:Strange happening in the sky: Some residents of the city’s Riverside area contacted the Lamplighter to report an unusual event that happened early one morning last week. People were stirred from sleep about 12:30 a.m. Wednesday by the sound of a helicopter passing slowly overhead. Some got up to look out and see the vehicle flying very low in the sky, with its front running lights on. It was strange, as if the helicopter was tracking someone or something.
:Taking the TV spotlight: Members of the former Haverhill Boxing Club were featured Jan. 17 on the New England Sports Network (NESN), which shows Bruins and Red Sox games. The TV spot showed them being trained by their coaches and told the hard-luck story of how the group lost its home and is looking for a new home. As explained earlier in stories in the Gazette and The Eagle-Tribune, the young boxers lost their gym in the old St. Michael’s Church because the organization could not afford the rent and utility bills.
:Happy 100th: Congratulations to Lillian Sherburne, who celebrated her 100th birthday last week. Mayor James Fiorentini was on hand to give her a citation from the city. The event was at the Wingate at Haverhill nursing home on North Avenue, where she lives.
:Getting a break: Haverhill resident Billy Ray Hawkins Jr. is on his way to joining the Fire Department, despite a state law that says the 34-year-old is too old to enter the profession. City Council approved a home-petition last week asking the Legislature to exempt Hawkins from a state law that says a person cannot be older than 32 prior to taking the firefighter exam. Hawkins said he recently became certified as an emergency medical technician and that he has always wanted to be a firefighter, but procrastinated in pursuing it. Councilors told Hawkins he looks younger than his age and appears physically fit. Councilor William Ryan told him, “I want to see you coming up the ladder if I’m ever in a burning building.”
:Odd jobs: City Public Works Director Michael Stankovich does far more than put his department’s big budget together and deal with staffing matters. Consider some of the other city jobs he is listed as having. Among them are fence watcher and gypsy moth superintendent. They were among the fine print listed on a recent City Council agenda.
:Location, location: The city is seeing more and more gains from having hundreds of apartments and condos in old shoe factories downtown. In addition to restaurants and lounges in the “restaurant district,’’ other spinoffs are happening. There is the relatively new liquor store on Locust Street, right across from The Cordovan apartments. Then there is the Butch’s Uptown restaurant at the corner of Locke and Orchard streets. That eatery, in the long-vacant Radio Market building, is right across the street from the Hamel Mill Lofts apartment complex, which has hundreds of apartments that promise to bring the restaurant a solid customer base.
:Speaking of location ...: With so many changes downtown and now talk of a UMass-Lowell satellite campus moving in, The Lamplighter wonders what it will take for something to finally happen with the old Woolworth building. It has been sitting vacant at the eastern gateway to downtown for nearly 50 years at a prime spot along the Merrimack River. Experts believe the building is so old and deteriorated that it will have to be torn down for something new to move in. Maybe that’s the biggest delay — the cost of demolition on top of new construction costs.
:How time flies: The Lamplighter realized that three years have already passed since the Haverhill Boys Club opened its doors to girls for the first time since it was established in 1906. Renamed the Boy & Girls Club of Greater Haverhill in 2009, the club has grown in many ways. It has new programs such as nutrition guidance, music and dance lessons, cheerleading, floor hockey and volley ball, and now serves more than 800 area boys and girls annually. About 170 members are registered in a daily “Power Hour” after-school homework program, where they get a nutritious snack, and they are eligible to be inducted into the club’s academic honors club.