Local and regional briefs: West Fairlee man found dead next to burned vehicle

Published: 12/23/2019 10:05:26 PM
Modified: 12/23/2019 10:05:22 PM
West Fairlee man found dead next to burned vehicle

THETFORD — Vermont State Police found a West Fairlee man dead next to a burned vehicle in Thetford early on Sunday morning.

Police said in a news release the body of 53-year-old Brian Stephens was located partially in the woods off Route 5 near the intersection with Sanborn Road.

The death appears accidental, although the cause is pending the results of an autopsy by the Chief Medical Examiner, police said.

Portable heater causes fire that destroys garage in Claremont

CLAREMONT — A portable heater too close to combustible material caused a fire that destroyed a garage on Pine Avenue on Saturday, Fire Chief Bryan Burr said.

The fire was reported about 1:30 Saturday afternoon and the first crews found the garage fully involved in fire. Unable to save the garage, firefighters were able to protect the home, which was in close proximity.

The fire was declared under control at 1:45. This is the third fire in the city in recent weeks caused by the use of supplemental heating appliances.

Norwich to consider $30,000 for a regional energy coordinator

NORWICH — Voters in Norwich will decide whether to spend more than $30,000 to support a regional energy coordinator, which would be shared with other Upper Valley towns.

The Norwich Selectboard reversed itself last week, voting, 4-1, to request the funds for the position at Town Meeting.

Officials say the energy coordinator could help find efficiencies, organize programs and advocate for towns and school districts at the statehouse.

The position, which is estimated to cost $116,885 a year, would be shared among Norwich, Barnard, Pomfret, Sharon, Strafford, Thetford and Woodstock.

All of those towns have now pledged to either set aside money in upcoming budgets or request the funds at Town Meeting

The Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission would be charged with hiring the coordinator and administering the program.

Sanders scheduled to campaign to Lebanon, Newport

WEST LEBANON — Democratic presidential contender Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., will soon make two stops in the Upper Valley as part of his upcoming “End Corporate Greed Tour.”

Sanders will first hold a town hall meeting at 1 p.m. on Friday in the grand ballroom of the Fireside Inn & Suites in West Lebanon.

He’ll also host a town hall event at 10 a.m. on Sunday at the Newport Opera House.

Both events are free and open to the public. Entrance is provided on a first-come, first-served basis.

New Hampshire to consider two vaping-related bills next year

CONCORD — New Hampshire lawmakers will be considering two bills to crack down on vaping this session.

Last session, the Legislature added vaping to state’s tobacco laws and raised the minimum age for both cigarettes and vaping products to 19.

Next year, lawmakers will consider a bill to go even further and raise the minimum age for vaping to 21.

Lawmakers also will take up a bill that would ban all flavored vaping products except for menthol.

Democratic Rep. Jerry Knirk told New Hampshire Public Radio that he believes it’s a public health issue and that lawmakers should be doing everything they can to stop teens from vaping.

But Republican Gov. Chris Sununu says he would not support banning sales of any vaping products.

Fuzzy, not fierce state hawks sent to CHaD

LEBANON — New Hampshire’s official state raptor isn’t known to be particularly cuddly, but plush versions of the red-tailed hawk are comforting patients at the Children’s Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

Recent graduates of the Lincoln Akerman School in Hampton Falls who lobbied the Legislature to designate the red-tailed hawk as the state raptor have teamed up with Douglas Co., a Keene-based toy manufacturer, to distribute plush birds, WMUR-TV reported.

Hospital officials said stuffed animals are an important part of the care delivered at the facility, and students said they hope the toys also will raise awareness of the state’s new symbol.

— Staff and wire reports

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