Methuen Honors Victims of COVID-19 At Outdoor Memorial Ceremony Monday at Noon

The City of Methuen honors its COVID-19 dead in a memorial program at noon, Monday. The presentation is expected to feature an honor guard, remarks by Mayor Neil Perry, recognition of victims’ families, symbolic 71 bell tolls, moment of silence and COVID-19 victim memorial flag display. The memorial begins at noon, on the front lawn of the Quinn Building, 90 Hampshire St., Methuen.

Grand Jury Indicts Owners of Trucking Company Involved in Crash That Killed 7 Motorcyclists

A federal grand jury has returned indictments against the owners of a trucking company that hired the driver who crashed into and killed seven motorcyclists, including a former Haverhill man, during the spring of 2019 in Randolph, N.H.

Thirty-six-year-old Dunyadar Gasanov, also known as Damien Gasanov, and 35-year-old Dartanayan Gasanov owners of Westfield Transport, were each indicted on a charge of falsification of records. The older Gasanov, who has eluded arrest, was also indicted on conspiracy to falsify records and making a false statement to a federal investigator. The younger Gasanov was arrested Friday morning and appeared before Magistrate Judge Katherine A. Robertson. Former Haverhill resident Albert “Woody” Mazza Jr., 59, of Lee, N.H., was among those killed June 21, 2019 when, New Hampshire State Police said, a Dodge pickup truck “collided with several motorcycles.” The motorcyclists were part of Jarheads Motorcycle Club who were riding to a charity event at the American Legion in Gorham, N.H. The club consists of active duty or honorably discharged marines and FMF Corpsmen. The driver, 23-year-old Volodymyr Zhukovskyy of West Springfield was charged with seven counts of negligent homicide.

Haverhill May Need to Invest in Merrimack Street Parking Deck Even as It Seeks to Demolish It

See related stories: Haverhill to Seek Developer for 3.8 Acres of Downtown Land, Including Goecke Deck and Downtown Analysis: Al Boulanger Can Finally Rest. Although the city wants a developer to buy and demolish the downtown Haverhill parking deck, it requires emergency repairs to at least temporarily restore more than a dozen parking spaces. Council President Melinda E. Barrett told her colleagues Tuesday she noticed a number of parking spaces at the Herbert H. Goecke Jr. Memorial Parking Deck are out of commission. “There was a crack in the upper deck there so, subsequently, some metal plates were put down. We’ve lost maybe seven spots up top and maybe nine spots down below, behind the Pentucket Bank,” she said.

Haverhill’s Education Support Professionals Say Schools ‘Holding Firm’ on Pay Raises

The union representing Haverhill’s education support professionals returns to bargaining with the city in about three weeks after making little progress on a new agreement earlier this week. The union’s contract with the city’s schools expired at the end June, last year. In an update to members of the Haverhill Educational Association, ESP Chair Maureen Zuber said the Haverhill School Department is “holding firm” on a differential of 50 cents per hour for ESPs to work as the technology or library teacher. The union countered, asking for a differential of $5 per hour. “…The proposal was extremely disappointing as there was no movement on the (School Committee’s) proposed wage increase of 1.75%, 2% and 1.5% each year,” Zuber said.

State Removes Some COVID-19 Restrictions Monday; Haverhill City Hall to Reopen

With the state returning Monday to Step 2, Phase III of its COVID-19 reopening plan, Haverhill likewise plans to fully reopen City Hall that day. Gov. Charlie Baker’s plan returns the Commonwealth to the December phase it was in before new COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations followed the Thanksgiving holiday. One practical effect of the new rules is restaurants will no longer have a percent capacity limit and will be permitted to host musical performances. A six-foot social distance, limit of six people per table and 90-minute limits remains in place. Other venues, such as indoor performance spaces and recreational activities with greater potential for contact, will have a capacity limit of 50%.

Food Drive Tomorrow by Merrimack Valley Central Labor Council, United Way and Merrimack Valley Chamber

(Also, see previous story.)

The Merrimack Valley Central Labor Council, along with the United Way of Massachusetts and the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce are holding a food drive tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 27. Merrimack Valley Central Labor Council Secretary/Treasurer Bobby Brown told the Haverhill City Council Tuesday that, due to the coronavirus, there continues to be a significant increase in the number of people in need of help feeding their families this year

“Currently, one in eight families are facing food insecurities statewide and along in the Merrimack Valley and as well as Haverhill,” he said. Brown said the last time the group sponsored a food drive in Haverhill, it received between 5,000 and 6,000 pounds of food for local pantries. The food drive takes place at the Haverhill City Hall parking lot, 4 Summer St., from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Brown emphasized volunteers will be masked and following COVID-19 guidelines to ensure the safety of those who contribute.

Whittier Tech Looks Ahead to Spring Sports; Says There Hasn’t Been Enough Room for Fall II Sports

Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School is aiming for a spring sports season after having cancelled sports for about a year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whittier Tech Superintendent Maureen Lynch explained, for one, the school hasn’t had the space required by social distancing rules to offer athletics. Her remarks appeared to coincide with some students’ and parents’ calls to have Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association’s proposed Fall II season. “If we can’t offer a sports season to all Fall II athletes, we’re not having one at all because it simply wouldn't be equitable,” Lynch said in a statement. “We are hopeful, should COVID-19 case numbers stay down in our 11 sending communities, that we may be able to offer a spring sports season.

Haverhill City Council Asks for Local and State Suggestions for Route 125 Restaurant Crash Site

Haverhill will look at local options such as improved signage and ask the state for help improving a Route 125 intersection where three crashes within two weeks forced the closure of a restaurant there. Since Feb. 4, three cars have crashed through the front of Li’s Fine Asian Cuisine and Sushi Bar, with the most recent causing enough damage to force the closure of the business. City Councilor Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien, who once lived near the intersection on Main Street where the crashes occurred, said Tuesday night the increase in population at the state border has inevitably led to traffic issues. “The growth of the Plaistow, N.H., business community has really added to the traffic in that area, and speed is definitely a factor,” she said.