EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


December 29, 2013

Haverhill: Year in review

Police union head suspended

Police officer Rick Welch, president of the patrolman’s union, was suspended for 15 days without pay this month for mishandling a call from an elderly woman who was concerned about her son — a 57-year-old Silsby Farm beekeeper later found dead from bee stings in June.

Police Chief Alan DeNaro suspended Welch for five days without pay and recommended that Fiorentini suspend the officer without pay for another 175 days. The mayor said he relied on Welch’s clean record in rejecting DeNaro’s recommendation to suspend the officer for six months. The case focuses on Welch’s decision not to send a patrol car to check on beekeeper Alan Schwartz, after his mother called police at 2 a.m. on to report that her son did not come home that night and was not answering his cell phone. Schwartz was found dead the next morning from an allergic reaction to bee venom. Welch believes his punishment is excessive and is payback for his union activities and has appealed the mayor’s decision to the state Civil Service Commission.

Hillie sports teams on a roll

The high school football team made it into post season play for the first time in 12 years, capping off their second straight winning season with a thrilling Thanksgiving Day win at home against rival Lowell. Defense was the strength of the team this year, having surrendered an average of just over 16 points per game.

The girls soccer team defeated Andover 3-1, marking the first win over the Warriors in the history of the program. Five high school programs competed in the post season, including the girls volleyball team, which completed one of the best seasons in program history and 18-4 record. The School Department found more money to put into sports and as parents and boosters raised money, all of which reduced student athlete fees increasing participation.

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