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President Obama gives shout out to Haskell Library and Derby Line

in Derby Line/News

DERBY LINE — During a White House Arrival Ceremony for the Canadian Prime Minister on the South Lawn, President Obama gave a shout out to Derby Line, Vermont.

President Obama welcomed Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his wife Sophie Gregoire Trudeau to the White House as part of a state visit.

During his speech, he made reference to the Haskell Free Library, which is located in both Derby Line, Vermont, and Stanstead, Quebec.

He also mentioned both towns during this speech.

Ceremonies included a review of the troops, playing of national anthems, a pass in review, and remarks by both leaders.

Four arrested during human smuggling attempt in Derby Line

in Derby Line/News

DERBY LINE — U.S. Border Patrol Agents say they arrested four people during a human smuggling episode that took place in Derby Line, near the Vermont-Canadian border on Saturday night.

According to court records, at approximately 8:20 p.m. on February 27, 2016, agents received a report of possible cross-border illegal activity near Derby Line. Border Patrol agents assigned to the Newport station responded to the area and watched a man lead two other persons south across the international border.

South of the border, the three individuals were picked up by a 2008 Infinity automobile with New Jersey license plates.

As the car proceeded south on Interstate 91, Border Patrol agents performed a traffic stop and arrested the four occupants.

The occupants of the Infinity were all natives of the Ukraine and Georgia.

Two had obtained U.S. Citizenship and are suspected of smuggling into the country the two passengers, neither of whom had legal authority to be in the United States.

Authorities say the driver and owner of the car, Tamar Toradze, 27, had driven north to the border area with Levan Arutinov, 25, to pick up the two illegals.

A Criminal Complaint charges the driver, and her front seat passenger, Levan Arutinov, 25, with alien smuggling and conspiracy. If convicted, they each face a maximum of ten years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

Because Arutinov is a lawfully admitted permanent resident of the United States, he also faces removal from the United States and a bar to reentry.

One of the illegal aliens, Mykhaylo Andrushko, a 48 year old citizen of the Ukraine, had been previously removed from the United States. He allegedly produced a Hungarian passport with a false name when confronted by Border Patrol agents. A Criminal Complaint charges him with reentry after removal. He faces a maximum of two years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine. He also faces removal from the United States and bar to reentry.

The other illegal alien, Nino Lempanintze, a 33 year-old native and resident of Georgia with Greek citizenship, is detained as a material witness.

“This is a great example of some of the training and unique skills our agents use to perform their border security mission,” said Patrol Agent in Charge Fernando Beltran. “I commend these agents for their work securing our border with Canada.”

All four had court appearances on Monday.

  • 20151227_1528491.jpg
    Members are from left to right: Frank Rudolph, Kathy Ketchum (violin), Anne Steinberg, Paula Hansen-Graveline, Lisa C. Erwin (flute), Linda Aiken, Chris Maginniss (clarinet) and Judy Hurd (bass clarinet).

Local ensemble brings Christmas music to residents at the Michaud Manor

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line

DERBY LINE — On Sunday, the First Universalist Parish Ensemble (FUP) played a selection of Christmas music for the residents at the Michaud Manor in Derby Line.

The FUP Ensemble is a small chamber ensemble based in Derby Line. Its members also play in the Newport Area Community Orchestra.

“We were invited to play at Michaud Manor by Anne Steinberg, who is the administrator for the facility,” Ken Michelli, Music Director of the Newport Area Community Orchestra, said.

Michelli conducted the ensemble on Sunday. Susan Maginniss and Vern Hurd also assisted the residents with the singing of several traditional carols.

Orchestra members have already performed for the residents at Bel-Aire Nursing Facility in Newport, Craftsbury Community Care Center, and The Meeting Place Adult Day Care in Newport.

“The residents always seem to enjoy the music and some were quite responsive in their support of the group,” Michelli said.

The ensemble can be heard playing on selected Sundays at the First Universalist Parish.

Icy conditions lead to rollover crash in Derby Line

in Derby Line/News

DERBY LINE — Police say icy road conditions on Sunday evening caused a Derby man to roll his truck on the Holland Road.

The accident took place at around 5 p.m., when police say John C. Hardy, 23, was traveling east in Derby Line, when the rear of his 2002 GMC pickup started to slide on the icy road surface.

The vehicle slid across the westbound lane, eventually leaving the north side of the roadway.

The vehicle rolled after hitting a small ditch, coming to rest on the driver’s side.

Hardy was transported to North Country Hospital by Derby Line Ambulance, for what police described as non life-threatening lacerations.

The vehicle was totaled in the crash.

Hungerfest concert raises $36,725

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line

DERBY LINE — Last week the Hungerfest Concert was held at the Haskell Opera House, raising a total of $31,635 to help support NEKCA’s food shelf.

The concert marked the end of this year’s Hungerfest drive. Other fundraising efforts, including the Hungerbowl, radio, newspaper, and Facebook challenges, brought in an additional $5,090, bringing this year’s donation total to $36,725.

The concert featured local singer-songwriter Tod Pronto, who opened up for legendary musician Jonathan Edwards.

Community partnerships played an important role in helping Hungerfest break donation records this year. Once such partnership was with AutoSaver Group, one of New England’s largest auto dealer groups.

“Joe Patrissi and Kathy Metras from NEKCA met with us a couple of years ago and outlined the immense problem of hunger in the Northeast Kingdom,” Ronney Lyster, owner of AutoSaver Group said. “Both Abel and I felt there should be no reason, in a country with so many resources, that our neighbors should ever go without the basic needs of life. We both believe in giving back to the community and there’s no better sense of satisfaction than helping make sure kids and their parents have enough food on the table.”

Mr. Lyster and Abel Toll of AutoSaver Group decided this year to create an annual event that could motivate people and other local companies to donate to Hungerfest, rather than just making a donation as they have done in the past.

“What an amazing few months,” Kathy Metras said. “Without Ronney’s community leadership and generosity we would not have come close to raising this kind of awareness or money. Not to mention the new community partnerships that have been formed.”

