services of “Acupuncture, Massage, Chiropractic, Physical Therapy, Chinese Herbal Medicine and Chi Gong Therapy.” The defendant is not and does not employ a licensed chiropractor or physical therapist at either location, nor does he employ a separate massage therapist. The defendant also provided services out of an office attached to his Medford home.

Between March 2008 and April 2012, the defendant allegedly submitted insurance claims in an attempt to be paid by insurance companies for services he did not provide. Although the defendant would provide some services to the victims, such as massage treatments, he would bill insurance companies for dozens of additional treatments, including additional massages and two different types of acupuncture therapy, which had not been provided to the client. In several instances, he billed insurance companies for work performed by unlicensed practitioners as if he had performed those treatments himself. For the 13 identified patients, the defendant is alleged to have fraudulently billed $30,145 to various insurance companies.

The case was investigated by the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts and the Middlesex District Attorney’s Office. The prosecutor assigned to the case is Assistant District Attorney Kristen Noto.

Middlesex Sherriff's Office wishes all a happy and safe holiday season

December 4, 2013 10:00 AM
The following was submitted by the Middlesex Sheriff's Office:

The most wonderful season of the year is upon us; a time of joyous celebration with family, friends and loved ones. We want this season to remain a happy, healthy time for all of us and, here in Middlesex County, we’re working to ensure that we do all we can to get important safety information out to our community.

The Middlesex Sheriff’s Office has identified two areas of safety we want you to be especially aware of this time of year in order to keep your family safe: holiday shopping and home safety.

Holiday shopping safety is paramount this time of year as, despite the good will and giving of the season, there remains the sad reality that there are those who don’t share those good intentions. A few basic tips to keep in mind when out holiday shopping:

  • If visiting multiple stores, store your bags in the trunk of your car. If you must store them in the passenger compartment, make every effort to keep them out of sight.
  • Be aware of loiterers near your vehicle. If you have any concerns, return to the store and ask to be escorted. Park your vehicle in a well-lit area that is populated by fellow shoppers.
  • Consider using a credit card and not a debit card when shopping online. Federal law limits your liability to $50 if your credit card is used fraudulently. Also, only carry the amount of cash you expect to use when shopping in stores as thieves are on the look-out for people holding large amounts of money.
  • Consumers are typically in a generous mood and often distracted during the holidays. Be leery of strangers approaching you asking for something that may ordinarily raise suspicions. A favorite holiday scam involves someone approaching you in a parking lot with a gas can looking to "borrow" some money for gas. Mall or department store security is better equipped to handle stranded motorists.
In addition to keeping safety in mind while out tackling those holiday shopping lists, it’s just as important to remember to put safety first at home. When it comes to holiday lights and trees, fire safety should always be a priority. Some things to keep in mind:

  • Keep trees away from heat sources and be sure to water your tree daily.
  • Never leave a lit tree unattended and use only fire retardant decorations.
  • Use a “non-tip” style tree stand.
  • Dispose of your tree properly, soon after the holidays, before the needles dry out.
  • Never hang lights on a metallic tree.
  • Check all lighting for frayed wires, broken plugs, and sockets and never overload outlets. Use no more than three strands of lights on a single extension cord.
  • Never use candles on trees, near live or other flammable decorations, and be sure to never leave candles burning unattended.
  • Consider buying new energy efficient LED lights that don't get as hot and always use appropriate weatherproof lights outdoors.
  • Make sure grills and outdoor cookware are not used indoors.
By paying attention to the safety tips above, we can ensure a happy and healthy holiday season for our families, loved ones and neighbors. Enjoy this special time and, from all of us at the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office, Happy Holidays!
Peter J. Koutoujian is Sheriff of Middlesex County.

Local students honored by Middlesex District Attorney for avoiding drugs and alcohol

December 2, 2013 04:55 PM

About 85 middle school students in Middlesex County were honored for their leadership, judgment, and decision-making -- especially when it came to avoiding drugs and alcohol -- at an annual peer leadership conference hosted by the Middlesex District Attorney's office.

The conference, which was also hosted by nonprofit Middlesex Partnerships for Youth and the Massachusetts Interscholastic Association, was held Monday at the Nashoba Valley Technical High School in Westford. Students from nine local schools who were chosen as role models by school officials were recognized at the event, according to a statement from the district attorney's office.

The nine school districts include Bedford, Dover-Sherborn, Groton-Dunstable, Littleton, Lowell, Reading, Somerville, Weston, and Wilmington.

