Haverhill District Court First Justice Abany to Retire This Month

It’s an end of an era as Haverhill District Court First Justice Stephen S. Abany is retiring this month. Abany, well-known to defendants, plaintiffs and jurors alike, is credited not only with presiding over the law, but over the 50-year-old court building’s recent $8 million renovation. “He was not just a good steward of court business, but he was also a good steward of the court building. He oversaw the renovation of the building, including moving the court to two different places—Newburyport District Court and Haverhill City Hall. That’s not a small undertaking for anybody,” said Haverhill City Solicitor William D. Cox Jr.

Renovations began in 2017 when civil cases were temporarily moved to Haverhill City Hall and criminal cases to Newburyport District Court.

Confusion Causes Haverhill Councilors to Reconsider Marijuana Parking Space Vote Next Week

Controversy over marijuana retailing continued to perplex Haverhill city councilors Tuesday night. Councilors believed they had approved a police department-recommended parking license for Haverhill Stem on Washington Street, but the vote actually fell short because of opposition from City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua and member absences. Councilors voted 4-1 to approve the use of two city-owned parking spaces on Phoenix Row, but five votes were required. The confusion was evident when acting Council President Thomas J. Sullivan assessed the vote. “We will assume it was a motion to pass and we will get a clarification from the city solicitor on that.

Passed Over Snowplow Contractor Allegedly Assaults Haverhill Highway Superintendent

A Haverhill snowplow contractor was charged early Tuesday morning for allegedly assaulting the city’s highway superintendent after being passed over for work during recent storms.

Fifty-seven-year-old Daniel J. Murray, 224 Newton Road, was arrested at his home and charged with assault and battery on a person 60-years-of-age or older. According to a police report, Murray was said to have pushed Brian J. Zaniboni to the floor when the highway superintendent told him he wasn’t needed during the snowstorm. Sixty-five-year-old Zaniboni was taken by ambulance to Holy Family Hospital in Methuen where he was treated for back and shoulder pain. Murray was arraigned yesterday in Haverhill District Court, where Judge Stephen Abany ordered him to have no contact with Zaniboni. Murray is scheduled to return to court in January for a pre-trial hearing.

As Expected, Haverhill Councilors Agree to Spend Half Million of Surplus on Fire Station

As expected, Haverhill city councilors agreed Tuesday night to spend $500,000 of the city’s $11.5 million surplus on beginning repairs to the Water Street central fire station. As WHAV was the first to report Nov. 14 and confirmed again last week, Mayor James J. Fiorentini agreed to spend the surplus—known as “free cash”— for “necessary repairs and improvements to the Water Street Fire Station.” At last week’s mayor and City Council conference, covered by WHAV News, Fiorentini said he did not know why an item to borrow the money had been included on the City Council agenda. The issue did bring a rebuke from Joy Smith, 923 Amesbury Road. “I can’t believe we’ve let our buildings get to the point that they’re at,” she said.

Membership, Sponsor Drive Falls Short; WHAV Buys Time with All-Christmas Format

Happy Thanksgiving! The management and staff of WHAV give thanks today to those listeners who have joined or renewed their memberships and sponsors that have begun or strengthened their commitments to local service. Their support has helped move 97.9 WHAV FM toward long-term sustainability, but more help was needed to continue a high level of original journalism and comprehensive local news coverage. WHAV will remain on the air for now, but will begin an all Christmas music format during the holiday season. With #GivingTuesday ahead and hopes for generous year-end donations and support, WHAV will do its best to restore local news.

Haverhill Mayor, Councilors Agree to Central Fire Station Repairs; Disagree on Next Steps

The mayor and city councilors agreed last night repairs to Haverhill’s Water Street fire station will move forward, but other building work may have to wait for a reorganization of the city’s maintenance department. Mayor James J. Fiorentini and councilors largely agreed to the mayor’s plan to spend $500,000 on the central fire station. They didn’t see eye-to-eye, however, on next steps and a timetable for fixing other stations. Council President John A. Michitson said the mayor, as the city’s chief executive, is in charge of “professional management of facilities.”

“That is in your ballpark. That’s you.

Subcommittee Backs Formation of Haverhill Agricultural Commission, Defers on ‘Right-to-Farm’

Formation of a Haverhill Agricultural Commission won the endorsement of a City Council subcommittee last night. The Council’s Citizens Outreach Committee, headed by Councilor Melinda E. Barrett, will recommend the farmers’ advocacy group when the full City Council meets in two weeks. Formation of an Agricultural Commission is governed by state law and requires between three and seven members. Eva Valentine, who operates Speakeasy Farm off North Broadway where she sells eggs and other farm goods, applauded the action. “I think it is about time.

Public Meetings This Week: Conditions of Haverhill Fire Stations Subject of Rare Mayor/Council Workshop

The public has opportunities to shape policy this week as various Haverhill boards meet. In the interest of transparency in government, WHAV provides this list of upcoming meetings every week. The condition of Haverhill’s fire stations, particularly its Water Street central station, is the subject of a rare workshop-style conference tomorrow night between Mayor James J. Fiorentini and members of the Haverhill City Council. A Mayor/Haverhill City Council Conference takes place at 6:30 p.m., in the City Council office, room 204, Haverhill City Hall. The discussion centers on repairs and improvements to the Water Street and other fire stations in the city.