2015 in the Souhegan Valley

As 2015 began, Souhegan Valley residents faced a proposal for a gas pipeline. Selectmen in the towns it affected all opposed the plans and formed task forces, and Amherst negotiated a more favorable pipeline route with energy company Kinder Morgan.

More than a year before the presidential election, candidates Donald Trump, Chris Christie, Rand Paul and Jeb Bush all visited the area.

Local infrastructure made the news as Milford’s Jones Crossing Bridge and its Prospect Street water tower were torn down. Amherst’s Manchester Road Bridge was rebuilt and reopened. Milford’s South Street project was delayed, and cleanup started on the Fletcher Superfund site.

The Brox land in Milford continued to be a focus of controversy, with the Brox Environmental Citizens group trying to preserve the 260 acres, while town officials saw their deal to sell nearly 100 acres fall through.

Six years after mandatory public kindergarten came to New Hampshire, school districts considered expanding their programs to full day, and Mont Vernon started a full-day kindergarten.

Wilton and Lyndeborough lost Mary Leavitt, a longtime emergency services volunteer, and Milford lost Jan Tigchelaar, considered the last of the old-time family doctors.

January

Towns prepare to deal with the prospect of a natural gas pipeline after energy company Kinder Morgan switches its route north from eastern Massachusetts. Amherst and Milford form pipeline task forces.

A consultant’s report recommends Amherst merge its fire and ambulance departments.

The Milford girls basketball team wins the Nashua North Holiday Classic.

Homeowners protest a gas pipeline plan from Kinder Morgan, saying the company moved the route north in response to resistance from Massachusetts.

Rick Davis’ circus friends perform in a benefit at the Amato Center for the Performing Arts for the Temple man who was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of brain cancer.

Chris Cramer, of Milford, dies in Saudi Arabia, and family and friends are convinced he was murdered.

The town of Lyndeborough considers full-day kindergarten.

Milford High School’s We the People team wins the state championship for the 13th time in 17 years.

JerriAnne Boggis, who spread the word about Milford’s 19th-century black author, Harriet Wilson, receives the state’s Martin Luther King Award.

February

Souhegan High School’s cost per pupil is an issue at the school district’s Deliberative Session. Full-day kindergarten is discussed at the Amherst School District’s Deliberative Session.

Bitter cold and relentless snowstorms continue, and the state fire marshall warns property owners to clear roofs of snow and ice. A heavy snow load forces a one-day closing of Milford High School, the Fire Department responds to problems in buildings around Milford and the opening of an ice hockey rink has to be postponed.

Milford hires a new superintendent of schools, Robert Marquis, who was assistant superintendent for the Somersworth and Rollingsford districts.

The Lyndeborough Conservation Commission wants to preserve the former Woodmont Orchard at Perham Corner.

Chad and Tyler Tucker, of Milford, die of infections within days of each other, leaving four children.

March

Share Outreach is hit hard by winter, with a busted heat pipe and frozen water main. It is also the target of a scam that also targeted Chapangas, an Elm Street restaurant.

Rosario LoCicero, of Milford, is honored with France’s highest decoration, the Legion of Honor, for his service during World War II.

Wilton-Lyndeborough defeats Epping to win the team’s first Division IV boys basketball championship.

Kani Nicodemus, a fitness teacher at Hampshire Hills Sports & Fitness Club, deals with multiple sclerosis.

Amherst School District and Souhegan School District voters say no to school budgets. Amherst also turns down all-day kindergarten. Milford voters do the same with their town and school budgets. A controversial warrant article in Milford asking to take gravel from the southern half of the town-owned Brox property is defeated by a narrow margin, as is a plan for a new Milford library.

About 350 people show up for a meeting in Amherst about a proposed natural gas pipeline. Selectmen vote to oppose the plan.

Athletic directors say the spring season will be delayed because of soggy fields from the long, snowy winter.

Donald Trump tells a gathering in the home of Amherst state Rep. Stephen Stepenack that he "is going to make this country rich."

April

The widow of Louis Joy III, the man who flew his small plane into their Amherst house 14 years ago, tells her story of an abusive marriage.

