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State Education Aid for Haverhill Keeps Pace with Inflation; Schools Address HVAC for COVID-19 Era

Despite the financial impact of the coronavirus on the state budget, Haverhill School Committee members last Thursday learned the city will receive the same amount of education aid last year plus an amount for inflation. Assistant school Superintendent Michael Pfifferling told the committee Haverhill did pretty well with money for public schools, known as Chapter 70 local aid. “The Haverhill numbers went from $58.3 million in FY 20, which we just finished, to $63.3 million in FY 21, a net increase of $4.99 million.”

Pfifferling also addressed the quality of the air in school buildings—a subject of concern raised by teachers, parents and School Committee members because of COVID-19. “In late June, the School Committee reallocated $157,000 to conduct HVAC work at six of our most needy buildings in the city. That work has commenced.

Vargas-Sponsored Breakfast After the Bell Passed Legislature; Before Gov. Baker

A bill, requiring all public schools with 60 percent or more low-income student to offer breakfast after the school day starts, has passed both houses of the legislature and is before Gov. Charlie Baker. Haverhill Rep. Andy X. Vargas championed the bill, which provides meals at students’ desks. “Pre-pandemic, this bill made a lot of sense,” Vargas said. “In many ways, Breakfast After the Bell makes even more sense now. There are more families and students in need.

House Passes Campbell Bill Calling for Public Notifications of Sewage Discharges

A bill approved unanimously by the state House of Representatives requires the public be notified within two hours of untreated sewage entering a waterway. Sponsored by Rep. Linda Dean Campbell of Methuen, the bill requires treatment plans to issue public advisories within two hours of an overflow and every eight hours thereafter until the discharge has ended. A final advisory would be required within two hours of the conclusion of the discharge. “State government has a responsibility to ensure residents are notified in a timely manner of sewage discharges so that they can avoid serious health repercussions,” said Campbell. “This legislation is the first step, and an important one, in the process of eliminating (combined sewer overflows) CSOs.

Haverhill Office of Registry of Motor Vehicles Begins Registration and Title Drop-Off Service Aug. 10

The Haverhill office of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles begins drop-off registration and title services next Monday, Aug. 10

Drop off services are limited to vehicle-based registration and title services for both commercial and individual customer transactions, officials said. “The RMV is excited to pilot and offer this new drop-off service to all of its customers for certain vehicle-based transactions,” said Registrar Jamey Tesler. “Customers in need of one of these vehicle-based transactions can drop-off their paperwork and return to pick it up in just a few business days. This alternative service channel will help meet increased RMV service demands during a time when services are limited by appointment-only due to the need to enforce social-distancing to keep our customers and employees safe.”

Drop-off hours will be between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m., at 229c Lincoln Ave., Haverhill.  Registration renewals will still be conducted exclusively online or by mail for individuals.

Plaistow, N.H., Closes Pollard Avenue Three Weeks for Culvert Replacement

Pollard Avenue in Plaistow, N.H., and Congressional Avenue at the Pollard Avenue end are closed for the next three weeks in order to replace a failing culvert. Officials advise motorists to find alternate routes when traveling in this area. The closures are related to the replacement of the culvert that allows Seaver Brook to run under Pollard Road at the intersection. Those with questions or concerns, may call 603-382-5200, ext. 202, or email [email protected]

Community Action’s First Time Homebuyer Workshop Goes Online Tuesday

Community Action’s next First Time Homebuyer Workshop begins tomorrow and runs online three nights, 6–9 p.m.

Participants learn all of the steps in buying their first homes. The workshop is offered remotely via video conference and is CHAPA- and MassHousing-certified. Cost is $60 per household. For more information contact Susan Collins by email at [email protected] or call 978-317-8998 or Richard Lynch, [email protected] or 978 373-1971.

I-495 Construction Update: Westgate Exit in Haverhill Closes Overnight Monday

New I-495 bridge construction in Haverhill calls for closing exit 49—Westgate—overnight Monday. The ramp closure allows for roadway widening, placing a concrete deck on additional lanes of the new northbound bridge over the Merrimack River, conducting barrier work and driving concrete trucks to the pump and wash out areas. Traffic will be detoured at exit 50—Route 97. As part of this work, lanes will be closed in each direction daytimes. A single southbound left lane closes between exits 49 and 50 Tuesday, Aug.

Haverhill School Committee—Like Public—Finds No School Reopening Plan Addresses All Concerns

The Haverhill School Committee heard three plans last night for returning to school in the fall. Those plans include an option for a full return to classrooms; a hybrid plan, where students would physically attend class two days per week and learning remotely the other three days; and the option of keeping the school buildings closed and continuing with online learning only. School Superintendent Margaret Marotta outlined those plans, saying that whichever way the city chooses to go, she feels confident that they will make it work. “There’s a lot going on. There’s no right answer here.