Lowell’s Franco-Americans Celebrate St. Jean Baptiste Day

City of Lowell

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

By his honor Rodney M. Elliott, Mayor

A Proclamation

A group of Lowell Franco-American seniors share a laugh as they enjoy the festivities (click any photo for larger version, then click on X to return to this page).

Mrs. Denyse Couillard, Mrs. Monique Blanchette, and Mr. & Mrs. Dennis Grenier share a laugh as they enjoy the festivities (click any photo for larger version, then click on X to return to this page).

WHEREAS  In the 1870’s thousands of French-Canadians left the farms and towns of Quebec, immigrating to Lowell to find work in the mills and a better life for their families, making this city their new home and enriching its fabric with their culture, traditions and work ethic;

and WHEREAS today, throughout Quebec and other Francophone portions of Canada, Saint Jean Baptiste Day is recognized, honoring St. John the Baptist, the Jewish preacher who baptized Jesus of Nazareth in the Jordan River; and


The Franco-American Veterans bear the various flags of Lowell’s French-American community. Bob Page, Commander of the Lowell Veteran’s Council, is second from right.

WHEREAS our Franco-American Monument honors the “memory of all Franco-Americans of the past who helped to build Lowell, to those of the present who are continuing a well and cherished heritage, and to all Franco-Americans of the future who will help to keep Lowell the great city that it is.”

2015 Franco-American of the year Lorraine Primeau addresses the crowd as Lowell Mayor Rodney Elliott, Former City Councilor Lemay, and City Councilor Rita Mercier look on.

2015 Franco-American of the year Lorraine Primeau addresses the crowd as Lowell Mayor Rodney Elliott, Former City Councilor Lemay, and City Councilor Rita Mercier look on.

NOW, THEREFORE, I   Rodney M. Elliott, Mayor of Lowell, Massachusetts, do hereby proclaim today, Wednesday, June 24, 2015 as:  St. Jean Baptiste Day” and the week of June 21 – June 27 as “Franco-American Week” in the City of Lowell, and encourage all citizens to join in the celebration.

Given this 24th day of June, 2015

Rodney M. Elliott, Mayor, City of Lowell

Lowell City Councilors asked to support resolution supporting statewide divestment of fossil fuels.

WHEREAS: Climate change poses a grave threat to the City of Lowell, its residents, and …



According to Jay Mason, Councilor Mercier filed a motion to support the resolution in December. Councilor Samaras offered a substitute motion requesting a report from the city manager. This was approved at the council that evening and a report was subsequently provided by Manager Murphy’s office in January. The group 350Massachusetts of Greater Lowell has been working since then to build support for the resolution (language per above link) and a re-submittal is planned before the council sometime in August. Lowell would join at least 12 other communities around the state who have called for similar resolutions against fossil fuel investment by the state pension reserve investment trust.

Post Contributors: Derek Pelotte and Jay Mason, 350Mass of Greater Lowell.
For more info email: derekpelotte1@gmail.com

Last Update: 6/16/2015 at 8:20pm.

Also … 350Mass of Greater Lowell invites all to the

Lowell Divest Fest

at Lucy Larcom Park

Saturday, June 27 from 11:30am-2pm

by George DeLuca
Lowell2020 (like us on Facebook!)

“Cameroonians of Lowell Association” introduce CAYOL Youth Program


Camola members stop for a group photo with City officials Mayor Rodney Elliott, City Councilor Rita Mercier, and a member of LPD (click any photo for larger version, then click on X to return to this page).

June 13, 2015 – The mood outside Lowell City Hall was electric on Saturday morning as the Cameroonians of Lowell Association (CAMOLA) joined City officials in an annual ritual that celebrates their African heritage, the City Hall flag raising. The highlight of the event was the introduction of a new organization called the Cameroonian American Youths of Lowell (CAYOL). Attendee and Cameroon immigrant Chris Tifah summed it up by saying, “Roots are important … the youth are important.”


CAMOLA Social Secretary Khien Nkimbeng introduces Lowell City Councilor Rita Mercier

Of course, City Councilor Rita Mercier loves all Lowellians and receives love at each event she attends. And she attends many events! The crowd came alive as she delivered another resounding speech of welcome, love, and support spiced by her usual sprinkling of self deprecating humor. Mayor Rodney Elliott too proved knowledgeable about highlights in Cameroon history, and read a city proclamation to honor the Cameroon culture, their positive impact on the city, and their youth.

