31 Oct

Young treaters take to the streets in the Twin Cities

By Elizabeth Dobbins

Reprinted from the Sentinel and Enterprise

edobbins @sentinelandenterprise.com

The streets of downtown Fitchburg and Leominster were each filled with monsters and superheroes during the cities’ annual Halloween events on Saturday. “This is our downtown, and we want people to come down and really enjoy it,” said Tricia Pistone, project director of ReImagine North of Main, of the Fitchburg event. “Not just today but allyear long.” Children, parents and dogs wore costumes to trick or treat at local businessesin the downtowns

of both cities. For some, like Fran Henderson, manager of Coldwell Banker in Leominster, passing out treats to children is a yearly tradition.

“It’s fun. We do it every year,” she said. “I thinkit’s a great way to give back to the community.”

For others, including Fitchburg resident John Chevrette, venturing into the downtown of his city is a rarity.

“I just learned we have two Chinese businesses right next to each other, so I get to learn about the businesses as well,” he said.

“Yeah, there’s a lot of different things I didn’t know,” added his wife, Tanya Chevrette. “I didn’t knowthere was a tattoo parlor.”

The Chevrettes came with their three children, 12-year-old Max, 2-yearold Wednesday, and Frankie, who was dressed as Supergirl and celebrating her fourth birthday. Her favorite part of the day: “getting lollipops.”

Audrey Chow was standing outside her business, Curious Escape Rooms, which opened this summer in Fitchburg.

“(Escape rooms are) more of an adult thing but these kids were coming with parents and a few people have already askedfor our cards,” she said.

Halfway through the Fitchburg event, about 1,200 people had stopped by Main Street to trick or treat, get balloon animals and participate in Halloween activities.

The event was hosted by New Vue Communities, the city of Fitchburg, ReImagine North of Main and Fitchburg Pride.

In Leominster, children were also trick-ortreating with parents at downtown businesses following the annual Halloween parade.

The event brought Fitchburg residents Nick and Lori DiPrima and their two children todowntown Leominster.

“We come to a lot of the festivals,” Lori DiPrimasaid. “We like Halloween. We like all the holidays, especially the autumn,” Nick DiPrima said. “Autumn in New England is the best time of year.”

Donna LaPointe, branch service specialist, was passing out candy in front of Enterprise Bank in downtown Leominster. She said the afternoon was a family-friendly event.

“It’s gone wonderfully,” she said. “It was nice to see families getting together.”

Follow Elizabeth Dobbins on Twitter and Tout@DobbinsSentinel.


27 May

Small-business lessons from four who know Owners share advice at NewVue annual meeting

Reprinted from the Sentinel and Enterprise

By Anna Burgess, aburgess@sentinelandenterprise.com
UPDATED: 05/26/2016

FITCHBURG — At the NewVue Communities 36th annual meeting on Wednesday, NewVue Executive Director Marc Dohan emphasized the importance of economic success to community success.

Their organization was founded, he said, in response to the closing of many factories in the area.

“Economic development is in our blood,” Dohan said.

NewVue Communities also focuses on housing improvements, health and wellness of local residents, and community involvement, but this year’s annual meeting centered around small businesses.

NewVue accomplishments in the past year include counseling 109 businesses, and assisting 20 businesses to secure $2.1 million in loans.

Owners of four of these businesses — Fitchburg consignment store The Man Cave, Fitchburg and Leominster barber Luxury Cuts, Red Apple Farm in Phillipston, and Fitchburg restaurant Beemers Pub — spoke on a panel at the meeting.

They shared lessons from their experience as business owners. Here are their top three tips:

1. Do your homework before you open.

“You really have to get educated as much as you can,” said The Man Cave owner Marta Albizu.

Beemers owner Pete Cote said to be aware of business regulations ahead of opening.

“I don’t care what business you’re in, the government regulations are going to kill you if you don’t do your homework,” he said.

“And make sure you have a business plan, make sure you have a bank behind you, make sure you have enough money to open.”

Luxury Cuts owner Carlos Rosado said creating a business plan was important for “exposing the challenges” of the business, to better prepare for these challenges.

Albizu agreed, saying having a plan made her “more confident” when opening.

2. Get creative when tackling challenges.

Al Rose, the owner of Red Apple Farm, deals with unpredictable factors like the weather in operating his business. He can’t control the weather, so he has instead tried to diversify the business. This means diversifying location, like selling regularly at a market in Boston, and diversifying product, like making cider doughnuts and other year-round foods.

Albizu said a challenge she has faced in the past year is not generating enough revenue to be able to pay an employee besides herself.

