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J.P. Sicard wins statewide award for second year in a row

in Barton/News

BARTON — In December, the AGC/VT’s 20th Annual Best Builders Award ceremony took place, and for the second time in a row Barton-based J.P. Sicard was an award winner.

AGC/VT looks for certain criteria when choosing the honoree. The winning business must show innovation, new techniques, and community service and volunteerism among other things.

J.P Sicard fit the bill by finishing before deadline, working in challenging conditions with flexibility and dedication, working with landowners and officials to leave affected properties in even better shape than what they were before the project began, and by replacing an 80 year-old bridge system with an innovative one never before used in the state of Vermont.

The project that Sicard sent for award consideration was one completed for the Vermont Agency of Transportation. It required Sicard crews to replace an aging bridge at Route 2B over the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail.

Project Manager Patrick Uhsmann and Project Superintendent Timothy Crown, along with the rest of the staff, had their work cut out for them but were up to the challenge.

“There were only 50 days to close the road and complete the removal and replacement of the Route 2B Bridge over a heavily used segment of the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail,” Jason Sicard said. “When we began, we knew there would be significant challenges. We had 50 days to complete the project, but thanks to everyone’s willingness to do what they had to do, we finished in just 45 days.”

One reason J.P. Sicard won the award last year was the company’s close connection to the community members their work and presence affected. The same was true this year.

Landowner and St. Johnsbury Select board member Tom Moore was beyond pleased with the process and the result.

“I had one of the main entrances to the project, and J.P. Sicard employees communicated with me every day,” Moore said. “I watched every step of what they did. Not only did they put the property in perfect order when they finished, they went above and beyond, taking suggestions from me like planting wildflower seeds in some areas. In fact, when they left they actually improved some of the areas on my property that needed better drainage.”

Perhaps the icing on the cake for J.P. Sicard was their opportunity to work with something new to the state of Vermont. The aging bridge was replaced with a new corrugated metal plate arch and reinforced Mechanically Stabilized Earth walls.

The new design requires strict specifications for backfill material and geotechnical monitoring of soil settlement of the earthen walls.

VTrans will document and test this new metal arch and wall system in hopes of adding it to the approved products list for future projects.

“To be involved in a project that has potential to create more efficient bridge designs for the state was an extraordinary opportunity,” Jason Sicard said.

Arrest made in Barton burglary case

in Barton/Newport/News

BARTON — Police say they have made an arrest after a burglary that took place at a residence on Hollow Road in Barton, on December 22.

Timothy Roberts, 38, of Barton, was arrested on Thursday after police say they received a tip that a man, matching the description from the burglary, had been seen walking house to house on Lake Region Road.

Troopers responded to the area and spoke with the man, later identified as Roberts, and say he was wearing some of the clothing that appeared to match the clothing in the burglary.

Further investigation revealed Roberts was in possession of the army jacket seen in the surveillance footage.

Roberts was arrested and transported to Derby for processing. He was lodged at Northern State Correctional Facility on $15,000 bail.

This morning, the Vermont State Police say they conducted a search warrant at Roberts home at 390 Lake Region Road.

They say the search warrant resulted in finding the Carhartt hat and black mask used in the burglary.

Police looking for suspect after Barton home burglarized

in Barton/Newport/News

BARTON — Police are looking for a suspect who broke into a home in Barton last week.

At around 2:50 p.m. on Wednesday, police say they received a report of a burglary at a residence on Hollow Road. A trooper responded to the scene and met with the homeowner.

Police say the investigation revealed that on December 22, at approximately 10:25 a.m., an unidentified male entered the residence through the locked slider door in the back of the home.

Cash and change were taken during the break-in.

Video evidence captured one suspect, who appears to be a male, wearing an army camo winter jacket, brown pants, boots, a Carhartt winter hat and black winter gloves, entering the home.

The suspect was also wearing a full black face mask, hiding from the nose down.

Anyone with information regarding the identity of the suspect is asked to contact police at 802-334-8881.

Train hits car in Barton

in Barton/News

BARTON — A train struck a vehicle in Barton this afternoon.

At around 3:00 p.m. police received a report of a crash at the intersection of Eastern Avenue and Route 5.

A trooper responded to the scene and met with the driver, identified as 88-year-old Peter Cocoros, of Barton.

“Investigation revealed Cocoros failed to stop with proper distance at the flashing signal prior to the train tracks on Eastern Avenue,” Trooper Calvin Burns said in his report.

