Bridge, road closures coming up

BRADFORD—The downtown Bradford bridge that underwent repairs last week will briefly close again this week.
The Route 5 bridge over the Waits River closed for nearly four days last week as the Vermont Agency of Transportation reinforced decking on the south approach with new concrete and steel plates to prevent further deterioration in the roadway.
Officials hope to close the bridge again on Oct. 21 so a contractor can re-pave the area worked on last week. Shauna Clifford of VTrans said the bridge will be closed for at least half a day and should reopen no later than the end of that day. The project is weather dependent so it may be rescheduled if the weather does not cooperate.

Covid strains school staffing

BRADFORD—Orange East Supervisory Union superintendent Emilie Knisley reported that there had been “a big uptick on COVID cases” in all the district schools at the Oxbow Unified Union School District meeting on Oct. 23. She did not provide specific numbers, but that the increase placed additional demands on school staff.
According to the Vermont Department of Health, there have been five cases at Bradford Elementary School this year, one at Newbury Elementary School, three at Oxbow, and one at Thetford Elementary School. Zero cases have been reported at both Waits River Valley School and River Bend Career and Technical Center.

Flowage rights deal signed with board

WOODSVILLE—The Haverhill Selectboard signed off on a deal last week to resolve existing litigation with the owner of the Wilder Dam over the value of flooding rights on the Connecticut River shoreline.
The agreement with Great River Hydro will also keep the two parties out of the courtroom for the next several years after they agreed on future payments in lieu of taxes. The town will receive $27,000 each year from 2021-2030 in lieu of levying property taxes on the hydroelectric’s company’s rights to flood shoreline. GRH does not actually own or maintain any physical property within the town.

New building sign approved by board

BRADFORD—The Bradford Selectboard approved a sign for the incoming Tractor Supply store, which is slated to open in November, during their Oct. 14 meeting.
Planned signage will slightly exceed that permitted under the local sign ordinance.
Under the ordinance, total signage for Lower Plain businesses cannot exceed 150 square feet unless approved by the selectboard.
Tractor Supply wants to erect three signs—two on the store facade and one freestanding pylon— that would total nearly 185 square feet.

Ex-town official admits embezzlement

NORTH HAVERHILL—At a hearing in Grafton County Superior Court on Oct. 6, former Warren Town Administrator Judith Tautenhan of Rumney pleaded guilty to four charges of theft from the town and one count of theft from Warren’s South Main Street Water District.
All charges are class A felonies.
Tautenhan was town administrator from May 2014 to May 2018 and later worked at the water district as well.

Woman killed in car crash

NORTH HAVERHILL—A 29-year-old North Haverhill woman died after a car crash was discovered on Sunday morning.
Krystal Brown was found dead at the scene after police responded to Route 10 at 10:45 a.m. near Blueberry Fields self-storage south of the village.
According to a news release from Haverhill Police Department, Brown was traveling north in a 2017 Dodge Journey when her car left the roadway, struck an embankment, and went down the embankment into several trees after traveling approximately 100 feet.

BMU reports hefty surplus

WELLS RIVER—The pandemic’s impact threaded nearly every topic covered by the Blue Mountain Union School board meeting on Oct. 6.
In a budget review of the academic year that ended June 30, business manager Linda Metcalf said unaudited financial statements revealed a hefty surplus despite decreased revenue.
Despite being short about $350,000 in revenue for the year, Metcalf said on Oct. 6 that expenses also were significantly down due to COVID-19. She noted a decrease in spending on services, supplies, and activities, all of which resulted in a bottom line of $800,000 less in budgeted expenses. The net result was a surplus of about $465,000 going into the current fiscal year, which began July 1.

Corn maze finds new adventure

BATH—This is the fourth season of the Collins Farm Corn Maze on Route 302 in Bath, but this year there is a new twist. In addition to the corn maze, a second attraction, the Collins Farm Adventure Trail, blends escape room with obstacle course.
“It’s an artistic gift,” said creator Corey Collins with a chuckle. “I have walked through corn mazes where the only objective is finding the exit. I knew I could make one that would be more fun.”

DRB hearing held on detention center

NEWBURY—If there is support for the state’s proposed juvenile detention center in Newbury, there was little to be found inside the Newbury Elementary School gymnasium on Saturday.
Nearly 100 people turned out for the Newbury Development Review Board hearing on the Covered Bridge Treatment Center. As many as 56 people were on Zoom.
After more than five hours of presentations, questions, answers, comments, the hearing was continued to Oct. 21 at 6 p.m. The plan, DRB members said, is to hold the meeting at the same location or outside on the village common.

Divisive concepts bill reviewed at board meeting

WOODSVILLE—New Hampshire’s Divisive Concepts law and efforts to increase diversity and multicultural offerings in the curriculum will be on the agenda next month after discussion on the subjects was largely tabled on Monday night.
The Haverhill Cooperative School Board will also hold a public hearing on Nov. 15 in advance of voting on how to use $315,000 in relief aid and state adequacy funds.