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Nikole Brainard of Derby Line promoted to Asset Liability Manager at Community National Bank

in Derby/Derby Line/Newport/News

DERBY — Community National Bank CEO Kathy Austin recently announced the promotion of Nikole Brainard to the bank officer position of Asset Liability Manager.

Brainard was born and raised in the Northeast Kingdom and is a graduate of North Country High School.

She started her career with CNB in 1995 working as a Teller in the Derby office.

After a short leave from banking, she rejoined the bank’s Teller line in Derby, and in 2012, joined the Finance Department.

During her banking career, Brainard has earned the Certified Teller designation, General Banking Diploma and Bank Operations Diploma from the Center for Financial Training Education Alliance.

She is a graduate of the Northern New England School of Banking and holds a BS in Accounting from Southern New Hampshire University.

“Community National Bank has always given me the opportunity to learn, grow and advance while working in a supportive family environment,” Brainard said.

Involved in giving back to the community, Brainard serves as a Board Member for Derby Elementary School, Treasurer for North Country Union High School Band Booster Club, a member of the Derby Line Community Day committee and a member of the Derby Line Cemetery Board.

She resides in Derby Line with her husband Lindsay, her daughter Maya, and her son Chase.

Borderline Players to hold auditions for The Addams Family, March 7

DERBY LINE — Auditions for The Addams Family: The Musical will take place Saturday, March 7, from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. at the First Universalist Parish Hall in Derby Line.

Borderline Players will present this production in the Haskell Opera House on August 7-8-9 and 14-15-16, 2020.

In the kooky world of the Addams Family, to be sad is to be happy, to feel pain is to feel joy.

Nonetheless, this quirky family still has to deal with many of the same challenges faced by any other family, and the spookiest nightmare faced by every family: the kids are growing up.

Gomez and Morticia’s dark, macabre daughter Wednesday is now a young woman who has fallen for a sweet, smart boy from a normal, respectable family.

In one fateful, hilarious night, the Addams family must face the one horrible thing they’ve managed to avoid: change.

The show will be directed by Sarah Comtois, with music direction by Mark Violette, both of whom were last seen in 2019’s production of Mamma Mia!

Roles are available for all voices and ages, including ensemble roles.

View character details at https://borderlineplayers.org.

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

Man charged with smuggling endangered tropical birds in Derby Line

in Derby Line/Newport/News

DERBY LINE — Jafet Rodriguez, 39, of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, has been charged with unlawfully smuggling tropical birds into Vermont from Canada, in violation of the Endangered Species Act and the federal anti-smuggling statute.

Rodriguez appeared before United States Magistrate Judge John Conroy yesterday and was released on personal recognizance.

According to court documents, on December 30, 2019, at 10:30 a.m., Rodriguez walked across the Canadian border near the Haskell Free Library in Derby Line and approached a car parked in Stanstead, Quebec.

According to the Government’s allegations, the defendant retrieved a black duffle bag containing the birds from the vehicle parked in Quebec and then walked back into the United States.

United States Border Patrol Agents intercepted Rodriquez after he entered another vehicle with Pennsylvania license plates in Derby Line.

The agents recovered seven live tropical birds from this vehicle.

According to court records, the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory determined that five of the birds were Yellow-headed Amazons and two birds were White-bellied Parrots.

These birds are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, commonly referred to as “CITES”.

Under the Endangered Species Act, species which are protected under CITES cannot be imported without the appropriate permits.

The birds were turned over to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and transported to the New York Animal Import Center in Rock Tavern, New York for a period of quarantine.

If he is convicted, Rodriguez faces a maximum possible term of imprisonment of 20 years under the statute prohibiting the unlawful smuggling of merchandise into the United States.

Snowmobile causes car to crash into telephone pole, Derby

in Derby/Derby Line/Newport/News

DERBY — A 62-year-old man was from Derby Line hit a telephone pole after a snowmobile crossed his path yesterday.