The oncoming train struck Cocoros’s vehicle.

According to police, Cocoros sustained minor, non-life threatening injuries, but refused transportation to the hospital.

Eastern Avenue was re-opened after debris was cleared.

Governor Scott visits Barton Christmas tree farm

in Barton/Newport/News

BARTON — Governor Phil Scott and Agriculture Secretary Anson Tebbetts visited the Vermont Christmas Tree Farm in Barton today to highlight the importance of these businesses to the rural Vermont landscape and economy.

After touring the farm with owners Bill and Sue Tester, Governor Scott cut three trees, two for his offices in Montpelier and one to bring home.

The Governor and Secretary discussed with the Testers the challenge and benefits of having the tree farm on their Barton land.

In 2014, there were 71 tree growing operations in Vermont, 2,000 total acres in production, 119 thousand trees harvested, with an estimated value of approximately 2.9 million dollars.

“Cutting your own Christmas Tree is a wonderful Vermont tradition, and it supports our hard-working Vermont farmers who are helping to keep our hillsides green,” said Governor Phil Scott. “I’m happy to be able to decorate our office in Montpelier with an important symbol of Vermont agriculture.”

Like many Vermont tree growers, the Testers offer Balsam and Fraser Fir breeds on their farm. Vermont cut-your-own tree farms also grow hybrids, like the Tester’s signature “Fraslams” trees, and other breeds as well as provide trees to wholesale urban markets.

While Vermont trees are mainly consumed locally and in eastern urban markets, Vermont growers also ship trees to states as far away as Florida and California, and to a variety of foreign markets, including Bermuda.

Any property owner who grows Christmas trees can qualify for the Current Use program for productive lands, as long as the farm generates a minimum of $2000.00 annually in sales. Christmas trees are specifically included as an Agricultural use type in the program, like maple production.

“Vermont provides the perfect environment for growing high-value Christmas trees,” Tebbetts said. “Our sunny, cool and moist weather offers ideal growing conditions, assuring the quality of Vermont’s Christmas tree crop. Supporting agriculture activities that preserve our heritage and protect the landscape is a high priority for the Agency of Agriculture.”

Car hits Barton municipal building after crash

in Barton/Newport/News

BARTON — A crash in Barton on Monday morning caused a 2008 Nissan to strike the municipal building.

At around 9:42 a.m. police were called to investigate a two-vehicle accident on Village Square in the town of Barton.

Police say Cynthia Rice, 59 of Westmore, backed up into the path of another vehicle, operated by 75-year-old Patricia Davis of Barton, who was entering the parking lot to the municipal building.

Rice was driving a 2005 Ford F150.

After the collision, Davis’s vehicle continued traveling forward and struck the side of the municipal building.

Fire and EMS responded and found Davis had a minor leg injury, which was treated on scene.

Davis’s car was towed from the scene.

The building did not have any visible damage.

Police looking for man and woman who broke into Barton home

in Barton/Newport/News

BARTON — Police are looking for two suspects caught on surveillance footage breaking into a home in Barton.

On Sunday at around 7:00 p.m. police responded to a report of a burglary with forced entry at the residence.

Police say two individuals entered the unoccupied dwelling in the early morning hours, causing damage and taking items from within.

According to police they have recovered multiple pieces of evidence from the scene, including images, and are currently working on identifying one male and one female suspect.

One suspect has been identified as a white male with longer than average dark hair, unshaved dark facial hair, and wearing a black hooded winter coat and a black winter hat with a small white emblem or tag.

The other suspect has been identified as a white female having lighter brown or dirty blond hair, slender build, fair skin, and wearing a black hooded winter coat and black winter hat with a large white emblem on the side.

The suspects wore blue nitrile exam gloves and both wore dark pants or jeans.

Anyone with information regarding the identity of the suspects is being asked to call VSP-Derby at (802) 334-8881.

Historic barn destroyed in Barton

in Barton/Brownington/Fire/Newport/News

BARTON — The historic “Pines” barn in Barton was destroyed after a fire broke out on Monday afternoon.

Firefighters were called out at around 12:50 p.m. The large red barn, located on Kinsey Road, was fully engulfed in flames when crews arrived.

Firefighters say they focused their efforts on preventing the fire from spreading to several other nearby buildings, which only suffered minor damage.

The barn, owned by Michael and Kim Riendeau of Brownington, was a total loss.

There were no reported injuries, and the barn was not being used to house animals at the time.

Firefighters worked diligently for many hours to ensure the fire was fully extinguished.

