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METHUEN — An arbitrator has ruled that city officials did not violate the terms of a collective bargaining agreement by refusing to pay top police officers astronomical salaries discovered after the fact.

More than 2 million Massachusetts residents have received vaccine boosters to add to their protection against COVID-19. Still, as the omicron variant continues to drive rapid spread, some public health experts warn that the Baker administration has not done enough to get additional shots into arms.

State education officials are planning to provide school districts with 200,000 at-home rapid COVID-19 tests for their teachers and staff and are encouraging school personnel to take one of the antigen tests before returning to work after the winter break.

ANDOVER — The weather held and hundreds of people gathered downtown Friday night to welcome in the New Year for Andover's First Night.

SALEM — U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Salem, told an online town hall audience Thursday night that while the proposed Build Back Better Act and the recently passed bipartisan infrastructure law may not be perfect, they will still make massive New Deal-like investments in both the nation’s physical and social infrastructure.

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Locals preparing to make the season merry should be ready to open their wallets a little wider when picking out Christmas trees, as area vendors say prices are up and stock is limited.

BOSTON -- Federal pandemic relief money is still available for nonprofits and local governments dealing with COVID-related expenses, with reimbursement up to 100% for the purchase of masks, protective clothing, testing and other costs.

BOSTON — Parents are struggling to find reliable and affordable child care as many providers face challenges staying afloat amid the ongoing economic fallout of the pandemic and worker shortages.

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Members of the Andover Preservation Commission, Ballardvale Historic District Commission and The Andover Center for History and Culture annually recognize people and organizations across town for preservation work.

Coming home after Halloween last year, Mike Puglielli was chatting with his daughter Chiara, 5, when she mentioned one of the coolest costumes she saw was an astronaut. Then she told him it was a “boy” costume.

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About 50 years ago, Veryl Anderson started teaching three disabled children from the basement of Christ Church in Andover with a $100 budget.

DANVERS — School officials acknowledged Tuesday night they “fell short” in informing the public about the seriousness of alleged racist and homophobic misconduct in the high school boys’ hockey program and promised to do better in the future.

BOSTON -- The state Senate on Wednesday will take up a major proposal aimed at improving access to mental health services, and lawmakers are calling for more changes to reduce wait times, improve coverage and reduce suicide deaths.

BOSTON — The price for natural gas and home heating oil is soaring amid supply chain issues and rising inflation, which is putting a squeeze on energy consumers as winter approaches.

BOSTON — The state’s hiring crunch is getting worse, according to a new report that finds more than half of all employers are struggling to fill vacancies.

The Massachusetts National Guard has in the last year-plus been pressed into duty to help keep the peace at large rallies, to provide security outside the U.S. Capitol Building, to step in during a shortage of school bus drivers and now to help with COVID-19 testing at schools and to be ready in the event of a Department of Correction staffing shortage.

LAWRENCE — Fifty people participated in a Zoom meeting on Saturday to discuss the status of $41 million in yet-to-be-released funds promised to Lawrence residents in support of their ongoing recovery from the Columbia Gas explosions of 2018.

HAVERHILL — With one of the highest vaccination rates in the country, Massachusetts is bouncing back from the pandemic says Gov. Charlie Baker, in his keynote address at Monday night’s annual dinner hosted by the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce.

ANDOVER — Singers of all parts are invited to join the Andover Choral Society’s rehearsals for its winter concert, “Emerge Together.” Upcoming rehearsals are from 7:20 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., Mondays, Sept. 20 and 27, at Christ Church, 33 Central St.

ANDOVER — Twenty years ago, Christopher Morrison's parents still had hope that their only son somehow escaped the 107th floor of the World Trade Center's north towner after terrorists attacked.

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The Select Board on Monday announced both an investigation into Andover Youth Services and plans to hire an interim director for the department by early October.

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The city of Lawrence unveiled a symbol of its vaccination campaign in the form of a blue-and-yellow heart last week, thanks to the work done by a group of local teens.

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A foundation created to raise money for the Cormier Youth Center has since become a fund that pays wages to teenagers and town employees, including some payments that may violate ethics laws, according to a former state inspector general. 

More than two dozen people spoke for about an hour and a half in defense of former Andover Youth Services Director Bill Fahey at Monday night's Select Board meeting.

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It was a packed room as the Select Board met at Town Hall for the first time in more than 15 months since the start of the pandemic.

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Andover firefighters and others across town are mourning the loss of James "Jimmy" Cuticchia, 63, who died on July 4.

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Though the decision was somewhat last minute, Andover's Fourth of July Pancake Breakfast and Horribles Parade will return this year after being canceled in 2020 amid COVID-19 shutdowns. 

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 Some, but not all school district employees, will have more money coming to them this summer after the School Committee approved multiple agreements that allow staff members to receive retroactive pay for the past year.

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