Students Quiz School Committee Candidates on Safety, Budget During Haverhill High Debate

Members of Haverhill High School’s government classes had their chance to question candidates running for the city’s three open School Committee seats last week in a debate over topics including safety, infrastructure improvements and creative arts funding. Moderators Sean Lanigan and Rachel Walsh from Tom Jordan’s and Shaun Ashworth’s classes quizzed incumbents Sven A. Amirian, Gail M. Sullivan and Scott W. Wood Jr., along with challengers Toni Donais and Thomas Grannemann in front of 85 of their peers Wednesday in the high school library as Superintendent Margaret Marotta and Principal Glenn Burns looked on. The highlight of the discussion was a lively back and forth about the importance of fine arts funding, which was deemed a priority by all candidates. Each person on the ballot also agreed school safety for Haverhill High students must be paramount, especially in the wake of the July 29 incident in which a sophomore allegedly brought a gun to campus. While critical issues were debated, the morning did include some fun by way of a ‘lightning round,’ that asked policymakers where they stood on the all-important “Carters vs.

LePage Opens Up About Family Substance Abuse Struggle: ‘It Can Happen to Anybody’

Four years ago, Haverhill City Councilor Colin F. LePage spoke to 400 eighth graders about making healthy decisions around substance abuse and addiction, and on Friday, LePage returned to check in on those same students—now Haverhill High School seniors—for a check-up. Touted as a “life skills” assembly,” LePage’s hourlong talk—facilitated by HHS’ Jon Mangion and Andy Polanco—included statistics on drug and alcohol abuse as well as teen suicide. Much of the conversation centered around vaping, which LePage, like Gov. Charlie Baker last month, declared a “health emergency.”

When polled by LePage, most of the seniors in attendance readily admitted to drinking coffee but not smoking or vaping. According to the local policymaker, 1,300 people have been hospitalized from a vaping-related illness in recent months. Twenty-nine deaths have been reported.

Mayoral Candidate Trocki Hosting Ozzie’s Kids Toy Donation Drive Wednesday at Maria’s Restaurant

Mayoral candidate and Haverhill Police Officer Dan Trocki hosts a toy donation drive for Ozzie’s Kids on Wednesday night Oct. 23 from 6-8 p.m. at Maria’s Restaurant, 81 Essex St., Haverhill. Founded by late Haverhill Police Det. Osmond “Ozzie” Hardy and his wife Gayle, the charitable organization supplies toys, clothing and school supplies to city children in need throughout the year. In the wake of Ozzie and Gayle’s spring 2019 deaths, Ozzie’s Kids lives on through the generosity of Haverhill residents and the leadership of the couple’s daughter Khristina Hardy.

Haverhill Public Meetings: Week of Oct. 21

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. Monday, Oct. 21
Superintendent Margaret Marotta hosts the first of two school safety information nights at Hunking School, 480 South Main St., Bradford, from 5-6:30 p.m. to discuss the district’s adoption of the nationally-recognized ALICE (Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate) program. The forum will include a question and answer session and timeline for families ahead of the first student drill in November.

Trick or Treat in Haverhill Is This Saturday, Oct. 26

Get ready, boys and ghouls: Haverhill’s annual Halloween candy grab takes place this Saturday, Oct. 26 from 5-7 p.m.

Elsewhere across the region, Methuen’s trick or treat happens on Thursday, Oct. 31 from 4:30-6 p.m. In Plaistow, N.H., children can head out around town Oct. 31 from 5:30-7:30 p.m.

Former Haverhill Schools’ Business Manager O’Connell Dies at 70

Former Haverhill Public Schools’ Business Manager Brian O’Connell has passed away, city officials confirmed Friday. He was 70. A resident of Worcester, O’Connell had not been heard from in several days and friends requested a well-being check at his home, where he was found. In the middle of serving his 18th term on Worcester’s School Committee, O’Connell was not present at that city’s committee meeting. He had been seeking re-election to a 19th term this fall.

Methuen Police Investigating Shots Fired at Tenney Street Homework Center

Methuen Police are investigating a case of shots fired at the Safe Haven Computer and Homework Center on Tenney Street Thursday afternoon, Chief Joseph E. Solomon said. Witnesses reported shots fired from a dark-colored car that fled the area around 5:10 p.m.

No injuries resulted from the incident near the center, operated by the nonprofit Methuen Arlington Neighborhood Inc.

Trocki, Fiorentini Mayoral Debate: Agree on Education as Haverhill Focus, Spar Over Police Staffing

Haverhill’s mayoral challengers came together face-to-face for the first time Thursday night to discuss some of the city’s biggest issues—including education, police staffing and taxes—during a debate at Merrimack Street’s Harbor Place. While the Hale Hospital debt, cannabis and ward councilors were among the topics discussed, it was education and public safety that took center stage. Mayor James J. Fiorentini, Haverhill’s longest-serving mayor, touted the heavy hand he had in renovating Haverhill High School and rebuilding Hunking Middle School, while Dan Trocki pledged to spend the city’s $12 million in reserves on education “without a doubt.”

Less than a week after Haverhill Police Patrolman Trocki personally responded to a call in which a Lawrence man was allegedly shot in the face by a city teen, he implored voters to let him speak from his experience—on the streets. “If you want safer streets and better education, I think you’ll want to vote for me on Nov. 5.