Dispatch Media, Author at Newport Dispatch

Dispatch Media

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VSP trooper involved in crash on I-91, Derby

in Derby/Newport/News

DERBY — A Vermont State trooper was involved in a single-vehicle crash in Derby early this morning.

Just after 12:00 a.m. trooper Richard Berlandy was on duty operating his assigned 2015 patrol Ford Explorer on I-91 south.

Police say the roadway was covered with about one inch of slush, snow, and ice, resulting in Berlandy losing control of the vehicle.

The vehicle struck a wire guardrail.

Airbags were deployed and the vehicle sustained significant damage to the front end, rear bumper, and side panels.

Trooper Berlandy was uninjured in the crash.

Rays Auto responded to the scene and towed the vehicle, which police say was totaled.

Chainsaw stolen from parked vehicle in Albany

in Albany/Newport/News

ALBANY — Police say a chainsaw was stolen from a truck in Albany today.

According to the report, a Husqvarna 372 Chainsaw was stolen from a truck that was parked at a home on Kingdom Road.

Police say that between 12:00 a.m and 7:00 a.m, an unknown individual walked up to the home and removed the chainsaw from the truck before leaving on foot.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the State Police in Derby at 802-334-8881.

Orleans County Conservation District Annual Plant Sale

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — It’s time to get your orders in for the Orleans County Conservation District Annual Plant Sale.

The group offers a variety of bare-root plants, including fruit trees, berry bushes, native trees, and shrubs.

This year they will be offering a selection of native trees and shrubs known for enhancing pollinator habitat.

Planting on your property with these native plants can provide many benefits including tasty snacks for you and beauty to your land while protecting, enhancing or providing habitat to native pollinators.

They will also have bee nesting blocks and rain barrels for sale.

Bee blocks are being made by North Country Career Center (NCCC) Agricultural Sciences Department students and all proceeds go to Orleans County Future Farmers of America.

You can use barrels to collect and store rainwater from your roof to reduce flow volume and pollution to storm drains and surface waters.

For the full 2020 catalog and order form, visit: https://www.vacd.org/conservation-districts/orleans-county/

Orders are due by Friday, March 27, with pick-up on Saturday, May 2 in front of the USDA office at 59 Waterfront Plaza in Newport.

For questions or to ask for a hard copy of our catalog mailed to you, please contact Sarah Damsell at sarah.damsell@vt.nacdnet.net or at 802-334-6090 ext 7008.

All plant sale profits go towards our many conservation programs.

NEK Day at the Statehouse, Jan. 28

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Artists and educators, organizers and entrepreneurs from the Northeast Kingdom will be hitting the hallways and committee rooms of the Vermont Statehouse on Tuesday, January 28, for the second annual NEK Day.

The goal is to celebrate recent successes in the three-county region, share the innovative rural community development models that are forming in the NEK and work with legislators on solutions for current and prospective residents and businesses.

“Like many rural communities across the country, the Northeast Kingdom faces significant challenges, but we are coming together as a region and developing innovative solutions to build vibrant rural communities,” said Katherine Sims, Director of the Northeast Kingdom Collaborative. “Our future is bright and we’re excited to share our best practices and to work with legislators to support rural communities across the state.”

Advocacy Training with Amy Shollenberger from Action Circles at 9:00 a.m. in the Snelling Room at the Vermont Historical Society Museum.

This training will introduce participants to the legislative process, how to talk to legislators and tips for testifying in front of committees.

Welcome & Press conference at 10 a.m. in the Cedar Creek Room with NEK leaders, Lt Governor David Zuckerman and other key leadership.

Pie Social and NEK Business Showcase in the cafeteria lounge from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Reps from NEK businesses and non-profit organizations including Northern Vermont University, Catamount Film & Arts, Kingdom Trails and HEAT Squad will be in attendance, and available for interviews.

NEK leaders will testify before legislative committees throughout the day:

House Commerce & Economic Development Committee: 9 – 10 a.m.
Senate Economic Development, Housing & General Affairs: 10:30 – 10:45 a.m.
House Education Committee: 1 – 2 p.m.
Senate Education Committee: 1:30 – 2 p.m.
House Energy & Technology Committee: 1-2 p.m.
House Agriculture Committee: 11 a.m. – noon
Senate Agriculture & Forestry Committee: 1 – 2 p.m.
Small group discussion with the Rural Caucus: noon – 1 p.m.
House Committee on Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife: 1:00-1:45 p.m.

The NEK Collaborative has been working to increase coordination and communication
among NEK businesses and nonprofits for more than 20 years.

