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Burke to shine with holiday spirit this Sunday

in Burke/Newport/Northeast Kingdom

BURKE — Santa is coming to West Burke, and he has presents for the kids this Sunday.

Stop by to meet him, go for a sleigh ride, have some cookies, cocoa, and lots of fun.

The event is free and kicks off at 11:00 a.m. at Mike’s Gas & Redemption, located at 3799 US-5.

Organizers are asking if you can, please bring non-perishable food to be donated to the local food shelf.

The event will wrap up at 1:00 p.m., but the fun doesn’t end there.

Come out to the library in East Burke Village at 2:00 p.m. for cookies, cocoa, and music from the Newark Balkan Chorus, as everyone gathers to light up the display of Christmas trees and enjoy a holiday party.

Each tree was ‘adopted’ and decorated by a local school or business.

The Burke Chamber will choose five winning trees. The winners will each get a check for $100 made out to a charity of their choice.

The event is also free, but if possible bring non-perishable food items to be donated to the food shelf.

This holiday party and tree lighting in the village will end at 5:00 p.m.

NEK summit in Burke this Thursday to spotlight impact of local leadership

in Burke/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

BURKE — The first annual NEK Leads Gathering will offer stories of leadership in communities across the region and provide tools for people interested in getting involved.

The day-long event, organized by the Northeast Kingdom Collaborative, will take place on November 14, 2019, at Burke Mountain Hotel & Conference Center.

“The most important resource we have in the Northeast Kingdom are individuals working together to solve local and regional challenges,” said Katherine Sims, NEK Collaborative’s Director. “Connecting those leaders and inspiring others to engage is how we grow that resource to get things done.”

The conference will feature nonprofit, business and political leaders on panels and in breakout workshops.

Topics include Creating Vibrant Community Hubs, Engaging Young People in Community Change, Fundraising for Community Projects, and Welcoming and Supporting New Leadership in Your Organization and Community.

There will also be an opening talk by Northern Vermont University historian Paul Searls, author of “Repeopling Vermont,” and time for small group discussion and networking.

To sign up now visit: nekcollaborative.org/nekleads.

The need for an annual gathering was identified last summer through three public forums.

More than 150 people participated either in person or via electronic survey, answering questions about how to support emerging leaders and to develop and promote new leaders from under-represented groups.

Their input fed into the work of the NEK Collaborative’s Leadership Development Task Force, which in December 2018 produced a six-part platform for action.

One component of the plan was to strengthen organizational and interpersonal connections through an annual NEK regional summit.

“We heard from people across our region that they are hungry for the chance to meet and learn from each other,” Sims said. “We’re so pleased to be able to put on this gathering and excited to see what comes from it.”

Burke Town School teacher named 2018 humanities educator of the year

in Burke/News

BURKE — Morgan Moore, a teacher of English and social studies at Burke Town School, was recently named 2018 humanities educator of the year by the Vermont Humanities Council (VHC).

VHC will honor Moore with the sixteenth Victor R. Swenson Humanities Educator Award on November 17.

Board Chair Rolf Diamant will present the award to Moore, along with a $1,000 check.

Moore has taught the seventh and eighth grades at Burke Town School for three years.

In that brief amount of time, her work has been celebrated by colleagues as transformational to the learning environment of the school and to the lives of its students, gaining national attention along the way.

“[Ms. Moore] was recruited and hired specifically for her extraordinary passion for engaging student learners and for her motivation and skill to be able to establish a dynamic middle school program,” said Burke principal Stacy Rice.

In the classroom, Moore’s curriculum design and focus on project-based learning have also earned the praise of fellow teachers.

“As a veteran teacher, I taught Morgan how to run a reading and writing workshop and how to formatively assess students,” said colleague Des Hertz. “Morgan was a quick study and soon began teaching me.”

In one unit on civil rights, Hertz noted, Moore’s eighth-grade students read rigorously across genres and wrote about their own values.

They then entered a national writing contest about overcoming challenges based on the story of Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play Major League Baseball.

One of Moore’s students won the contest and a trip to the World Series, and the school was honored with a visit by Jackie Robinson’s daughter Sharon.

