Haverhill LED Street Light Revamp Underway; Residents Still Say ‘Not Bright Enough’

Four hundred of an approximate 4,000 street lights across the City of Haverhill have been upgraded as part of a transition from “antiquated” fixtures to modern, LED technology—but resident opinions on the improvement are still mixed, say officials. On the heels WHAV’s report that three lights on Main and Water Streets were either out or “dim” at the time of pedestrian Charles Burrill’s early morning hit-and-run death Jan. 25, Mayor James J. Fiorentini said that Arden Engineering is in the middle of changing out bulbs in its first week on the job. The project is expected to wrap up over the next three months. Department of Public Works Director Michael Stankovich said residents aren’t yet sold on the overhaul, projected to save the city more than $350,000 on maintenance costs annually.

HHS, Salvation Army Team Up for ‘Backpack 68’ Food Pantry Program

Students and staff at Haverhill High are making certain that no one in their school community goes hungry in the 68 hours between Friday’s lunch and Monday’s breakfast. In partnership with the Haverhill branch of the Salvation Army, the Monument Street school launched their own version of the “Backpack 68” program at the urging of Principal Glenn Burns and Grade 12 Assistant Principal Anthony Curet, who both had experience with the food pantry initiative in their previous districts of Salem and Methuen. Through the program, students are able to submit a shopping list for groceries to fill a backpack—donated by Adidas—that will keep them fed over the weekend. Since backpacks are packed by staff members, students do not miss out on classroom instruction. Entering its third week, the program is in need of donations from community members, Salvation Army Major Lynnann Rivers tells WHAV.

Superior Court Rejects Neighbors’ Request to Delay Crystal Lake Booster Construction

An Essex County Superior Court judge has rejected the request of two Haverhill neighbors to delay construction of a water booster station near the Crystal Lake golf course, new court documents show. Neighbors Leota Sarette and Lisa Palmaisano recently petitioned Associate Superior Court Justice Timothy Q. Feeley to order Haverhill’s building inspector to “not issue any new building permits for any further construction of the subdivision.” Sarette, who lives across the street, and Palmaissano, a direct abutter on Back Nine Drive, filed suit nine years after the subdivision was initially approved by the city in 2009. As WHAV previously reported, the neighbors are concerned over a water booster pumping station being built in the Crystal Springs development near the golf course purchased by Kevin Osgood after former owner Michael Maroney declared bankruptcy. Maroney has been at odds with the city in a dispute over a partially constructed development on the 13-acre subdivision where he planned to build 50 homes. Twenty-nine properties were built and sold, but construction was held up when the City of Haverhill refused to grant him additional permits unless he constructed the booster station.

Silver Hill Third Graders to Compete in Wonder Workshop Robotics League Finals

Silver Hill School is STEM crazy—and it shows! Six third graders from the elementary school in Haverhill’s Mount Washington neighborhood are getting ready to compete in the final round of the Wonder Workshop Robotics League Competition, their advisor Jennifer Donais tells WHAV. Using creativity and critical thinking skills to complete coding and robotics tasks, the students completed a series of missions since the October kickoff to make the final round of the virtual competition. The two teams of three students each-- Aleigh Gonzalez, Sawyer Kardos and Collin Garrison make up the “Robot Extinguishers” while TJ DiStefano, Kayden Benton and Eva Barbrick are the “Crazy Coders”—are now in the running to win a robot and an Acer computer. “I am so proud of the students,” Donais told WHAV.

Veterans’ Secretary Urena Visiting Haverhill Friday in Support of Mill Brook Park

Haverhill’s Vietnam Veterans’ Memorial Ad Hoc Commission is gearing up for a big visitor to Mill Brook Park this Friday: State secretary Francisco A. Urena. The secretary of the Department of Veterans' Services, Urena is in town to meet with the commission and evaluate the city’s plans to update Mill Brook Park, the new home of Haverhill’s Vietnam War Memorial. According to Commission Chair Ralph Basiliere—who guest hosted this week’s WHAV Open Mic Show with Bill Macek—Urena will stop by Friday morning in an effort to drum up state support for the project, currently in the fundraising phase. “It’s in a really good spot. You’ve got a lot of traffic and it’s at the entrance to Plug Pond.

Mount Washington Alliance Plans Feb. 23 Youth Basketball Tournament at Consentino

Haverhill youth, get ready to hoop it up! Last summer, the Mount Washington Alliance held a pitch contest asking neighbors to create community-based activities, and later this month, first-place winners Adrian Delgado and Tito Rivera will make their program a reality when they host the For Youth By Youth Basketball Tournament at Consentino. Twenty-four basketball players aged 12-18 are taking part in the games, played at 685 Washington St., on Saturday, Feb. 23 from 5-7 p.m. Spots are still available and there is no entry fee to take part. All players receive a free T-shirt.

PHOTOS: City Honors Two Haverhill Families During ‘Cops for Kids With Cancer’ Event

Members of the Haverhill Police Department rolled out the red carpet for two city children Monday in a gesture of support for the boys as they fight cancer, donating time and funding to families through Cops for Kids With Cancer. Eleven-year-old Bryan Estrella and seven-year-old Evan Portorreal and their families were provided a police escort to the Bailey Boulevard station, where they received donations for their medical bills during a reception with Chief Alan R. DeNaro and his command staff. “The Haverhill Police Department was honored to provide assistance to an incredible organization,” the agency said in a statement after Monday morning’s event. The Canton-based charity has donated more than $2.5 million to families in New England since it began in 2002. CLICK BELOW TO SEE PHOTOS FROM THE EVENT.