State Awards Haverhill, Methuen Housing Choice Community Capital Grants; Pick Former St. George’s Church and Gaunt Square

A program to boost housing production formally awarded grants last week to Haverhill and Methuen, among 30 communities across the state. A Housing Choice Community Capital Grant of $250,000 was awarded to support Bread and Roses Housing in its quest to create 10 affordable housing units in the city’s Mount Washington neighborhood. Methuen will use $168,397 to improve and create disabled pedestrian walkways and ramps in Gaunt Square for a planned housing and commercial development. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito and Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy made the announcements last week in Brockton. In Haverhill, property of the former St.

Plaistow, N.H., Appoints Chris Knutsen as New Fire Chief

Plaistow, N.H., has named Chris C. Knutsen as fire chief. Knutsen comes to Plaistow from Seviervile, Tenn., and served with the City of Pigeon Forge Fire Department since 1997 where he was a captain and training officer. According to a statement released yesterday, “He comes to us with an encyclopedia of certifications and accomplishments,” including Fire Officer-IV, nationally registered paramedic, haz-mat technician, emergency management and operations, chief officer development and public safety leadership academy. Knutsen holds an associate degree in Fire Science and is currently finishing up his Bachelor of Science in Public Safety Administration and Homeland Security. He is married with two children.

Public Meetings This Week: Lawrence Planner Set to Become MVPC’s Next Executive Director

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. The Merrimack Valley Planning Commission is ready to name one of its own as the agency’s next executive director. Theresa Park, Lawrence’s planning director and chairwoman of the Commission since 2017, was selected as the finalist for the position recently vacated by Karen Sawyer Conard. Conard was named Portsmouth, N.H., city manager.

Whittier Tech Cheerleaders Hold Clinic for Younger Students, While Raising Money for Sports

Two cheerleaders from Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School combined their love of the sport with their business and leadership savvy last month when they offered a clinic for children aspiring to cheer one day. Jelena Valentin, a junior, and Anne Jacques, a sophomore, organized a cheerleading clinic on at the school’s gymnasium. Valentin and Jacques, members of the school’s DECA club, organized the clinic to practice project management skills and give back to the community. “Holding a clinic for younger students interested in cheerleading was a wonderful idea, and this was a great way for Jelena and Anne to practice their DECA skills, share their love of cheerleading, connect with the next generation of cheerleaders and raise money for their sports team,” Whittier Superintendent Maureen Lynch said. A group of 14 children in kindergarten through fifth grade attended the clinic, which was led by Whittier Tech’s cheerleading team, and learned two cheers—a dance and basic stunts.

Groveland Sends Dog to Quarantine as Precaution After Encounter with Rabid Raccoon

A Groveland dog was quarantined this week after coming into contact with a rabid raccoon. Groveland Police Chief Jeffrey Gillen said Thursday it does not appear the dog contracted rabies and is being observed out of an “abundance of caution.” Police captured the raccoon and turned it over the state Department of Public Health. The animal was “humanely euthanized,” he added. “While we don’t have any reason to believe there is a danger to the community as a result of this infected animal, we thought it was important to make the public aware so that they can take care to protect themselves, their families and their pets,” the chief said, adding, “Residents should report any encounters with wild animals they think may be of concern, and should never attempt to capture the animal themselves.”

Police went to a Center Street home Monday, at 6:21 p.m., after receiving a resident reported seeing a sick raccoon. Public Health officials confirmed Wednesday the animal tested positive for rabies.

Haverhill, Area Communities Receive Extra Street and Sidewalk Repair Money in Supplemental State Budget

Haverhill is receiving an additional $150,000 in state money for streets and sidewalks as a result of a supplemental state budget approved last month by the legislature and signed by Gov. Charlie Baker. In total, the state is giving Haverhill about $1.7 million in what is known as Chapter 90 Local Transportation Aid Funding. Nearby, Methuen was also awarded $118,000 more for a total of $1.3 million; North Andover, $82,000 more totaling about $900,000; West Newbury, $21,491 for a total of about $236,000; and Groveland, an extra $21,000 for a total of $232,000. “Infrastructure investments remain at the top of our priority list. Haverhill has 36 square miles, dozens of bridges and increasing traffic congestion.

West Newbury Receives $1 Million MassWorks Grant to Reopen Plummer Spring Road Bridge

West Newbury yesterday received a $1 million MassWorks grant to reconstruct and reopen the Plummer Spring Road Bridge over the Artichoke Reservoir. West Newbury Town Manager Angus Jennings formally accepted the award during a ceremony in Hopedale with Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy and Rep. Lenny Mirra. It was one of three MassWorks Infrastructure Program small town assistance grants. The Town of Hopedale also received $1 million for intersection improvements and Gosnold received $800,000 to rehabilitate nearly two miles of roadway on Cuttyhunk Island. “MassWorks is a valuable program that maximizes return on investment for capital funding, delivering vital infrastructure repairs that improve public safety while stimulating local and private development, job growth and housing production,” said Gov. Charlie Baker.