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NEK Chamber seeking input on issues to be discussed at first legislative breakfast

in News/Northeast Kingdom/St. Johnsbury

ST. JOHNSBURY — There will be a notable change at the Northeast Kingdom Chamber Legislative Breakfast to be held Monday, Jan. 28, at 8 a.m., at the St. Johnsbury House, 1207 Main St., St. Johnsbury.

Unlike in years past, when local legislators gave committee reports during their allotted time, there will be far more discussion on the issues that directly affect the businesses and residents of the Northeast Kingdom.

“In the past year, the NEK Chamber received quite a bit of feedback from people who want the sessions to be more Kingdom-centric, so we will be soliciting issues and concerns prior to each monthly breakfast for the chamber to either research or the local legislative contingent to address,” said Darcie McCann, chamber executive director.

McCann noted the chamber has worked very hard to carve out more time for breakfast guests to ask questions of the legislators in past years and this latest change is the logical next step in making these sessions as responsive and relevant as possible.

“The chamber bears a responsibility to cover as many of the necessary and critical issues affecting the region as we can and we will work closely with the legislators to ensure they are well prepared to answer any concerns,” she said.

Topics that might be discussed include health care, labor issues, the carbon tax, permitting concerns, economic development issues, taxes and, fiscal policies, all issues that affect the Northeast Kingdom.

Individuals wishing to express any comments or region-wide issues may contact McCann at 802-748-3678 or director@nekchamber.com.

These monthly programs provide area business people and residents an overview of the session and legislative issues affecting the region.

The Northeast Kingdom Chamber organizes the monthly forums and provides a brief legislative report each month.

Following legislator updates, there is always time allotted at the end of each breakfast for questions from the public.

The breakfasts are held the last Monday of each month from January to May, from 8 to 9 a.m.

There is a small fee to attend the breakfast.

Teacher at Lyndon Institute accused of inappropriate relationship with student

in Lyndonville/News/Northeast Kingdom

LYNDON — A teacher at Lyndon Institute who is accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student is facing charges, police say.

Anitra Lahiri, 44, of Bethlehem, New Hampshire, was arrested Tuesday and charged with sexual exploitation of a minor and disseminating indecent material to a minor.

According to a statement issued by police, the Department of Children and Families began an investigation with State police into the matter back in November of 2018.

They allege she had an inappropriate relationship with a minor who was a student at the school.

Detectives said the relationship happened during the end of the last school year.

Lahiri is scheduled to appear in Caledonia Superior Court on Jan. 28 for arraignment.

Local teen swimmer selected one of Vermont Sports Magazine’s Athletes of the Year

in Derby/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom/Outdoors

DERBY – Fourteen-year-old Vera Rivard has been selected as one of Vermont Sports Magazine’s 2018 Athletes of the Year.

Vera and her family live in Springfield, NH and have a summer camp in Derby with access to Lake Memphremagog, where she trains.

During the winter she swims with Upper Valley Aquatic Club.

In July of 2018, Vera became the youngest swimmer, male or female, to swim the 25-mile length of Lake Memphremagog, which she did in 16 hours and 24 minutes.

Just as impressive, she did so against fierce headwinds during the first 15 miles, which knocked five other experienced swimmers out of the water, leaving her among only two who finished in Magog.

In August of 2018, she also completed the NEK Swim Week, 8 Lakes over the course of 9 days, double-crossing Lac Massawippi and Willoughby, for a total of 60 miles on all eight lakes.

At the beginning of the year, in February of 2018, she became the youngest swimmer to participate in the Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival, swimming each and every event from the 25-meter hat competition to the 200-meter freestyle.

This year, she leads a group of four youth swimmers participating in the festival, including her eleven-year-old sister Margaret.

She started her open water swimming in 2014, when she was 10, with a 1-mile swim at Kingdom Swim and a 3-mile swim at Caspian.

She has grown her distances each year since then.

While she was swimming Kingdom Swim’s 10-mile course in 2016 around the islands of Derby Bay, she and her mother fell in love with the lake, and her family bought a summer camp in Derby, with access to Lake Memphremagog.

Rollover on West Street in Derby

in Derby/Newport/News

DERBY — A 44-year-old man from Maine escaped uninjured after rolling his vehicle in Derby on Sunday.

At around 8:50 a.m. police responded to the single-vehicle rollover on West Street.

The operator was identified as Jeffrey Andrews, of Strong, ME.

Police say he was traveling west in a 2009 Subaru Forrester at approximately 40 miles-per-hour before the incident.

Andrews failed to maintain control of his vehicle leaving the north side of the roadway crashing into boulders and rolling over into the roadway.