Tod Pronto got the crowd going with a short opening set that showcased some songs off of his new album, “It Can’t All Be Wrong.” He also performed a touching new song he recently wrote about his mother who passed away earlier in the year.

“We felt it was important to showcase a local talent opener for Jonathan Edwards,” Lyster said. “Tod Pronto was the logical choice considering his involvement with the fundraiser.”

Jonathan Edwards, the famous singer-songwriter and musician best known for his 1971 hit single “Sunshine,” closed out the evening with an intimate performance of songs that spanned his entire career.

In between songs, Edwards talked with the crowd about his career and the way songs came about, treating the audience to an intimate look at his life and music.

QNEK Productions presents Bingle Jells in Newport and Derby Line

in Derby Line/Newport/News

DERBY LINE — Looking for away to celebrate the season and start your holiday with a laugh and a song? Look no further than QNEK Productions original Bingle Jells.

Fun and follies abound in this off-kilter take on seasonal stories.

Conceived by Lynn Leimer, Bingle Jells takes audiences on a journey to an alternate universe North Pole, featuring a cast of elves singing, dancing, and romancing their way through the night.

Will Mrs. Claus be swept off her feet by Elvish Presley? Will one of the elves tap dance right off the stage? Will Santa be able to make all of his deliveries or will the flirtatious singing elves distract him? There’s only one way to find out, so join QNEK for this delightful and delirious show.

This festive cast features actors from both sides of the border, led by director Susan Lynn Johns and accompanied by Janice Luce.

​Onstage you’ll see David Harrison, Todd Cubit, Allen Cubit, Lisa Foster, Ruth Ann Fletcher, Anita Morin, Sally Rivard, Judy Castonguay, Susan Kuzma, Nathan Sargent, Mary Hoadley, Chris Planetta, Rhonda Lucas, Victoria Young, Marianna Barrett, Emily Wilkie, Kaeleb Berthiaume, and Caresse Comeau-Ellman.

QNEK’s Bingle Jells is a great way to begin your holiday in a spirit of generosity as proceeds will go to benefit the non-profit where each show is being presented.

Bingle Jells will play at the MAC Center in Newport on Friday December 11 at 7:30 p.m., and at the First Universalist Parish of Derby Line on Saturday December 12 at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are available by calling 802.334.2216, visiting qnek.com, visiting catamountarts.org, or at the MAC Center in downtown Newport. ​

Man busted with crack cocaine inside loaf of bread in Derby Line to serve 18 months

in Derby Line/News

DERBY LINE — The man who tried to smuggle 50 grams of crack cocaine inside a hollowed-out loaf of bread at the Derby Line port of entry, was sentenced on Tuesday to serve 18 months in prison.

According to court records, in the early morning of January 5, 2015, a Customs and Border Protection Officer stationed in Derby Line noticed a vehicle making an illegal U-turn in between the ports of entry for the United States and Canada.

The car was headed north towards Canada but turned back before attempting entry. CBP officers stopped and inspected the vehicle, later conducting interviews with the driver, Tyrone Dixon, 35, of Florida, and passenger Emily Lasell, of Vermont.

From the vehicle, CBP recovered a hollowed-out loaf of bread concealing approximately 50 grams of crack cocaine, some of which was already packaged for distribution, re-wrapped inside a plastic bread bag, and concealed inside a bag of groceries.

CBP also recovered five syringes that appeared to have been used and approximately twenty-five used or torn white packages consistent with the packaging commonly seen in the heroin trade.

From inside the passenger’s bra, CBP recovered two small packages commonly known as “tickets” of heroin.

On January 15, 2015, Dixon was indicted by a federal grand jury on a one-count indictment charging him with Possession with Intent to Distribute a Controlled Substance. Dixon pleaded guilty to the sole count in the indictment on June 2, 2015, pursuant to a plea agreement.

On Tuesday, Dixon was sentenced in United States District Court in Rutland by U.S. District Court Judge Geoffrey W. Crawford, to 18 months in prison followed by three years of post-release supervision.

QNEK to present Steel Magnolias at the Haskell starting this Friday

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Eastern Townships/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — ​QNEK Productions is proud to present its final mainstage performance of the year with the lively and touching Steel Magnolias by Robert Harling. Equal parts heart and hilarity, the show is set to be the perfect addition to the Fall Foliage season.

Directed by Jenny Dunne and Assistant Directed by Phil Gosselin, this cast features fantastic talent from both sides of the border:

Anita Morin (Holland, VT)
Rhonda Lucas (Derby Line, VT)
Sally Rivard (Jay, VT)
Mary Hoadley (Newport, VT)
Susan Bourgeois (Newport, VT)
Kim Prangley (Stanstead, QC)

The action is set in Truvy’s beauty salon in Chinquapin, Louisiana where “anyone who is anyone” comes to have their hair done. Helped by her eager and awkward assistant Annelle, the outspoken, wise-cracking Truvy dispenses shampoos and free advice to the town’s rich curmudgeon Ouiser, an eccentric millionaire Miss Clairee, and the local social leader M’Lynn, whose daughter Shelby is facing life’s highs and lows in short order.

The tech team for this QNEK production includes Tech Director Dennis Zeigler, Set Engineer Rick Gosselin, Lighting Designer David Harrison, Stage Manager Allen Cubit, Light Board Operator Sara Cubit, and Set Designer Susan-Lynn Johns.

Steel Magnolias by Robert Harling plays at the Haskell Opera House October 9 – 18, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Tickets and information are available by calling the QNEK Box Office at (802) 334-2216, visiting qnek.com, at the MAC Center on Main Street in Newport, and catamountarts.org.

​Photo (Clockwise from top left): Susan Bourgeois, Kim Prangley, Rhonda Lucas, Sally Rivard, Anita Morin, Mary Hoadley. Featured photo: Mary Hoadley.

