Haverhill Commits to ‘Bridging the Digital Divide’ with Fiber Optic Internet Study Investment

The Haverhill City Council has taken the first step toward bridging the digital divide. Councilors Tuesday voted to allocate $20,000 to investigate the feasibility of bringing high quality internet access to all corners of the city. Citing a recent report from Tufts University, Councilor John A. Michitson told the committee that disparities in digital access have been laid bare as a result of COVID-19, particularly in the realm of education. That report stated 160,000 residents of Essex County lack access to reliable, high speed internet service and, not surprisingly, that a large number of those residents are economically disadvantaged. He offered this idea as a potential first step in closing that gap.

Podcast: Former Haverhill Mayor Rurak Publishes ‘The Rosary: A Tract for Catholic Misfits’

Rurak recently published “The Rosary: A Tract for Catholic Misfits.”

Appearing recently on WHAV’s morning program, the former mayor talked about driving his father—the late state Sen. James. P. “Jake” Rurak—to medical appointments in Boston. During the ride, his father, who was being treated for a brain tumor, would recite the Rosary to himself. As his condition worsened, the two of them would recite the Rosary together until his father could no longer speak because of the tumor. “But, what happened in the process was as we prayed the Rosary, we’d sometimes stop and talk about our lives together—things we did wrong toward each other.

Haverhill, Methuen and North Andover Share in State Recycling Dividends

Haverhill, Methuen and North Andover are among area towns sharing in $3.2 million in state recycling, composting and waste reduction grants. Under the state’s Sustainable Materials Recovery Program, 227 communities qualified for the Recycling Dividends Program and will receive payments ranging from $2,450 to $97,500. Haverhill was awarded $49,000, while Methuen received $21,000 and North Andover $11,700. “Some of the most important environmental protection work happens every day in communities throughout Massachusetts through local recycling and solid waste programs,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “With this assistance, we are ensuring that local officials, residents and small business owners can continue protecting the Commonwealth’s neighborhoods and natural resources.”

Communities that earn dividend payments must reinvest the money in their recycling programs for things such as new recycling bins or carts, public education and outreach campaigns, collection of hard-to-recycle items and the establishment of recycling programs in schools, municipal buildings and other public spaces.

State Fire Marshal Reminds Residents to Check Smoke Alarms as Clocks Change

State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey reminds residents this weekend’s time change is a good time to check smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and replace batteries. Ostroskey says, “Most fatal fires occur at night when you are sleeping. Working smoke alarms give us the extra time to get out of a burning house. This weekend, as you change your clocks, check your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.”

The State Fire Code requires replacing expired battery-operated smoke alarms in older one- and two-family homes with photoelectric ones that have 10-year, sealed, non-replaceable, non-rechargeable batteries and a hush feature. Ostroskey says, “Fire officials hope that if we make smoke alarms easier for people to maintain, they will take care of them.

Essex County Ghost Project, Hilldale Cemetery Conclude Halloween with Paranormal Tour

The Essex County Ghost Project and the Hilldale Cemetery Association plan to wrap up Halloween weekend with a paranormal tour Sunday. The tour begins Sunday, Nov. 1, at 6 p.m., with gates opening at 5:30 p.m., at 337-351 Hilldale Ave., Haverhill. Admission is $15 and proceeds support the cemetery’s restoration fund. Organizers suggest attendees wear proper clothing and footwear.

Federal Prosecutors Say 25-Year-Old Methuen Man Robbed Four Area Banks at Gunpoint

A 25-year-old Methuen man was arrested and charged Wednesday in connection with robbing four banks in Middlesex County in August and September. According to U.S. Attorney Andrew E. Lelling’s office in Boston, Caio Costa was charged with armed bank robbery and brandishing a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence. He was initially arrested on state charges on Sept. 26, following the robbery of a Salem Five Bank branch in Tewksbury. Costa was ordered held following an initial appearance in federal court in Boston yesterday.

Abandoned Gas Station Property on Haverhill Waterfront to Become Nine Condominiums

A long-abandoned gas station will give rise to a nine-unit condominium complex overlooking the Merrimack River in downtown Haverhill. The Haverhill City Council granted a special permit Tuesday to developer Larvanco to build the First Landing Condo Project on the former Skelley Motors’ half-acre site at 229 Water Street. Lawyer Michael J. Migliori, described the plan. “The units will consist of eight two-bedroom units and one one-bedroom unit, all at being market rate. I believe it is a project that will stimulate other projects, taking advantage of the fact that Haverhill is fortunate to have such an asset as the Merrimack River running through the heart of the city and we believe that this proposed condominium building will be seen as a vibrant entrance to downtown Haverhill,” he told councilors.

Cellar Walls Collapse, Wells Go Dry as Nature’s Might Rocked Valley Almost 300 Years Ago Today

Almost 300 years ago today—give or take a few days for calendar adjustments over the centuries—Haverhill suffered one of its most calamitous natural spectacles. By most accounts, the summer of 1727 had been unpleasant in the Merrimack Valley. It had been excessively hot, punctuated by heavy rainstorms with strong winds, frequently accompanied by thunder and lightning. As summer turned to autumn, it was assumed things would cool down to more bearable levels. Instead, on Sept.