He was not injured, however, the vehicle was totaled.

According to the police report, the roads were slick and snow covered at the time.

Now Playing Newport music series grand finale this Saturday

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT –Now Playing Newport, the local Vermont concert series that has delighted audiences in the Northeast Kingdom over the past five years, will be presenting its final production on Saturday.

The show will take place January 12, at 7:00 p.m. at the United Church of Newport on Third Street.

This grand finale is in concert with the MAC Center for the Arts performing Liberated Libretto: A Frolic with Gilbert and Sullivan.

Anita Morin, Sally Rivard, Allen Cubit, Ron St John III and Lynn Leimer with Janice Luce on piano, will showcase the humor and history of the dynamic Gilbert and Sullivan duo with favorites such as Modern Major General from Pirates of Penzance, Three Little Maids from the MIKADO and When I Got Out of Doors from Patience.

The revue captures the satire as well as the musicality that made the operettas famous.

All proceeds will benefit the MAC’s ADA upgrade to their venue. Tickets for the event are available at the door.

The Now Playing Newport series will be staging no future shows.

Series Director Jim McKimm says closing out the series was a long thought decision.

He thanks all series partners over the years, those who attended the programs, as well as St. Mark’s Episcopal Church and the United Church of Newport.

Police: Man arrested after firing shots at parked vehicle in Orleans

in Newport/News/Orleans

ORLEANS — Police were called to Orleans this afternoon after a report that gunshots were fired into a parked vehicle.

At around 1:30 p.m. police arrived at the scene on First Avenue.

According to a statement issued by police, there was a family disturbance at the time of the incident.

Nobody was inside the vehicle, and nobody was harmed.

The suspect, Craig Daniels, 30, of Orleans, was not there when police arrived but he was located shortly afterward.

Police allege Daniels shot a firearm into the parked vehicle and in doing so recklessly engaged in conduct which placed another person in danger of death or serious bodily injury.

Daniels also damaged the vehicle which was not his.

He was placed under arrest for reckless endangerment and unlawful mischief and taken to Derby for processing.

Daniels was cited into court and released into the care of Northeast Kingdom Human Services.

Manhunt underway for St. Johnsbury man accused of kidnapping and sexual assault

in St. Johnsbury

UPDATE: Simpson was taken into custody in Pennsylvania. He is being evaluated at a hospital after crashing another stolen vehicle into a telephone pole during a police chase.

ST. JOHNSBURY — The FBI and the Vermont State Police are actively searching for a dangerous man who is wanted for numerous crimes including kidnapping and sexual assault.

Police urge anyone with information on the whereabouts of Everett Simpson, age 41, most recently of St. Johnsbury, to call 911.

Law enforcement advises people to use extreme caution and not approach Simpson but instead immediately call the police to report any potential sightings.

Simpson is last known to be driving a stolen 2014 silver Kia Forte sedan with New Hampshire license plate 396 7479.

He is described as white, standing about 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighing 255 pounds, with blue eyes and brown hair, and balding.

The incident began at around 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, outside the Mall of New Hampshire in Manchester, when a man later identified as Simpson forced a woman and her child into their car and drove to Vermont.

On reaching White River Junction, police alledge Simpson forced the woman to rent a room at a local hotel, where he proceeded to sexually assault the victim.

Police say the victim is a stranger who was targeted at random.

When Simpson left the hotel room, the victim and child were able to reach safety and contact the police.

According to police, the investigation indicates Simpson had stolen a car and escaped from a substance-abuse rehabilitation facility in eastern Vermont three days earlier.

Law enforcement authorities have searched locations where Simpson is known to have resided or may have connections, including an apartment in St. Johnsbury, but as of 2:20 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 6, 2019, no contact with Simpson had been reported.

He has had previous interactions with the police, including a September vehicle theft, high-speed pursuit and aggravated assault on a Vermont State Police trooper in Lyndonville.

Sights set on playground transformation and splash pad at Gardner Park

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Last month the Newport City Council approved a resolution authorizing Newport Parks & Recreation to pursue a $180,000 grant through the Vermont Land & Water Conservation Fund.

The ambitious request will support a $400,000 proposed renovation to the playground and restroom facilities in Gardner Memorial Park, tentatively scheduled for the 2020 summer season.

Centrally located, Gardner is the most well known of all city parks.

The 20-acre parcel is home to several athletic fields including basketball courts, pickleball, soccer, football, baseball and softball fields.

Each year numerous community events, concerts, farmers markets, and private gatherings are booked at the park, but most users visit for unstructured recreational use.