Cameroonian Youth of Lowell raise the flag.

Cameroonian Youth of Lowell raise the flag.

I asked Mr. Tifah how things were going in the Cameroon homeland in Western Africa. He said that he was dismayed about the challenges impeding economic development in the country, with particular concerns about corruption and youth unemployment. Mr. Tifah noted that 80% of the people of Cameroon have a college education, but there are no jobs. Lacking a flourishing private sector economy, Cameroonian youth in West Africa have become prime targets for extremist groups. In Lowell, CAMOLA recognizes the importance of education and has initiated a youth group and a scholarship program for high school students.

CAMOLA unveils the CAYOL youth program (click on photo for larger version)

CAMOLA unveils the CAYOL youth program.

Lowell Cameroonians have armed themselves with the knowledge that their children stand a better chance at succeeding in the workforce in the United States system of democracy. Mayor Elliott and City Councilor Mercier made it clear that their efforts are sincerely supported in Lowell. As the young people took part in the raising of the Cameroon flag, all sang resounding versions of the Cameroon National Anthem followed by the Star Spangled Banner. 1920_Cameroon_National_Anthem

Cameroon National Anthem
O Cameroon, Thou Cradle of our Fathers,
Holy Shrine where in our midst they now repose,
Their tears and blood and sweat thy soil did water,
On thy hills and valleys once their tillage rose.
Dear Fatherland, thy worth no tongue can tell!
How can we ever pay thy due?
Thy welfare we will win in toil and love and peace,
Will be to thy name ever true!

Land of Promise, land of Glory!
Thou, of life and joy, our only store!
Thine be honor, thine devotion,
And deep endearment, for evermore.

NOTE: The 2015 Lowell African Festival takes place on Saturday, June 27, 2015 at the Sampas Pavilion. The event is free and all are invited to attend.

by George DeLuca (writing and photos)
Lowell2020 (like us on Facebook!)

UML M2D2 Expansion and Innovation Hub Unveiled

June 9, 2015 – The Fourth Annual Deshpande Symposium for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Education was held at the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center (ICC) from June 9 through June 11. UMass Lowell officials kicked off the symposium by unveiling the new Innovation Hub (iHub) and M2D2 expansion space at 110 Canal Street. The expansion is sure to become another jewel in the growing UMass Lowell legacy.

The P. T. Jackson canal boat arrives

The P. T. Jackson canal boat arrives at the Innovation Hub from the UML  ICC.

A canal boat transported passengers to the new facility from the UMass Lowell Inn and Conference Center (ICC) via the Pawtucket Canal. A Lowell National Historical Park representative was heard touting the significance of the canal, a waterway once used to power textile mills. A first time Lowell visitor said, “Too bad the ride along Lowell’s industrial canyon was so short. Is it possible to go further?” The answer is yes. Canal boat tours to the Merrimack River and back occur throughout the summer. Over two hundred guests were networking inside the new facility on the third floor. The symposium was attended by educators, administrators, and venture capitalists from various parts of the country. Representatives from Carnegie Mellon University, MIT, Babson, Arizona State, Rice, and even the University of New Brunswick mingled with venture capital executives and a contingent of Lowell’s higher education elite. Food servers floated through the area with trays of steak tips and coconut chicken. Former Congressman Marty Meehan knows how to throw a party. Sadly, this was one of his last as Chancellor of UMass Lowell.


UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan chats with Subra Suresh, President of Carnegie Mellon

As UML Executive Vice Chancellor Jacqueline Moloney began the night’s proceedings, she acknowledged the work of Desh Despande, who’s been instrumental in forging bonds between UML and India. Entrepreneurship and higher education are the keys to the success of social and economic globalization.

The star of the show was Chancellor Meehan. As he bounded up to the podium in typical upbeat fashion, all eyes immediately turned to the stage area. There was a hush as Chancellor Meehan touted UML’s brand bright and shiny new Innovation Hub. He waxed about being hired by Jack Wilson as a non-traditional candidate (a U. S. Congressman), and quipped that he always admired Mr. Wilson’s judgment. He mentioned his new position as President of the UMass system, and joked that as he recently looked out over the UMass Boston campus towards the water, he was told “Marty, that’s the Atlantic Ocean, not the Merrimack River.” Chancellor Meehan acknowledged his growing friendship with Desh Despande with a warm jest: “Desh is never shy about giving advice. Thank you for the mentoring you’ve given me.”


