Nurse’s Union Leader Reports Lack of State Resolve to Keep Holy Family Hospital’s Haverhill Campus

The state may give up on Holy Family Hospital’s Haverhill campus amid Steward Health Care’s financial turmoil, a leader in the state nurse’s union told city councilors last night. “Within the highest level of the administration, there is a resignation, that maybe it’s just not so important to worry about Haverhill surviving,” Massachusetts Nurse Association Statewide Director Dana Simon said he learned from private conversations with officials. He said he recently noticed a subtle shift in the state’s initial promise to keep all Steward hospitals open. “If you parse some of their public statements, they’re starting to soften on that. They’re saying, ‘it’s our core concern to ensure as many of the hospitals as possible survive.’”

In his view, closing some hospitals over others is a political calculation.

With Pfifferling Leaving, Haverhill School Committee Considers Reduced Role For Replacement

With Assistant Superintendent Michael J. Pfifferling on his way to Marblehead, Haverhill School Committee members talked over changing the title, and potentially responsibilities, of his role at Monday night’s budget hearing. Alternatives include business administrator, which would only oversee three departments—as opposed to the assistant superintendent of finance and operation’s six—and chief operating officer. The operating officer position would be quite like Pfifferling’s, with the new title aimed at attracting more candidates, according to Superintendent Margaret Marotta. “It’s a well-known fact that there’s just a dearth of people that can do these positions well out in the community, and I think that’s why some school systems are changing the names up a little bit to see if they can attract people from the business world,” she said. “Whether or not that’s a tactic that works, I don’t know.”

Member Jill Story spoke against hiring outside of the education field.

Whittier Tech Honors 125 Northern Essex Community College Early College Students

Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School honored 125 participants for completing the Early College Program during a ceremony last week at Northern Essex Community College. The ceremony included addresses by Northern Essex Community College Associate Dean of PK12 Partnerships Aaron Altman; alumni speaker Osaym Omar; Northern Essex Provost of Academic and Student Affairs Paul Beaudin; faculty speaker Dawn Wheaton; and student speaker Gabriella Ortiz of Haverhill, a Whittier Tech senior studying marketing. “As all of us graduates come together this evening to reflect on our accomplishments, we can also recognize the perks that this program has offered us,” said Ortiz. “An invaluable and priceless benefit of taking Early College courses, is that we are able to get a real taste of what college will be like. We now know what it means to get assignments in on time, be independent, and learn the routine of a what it takes to be successful in college each semester.

Updated: Fashion Trendsetters Yolanda Cellucci and Sondra Celli to Address Women in Business Lunch

Fashion icons Yolanda Cellucci and Sondra Celli, mother and daughter, will address members of the Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce and the public at a different location than originally announced. They’ll share their stories during a Women in Business Lunch, Thursday, May 30, from noon-1:15 p.m., at Michael’s Function Hall at Phoenician Restaurant, 12 Alpha St., Haverhill. Cellucci created a successful fashion house and bridal center in 1967, which continues as an online store, while Celli has been featured in TLC’s “My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding” and its spinoff series “Gypsy Sisters.”

Admission is $35 per person. Registration is accepted online at MerrimackValleyChamber.com or by calling 978-686-0900.

Updated: Ceremony Marks 4th Year of Hometown Heroes Tributes

Update: Because of the possibility of thunderstorms, the Haverhill Exchange Club’s annual Hometown Heroes tribute, scheduled to take place beginning at 2 this afternoon, is moving inside. The tribute now takes place in Haverhill City Hall auditorium, second floor of City Hall, 4 Summer St. 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.

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.