EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

March 7, 2014

Free tax preparation help offered for low-income residents

The Eagle-Tribune

---- — United Way of Massachusetts Bay & Merrimack Valley, in partnership with Bank of America, is once again providing low-income residents and families with opportunities for free tax prep assistance and help maximizing the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) through free services at local sites. The Bank of America Charitable Foundation has invested $125,000 in United Way to promote outreach to individuals and families eligible to receive the EITC and recruit tax prep volunteers. Last year, this effort resulted in more than $6.4 million dollars in tax refunds for over 4,200 families — money that has supported local communities while helping our neediest families, which often goes unclaimed.

“The volunteer tax assistance (VITA) program provides tax prep services to those who might not otherwise be able to afford it, putting money in their pockets and providing a boost to the local economy,” said Bob Gallery, Massachusetts president, Bank of America. “In addition to our financial support of United Way, I know our volunteers relish the chance to share their financial know-how with their neighbors.”

In an effort to reach even more families this year, United Way has also expanded its partnership with the Massachusetts Association of Community Action Programs (MASSCAP), granting $15,000 to fund four of their VITA sites in Lowell, Haverhill, Chelsea and Malden. In addition to the VITA sites, United Way continues to provide funding and volunteers for tax prep at partner agencies in Boston, Chelsea, Lawrence, Quincy, and Waltham.

Locally, Free tax prep locations include: Greater Lawrence Community Action, 350 Essex St., Lawrence; Lawrence CommunityWorks, 168 Newbury St., Lawrence; Community Action, Inc., 145 Essex St. Haverhill and Community Teamwork Inc., 17 Kirk St., Lowell.

Candidates forum set for Monday

ANDOVER — The two candidates for an open seat on the Board of Selectmen — the only contested race in town this year — will go before the public for a League of Women Voters forum on Monday night at 7 in the upstairs hall at Memorial Hall Library, 2 North Main St.

Jodi Oberto, 46, of 11 Hartford Circle, a sales rep for a manufacturing firm, is running against Mary O’Donoghue, 57, of 69 Salem St., a local Realtor.

While it is the only race on the ballot for the March 25 election, other candidates for public office will also be on hand at the forum, which is sponsored by the Andover/North Andover League of Women Voters.

Email questions for the candidates to league@andovers.org.

NECC College for Older Learners showcases seminars

Adults 50 and older who are interested in learning for the fun of learning are invited to attend Northern Essex Community College’s College of Older Learners (CoOL) seminar showcase on Tuesday, March 11, from 2 to 4 p.m. in room 103B in the David Hartleb Technology Center on the Haverhill campus, 100 Elliott St.

At the Showcase, attendees will learn more about the seminars and meet the seminar leaders. This event is free and open to the public.

Ranging from science to film, the seminar topics for the spring include Fun Films, Touring Local Parks and Trails, Middlemarch: A Glimpse of Glory, In Search of Common Ground (comparative religion), Aging as a Spiritual Practice, Robert Frost in Lawrence and in Derry, NH, From 42nd Street to Avenue Q, The Captivating Culture of China, Music Maestro Please, Personal Essay Writing, A Journey Through Ethnic Music and Dance, Science of the Times, The Golden Age of Television, The Hispanic Caribbean: Between Culture Dictators, and Colonies and Revolutions.

All of the seminars meet on a designated week-day for six consecutive weeks, unless otherwise noted, at the Haverhill campus, NECC Riverwalk, of off-campus. The cost is $30 for each seminar.

Guests without parking stickers must park in the lot furthest from the entrance; park in the Tech Center lot on the other side of the road.

For additional information visit the CoOLwebsite at www.necc.mass.edu/cool or, contact CoOL through the email address coolnecc@gmail.com or call 978-556-3110 and leave a voice-mail message. You can also contact Ted Coughlin at tedcoughlin@verizon.net. If you have an idea for a future CoOL seminar visit www.necc.mass.edu/community-engagement/cool/contact.