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December 12, 2018 top stories
Survey complete,
questions remain

NORTH HAVERHILL—Writing to James Madison in 1789 as a young nation debated a new constitution, Thomas Jefferson had a lament. He questioned whether one generation has the right to bind future generations:
“[The] earth ... belongs to the living; that the dead have neither powers nor rights over it,” he wrote.
After centuries of exposition, Jefferson’s critique has come to be known as the “dead hand” argument.
And in Haverhill, the long reach and icy grip of the dead hand is firmly wrapped around a little hill in an historic precinct.
After months of research by a surveyor and title searchers, officials are worried they have not definitely determined who owns what and where on Powderhouse Hill, a small parcel of land adjacent to Route 10 and near Bedell Bridge State Park in Haverhill Corner. It appears that the town of Haverhill does not even currently own the property.

Orange County holds
budget hearing

CHELSEA—Orange County’s two assistant judges, Joyce McKeeman and Vickie Weiss, proposed a $13,945 (1.8 percent) increase to the county budget at Monday evening’s preliminary budget hearing in Chelsea.
The budget will be reviewed at the final budget hearing on Jan. 28 at 5 p.m. at the courthouse, before taking effect for the coming fiscal year on Feb. 1. Residents of Orange County are encouraged to attend the meeting, although they will not vote to pass the new budget. In Vermont, assistant judges are responsible for setting and approving the budget for their county’s courthouse and sheriff’s department. This November, McKeeman and Weiss were both re-elected to four-year terms.
The proposed budget, drafted Nov. 27, allocates $296,243 for courthouse expenses, including personnel, building maintenance, and other expenses.

This week's featured photo
Fire budget comes
under review

ORFORD—Orford’s second 2018 tax bills just recently came out, but the Orford Selectboard and budget advisory committee have already turned their sights to 2019. The panels have been scrutinizing budget requests line by line while the January deadline for a public hearing draws nearer.
Orford’s volunteer fire department was in the hot seat on Dec. 6. Fire Chief Terry Straight brought a written description of budget line items and capital reserve funds that had raised questions. He was also accompanied by seven other members of the department.
The session opened with a lengthy discussion trying to untangle the operating budget and the department’s three capital reserve funds. In general, the operating budget represents annual expenses, and the capital reserve funds are essentially savings accounts for anticipated, occasional, or unusual expenses. These include new vehicles, replacement gear, radios or hoses, and major, extraordinary repairs.

The Christmas story
comes alive

NORTH HAVERHILL—For Christians across the globe, Christmas marks the time to remember the birth of Jesus. For 25 years, a church in North Haverhill has kept that memory alive through the Living Nativity.
Many recall the familiar words of the Christmas story they retold that night. What would it look like if we recorded their story in similar form? Perhaps it would look like this:
And it came to pass in our days, that there went out a decree from Trinity Church of the Nazarene that all the world should be invited to a Live Nativity on Dec. 7. And this invitation was first made about 25 years ago. And all kinds of people went to this event, every one out of their own city to listen and to sing many Christmas carols.
And Joseph also went up from New England unto their little Bethlehem; (although he probably was not of the house and lineage of David, but he had willing heart), to share the Christmas story, along with Mary his espoused wife (who also had a willing volunteer heart) being great with child.

A modern-day shepherd keeps watch over her flock while three angels make an appearance after the Living Nativity on Dec. 7 at Trinity Church of the Nazarene. Shepherd Deb Robie of Bath has brought the sheep for five years. “It’s always great to have animals around,” she said. The children flock to the animals and like to pat them, she added. The angels, Jordan Sargent, Amber Mattoon and Krystal Mattoon, have been a part of the program for several seasons.
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