Sapienza Donais Frowns on Staff Working From Home, Seeks Haverhill School Committee Policy

Some Haverhill School Department employees are allowed to work from home on certain days, while others cannot—all at the discretion of the superintendent. Toni Sapienza Donais, Haverhill School Committee’s newest member, wants the School Committee to decide the policy to ensure fairness. She is starting her first term strong with a number of agenda items Thursday. “I definitely wanted to hit the ground running. I advertised in my campaign about my 40 years’ experience,” she told WHAV.

Fiorentini Addresses Traffic, Housing, Schools, Other Issues on WHAV’s ‘Win for Breakfast’

Haverhill Mayor James J. Fiorentini addressed traffic along Route 125, school building construction, gang problems, housing, the city’s cable television contract and other issues when he appeared on WHAV’s “Win for Breakfast” Tuesday morning. The mayor said the state put too many traffic lights on S. Main Street to “cure a non-existent” problem of pedestrian injuries in Central Square. He said the city is powerless to change the traffic lights because that is under control of the state. “It stinks,” Fiorentini said. The mayor also said he was the one who proposed building new schools to replace Dr. Albert B. Consentino, John Greenleaf Whittier and John C. Tilton Schools.

Haverhill Mayor Reconsiders Seeking State Aid for Whittier School; Will Submit HHS Roof

Mayor James J. Fiorentini says he may have erred when he told a school parent activist the city would not submit a request to the state this year to replace the John Greenleaf Whittier School. Fiorentini acknowledged sending parent Paige Caswell the bad news in an email last Thursday. He says, though, he doesn’t want to raise “false hope” the Massachusetts School Building Authority will accept the project. He told WHAV, “I’m still hoping Whittier will be in the pipeline, but there’s no chance the state will approve it. They made it crystal clear.

Haverhill’s Comcast Contract Stalls as Negotiating Partner Becomes Brockton’s New Mayor

Haverhill has been on the verge of inking a new contract with Comcast for some months now, but the city lost its negotiating partner when, of all things, the cable representative was elected mayor of Brockton. Comcast Senior Manager Robert F. Sullivan was sworn in as Brockton’s mayor Jan. 6 after taking about 60 percent of the vote last November. He began campaigning for the seat last July when that city’s mayor, William Carpenter, died in office unexpectedly. That was about the time Haverhill was wrapping up talks with Sullivan.

Ruth’s House Receives $20K From Wadleigh Foundation; Supports Coats, Clothing, Pajama Programs

Ruth’s House, the Lafayette Square thrift shop, has received a $20,000 grant from the George C. Wadleigh Foundation. The Foundation awards grants primarily to organizations caring for indigent seniors and individuals in the Greater Haverhill area. “In any given one-month period, Ruth’s House provides nearly 16,000 articles of clothing to low income families and individuals,” said Barbara Donegan, board president. “We are again grateful to the George C. Wadleigh Foundation for supporting Ruth’s House in our mission of providing clothing to those in need, as well as providing job skills training.”

The grant supports the Elderly Coat, Client Clothing and Child Pajama Programs, among others. Under the coat program, every qualifying senior age 50 and up receives a new or gently used winter coat, with a hat, scarf and gloves.

Haverhill Police Committee Discusses Traffic Problem at New Plaistow Road Signal

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. Haverhill Police Department’s Traffic and Safety Committee discusses traffic and safety concerns Wednesday that stem from last year’s placement of a traffic light at a new $5 million complex of five restaurants on Plaistow Road. Councilor Michael S. McGonagle requested the discussion at the Jan. 7 meeting of the Haverhill City Council.

Rep. Dean Campbell Applauds Passage of ‘Nicky’s Bill;’ Sent to Gov. Baker for Enactment

Legislation to protect individuals with intellectual or developmental disabilities from abuse at the hands of care providers passed the state House of Representatives last week with a unanimous vote of 154-0. The bill, first submitted three years ago, was filed by Rep. Linda Dean Campbell and Sen. Michael Moore It passed the Senate unanimously last October and awaits Gov. Charlie Baker’s signature. The legislation addresses a shortcoming in the powers of the state’s Disabled Persons Protection Commission in that when an investigation finds that a care provider has committed serious abuse against an individual with a disability, the Commission can only communicate the investigation results to the care provider’s current employer. According to Campbell’s office, “Unless the care provider is convicted in a criminal court, and very few are, there is no way for other employers to know that the care provider previously committed abuse. This means abusive care providers can easily seek new employment in the same line of work, where they are able to abuse again.”

Campbell said, “The stories of these families are gut-wrenching and too numerous.

Emmaus Offers Free Breakfast, Lunch During Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday; Seeks Volunteers

A free hot breakfast and lunch, children’s activities, raffles, giveaways and a community resource fair are among the offerings Monday when Emmaus commemorates Martin Luther King Jr. Day. “MLK Day: Continuing the Legacy of Dr. King” takes place at Trinity Episcopal Church, 26 White St., Haverhill, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The event is open to single adults and families with children. The first 150 households registered will receive a “Healthy Living” kit filled with useful items such as first-aid kits, deodorant, water bottles and personal care items.

Emmaus’ main goals are to provide nutritious food and educational resources to local homeless and low-income households on a day when most other community organizations are closed. Breakfast takes place from 10-11 a.m., and lunch from noon-1:30 p.m.

Emmaus is also seeking individual or group volunteers to help Sunday, Jan. 19 with event set-up at 1:30 p.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church, and Monday, from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., during three-to-four-hour shifts.