Authorities say the cause of the fire is currently undetermined, however, the incident remains under investigation.

Anyone that witnessed the fire is asked to contact Det. Sgt Michael LaCourse at the Derby Barracks at 802-334-8881.

Lockdown at Lake Region Union High School after threats by student

in Barton/News

BARTON — Authorities say that a student’s threats led administrators to lockdown Lake Region on Tuesday afternoon, sending students home early.

According to the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department, the student, a 16-year-old who attended Lake Region, threatened another student with physical harm.

The threats were issued by phone and text message and also directed at a school staff member.

The juvenile will face a charge of disorderly conduct and has since been expelled from school.

“Lake Region Union High School and Orleans County Sheriff’s Department want to thank the student who brought this incident to the attention of Lake Region’s administrators, so they could take the appropriate action to ensure the safety of their school,” the department said in a statement.

Police say the incident remains under investigation, and ask anyone with information to contact Deputy Jesse Testut at 802-334-3333.

Derby man charged after fight on Main Street in Newport

in Barton/Derby/Newport/News

NEWPORT — A large fight in Newport on Saturday left a 26-year-old man from Derby facing charges.

Police say at approximately 1:23 a.m., they were dispatched to the area of Main Street in Newport City for a report of a fight.

Upon arrival, police say they witnessed several individuals near the intersection of Central Street and Main Street, who appeared to be fighting and yelling at each other.

Police conducted an initial investigation and say that Everett Wilson, 26, of Derby, allegedly stabbed a 21-year-old Barton man during the altercation.

Wilson was taken into custody without incident and later released on personal recognizance pending his arraignment in Orleans District Court.

He is being charged with aggravated assault and possession of a controlled substance.

I-91 North shutdown after tractor-trailer catches fire in Glover

in Barton/Glover/Lyndonville/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

GLOVER — A tractor-trailer fire caused a section of I-91 North to be shutdown this afternoon.

At around 1:00 p.m. rescue crews were dispatched to the fire in the vicinity of mile-marker 153 on I-91 North in the town of Glover.

When police arrived they say the truck was in the roadway, on fire.

The driver, identified as Barry Provoncha, 48, of Derby, was seen by Barton Ambulance but refused treatment.

The northbound lanes of the interstate are currently closed between exits 24 in Lyndon and 25 in Barton.

Vehicles are having to exit the interstate at exit 24 and use the detour along Route 5 while the roadway is cleared.

Barton Graded School welcomes new principal

in Barton/News

BARTON — On March 21, the Barton Incorporated School Board of Directors chose Kim Wheelock to be the next principal to lead their school after Bob Partridge’s retirement.

Her new assignment began July 1.

Wheelock says she is excited and honored to be working with such a dedicated staff, school board, and supervisory union.

Wheelock has taught English for 17 years after receiving her bachelor’s degree in secondary English education from Vermont College in 2000.

She received her master’s degree in K-12 literacy in 2013 from the University of New England, graduated the National Institute of School Leadership program in 2014, and received her curriculum administration and principal certification from Plymouth State University in 2015.

She is dual certified in Vermont and New Hampshire as a school principal and curriculum director.

“I have the highest respect for Bob, who has helped me with my transition and continues to be a great resource,” she said. “It has also been nice to receive welcoming e-mails and visits from staff, students, and parents.”

Fatal crash in Brownington

in Barton/Brownington/Newport/News

BROWNINGTON — A fatal crash took place today in Brownington when a 10-wheel dump truck collided with a 1984 Toyota station wagon.

Police have identified the victim as Michael D. Bachman, 36, of East Calais.

At around 3:45 p.m. authorities were notified of the crash, which happened at the intersection of Hunt Hill Road and VT RT 58.

Police say when they arrived on the scene, both vehicles were facing south positioned partially on the roadway.

Police say Bachman was traveling from Hunt Hill Road and attempted to enter the intersection but did not yield to the dump truck that was traveling west on VT RT 58.

According to the report, the dump truck struck the driver’s side of the Toyota.

Traffic traveling on VT RT 58 has the right of way, and there is a stop sign located at the intersection indicating vehicles on Hunt Hill Road to stop.

The driver of the dump truck has been identified as Alan Porier, 59, of Barton.

Police: Barton man arrested, threatened to shoot people at Circle K

in Barton/Newport/News

BARTON — A 56-year-old man from Barton was arrested this morning after police say he called Circle K and threatened to shoot people.

