Salem, N.H., Police Officer from Methuen Enters Plea Deal Over 2012 Driving Incident

A Salem, N.H., Police officer from Methuen, who was indicted last September for reckless conduct with a deadly weapon and other charges, has agreed to a plea deal that will have him serve 100 hours of community service. New Hampshire Attorney General John Formella said Monday if 43-year-old Sgt. Michael D. Verrocchi maintains good behavior and completes community service, the state will decline to pursue the charges, stemming from an incident Nov. 10, 2012 when he was off duty, of reckless conduct with a deadly weapon after six months. New Hampshire also agreed not to prosecute the charge of disobeying a police officer as part of the plea agreement.

North Andover Firefighter Bird Among 23 Graduates of Massachusetts Fire Academy

Samuel Bird of the North Andover Fire Department was one of 23 students from 17 fire departments to graduate Friday from the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy. Bird completed the 50-day Career Recruit Firefighting Training Program with Class 293 at the Stow campus. State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey and Deputy State Fire Marshal Maribel Fournier announced the graduation. Besides North Andover, other departments represented in the class were Auburn, Braintree, Charlton, Clinton, Devens, Gloucester, Hopkinton, Middleton, Nantucket, Newton, Norfolk, Northborough, Plymouth, Reading, Tewksbury and Weston. “This rigorous professional training provides our newest firefighters with the basic skills to perform their jobs effectively and safely,” said Ostroskey.

Area Consumer Complaint Office, Now in Newburyport, Receives Grant from Attorney General

The local agency handling consumer complaints is sharing in nearly $2 million awarded by Attorney General Maura Healey for local consumer mediation programs.

North Essex Dispute Resolution Center of Newburyport operates the program that was once part of Community Action of Haverhill. “We regularly support these local nonprofits and municipal programs to help ensure consumers across the state have access to mediation and advocacy services,” said Healey. “We are proud to partner with these programs that deliver direct services and education to people in their communities.”

Last year, North Essex Dispute Resolution Center Executive Director Thomas Joy said moving the office from Haverhill to Newburyport has not had an adverse impact on services provided. “By creating the new Center, we preserved and increased services to the area. Nothing has changed in the type of cases we handle.

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.

Bike Lanes, Wider Sidewalks Coming to Haverhill’s Winter St.; Methuen, Groveland Get Help Too

New bike lanes, “street furniture,” landscaping and widened sidewalks are coming to a portion of Haverhill’s Winter Street. Haverhill received $49,000 from the state’s Shared Streets and Spaces Grant Program to install streetscape and safety improvements on the street which also shares the state’s Route 97 designation. Methuen and Groveland also received awards from Wednesday’s distribution of $6.5 million in grants across the state. Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito, Acting Transportation Secretary and CEO Jamey Tesler and Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver announced the grants in Dedham. “Community leaders know each street corner and know each block of their business districts and have been very innovative in thinking about projects and thoughtfully applying for this funding,” Polito said.

Progress Report, Open House at Beede Waste Oil Site July 28

As the Beede Waste Oil Superfund site in Plaistow, N.H., is cleaned, it attracts a wide variety of wildlife. The site’s Summer Open House and Annual Bat Count takes place Wednesday, July 28, at 5:30 p.m., at 221 Main St., Plaistow. The event provides an opportunity for the public to learn about cleanup efforts and see photographs of wildlife caught on camera—from turtles to bears. Attendees may snack on pizza and Hoodsie cups while learning more. Those with questions may e-mail at [email protected]

Methuen Police Ask for Public’s Help Identifying Man Who Broke into Dealership, Stole Two Cars

Methuen Police are asking for the public’s help in identifying a man who broke into a local automobile dealership and stole two vehicles. Police said the man “tossed a brick through a window” Tuesday morning, just after 1, at Best Price Auto Sales, 469 Merrimack St., Methuen. Once inside the building, the man took a license plate and keys. He first got away with a 2015 Nissan Rogue and returned a short time later to take a 2018 Nissan Altima. The man is described as being in his 30s, balding and having a skinny/medium build.

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.