hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

January 16, 2008

Haverhill news weekly roundup; Prostitution sting results in five arrests


Frederick Morris of Newbury, 18, has been charged with raping a Pentucket Regional High School female student at gunpoint several times last summer. He was arrested Jan. 2 after police searched his home, arraigned Jan. 4 in Haverhill District Court, and ordered to be held on $5,000 cash bail by Judge Stephen Abany. He is charged with three counts of aggravated rape, one count of threatening to kill and four counts of assault with a handgun. A probable cause hearing is set for Feb. 4.

nnn

Bradford mother Cheryl DesRoches needs help identifying the man who helped her son, Matthew. He was injured and lying on the side of the street after he fell while delivering food to a house on River Street. A man in a Dodge Caravan stopped, called 911 and waited with a flashlight to alert other drivers until an ambulance arrived. Cheryl is asking the mayor's office to do something about sidewalks not being properly shoveled and cleaned after winter storms.

nnn

Little Sprouts, a day care network with several centers in Massachusetts, plans to build a 20,000-square-foot building in Haverhill on the dead-end side of West Lowell Avenue. The center will employ about 40 people, serve up to 80 children and rent office space to organizations involved in child development. The project has been approved by the Conservation Commission and now goes before other city departments.

nnn

Reorganizing the Haverhill DPW could save the city about $400,000 a year, according to Mayor James Fiorentini, who proposed a plan to merge the Highway, Parks, Water and Wastewater, Engineering and Recycling departments under one Public Works director, which eliminates two supervisory positions, two laborer positions and a maintenance worker. He also proposes cutting overtime spending by $38,000. The plan requires City Council approval.

nnn

A fire broke out on the second floor of Nancy and Richard Bohanon's Germain Avenue home on Jan. 7. No injuries were reported, but the house had extensive smoke, fire and water damage. A Red Cross disaster services team went to the Bohanons' home to help the family find temporary shelter.The family was told the fire was due to a worn electrical service that short-circuited.

nnn

A robber, dressed in a black stocking cap and scarf, robbed the Sovereign Bank branch at 400 Lowell Ave. on Jan. 7. No weapon was shown during the 3:30 p.m. holdup. No injuries were reported, and the branch immediately closed after the heist. Police now say the same man may be responsible for the robbery at Walgreens at 310 Main St. on Jan. 2. Police are asking the public for help identifying the man. Both robberies remain under investigation.

nnn

Traffic congestion on Route 125 between Interstate 495 and the Plaistow, N.H., line has reached a dangerous high. The City Council asked Sen. Steven Baddour and Rep. Brian Dempsey to look into how the state can improve the roadway. As an immediate fix, Councilor William Ryan suggested a traffic light at Jaffarian Road and Main Street.

nnn

City Council approved spending $830,000 for a new ladder truck, which will be able to reach the top apartment high-rises such as Forest City off Essex Street. The city's only ladder vehicle is 15 years old and in poor condition, which caused the city to be without a ladder truck at times last year.

nnn

Mayor James Fiorentini may ask the Historical Commission to retract its proposed demolition delay ordinance, which is intended to preserve historical buildings in the city. In its place, the mayor said he would work with the commission to write a law that would preserve buildings without delaying the demolition process for every building in the city. Fiorentini added that he opposed the ordinance because it would slow efforts to revitalize downtown. The matter was referred to the Planning Board for a public hearing.

nnn

Seven parked cars in neighborhoods across the city were broken into sometime during the night of Jan. 6 and morning of Jan. 7. Police say they keep dispensing the same advice to not leave valuables in your car, but they feel it falls on deaf ears.

nnn

A former police officer faces charges that he used his badge to try to talk his way out of a ticket for an expired registration on his car. Salem, N.H. police issued an arrest warrant for Mark Garrett, 50, of West Newbury on a misdemeanor charge of false personation. Garret had not been arrested as of late Jan. 8.

nnn

Local police called in the state fire marshal's office to find out who is responsible for setting a fire at the high school on Jan. 9. Police said they intend to prosecute whoever stuffed paper towels into a soap dispenser and lit it on fire. The resulting damage included a smoke-stained wall. School officials said the fire could have caused worse damage and injuries had it not been discovered so quickly.

nnn

A 33-year-old woman was charged with offering sexual conduct for a fee after she approached a narcotics officer with an offer of sex for cash. Angela Culp of 103 Portland St. was arrested at 200 Main St. at about 9:15 p.m. on Jan. 8.

nnn

Crowell Elementary School will continue to be the only school in the district without a full-time custodian, despite numerous complaints from parents that the building is not being adequately cleaned and maintained. School Committee member Scott Wood Jr. put the issue on the committee's Jan. 10 agenda asking his colleagues to order the reassignment of a full-time custodian. Committee members said they trusted Principal Raymond Sierpina to make correct decisions about how his building is managed, denying the request.

nnn

Revoked liquor licenses are causing city clubs to struggle. They lost the licenses for failure to install sprinkler systems, estimated at $60,000. The Sons of Italy can stay open if it finds donations or grants to pay for the sprinklers. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 29 is trying to borrow the money, but said it will then have to attract its 370 members back to the bar. The American Legion, however, has the money to install the sprinkler system but does not own the building. It is waiting for a long-term lease agreement with the mayor before installing the system.

nnn

Kerry Fitzgerald, 58, was elected School Committee president with a 4 to 3 vote over Scott Wood Jr., 24, who was then elected vice president with a vote of 7 to 0. The main duties and powers of the president include setting the meeting agenda, appointing members to subcommittees and running meetings when the mayor, who is the chairman, is not present. The president also communicates between the committee and the superintendent.

nnn

A prostitution sting on Jan. 9 in the Winter Street area resulted in the arrest of three men and two women. The men were arrested when they tried paying a decoy undercover female officer for sex. The two women accused of prostitution were arrested when undercover male officers asked them to have sex for money.