Survey finds schools’ strengths, weaknesses

BRADFORD—A survey conducted earlier this year found that Bradford and Newbury residents like the small class sizes and dedicated teachers in its public schools while lamenting their high cost and lack of communication.
The survey results were shared on Dec. 8 in a Zoom presentation by the Oxbow Unified Union School District’s strategic planning committee.

Paws up on dog park

BRADFORD—It is a long way off and nothing is set in stone, but the Bradford Selectboard signed off on a plan to develop a public dog park on Memorial Field last week.
The board approved a preliminary proposal to develop a dog park on an unused northeast section of Memorial Field near Bugbee Landing. The vacant parcel is located in the floodplain near the Waits River.

Thetford mandates public masking

THETFORD—The Thetford Selectboard unanimously passed a mask mandate to combat increasing COVID-19 cases on Dec. 6.
Any person entering an establishment open to the public in Thetford will be required to wear a mask that covers their nose and mouth. Signs will be delivered to local businesses stating that all customers are required to mask indoors, along with disposable masks for workers and customers.

ZBA sets cell tower hearing

WOODSVILLE—The Haverhill Zoning Board of Adjustment will hold a public hearing next month on a proposed cell tower that has drawn criticism from neighbors.
The hearing will be on Jan. 4 at 6 p.m. at the Clifford building in Woodsville.

SAU #23 adopts $3.2M budget

NORTH HAVERHILL—After a brief public hearing on Dec. 1, the SAU #23 Board adopted a $3,201,877 budget.
SAU #23 is the supervisory school unit encompassing Bath, Benton, Haverhill, Piermont, and Warren.
The bottom line is a 1.2% increase over the current year.

Bradford artist leaves a legacy

BRADFORD—Prolific painter, illustrator and author Bert Dodson died on Oct. 19 at the age of 83. Dodson, who had been in declining health, made connections with countless residents in the area.
For 40 years, Dodson created much of his work in a third floor studio in the Bradford Academy. He lived in West Fairlee near the Bradford line. He had maintained long friendships over many years with many people in the area and elsewhere. He valued his ties to people and kept in touch with old friends from his high school and college years in Arizona in addition to the friendships he formed during his naval career.

Nursing home mandate on hold after court ruling

NORTH HAVERHILL—The Grafton County Commissioners voted on Tuesday morning to “pause” a vaccination requirement for Grafton County Nursing Home staff.
The decision came just a day after a federal court in Missouri temporarily blocked implementation of a Biden administration rule in New Hampshire and nine other states. The rule requires health care workers at locations participating in Medicare and Medicaid programs to be fully vaccinated from COVID-19 by Jan. 4. Workers receiving a two-dose vaccination need their first dose administered by Dec. 5 to comply with the federal mandate.

State plans civil rights challenge

NEWBURY—Newbury’s denial of the Covered Bridge Treatment Center site plan application violates federal civil rights laws, according to the Vermont Department of Children and Families and the Vermont Permanency Initiative.
The Newbury Development Review Board issued its decision rejecting the Covered Bridge site plan application on Nov. 12. In its decision, the DRB stated that DCF and VPI argued that the proposal was exempt from conditional use review because it was a “residential care home” or “group home” serving persons with disabilities.

Town appeals court ruling

NORTH HAVERHILL—The town of Haverhill has appealed a Grafton County Superior Court ruling made in the lawsuit between the town and precinct of Woodsville over how the two entities share highway revenue.
Last year, Woodsville sued Haverhill alleging it had illegally withheld funding under state law in 2019 and 2020. Haverhill countersued claiming it had overpaid the district from 2016-2019 some $650,000.

Historic signs get a makeover

ORFORD—They were old, rusty and difficult to read, but two historical markers in Orford are looking like new thanks to some motivated residents and the expertise of a metal artisan.
Ann Green and Orford Town Administrator Esther Dobbins-Marsh spearheaded the restoration.
“The town is very fortunate to have historic iron signs,” Green said.