Her creative solution, now in progress, is to work with Fitchburg State University students looking for business internship experience.

3. Use resources in the area.

All four business owners said working with NewVue Small Business Director Ray Belanger was a huge help.

Albizu said he helped her negotiate rent with the landlord, submit a loan application, and do other pre-opening work.

Rose said making a business plan with Belanger gave him “concrete goals and a concrete direction.”

Cote agreed.

Rosado also said he found North Central Chamber of Commerce a very helpful resource. He attended several of their workshops when he was first opening Luxury Cuts, and said he learned a lot about long-term financial planning for a business.

Rosado, who Dohan said was one of the first NewVue business clients, had one extra piece of advice for would-be business owners: “Pick something you love. If you don’t love it, you’ll quit when things get hard, and that shouldn’t be an option.”

Follow Anna Burgess on Twitter and Tout @AnnaBurgess18.


18 May

NewVue Communities Annual Meeting

NewVue Communities
36th Annual Meeting
Celebrating Small Business in No. Central Mass.
May 25th
5:30 pm – 7:00 pm
Where: Beemers Pub & Grill
310 Main Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420
The location of the meeting has been changed to:
NewVue Communities
470 Main Street, Fitchburg, Mass. 
*Child Care will be provided*
Hear from a panel of the Small Businesses we have work with 
Lisa Dutton-Swain



13 May

Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home

The City of Fitchburg is a partnering with NewVue Communities, Montachusett Opportunity Council, Montachusett Public Health Network, and the participating communities of Gardner, Clinton, and Athol to form The Montachusett Regional Lead Paint Hazard Control Program. This Grant will provide funding to low and moderate income owner-occupants and investors who rent to low income tenants in these four communities to remove Lead Paint Hazards from their homes. Applications are now being accepted for the program.


Press Inquiries: Dorothy Preston
Program Manager, City of Fitchburg
166 Boulder Drive, Fitchburg, MA 01420
Dpreston@fitchburgma.gov (978-829-1859)


Applicant Contact: Shannon Erb
Intake Specialist, NewVue Communities
470 Main Street, Fitchburg, MA 01420
serb@nvcomm.org (978-400-0170)


Lead is a highly toxic metal that may cause a range of health problems. Those most likely at risk are children 6 years and younger, pregnant women and unborn child, and people living in houses that are being renovated.

When lead is absorbed into the body, it can cause damage to the brain and other vital organs, like the kidneys, nerves and blood. Lead may also cause behavioral problems, learning disabilities, seizures, and in extreme cases, death. Some symptoms of lead poisoning may include headaches, stomachaches, nausea, tiredness and irritability, but often, children who are lead poisoned may show no symptoms at all.

Lead dust and lead paint in old homes can poison children. When old paint peels and cracks, it makes lead dust which can come from opening and closing old windows. There are risks both inside and outside the home. Deteriorated lead-paint mixes with household dust and soil and becomes tracked in. Children may become lead poisoned by:

  • Putting their hands or other lead-contaminated objects into their mouths.
  • Eating paint chips found in homes with peeling or flaking lead-based paint.
  • Playing in lead-contaminated soil.

The Lead Law protects families with children 6 years old and under who live in a home built before 1978. If there is lead paint in the home, the owner must use licensed professionals to make it safe.

The Montachusett Regional Lead Paint Hazard Control Program has published a brochure on Lead Paint Hazards that can be distributed freely in your community. The brochure can be downloaded as a PDF file from: https://newvuecommunities.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Lead-Paint_HUD-Brochure_NEW.pdf.

Lead Poisoning is a serious societal issue and one that all of us need to address. These are tough times. Help make them easier for a child at risk.

4 Dec

NewVue: New name, new vision

Twin Cities CDC marks 35th birthday with change to its moniker and mission

Sentinel & Enterprise Article 11/11/2015

Sentinel & Enterprise
By Anna Burgess

LEOMINSTER — Twin Cities Community Development Corporation is 35 years old — and won’t get any older. Instead, it will move forward as NewVue Communities, a regional community-development organization. More

27 Oct

Twin Cities Accomplishment in Leominster, MA

Leominster factory-turned-affordable-apartments renamed Water Mill New name, new beginning

Sentinel & Enterprise Article 6/5/2012

By Jack Minch
@JackMinch on Twitter

LEOMINSTER — The former Whitney & Co. factory at the corner of Water and Whitney streets that is being renovated into 40 affordable-housing apartments was Dal renamed the Water Mill Apartments on Monday to coincide with NeighborWorks Week. More