City cancels Memorial Day parade
Haverhill has cancelled its in-person Memorial Day activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cancellations primarily affect the annual Memorial Day parade and the ceremony at the conclusion of the parade at the Linwood Cemetery.
Mayor James Fiorentini and Veterans Services Officer Amanda Buckley are working with local veterans groups to plan a remote celebration on Memorial Day, May 25, to honor servicemen and servicewoman who paid the ultimate price for freedom.
"It is unfortunate that the COVID-19 pandemic does not allow us to come together as a community to honor our fallen heroes as we have traditionally done," Fiorentini said. "We must put the safety of the public first right now, but please keep our veterans and their families in your thoughts and prayers and please honor our American flag and those who defend it this Memorial Day."
As is tradition, veterans and volunteers will be placing American flags on the gravestones of deceased veterans prior to Memorial Day. Buckley is organizing the effort to decorate gravestones following social distancing guidelines and anyone who would like to participate is asked to email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
VFW Post 29 Junior Vice Commander Donald Jarvis encourages residents to do whatever they can to show their appreciation for veterans, including displaying flags and decorating their homes, doors and windows with homemade patriotic signs and messages from May 25 to July 4.
Police to receive $102,000 in CARES Act funding
Congresswoman Lori Trahan has announced $102,146 in CARES Act grant money for the Haverhill Police Department.
The money was disbursed by the Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Assistance to support the department’s efforts to prevent, prepare for and respond to COVID-19.
"Our police officers are on the front line of this public health crisis – asked to go above and beyond the call of duty every day," Trahan said. "They are our local heroes, and this funding will ensure they have the equipment and support they need to do their jobs as safely as possible."
Mayor James Fiorentini said Congress continues its work on providing relief to the American people.
"We must ensure that our brave police officers, firefighters, EMTs, health care and emergency workers have everything they need to fight this pandemic and protect our communities," Fiorentini said. "These funds are urgently needed for our front-line police officers and we appreciate Congresswoman’s Trahan’s successful efforts on behalf of the city and people of Haverhill.
"It has been a top priority of my administration to make sure all our public safety and municipal workers as well as our residents have access to face masks and other PPE to make sure they are protected," Fiorentini said. "These funds will go a long way to achieving this goal."
Hospice house opens special COVID-19 unit
Home Health Foundation, a Lawrence-based nonprofit organization, has opened a special unit for patients with COVID-19 at High Pointe House in Haverhill.
This acute care hospice residence provides a home-like alternative to hospitalization for those requiring specialized end-of-life care.
The first of its kind in the region, the unit is separate from other patient areas within High Pointe House. Health care professionals caring for end-of-life patients who are also COVID-19 positive are properly outfitted with protective personal equipment, including an N95 mask, face shield, gloves and gown, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
In addition to the enhancements in care offered at High Pointe House, both home health and hospice care community clinicians are effectively utilizing technological advances within patients’ homes.
The use of telehealth has been greatly expanded to closely support individuals healing at home and in hospice care during this pandemic. As a result, Home Health Foundation’s clinicians have distributed numerous tablets to supplement in-person care with video visits, as well as link patients with family members, music therapists, social workers, chaplains and others.
To learn more about Home Health Foundation services or to arrange for care, call 800-333-4799 or visit homehealthfoundation.org.
One Haverhill Fund launched
Haverhill community leaders have launched the One Haverhill Fund to provide emergency assistance to individuals and families impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
The One Haverhill Fund was suggested by state Rep. Andy Vargas and established by community leaders including Mayor James Fiorentini, state Rep. Christina Minicucci, the Greater Haverhill Chamber, Community Action Inc., Emmaus, Haverhill food pantries, and the United Way of Massachusetts Bay and the Merrimack Valley.
The fund will focus on providing basic needs for families and cover costs such as rent, food, utilities, internet connections, child care, medications, and other basic necessities. Priority will be given to residents who are most economically vulnerable to the COVID-19 crisis. All donations will be collected by United Way and distributed by established Haverhill nonprofit organizations with a track record of administering assistance funds.
