EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


September 19, 2013

Editorial: Some cheers, some jeers for our recent newsmakers

CHEERS to the restoration of tree-lined streets in Haverhill.

Anyone who has seen old photos of New England cities and town knows that streets were once lined with beautiful trees, most commonly elms. The stately elms were almost completely wiped out by a fungus, Dutch elm disease, that began infecting North American trees in the late 1920s.

Now, new disease-resistant varieties of elm have been developed and an effort is under way to restore the beautiful tree-lined streets of New England communities.

Haverhill Mayor James Fiorentini is passionate about this effort. Over the last several years, the city has planted more than 400 trees along its streets. The goal is to plant 100 more this year, Mayor Fiorentini told reporter Mike LaBella.

But the process is slower and more costly than expected.

“Realistically we’ll probably get to 50 additional trees in the fall,” Fiorentini told LaBella, adding they will include various species. “We are still working on our tree plans, but since we don’t have the manpower, we have to hire private companies to do it and that’s expensive.”

Also, the city must take care not to disturb underground utilities along its streets.

Money for the tree planting and care comes from the city budget as well as state and federal grants. The city is also working out the details of a gift from Columbia Pictures as a thank-you to the city for hosting the filming of “The Equalizer” starring Denzel Washington.

This effort is worth the time and expense. The restoration of trees along Haverhill streets will, in a few years, greatly enhance their beauty and provide pleasure to residents for generations to come.

JEERS to those behind a recent spate of armed robberies in Haverhill.

In recent weeks, there have been three robberies of convenience stores along River Street. In each case, the robber flashed a gun and fled on foot with the money. The victims in each case provided a similar description of the criminals.

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