“On average, we see about 20,000 residents and visitors annually participating in unstructured activities like picnicking, fishing, skateboarding, walking dogs, and ice skating at the park,” said Jessica Booth, Parks & Recreation Director for the City of Newport. “Nearly half of those visitors, about 9,000 between May and November, come to enjoy the playground area.”

Mac McKenny, foreman at Gardner Memorial Park says the playground is one of the biggest draws for the facility despite aging structures and lackluster play equipment.

“The play area is pretty tired and is long overdue for replacement,” Mckenny, a certified playground inspector, said. “Some of the structures are more than thirty years old, and parents who bring their children are always joking about how they played on the same equipment when they were kids.”

Mckenny also says there are concerns around safety and accessibility for some of the outdated structures.

Gardner Park Restoration, a local parent-volunteer group, successfully raised about $15,000 toward the purchase of new equipment over the past few years.

“People don’t know that a single slide can cost $2,000-4,000, and larger structures start around $30,000. It adds up quickly,” says Jenn Smith, chair of the Newport Recreation Committee and lead of Gardner Park Restoration.

Smith says the community is ready for something more than a few replaced elements at the park and they’re pleased to know that fundraising efforts will help the city pursue large grants that require a cash match.

“We’d rather see the restoration funds leveraged for the bigger picture, rather than spent on one or two small pieces of equipment,” Smith added.

The proposed renovation includes a reorganization of the play area layout with more room for picnicking, age-appropriate play structures, accessible surfacing, a sail-shade pavilion, and the biggest crowd pleaser, a new splash pad.

“When we share the idea, that’s always the wow-factor,” said Booth.

Splash pads are outdoor play areas with shoots of water spraying up from the ground. They’re popping up in parks all over the country as a safer, lower maintenance alternative to public pools.

With Gardner’s proximity to Lake Memphremagog and downtown, Booth thinks the addition of a water feature like this has the potential to put the park on the map and make it the destination it should be.

A splash pad in Gardner Park would be one of the first in the state developed in a public park, preceded only by Bennington, which is set to open their pad this spring.

The project at Gardner Park will also include improvements to pedestrian safety and upgrades to the restroom facility to support increased patronage.

While much of the project will be grant funded, Parks & Recreation has enlisted the help of the Recreation Committee to help close the $200,000 fundraising gap between now and July of 2020.

“The Restoration funds are a start, but there is still much work to be done before this plan will become reality,” said Smith.

Over the next 18 months, the Recreation Committee will spearhead a variety of fundraising events and welcome donations from private businesses or families who wish to contribute to the project.

“It’s a lofty goal, but we think the community is ready to make this happen for our families and future children.”

Anyone interested in donating or participating in fundraising initiatives for the Gardner Park playground and splash pad project can contact:

Newport Parks & Recreation at 802-334-6345 or, email info@NewportRecreation.org

Additional information can be found online at NewportRecreation.org or on Facebook at “Gardner Park Restoration.”

Police investigating assault at New Year’s Eve party in Essex County

in Bloomfield/Essex County/News

BLOOMFIELD — Police are investigating an assault that took place at a New Year’s Eve party in Essex county.

The victim has been identified as Dominic Gilbert, 34, of Colebrook, NH.

He was transported to Upper Connecticut Valley Hospital to be treated for extensive injuries to his face.

He was later transported via ambulance to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center.

The Vermont State Police and the New Hampshire State Police opened an investigation, and say that the incident took place at a large New Year’s Eve party located on Vermont Route 105 in Bloomfield.

Police say numerous persons of interest and a suspect have been identified.

“This is an isolated incident and there is no public safety concern at his time,” trooper Darren Annis said in a statement.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is being asked to contact the Vermont State Police in Derby.

NorthWoods Watershed Crew celebrates another year of clean water projects

in Charleston/News/Outdoors

EAST CHARLESTON — The NorthWoods Stewardship Center Conservation Corps’ Watershed Crew has completed its fourth year implementing water quality improvement projects throughout Vermont.

Since 2015, the NorthWoods Watershed Crew has installed infiltration steps, open-top culverts, rain gardens, dry wells, dripline trenches, water bars, culverts, and many more stormwater management practices that are designed to help prevent sediment and other water quality detractors from entering into the region’s surface waters.

In 2018 alone, the NorthWoods summer youth crew and adult fall pro crew planted 148 perennial plants, installed 65 infiltration steps, 40 waterbars, 13 open-top culverts, a rain garden, a 4,000-gallon vegetated swale, and 5 culvert headers.

They also implemented a fiber coir log with rock toe bank stabilization design on an eroding lakeshore.

While the projects completed had a wide range of partners, components, tool requirements, and scopes, they all shared the common goal of completing vital, practical steps toward improving water quality throughout the state of Vermont.