The crash took place on U.S. Route 5 near Beebe Road at around 5:22 p.m.

Police say Richard Blais was headed north when Nicholas Adams, 34, of Colchester, was driving a snowmobile west along the VAST trail, approaching the Route 5 road crossing.

Adams told police that he slowed and came to a stop to look for traffic but did not see Blais approaching from the south and continued into the road to cross.

Police say Blais swerved his vehicle to avoid a collision with Adams, crashing into a telephone pole.

Adams was issued a ticket for violation of operation across highways.

Blais was not injured during the incident, police say.

Gun stolen from home in Derby Line

in Derby Line/News

DERBY LINE — A gun was stolen from a home in Derby Line last week.

Police were notified of a theft that took place on Valentine Avenue on January 30.

According to the report, a .40 caliber Smith and Wesson handgun was stolen sometime between 8:00 a.m and 10:30 a.m.

An investigation into the theft is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact the State Police at 334-8881.

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

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Newport/News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nearly 167 kilos of cocaine headed for Canada, seized in Derby Line

in Derby Line/News

DERBY LINE — Federal authorities say a major drug bust took place in Derby Line last Saturday, with almost 167 kilos of cocaine seized before being smuggled into Canada.

Jason Nelson, a truck driver from Quebec, was picked up by U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents in Derby Line on December 7.

A drug dog detected narcotics hidden in a secret, custom made compartment of the trailer Nelson was hauling.

A total of 142 bricks of white powder that later tested positive for cocaine was discovered inside the compartment.

The rest of the trailer was empty.

Nelson was preparing to enter back into Canada at the time.

According to a new report on global drug use, Canada ranks second in the world for cocaine use.

Photos by Lucy Cannon Neel, and Scott Wiesen, Facebook.

Shooting scare in Derby Line sends school into lockout

in Derby Line/Newport/News

DERBY LINE — An active shooter scare in Derby Line this afternoon caused a local school to go on “lockout,” but police say that there is no danger to the public at this time.

It started at around 1:09 p.m. when the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department received a call to their dispatch reporting a shooting at a residence on Caswell Avenue in Derby Line.

The male caller stated that he had just shot a family member, giving police a physical address on Caswell Avenue, which was confirmed by the dispatcher.

While attempting to gather further information, the caller hung up and gave no return phone number.

Police say the phone number was not recorded by their caller ID.

A multiagency response took place at the residence on Caswell Avenue included Deputies from the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department, the Vermont State Police, US Customs and Border Protection, US Border Patrol, Newport Police Department, and the Department of Motor Vehicle Enforcement Unit.

Police say the large presence of federal agents was due to the proximity of the reported scene to the United States Port of Entry on 1-91 and the fact that Caswell Avenue runs along the US-Canadian border.

Officers made a tactical approach to the house and met the owner who stated that it was not him that had called and he was alone in the residence.

The residence was searched by a responding team of officers and nothing was found.

Police say while officers were beginning to clear from the scene, three distinct gunshots were heard nearby.

At this time, officers regrouped to a safe area and a decision was made to check several nearby houses.

The Derby Elementary School was notified and school officials placed the school on lockout until the end of the school day.

Neighboring homes were checked and nothing further was found, police say.

According to a statement issued by Sheriff Kirk Martin, there were no injuries to any party at this time.

By 2:30 p.m. all units cleared the scene and Caswell Avenue was re-opened to traffic and residents were let back to their home.

The school was also notified and opted to remain in their current status until the end of the school day.

Border humorist Ross Murray releases new collection “A Jerk in Progress”

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Stanstead

STANSTEAD, QC – Eastern Townships writer Ross Murray will release his third collection of humor, A Jerk in Progress, at Black Cat Books in Lennoxville on Sunday, September 15 at 3:00 p.m.

