Haverhill Receives $4 Million Federal Grant to Fully Staff Bradford Fire Station Ladder Truck

A long-sought second Fire Department ladder truck to be based in Bradford will become a reality thanks to a $4 million federal grant. The Haverhill Firefighters Grant Writing Team said yesterday it secured a SAFER—Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response—grant that will pay for 16 additional firefighters over the next three years. As late as this past spring, Fire Chief Robert M. O’Brien made the case that Bradford requires its own ladder in light of plans to replace the Pfc. Ralph T. Basiliere Bridge over the Merrimack River. He was thankful for a budget that allowed for four-person crews at Water Street, but called for more help.

Haverhill Mayoral Candidate Wood Withdraws Citing ‘Falsehoods;’ Cooper Joins Barrett on Fall Ballot

Mayoral candidate and sitting 20-year School Committee member Scott W. Wood Jr., leaves public life at the end of the year after choosing by Monday’s deadline to end his mayoral run. Wood’s withdrawal, followed by his preliminary election elimination from a Ward 4 School Committee post, represents his precipitous fall since June when allegations resurfaced of racist and misogynist conduct while he was working as a police officer. The revelations came to light in Wood’s own suit against the city, challenging the loss of police jobs in Haverhill in 2021 and Wenham in 2022. “I look forward to addressing and clearing my name from the baseless accusations and falsehoods that have circulated. My commitment to Haverhill has never wavered, and it never will,” Wood said in a statement.

Official Haverhill Preliminary Election Vote Counts to be Decided Tuesday by Board of Registrars

Haverhill’s Board of Registrars meets Tuesday to consider provisional ballots cast during this week’s preliminary election and approve the final results. The outcome will likely have no effect on mayoral frontrunner Melinda E. Barrett, who garnered an updated 3,891 votes Tuesday, but could lead to a recount to decide the second name to appear on November’s final city ballot. Scott W. Wood Jr. placed a distant second, coming in at 1,036 votes, but only 10 votes behind him was Guy E. Cooper. According to Secretary of State William F. Galvin’s office, residents who may have fallen off local voting rolls may cast a provisional ballot, but any votes won’t be counted until voter registration status is confirmed. With few votes between them, final election results could change.

Haverhill Fire Department, Officials, Public Pay Tribute to Those Lost in 9/11 Attacks

(Additional photographs below.)


Haverhill officials, families and friends gathered yesterday morning as the Haverhill Fire Department paid tribute to the nearly 3,000 people who died 22 years ago during the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Before a formation led by Fire Chief Robert M. O’Brien and firefighters of all ranks and observed by elected officials, city staff and the public, Haverhill Fire Capt. Richard Shellene rang the last call bell as Firefighter Joseph St. Hilaire shouted formation marching commands. Haverhill Firefighter Timothy Nutter read aloud the “Firefighter’s Prayer.”

When I am called to duty,
Whenever flames may rage,
Give me strength to save a life
Whatever be its age.

Haverhill Water Official Blames Wide Swing in Household Bills on Glitch Affecting Batteries

Dead batteries in household water meters in Haverhill are being blamed for unusual water bill variations—including huge ones for some—but the city is offering several forms of relief. Haverhill Public Works Director Robert E. Ward told WHAV the problem stems from radio devices that transmit meter readings. “There was a software glitch somewhere along the way that caused the units to try to send the signal constantly and, by doing that, we had a lot of premature battery failures,” he said. The water department has used its own staff and also hired contractors over the last couple of years to replace the devices at homes, but has not been able to get into the homes of all affected. “In the meantime, if we don’t have any way of getting an actual reading, we have to send out an estimated bill,” he said.

State Investigator Largely Backs City Over Haverhill Teachers’ Union in Strike Money Case

A state Department of Labor Relations investigator ruled largely in favor of the City of Haverhill Friday over issues surrounding last fall’s teachers’ strike. Investigator Carey D. Shockey dismissed all of the Haverhill Education Association’s charges of prohibited practices, including an allegation the Haverhill School Committee acted in bad faith when it continued to demand another $300,000 from the union to settle costs related to the Oct. 17 through 20 strike. The union argued Haverhill broke the law when it did not stand by a verbal agreement that “it would not seek additional monies from the union beyond the $200,000 the union agreed to pay…” Shockey ruled the union could not prove its claim. “In other words, almost immediately after (Haverhill Education Association President Tim) Briggs was allegedly assured that the School Committee would no longer seek any further monies, such a promise was immediately disclaimed.

Campaign Notebook: Haverhill Chamber Plans Coffee with Haverhill Mayoral Candidates

Residents have an opportunity to mingle with Haverhill’s mayoral candidates during, what is described as, “a casual coffee where you can talk to the candidates in a calm atmosphere.”

The Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce said it invited all five candidates appearing on Haverhill’s upcoming preliminary election ballot to participate. They are, in ballot order, City Councilor Melinda E. Barrett, School Committee member Scott W. Wood Jr., retired Patrolman Guy E. Cooper, Debra Campanile and George Eleftheriou. “This is an opportunity for voters to meet the candidates and make an informed decision when they cast their ballot at the primary on Tuesday, Sept. 12th. Haverhill will have a new mayor for the first time in 20 years so this is a big decision,” said Chamber Vice President Kate Martin.

Analysis: Vote to End Legal Action Against Striking Haverhill Teachers Appears Timed to Influence Election

Members of the Haverhill School Committee arguably violated state law Thursday night in their zeal to score an election advance by voting to end legal action against the Haverhill teachers’ union. They also appeared to have strategically leaked the decision to the union. School Committee members Scott W. Wood Jr. and Toni Sapienza-Donais rejected an effort to wait three weeks and led the pre-election effort to drop the action filed in wake of the union’s strike last fall. The fast-track timing—which excluded outside city lawyers—suggests, what’s known in political circles as, an “October surprise,” despite the actual month. The city alleges a $200,000 payment made by the union after the strike—deemed illegal under state law—did not cover the actual costs of extending the school year and paying non-teacher staff for additional days of work.