Podcast: Pentucket Bank Closes Main Office Today in Prep For Redevelopment, Reopens Riverside

Pentucket Bank closes its main branch today and opens a temporary downtown office as well as a revamped Riverside branch—all in preparation for a $160 million downtown Haverhill redevelopment. The long-considered plans, first reported by WHAV more than two years ago and confirmed last year, are now taking shape following developer Salvatore N. Lupoli’s closing on city and bank land. The mixed-use housing and retail project covers White’s Corner through the entirety of what is known as the Herbert H. Goecke Jr. Memorial Parking Deck. Pentucket Bank CEO Jonathan H. Dowst and President Eric G. Leuteritz detailed the plans Tuesday morning for WHAV listeners. “We’ve been planning our stadium branch renovation for quite some time.

Healey Threatens Steward Hospitals with Admission Freezes, Closing Beds if Demands Not Met by Friday

Gov. Maura Healey Tuesday released a list of demands—including financial records and safe staffing and supply levels—she said she is making of Steward Health Care, owner of Holy Family Hospitals in Haverhill and Methuen. Healey, in a letter sent to Steward CEO Ralph de la Torre, asked the chain to take a number of steps by Friday or face the state “freezing admissions, closing beds, canceling procedures and transferring patients to other hospitals.” One step asks Steward to produce financial records that are required of other health care systems, but that Steward has refused to submit for years.” The governor said information would show whether spending and resources might “put profits over patient care.”

“The time has come to move past our many months of discussions and begin executing a safe, orderly transition of your seven licensed facilities in Massachusetts to new operators as soon as possible,” the letter read. The governor went on to say, “For years, you have refused to engage in the same level of basic transparency that every other system in Massachusetts offers by not releasing your audited financial statements,” wrote Healey. “Your continued refusal to do so, particularly at this moment, is irresponsible and an affront to the patients, workers and communities that the Steward hospitals serve. It also leads to a further breakdown in trust and creates a major roadblock to our ability to work together to resolve this effectively.”

Steward disputed that the chain hasn’t provided financial data.

Attorney General Hosts First Community Action Hours Saturday in Lawrence

The public is invited Saturday to learn about help and resources available from the state attorney general’s office during Community Action Hours Saturday in Lawrence. In the first in a series of community outreach programs, Attorney General Andrea Joy Campbell’s Community Engagement Division and Consumer Advocacy and Response Division staff will present information in both English and Spanish. Her office, according to the attorney general’s website, protects consumers, combats fraud and corruption, investigates and prosecutes crime and protects the environment, workers and civil rights. Community Action Hours take place Saturday, Feb. 24, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., at the Lawrence Public Library, 51 Lawrence St., Lawrence.

Whittier Birthplace’s Virtual Lecture Series Looks at Whittier Covered Bridge Thursday

Kim Varney Chandler, author of “Covered Bridges of New Hampshire,” shares the history of the Whittier Covered Bridge in Ossipee, N.H., during an online talk Thursday sponsored by Haverhill’s Whittier Birthplace. The bridge, built around 1870 and presumably by Jacob Berry, is one of 22 Paddleford truss bridges remaining in the world. The 133-foot covered bridge, which appears on the National Register of Historic Places, was saved from demolition more than once and remains an integral part of the Ossipee community. The talk, part of Whittier Birthplace’s Virtual Lecture Series, takes place Thursday, Feb. 22, from 7-8 p.m., via Zoom.

Officials Identify Remains of Haverhill Man Missing Since Last July; Found in Saugus Sunday

The skeletal remains of a 53-year-old Haverhill man, last seen last July, were discovered Sunday morning in Saugus woods. Essex County District Attorney Paul F. Tucker’s office said Tuesday the remains were positively identified by the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner as those of John F. Lawler of Haverhill. Tucker and Saugus Police Chief Michael Ricciardelli said a person walking a dog discovered the remains in the woods off David Drive, Saugus, and notified police shortly after 10 a.m.

Lawler was reported missing last July 14. According to the National Institute of Justice’s National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, Lawler was “last seen walking toward Route 1 carrying his fishing pole.”

Tucker’s office said an investigation remains open pending a final determination by the medical examiner of the cause of death, adding, “While this remains an active and ongoing investigation by Massachusetts State Police Detectives assigned to the District Attorney’s office and Saugus police, there is no known risk to the public.”

Haverhill Cultural Council Awards Grants for Music, Art and Other Community Programs

Haverhill Garden Club’s “Edible Avenue on the Bradford Rail Trail Extension” is one of more than three dozen concerts, art displays, movies, plays and other community programs in the works thanks to more than $50,000 in grant awards this year by the Haverhill Cultural Council. Visitors to the rail trail will also be able to enjoy a Team Haverhill-sponsored Art Walk as well as the traditional downtown Haverhill Art Walk. Other art-related programs are sponsored by Whittier Birthplace, which plans an open house weekend and art show, and Haverhill YMCA’s Teen Art Nights. Citywide, musical programs include the Jumpin’ Juba Senior Concert, Creeque Alley: A Tribute to American Folk Music and 60s folk-rock, Hip Hop Chair Dance for Seniors, a Summer Series by the Merrimack Valley Concert Band, fall shows at the New Moon Coffeehouse and more. The infrastructure behind many arts and cultural activities is also getting a boost with $2,000 going to the Haverhill High School ceramics studio for the purchase and installation of clay storage unit, $1,500 to the John Greenleaf Whittier School for a sound system to be used for productions, $1,000 to the East Parish Meeting House for grounds and building maintenance

Each year, the local Council distributes its allocation of money from the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Third Annual Digital Equity Challenge to Award $10,000 in Search for Internet Access Solutions

An estimated one in five Essex County residents lacks access to internet service and computers, along with an understanding of how to use digital devices. Aiming to solve this disparity, the third annual Digital Equity Challenge invites individuals with ideas that address these issues to enter the annual pitch contest, which will award $10,000 in cash prizes to the most promising solutions. Essex County Community Foundation Director of Strategic Initiatives Kate Machet says there is more work to do. “We look forward to hearing from this year’s contestants about their visions for increasing access to the digital resources needed to navigate life today.”

Individuals of all ages, including college and high school students, along with business and nonprofit professionals, may apply online by Friday, March 29 to participate. Six finalists, to be announced in April, will be invited to pitch their ideas May 2 at the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub in Haverhill.

National Grid Available Thursday in Haverhill for Those Who Need Help with Energy Bills

National Grid plans to have customer advocates on hand Thursday to help residents manage their energy bills or obtain assistance paying. Representatives will discuss such options as discount rate, payment plans, budget billing and the utility’s Arrears Management Program Thursday, Feb. 22, from 10 a.m.- 1 p.m., at the Citizens Center, 10 Welcome St., Haverhill. No appointment is needed, but residents are advised to bring benefit cards and/or program acceptance letters if they receive SNAP, MassHealth, SSI or WIC in order to enroll in the discount rate program.