Residents Relying on Energy Assistance to Receive Extra $50 to $260 After Baker Relents

After facing criticism for withholding a significant portion of approved low-income heating aid until next year, the Baker administration has made an additional $8 million available this spring. But even that change did not satisfy advocates who continue to demand that no money be held back. The Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program is administered locally by Community Action of Haverhill. Gov. Charlie Baker initially planned to release $11 million of the $30 million allocated by the legislature for low-income home energy assistance this fiscal year, saving the remainder for fiscal year 2020. On Friday, his administration indicated it now intends to make $19 million available this year.

Vargas, Minicucci Support Striking Stop & Shop Workers Across Merrimack Valley

As 31,000 Stop & Shop supermarket workers remain on strike across three states including Massachusetts, local leaders supported those on the picket line over the weekend in their fight for fair wages and health insurance. Haverhill’s state Rep. Andy Vargas joined Rep. Christina Minicucci, who serves North Andover, Methuen, Lawrence and Haverhill, to chat with workers across the region there picketing with the United Food and Commercial Workers Union Local 328 and United Food and Commercial Workers Union International. “Stop & Shop’s record profits come from resilient people. Their workers deserve a fair contract,” Vargas said Saturday. Employees in Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut walked off the job last week—forcing some stores to close—with cashiers, stockers, bakers, deli clerks and butchers among those out of work.

State Police Continue Investigation Into Route 213 Methuen Motorcycle Crashes

A crash last night involving three motorcycles and two passenger cars on Route 213 in Methuen is under investigation by State Police. One of the motorcycle drivers and a passenger on another were sent to Boston hospitals for serious injuries, according to State Police out of the Andover barracks. Names of the injured and their conditions were not immediately released. The accident took place around 7 p.m., Sunday, on the westbound side of Route 213 near I-93. All lanes were closed and traffic was rerouted for a time.

PHOTOS: Haverhill Police Officer, Methuen Insurance Agent Among ‘Stars’ to Dance, Raise $130K for Emmaus

Haverhill’s own Tom Bergeron would be proud. City police officer Guy Cooper and Jennifer Borislow, the founder of Methuen’s Borislow Insurance, were among the local stars to dance the night away for a good cause April 6 at the fifth annual Stepping Out With the Valley Stars gala to benefit Emmaus. Modeled after the Bergeron-hosted ABC reality series “Dancing With the Stars,” the night featured area celebrities and pro dance partners strutting their stuff in choreographed routines. Partnered with Victor Perez, Borislow won bragging rights after wowing judges and dinner guests with a routine to the music of “Boogie Wonderland.”

Others dancing in this year’s show included project manager Melissa Coe, Merrimack Valley Credit Union’s Digna Jhonson, Jose Oliver of AutoFair Subaru, Haverhill Recreation Department Director Vinny Ouellette and Jason Petrou, the creator of Haverhill-based energy drink CEO. Through the event and a companion online auction, Emmaus raised more than $130,000 to help Haverhill-area children and families in need.

Police Arrest Lawrence Men in Methuen on Large Quantity Heroin Dealing

Two Lawrence men were charged Wednesday in the trafficking of a large quantity of heroin after being arrested by Massachusetts State Police in Methuen. State Troopers assigned to the Massachusetts State Police Gang Unit and North Shore Gang Task Force, working with Lawrence and Methuen Police, seized 213 grams of suspected heroin with a street value of at least several thousand dollars. Troopers and detectives arrested 21-year-old Luis Lopez at about 4 p.m., Wednesday, after he left the men’s room of a Burger King on Haverhill Street in Methuen. A short time later, they saw a green van at a gas station at Haverhill Street and Burnham Road, and recognized it as the van that dropped off Lopez at the restaurant. Police arrested the driver, 23-year-old Tirson Batista, for participating in the drug trafficking operation.

Whittier Tech Senior Among Those Receiving Scholarships; Seeks to be Registered Nurse

A senior at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School is receiving a help paying her tuition to a college nursing program this fall. 17-year-old Kaylee Cerullo was awarded a $2,133 scholarship Friday night during the Valley Patriot newspaper’s 15th Annual Bash. She plans to attend to study nursing at Northern Essex Community College after graduation from Whittier. Cerullo is already a certified nursing assistant at Wingate Nursing Home in Haverhill, where she is certified to work with dementia patients and administration of CPR and first aid. She seeks to become a registered nurse.

State Formally Awards Haverhill, Methuen Green Community Grants

Haverhill and Methuen were among the communities formally awarded state grants Friday to undertake energy conservation measures and clean energy projects. As WHAV first reported in December, the cities have been designated as “Green Communities.” Haverhill was awarded $314,505, while Methuen received $268,640. The awards were presented by Department of Energy Resources Commissioner Judith Judson during a ceremony at Haverhill Public Library. “With 240 of the Commonwealth’s municipalities having earned their Green Communities designation, 78 percent of residents now live in a Green Community,” a statement reported. Since the program began in 2010, the energy division has awarded more than $100 million in grants to the Commonwealth’s cities and towns through designation and competitive grant rounds.

Fire Destroys Groveland Garage; Inaugurates New Ladder Truck

A fire that destroyed a Groveland garage this week forced the town to place its new ladder truck into service. Interim Fire Chief Richard York said his firefighters rushed Wednesday afternoon at 2:15 to a single alarm fire in a detached garage at a single-family residence at 76 Gardner St. The town’s Engine 1 was out of service for maintenance, requiring the department to respond with the new ladder truck, which carries water and a pump. It was the first time the department has used the water pump on the truck to extinguish a fire. No one was injured in the fire and crews cleared the scene just after 5:30 p.m.

Fire Lt. Brian Belfiore served as the incident commander and mutual aid came from Georgetown, West Newbury, Haverhill and Boxford to assist at the scene and provide station coverage.