New Bridge Road replacement OK'd; recreational, medical pot shops get nod

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The span that has been missing since 2012 will see a replacement bridge project that begins next year. (Rochester Voice file photo)

LEBANON, Maine - The bridge will be built, legal recreational weed will be bought and Earnest "Butch" Lizotte Jr. will be the town's new selectman, according to unofficial results from Tuesday's voting.

The final tab won't be certified till Thursday, but if unofficial results stand, it appears the proposal to enact a Comprehensive Plan for the town was narrowly defeated, 536-475.

Lebanon Selectperson Corinna Cole, who has worked on developing the plan for several years, said today she was "very disappointed" with the vote, adding, "I don't think everyone understands all the good things the plan would do for the town."

Lizotte, in his first foray into town politics, beat out his closest competitor, Bettie Harris-Howard by more than 120 votes. Lizotte finished with 361, followed by Harris-Howard with 238, Cannabis Committee chair James DuPrie with 211 and Deanna Bruce with 154.

Meanwhile, the bridge referendum that approves entering into a $145,000 contract with the state to replace the New Bridge Road bridge was overwhelmingly approved by the town, 793-297.

The state of New Hampshire, which is in charge of its construction, is now expected to begin the project during the next fiscal year which begins on July 1, 2021.

Everetts Cove Marina owner Jeff Everett said he was thrilled with the overwhelming victory.

"I'm delighted," he said this morning. "The way it (the referendum) was worded I was worried."

Residents also voted to allow the selling of retail recreational and medical marijuana.

All other referenda passed easily.

About a 1,100 residents voted either in person or by absentee ballot, not bad for a day that featured scattered, yet severe thunderstorms that knocked out power in several southern Maine communities.

In state voting Democrat Sara Gideon appeared headed for victory in her primary battle and will face Republican Susan Collins in November in a U.S. Senate race.

Meanwhile, two bonds to help pay for statewide transportation projects and high-speed internet in rural areas of the state were headed for big victories.

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