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 3.59.12 PM

Vermont Symphony Orchestra this Sunday at the Haskell Opera House

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line

DERBY LINE — The Vermont Symphony Orchestra’s annual Made in Vermont statewide tour is coming to Derby Line this Sunday. The show will take place at the Haskell Opera House, starting at 4 p.m.

The program includes two charming Scandinavian miniatures, and two sublime works featuring the violin. Student poetry will accompany Sibelius’ evocative Suite Mignonne.

Music director Jaime Laredo solos in Mozart’s second violin concerto and is joined by concertmaster Katherine Winterstein for Bach’s Double Concerto.

The program also includes a traditional Vermont-themed world premiere, written by Jennifer Jolley.

Event Details:

Date/Time: Sunday, September 27, 4:00 p.m.

Location: Haskell Opera House, Derby Line, VT

Jaime Laredo, conductor and violin
Katherine Winterstein, violin

Madeleine Roy of GMUW, left, and Sheila Gleason of Community National Bank.

CNB donations help two organizations with ties to Derby Line community

in Derby Line

DERBY LINE — Community National Bank recently presented donations that will help two local organizations with ties to the Derby Line community.

Community National Bank Executive Vice President Kathy Austin recently presented Haskell Free Library Director Nancy Rumery with a donation of $5,000.00.

The Haskell Free Library shares space with the Haskell Opera House found in Derby Line, and Stanstead, Quebec.

The building was constructed in 1901 to provide these two border communities a place for learning and cultural enrichment. It’s the only building in the world that is split in two by an international border.

Through the summer, employees of all branches of Community National Bank held a weekly “Jeans Day,” and those wanting to wear jeans at work on that day could do so by donating toward a local nonprofit.

The tellers at the Derby Line branch chose to have their contributions given to Green Mountain United Way (GMUW), an organization that supports early learning, financial stability, healthy living and basic needs for the people of the Northeast Kingdom.

Accepting the check was Madeleine Roy, Marketing Director for GMUW, whose office is located in Derby Line.

Madeleine Roy of GMUW, left, and Sheila Gleason of Community National Bank.
Madeleine Roy of GMUW, left, and Sheila Gleason of Community National Bank.

[VIDEO] Bank stabilization project underway at Derby Line Cemetery

in Derby Line/News

Over the years land at the Derby Line Cemetery has been eroding toward the Tomifobia River. For the past seven years, a project to stabilize the bank has been in the works.

The project is finally in the first phase.

Newport Dispatch spoke with project administrator Del Green to find out more about the work that is being done at the site, which sits on the Canadian border.

QNEK presents Suds: The Rocking 60’s Musical Soap Opera

in Albany/Derby Line/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — Back by popular demand, QNEK Productions is thrilled to bring SUDS: The Rocking 60’s Musical Soap Opera by Melinda Gilb, Steve Gunderson, and Bryan Scott, to the Historic Haskell Opera House. After a fabulous run of the show last year, QNEK is bringing it back.

In the style of other jukebox musicals like Forever Plaid, Mamma Mia, and Jersey Boys, SUDS sets a comedy in the world of the greatest musical hits of the 1960’s.

With songs like You Can’t Hurry Love, RESPECT, These Boots Are Made for Walkin’, I Say A Little Prayer, Goin’ to the Chapel, and so many more, SUDS is a must see for audiences of all ages.

Directed by Phil Gosselin, this fantastic four-person dynamo features Jenny Dunne as the loveably impressionable Cindy, Ruth Ann Fletcher as brassy, no-nonsense Marge, and Danielle Carrier as the manically perky Dee Dee.

Phil Gosselin rounds out the cast, juggling the rest of SUDS delightfully memorable characters.

The SUDS production team also includes Set Engineer/Master Carpenter Rick Gosselin, Lighting Engineer Dennis Zeigler, and Production Assistants Benjamin Barrup and Sara Cubit.

Whether seeing it for the first time or seeing it again, you don’t want to miss this thrilling musical event.

QNEK’s SUDS: The Rocking 60’s Musical Soap Opera runs August 14 – 23, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. at the Haskell Opera House in Derby Line, VT and Stanstead, QC.

Tickets and information are available by calling the QNEK Box Office at (802) 334-2216, visiting qnek.com, at the MAC Center on Main Street in Newport, and catamountarts.org.

New NEXUS lane speeds up border crossing in Stanstead, Quebec

in Derby Line/News/Stanstead

STANSTEAD, QC — The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced the opening of a NEXUS lane at the Stanstead, Quebec border crossing, providing more efficient border clearance for low-risk travelers. This lane will be used to process NEXUS members during high-volume periods between the hours of 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday and will be used as a regular lane at other times.
 
This new lane is a first for Stanstead and the 11th lane to open as part of the NEXUS lane expansion commitment.

“The opening of this additional NEXUS lane confirms Canada’s support in implementing initiatives outlined in the Canada/U.S. Beyond the Border Action Plan, and highlights our commitment to facilitate the smooth flow of legitimate trade and travel while securing our border,” said Benoît Chiquette, Regional Director General, Quebec Region, CBSA
 
The NEXUS program is a bi-national program jointly administered by the CBSA and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection for low-risk, pre-approved travelers into Canada and the United States. The program provides members with access to expedited processing at designated ports of entry in the air and marine modes as well at land border crossings, through dedicated processing lanes.
 
The NEXUS fee is $50 (CAN or USD) and is valid for five years. Currently there are more than 1,200,000 NEXUS members who expedite their travel across the Canada-U.S border. NEXUS member enjoy expedited travel across the Canada-U.S. border at eight international airports, 20 land ports of entry and approximately 430 marine locations. The program began in 2002 in the highway mode and in 2006 expanded to air and marine modes.
 

Jacob Hochstrasser-Borsari (middle right) shares the Pitcher Prize with Julia Gilpin, presented by College board chairman Jonathan Cowen (left) and guest speaker George Diamondoupolis, Class of 1994.

Local students earn top prizes at Stanstead College

STANSTEAD, QC — Jacob Hochstrasser-Borsari of Holland was the major prize-winner at Saturday’s Baccalaureate and Prize-Giving Service for Stanstead College, held at Centenary United Church.

