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Journal Opinion
Bradford , Vermont
November 12, 2014     Journal Opinion
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November 12, 2014

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November 12, 2014--JOURNAL OPINION--Page 3 by Alex Nuti-de Biasi PIERMONT--Police are looking for a person who used a prybar in an by Cicely Richardson unsuccessful attempt to rob an ATM machine last week at the Woodsville ORFORD--A local resident has the value of that land. Guaranty Savings BankbranchinPiermont. launched a challenge to what he 'Tll pay my fair share," he said. "I New Hampshire State Police from Troop F in Twin Mountain are perceives as the inequitable effect don't understand why it would be investigating the incident which took place onNov. 5 at approximately 4 of New Hampshire current use tax advantageous to the town to support a.m. As part of the investigation, they are seeking help from the public in law on taxpayers across the state, this letter." identifying the person that surveillance video shows trying to break into Rusty Keith, who owns homes in Chris Crowley said that, al- the machine. Orford and Lyme, believes this is a though he also has land in current The black-and-white video, which has beenposted online including on matter for the state court to decide, use, he was "a little bit stunned" by this newspaper's Facebook page, shows a person approaching the bank As a first step, Keith has been the opposition, machine wearing gloves and gripping apry bar. The person appears to be enlisting the aid of town officials to "To me the issue is simply one of dressed in a hooded jacket with a camouflage pattern. The perpetrator also request a legal opinion on the equal sharing of costs across the appears to have a dark-colored mask covering the face, although at one constitutionality of the law. On Oct. state, and that'sthe bottom line for point the person's gloved hand attempts to shield his or her face from the 29, he told the Orford Selectboard me," he said. "Benefits of the camera. that Lyme officials signed a letter current use program flow mostly The video lasts for approximately one minute, 30 seconds and shows seeking an opinion from the statewide, not locally," Crowley the person repeatedly using the pry bar to force open or dislodge the government affairs counsel of the said, citing the timber industry and machine. At its conclusion, the video shows the subject scampering off New Hampshire Municipal Asso- tourist business as statewide ben- into the darkness holding only the pry bar. ciation. He asked selectmen in efits. The bank branch, located at the intersection of River Road and Route Orford to do the same, atnocostto Schwaegler said studies of 25,islessthanamilefromtheConnecticutRiverandtheVermontborder. the townswhicharemembers of the public services used by current use It is the only retail enterprise within the immediate vicinity. It is association, landhave shownthat, even at the low surrounded mostly by agricultural and residential property. )RLO II VETERAN, Herb Ver~ in his prig "This affects Orford taxpayers tax rate, current use land overpays The ATM machine is a drive-up, standalone unit that it is not attached uniform, Bill Ouackenbush and George Boyd prepare to help Vietnam and affects the local tax rate," he for the services it uses by as much as to the bank branch' s primary building. Bank spokesperson Jan Carver told veteran Job n O'Brien raise the flag on the new lighted flagpole behind said. In May, he had presented data 15 percent, he said. the Journal Opinion that the machine was damaged and still offiine as of Orford's World War I monument on the west Common. At Vero/'s request, they flew the flag that had draped the coffin of his late wife, comparing the impact ofcnrrent use There are inequities in property the afternoon of Nov. 7 as it was awaiting repairs. She said the damaged to Laura Washburn Verry, also a veteran of World War II. on Orford and Nashua. taxes generally across the state, he the machine was discovered by bank staffwhen they arrived for work that JO PHOTO BY CICELY RICHARDSON Keith stressed that he has no added, citing large businesses and morning. argument with the concept of lakefront homes as reducing local A call placed to Troop F in Twin Mountain seeking additional current use, only with the way it is taxes, information was not returned as of press time. implemented. , "To pick out one subject and Anyone with information helpful to this investigation is asked to New Hampshire s Current use leave out all these other subjects is contact Trooper Aaron Comeau of the New Hampshire State Police- method of assessing real estate just wrong, in my opinion," he said. Troop F in Twin Mountain at (603)846-5517. dates backto 1968. At that time, the He encouraged public hearings with Alex Nuti-de Biasi can be contacted at editor@jonews.com. state's population was growing, experts toanswerquestions. property values were ballooning, Current use is a very successful and there was a push to preserve program, said Keith, adding that open land. One way was to help farm over 50 percent of New Hampshire families and woodlot owners keep is in current use. their lands andnotbe forcedto sell "The only issue we're addressing High-speed chase ends in pole dance land to pay property taxes, is the taxation scheme--we should BRADFORD--An allegedly drunk driver who led police on a high-speed In November ofthatyear, voters take a good hard look at that." chase on the interstate and then into a quiet residential neighborhood approved a short amendment to the This legal opinion should help rammed a utility pole before he was apprehended. state' s constitution: "The general bring the legislature to take a closer court may provide for the assess- look at this, said Keith. He said he Shortly before 1 a.m. onNov. 