To kick off the effort, United Way provided $50,000 to Emmaus and Community Action Inc. In addition to launching the One Haverhill Fund, United Way’s COVID relief efforts have supported UTEC and the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Haverhill.
All gifts are tax-deductible and 100% of the proceeds will go to people seeking assistance.
To donate, visit unitedwaymassbay.org/covid-19/local-funds/haverhill or send a check to United Way of Massachusetts Bay, P.O. Box 51381, Boston, MA 02205-1381. Please make checks out to “United Way of Massachusetts Bay” and include “The One Haverhill Fund” in the memo area.
Recycling center/ brush dump is open
Haverhill's brush and leaf dump and recycling center at the Highway Department yard, 500 Primrose St. is now open five and a half days a week.
Visiting the yard is by appointment only and residents entering the yard must wear face coverings. Entry will be limited to 10 vehicles at a time and activities will be monitored.
To dump yard waste, residents must make appointments at haverhillrecycle.org.
Yard waste passes and appliance disposal fees must be purchased online. There will be no hand-to-hand transactions at the yard. No sales will be done from the Highway Department office.
Appointments can be scheduled for weekdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. On Wednesdays from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. 1 p.m., brush will be accepted, along with single-stream recycling items including cardboard, metals, appliances, mercury products, batteries, tires, TVs and propane tanks.
All leaf bags must be emptied by residents. Brush cannot be longer than 4 feet, 6 inches in diameter.
For more information, visit online at haverhillrecycle.org. Anyone with questions should call 311 or the Solid Waste and Recycling Department at 978-420-3817.
Meal sites open for rest of school year
Haverhill public schools will continue offering children in the city breakfast and lunch “to go” until the end of the school year.
Meals are given out at the Hunking, Consentino, Nettle and Whittier Middle schools, as well as the Boys & Girls Club and the YMCA.
All sites are open to serve bagged meals to any Haverhill child between the age of birth to 18 (you do not have to be enrolled as a Haverhill public school student). The sites operate daily from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Each student is entitled to one breakfast pack and one lunch pack per day. One family member is allowed to pick up meals for multiple children — not all family members must go to the pick-up site. Families can also pick up additional meals for the weekends on Fridays.
YMCA delivering school meals
The Haverhill YMCA is delivering bagged school breakfasts and lunches to the homes of families that don’t have reliable transportation and may not be able to travel to one of six distribution sites.
Tracy Fuller, executive director for the YMCA in Haverhill and Plaistow, said her staff has been delivering about 150 bagged breakfasts and lunches per day, five days a week, including extra food on Fridays to last the weekend.
“People are really appreciative of the effort, and we’re also working with Community Action, which has a few families in need of this support as well,” Fuller said. “One parent called us to say she was thankful for the meals being delivered as she doesn’t have a car and that times are tough for her family.”
Elderly and disabled need food donations
The city of Haverhill and the mayor’s office are concerned about the ability of Haverhill’s vulnerable senior citizens and disabled residents to receive food and regular meals during the coronavirus crisis.
The city is asking for donations in the amounts of $25, $50, $75 and $100. The money will be used to purchase food at local grocery stores for seniors and/or disabled residents experiencing financial hardship or unable to get to the grocery store on their own.
To donate, visit online at tinyurl.com/ycqmywo8. For more information, contact Vincent Ouellette at 978-374-2388, ext 3928.
Youth arts fundraiser seeks support
Organizers of the annual Steve Lyons Rock Out! Cookout in Haverhill say despite the challenges the community faces, including problems with the economy, they are still committed to the annual mission of supporting local youth arts by providing resources to those that need it.
Organizers are planning to hold this year’s Rock Out! Cookout and are reaching out to the community for support.
To contribute or participate this year, send email to email@example.com or contact Angela Orben at 978-360-6283.
Visit online at stevelyonsfund.org or on Facebook.
New veterans bill announced
State Sen. Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen who also represents Haverhill, has filed legislation aimed at providing financial relief to veterans affected by the coronavirus.
