hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

March 6, 2014

The Lamp Post

The Haverhill Gazette

---- — It's been barely a month since the artist's renderings of the new building planned for the Woolworth property were unveiled.

But already business people are testing the waters to see about the chances of locating there.

The building will house a satellite campus for UMass Lowell, as well as offices and other businesses. One man who has had success in the restaurant business is inquiring about the possibility of opening something in the new building. He told the Lamplighter that he has Haverhill roots and remembers visiting the soda fountain at Woolworth's when he was a kid.

Near miss: It's never good when you hear the sound of brakes squealing near your car.

The other day, that sound reminded the Lamplighter and several other drivers about the dangers of not observing yield signs at the end of highway off-ramps.

The incident happened on the I-495 overpass that carries Route 125 over the highway. A hasty cab driver travelling an off-ramp failed to slow down at the yield sign, and cars with the right of way on Route 125 were all but on top of him.

To avoid a crash, the cabbie hit his brakes hard and cut up against the guardrail. No one was hut, but plenty of people were shaken up.

Mea culpa: The Lamplighter had a memory lapse concerning the abandoned gas station next to the Comeau Bridge in Bradford.

About a month ago, the Lamplighter told our readers that Skateland bought the station to demolish the existing buildings and add to its parking area. But more recently, this column lamented the fact that nothing was happening with the gas station. Oh the ravages of age.

The gas station has indeed been purchased by Skateland.

As if we didn't have enough: Everyone's been talking about those potholes which riddle city streets, but the holes have been appearing on the highway too.

They force drivers to dodge them to avoid front-end damage. They also force state crews to be out there working late-night hours to make repairs. Recently, workers have focused those efforts on the bridges along I-495 north entering Haverhill.

That work repeats a familiar image. Workers have been repairing potholes on those bridges for the last two years.

Attention-getting trend: When something is effective, it catches on quickly.

Take the practice of Nettle School students, who nail signs about events onto utility poles in the neighborhood around their school.

Now, Whittier Middle School kids have picked up the habit, but with a bit of a twist. They have created signs about an upcoming event at their school, attached metal poles and stuck the signs in snow banks along busy roads.

Drivers can't help but notice the signs.

Sounds of spring: The Lamplighter recently heard that special bird call, "feee beee," which heralds the impending arrival of spring.

According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Eastern Phoebe bird’s raspy “phoebe” call is a frequent sound around yards and farms in spring and summer. These brown-and-white songbirds sit upright and wag their tails from prominent, low perches. They typically place their mud-and-grass nests in protected nooks on bridges, barns, and houses, which adds to the species’ familiarity to humans.

Hardy birds, Eastern Phoebes winter farther north than most other flycatchers and are one of the earliest returning migrants in spring.