DA Confirms Apparent Drowning Death of 3-Year-Old Boy Saturday at Haverhill Home

A 3-year-old boy died Saturday due to suspected drowning in a pool at a home on Liberty Street in Haverhill. Essex County District Attorney Paul F. Tucker’s office confirmed the death Tuesday. The district attorney’s office is required by law to investigate all unattended deaths. The unidentified boy was reported as unresponsive. Haverhill police were dispatched, treated the boy at home and then transferred him to Lawrence General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

MBTA to Provide Shuttles Between Haverhill and Bradford Train Stations as Downtown Stop Closes July 15

Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority—or MBTA—officials were apparently not swayed by Haverhill’s opposition to closing the downtown Haverhill train station for about a year. However, in a victory for the city, they promised Tuesday to provide a shuttle service to and from the Bradford station. The MBTA confirmed Tuesday it will close the station to commuters in July, as first reported in April by WHAV, during construction of the $20.3 million South Elm Street railroad overpass. Haverhill Mayor Melinda E. Barrett said the MBTA, however, changed course and agreed to spend an estimated $1.1 million for a shuttle. She explained she laid out the case for shuttles.

Black Bear Strolls Through Haverhill Neighborhood; Police Suggest Precautions

Residents kept their distance, but were still dismayed by the sighting of a black bear wandering through their neighborhood Monday morning near Haverhill’s Plug Pond. Haverhill Police, Animal Control and Conservation Department monitored the situation, but emphasized resident should never approach the bear and take other safety precautions. Windsor Street resident Lynda Brown told WHAV of her experience just after 9 a.m.

“My husband saw the bear first. I was just coming in from watering my plants out front. I walked into the house and my husband (John Yannalfo), who was standing at the kitchen sink, said, ‘Lynda, there’s a black bear in our driveway!’ I didn’t believe him until he said it a third time!

Haverhill Honors its ‘Hometown Heroes’ with Special Tribute, Marked by Ceremony, Banners

Retired Brigadier General John J. Driscoll helped Haverhill celebrate its “Hometown Heroes” Thursday afternoon, describing the “arc of time” that covers veterans from the earliest days of the nation to those serving today. Driscoll, of the Massachusetts Army National Guard, spoke for the second year in a row as the Exchange Club of Haverhill offered its fourth annual tribute. “Today, the testaments to those that wear, or have worn, the cloth of our nation and put themselves in harm’s way reminds society that our values are still worth fighting for,” he said. The tribute included readings of the names of those killed in action and those honored on the 125 light post banners going up in and around downtown Haverhill as described by Master of Ceremonies Ron Carpenito. “Striking banners now adorn our downtown area, gracing our bridges and line our streets.

Planning Commission Receives $1 Million for Cleanup of Haverhill’s Dutton Airport, Methuen’s Searles

Merrimack Valley Planning Commission is receiving $1 million from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Brownfields Program to support clean-up projects, including the former Dutton Airport in Haverhill which is slated for redevelopment into a business park, and the Searles Estate in Methuen. The former Dutton Airport was most recently targeted for redevelopment in the city’s new master plan, in 2020, as WHAV reported first at the time. The airport, off Route 110, dates back to at least 1929. It closed less than 10 years after its owner, Howard Dutton, crashed there during an aerobatic display in 1977. “This funding provides critical resources for rehabilitating key properties across the Merrimack Valley.

Haverhill Budget Would Bring $444 Average Single-Family Tax Hike to Offset ‘Artificial’ Past Low Taxes

The average Haverhill single-family homeowner can expect a property tax increase about twice as large as those in recent years to make up for, what officials blamed, a previous strategy to “artificially keep taxes low.”

The formal release Friday of Mayor Melinda E. Barrett’s budget for the year that begins July 1 shows an average single-family tax increase of $444 if the proposed plan is approved. Its bottom line, taking into account costs increases and reduced income from some sources, is consistent with a City Council presentation WHAV reported first two weeks ago. The $262 million spending plan is $15.1 million higher than the current year with property taxpayers picking up about 2/3 of the increase. Statements within the budget explain the city previously used its surplus, known as “free cash,” to subsidize tax bills and cause building maintenance to be deferred with bills now coming due. For example, one note reports the current year budget used “a record” $6.2 million in free cash “instead of using a larger portion of the available tax levy of $6,472,558 to fund operations.

Pfifferling Submits Resignation, Tells Haverhill School Committee He Wishes ‘Smooth Transition’

Haverhill schools’ Assistant Superintendent Michael J. Pfifferling made it official Wednesday that he plans to leave his post, but told the School Committee he wishes to “ensure a smooth transition by completing any outstanding tasks and assisting with the handover of responsibilities to my successor.”

As WHAV reported first, Pfifferling of Groveland, said he accepted the post of assistant superintendent of finance and operations for Marblehead Public Schools pending completion of contract negotiations. In his letter to School Committee members, Pfifferling said, he “decided to pursue new opportunities that align more closely with my core values and a positive work environment. This decision was not made lightly, as I have thoroughly enjoyed my time working with the staff and talented teams at HPS under my supervision.”

He asked that the School Committee or its designee to discuss a transition plan and a “mutually acceptable effective date of my resignation. He concluded by thanking the committee for hiring him in 2019. “I was a Hillie from birth, and will be a Hillie for life.

Downtown Haverhill MassHire Career Center Closes Friday in Advance of Move

The downtown Haverhill office of MassHire Merrimack Valley Career Center closes Friday in preparation for a future relocation. The office is operated by Northern Essex Community College and located within the College’s space at The Heights, 160 Merrimack St., Haverhill. “The goal is to have a space that is more accessible and visible for local job seekers, employees and employers,” college Director of Public Relations Melissa L. Bouse told WHAV. Meanwhile, those who need services may visit MassHire Merrimack Valley Career Center in Lawrence at 420 Common St., Lawrence. Appointments may also be made by calling 978-722-7000.