Man Dead in Grafton Church Fire Maybe Free Stater John Connell
connellA fire that ravaged the Peaceful Assembly Church in Grafton has left one, unidentified man dead. The 200 year old historic church had served several purposes over the years from sanctuary and town meeting house to venue for weddings and other ceremonies. Grafton Fire Chief John Babiarz said although the building is still standing it is a total loss, but they should be able to do a good investigation thanks to the efforts of the mutual aid companies.
John Connell purchased the church in 2010. Connell has been involved in a religious tax exemption dispute with the town and owed approximately fourteen thousand dollars in back taxes to Grafton.
According to Free Keene John Connell was one of the earliest movers to New Hampshire as part of the Free State Project. As of this morning Connell is unaccounted for but Free Keene is reporting it is Connell who died in the blaze. An investigation into the fire and victim are under way. An autopsy is being done to determine the identity of the victim.

Man Wanted by Lebanon PD Arrested in Danbury
A sex offender wanted by the Lebanon Police was captured Monday night by night by Danbury NH Police. Police say they were assisted by the Bristol Police Department with the arrest of Jeffery Gray.
Gray was wanted on a warrant for failure to register as a Sex Offender out of Lebanon – a class B Felony
Gray was taken to Lebanon Police Department where he declined bail and lodged at the Grafton County House of Corrections. Additional charges on some of Gray’s accomplices are expected shortly.

Police Seek Information on Hit and Run Cruiser Accident
A New Hampshire State Trooper went to the hospital with minor injuries after a hit and run by tractor-trailer last night. Police say the cruiser was struck just after 6 pm while the Trooper was stopped on the side of road assisting a motorist who had gone off the road. The emergency lights were on and the trooper was inside the cruiser when the truck tried to slow down and veered to the right of the cruiser. The impact sent cruiser about 300 feet before resting on the median. After striking the cruiser, the truck driver pulled to the side of the road and then fled the scene. The suspect’s vehicle was reported to have a dark colored cab, possibly with a sleeper. The trailer was reported to be a white box type trailer with a Canadian registration plate. Anyone with information on the vehicle is encouraged to call Sgt. William Graham at 603-271-3636

Hearing on Legalization of Marijuana
The Vermont Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a public hearing on the legalization of marijuana in Springfield VT. The hearing will take place at the Riverside Middle School on Monday, January 18, from 6-7:30 pm.

Two Shoplifters Arrested in Lebanon
Lebanon Police arrested two VT men after answering a shoplifting call at Wal-mart on Tuesday. Police say that two men fled from the store’s Loss Prevention Officer and were seen going into Panera Bread.
After an investigation, officers arrested Aaron Goodrich 42, of Rutland, VT and Joshua Reed 35, of Brandon, VT for the theft. Goodrich was charged with Theft and Criminal Threatening, and Reed was charged with Conspiracy to Commit Theft. Both men were released on $5,000 personal recognizance bail and each will appear in Lebanon District Court in February to answer the charges.

Public Hearing on Newport’s SAU Withdrawal

The Newport SAU 43 Withdraw Committee will hold a public hearing on Monday, January 25, at 6:00 pm. The hearing will be in the Lou Thompson Room at the Sugar River Valley Regional Technical Center, (SRVRTC). The hearing is required for its revised withdrawal plan. The revised plan is available on the SAU 43 website at http://www.sau43.org/home/newport-school-district-withdrawal-study, at the Richards Free Library, at each school building, Town Office, and at the SAU 43 Office for viewing. Copies of the plan will also be available at the public hearing