One hallmark of Moore’s teaching is the design of interdisciplinary learning experiences in the field that have “managed to capture an audience of teenage learners that typically cannot or do not want to participate in school-based activities,” said Rice.

For one such field experience, Moore applied for and received a Specialized Foundation Riding for Focus grant, which awarded 20 bicycles to the school.

Students use the bikes during gym class and for an after-school bike club that promotes equity by allowing all students exercise and access to the Kingdom Trails.

This and other outdoor activities have helped build motivation and confidence among Moore’s students.

“They have completely embraced their project-based learning,” said Rice, which has included numerous hands-on learning experiences in and around the school.

Like many recipients of the Swenson Award, Moore’s approach to education ripples outward from the classroom into the greater community, building connections between students and the world around them.

Integral to this approach is the students’ immersion in U.N. Global Goals research projects.

Involving at least ten separate field experiences, the self-designed projects focus on local needs, from community gardens to combating hunger to wilderness first aid.

Students have learned grant writing, effective communication with the community, how to use social media to promote their causes, and more.

These experiences “inspire their enthusiasm and quite possibly set the stage for their college and career aspirations,” said Rice.

Another initiative, Humans of Burke, sends students out to interview community leaders who inspire them, culminating with a published work and art exhibit that draws robust attendance from the public.

The teaching unit won the New England League of Middle Schools Beane-Brodhagen Award and has made the local and national news.

Beyond her teaching accomplishments, Moore has worked to promote the professional development of her fellow middle school teachers in the Caledonia North Supervisory Union.

She has also written and been awarded several grants for Burke Town School totaling over $37,000, including from UVM’s Tarrant Institute for Innovative Education and from VHC for a 2018 Humanities Camp.

Moore’s efforts have made a difference to her school, her colleagues, and especially the young people in her classroom.

“Morgan has brought so much to this tiny rural school and its students,” said Hertz. “She cares deeply about creating educated, well-rounded, confident, curious citizens. She brings passion to her classroom on a daily basis and inspires students to do their best.”

Cigarette sparks massive fire in Burke

in Burke/Fire/News

BURKE — Investigators say a cigarette caused a massive fire in Burke on Saturday that destroyed two homes and caused a propane tank to explode.

At around 12:30 p.m. the West Burke Fire Department was dispatched to the location at 237 Depot Street.

Firefighters say the explosion of a 250-pound propane tank endangered all fire personnel and shot embers a distance from the property.

The explosion resulted in a residence across the street catching fire, as well as starting several brush fires.

The origin of the fire was determined to be the garage, which had piles of dried leaves and other combustibles adjacent to it.

They were ignited by a carelessly extinguished cigarette from a visitor at the residence, investigators say.

Westerly winds caused the fire to quickly spread to the house. Two homes and a garage were totally destroyed in the fire, as well as another two properties which sustained heat damage.

No injuries other than a foot injury sustained by an occupant of one of the properties was reported.

The fire is classified as accidental.

Burke Mountain named first official U.S. Ski Team Development Site

in Burke

EAST BURKE — Burke Mountain Academy celebrated the grand opening of the Ronnie Berlack Center, a $2.8 million, 15,000 square foot, state of the art indoor athletic facility this past weekend, marking a new era for the athletic development of Burke student-athletes and ski racers around the country.

The academy also announced a comprehensive new partnership with the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association for year round training and development of elite ski racers from around the Eastern region and around the U.S.

Luke Bodensteiner, executive vice president of athletics for USSA, was on hand for Saturday’s dedication and officially named the new center as a U.S. Ski Team High Performance Center and Burke Mountain Academy’s on-hill training venue as a U.S. Ski Team Development Site. It will be the first of what Bodensteiner hopes will be many such centers around the country.

“Today’s announcement that Burke Mountain will be named as a High Performance Training Center for the U.S. Ski Team is a strong endorsement of Vermont’s ability to offer world-class winter training facilities and outdoor recreation destinations,” Governor-elect Phil Scott said.

As a U.S. Ski Team High Performance Center, Burke will collaborate with the USSA’s Park City based Center of Excellence and other future high performance centers to share best practices in sport science and sports medicine and serve as a site to host training and education sessions for USSA clubs in the region. As U.S. Ski Team Development Site, Burke will provide training days on its mountain for regional and national development projects, as well as access for U.S. Ski Team athletes.

