Focus on Heroes as 55th Annual VFW Parade Marches Sunday

“Santa Celebrates Haverhill’s Heroes” Sunday when the 55th Annual VFW Santa Parade moves through Bradford and downtown Haverhill. Veterans, police, firefighters and other emergency responders take center stage Sunday, between 1 and 4 p.m. They include representatives of various veterans’ organizations, Navy, Marines, Haverhill and Plaistow, N.H., police departments and Essex County Sheriff’s Department. The annual parade kicks off with motor power, featuring fire engines from across the Merrimack Valley and southern New Hampshire, Trinity Ambulance and other emergency vehicles, American Red Cross Vehicle and antique and specialty cars. Plenty of schools are represented, including Haverhill High, Tilton, Methuen High, Golden Hill, Greenleaf Academy, Beverly High, Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School, Londonderry High, Consentino, Hunking, Salem High, Nettle, and Reading High. In all, there are five divisions of dignitaries, floats, bands and cheerleaders.

Santa Claus Comes to Methuen for Saturday Parade and Back for Dec. 7 Tree Lighting

Santa Claus will be out and about this weekend throughout the Merrimack Valley—likely checking lists of who’s been naughty or nice. St. Nick participates in Methuen’s Santa Parade Saturday, beginning at 1 p.m. The route begins on Pelham Street at the Park and Ride. It continues left onto Lowell Street, right onto Hampshire Street, cross over Broadway to Charles Street, then Pleasant Street, right onto Pleasant View and ending at the Nicholson Stadium. Pelham Street from Barker to Heavenly Donuts will be closed by 12:15 p.m.

Santa returns to Methuen for the annual Christmas tree lighting Saturday, Dec.

Community Action Seeks Mount Washington, Amesbury Low-Income Reps

Community Action of Haverhill is seeking two candidates to serve on its board of directors as community representatives for low-income persons living in Amesbury and Haverhill’s Mount Washington Neighborhood. Candidates must live in Amesbury or Haverhill’s Mount Washington Neighborhood, but they do not have to be low-income to be a community representative. The board meets in Haverhill on the last Wednesday of each month to discuss policy issues and to participate in the planning for the agency. Those interested are asked to call 978-373-1971, ext. 227, to request a Candidate Registration form.

Baker Weighs Flavored Tobacco Ban, $1.5 Billion Ed Overhaul and Distracted Driving Bill

A ban on flavored tobacco and tax on e-cigarettes, a $1.5 billion public education funding overhaul and a new attempt to crack down on distracted driving are all on Gov. Charlie Baker’s desk as lawmakers wrapped up their formal business of the year yesterday. His immediate response to all three proposals: no major objections but he wants to read the bills. Baker has supported parts of each bill or filed his own similar versions, but it remains unclear whether the governor will sign any of the legislation sent to him, return something with a proposed amendment or veto a proposal. In separate public comments Thursday, Baker declined to outline his plans explicitly. The House and Senate reached a deal after 12 a.m., Thursday on a bill that would prohibit sales of all flavored tobacco and impose a 75 percent excise tax on vaping products.

Haverhill Lions Club Hosts Breakfast with Santa Saturday, Dec. 7

No elbows on the table—at least not in front of Santa Claus. The Haverhill Lions Club is again hosting Breakfast with Santa Saturday, Dec. 7. Santa visits between 8:30 and 11:30 a.m. at Maria’s Family Restaurant, 81-83 Essex St., in downtown Haverhill. Tickets are $5 per person, include entry and breakfast and may be purchased at the door or online at haverhilllionsclub.org/.

Today’s Obituaries—Nov. 21: Minichiello, Mooney, Tilden

Dr. Philip “Phil” Minichiello, of Bedford, N.H., formerly of Haverhill, and Newton Junction, N.H., died Tuesday, Nov. 19, at the Bedford Hills Center following a long illness. A graduate of Boston College and Georgetown University School of Dentistry, he earned the status of Fellow from the Academy of General Dentistry and was a lifelong member of the Merrimack Valley Dental Society, the Massachusetts Dental Society and the American Dental Society. He also served two years in the Army Dental Corp. When not practicing dentistry, he was involved in many other activities serving as King Lion for the Haverhill Lions Club, a director on the board of the Haverhill Historical Society and the Haverhill Chamber of Commerce and president of the Wilders Grove Camp Owners Association.

Methuen Man Receives Nine-Year Federal Prison Sentence in Fentanyl Case

Two people—one from Methuen—were sentenced to 9 and 11 years respectively in federal prison for what the U.S. attorney calls a “large-scale fentanyl trafficking conspiracy.”

New Hampshire U.S. Attorney Scott W. Murray said, 30-year-old Wagner Pimentel, of Methuen, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Concord, N.H., Tuesday to nine years, and 27-year-old Luz Perez DeMartinez, of Lawrence, was sentenced to 11 years. Murray said, “The Martinez drug trafficking organization facilitated the sale of large quantities of lethal fentanyl to residents of New Hampshire. This was a large-scale criminal enterprise that reaped hundreds of thousands of dollars in profits and caused untold misery to its customers and their families. These sentences should serve as warning that long federal prison terms await those who choose to distribute fentanyl in New Hampshire.”

According to court documents, a drug trafficking organization led by Sergio Martinez, sold fentanyl to customers from various New England states. On each date that Pimentel worked for the Martinez organization, he delivered 200-gram bags of fentanyl to runners who worked for the organization and collected drug proceeds from the runners once they distributed the contents of the bags.

Vargas Cites Haverhill’s Experience After House Passes ‘Breakfast After the Bell’

The Massachusetts House of Representatives yesterday unanimously passed the “Breakfast after the Bell,” co-filed by Haverhill Rep. X Andy Vargas. It aims to have children in the Commonwealth’s highest poverty schools start school days with a healthy breakfast. Also filed by Holyoke Rep. Aaron Vega, Breakfast After the Bell would require approximately 600 Massachusetts schools serving low-income students to offer breakfast after the tardy bell rings. The expanded window for school breakfast is estimated to increase food access and decrease food insecurity for approximately 150,000 children across the Commonwealth. “As Massachusetts works towards closing achievement gaps, student nutrition plays a vital role.