OESU to mull staff vax mandate

BRADFORD—School employees throughout Orange East Supervisory Union may soon need a COVID-19 vaccination to keep their jobs.
The OESU Board will take up the requirement at its meeting next month.
Under a Biden Administration workplace safety mandate issued in November by OSHA, employers with 100 or more employees were required to implement a vaccine requirement for all staff unless they were granted a medical or religious exemption.

County approves more ARPA funds

NORTH HAVERHILL—Seven members of the Grafton County legislative delegation approved more than $2.5 million in one-time spending over the next three years on Monday morning.
The seven members form the executive committee of the legislative delegation, the county’s state representatives.
It is the second round of American Rescue Plan Act funding the delegation has approved. In total, the county has $17 million in ARPA funding at its disposal.

Woman pleads guilty to gun theft

NORTH HAVERHILL—A Bradford woman pleaded guilty last week to criminal charges related to an incident last year when she swiped a handgun from one car and took the phone from another as she made her way from New Hampshire to Vermont.
Jennifer Fornwalt pleaded guilty on Jan. 12 to a misdemeanor charge of obstructing the report of a crime and a felony charge of theft.

BMU preps budget for vote

WELLS RIVER—The Blue Mountain Union School Board has approved a budget of $8.7 million for the 2022-2023 fiscal year that will now go to voters on March 1.
The BMU board passed the budget resolution unanimously during a Jan. 12 meeting. The budget will increase by $450,997 from this year’s budget, which is $8.3 million.

WRVS resumes after shutdown

WAITS RIVER—Classes at Waits River Valley School resumed last week after a post-holiday surge Covid and other illnesses prompted closures at all Orange East Supervisory Union schools.
At a school board meeting, held via Zoom, on Jan. 13, WRVS Principal Carlotta Simonds-Perantoni said that between Jan. 5 and 12, there were 14 students and six staff members that tested positive with 15 additional people quarantining. There were also six cases that were community-based, which means they were not caught at school.

Groton board finalizes budget

GROTON—Groton selectmen will send a budget with a roughly 6% increase in spending to voters at town meeting.
The budget’s approval came only after board members voted to reopen budget discussions after initially approving a $1,170,799 spending plan on Dec. 16. That plan incorporated a 5.9% cost of living increase for the town’s four employees, three of whom are elected.

Legislature to consider detention center move

MONTPELIER—State Rep. Topper McFaun, R-Barre, has introduced a bill that would open an emergency juvenile correctional facility in Windsor.
The bill would set aside $3 million in existing Vermont Department of Children and Families funding in order to operate the temporary facility, which would consist of 10 beds at the former Southeast State Correctional Facility. The Windsor facility would house up to 10 adolescent boys who are involved with the Vermont juvenile justice system.

OESU preps budget as federal money pours in

BRADFORD—Orange East Supervisory Union board members talked big dollars at their monthly meeting on Jan. 4.
In addition to preparing a $7.5 million budget for the central office for 2022-2023, the board reviewed more than $10 million in federal pandemic relief funding that the district could receive.

Donated land faces murky future

BRADFORD—In the mid-1980s, an 18-acre parcel in Bradford Center near the Waits River, was donated to the Green Mountain Council of the Boy Scouts of America by longtime Bradford resident, Charles A. Kenyon.
The land has been used by local Scouts for nearly 40 years, but could be sold to help the national organization satisfy its creditors after declaring bankruptcy in 2020 amidst a deluge of lawsuits related to alleged sexual abuse.

Pellet mill wins approval

NEWBURY—Lyme Green Heat’s plan to produce wood pellets on the former Newman Lumber property in the Newbury Industrial Park has been approved by the Newbury Development Review Board.
The DRB unanimously approved the site plan application last week after a public hearing was held on Dec. 30.
“We’ve been thinking about this project for a while,” said Steve Whipple of Mainely Environmental, the engineering firm consulting with Lyme Green Heat, at the hearing.