Legal problems can creep up when you’re out of work. Creditors may be lurking, looking for payment on past-due bills. The landlord may not be able to evict you thanks to a freeze on evictions and foreclosures, but you may be falling further behind on the rent. Relationships strained before t…

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Should “remote” school districts in places with few COVID-19 cases be pressured to bring students back to class? State Education Commissioner Jeff Riley sent letters to 16 school districts where COVID-19 infection rates are low but students are learning remotely, asking for their plans to b…

With every new crisis, it seems, comes a new scheme aimed at defrauding unsuspecting consumers. Earlier in the coronavirus pandemic, we learned how scammers were targeting seniors by offering offer unsolicited COVID-19 tests to Medicare recipients. There were no tests, of course — it was a r…

Keeping a restaurant open, even in good times, can be as daunting as balancing a full platter of glassware. The forced closure of every dining room in the land last spring was a complication beyond imagination, and it spelled the end of thousands of small businesses.

Should Town Meeting be held on Saturdays in the future? Andover’s annual Town Meeting was held this past Saturday under an expansive tent behind West Middle School as part of the precautions taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19. A meeting that usually stretches for three nights at the Co…

Not stressing over a high-stakes college admissions test is to a high school junior what sleeping late is to a Saturday morning. If the apparent demise of SAT and ACT scores as benchmarks of young human potential were reduced to an analogy once favored by the authors of those exams, maybe it…

Gov. Charlie Baker’s call-up of a thousand members of the Massachusetts National Guard a couple of weeks ago sent chills, stirring still-fresh memories of the rioting and destruction that rolled through the streets of Boston this spring.

Did the School Department deal fairly with teachers during last week’s work action? A week ago Monday, hundreds of teachers chose not to enter school buildings and instead spent their first work day of the year outside, huddled over their laptops, in protest of building conditions they say …

A variety of paths lead to a higher education in the Merrimack Valley, but physical proximity isn’t everything. Hundreds of kids who graduate from our region’s high schools don’t go to college, for reasons of choice or circumstance, even though one may be waiting just down the street.

Are you relieved that Eversource is buying Columbia Gas of Massachusetts? Regulators held hearings last week to consider the deal, which is being forced by an agreement negotiated by the attorney general’s office following the September 2018 gas disaster. Eversource, which operates elsewhe…

Everyone should get a flu shot this season who can get one without risking their health. The Baker administration’s urgency in advocating for shots in Massachusetts is appreciated, given the similarities between influenza and COVID-19, and the potential of a bad flu season to seriously compl…

What do you think of the new flu shot mandate? State health officials last week announced new rules for this season’s vaccinations: College students, students in kindergarten through 12th grade, and children ages 6 months and older in daycare or preschool must have flu shots by Dec. 31. (Fa…

The minute that Gov. Charlie Baker started issuing orders to limit the spread of COVID-19 back in March, you had to know it would lead to this — the face mask police. And while Baker says he isn’t putting together a special squad to slap tickets on public health scofflaws, at least not yet, …

The coronavirus pandemic has been devastating for senior citizens. Nationwide, 8 out of 10 people who've died after contracting the virus were 65 or older. Meanwhile, strict social distancing requirements and stay-at-home orders have coupled with limits on nursing home visits and the shutter…

Which part of redeveloping the old town yard will bring the biggest benefit to Andover? Town Meeting is expected to decide next month on a plan seeking proposals to buy and redevelop the property adjacent to the commuter rail station. Many residents have made suggestions for what they’d lik…

Winds were fierce but the remnants of Hurricane Isaias that blew through New England last week were less remarkable for any damage they caused locally than for what they may portend.

How are you voting this fall? Due to the pandemic, Secretary of State Bill Galvin sent vote-by-mail applications for the Sept. 1 primaries and the Nov. 3 general election to all registered voters in Massachusetts. Voters who want to avoid contact with people at the polls may complete and re…

School superintendents must long for the mornings when they’re pressed with the tough call of whether to cancel school for 4 inches of snow. The choice they face now — unfairly placed upon them and local school committees, it would seem — is far more convoluted with far more at stake.

Is it safe to go back to school? A 60-person task force spent weeks hammering out plans to send Andover children back to school in September under one of three possible premises — a return to class, remote learning or some hybrid thereof. Setting aside the complicated logistics, many paren…

In light of COVID-19, economic recession, social unrest and the fact that fans literally cannot get a seat inside Fenway Park this season, the adults among us who drink probably could use a cocktail.

Are you ready to go back to the gym? Area exercise centers are reopening as life returns to normal from the shutdowns triggered by COVID-19. The Merrimack Valley YMCA, for one, reopened earlier this month with a host of precautions for those looking to resume their workouts. Everyone must g…

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