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Wood and Belsher return to the Haskell Opera House this Sunday

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — Fiddle and guitar duo Wood and Belsher will return to the Haskell Opera House in Derby Line on Sunday, October 8, for a 7:30 p.m. show.

Richard Wood, Prince Edward Island fiddler, artist, composer, and entertainer, has come full circle, not just in his musical career, but from the sheltered innocence as a child prodigy to learning life’s lessons the hard way.

Joining Wood on stage again this year is Gordon Belsher.

With a gentle charm that has become his trademark, Belsher’s versatility, engaging personality, and exceptional musicality have earned him the prestigious Music PEI 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Whether playing before festival crowds or intimate folk settings, his talent is extraordinary.

Derby man facing arson charges

in Derby/Derby Line/Fire

DERBY — A fire destroyed a home in Derby on Wednesday, and police say that a local man is facing arson charges.

Shawn Flynn, 50, of Derby was arrested following the incident.

At around 3:00 p.m. the Derby Line Fire Department responded to a report of a fully engulfed structure fire at 56 Quarry Circle in Derby.

Fire Chief Craig Ellam contacted the Fire Investigation Unit to conduct an origin and cause investigation.

Investigators say they began an examination of the scene, bringing in a state police K9 accelerant detection team.

“It was determined that the cause of this fire was due to direct human involvement,” a statement issued by police reads. “The classification of this fire is incendiary.”

Police say as a result of the investigation and interviews conducted, it was determined that Flynn, the homeowner, played a primary role in the causation of the fire. The presence of an accelerant was identified.

Flynn was arrested and released on a citation to appear in Orleans County Superior Court, due to extenuating circumstances.

Police say other potential charges pertaining to collateral damages that occurred to adjoining properties are being investigated.

Derby Line man facing charges after police say he punched trooper

in Derby/Derby Line/Newport/News

DERBY LINE — A 60-year-old man from Derby Line is facing charges after police say he punched a State trooper in the head.

Paul Scalzo faces aggravated domestic assault, aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, and resisting arrest charges following the incident, which took place on Monday.

At around 5:45 p.m. police responded to a report of an assault at a residence in Derby Line.

The complainant advised two children were assaulted by Scalzo and that he was highly intoxicated.

Trooper Daniel Lynch responded to the residence and met with the complainant at the door.

Lynch says the complainant advised he was still inside the residence with the children present, his mood escalating, and there were firearms in Scalzo’s presence.

Trooper Lynch says he entered the residence and encountered Scalzo, and while informing him he was under arrest, Scalzo refused to comply.

According to the report, trooper Lynch began to take Scalzo into custody when he resisted arrest and subsequently punched Trooper Lynch in the head as well as grabbed him by the throat.

Trooper Lynch overcame Scalzo and successfully took him into custody.

Police say their investigation revealed Scalzo had assaulted two children by grabbing them around the throat and chest areas causing them significant pain.

Scalzo was treated at North Country Hospital for his injuries and lodged at Northern State Correctional Facility on lack of $1,500.00 cash or surety bond.

Trooper Lynch was also treated at North Country Hospital for minor injuries.

The children were seen by Derby Line Ambulance Services at the scene.

Nunsense: QNEK’s last show starts September 15

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/News/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — QNEK Productions will finish their final season with a production of their signature show, Dan Goggin’s Nunsense. The show will run September 15 – 17 at the Haskell Opera House on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Near and dear to many in the area, this show is sure to bring on the laughs and will certainly be “habit forming!”

Lynn Leimer reprises her role as Mother Superior, a star turn that has long delighted audiences, as she hangs up the habit and retires her company after 25 years.

A local legend in her own right, Leimer is grateful for all of the support QNEK has received over the last two decades and looks forward to sharing this show that has meant so much to her and the community one more time.

Nunsense begins when the Little Sisters of Hoboken discover that their cook, Sister Julia, Child of God, has accidentally poisoned 52 of the sisters, and they are in dire need of funds for the burials. The sisters decide that the best way to raise the money is to put on a variety show, so they take over the school auditorium, which is currently set up for the eighth grade production of “Grease.”

Directed by and starring QNEK’s founder and Artistic Director, Lynn Leimer, the show features local favorites reprising their roles, such as Anita Mayhew, Sally Rivard, Ruth Ann Fletcher, Emily May, and Janice Luce on piano with Sean MacAllister playing drums.

Judy Castonguay is the Stage Manager with Dennis Ziegler serving as Tech Director and Brandon Alexandre running the lights.

You do not want to miss the finale of the company that has delighted, surprised, entertained, and brought the community together for 25 years.

Come celebrate and say goodbye to local legend QNEK Productions, and “your right Reverend Mother” Lynn Leimer in Nunsense.

Tickets are available by calling the QNEK Box Office at 802-334-2216, reserving by email at qnek.com, by advance purchase online or by phone at catamountarts.org and the Catamount Arts Box Office at 888-757-5559, and by advanced purchase at the MAC Center for the Arts in downtown Newport.

Howard Frank Mosher tribute in Irasburg this Sunday, Derby Line Monday

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Irasburg

IRASBURG — Filmmaker Jay Craven has been touring Vermont this summer with a series of film screenings and personal reflections to pay tribute to his 30-year collaboration with Northeast Kingdom writer Howard Frank Mosher.

