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April 19, 2017 top stories
BMU turns north,
OESU merger fades

WELLS RIVER—Merger plans between two area school districts appear to be on the verge of collapse.
A study process to explore a possible merger, called a 706(b), was set in motion some 16 months ago between Blue Mountain Union and the three Orange East Supervisory Union districts of Bradford, Newbury and Oxbow. The group relied on a $20,000 grant from the state and a Vermont School Board Association consultant.
Initially, the Act 46 study committee saw many opportunities to collaborate, but the goal of a shared governance structure in its current configuration now appears to be dead, although it may not have had much of a pulse to begin with.

Vote could lead
to bridge closure

NORTH HAVERHILL—The Haverhill Selectboard turned down what was characterized as a free bridge in Woodsville by a vote of three to two on Monday night.
The New Hampshire Department of Transportation offered to build a new $1.5 million bridge to replace one that had been red listed on Mill Street behind Woodsville Elementary School. At their meeting on Monday night, the selectmen heard from DOT representatives that the new bridge would be paid for with federal fuel tax money, and would not require any town money to construct.
Once the bridge was completed, the state would ask the town to take ownership and maintain the structure the designers said would last 100 years or more.

This week's featured photo
Town Hall vote
set for next week

FAIRLEE—Fairlee voters will return to the polls on April 26 to vote on an $850,000 bond question to rehabilitate the Town Hall. Voters initially approved the proposal in February but petitioners successfully gathered enough signatures to warn a new vote.
The final public hearing in advance of the revote was held on April 13. Approximately 30 people attended the hearing.
And as has become abundantly clear since town meeting in March, questions about the Town Hall have become linked with a water infrastructure project on the horizon. But the selectboard, and many residents, believe the Town Hall can’t wait.
The selectboard has strained itself to frame both the Town Hall rehabilitation and the water system overhaul as economic development initiatives.

There’s little land to be found at Bugbee Landing in Bradford at the moment as this photo taken on April 15 shows seasonal flooding along the Waits and Connecticut rivers.


Orford mulls search
for new chief

ORFORD—Meeting with the Orford Selectboard on April 12, Grafton County Sheriff Doug Dutile outlined a process for replacing Chris Kilmer, who resigned on March 31 as police chief. Following his advice would likely extend the search but also make it more effective. In the meantime, the board faces local pressure for assurance of prompt police response in emergencies.
Dutile posed several questions that he said the townspeople and the selectboard must answer before even beginning to advertise the position.
“What does the town want?” This is your time to think about what you want for police. he said. “A police chief? An officer in charge? A patrol officer? Or, you don’t have to have anyone.” He said that Monroe has gone that route, contracting with the state troopers for scheduled coverage hours each month at a special detail rate.

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