MA Representative Rady Mom with Middlesex Community College President James Mabry

With State Senator Eileen Donaghue, State Representative Rady Mom and Middlesex Community College President James Mabry present, Chancellor Meehan said, “There’s not a better example of public/private partnership than for us to locate our M2D2 program here in this facility. We believe the building will soon be filled with small businesses. As incubating operations mature, many will stay in Lowell … some will move elsewhere.” He said, “Lowell is an outstanding environment to learn. I look forward to bringing this program to fruition.”


UMass Lowell’s new M2D2 expansion is on the 3rd floor … iHub is on the 4th!

Mr. Meehan then formed an analogy between the new UML Innovation Hub and those who founded Lowell in the early nineteenth century as an enterprise zone based on the vision of the City’s namesake Francis Cabot Lowell. Those early pioneers of technological innovation were Nathan Appleton, Patrick Tracy Jackson, Paul Moody, and Kirk Boott. They designed and built the mills, fueling the industrial revolution with their investments and combined expertise. Today’s innovators work in technological fields involving medical devices, bio and nano-technology, plastics engineering, and robotics … fields highlighted right here at Umass Lowell.

As the kick-off wound down, new tenants of the iHub were unpacking and acclimating themselves to their new spaces in the facility. Upstairs on the fourth floor, KnipBio R&D Director Catherine Pujol-Baxley was doing just that in her new shared wet lab space. New to the program, the fledgling company spent three months at Wannalancit Mills before moving over to the new iHub at 110 Canal St. KnipBio was the first to set up and begin work here. Pujol-Baxley said, “This is the best work development space I’ve been in. I’m very happy.” When asked about her company’s plans when their aquaculture program is rollout ready and fully funded, she said, “We’ll have five or six workers here by the end of the year. Hopefully, we’ll be ready to move forward with expansion plans by next summer. And when we do, we plan to stay in Lowell.”

updated: June 17, 11:11am

by George DeLuca
Lowell2020 (like us on Facebook!)

Lowell2020 Endorses Charlie Baker for Governor


Charlie Baker

Lowell2020 is pleased to endorse Republican Charlie Baker for Governor of Massachusetts. The primary is September 9.

Charlie Baker, former CEO of Harvard Pilgrim Health Care, wants to increase local aid, doesn’t support in-state tuition for illegal immigrants, and wants to develop a more significant relationship with Canadian Hydro who makes renewable energy products including the Francis Turbine (named after the turbine developed by James B. Francis in Lowell!).

He’s against the Kinder Morgan Keystone XL pipeline as proposed, but will consider bringing natural gas into Massachusetts to supplement the state’s energy needs along routes already existing, and not through people’s yards.

Baker’s priority is growing the economy by developing a strategy of jobs creation. At last weeks debate at Middlesex Community College in Lowell, he said that this is the most important issue in the race. He’s right. Baker outlined a strategy that includes government deregulation and tax reductions.

But the meat of his proposed jobs creation initiative is in the “how”, not the “what”. Baker proposes that the state tap the intellectual capital of the colleges and universities, citing Northeastern University’s coop program as a means to that end. Baker considers Northeastern’s work-study program a viable model for other colleges in the Commonwealth to emulate.

He also recommends that the state’s community colleges become workforce training centers. His support of collegiate “on the job training” would add structural foundation to plans already being implemented by UMass Lowell and Middlesex Community College. Baker’s support would add synergy to current & future collaborations and initiatives in Lowell.

With Charlie Baker as Governor, Lowell can come to the forefront as a model enterprise zone and gateway city in Massachusetts, while building on the city’s potential towards becoming a credible global city. But for this to happen in earnest, the City must decide on its vision for downtown Lowell, and, deliver the best setting for the education and recreation of its high school students (Cawley Campus).

