Ceremony Marks 4th Year of Hometown Heroes Tributes

Motorists in Haverhill, whether residents or visitors, have for the last few years seen banners with the images of local veterans hanging throughout the city. This year, the Hometown Heroes banners will again be on full display in time for Memorial Day. The Haverhill Exchange Club organizes this annual tribute with the city. The Department of Public Works hangs the banners and the office of Mayor Melinda E. Barrett coordinates with the service club to accomplish the task of getting all 125 banners hung. On Thursday, May 23, the Exchange Club will host the fourth annual Hometown Heroes Ceremony at 2 p.m. in GAR Park, 108 Main St.

Lt. Gov. Driscoll, Housing Secretary Augustus Hear Concerns at Downtown Haverhill Roundtable

State officials heard how hard it can be to navigate Greater Haverhill’s housing market from residents, advocates and lenders at a roundtable held yesterday at UMass Lowell’s Innovation Hub at Harbor Place. At the head of the table were Lt. Gov. Kim Driscoll, state Housing Secretary Edward M. Augustus, state Rep. Andy X. Vargas and Mayor Melinda E. Barret. The governor’s Affordable Homes Act proposes $150 million to boost affordable homeownership opportunities. Introducing the event, Barrett said, “This is the important work of creating generational wealth and homeownership. It can make an incredible difference in a family’s existence, in their long-term stability and our community’s long-term stability, so we’re just thrilled that they’re here on their tour.”

Part of developing a five-year plan, the first in 40 years, the Healey-Driscoll administration and state housing department have been holding listening sessions across the Commonwealth.

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.

Update on Steward Health Crisis at Tonight’s Haverhill City Council Meeting; Trustee Names Monitor

Speaking on how to continue care at Holy Family Hospitals in Haverhill and Methuen, a representative of a Lawrence-based nonprofit is expected to pose possible next steps during the ongoing Steward Health Care crisis at tonight’s City Council meeting. Council President Thomas J. Sullivan invited Merrimack Valley Project Community Organizer Julio Mejia to discuss the subject. Steward, which owns Holy Family, declared bankruptcy May 6. Though the healthcare giant said its facilities will remain open, the Lawrence General Hospital medical affairs chief reports the quality of care is decreasing. State Public Health Commissioner Robbie Goldstein disputed the sentiment, saying “we don’t want people with chest pain driving past the Holy Family campus to go someplace else.

Whittier Tech Marine Service Technology Students Receive Yamaha On Board Certificates

Fourteen students in the Marine Service Technology Shop at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School earned their Yamaha On Board Certificates last month. The certificates, which signify that the students are qualified to work on Yamaha boat motors, were awarded April 23 and 24 when Yamaha representative Mike Hussni came to the school. Hussni also spent time with students, who work under the direction of Marine Service Technology Instructor Mike Murray and offered advice as students asked for tips of the trade. Murray also provided each student with a starter tool kit bag. “Never be afraid to ask questions.

Essex County Sheriff Staff Receive Honors During Correctional Employee of the Year Ceremony

During a recent ceremony, members of the Essex County Sheriff’s office were among those to receive Correctional Employee of the Year Awards. The event was offered by the state Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, Massachusetts Department of Correction and Massachusetts Sherriff’s Association and honored more than 50 correctional professionals statewide for exceptional performance and public service. K9 Sgt. Leonardo F. Jorge was honored for his role in helping Haverhill Police last July in locating a missing individual with suicidal thoughts. Jorge and his K9 partner, Drago, responded as part of a multi-agency team.

Eammon’s Heart to Honor Veterans Thursday with Freedom Illumination Project Flag Raising

Eammon’s Heart Foundation for Recovery and Prevention is honoring veterans Thursday through its Freedom Illumination Project Flag Raising in Haverhill’s Monument Square. As WHAV reported in 2022, Helen Sheehan, president of Eammons Heart Foundation, said Haverhill is known for respecting and honoring its veteran population and she proposed to continue that show of patriotism by illuminating memorial flags at night. Thursday’s ceremony, which is hosted by Frank Bertolino and Justine Maguire of the North Shore Realty Group, takes place at 1 p.m., at the memorial in Monument Square. Those expected to take part include Mayor Melinda E. Barrett and state Rep. Andy X. Vargas. Bertolino said, “As a veteran myself, I am proud to be a partner with Eammon’s Heart’s Freedom Illumination Project, honoring those who have served our country with bravery and sacrifice.”

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.