James Marcy is being charged with criminal threatening, following the incident.

Police say the manager at the Circle K in Barton contacted them to report a threatening phone call made by Marcy, who they say is an employee.

“Marcy had stated that he was going to go to the store and shoot everyone,” a statement issued by Corporal Callie R. Field reads.

Marcy was arrested for criminal threatening and brought before a judge this afternoon.

He was released on conditions to stay away from the store and the employees.

Four juveniles seriously injured after early morning crash in Barton

in Barton/Newport/News

BARTON — A crash in Barton early this morning sent five people to the hospital, with some of the victims being transported by DHART for serious injuries, police say.

At around 2:15 a.m. police were called to the single-vehicle crash with injuries at the intersection of Hollow Road and Cross Road.

Police say the vehicle was found to be in contact with the dirt slope on the east side of Hollow Road, with the five occupants out of the vehicle with multiple injuries.

The driver was identified as Dylan Holmes-Sanborn, 18, of Newport. Police say he was not in possession of a valid operator’s license, and also found to have been operating the vehicle without the owner’s consent.

“A preliminary crash investigation revealed Holmes-Sanborn had been operating on Cross Road at an imprudent speed, crossed the intersection of Cross Road and Hollow Road, and collided with the dirt slope,” a statement issued by Trooper Daniel Lynch reads.

Holmes-Sanborn, along with four juvenile passengers, were transported to North Country Hospital by EMS.

Police say the injuries the juveniles suffered are considered to be serious, and that DHART air medical transport was requested.

Police are still investigating the crash, and say more information will be released later.

Barton man sentenced to 25 years in prison for child exploitation

in Barton/Newport/News

NEWPORT — A 32-year-old Barton man was sentenced to twenty-five years in jail based on his conviction for receiving child pornography.

Earlier this week a judge sentenced William Allen for his crimes. He will have to serve a lifetime period of supervised release after completing his prison sentence.

Allen, who has prior Vermont convictions for possessing child pornography and for lewd and lascivious conduct with a child, was initially charged in state court with child pornography offenses in June 2014.

A federal indictment was returned in July 2015 against Allen and his wife, Kerissa Allen, for child pornography charges.

Kerissa pleaded guilty to possessing child pornography in February 2016. William pleaded guilty to receiving child pornography in August 2016. Kerissa was previously sentenced to four years in jail based on her guilty plea.

At the sentencing hearing for William Allen, which began June 27, the government presented evidence that Allen sexually abused three children prior to his state arrest.

Based on that evidence, the court found that Allen had engaged in a pattern of sexual abuse of children within the meaning of the federal sentencing guidelines.

Even though Allen was convicted of receiving child pornography, the court could and did consider Allen’s contact offenses against children in fashioning the appropriate sentence.

Because of Allen’s prior convictions, he faced a mandatory minimum sentence of fifteen years in jail. The court agreed with the government that William and Kerissa Allen took digital images of the abuse of two of the children, though the storage media for those images was never located.

Further, the judge found that Allen urged Kerissa Allen to attempt to falsely take the blame for his child pornography crimes charged by the state.

Pie brunch fundraiser at Glover Town Hall tomorrow

in Barton/Glover

GLOVER — Glover bakers are warming up their ovens for the annual pie brunch tomorrow from 8 a.m. to noon in front of the Glover Town Hall.

The event will be moved inside the Town Hall if it starts to rain.

The fundraiser will coincide with the village-wide yard sales in Barton and Glover.

Organizers encourage shoppers to stop by for a much-needed snack while searching the streets for treasures.

There will be a wide selection of sweet and savory pies baked by some of Glover’s best cooks. There will also be coffee, tea, and juice served.

All proceeds will go to support the Glover Public Library.

For more information, please call the Glover Public Library at 525-4365.

Blood drives coming up in Orleans County

in Barton/Derby/Newport/News

NEWPORT — The American Red Cross is urging eligible donors to give blood this summer for hospital patients in need.

Blood drives are being held at the following dates and locations:

Derby, on Tuesday, June 27, from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Newport Elks Club, 3736 Route 5.

Barton, on Monday, July 3, from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Barton United Church, 15 Church Street.

Potential donors don’t need to wait for a blood drive. You can schedule a donation by visiting redcrossblood.org, or calling (800) 733-2767 to make an appointment.

Only about 3 percent of the U.S. population gives blood, which means a heavy reliance on repeat donors is needed to maintain a sufficient blood supply.