Car crashes into utility pole in Newport Center

in Jay/Newport/News

NEWPORT — An 18-year-old driver escaped uninjured after crashing into a utility pole in Newport Center on Monday.

At around 9:15 p.m. police responded to the single-vehicle crash on Searles Road.

Police say the driver, identified as Rider Morse, of Jay, traveled off the road and struck the utility pole, snapping it in half.

According to the report, Morse was not injured during the crash, but the vehicle, a 2008 Nissan Altima, had to be towed from the scene.

Vermont Electric responded afterward to replace the utility pole.

Step into the new year with a First Day Hike in Westmore

in Northeast Kingdom/Outdoors/Westmore

WESTMORE — While many are planning to burn the midnight oil to ring in 2019, others are aiming to get out of bed and into nature on the first day of the New Year.

State parks around the nation will host free, guided hikes as a part of First Day Hikes, and Jean Haigh with The Green Mountain Club will be leading a tour of Long Pond in Westmore.

Hikers will meet at 10:00 a.m. at the Long Pond Trail Head.

The hike has beautiful views of Long Pond, Lake Willoughby, and Bald Mountain.

It is considered a moderate trail with a few tricky areas.

Snowshoes or microspikes will be needed for this 4-mile round trip.

The hike is in memory of Dave Hardy, who devoted decades of work to the stewardship of the Long Trail.

All ages are welcome.

For more information, contact Jean at jhaightvt@gmail.com, or call 802-586-9637.

Fatal crash in Irasburg

in Irasburg/Newport/News

IRASBURG — A 21-year-old man from Albany was killed during a crash in Irasburg this afternoon.

Emergency workers were dispatched to the collision which took place in front of Bob’s Quick Stop.

According to police, Walter Earle, 65, of Irasburg, was headed south on Vermont Route 14, when Laine Ross, 21, of Albany, attempted to enter the convenience store.

Police say he pulled in front of Earle, who attempted to brake, but was unable to avoid hitting Ross’s vehicle which had crossed over into his lane of travel.

Ross was pronounced dead at the scene.

Both vehicles entered the parking lot area of Bob’s Quick Stop and struck three unoccupied vehicles.

Police say the investigation is still ongoing at this time.

DUI crash in Irasburg almost hits home

in Irasburg/Newport/News

IRASBURG — A 49-year-old Irasburg man is facing charges after a single-vehicle crash in Irasburg on Monday night.

Police responded to the scene on Vermont Route 14 at around 9:00 p.m.

Police say they met with the driver, identified as Albert Cole, inside the ambulance.

According to the report, Cole drove off the road and rolled the vehicle, coming to a stop just feet before striking a house.

He was the only occupant inside the vehicle.

Police say he suffered minor, non-life threatening injuries.

“Further investigation revealed Cole was impaired. Cole was arrested for suspicion of DUI and transported to the Derby barracks,” a statement issued by trooper Mikkola reads.

He was later released on a citation to appear in court.

VT Fish & Wildlife to conduct angler survey on Lake Memphremagog

in Newport/News/Outdoors/Quebec

NEWPORT – The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is beginning an angler survey on Lake Memphremagog this December.

The survey will extend through November 2020 and will survey anglers on both the American and Canadian sections of the lake.

Clerks from the department will interview anglers on the lake 2 to 4 days per week, including Saturdays and Sundays during the survey period.

Survey activities will include visual counts of anglers, interviews of anglers to obtain information about the fishing effort, catch and harvest rates, and biological data such as the length, weight, and age of fish kept by anglers.

The Great Lakes Fishery Commission funded the two-year survey.

Lake Memphremagog is over 30 miles long.

Three-quarters of the lake is in Quebec, however, three-quarters of the land area that drains into the lake, is in Vermont.

“The angler survey will provide important biological data about the fishery and angling pressure in different areas of Lake Memphremagog,” said Pete Emerson, a fisheries biologist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “This information is extremely useful to our department in helping us manage the lake’s fish populations.”

Emerson emphasized to anglers that all information shared with the survey clerks will remain confidential.

“Ultimately, anglers providing honest, accurate information will allow us to manage the resource moving forward and ensure that quality fishing opportunities remain in Lake Memphremagog for years to come,” he said.

Driver in fatal West Charleston crash sentenced

in Charleston/Derby/Holland/Newport/News

NEWPORT — The driver during a fatal crash in West Charleston that took the lives of two Orleans County residents back in 2016, has been sentenced.

Earlier in the year Joshua Cole pleaded guilty to charges of manslaughter and gross negligent operation, and last week was sentenced to serve eight to 15 years behind bars.

