Groveland Police Arrest Haverhill Woman for Drunken Driving After She Hits Gas Meters

A 43-year-old Haverhill woman was arrested Monday after Groveland Police say she drove under the influence of alcohol and crashed her SUV into several gas meters and caused a gas leak. Groveland Police responded to a 911 call just before 2:30 p.m. on Feb. 18 for a report that a 2015 Nissan Murano, allegedly driven by Smith, had crashed into an island of exposed National Grid meters on 7 Star Road at Broad Street. Police charged Smith with operating under the influence and National Grid was dispatched to the scene to repair a broken pipe that started the gas leak. Smith was treated on scene for what police said were “non-life threatening” injuries.

Haverhill Public Schools Piloting Letterland Early Literacy Program

Haverhill Public Schools is ready to put a focus on phonics in the city’s quest to get all students reading at grade level by the end of third grade. Following a successful pilot at Hunking School and in several kindergarten classes, the district is considering adopting a multi-sensory curriculum for young readers called Letterland. As Superintendent Margaret Marotta outlined at the Feb. 14 School Committee meeting, Letterland could help Haverhill streamline curriculum at a critical time in a student’s development. According to Sally Fuller, the director of the Springfield-based Reading Success by 4th Grade, children’s vocabulary in kindergarten strongly correlates with their reading scores as a 10th grader.

Demolition Underway at Gerson Furniture Building; Veterans’ Housing Coming in 2020

Haverhill residents passing by Washington Street’s Gerson Furniture building in the coming weeks will begin to see big changes as demolition begins in earnest and construction of a parking garage and 44-units of veterans’ housing takes shape. Headed by Waltham-based Delphi Construction, the project brings to fruition a longstanding commitment by Haverhill’s Veterans Northeast Outreach Center to house local vets and their families. As Delphi project superintendent Mike Mills tells WHAV, the last of three buildings at the intersection of Washington and River Streets is being demolished next week to make way for one, two and three-bedroom properties that will sit on 46,000 square feet of space backed by the nonprofit Coalition for a Better Acre. Mills joins a crew of six day-to-day workers on-site, with additional crews expected to sign on in the coming months. First up after demolition—estimated to take seven weeks—is the creation of the 56-space parking lot.

Red Cross to Honor Haverhill’s Gabriel, Doe at Local Heroes Breakfast

Two of Haverhill’s own are getting recognized by the American Red Cross for their work as Merrimack Valley-area heroes, the Northeast arm of the blood donation and disaster relief organization confirms.

As WHAV brought you exclusively back in December, Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School student Alex Gabriel broke the window of an SUV on fire at the Westgate Plaza Market Basket store to save the owner’s dog. Good Samaritan Gabriel will receive the group’s Youth Hero Award, while former minister and social worker Kendrick Doe is being honored as a Community Hero for regularly donating blood to patients in need. Now in his 80s, Doe donated his 200th pint of blood just before Thanksgiving. Both Gabriel and Doe are among those being honored for their selfless actions during the 16th annual Northeast Massachusetts Community Heroes Breakfast, March 28 at the DoubleTree by Hilton Boston North Shore in Danvers.

Proposed River Street Dispensary CNA Hopes to Employ 20 Haverhill Veterans

Come fall, local businessman Robert DiFazio hopes to put 15-20 Haverhill-area veterans to work—at his veteran-owned and operated marijuana dispensary CNA Stores, which he hopes to open at 558 River St. Carrying a tagline of “a completely natural alternative,” CNA builds on DiFazio’s commitment to putting local veterans to work, he tells WHAV. A Navy veteran himself, DiFazio said nearly three-quarters of his employees at the Ward Hill data services are veterans. “I believe in hiring veterans. They’re great for this opportunity,” DiFazio said at a community outreach meeting last month, where he gave Haverhill residents the first look at his 4,000 square-foot dispensary.

Haverhill Public Meetings: Week of Feb. 18

The public has opportunities to shape policy this week as various Haverhill boards meet. In the interest of transparency in government, WHAV provides this list of upcoming meetings every week. Tuesday, Feb. 19

Haverhill’s Board of Assessors, under the direction of Christine M. Webb, meets from 11 a.m.-noon in room 115 of City Hall, 4 Summer St. The group plans to review abatement applications, among other agenda items.

A technical assistance workshop sponsored by the Community Affairs Advisory Board is held between 5-7 p.m. at City Hall, room 301, for those interested in submitting an RFP for consideration.

Application Period for Methuen Festival of Trees Preservation Grants Is Now Open

The Methuen Festival of Trees seeks applicants for the 2019 Historic Preservation Grant Program, with submissions being accepted through March 15. In an effort to preserve Merrimack Valley-area landmarks, the program provides up to $10,000 for qualifying projects that restore historic features of a building, organizers said. Since 1994, the group has awarded $2 million in preservation funding to 21 cities and towns in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. “The Festival is very proud of the role we play in the preservation of some of our region’s most historic sites. Often, our grant offers small projects hope and serves as a catalyst for additional funding,” Festival President Tom Lussier told WHAV in a statement.

PHOTOS: Veterans’ Secretary Urena Tours Haverhill Vietnam Memorial Site

Haverhill’s evolving Vietnam Memorial continues to win support from the Merrimack Valley and beyond, with Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services Secretary Francisco Urena stopping by Friday morning to tour the site at Mill Brook Park. Ralph Basiliere, who chairs the committee appointed by Mayor James J. Fiorentini to fundraise for and design the new landmark, showed Urena architectural renderings that will expand the memorial originally installed in the city in May 1973 to commemorate 13 Haverhill sons lost in the Vietnam War. During Urena’s visit, the secretary provided several action items for the group that included City Council Vice President Thomas J. Sullivan and Councilors Melinda E. Barrett and Joseph J. Bevilacqua. A well-received suggestion was to use the city landmark as a teachable tool for Haverhill’s younger generations. He also mentioned considering the site as a stop on the Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall.