hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

October 3, 2013

The Lamp Post

The Haverhill Gazette

---- — What will it take? With no one coming forward to challenge Mayor James Fiorentini in this year’s election, the Lamplighter wonders what it will take for a legit candidate to step to the plate in a future election. A failure on the part of the mayor that opens him up to scrutiny? His decision not to seek reelection? That’s part of the political chatter this year as the November city election approaches. Voters will choose nine city councilors and three School Committee members — but Fiorentini is guaranteed victory.

An appropriate tribute: As the city reopened its public library on Sundays two weeks ago, it paid tribute to a man who deserves mention for his efforts there. James Dempsey, who died Sept. 17 at age 84. The longtime driver of the library’s bookmobile, was remembered with a moment of silence. Dempsey was the father of longtime Haverhill state Rep. Brian Dempsey, who was able to channel state money to Haverhill to make the Sunday openings possible.

Big road project: If you’ve been driving on Mill Street lately, you can’t help but notice all the work being done at the edge of the road. The city is preparing to install massive pieces of granite curbing to hold the street together and prevent erosion. Much of the digging to make room for the curbs was done last week. The curbstones have been sitting in the small park near the entrance to Plug Pond.

Speaking of work at roadside: As state highway workers continue the massive project on I-495 and its on- and off-ramps in Haverhill, there’s a new twist. Besides all the repaving and replacing of old guardrails, the workers are also pruning back trees and bushes at the edges of ramps to improve visibility for drivers.

Art in the park: People flock to that little park at the edge of Round Pond along Lawrence Street to relax or do a little fishing, but recently the Lamplighter noticed a woman doing something a bit different. She had a canvas set up and appeared to be painting the landscape. Wonder if she’ll be back during foliage season to paint a more colorful scene?

Speaking of colors of the landscape: Not far from Round Pond, nature’s colors are exploding in a park on a traffic island — and we have Tom Sullivan to thank. Sullivan, a city councilor and lawyer, has adopted the traffic island next to Gale Park and planted lots of colorful mums on the island. His work has caught the eye of Elaine Barker, leader of the Haverhill’s Brightside organization. She named Sullivan one of her stars of the week for his efforts. Another star goes to Haverhill High teacher Phil Brown, who has taken over a small area at the corner of Concord Street and Kenoza Avenue. He took a blighted area and spruced it up. Stars also go to Allen Drelick and Rogers and Scatamachia Funeral Home for their plantings and care of the area at Monument Square.

Young celebrities in our midst: Fourth-grade students from St. Joseph’s School took the spotlight last week. They appeared on Catholic TV for the first showing of the WOW program. Locals had plenty of chances to see the kids. The show aired on five different days at various times of the day and night.

Location, location: The Lamplighter has noticed plenty of small signs planted in the ground at intersections to advertise events like local festivals. But one of the best-occupied spots is the park at Walnut Square next to the elementary school of the same name. And who could blame the sign planters for choosing that location? It’s at the crossroads of two busy streets — Main Street and North Avenue — so plenty of people see those signs.