Dempsey on the rise? If you think Haverhill has clout at the Statehouse now, imagine what things will be like if Rep. Brian Dempsey rises to higher places. He’s now the chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee, which has great influence over state spending. Some political observers are talking about Dempsey jumping to the position of House speaker, which would cement Haverhill on the state’s political map.
:A road to avoid: If you’re driving in the Highlands neighborhood, you might want to avoid the upper Arlington Street area. Much of the road is dug up with new underground pipe being installed, forcing drivers to slow down and sometimes wait before passing through. But it has been a treat for neighborhood kids, who regularly gather to watch construction crews at work.
Zero graffiti tolerance: The city got on top of the recent graffiti outbreak in a hurry, and the cleanup was impressive. Between jail inmates who work on the sheriff’s anti-graffiti crew and city workers, most of the tagging is gone. Police say two teenage boys are responsible for the markings on vehicles, buildings and other items, such as equipment at the Bradford train station. The boys have been charged with more than 60 counts of tagging.
Mild election year — so far: The Lamplighter hopes the candidates in the City Council and School Committee races take off the gloves and give voters an interesting election season. So far, things are politically mild, with Mayor James Fiorentini facing no challenge and too few candidates for council of School Committee to require a preliminary election in September. That leaves voters waiting until November to go to the polls.
Newsy trend: Have you noticed all the park benches in the news lately? A bench erected in memory of a young boy who died several years ago was tossed into Round Pond by vandals last week. Then there’s the park bench put at Bradford Common in memory of the late Robert Buckley Jr., a retired deputy fire chief. Other benches are popping up across the city, thanks to the mayor’s memorial bench program.
Students’ efforts pay off: The pockets of Northern Essex Community College students are getting a bit deeper, thanks to their hard work and good grades. This year, the college awarded a record number of scholarships. Two hundred local students received about $178,000 for the coming school year.
Garden gazing: The city’s Garden Club is always looking for nominees for its Garden of the Month. As far as the Lamplighter is concerned, the club need look no further than the house next to the Oxford nursing home on Main Street. The garden in front of the house, right next to the sidewalk, is remarkable — with a variety of plants and an array of colors, all in open view of all passersby. The homeowners clearly work very hard to make the garden eyecatching.
Preserving (and protecting) history: The historic house next to Gale Park has always drawn the eyes of drivers passing by, but for a while there the property was also drawing cars — literally. Out-of-control vehicles on a curve next to the house repeatedly hit and damaged a wooden fence around the property. The problem has been solved by a guardrail that was installed in front of the fence.