Milford’s Pipeline Task Force says a natural gas pipeline through New Hampshire makes no sense, since only 6 percent of the gas will be used here. Amherst’s Conservation Commission says the pipeline’s long-term impact would be limited.

Wilton’s Florence Rideout School will be an emergency shelter, with costs divided between the town and school district.

A large apartment complex is proposed off Capron Road in Milford.

Ocean State Job Lot opens in the former Stop & Shop supermarket building in Milford.

Landowners are urged to help restore New England cottontail habitat.

Rand Paul comes to Milford.

Amherst will ask Kinder Morgan for a new gas pipeline route that doesn’t go through residential cul-de-sacs and Ponemah Bog. Quakers march from Milford to Nashua in opposition to the pipeline.

The Piscataquog Land Trust is raising money to buy the summit of Rose Mountain in Lyndeborough.

May

Local police say they will strictly enforce the state’s new law prohibiting the use of handheld devices while driving.

Chris Christie visits Amherst, but the New Jersey governor is still mum on his presidential plans.

Milford High School’s History Team is preparing for the national contest after winning the state championship.

A Quaker meeting starts in Wilton.

An anonymous donor pledges $500,000 for the Souhegan artificial turf project.

CVS Pharmacy plans a new drug store near County Stores.

June

The brutal winter of 2014-15 meant good news and bad news for bobcats, because state Fish and Game put a trapping season on hold.

Souhegan graduate Oksana Clay journeys from hardship in Ukraine to success in the United States.

An environmental consultant’s report says the northern half of Milford’s Brox property should be conserved because of its high natural resource value.

Milford schools Superintendent Robert Suprenant plans to retire after 11 years here and 41 years in education.

A Milford task force says the gas pipeline would do more harm than good.

Amherst officials tell federal energy regulators that the gas pipeline would benefit Massachusetts at the expense of New Hampshire.

July

Drivers seem to have gotten the message about New Hampshire’s new handheld device law. Only about 38 people in the Amherst,k Milford and Wilton area receive warnings or summonses for using devices during the first days it was in effect, police say.

George Bower is Amherst’s Citizen of the Year, receiving the award at the annual Fourth of July parade that sees a number of marching politicians, including Jeb Bush, who was then among the leading candidates for the Republican presidential nomination.

The trial for Brian Gleason is scheduled for fall. Amherst’s former emergency services director is facing felony theft charges connected to his use of a town credit card.

Hundreds of Grateful Dead fans come to watch a simulcast of the band’s final performance at the Milford Drive-In Theater.

A Massachusetts stone processing company plans to move its operations to Milford’s Brox Property.

Amherst selectmen complain that Gov. Maggie Hassan hasn’tt taken a strong stand on the gas pipeline.

Shawn Pelletier, newly promoted to Milford police captain, remembers working in New York at the time of the terror attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.

Volunteers control invasive weeds at Baboosic Lake in Amherst.

August

Milford’s project to widen and beautify South Street is delayed as the project’s one bid comes in at twice the engineer’s estimate.

Federal regulators hear from gas pipeline protesters at a hearing in Milford Town Hall.

The bluAqua restaurant, named Best New Restaurant last year, closes abruptly.

The Souhegan Valley Boys & Girls Club will get tax credits to build a teen center.

Two historic structures in Milford are torn down: the Jones Crossing Bridge and the Prospect Street water tower.

Amherst selectmen ask Gov. Maggie Hassan to oppose the gas pipeline.

Wadleigh Memorial Library officials say they will try again with a proposal for a new building in March.

Nathaniel Dokmo, the son of former state representative Cynthia Dokmo, dies in a car crash.

Police seek a man who robbed the Penguin Mart at gunpoint.

September

Selectmen defend the upcoming sale of 93 acres of the Brox property to a Massachusetts stone processing company. Members of the Brox Environmental Citizens group and other residents say voters should decide the sale.

All-day kindergarten begins in Mont Vernon.

Alex Haas will fly home. The 27-year-old Mont Vernon man was severely burned in a fire at a Taiwan water park in June.

