Election preview Five seek seats from Cal-Orange

The five candidates running in the Nov. 3 Caledonia-Orange State Senate race all have one thing in common—they believe Vermont’s legislature needs to take decisive action for a COVID-19 economic recovery.
Democrat Jane Kitchel and Republican Joe Benning are the incumbents. Democrat Matt Choate, Republican Charles Wilson, and independent JT Dodge are challenging. Two are lifelong Vermonters, while three have lived in the state for decades. They range in age from 49 to 63.


Effort underway to dissolve school district

BRADFORD—Scores of Newbury residents have signed a petition asking the selectboard to hold a town vote on dissolving the Oxbow Union Unified School District.
The petition asks that the board hold a vote for Newbury residents to withdraw from the new OUUSD as soon as June 30, 2021.
As of now, the petition has attracted more than 90 signatures which have been verified by the Newbury Town Clerk. The petition is on the agenda for the Oct. 14 selectboard meeting.

Welch accused of NEK shooting

BURLINGTON—A 34-year-old Haverhill man could face life in prison after being accused of shooting and killing Michael Pimental in 2018.
Federal prosecutors announced a new indictment last week against several co-conspirators involved in Pimental’s death, and they accused John Welch of shooting Pimental on Oct. 13, 2018.
Pimental’s bullet-riddled body was found by a property owner along the wooded edge of his driveway in Concord, Vermont on Oct. 14, 2018. The same day, Pimental’s girlfriend Krystal Whitcomb, 28, of Waterford, and Michael Hayes, 38, of Washington, D.C., were taken into custody by police in Benton after a traffic stop.
Investigators say the found blood belonging to Pimental in the silver Cadillac Hayes was driving at the time of the stop. The Cadillac was registered to Pimental. Police also recovered three firearms, 2,600 bags of heroin, and $20,000 in cash.
Authorities said they found Whitcomb and Pimental had been distributing heroin out of their residence in Waterford. They also charged her father, Shawn, in connection to the case.
In February 2019, Welch offered to sell a firearm to a person in New Hampshire, according to a news release from the U.S. District Attorney’s Office in Vermont. Shortly thereafter, law enforcement found Welch along the side of the road in Bath, trying to dig frozen ground with a shovel.

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Dognappings reported, but no dogs taken

HAVERHILL—There has been a recent uptick in the amount of attempted dog thefts reported in the Haverhill area.
On Sept 6, Haverhill Animal Control Officer Andrea Brissette posted this on Facebook: “I have heard a lot about dogs being stolen out of vehicles and out of their own yards. It seems to be a growing issue in our area.” She went on to advise people not to leave their animals unsupervised and to leave their dogs at home when they have to run errands.
Under that post, Haverhill resident Pauline Corzilius commented that a car with Vermont license plates recently pulled up to a woman’s yard in Bath and attempted to lure her dogs into their car, a report confirmed by the Bath Police Department. They were not successful. BPD said they are investigating the incident.
She also noted that there was a similar rash of dog thefts about four years ago in the St. Johnsbury area.
Brissette said she does not have many details, other than a few reports of possible attempted thefts. And it does not sound like any dogs have actually been stolen.
Still, dognapping is not unheard of and British authorities have reported an increase in dog thefts since the pandemic as dog prices have risen.
In the United States, an estimated 2 million animals are victims of dog theft each year. High-value breeds are at the highest risk of being targeted to be resold for a profit. It’s a scheme known as “dog flipping.”

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Board proposes $16.9M budget

BRADFORD—Maybe a third time will be the charm.
The Oxbow Unified Union School District Board met last week to finalize a third proposal, trimming another $190,000 from the 2020-2021 budget, after voters rejected two previous versions.
The online audience continues to grow with every meeting held remotely, which is a plus, according to the board, which is searching for ways to reach constituents and share information. Last week’s meeting on Sept. 16 had 44 attendees who listened in, a number that has increased over time.
Board members have been grasping to find why voters have rejected the budgets.
Other than Bud Haas, a former school director at Bradford Elementary School, most feedback reported at the Sept. 9 meeting encouraged the current direction of the school system and its board of directors. This seemed to influence the thinking of the board as a whole and leave the essential outline of the budget intact.
Haas recommended holding a town meeting style vote rather than a ballot, a commitment by the board to have articles of agreement ready for the next annual meeting that would assure voters no schools would close, renaming the district immediately to clarify confusion on the “Oxbow” district, and admitting that moving the supervisory union offices to the Copeland building was a mistake. Haas also noted that one of the other forced merger districts in Vermont has been permitted to dissolve in a recent state board decision.

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Accused carjacker faces stiffer charges

NORTH HAVERHILL—A Lebanon man is now facing charges of manslaughter and negligent homicide in connection with a November 2019 assault and carjacking of a 79-year-old North Haverhill man who later died of his injuries.
The Grafton County Superior Court Grand Jury handed up both indictments earlier this month charging Brenden P. Harriman, 22, with negligent homicide and reckless manslaughter stemming from the Nov. 4, 2019 incident.
Authorities said the elderly victim, David Dickey, had pulled up to a stop sign at the intersection of Route 10 and Horse Meadow Road in North Haverhill when Harriman approached his vehicle and asked if Dickey was going to Bradford.
Police said Harriman had just been released from the Grafton County House of Corrections on pretrial conditions after he had been arrested for an unrelated assault.
Dickey allegedly told Harriman he was heading toward Woodsville and offered him a ride, according to the affidavit of Haverhill Police Department Detective Derek Sullivan.
Sullivan said when the Jeep reached the Walmart parking lot along Route 10, Harriman allegedly threatened to stab Dickey with a knife, which he did not display.
Dickey pulled over but refused to exit his vehicle, at which point Harriman allegedly hit Dickey in the face forcing him to eventually exit the Jeep. Harriman then got into the driver’s seat and drove away on Route 10, Sullivan said.
Police found Dickey near the location of the assault. He had fresh blood on his face and clothes, but refused medical treatment at the scene.
Later in the afternoon, Lebanon police located the stolen Jeep in that town. Shortly afterward police observed Harriman leaving an apartment he was known to frequent and placed him under arrest.
Police said Dickey later sought treatment at Cottage Hospital in Woodsville, and was flown to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center with injuries that included a broken nose and facial fractures. He also had suffered from a possible “myocardial infarction” similar to a heart attack caused by emotional stress.

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