Dennis Everett Honored For Community Work in Haverhill

IMG_3185As part of Black History Month and the state’s efforts to commemorate the work
of prominent African Americans in Massachusetts, state legislators nominated local activists, businesspeople and community leaders to be recognized during Black Excellence on the Hill Day on Monday, February 4.

The nominee for the 1st Essex District, Dennis Everett of Haverhill, received a citation Monday from the Massachusetts Black and Latino Legislative Caucus for his work within the city and around eastern Massachusetts.

A married father of seven, Dennis and his wife Katrina Hobbs Everett are heavily involved with the Rehoboth Lighthouse Full Gospel of Haverhill, where Katrina’s father and mother, Bishop Franklin Hobbs and co-pastor Carolyn Hobbs, have been longtime community leaders.

Through their non-profit, Power of Self-Empowerment (POSE), the Everetts work with at-risk youth and seek to empower individuals toward self-sustained social responsibility. Everett has taken a special interest in helping men who are reentering society after a stay of incarceration.

A proud member of the Insulators Local 6 union, Everett’s faith and passion for music are a big part of his activism. Under the stage name Preacha Rhymes, Everett’s music has helped raise awareness around issues such as gun violence and has been recognized by local media.

“I’m overwhelmed, grateful and humbled by this honor. I’m motivated to work even harder,” said Everett Monday while also thanking his wife for her love and support. “We’re a team and we support each other always.”

“Dennis embodies so much of what makes the Merrimack Valley and its communities great,”said State Senator Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen. “As anyone in the Acre and Mount Washington neighborhoods of Haverhill can attest, Dennis and Kat are real difference makers in this city and I look forward to working with them and POSE in the years to come.”

Haverhill Farms Receive Over $86,000 Through ACRE Grant

Two Haverhill farms have received $86,720 through the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Affairs for the purchase of equipment to be used on both of their farms, located in the city’s Bradford section.

The Rogers Spring Hill Farm and the Crescent Farm have been awarded $57,440 and $29,280 respectively for the purchase of no-till equipment to be used on their farms and farm and garden centers.

The money was awarded through the Baker Administration’s Agricultural Climate Resiliency & Efficiencies (ACRE) grant program, which will distribute over $1 million to 40 agricultural operations around the state this year to assist farms with installing practices that help mitigate their impacts on climate change and also adapt to changing climate conditions.

With their grant, Rogers Spring Hill Farm in Ward Hill will use $29,280 toward the purchase of no-till equipment to be used on their farm, while the remaining $28,160 will go toward the purchase of no-till equipment for the farm’s Garden and Farm Center.

Crescent Farm, also located in Ward Hill, will receive $29,280 with which to purchase no-till equipment.

“While farms are a staple of life in rural areas of the Commonwealth, smaller farms located in sparsely populated areas of our cities also play a critical role in our local economies and food systems. We’re proud to have them here in the First Essex District,” said State Senator Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen.

Newburyport Park to Receive $100K Investment from State

The Maudslay State Park Association has received a matching $100,000 grant from the state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to assist with its Flowering Pond Dam project.

The project is one of 25 finalists to receive money from the DCR for park restoration and improvement projects in FY 2019. The grant program will provide a total of $1,821,400 for those eligible projects.

On hand to accept the grant at the State House were Marlys Edwards, chairwoman of the Pond Restoration Committee of the Maudslay State Park Association, and Edward Speck, artistic director of Theater in the Open, a non-profit organization that performs at the park.

Now in Phase II, the Flowering Pond Dam project is working to restore a dam at the pond. The infusion of $100,000 of state money will greatly help the Maudslay State Park Association in their goal of completing this project.

“This grant will go a long way toward helping the park association complete this much-needed project,” said State Senator Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), who represents the city of Newburyport in the 1st Essex District. “This is a great investment that will help keep this public space a wonderful place to walk, run, play and enjoy nature.”

Financial Literacy Bill Signed into Law

28468739_10156083213093480_3302492065284237021_nFinancial literacy legislation sponsored by State Senator Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) has been signed into law.

Under DiZoglio’s bill, An Act relative to financial literacy programs in schools, the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) is directed to develop standards and objectives on personal financial literacy, for grades pre-kindergarten to 12, within the existing mathematics curriculum. The curriculum will include understanding loans, borrowing money, interest, credit card debt, and online commerce; as well as    banking, housing, retirement and taxes.