In addition to winning the Grade 12 prizes for Chemistry, Physics and the highest Term 3 average, Jacob won the Choir Award, the Technology Prize, the Community Service Award, the Spofforth Trophy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics, the Arthur E. Curtis Jr. Award for the top student entering an engineering program, the Bowman Hall Award for a major athlete with the highest average, and the Birks Silver Medal for the highest overall average in Grade 12.

To top it all, Jacob shared the Pitcher Memorial Prize with fellow head prefect Julia Gilpin of Wemindji, Quebec. This is the school’s top prize, awarded to the student who has exerted the greatest influence for good. Headmaster Wolfe said the tie was a result of a dead heat in the voting. This is the first time since 1970 that the award has been shared.

Jacob will be studying electrical engineering at McGill University in Montreal this fall.

Jacob Hochstrasser-Borsari (middle right) shares the Pitcher Prize with Julia Gilpin, presented by College board chairman Jonathan Cowen (left) and guest speaker George Diamondoupolis, Class of 1994.
Jacob Hochstrasser-Borsari (middle right) shares the Pitcher Prize with Julia Gilpin, presented by College board chairman Jonathan Cowen (left) and guest speaker George Diamondoupolis, Class of 1994.

Ryan Fletcher, a graduating Grade 12 student from Irasburg, won the first-ever Ashworth Scholarship, awarded to a deserving local day student who consistently demonstrated effort and excelled in some area of activity. Ryan also won the Grade 12 French and Philosophy prizes, as well as the Jazz Band Award.

Ryan will be studying physics at St. Lawrence University in the fall.

Ryan Fletcher receives the first Ashworth Scholarship from former teacher Peter Ashworth.
Ryan Fletcher receives the first Ashworth Scholarship from former teacher Peter Ashworth.

Kaylee Bowen, a Grade 10 student from Orleans, won the Faculty-Staff Award, presented to a student who is deemed most likely to benefit from returning to the College and who exemplifies the qualities of health, wisdom and integrity. She also won the Leonard McGilton Memorial Award, presented to a senior returning local student.

Andrew Bouchard of Newport was the top student in Grade 7, winning prizes for Art, Geography, History, Math, Science and French. He also had the top overall average in Grade 7.

Emily Willis of Newport cleaned up in Grade 8, earning prizes for French, Geography, History, Math, Music, Science and the highest overall average.

Alexander Bimm of Montgomery had the highest average in Grade 9 and won the class prize for French, Math and Science. He also earned the E. Harper Junior Debating Trophy, the Thespian Shield for Acting and the Banting Award, presented to a returning local student for academic achievement.

Ian Kemp, a Grade 12 student from Coventry, won the John T. Hackett Trophy for Senior Debating. He will be studying political science at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia.

Sadie Smith, Grade 11, of Montgomery earned the Billy Huckins Memorial Award for dedication, hard work, achievement and courage. Her sister Annawon the English prize for Grade 10.

Finally, Patrick Young, Grade 8, from Derby Line, won his class English prize, while the Grade 7 English prize went to Francesca Richardi of Newport Center. Elizabeth Gaudreau of Newport won the Grade 9 Music prize.

In all, 59 students graduated with a Grade 12 diploma, including five Vermont day students.

Derby Line woman pleads guilty to fraud

in Derby Line/News

DERBY LINE — Amy C. Fletcher, 44, of Derby Line pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Brattleboro to committing wire fraud and filing a false tax return.

Fletcher admitted in court that while working for Derby Line Ambulance (DLA) during 2009-2012, she embezzled money from the company to pay personal expenses. She also admitted filing a false 2011 tax return with the Internal Revenue Service.

Fletcher admitted engaging “in an ongoing practice of diverting funds from DLA for personal use, paying personal credit cards and home and car loans.”

She admitted to drawing over 400 checks on DLA’s business accounts, making them payable to herself and others for her benefit.

At the change of plea hearing the government stated that during the time period in question, DLA had business receipts of over $1.5 million, out of which Fletcher diverted over $250,000.

Fletcher’s counsel responded that the total amount of stolen funds might be contested at sentencing.

U.S. District Court Judge J. Garvan Murtha ordered a pre-sentence investigation, and scheduled a sentencing hearing on December 17, 2015.

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

The maximum possible penalty for the two offenses is 20 years in prison for the wire fraud, and three years for the false tax filing.

One night only: QNEK Productions presents Once Upon a Clothesline

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — International Theatre Company in Residence at the historic Haskell Opera House, QNEK Productions, is proud to present Once Upon a Clothesline by Aurand Harris, a delightful onstage adventure for kids, starring kids. The show will run one night only, starting at 2 p.m. on June 27.

Summary

Pinno and Pinnette are two clothespins holding a quilt on the line when the big, scary Spider threatens Pinnette. As he comes to her defense, Pinno finds himself falling to the ground and meeting a whole new cast of characters. Mrs. Ant, Junior Ant, and Dr. Beetle come to his rescue, but as soon as he’s revived Pinnette falls into the Spider’s web.

Come and see the adventures of the clothespins and their many zany friends as they try to defeat the Spider.

This charming cast features a fun troop of kids from both sides of the border: Dayna Alexandre (Magog, QC), Marianna Barrett (Derby, VT), Kaeleb Berthiaume (Newport, VT), Cazian Comeau-Elman (Stanstead, QC), Caresse Comeau-Elman (Stanstead, QC), Loraly Grenier (Stanstead, QC), Macy Moore (East Haven, VT), Cokie Seitz (VT), Anikka Socia (VT), Alicia Socia (VT), Emily Wilkie (Newport, VT), and Victoria Young (Newport, VT).

Directing this delight is QNEK Founder and Artistic Director Lynn Leimer who shares a special history with the show. She played Junior Ant 50 years ago with the Pine Tree Players in New Jersey directed by her mother, then directed her own daughter Kristen Camp in the show 15 years ago. Rounding out the team is Molly Moore serving as the Assistant Director, Lisa Foster working on Costumes, and Judy Castonguay as the Stage Manager.