In addition to a previously scheduled stop at the Haskell Opera House in Derby Line on Monday, August 21, at 7 p.m., Craven will also speak and offer a screening of Where the Rivers Flow North at the Irasburg United Church on Sunday, August 20, at 7 p.m.

Craven will open each evening with prepared and off-the-cuff reflections, “My Life, So Far, With Howard,” that explores his long collaboration with Mosher.

He will then present a 25th Anniversary screening of his first Mosher feature film, “Where the Rivers Flow North,” starring Academy Award nominee Rip Torn, Native American actress Tantoo Cardinal, and Michael J. Fox.

Set in 1927 in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, “Where the Rivers Flow North” tells the story of an old logger, Noel Lord, and his Native American mate, Bangor, who face the extinction of their way of life when the local power company plans to build a giant hydro dam that will flood them off their land. Lord and Bangor face emotional and physical challenges as they struggle with the power company, Vermont’s unforgiving terrain, and their own thorny relationship.

Howard Mosher tribute tour coming to Derby Line

DERBY LINE — Vermont filmmaker Jay Craven will hit the road this summer for a series of film screenings and personal reflections to pay tribute to his 30-year collaborator, Northeast Kingdom writer, Howard Frank Mosher.

He will screen his film and present reflections on his work with Mosher on Monday, August 21, at 7 p.m. at the Haskell Opera House in Derby Line.

“Howard Mosher died pretty unexpectedly in late January,” Craven said. “And many Vermonters already miss him for his laugh-out-loud humor and fertile imagination of our place. Writers miss him, too, because no one was more generous with his time and support.”

Craven will open each evening with prepared and off-the-cuff reflections, “My Life, So Far, With Howard,” that explores his long collaboration with Mosher.

He will then present a 25th Anniversary screening of his first Mosher feature film, “Where the Rivers Flow North,” starring Academy Award nominee Rip Torn, Native American actress Tantoo Cardinal, and Michael J. Fox.

“Howard was much more than a source for our film stories and characters,” said Craven. “He was also a constant ally, a ready source of laughs, and a steadying influence in times of strain. This was especially crucial during our struggles with headstrong actor Rip Torn on the filming of Rivers. I will tell a few tales that have not been publically shared before—because they capture a rarely seen side of Howard and his work.”

Set in 1927 in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, “Where the Rivers Flow North” tells the story of an old logger, Noel Lord, and his Native American mate, Bangor, who face the extinction of their way of life when the local power company plans to build a giant hydro dam that will flood them off their land. Lord and Bangor face emotional and physical challenges as they struggle with the power company, Vermont’s unforgiving terrain, and their own thorny relationship.

“Where the Rivers Flow North” played more than thirty festival dates including Sundance, Seattle, Avignon, Vienna, and Vancouver.

Special screenings include The Smithsonian, Lincoln Center, and Harvard Film Archive. The picture was also one of three U.S. finalists for Critics Week, Cannes International Film Festival.

The Mosher Tribute tour is produced by Kingdom County Productions with sponsorship support from Vermont Public Radio.

Eurasian milfoil removal efforts in Derby Pond continue

in Derby/Derby Line/Newport/News

DERBY — The Village of Derby Center is continuing a program for the fourteenth year to remove and control Eurasian water milfoil (EWM), an invasive exotic plant that was found in Derby Pond back in June of 2000.

The village hopes to minimize this aquatic nuisance plant as it affects the water quality and use. The village has received a grant as well as appropriations from the town of Derby and Village of Derby Center.

The grant will help with harvesting the milfoil and disposal of the milfoil afterward. The village has received the necessary state permits for this work.

Derby Pond, also known as Lake Derby, is a small lake of 207 acres, and the water source for the Derby Center Water Company. It has been the primary water source since 1997 and was the backup source from 1977 through 1997.

Approximately 417 connections serve approximately 1,000 residents and businesses, both in the village and the town. Average usage from Lake Derby is 3 to 4 million gallons per month.

Customers depend on the lake as their water source, so the use of chemical agents to remove the plant is not an option. The water supply is also the source for a Newport City industrial park and the city’s backup source.

It is the intent to save the water supply source from this aquatic nuisance.

The lake is used for recreational purposes by the general public as well as by the many homeowners with property surrounding the lake.

Continued growth of EWM without abatement could threaten the recreational use of the lake. Controlling the EWM population will also lessen the threat of it spreading into other bodies of water.

Hand pulling, suction harvesting, and bottom barrier devices are the only options for the village to use in removing EWM. It is vital to keep monitoring the EWM as other sources of drinking water are not available or feasible.

A qualified aquatic plant management firm will be returning to suction harvest the weed from the lake. The top priority will be to prevent any infestation near the water intake piping.

Follow-up EWM surveys will be made to see if the removal efforts and bottom barrier devices have had an impact or if further methods need to be addressed. Harvesting and pulling will continue in 2017 as necessary and as funds allow.

The village will be asking for in-kind donations of services, such as truck or tractor use, disposal sites for milfoil, and donations of supplies or materials.

Anyone who wishes to donate time or materials, please contact Karen Jenne at the village of’ Derby Center office or at 766-5313, or at villagedc@outlook.com.

Quebec man accused of smuggling guns through Haskell Free Library bathroom

in Derby Line/Eastern Townships/Newport/News/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — A 40-year-old man from Montreal was recently extradited from Quebec to face multiple federal firearms charges, including exporting firearms from the United States into Canada without a permit through the Haskell Free Library.

