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.

Damon Launches WHAV Morning Show, ‘Win for Breakfast’

Win Damon, the dean of Merrimack Valley radio, now delivers a live morning show over Haverhill-based 97.9 WHAV FM. The live 6-9 a.m., weekday, program provides listeners with everything they need to know to start their days—local news, weather, sports, traffic, prizes and more. Getting up early and informing Merrimack Valley listeners is nothing new for Damon. He’s been doing it for nearly 30 years. Damon, of Newburyport, and his father Henry bought Newburyport’s WNBP in 1989.

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.

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.

Haverhill Woman, 52, Dies in I-93 Medford Crash; Apparently Ejected From SUV

A 52-year-old Haverhill woman was killed early Saturday night when the car she was driving crashed on I-93 in Medford. Massachusetts State Police report Florence Bisson died around 7:30 p.m., when she was ejected from her 2005 GMC Envoy after the single-car crash on I-93 southbound between exits 33 and 32. Trooper Joseph Flynn the State Police–Medford Barracks said Bisson lost control of the mid-sized SUV and crashed. All southbound lanes were closed. Traffic was diverted off exit 33 while members of the State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section investigated.

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.