Since their first NEK Day this time last year, the region has made incredible strides towards building vibrant, thriving communities in the Northeast Kingdom.

The organization has brought together dozens of partners to implement strategic action plans in two key areas:

1. Expanding leadership development
2. Advancing economic growth at the intersection of the creative, recreational and food sectors.

For more information visit: www.nekcollaborative.org/nekday

Jay Peak to host event to raise money for Gardner Park Restoration Project

in Jay Peak/Newport/News

NEWPORT – Jay Peak Resort has partnered with Newport Parks and Recreation to host the Green for Gardner Park Day—an event designed to raise money and awareness for the parks and rec department’s Gardner Park Restoration Project.

On Saturday, February 1, a portion of the proceeds from lift ticket sales will be donated to the initiative, and representatives from the Newport Recreation Committee will be on hand to share concept designs.

Gardner Park is one of Newport City’s most heavily used recreational facilities.

It attracts over 40,000 people annually hosting community events, sports leagues and general recreation visits.

Such popularity though has come with the cost of aging infrastructure in need of restoration to meet safety standards and the contemporary needs of the community.

“My family contributed to many of those 40,000 annual visits,” said Jay Peak’s General Manager Steve Wright. “The plan that the parks and rec department has come up with will evolve the play area so that future generations will be able to enjoy the park, and its surroundings, for years to come.”

Initial improvements to the park are scheduled to begin this fall and will focus on major playground and restroom facility renovations.

Project elements include replacement of all existing play structures in the play area, installation of a 40’x40′ motion-activated splashpad, updated family-style restrooms, and a modest concession area.

“Those of us working on the project have always known it’s cool enough to shout from the mountain top—and now we actually have the chance to,” said Jessica Booth, Director of Parks & Recreation for the City of Newport.

As the largest independent business and employer in the region, Wright says the resort has a responsibility to support local communities, the people who live within them, and the various causes and opportunities that help them to thrive.

“Our employees and guests live and work in Newport and the surrounding communities,” Wright said. “Having a safe and vibrant place to gather as family and friends is integral to a community’s health, and it’s our responsibility to support these sorts of efforts when we can.”

The Gardner Park Restoration Project is a long term, multi-phase initiative to improve one of Newport City’s most prominent public recreation assets.

Organizations and individuals interested in learning more about the project can call 802-334-6345, and are invited to join project representatives at Jay Peak’s Bullwheel Bar from 2:00 p.m.- 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 1 to learn more.

Visit www.NewportRecreation.org/SPLASHPLAY for project details.

Derby Green Nursing Home announces plans to close

in Derby/Health/Newport/News

DERBY – Derby Green, the nursing home located on US Route 5 in Derby, announced that it will close effective on or before April 30, 2020.

The home, owned by North County Hospital, filed a letter of intent today with the state’s Department of Disabilities, Aging & Independent Living Division of Licensing and Protection, laying out its plans.

Derby Green has traditionally run at high occupancy, filling most of its 23 beds in any given month.

However, as a small facility, the nursing home says it cannot achieve the economies of scale and efficiency necessary to make long-term operations financially sustainable.

They say ongoing workforce shortages and operating losses jeopardize the center’s ability to continue providing the level of care and a safe environment necessary for residents.

Losses have averaged $200,000 annually over the last three years.

This, coupled with future infrastructure needs, has led North Country Hospital to make the difficult decision to close the facility.

Derby Green says they will work with all area nursing homes and community partners to ensure each resident is transferred to the setting of their choice that best meets their individual needs.

“Patient safety and exceptional person-centered care are our top priority,” Brian Nall, North Country Hospital’s President & CEO, said. “We are committed to providing high-quality day-to-day care during this process until our last resident is transferred and Derby Green is closed.”

Nearby, Bel-Aire Center in Newport will be increasing its nursing home beds to preserve some of the capacity that would otherwise be lost with the closure of Derby Green.

Vehicle hits utility pole in Westfield

in Newport/News/Westfield

WESTFIELD — Police say a vehicle hit a utility pole in Westfield yesterday and drove off.

Police were notified of the crash which took place on North Hill Road at around 5:39 p.m.

Police say the vehicle crashed into the utility pole owned by Vermont Electric Coop, causing it to shatter.

The meters that were attached to the pole also received extensive damage.

Police are trying to identify the driver and say the vehicle would have moderate damage to the passenger side front end.

Anyone with any information regarding this incident is asked to contact Cpl. Amy LeClair with the Derby barracks at 802-334-8881.