Authorities say that from July 2010 to April 2011, Alexis Vlachos, 40, of Montreal, working with Annette Wexler and another co-conspirator, bought approximately 100 handguns from multiple licensed gun dealers in Florida.

In purchasing these guns, the indictment alleges that Annette Wexler and her co-conspirator falsely stated on the ATF forms they were the true owners of the firearms when they were actually purchasing these firearms on behalf of Vlachos with the intention of smuggling the firearms into Quebec.

In addition, the indictment alleges that on March 25, 2011, Wexler and the co-conspirator traveled to Derby Line with multiple handguns and hid a small backpack containing these handguns in the bathroom of the Haskell Free Library.

Vlachos, who entered the library after walking from Quebec, went into the bathroom, retrieved the backpack containing the handguns, exited the library, and walked back into Quebec without going through the port-of-entry.

The indictment against Vlachos, returned by the grand jury in February 2015, contains five counts.

The first count charges Vlachos with conspiring to export approximately 100 handguns from the United States to Quebec without a munitions permit from the Department of State.

Two counts charge Vlachos with exporting specific handguns without a permit and the remaining two counts charge Vlachos with possession of specific firearms in the United States while in alien status.

Annette Wexler previously pled guilty to conspiring to make false statements to licensed gun dealers and unlawful exportation. Her sentencing is scheduled to take place in July.

At his initial appearance in the United States on June 5, 2017, Vlachos pled not guilty to the charges and did not contest continued detention until trial.

If he is convicted, he faces a maximum possible term of imprisonment of twenty years.

Stolen truck found abandoned, crashed in Coventry

in coventry/Derby/Derby Line/News

COVENTRY — Police say that a truck that crashed on Wednesday morning, had been stolen earlier from a parking lot in Derby.

At around 9:50 a.m. police responded to calls of a white Ford pick-up truck that had gone off the roadway by the intersection of Coventry Station Road in the town of Coventry.

Police say the vehicle crashed as a result of traveling too fast for the road conditions.

It was later learned that the truck had been stolen from a parking lot on Route 111, near Main Street in Derby, sometime between 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, and 5:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Investigators are reviewing surveillance footage from local businesses in the area that the theft occurred.

According to the report, the truck owner was identified as Ronald Patenaude, 49, of Derby Line.

Police are asking anyone with information on this incident to contact Corporal Amy LeClair at 802-334-8881.

Canadian charged with smuggling two Russian area men in Derby Line

in Derby Line/Newport/News

DERBY LINE — Authorities say a Canadian man has been charged with transporting illegal aliens in the United States after he was picked up in Derby Line last month.

Viatcheslav Kim, of Montreal, was stopped during the early morning of May 31, in Derby Line, as he was driving two persons who appeared to have just illegally entered the U.S. from Canada, on foot.

Neither of Kim’s passengers were U.S. citizens, and neither had permission to be inside the United States. One of the men was a Russian citizen, the other a citizen of Uzbekistan.

Border Patrol Agents in the Newport area had been scouting Kim’s activity after he entered the U.S. through Derby Line at around 1:30 a.m. They witnessed him driving near Letourneau’s Field talking on a cell phone, an area known as a common smuggling route.

Agents were also tipped off from Canadian authorities that two individuals were observed through remote surveillance cameras headed toward the U.S./Canada international border.

He was stopped while pulling onto the southbound ramp of I-91.

“These arrests highlight the importance of our profession and display the unique talents Border Patrol Agents put forth to disrupt transnational criminal activity while securing our nation’s northern border,” said Chief Patrol Agent John C. Pfeifer.

Should Kim be convicted as charged he faces a maximum possible sentence of a five-year term of incarceration.

After the hearing, Kim was released on conditions which included the posting of a $3,000 cash bond.

Car hits cow in Holland

in Derby Line/Holland

HOLLAND — A car hit a cow that wandered into the road in Holland on Wednesday.

According to police, at around 9:00 p.m. they responded to a single-vehicle crash on the Valley Road.

The driver, identified as Amanda Blake, of Derby Line, was traveling west when she struck a cow in the travel portion of the roadway.

According to a statement issued by VSP Trooper Abigail Drew, Blake and her three young children were brought to North Country Hospital by a family member as a precaution.

The vehicle, a 2014 Dodge Journey, was totaled in the crash.

Newport Dispatch put in several calls to Trooper Drew requesting more information on this incident, but calls were never returned.

Cajun Meets Celtic at the Haskell Opera House Thursday May 25

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line

DERBY LINE – Southern and Northern fiddle traditions will come together in an international setting as Haskell Opera House presents an evening with David Greely, Mairi Rankin and Ailie Robertson Thursday, May 25 at 7:30 p.m.

David Greely’s French Louisiana music is opening a new wing in his tradition. David has taken the swampy syncopations of Cajun music and its renaissance French dialect to new level of sophistication without losing its urgency and texture.

In solo acoustic performance, he sounds like two or three fiddles, weaving accompaniment to his vocals as if it’s someone else singing. 

David was born in Baton Rouge of Cajun and Irish ancestry and learned Cajun music on dance hall stages throughout South Louisiana, in the archives of Cajun and Creole music at the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, and from his apprenticeship to Cajun fiddle master and National Heritage Fellow Dewey Balfa.