The act provides emergency, one-time grants to Massachusetts veterans suffering financial loss due to COVID-19.
“This is a bill that will not only provide our veterans with much needed emergency aid but also start a long overdue conversation about how our veterans are currently accessing benefits and how we can make this system more efficient and effective in its service to those who served us,” DiZoglio said. “Let’s support the brave men and women who have served to keep us free by passing this important legislation.”
Under state laws covering veterans’ benefits, the Department of Veterans Services, in partnership with local veterans service officers, administers a program of financial assistance for food, housing, fuel, clothing and medical care for veterans and their dependents who have limited income and assets. DiZoglio’s legislation supplements that aid because COVID-19 has created financial distress for Massachusetts veterans well beyond the scope of chapter 115.
“Veterans have proven particularly vulnerable in this crisis,” said Haverhill resident and Vietnam veteran Ralph Basiliere, who originally contacted DiZoglio about the issue and pointed to a similar proposal that has been approved in Minnesota. “Efforts to aid them are desperately needed.”
Kindergarten registration is by phone
Registration for Haverhill public schools free all-day kindergarten for September 2020 is open and families are encouraged to register early.
Children age 5 on or before Aug. 31 are eligible for enrollment. Appointments can be requested online at haverhill-ps.org/registration.
All business is being conducted by phone while the Parent Resource Center office at the Burnham School is closed.
Child care for front-line workers
The Haverhill YMCA is offering free emergency child care for front-line crisis workers weekdays from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Two classrooms each for both early learning and school-aged children are available. Classes are limited to 20 children.
Early learning classes are held in the Whittier Early Learning Center, 87 Winter St. School-age classes are held at the YMCA, 81 Winter St.
"Our team has been focused on pivoting our Y’s work to focus on delivering and supporting vital services related to the COVID-19 emergency,” said Chris Lovasco, president and CEO of the YMCA of the North Shore. “We were chosen by the state to provide four emergency childcare centers in three communities serving over 160 children of those essential workers serving on the front line. Each center can accommodate 40 children, maintaining YMCA safety ratios.”
This program is free. Meals and the usual Y child care essentials are available. To enroll your child, send email to YMCA Executive Director Tracy Fuller at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Representatives team up to drive census participation
State Reps. Andy Vargas, D-Haverhill, Paul Tucker, D-Salem, and Carlos Gonzalez, D-Springfield, are challenging each other to a friendly competition to increase census participation rates in their three respective communities.
All three are driving their residents to be counted in the federal census, and the city with the highest census participation rate on May 15 will win the challenge. Two representatives will then purchase $500 each worth of takeout from a local restaurant in the winning city as a reward, which they say will likely be donated to front-line workers.
"The great thing about this challenge is that every community will ultimately win," Vargas said. "The city with the highest response rate will see a boost to their restaurants and front-line workers, but every community will benefit from increased engagement and census response rates."
The federal census is required by law to be held every 10 years, and the results of which decide how to divvy up more than $800 billion in federal monies across the country, and could be a key method of deciding how stimulus and recovery money will be spent over the next few years.
NECC plans virtual athletic information sessions
Current and future Northern Essex Community College students interested in participating in sports for the fall 2020 or spring 2021 semesters will have four opportunities to attend a virtual athletic information session this spring and summer.
The college will hold information sessions May 20, June 17, July 29 and Aug. 19.
Students interested in joining the NECC athletic program are invited to attend any one of the events, which begin at 10 a.m. and will run about 30 minutes. Northern Essex offers 12 sports.
Participants will have the opportunity to hear from Dan Blair, NECC’s athletic director, along with enrollment councilor Meredith Gagnon-Dube, NECC coaches and student-athletes. Bring your questions.
"This is a great opportunity for students to learn about the sports we offer and what is required of them to join the program as student-athletes," Blair said.
For more information contact Blair at email@example.com.
Advanced registration is required at neccknights.com/general/2019-20/releases/20200417levuwh.
Tribute to Women to go virtual
The YWCA Northeastern Massachusetts' 37th annual Tribute to Women will go virtual with a live broadcast June 23 at 6:30 p.m.