Subtitled “Various Nonsense,” the collection features more than 80 columns and essays that originally appeared in The Sherbrooke Record and Life in Quebec magazine as well as in audio form on CBC Radio’s afternoon program “Breakaway.”

The book can be purchased on Amazon through this link.

The book is split into two sections – “From the Makers of Rictusol,” which contains satire and whimsy covering everything from public service announcements to Bethlehem’s Three Kings at the shopping mall; and “Contains Minimum Two Dead Mice,” which offers up episodes from the author’s life.

Ross Murray has written a weekly column for The Sherbrooke Record for over 15 years and prior to that in The Stanstead Journal.

He has also been a regular contributor to CBC Radio, McSweeney’s Internet Tendencies, and other publications.

In addition to his two previous collections, Murray published his debut novel, A Hole in the Ground, in 2016, and in May of this year directed his original play, All Together Now, based on a local legend about how the former Beatles almost met at the Haskell Free Library.

The launch at Black Cat Books is free and open to the public.

Murray will also be at the Townships Expressions table at Townshippers’ Festival in Cowansville on Saturday, September 21 and will be participating in the Townships Authors round table at the Knowlton Literary Festival, Saturday, October 19 at 9:30 a.m.

You can order the book by emailing Murray at: rossgrantmurray@gmail.com or through his Facebook page.

You can also sample his writing at his website Drinking Tips for Teens at: https://rossmurray1.wordpress.com

ABBA musical Mamma Mia! opens August 9 at the Haskell

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — The crowd-pleasing musical Mamma Mia! comes to the Haskell Opera House in Stanstead and Derby Line, on August 9-11 and 16-18.

Featuring over 20 songs by the Swedish pop phenomenon ABBA, the musical centers around Sophie, whose dream of a perfect wedding includes her father giving her away.

The problem? Sophie doesn’t know who he is. Her mother, Donna, refuses to talk about the past, so Sophie 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.

“After years of waiting for Mamma Mia! to be available for community theatres, this production is a dream come true for me,” said director Mary Hoadley. “It has personal meaning for me, but it’s truly a fun and uplifting show. You simply can never hear enough ABBA, and our cast is so abundantly talented that it just makes it that much better.”

The cast features local stage veteran Ruth-Ann Fletcher as Donna and Holly Lillis as Sophie.

Potential dads are played by Mike Desjardins, James Merriam and Todd Cubit, joined by Sarah Comtois and
Tiffany Quinn as Donna’s former bandmates along with a large supporting cast from both sides of the
Canada-US border:

Meghan Corbett, Jessi Sackett, Lourdes Ortiz, Thomas Alexandre, Shannon Quinn, Roderick Owens, Jaime Comtois, Amy Nadeau, Autumn Cubit, Debbie Bishop, Dayna Alexandre, Emmie Wilkie, Dorothy Moffatt and Charli Kellaway.

Choreography is by Hope Guisinger.

The performances will include the live band last seen backing last summer’s hit production of Little Shop
of Horrors and will once again be led by musical director Mark Violette on keyboards, with Gideon Yellin,
guitar; Lloyd White, bass; and Alex Lepanto, drums.

Showtimes are Friday and Saturday, August 9 and 10 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee Sunday, August 11 at 2:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, August 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m., with a second matinee Sunday, August 18 at 2:00 p.m.

Tickets (at par) are $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors and are available at the MAC Center for the Arts in Newport and the Colby-Curtis Museum in Stanstead or online (U.S. funds only) at https://borderlineplayers.org.

Tickets also available at the door.

Reserve in advance by contacting Borderline Players via email borderlineplayers@outlook.com or Facebook.

Emerald Ash Borer detected in Derby Line

in Derby Line/Newport/News

DERBY LINE — The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has confirmed that insects collected from ash trees in Derby Line are emerald ash borers (EAB).

This is the first detection in Orleans County.

Landowners and other residents of Derby and surrounding towns are urged to look for signs and symptoms of the insect and report suspicious findings on vtinvasives.org.

