Haverhill City Councilors to Hear Proposed Changes to Siting Residential Solar Panels

Haverhill city councilors are expected to move a bit closer tonight to keeping residential solar panels from blighting neighborhoods. Councilor William J. Macek, who successfully fought last year for a moratorium on such ground-based solar farms, is asking the Council’s Administration and Finance Committee to tighten rules on visibility, access and property setbacks. Referring to last year’s proposal for a 250-kilowatt AC array off upper Broadway, Macek said he wants neighbors protected. “It was right in their back yards. It would have been a terrible thing to look at,” Macek said.

Red Cross to Honor ‘Enduring Hero’ LaPierre of Haverhill, Among Others, at Breakfast

Bill LaPierre of Haverhill is one of a number of area residents being honored next month as a “Merrimack Valley Hero” when the American Red Cross and Honda North host the annual Northeast Massachusetts Everyday Heroes Breakfast. Organizers says the ceremony salutes those who have done “extraordinary things.” LaPierre was selected for the honor as “Enduring Hero.”  Besides LaPierre, area heroes include Humanitarian Hero, Ted Bucci and family of Hamilton; Community Hero, Abbey Roundy of Essex; First Responder Heroes, Officer Ted Lane of Beverly and Dr. Vinod Narra of Danvers; Mission Hero, Deb Duxbury of Methuen; Youth Heroes, Zoe Milmoe of Boxford and Molly Wogan of Middleton; Workplace Hero, National Grid; and Philanthropic Hero, Schneider Electric. “Each year, the American Red Cross honors people who go above and beyond in service to others, exemplifying the spirit of our own mission. These heroes are honored in recognition of their good works,” Red Cross officials said in a statement. The breakfast, which is expected to draw more than 500 attendees, takes place Thursday, March 26, from 7:30-9 a.m., at DoubleTree by Hilton Boston North Shore, 50 Ferncroft Road, Danvers.

Haverhill School Committee Almost Ready with Superintendent’s Goals for this School Year

Although it is already mid-February, the Haverhill School Committee is still in the process of hammering out a set of goals for the current school year for Superintendent Margaret Marotta. Committee members submitted multiple plans but have not been able to reach a consensus on what those goals should include.  However, as agreed last Thursday night, they are getting closer. A revised copy of goals was distributed—a plan committee member Toni Sapienza Donais said is very close to being finished. “I think that we’re at like 99.99% agreement on the board with the wording as it currently stands. I think that the one piece that is missing from this is, I believe, meeting with the superintendent for her input on it,” Donais said.

UMass Lowell iHub Aims to Attract Solo Entrepreneurs, Small Teams to Downtown Haverhill

To bolster usage of UMass Lowell’s Haverhill Innovation Hub, the university has rolled out a new membership plan for technology-based startups by sole proprietors. The iHub, as it is known, is located at 2 Merrimack St. Designed to “drive economic innovation throughout the region,” the Haverhill incubator has attracted Microshare, CJK Technologies, Uncommon Catalyst, IT Squared, Stories Podcast and QueueDr.

“The new shared co-working option in Haverhill provides flexibility for single entrepreneurs or small startup teams. It gives them the space they need to work, along with access to supportive resources and programs and professional meeting space, all at a rate that startups can afford,” said Tom O’Donnell, UMass Lowell’s senior director of innovation initiatives and iHub director. Memberships include access to shared co-working space, conference rooms and the university’s secure, high-speed wireless network. In addition, the iHub offers entrepreneurs access to the expertise and research support of UMass Lowell’s world-class faculty.

Commuter Alert: State to Close Single Left Southbound I-495 Lane Wednesday and Thursday

As work progresses on the $102 million I-495 bridge replacement project, commuters face daytime lane restrictions this Wednesday and Thursday between exits 48 and 49. State transportation officials said a single left lane on the southbound side of the highway closes Feb. 19 and 20, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., both days, for joint repairs to the south abutment. Three lanes of a new northbound bridge have been completed and are carrying traffic. The new bridges are designed to last 75 years as opposed to the existing bridges built less than 60 years ago.

Update: Missing 89-Year-Old N.H. Man Found Dead at Haverhill Business Park

An 89-year-old Weare, N.H., man last seen at his home Tuesday, was found dead today, not far from where his abandoned car was found in the Ward Hill Business Park. A Silver Alert was issued yesterday on behalf of Gerard Lemay. Before his yellow 2008 Hyundai Accent was discovered this morning at a parking lot at Covanta’s Haverhill energy-from-waste plant, there was a report he may have been spotted late yesterday afternoon in Methuen. Police said Lemay suffered from Alzheimer’s and dementia. “Preliminary investigation by Massachusetts State Police and Haverhill Police has revealed no evidence of foul play,” said Carrie Kimball, spokeswoman for Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett.

Maker of ‘Wild Bill’s Beef Jerky,’ Other Foods Creating 600 Jobs with New Haverhill Plant

Six hundred new jobs are coming to Haverhill’s Broadway industrial park with the Haverhill Conservation Commission Thursday night giving initial site approval to the maker of Wild Bill’s Beef Jerky and other foods. Monogram, which already has a Wilmington operation, adds to Haverhill’s large and growing portfolio of food manufacturers. The Memphis, Tenn.-based company is expanding in Haverhill at a vacant lot at 20 Computer Drive, off Route 97, officials told the Conservation Commission. Besides Massachusetts, the company operates plants in Virginia, Minnesota, Indiana, Texas, Iowa and Wisconsin. Conservation Commissioners gave the company initial approvals to begin sitework, but the company will be required to come back with a more detailed plan to protect and grow wetlands vegetation.

Council Asks Haverhill Administration to Undertake Cybersecurity Measures

Haverhill, like other cities across the country, is becoming more and more vulnerable to cyberattacks. City Councilor John A. Michitson told his colleagues Tuesday the bad guys have become very sophisticated and on more than one occasion, have crippled cities by getting into their data, encoding it and demanding a ransom to release it again. He cited an attack on Baltimore, Md., late last year. Michitson said that city refused to pay the ransom demand of $76,000. “Disruption to service delivery included property transactions, tax and water billing.