2016 in Review: July-December

The second half of 2016 in the Souhegan Valley saw the completion of major public works projects, including the renovation of the northern part of South Street and the western part of Elm Street in Milford and the final work on the Main Street Park in Wilton.

The long-awaited Fletcher Paint Superfund site cleanup continued, and the Mill Street portion was finished.

In September, full-day kindergarten started in Amherst, as Milford school officials prepared for their own program that would be partly tuition funded.

Recreation was also a focus in 2016. Amherst built a pump track and started preparing a disc golf course off Baboosic Lake Road. Volunteers built a new playground called Joshua’s Park. Milford pondered uses for town-owned property next to Keyes Memorial Field and built two sports fields on the Brox property. Brox Environmental Citizens continued to fight development of that town-owned land.

The Boys & Girls Club of Souhegan Valley completed its new addition that includes a gym.

Last week: A review of January through June. This week: A review of July through December.

July

Former Amherst Selectman William Overholt dies.

The state Department of Transportation begins to upgrade Elm Street in the western portion of Milford.

Alan Lighthall, of Milford, dies on an upstate New York lake as he tries to save his son after a boat accident.

State police are not identifying the teen driver who killed a Lyndeborough grandmother.

Milford officials say they will make sure a sports field project on the Brox property is sensitive to environmental concerns, especially endangered reptiles.

Milford’s public library director, Michelle Sampson, will leave her job for a similar one in York, Maine.

The Wilton Ambulance Service needs more members.

Milford police host National Night Out as part of their community policing efforts.

August

The percentage of Milford students who say they use drugs has gone down every year since 2009, according to a risk survey.

Homeowners plead with Amherst officials to fix what they call a dangerous section of Merrimack Road.

As the drought continues, Milford officials say they will enforce the outdoor water ban.

Alex Haas, of Mont Vernon, continues to recover from burns after a horrific fire in a Taiwan water park.

Milford’s Federal Hill fire tower is slated for renovation.

The Milford Planning Board OKs a storage unit complex across from the Pine Valley Mill apartments.

Wilton hires its first town administrator, Scott Butcher, of Pepperell, Mass.

The Milford School Board considers outsourcing custodial work.

The president of the Souhegan Watershed Association asks the Milford Conservation Commission to push for the removal of the two downtown dams. If the dams fail, it will cost the town a lot of money, George May says.

Wilton plans economic development projects.

September

Amherst teachers plan for Clark-Wilkins School’s first all-day kindergarten, while the Milford School Board considers a tuition all-day program.

A plan for a community center in Wilton’s Sacred Heart Church goes before the Zoning Board.

Milford’s Labor Day parade exceeds expectations, with a big assortment of bands, floats and marchers.

Milford School Board member Len Mannino challenges Amherst’s Robert Rowe for the Republican nomination for county commissioner.

The Milford School Board rejects a "pay-to-play" plan for athletics.

Milford remembers 9/11 with a solemn early morning ceremony on the Oval.

A glacial boulder intended for a fountain is installed in Wilton’s Main Street Park.

Amherst Police Chief Mark Reams tells selectmen and the Ways & Means Committee he wants more officers to combat neighborhood crime.

LaBelle Winery clears a major hurdle for its "artisan village" on Route 101 when the Amherst Zoning Board approves a distillery and tasting room.

Gary Williams, the Milford Fire Department’s chaplain, is named Best Humanitarian at the Best of the Souhegan Valley awards dinner.

Former state Sen. Peter Bragdon buys Foodee’s Pizza on the Milford Oval.

Donald Trump’s running mate, Gov. Mike Pence, of Indiana, comes to Milford.

October

State officials say the drought has become extreme, prompting Milford officials to ask all residents and businesses to stop outdoor water use.

Environmental activist Suzanne Fournier files a complaint with the state Department of Environmental Services regarding what she calls violations of the town’s permit to create two sports fields on the Brox property.

Samplings of 198 wells around the former TCI plant in Amherst showed that 16 of them are polluted with PFCs.

Gordon Leedy is named Amherst’s new community development director.

Amherst Town Administrator Jim O’Mara is offered a similar position in Webster, Mass.

Milford school officials rethink their full-day kindergarten plan. The number of children may be doubled to more than 60 and the program could be partly taxpayer funded to make sure children whose families can’t afford the extra expense have a chance to attend.

Tim Finan is named Milford’s Citizen of the Year.

Longtime Wilton Selectman Dan Donovan steps down after a discussion with other selectmen about the carrying of concealed weapons on town property.

A Makerspace room opens in a wing of Amherst Middle School.

Lyndeborough’s Mountain Road gets a base layer of pavement. It is called the biggest project the town has ever undertaken.

Declining enrollments might mean the Amherst and Mont Vernon schools will have to consolidate, says a report from SAU 39’s Streamline Committee.

A superior court judge denies a request for a temporary halt to the building of sports fields on Milford’s Brox property.

During a program at Lyndeborough’s J.A. Tarbell Library, water-quality experts urge homeowners to have their wells tested for radon and other contaminants.

November

Town moderators prepare for the general election. A huge turnout is expected.

State police say the report on the crash that took the life of a Lyndeborough woman is almost ready. A teenage girl driving a 2013 Dodge Ram on Lyndeborough’s Center Road in the early morning hours of July 15 hit and killed Debess Rogers.

Souhegan High School claims the Division II girls cross-country title, and later the girls win the state Meet of Champions.

Milford’s South Street improvements are almost complete as power lines go underground.

Milford’s Civil War fountain at the Wadleigh Memorial Library is removed and will be restored.

The new addition to the Boys & Girls Club of Souhegan Valley opens.

Donald J. Trump’s victory brings cheers and fears from local residents who either believe the newly elected president will be good or a disaster for the United States.

The wife of a Milford Army Reservist says they had to fight for health coverage after he had a heart attack.

A Lyndeborough committee is asking for capital reserve funds for future fire and police department facilities.

The Milford water commissioner says the group has run out of possible sites for a new municipal well.

There are about two dozen children in the Milford School District diagnosed with autism, Schools Superintendent Robert Marquis tells the School Board, asking for a full-time behavioral specialist.

The Mont Vernon Planning Board proposes new zoning to allow some commercial uses downtown.

December

At a rehearing, the Amherst Zoning Board gives LaBelle Winery a variance for its proposed expansion across Route 101. Next step for the "artisan village" is the Planning Board.

A committee looking at the expansion of Keyes Park recommends Milford tear down the industrial building at 127 Elm St.

The Milford School Board looks for a way to restrict guns in its schools after realizing state law allows anyone with a concealed carry permit to bring a firearm into a school.

Milford residents plan a dog park funded by donations.

Wilton’s new Economic Development Committee proposes a river walk that starts at the Stoney Brook Bridge.

The Ways & Means Committee decides not to recommend another police officer for Amherst.