Once Upon a Clothesline by Aurand Harris plays at the Haskell Opera House for one performance only on June 27th 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.

Clothesline Kids 2

Home for sale in Derby Line used in online housing scam

in Derby Line/News

DERBY LINE — A home for sale in Derby Line was recently used in an online housing scam that left one victim losing over $8,000. Police are warning the public to beware of housing scammers targeting local real estate.

Police say that the scam took place through Craigslist, an online classifieds website.

The victim had been searching Craigslist for houses to rent or buy in the area. Once she showed interest via email, she was contacted and asked to send money through MoneyGram to Michigan.

The house in question is a legitimate residence for sale in Derby Line, but it was not the owners requesting the money. The scammer had no connection to the property.

Authorities say that the victim is now out $8,568. Police are currently investigating the case.

The property, located at 413 Elm Street, is legitimately listed online as a 1,296 square foot home, with 3 beds and 1 bath, priced at $129,900.

The Vermont State Police are urging the public not to send money via MoneyGram without fully investigating it. They are reminding the public to never give out your account information or your social security number.

Free comedy show at the Haskell Opera House this Sunday

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — Comedian Jonny Harris is on a journey across Canada exploring small towns on the ropes, and meeting the people who remain fiercely proud to call these towns home. In each community, he mines enough material to put on an original stand-up comedy routine for the locals. In the process he is filming a new show for CBC, called “Still Standing.”

As part of the tour, Harris is putting on a free comedy show Sunday, May 17 at the Haskell Opera House. A film crew will be on hand recording parts of the show for CBC.

Originally from Pouch Cove, Newfoundland & Labrador, Harris has appeared regularly at The Halifax Comedy Festival, The Winnipeg Comedy Festival, and on CBC Radio’s The Debaters. 

He has appeared as both a stand-up and sketch comic at Montreal’s Just for Laughs Festival. 

The show will take place: Sunday, May 17, 2015
At: The Haskell Opera House
Doors open: 6:00 p.m.
Show starts: 6:30 p.m.

Still Standing will premieres June 22nd, 9 p.m. EST, on CBC.

Still-Standing-Poster-Stanstead

Back by popular demand, Wood and Belsher at the Haskell Opera House

DERBY LINE — Live at the historic Haskell Opera House, world renowned fiddler Richard Wood and singer/songwriter Gordon Belsher will be taking the stage once again. The show will take place on Saturday, May 16, at 7:30 p.m.

With a new CD, rejuvenated energy and enthusiasm, Wood, a Prince Edward Island fiddler, artist, composer and entertainer is at it again. He 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 has earned him the prestigious Music PEI 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award. Whether playing before festival crowds or intimate folk settings, Belsher’s talent is extraordinary.

Don’t miss these unique and inspiring artists.

The Haskell, the only Opera House in the world that sits in two countries, is celebrating 111 years.

For more information and tickets call: 802-873-3022 (ext 205); (819) 876-2471 (ext 205); or online at: www.catamountarts.org.

The Haskell Opera House is located at 93 Caswell Avenue, Derby Line, Vermont/1 Church, Stanstead Quebec.

Haskell Opera House Director, Lynn Leimer is presented with a $3,000 Check from Plum Creek, by Community Affairs Manager, Mark Doty to assist with the Phase III Technological Upgrade at the Opera House.

Haskell Opera House receives Plum Creek Grant

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/News
Haskell Opera House Director, Lynn Leimer is presented with a $3,000 Check from Plum Creek, by Community Affairs Manager, Mark Doty to assist with the Phase III Technological Upgrade at the Opera House.
Haskell Opera House Director, Lynn Leimer is presented with a $3,000 Check from Plum Creek, by Community Affairs Manager, Mark Doty to assist with the Phase III Technological Upgrade at the Opera House.

DERBY LINE — In 2015, the Haskell Opera House is celebrating 111 years and is trying to keep up with the ever changing needs in the 21st Century. Martha Stewart Haskell had no idea when she built this unique venue that it would require state-of-the-art lighting, technology, and fire retardant theatre drapes. The venue is currently in Phase III of upgrades to the building.

Preserving the integrity of the building and maintaining an attractive rental property for performers are key to this phase. A detailed list of new upgrades prompted Lynn Leimer, Haskell Opera House Theatre Director and grant writer Anita Morin-Mayhew, to set about finding money for these improvements.

Over the years Plum Creek has been generous in supporting the community and the arts in this region. As a result, they recently awarded the Haskell Opera House $3,000 toward the purchase of new stage curtains. Community Affairs Manager, Mark Doty recently visited the Haskell Opera House to present the check.

Plum Creek is among the largest and most geographically diverse private landowners in the nation with more than 6 million acres of timberlands in 19 states. They also operate wood products mills in the Northwest, managing working forests using sustainable practices to benefit Plum Creek’s many stakeholders. Their employees work together to create shareholder value, serve as stewards of the environment, make wood products for everyday use, and build strong communities.

If patrons, businesses or community organizations are interested in assisting with the Phase III Technological Upgrade, they can send a tax-deductible donation to the Haskell Opera House, earmarked Phase III Upgrade, PO Box 337 Derby Line VT 05830.

Please visit www.plumcreek.com for the latest information about Plum Creek.

Derby Line woman to plead guilty to fraud and filing a false tax return

in Derby Line/News

DERBY LINE — The Office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that it filed charges on Monday against Amy C. Fletcher, of Derby Line, alleging fraud and a false tax filing. According to the charge, while working for Derby Line Ambulance during 2009-2012, Fletcher diverted money from the company to pay personal expenses, and also filed a false personal tax return in 2011.

The charge alleges that Fletcher “engaged in an ongoing practice of diverting funds from DLA for personal use, paying personal credit cards and home and car loans.”

The charge further alleges that over 400 checks were drawn on DLA’s business accounts “made payable to Amy C. Fletcher and others for her benefit. Many of the transfers paid down outstanding balances on 14 credit cards maintained by Fletcher. Such illicit transfers totaled over $250,000.”

