hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

March 21, 2013

The Lamp Post

The Haverhill Gazette

---- — :Remembering the cardinal’s visit: All that talk of Cardinal Sean O’Malley being a candidate for pope brings to mind his visit to All Saints Parish several years ago. The event celebrated the successful merger of four Haverhill Catholic churches into one. O’Malley was notably personable during the visit, talking time to talk informally at the church door with parishioners as they left the Mass. That demeanor was reportedly one of the qualities that had insiders talking about him as a candidate for the Catholic church’s highest position.

Safety first: It’s wasn’t pretty in many places, but city workers got sidewalks leading to schools and bus stops cleared of the snow from the last storm. One of the machines used to remove the snow is a special snowblower that also churned up mud next to some sidewalks, making a mess. But what counted was that students were able to walk on the sidewalks and not at the edge of busy streets.

Making their mark: Women have been making strides in the city’s Police Department in recent years, and a promotion last week brought their biggest achievement yet. Patrol Officer Doreen Champagne was the first woman to join the ranks of Haverhill’s superior officers when she was promoted to sergeant.

From the ashes: It’s amazing how quickly a house goes up, once the carpenters start working in earnest. Big things are happening at the corner of Fountain and Lawrence streets, where fire ruined a house last year. The house was eventually demolished and a new home is going up — and taking shape fast. The Lamplighter noticed that in only a few days last week, the entire building was framed. It’s good to see that happening after the fire-gutted building sat for months before being torn down. Wonder if the family forced off the property by fire is moving back? The Lamplighter recalls the husband and father is a custodian with the city who got a lot of support from his coworkers when the family lost most of its belongings in the blaze.

Pope announcement a hit with local students: Leaders of the city’s two Catholic schools — St. Joseph School of All Saints Parish and Sacred Hearts School — said students there were captivated by the process of choosing a new pope. Consider this email to St. Joseph parents from Principal Carole Simone: “Habemus Papam! We have a Pope! I wish you could have heard your children when I announced that we saw the white smoke. Since February we’ve been praying for the cardinals at the conclave. Wednesday the fruit of our prayers was realized. This was and will continue to be a teachable moment for these children.’’

A push for development along river: The community can only hope the mayor’s new zoning proposal aimed at luring developers to riverfront properties works. The zoning’s goal is to convince developers to bring forward plans for properties along the river such as the old Cleary’s Cleaners and the old Friend’s Landing nightclub. Both lots have been sitting vacant for years and are eyesores in locations with strong potential. The zoning guarantees developers the ability to fast-track their projects through city departments, avoiding red-tape delays. Other riverfront properties that may be affected by the zoning are the old Taylor-Goodwin lumberyard and the old Ornstein Heel company. They have also sat vacant for years.

Former Bruins a hit in city: The cell phone cameras were clicking at a fast pace when former Boston Bruins star Ray Bourque appeared at the Boys & Girls Club’s annual celebration two weeks ago. The cameras were also working overtime when former Bruin Rick Middleton appeared at the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce awards ceremony two weeks before that. People attending the event and organizers were anxious to get their pictures taken with the hockey legends. Some even emailed the photos to family members and friends during the events, gaining bragging rights over other Bruins fans.