The event included a keynote address by Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan, and a presentation by Interscholastic Association's "You Lead" program that supports and connects resources for young people choosing not to use drugs, drink alcohol or smoke tobacco.

“Our youth are under a tremendous amount of pressure whether it to be to fit in with their peers or to be academically or athletically successful,” Ryan said in the statement. “It is refreshing to see these youth who have made good choices in their lives and are committed to healthy living.

"This program is about supporting those who exhibit the confidence, maturity and strength to make positive decisions everyday and to help them continue to be a role model in their community.”

A similar event will be held next month for high school students, officials said.

For more information, visit the Middlesex District Attorney's website.

Woman guilty in Lowell hammer attack

November 26, 2013 11:34 AM

This press release was provided by the Middlesex District Attorney's office

A Lowell woman pleaded guilty Friday to violently attacking a woman with a hammer, leaving the victim with permanent injuries, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan announced today.

Jessica Garcia, 35, pleaded guilty in Middlesex Superior Court in Lowell to charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon causing serious bodily injury, assault with intent to murder, and larceny over $250. Middlesex Superior Court Judge David Ricciardone sentenced the defendant to nine to 11 years in state prison with three years probation from and after her prison sentence with conditions of no use of drugs or alcohol, submission to random drug and alcohol screenings, wearing a GPS monitor for the first year, substance abuse evaluation and follow up, mental health evaluation and follow up, and stay away and no contact with the victim. The prison sentence is to be served from and after a sentence the defendant is currently serving on an unrelated case.

“This senseless act of violence was the result of the defendant’s determination to force the victim to provide her with money,” District Attorney Ryan said. “Although this phase of the case is now complete, the victim continues to suffer from the long term effects of her injuries.”

According to authorities at 6:49 a.m. on June 17, 2012 police responded to an apartment building at 220 Branch Street in Lowell where they discovered the 41-year-old victim on the floor suffering from severe head wounds. A hammer covered in blood was found near the victim. The victim had sustained multiple injuries to her head, face and neck from the claw end of the hammer. She was med-flighted to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment.

The victim survived the attack but suffered permanent injuries, including needing a steel plate in her jaw and several scars on her face, neck and head. She also suffered two strokes.

An investigation was immediately launched by Lowell Police. The investigation revealed that Garcia and the victim were acquaintances and had been in the apartment together. An argument between the two ensued, and the victim grabbed the hammer to defend herself when the defendant took it from her and began violently and repeatedly hitting the victim with the claw side. The defendant demanded the victim’s ATM card and PIN number and threatened to kill the victim if she did not give her the correct PIN number.

The defendant fled the scene. She was later seen on bank surveillance attempting to use the victim’s ATM card. Based on additional evidence and interviews with witnesses, the defendant was arrested June 17, 2012.

She was arraigned June 18, 2012 in Lowell District Court where Judge Tobin Harvey ordered her held on $250,000 cash bail and revoked her bail on two additional open cases in Lowell District Court.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Ryan Sullivan. The Victim Witness Advocate was Kathleen Keefe.

150 employers plan to attend UMass Lowell fair

October 23, 2013 10:00 AM

The following was submitted by the University of Massachusetts Lowell:

Wednesday, Oct. 23

1 to 4 p.m.


WHAT:  More than 150 recruiters from virtually every sector of the business world will meet with qualified, energetic UMass Lowell students searching for part- and full-time jobs, internships and co-ops at the university’s largest career fair to date.

Whether they are looking to land a job in fields such as health care, business and financial management, the defense industry, public education, social services, the arts, robotics, medical or computer technology, more than 1,000 students will be ready – resumes in hand – to share their skills and ambitions with prospective employers.

 Come talk to students about their career hopes and goals and meet with representatives of companies from iRobot to IBM, Raytheon to Radio Disney, about why they value UMass Lowell students as job candidates and employees and how they assess the current employment market.

 To prepare for the fair, many students have already attended interview-skills and resume-writing workshops through UMass Lowell’s Career Services and Cooperative Education Center, which hosts the fair. UMass Lowell representatives will be available to discuss how the university cultivates industry partnerships to help students gain real-world experience and establish their careers after graduation. Note: The fair is not open to the public but media may attend.

WHERE:  Campus Recreation Center, East Campus, 100 Pawtucket St., Lowell. Contact UMass Lowell media relations for directions and parking information.

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