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Fire in Derby caused by smoking material placed in an aluminum can

in Derby/Newport/News

DERBY — Authorities say smoking materials placed in an aluminum can is what caused a fire that broke out at a single-family home on Main Street in Derby yesterday.

The fire was noticed at around 6:20 p.m.

The home was being used as an Airbnb rental and was occupied by three people, but nobody was home at the time of the fire.

Firefighters say they were able to quickly extinguish the fire on the porch and were successful in limiting the fire’s extension into the house.

The home sustained significant damage to the front and side porch and smoke and heat damage to the interior.

Derby Line Fire Chief Craig Ellam contacted fire investigators to demine the area of origin and the cause.

The investigation concluded that the fire began on the side porch in a sitting area where there were a table and some chairs.

“The cause of the fire was smoking materials placed in an aluminum beverage can,” Paul Cerutti, Assistant State Fire Marshal, said in a statement.

Cerutti says that the house did not have working smoke or CO alarms.

“I found the bases where the alarms had been, but no alarms,” he said.

The Derby Line Fire Department was assisted at the scene by the Newport City Fire Department.

Crash on I-91 in Derby caused by 6-point buck

in Derby/Newport/News

DERBY — A 79-year-old man hit a 6-point buck crossing the southbound lane of I-91 on Sunday evening.

At around 6:26 p.m. police say they responded to the single-vehicle crash just south of Exit 28.

Police say the driver, Fernand J. Pomerleau, of Goffstown, NH, was traveling at around 65 miles-per-hour when the buck ran out from the woods and directly into the path of his vehicle.

Pomerleau’s vehicle sustained extensive front end damage and was unable to be driven from the scene.

Ray’s Auto had to remove the vehicle, and the Derby Line Fire Department assisted in cleaning up fluids from the roadway.

Police say there were no injuries during the incident.

Police: Derby man arrested for threats against NEKHS, Derby Village Store

in Derby/Newport/News

NEWPORT CITY — Police say a Derby man was arrested after he attempted to buy a gun through a neighbor and threatened to kill everyone at Northeast Kingdom Human Services as well as the Derby Village Store.

According to a statement issued by State Police Trooper Joshua Mikkola, on Friday, August 23, police received a report from an employee at North East Kingdom Human Services, that 38-year-old John Barclay called and made threats to harm staff. 

During the investigation, police say they spoke with Barclay both on the phone and in person. 

“In conversation, Barclay divulged to the troopers his intent to harm others as well, to include staff at the Derby Village Store,” Mikkola said in a statement.

Police also say that Barclay attempted to buy a gun through his neighbor.

Barclay was placed under arrest and transported to the Derby Barracks for processing.

He was later lodged at Northern State  Correctional Facility. 

Burglary at Auto Pro Gas in Derby

in Derby/News

DERBY — Police say that a business in Derby was burglarized over the weekend. 

On Monday morning police received a report of a burglary at Auto Pro Gas, located at 205 US Route 5.

Police say someone forced entry into the store and stole a large sum of cash and a DVR with the video surveillance footage.

Police say the incident took place sometime between the evening of Saturday, August 10, and Monday morning.

Anyone with information about this incident is being asked to contact the Vermont State Police in Derby. 

Bonvechio promoted to Executive Vice President and CFO at Community National Bank

in Derby/Newport/News

DERBY — Community National Bank President and CEO Kathy Austin recently announced the promotion of Louise Bonvechio to Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Cashier and Corporate Secretary of Community National Bank and Treasurer and Corporate Secretary of Community Bancorp.

Bonvechio has worked for Community National Bank for over 25 years.

“Louise is very deserving of this promotion as she competently manages all aspects of the Bank’s fiscal functions while providing outstanding leadership for the organization,” Austin said.

This year she completed the Stonier Graduate School of Banking and earned a Leadership Certificate from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Bonvechio is very involved in serving the local communities.

