Haverhill Activists Protest President Trump’s Emergency Wall Order

Despite the snow, a local activist group took to the street Monday afternoon to protest President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration over a southern border wall. Carrying signs with messages such as “No to a Fake Emergency” and “No Emergency, No Wall,” about two dozen members of Greater Haverhill Indivisible rallied at White’s Corner near Market Basket. Catherine Waldron of Haverhill explains why she came out. “I came here because I am so angry that our president is trying to take decisions without going through the process of working with our elected representatives, and our democracy is supposed to work that way,” Waldron says. Waldron says people may disagree about whether a wall should be constructed between the United States and Mexico, but the normal political process still must be followed.

Haverhill Police Investigate Home Shooting Off Lowell Ave.; No Injuries Reported

No one was injured Saturday night when bullets were fired into a single-family home off Lowell Avenue. Haverhill Police confirmed the shooting and continue to investigate. Officers were sent to the 60 Rockland St. home just before 9 p.m. after receiving calls. Police do not believe the shooting was a random act.

Firefighters Respond to Whittier Middle School ‘Steam Boiler Issue;’ Repairs Underway

Haverhill firefighters were called Saturday night to the John Greenleaf Whittier School for what turned out to be a steam leak. Fire Chief William F. Laliberty told WHAV called the matter “a steam boiler issue in the west wing of the school.” Corroding steam pipes were one of the issues raised last month when parent Paige Caswell apprised the School Committee of the building’s deteriorating shape. Haverhill School Superintendent Margaret Marotta said maintenance staff have since stepped in. “It has been repaired…there are significant upgrades needed to the heating system at Whittier and we hope to have those upgrades approved and completed soon,” Marotta told WHAV.  She added, “there is some advance work which we are completing now prior to the repair.”

Last month, the more than 60-year-old Concord Street school was the focus of scrutiny. Caswell called the middle school “a pit,” suffering from a series of problems—mostly related to water issues on the swamp-like site.

Secret Police Report Suggests Concerns About Highway Superintendent

A secret police investigation of Haverhill’s Department of Public Works appears to zero in on undisclosed “allegations” against its highway superintendent. A heavily blacked out—or “redacted”—copy of the 83-page report was turned over to 97.9 WHAV FM Friday afternoon after the radio station largely won its state appeal to obtain the information. The report, written by Police Chief Alan R. DeNaro last Nov. 9, reveals Highway Superintendent Brian J. Zaniboni at least initially refused to cooperate with police. “…Zaniboni contacted me by phone to state that he had a discussion this weekend with the mayor and his attorney.

Attempt to Delay Plastic Shopping Bag Ban Fails; Prohibition Begins This Week

Haverhill City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua. (WHAV News file photograph by Jay Saulnier.)

A last-minute attempt to delay the city’s plastic shopping bag ban failed Tuesday night with City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua literally holding the bag—two of them, in fact. Bevilacqua appealed to his colleagues to delay the ban, noting newspapers will continue to be delivered in plastic bags and the city still requires plastic bags for overflow trash collection. The councilor said the prohibition creates a “hardship” and will drive shoppers over the border to New Hampshire. “With respect to the reusable bag—and I mentioned this when the City Council was considering this a couple of months ago—is that the reusable bag, people tell us, it’s online, you can read it online, have to be washed after every use because of potential of salmonella disease,” he said.

Councilors Agree to Greater Input on Major Spending; Macek Says Schools Must Step Up

Haverhill City Council President John A. Michitson. (WHAV News photograph by Jay Saulnier.)

Haverhill City Council President John A. Michitson last week asked for more resident input on the city’s spending priority list. Councilors agreed to keep large projects, in Michitson’s words, “front and center” with a new list of city needs prepared a month before budget talks begin. The president’s target list includes school roofs; city roads, bridges, water and sewer treatment; handicapped accessibility; and equipment such as fire trucks. “We need to allocate significantly more funding for critical capital improvements,” Michitson said.