Merrimac Schools Hire Four Teachers, Promote Another to Administration

A Haverhill woman has been hired as a special education teacher at Merrimac’s Helen R. Donaghue School, while three other teachers were also hired a new administrator named at Merrimac schools. Cecelia Burke is a Haverhill native and a UMass Amherst graduate, licensed in special education. She has served as a substitute in Merrimac schools and a teacher in Extended Year Summer Programming. At Dr. Frederick N. Sweetsir School, Barbara Kyle was brought on board as a special education teacher and Sarah Peterson and Mollie Watson were hired as second grade teachers. Kathleen Sullivan, who has been Merrimac school’s special education coordinator for years, expands her role as an administrator on the leadership team.

Local Nurses at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Methuen Plan Strike Today, Expect Lock-Out Next 2 Days

Registered nurses and nurse practitioners working at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Methuen say they plan to strike today for one day in an attempt to reach a fair contract. Further, a spokesperson said they expect to be locked out of their jobs for the following two days. “It is outrageous that Dana-Farber executives would rather spend untold money on travelers and lock us out rather than simply meet the needs of nurses and support the cancer care we provide in Merrimack Valley,” said spokesperson Kate Mitchell. “What does it say about Dana-Farber executives that they cannot compromise with nurses on wages and benefits, but they can bring in outside nurses to extend a one-day strike into three days? Dana-Farber’s decision confounds us and will undermine cancer care access in our community.”

The union charged Dana-Farber has made “minimal movement since nurses announced their strike, including no agreement on benefits and daily overtime standards.”

Methuen Firefighters Local 1691 is joining Massachusetts Nurses Association in support of the strike.

Federal Judge Sentences Haverhill Man, 26, to Eight Years in Prison for Drug Dealing

A 26-year-old Haverhill man was sentenced this week in federal court in Boston for distributing cocaine, methamphetamine and fentanyl and conspiring to distribute fentanyl and cocaine. Elijah Declet was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani to eight years in prison and four years of supervised release. Declet pleaded guilty March 29. Declet was charged in November 2021 along with 12 others in connection with a large drug conspiracy centering around the Gangster Disciples in Lawrence, Haverhill and Methuen. The investigation, which began in August 2020, intercepted communications between gang leaders, members and drug suppliers relating to their alleged distribution of fentanyl, cocaine, methamphetamine and Suboxone in Massachusetts, Maine and southern New Hampshire as well as into Essex County Jail.

Haverhill Man, 19, Pleads Guilty in Federal Court for Role in Stealing 11 Pistols, Rifle from Dealer

A 19-year-old Haverhill man is the latest to be sentenced in federal court in Concord, N.H., for his role in conspiring to steal firearms from a dealer. U.S. Attorney Jane E. Young said Gary Ortiz Jr., 19, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Judge Joseph Laplante to 21 months in prison and two years of supervised release.  Ortiz was also ordered to pay $5,100 in restitution. As WHAV reported earlier, Ortiz pleaded guilty May 1. He and Jaythean Diaz of Lawrence were charged with breaking into Second Amendment Outdoors in Derry, N.H., and stealing 11 pistols and one rifle. They were indicted last year.

State Awards Grant to Pentucket Regional to add Manufacturing, Environmental and Life Sciences

Pentucket Regional High School is one of 31 high schools across the state to receive a grant aimed at creating new Innovation Career Pathways for students. Pentucket, which was awarded a $25,000, is one of 18 schools planning to add Innovation Career Pathways for the first time. The school will use the planning grant to pursue establishing two different pathways for students—Manufacturing and Environmental and Life Sciences. “Pentucket sees this as an amazing opportunity to connect with industry partners and provide our students with advanced learning that has practical applications. We are looking forward to leveraging all of the resources from the region, the department of education, and other districts engaging in Innovative Pathways work too,” said Assistant Superintendent of the Pentucket Regional School District Brent Conway.

Local Chambers of Commerce Receive Convention and Visitors Bureau Grants to Promote Tourism

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Both the Greater Haverhill and Merrimack Valley Chambers of Commerce last week were awarded mini grants from the North of Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau to encourage tourism throughout the 34 cities and towns of Essex County. The Chambers join other organizations in sharing almost $48,000 in grants. The Haverhill Chamber will use its grant to support its 2024 Visitor Guide while the Merrimack Valley Chamber will put the money in it 2024 Business, Consumer and Visitor Guide. “Our legislators understand how vital tourism efforts are to the local economy, so they allot funds to the North of Boston CVB, which we are happy to share with innovative projects that draw more visitors to the region,” said Bureau Executive Director Nancy Gardella. “We support their smart marketing ideas, and we recognize their ongoing efforts to keep our destination top of mind with the nation and the world.”

North of Boston members, local chambers of commerce and destination marketing organizations gathered with local officials last Wednesday at the Maria Miles Visitor Center to honor the tourism and hospitality industries that drive the local economy.

Tribute to Artist ‘Tomaso’ Schena with his Work Saturday at Plaistow Historical Society

A beloved local artist, who passed away this spring, will be remembered tomorrow with an exhibit at the Plaistow Historical Society. Thomas Schena, better known as Tomaso, died following a brief illness in May at the age of 43. Many of his works of art, on loan from his fans, will be on display Saturday, Sept. 23, from noon to 5 the Historical Society, 127 Main St., Plaistow, N.H. Historical Society volunteer Samantha Subatch was a guest recently on WHAV’s “Win for Breakfast” program, and said Schena met his subjects at local restaurants. “It’s so special because you didn’t really ask for a drawing.

Methuen Man, 44, Drowns During Rescue of Child at Salisbury Beach

A 44-year-old Methuen man attempting to save a child was identified Thursday as the victim in a drowning the day before in Salisbury. Witnesses said Gary Simard had been enjoying the day with family at Salisbury Beach when one of the children with them was pulled from the shoreline and unable to swim back. Simard, along with two bystanders then went into the water to retrieve the child. According to Essex County District Attorney Paul F. Tucker and Salisbury Police Chief Thomas W. Fowler, the two bystanders were able to rescue the child and return to shore, but, they were unable to locate Simard. The Salisbury Police and Fire Departments were dispatched to the area of 266 North End Boulevard.