Cedar’s New $100 Million Ward Hill Plant to Create 125 More Jobs; Opens in August

Cedar’s Foods is nearing completion of its new $100 million Ward Hill plant that is expected to help the company double production of hommus and Mediterranean foods. The 125,000 square-foot plant is expected to open in August, adding 125 jobs to its existing 750-employee operation. Near its existing plant, Cedar’s expects to turn out 208 million pounds of hommus and Mediterranean foods each year. “We built this company on our family values and recipes, growing it through the hard work of our dedicated management team, employees and loyal customers. For this we are truly grateful,” said Charles Hanna, Cedar’s chief executive.

Mitchell Becomes Veterans Northeast Chief Executive, Succeeding the Late John Ratka

Retired North Andover Veterans Service Officer Edward V. Mitchell Monday succeeded the late John E. Ratka as executive director of Veterans Northeast Outreach Center. Mitchell relieves Interim Director Jason Gilbert who stepped in following Ratka’s unexpected passing. As chief operations officer, Gilbert is concentrating his efforts towards improving the agency’s highly successful programs and services geared towards the prevention of homelessness of veterans and their family members. Michell of Pelham, N.H., released a statement. “I look forward to picking up the torch to continue building on the great work and outstanding reputation established by my late friend and fellow Submariner John Ratka, and to do everything possible to meet the needs of Americas Brave.”

During his tenure as North Andover’s veterans service officer, Mitchell served as the manager of the American Red Cross’ Service to the Armed Forces and Military Families Committee, established and chaired the Merrimack Valley Military Family Support Group.

New 495 Bridge Work Brings Daytime Lane Closures Through Thursday

Daytime lane closures near construction of new I-495 bridges take place each morning through Thursday, this week. Northbound left lanes between Ward Hill and River Street, exits 48 and 49, close between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. as progress continues on replacing the twin 1960s-era bridges. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation says work this week includes installing new roadway base material against the current edge of pavement in the median adjacent to the northbound lane. Signs, traffic control devices and law enforcement officers will be used to guide drivers through the work zone.

Haverhill Public Meetings: Week of June 24

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. Tuesday, June 25

The City Council meets in regular session at 7 p.m. in room 202 of City Hall, 4 Summer St., Haverhill. See separate story. Wednesday, June 26

The Merrimack Valley Planning Commission meets from noon-1:30 p.m., at 160 Main St.

Approval of Haverhill’s More Than $200 Million Budget Hinges on School Maintenance

Approval of Haverhill’s more than $200 million spending plan hinges Tuesday night on improved school maintenance. City councilors voted 8-1 Thursday night to ask Mayor James J. Fiorentini to add five more maintenance workers to the school department. Not counting 43 janitors, that would provide a total of 11 people including the schools’ facilities supervisor. Most councilors and the mayor told WHAV there is room for compromise. Councilor Timothy J. Jordan, however, is drawing a line in the sand over the issue.

Whittier Tech’s Grover Receives Honors as One of the State’s ‘Outstanding Educators’

A health and physical education teacher at Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School was recognized last week by Gov. Charlie Baker as one of the state’s “outstanding educators.”

Roxann Grover was one of the 2020 Teacher of the Year semifinalists honored at a State House ceremony June 20. “Massachusetts teachers are instrumental in preparing the leaders of tomorrow for success after they leave the classroom,” said Baker. “We are very pleased to recognize these Massachusetts public school teachers today for the hard work, dedication and creativity they bring to their students every day.”

“It was such an honor to be nominated and then selected to the semifinalist round,” Grover said earlier this spring. “It validates the profession of health and physical education and the things we do as teachers everyday to make sure students understand that their well-being is the most important thing in their lives.”

Whittier’s Curriculum Coordinator Kelly Fay nominated Grover earlier this year, highlighting her dedication to students and wellness education for the last 40 years. She’s helped parents recognize the signs their children might be using drugs or alcohol through “Hidden in Plain Sight” events, organized walks for hunger to raise money for Project Bread and led food drives throughout the community to benefit Haverhill’s local food pantry, Our Neighbors Table.

Align Credit Union Supports Child Homelessness Prevention Program

Align Credit Union has taken several steps to help combat child homelessness through the program “A Bed for Every Child,” an initiative by the Massachusetts Coalition for the Homeless. These steps include employee volunteership with the program, such as having employees partake in one of the group’s Build Days to help lessen homeless situations, and collecting member donations. Align, with branches in Haverhill and Methuen, has also given a donation to “A Bed for Every Child,” totaling $10,000. The donation was presented to the group’s volunteers and director on May 31. “Most of us take for granted the bed we sleep in each night but there are thousands of Massachusetts children growing up in poverty who have no bed of their own,” said Robyn Frost, A Bed for Every Child executive director.

Haverhill Fire Lieutenant Completes Advanced Fire Investigation Course

Haverhill Fire Department Lt. Michael Picard completed an advanced, six-day course on fire investigation at the end of last month. Picard was one of 23 law enforcement officials from throughout Massachusetts, representing 19 agencies, who completed the program, offered by the Massachusetts Firefighting Academy. The course focused on investigating fires, including how to determine intent, examine a situation for possible arson, and determine if a criminal act has occurred. The program is longstanding, having been offered for over 20 years.