MAC Center for the Arts Grand Re-Opening, January 25

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — After weeks of renovations, the MAC Center for the Arts is ready to unveil their new and improved Gallery Space on Saturday, January 25, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Come explore, browse, and rediscover the arts in this delightful redesign.

Thanks in part to grants and fundraising, a new ADA compliant bathroom has been added and redesign of the floor space to accommodate wheelchair accessibility has been accomplished.

To support the ADA continuing efforts, MAC will hold a “Leap Year” raffle beginning January 25 through February 29.

The winning tickets will be pulled on February 29, leap day.

MAC artists have donated pieces that are a celebration of the collaborative.

Featured in the raffle are a painting by Victoria Mathiesen, valued at $300, painting by Pixies Durand, valued at $100, Sterling Silver with Garnet earrings by Ellie Roberts, valued at $78, pottery bowl by Diana Poulin, valued at $60, pottery bowl and plate by Nancy Nash, valued at $56, pottery “face” vase by Arlene Goldberg, valued at $50, photograph on canvas by Nancy Nash, valued at $45, Polymer Pendant Necklace by Isobel Marks, valued at $25, and a Book by author, Susan Sanders, valued at $10.

All money raised will go to the ADA improvements at the MAC Center for the Arts.

For more information, visit www.maccenterforthearts.com or call 802-334-1966.

Winter hours are Wednesday through Saturday, from 10-5, and closed Sunday-Tuesday.

ATV Statement and Study Committee Proposal | Conrad Bellavance

in Letter to the Editor/Newport/News

This letter was submitted by the Board of Directors Newport City Downtown Development, Chair Conrad Bellavance.

The City of Newport Ordinance #120 Regulating ALL – Terrain Vehicle Use on Town Highways also known as the “ATV ordinance” was approved by the City Council on October 21, 2019, for a trial period commencing May 2020 to October 2020.

The trial period outlined in the approved motion provides a reasonable approach and a measured way to assess the benefits to our Downtown.

The NCDD Board considers this type of exploration in alignment with our efforts to build Newport’s Outdoor Recreation Economy.

ATV ridership is proven to provide substantial positive economic benefits to many communities across the country.

However, it is important for Newport to assess the experience for ourselves in our own community.

NCDD is willing and offers to set up an independent ATV Study Committee charged with developing measurable standards to assess the impact of ATVs on city streets during the trial period.

A report will be generated based on these standards, along with fact-finding and conclusions from this information.

When the committee has reached a consensus on its findings and conclusions it will develop a set of recommendations.

The Committee will present both the full study report and the recommendations to the City Council at the end of the trial period.

NCDD suggests that the ATV Study Committee be comprised of representatives from each of the following groups:

Two Newport City businesses, two resident representatives from Third Street who live on the designated ATV route, two resident representatives from Pleasant Street who live on the designated route, two members from the Recreation Committee, the Newport City Police, two members from the Borderline Ridge Riders ATV Club, and NVDA, with NCDD as facilitator.

The NCDD Board believes that a local committee comprised of people directly impacted by the ordinance is the best way to generate a credible report.

NCDD has been working for several years to build a foundation for Newport’s Outdoor Recreation Economy.

This is based on the community’s support to build on Newport’s incredible natural assets.

This theme has been stated repeatedly at every community meeting about how to develop Newport.

Although the organization has not worked directly with ATV ridership or the creation of Ordinance #120, we are pleased to see that outdoor recreation groups like snowmobilers and ATV riders are beginning to approach the City with opportunities to be part of this economic development strategy.

We are likewise pleased to see that the City leadership is open and willing to try out these opportunities on a limited basis in order to gauge the impact on the City.

As the organization that holds the Downtown Designation and represents the interests of the community in developing Newport’s future, NCDD has the capacity to facilitate and support the ATV Study Committee with the goal of generating a quality fact-based report and recommendations to the City Council at the end of the trial period in October.

Interested candidates who meet the study committee criteria, should contact NCDD Economic Development Specialist Jim Davis at 334-0599 or email him at newportdowntowndevelopment@gmail.com

Conrad Bellavance

Tracey Paul, first woman in CFO role at North Country Hospital

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — North Country Hospital recently announced that Tracey Paul has been promoted to Chief Financial Officer.

She began her career with the hospital 23 years ago as a staff accountant, having come from employment at Pine Knoll Nursing Home in Lyndonville.

Tracey has held supervisory positions for the last 17 years and has seen opportunities along the way to grow within the organization.

