State Awards COVID-19 Grants to Haverhill and Lawrence Nonprofits Among Others

Haverhill’s Leaving the Streets Ministries and two Lawrence organizations are among those receiving additional state grants targeted to communities hardest hit by COVID-19. The money comes from the Massachusetts Vaccine Equity Initiative, aimed at increasing awareness and access to the COVID-19 vaccine and mitigating impacts of the pandemic. The latest grants are part of the Baker-Polito Administration’s $58 million vow to promote vaccine access and confidence, primarily in communities of color. Grants of between $38,500 and $125,000 were awarded to Leaving the Streets Ministries, founded by Chaplain Jesus Ruiz and his wife Wanda; Asociacion Ministerial Evangelica Del Area de Lawrence; and Centro de Apoyo Familiar of Lawrence. “Throughout the pandemic, we have turned to trusted community-based organizations who know their communities best,” said Public Health Commissioner Margret Cooke.

Haverhill’s Whittier Birthplace to Host Dale Rogers’ ‘Big Dog Show’ This Fall

John Greenleaf Whittier would likely approve. Haverhill’s Whittier Birthplace is hosting “The Big Dog Show,” the signature public art exhibition of Haverhill-based artist Dale Rogers, when it returns to Bradford Common this fall. Twenty of Dale Rogers’ “American Dogs” will be assembled on the Bradford Common from Friday, Oct. 28, through Monday, Oct. 31.

Lynn Social Worker Leigh Launches Campaign for Essex County Sheriff

Virginia Leigh, candidate for Essex County sheriff, plans to kick off her campaign formally at the end of next week. Leigh is a clinical social worker running against incumbent Sheriff Kevin F. Coppinger. In a statement, she promised to “to put an end to the revolving door at the county jail by using her mental health expertise to change outcomes and a culture of politics as usual.”

“A majority of county prisoners are incarcerated for crimes related to mental health and substance use,” Leigh said, adding “Voters are the only people who can hold a sheriff accountable, so after six long years under politics as usual, it’s time to elect a different kind of Sheriff.”

Leigh said she has 12 years of experience working as a clinical social worker in detention centers, community health centers and schools. She said most people held by the county will return to their local communities, while still struggling with major mental illness and substance use problems. “If you effectively lower recidivism, you strengthen communities by reducing the cost of housing prisoners, lowering rates of re-offending and preventing future victims,” Leigh said. Her campaign kickoff is Saturday, July 9, 5 p.m., at the Galleries at Lynnarts, 25 Exchange St., Lynn.

Haverhill Council Votes to Take Brandy Brow Land; Owner Disputes Reason and Price

The Haverhill City Council approved Tuesday night what was described as an “unfriendly” order of taking for a vacant 11.2-acre parcel of land on Brandy Brow Road for the purpose of protecting the city’s water supply. City Solicitor William D. Cox Jr. told councilors the property was one the city and the Essex County Greenbelt Association had been interested in for some time. Before any purchasing agreement was reached, however, the land went to public auction last March where it was purchased for $236,500 by its current owners, James E. Young Jr. and Victoria Angers. Cox went on to explain how the order of taking works. “If you approve this order of taking tonight, we would send notice to the property owners.

Northern Essex Graduates 53 From Police Academy Including 3 Haverhill and 7 Methuen Officers

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Haverhill and Methuen are adding to their police departments following the officers’ graduation last Friday from the Northern Essex Community College Police Academy. Haverhill wasted no time, swearing in three new patrolmen Monday. Joining the force are Officers Elias Mejia, Rafael Nunez and Carmen Rosato. They were administered the oath of office at a city hall ceremony that included Mayor James J. Fiorentini, Police Chief Robert P. Pistone, family, friends and other officers. Methuen graduates from the academy were Officers Jason Young, Cameron Fountain, James Smith, Kayleigh Forgetta, Dannery Serrano, Robert Fitzgerald and Angel Mejia Jr.

The Haverhill recruits now begin an eight-week on-the-job training program with veteran Haverhill Police Department officers, while the Methuen recruits will participate in a three-month field training program working side by side with a field training officer.

Buttonwoods Museum Presents ‘History for Half Pints’ for Children This Summer

Buttonwoods Museum’s “History for Half Pints” offers three chances this summer for elementary and middle school children to learn about local history. “Rolling on the River” takes place Tuesday, July 5, from 2-3:45 p.m., followed by “Queen Slipper City,” Tuesday, July 19, from 2-3:45 p.m. Events are also planned for August 2, 16, and 30, at Buttonwoods Museum, 240 Water St., Haverhill. The cost is $12 per child. More information about registration and information is available by emailing [email protected] Buttonwoods is also looking for volunteers Tuesdays and Thursdays throughout the year to help with education programming at the museum.

DiZoglio, Campbell and Minicucci Join Other Women Legislators With Concerns Over Abortion Decision

Three of the region’s female legislators are joining 54 other women in expressing their opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to overturn abortion rights. Sen. Diana DiZoglio and Reps. Linda Dean Campbell and Christina A. Minicucci joined the Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators in a statement Monday calling the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization decision “deeply impactful to women in this country.”

“While members of the bipartisan and diverse Women’s Caucus have varied positions on the issue of choice, we do know that decisions about healthcare are best made between people and their doctors. We are committed to continuing to uplift the health and well-being of all women, recognizing the deep disparities that exist in our health care ecosystem, which are likely to grow even deeper in light of this decision.”

The Caucus also said overturning the right to abortion presents “significant economic consequences.”

The statement said access to reproductive health services remains legal in the Commonwealth, and the 57 legislators will continue to work with colleagues in state government to ensure “women and their health care needs are supported, affirmed and safe.”

The Massachusetts Caucus of Women Legislators is a group of the 60 women serving in the Massachusetts state House and Senate.

Haverhill Adds $1.1 Million in Federal Aid to This Season’s Sidewalk Rebuilding Program

Haverhill is using $1.1 million in federal COVID-19 aid to augment its annual sidewalk rebuilding. The American Rescue Plan Act money is earmarked for sidewalks in the city’s Mount Washington and Lower Acre neighborhoods. The federal aid is restricted to specific densely-populated, lower-income areas. Mayor James J. Fiorentini said in a statement Tuesday, Haverhill is also using $340,000 of its own money to repair sidewalks in other areas of the city.” He said the result is an increase of 23% over last year. “The most complaints I receive are about our neighborhoods, our streets and our sidewalks,” Fiorentini said.