Back in May of 2016, Cole was driving a 1994 Honda Prelude in the town of West Charleston when he lost control while exiting a sharp corner.

The vehicle traveled off the north side of the road, where it struck a large tree.

Three passengers in the Honda at the time were all ejected from the vehicle.

Esperanza Robles, 29, of Derby Line, and Ryan Coulter, 26, of Newport, were killed during the crash.

Amanda Letourneau, of East Charleston, suffered head and leg injuries.

Investigators said that speed and alcohol were both factors in the crash.

While facing manslaughter charges, Cole was arrested in Holland back in August of 2017, after police said he was driving an ATV and almost ran into a car on Gore Road.

After the new charges, a judge ordered that he be held without bail pending the trial in this manslaughter case.

Christmas trees stolen from farm in Barton

in Barton/Newport/News

BARTON — Police are investigating the theft of brush and Christmas trees from a tree farm in Barton, and the owner is offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest.

The owner of the farm told police that an unknown individual or individuals had gained access to his property on Fulton Lane through a locked gate by cutting the lock, sometime around November 23.

“The toughest part of the whole thing is that most people don’t know how much time and effort it takes to grow a Christmas tree,” owner Greg Dowd said. “Trees only grow about one foot a year, so it takes seven to ten years to have a nice seven or eight-foot tree. And that’s if everything goes well.”

Dowd says those responsible stole several thousand dollars worth of Christmas trees and brush from his property, as well as a game camera which he was using for security purposes.

He is offering the $1,000 reward to help find out who did this.

Police say the investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to please the Sheriff’s Department at 802-334-3333.

“It’s very discouraging when something like this happens,” Dowd added.

Trevor Evans to receive 2018 George Buzzell Forest Stewardship Award

in Derby/Newport/News
Trevor Evans leading a workshop on his property in Derby.

EAST CHARLESTON — The NorthWoods Stewardship Center recently announce that Trevor Evans of Derby will receive this year’s George Buzzell Forest Stewardship Award.

The award is given annually to a person who has made significant contributions to sustainable forestry and education in the Northeast Kingdom.

Evans has shown an exceptional commitment to managing his own forestland in Derby since the 1980s and is an active member of many forestry organizations.

Over the years, he has been sharing his knowledge and passion for good forestry with students, landowners, and foresters.

In addition to his outstanding efforts to promote sustainable forestry, Evans was a friend and colleague of the late George Buzzell, and the two collaborated on managing his forestland.

“Evans carries the spirit and dedication that George brought to his work, and NorthWoods is honored to recognize this with the 2018 George Buzzell Forest Stewardship Award,” Sam Perron, Sustainable Forestry Coordinator at NorthWoods, said.

Evans will be presented with the award at a ceremony on February 5, 2019, at 6 p.m. at the NorthWoods Stewardship Center.

All are invited to attend.

Toy drives make it a happier holiday for many local children

in Derby/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom
(left to right) Fred's Energy Derby office receptionist Desiree, NEKCA's Merry Hamel, Fred's Energy General Manager Dennis Percy, and Rachel Twofoot from Northpoint with toys dropped off to the Fred's Energy Derby office.

DERBY — This holiday season, Fred’s Energy helped to collect donations for local toy drives at each of their three office locations.

The Fred’s Energy Derby office collected for the NEKCA and Northpoint Toys for Kids toy drive. Toys for Kids is helping approximately 191 families this year.

In addition, for every toy dropped off, donors were eligible to enter for a chance to win 100 gallons of propane or oil and a 3 foot tall snowman gift tower filled with holiday treats.

Cindy Royer of Barton was selected from the entries at the Derby office.

The Fred’s Energy Lyndonville office collected for the St. Johnsbury Fire Department Kingdom Santa Fund. The fund will be helping approximately 500 families this year.

The Fred’s Energy Morrisville office collected toys for The Lamoille Family Center Holiday Project. The project will be helping 323 children this year.

All donated toys are being distributed locally.

Becky Gonyea of Morrisville was the winner selected at the Morrisville office.

The winner from the Fred’s Energy Lyndonville office asked to make an anonymous donation of the fuel to be split between two households in need.

MWA awarded $4,500 for Youth Discovery Program

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — The Memphremagog Watershed Association (MWA) recently received a $4,500 grant from the Vermont Community Foundation’s Northeast Kingdom Fund.

The grant will help the association’s mission of protecting and preserving the environment and natural beauty of the watershed by providing hands-on education for area elementary school classes.

“We are so pleased to have received this grant from the Vermont Community Foundation,” said Kendall Lambert, Administrative Director of MWA. “This will be the 5th year that we have run our Youth Discovery Program.”