As a founding member of Steve Riley and the Mamou Playboys, David toured Folk Festivals worldwide for 23 years, and was nominated for four Grammy Awards. He has received the Louisiana Artist Fellowship Award for Folklife Performance, and is an adjunct instructor of Cajun fiddle at the University of Louisiana.

Winner of Best Group in both the Live Ireland awards and the Tradition In Review awards, the Rankin/Robertson Duo are one of the top Celtic acts in the world.

With their band The Outside Track, they were Best Live Act nominees in the 2013 MG Alba Scots Traditional Music Awards and won the German Radio Critics Prize 2014 for their latest album Flash Company.

Mairi Rankin is a member of the legendary Rankin Family from Cape Breton, while Ailie Robertson hales from Edinburgh is widely regarded as one of Scotland’s leading young traditional musicians.

The duo blend fiddle, harp, step-dance and vocals with breathtaking vitality. Their boundless energy and unmistakable joie de vivre has won them a large following around the globe.

Don’t miss this incredible evening. Tickets are $20 (Cdn) and are available through Picatic, haskellopera.com and at the box office day of the concert.

Doors open at 6.30 p.m. The concert will begin promptly at 7.30 p.m.

Look for a full lineup of musical and theatrical performances this summer at the Haskell Opera House, including QNEK’s Guys and Dolls, Juno Award winner Whitehorse July 5 and CCMA Award winner Lindi Ortega August 15.

For more information, contact Hal Newman at opera@haskellopera.com.

QNEK Productions kicking off final season with Lend Me a Tenor on April 28th

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Newport

DERBY LINE — QNEK Productions is kicking off its 25th and final season with Lend Me a Tenor, a farce that will keep you laughing long after the curtain comes down. It will run at the Haskell Opera House from April 28 – May 7.

The show will feature an impressive party of local talents in Todd Cubit, Michael Desjardins, Phil Gosselin, Kim Gannon, Rhonda Lucas, Tiffany Quinn, Ron St. John, and Andrea Webster.

In September of 1934, Henry Saunders, the general manager of the Cleveland Grand Opera Company, is primed to welcome world famous Tito Merelli, the greatest tenor of his generation, to appear for one night only as Otello.

The star arrives late, and through a hilarious series of mishaps is given a double dose of tranquilizers and passes out. His pulse is so low that Saunders and his assistant Max believe he’s dead.

In a frantic attempt to salvage the evening, Saunders persuades Max to get into Merelli’s Otello costume and fool the audience into thinking he’s Il Stupendo.

Meanwhile, Merelli wakes up, puts on the costume as well, and madcap hijinks ensue.

The impressive art deco set is brought to life by Set Engineers Rick Gosselin and George Lague. Judy Castonguay is the Stage Manager with Jenny Dunne Directing.

You don’t want to miss this uproarious start to QNEK’s final season.

You can catch Lend Me a Tenor at the Haskell Opera House on April 28 – May 7, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Tickets are available by visiting qnek.com, calling the QNEK Box Office at (802) 334-2216, in person at The MAC Center for the Arts, by visiting catamountarts.org, or by calling the Catamount Arts Box Office at (888) 757-5559.

Fire erupts along Caswell Avenue in Derby Line near U.S. Port of Entry

in Derby Line/Fire/News

DERBY LINE — A roadside grass fire temporarily halted construction of the new U.S. Port of Entry in Derby Line.

The fire broke out Tuesday afternoon at around 1:45 p.m. along Caswell Avenue, near the bridge which crosses I-91 at the U.S border.

Workers on site say the fire started near the street, and pushed downward toward the construction site. They speculated it may have started after someone flicked a cigarette butt from a moving vehicle.

A few of the construction workers used fire extinguishers to contain the blaze, which was mostly snuffed out by the time the Derby Line Fire Department arrived.

Authorities say no damage was reported to the $23 million construction site, where contractors have begun replacing the outdated port facility which currently exists.

April and May is considered peak fire season in Vermont and northern New York, with 75 percent of all fires taking place during these months.

Police: Woman assaulted minor at Derby Elementary School

in Derby/Derby Line/News

DERBY LINE — A 46-year-old woman from Derby Line is facing charges after police say she assaulted a minor at a local elementary school.

On Monday, police say they were contacted regarding an assault that took place at the Derby Elementary School.

“A subsequent investigation revealed that North Country Supervisory Union employee, 46-year-old Kimberly A. Swett of Derby Line, Vermont had assaulted a minor,” a statement issued by trooper Marie Beland reads.

Based on information gathered during the investigation, police say Swett is being charged with cruelty to children under 10 by one over 16.

According to the Derby Elementary School website, Swett works in the resource room.

Newport Dispatch will update this story as more information becomes available.

Gregory Douglass returns to Haskell Opera House, Tod Pronto opening

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line

DERBY LINE — On Saturday, April 1, musician Gregory Douglass will take the stage at the Haskell Opera House, with singer/songwriter Tod Pronto opening the show.

After a recent spotlight on NPR’s Morning Edition, Douglass has been coined “one of New England’s best-kept secrets.” According to OUT Magazine, his evocative, alternative sound blend “Rufus Wainwright’s opulent musicality and Justin Timberlake’s accessible soulfulness.”

Douglass has shared the stage with artists like Regina Spektor, They Might Be Giants, Shawn Colvin, The Weepies, Jason Mraz, and Margaret Cho.