“The relationship with Burke Mountain Academy, both at its alpine training venue on Burke Mountain and at the new Ronnie Berlack High Performance Center, is part of our vision to partner with leading clubs and programs around the country, not only to provide world class training opportunities for the U.S. Ski Team, but also to bring U.S. Ski Team knowledge and programming to the regions through our partners, with the goal of building the best athletic development pipeline in the world,” said USSA President and CEO Tiger Shaw.

The new center and improved mountain racing venue at Burke will be easily accessible to skiers throughout the East, which includes over half the USSA’s more than 35,000 members. These skiers, along with national team athletes, will be able to train at Burke Mountain and use the center in conjunction with their clubs through rental agreements with Burke Mountain.

Burke Mountain Resort is participating in the initiative with attractive ski ticket and accommodation packages at its brand new slope side Burke Mountain Hotel Resort & Conference Center, aimed at making Burke Mountain a destination ski resort for alpine ski racers.

Burke Mountain Academy attained the required $2.8 million funding for the building’s conception, construction and short term operational expense coverage over a nine-month silent campaign. A second fundraising phase was recently launched to create a $6 million endowment fund to support the ongoing development and implementation of high performance programming including the hiring of expert staff and the purchase of sophisticated training, rehab and testing equipment.

“This project would not have been possible without the significant contributions of highly engaged and dedicated BMA students, parents, alumni and donors,” shared Willy Booker, Chairman of BMA’s board of trustees and alumnus from the class of ‘96. “We’re eager to keep the momentum going with the next phase of fundraising to ensure this project produces major value for the entire ski community.”

Extreme cold causes fire trucks to freeze up fighting West Burke house fire

in Burke/Fire

WEST BURKE — An early morning fire broke out during extremely cold weather in West Burke on Friday, leaving a home destroyed and responding firetrucks frozen and unable to flow water.

At around 3:00 a.m. firefighters from both West and East Burke, as well as the Sutton Fire Departments, arrived at the vacant house located at 2582 Route 5.

The house was fully engulfed in flames when crews arrived.

Firefighters battled the fire during the extremely cold temperatures and accompanying high winds.

“Fire suppression efforts continued until the adverse weather conditions began to take its toll on the men and equipment,” Detective Sergeant Larry Smith said.

The fire was contained and reduced to just a smolder when all departments were forced to leave to thaw out their equipment. Temperatures caused the trucks to ultimately freeze up and unable to flow water.

Authorities say the fire itself does not appear suspicious at this time but investigators are looking to narrow down the timeframe in which this fire began, so the case remains under investigation.

Skier killed on Burke Mountain Monday afternoon

in Burke/News

BURKE — A 58-year-old skier from Massachusetts was killed on Burke Mountain on Monday.

Emergency workers were called to the Burke Mountain Ski Area at around 3:40 p.m.

Police say that Varter Shirinian, of Watertown, was pronounced dead on the scene from injuries he sustained after colliding with a tree.

Shirinian was skiing with a family member on the Big Dipper Trail when he lost control.

He traveled into the woods, where he collided with a tree. 

Police say that the investigation continues while autopsy results are pending, but that he was not wearing a helmet at the time.

Mountain biker hit by car in Burke

in Burke/News

BURKE — A 40-year-old man from Quebec was hit by a car on Monday morning while riding his bicycle in Burke.

Police say that Pascal Rozon, of Vaudreuil-sur-le-Lac, Quebec, was riding his bike on a trail through the woods, headed west at the time.

Collin Daulong, 29, of Burke, was headed north on Alpine Lane around a curve in the road, when police say Rozon entered the roadway without stopping.

Rozon collided with Daulong.

Police say that Rozon was vaulted over Daulong’s 2009 Volkswagen Jetta.

Rozon was transported by CALEX Ambulance to Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital to be treated for injuries he sustained in the crash.

West Burke man injured after motorcycle hits deer

in Burke/News/Sutton

SUTTON — A 72-year-old man from West Burke was transported to the hospital today after his motorcycle collided with a deer.