DiZoglio was inspired to draft the legislation after reading a study by the Center for Financial Literacy at Champlain College in Vermont, which gave Massachusetts an ‘F’ grade for the quality of its financial literacy programs. Along with Massachusetts, the study assigned its lowest rating to 10 other states that have “few requirements, or none at all, for personal finance education in high school.”

“I am so pleased to see the Commonwealth adopt this legislation to include financial literacy in our public school math curricula, as many students are graduating without a full understanding of how to manage a personal budget,” said DiZoglio. “As a nation, our failure to teach the importance of financial literacy has led to the exploitation of millions of people and triggered a financial crisis a decade ago that we have only recently recovered from as a nation.”

DiZoglio added that “the importance of understanding how debt, interest and credit affect one’s financial health cannot be overstated.”

The bill signed into law this week will ensure that public schools statewide will teach students the importance of properly managing money and will help inform them of their best options for paying for college, buying a car and someday purchasing a home.

The financial literacy education bill comes on the heels of the passage of another bill expanding civics education curriculum in the Commonwealth.

DiZoglio said the new financial literacy bill, coupled with the civics education law, will lead to important improvements in Massachusetts public schools.

“These new laws will ensure students learn real world skills that will benefit them for the rest of their lives and make them more engaged, responsible citizens in our state,” said DiZoglio. “The Merrimack Valley delegation is united in seeking the very best education for our children, because engaging and educating the children of today ensures that they grow up to become the responsible, conscientious leaders of tomorrow.”

DiZoglio Sworn in as State Senator for the 1st Essex District

inauguration photo

Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) has officially been sworn in as the new State Senator for the 1st Essex District.

DiZoglio is among the five newly elected members of the State Senate and the only freshman senator to move from the House of Representatives, where she served three terms representing residents in Methuen, North Andover, Haverhill and Lawrence in the 14th Essex District.

She succeeds Kathleen O’Connor Ives, D-Newburyport, who served the 1st Essex District for three terms as State Senator.

In addition to Haverhill, Methuen, Newburyport and four wards in North Andover, DiZoglio will represent the towns of Amesbury, Merrimac and Salisbury in the 1st Essex.

Following her swearing in, the Merrimack Valley’s newest state senator said she is ready to hit the ground running on the issues of critical importance for her constituents.

“I’m so humbled to have the opportunity to continue serving the residents of the Merrimack Valley. I can’t wait to get straight to work for the people in our community,” said DiZoglio. “Thank you to everyone who put their faith in me to represent you on Beacon Hill. I will work hard to take our collective work to the next level as your state senator.”

DiZoglio Honors North Andover Soccer Teams

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently hosted the U-18 and U-16 Boys North Andover soccer teams for a celebration at the Massachusetts State House.

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently hosted the U-18 and U-16 Boys North Andover soccer teams for a celebration at the Massachusetts State House.

In honor of their success this past season, State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently hosted the U-18 and U-16 Boys North Andover soccer teams for a celebration at the Massachusetts State House.

Earlier this summer, the North Andover Soccer Association’s FC United U18 team emerged victorious in the Essex County playoffs, scoring its second state title in three years. This is the sixth occasion in which FC United, made up of all juniors, has taken the Essex County title. FC United’s playoff record was 8-0, as they scored 20 goals while giving up a mere six. As a group, the team, which has been together since the fifth grade, has scored 94 victories, a feat never accomplished by another youth soccer team in the Commonwealth.

In addition to a luncheon honoring the players’ achievements, the teams had the opportunity to tour the State House and meet with the Representative. DiZoglio brought the teams into the House Chamber, where they sat in the seats of legislators, as the Representative explained how ideas become laws.

“It was an honor to host so many talented and dedicated athletes at the State House for this well-deserved recognition in their honor,” said DiZoglio. “Their extraordinary efforts, both on and off the field, are to be commended.”

North Andover Seniors Day on Beacon Hill

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently hosted the North Andover Senior Center for a visit to the Massachusetts State House.

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently hosted the North Andover Senior Center for a visit to the Massachusetts State House.

