Pineau Wins City Approval to Move Forward With Downtown Haverhill Marijuana Shop Stem

Caroline Pineau’s retail marijuana shop Stem is officially coming to 124 Washington St., in Haverhill’s downtown district after city councilors voted Tuesday night to grant the entrepreneur a special permit to do business. The vote followed a three week legal battle for the 32-year-old Haverhill resident, who first expressed interest in opening a marijuana location downtown in fall 2018. As she told councilors Tuesday, Pineau is one of 120 economic empowerment applicants given priority status by the state’s Cannabis Control Commission, and will now receive front-of-the-line privileges when Haverhill’s first marijuana location opens for business later this year. Of the nine-member Council, seven voted in favor of the special permit, with Joseph J. Bevilacqua voting against and Michael S. McGonagle abstaining, given his conflict of interest as the landlord for another potential marijuana shop on Amesbury Road eyed by the Mellow Fellows. According to Pineau, the faith the CCC has in her—along with her commitment to the Haverhill community—leaves her with a strong desire to do the right thing when bringing cannabis to the city.

PHOTO: Exchange Club Honors Haverhill Police, Fire, EMS First Responders

Haverhill’s Exchange Club said a big ‘Thank you’ to the city’s first responders last week during the 2019 presentation of awards for police officer, firefighter and emergency medical person of the year over lunch at Maria’s Restaurant downtown. Receiving awards and accolades for their service to the Haverhill Police Department were Detective Dana Burrill Jr., Detective Taylor Anderson and Officer Albert Betances, all honored as police officers of the year. Trinity EMS paramedics Benjamin Schmitz and Harry Ellis accepted emergency medical person of the year awards, while colleagues Rodney Nutter, Michael D’Angelo and Michael Clohisy from the Haverhill Fire Department were celebrated as firefighters of the year. “The stories of their bravery, hard work and dedication were truly heartwarming,” Exchange Club representatives said after the June 13 lunch. “It was wonderful recognizing those who work so hard, risking their lives, sacrificing time with loved ones to do the work they love doing to keep our community safe.”

Daytime Lane Closures Planned on I-495 North This Week, Says MassDOT

Here we go again, Haverhill. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has announced another round of lane closures planned for Wednesday, June 19 and Thursday, June 20 as the bridge replacement project progresses on Interstate 495. Single left lane closures are expected between exit 48 and 49 during the hours of 6 a.m.-1 p.m., impacting northbound travel to allow for the installation of new roadway material along the highway median. Work is weather dependent and drivers are asked to look for signage and reduce speed through the construction area.

Marijuana Shop Foes Lose 11th Hour Bid to Halt Pineau’s Special Permit Hearing

An emergency motion filed by attorneys for Stavros Dimakis, Lloyd Jennings and J. Bradford Brooks late Monday afternoon in Boston Land Court seeking to delay Caroline Pineau’s special permit hearing before Haverhill’s City Council was denied by Judge Robert B. Foster, WHAV has confirmed. In denying the trio’s motion, Foster said he would consider an appeal of the granting—or denial—of Pineau’s special permit. The plaintiffs also amended their original complaint Monday and dropped federal complaints made, sending the case back to land court. Following Foster’s decision, Pineau will be heard by councilors tonight at 7 p.m., six months after she inked a host community agreement with Mayor James J. Fiorentini to sell retail marijuana at 124 Washington St. at a store called Stem.

Three Female Newcomers Pull Papers for Haverhill School Committee

Ahead of November’s municipal election, three female newcomers are hoping to shake up the race for Haverhill’s open School Committee seats. Longtime city educator Toni Donais is the latest hopeful to pull papers in the upcoming race, joining Marlon Street’s Patricia McDonald and attorney Melissa Lewandowski, the daughter of former Haverhill School Committee member Glen Lewandowski. Donais, however, told WHAV Monday she remains undecided as to if she’ll actually pursue a School Committee run, having just been named administrator of Walnut Square School in Superintendent Margaret Marotta’s new “rightsizing” plan for the upcoming year. All candidates who take out papers with the Haverhill City Clerk’s office have until July 1 to return 50 certified signatures in order to appear on the ballot. As of Monday’s news deadline, a preliminary election would take place in September to narrow the field before November’s election.

Whittier Tech Teaming With YMCA to Open Childcare Center This Fall

Next fall, Greater Haverhill students and families will be able to take advantage of a unique resource at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School when the Haverhill YMCA opens an early childcare center, to be constructed and staffed by students pursuing a variety of careers. This week, Whittier and the Haverhill YMCA announced plans for the program—open to infants, toddlers and pre-school students in Amesbury, Merrimac, Haverhill, Byfield, Georgetown, Groveland, Salisbury, West Newbury, Newburyport and Newbury—which will be housed at the Tech in a self-contained wing of the school. Early Education and Care teacher Michelle Ring explains the program will benefit students of all career tracks. “The new center will allow students in every grade, starting with freshman exploratory, to work with children throughout every stage of their studies,” Ring said. “It was also important for us to remain competitive with our surrounding school districts that have child care centers on site.”

YMCA Regional Executive Director Tracy Fuller is equally as exited about the partnership.

Haverhill Police Beat New England Patriots 15-13 in Weekend Softball Game

It’s another W for the HPD! The Haverhill Police Department softball team chalked up a victory on Saturday against the New England Patriots during this year’s celebrity softball classic, walking away winners after the annual match with a final score of 15-13. WHAV was the only media outlet at the game as Haverhill Police standouts Officer Matthew Marshall, Officer John Orsillo and Sgt. Thomas Howell helped the first responder team beat the Super Bowl champion Patriots, led by Max Lane and Steve DeOssie. Rounding out the police team were Officers Nicole Donnelly, Brittney Birch, Kevin O’Brien, Carlos Arriaga, Bryan Bailey, Kevin DeCarvalho, Ryan Connolly, Justin Graham, Kevin Tracy and Daniel McDonald.

Haverhill Public Meetings: Week of June 17

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. Tuesday, June 18

MassHire’s Merrimack Valley Workforce Board meets at 8:15 a.m. in the Mary Kivell Conference Room, 255 Essex St., 4th floor, Lawrence, to discuss budget updates. Next year’s Haverhill Public Schools’ budget is discussed during an open conference beginning at 5 p.m. in room 204 of City Hall, 4 Summer St., Haverhill. The Haverhill School Committee holds a special meeting to select the finalist for the assistant superintendent for finance and operations position at 7 p.m. in the superintendent’s conference room of City Hall.