6, Trooper Sean Brennan made an attempt ment of any class of real estate had originally contacted many to stop a 2004 Volvo that was being driven erratically on Route 25 zn Bradford. The vehicle was also being operated without its headlights on. based upon the current use thereof." F!ve years later, !he legislatureresponses.legislatrs but received virtually no Instead of pulling over, the driver went onto the southbound lane of I- OK, THAT'S ENOUGH, FINE BY ME!--A dusting of snow, evidenced ~fi~E~e~e~:'tigi~Ilt~gc~.~tX~tt~13[~t'~, "1 thi'f& New klarnp hire ig ,a, 91 and was sReeding up to 130milesperhourwithpoliceinpursuit.The RSA 79-A, to meet that directive, great state because of current use, vehicle exited the highway at exit # 15 in Fairlee and continued to drive at a high rate of speed on Lake Morey Road and before turning onto Fairview to face the season on the horizon. Enrolled current use land is as- Keith said. "All I m asking is that we Street, where the car drove over several lawns. JO PHOTO BY MICHELLE SHERBURNE sessed on its income-producing have a system that shares its cost capacity, based on rates established across the state, and I don't believe The driver finally lost control back at the intersection of Fairview Street and Lake Morey Road when the vehicle crashed into a telephone annually by the state Current Use that should be a difficult thing." pole and was disabled. The driver then tried to run away on foot, butwas The Women's Care Center at Board. Board chair Tom Steketee ulti- These values, and therefore the mately agreed to sign the letter, quicklysubduedbypolice. Alice Peck Day Memorial Hospital Richard Pike, 38, of Fairlee was arrested and charged with a felony taxes on them, are considerably pointing out that it simply asks fora count of attempting to elude police, gross negligent operation, driving welcomes the Obstetric Patients from lower than the real estate market legal look at the question and under the influence #3-refusal, driving with a criminally suspended Little Rivers Health Care in Bradford value which serves as the basis for commits the town to nothing, license, leaving the scene of an accident and resisting arrest. Pike was " assessing all other real estate. And "I hear regularly that other lodged at the Northeast Regional Correctional Center in St. Johnsbury for that affects the local tax rate for all people around town question the lack of $10,000 bail. property owners and taxpayers in current use model," he said. "We each town. have to represent those people as He was due to be arraigned in Orange County Superior Court on Nov. Reducing the taxable value of well. Asking the question is not abad 7. enrolled farm and forest land thing." reduces the town's grand list. The Board member Anne Duncan ; ", grand.list is the total value of all Cooley said she, would not,,sjgn : : i ...................................................... "" ; property on whichtaxes are levied to anything without hearing from more ........... i "Med" e settled ;" pay for town, school and county townspeople. Looking ahead, she andmarkVT i expenditures. Lowering the grand added that this is a first step toward lcarl Cff list raises the higher tax rate on all litigation and she is loath to spend BURLINGTON--Twenty-one months after winning a national class action property in that town, including the Orford tax money on litigation on lawsuit that sought to overttLrn Medicare's practice of denying skilled current use property, this subj oct in what could be a very maintenance care to patients who did not meet an "improvement standard," Keith points out that the effect protracted battle, plaintiff Glenda Jimmo is receiving the Medicare coverage for skilled of the current use law varies from "We have a lot of local issues we home health maintenance care benefits that she was denied in 2007. town to town, depending on how really need to deal with," she said. A federal court case was settled on Oct. 29 that will result in paying much of its land qualities for current The Current Use Board of the Jimmo's Medicare claim in full and vacating the decision of the Medicare use treatment. In Orford, where 90 New Hampshire Department of Appeals Council that denied ct)verage due to lack of improvement. percent of the land is in current use, Revenue Administration will be Jimmo, an elderly, disabled Vermont resident is currently receiving he calculates the impact in 2013 was holding a regmnal publlcT 'oyum on therapy in a nursing home, but expects to be discharged soon. She said that $5.34 (more than 20 percent of the Nov. 20 at 6 p.m. at the rafton winning the case will allow her to receive home health care and see her own actual tax rate). In Nashua, on the County ComplexinNorth H' ye nill. doctor, which will help her stay out of the nursing home. other hand, there is so little current Cicely RichardsOn dgn be use landthat only one penny of their contacted at tax rate can be attributed to current crichardson@'onews, com. use, he said. It is this disparity in the current law's"taxscheme"thatKeithar aesCURRENT USE FORUM is unconstitutional because it is NORTH HAVERHILL-OnNov.20at6 disproportionate across thestate, p.m., the New Hampshire Department of Because current use is a statewide Revenue Administration's Current Use program with statewide benefits, he Board will be holding a public forum atthe Grafton County Complex to hear says, the cost of that program should questions