Douglass will be releasing “My Hero, The Enemy,” his 9th studio album.

“This new album is the most deeply personal account of my years in music so far.” he said. “It’s also an ode to being a creative person in the age of information, and what a blessing and a curse it can be.”

Catch Douglass as he returns to the Haskell Opera House, Saturday, April 1, and celebrate the worldwide release of the new album. Tickets are $20.00, and are on sale at: http://www.picatic.com.

The show starts at 7:30 p.m.

To see a live version of “Point Of View,” go to: https://youtu.be/TzG_jO9xRJw

  • Screen-Shot-2017-02-27-at-5.07.42-PM.png
    Manor resident Donald receives a warm welcome to the festivities from SkillsUSA members Aimie Morse and Morgan Bonneau.
  • Screen-Shot-2017-02-27-at-5.07.54-PM.png
    SkillsUSA members take a break from the festivities: standing from left, Allison Fletcher, Sabrina Carter, Jose Bastita (NCCC Co-op coordinator), Dannica Limlaw, Presleigh Chase, Brianna Crouch, Morgan Bonneau, Aimie Morse, Alexia Danner and Ashley Martin; kneeling, SkillsUSA Advisor Celine Champine.

Students from North Country Career Center bring “Beach Bash” to Michaud Manor

in Derby Line/Newport

DERBY LINE — SkillsUSA students from North Country Career Center in Newport hosted a prom at Michaud Manor in Derby Line for residents and their families.

This marks the third year that SkillsUSA members have coordinated this mid-winter event, which was the brainchild of a former SkillsUSA student who worked at Michaud Manor.

This year’s theme was “Beach Bash,” complete with palm trees, Hawaiian leis, and a lot of beach songs.

Helping to make the event possible were:

Andy Gray, who worked as DJ.
Kelley Chase-Benway, who worked as event photographer.
Farrant’s Flower Shop, who decorated the corsages in the theme colors for residents.
The NCCC Culinary students and Chef Woodard, who baked “beach” cookies.

Residents look forward to this event each year.

VIDEO: Meet the cast of QNEK’s “It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play”

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Newport

DERBY LINE — Over the weekend, QNEK Productions ended its 24th season by presenting the holiday classic, It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play.

Staged at the beautiful First Universalist Parish Hall in Derby Line, the shows starred Steve Gonyaw, Marilee Andres, Aidan Mulroy, Tiffany Quinn, and Brian McCrae.

It was directed by Phil Gosselin.

In this video, Newport Dispatch got a chance to talk with the cast about this year’s holiday production.

Photos and interview by Tanya Mueller.

VIDEO: Haskell Opera House appoints new director

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Stanstead/Video

DERBY LINE — The trustees of the Haskell Free Library and Opera House recently announced the appointment of Hal Newman of Stanstead, Quebec as the new director of the Haskell Opera House.

In keeping with the cross-border nature of the Haskell, Newman was raised in Montreal West and attended university in the United States. After a career as, among other things, a paramedic, he and his family moved to Stanstead six years ago, where he works as a chief marketing officer for a cardiovascular research company and social media specialist for emergency management.

Newman has been involved in the arts throughout his life. Over the past two years, he has been the organizer and chief concert host of the Stanstead House Concerts Network, which has brought dozens of artists to Stanstead and region, including Oh Pep! from Australia and Canadian band The Great Lake Swimmers.

“We’re excited to welcome Hal to the Haskell team,” said Haskell board president Matthew Farfan. “He cares about the community, and he brings with him an awareness of the performing arts culture on both sides of the border. We look forward to Hal putting his vision and acute networking skills in place to make the Haskell Opera House a must-perform venue for artists.”

Founded in 1901, the Haskell Free Library and Opera House supports the cultural needs of the community on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border, both English and French, through access to information, reading material, a broad range of library services and programming as well as the visual and performing arts.

As a heritage building and as a cultural centre, the Haskell plays a critical role in enriching the lives of its members and the community.

“It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play” coming to Derby Line

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line

DERBY LINE — QNEK Productions continues the celebration of its 24th season by presenting the holiday classic, It’s A Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play, adapted by Joe Landry.

QNEK has developed a strong tradition of appetizing audience’s hearts for this “most wonderful time of the year,” with hilarious and thoughtful stage entertainment.

In this year’s holiday production, QNEK takes on a radio play version of the beautiful and iconic story that has become a Christmas Eve television staple of families for generations.

If you’ve never seen or heard it live, with sound effects, you won’t want to miss this chance.

Based on the famous 1946 film directed by Frank Capra, It’s A Wonderful Life, Joe Landry’s adaptation of this American holiday classic for all ages will transport audiences straight to Bedford Falls, NY, through a live 1940s radio broadcast.

The show is directed by Phil Gosselin.

The story of idealistic George Bailey unfolds as he discovers what the world would be like without him in it. This international cast features five actors playing all of the roles and doing all of the sound effects live on stage.

The show stars Steve Gonyaw, Marilee Andres, Aidan Mulroy, Tiffany Quinn, and Brian McCrae.

Close to 70 years after it’s screen debut, the story of George Bailey, Mary Hatch, Clarence the Angel, little Zuzu, and all of Bedford Falls still touches the hearts of all ages.