She is Board Chair of Rural Edge, a Director and Treasurer of the Emory Hebard State Office Building Condo Association and a member of the ReNewport Catamount Arts Creative Hub committee.

She recently served as a Trustee and Treasurer of the Goodrich Memorial Library and chaired the ReNewport Community Visit, a Vermont Council on Rural Development program.

Other recently held positions include a member of the Regional Advisory Board for the North Country Career Center and a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston’s Member Advisory Panel.

Bonvechio was presented with the Vermont Bankers Association’s Outstanding Community Service Banker Award in 2017.

She and her husband Brian make their home in Newport.

Derby man held without bail after alleged assault

in Derby/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Police say they arrested a habitual sex offender earlier this week after he allegedly assaulted a local woman.

Timothy Souliere, 56, of Derby, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with lewd and lascivious conduct, unlawful restraint, simple assault, and habitual offender.

He was arraigned yesterday in Orleans District Court and was held without bail.

On Tuesday, July 16, police say a woman reported that she had been attacked by Souliere on July 11, in a hallway of an apartment building on Governor Drive.

Police say Souliere was known to the woman.

According to a statement issued by police relating to the incident, an investigation indicates that Souliere assaulted the victim while she was walking to her apartment.

Souliere is a registered sex offender and is on the Vermont Sex Offender Registry for life.

He is a habitual offender with two felony convictions of lewd and lascivious conduct in Vermont as well as a felony conviction of sexual assault in Arizona.

Police: Derby woman charged following assault on officer at hospital

in Derby/Newport/News

NEWPORT — The Newport Police Department says they arrested a woman over the weekend on multiple charges, including assaulting a police officer.

Makayla Belmore, 19, of Derby, is facing charges of assault on a law enforcement officer/protected professional, obstruction of justice, and aggravated disorderly conduct.

Early Sunday morning police say they responded to North Country Hospital to have an officer on standby after Belmore, who had an active trespass notice, had come to the emergency room as a patient.

The responding officer and a member of hospital security entered her room after hearing yelling coming from inside.

Police say when they entered the room, she threw a cup full of liquid that struck the officer.

“She then resisted the officer and staff’s efforts to restrain her, attempting to sit up and strike both the Newport Police officer and the security officer,” a statement issued by police reads.

Police say Belmore at one point kicked the security officer in the face and twice spit in the face of the police officer while continuing to violently resist efforts to restrain her.

They say she also made repeated verbal threats against both officers.

She was placed under arrest and subsequently arraigned yesterday and released with conditions.

Brownington, Derby women arrested in Massachusetts for allegedly trafficking cocaine

in Brownington/Derby/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Two women from Orleans county are facing drug trafficking charges after police in Massachusetts allegedly found 63 grams of cocaine in their car after a traffic stop early Sunday morning.

Police say they stopped a 2007 Ford 500 sedan on I-91 northbound, in Greenfield, Mass, for motor vehicle violations at 3:00 a.m.

As a result of an investigation, the four occupants of the vehicle were allegedly found to be in possession of approximately 63 grams of cocaine.

The driver was identified as Kimberly Lawrence, 41, of Brownington, and one of the passengers was identified as Kitty Godin, 38, of Derby.

Police say Lawrence and Godin were charged with trafficking in cocaine, and conspiracy to violate drug law.

They were held on $50,000 bail each and were scheduled for arraignment in court on Monday.

A youth session in PROSPER’s after-school Family Program at Lyndon Town School in Lyndonville, Vt. Working with a group of sixth graders are PROSPER Family Program facilitators Dakota Fournier, seated at the table, and Lynzy Guyer, standing, both teachers at the school. (Photo: Anthony Willey)

Grant awarded to fund youth risk reduction programs in Newport, Derby schools

in Derby/Newport/News

NEWPORT — The University of Vermont Extension will expand a program proven to reduce risky behavior in youth, including substance misuse, called PROSPER, to schools in Newport and Derby.

