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February 12, 2020 top stories
Main Street store set to close

BRADFORD—After 60 years of holding a prominent place on Main Street, Aubuchon Hardware will close its doors sometime between the middle to end of next month.
News of the closing spread quickly after employees were informed last week.
“People are sad to see us go,” said current manager Wendell Magoon.
Since opening on Dec. 9, 1959, generations have shopped at its location on the east side of Main Street.
Justin Bicknell, regional manager, said packing of merchandise has begun and within three weeks, a liquidation sale will be held. The closing was prompted by declining sales over the last five or six years.
“It doesn’t make sense financially to keep it open,” said Bicknell.
Aubuchon Hardware is a family-owned hardware store chain founded in Fitchburg, Massachusetts by William E. Aubuchon Sr. in 1908. With over 100 stores throughout New England and New York, corporate offices are now located in Westminster, Massachusetts.
No other stores are affected by the Bradford closure. Twenty-five of the company’s stores are in Vermont with the nearest ones in St. Johnsbury, Barre, and Montpelier.
Nearly 10 years ago, the Aubuchon store in Bradford expanded with the store celebrating a reopening on Sept. 17, 2010.

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Proposed Piermont
budget is down

PIERMONT—The proposed 2020 Town budget was presented by the selectboard at a public hearing on Feb. 5, at the Old Church Building with 11 residents in attendance.
Proposed town expenditures excluding all warrant articles as well as the Grafton County tax assessment amount to $1,043,387 a decrease of $80,299 from the 2019 budget of $1,123,686.
Selectman Colin Stubbings reviewed each town department’s account during the hearing. While there are decreases in most accounts, there are increases in the executive account reflecting higher costs in the retirement and dispatch and alarm monitoring accounts.
An $11,000 increase in the police account reflects the salary for an officer covering a two-month period following the retirement of Gary Hebert. Increases in the highway and streets account reflect retirement and health insurance costs. The building repair and upgrade account calls for $15,000 for painting the upper part of the Old Church Building.
In addition to the general fund budget there are several warrant articles including $34,668 for radio replacements for the fire department; $7,990 for Marlin Controls Radar Signs; $20,625 to replace the fire department roof with a standing seam roof; $72,000 to pave approximately 2,000 feet of the top section of Indian Pond Road; $900 from a prior police budget to police department training and equipment; $100 in prior year donations to the police department; $14,100 for donations to charitable organizations, and $800 for various petitioned articles.
One of the petitioned articles will ask the voters if they want to discontinue the Saturday deliberative session and return to the traditional town meeting format.
Total warrant articles amount to $151,182 resulting in a total proposed 2020 Town Budget including Town expenditures of $1,194,569.
Voting will be held on March 10. Polls will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Old Church Building. The deliberative meeting will be held on March 14 starting at 10 a.m. at the Piermont Village School.

This week's featured photo
Murray family still
wants records released

SWIFTWATER—“We’re still here,” Fred Murray and his family once again gathered in the Haverhill area to hold a candlelight vigil on the 16th anniversary of his daughter Maura’s disappearance.
A year ago, the 15th anniversary of his daughter’s disappearance was marked by a flurry of activity and hopes were high that there might be resolution in sight. But just this past Sunday, Feb. 9, after a meet and greet held at the Happy Hour in Wells River, the family and supporters convened at the spot where Maura disappeared 16 years ago on Route 112 in Haverhill.
The case has captured the attention of people worldwide. It’s the subject of numerous blogs and podcasts, and has been featured on national television.
According to Maura’s older sister Julie Murray, it’s a mystery with confounding layers of puzzling pieces that only add to the intrigue. But at the heart of the case is a real family who gathers together at a local small-town restaurant every year on the anniversary of her disappearance, determined to find Maura, their sister and daughter, to bring her home.
“This is a regular family. You’re seeing us navigate it. Nothing can prepare you,” Julie said. “Things don’t add up. We don’t have any evidence. We don’t even know why she came here,” she said. In addition, there have been conflicting reports of what happened in the days before, the night of and the days that followed.
While they still do not have the concrete evidence needed to bring their sister and daughter home, they do have leads, Julie said.

A white-tailed deer looks at the photographer after finding a patch of terrain clear of snow on Feb. 2. After a quiet week of weather and above-normal temperatures, the snowpack in the valleys retreated in some spots.
JO scoops up
NENPA awards

BOSTON—The Journal Opinion was awarded two prizes in the 2019 New England Better Newspaper Competition over the weekend.
The annual competition is held by the New England Newspaper and Press Association and the awards were announced by the organization at a ceremony on Saturday night in Boston. The
Managing Editor Alex Nuti-de Biasi won first place for editorial writing among all weekly newspapers across New England. Among the winning editorials were a November 2018 critique (“Nobody looks good in Amazon deals”) of the Amazon HQ2 siting process and a July 2019 writing (“Someone rein in this reign of error”) about a headline mistake.

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