New blood donors are especially needed during the summer months because many schools where blood drives are held, and where new donors give, are not in session, and current donors often delay giving due to summer vacations.

Driver uninjured after rollover crash on Crawford Road in Derby

in Barton/Derby

DERBY — A 19-year-old man from Barton walked away without injuries from a rollover crash in Derby on Thursday.

At around 7:30 a.m. police responded to the single-vehicle crash on Crawford Road, near the fishing access.

Police say that Devon Lapierre-Hamel, 19, of Barton, was traveling southbound when he lost control of his vehicle.

The 2006 Subaru Impreza left the traveled portion of the roadway and overturned off the northbound side of the road.

Lapierre-Hamel told police he was not injured as a result of the crash.

Police say after investigating, speed was determined to have been a factor in the crash.

Brownington man sought after leading police on chase

in Barton/Brownington/Charleston/Derby/Newport/News/Westmore

DERBY — Police are looking for a 37-year-old Brownington man, who they say led them on a high-speed chase through Orleans County this morning, before getting away.

At 12:00 a.m. police say they were notified of suspicious activity involving a GMC pickup parked in the woods in Derby.

Before police arrived to investigate, the vehicle had left the area heading towards Charleston. Police located the vehicle pulled off the roadway on Rte 105 near Rte 5A.

The driver, who police say was identified as Matthew Prue, was contacted and multiple indicators of heroin possession were observed within the vehicle, as well as indicators of impairment.

When the trooper directed Prue to step out of the vehicle to investigate, he slammed the door and fled down Rte 5A at a high rate of speed.

He was pursued for approximately 20 minutes through Charleston, Brownington, Barton, and Westmore, on multiple roadways as well as through fields, with speeds at times exceeding 100 miles-per-hour.

Police say he was observed throwing hypodermic needles and other small objects and bags out of the window during the pursuit. At one point, police say he drove towards a trooper who was attempting to turn around in the roadway, almost ramming the vehicle.

The pursuit continued into Westmore, briefly leaving the roadway into a field.

Due to Prue’s increasingly erratic operation, police say they slowed down and pulled back. As troopers rounded a corner in the direction he had driven, they saw the truck crashed into a tree and left disabled in the roadway.

Prue was not found at the scene of the crash.

Troopers searched the area extensively, both on foot and with a K9 unit, and were unable to locate him.

At this time, police are still looking for him.

I-91 South of Orleans exit closed after tractor-trailer rollover

in Barton/News/Orleans

BARTON — Interstate 91 South, below exit 26 in Orleans, was closed after a tractor-trailer crashed this afternoon.

At around 1:00 p.m. police responded to the crash scene in the vicinity of mile marker 161 in the town of Barton.

The tractor-trailer was on its side in the roadway.

The driver, identified as Kyle Dalpe, 22, of Barton, was seen by emergency workers but refused treatment.

The southbound lanes of the interstate were closed at the exit 26 entrance ramp.

Vehicles were able to exit the interstate in Orleans, as the roadway was cleared.

Police say the investigation is on-going and that speed appears to be a factor in the crash.

Barton man facing multiple charges

in Barton/News

BARTON — A 34-year-old man from Barton is facing several charges after he was picked up by police earlier in the week.

On Sunday, police were called to a report of a dispute taking place in Barton at around 11:00 p.m.

According to the report, through investigation, police learned that Joseph Nagle, 34, of Barton, had unlawfully entered a residence, interfered with access to emergency services, and violated his conditions of release.

Nagle was later located and arrested.

He was taken to State Police barracks in Derby for processing.

Newport man sentenced for stabbing victim in the face with a pen

in Barton/Newport/News

NEWPORT — A Newport man was sentenced to serve up to ten years in prison after stabbing someone in the face with a pen back in 2015.

Gregory Willis, 37, was in court last week where he pled guilty to a felony charge of aggravated domestic assault.

As part of the plea agreement the state dismissed another charge of aggravated domestic assault, as well as three other misdemeanor charges.

Willis was charged with attacking a 41-year-old man from Barton at his home back on June 2, 2015.

According to court records, the two were arguing at the time about Willis’s wife, Kimberly Willis, a 34-year-old woman who was found dead two weeks before the incident, in Albany.

The affidavit states that the victim told police Willis had attacked him with a pen, catching him in the head and face several times.

When police arrived at the scene of the altercation, they found blood inside the home, as well as the broken pen.
The victim was bleeding in several spots, including his chin, eyebrow, and near his ear.