The program, named PROSPER, for Promoting School-Community-University Partnerships to Enhance Resilience, was developed jointly at Iowa State University and Pennsylvania State University in 2001 and has been implemented in communities around the country since then.

Its effectiveness has been demonstrated in nearly 80 published research studies.

The two-year program targets sixth and seventh graders.

“We’re honored and pleased to be able to expand the PROSPER program to three communities in the Northeast Kingdom,” said Chuck Ross, director of UVM Extension. “The program has generated impressive results nationally and in the three Vermont schools where it’s in place. We have every reason to expect similar success in St. Johnsbury, Newport and Derby.”

The PROSPER expansion to St. Johnsbury and Newport will be funded with a $599,124 grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within USDA.

Funding for the Derby expansion is coming from Iowa State.

The program will be implemented at Newport City Elementary School in Newport, and Derby Elementary School and North Country Union Junior High School in Derby, which serves both Newport and Derby.

The PROSPER program in Newport launched on July 1, with Derby following three months later.

The PROSPER Model

The PROSPER program builds competency and confidence in sixth and seventh graders and improves family functioning as bedrock strategies for preventing behavior problems in youth.

In sixth grade, PROSPER engages families in an after-school program called Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth Ages 10-14.

The program shifts to an in-school focus during seventh grade with the delivery of Lifeskills programming.

During both years, teachers and counselors in the school deliver a set curriculum that research has shown to be effective.

Critical to the program’s success is the work of a team of eight to ten community members, including parents, teachers and other school personnel, Department of Health representatives and community members.

The community team helps fine-tune the messaging of the program to the specific needs of the school, does fundraising to ensure the program is sustainable after the five-year grant expires, conducts outreach to the community about PROSPER and oversees the program’s implementation via monthly meetings.

Three-car crash with injuries in Derby

in Derby/Newport/News

DERBY — A three-car crash in Derby on Friday sent two people to the hospital, police say.

The crash took place in the westbound lane of U.S. Route 5, in front of the Vianor Tire and Sears Store parking lots.

According to police, Linda Kudla, 65, of Derby, was stopped, signaling to turn left into the Sears Store parking lot, waiting for traffic to clear so she could proceed across the eastbound lane.

Police say Chelsey Christino, 24, of Newport, was also traveling west and stopped in traffic behind Kudla.

According to the report, the third vehicle was being operated by Tucker Crowe, 17, of Island Pond.

Police say by the time Crowe noticed the two cars were stopped, he was unable to stop and collided with Christino’s vehicle.

The force of the impact caused Christino to collide with Kudla.

Christino and her passenger, Tristin Webb, 20, of Newport, were transported to the North Country Hospital by the Newport Ambulance.

Police say Kudla’s vehicle was able to be driven from the scene.

NEKLS Prevention Services works with local schools to combat youth vaping epidemic

in Derby/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among middle and high school students in Vermont, and new data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey has shown that there is an alarming number of students in Orleans county who report trying electronic vapor products.

In an effort to combat that growing statistic, Lake Region Union High School collaborated with NEKLS Prevention Services and held a parent informational night as well as educational sessions for students.

The goal of the two events was to inform parents and students of the growing concerns around these products. E-cigarettes come in many different sizes, colors, and types.

Tobacco companies have even designed products to resemble small electronic devices that are compact and allow for discreet carrying and use. Lake Region administration and staff say they are seeing an increase in e-cigarette devices that look like USB sticks and other everyday items.

“We believe that it’s critical parents talk with their children about these products to let them know that vaping is not safe and that long term impact of the use of e-cigarettes is unknown,” Sharon Gonyaw, Vice Principal, and Andre Messier, Principal, of LRUHS said in a joint statement.

Health officials say that kids need to know that nearly all e-cigarettes contain nicotine.

Research has not only shown that nicotine is highly addictive and is harmful to a developing adolescent brain, but most concerning is that exposure to nicotine can lead to addiction and disrupt attention and learning.

