Court rejects bid for reduced sentence

MONTPELIER—The Vermont Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling rejecting an inmate’s request for a lighter sentence in connection with the 2003 death of Vermont State Police Sgt. Michael Johnson of Bradford.
Johnson was struck and killed by a Toyota Camry driven by Eric Daley, 23, of Lebanon during a high-speed chase on I-91 south on June 15, 2003. Daley had just been pulled over by VSP for speeding. But after being notified that police were calling for a canine unit to check for illegal substances, Daley drove off reaching speeds up to 120 mph.

WRVS goes remote after Covid cases

WAITS RIVER—Surging coronavirus infections in Central Vermont prompted one local school to move to remote learning this week.
Waits River Valley School moved to remote learning through Nov. 18 at the earliest after at least eight people from Corinth, Topsham, and Barre connected in some way to the WRVS community have potentially been exposed to or have been infected with COVID-19.

New homes coming to Whistle Stop

BRADFORD—A new affordable housing project is nearly ready for occupancy.
Downstreet Housing and Community Development, which owns Whistle Stop Mobile Park as well as some multifamily properties on South Main Street in Bradford, and Upper Valley Haven are collaborating on a new, if small, development at Whistle Stop.

Woman seeks release from probation

CHELSEA—A woman convicted for her role in a 2007 fatal car crash on Route 5 in Newbury wants an early discharge from probation.
A court hearing has been scheduled for next week on the request by Kristy O’Meara, who was convicted of gross negligent operation with death resulting after the car she was driving collided with another car driven by Christina Vinnacombe, a North Haverhill woman who was 8 months pregnant at the time of the crash. The baby was stillborn at the scene. Vinnacombe, who was on her way to work as a waitress at P&H Truck Stop in Wells River, died two weeks later.

2020 Election Review Vermont

BRADFORD—Vermont’s new lieutenant governor grew up in Newbury and will now be the top elected Democrat in one of the bluest states in the country.
Democrat Molly Gray won a statewide office in her first bid for an elected position defeating Republican Scott Milne with 49.3 percent of the vote to 42.3 percent.

2020 Election Review New Hampshire

NORTH HAVERHILL—Whiplash. Sweeping gains in 2018 which lifted Democrats to majorities on the Executive Council and in both chambers of the General Court vanished last week.
Republican Gov. Chris Sununu won re-election; Republicans went from a 3-2 minority to a 4-1 majority on the Executive Council; and Republicans are now the majority party-pending the outcomes of several recounts—in both the House and Senate.

State eyes Newbury for detention center

NEWBURY—Vermont officials want to replace the shuttered Woodside juvenile detention center with a privately run facility in Newbury.
The Vermont Agency of Human Services is poised to enter into a contract with the Becket Family of Services for a six-bed, secure residential treatment program for youth involved in the state criminal justice system. AHS and the Vermont Department of Children and Families want the go-ahead from legislators by the end of this month before moving forward with the contract.

Solar array dealt blow

BRADFORD—The future looks dim for a proposed solar array on the Lower Plain.
A hearing officer has recommended that the Vermont Public Utilities Commission deny the application of Bradford Solar, LLC for a 500-kilowatt, ground-mounted system on the Lower Plain. The decision is a victory for local opponents to the project, who have argued the parcel is better suited for commercial development.

HPD outlines staff time

NORTH HAVERHILL—Thefts, motor vehicle offenses, assaults, domestic violence, and sex crimes were the five types of crimes most reported to the Haverhill Police Department from 2017-2019.
The data comes from a staffing and resource analysis presented to the selectboard last week. The study was undertaken earlier this year after a pair of officer departures left the department short-staffed.

Schools cope with staff shortages

BRADFORD—Like many school districts around the region, Oxbow Unified Union School District faces staffing challenges during the COVID-19 era. But with an increase in the number of absences taken by regular teachers and staff combined with a reduced pool of substitutes to draw from, it’s likely the problems will only get worse as flu and cold season peaks.
The number of absences during the first six weeks of the school year has been “exponentially” higher than in previous years, Orange East Supervisory Union Human Resources Director Melanie Elliott told school board members during a presentation on Oct. 21.