With Ongoing Sewage Overflow Projects Top Priority, Haverhill Plans for Future Environmental Disasters

Haverhill’s top environmental challenge is heavy and frequent rainfall, according to a “natural hazard” assessment. If overwhelmed, combined stormwater and sewage pipes can overflow into the Merrimack River. Hanna Mogensen, of the Merrimack Valley Planning Commission, told Haverhill city councilors Tuesday night the regional assessment allows communities to access federal money for non-emergency measures and offers a “roadmap” to prevent future disasters. Led by Emergency Management Director Robert P. Pistone, also the city’s police chief, city department heads put together Haverhill’s part, identifying 14 ongoing projects key to disaster prevention. Introducing Mogensen, Pistone said the “plan is about 300-odd pages.

Petitioners Plan Rally at Haverhill Holy Family Hospital Campus Before Delivery of Demands to Healey

While the deadline for bidding on, and auctioning off, some Steward Heath Care-owned properties extended to mid-July, activists return to Haverhill today to tell state leaders to save Holy Family Hospital’s Haverhill campus and Nashoba Valley Medical Center in Ayer. The deadline to bid on the hospitals has been extended to July 15 with auctions set for July 18. As WHAV reported last month, Massachusetts Nurse Association Statewide Director Dana Simon told Haverhill city councilors he learned from private conversations with officials that Haverhill’s campus is a great risk of closing absent state intervention. “Within the highest level of the administration, there is a resignation, that maybe it’s just not so important to worry about Haverhill surviving,” Simon said. The public, advocates, caregivers and former patients were to gather at 10 this morning at Zin’s Park, across the street from the Haverhill campus of Holy Family Hospital, before sending a delegation to delivering petitions signed by residents of Haverhill and Ayer to the Gov. Maura T. Healy’s office.

Vargas Receives Resident Backing for Narcan Bill Included in House Opioid Legislation

The Massachusetts House of Representatives last week passed an opioid bill, covering the licensing of recovery coaches, making opioid overdose reversal drugs more accessible, protecting harm reduction providers and removing barriers new mothers in recovery face when they give birth. Rep. Andy X. Vargas, who championed the legislation, won support from Haverhill resident and advocate Nate Robertson. “Opioid addiction has caused incredible damage to our communities, and I am proud that the Commonwealth has continued our steadfast commitment to dismantling stigma and supporting those struggling with addiction,” Vargas said. The bill still must be approved by the Senate and signed by the governor to become law. Vargas said the bill’s approach was shaped by a review of what other states were doing to save lives, included providing Narcan upon discharge from treatment facilities.

Nursing, Sales, Technician and Other Positions Open at MakeIT Haverhill Job Fair Today

Covenant Health, New England Solar Initiative, Atwood Memorial Co. and others are looking for new hires in nursing, sales and technician positions at today’s MakeIT Haverhill Job Fair. Attendees have the opportunity to network with local businesses and connect with career resources. Bilingual assistance is available for Spanish and Haitian Creole speakers. Covenant Health, a collection of Catholic health care facilities, and Vinfen, a nonprofit health and human services organization, are hiring certified nursing assistants, licensed practical nurses and registered nurses.

Sacred Hearts Collects Clothing for St. Vincent de Paul Society

The St. Vincent de Paul Society of Sacred Hearts Parish hosts its annual clothing drive this weekend. Donors can give any lightly worn adult’s and children’s clothing and shoes they may have collected. The Sacred Hearts Food Pantry welcomes donations of macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, jelly and snacks. The clothing drive, also referred to as the Clothing Bundle, benefits the society’s thrift store in Lawrence, which distributes donated clothes to those in need and funds the society’s local outreach programs in Haverhill and surrounding communities.

State Awards Whittier Tech $350,000 Skills Capital Grant for Culinary Arts Program

The Culinary Arts Program at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School last week was awarded a $350,000 state Skills Capital Grant. The Culinary Arts Program will use the grant to update equipment that has aged well past its useful life, and purchase new equipment to enhance the learning experiences. The money comes from nearly $15 million in Skills Capital Grants that were awarded statewide to support the upgrade of technology and instructional lab spaces, expansion of career programs for young people and adults and increase in capacity of workforce training programs.

“We’re delighted that the Commonwealth has recognized the ongoing success of our Culinary Arts Program by providing us with this significant grant,” Superintendent Maureen Lynch said, adding, “The program is utilized by many in the community, from day students to those undertaking adult education, as well as members of the Career Technical Initiative, which provides training to unemployed or underemployed residents.”

Vocational Coordinator Amanda Crosby noted, “Our Culinary Arts Program is open and serves the public for breakfast and lunch four days a week. They host monthly buffets and work with local senior centers to prepare and serve low-cost meals. Receiving this grant allows Whittier Tech to continue to provide industry relevant training to all students, while also meeting the workforce demands.”

Skills Capital Grants are awarded by the state’s Workforce Skills Cabinet, which aligns education, economic development and workforce policies to meet employers’ demand for skilled workers.

Superior Court Jury Convicts Haverhill Man in Murder of Former Groveland Building Inspector

A jury in Salem Superior Court convicted Leedell Graham of Haverhill for the 2019 murder of Patsy “Pat” Schena, who was 82 when he was killed inside his home on Governor’s Road in Groveland. Graham was found guilty of murder in the first degree with extreme atrocity or cruelty and breaking and entering with the intent to commit larceny over $1,200. Sentencing by Judge Kathleen McCarthy-Neyman is scheduled for Friday, June 21, at 9:30 a.m. in Salem Superior Court. “While no one can undo this horrific murder, we hope that the verdict in this case brings Mr. Schena’s family some small measure of peace in the knowledge that justice has been served,” Essex County District Attorney Paul F. Tucker said in a statement this morning. As WHAV reported five years ago, police said former Groveland building inspector Schena was said to have known Graham through “business dealings” not related to Schena’s town position.

Haverhill Mayor Announces Cooling Centers, Options as Temp to Reach 99 Thursday

With a high of 99 degrees Fahrenheit Thursday, Haverhill Mayor Melinda E. Barrett designated places around the city residents can go to cool down. The Citizens Center will be open 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the rest of the week, particularly for those “who are struggling—perhaps they don’t want to pay an electric bill in their homes—especially the elderly, who may be struggling with utility payments,” Barrett said at last night’s City Council meeting. For unhoused people seeking shelter, the mayor said the city guarantees cooldown options all day Thursday. Community Action’s Drop-In Center, 16 Ashland St., will be open Thursday and Friday, 7 a.m. to noon. Common Ground Café will be open noon to 3:30 p.m. Thursday and Emmaus House from 3 p.m. on.