For the last six years, she served as Executive Director ACO, Finance & Specialty Practices.

“The position gave me a lot of great experience on not only the finance side but the operations side as well,” added Tracey.

Tracey was born and raised here in Newport and graduated from the University of Vermont with a BS in Business Management.

She is married to Claude Paul and they have three daughters.

The hospital’s previous CFO, Andre Bissonnette, who served North Country for 12 years, took a chief finance position at Brattleboro Memorial Hospital.

Dairy Air Wind in Holland announces halt to development activity

in Holland/Newport/News

HOLLAND — Dairy Air Wind, the last remaining wind energy project being developed in Vermont, today announced the ending of all development activities surrounding the project.

Project partner David Blittersdorf cited a current political environment that is hostile to wind energy as the leading cause for this step.

Dairy Air Wind was intended to be a single-turbine project sited in a cornfield on the Champney family’s 450-acre dairy farm in Holland.

“In 2012, there were over a dozen wind projects in development,” said David Blittersdorf. “Now there are none. This is truly a sad state of affairs for Vermont.”

Dairy Air Wind had received a state standard offer-power contract to sell the project’s electricity in Vermont in 2016, but has been stalled in permitting ever since.

They have been in the process of applying for a Certificate of Public Good, but given the current regulatory and political environment, project leadership no longer believes that acquiring one is possible.

Prior to today’s announcement, Dairy Air Wind was the last wind project still being developed in Vermont.

“If Vermont is saying no to a project like Dairy Air Wind, we are really saying no to everything,” said Blittersdorf. “We are in real trouble as a state if we can’t build a single wind turbine in a flat cornfield, hosted by a dairy farmer that wants the project built to help keep the farm going.”

Newport City votes to allow ATVs on public streets

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — In a vote of 414 to 294, voters in Newport City on Tuesday have decided to keep in place an ordinance to allow all-terrain vehicles on downtown streets.

In October of 2019, the City Council voted 3-1 in favor of a five-month “trial period,” that allows ATVs to be allowed on select routes in Newport, starting May of this year.

When the ordinance takes effect, riders must ride single-file, and ATVs will still be banned on public property.

In November of 2019, a group calling itself FIGHT BACK 05855, submitted a petition opposing the ordinance.

Newport City resident Amy Gillespie, the chief organizer of the group, said that the petition was only a way to allow the community to have a say in whether the ordinance got voted in or voted down.

She said she felt the community wasn’t included in the real discussion and planning process for the ATV routes, nor was the city council.

The sixth month trial period will end in October.

Jennifer Harlow to fill Orleans County Sheriff vacancy

in Newport/News

NEWPORT – Governor Phil Scott today announced the appointment of Jennifer Harlow to become Orleans County sheriff, following Kirk Martin’s resignation last month.

Harlow will be the only female sheriff in Vermont at the time of her appointment.

“I’m confident Jennifer will bring an innovative and dynamic approach towards leading the department,” said Governor Scott. “Her long career in law enforcement and her commitment to her community will serve her well as sheriff.”

Harlow has lived in Orleans County for the last 16 years.

Since 2004, she has worked in the Newport Police Department, where she focused on preventing and investigating crimes against children, school safety, the opioid crisis, domestic violence and domestic violence-related homicides.

Additionally, she is a certified instructor for the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council.

“I am honored Governor Scott has appointed me sheriff,” said Harlow. “I take great pride in my work and serving my community. The Sheriff’s Department is comprised of many hard-working men and women, and I look forward to working with them to continue to serve the people of Orleans County and expand upon the services the Sheriff’s Department provides.”

Harlow graduated from the Agawam Police Academy in 1999 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Johnson State College.

She is an active board member for several organizations, including the Domestic Violence Task Force, the school boards for North Country Union Junior High School and High School, and the Northeast Kingdom Human Services Board.

Outgoing sheriff, Kirk Martin, was elected as a Republican, so keeping with tradition, the Governor received nominations from the Orleans County Republican Committee to fill the vacancy.

Harlow will be sworn in later this month.

Vermont Welcome Wagon comes to the NEK

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT – The Vermont Welcome Wagon has landed in the Northeast Kingdom with its second chapter in the State open and ready for participants.

The VT Welcome Wagon Project (VTWWP) is a program where new arrivals or returnees are connected with current residents, or ‘hosts’ through an informal meet and greet.

It provides new folks with the opportunity to learn more about the region and ask honest questions with honest answers about the ins and outs of the community—where’s the nearest laundromat? Where do you go out to eat? What’s there to do on a rainy day? What’s the childcare situation like?

