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It would be understatement to say that 11,077 residential and business customers of Columbia Gas in Andover, Lawrence and North Andover were anticipating the arrival of their cut of the company's $143 million class action settlement.

Nothing focuses the municipal mind quite like the promise of money. And what local leaders saw in the Department of Public Utilities’ report on the use of transportation networks probably wasn’t how much demand has grown for services such as Uber and Lyft. It was in dollars counted and dolla…

Can we lose the masks already? We’ve been masked for months now. Under Gov. Charlie Baker’s current order, we’re supposed to wear masks if we cannot keep at least 6 feet of separation with other people. And, to enter stores, masks are required. But not everyone seems to wear one, and other …

Slowly, Massachusetts is coming alive. Beginning this week, restaurants are allowed to seat diners for indoor meals. Nail salons, tattoo parlors and athletic trainers can once again welcome customers, and offices can expand their capacity from 25% to 50%.

What do you think of the outdoor dining that is spilling off the sidewalks downtown and into Main Street? Restaurants started reopening from coronavirus-forced shutdowns on a limited basis a couple of weeks ago, offering outdoor seating even though indoor service still wasn't an option. Som…

The COVID-19 pandemic isn’t just a health crisis. It has also laid bare chronic issues affecting the state, chief among them the lack of affordable housing.

What should happen to amateurs who fire off fireworks? The closer we get to Fourth of July, the more people seem eager to try their hand at fireworks launched from their streets and backyards. Police throughout the state report a dramatic increase in complaints. In addition to causing fires…

Last week more than 500 of our neighbors lined the streets around Shawsheen Square in Andover, respectfully and peacefully protesting the unequal treatment of African Americans and the unfinished business of purging from our midst the racism that continues to plague our society.

Is early voting worth the cost? Opening the ballot box in the weeks ahead of an election was first allowed in Massachusetts before the 2016 presidential election, when more than 1 in 5 voters cast ballots ahead of time. This year early voting may prove more than just a convenience, as elect…

Ray Sprague died one year ago this past April. For many years he lived in Andover. I didn’t know Ray, but when he died I was very moved with how many folks in Andover had wonderful memories of all the ways he helped, both in and outside of the community.

Summer vacation begins this year with far less excitement than usual. No children are anticipating that last school bell to usher in weeks of camp or playing in the sand or jumping in the pool or hanging out with their friends. For families, lost connections to teachers and classes, such as …

The state Lottery is a key source of revenue for town halls in Massachusetts, but fortunes have turned and proceeds are down significantly from last year. State Treasurer Deborah Goldberg, who oversees the Lottery, wants to expand it to online sales as other states have done. Still, lawmaker…

Never mind the coronavirus. If you don’t keep your social distance at a driving range, with at least six feet of separation between you and other golfers, you invite a whole new set of health risks.

Forty drivers, all wearing masks, engaged in serious, high-speed social distancing Sunday before last, blasting around the oval track for NASCAR’s “Real Heroes 400” race – with a huge virtual audience and barely a soul in the grandstands in Darlington, S.C.

Ice cream’s journey to Andover began as far back as the 2nd century. A recipe brought back to Italy from China by Marco Polo introduced ice cream to the Western World. From there, it is thought that Catherine de Medici, queen consort of France, brought the dessert to the kingdom when she mar…

Memorial Day brought a milestone in the state’s slow reopening from COVID-19 precautions: Beaches finally opened, albeit with rules for social distancing. Some beaches imposed their own limits, such as Crane Beach in Ipswich, which won’t open to the general public until next week. (New Hamps…

If intensive care units were the front lines of COVID-19 containment two months ago, the battle lines have shifted to long-term care centers. And while the state collects data on how well those facilities are handling the outbreak and protecting patients, the public should know — in real tim…

Gov. Charlie Baker on Monday announced plans to gradually reopen the state economy. Factories, construction sites and other some businesses were allowed to resume work as early as this week. Other enterprises — such as restaurants, bars and gyms — will have to wait several more weeks. What d…

A lot of symbolism was attached to the roses and hydrangeas many of us gave our moms on Mother’s Day, and not just the usual kind. This springtime holiday, at least in Massachusetts, came with the few rays of hope represented by businesses beginning their long journeys back from COVID-19 closures.

Select Board members recently voted to support a 4.6% property tax increase in next year’s town budget, despite a vote last summer asking Town Manager Andrew Flanagan to draft a budget raising taxes no more than 3.65%. The higher tax rate is needed to defray the town’s pension liability, Fla…

Andover High School is among a number of area schools that are likely to cancel in-person graduation ceremonies this spring. Instead, administrators and class advisers are considering an online graduation, with special provisions made for seniors and their families to come to the high school…

Though he was not even a candidate for the open position, Henry C. Sanborn was nevertheless recommended by a special search committee in August 1916. The committee members -- John C. Angus, Frederic G. Moore and Phillips Academy Headmaster Alfred E. Stearns -- put forth his name after learni…

There’s never been a better time to be a dog — well, most dogs. With their people forced inside the house, either because of social distancing or because work has dried up, dogs are getting a lot more one-on-one time and walks.

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