The Youth Discovery Program is an educational field trip program for elementary school classes on Lake Memphremagog.

Students learn about the watershed, challenges, and conservation solutions.

“The program has received tremendous support from local businesses and volunteers over the years, and this new funding will allow us to build on our community support to further enhance the educational experience for our local elementary school students,” Lambert added.

The MWA is a non-profit that was founded in 2007.

Newport armed robbery suspect flees police with children in vehicle

in Derby/Newport/News

DERBY — Police are looking for a 31-year-old fugitive considered armed and dangerous after he fled police with several children in his vehicle.

According to police, Lucas Putvain was spotted traveling on West Street in Derby when he saw a marked state police vehicle.

Putvain fled at a high rate of speed. He was last seen traveling east.

Police say they did not initiate a pursuit because of the children in the vehicle.

Putvain is wanted for an armed robbery that took place in Newport back in November, in which he and an accomplice ordered a man into a vehicle at gunpoint.

Putvain is charged with assault and robbery, unlawful restraint in the first degree, and in possession of a deadly weapon while committing a crime.

Police say he is armed and dangerous and should not be approached.

Anyone with information regarding Putvain should immediately contact the Vermont State Police.

Training for the winter swim at Willoughby

in News/Northeast Kingdom/Westmore
Pam Ladds of Newport, and Julie Zeitlinger of Sutton, Quebec, ready to swim at Lake Willoughby, on December 15.

WESTMORE — Winter swimmers around North America are hard at it training and qualifying for the Fifth Annual Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival coming up on February 23-24, 2019 in Newport.

Two locals, Pam Ladds of Newport, and Julie Zeitlinger of Sutton, Quebec, took advantage of the open waters at Lake Willoughby on Saturday.

Water temperature was about 35 degrees.

Willoughby stays open later than most lakes in the region because it is so deep under the cliffs, making it a perfect venue for winter swimming, late into December and even early January.

So far, almost 80 swimmers have signed on to the Festival in February, with room for about 20 more.

For more information and to register for the Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival visit http://kingdomgames.co/memphremagog-winter-swimming-society/

Shape note sing and potluck in Derby Line January 5

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/News
Photo by Tanya Mueller.

DERBY LINE — A group of singers from Vermont and Quebec gathers every month to sing shape note or sacred harp music at the Unitarian Universalist Church Hall in Derby Line.

The group sings from the songbook The Sacred Harp, and the sing is followed by a potluck.

An upcoming sing will occur at 3 p.m. on Saturday, January 5, with the potluck at 5 p.m.

Shape note music is sung without instruments in four-part harmony, without a leader and with the singers sitting in a square with the four parts facing each other.

Traditionally, this was the music taught by itinerant singing school teachers traveling around small New England towns in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

The tradition then moved south and has seen a resurgence in recent years across the country.

Notes are written in shapes as well as on a staff to assist those unfamiliar with reading music.

The lyrics are often related to early Protestant religions.

Often heard at Village Harmony concerts in the area, it’s great fun to sing and organizers say that newcomers are always welcome and encouraged to come.

VSO’s Brass Quintet and Counterpoint Chorus to visit Newport December 21

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — The Vermont Symphony Orchestra’s (VSO) Brass Quintet is teaming up with Counterpoint Chorus for another year of celebrating the holiday season with traditional favorites, a carol singalong, and more.

The pairing will present an evening of festive music and jubilee to Newport on December 21.

The event will take place at the United Church of Newport.

The ensemble will feature the Vermont premiere of Nancy Tillman’s beloved children’s book, “On the Night You Were Born,” by Vermont composer Travis Ramsey — as well as a world premiere composition by Burlington High School freshman Nancy Widyawati, entitled “Snowfall.”

A violist in the Vermont Youth Orchestra, Widyawati has been composing music through the Music-COMP program for three years.

For more information and tickets, please visit www.vso.org.

Borderline Players to hold auditions for 2019 spring, summer shows in Derby Line

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/News/Northeast Kingdom/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — After a highly successful debut season, Borderline Players will hold auditions for its spring and summer productions on Friday, January 4 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m and Saturday, January 5 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the First Universalist Parish Hall in Derby Line.

The first show of the season will be All Together Now, an original comedy written and directed by border humorist Ross Murray.

It’s Labour Day, 1973. In Holland, Vermont, a rock festival is set to begin, while at the Haskell Free Library, rumors begin to fly that the former Fab Four will be meeting there.

But when a mysterious stranger and confused American tourists turn things upside down at the world’s only international library, soon no one knows whether they’re coming or going.

Roles for All Together Now are available for 5 males, 4 females and one small role for a child (5-10).

Two male roles and one female role are for actors age 18-30.