Charlie Vars, of Amherst, fulfills a pledge he made to his father: that his uncle, missing in action during the Korean War, be buried with the rest of his family in Massachusetts.

The sunny, dry summer weather was a treat for most of us, but not so good for the state’s rivers.

The Stetson family, of Milford, forms a chapter of End 68 Hours of Hunger, providing schoolchildren with weekend provisions.

Kinder Morgan agrees to change its route through Amherst to avoid some residential and conservation areas.

Cows are evicted from the farm of the late Jerry Rand.

Milford looks for help in saving its pedestrian bridge.

Former state Senate President Peter Bragdon, of Milford, is let go as the head of New Hampshire Health Trust.

Milford’s Swing Bridge is found to be badly in need of restoration.

October

The cleanup of Milford’s downtown Superfund sitewill begin after the Pumpkin Festival.

Dr. Jan Tigchelaar is remembered as the last of the old-fashioned family doctors.

The Milford Community Athletic Association might close because of a shortage of volunteers.

The Milford Pumpkin Festival’s opening ceremony is the setting for a wedding proposal.

Russell Dickerman is named Milford Citizen of the Year.

The Grunbeck family pledges a $25,000 matching grant for a playground and community garden on Courthouse Road in Amherst.

Be creative and flexible, the Amherst Planning Board tells developers who want to build 39 residential units off Brook Road.

The Massachusetts company slated to build a new facility in Milford’s Brox property backs out of the deal.

Milford’s Capital Improvement Advisory Committee is recommending an $11 million road repair project.

Six months after losing both parents, the Tucker children carry on.

There is no shortage of hair care shops in Milford.

Lyndeborough Central School’s new Early Learning Center holds an open house.

An Amherst citizens group says the schools spend too much and test scores aren’t high enough.

Amherst’s elementary school principal says full-day kindergarten is the district’s highest priority.

November

People gather for a prayer vigil on the Milford Oval in response to the opioid crisis.

Open Doors showcases artists from all over New Hampshire.

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s office says Wilton cemetery trustees should not have a trust fund that cannot be use for cemetery maintenance. The fund currently has more than $200,000, and it can only be used for maintenance of gravesites, not the cemetery as a whole.

Milford’s superintendent of schools suggests a trial run for full-day kindergarten, with the extra half-day paid for by parents.

Julie’s Happy Hens in Mont Vernon is building a giant henhouse.

Costs for the drainage work at the Wilton public library exceed its budget by $40,000.

A citizens committee says Mont Vernon should spend more on its public buildings.

The handpainted backdrop for the Lyndeborough Town Hall stage is restored.

The state Fish and Game Department says it will forbid pheasant hunting near the Milford Drive-In after nearby residents complain of careless shooting.

The Milford Zoning Board rejects a plan for a large propane tank across from Shepard Park.

Lyndeborough calls a halt to its dealing with a Hampton investment firm, Mackensen and Co., until a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigation is complete.

Rollins Hardwick, of Milford, is inducted into the state athletic association’s Hall of Fame.

St. Thomas ends the Milford Spartans’ undefeated football season.

December

Amherst selectmen say they will petition Gov. Maggie Hassan, for the third time, to take a public stand on the gas pipeline now that the Massachusetts attorney general has issued a report saying there is no need for the Northeast Direct project.

A Wilton committee recommends that the question of whether to hire a town administrator be put on the Town Meeting warrant.

Staff cuts in Amherst School District schools may help pay for full-day kindergarten.

Kinder Morgan representatives face a hostile audience in Milford as the energy company prepares for the second phase of its application to build a gas pipeline through 19 southern New Hampshire towns.

An environmental consultant firm recommends the town-owned Brox property be preserved.

A woman from Temple and a man from Keene die in a head-on collision on Route 101 in Wilton.

LaBelle Winery plans to buld an "artisan village" across Route 101 from its vineyards and restaurant.

Negotiations between the Amherst School Board and the teachers union move to mediation.

Lyndeborough plans the biggest road project in its history: rebuilding a mile of Mountain Road.