NEKLS Prevention Services has also closely collaborated with North Country Union Junior High School health educator, Julie Gunn and SAP, Pat Gelo, on educating students.

This outreach has come through class presentations, “Kick Butts Day” activities, and getting updated Vermont Dept of Health substance-free signage posted around the school grounds and fields.

“I often challenge students to think about what they want to control their lives when it comes to nicotine addiction,” Julie Gunn said. “I enjoy sharing information and helping them in making good decisions around being nicotine free.”

Most recently, NEKLS Prevention Services attended NCUJHS’s Parent Night and offered several mini E-Cigarette presentations to parents, beginning with a 5-minute video from VOX Media, “How Juul Made Nicotine Go Viral” followed by a brief presentation and Q&A.

“I would say the most important thing we need to do is educate everyone, students, parents and community members about the dangers of vaping,” Pat Gelo said. “Knowledge is power.”

Messier and Gonyaw say that the community must work together to provide children with the knowledge and support to help them make a healthy decision when it comes to vaping.

Below are facts and resources from the Vermont Department of Health to help raise awareness about the vaping crisis and nicotine addiction.

◙ E-cigarettes, which frequently contain nicotine, are never safe for youth and young adults.

◙ E-cigarette use among youth increased by 75% from 2017 to 2018 [National Youth Tobacco Survey].

◙ Youth use of e-cigarettes increases the future risk of smoking traditional cigarettes and can be just as addictive.

◙ Customizable e-cigarette devices can be used to deliver non-nicotine substances, such as cannabis extract or honey oil.

◙ According to a study by Environmental Health Perspectives, 75% of fruit-, candy- and cocktail flavored e-cigarettes, which attract youth, contained diacetyl, a chemical linked to lung disease.

◙ E-cigarette aerosol can contain harmful substances, including nicotine, heavy metals like lead, volatile organic compounds and cancer-causing chemicals [John Hopkins School of Public Health].

◙ Since launching in 2016, JUUL has become the most popular e-cigarette on the market. Its design, which looks like a USB flash drive, makes it easy to conceal.

◙ All JUUL products contain nicotine; one pod delivers the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes.

◙ Signs of addiction to nicotine include trembling, nausea and frequent e-cig use. Watch for behavior such as frequent trips to the bathroom, reports of illness or hand-to-mouth activity.

◙ Youth can receive help in quitting e-cigarettes from their pediatrician. School nurses can assist by recognizing symptoms, discussing these with the student and parent and referring to 802Quits, Vermont’s 24/7 quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) for ages 13 and older. For more, visit 802quits.org

◙ It is illegal to sell any tobacco product to minors, including e-cigarettes, yet underage teens are obtaining devices, often from older students or family and friends.

◙ E-cigarettes are called “tobacco substitutes” in Vermont’s state statute. Use of e-cigarettes is banned – except for vape shops – wherever lit tobacco products are restricted, including on school grounds, at school events and while being transported.

◙ It is important for parents to talk to their kids about the dangers of using e-cigarettes, including JUUL and other commonly-used products such as Suorin, Justfog Minifit and MarkTen.

Below is a list of resources curated by NEKLS Prevention Services for parents who would like to learn more about this issue.

VDH: E-cigarettes, vaping and JUUL Resource 2019

Stanford Medicine Tobacco Prevention Toolkit: E-Cigs and Vape Pens

Truth Initiative E-Cigarettes Fact Sheet

The U.S. Surgeon General’s Fact Sheet

Parent Tip Sheet

Concerned parties are also encouraged to contact Allyson Howell from NEKLS Prevention Services, through email at allyson.howell@neklsvt.org or calling 802-334-7506.