Willis fled and could not be located when police arrived, but he turned himself in later in the day. He was taken into custody for the assault and violation of conditions of release charges.

Willis originally told police that the assault was an accident, and that he was just trying to get the man to stop talking about his wife.

Kimberly Willis’s autopsy showed there was no foul play in her death. Her body was found a quarter-mile from her car parked on Shutesville Road, in May of 2015.

Willis will serve between 18 months and ten years, with credit for time served, for the assault.

Brownington man dies after car crash in Barton

in Barton/Brownington/News

BARTON — Police are investigating a fatal crash that took place in Barton Saturday afternoon.

At around 3:45 p.m. police were notified of a single-vehicle crash on Tarbox Hill Road, just north of Postman Lane in Barton.

The driver was identified as 73-year-old David C. Yanacheak. Police say he was the only occupant in the vehicle, which was positioned off the eastern portion of the roadway with heavy front end damage.

Yanacheak was traveling in a 2002 Chevrolet pick-up truck, headed north on Tarbox Hill Rd.

Police say at some point he veered off the right side of the roadway onto the shoulder, and then further into the roadway drainage ditch where the truck collided head-on with a cement culvert.

Yanacheak was taken to North Country Hospital for treatment, before being transported to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center for further treatment.

He died while en route as a result of the injuries sustained in the crash.

Police say speed and impairment do not appear to be factors at this point in the investigation.

Anyone with information regarding the crash is being asked to contact the Vermont State Police.

Woman killed in head-on collision on I-91 in Barton

in Barton/Newport/News

BARTON — A 45-year-old woman was killed in a car crash on I-91 in Barton, Monday evening.

The incident took place at around 8:00 p.m.

Police say Stacy Bissell, 45, of White River Junction, was traveling southbound on I-91 when her 2014 Honda Accord traveled through the median and into the northbound lanes.

Bissell’s vehicle collided with a 2006 Subaru, operated by Richard Farrar, 59, of Newport.

Both vehicles sustained significant damage and Bissell was pronounced dead at the scene.

Farrar was transported to North Country Hospital.

Police say it is still unclear if speed or alcohol played a role in the crash, but that the incident is still under investigation.

There were initial reports that one of the vehicles was on fire, however, that was not confirmed.

Precautionary measures were taken by Barton Fire Department.

Troopers from Derby and St. Johnsbury were at the scene, along with personnel from Barton Ambulance.

Tony Pomerleau drops off $60,000 check to St. Paul’s Catholic School

in Barton/News

BARTON — Tony Pomerleau paid a surprise visit to St. Paul’s Catholic School in Barton on Wednesday, to drop off a check for $60,000.

Pomerleau, who said that he wanted to donate to the school because his brother and sister had gone there, was matching funds raised for the school’s 120th anniversary year.

The generous gift sparked other donations to come in.

Total amounts are still being tallied for the ongoing fundraiser that will continue through the school year.

St. Paul’s hopes to raise over $120,000 this year.

Infant’s grave vandalized at St. Paul’s Cemetery in Barton

in Barton

BARTON – Police are investigating a ghoulish crime where an infant’s grave was disturbed at St. Paul’s Cemetery in Barton in September.

Police say they were contacted by Father Timothy Naples of the St. Paul’s Church on September 21, reporting a suspicious incident at the cemetery.

According to the report, sometime between September 1 and September 9, a grave of an infant, who passed in the 1980’s, was disturbed and the coffin breached.

The family of the infant reported the vandalism to Father Timothy.

It’s been reported that the infant’s coffin was opened through a 5-inch hole, and authorities are waiting for permission to exhume the body to see if the remains were disturbed.

The investigation is ongoing, and police are asking anyone with information regarding this incident to call (802) 334-3333.

Prison guard from Barton caught red-handed stealing $100 from inmate

in Barton/Newport/News

NEWPORT — A corrections guard from Barton working at the Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport, pled guilty to stealing money from an inmate as she was being booked.

Ryan Duquette, 39, of Barton, plead no contest to a charge of petty larceny after police say he was caught pocketing a $100 bill while an inmate was being processed.

The incident took place back on August 13, 2015, when court records say a video camera caught Duquette putting the $100 bill in his pocket, when it should have been placed inside the prison’s safe.

The investigation was opened when the woman was released from jail and did not receive her money back.

Duquette was given a suspended sentence of one to three months, after pleading guilty to the larceny charge that was knocked down from the original charge of embezzlement.

