Fire razes Topsham barn

By Journal Opinion staff

Journal Opinion of Bradford, Vermont

TOPSHAM—A devastating fire last month destroyed a barn and killed dozens of animals at a farm on Claflin Road near Waits River. "Everything went," said Claudia Smith in a brief telephone interview. The three-alarm blaze broke out on the evening of Dec. 18. Smith said they believe the fire was started from a spark in an electrical outlet near where the cows were located.

Four cows, four pigs, a dozen chickens and rabbits were killed inelevate the floor in the computer lab to add flexibility to the arrangement of the room.

The expenses of the River Bend budget are covered by out-of-district tuitions from sending districts, grants and the per pupil state aid payment from the state of Vermont.

Stearns said that the projected tuition for Vermont students is $1,302.48, which is about half a percent lower than the current year tuition rate for in-state students. For students from New Hampshire, the tuition rate is projected to be $6,909.48, which is slightly less than one percent from the current out-of-state tuition of $6,959.66.

River Bend has reduced tuition for the past four years and has the lowest tuition of Vermont's 14 technical centers, Stearns said.

The school expects to have an enrollment of about 210 students of which 62 are expected from New Hampshire. Staffing is for 15 licensed educators and three full-time paraprofessionals and a school secretary.

Stearns said enrollment is stable although several programs are "shaky." All the regional advisory board members have voted to support the budget Stearns presented.

Lillian Gahagan can be reached at

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