According to the separate tax charge, Fletcher “willfully made and subscribed a 2011 U.S. Individual Income Tax Return (Form 1040), which was verified by a written declaration,” which understated her actual income and was false.

Also filed on Monday is a Plea Agreement under which Fletcher agreed to plead guilty to both charges. A plea hearing has yet to be scheduled.

The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division. The maximum possible penalty for the two offenses is 20 years in prison.

Fletcher is represented by attorney David Sleigh of St. Johnsbury. The United States is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney William Darrow.

Wintry weather to blame for rollover crash in Lowell this morning

in Derby Line/Lowell/News

LOWELL — A late-season snow last night left roads snowy and ice covered, causing hazardous driving conditions that were to blame for a single-vehicle rollover crash in Lowell at around 5:30 a.m. this morning.

Police say that Gary Bowen, 36, of Derby Line, was traveling west on Vermont Route 58 in Lowell, when he lost control of his vehicle.

Bowen ran off the right side of the roadway, striking a culvert and rolling the vehicle.

According to a statement from police, Bowen sustained a “minor shoulder injury,” but he refused medical treatment.

Rockwell Towing responded for Bowen’s car, a 2005 Ford Taurus. It was totaled in the accident.

A release issued by police lists weather conditions as snowing, with roads snow and ice covered.

Photo featuring: Jim Cross, Mike Desjardins, Doug Flint, Susan Lynn Johns, Lynn Leimer, Calvin Longe, Ross Murray, Chris Planetta, Mark Rumery, Ron St. John III, Lonn Stewart, and Andrea Webster.

QNEK’s Arsenic and Old Lace opening next weekend

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — QNEK Productions kicks off its 23rd season with the dark and delightful comedy Arsenic and Old Lace by Joseph Kesselring.

Set in the late 1930’s, Arsenic and Old Lace draws the audience into a day with the kookily sinister Brewster family, who have two sweet aunts that love to welcome charity case lodgers into their home…but it seems no one ever leaves after a sip of their homemade Elderberry wine.

Come and spend a night with the sweetly disastrous Brewster clan for a delightful evening at the Haskell Opera House, opening Friday, April 24.

This fantastic cast features founder and Artistic Director Lynn Leimer, and favorites from both sides of the border, including:

Susan Lynn Johns – Derby
Mike Desjardins – Newport Center
Chris Planetta – Stanstead, QC
Ross Murray – Stanstead, QC
Doug Flint – Newport
Andrea Webster – Barton
Mark Rumery – Derby Line
Calvin Longe – Morgan
Jim Cross – Island Pond
Lonn Stewart – Newport
Ron St. John III – Newport

Photo featuring: Jim Cross, Mike Desjardins, Doug Flint, Susan Lynn Johns, Lynn Leimer, Calvin Longe, Ross Murray, Chris Planetta, Mark Rumery, Ron St. John III, Lonn Stewart, and Andrea Webster.
Photo featuring: Jim Cross, Mike Desjardins, Doug Flint, Susan Lynn Johns, Lynn Leimer, Calvin Longe, Ross Murray, Chris Planetta, Mark Rumery, Ron St. John III, Lonn Stewart, and Andrea Webster.

Arsenic and Old Lace is directed by Phil Gosselin, with Assistant Director Jenny Dunne.

The set was built with Master Carpenter Rick Gosselin, along with construction assistance from Tom Rooney, and the North Country Career Center Building Trades.

Come and enjoy a haunting, harrowing, and hilarious night at the Brewster house alongside the quirky cast that surrounds them.

QNEK Productions will present Arsenic and Old Lace by Joseph Kesselring on April 24th – May 3rd, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., and 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.

The Brewster house has a vacancy and a glass of wine waiting, won’t you check in?

Aaron Chapdelaine, of ACE Tree Removal rescuing a cat stuck over 60 feet in the air on Thursday.

Owner of local tree removal climbs over 60 feet to rescue cat stuck in Derby Line

in Derby Line/Newport
Aaron Chapdelaine, of ACE Tree Removal rescuing a cat stuck over 60 feet in the air on Thursday. Photo by Paula Fiorenza
Aaron Chapdelaine, of ACE Tree Removal rescuing a cat stuck over 60 feet in the air on Thursday. Photo by Paula Fiorenza

DERBY LINE — The local owner/operator of a tree removal service in Orleans county took part in a dramatic rescue on Thursday, climbing over 60 feet in the air to save a cat that had been stuck in a tree located at the Derby Line Village Inn.

Aaron Chapdelaine of Ace Tree Removal received a call on Thursday that the owners of the Derby Line Village Inn were trying to get a cat down from a tree on their property. Paula Fiorenza, who owns the Inn, had been desperately trying to get help, even calling Newport Rental to see if they had any equipment she could rent to lift someone up high enough to safely rescue the animal.

“The cat had spent at least one night in the tree, and I could tell it was dying because the cries were getting softer and softer,” Fiorenza said. “I was just frantic, calling everyone, and Newport Rental put me in touch with Aaron.”Cat 01

For Chapdelaine, it was not his first rescue. He has used his experience climbing trees to rescue a cat before, but ended up getting scratched in the process. He says he thinks the animal this time had been stuck up there for a while, because it was noticeably weak when he approached it.

“I shot a line above the cat and came down toward it,” Chapdelaine said on Friday. “When I swung over to the cat, as soon as my hand was near it nuzzled its face into my hand.”

Chapdelaine said that the cat was extremely trusting, and willingly jumped inside a bag he had climbed up with to safely bring it down in.

One of the challenges he faced on Thursday was having to use ropes to climb with because the tree was so large that his spikes wouldn’t work.

“The average tree that I climb for takedowns is anywhere between 60 and 90 feet tall,” Chapdelaine said “It was really hard to climb this particular tree because it is just so massive. It was like climbing a wall.”

Fiorenza is trying to locate the owner.

“The cat is doing good, but she was in pretty bad shape last night,” Fiorenza said.

