Haverhill Receives Extra $600,000 in Federal Community Development Block Grant Stimulus Money

Haverhill is receiving more than $600,000 in additional federal stimulus money to cope with the aftermath of the coronavirus. The money comes in the form of extra Community Development Block Grant money. The city already receives around $1 million a year as a so-called “entitlement” community. It was grandfathered into receiving such aid directly—rather than being first funneled through state government—since the program replaced urban renewal. Besides Haverhill, Congresswoman Lori Trahan, said other communities in her House district to receive extra money are Lawrence, Lowell and Fitchburg.

‘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.

Police, Recreation Staff Break Up Large Crowd at Haverhill’s Plug Pond as Local Virus Cases Rise

Haverhill Police and Recreation Department staff were called yesterday to break up a crowd of “50 to 100 people” defying social distancing guidelines in effect at the city’s Plug Pond Recreation area. In light of the inadvisable gathering, Mayor James J. Fiorentini said barriers were erected to keep people out of the park until after the current health crisis passes. “There was an awful opt of people congregating together. We can’t have that,” the mayor told WHAV. He said police and recreation staff were particularly concerned about people assembling on the docks.

Haverhill Prepares for Virus Surge Among Homeless ‘When It Happens;’ First Responder Help

An unused wing of a local hotel and a former school soon to undergo renovation are among options available should a “surge” of the coronavirus move through Haverhill’s homeless population. Recognizing the virus could spread quickly in such close quarters such as at Emmaus House and Mitch’s Place in Haverhill, Councilor Timothy J. Jordan Tuesday night called for the city to be prepared if outside agencies need help. “We need to have a plan in place for, as when I’ve spoken on multiple occasions with Emmaus’s executive director Jeanine Murphy, in her words, when it happens not if it happens,” Jordan said. Mayor James J. Fiorentini told the Council he has secured an empty wing at the Best Western hotel and a potential alternative. “They have agreed that if there is a problem at the Emmaus House, that we can move people up there.

Downtown Haverhill Firm Turns Out Medical Masks at No Charge; Seeks Donations

Haverhill city councilors had high praise last night for a Haverhill business that has shifted gears to help the medical community in its fight against the coronavirus. CreatorPult, a 3D printing and laser cutting business at 143 Essex St., has, until recently, served community members interested in new forms of creative expression. It is now focused on creating masks and face shields for local area medical professionals. Owner Chris White told members of the City Council his firm is running 15 3D printers and have produced nearly 400 medical masks so far. In fact, he says, they have been running equipment non-stop for the past nine days.

Rep. Vargas Hosts Virtual Town Hall Meeting Tonight on COVID-19 Response

Haverhill state Rep. Andy X. Vargas hosts a virtual town hall meeting tonight to discuss the Commonwealth’s response to COVID-19 and available resources. Vargas invites Haverhill residents to take part at 7 p.m. by looking for the stream on Facebook live or Instagram live or by tuning to Haverhill’s Government Channel 9 on Comcast. Questions may be submitted at the Facebook or Instagram comment sections or by emailing him at [email protected] with the subject line “COVID-19 Town Hall.”

Massachusetts COVID-19 Cases Cross 5,000 Mark; Deaths Rise to 56

The number of COVID-19 fatalities in Massachusetts continued its climb Monday when the state reported another eight deaths, bringing the state’s total number of deaths linked to the disease to 56. The overall number of cases here crossed the 5,000 mark Monday and rose to 5,752, up almost 800 from Sunday, the Department of Public Health reported Monday. Haverhill reported three new cases of COVID-19 for a total of 45. Massachusetts has continued to ramp up its testing capacity, with the number of people tested landing at almost 43,000 Monday, an increase of more than 3,700 over Sunday. In a video update posted after three consecutive overnight shifts, emergency physician and Boston state Rep. Jon Santiago said the state’s testing numbers are “fantastic” and said it’s time to focus now on contact tracing.

Haverhill’s Southwick to Rehire Workers, Switch From Brooks Brothers Suits to Medical Supplies

The 400 laid off employees of Haverhill’s Southwick Clothing, manufacturer of Brooks Brothers suits, could be coming back to work making medical supplies. The Computer Drive company said Monday it is in the process of converting its factories from manufacturing ties, shirts and suits to making gowns and up to 150,000 medical masks per day. Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini said he has worked with Congresswoman Lori Trahan and other local, state and federal officials to help. “Over the past few weeks we’ve heard from medical people all throughout this area that they’re desperate for masks, gowns and the certified masks, which are called N95 masks,” he said. The mayor explained production of certified masks will take longer to accomplish because of required regulatory approvals.