Trial set in ax attack

ST. JOHNSBURY—A trial could start next month for a man accused of attempting to murder his late ex-wife with an ax.
Dereck Hamel, formerly of Lisbon, was in court last week as his defense attorneys seek to dismiss the case ahead of the trial which is set to start on May 3. Hamel faces numerous charges related to an incident at the home of Mary Ellen Corbett on Welton Road in Groton on July 1, 2020 when he allegedly used an ax to attack Mary Ellen.
According to the Caledonian-Record, Hamel has pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, aggravated domestic assault with a weapon, unlawful restraint, burglary, and interference with emergency services.

Board tables parking ban

BRADFORD—Traffic ordinance revisions and a potential Parks and Recreation trails system were the main topics at the April 14 selectboard meeting attended by chair Daniel Perry III, vice chair Meroa Benjamin, Carole Taylor, Ryan Lockwood, and Jennifer Whitney, and members of the public.

Area schools take lead with OSCD L.E.A.D.

BRADFORD—According to the National Center for Drug Abuse, drug overdoses in this country are up 30% nationwide. Vermont had 158 deaths attributed to drug overdoses in 2020. This past year, 210 Vermont residents died from drug overdoses, an increase of 33% from the prior year.
The number of young Vermonters dying of drug overdoses has risen as well. In 2010, just 8% of the overdose deaths were Vermonters under the age of 30, according to Vermont Department of Health data. By 2017, 27% of the state’s overdose deaths were people under 30. In 2021, the figure fell to 19%, or 39 of the 210 total overdose deaths.

Local man set for guilty plea in NEK murder

BURLINGTON—A North Haverhill man is set to appear in federal court next week to plead guilty to his role in the 2018 murder of Michael Pimental, 37, of Waterford.
John Welch, now 36, has been charged with weapons possession and obstruction. He has previously been identified in court documents as the man who fatally shot Pimental in a wide-ranging drug conspiracy.

Village proposes private highway department

WELLS RIVER—Wells River residents will gather next week for the village’s annual meeting.
The in-person meeting will be held on April 19 at 7 p.m. at the village garage on Creamery Street. The meeting was delayed a month so it could held in person.
It has been a period of transition over the last 12 months. A little over one year ago, the resignation of one trustee and the sudden death of another paralyzed village government leading up to the annual meeting when election law violations prompted a lawsuit and the resignation of the longtime village clerk.

Board explores hybrid voting for town meeting

WOODSVILLE—Could Haverhill ditch its traditional town meeting format in favor of a ballot vote on its annual meeting warrant?
It is not an imminent likelihood, but selectboard members are exploring the scenario after fielding a request from a resident.
Under SB2, towns can adopt a hybrid approach that divides the annual meeting into two sessions held over two days. The initial meeting is a deliberative session where discussion, debate, and amendments to the warrant articles are made. The second meeting features an up-or-down ballot vote on the warrant articles.

Trespassers on notice near Murray site

HAVERHILL—Several property owners near the site where University of Massachusetts-Amherst student Maura Murray was last seen in 2004 want to stop people from trespassing on their property.
The property owners have filed a letter with officials in Bath, Haverhill, Grafton County, New Hampshire State Police and the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Office. The letter was also sent to Maura’s father, Fred Murray, and sister, Julie Murray, who serves as a spokesperson for the family.

Local farm part of Organic Valley expansion

CORINTH—Already struggling to stay viable in competitive markets, some 130 small organic farm owners, 80 of which are in New England, were shocked last August when they learned their buyers, Horizon Organic and Maple Hill Creamery, would end their contracts to buy milk effective August 2022.
Horizon Organic, owned by Danone, the multinational corporation based in Paris, said it would end its contracts with some organic family farms because of “growing transportation and operational challenges in the dairy industry, particularly in the Northeast.”

Wood pellet company eyes former Britton mill site

FAIRLEE—Vermont Wood Pellet, a softwood pellet manufacturer based in North Clarendon, plans to open its second mill at the former Britton Lumber sawmill in Fairlee.
The company will lease the sawmill portion of the mill from Britton Lumber, which currently uses part of the Fairlee location for distribution but has carried out the rest of its operations in Bath since a 2015 fire damaged the Fairlee mill.

Haverhill Middle School has new principal

NORTH HAVERHILL—A veteran Maine principal has been tasked with leading Haverhill Cooperative Middle School beginning in July.
Robert L. Griffin has been the Auburn Middle School principal since 2018. He was previously principal at Wells Junior High School, also in Maine.
He and his wife want to relocate to be closer to family. His youngest son will graduate from high school this spring and join his older brother in attending college in Vermont.