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    Rugby Major S Emily Willis, Newport, with coaches Eryn Hessian and Emily Norris
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    Patrick Young, Derby Line, (second from left) earned a Major S for rugby
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    Andrew Bouchard, Newport, (centre) was the top male points earner on the SC tennis team
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    Bradley James “BJ” Roy, Derby, (right) earned the Sportsmanship Award for lacrosse
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    Ryan Young, Derby Line, (second from left) earned a Senior S for rugby

Local student-athletes honored at Stanstead College

in Derby/Newport/News/Stanstead

STANSTEAD, QC — A number of local student-athletes were honored for their achievements during a recent athletic assembly at Stanstead College.

Patrick Young, grade 12, was a first-time “Major S” winner for senior boys rugby.

Emily Willis, grade 12, of Newport, won her first “Major S” for senior girls rugby and her second of the year, having earned one in basketball the season prior.

Andrew Bouchard, of Newport, was awarded a “Senior S” for tennis and was the Tennis Shield male winner.

BJ Roy, of Derby, received a Sportsmanship Award for lacrosse.

Alison Barlow, of Newport, was given a Sportsmanship Award for senior girls rugby.

Also honored during the assembly, was Ryan Young, of Derby Line, who received a “Senior S” for rugby.

Truck thefts land Newport man 3-8 years behind bars

in Derby/Newport/News

NEWPORT — A 27-year-old man from Newport was sentenced to serve three to eight years behind bars for stealing two vehicles.

David Fletcher appeared in court for a sentencing hearing on May 16 after being convicted by a jury on felony charges of grand larceny, two counts of vehicle operation without owner consent, and a misdemeanor charges of careless or negligent operation.

Back on October 18, 2017, police responded to a report of a stolen truck from the Eastside restaurant. Hours later, police were dispatched to another report of a stolen truck from a home in Derby.

The victim in Derby told police that he had picked up two hitchhikers and gave them a ride back to what he believed to be their truck, which was partially submerged at the Derby Fish & Game Club pond.

He was unable to help them remove the vehicle from the pond, and dropped them off at the Border Motel.

Within the hour his truck was stolen.

Fletcher admitted to taking both vehicles on a cell phone video that was later turned over to police.

At the time that both crimes were committed, Fletcher was on furlough for burglary, and assault charges.

“The State requested a more significant jail sentence because of this defendant’s record and the fact that he was on furlough at the time of the offenses,” State’s Attorney Jennifer Barrett said. “The court imposed a sentence that deviated below the State and Department of Correction’s recommendations.”

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Photo gallery: Dandelion Run raises over $1,000 for Umbrella

in Derby/Holland/Newport/News

DERBY — On Saturday, about 150 runners, walkers, and bikers gathered at the Eleventh Annual Dandelion Run.

The event raised a little over $1,000 for Umbrella and its advocacy and support of victims of this kind of violence.

It was cold and cloudy with hardly a dandelion in sight, but that didn’t stop everyone as they celebrated the slow-coming of Spring in the Kingdom.

Participants took to the back roads and were joined by scores of high-spirited volunteers and musicians along the course and back at the Derby Beach House.

James Cilwik, 15, of Derby, was the overall winner of the Dandy Half Marathon with a blistering time of 1:22:15.

His time was less than three minutes shy of the course record of 1:19:29 set by Christian Vachon of Magog, Quebec back in 2013.

Cindy Chaffee, 56, of Barton, Vermont, won the Last One Back to the Barn Award finishing the Half Marathon in 3:28:25. 

Last Fall Chaffee registered for her very first half marathon after she suffered a serious injury in an accident. 

The most “mature” participant was Annette Pion, 79, of Colchester, and the youngest runner was Pip Dreher, 6, of Newport.

The biggest team of the day was the Community Circle Team fielded by Community National Bank, which underwrites The Dandy, and also staffs most of the support tables out on the course.

The largest youth team was the Canaan Boys Running Club, coached by David Herr. The team won ski tickets to Burke Mountain.

Also winning Burke tickets were “The Brownies” for fielding the “most fluid team” and the runners from our newest sponsor Barr Hill by Caledonia Spirits for fielding the “most high-spirited team.”

