2015: It really was quite the year

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Longtime Lebanon Fire Chief Skip Wood with faithful firedog Ginger at Central Station. (Lebanon Voice file photo)

The news events of 2015 made us laugh, smile, cry, frown and sometimes shake our heads. Here is a compilation of what rocked our world the past 12 months.


In January longtime and much-loved Lebanon Fire Chief Skip Wood retired after 15 years as chief and 50 years of service to Lebanon Fire.

Also in January Marshall's and Petco sign on as the first tenants at The Ridge Marketplace on Route 11 in Rochester. Later Hobby Lobby and Market Basket also sign on. The Ridge opens in April 2016, with some stores likely to open as early as March. The complex will boast premier dining and shopping options as well as a cinema.

A Noble High student is charged on Jan. 15 in a bomb scare that evacuated the North Berwick school. He is charged with felony terrorizing.

Rochester firefighter Dan Meehan is hired as Lebanon's new fire chief.

In an overwhelming landslide on Jan. 24, Lebanon voters reversed a November vote and elected to keep Rescue 2, the town's newest ambulance. The earlier vote had been called misleading and confusing. A citizen's petition led by Lebanon Voice publisher Harrison Thorp led to the revote.

Former SAD 60 Supt. Bill Bourbon dies Jan. 25 at the age of 77. Bourbon served as assistant superintendent from 1980-1999, then superintendent for two years till 2001.

On Jan. 27 the first of what would be many, a major snowstorm snarls the morning commute and keeps residents inside and hunkered down.


On Feb. 6 The Lebanon Voice learns that Sanford has pulled the plug on all mutual aid calls to Lebanon citing nonpayment of $2,000 sole responder fees, which are caused when Lebanon Rescue is unable to field a response to a town medical call.

On Feb. 14 Lebanon Road Commissioner Larry Torno dies of cancer. Torno, a lifetime Lebanon resident, was a former assistant chief with Lebanon Fire and was working his second 3-year term as road commissioner when he fell ill in December.


On March 4 the Sanford Fire and Rescue chief announces the mutual aid pact in Lebanon is reinstated but the sole responder fees will continue.

March 10 marks the one-year anniversary of the death of Ben Shannon, shot and killed by a Probation and Parole Officer as lawmen sought to put him under arrest for a missed court date at his mom's mobile home inside Sak's Trailer Park in Rochester. Officers thought he raised a gun to shoot them, but it was a cellphone. Officers were cleared in the shooting by the attorney general's office.

On March 10 Milton residents vote a resounding no, 1,100-182, killing a proposal for a solid waste landfill on Piggott's Hill.

A former administrator at the Gafney Home of Rochester is arrested on March 12 in the embezzlement of almost $70,000 from her former employer. Lisa Gosselin, 44, of 39 White Oak Road, Gilmanton Iron Works, N.H., is charged with Class A felony theft by deception.

On March 19 Milton resident Anthony Disciscio, 59, dies in a tragic Milton House fire on Depot Pond Road. Preliminary indications are that Disciscio may have been using medical oxygen in close proximity to smoking materials, officials said.


On April 2 Springvale teenager Zachary Pinette is the first of two to plead guilty in the murder of Madbury teen Aaron Wilkerson murdered in June 2014.

On April 16 the official ground-breaking is held at the Ridge Marketplace in Rochester.

Michael Tatum of Barrington is the second defendant to plead guilty in the murder case of Aaron Wilkerson on April 24 setting up his and Pinette's expected testimony against ringleader Tristan Wolusky of Rochester.


A bicyclist is killed while riding on Farmington Road near the Spaulding Turnpike and the driver of the car that hits him keeps on going. The man is later identified as Jeffery Howarth Sr.

Joey Boulanger, 22, of Milton Mills in May achieves Eagle Scout status as a member of Troop 198 in Sanbornville.

Joey Boulanger gets his Eagle badge

Also in May, the Foster's Sunday Citizen ceases publication and is replaced by a Seacoast Sunday Foster's edition, which shares stories with its Portsmouth flagship.


A Rochester man who recently moved to the area from Quincy, Mass., dies the night of June 2 when police say he fell from a porch on Portland street. Yihui Zhao, 50, died of a skull fracture. Police said foul play had been ruled out.

On June 9 Paul Nadeau cruises to an easy win for a Lebanon selectman's seat. Lebanon Fire and Rescue are also approved to hire per diem workers for the first time in history.

Nearly two years after his arrest for leaving his twins in a sweltering hot car in Franklin, N.H., while shoplifting from a Family Dollar, Jeremiah Hollenbeck of River Road, Lebanon, is arrested on June 11 in another endangerment charge, this time for allegedly having them in his car while buying heroin from a Lawrence, Mass., drug dealer.

