Haverhill students need no masks, for now

WOODSVILLE—Students will not be required to wear masks inside Haverhill schools when classes start later this month.
On Monday night, the Haverhill Cooperative School Board voted 3-1 to reject a motion to require students to wear masks until a vaccination is available for children ages 2-11. The vote followed discussion among board members and half a dozen members of the public, most of whom said they were opposed to a mask requirement.
The vote has no bearing on a federal mandate that students and adults must wear masks while aboard a school bus. SAU-23 Superintendent Laurie Melanson said that schools around the country have no choice when it comes to public transportation. But once off the bus, students attending a Haverhill school will no longer have to wear a face covering.
Board members noted that students and staff will have the option to wear masks inside school buildings.

Traffic redesign coming for truck stop

NEWBURY—The P&H Truck Stop will likely undergo renovations to replace old equipment and improve safety for pedestrians and workers.
The existing gas pumps and tanks will be replaced due to age, and new fueling stations will be added for a total of four diesel fueling stations and 12 unleaded gas fueling stations. In addition, the gas canopy will be moved away from the main building.
“It’s going to be much more convenient for the customers,” construction manager Matt Wamsganz said. “This will certainly help with the flow of everything there and keeping customers happier.”
Newbury’s Development Review Board approved the plans on July 1. According to Wamsganz, the project is currently waiting for state approval.

Board votes to send ARPA funds to precincts

HAVERHILL—At the Aug. 2 meeting, the Haverhill Selectboard voted 4 to 1 in favor of allocating funds for improvement projects planned by the precincts of Woodsville, Mountain Lakes, and Haverhill Corner.
The plan was accepted with the understanding that any funding meet the criteria of the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds, which is a under the umbrella of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.
Mountain Lakes Precinct Commissioner Bob Long presented the case on behalf of all the precincts.
The lively and heated discussion, which dominated the meeting, was on whether relief funds should be allocated to the districts in Haverhill or to use them for town-wide benefit.

NTSB publishes report on balloon accident

BRADFORD—The hot air balloon pilot who died last month in a fall over Bradford had just re-lit the burner shortly before the basket collided with the ground ejecting him and a passenger.
According to a preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board, Brian Boland and four passengers took off in a balloon from the Post Mills airport at around 6:30 p.m. on July 15.
About 45 minutes later, after traveling northeast above the Connecticut River on a sightseeing trip, Boland reported that the pilot light on the burner was not lit. After changing the propane bottle, Boland could not find the striker to relight the burner. As he searched the basket for the striker, the balloon descended.

Frustrations remain even after broadband funds flow

CORINTH—Dissatisfied with slow internet speeds while neighboring communities pay less for higher speeds, a group of Topsham Telephone customers has a new effort to call attention to their plight with highspeednow.org.
With more people working and learning online over the last 18 months, slow internet speeds in Corinth, Topsham, and other parts of the service area have intensified frustrations even as federal and state coronavirus relief funds targeted improvements.
In October, the Vermont Public Service Department awarded $971,242.50 through the Vermont Universal Service Fund to Topsham Telephone, which has approximately 1,300 internet customers, to build a fiber network to reach 350 locations.

Groton warns vote on 2A resolution

GROTON—Groton will hold a special town meeting on Aug. 4 to vote on a resolution that would declare the town a “Second Amendment sanctuary.”
If approved, the proposal would bar the town of Groton from using funds to store firearms that have been confiscated or are being stored “for the purpose of enforcing any other law that unconstitutionally infringes upon the right of the people of Groton, Vermont to keep and bear arms.”

Board adopts lake road speed policy

FAIRLEE—The Fairlee Selectboard voted to enforce a zero tolerance policy for speed infractions on Lake Morey Road on July 19.
The town is considering posting new speed limit signs along the road, as well as collecting data on traffic and bicycle speeds around the lake, in an effort to make Lake Morey’s recreational areas safer for pedestrians.

New coffee shop packs a punch

BRADFORD—A fresh jolt of energy arrived on Main Street in Bradford this spring.
Kendall and Travis Gendron of Corinth are the driving force behind Vittles House of Brews, a vibrant new destination for folks who crave a tasty cup of coffee.
Well-versed in the art of coffee brewing after her experience in Seattle coffee shops and some time managing a Starbucks, Kendall’s 12-year dream of owning a coffee shop has materialized.
Of course, Vittles isn’t new to Bradford. The Gendrons started their venture by launching the Vittles Espresso and Eatery a couple of years ago from a trailer on the Lower Plain near Kinney Drugs.

Balloon accident kills pilot

BRADFORD—The longtime owner of the Post Mills Airport died last week after a hot air balloon accident over Bradford.
Brian Boland, 72, was piloting a balloon with four passengers that took off from the airport during the late afternoon of July 15, according to Vermont State Police.
At approximately 7:45 p.m., after traveling northeast from their airport, the balloon descended. It briefly touched down on the ground, tipping the basket, and forcing one of the passengers to fall out. Boland, meanwhile, got entangled in equipment affixed to the basket. When the balloon floated back into the air, Boland was trapped underneath the basket. He eventually fell into a field near the Bradford Regional Community Center on the Lower Plain. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Board votes to pay off precinct debt

WOODSVILLE—Selectmen narrowly approved on July 19 spending more than $92,000 in municipal capital reserve funds that will be used to pay off debt held by Haverhill Corner precinct.
The vote came after town officials said state regulators and town attorneys signed off on the resolution to a thorny issue left after the newly formed town fire department absorbed the precinct’s fire department earlier this year.
The Haverhill Fire Department was formed in March following votes on the issue at town and precinct annual meetings in 2020. On March 17, Haverhill Corner voters opted to relinquish control of the precinct fire department and most of its assets to the town and become part of the town fire department.