Georgetown Hires First Full-Time Firefighters

Following an influx of funding from the town, the Georgetown Fire Department has hired three full-time firefighters to begin duty this week, with another reporting in September. The firefighters plan to work Monday to Friday to accommodate the town’s growing population and development. “We’ve also seen that it’s become increasingly challenging to staff our day shifts with part-time firefighters. It’s a huge commitment, and we need full-time staff to provide a consistent, full response,” Chief Fred Mitchell said. Each of the new firefighters, including Haverhill’s Brian Belfiore, has already been working at the station part-time for at least two years.

PHOTOS: Area Police Investigating Gas Station Break-Ins Across Merrimack Valley

Local police are investigating a series of gas station break-ins over the last week they say were allegedly committed by the same suspects. Earlier this week, Lawrence Police issued a social media plea for help to locate two suspects they say allegedly used a crow bar to pry open the door of the Gulf gas station at 233 Winthrop Ave. and take the cash register and lottery tickets just before 4 a.m. on June 28. According to police, the suspects drove a blue Dodge caravan. Methuen Police Chief Joseph E. Solomon tells WHAV the same suspects are sought in connection to a break-in at the Haverhill Street Mobil station around 3 a.m. that same day.

In Wake of Schena Murder, Police Chief Gillen Calls Groveland a ‘Wonderful Place to Live’

As Groveland neighbors continue to reel from the June 21 murder of beloved former building inspector Patsy Schena, Police Chief Jeffrey Gillen tells WHAV it was an isolated incident that should not cause concern for the community at large. Speaking in a press conference Friday alongside Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett and the team of local and state law enforcement officials that helped capture Schena’s accused killer, 48-year-old Haverhill man Leedell Graham, Gillen said the town’s first murder in nearly 30 years has bent but will not break the town of 6,800. “Groveland remains a safe community and we, the members of Groveland Police, work every day to make sure it remains that way,” Gillen said. “As a community, we will stay strong to rebuild and continue to work together to make this a wonderful place to live.”

As WHAV previously reported, Cedar Street’s Graham was taken into custody Thursday night just before 9 p.m. by Haverhill Police at his home on a warrant out of Groveland and booked at the Haverhill Police station by Det. Sean Scharneck on a single count of murder.

Merrimack Valley Planning Commission Launches New Business Marketing Campaign

The Merrimack Valley Planning Commission has launched a new marketing campaign targeted towards businesses in the region called “Here for the Making.”

The new marketing campaign was conceived while revamping of the Commission’s website, WeAreMV.com.  In conjunction with the Haverhill-based firm Primary, and after meetings with 40 local businesspeople and government officials, “Here for the Making” was developed. “While meeting with entrepreneurs it became clear that the best way to “tell the story” of the Merrimack Valley is by hearing it directly from them,” the Commission—comprised of 14 other communities in addition to Haverhill—says in a statement of their latest endeavor. The new campaign seeks to become “an indispensable tool for our business community and to help market our region as a vibrant place to do business.” According to the Commission’s website, the new campaign assists business owners eager to seek out potential property locations, and helps familiarize them with business incentives and resources regionally.

Hundreds More Licenses Suspended As Baker Calls RMV N.H. Crash Fallout ‘Unacceptable’

A preliminary report detailing actions taken by the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles has been slammed by Gov. Charlie Baker as “completely unacceptable” the state’s top leader said Monday, 10 days after the Randolph, N.H. crash that killed seven motorcyclists including a former Haverhill man. During a press conference Monday, Baker said the agency “failed to act on critical information” when they received word that Volodymyr Zhukovskyy, the West Springfield truck driver police say was behind the wheel on June 21, was arrested for drunken driving in Connecticut on May 11. In an effort to correct the actions of the RMV, Department of Transportation general counsel Marie Breen and acting registrar of motor vehicles Jamey Tesler said Monday that hundreds of licenses have since been suspended. “We now know that the registry has not been acting on information communicated by other states that in some circumstances should have triggered the suspension of a driver’s license. Actions are already underway to correct these lapses and 630 operators have been suspended to date,” a preliminary report of findings from the DOT said Monday.

97.9 WHAV FM Now Heard Over Salem, N.H., Educational Cable Television

Residents of Salem, N.H., may now listen to 97.9 WHAV FM over Salem School District Television Channel 6. Robert Berthel, of Salem School District Media Services, said WHAV’s audio began playing over the television system Thursday. WHAV’s local news, weather, Community Spotlight, music from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s are now heard under Channel 6’s community billboards when other programming isn’t airing. “We love that WHAV is hyper local content and local access stations are all about that. It’s a great compliment to our station here in Salem,” Berthel said.

Jajuga Not Seeking Reelection for Second Term as Methuen Mayor

After 18 months in office as the Mayor of Methuen, James P. Jajuga told WHAV Wednesday he will not seek a second term. “I have been focused on leading and managing the city we all love through unprecedented challenges…and now that this is complete, I have taken some time to look to the future,” he told WHAV. A former City Councilor, state Senator, U.S. Marine, Massachusetts State Police trooper, Jajuga calls his 50 years of public service an “honor,” telling WHAV the decision not to run again was not one he made lightly. “I will always be grateful for the people of Methuen for their trust and confidence in me. Eight times I placed my name on the ballot, and eight times the voters gave me a chance to serve.

Methuen Police Continue to Investigate Rite Aid Armed Robbery

Methuen Police continue to investigate an armed robbery that took place late Monday at a Pleasant Street Rite Aid pharmacy, during which two women made off with an unknown amount of pills after showing a handgun to the clerk. Chief Joseph E. Solomon told WHAV Wednesday detectives are actively pursuing all leads as the investigation continues. Police were called to 256 Pleasant St. at 9:14 p.m. June 24 for a reported robbery and found that two female suspects had robbed the store. According to police, one suspect allegedly made a purchase at the register before the second woman showed an employee a gun inside her purse.