  • Screen-Shot-2016-09-20-at-3.12.54-PM.png
    First graders show off some of their bounty with Jeyna Diallo from their day out in the garden before the harvest festival.
  • Screen-Shot-2016-09-20-at-3.14.02-PM.png
    Fifth graders Todd Lemieux and Elijah Furlow peel summer squash as they help to prepare the meal for the harvest festival.
  • Screen-Shot-2016-09-20-at-3.10.48-PM.png
    The kindergartners helped to prepare the kale for the kale chips.

Students in Barton get fresh for harvest festivals

in Barton

BARTON — The kids are back in school, the gardens are bursting with the season’s harvest and it is harvest festival time for students across the Northeast Kingdom.

Harvest festivals are coordinated by Green Mountain Farm-to-School (GMFTS) and their partner schools and feature a meal prepped and cooked by the students using vegetables that they grew, tended, and harvested from their school gardens.

In total, there will be 12 schools throwing the festivals for the student’s families and community members. They began at the beginning of September and will run through October.

“The harvest festivals are a powerful way to reinforce lessons about food and health that the kids are learning in the classroom,” says Maire Folan, farm-to-school program manager with GMFTS. “They get to harvest and cook produce they planted in the spring and then enjoy it with their families and friends. It’s a great opportunity to see where food comes from and how to prepare it in healthy ways.”

At Barton Academy and Graded School the farm-to-school coordinator, Jeyna Diallo, who is returning for her second year as a farm-to-school coordinator with GMFTS, coordinated and executed two full days of harvesting, prepping, cooking, and serving with just about every student in the school.

For the dinner, the students helped to prepare and cook beef chili, veggie soup, roasted root veggies, kale chips, beet brownies, zucchini ribbon salad, and bread sticks.

Most of the food was harvested from the school garden or donated by River’s Edge Farmstand, Pete’s Greens, and local community members.

“It is was pretty special to be there for a second year because I planted the garden with those same kids last spring,” Diallo said. “Seeing them remember what they planted, recognizing it in the garden, and making that connection from garden to eating is amazing.”

Over 95 meals were served at the Barton Academy and Graded School Harvest Festival this year, far outpacing the 70 meals that were served last year. Held in conjunction with the schools’ open house, families were able to enjoy the meal before or after their visits with teachers.

They were also treated to apple cider making with a hand-cranked press that was provided by GMFTS as well.

“The time Jeyna and her helpers spent with kids preparing was super,” said Barton Graded School Principal Bob Partridge in an email following the event. “The meal was delicious and her presence with students, staff and parents is outstanding.”

Local homeless man arrested after threatening to shoot people in Barton

in Barton/News

BARTON — A 30-year-old homeless man in the Barton/Orleans area is facing unlawful trespass and reckless endangerment charges after discharging a .45 caliber handgun in Barton today.

At around 11:30 a.m. police received several reports that a man had fired a gun on Lincoln Avenue in Barton and was threatening to shoot people.

Troopers from the Derby and St. Johnsbury Barracks, along with officers from US Customs and Border Protection and Orleans County Sheriff’s Department responded to the area and attempted to locate the man.

As the investigation progressed, investigators say they began looking for Max Pickle, 30, of the Barton/Orleans area.

Pickle has been homeless for a while now, with no permanent residence police say.

It was determined that Pickle had been periodically staying at an abandoned property located at 49 Lincoln Avenue against the wishes of the landowner.

Pickle is believed to have discharged the handgun after a verbal altercation with people on Lincoln Avenue.

All areas schools had been contacted of the potential threat of a person with a firearm during the initial response.

Schools and area businesses were encouraged to follow their protocol for such incidents.

Police say at this time there is no continued threat to anyone in the community.

Pickle was lodged at Northern State Correctional Facility for lack of $2,500.

Judd’s Wayeeses Farms, Brunelle Farms, and Couture’s Maple Shop take home top prizes this year

in Barton/Brownington/Morgan/Northeast Kingdom

BARTON — The Orleans County Maple Producers held their annual maple contest at the Orleans County Fair on Wednesday, August 16.

There were 68 entries in 8 classes.

Best of Show for maple syrup was awarded to Judd’s Wayeeses Farms of Morgan for their Very Dark Strong maple syrup.

Best of Show for maple products was awarded to Brunelle Farms of Brownington for their black raspberry maple sauce which was entered in the Maple Specialty class.

Producer of the Year award went to Couture’s Maple Shop for winning three Best of Class and three Excellent awards.

For a full list of all of the class winners and excellent awards CLICK HERE.

