Budget, precinct funds approved in Haverhill

NORTH HAVERHILL—Haverhill voters approved appropriations for Woodsville precinct through petitioned warrant articles during the deliberative session of town meeting on Saturday.
Nearly 200 voters gathered at the Haverhill Cooperative Middle School gymnasium at 9 a.m. ahead of a snowstorm that intensified throughout the morning.
More than $5.1 million in municipal spending was approved for 2022 during the morning while nearly $15.5 million in school spending was approved for 2022-2023 during the afternoon.
Two petitioned warrant articles related to the town’s dispute with Woodsville precinct took center stage and voters moved them up on the warrant for consideration.

Ambulance service survives in Warren

WARREN—Voters at town meeting on March 8 endorsed increased funding for the local ambulance service despite a 139% increase in its budget.
An early motion by Warren Treasurer Sheila Foote to cut funding for the 24/7 Warren-Wentworth ambulance service was eventually withdrawn after discussion over the reasons behind the request. Meanwhile a potentially controversial noise ordinance petitioned by a local resident displeased with a noisy campground was tabled without discussion.
Voters approved a combined total budget for school a-nd the town of over $3.9 million, an increase of about 4.4% over the previous year. Property taxes are expected to rise even more due to higher costs for the Warren Village School and decreased state aid.

Schools ease mask rules

BRADFORD—Some area students and school staff breathed sighs of relief on March 7 when several schools began implementing a mask-optional policies took effect.
Other schools are due to transition on March 14, per a recommendation from Vermont state officials.

Ambulance, town manager questions on warrant

PIERMONT—Piermonters will be asked whether they want to discontinue their membership with Upper Valley Ambulance and instead join Woodsville Ambulance on town meeting day.
“We’ve had people ask,” said selectboard chair Wayne Godfrey in an interview. “I think it should be discussed.”

Lengthy meeting on tap for Haverhill

NORTH HAVERHILL—Set to meet for the first time since 2020, Haverhill voters will gather at the middle school on Saturday morning.
After elections conducted on March 8, there are 32 articles remaining on the warrant for a new moderator to guide voters through. The school meeting starts one hour after the conclusion of the town meeting.

Ex-Peace Corps leader reflects on Ukraine stint

PIKE—For a former Peace Corps country director in Ukraine, the recent Russian invasion hits close to home.
Doug Teschner, of Pike, was in Ukraine in 2014 when Russia invaded the Crimean Peninsula on the Sea of Azov and annexed it into the Russian Federation. Teschner was there for the evacuation of Peace Corps volunteers. It was a bloodless takeover, but it foreshadowed today’s war.

Precinct, town remain at odds

WOODSVILLE—The Haverhill Selectboard meeting on Feb. 28 was full of debate over how to address the financial dispute between Haverhill and the village of Woodsville.
The conflict dominated the meeting, despite this week’s meeting being the last time the selectboard will gather before Haverhill holds its annual town meeting on March 8 and March 12.
Haverhill Town Manager Brigitte Codling and board chair Fred Garofalo spent much of the meeting in intense conversation about the lawsuit between Haverhill and Woodsville and how the town of Haverhill should approach it moving forward.

Roads, vehicle purchases top Orford agenda

ORFORD—Twenty warrant articles await voters who will gather in person at the annual meeting which will take place March 8 at 7 p. m. in the Rivendell Academy Gymnasium with voting for town officers beginning at 4 p.m.
The selectboard seeks approval to enter negotiations for a purchase and sale agreement for an Orford property rich in sand.
Late last year, the board discussed acquiring the property and decided to add the proposal as a 2022 warrant article.

Town meeting preview Officials unsure about ambulance future

WARREN—Voters in Warren will weigh whether to continue funding the local ambulance service at town meeting next week.
Town meeting will be held on March 8 at 9 a.m. in conjunction with the annual school district meeting.
Among other items, the future of the Warren-Wentworth Ambulance Service is on the ballot. WWAS has asked for $105,000 from Warren in its 2022 municipal budget, up from $43,872 in the current year. That is a 139% increase.

Friends, family line up to help at maple time

STRAFFORD—Keith Fifield stood atop his sugarhouse checking sap lines hung like telephone cables coming out of the woods behind his house. His father, Wayne, sat in the driver’s seat of a John Deere loader with the bucket that lifted his son resting at the roofline.
As the bright winter sun thawed the frozen ground on a February afternoon, deep mud ruts were carved into the road leading to Fifield Sugar House on Maple Hill Road in Strafford, a Vermont hamlet filled with quiet winding roads.