and comments from thegeneral be borne equally throughout the public on current use practices and rates. state. The board will be presenting its proposal When Keith presented his letter for current use assessment ranges for the to the Orford Selectboard on Oct. coming yearandwilldiscussthe benefits and administration of the program. For 29, he received a mixed reception, information, call (603)230-5000. One supporter accompaniedhim, but a handful of major property owners were there to oppose his request, and board member John Adams recused himself and left the room, stating that he has land in current use. Tom Thomson, owner of large parcels of current use land in Orford and a member of the state current use board, encouraged the selectboard to attend that that group's upcoming regional hear- ings. He advised them not to sign any letter "until you have had a public forum. Others echoed his a lvice. "We see this as the death of current use," added Bob Green, managing partner of the familytrust that owns 23,000 acres of t'orest- land in?Orford, Dorchester and Lyme. There is no way to keep that land for public ,use andbenefit without current use, he said. To make a change, go to the current use board, he urged. "Don't blow it up," he added. Bruce Schwaegler, another large landowner, said that taking this to court "puts the whole scheme at risk." He identified revenues that stay locally from the timber tax charged when land is logged and the penalty imposed when land is taken out of current use. Lud Flower said Keith should be going to the state legislature, not the court. The legislature can modify the law, while the court cannot, he said. Robb Day pointed out that all owners of current Use property are not wealthy, , adding, qf you cut Whatever the hour, you'll have power. SALES SERVICE INSTALLATIONS Everyone can afford a good Modern Furnit 4 Locations, 48,000 Square Feet & ZERO GIMMICKSl True Sav!ngs. Huge Selection. V Exit 28 Off 1-91, Rt. 5 Exit 17 Off 1-91 lit. 302 Woodsville, NH NOW IN LITTLETOHI 296 Meadow Street. 603444.2033 www.modernfurnilurevt.tom Mon.-Thu: 8:30:Spm, Fridayi'8:30-6pm, Saiurday: 8:30-5pm, Sunday lO-4pm ,,;,,:TEMPUR,, !! : : ! Maureen Boardman, MSN, CFNP .. Prenatal and Postnatati ' e wdl" cohtt' ,, :': * to be p &vi ed ':',,i: '!: Little Rivers Health Care 437 South Main St., Bradford, VT 802-222-9317 APD offers both traditional OBGYN andMidwifery Servicesto suit your needs. "q4"ature $(est" at the Indian Corn Mill 603-787-6511 NATURE BLEST UPDATE from Sue: We close for this year's apple season at the Indian Corn Mill on Sunday, Nov. 23rd. Still available: McIntosh, Northern Spy, Red/ Golden Delicious, Russett, Macoun, Empire, Mutzu and Honey Crisp, as well as Fresh Apple Cider. It is always difficult for me to write the last Nature Blest article of each and every season, this year is no different for me. As I have often written in many Nature Blest articles, I wouldn't trade all the memories; all the hard work; all the friendships gained over the years here at this rural roadside stand for any amount of money in the world. If the walls inside this quaint old building could talk, there would be 'many valuable lessons of life' learned from the echoes of voices (young and old) that have been the fabric that built the Indian Corn Mill. I never allow myself to lose sight of that fact; and, as I often do, I again thank each of you not only on behalf of the Indian Corn Mill but from myself personally. I cannot imagine my life without all of you being a part thereof. This week we celebrated Veterans Day and I hope you noticed the little ,extra' touch to the Indian Corn Mill inside and outside that was done as a "thank you" to all our Veterans. A young man came in and as we were talking, I learned he was home on leave from the military and headed back shortly. I thanked him for his service; asked where he was headed back to and other questions. I mentioned it seemed like such a difficult time right now for those in the military - and for our country--so many things happening all over that they undoubtedly were on guard for, never knowing from one minute to the next where they might be. I said "it worries me and for each of you, but please know I'm praying for you and our world every day." This young man looked at me so sincerely and said in a reassuring and quiet voice: "welt, there is an awful lot going on, but we can handle it." I wished him the best of luck and told him I'll remember you." In addition, this past week, I happen to go to Woodsville and outside one of the stores was a "Veteran" (probably in his middle 80s right now, perhaps older). He was standing outside on a very cold, very windy, partly rainy day with the red bucket hanging on a chain, and holding the red poppy flowers that the Veterans give out each year about this time. I know this man well, his name is Earl, so when I walked up to him and said hello, I passed him a $5.00 bill. He said "oh gosh, Sue, well thank you very much" as he passed me a red poppy. I responded: "No, I thank you and each of the Veterans very nauch" as I smiled at him and walked to my car. Dear friends--thank you again for your friendship, ),our support, your loyalty to the Indian Corn Mill. You are a definite part of the fabric of my life and someday very soon it will be written in a book form, which many have asked me to do for years on endnow. As it (or part of it comes to fruition, you will see an ad in the paper). As always, Peace....Sue (keep in touch, my address is Sue Holden, EO. Box 172, Haverhill, NH 03765). timber, you pay a ax; ifyou take a couple of acres out to build a house, you pay a penalty of 10 percent of