Residents Say Zoning Board Member Falsely Called Them Racist, Demand Accountability

Reporter’s note: WHAV intended “Why One Haverhill Zoning Board Member Voted ‘Yes’ on a Proposal Nearby Residents Opposed” to explain how the views, beliefs and experiences of a public official led her to vote a certain way. Wood School residents said a zoning board member should face consequences for, what they believe, was a false accusation of racism after she told WHAV why she voted yes on a variance they opposed at a January meeting. Board of Appeals member Kassie Infante told WHAV in a recent interview she was not calling them racist, but rather takes a “different angle” on how race affects housing access. “Whether or not race is explicitly talked about, it’s always at play,” she said. “I never, once, called anyone racist.”

At the Jan.

Emmaus Spring Gala, Sip, Sample & Support, Set for May 16

The third annual Emmaus spring gala, “Sip, Sample & Support,” kicks off May 16 with its signature event—the cocktail contest—overseen by WMUR-TV anchor Katherine Underwood, master of ceremonies. Local restaurants will create samples of their signature cocktails and compete for attendee votes as the “Best Cocktail in Haverhill.” Hors d’oeuvres will be served during the cocktail hour

Also under the main tent will be live music, a heads and tails game and opportunities to sample wine and food pairings from four different countries. The night concludes with dessert, a live auction hosted by City Councilor Timothy J. Jordan and more. The 21+ Sip, Sample & Support, benefitting Emmaus, takes place Thursday, May 16, from 5:30-9 p.m., at Bradford Country Club, 201 Chadwick Road, Haverhill. Business casual attire is recommended, with purple color preferred.

Councilors Honor Outgoing Haverhill Conservation Commissioner LaCroix; Two Partners Join Board

As city officials celebrated filling the new volunteer Conservation Commission partner role, outgoing Commissioner Phillip LaCroix received an official citation for his 20 years of service at last week’s City Council meeting. “This is the first time we have conservation partners, who will help do the work that the conservation commission just can’t get to, or do some digging on things that are upcoming for them,” Mayor Melinda E. Barrett said. In February, as WHAV reported, city councilors considered creating the partner role to help the board keep up with its growing responsibilities, particularly guiding the city on how to use its open spaces. “It is not a commission post that you mail in,” Barrett said of LaCroix’s job. “It is a lot of work, a lot of study and a lot of effort, and Phil has exhibited all during his 20 years, and the city is grateful for his work and efforts.”

Environmental Health Technician Robert E. Moore Jr., who works closely with the commission, said it usually takes three years to train new commissioners due to the complexity of the regulations they navigate.

Haverhill Rotary Club Seeks Grants Applications from Nonprofits

The Haverhill Rotary Club is seeking applications for its annual grant program. Internal Revenue Service-recognized 501 (c)(3) organizations providing services to the Greater Haverhill community are welcome to apply. Priority will be given to applicants who are providing services in one of Rotary International’s seven key focus areas: Saving Mothers and Children, Supporting Education, Growing Local Economies, Fighting Disease, Supporting the Environment, Providing Clean Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and Promoting Peace. Applicants may request up to $5,000 to support their operations or programs.

Those interested are advised to email Rotary Club Secretary John Cuneo at [email protected] to receive a blank application form. Completed applications are due by Tuesday, April 30.

River Run Bancorp Promotes Wilson to Executive Vice President

Carol Wilson was recently promoted to executive vice president, operational excellence and performance management at River Run Bancorp, MHC, parent of Pentucket Bank and Newburyport Bank. In her new capacity, officials said, Wilson assumes responsibility for spearheading organizational efficiency, streamlining processes and nurturing a culture of continuous enhancement. “Carol’s keen focus on data and metrics makes her the ideal individual for a role that will have a significant impact on the operational excellence of River Run and our banks, particularly as we continue to grow,” said River Run CEO Lloyd Hamm. Wilson, of Bedford, N.H., brings more than 25 years of experience in the banking sector, having most recently held the position of senior vice president and chief experience officer at Pentucket Bank. She earned her bachelor’s from Bethel University and also studied at Massachusetts School of Financial Studies and New England College of Business and Finance.

Haverhill School Committee Member Sullivan May Vie for Early’s Whitter Tech Seat at April 25 Meeting

In a surprising turn, Haverhill School Committee member Gail M. Sullivan appears to be under consideration for Richard P. Early Jr.’s seat on the Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School Committee. Interviews for Early’s seat will now be held at the committee’s next meeting on April 25. Member Richard J. Rosa said City Solicitor Lisa L. Mead initially advised members to turn Sullivan away. “She felt that we could not elect one of our own, even though we had been doing that for many years,” he said at last night’s meeting. After Mead consulted the state ethics commission, Rosa said it turned out the School Committee could appoint one of its members to the Whittier Tech school board.

Haverhill’s Michitson Calls on State Not to Weaken Rules Requiring Remote Access to Public Meetings

The governor is trying to change the provision of the Open Meeting Law that requires cities and towns to provide remote access to public meetings, but one elected Haverhill official thinks the plan is shortsighted. Haverhill City Councilor John A. Michitson told his colleagues Tuesday night the state should leave the pandemic-era policy alone. “She basically wants to give an opt-out to cities and towns because they may have technical difficulties, and I would like to recommend that we send a letter to our delegation keeping the current policy at the state level,” he said. Healey’s proposed Municipal Empowerment Act allows hybrid meetings, but does not endorse remote access or ensure it will continue. “It’s far too important, right, to have people have an opportunity that can’t make it here, to call in, and then if we’re on business travel, for example, we can still call into the meeting and do our job, fulfill our responsibility,” Michitson said.

Podcast: Haverhill Mayor Barrett Brings Listeners Behind the Scenes on School Decisions

In a wide-ranging interview with WHAV this week, Haverhill Mayor Melinda E. Barrett took listeners behind the scenes on recent moves affecting the futures of both the “big” and “little” Whittier schools. Barrett, in her fourth month working out of the corner office at City Hall, took some time Wednesday to appear on WHAV’s “Win for Breakfast” program. The mayor said she spoke with Gov. Maura T. Healey recently as plans took shape to explore a shared campus for Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School and Northern Essex Community College. “So, the idea would be to build a Whittier Vo-Tech and align it with NECCO so they could capture some different dollars rather than just the 11 communities relying on (Massachusetts School Building Authority) and their own tax levy capacities. This would open up even more grant opportunities, some federal funding, take advantage of job training monies that might be out there from both the state and federal government to try to reduce the cost to the communities and produce a school that will produce workers for the future,” she said.