---- — Northern Essex Community College, along with the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce and the Haverhill Horizons Hardware Challenge, will host the “Open Innovation Conference 2013” on March 20 from 6 to 9:30 p.m. at Northern Essex Community College’s Technology Center, 100 Elliott St.
Business, community, and educational leaders are invited to attend the conference, which will initiate the development of an open innovation cluster in the Merrimack Valley, according to a press release on the event.
“We want to enhance our local and regional competitiveness so that we can increase business and economic development in Haverhill and the Merrimack Valley,” Mayor James Fiorentini said.
Sven Amirian, president of the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce, explained the goals of the conference.
“The region needs a critical mass of entrepreneurs and talented workers, a strong education network, collaborative business practices and tools, as well as access to capital resources and local and global markets,” Amirian said, adding that his business group hopes to play a major role in matchmaking for partnerships.
George Moriarty of Haverhill, the community college’s new executive director for workforce development and corporate relations, said “open innovation can be a catalyst for economic growth.”
“The Merrimack Valley has tremendous potential for growth and development,” Moriarty said. “Our core businesses produce the goods and services demanded by today’s global marketplace. Our educational infrastructure endows its graduates with 21st century skills and knowledge. Entrepreneurs across the region are challenging long-held assumptions about product development and intellectual property being produced solely within the organization. Open innovation, or co-creating, is a concept that unifies these exciting elements into a coherent approach to sustainable economic development.”
Comic to perform at fundraiser
The second annual mental wellness fundraiser for the Haverhill Clubhouse is March 21 and features “A Comedy Cure All of Humor and Humanity” starring comic Jessica Kirson.
The show is in the Galleria at Maria’s Restaurant, 83-85 Essex St. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the show is at 8:30 p.m. Kirson has appeared on “The Tonight Show,’’ “Comedy Central’’ and “Last Comic Standing.’’ Tickets are $20 each at the door or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org. For a sampling of Kirson’s humor visit www.jessicakirson.com.
Low-cost spay and neuter services available
The MSPCA at Nevins Farm in Methuen is offering low-cost spay and neuter services for cats and dogs owned by Haverhill residents.
The MSPCA at Nevins Farm is one of the largest animal care and adoption centers in the region, taking in more than 7,000 animals each year. Because Haverhill accounts for the second largest amount of homeless dogs in the shelter (second to Lawrence), the MSPCA is encouraging Haverhill residents to spay and neuter their dogs, thereby reducing the number of unwanted dogs coming into the shelter and helping battle overpopulation.
A grant through the Massachusetts Animal Coalition and in conjunction with Haverhill Animal Control allows the MSPCA to offer a spay or neuter package for as low as $75, including essential vaccines and a microchip. Pit pulls and pit bull-type dogs can be spayed or neutered for just $50 through the MSPCA’s Pit Pals program. A separate grant allows for a cat spay or neuter for as low as $10, including surgery and basic vaccines. As of a few weeks ago, only 13 Haverhill dogs registered for the program since the grant began last summer. For more information, contact Mike Keiley at 978-361-6471. Visit online at www.mspca.org/nevins.
Haverhill Senior Baseball signups Saturday
Haverhill Senior Baseball will hold signups for anyone in the Haverhill area on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon at the Haverhill YMCA, 81 Winter St.
The league has two divisions — one for players age 13 and the other for players ages 14 and 15. All home games will be played on a regulation 90-foot diamond on the JV Field behind Trinity Stadium on Lincoln Avenue. Applications are available online at haverhillseniorbaseball.com or by calling Larry O’Brien at 978-373-6982 or Dan Francescone at 978-807-5068.
Auction, comedy night March 16
St. Joseph School of All Saints Parish will hold its annual auction and comedy night March 16 at DiBurro’s function hall.
Registration begins at 5:30 p.m. The event will feature Paul Nardizzi, one of the country’s top comedians. Nardizzi is known for his sports humor and has appeared on Fox Sports and “NESN Comedy All-Stars’’, as well as NBC’s “Late Night with Conan O’Brien’’ and “Comedy Central.’’
Also performing is Stephen Bjork, one of the funniest observational humorists in Boston. Bjork has gone cross-country as a headliner performing at the Improv in Las Vegas, Hilarities in Orlando and at Mohegan Sun. Auction items include several options for getaways, sports memorabilia, prize-filled balloons, raffles, and an auction of unique classroom projects. Students in each grade created a custom piece of art, unique and of heirloom quality.
Proceeds from this event support the school. This event is open to the public. Tickets are $35 per person and include a drink ticket, food, the comedy show and auction event. More information is available online at www.sjshav.com.
Haverhill High sports program receives donation
Haverhill High School’s Athletics Department recently received a donation of $4,100 from Gary Jaffarian, president of Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Scion.
The money will be used to continue to drive down the costs for students to participate in the athletics program.
The contribution, the most recent of donations totaling more than $18,000, is part of Jaffarian’s ongoing GAME ON program, which donates a portion of its profits to Haverhill High’s athletic program and other local participating high schools. Over the past two years, Haverhill High’s athletics program has had many accomplishments. This year alone, the Hillies captured four Merrimack Valley Conference titles and 11 teams competed in post-season play. Two teams ranked No. 1 in the state, the football team snapped a 32-game losing streak with 8-3, the boys volleyball team advanced to the state final match and the wrestling program was restored.
In addition, significant facility improvements have been implemented including a new gym floor, entrance to high school athletic facilities, and renovation of the playing fields. Much of the recent successes can be attributed to the reduction of athletic user fees. The athletic program has had more than 100 participants this year than last year across all sports since the user fee went from $275 from two years ago to its current rate of $100. Haverhill High Athletic Director Tom O’Brien said the $18,000 total donation received from Jaffarian also helped with facility improvements, uniform replacement and upgrading equipment for sports teams.
Electronic recycling event Saturday
The Riverside-Bradford 2013 Cooperstown Team will host an electronic recycling event on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Consentino School, 685 Washington St.
Allied Computer Brokers will accept items for a fee and will donate a portion of the proceeds to the team to help defray the cost of a trip to Cooperstown, N.Y., this summer to play at the Field of Dreams Park.
Fees range from $5 for small electronic items to $15 for large items such as TVs and monitors. More information is available from Dan Archambault at 617-835-4955.