George DeLuca

The Raytheon-UMass Lowell Research Institute (RURI)


Mark & Elisia Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center (ETIC)

On August 12, Raytheon Company and the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML) “announced an agreement to establish a joint research facility focused on the advancement of innovative technologies in a collaborative, state-of-the-art institute.” Raytheon is committing up to $5 million over the next 10 years to establish the new research facility dubbed The Raytheon-UMass Lowell Research Institute (RURI).

The new research center will occupy the top floor of the new Mark & Elisia Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center (ETIC) at UML’s North Campus. The ETIC is the $80 million, 84,000 SF, research facility which opened on October 11, 2012. Two top Raytheon officials attended the grand opening, a testament to the depth of UMass Chancellor Marty Meehan’s vision and laser focus.

“We look forward to bringing the expertise of our top-notch faculty together with researchers from Raytheon. This new partnership is just one example of how UMass Lowell is leading the way in collaborating with industry to power innovation and the economy in Massachusetts and beyond,” said Chancellor Meehan. “This institute will also provide our students with the kind of real-world experience that is one of the hallmarks of a UMass Lowell education.”

“As a co-directed, co-located research environment, the RURI signifies a unique opportunity for Raytheon’s university partnerships,” said Mark E. Russell, Raytheon vice president of Engineering, Technology and Mission Assurance. “The RURI will serve as an extension of our current research capabilities and represents a resource across the Raytheon enterprise for the study of advanced materials and flexible circuit technologies, such as printable electronics and nanotechnology.”

UML continues to roll out a credible workforce development strategy after announcing expansion plans for their M2D2 program and leasing prime additional space at 110 Canal St. The M2D2 program is incubating medical device companies, some of which expect to reach their funding goals of anywhere between $10 million and $50 million a year by 2017-2022. Middlesex Community College (MCC) is right in sync with its own STEM Career Exploration initiative. In March, MCC announced a $3 million capital grant from the Massachusetts Life Sciences Center (MLSC) to build a new biotechnology facility on Middle Street.

MCC's Talbot Building on Middle Street in Lowell, MA

MCC’s Talbot Building on Middle Street in Lowell, MA

MCC’s new facility will be located on the fifth floor of the Talbot Science Building on Middle Street. The 10k SF space will include a lecture room, laboratory, clean room, gowning area, and prep room. The facility “will significantly expand the capacity of MCC to prepare its students in the best possible way to meet the workforce needs of the life-sciences industry.”

And that’s not all. The City Council approved a tax-increment financing agreement (TIF) to make way for Metigraphics move to 1001 Pawtucket Blvd. Metigraphics specializes in designing, prototyping, and mass production of micron-scale components. Sounds a little like nano-technology. As noted in an Aug. 18 Lowell Sun editorial, Metigraphics is excited to be near UMass Lowell and its innovations initiatives.

John Power, CEO of Farley-White, the company that owns 1001 Pawtucket Blvd. and, Wannalancit MIlls (the current M2D2 site), noted last October that 500,000 SF of business expansion space is needed in downtown Lowell. Hopefully, the City is listening. The dynamic synergy of these partnerships and the spirit of collaboration that continues to build signifies Lowell’s steady emergence as a Global City.

George DeLuca

The Future of Lowell High School AND the City of Lowell – an analysis


Lowell Downtown Crossing Residences connect to businesses on the Arcand Drive side of the canal.

Moving Lowell High School to the Cawley Site: “This proposal … involves the construction of a complete new facility located (2 miles) from the center of the city, where land is ample and few site constraints exist. Such a facility could correct all of the perceived shortfalls of the current facility, including the need to bus students to sports practice.” Jeff Speck, Downtown Lowell Evolution Plan, October 2010

Reasons for moving Lowell High School to the Cawley site:

  1. Building a new high school at the Cawley site allows for a customized and a state-of-the-art approach to design, and, a modern campus for the students with recreational grounds onsite and at nearby parks.
  2. Lowell builds credibility in its pursuit of Global City status.
  3. The property will fuel the City’s economic development strategy.
  4. The High School site is the most valuable piece of real estate in Lowell.
  5. The property would be a tremendous boon for the tax base, perhaps paying off much of the debt service for a new high school.
  6. As Downtown Lowell begins to flourish, property values rise throughout the City.
  7. Larger businesses will not relocate to downtown Lowell because of gridlock in the morning and between 2-4pm in the afternoon.
  8. It’s extremely difficult to educate students while tearing down adjacent buildings and conducting major construction projects during school session.
  9. Designing a renovated high school to the logistics of the existing site and buildings is equivalent to trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. The costs associated with this inefficient process would be astronomical, resulting in “less bang for the buck.”
  10. The associated traffic congestion, loitering, vandalism and theft will continue for years to come unabated. The 8am and 2pm clogs continue disrupting everything else going on in downtown Lowell.