It’s a Wonderful Life: A Live Radio Play performs at the First Universalist Parish Hall in Derby Line on December 9 -11, Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Refreshments will be served at all performances.

Tickets are available by visiting qnek.com, calling the QNEK Box Office at (802) 334-2216, at The MAC Center for the Arts, by visiting catamountarts.org, or by calling the Catamount Arts Box Office at (888) 757-5559.

Police: Halloween candy in Derby Line possibly tampered with

in Derby Line

DERBY LINE — Police are warning that someone possibly tampered with Halloween candy passed out in Derby Line.

On Monday, police were contacted by a concerned citizen who lives in Charleston, advising that she had returned home from trick-or-treating with her children in Derby Line.

After returning home the woman started the process of sorting her children’s candy and checking it to be sure it was safe for consumption.

She said that while doing so she found a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup that she removed from its package and she saw what she thought was a pin hole in the middle of it.

She told police that she broke the candy apart to see if she could find anything inside, but was not able to tell.

After discarding the first one in the trash she checked the candy in another child’s bag and found another Reese’s and opened the package and found what she described as a “smile scratched into the peanut butter cup.”

Police say both pieces of candy were inside a small bag which was stapled closed.

She contacted the Vermont State Police who took the candy for inspection and possible testing.

Police say the candy came from a residence in Derby Line, but they are not sure which home it came from.

Police have not received any other calls or complaints of illness caused from consuming candy that was believed to possibly be tampered with.

  • Screen-Shot-2016-09-01-at-4.59.35-PM.png
    Susan Granfors in Farce of Nature.

Farce of Nature, QNEK’s final mainstage show of the season starts September 9

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Newport/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — QNEK Productions is rounding out its season with the comedy “Farce of Nature,” by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten.

The non-stop hilarity of this southern-fried farce highlights a day in the life of the Wilburn family of Mayhew, Arkansas. D. Gene Wilburn is taking desperate measures to save his fishing lodge the Reel ‘Em Inn, while his wife Wanelle is taking equally desperate measures to save their marriage.

Add in a wacky sister, a mobster in protective custody, the guy he ratted out, a lovelorn couple, and a pack of wild animals, and you begin to see the wild and wonderful world of the Wilburns come to life.

The show stars Judy Castonguay, Lisa Foster, Stephen Gonyaw, Phil Gosselin, Susan Granfors, Deborah Mackay, Brian McCrae, Andrea Webster, and John Young.

Jenny Dunne directs with Elisabeth Barnes-Flint as the stage manager, along with scenic designer Bradleigh Stockwell, set engineer Rick Gosselin, and light and sound board operator Benjamin Barrup.

You don’t want to miss this ridiculous southern romp and QNEK’s final Mainstage show of the 24th Season.

Farce of Nature plays at the Haskell Opera House September 9th – 18th, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.

Tickets are available by calling the QNEK Box Office at 802-334-2216, reserving online at qnek.com, by advance purchase online or by phone at catamountarts.org and the Catamount Arts Box Office at 888-757-5559, and by advanced purchase at the MAC Center for the Arts in downtown Newport.

The Rescignos return to the Haskell on August 13

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line

DERBY LINE — The Rescignos will return to the Haskell stage for a night of uproarious comedy, on Saturday, August 13.

After a fantastic show last year, this twin act is headed back to town with new material and native musician Adam Podd on the piano.

Donning sweater vests and each armed with a razor-sharp wit, Paul and Robbie Rescigno star in this comedy show that hearkens back to an old-school vaudeville act, mixing contemporary material and new music.

The show features musical parody, satire, original comedic music, and the funniest banter around.

Come see The Rescignos appearing at the Haskell Opera House on August 13 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are available for advance purchase at QNEK.com, by calling the box office at 802.334.2216, by visiting catamountarts.org, or at the MAC Center in Downtown Newport.

While all in good fun, this show should be considered PG-13 for some adult humor.

QNEK Productions Presents SEUSSICAL starting July 21

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — QNEK Productions, the award winning international theatre company in residence at the historic Haskell Opera House, continues their 24th season with the perfect show for the entire family, SEUSSICAL.

QNEK’s production of SEUSSICAL will run July 21 – 31, at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Tony winning writers, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, have brought to life all of our favorite Dr. Seuss characters in a musical caper for all ages.

The Cat in the Hat serves as our guide through the wonderful world of Seuss. We enter the story of Horton Hears a Who and soon find ourselves meeting any and every kind of character from the Seuss universe including Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz, lazy Mayzie, and Jojo the Who.

SEUSSICAL has an incredible cast featuring actors from both sides of the border.

Lynn Leimer, QNEK’s Founder and Artistic Director, stars as the mischievous Cat in the Hat along with Steve Gonyaw, Charli Kellaway, Josie Pearson, Ruth Ann Fletcher, Jessi Sackett, Suzanne Norwood, Tiffany Quinn, John Young and more.

Jenny Dunne directs with choreography by Phil Gosselin and costume design by Lisa Foster.

The production also has benefit performances for two local nonprofits. Come and enjoy a wonderful show while supporting local businesses.

The first is for the MAC Center on Friday, July 29, and the second is for the First Universalist Parish of Derby Line on Sunday, July 31.

There will also be a talkback with the cast and creative team on Sunday July 24. Any and all ticket holders are welcome to come for this questions and answer session following the show.