The goal is to accelerate the time it takes to “figure out” Vermont and get connected to the community in meaningful ways.

The Northeast Kingdom Young Professionals Network (NEK YPN) decided to take on this initiative last spring upon learning about the program that began in Chittenden County.

“We are simply thrilled that the NEK YPN has partnered with VWWP to launch a local chapter of the program,” VWWP co-founder Krysta Sadowski said. “Their commitment to connecting and serving their community combined with the energy and skills of their leadership team makes them an ideal partner for leading this program in the NEK.”

While the VT Welcome Wagon Project is for all ages, the NEK YPN was thrilled to take on the leadership of this program and offer it to all community members and new arrivals in the NEK.

Thanks to grants from both the Vermont Community Foundation and the NEK Collaborative, the NEK YPN has been able to secure a part-time administrative staff member to oversee the unveiling of the project.

This program is open to anybody new or returning and there are no age limits or restrictions.

The NEK YPN manages the program but participants do not need to be a member to utilize it.

Materials and sign up information can be found at https://www.vtwelcomewagon.org/

Orleans, North Troy residents plead guilty to fentanyl and cocaine conspiracy

in Newport/News/North Troy/Orleans

NEWPORT — Samuel Fuller, 33, of Orleans, and James Bassett, 40, of North Troy, have each pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute illegal narcotics, including fentanyl and cocaine base.

According to court records, Luis Luna, 28, and Edwin Martinez, 26, both of Hartford, Connecticut, have also pleaded guilty to the charges.

Fuller will be sentenced on May 11, and Bassett on April 20.

The drug crimes all four defendants have pleaded guilty to carry 5-year mandatory minimum sentences and maximum sentences of 40 years.

All four defendants pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to distribute more than 40 grams of fentanyl.

In addition, Fuller and Luna pleaded guilty to a conspiracy to distribute more than 28 grams of cocaine base.

According to court records, Martinez was Luna’s fentanyl source and Luna, in turn, supplied Fuller with the fentanyl.

Fuller would split the fentanyl with Bassett, who provided the money for the purchase.

Investigators say every two weeks or so, Fuller would collect money from Bassett, then order specific amounts of illegal drugs, including fentanyl and cocaine base.

Fuller would drive to Hartford, Connecticut where he would meet Luna at various locations.

Police say Fuller would drive back to Vermont, split the fentanyl with Bassett, and they would each sell fentanyl to Vermonters.

Bassett and Fuller had a customer base in the Northeast Kingdom, primarily in Caledonia and Orleans counties, police say.

Chasing a Dream: Stanstead bull rider headed to Oklahoma to compete at the International Finals Rodeo

in Newport/News/Stanstead

STANSTEAD, QC — An 18-year-old man from the border community of Stanstead is headed to Oklahoma later this month to compete at a championship bull riding event.

Mirko Martineau has qualified for the International Finals Rodeo (IFR), the championship event of the International Professional Rodeo Association (IPRA).

The IPRA is the second-largest American rodeo organization, with 2,400 members in Canada and the United States.

Held every January in Oklahoma City, only 15 competitors from each of the seven rodeo disciplines qualify.

Growing up on the border, Martineau played basketball and baseball in the United States. An accomplished athlete, he also played football, hockey, lacrosse, and golf.

“I had a lot of fun and good memories playing those sports, but I felt like there was something missing,” Martineau said.

He was introduced to bull riding after seeing some videos on YouTube, and although hooked right away, it took him three years to convince his parents to let him give it a try.

Martineau started riding bulls in 2017, at the age of fifteen. It didn’t take him long to make a name for himself on the competitive level.

In 2018 he finished 11th in the IPRA Canada standings and in 2019 was 2nd at the National All-Region Finals in Lexington, Kentucky.

He’s even appeared on a TV series called “Tatoué Rodeo,” which aired November and December of 2019.

“With rodeo the thing I like the most is the family feel to it,” Martineau said. “Everyone is there to do their best and help you to be your best. In rodeo, there isn’t really a competition between contestants, it’s more of a competition between you and the animal you are partnered with. The guys that are supposed to be competing against you are going be the ones cheering you on the most. They want to see you succeed as much as they want to succeed themselves.”

As Martineau heads down to Oklahoma to compete, he’ll have friends and family cheering him on from both sides of the border.

The event kicks off January 17.

Fatal crash on Route 105, Derby

in Derby/Newport/News

DERBY — A 71-year-old man from New Hampshire was killed in a single-vehicle crash in Derby on Thursday.