Based on tree symptoms, EAB had already spread to this location before it was first detected in Vermont last year.

Although this is a new location in Vermont, the Coaticook and Memphremagog Regional County Municipalities, due north of Orleans County in Quebec, have been part of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s EAB regulated area since January 2018.

EAB is likely to be present in other locations within ten miles of known infestations.

In addition to Derby, this area includes Newport City and Holland, and parts of Newport Town, Coventry, Charleston, Brownington, Morgan, and Norton.

Moving any infested material, especially ash firewood, logs, and pruning debris, can quickly expand the infestation.

One important recommendation is to obtain firewood locally.

Authorities say if you’re going camping this summer to leave your firewood at home.

It is still illegal to bring untreated firewood from out of state into Vermont.

EAB larvae kill ash trees by tunneling under the bark and feeding on the part of the tree that moves water and sugars up and down the trunk.

It was first discovered in North America in the Detroit area in 2002, and over the past seventeen years, it has decimated ash populations.

EAB is known to occur in 35 states and five Canadian provinces.

Independent feature film screening in Derby Line this Thursday

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Newport/News

DERBY LINE — The award-winning first-time feature film ‘Farmer of the Year,” by Vermonters Kathy Swanson and Vince O’Connell, will screen at the Haskell Opera House in Derby Line this Thursday, July 11.

The film, ‘Farmer of the Year,’ written by Swanson and shot largely at the farm on which she grew up in her hometown of Tyler, Minnesota, tells the story of an aging farmer, who, after selling the farm he’s worked for over 60 years, finds himself useless and adrift.

Struggling to maintain his youth he road-trips across the country in a ’73 Winnebago with his equally directionless and unreasonably self-confident granddaughter.

Heading west, they find themselves in seemingly impossible situations with only each other for support.

As the journey progresses so does their relationship and they begin to understand and appreciate each other as individuals while discovering that being young and being old, aren’t all that different.

“A small town screening in a building that’s been the center of the community for generations feels like such a Vermont way to screen the film,” said Swanson.

The filmmakers met at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in the early ’80s where they worked 3 hours a day for room and board before moving to Western Massachusetts to grow their business, VOMAX, a custom athletic apparel manufacturing company started by O’Connell in one of the dorm rooms at the Center.

After selling the company, the couple moved back up north to Craftsbury.

“We’ve wrapped up our festival circuit and self-distributing the film across the country theatrically now,” said O’Connell. “We’ve been in about 90 theaters since September.”

‘Farmer of the Year’ will screen at the Haskell Opera House on July 11, at 7:00 p.m., followed by a Q&A session led by the filmmakers.

General admission tickets are $12, and available at the door.

Seven people arrested illegally entering the U.S. in Derby Line

in Derby Line/Newport/News

DERBY LINE — Six people who authorities say entered the U.S. illegally in Derby Line, and the driver who picked them up, were arrested on Wednesday.

According to the criminal complaint, on the evening of May 1, agents at the Newport Border Patrol station learned that a group of people were entering the United States from Canada on foot, near an area known as Goodall Farm.

Agents in the area say they observed six individuals huddled together in a wooded area near the border.

Shortly thereafter, they say an SUV drive up to the group. The vehicle stopped and the six individuals got in. The vehicle was later pulled over.

Authorities say the driver was identified as Francisco Alejo-Medrano, 27, a citizen of Mexico.

The six passengers were all determined to be undocumented Mexican citizens.

All seven people in the vehicle were arrested.

Alejo-Medrano appeared in court yesterday on a charge that he unlawfully transported a group of people entering the United States illegally.

U.S. District Judge Christina Reiss ordered that Alejo-Medrano be detained pending further proceedings.

According to court records, the six passengers are being charged with unlawfully entering the United States.

If convicted, Alejo-Medrano faces up to five years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.