This special event honors women throughout the Merrimack Valley and the North Shore for their outstanding commitment to their community.
The internet link to join the event will be sent one week prior to the event.
For more information, contact Jeanne Osborn at 978-788-6339.
Archdiocese introduces online giving to parishes
The Archdiocese of Boston has created an online payment mechanism that donors can use to make a gift directly to the parish of their choice.
This 90-day program offers support now by providing a way to make a daily commitment in addition to regular weekly donations. To donate, visit online at bostoncatholic.org and click on the “donate” button near the top of the page.
You can donate by making weekly payments, monthly payments or a one-time donation. This program is especially helpful for parishes that do not currently have the ability to accept online donations.
Parishioners who give online using the 90 Days Now – for Your Parish site should know that the funds they give will go directly into their parish’s savings account and will be promptly available for their parish’s needs.
Chamber offers free webinars
The Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce is offering free webinars that are open to the community.
Virtual Networking to promote your company, meet other small businesses, and socialize is Friday, May 15, at 10 a.m.
Webinar with BlumShapiro on Cyber Security — protecting yourself while working from home — is Tuesday, May 19, at 10 a.m.
Webinar with Constant Contact to discuss marketing your business is Wednesday, June 10, at 10 a.m.
Register for these webinars at web.merrimackvalleychamber.com/events.
Keeping postal workers safe
The U.S. Postal Service is asking people to not approach mail carriers to accept delivery and to let carriers leave the mailbox before collecting their mail.
With schools not in session, children should also be encouraged not to approach a postal vehicle or carrier.
Post Office spokesman Mike Rakes said postal employees are working hard to ensure residents stay connected with their world through the mail.
“For everyone’s safety, our employees are following the social distancing precautions recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and local health officials,” he said.
If a delivery requires a signature, carriers will knock on the door rather than touching the bell. They will maintain a safe distance, and instead of asking for a signature on their mobile device, they’ll ask for the resident’s name. The carrier will leave the mail or package in a safe place for retrieval.
Rakes said the CDC, World Health Organization and the surgeon general indicate there is no evidence that COVID-19 is being spread through the mail.
“With social distancing, we can keep the mail moving while keeping our employees and the public safe,” Rakes said.
Grants support area nonprofits
The Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF has awarded a third round of grants from its Essex County COVID-19 Response Fund, established in March to support nonprofits on the frontlines of the pandemic response in Essex County.
This third round of grants – which totals $710,000 – includes $450,000 of funding from the Massachusetts COVID-19 Relief Fund. Initiated by First Lady Lauren Baker and the One8 Foundation, this statewide fund is working with regional nonprofit leaders, community foundations and others to understand the response and relief landscape – both local and statewide – and strategically fill in where gaps are pronounced.
The 20 recipients of this third round of grants include the Community Action Inc. in Haverhill and the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council.
Supporting local organizations also being funded include: Groundwork Lawrence; Northeast Legal Aid; Lawrence CommunityWorks; the Latino Coalition of Haverhill and ACT Lawrence.
To help those most affected by the COVID-19 crisis, donate today to the Essex County COVID-19 Response Fund at eccf.org/COVID-19ResponseFund.
Essex County Summer Youth Leadership Academy canceled
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Essex County Sheriff’s Department is cancelling this summer’s Youth Leadership Academy.
Essex County Sheriff Kevin Coppinger determined that canceling this academy was the safest thing to.
“This was by no means an easy decision," he said. "We know the great and positive impact the Youth Leadership Academy has with our at-risk youth. It’s also a program we very much enjoy, and our staff values the time spent with these kids."
The Essex County Youth Leadership Academy is a nonprofit educational service that provides a structured youth diversion program for at-risk children ages 8 to 15.
This free summer academy incorporates a variety of game and team-building exercises to teach valuable life lessons, including CPR, Internet safety, anti-bullying, and drug and alcohol awareness.
"We very much look forward to being able to get back out there next summer and work with these kids to help them on a positive life path," Coppinger said.