She said that Feline and Friends were helping her complete the rescue.

“Aaron was amazing,” she added.

rescued1

The crash in Derby Line on Wednesday evening as seen from Stanstead, Quebec. Photo taken by Josh Hilliker.

Truck rolls down embankment in Derby Line, nearly crosses Canadian border

in Derby Line/Morgan/News

The crash in Derby Line on Wednesday evening as seen from Stanstead, Quebec. Photo taken by Josh Hilliker.
The crash in Derby Line on Wednesday evening as seen from Stanstead, Quebec. Photo taken by Josh Hilliker.

DERBY LINE — Ice-covered roads in Derby Line Tuesday evening sent a truck traveling down an embankment, nearly crossing the international boundary into Canada in the process.

The accident took place on the Holland Road at around 6:45 p.m. Police say Pauline Labor, from Morgan, was traveling east when she lost control of her 2009 Nissan truck.

The truck left the roadway and rolled onto its side down the embankment on the northern side of the roadway. A tree stopped the truck from rolling onto its roof and over the Canadian border.

The road was temporarily closed as the vehicle was pulled out.

Police say that there were no injuries in the crash.

police chase derby vermont newport
Mug shot of Valentina Velasquez, taken from a prior arrest. Photo courtesy of the Vermont State Police.

Velasquez back in Vermont to face charges

in Derby/Derby Line/Newport/Quebec/Sherbrooke/Stanstead/Vermont

police chase derby vermont newport
Mug shot of Valentina Velasquez, taken from a prior arrest. Photo courtesy of the Vermont State Police.
DERBY LINE — The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) arrived last week at the Derby Line port of entry with Valentina Velasquez.

Velasquez, the suspect in an attempted armed robbery that took place in Derby, who fled the country and illegally entered Canada without inspection in September, was subject to a Canadian Removal Order due to criminal activity in the province of Quebec.

Before Velasquez entered Canada and failed to present herself to a CBSA office, she is alledged to have attempted to rob the Derby Corner Mini Mart with a rifle, leading police on a high-speed chase on Route 5.

The pursuit ended in Quebec when she lost control of her vehicle and was apprehended by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Sûreté du Québec.

At court in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Velasquez pled guilty and was sentenced to 135 days of prison for offenses under the Criminal Code of Canada and under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

On January 7, after serving her sentence in Canada, she was turned over to U.S. authorities by the CBSA.

Police now say that law enforcement databases indicate that 31-year-old Velasquez has a lengthy criminal record and was the subject of two active arrest warrants outside of Orleans County.

“Active collaboration with our federal, state and international law enforcement partners led to the return of an alleged criminal to face justice in Vermont,” said Kevin W. Weeks, CBP director of Field Operations in Boston. “Protecting public safety is a responsibility that falls on both sides of the international boundary, and CBP is proud to work side by side with our Canadian counterparts, taking dangerous people off the street.”

The charges and allegations contained in criminal complaints are merely accusations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Nelson Farms to pay $45,000 for agricultural violations

in Derby/Derby Line/News

Orleans County Superior court Newport Vermont

DERBY — Nelson Farms, Inc., a dairy farm operation with farms in Derby and Derby Line, has admitted to violations of Vermont’s water pollution law and agricultural practice regulations and has agreed to pay $45,000 in civil penalties for the violations.

The Settlement resolves a case that was filed by the Attorney General’s Office relating to the operation of the Crystal Brook Farm in Derby Line and the Clydeside Farm in Derby. Under the terms of the settlement, Nelson Farms admitted that the farms operated in violation of Vermont’s accepted agricultural practices (AAPs), their respective Medium Farm Operation (MFO) permits, and statutory prohibition on unpermitted discharges to state waters at various times in 2013.

In addition to the $45,000 payment, the settlement also requires that Nelson Farms have a professional engineer certify all future work at the two farms, no further discharges to State waters, and that each farm will comply with all applicable rules, permits and laws in the future.

The Attorney General worked closely with the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) and Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (AAFM) on all aspects of the enforcement action. The matter was investigated jointly by ANR and AAFM.

“My Office is committed to bringing enforcement actions when necessary to remedy violations of Vermont’s agricultural water quality laws,” said Attorney General William H. Sorrell. “We know that most Vermont farmers want to run sustainable farms that operate within the law and live up to the expectations of Vermonters, but when farms fail to do so, we are ready to step in,” Attorney General Sorrell added.

The Settlement was recently approved by the Orleans Superior Court.

“This type of conduct by Nelson Farms degrades the water quality in Vermont’s streams, rivers, ponds and lakes hurting all Vermonters,” said Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner David Mears. “If we are to improve our water quality as the citizens of Vermont are demanding, these types of violations must stop. I hope the message is clear that the state will pursue significant penalties against those who continue to violate the law in this manner.”

Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Ross stated that “the vast majority of Vermont farmers are working hard to protect our environment, and we will not allow their good work to be tarnished by those who break the law. Farmers who violate Vermont’s water quality laws will be held accountable – no exceptions. We take these violations very seriously, and will continue to work with our partners across state government to ensure Vermont’s precious natural resources are protected and the laws are enforced.”

Derby Line: 84 grams of crack cocaine stuffed inside loaf of bread found in car

in Derby Line/News

o-CRACK-COCAINE-facebook_Fotor

DERBY LINE — A 34-year-old man from Florida was caught near the border with 84 grams of crack cocaine stuffed inside a hollowed out loaf of bread.

A Customs and Border Protection Officer in Derby Line noticed a vehicle making an illegal U-turn between the U.S. and Canadian ports of entry on Monday. The vehicle was being driven by Tyrone Dixon, who was traveling with Emily Lasell, of Vermont.

Officers who searched the vehicle say that they found a green and black bag that contained a hollowed out loaf of bread concealing approximately 84 grams of crack cocaine.

Along with the crack, the search turned up five used syringes, 25 used or torn white packages they say were consistent with packaging commonly seen in the heroin trade.

They also recovered two small packets of heroin in Lasell’s bra.