Another male role is ideal for a francophone male (40-60) who can perform in English.

Performances are May 10-12 and 17-19.

The summer production will be the popular Abba musical Mamma Mia.

On a small Greek island, Sophie dreams of a perfect wedding — one which includes her father giving her away. The problem? Sophie doesn’t know who he is! Her mother refuses to talk about the past, so Sophie decides to take matters into her own hands.

She secretly invites her three possible fathers to the wedding, convinced that she’ll know her father when she sees him.

But when all three turn up, it may not be as clear as she thought.

This production will be directed by Mary Hoadley and features multiple principal and feature roles along with ensemble roles for men and women age 16+.

Singing and dancing men especially sought. Performances will run August 9-11 and 16-18.

A fall production, scheduled for October 18-20 and 25-26, is yet to be finalized.

Play and character details are available at https://borderlineplayers.org

To book an audition time and receive audition script sides, contact Borderline Players at borderlineplayers@outlook.com

Drop-ins are also welcome.

Newport Police charge man in $48,000 fraud case

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Newport Police say they’ve charged a man with allegedly stealing more than $48,000 from an elderly woman over a period of four years.

Eric Brigham, 52, of Williamstown, was charged with one count of financial exploitation.

According to police, back in October, a private investigator working for an 84-year-old woman notified police that her relative had been taking advantage of her by abusing his power of attorney.

An investigation was launched and police say they learned that Brigham had been given power of attorney of the woman’s affairs in June 2014.

In December of 2014, he allegedly began writing checks out of the victim’s account without her permission and in February 2015, he obtained checks that had both his name and the victim’s name on them under her account.

According to investigators, he used checks and a debit card to withdraw thousands of dollars in funds from the victim’s bank accounts on a regular basis over the course of four years.

Police say he wrote out checks to himself for cash or wrote them out under the victim’s name, but rarely gave the victim any of her own money and rarely visited her in the nursing home.

In total, Brigham is alleged to have stolen $48,149.11 from the victim and left her with several delinquent credit card bills and more than $20,000 in debt to her nursing home.

“I want to credit Officer Nicholas Rivers who investigated this complex case and was able to determine the extent of Mr. Brigham’s alleged fraud and deceit against his own relative,” Newport Police Chief DiSanto said. “Fortunately, Officer Rivers was able to follow the paper trail left by the suspect which gave us the evidence we needed to charge him.”

Burglary in Brighton leaves residence damaged

in Brighton

BRIGHTON — A burglary in Brighton caused considerable damage to a home after it was left exposed to freezing temperatures.

Police say on Frady they responded to a report of a burglary at a home on Middle Street.

The investigation revealed within the last month, an unknown amount of people forcefully entered the residence and stole several bottles of liquor.

Police say when the burglars fled the scene, they left a few exterior doors to the residence open, causing several pipes within to freeze and burst.

The residence suffered major water damage to the floors and the basement.

Police are asking anyone with information regarding the identification of the subjects that broke into the residence, to call 802-334-8881.

Green Fire film screening and discussion at NorthWoods

in Charleston/News/Outdoors

EAST CHARLESTON — Next Friday, December 14, at 6:30 p.m, NorthWoods Stewardship Center and the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Conservation Group will co-host a free screening of the film Green Fire, with a discussion to follow.

Green Fire traces Leopold’s personal journey and follows the threads that connect to his legacy today, an extension of the land ethic he championed.

In 1949, Aldo Leopold wrote in the Sand County Almanac, “We reached the old wolf in time to watch a fierce green fire dying in her eyes. I realized then, and have known ever since, that there was something new to me in those eyes—something known only to her and to the mountain. I was young then, and full of trigger-itch; I thought that because fewer wolves meant more deer, that no wolves would mean hunters’ paradise. But after seeing the green fire die, I sensed that neither the wolf nor the mountain agreed with such a view.”

A panel of local outdoor enthusiasts, conservationists, and hunters will follow the screening to lead a discussion to comment on the film, their personal connection to Leopold’s legacy, and current challenges in rebuilding engagement in the conservation and hunting ethic that has guided many generations of north country residents.

Light refreshment will be provided.

Glover native Sarah Waring joins the Vermont Community Foundation

in Glover/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — The Vermont Community Foundation recently announced that Sarah Waring has been hired as its vice president for grants and community investments and will join the Foundation at the end of December.

Waring, who was born and raised in Glover, will step into her new role as the Foundation continues to expand its efforts to close Vermont’s opportunity gap—the divide in access to education, jobs, health, and community vitality that keeps many Vermonters from getting ahead in life.

