Bedford | New Hampshire Public Radio

Bedford

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

More school districts are announcing positive COVID-19 cases, prompting a handful of schools and over a thousand students to go to remote learning plans this week.

Sarah Gibson / NHPR

U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos visited New Hampshire on Friday to meet with school leaders, teachers and students in Bedford, but her visit was curtailed by a newly confirmed COVID-19 case in the district.

Sarah Gibson / NHPR

For months, families across New Hampshire have been wondering what school would look like. And now, a lot of them have a first taste. There have been technological glitches and reports of positive coronavirus cases in several districts.

But as NHPR’s Sarah Gibson reports, many people say they’re relieved the new school year has finally begun.

Phot via chrisviolette.net

Protesters gathered at Whole Foods in Bedford this weekend after the store sent two workers home for wearing masks supporting Black Lives Matter.

After being sent home several times, the women say they were told the store has a policy against any slogans or messaging outside the company's own. They think it's unfair.

Savannah Maher/NHPR

A former Dean of Students at Bedford High School is suing the school district, arguing her termination after providing testimony in a sexual assault case was a violation of her First Amendment rights.

Zanna Blaney was put on leave in August 2018 after she gave character testimony on behalf of Kristie Torbick.

Bedford School District

 

A threat of violence at Bedford Middle and High School lead to an early dismissal of both schools  Monday.

 

Administrators and police learned about the threat in a note during the morning and decided to dismiss students bus by bus, with police standing guard. 

 

The early dismissal did not affect other schools in the district.

 

The incident is currently under investigation, but officials say there is no ongoing threat, and school resumed Tuesday.

 

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

 

New Hampshire lawmakers are considering restrictions on school districts and their employees in response to a guidance counselor who sexually assaulted a student.

The House Education Committee held a hearing Wednesday on a bill that would ban school employees from providing character references for those convicted of sexual misconduct involving a child.

Bedford High School has a new interim dean of students.

Pam Ilg, who had retired from the Bedford school district last year, will replace Zanna Blaney. 

Blaney has been on paid administrative leave since the end of August.

She submitted testimony in support of a former colleague who pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old student this summer.

In the past two months, interim Superintendent Mike Fournier and high school administrators decided the role needed to be filled for the rest of the school year.

Jackson Lewis Law Firm

After weeks of public pressure, the Bedford School District has hired an attorney to examine how and why three district staffers came to serve as character witnesses for Kristie Torbick, a former Bedford High School guidance counselor who plead guilty last month to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old Exeter High School student. 

Bedford School District

Former Bedford Superintendent of Schools Chip McGee resigned Friday, weeks after he authorized a high school staffer to testify on behalf of Kristie Torbick, a former Bedford guidance counselor who plead guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old child. 

For many parents in the district, McGee's resignation is only a first step in resolving the issue. 

Savannah Maher / NHPR

Superintendent of Bedford Schools Chip McGee resigned today after public outcry over his decision to authorize a district staffer to testify on behalf of Kristie Torbick, a former Bedford guidance counselor convicted of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old student in Exeter. 

"It would be difficult for me to continue to lead the Bedford School District at this point because of circumstances beyond my control," he wrote in a statement on the school district's website.

Savannah Maher/NHPR

Parents in Bedford are calling for action after district officials allowed Bedford High School Dean of Students Zanna Blaney to give character testimony on behalf of Kristie Torbick, a former district counselor who plead guilty to sexually assaulting a 14-year-old student in Exeter. 

At Torbick's sentencing hearing earlier this month, Blaney described her as a "pro when it comes to making a student feel heard" and said she had never been concerned about Torbick crossing boundaries with students.  

Annie Ropeik for NHPR

State officials say they're close to finalizing a deal that would bring clean water to Bedford residents whose wells have been contaminated with toxic chemicals called PFCs since 2016.

The contamination likely came from air emissions at the nearby Saint Gobain Plastics Plant. Since then, many residents have been drinking bottled water as they wait for Saint Gobain to pay to connect them to Manchester's water system.

NH Department of Health and Human Services

State health officials say residents on public water in Merrimack and Bedford have been exposed to perfluorochemicals, or PFCs, at rates higher than the general population, but lower than in some other exposed communities.

Blood tests from more than 200 residents in the two towns found levels of the chemical known as PFOA were roughly double what's found in the general population.

The contamination is thought to have come from a nearby Saint-Gobain performance plastics plant.

Wikimedia Commons

Bedford lawmakers are urging Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics to connect properties with contaminated wells to a municipal water system.

Bedford residents are still using bottled water 18 months after finding out their private wells are contaminated with PFOA.

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services requested Saint-Gobain put in place a public water treatment system for the affected properties in April 2016.

laurencehorton via Flickr/CC - http://ow.ly/Z86SX

  Bedford is voting this week on whether to remove a requirement that its town manager be a resident. 

Google Earth images

Investigators with the Attorney General's office say three people killed in Bedford over the weekend were likely victims of a murder-suicide. 

Assistant Attorney General Jay McCormack says police responded to a 911 call from Alexey Obukhov.  He reported the death of 34  year old  Nina Obukhov.

Bedford Police later discovered two other victims: the Obukhovs' children Katherine and Elizabeth, ages 8 and 6.

Classes were canceled Wednesday at Bedford High School and Lurgio Middle School after officials say they received a credible bomb threat.

"Police are conducting a search of the building," according to a post from the school district this morning.

Police determined no device was ever present.

Voters in Bedford will decide next week whether to pass a $30 million bond to pay for a backlog of road improvements.

Michael Samuels

 

Some predict we're on the verge of a 'coffee revolution' here in NH, and a small Bedford-based roaster is leading the charge.

One of the largest rowing events in the world --The Head of the Charles Regatta – takes place in Boston this weekend. Public high schoolers from Concord and Bedford will be among the rowers.