Dixon is being charged with possession of a controlled substance with the intent to distribute.

If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison and a fine of up to $1,000,000.

QNEK to hold auditions for 2015 season this weekend

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Stanstead

QNEK Newport Vermont

DERBY LINE — As the holiday season comes to a close, QNEK is looking ahead to their 22nd Season. They will be holding auditions this weekend. For more information, please reach out to Jenny Dunne, Associate Producing Director at jdunne142@gmail.com

QNEK PRODUCTIONS 2015 SEASON AUDITIONS

Casting for:

Arsenic and Old Lace
Show dates: April 24 – May 3, 2015

The Sound of Music
Show dates: July 17 – August 2, 2015

Nunsense A-Men (Casting all male actors)
Show dates: September 11 – 20, 2015

Steel Magnolias
Show dates: October 9 – 18, 2015

Saturday, January 3rd

Musical auditions for The Sound of Music and Nunsense A-Men

Location: First Universalist Parish of Derby Line, VT.

10 – 10:45 a.m. – Children’s Audition Workshop.
11 – 1 p.m. – Open Call Auditions for Children.
2 – 5 p.m. – Open Call Auditions for Adults.

Sunday, January 4th

Play auditions for Arsenic and Old Lace and Steel Magnolias.

Location: Haskell Free Library in Derby Line, VT and Stanstead, QC

1 – 5 p.m. – Open Call Auditions for Adults

Callbacks will take place the following weekend of January 10 – 11, by appointment at the First Universalist Parish of Derby Line.

(Left to Right) Bruce Muir, RN, Wendy Franklin, Director of Development at NCH and Madeleine Roy, Director of Marketing for GMUW.

Knitted items distributed to local nonprofits

in Derby Line/Island Pond/Newport
(Left to Right) Bruce Muir, RN, Wendy Franklin, Director of Development at NCH and Madeleine Roy, Director of Marketing for GMUW.
(Left to Right) Bruce Muir, RN, Wendy Franklin, Director of Development at NCH and Madeleine Roy, Director of Marketing for GMUW.

DERBY LINE — The Green Mountain United Way, with offices in Derby Line, St. Johnsbury, and Montpelier, recently received several bags of new, knitted hats, mittens, baby sweaters and leg warmers from the Times Argus Mitten Tree Project in Barre for distribution to local nonprofit organizations for their clients.

These items were in turn donated in Orleans and northern Essex Counties to North Country Hospital, the Island Pond Health Center, Rural Edge and Northeast Kingdom Learning Services.

Green Mountain United Way said they were pleased to be able to provide such items through its Goods and Services Program.

For more information, visit Green Mountain United Way at: www.gmunitedway.org or call their Derby Line office at 647-2148.

Tanya Webster of Island Pond Health Center & Madeleine Roy.
Tanya Webster of Island Pond Health Center & Madeleine Roy.

Police: Man kicks out cruiser window in Derby Line

in Derby Line/News

VSP_EQ_Charger (1)DERBY LINE – Police reported on Wednesday that an 18-year-old man from Derby Line faces multiple charges after he kicked out a police cruiser window while being arrested for suspicion of DUI early Saturday morning.

Police say U.S. Border Patrol agents advised them of an ATV driving down Caswell Avenue and turning south on Route 5 in Derby Line at around 2 a.m., Saturday.

Border Patrol agents followed the ATV tracks in the snow to a home located in Derby Line, where they came upon Burton Jacobs.

According to a statement issued by police, “Jacobs smelled of intoxicants, had slurred speech and was physically combative with the Border Patrol agents. Vermont State Troopers arrived to investigate the case to determine if Jacobs was under the influence.”

Jacobs performed field sobriety exercises and offered to give a breath test, which resulted in a BAC of .217, more than two times the legal limit. Jacobs was arrested for suspicion of DUI.

Police say he was placed in the back of a State Police cruiser, when he started kicking the rear passenger side window, eventually shattering it.

Authorities say that prior to the event leading to his arrest, Jacobs was given conditions of release that did not allow him to have any alcohol, or drive any motor vehicles, both of which police say he violated.

He was charged with DUI, violating conditions of release, resisting arrest, and unlawful mischief. He was lodged at Northern State Correctional without bail.

Crossing the border? There’s an app for that

in Derby Line/Newport/News

us port of entry derby line vermont

DERBY LINE — U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently launched the Border Wait Time app, which they say will make it easier for travelers to plan their trip across the border.

The app provides estimated wait times and open lane status, allowing travelers to make an informed decision of where and when to cross the border. Travelers can download the app for free from Apple’s App Store and Google Play.

“CBP continues to deploy technology that enhances the travel experience at all of our ports of entry,” said Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowse. “The launch of this app will provide travelers crossing the land border with more information where and when they need it.”

The app is a one-stop shop for cross border travel. Travelers can locate the three ports of entry closest to their location and then map the best route to the crossing of their choice.

The app was developed by CBP and does not require individuals to register or provide any personal information. CBP does not store or have access to any information regarding travelers using the app.

Man stabbed outside Brewski’s Pub in Irasburg

in Derby Line/Irasburg/News

policebeatIRASBURG — Police are looking for two suspects who were involved in the stabbing of a 22-year-old man from Derby Line outside of Brewski’s Pub in Irasburg, early Saturday morning.

Brandon Pavelchak was taken to North Country Hospital at around 3 a.m. to be treated for a stab wound to his rib area he received from two unknown individuals.

According to police, Pavelchak advised them he was in a physical altercation in the parking lot of Brewski’s Pub after being called racial slurs by two other patrons. Once the altercation became physical between Pavelchak and one of them, the other came up from behind and stabbed him with a sharp object.

Pavelchak was driven to the hospital in a private vehicle. The North Country Hospital Emergency Room advised police, who arrived to speak with Pavelchak about the incident. He was treated and released later that same morning.

The identity of the two people Pavelchak was in the altercation with is still unknown, and police are asking anyone with information to contact VSP Derby at: 334-8881.

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