Authorities investigating explosion and fire in Holland

in Derby Line/Fire/Holland/Newport/News

HOLLAND — Authorities say that an explosion and fire that took place at a home in Holland on Wednesday is currently being investigated.

At around 2:45 p.m. the Derby Line Fire Department responded to a report of a home explosion and a fire located at 2896 Gore Road North.

Fire personnel found that the residence was completely engulfed and partially collapsed.

According to the report, the homeowners are identified as Mark Newell and Cynthia Merrill.

Police say nobody had been at the home for several days, and there were no reported injuries.

An investigation unit was contacted to try and determine the origin and cause of the incident.

Investigators say that because of the amount of fire damage and consumption of combustible materials, nothing can be determined at this time.

They are requesting anyone with information regarding this incident to contact Det. Sgt. Michael LaCourse at the Derby Barracks at 802-334-8881 or by contacting the Vermont Arson Tip Award Program (VATAP) hotline at 1-800-322-7766.

The VATAP will pay up to a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

“All Together Now” combines local history, myth and fiction

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — Borderline Players is getting ready to present an original comedy by border humorist Ross Murray, All Together Now. The show promises to be a love letter to the Haskell Free Library, life on the line and a resilient local myth.

Performances are set for May 10-12 and May 17-19.

It’s Labor 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.

The comedy mixes local characters and history – including the infamous Mac’s Party at Mead Hill, and whimsical fiction in a comedy that doesn’t explain the myth of how the Beatles didn’t come to the Haskell so much as add new layers of possibilities.

“I wanted to create a play that would appeal to local audiences by drawing on actual historical events,” says writer/director Murray. “Other than hearsay, there’s no actual record of this Beatles meeting ever being planned, so it leaves the door wide open to create my own version and mix some fictional characters with the historical ones. No one knows the truth, so why not make up my own.”

In fact, the subtitle of the play is “A Possibly True Story of a Thing That Almost Happened.”

In keeping with the theme of the play, the cast features players from both sides of the border, with Leanne Harple of Glover, Sue Kuzma of Derby Center, Mike Desjardins of Newport, Eric Alexandre of Georgeville, Que., John Young of Newport, Jessi Sackett of Newport, and making their local stage debut Benjamin Tabah of Lennoxville, Que., Crystal Hall of Newport, and Adam Spirk of Stanstead, Que.

Having appeared in a number of QNEK productions and last season’s Fuddy Meers, Ross Murray is directing his original script.

A resident of Stanstead, Quebec, Murray writes a weekly humor column for The Sherbrooke Record and has contributed to CBC Radio and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency among other publications.

All Together Now is his first script.

Show times are Friday and Saturday, May 10 and 11 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, May 12 at 2:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday, May 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 19 at 2:00 p.m.

Tickets are $15 adults, $12 seniors and students and are available now online through https://borderlineplayers.org or Catamount Arts.

Tickets are also available at the MAC Center, in Newport, and the Colby-Curtis Museum, in Stanstead.

For more information, contact borderlineplayers@outlook.com.

Snowmobile crash with injury in Holland

in Derby Line/Holland/Newport/News

HOLLAND — A 49-year-old man from Morgan was taken to the hospital after a snowmobile crash on Tuesday.

At around 9:00 p.m. the incident was reported on VAST trail 105, in Holland.

Members of the Derby Line Fire Department located the male and transported him down the trail to the ambulance.

The operator of the snowmobile was identified as Brian Judd.

According to the report, Judd was traveling east and was unable to maintain his lane of travel around a right-hand corner.

He traveled off the trail and into several trees.

Judd was transported to North Country Hospital.

Police say the crash is still being investigated, and that no information about his injuries is available at this time.

Photo by Tanya Mueller.

Shape note sing and potluck in Derby Line January 5

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/News

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.

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

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.

Derby Line Port of Entry construction completed

in Derby Line/News

DERBY LINE – The $33 million construction project at the Derby Line Port of Entry is now complete.