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently hosted the North Andover Senior Center for a visit at the Massachusetts State House.

Following brunch and a historical tour of the building, DiZoglio brought the seniors into the House Chamber where they sat in the seats of legislators as the Representative discussed the legislative process.

“I have strived during my time as State Representative for the 14th Essex District to host events like these that bring our amazing seniors together,” said DiZoglio. “It is so important that we keep our older adults independent, socially engaged and active and I look forward to sponsoring many more future gatherings.”

Young Women Career Day at Haverhill High School

Haverhill High Young Women Career Day participants, from left to right – State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), Kate Cook, Emily Dello Russo, Jennifer Cantwell, Melissa Cerasuolo, Officer Andrea Fogarty, Judge Mary McCabe, Jessi Iwanaki, Leanne Petrou, Hillary Rogers, Diana Almanzar,  Ivette Korecki and Lindsey Goldstein

Haverhill High Young Women Career Day participants, from left to right – State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen), Kate Cook, Emily Dello Russo, Jennifer Cantwell, Melissa Cerasuolo, Officer Andrea Fogarty, Judge Mary McCabe, Jessi Iwanaki, Leanne Petrou, Hillary Rogers, Diana Almanzar, Ivette Korecki and Lindsey Goldstein (Photo courtesy of Marilyn Caradonna)

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) recently hosted the first-ever Young Women Career Day for female students at Haverhill High School.

The two-hour program, held on June 12, featured a panel of women from Haverhill and neighboring cities and towns who work in a variety of career fields, including a police officer, attorney, realtor, judge and more. Participants discussed themselves and their careers, including job duties, education backgrounds and favorite and least favorite parts of their jobs. Students then had the opportunity to personally engage with each panelist.

“I was honored to be among so many amazing young women for Career Day at Haverhill High,” said DiZoglio. “Growing up, I did not have many opportunities to become acquainted with different career paths. I launched Young Women Career Day as a way to empower local young women, expose them to new career possibilities and connect them with women making a real different in the community. Thank you to Haverhill High for providing me and my fellow panelists with this amazing opportunity to highlight the diverse variety of careers these talented students can, with hard work and determination, pursue after high school.”

“In high school I knew very little about my career options, especially the fields in which I eventually went to work in,” said Jennifer Cantwell, director of inmate work release at the Essex County Sheriff’s Department. “The opportunity to speak to these students about my journey, particularly my work in a non-conventional role, moreover in a male-dominated field, was a way to share my experiences. Events and opportunities like these are essential to inspire young women to find their paths and realize their own potential.”

“I was so honored to be asked to be a participant in this event,” said Hillary Rogers, membership and media manager at the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce. “Being able to give some insight on the college and post-college process was extremely rewarding. I got to build relationships with these young women in such a short period of time and look forward to seeing where they end up. We’re so honored to have a State Representative like Diana DiZoglio who realizes the importance of career and college readiness for young women.”

“It was so much fun to share my career path and experiences with these young women,” said Leanne Petrou, vice president of marketing and community relations at Pentucket Bank. “It was a unique opportunity not only for the students to ask some ‘real talk’ questions but for us as presenters to provide some practical advice based on each of our experiences. These students already seemed to know the importance of education but hopefully after today they also feel more confident in taking risks, making mistakes and learning from them, networking, and opening the door every time opportunity knocks because something great could be on the other side.”

“I told the girls one of the most important things to do in life is just show up,” said Melissa Cerasuolo, business development officer at Haverhill Bank. “This morning, they showed up and listened and you never know who you will meet!”

“Two of the juniors stood behind and said to me that they felt inspired,” said Ivette Korecki, vice president at TD Bank. “I said high school is temporary, keep focused. Remember there is only one of you and we need you to inspire and change the world.”

House Passes Civic Education Bill

The Massachusetts House of Representatives has passed a comprehensive bill to promote and expand civic education in the Commonwealth.

State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen)’s legislation, House Bill 2022, An Act relative to civic education in public schools, was adopted into Senate Bill 2375, An Act to promote and enhance civic engagement, a comprehensive bill which directs the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to ensure that all public schools provide instruction in American history, civics and media literacy, including participation in a civics project that will be a requirement for graduating high school.

