School Committee Makes ‘Proactive’ Strides Amid NRT Woes: Two Buses Added, Safety Concerns Addressed

Three weeks into the year, the Haverhill School Committee continues to make “proactive” strides in the wake of transportation woes that marred the Aug. 27 opening of school. At Thursday night’s meeting, school officials confirmed transportation provider NRT’s CEO John McCarthy will soon add two buses to the Haverhill Public Schools’ fleet in an effort to mitigate delays that continue to plague students across the district. Committee members agreed to allocate approximately $98,000 in surplus funds for the buses, which Assistant Superintendent Michael Pfifferling said is a step in the right direction. “He’s made shifts within the district to allow some of the buses to get to where they need to be.

Haverhill School Committee on Marotta: Budget Well Done, Communication Skills Need Work

Haverhill Public Schools Superintendent Margaret Marotta had her first-year performance review Thursday night, with several School Committee members and Mayor James J. Fiorentini urging her to improve her communication skills with both the community and news media. Rated on rubric that went from ‘unsatisfactory’ to ‘exemplary,’ Marotta was declared ‘proficient’ by the majority of Committee members in the areas of professional culture and instructional leadership. Member Sven A. Amirian put Marotta’s last 12 months into perspective, arguing that the former Salem Public Schools employee “inherited a largely dysfunctional school district and weathered the storm admirably” since taking over for James F. Scully in July 2018. Marotta’s attention to detail on the past year’s budget and attendance numbers were applauded by the Committee, including member Richard J. Rosa. By using data to drive her decision making, Marotta has illustrated her “commitment to high standards.”

“Dr. Marotta has made great strides in making all students and families feel welcome in Haverhill Public Schools.

Haverhill Man to Serve 72 Months for Firearms Possession, Drug Trafficking

Twenty-eight-year-old Haverhill man Nicholas Messina has been ordered to spend 72 months in prison after pleading guilty to firearms possession and drug trafficking charges, United States Attorney Scott W. Murray’s office said Thursday. Arrested at a Nashua, N.H. hotel with fentanyl, cocaine, a loaded gun and thousands of dollars in cash, Messina later told authorities he intended to distribute the drugs. The Drug Enforcement Administration’s Brian D. Boyle praised the joint efforts of his agency, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Nashua Police Department for working to get the deadly drugs off the street. “Illegal drug distribution ravages the very foundations of our families and communities, so every time we take fentanyl off the streets, lives are saved,” Boyle told WHAV in a statement. “Let this sentence be a warning to those traffickers like Mr. Messina who are coming from out of state to distribute this poison, that DEA and its local, state and federal partners will do everything in our power to bring you to justice.”

Closer to home, Messina is no stranger to Haverhill Police.

Haverhill Teachers, School Committee Reach Tentative Pact; Raises, Mentors Top Items

Haverhill teachers and School Committee reached a tentative agreement last night on a new three-year contract. After a nearly five-hour marathon session, members of the Haverhill Education Association and School Committee negotiators came to an agreement calling for salary increases during each year, tuition reimbursement for the first time, improved mentorship and continuing talks on equity between schools. “Members will see their membership and advocacy made these gains. They should take credit for the contract,” says union President Anthony J. Parolisi. Neither side disclosed the amounts of annual salary raises, but Parolisi said, “there are no leading zeroes.” Full details of the pact won’t be released until a formal memorandum of understanding is crafted.

WHAV to Broadcast Haverhill Hillies Football Home Opener Saturday: How to Listen Live

Get ready for some football, Haverhill! Once again, 97.9 WHAV FM is the city’s home for live Hillies football broadcasts, home and away, beginning Saturday with Paul Ryan and Tommy Morgan. They’ll be bringing play-by-play action each week from kickoff to the final whistle. Both Ryan and Morgan bring a wealth of pigskin personality to the airwaves, as Ryan is a three-sport star athlete from Haverhill’s class of 1971. Color commentator Morgan quarterbacked Haverhill High’s team during his tenure, graduating in 2013.

Haverhill Chamber, UMass iHub Plan Sept. 18 Local Startup Product Showcase

Ten local startups are set to showcase their products and offer tips to other budding entrepreneurs at the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce’s Sept. 18 Mass Innovation Nights showcase at the UMass Lowell Innovation Hub. GoodieKrunch, SpiritBox and Laughing Tree Organics are among the companies expected to address attendees, Senior Director of Innovation Initiatives at UMass Lowell Tom O’Donnell said. “With our Innovation Hubs in Haverhill and Lowell, UMass Lowell has proven its commitment to supporting innovators and entrepreneurs. We have a wealth of talented startups in the greater Merrimack Valley and we’re thrilled to partner with Mass Innovation Nights to showcase these young companies,” O’Donnell told WHAV in a statement.

City Remembers 9/11 Victims With Haverhill Ties During Wednesday Anniversary

Two victims of the 9/11 terror attacks with Haverhill ties were remembered Wednesday when Mayor James J. Fiorentini and local leaders gathered to pay tribute to the nearly 3,000 people lost on Sept. 11, 2001. During a ceremony at the foot of the Basiliere Bridge put on by the city’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial Ad Hoc Commission, Fiorentini called for a moment of silence for Jane Orth, a passenger on American Airlines flight 11, and Kenneth Marino, the husband of Haverhill native Katrina Marino. Orth lived on Ford Street at the time of her death, Fiorentini said, while Marino was a firefighter with FDNY’s Rescue 1 Company. He was last seen entering the North Tower of the World Trade Center and his remains were never found.

Jennings’ Trial on Charges He Assaulted Haverhill Police Officer Delayed Amid Pineau Marijuana Suits

A prominent Haverhill contractor and ardent marijuana foe has to wait three more months to have his day in court after a judge delayed his trial on charges including assault and battery on a police officer, WHAV can report exclusively. Accused of threating to “f—king kill” Haverhill Police Officer Branden Sheehy during a September 2018 altercation at his Lancaster Street home, Lloyd Jennings appeared in Haverhill District Court Tuesday. His attorney Carmine Lepore asked Judge Mary McCabe to continue the case until mid-December, telling her he did not receive the second page of the complaint from the clerk’s office and needed more time to prepare for trial. Breaking up what he called a “domestic disturbance” on the night of Sept. 2, 2018, Sheehy was met with a “highly confrontational” Jennings, who hurled expletives at the officer before punching him in the shoulder.