:Follow parking rules, or pay: Police want to make sure everyone is aware that the winter parking rules are in effect, so they’ve been “announcing’’ it in a big way. They recently had an electronic sign on Main Street near Basiliere Bridge reminding drivers that the rules would be enforced starting this month. The rules require drivers leaving their cars on the street overnight park on either the even-numbered side or the odd-numbered side, depending on the month. And rest assured, the rules will be enforced — snow or no snow. In past years, people in some neighborhoods became irate when their cars were ticketed for being on the wrong side of the street, even though no snow had fallen. Police say they want residents to develop good parking habits early, so when the snow does fly plows will be able to pass by easily.

:City shows its generosity: Haverhill’s recent VFW Santa Parade not only entertained a huge crowd, but the Betsy Conte Food Drive that took place during the parade helped restock the shelves of nine local food pantries. They are All Saints Parish, Calvary Baptist Church Pantry, Emmaus, Open Hand Pantry, Pregnancy Care Center, Presidential Gardens Neighborhood Association, Sacred Hearts Church, the Salvation Army and Somebody Cares New England. The Conte family thanks the many volunteers who helped make this year’s drive a success and the many people who donated food items.

:No Christmas Castle, but holiday spirit lives: The Salvation Army decided not to set up the Christmas Castle in the Pentucket Bank community room this year, and instead invited parents seeking help to stop by their headquarters on Main Street. Salvation Army Lt. Jeff Hardy said the decorations at the Christmas Castle became too expensive to keep replacing due to age and accidents. Hardy and his wife wanted people to be in the Salvation Army building to experience all they have to offer. He said it has more space to distribute gifts to children of families in need. Hardy said the move allowed for quicker, better and more efficient services to clients, and all under one roof. Still, the Lamplighter missed his annual visit to the Christmas Castle to see all of its wonderful decorations.

:Cemetery conditions disturb veteran: Pat Richardson, now of Hernando, Florida, was visiting family in Haverhill recently and when he took a walk through the Hilldale Cemetery he was disgusted by the deplorable conditions there, particularly the flag. So Richardson dropped by the VFW Lorraine Post 29 on Kenoza Avenue and they gave him a new flag. A 28-year veteran of the U.S. Navy, Richardson said he used to walk through the cemetery when he lived in the area. Members of the VFW told him they tried to get the lock removed from the entrance so they could clean the area up and mow the grass, but to no avail. They said the only access they have is through the small city cemetery next to Hilldale Cemetery.

:A $6,000 boost: The recent 12 annual Haverhill Historical Society Scavenger Hunt raised more than $6,000. More than 400 individuals have participated in this event over the 12 years, raising more than $40,000 in that time for the Buttonwoods Museum’s operating expenses. Local artist Mark Hayden painted The Basiliere Bridge at Night on a one-foot square canvas, and donated it to the auction. Donna Carbone was the buyer for $600. Many people who were unable to participate or who helped out that night also made donations. You can still checks payable to The Haverhill Historical Society, 48 Colby St., Haverhill, MA 01835.

:Preserving history: The most difficult stop to find during this year’s Historical Society Scavenger Hunt was stop No.1, the East Parish Meeting House on Middle Road. Participants were most impressed by historic Meeting House, as none of them had been inside it before. The building is undergoing a restoration project and donations can be sent in care of: Connie Merrick, 120 Middle Road, Haverhill, MA 01830. Your name will be entered into a raffle to be drawn Dec. 18.

Tall and glowing: The city’s 40-foot tall Christmas tree in downtown Washington Square was recently decorated with 10,000 LED lights donated by Home Depot in Plaistow. Members of the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce Downtown Haverhill Committee, which organized the recent Christmas Stroll, said the number of lights is more than double the number of standard miniature lights used last year.

Shades of the holidays: At first, you might think your eyes are playing tricks on you. If you’ve driven by the big brick building in Lafayette Square that houses Archie’s Little River Ale House and other small businesses lately, you might have noticed an odd color on the bricks. Blink your eyes and the bricks turn another color. Is it magic? Call it holiday magic. The building has been outfitted with a lighting system that emits alternating red and green lights during the holiday season. The Lamplighter noticed the Christmas colors the other day when he was driving by.

Lottery fever bites city: Powerball fever hit Haverhill with the recent $550 million in potential winnings, and locals were definitely trying to win big. The Lamplighter noticed considerable lines at the Sunoco and Cumberland Farms gas stations on River Street as lottery players tried to win the jackpot. The grand prize was split between winners in Arizona and Missouri.

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