Board defends warrant articles

WOODSVILLE—A selectboard candidate accused board members of a “power grab” on Monday night with proposed changes in town governance that will be voted on during town meeting.
Michael Graham, who is challenging selectboard chair Darwin Clogston, said proposals to give the selectboard the power to appoint the town treasurer and budget committee members deserved public discussion.

Vault repairs to continue

BRADFORD—Work will continue on a pricey hole in the ground in downtown Bradford.
The Bradford Selectboard has authorized another round of repairs for a section of Main Street sidewalk.
At a meeting on Feb. 25, the board voted unanimously to spend as much as $100,000 for the second phase of repair work around the so-called vault located in front of the former Aubuchon store.

Haverhill candidates set to square off

NORTH HAVERHILL—The escalating division among Haverhill’s precincts was a concern for both candidates running for a three-year term on Haverhill’s selectboard.
All town meeting voting, including officer elections, will be conducted by Australian ballot at the Haverhill Cooperative Middle School on March 13. Walk-through and drive-through voting will take place from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
In separate interviews, incumbent Darwin Clogston and challenger Michael Graham each highlighted the importance of serving with the interests of all citizens in mind.

Hundreds get vaccine at local clinic

NORTH HAVERHILL—With cooperative weather, last week’s COVID-19 vaccine clinic went smoothly as 450 Grafton County residents received their first shots via a drive-through clinic at the Horse Meadow Senior Center.
In early February Dick Guy, director of Woodsville Ambulance contacted Maureen Platt-Russell, newly hired director of the HMSC to see if she could get at least 150 names of people interested in getting the vaccine.
“We put out feelers with our participants to gauge interest and were overwhelmed with calls,” she said.
Within two to three hours, there were enough names collected to make the clinic a reality.

Dental clinic eyed in Wells River

NEWBURY—Little Rivers Health Care is expanding its footprint in the short term and the long term.
First, Little Rivers has set up a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in the former Newbury Health Center.
According to Andrew Barter, Little Rivers Chief Operating Officer, it is a state-based clinic and vaccination eligibility is determined by the Vermont Department of Health.
People now eligible are long-term care residents and staff, health care workers, and first responders; and individuals 70 and older.
Individuals aged 65 and up are estimated to be eligible in early March. In late March, those with certain high-risk health conditions can receive the vaccine. These estimates are subject to change based on federal vaccine allocations.

Town meeting looks different in 2021

Some area New Hampshire towns will hold their town meetings in the next few weeks, while others have delayed proceedings for a couple of months.
Bath
Town meeting has been delayed until Saturday, June 5 at 1 p.m. Bath votes on its officers from the floor.
The selectboard members have finalized a meeting warrant and will ask voters to approve a $1.3 million operating budget, a $103,000 backhoe for the highway department, and a $73,000 Dodge Road Bridge replacement. Most—$98,0000—of the highway equipment’s purchase price will be borrowed, but the bridge replacement would be paid entirely through capital reserve funds as proposed.
Benton
Benton will delay its annual town meeting until June 8. Benton has not signed its warning as of yet, according to selectboard chair William Darcy.
The annual school district meeting is usually held in conjunction with town meeting.

Town meeting preview Candidates state their case ahead of vote

BRADFORD—Five Bradford Selectboard candidates are gearing up for town meeting day in which community members will decide who will be filling the two open town officer positions.
There are two selectboard positions—one for a three-year term and the other for a two-year term. Candidates Todd Danis, Meroa Benjamin, Sarah Surette, and Anna Davidson are all running to fill the three-year seat, previously held by Randy Moore, who decided against running for reelection. Carole Taylor, the only incumbent, is running unopposed for another two-year term. Other than Benjamin, who is a write-in candidate for the three-year seat, all are listed on this year’s ballot.
Bradford Selectboard candidates gathered on Feb. 17 for introductions in a forum moderated by Alex Nuti-de Biasi from the Journal Opinion.

Town meeting preview PD budget scrutinized as vote approaches

THETFORD—Police funding is the key issue in Thetford’s proposed budget for 2021.
The budget shows an 18.8 percent increase in police funding yet a line item shows a reduction in payroll which could mean a reduction in hours and pay of department personnel.
Besides Chief Michael Evans, the police department consists of two other full-time officers: Stuart Rogers Jr. and Michael Scruggs, and one part-time administrative assistant, Judy Powell.
“Although numerous lines within the police budget were reduced without conferring with department staff, the most concerning is the line for Police Officer Salaries,” Evans wrote on the town listserve

TM outlines FD merger plans

WOODSVILLE—With several questions about fire departments going to voters next month, Haverhill Town Manager Brigitte Codling last week presented her vision for the background and future of a town fire department.
Currently, three of the town’s precincts—Haverhill Corner, North Haverhill, and Woodsville— independently operate their own fire department and maintain their own fire station, although all rely on town funds.

Security tops concerns at juvenile facility meeting

NEWBURY—Newbury residents seized on a meeting with state officials last week to voice their fears over a proposed juvenile detention facility in a former bed and breakfast. Chief among those concerns: What happens if there’s an escape or another emergency in a town without its own police or emergency responders?
“This proposed detention facility threatens my perception of Newbury as being a safe place to live and run my business,” said Joanne O’Meara, who was among the residents who turned out for a Zoom meeting on Feb. 11.