Rash of car thefts rile Bradford

BRADFORD—More than half a dozen cars have been reported stolen in the Bradford area since March 25.
The car thefts and several related break-ins have riled community members and frustrated investigators. An arrest warrant has been issued for a 30-year-old man who faces charges in both Vermont and New Hampshire, but there may be at least two other suspects being sought in the investigation.
All the cars and trucks taken over the last two weeks have been recovered, although numerous valuables remain missing.

Haverhill lines up new police chief

HAVERHILL—David Appleby, a 22-year veteran of the New Hampshire State Police, has been hired as the new chief of police in Haverhill.
Haverhill Town Manager Brigitte Codling made the announcement last week, just a few days after telling selectmen that she was negotiating contract details with a final candidate.
“Appleby has been selected following an in-depth search and interview process,” Codling stated in the announcement. “He was selected based on his extensive law enforcement experience and education that focused on leadership and criminal justice.”

Oxbow district vote set for next week

BRADFORD—The Oxbow Unified Union School District annual meeting is April 13 with Bradford and Newbury residents voting by Australian ballot.
The OUUSD Board had the second of two informational meetings via Zoom on April 5 featuring presentations from all building principals outlining various coordinated programs, student numbers and other statistics.
Polls will be open on April 13 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Voters can also request an absentee ballot from their town clerk.

What’s next for Covered Bridges?

NEWBURY—Now that public forums on plans for a privately run juvenile detention facility in Newbury are finished, what’s next?
And as one resident asked the state, “What can the community of Newbury do to stop you?”
Sean Brown, the commissioner of the Vermont Department of Families and Children, which will oversee the Covered Bridges Treatment Center, seemed determined last week to push ahead despite local concerns around safety, traffic, and emergency response capacity.
At the start of the community consultation process, he said the state wanted to secure community support before moving forward. In an interview last week, Brown suggested that box had been checked.

Village meeting prompts complaints

WELLS RIVER—In the aftermath of the annual village meeting in Wells River on March 16, there is one disputed election, one resignation from a longtime village clerk, and at least one complaint over open meeting law violations.
There was plenty on the ballot for the village of approximately 400 people, including two vacant seats on the board of trustees. One of those seats was filled by Brian Emerson in an uncontested election.
The other seat was sought by candidates Jean Welch and Jason Winchester. Welch prevailed 25 to 21.

Woodsville rejects FD merger

WOODSVILLE—One week after precinct residents in Haverhill Corner opted to join the new town fire department, their peers in Woodsville unanimously rejected that proposition.
With close to 50 people attending the annual meeting at the Bagonzi Community Building on March 24, the question, as read aloud by moderator Jay Holden, of whether the precinct should relinquish its fire department and its firefighting assets to the town, was met by an extended silence.

State fines mortgage company amid cleanup

WEST FAIRLEE—A blighted property near Lake Fairlee that prompted a heap of complaints to local officials in West Fairlee was recently cleared of its trash piles and debris, according to selectboard chair Delsie Hoyt.
Town officials and neighbors became frustrated about the lack of response to their multiple cleanup requests at the neglected property along Route 244. Last year, after many months of effort without result, the situation was “kicked upstairs” to the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources for enforcement, Hoyt said.

State trooper denies domestic assault

CHELSEA—A suspended Vermont State Police detective from Bradford has pleaded not guilty in Orange County Superior Court in Chelsea to a charge of domestic abuse for attacking his fiancée over five months, according to court records.
Nicholas J. Cianci, 25, of Fairground Road denied the misdemeanor count last week that he recklessly caused bodily injury to the woman identified by Vermont State Police in court papers by her initials and that he was engaged to marry.

Final forum held on detention center

NEWBURY—Community members continue to resist the state’s plans to operate Vermont’s only juvenile detention facility in a repurposed former inn in rural Newbury.
Becket Family of Services, the private contractor chosen to run the facility, held their third forum to gather community input on March 18. Despite continued efforts to allay local concerns about safety and security, Becket and Vermont’s Department of Children and Families continue to face a backlash.
At the first community meeting to discuss the proposal on Feb. 11, DCF Commissioner Sean Brown said the state hoped to gain community support before proceeding with the project.

Precinct votes to join HFD

HAVERHIL CORNER—At their annual meeting held on March 17, Haverhill Corner Precinct voters decided to relinquish their fire department and join the Haverhill Fire Department.
The decision came one year after the precinct’s residents initially voted 45-6 against joining the new municipal department. At the time, according to meeting minutes, many residents said they were not opposed to a town department but that many questions remained unsettled.
In an interview, Haverhill Corner Fire Chief Richard Morris said precinct residents were concerned that they would lose their fire station and name. Now it looks like that will not be the case, although Morris said there are still a lot of details to nail down.