Police say that Robert Hallett was traveling south on Vermont Route 5A in the town of Sutton when a deer ran out in front of his motorcycle.

Hallett hit the deer causing the motorcycle to go down on its side.

According to a statement issued by police, Hallett was transported to the Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital after the crash.

At this time the extent of Hallett’s injuries are unknown.

Ski accident at Q Burke claims life of 27-year-old St. Johnsbury woman

in Burke/News/Vermont


EAST BURKE — A 27-year-old St. Johnsbury woman has died in a skiing accident at Q Burke Mountain on Friday. The accident took place at around 3:15 p.m.

Police say that the initial investigation indicates the woman exited the groomed portion of a trail on the upper portion of the mountain, where she struck a tree.

A search was initiated when the woman did not meet up with the individual she was skiing with. Q Burke Mountain Ski Patrol was notified at the time, and began searching the trail.

At approximately 5:24 p.m., the search and rescue team was able to locate the woman.

According to a statement issued by police, she was wearing a helmet. An autopsy will be performed at the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Burlington.

The victim’s name is not being released, pending notification of the family.

A sneak peek at Q Burke Mountain Resort Hotel

in Burke/News/Vermont
A before and after view of the new Q Burke Mountain Hotel Resort and Conference Center. Top photo by Tim Daley. Bottom courtesy of PeakCM Construction.
A before and after view of the new Q Burke Mountain Hotel Resort and Conference Center. Top photo by Tim Daley. All drawings courtesy of PeakCM Construction.

BURKE — Construction of the new 116 suite Q Burke Mountain Resort Hotel & Conference Center began last Tuesday with a groundbreaking ceremony. During the event, Jay Peak President Bill Stenger referred to the project as, “likely the most beautiful hotel site in the state of Vermont.”

The hotel will take inspiration from the Tram Haus Lodge at Jay Peak. It’s scheduled to open in November of 2015.

The structure has been designed to reflect the natural beauty of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. The project will use local Vermont materials and local craftsman in an attempt to stay true to the character of the region.

Q Burke Mountain Resort and Hotel Vermont 1

With 116 suites ranging from studios to three bedrooms, with many featuring full kitchens and outdoor balconies, the 180,000-square-foot resort will also include a slopeside restaurant, conference space, ski shops, arcade, coffee shop, and a fitness center with outdoor pool and hot tub.

Q Burke Mountain Hotel Resort Vermont 2

Along with the new hotel and conference center, an indoor aquatic and tennis center are also in the works.

Q Burke Aquatic Center will house a 50 meter pool and a diving pool. The 50 meter pool will be designed and constructed for training, competition, and water polo. The diving pool will have (2) one meter springboards, (2) three meter springboards, and a diving platform with 1, 3, 5, 7.5 and 10 meter levels.

Q Burke Tennis Center will consist of approximately 21 courts: 1 exterior central court, 10 indoor courts, and 10 outdoor courts. Four of the outdoor courts will be grass. The facility will also feature a food and beverage area.

The project will be carried out under the direction of PeakCM, whose president and owner, Jerry Davis, was responsible for building the Tram Haus Lodge, Hotel Jay, and Pumphouse Indoor Waterpark at Jay Peak.

Q Burke Mountain Vermont 3

Multiple tickets issued for underage drinking after party busted up in East Burke

in Burke/News

Picture 3

EAST BURKE — The Vermont State Police are reporting that early Sunday morning a party was broken up in which multiple underage drinking tickets were issued.

According to the report, On May 25, at approximately 12:45 a.m. members of the Vermont State Police, Brighton Police Department, and Lyndonville Police Department, responded to an area of East Daring Hill Road just past the intersection with Burke Hollow Road in East Burke.

Someone called police to report that the underage drinking party was going on. The party started Saturday night, and continued into Sunday morning.

When police arrived, many of the offenders fled into the surrounding woods. Most of the underage offenders were located, and multiple underage drinking diversion tickets were issued.

The offenders were subsequently released into the custody of their parents.

A similar underage drinking party was broken up last month in Irasburg, where police and U.S. Border Patrol teamed up to locate a party goer through the use of night vision goggles, after he fled the scene.

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