At around 7:00 p.m. Reginald Gray, of Brookline, NH, was traveling west on Vermont Route 105 near Cross Road when his vehicle gradually veered off of the right side of the road.

The vehicle traveled down a small embankment where it collided with a tree.

Police say Gray was the sole occupant of the vehicle and was transported to North Country Hospital.

He was pronounced deceased shortly thereafter.

The crash investigation is ongoing, however, police say it does not appear that speed was a factor at this point.

The Derby Line Fire Department and Newport Ambulance responded to the scene to assist.

B&B Towing responded to retrieve the vehicle.

A section of Route 105 was closed down as rescue workers responded.

Responding to Jeff Weld Commentary | Peggy Stevens, Charleston

in Letter to the Editor/Newport

In an attempt to divert attention from the conditions that resulted in serious injury to one of the truck drivers and the spill of thousands of gallons of toxic landfill leachate, diesel fuel and other noxious fluids, Casella spokesman Jeff Weld casts blame not only on those who raised concerns about the spill, but on the truck drivers, victims who were merely following direction from their superiors.

Because there is no good defense for sending innocent truckers carrying hazardous materials out into the night in black ice conditions, Weld attacks those who raise legitimate questions and worse, he blames the victims of the accident!

While he claims misleadingly that questioners showed no concern for the accident victim or the other driver, who also lost control due to hazardous road conditions, he states, “A man nearly died at the hands of his coworker.”

Really? His coworker was a victim of unsafe conditions and circumstances as well.

How dare Weld suggest that liability rests with the second driver? It is only right to wonder why MBI or Casella would require their drivers to risk physical and emotional trauma by traveling on unsafe roads, or why they would seek to pass blame for the accident on to the truckers.

Weld charges that questions raised about why the trucks were transporting leachate at 3 A.M. in black ice conditions are “fear-based” when they are fact-based.

The cargo of the second truck included upwards of 8,000 gallons of toxic and hazardous landfill leachate, a load of diesel fuel and related fluids.

A spill of this magnitude poses real threat to the environment and its inhabitants.

The extent of the days-long cleanup effort to retrieve spilled leachate and remove tons of contaminated soil underscore the concern.

Weld also suggests that transporting leachate in the middle of the night is a best practice, designed to safeguard the public.

However, when transport trucks are on the road before road crews have managed to make roads sufficiently safe, and when the HazMat emergency response teams are not as immediately available- as they would be during regular business hours- to respond to an accident involving thousands of gallons of hazardous material, is this really “best” practice?

In fact, transport tucks such as these travel at all hours, including in the day, which lays waste, no pun intended, to Weld’s pretense about public safety. The State DEC must require landfill management regulations that would allow for the ultimate protection of the public safety and of the environment.

Wishing all the best to the accident victims and their families,

Peggy Stevens
Charleston, Vermont

Michael Arnowitt and the ImproVisions Jazz Quintet to perform in Newport

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Pianist Michael Arnowitt will return to Vermont with his ImproVisions Jazz Quintet, featuring the outstanding New York City musicians Dave Smith on trumpet and Rick Rosato on bass, joined by Vermont favorites Dan Silverman on trombone and Caleb Bronz on drums.

The concert will take place Saturday, January 18, at 7 p.m. at the United Church of Newport.

Michael Arnowitt will perform a colorful and diverse program of jazz past and present.

Music on the concert includes his creative version of the jazz standard There Will Never Be Another You, and his interesting blending of Jobim’s Brazilian jazz song How Insensitive, with Chopin’s famous Prelude in E minor which inspired Jobim’s song.

Arnowitt’s wide-ranging musical interests can be seen in other offerings on the program, from selections from his Jazz Suite from West Side Story based on the Leonard Bernstein musical, to the music of Stravinsky’s ballets Petrushka and The Rite of Spring, Joni Mitchell’s 1970’s Edith and the Kingpin and jazz-influenced by Bulgarian and Syrian music.

For the music of today, the quintet will perform a song from a recent Dave Holland recording and Michael Arnowitt’s original jazz compositions Pirouette, Migratory Mood, and Bulgarian Hoedown from his 2018 CD “Sweet Spontaneous” which he recorded with Dave Smith, Rick Rosato, and a dozen other stellar New York City musicians.

A special feature of the concert will be spoken word artist Therisa Rogers who will join the quintet to perform poems of Langston Hughes for a classic combination of poetry and jazz.