The new building, located on Interstate 91, is expected to improve efficiency at one of busiest crossings in Vermont.

Construction started in the summer of 2016.

The building supports the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Office of Field Operations.

The U.S. General Services Administration says improvements will bring long-term operational, public safety, and security benefits.

Major elements of the project included a new main port building that includes administrative offices, processing and immigration services spaces, as well as officer work areas.

There is also five new inspection booths and lane configurations.

Caswell Avenue bridge in Derby Line open

in Derby Line/News

DERBY LINE — The Caswell Avenue bridge over I-91 at the U.S. – Canadian border is open to traffic once again.

At this time the bridge is open to two-way traffic, however, over the next couple of weeks, there will be one-lane closures with alternating one-way traffic as the work is completed.

Construction at the bridge started back in April.

Workers replaced the bearings, structural steel, deck, pavement, and railing on the existing bridge.

The construction project cost around $5.23 million.

The bridge is 315 feet in length and 38 feet wide and includes two travel lanes as well as a sidewalk on the north side.

Agatha Christie’s classic The Mousetrap opening at the Haskell October 12

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Newport/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — One of the most popular plays of all time, the classic Agatha Christie murder mystery, The Mousetrap, will be showing at the Haskell Opera House October 12-14 and 19-21.

This Borderline Players production of The Mousetrap is directed by Thomas Perry, who most recently directed the troupe’s sold-out summer production of Little Shop of Horrors.

The cast includes Marianna Barrett, Jim Cross, Leanne Harple, Sue Kuzma, Shannon Quinn, Jessi Sackett, Jim Young, and John Young.

First produced in London’s West End in 1952, this “whodunnit” has been running continuously ever since, making it the longest running show in history.

A group of strangers is stranded in a boarding house during a snow storm, one of whom is a murderer.

The suspects include the newly married couple who run the house, and the suspicions in their minds nearly wreck their perfect marriage.

Others are a spinster with a curious background, an architect who seems better equipped to be a chef, a retired Army major, a strange little man who claims his car has overturned in a drift, and a jurist who makes life miserable for everyone.

Into their midst comes a policeman, traveling on skis. He no sooner arrives, when a second murder occurs.

To get to the rationale of the murderer’s pattern, the policeman probes the background of everyone present, and rattles a lot of skeletons.

This production of The Mousetrap is underwritten by North Country Hospital.

Showtimes are Friday and Saturday, October 12 and 13 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee Sunday, October 14 at 2:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, October 19 and 20 at 7:30 p.m., with a second matinee Sunday, October 21 at 2:00 p.m.

Tickets are $15.00 for adults, $12 for students (under 17) and $12 for seniors (55+).

They are on sale in Newport, at the MAC Center and Madam Archetype’s Panoply, and in Stanstead at the Colby-Curtis Museum.

You can also get tickets online at www.borderlineplayers.org, or at the Haskell box office one hour before the show.

Derby Line hit with string of car break-ins

in Derby Line/News

DERBY LINE — A series of car break-ins taking place in Derby Line has police seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the suspects.

On Sunday, police received multiple calls of thefts occurring from motor vehicles in the area of Kingsbury Avenue.

Police say overnight, multiple vehicles had been entered and various items were stolen.

It was reported that two revolvers, as well as multiple debit and credit cards, were taken from vehicles in the area.

In the area of Elm Street, police say someone opened several unlocked car doors, stealing numerous wallets and purses.

“Any residents of the areas who may have surveillance footage that may be used in an attempt to identify the subjects, is urged to contact the Vermont State Police Derby Barracks-Trooper Ferrier at 802-334-8881,” a statement issued by police reads.

Vermont Symphony Orchestra fall tour coming to Derby Line, Greensboro

DERBY LINE — Kicking off the start to another colorful Vermont autumn, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra (VSO) will be traveling across the state beginning Sept. 27 to celebrate the many sounds and sights of the season.

