Haverhill Book Buddies Reading Program Opens Registration

Haverhill Book Buddies is celebrating the end of the 2023 to 2024 school year and opens registration for next year’s Book Buddy volunteers to the public. Associated with Haverhill Promise, Haverhill Book Buddies has supported literacy in third grade classrooms throughout Haverhill for the past three years. This year, 403 students across five elementary schools and 20 classrooms participated alongside 500 volunteers from Book Buddies and Letter Screeners. More than 1,000 new books were distributed and over 2,000 letters were exchanged between the students and volunteers. Book Buddies has once again opened its volunteer registration for those looking to participate as a Book Buddy in the 2024 to 2025 school year.

Health Care Bill Passes Senate, Calls for Curbs on For-Profit Hospital Owner Abuses

A health care bill, passed by the Massachusetts Senate late last week, aims to curb alleged abuses by investor-owned hospitals and others that legislators say were highlighted by the financial collapse of the parent of Holy Family Hospital campuses in Methuen and Haverhill. The bill, which still must be reconciled with a House version, advanced 38-2 even as the fate of Steward Health Care-owned hospitals in the state remained unknown. Senate President Karen E. Spilka in a release, “As we stare down a health care market plagued by high costs and the fallout from private equity mismanagement, the Senate has doubled down on our responsibility to our residents, making us a national leader in safeguarding patients, expanding access to care and holding private equity accountable.”

Locally, Sen Pavel M. Payano hailed the passage of his health equity amendment that would place advocates on the Health Policy Commission oversight board. “This bill represents a significant step forward towards addressing systemic disparities and promoting fair access to health care for all residents. The inclusion of health equity advocates on the Health Policy Commission oversight board ensures that our most vulnerable populations have a voice in the decision-making process, fostering greater accountability and transparency in our health care system,” Payano said.

Haverhill Public Library Hosts Virtual Author Talk for ‘A Gentleman and a Thief’

Haverhill Public Library presents Dean Jobb, the author of “A Gentleman and a Thief: The Daring Jewel Heists of a Jazz Age Rogue,” in a virtual author talk Monday night. Attendees can listen to the Canadian author discuss his work and the process of writing his newest book with Vanity Fair Senior Media Correspondent Joe Pompeo. The event is sponsored by Friends of the Ashland Public Library and in held partnership with multiple other public libraries throughout Massachusetts. The virtual talk takes place via Zoom Monday, July 22, from 7 to 8 p.m. Attendees must register in advance at zoom.us. For more information about the event and registration, visit the events page at haverhillpl.org.

Two-Alarm Fire Saturday in Haverhill Displaces Residents; Blaze Began in Mulch Outside Building

There were no injuries, but up to a dozen residents were displaced Saturday afternoon after a two-alarm fire at a multifamily building on Arlington Street in Haverhill. Haverhill Fire Chief Robert M. O’Brien said the fire appears to have been started by careless disposal of cigarettes in mulch near the front entrance of the home at 34-36 Arlington St. “It was very apparent that the heavy, heavy charring—the stairs were gone, burned. You could tell the pattern, how it burns from the outside in,” O’Brien told WHAV. Firefighters were dispatched around 3:45 p.m., Saturday, with crews from Water Street Central Station responding to the four-family, two-and-a-half story apartment building.

Spanish Conversation Practice at the Public Library Today

Haverhill Public Library hosts a Spanish Conversation Practice Today. Interested attendees are invited to come improve their conversational Spanish in a supportive and friendly environment. The session is free and open to the public. The session will be held today, July 20, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Milhendler Room of the Haverhill Public Library, 99 Main St.

Sens. Markey and Sanders Plan to Force Steward CEO to Answer Questions in Congress

A congressional committee led by Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey plans to subpoena Steward Health Care CEO Ralph de la Torre, after reports of financial mismanagement have led to the hospital chain declaring bankruptcy. In the course of its bankruptcy proceedings, Steward opened bids on its seven hospitals operating in Massachusetts, including Holy Family Hospital with campuses in Methuen and Haverhill, which were due at the start of this week. As of Wednesday, the state’s top public health official had no information on where those bids stood. “Perhaps more than anyone else in America, Dr. Ralph de la Torre, the CEO of Steward Health Care, is the poster child for the type of outrageous corporate greed that is permeating through our for-profit health care system,” read a joint statement Thursday from Markey, who chairs the U.S. Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security, and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, chair of the HELP Committee. “Working with private equity forces, Dr. de la Torre became obscenely wealthy by loading up hospitals from Massachusetts to Arizona with billions in debt and sold the land underneath these hospitals to real estate executives who charge unsustainably high rent.

UNICO Merrimack Valley Presents Leadership Award to Former Haverhill Councilor Bevilacqua

Former Haverhill city councilor and Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce President Joseph J. Bevilacqua this week was presented with the UNICO Merrimack Valley Leadership Award. UNICO Merrimack Valley is a chapter of the largest Italian-American service organization in the country that was founded in 1922. UNICO Board President Domenico Staniscia presented Bevilacqua, of Haverhill, with the award during the group’s annual meeting at Haverhill Country Club. Among those congratulating the Chamber president and former Haverhill city councilor were Consul General of Italy Arnaldo Minuti. “UNICO” means “unique” or “only one of its kind” in Italian, and the letters stand for Unity, Neighborliness, Integrity, Charity and Opportunity.

Haverhill Hound Rod and Gun Club Fishing Derby July 27

Haverhill Hound Rod and Gun Club is holding an all-ages Fishing Derby on Chadwick Pond. Attendees can look forward to catching a variety of fish such as Largemouth Bass, Bluegill, Chain Pickerel, Black Crappie, Pumpkinseed, Smallmouth Bass and Yellow Perch. The prize for the heaviest fish is $250, second heaviest is $100 and the third $50. Other prizes will be awarded to the top three heaviest fish caught by kids. Those interested must bring their own kayak, rowboat or canoe, as gas engines are prohibited on the pond.