The Night the Martian ‘Death Ray’ Missed Haverhill

Editor’s Note: This is an update of earlier versions of this story. Marking the 82nd anniversary of the historic broadcast, 97.9 WHAV airs the original “Mercury Theater on the Air” presentation of the “War of the Worlds” at 10 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 31, with an encore three hours later at 1 a.m. 

The supposed Martian invasion of Earth and its aftermath 82 years ago this week didn’t seem to faze Greater Haverhill residents. In fact, most locals didn’t even know about the “death rays” that destroyed metropolitan New York the night before. That is, until they picked up their newspapers Monday, Oct.

Slavit Family Places Storied U.S. Coast Guard Boat on River; Free Tours to be Available

There’s a new craft on the Merrimack River—a 1959, 40-foot former U.S. Coast Guard boat—and it will soon be available for tours as well as life-saving missions. And the boat, which once famously patrolled the Great Lakes, has quite a history as Tim Slavit tells WHAV. “It was the first boat on scene at a famous wreck called the Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975. A hurricane and a 700-foot container ship broke apart in seconds and the never saw the crew again with 29 men on board,” he says. Slavit, whose legendary father, Capt. William J. “Red” Slavit, served many years as harbormaster, launched the boat Monday, making good on a promise he made to WHAV listeners last month.

Kayak Rentals, Merrimack Riverboat Among New Haverhill Merrimack River Activities

Part 2 of 2 (Read Part 1 here.)

Haverhill’s downtown waterfront welcomes kayak rentals beginning next week and—possibly not too far off—an expansive riverboat taking passengers up and down the Merrimack. Next Wednesday, July 1, Plum Island Kayak launches boat rentals with a ticket office near the gazebo at Riverfront Park, behind Washington Street. Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce President Dougan Sherwood says ceremonies begin at 11 a.m.

“We hopefully have a ribbon cutting and christen the new business on the docks, and I think he’s going to have a dozen or two dozen boats down there for people to jump into,” Sherwood says. Plum Island Kayak’s Ken Taylor expects to be joined by officials, businesses and the first customers. Besides the new ticket office, the city’s Harbor Commission, headed by Chairman Sam Amari, authorized the purchase of additional docks.

Haverhill Groups Launch Ambitious Merrimack River Plans; Slavits Install New Upriver Buoys

Part 1 of 2 (Read Part 2 here)

Big plans are steaming ahead for the Merrimack River in downtown Haverhill with new channel markers, kayak rentals, additional public docks and a new excursion riverboat. The activities are coming in time to help local restaurants emerge from their pandemic-forced slumber and attract boaters downtown for the opening of Barrio restaurant and Salvatore Lupoli’s “The Heights” project. Guiding the focus on the Merrimack is a private-public partnership led by the city’s Harbor Commission, Greater Haverhill Foundation’s River Access Committee and Tim Slavit, whose legendary father, Capt. William J. “Red” Slavit, served many years as harbormaster. Slavit tells WHAV he wants to bring back the same river enthusiasm his father imparted to generations. “For the last 20 years, I’ve been watching the Haverhill waterfront go to sleep.

Traffic Concerns Dominate First Look at Proposed Ward Hill Area Marijuana Shop

Neighbors’ traffic concerns dominated the public’s first look last night at a proposed adult-use marijuana store near Ward Hill. During a remote community outreach meeting Monday night, officials of Frosty Nug, proposed for 1181 Boston Road, acknowledged heavy, peak-hour traffic. However, traffic consultant Scott Thornton of Vanasse & Associates, Andover, said traffic will still be less than other possible uses of the property. “For Dunkin’ Donuts, and I’ve permitted a number of those, we typically look at between 200 and 300 trips during the peak hours, which is in the morning. It’s just a drop in the bucket.

Merrimack Valley Hope Mission Turns Out 2,600 Masks as Group Adjusts to Current Needs

Each day, 97.9 WHAV FM has been setting aside time to highlight good deeds from community heroes during the COVID-19 pandemic. When public gathering rules stopped the Merrimack Valley Hope Mission from providing bagged lunches for the needy at Haverhill’s G.A.R. Park in March, the group quickly switched gears, recruited “sewing angels” and so far has turned out 2,600 facial coverings. Merrimack Valley Hope Mission founder Joseph D’Amore of Groveland and collaborator Robin Hudson of Merrimac brainstormed about how they could help five weeks ago—before the national spotlight focused on masks. They concluded nursing homes, visiting nurse associations and even the public would need coverings. “We reached out to people who could sew and we asked them to start sewing.

‘Remote Learning’ Pact Between Haverhill Schools, Staff Comes Apart; Talks Could Resume Today

The Haverhill School Committee last night killed, at least temporarily, a tentative pact between the department and educators to guide the start of “remote learning.”

The sticking point for School Committee members was paying certain activity stipends for the full school year. While members voted 6-0 to send an amendment back to the Haverhill Education Association, the union said it is unable to present it to members. “It is demoralizing and demeaning to have all this work held up over a couple of thousand dollars. For the school district, it’s very little money. For teachers laid off from second and third jobs, the money is vital,” said union President Anthony J. Parolisi.

Three Haverhill Police Receive Injuries; Pepper Spray, Tase Alleged Assailant in Loose Dog Case

A 51-year-old man returns to court Wednesday after being charged with assaulting three Haverhill police officers Friday who were investigating a loose dog complaint. Following up on a story reported first by WHAV News Monday morning, 51-year-old Theodore D. Gilford, 268 Brandy Brow Road, Merrimac, appeared before Haverhill District Court First Justice Patricia Dowling to answer to charges of assault and battery on police officers, criminal harassment, witness intimidation, resisting arrest and disorderly conduct. Gilford’s address begins in Merrimac, but his home is physically located in Haverhill. Police say they were forced to pepper spray and Tase Gilford after he resisted arrest in woods outside by Sgt. Jamie R. Landry and Officers and Penny A. Portalla and Jason E. Pearl.