Podcast: Rep. Minicucci Discusses Legislature’s Attention on Issues Unique to Gateway Cities

With work on the state budget largely completed, except for possible overrides of Gov. Charlie Baker’s vetoes, the state legislature is moving onto other issues such as the wellbeing of Gateway Cities. Rep. Christina A. Minicucci, a member of the legislature’s Gateway Cities Caucus, describes the caucus’ recent visit to the area last week. Says the group comes together once a month to talk about issues specific to individual cities, versus the collection of cities across the state, and also looks at initiatives available to Gateway Cities. “Here we have Methuen, Haverhill and Lawrence. So, we have three Gateway Cities that are clustered up here, and there are grant programs that are available to our cities that aren’t available to Andover or North Andover or small cities like Newburyport,” she explains.

Podcast: Rep. Mirra, Future of Work Commissioner, Calls for ‘Job Guarantee’

State Rep. Leonard Mirra, a member of the new Future of Work Commission, says money spent on public assistance might be better allocated to guaranteeing jobs. Mirra, a recent guest on WHAV’s morning program, said there are a record number of job openings right now. “We’ve never seen it like this. I was in the construction industry for 30 years and I never saw an economy like this where there so many jobs that we just didn’t have enough people to fill them. Over the July fourth weekend, we heard that some restaurants simply could not open up simply because they could not hire enough people to make their business work, and they just remained closed over a very busy holiday weekend, which is kind of sad to see,” he says.

Podcast: Haverhill to Celebrate and Honor the City’s Living World War II Veterans July 24

More than a dozen of Haverhill’s living World War II veterans are to be recognized and celebrated during a ceremony later this month with a color guard, special tributes and live performances. The “World War II Recognition Ceremony” takes place Saturday, July 24, at 10 a.m., in Washington Square—home to the city’s World War II Memorial. Haverhill Veteran Services Director Luis Santiago tells WHAV the celebration was put into motion by John DiVincenzo, son of World War II veteran Ralph DiVincenzo, who is 99, and the nephew of 95-year-old Loreto DiVincenzo. “They are looking to recognize their father and uncle who  have sacrificed their time in war when we had basically an enemy who was foreign, and thanks to individuals like his father and uncle, we aren’t speaking a different language today,” Santiago says. Santiago says he expects 14 veterans and the event includes a live performance by the Sons of Italy Drum and Bugle Corps and guest speakers.

Podcast: Vargas Explains Legislature’s Tug of War with Gov. Baker on COVID-19 Relief Money

The state legislature and Gov. Charlie Baker have differing opinions on who should determine how new federal COVID-19 aid gets distributed. State Rep. Andy X. Vargas, a recent guest on WHAV’s morning program, said Baker had “full latitude” on how to spend the money during the emergency, but now the legislature wants a say. “We in the legislature, as the purse of state government, felt we had a role and responsibility to make sure we were overseeing how those funds were being spent, particularly since the state of the emergency has ended. You’ll recall that the CARES Act, which was the first stimulus round that the federal government did, the legislature provided the governor with a lot of latitude to spend that money because we were in a state of emergency. And, now that the governor has ended the state of emergency, we feel like we have a responsibility in the legislature to make sure we have a transparent and open conversation about how that funding is getting invested into our community,” he said.

Podcast: City Cost Options for Buying East Haverhill Land Range From $0 to $150,000

A number of Haverhill city councilors are asking for an update on options for preserving land, preventing development and protecting drinking water supplies in the eastern part of the city. City Council President Melinda E. Barrett and Councilors Timothy J. Jordan, John A. Michitson and Colin F. LePage placed the inquiry about a 22.5-acre parcel at 97 Corliss Hill Road on tonight’s City Council agenda. Essex County Greenbelt President Kate Bowditch and Assistant Director of Land Conservation Vanessa Johnson-Hall appeared yesterday on WHAV’s morning program. Johnson-Hall reiterated the city has several options before it. “The first is that Greenbelt would buy the land in partnership with a private buyer and this would mean at no cost to the city.

Podcast: Fly the Stars and Stripes on This Flag Day, Says Haverhill’s Veterans Services Officer Santiago

Today is the 244th anniversary of the adoption of the American flag by the Continental Congress. Flag Day began in the midst of the Revolutionary War in 1777. In a recent appearance on WHAV’s morning program, Haverhill’s Veterans Services Officer Luis Santiago talked about the significance of the day. “Flag Day is a day that we are going to celebrate and recognize the stars and stripes of our flag, to reflect upon the values and the valor of the men and women in uniform to defended it. So, if you have a flag, raise it up high and show your patriotism towards our country,” he said.

Podcast: Haverhill Superintendent Credits Higher Retention with Tonight’s Large Graduation Class

Haverhill High School holds one of its largest graduation ceremonies ever tonight at Trinity Haverhill Stadium. The in-person event, which begins at 6 p.m., still faces COVID-19 restrictions. Superintendent Margaret Marotta said each of the 484 graduates is allowed to have up to six guests, and they must pre-register. In addition, there will be social distancing between groups, to the extent possible, and masks are preferred. “I’d just like to say how proud we are of our seniors for what they have done.

Podcast: Haverhill YMCA Prepares for Ninth Year of its Haverhill Literacy Academy

As spring turns into summer, the YMCA in Haverhill is preparing for the ninth year of its Haverhill Literacy Academy. Regional Executive Director Tracy Fuller says the program is in collaboration with Haverhill Public Schools and designed to help students with their reading skills, especially this year. “We’re excited to prepare for that, and we know that speaking of COVID that a lot of students have experienced a little bit of a learning slide, and this great program that we were able to secure funding for provides mornings of tutoring and literacy support and then afternoons at our summer camp at Tricklin’ Falls. So, it’s a six-week program and we have from pre- and post-assessments show that students who participate in the program, instead of experiencing the summer slide, they experience the summer step up,” she says. Fuller, a recent guest on WHAV’s morning program, says the YMCA’s strategic initiatives are addressing the achievement gap and helping every child be on the appropriate reading level.