To Enforce Dog Poop Pickup, Haverhill Councilors Weigh Punitive Measures

Dog poop downtown was top of mind for Haverhill city councilors last week. Past measures to reign in the downtown doodies—like increased trash cans and doggy bag stations—appear to have been ineffective. Councilors last week called for more punitive enforcement, including steeper fines, mobile surveillance cameras and directing an animal control officer to stake out hotspots. “I think we could find the mad pooper if we had the cameras in the right spot.” McGonagle said. Councilor Shaun P. Toohey grew passionate about someone who left their dog’s number two “all over” the street leading to his and his wife’s businesses.

Conservation Dept. Seeks Further Feedback on Haverhill’s Open Spaces at June 4 Presentation

Haverhill’s conservation department invites residents to an upcoming presentation on how the city manages its public lands, which will include the opportunity to give feedback. After collecting 850 responses in an online survey, Head Clerk McKayla Arsenault told WHAV they are seeking further input as the department updates Haverhill’s state-mandated Open Space and Recreation Plan, a process that happens every seven years. After a brief presentation, the public can “peruse informational tables and leave comments,” Arsenault wrote in an email. She added she and her colleagues “want to receive real feedback from anyone and everyone.”

The plan is guided by the desires of residents and shapes the city’s approach to spaces under its stewardship, including areas of historical significance, hiking trails, bodies of water and parks, as well as buildings like the library, recreational facilities and the high school pool. Updating the plan means the city can continue receiving state money, which has paid for projects like the playground at Plug Pond and conserving parcels on Crystal Street and Parsonage Hill Road.

Following Indictment, Haverhill Tax Adviser, 78, Faces Sexual Trafficking, Drug Charges June 24

A 78-year-old Haverhill financial adviser is set to appear next month in Essex County Superior Court after a grand jury handed down indictments, moving sexual trafficking and drug distribution out of the lower district court. With 10 initial allegations in March, a grand jury handed John L. Caruso two more counts of trafficking a person for sexual servitude, while removing two counts of sexual conduct for a fee. In sum, he faces four counts of human trafficking, four drug charges—including one felony—and maintaining a house of prostitution. The removal of a usury charge was the only other change. Caruso is scheduled face a pre-trial hearing scheduled Monday, June 24 at the Essex County Superior Court with Judge Thomas Drechsler presiding.

Nurse’s Union Leader Reports Lack of State Resolve to Keep Holy Family Hospital’s Haverhill Campus

The state may give up on Holy Family Hospital’s Haverhill campus amid Steward Health Care’s financial turmoil, a leader in the state nurse’s union told city councilors last night. “Within the highest level of the administration, there is a resignation, that maybe it’s just not so important to worry about Haverhill surviving,” Massachusetts Nurse Association Statewide Director Dana Simon said he learned from private conversations with officials. He said he recently noticed a subtle shift in the state’s initial promise to keep all Steward hospitals open. “If you parse some of their public statements, they’re starting to soften on that. They’re saying, ‘it’s our core concern to ensure as many of the hospitals as possible survive.’”

In his view, closing some hospitals over others is a political calculation.

With Pfifferling Leaving, Haverhill School Committee Considers Reduced Role For Replacement

With Assistant Superintendent Michael J. Pfifferling on his way to Marblehead, Haverhill School Committee members talked over changing the title, and potentially responsibilities, of his role at Monday night’s budget hearing. Alternatives include business administrator, which would only oversee three departments—as opposed to the assistant superintendent of finance and operation’s six—and chief operating officer. The operating officer position would be quite like Pfifferling’s, with the new title aimed at attracting more candidates, according to Superintendent Margaret Marotta. “It’s a well-known fact that there’s just a dearth of people that can do these positions well out in the community, and I think that’s why some school systems are changing the names up a little bit to see if they can attract people from the business world,” she said. “Whether or not that’s a tactic that works, I don’t know.”

Member Jill Story spoke against hiring outside of the education field.

Lt. Gov. Driscoll, Housing Secretary Augustus Hear Concerns at Downtown Haverhill Roundtable

State officials heard how hard it can be to navigate Greater Haverhill’s housing market from residents, advocates and lenders at a roundtable held yesterday at UMass Lowell’s Innovation Hub at Harbor Place. At the head of the table were Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll, state Housing Secretary Edward M. Augustus, state Rep. Andy X. Vargas and Mayor Melinda E. Barret. The governor’s Affordable Homes Act proposes $150 million to boost affordable homeownership opportunities. Introducing the event, Barrett said, “This is the important work of creating generational wealth and homeownership. It can make an incredible difference in a family’s existence, in their long-term stability and our community’s long-term stability, so we’re just thrilled that they’re here on their tour.”

Part of developing a five-year plan, the first in 40 years, the Healey-Driscoll administration and state housing department have been holding listening sessions across the Commonwealth.

Update on Steward Health Crisis at Tonight’s Haverhill City Council Meeting; Trustee Names Monitor

Speaking on how to continue care at Holy Family Hospitals in Haverhill and Methuen, a representative of a Lawrence-based nonprofit is expected to pose possible next steps during the ongoing Steward Health Care crisis at tonight’s City Council meeting. Council President Thomas J. Sullivan invited Merrimack Valley Project Community Organizer Julio Mejia to discuss the subject. Steward, which owns Holy Family, declared bankruptcy May 6. Though the healthcare giant said its facilities will remain open, the Lawrence General Hospital medical affairs chief reports the quality of care is decreasing. State Public Health Commissioner Robbie Goldstein disputed the sentiment, saying “we don’t want people with chest pain driving past the Holy Family campus to go someplace else.

During Haverhill Law Day, McCabe Receives Moody Award, Eastman Liberty Bell

(Additional photographs below.)

Praising community involvement and equality under the law, speakers stuck close to the annual Law Day’s national theme, “Voices of Democracy,” at the Haverhill District Court ceremony last Friday. With two student musical performances brightening the usually somber halls of justice, the room was packed with the people who keep Haverhill’s legal apparatus running—local and state police, clerks, probation officers, judges and attorneys. First Justice Cesar A. Archilla set the tone in his opening remarks, calling the law “the great equalizer.”

He said, “Every single person that walks into those doors, is treated exactly the same as the person before them and the person after them, regardless of race, socio-economic status, gender, how much money you have, how much political influence you may wield.”

The first of two awards presented at the event, attorney Chaz Chandler gave District Court Judge Mary F. McCabe the Moody Award, noting how she always respects that defendants have lives outside of their court appearances and praising her thoughtfulness. A “daughter of Lawrence,” McCabe said she chose to serve Haverhill in part because she learned Associate Supreme Court Justice William H. Moody was born in the city. “Whether the vibrant downtown or along the river—farms, vineyards, all manner of people and all cultures—it’s a wonderful place to serve people,” she said.