“During my time in office, I have visited schools across the Merrimack Valley to discuss the executive, legislative and judicial branches of government and, through interactive mock committee and jury hearings, educate students about how to participate in our democratic process and what it means to be a citizen,” said DiZoglio. “Our classrooms, unfortunately, have all too often lacked a robust civic learning curriculum to teach students about what government does in our daily lives so I am thrilled to make some progress in educating and empowering our youth to get involved in the process.”

In Spring 2015, the Massachusetts Board of Elementary and Secondary Education convened a working group to publish a report on civic learning in the Commonwealth. The group surveyed Massachusetts superintendents about the status of civic learning in the districts and, of the 80 superintendents who responded, 59 percent rated the level of civil learning in their districts as “insufficient.” Only 1 percent stated their school district had an “extensive” civics program. 65 percent of the superintendents stated their districts offered only “a few or limited” or “occasional” opportunities for civics learning.

“It is long overdue that all of our students be educated on how to register to vote, the history of voting as a constitutional right and the makeup and role of the branches of local, state, and federal government, among other topics,” said DiZoglio. “It is essential that youth begin to genuinely grasp these basic concepts to ensure that they are able to actively participate and engage in the process as they are entering into adulthood.”

House Passes DiZoglio Bill to Assist Veterans with Cost of Emergency Medical Services

The Massachusetts House of Representatives has passed legislation sponsored by State Representative Diana DiZoglio (D-Methuen) to assist veterans in need of emergency medical assistance.

Currently, veterans in need of emergency medical attention who are not near a VA hospital are transported to the nearest non-VA hospital, where they do not necessarily receive the same coverage provided to those who are near a VA hospital. Depending on income, health care services are often covered in full by VA benefits at a VA hospital.

DiZoglio’s legislation, House Bill 2765, An Act establishing emergency medical services for veterans, was included as part of a comprehensive veterans benefit bill passed by the House on May 23. The bill directs the Commonwealth’s Executive Office of Health and Human Services, Department of Veterans’ Services and the Center for Health Information and Analysis to conduct an investigation into the transportation of veterans in emergency medical situations to non-VA hospitals.

The study, which is to be completed by no later than March 2019, will determine reimbursement guidelines for ambulance services to non-VA hospitals and identify any gaps to insure proper continuity of care for veterans.

DiZoglio was inspired to file this legislation by Newbury resident Donald Jarvis, a disabled combat veteran.

“I am very grateful that Representative DiZoglio is helping to lead the charge on this,” said Jarvis. “This will impact every veteran in the Commonwealth, whether they served two years or 20 years in the military. When we are in an emergency, our veterans are there for us and now it is time for us to be there for them. We owe it to our veterans to have their backs when they need us most.”

“This bill is so important to me because right now, no one can seem to agree on what it is exactly that America stands for,” said Army veteran Sara Keefe. “Fortunately, everyone seems to be united in the belief that our brave servicemen and woman were issued a promise in exchange for their oath, and we have fallen shamefully short on fulfilling that promise. It is a travesty and a disgrace to our country that we would even consider anything other than taking care of the very basic essential medical needs of those that were willing to sacrifice everything for the security and comfort of those that could not or would not do so themselves.”

“One of the obstacles our veterans face is transportation,” said Joseph Leblanc, District Director of Veterans Services for the Town of North Andover. “Even more daunting is transportation for veterans who are non-ambulatory, or wheel chair bound. There isn’t much out there. The services that are in place are overtasked and understaffed or very convoluted to access.”

“All too often, veterans in need of emergency medical services find themselves saddled with huge medical costs because there are gaps in the current system,” said DiZoglio. “If you’re a veteran and don’t live near a VA hospital, you will most likely be transferred to the closest hospital if you have a medical emergency. If you were taken to a VA hospital, your emergency care would be covered by the VA. Unfortunately, emergency medical services provided to veterans at a non-VA hospital do not always end up being covered by the VA. There are gaps in the process and many have had to figure out how to pay out of pocket when they shouldn’t have. We need to make sure that the system is fair and equitable for all of our heroes regardless of their zip code and how far away they live from a VA hospital. This measure will provide legislative solutions to make sure these gaps are filled, potentially saving many from unnecessary exorbitant emergency medical costs.”