Covanta Offers City Shining Star During Health Crisis; Other COVID-19 Developments

Haverhill’s new Mutual Aid Society of Haverhill plans to use the city’s 311 office to launch its service of matching those in need with those who can help. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Covanta’s energy-from-waste facility in Ward Hill has turned on its Christmas star to provide “a symbol of hope for all” during the current coronavirus crisis.

The star has appeared every year between Thanksgiving and Christmas for more than 30 years.  Market Area Manager Mark Van Weelden explains the star was created using one light for each state of the union and all 50 lights are powered by the energy from waste facility.

“I am pleased to see our star shining high above our employees, our community and our Commonwealth during this time,” said Van Weelden.

Facility Manager Bill Zaneski said, “At the request of the local community asking us to re-light the star during this challenging time, the star was turned back on today as a symbol of hope for all.”

Covanta Haverhill continues to operate 24/7 during this crisis and are deemed critical operating units providing electric power to the New England grid and disposal services. He said waste disposal is required as a matter of public health and safety for the Commonwealth and will continue through this crisis.

In other news regarding COVID-19:

The new Mutual Aid Society of Haverhill—whose goal is to match people with needs with those who can help—plans to use the city’s 311 system to launch its service.

Organizer Anthony J. Parolisi said the group—known as MASH for short—had its second conference call yesterday. Born of the current coronavirus situation, participating organizations include Greater Haverhill Indivisible, Haverhill Latino Coalition, Haverhill Education Association, Haverhill Education Coalition, Merrimack Valley Project and Haverhill YMCA. During the call, Parolisi said, the mayor’s office offered the city’s 311 hotline.

“We’re trying to create a single front door,” Parolisi explained. Meanwhile, he said, a “catalog” of services is being assembled and will be posted to a website.

Yesterday’s call also involved Rep. Andy X. Vargas and YMCA Regional Executive Director Tracy Fuller.

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini told Haverhill city councilors Tuesday night that there were eight confirmed COVID-19 cases in Haverhill. He said seven are “resting comfortably at home” and one is hospitalized for underlying reasons. The mayor said the numbers are expected to rise as Holy Family Hospital and Pentucket Medical increase testing.

Holy Family Hospital’s Mobile Screening Center reports it is no longer conducting COVID-19 screening on the weekends. The center is open Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., but officials stress screening is available only with a physician’s order. Results are reported to the ordering doctor’s office and not reported to Holy Family Hospital.

Haverhill’s recycling and compost yard behind the Highway Department garage, 500 Primrose St., is closed until further notice. The city will place one of its new electronic sign boards at the site with information.

The Plaistow, N.H., town clerk has further revised its hours to Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m.-4p.m., and is closed Fridays. It also said, effective today, it is renewing motor vehicle registrations and dog licenses only by mail or online at Those paying by mail, but who cannot locate their notice, should send a note with plate number. Anyone with questions about the amount due may call 603-382-8129.

Congresswoman Lori Trahan will have a second Tele-Town Hall meeting Thursday, March 26, at 4 p.m. Those interested in participating should reserve a spot online at Trahan said she will provide updates on what is being done in Washington and in the Third Congressional District to mitigate the spread of the virus and help those impacted by it. Massachusetts healthcare professionals and a representative from the Small Business Administration will also provide information.

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