The ​Made in Vermont Statewide Tour​ will reach six communities throughout the state, sharing well-loved classics as well as an original, unconventional collaboration with the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival.

The tour will reach Orleans County with a visit to the Haskell Opera House on September 30, and the Highland Center for the Arts in Greensboro, on October 7.

The Made in Vermont Statewide Tour will surprise and delight attendees this fall as the VSO welcomes trumpets, timpani, and film to the stage.

Following another successful year of collaboration with the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival, a world premiere composition by the VSO’s Matthew LaRocca will accompany filmmaker Robin Starbuck’s “How We See Water,” making for an unforgettable multisensory experience.

Internationally-renowned violinist Soovin Kim will both conduct the orchestra ensemble and lead listeners through Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 1, opening each of the tour’s performances.

Kim is noted as an active recording artist who is dedicated to the Vermont arts community, having spent 5 years playing in the Vermont Youth Orchestra and founding the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival.

Mexican citizen picked up in Derby on human smuggling charges sentenced

in Derby/Derby Line/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Salmen Hernandez-Ayala, 48, a citizen of Mexico, was sentenced this week for transporting three people without permission into the United States, after being picked up in Derby back in May.

Hernandez-Ayala has been in custody since the arrest.

According to court records, Hernandez-Ayala hired a taxi in New York City and traveled to a location near the border, where he picked up three individuals who had illegally crossed into the U.S.

At around 3:00 a.m. border agents stopped the taxi on U.S. Route 5 in Derby and determined that Hernandez-Ayala, who was in the front passenger seat, as well as three people in the rear seat, were all illegally inside the United States.

Eliezer Esteban Gamez-Saban, 21, a citizen of Guatemala, was charged with illegal reentry into the United States after having previously been removed from the United States, a felony offense.

He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to time served.

Jorge Campos-Navarro, 21, a citizen of Mexico, and Bryan Antonio Cruz-Salvador, 20, a citizen of Mexico, were charged with illegal entry into the United States, a misdemeanor offense.

Both pled guilty and were sentenced to time served.

Hernandez-Ayala was sentenced this week to time served as well.

Quebec man sentenced for smuggling guns through Haskell Free Library

in Derby Line/News

DERBY LINE — A Quebec man was sentenced to 51 months imprisonment for smuggling over 100 handguns to Quebec, some of which passed through the Haskell Free Library in Derby Line.

Alexis Vlachos, 41, of Montreal, previously pled guilty to conspiring to export, and actually exporting, firearms from the United States to Canada without a license.

According to court records, Vlachos agreed that from July 2010 to April 2011, he and defendants Annette Wexler and Jaime Ruiz executed a plan to smuggle the guns purchased in Florida by way of northern Vermont and northeast New York.

As part of the conspiracy, Vlachos would usually take custody of the firearms in Quebec, where he sold many of them.

Some of the firearms smuggled were first brought to the Haskell Free Library in Derby Line, by Wexler and Ruiz.

The Haskell Free Library building straddles the international border of Derby Line, Vermont and Stanstead, Quebec.

On at least two occasions, Wexler and Ruiz worked together to stash several firearms contained in small backpacks inside the trashcan of the library bathroom.

Wexler then coordinated with Vlachos, who had entered the library from Quebec, to retrieve the firearms from the bathroom.

Vlachos then transported the firearms to Quebec, where he sold many of them.

Annette Wexler previously pled guilty to conspiring to make false statements to licensed gun dealers and unlawful exportation. She was sentenced to time served and two years of supervised release.

Ruiz also pled guilty to two offenses relating to this smuggling conspiracy. He passed away due to an illness, and the charges against him were dismissed.

Vlachos was originally charged with these offenses in January 2015, but the process of extraditing him to the United States took over two years to complete.

Vlachos faced a maximum possible term of imprisonment of twenty years.

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