Michael Arnowitt’s upcoming activities include an 8 concert tour of China in October 2020 with the guitarist Steve Blair where the duo will perform in Beijing and other Chinese cities.

The Washington Post said of a concert Michael Arnowitt performed at the National Gallery of Art, “he played with an exquisite sense of touch, color and musical imagination.”

The concert is presented under the Now Playing Newport banner.

Tickets are $15, general admission.

For more information, email koloman@pacbell.net or call 624-6454.

Hazel Santaw of Newport retires from Columbia Forest Products

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Today marked the retirement of Hazel M. Santaw from Columbia Forest Products, after approximately 25 years of service.

Born in Newport, she graduated from N.C.U.H.S.

Santaw stayed at home for the first several years to raise her family.

She worked several years in the late 70’s and early 80’s, then returned to Columbia Forest Products on December 4, 1989 as a clipper operator and worked for 1 year.

In ’94, she worked as an inspector at Hedma Corporation in North Troy until the business closed a year later.

During ’95 through 2000, she held a seasonal job making Christmas wreaths at Spates the Florist.

She was rehired at Columbia Forest Products on July 23, 2001, as an unspliced piler.

During her employment, she held positions as wholepiece grader, defect clipper operator, booker/marker, Ruckle splicer operator, service, and unspliced grader of which job she held the last 18 ½ years, up until her retirement.

Santaw lives in Newport. She and her late husband Robbie Santaw raised 3 children, Carrie, Kristy, and Cody.

She has 7 grandchildren, and 7 great-grandchildren.

Santaw’s retirement plans are to spend more time with her new grandson.

She also plans to travel to Maine and Florida and visit her special niece in Alaska.

She enjoys reading, cross-stitching, watching westerns, maintaining her flower gardens in the spring/summer and hopes to take up bicycling again.

She plans to become more active in the V.F.W. and Eagle’s clubs, as well as rejoin the American Legion in Newport.

Break-in at American Legion, North Troy

in Newport/News/North Troy

NORTH TROY — Someone broke into a building in North Troy over the weekend.

Police responded to the American Legion for a burglary reported at around 6:34 p.m.on Monday.

According to the report, there was forced entry into the building sometime between noon on Sunday and Monday at noon.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the State Police at 802-334-8881.

Hyperbole, Fear, and Uninformed Outrage Run Amok | Jeff Weld Director of Community Engagement Casella Waste Systems

in Letter to the Editor

This letter to the editor was submitted by Jeff Weld, the Director of Community Engagement at Casella Waste Systems. Inc.

A week has passed since an early morning truck accident occurred that significantly impacted two drivers and their families.

Over the course of the week, there have been several articles, social media posts, and letters to various editors published about the accident, most of which focus mainly on the cargo of the second truck involved and the time of day they were traveling.

They are filled with speculation and fearmongering that would have once been considered beneath respectable news organizations and relegated to fringe publications and conspiracy theorists.

The tone and delivery of each missive is generally disrespectful and dismissive of the drivers and families involved, the job that they do, and the care with which they provide service to our communities.

These drivers get up well before the sun every day to provide a service that most people take for granted.

The fact that this accident is even noteworthy speaks to their driving ability and safety record, given the number of daily trips they make in all kinds of weather and road conditions.

They should be applauded for their efforts to preserve life and property in what was a tragic accident that very likely could have been much worse had it not been for their skillful actions and quick response that morning.

A man nearly died at the hands of one of his coworkers, families nearly lost husbands and fathers, and the focus is instead on the contents of the load and the time of day they work?

We should be applauding the efforts of the agencies that responded to clean up the spill and mitigate its impacts, protected the environment and other drivers, and those who responded to get the impacted drivers the immediate care they needed to limit the physical, emotional, and mental impact that an accident like this has on those involved.

Instead, the fear-based narrative of anti-landfill individuals who understand neither what it takes to provide this service, nor the risk that the men and women who work in the industry take every day to serve them, take center stage and soon that narrative becomes passed on as fact.

Every single kneejerk claim—from polluting the Black River to unpermitted operations—made by these uninformed individuals and reprinted or shared on social media by various news organizations and other parties has been publicly stated to be false by members of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation and other regulatory agencies.

Those who continue to perpetuate this false narrative and do not retract or correct their original claims are at best willfully ignorant and at worst simply lying to further their anti-landfill agenda.

Not only were all operations within the operating permits, but I would also like to point out what should be common sense; that the safest time for these trucks to pass along our roadways is when other people are not.

An empty transfer truck on the road at 3 a.m. means that the driver can complete his first transfer run and be at the landfill as it opens for operations, completely eliminating the possibility that he ever interacts with most other daily commuters.

