Haverhill Police Department Promotes 15-Year Veteran Keenan to Sergeant

Chief Alan R. DeNaro and Mayor James J. Fiorentini Monday celebrated the 15-year career of Haverhill Police Officer James Keenan by promoting him to the rank of sergeant at a City Hall ceremony attended by Keenan’s family, colleagues and department command staff. City Clerk Linda L. Koutoulas administered the oath of office to Keenan before he was pinned by his wife as his three daughters and parents looked on. DeNaro was among those to praise Keenan for his accomplishment, offering words of advice as he enters his new role within the department. “Keep in mind that we’re here to serve the public and we want to serve them like we’d serve our families, so if you stay in that frame of mind, things are going to go really well for you,” DeNaro said. Keenan, who currently serves as the president of the Haverhill Police Relief Association, is anxious to jump right into his new position.

Northern Essex’s Glenn Pushes for Police Higher Ed. Requirements at Statehouse

Northern Essex Community College leaders were in Boston late last week to push for higher education requirements for police officers across the Commonwealth, delivering testimony during a hearing in front of the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security at the Statehouse. The proposed bill backed by Glenn and NECC Chief Operating Officer Mike McCarthy, who joined Glenn at the Statehouse Thursday, comes at a time when the Merrimack Valley is working to manage a shortage in available police officers. Last month, Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini sought to hire part-time officers to help ease the deficit. During his appearance in Boston last week, Glenn supported a bill presented by Rep. Paul A. Tucker and Sen. Michael O. Moore, that would require candidates for full-time police positions to have an associate degree in criminal justice, among other suggested higher education alternatives. Currently, there are no education requirements for officers in the Commonwealth, except for those covered by Civil Service, who must have a high school diploma, equivalency certificate or three years’ experience in the armed forces.

Haverhill Public Meetings—Week of July 15: School Repairs Among Top Items

The public has opportunities to shape policy this week as various Haverhill boards meet. In the interest of transparency in government, WHAV provides this list of upcoming meetings every week. The status of school roof repairs taking place during summer vacation is one focus of Haverhill’s Joint Facilities Subcommittee of the School Committee and City Council planned for tomorrow. Councilor Colin F. LePage, one of two city councilors on the committee, said he is looking for information on “multiple school roof repairs,” other building repairs, whether a “master matrix of repairs” was completed and the status of hiring maintenance workers. Members are also expected to learn of any updates to hear updates on discussed repairs or replacements of the Albert B. Consentino and John Greenleaf Whittier middle schools.

Lawrence Man Allegedly Throws Wheelchair at Disabled Man, Assaults Haverhill Police Officer

A fight at Haverhill’s GAR Park on July 10 turned violent when police say a Lawrence man who admitted to drinking and taking the drug “Molly” pushed a disabled man out of his wheelchair and threw the chair at him. Haverhill Police Officers Conor Clark and Eric MacKinnon were dispatched to the park just before 7 p.m. last Wednesday to find 44-year-old Jose Defrancesco with bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and a staggered stance. According to Clark, he smelled heavily of alcohol. During his conversation with police, Defrancesco denied an eyewitness report that he threw the chair. Instead, he told police he was “helping out” his friend.

Haverhill Author, Publisher Named as Finalist for Prestigious Writing Award

Haverhill author and Haverhill House Publishing owner John M. McIlveen was recently named of one of nine finalists from around the world for the Wilbur Smith Adventure Writing Prize. The author of more than a dozen books, McIlveen’s unpublished novel, “Girl Gone North,” is his entry under consideration. The ultimate prize is a publication deal for the novel with Bonnier Books UK. The manuscripts were selected as finalists moved through a blind review process of more than 400 manuscripts. This year, selected winners reflect a diverse batch of writers, with a nearly equal balance between male and female writers, and authors hailing from United States, United Kingdom and South Africa.

Haverhill Plants Nearly 500 Trees With Plans for Hundreds More, Says Fiorentini

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini announced last week that the Department of Conservation and Recreation planted 462 trees this spring. The large haul is part of the city’s three-year tree-planting effort, which has resulted in hundreds of trees planted citywide. The plan will be completed this fall, with Fiorentini aiming to have 500 additional trees planted by then. Trees from this initiative are not the only ones being planted, with city funds allowing for another 150 annually. Previously, the city had faced controversy over the locations of the trees.

As $90 Million I-495 Bridge Replacement Continues, Expect Nighttime Lane Closures Next Week

As work progresses to build new Merrimack River bridges along I-495 in Haverhill, lane closures will take place beginning Monday night. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation says drivers should expect overnight lane closures on both north and southbound lanes in Haverhill between exits 48 and 49. Work takes place between Monday and Thursday nights, between 7 p.m., and 5 a.m. the following morning. The approximately $90 million bridge project will result five northbound lanes and four southbound lanes. It is expected to be complete during the spring of 2022.

Haverhill Police Plan Aug. 6 National Night Out at Swasey Field

Haverhill Police Chief Alan DeNaro and his command staff invite city families to attend this year’s National Night Out event on Tuesday, Aug. 6 from 5-8 p.m. at Swasey Field on Blaisdell Street. The event—part of a larger nationwide effort that puts a focus on community policing—features a chance to meet and mingle with police officers, a cookout, family-friendly activities like face painting and a magic show and inflatable amusements. As in years’ past, several local celebrities will be taking a turn in the dunk tank. All events are free and open to all Haverhill residents.