Tickets are available by calling the QNEK Box Office at 802-334-2216, reserving by email at qnek.com, by advance purchase online or by phone at catamountarts.org and the Catamount Arts Box Office at 888-757-5559, and by advanced purchase at the MAC Center for the Arts in downtown Newport.

Orleans County students bring home prizes from Stanstead College 

in Derby/Derby Line/Irasburg/Newport

STANSTEAD, QC – Orleans County students were among the top prize-winners at Stanstead College’s closing Baccalaureate ceremony held at Centenary Church in Stanstead on Thursday.

Patrick Young of Derby Line won the Ashworth Scholarship, awarded to a deserving local day student who consistently demonstrates effort and excels in some area of activity. He also won the English prize for Grade 9.

Brother Ryan Young earned the Art and English Prizes, the Amaron Prize for French in Grade 7 as well as the Fountain Family Scholarship.

Andrew Bouchard of Derby Line won the Grade 8 prizes for Art, English, Geography, History and Science-Technology and the Sybil Galambos Prize for Francais. He also had the highest overall average in Grade 8.

Connor Fletcher, Grade 12, of Irasburg, won the Bugbee House Prize.

Emily Willis, Grade 9, of Newport, was named the top junior female athlete, winning the Sheila Ferguson Shield. Emily also won the Grade 9 prizes for History, Music and Science.

Mya Daigle of Newport won the Trueman-McFadyen Award, presented to the girl in the senior school with the highest overall average who has played three varsity sports and won a Major S athletic award.

Alissa Bissonnette of Derby and the school’s co-head prefect won the Graham Chandler Sportsman of the Year Award, presented to the athlete who best exemplifies the attributes of character, integrity and sportsmanship.

The guest speaker for this year’s Baccalaureate was aluma Helen White, Class of 2009. Originally from Newport, White is now studying law at Yale and working this summer in a federal prosecutor’s office in Washington, DC.

Ms. White encouraged the graduates to focus on growth, build community, and embrace difference, skills that they had, in fact, already learned at Stanstead College.

“Stop focusing on being the best and start focusing on being better than you were yesterday,” she said.

Drawing on her own experience of being supported as a student and supporting her peers, she added, “Having a community matters because they help you reach your highest hopes and help you through your toughest times.”

Two dead, two injured after tragic accident in West Charleston

in Charleston/Derby/Derby Line/Newport/News

WEST CHARLESTON — Two people from Orleans County were tragically killed in a single-vehicle crash that took place in West Charleston on Sunday.

Police say Esperanza Robles, 29, of Derby Line, and Ryan Coulter, 26, of Newport, were killed in the crash that happened on Vermont 105, at around 4:40 p.m.

According to a statement issued by police, Joshua Cole, 30, of Derby, was operating a 1994 Honda Prelude traveling west in the town of West Charleston, when he lost control while exiting a sharp corner.

The vehicle traveled off the north side of the road.

Cole’s vehicle then struck a large tree off the side of the roadway.

Police say the three passengers were all ejected from the vehicle, and that no one in the car was wearing a seatbelt.

Amanda Letourneau, 27, of East Charleston, suffered head and leg injuries.

Cole also suffered head injuries from the crash.

“Alcohol and speed are factors contributing to the accident,” a statement issued by Sgt. Sean Selby of the Vermont State Police reads.

The accident remains under investigation.

Derby Line woman jailed for embezzlement

in Derby Line/News

DERBY LINE — Amy C. Fletcher, 45, of Derby Line, appeared for sentencing yesterday on her fraud and tax evasion convictions before Judge J. Garvan Murtha in the U.S. District Court in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Judge Murtha sentenced Fletcher to 15 months’ imprisonment, ordering her to report to the Bureau of Prisons on June 21, 2016, to serve her sentence.

Judge Murtha also ordered Fletcher to pay restitution to Derby Line Ambulance in the amount of $289,864.

In June 2015, Fletcher pleaded guilty to wire fraud and filing a false tax return. As office manager of Derby Line Ambulance in 2009-2012, she embezzled nearly $290,000.

Derby Line Ambulance provides ambulance services to five northern Vermont towns. Now under different management, during 2009-2012 it was operated by Brian and Amy Fletcher, then husband and wife.

At sentencing yesterday, defense counsel David Sleigh urged a non-incarcerative sentence, protesting “mass incarceration.” The United States, represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bill Darrow, urged a jail term.

The case was investigated by the Criminal Investigation Division of the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

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Derby Line Port of Entry to get extreme makeover this summer

in Derby Line/News/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), announced the award of a $23 million construction contract for upgrades to the Derby Line Port of Entry.

The contract will allow for the completion of necessary upgrades to the port, replacing the outdated facility which currently exists.

The project will be designed to be both energy efficient, sustainable and will be certified as LEED Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Officials say the more modernized, structurally sound land port entry will help commerce and trade flow efficiently from across the border.

“Upgrading one of the key commercial ports of Vermont while strengthening our border infrastructure are important priorities,” said Robert Zarnetske, GSA Regional Administrator, New England Region. “GSA is delighted to be able to announce this long-anticipated project will begin this Summer.”

About the Derby Line LPOE Project:

The project will include a new commercial inspection building with a 2 bay commercial loading dock, cargo storage, lab space, a kennel, public counter space and CBP work areas.

A new main port building is also planned, which will include administrative offices, processing and immigration services spaces, and a violator retention area.