A full leachate tanker operating at the same time means that the driver can get to his destination well before the typical morning commuter even begins his or her daily routine, allowing the wastewater treatment facility to receive his load and safely incorporate it into its daily process as it begins to accept its morning inflows from the residents it serves.

The individuals who continue to barrage the public with uninformed outrage and hyperbolic fearmongering might benefit from understanding that there is a whole world of service industry employees like those who work for MBI and Casella that do their work without ever interacting with the public they serve.

Ironically, this service work usually happens while those who wish to point fingers sleep soundly under a cloak of protection provided by the very service providers that they continue to demonize and disrespect.

Man arrested after punching, shattering car window in North Troy

in Newport/News/North Troy

NORTH TROY — A 45-year-old man was arrested for domestic assault and unlawful mischief in North Troy yesterday.

Police were notified of an incident at a home on Main Street at around 7:23 p.m.

According to the report, during an argument at the residence, Billy Pecor threw some items in the home and then punched the windshield of a vehicle, causing it to shatter while there were occupants inside.

Pecor was arrested at the scene.

Police say he also had an active arrest warrant out of Franklin County.

He was transported to Northern State Correctional Facility for the court-ordered conditions of release and was awaiting arraignment today.

Letter: I’m Ben Roberts from Orleans, I’m 12-years-old and started a snow removal business

in Letter to the Editor/Orleans

My name is Ben Roberts. I am 12-years old writing from Orleans. I formed a small snow removal business in November of 2019.

I got interested in this form of work because I have helped shovel off my walkway and driveway at home for years. I’m still getting off of the ground with the business.

I have already done business for a couple of customers.

I obviously couldn’t work at a traditional job due to my age. So, I took it into my own hands, with the support of my family and friends, to begin my own small business.

I have started a website, publicized my business on Google, created an Instagram page, and created a Facebook page.

I’m in the process of designing company merchandise.

With the lack of storms this winter season, It’s been difficult to gain attention for my business. I do thank the customers that have supported me and hired me.

I strive to provide great customer service to keep customers coming back. I am highly motivated and ambitious with a strong work ethic, but competing with the several snow removal business in the Northeast Kingdom.

Ben’s Snow Removal is the title of my small business. I serve the towns of Brownington, Orleans, Coventry, Westmore, Glover, Barton, Albany, Newport, and Irasburg.

I thoroughly enjoy what I do, and I enjoy doing it solely. I provide snow removal from First Floor Porch Roofs, Walkways, Decks, Car Exteriors, and Driveways.

I also provide salting for anyone interested. I even have transportation to and from my jobs.

I do this work with reasonable pricing because I understand the challenges.

Anyone interested in my services can reach out to me at 802-624-3191. It works better after 3:00 p.m. due to school unless you leave a voicemail.

Ben Roberts

Borderline Players holding auditions for 2020 season in Derby Line, Jan. 3-4

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Newport/News

DERBY LINE — Borderline Players will hold auditions for its spring and fall shows on Friday, January 3 from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. and Saturday, January 4 from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the First Universalist Parish Hall in Derby Line.

The first production of the season will be the classic comedy Noises Off! by Michael Frayn and directed by Steve Gonyaw.

Performances are May 8-9-10 and 15-16-17, 2020 at the Haskell Opera House.

This play-within-a-play captures a touring theatre troupe’s production of Nothing On in three stages: dress rehearsal, the opening night and a performance towards the end of a run.

Frayne gives us a window into the inner workings of theater, progressing from flubbed lines and missed cues in the rehearsal to mounting friction between cast members in the final performance.

Noises Off is a backstage farce, complete with slamming doors, falling trousers, and flying sardines.

The cast includes 9 characters, 5 males and 4 females.

The fall production will be the comedy-drama, The Tin Woman by Sean Grennan and directed by Benjamin Tabah.

Performances are slated for October 16-17-18 and 23-24-25, 2020 at the Haskell Opera House.

Reeling in the wake of an unexpected heart transplant, Joy finds herself drawn to contact the donor’s family.

A tempestuous meeting ensues resulting in a roller coaster of tears, laughter, and healing. An intimate and poignant play that explores the power of human connection.

The cast features 6 roles, 4 females and 2 males, including two for actors 60-plus.

For further character details, visit http://borderlineplayers.org.

Borderline Players’ summer musical will be announced soon, with auditions at a later date.

For more information or to reserve an audition time, contact borderlineplayers@outlook.com.

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