Death at Crystal Lake in Barton

in Barton/News

BARTON — A 41-year-old man from New York died while swimming at Crystal Lake in Barton on Thursday.

At around 7:15 p.m. the Vermont State Police received a call regarding a possible death as a result of a drowning at Crystal Lake.

Police say that Seth Parent, 41 of New Windsor, New York, died while swimming at the lake.

Parent was swimming with a family member when the family member noticed he was having what appeared to be a medical event.

He was taken to the shore at the fishing access where police say he was unresponsive.

The family member and bystanders who were fishing nearby immediately called 911 and initiated CPR.

The State Police, Barton Rescue and Glover Ambulance Services responded to the scene.

Parent was transported to North Country Hospital where he was pronounced deceased at 8:34 p.m.

The cause of death is suspected to be the result of a medical event but is pending the results of an autopsy.

Police say the death is not considered suspicious.

  • Screen-Shot-2016-07-19-at-1.26.23-PM.png
    Green Mountain Farm-to-School's Lunchbox food truck serving free meals to kids in the community at Newport's Gardner Park.

The Lunchbox food truck helping to combat low participation in free summer meals programs

in Barton/Island Pond/Newport

NEWPORT — New studies show that Vermont ranks third in the country for serving free summer meals to children, however, the state still only reaches 33.3 percent of the children who qualify for free or reduced lunch during the school year.

In the Northeast Kingdom, one organization is helping to drive the conversation around increasing summer meals participation, literally.

The Lunchbox food truck can be seen parked and serving free summer meals to everyone 18-years-old and younger along with adult meals for purchase in the towns of Newport, Barton, and Island Pond each week during the summer.

School lunches and summer meals provide in-need children with a source of important nutrition. Both are funded through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Despite the well-known benefits of summer meals – helping parents stretch their food budgets, providing a safe place for children during the summer and mitigating summer learning loss – participation in USDA’s Summer Food Service Program is jarringly low across the country.

According to Food Research Action Center’s annual summer meals report, during the 2014-2015 school year, 20.1 million kids across the country received a free or reduced lunch each day. Of those 20.1 million kids less than 1/6, or 3.2 million, received a meal each day during the summer.

While the percentage of children receiving summer meals compared to school lunches varies widely from state-to-state, ranging from a 6.4 to 51.9 percent, the general consensus is that the numbers are way too low.

As the numbers reflect, providing summer meals comes with a whole set of challenges that aren’t experienced during the school year. For example, in rural states like Vermont, lack of personal and reliable public transportation limits the access of low-income families to meal sites, and those serving summer meals must find creative solutions to bring food to the kids.

Run by Green Mountain Farm-to-School (GMFTS), a nonprofit in the NEK working to connect farms, schools, and communities through food and education, the Lunchbox has been increasing their number of summer meals served each year since it hit the road in 2013 while also serving over 50 percent local food from area farmers.

“In the Northeast Kingdom one-in-three children are considered food insecure which contributes to the great need for summer meals in our communities,” said Katherine Sims, founder and executive director of GMFTS. “One of the biggest challenges we face in providing those summer meals is reaching kids that are spread out over large areas. That’s why we thought a meals site with wheels would be the best way to connect with as many kids as possible.”

In an effort to increase participation in the summer meal program, GMFTS works to create partnerships with institutions and community members. For example, in Barton, the Lunchbox sets up outside of the public library during their weekly story-hour which attracts kids and families each week from the community.

The Lunchbox also provides educational opportunities such as “Meet Your Farmer” days and a bike safety day.

“Our partnerships with the community are an integral part of the Lunchbox program,” said Rebecca Mitchell, who manages the Lunchbox program as the consumer education coordinator with GMFTS. “They allow us to provide more kids with the nutrition they need during the months where a good meal can be hard to come by.”

The Lunchbox serves hundreds of summer meals each week, but there are still more children that can be reached. Helping individual sites are organizations like Hunger Free Vermont. They work to connect families and children to meals sites throughout the state by compiling a comprehensive list of meals site in each county and providing technical assistance.

“Hunger doesn’t end with the last bell of the school year,” says Mitchell. “In order to make sure kids are getting the nutritious meals they need, it’s going to take everyone coming together, spreading the word, and helping get families out to summer meals sites.”

For more information about a summer meals program in your area visit Hunger Free Vermont online at https://www.hungerfreevt.org/out-of-school-time-nutrition/summer-meals/summer-meal-sites.

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