Budget finalized for Haverhill town meeting

HAVERHILL—Haverhill residents will vote on a $5.27 million operating budget during the annual Haverhill town meeting on March 12.
The Haverhill Selectboard voted to send the proposed budget to the town meeting, along with several warrant articles, after a Feb. 7 budget hearing. Voters will also be asked to decide whether the Haverhill and Woodsville fire and highway departments should merge.

Orange County budget approved

CHELSEA—County government in Vermont does not exactly have the same role as county governments in most states across the country. Nevertheless, there is still county government.
Orange County’s side judges led a sparsely attended public hearing on Jan. 26 on the budget, which went into effect on Feb. 1. The hearing was conducted via Zoom.
Total spending will exceed $900,000 for the first time. The total budget is $901,688, which is up from $875,046 and $835,176 in 2021 and 2020, respectively.

Gawel named as new OESU superintendent

BRADFORD—The Orange East Supervisory Union Board wasted no time appointing a replacement for current superintendent Emilie Knisley, who is leaving the position at the end of June when her three-year contract expires.
Last week, the district announced assistant superintendent Randall Gawel will be Knisley’s successor. He started at OESU in July, moving from Michigan to Piermont.

NHSP conducts Piermont investigation

PIERMONT—Members of the New Hampshire State Police Major Crimes Unit were in Piermont on Monday afternoon and evening as investigators collected evidence at a home on Mazzilli Drive.
Piermont Police Chief Brandon Alling referred questions to NHSP, who declined to speak to a reporter at the scene. Several police vehicles were parked in the driveway of the home and along the Mazzilli Drive roadway near the River Road intersection as a light snow fell in the early evening hours.

Suspicious death under investigation in Woodsville

WOODSVILLE—Police are investigating a suspicious death in Woodsville after a man was found dead inside a Forest Street business early Monday morning.
After an autopsy, police identified the man as Victor Maldonado, 19.

Plea reached in carjacking death

NORTH HAVERHILL—A Lebanon man plans to plead guilty to charges related to a 2019 carjacking and assault of David Dickey, a 79-year-old North Haverhill man who later died of his injuries.
Branden Harriman, 23, has filed paperwork in court indicating he will plead guilty to manslaughter and witness tampering. He could serve 12-25 years in state prison as part of an agreement with the prosecution, unless the sentence is amended by a judge at a sentencing hearing. In the event that a judge finds the agreement too lenient, Harriman could still withdraw his guilty plea.

Detention center wins Act 250 permit

NEWBURY—The state panel reviewing a proposal by the Vermont Permanency Initiative and the Vermont Department of Children of Families to transform a former bed and breakfast into a juvenile detention center provided an Act 250 permit to the project last week.
Despite the approval by the Vermont Natural Resources Board, the state and its partner cannot move forward unless they win a court challenge to the Newbury Development Review Board’s decision to deny a local zoning permit.

OESU superintendent to step aside

BRADFORD—Orange East Supervisory Union Superintendent Emilie Knisley will not renew her contract when it expires on June 30.
During an executive session held on Jan. 18, Knisley informed the OESU board of her decision. The next day she wrote that it had been a “long-term goal” to give up her administrative role before her eldest son entered high school. As he will be in 8th grade next year, the time has come to make the move.

ZBA cuts down cell tower

HAVERHILL—For now, there will be no new cell tower built in North Haverhill.
The Haverhill Zoning Board of Adjustment has denied Vertex Tower Assets LLC’s application to build a 161-foot-high lattice tower on Teepee Road in North Haverhill.
The board held a public hearing on Jan. 4 before voting on the application at a follow-up meeting on Jan. 10. The ZBA issued its written decision on Jan. 18.

New signs coming for embattled bridge

THETFORD CENTER—Less than 12 months after new signs went up on an historic covered bridge frequently struck by oversized motor vehicles, an oversized motor vehicle struck the bridge knocking down the new signs.
Sayre Bridge on Tucker Hill Road was damaged earlier this month by a truck passing through that was too large for the covered bridge. According to a Thetford Police Department press release, the bridge was struck on Jan. 14 at 3:22 p.m. by an oversized truck.