Earlier this year, the Foundation declared its belief that the opportunity gap was the single greatest challenge to the health and vitality of the state, and focused its staff-directed discretionary programs and its mission-related investments on closing the gap.

It also changed its grantmaking processes to emphasize deeper engagement between the Foundation’s staff and the communities it serves.

Waring’s career has been focused on community development and natural resource management, using collaborative and whole systems approaches.

She was director of programs for the Farm and Wilderness Foundation in Plymouth, program director at the Vermont Council on Rural Development, socioeconomics program manager at the Sonoran Institute in Bozeman, Montana, and a social science coordinator for the Bureau of Land Management in Washington, D.C.

Since 2013, she has been the Executive Director at the Center for an Agricultural Economy, an innovative nonprofit focused on building a just and regenerative local food system and working in economic and community development arenas in the Northeast Kingdom.

“It’s an honor to be joining the Community Foundation,” said Waring. “I am incredibly excited about the challenges ahead, particularly in how philanthropy and giving can play a critical role in systems change and be used to work directly with communities to understand and address the opportunity gap.”

Waring has served on numerous boards, steering committees, and councils.

She earned her B.A. from Haverford College and her Masters of Applied Anthropology from the University of Maryland. She lives in East Montpelier with her family.

“Sarah has a proven track record of working statewide, regionally, and locally on successful efforts that use community momentum to do great things,” says Foundation President & CEO Dan Smith. “She’ll be a critical part of our work to ensure that philanthropy is responsive to the needs and hopes of Vermonters who feel the opportunity gap most strongly.”

Woman killed in Barnet fire

in News/Northeast Kingdom

BARNET — Authorities say that a 21-year-old woman was killed during a barn fire in Barnet early this morning.

The fire took place at 731 Whitehill Road, at around 4:30 a.m.

The structure was a barn-type building.

The victim has been identified by witnesses as Kelsey Locke, 21, of Groveland, Massachusetts.

Authorities say an investigation into the cause and origin of the fire is still underway, but it does not appear suspicious at this time.

Moore appointed to Community Bancorp. and Community National Bank boards

in Derby/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

DERBY — Community National Bank and Community Bancorp. President and Chief Executive Officer Kathryn M. Austin announced this week the appointment of Jeffrey Moore to the Boards of Directors.

Moore’s appointment will be effective January 1, 2019.

He will serve on the Corporate Governance/Nominating Committee of the Company’s Board and the Risk Management Committee of the Bank’s Board.

Moore is the owner and President of Quest Transportation, a freight logistics company based in St. Johnsbury.

He launched the business in 1985 after working at St. Johnsbury Trucking for three years.

Looking at supply chain logistics, he recognized the need for a freight broker and created a national freight network.

As an innovator and entrepreneur, Moore continued to expand his business interests.

In 2008, he created Pellets Now, a wholesale distributor of bio-energy fuels, and in 2014, Moore assumed the position of General Manager of Wells River Chevrolet in Wells River, testing the waters for possible ownership.

Born and raised in St. Johnsbury, Moore graduated from St. Johnsbury Academy and attended Lyndon State College.

He is deeply committed to his community and currently serves on the St. Johnsbury Select Board, NVRH Board of Trustees, and the St. Johnsbury-Lyndonville Industrial Park Board.

He is also a member of the Catamount Arts Advisory Council.

Moore previously served on the boards of the NEK Chamber of Commerce, St. Johnsbury Chamber of Commerce and St. Johnsbury Development Fund.

When he’s not at work, you can find him on the slopes of Burke Mountain or enjoying some quiet time at Lake Willoughby, two of his favorite places.

Newport woman qualifies for upcoming Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival

in Derby/Newport/News/Outdoors
Photo by Phil White.

NEWPORT — A 62-year-old woman from Newport spent her Sunday qualifying for the upcoming Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival taking place in February of 2019.

Lynn Rublee swam 25 meters in 35-degree water at Eagle Point on Lake Memphremagog.

In doing so, she became the 80th winter swimmer to sign up for the upcoming Festival held on Lake Memphremagog.

Also qualifying this past weekend was Elizabeth Hershey, 52, of Conestoga, PA.

The pool is the only 25-meter, two-lane winter swimming pool cut in the ice in all of North America.

As the festival heads into its fifth year, the number of registrants has already topped last year’s numbers with room for just 20 more swimmers.

Registration closes on February 1.

Among the 80 already signed up, some of the locals include Vera Rivard, 15, and her younger sister, Margaret Rivard, 11, of Derby. Pam Ladds, of Newport, is also ready to go.

The pool is scheduled to be cut on Thursday and Friday, February 21 and 22, 2019, and the event kicks off that Saturday at 9:30 a.m.

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