It wasn’t supposed to be political, but the annual Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce dinner had a “mayoral” tone, especially when exiting Chamber President Sally Cerasuolo-O’Rorke said her good-bye speech. When Alfred L. Arcidi, CEO of Whittier Health Network, got up to accept the Charles E. Billups Award, he said, “Hopefully Sally will be our next mayor.”

Joan Cranton received the Laurie J. Chase Community Leadership Award during the Greater Haverhill Chamber annual dinner. And both Dianne McDermott and Elaine Barker received the Jerry Loy Outstanding Director’s Award.

Constantine Valhouli says he has been asked several times if he is running for political office because some consider his Haverhill Gazette columns and letters to the editor to be anti-Mayor James J. Fiorentini. Valhouli wants to put the rumors to rest. He said he has no plans to run for any political office, but he would love to see the city charter rewritten to a town meeting form of government that gives more power to the City Council and makes the mayor more of a figurehead. (Haverhill voted that system out years ago.)

Carole Portors’ Main Street Boutique in Bradford will offer an alternative to its normal inventory of women’s clothing and gifts this weekend. In fact, Portors’ boutique may well become known as the Main Street Bakery the next couple days as it sells delicious baked goods for The Great American Bake Off, a national bake sale charity sponsored by celebrity chef Rachel Ray, to benefit America’s hungry children. Portors’ goal is to raise $1,000. Future bake sales are planned for July 20 and 21 and August 17 and 18. For information or to volunteer, 978-374-0023.

A new and different Haverhill postcard is now available. The Friends of the Haverhill Public Library have had a card created showing the statue of Whittier’s Barefoot Boy that was given to the library by the self-styled “illustrious” Haverhill High Class of 1939. The card is part of the city observaance of the 200th birthday of poet and abolitinist John Greenleaf Whittier. The 1939 class was given funds by Irene Carter and her late husband Leewood, and had the statue made.

The term “backfire” was quite common years ago in connection with the misfiring of automobile engines. It is being used now by people who might never have heard a real “backfire.” The word is now being used to describe sounds related to shots fired, and the latest time was last Saturday, for noises that could have been gunfire within the city.

The Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce recognized several of Haverhill’s small businesses during its Annual Small Business Recognition Day breakfast June 1 at DiBurro’s. In the category of Media Advocate, Haverhill radio station WHAV.Net took home the award. Two city businesses were recognized in the Service category: E-Z Way Cleaners and Pentucket Medical Associates. Winners in the Wholesale Small Business category were Jackson Lumber and Beacon Electric Sales. For Business Assistance, the Northern Essex Community College CBI was honored. And the Chamber offered a special salute to families owning small businesses, including the Regan Family of Regan Ford.

Sammy Kay Wheeler of Hampstead, N.H. was diagnosed with lymphoblasic lymphoma in her senior year of high school and her battle inspired several of the businesses in the Wingate Street Arts District to raise money for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society in her honor. Nancy Morris and Tricia Howell of Girlfriends Gifts (64 Wingate St.) invite all to join them June 16 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for “Shop for Sammy Kay Day.” A generous portion of the day’s sales will be donated to the charity in Wheeler’s honor. Tickets can also be purchased for $25 for a cocktail reception at Girlfriends Gifts tomorrow night from 7 to 10. Various items, including a baseball signed by Daisuke Matsuzaka and two box seats to a Red Sox game, will be raffled off during the event. Information, call Morris at 978-374-6100.

People looking for a cheap fill-up at the gas pumps after hitting the roads over the Memorial Day weekend took note of the Prime and Irving gas stations on Route 125 next to the former Ralph’s Restaurant last week. Prime’s $2.73 per gallon and Irving’s $2.75 attracted so many motorists that police were called to the scene at 10 a.m. because so many vehicles were turning in and out of the stations. The lines reminded those old enough of the lines at pumps during the energy crisis of the 1970s. But the prices at Irving and Prime were short-lived. By noon Tuesday a gallon of gas was back up to $2.97 at Prime and $2.99 at Irving.

A man riding a bicycle on Dwight Street was reportedly hit by a school bus recently and taken to Merrimack Valley Hospital for a precautionary checkup. The victim was unsure if the driver knew the bus was involved in an accident.

The Haverhill Garden Club is holding its first city garden tour since 1994 on Saturday. Tickets range from $8 to $10. For more information, contact the club at 978-372-0803.

Haverhill’s Brightside is correctly taking pride in the many small parks and other city areas blossoming with inspiration from the civic group. However, observers are also reporting there are many new flower gardens springing up around homes and businesses throughout the city, including many back streets where they do not get much public display.

Two stories in the Sunday New York Times had material of local interest. One mentioned city native Rob Zombie in connection with his work as a horror movie writer, director and actor, and the other was about the impending move from Congress to college life by Rep. Marty Meehan.

Even as June arrived, there was still a considerable amount of debris piled along Wall Street, which runs beside the city’s flood wall parallel to Merrimack Street. Area businesspeople say it was left over from the snow-plowing days of winter.

In spite of the increasing demand for passports soon to be required for people planning to visit Canada, Mexico and Caribbean coutries, the passport office in the Federal Building in Washington Square has been closed at noon, when many people are looking for information and applications during their own lunch hour.

The name of entertainer and Haverhill native Tom Bergeron was mentioned some time ago in connection with the annual dinner of the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce, which was held last week. Tom was not among those physically present, but his monetary contribution to an annual scholarship got prominent mention.

Tim Schiavoni’s name is being mentioned here and there as a candidate to become the new Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce president. His latest post with the United Way ended when the Merrimack Valley unit was reorganized. But a woman prominent in public relations has also submitted a resume, so stay tuned. The committee hopes to name the new president by July 1.

A search by the Whittier 200 committee revealed there are seven communities, mostly small, in the country bearing the name of Whittier, and one called Greenleaf. The farthest from Haverhill is Whitttier, Alaska, which was founded in 1943 as an Army base during World War II. However, the town was not named directly for Whittier, but for a nearby glacier named for our own John Greenleaf Whittier in 1915. The Alaska town, population 200, is becoming a stop for cruise ships.

Police Sgt. Dana Burrill is beaming with pride these days, not because of his crime-busting success but because his son, also named Dana, has just entered the Police Academy before going on duty with the Haverhill department.

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