Reasons for renovating the High School

  1. Proximity to UML and MCC
  2. Tradition and history
  3. It’s the desire of the Lowell Plan.

The good news is that this issue brings the City of Lowell to a tipping point.

The future of Lowell High School is the biggest issue facing Lowell since East Chelmsford was developed into a mill town beginning in the 1820s, during the time period before Lowell was incorporated as a City.

Currently, downtown Lowell is trying to be too many things. Unfortunately, the High School’s current physical plant is not only in a period of gross functional and physical obsolescence, it also stands in the way of progress as the City of Lowell continues its quest to move forward in a constantly changing world.

The City of Lowell should take care to not squander this opportunity to assert its potential as a Global City.

Consider the impact:

  1. Move LHS to the Cawley site, and reprogram the current property as the hub of downtown Lowell. I’m using the working title Downtown Crossing in Lowell because the property literally connects Downtown Lowell as it currently exists with:
  • UMass Lowell’s North & East Campuses,
  • the UML Tsongas Center,
  • the future development adjacent to the UML Tsongas Center,
  • Middlesex Community College,
  • LNHP including Boott Cotton Mills Museum & Boarding House Park
  • The Riverwalk along the Merrimack which leads to Lelacheur Baseball Park.
  • Parking Garages at John St. & UML Tsongas Arena

Potential Uses of LHS property:

  1. UML business incubation
  2. UML business startups
  3. Next level for UML Innovations Center development and start-ups, inclusive of the M2D2, Robotics, Nano technology and Plastics Engineering divisions
  4. UML & MCC administrative offices
  5. UML Tsongas Center support
  6. UML Tsongas Center hotel/conference center support
  7. LNHP programs
  8. MCC programs
  9. Arts College (Mass. College for the Arts satellite school)
  10. UML, MCC, and Arts College community resources space
  11. Theaters (both LHS and Freshman Academy)
  12. Wegmans, Trader Joes, or simply an expanded Market Basket
  13. Residences: Market Rate units; for artists, local employees and business owners (existing Kirk Street buildings)

Study potential site amenities like:

  1. Retain the tube walks
  2. Potential for roof top gardens and common space
  3. Overhead connection to parking garage
  4. Facilitation of access to the Riverwalk
  5. Trolley drop off and pickup


  1. By train from Boston (future concept from Concord NH)
  2. By Trolley from Gallagher Terminal
  3. By bicycle
  4. Pedestrians
  5. Destination to the Riverwalk
  6. On-site residents

Who will come to Lowell:

  1. Businesses will vie for space anywhere in Downtown Lowell
  2. Students & faculty
  3. Workers
  4. Residents
  5. Families
  6. More tourists

How will the City benefit:

  1. Expansion of the tax base.
  2. Establishes Lowell as a global city.
  3. Local jobs creation strategy becomes realistic.


  1. A marketing campaign starts once the decision is made to move forward.
  2. Global multi-media – full press with the assistance of partners like UML and MCC.
  3. Lowell becomes a  participant on the world stage drawing interest from every continent.

Lowell can become a credible participant in the global economy, while forging a reputation for true sustainability.

How will the City benefit:

  1. M2D2 companies are projecting growth to $500 million in 5-10 years.
  2. Mr. Power of Farley & White has recommended that we need 500k of space with uses similar to Wannalancit Mills in downtown.
  3. New concept, full to capacity (24/7)
  4. Expansion of the tax base.
  5. Lowell establishes itself as a global city.

Next Steps:

  1. Open discussion with educators, parents and potential partners
  2. Bring Chancellor Meehan and the delegation into the discussion.
  3. Hold community wide consensus building sessions
  4. Pursue a feasibility study of the Cawley site to study traffic and logistics
  5. Invite Jim Cook of the Lowell Plan to a City Council meeting to explain his reasoning for insisting the high school remain downtown.