River keeps name, for now

WARREN—An attempt to informally rename the Baker River its original Abenaki name of Asquamchumauke was defeated after town meeting voters deadlocked on the proposal.
In an 18-18 vote on March 13, Warren residents could not approve the article on the town meeting warrant that would change the name of the river in Warren to Asquamchumaukee River.
The article’s protagonist said the name change would not prompt any need for money or new signage.
Selectman Charles Chandler said he proposed the article to make everyone aware of the heritage and that Abenaki lived on its shores for 11,000 years before European settlement.

Community engagement sought for new district

BRADFORD—As part of its ongoing effort to involve the community, the Oxbow Unified Union School District will form a committee or committees tasked with that purpose. The road there has had a few bumps.
OUUSD officially formed on July 1, 2019, merging three former districts with oversight of three distinct school campuses. But the merger under 46 was contested by some, who argued, among other things, that community involvement in the schools would diminish.
Over the months since, several community members have lobbied the board to form school-level committees.

O’Meara seeks release from probation

CHELSEA—There was a court hearing last week on a woman’s request to be discharged from probation after a 2007 fatal car crash on Route 5 in Newbury.
Former Wells River resident Kristy O’Meara was convicted of gross negligent operation with death resulting after the car she was driving collided with another car driven by Christina Vinnacombe Ellison, a 27-year-old North Haverhill mother of two.
Ellison, who was on her way to work as a waitress at P&H Truck Stop, was over eight months pregnant with her third child. The baby, named Taylor, was stillborn at the scene. Ellison died two weeks later.

Haverhill voters veto town meeting

NORTH HAVERHILL—After Haverhill residents rejected provisional election procedures on Saturday, town officials said they will not ask for a special meeting and instead rely on the 2020 operating budget for the remainder of the year.
Australian ballot voting took place on March 13 for the annual town meeting. And while municipal elections conducted under article 1 will be valid, article 2 was voted down 409-264. That article asked voters to approve the pandemic-inducted meeting procedures for 2021. As a result, all of the subsequent articles on the warrant were automatically defeated, according to town officials.

Oxbow sets budget vote

BRADFORD—A budget was approved on March 10 by members of the Oxbow Unified Union School District’s school board for the upcoming fiscal year that begins July 1.
The $17,171,968 budget and several other articles will be decided by Australian ballot by Bradford and Newbury voters on April 13. Polls will open in each of the towns at 10 a.m. and will close at 7 p.m.
The ballot vote on next year’s budget comes just three months to the day after voters approved the current year’s budget.

Piermont pans park, OKs road bond

PIERMONT—Voters passed a $464,000 road reconstruction bond, but nixed a proposed recreation park on Route 25C.
Approximately 37 people attended the March 13 in-person town meeting to decide the fate of 18 warrant articles.
Over an hour was spent in discussion of article 2 proposing a $464,000 reconstruction of Indian Pond, Lily Pond, and Bedford roads.
All of these roads are in dire need of attention, officials said.
Road commissioner Frank Rodimon spoke of the roads’ deterioration, noting Bedford Road had not been touched in over 30 years.

Residents continue questions on detention center

NEWBURY—As Newbury awaits an official permit application to open a juvenile treatment facility on Stevens Place, residents and state officials met for a second time last week via Zoom to discuss lingering apprehensions.
The central topic became: Why Newbury? What other locations were considered for this facility and why was this Orange County town deemed the most suitable?
“I hear a lot of people in town do not want you here,” said Newbury Village Store owner Lance Battersby. Questions such as this were common during Thursday’s Zoom meeting as Newbury residents expressed their reservations towards the proposed plans.

Marker request denied in Murray disappearance

HAVERHILL—New Hampshire officials have denied a request to erect an official state highway marker at the roadside where Maura Murray was last seen in February 2004.
The decision came just one week after the “blue ribbon” memorial tree at that location was cut down.
It has been over 17 years since Maura, then a 21-year-old nursing student at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, disappeared on the evening of Feb. 9, 2004. For over 16 years the Murray family has placed a blue ribbon around the trunk of a tree near the location where she was last seen after her car crashed on Route 112.
Since then, the unsolved mystery of her disappearance has developed a worldwide following.

New park mulled for tax sale property

PIERMONT— On March 13, voters will decide whether to pass article 16 and develop less than an acre of land, formerly known as the Veilette property, into a community park.
Located at 239 Route 25C, the property is deemed an ideal spot for recreation and picnic use.
According to Piermont Selectboard Chair Colin Stubbings, the cost to develop the site will be minimal as much of the work will be done by volunteers.

Selectman proposes river name change

WARREN—Of the 28 articles listed on Warren’s town meeting warrant, it is number 25, changing the name of the Baker River to Asquamchumauke River, which is unusual.
The Baker has long held the name Asquamchumauke although it may not be a well-known fact. Asquamchumauke is an Abenaki word which means salmon spawning place.
In a telephone interview with the Journal Opinion, selectman Charlie Chandler revealed he was inspired by seeing the name in connection with the local Asquamchumauke Valley Snowmobile Club