hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

June 12, 2014

The week's news in review

The Haverhill Gazette

---- — Kimball Farm events director resigns

A top official with the Amesbury company that has been running large events at Kimball Farm the past two years has resigned her position in the wake of a series of controversies involving the East Broadway property.

Meredith Robinson, sales director for Front Office Events, said her decision to leave the Amesbury company has nothing to do with traffic problems at recent events she oversaw at Kimball Farm or the city’s decision to deny permits for three upcoming large events there. Front Office Events, which runs large events all over the country, is a spin-off of Amesbury Sports Park.

“I was planning to leave before any of this happened with Kimball Farm,” said Robinson, who declined to discuss whether she has a new job lined up. “It’s personal decision and I told people at the company a while ago this was coming.”

Nonetheless, Robinson said she is frustrated the city has not embraced events at the farm, which she said have been an economic boon for Haverhill businesses.

“I was involved with bringing events to Kimball Farm from the beginning,” Robinson said. “And I’m disappointed the city has not been more welcoming of these events, which bring thousands of people to Haverhill who go to local restaurants and hotels and other businesses. It’s a pity that Haverhill has not been more accepting of what these events do for the city and its businesses.”

— Shawn Regan

Police: Car pulls around school bus, hits child, 9

A 9-year-old girl was hit by a car that drove past a stopped school bus with flashing lights on, police said.

The girl was taken to Lawrence General Hospital for treatment and later released, police said.

The driver, a 34-year-old woman, was cited for failing to stop for the bus, police said.

Police refused to release the names of the girl and driver.

Deputy Chief Donald Thompson said it appears the girl rushed toward the bus when it stopped to pick her up.

Although the lights of the bus were flashing, the woman drove past the bus and hit the girl, Thompson said.

“Evidently she didn’t stop for the bus,’’ he said. “The girl ran into the street to get to the bus.’’

The incident happened at Washington Street and Observatory Avenue, he said. The car was travelling east on Washington Street, he said.

— Bill Cantwell

Judge confines ex-police officer to home for year

A former Haverhill police officer has been sentenced to a year of home confinement for misusing law enforcement resources to harass and stalk his estranged wife and her boyfriend.

Victor “Manny” Pellot, 51, was found guilty of unlawfully seeking Criminal Offender Record Information, according to Carrie Kimball-Monahan, spokeswoman for the Essex District Attorney’s Office. Such information lists a person’s criminal history and can be accessed by police only under certain circumstances.

The guilty finding was part of a plea agreement last week in Newburyport District Court, Kimball-Monahan said.

Pellot will be allowed to leave his home only for work, counseling appointments and other reasons approved by the court, Kimball-Monahan said. The ex-officer’s whereabouts will be tracked with a GPS device that is typically part of a bracelet, she said.

Judge Peter Doyle agreed to continue two criminal stalking charges against Pellot without a finding for four years.

The charges stem from a February 2013 incident in which Pellot allegedly chased his estranged wife, Doreena, and her boyfriend, Thomas Ratte of Merrimack, N.H., through Haverhill in his personal vehicle, confronting them at one point, and then continuing the chase on Interstate 495.

It was one of four documented instances in which Pellot aggressively confronted his wife and Ratte, including one in which Pellot threatened to kill Doreena Pellot, according to a state police report.

— Shawn Regan

Alternative School graduates head to military, college and vocational training

All five members of the Haverhill Alternative School Class of 2014 had academic or personal hurdles to overcome.

A traditional classroom setting didn’t work for them, which led them all to the alternative school on Primrose Street, where they were given a chance to excel.

Last week, during an intimate ceremony inside Winnekenni Castle attended by friends and family, the graduates had their moment to shine.

Principal John DePolo said his school held the bar high and that each graduate had to push through challenges such as Project Adventure, peer-led mediation and the MCAS to reach the goal of graduating.

“They’ve earned our respect and they will walk out of here tonight with something that no one could ever take from them... their diploma,” DePolo said.

— Mike LaBella