Also in June a former state rep from Rochester Fred Leonard is indicted in the theft of more than $1,500 from the Strafford County Republican Committee. Leonard formerly served as the Strafford County Republican Committee's treasurer.

The first of a long-running series "Mutual Aid: Spotlight on a Flawed System," begins June 23 in The Lebanon Voice. The series details how the fact that Milton and Lebanon do not have a mutual aid pact in place compromises public safety of residents in Area 6, a portion of West Lebanon that abuts Milton and is far closer to Milton's ambulance than Lebanon's.

On June 27, a huge crowd shows up for the Phantom Gourmet BBQ and Country Music Festival at Tri-City Arena on the grounds of the Rochester Fairgrounds.


In July three-term District I state rep Robbie Parsons who represented Milton and Middleton dies of kidney cancer.

Jason Douglas, of 28 Miller Road, New Durham is arrested July 9 in the hit and run death of Rochester bicyclist Jeffrey Howarth in May.

On July 14 The Lebanon Voice is one of the first area newspapers to spotlight the heroin epidemic with an emphasis on the synthetic opioid fentanyl.


A sad day comes early in August for Milton Mills as its only convenience store, Milton Mills Variety, closes its doors for good.

At Gully Oven dedication in August

On Aug. 9 a new and improved Gully Oven Natural Area in Lebanon is dedicated to sisters Marjorie Blood and Bea Lord, who both died in 2013.

A federal judge orders a temporary restraining order Aug. 10 forbidding fired Planet Fitness payroll manager (and former Lebanon selectman and assistant rescue chief) Jason Cole from disseminating information the company alleges he fraudulently obtained while in its employ. The ruling comes after Pla-Fit Franchise, LLC, the owner of Planet Fitness, filed a lawsuit in U.S. Federal Court in Portland asking the court to grant the injunction earlier in the day.

Area music legend Ron Jones is seriously hurt in a head-on car crash on River Road on August 24. The crash occurrs about a half-mile south of Oak Hill Road near a curve and hill around 8:30 p.m.


A Lebanon man dies Sept. 12 when his motorcycle crashes into trees at the intersection of Lower Cross and Center roads around 10:40 p.m. Matthew Goodwin, 26, who had just moved to Lebanon, dies at the scene, police say.

On Sept. 18 Milton gets its first Dunkin' Donuts as it opens up at Milton Crossings in the downtown.


A former Rochester resident who served as a police officer in North Hampton dies tragically in early October of a heart attack he suffered while off duty and at home.

Also in October the report of a dangerous invasive plant threatening Milton Three Ponds comes to light. European naiad is present in Milton Three Ponds and is well established in Northeast Pond and in the narrow thoroughfare leading to Milton Pond.

On Oct 16 Ed Markey, the longtime owner of the Pink House, or Beak's Ice Cream, in Milton, dies, leaving in doubt whether the popular eatery will reopen in 2016.

On Oct. 17 Rochester Police get a call for an unresponsive person and arrive at the Riviera Motel to find Eve Tarmey dead from what was later determined to be fentanyl poisoning.

On Oct. 19 it takes just a few hours for a jury to find Tristan Wolusky guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Madbury teen Aaron Wilkerson.

Milton and Lebanon fire and EMS chiefs agree on Oct. 19 to implement an automatic mutual-aid agreement that will expedite ambulance service to parts of West Lebanon near the Milton line.

On Oct. 22 a recovering Ron Jones tells The Lebanon Voice he's well on the mend, writing music and hoping to return to the stage in 2016.


On Nov. 3 Caroline McCarley is voted Rochester's first female mayor.

On Nov. 11 three are arrested in the overdose death of Eve Tarmey including her mom, Jazzmyn Rood, her mom's boyfriend, Mark Ross; and a third suspect Leslie Aberle of Massachusetts.

In what appears to be a stunning reversal, Planet Fitness on Nov. 16 drops in full its lawsuit against former payroll manager Jason Cole and agrees to pay him an undisclosed amount of money as part of the settlement. Cole, a former controversial selectman and assistant rescue chief in Lebanon, called the decision a "full reversal."

Jason Cole


Tristan Wolusky

On Dec. 9 a missing persons case turns tragic when the body of a Milton woman was found in the water near the Garage Way bridge. Milton Police had reported that Ann Wade of Milton had gone missing on earlier and was last seen in the parking lot of the downtown Dollar General store.

On Dec. 17 a jury finds a Palmyra, Maine, man guilty in the bludgeoning death of Rochester native Ricky Cole, who was living in Detroit, Maine, at the time of his death.

Murderer Tristan Wolusky is sentenced to life in prison without parole for masterminding the slaying of Madbury teen Aaron Wilkerson in June 2014.

Wheelchair-bound Kevin "Humpy" Struble of Baker's Grant Road, Lebanon, dies in a tragic fire on Dec. 30.

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