A photovoltaic solar array will be installed providing on-site renewable energy.

A 20 percent reduction in water consumption and a 32 percent reduction in total energy usage is projected as a result of this project.

In addition, 75 percent or more of all construction waste will be diverted from landfill through recycling.

The project will also incorporate new inspection booths, canopies, and lane configurations.

Additional site improvements consist of new lighting, fire protection, water service, sanitary sewer, site drainage and stormwater management systems, improvements to paving, signage, electrical service and a new access drive.

Construction will begin this summer.

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    All photos by Tanya Mueller.
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“Rumors” keeps audiences laughing during QNEK’s opening weekend at the Haskell

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — QNEK Productions, the award-winning international theatre company in residence at the historic Haskell Opera House, opened its 24th season over the weekend with the uproarious Neil Simon farce, “Rumors.”

The show features a stellar cast from both sides of the border.

Mike Desjardins, Alan Franklin, Kim Gannon, Phil Gosselin, Mary Hoadley, Sue Kuzma, Audrey Langlois, Rhonda Lucas, Ross Murray, and Chris Planetta make up the ensemble cast that kept audiences laughing at every turn.

The show is Directed by Jenny Dunne.

If you missed opening weekend, be sure to catch one of the upcoming shows taking place this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Friday and Saturday shows start at 7:30 p.m. Sunday will be the final performance at 2 p.m.

Tickets are available by calling the QNEK Box Office at 802-334-2216, reserving by email at qnek.com, by advance purchase online or by phone at catamountarts.org and the Catamount Arts Box Office at 888-757-5559, and by advanced purchase at the MAC Center for the Arts in downtown Newport.

Please note that this play contains adult language.

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    Top Row L - R: Mary Hoadley, Chris Planetta, Phil Gosselin Middle Row L - R: Rhonda Lucas, Mike Desjardins, Audrey Hamilton Bottom Row L - R: Alan Franklin, Sue Kuzma, Kim Gannon, Ross Murray.
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    Clockwise from top L: ​Mary Hoadley, Chris Planetta, Rhonda Lucas, Phil Gosselin.

QNEK kicking off 24th season with Rumors opening April 22 at the Haskell

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line

DERBY LINE — QNEK Productions, the award winning international theatre company in residence at the historic Haskell Opera House, is opening its 24th season with the uproarious Neil Simon farce, Rumors, opening April 22.

The show will feature a stellar cast from both sides of the border. Mike Desjardins, Alan Franklin, Kim Gannon, Phil Gosselin, Mary Hoadley, Sue Kuzma, Audrey Langlois, Rhonda Lucas, Ross Murray, and Chris Planetta make up the ensemble cast that will keep you laughing at every turn.

Deputy Mayor of New York City, Charley Brock, and his wife, Myra, are throwing a fabulous fête to celebrate their ten year anniversary, with their best friends in attendance. The problem? Charley’s had a mysterious accident and Myra is missing in action. His lawyer, Ken and wife Chris have to get their story straight before the others arrive and start asking questions. But, it seems time has run out just as the play begins and the evening quickly spins off into farcical hilarity.

The show is Directed by Jenny Dunne.

The production is underwritten by North Country Hospital and Lynda Graham Barber, in Memory of Ray C. Barber. Additional support comes from Community National Bank and Community Circle.

Don’t miss this hilarious start to QNEK Productions 24th season at the historic Haskell Opera House.

Rumors by Neil Simon runs April 22 – May 1.
Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30, Sundays at 2 p.m.

Tickets are available by calling the QNEK Box Office at 802-334-2216, reserving by email at qnek.com, by advance purchase online or by phone at catamountarts.org and the Catamount Arts Box Office at 888-757-5559, and by advanced purchase at the MAC Center for the Arts in downtown Newport.

Please note that this play contains adult language.

[VIDEO] Derby Line set to get new sidewalks this summer

in Derby Line/News

DERBY LINE — In the next few months Derby Line will be getting new sidewalks running from the Irving Station, up Caswell Avenue to Maple Street.

The project was initiated by village trustee Buzz Roy back in May of 2006.

Roy was able to get a $300,000 grant from VTrans to help pay for the cost of the project. He says the grant should cover about 80 percent of the total cost.

Bids were opened for the project on Thursday, with the lowest one coming in at $558,027.

The project, which would include demolition and removal of the old sidewalks, is expected to start in the next few months.

The project should be completed by September 1.

Although traffic along Caswell Avenue and Main Street can be busy at times given its location to the U.S. Port of Entry, Roy feels that construction can be scheduled accordingly to keep travel delays to a minimum.

“There certainly will be some delays now and then, but it should be minor,” said Roy.

Three snowmobiles stolen in Derby Line

in Derby Line/News

DERBY LINE — Three snowmobiles were stolen sometime last week from a home in Derby Line.

Police say last Friday that Randy Sykes called to report that three of his Skidoo snowmobiles were stolen from his residence, located at 268 Holland Road.

The theft is thought to have occurred sometime between March 8 and March 16.

Police say that a bright red pickup truck with an open trailer was seen loading the three machines.

One of the snowmobiles was a 1998 Skidoo MXZ, and two were 1997 Skidoo Touring sleds.

Police are asking if anyone has information on the red pickup truck, or where the snowmobiles may be, to call the Vermont State Police in Derby at 802-334-8881.

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