Caledonia Spirits Raw Honey was distributed to three teams, the Merry Macksters for being the largest out of state team, the Quebecsters for being the largest international team, and The Dartmouth Dandies for the love of the run.

Others were awarded prizes of Brault’s beef jerky, Couture’s maple syrup, Caledonia Spirits RAW Honey, as well as Burke Mountain ski passes.

Participants honored and remembered Terri Weed, who was killed by her boyfriend on May 21, 1981.

The Dandy is underwritten by Community National Bank and is supported by Jay Peak, Burke Mountain, Barr Hill at Caledonia Spirits, Untapped, Kingdom Trails, and the Derby Village Store.

Next year’s Dandy will be held on Saturday, May 23rd, 2020.

Kingdom Games hosts two more runs this year. The Harry Corrow Freedom Run on July 4, and Fly to Pie – Kingdom Marathon on September 29.

Online registration is open at www.kingdomgames.co

Great Blue Heron at Eagle Point. Photo by Doug Gimler.

Eagle Point in Derby ranked one of Vermont’s top 10 birding hotspots

in Derby/Newport/News/Outdoors

NEWPORT — With the arrival of longer days and warmer temperatures, Vermont’s bird lovers are looking to the fields and woods for a flit of color in the bushes or listening for an overhead chirp, whistle, squawk or honk as birds engage in their annual spring migration.

Some of Vermont’s best bird-watching opportunities are at the state’s 99 wildlife management areas, or WMAs.

Eagle Point in Derby was recently recognized by Vermont Fish & Wildlife as of the top 10 birding hotspots in the State.

Eagle Point WMA is a 420-acre parcel located along the eastern shore of Lake Memphremagog on the United States-Canada border.

The WMA is located approximately five miles north of Newport City on the Eagle Point Road.

The property consists of nearly a mile of lakeshore habitat, numerous wetlands, large meadows, hemlock, and mixed forest.

It supports a great diversity of wildlife including aquatic mammals, waterfowl, grassland birds, and many other wetland and terrestrial species.

Eagle Point WMA is an important waterfowl production and migration
area, particularly for black ducks, mallards, and wood ducks.

It’s also an important grassland bird production area.

Short hay crop rotations and habitat loss to development throughout Vermont elevate the importance of the 200+ acres of grassland habitat on the WMA.

Grassland species include bobolink, savannah sparrow, field sparrow, and possibly vesper sparrow.

Also present are a variety of raptors including the northern harrier, osprey, bald eagle, kestrel, red-tailed hawk, barred and great horned owls.

Eagle Point also provides excellent opportunities to see a variety of wetland and marsh species.

Herons, bitterns, snipe, pied-billed grebes, rails, common moorhens, and marsh wrens make up a large portion of the species you will most likely encounter in the marshes of the WMA.

Visit https://www.nekwildlifephoto.com for more photos like the one above from Eagle Point taken by photographer Doug Gimler.

Rollover crash on I-91 in Derby

in Derby/Newport/News

DERBY – A 68-year-old woman from Derby was involved in a rollover crash on I-91 on Wednesday.

Police say the vehicle was resting on its roof in the median when they arrived on scene.

The driver, identified as Louise Harris, was headed north when she struck the guardrail and overturned the vehicle.

Harris was wearing a seat belt at the time, and no injuries were reported.

By the time police arrived, they say Harris had already been helped by a good Samaritan who stopped to assist.

The passing lane of I-91 North was temporarily shut down while the vehicle was removed.

Police: Derby man arrested after high-speed chase

in Derby/Newport/News/Westmore

DERBY — Police say a 30-year-old man from Derby is facing numerous charges after a high-speed chase early this morning.

According to the report, Jonathan Hinton is being charged with attempting to elude, DUI, grossly negligent operation, leaving the scene of an accident, and excessive speed.

At around 1:00 a.m. on Sunday, a state trooper says he attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a motor vehicle for speeding on Vermont Route 191.

The driver, later identified as Hinton, then struck a road sign and left the scene at a high rate of speed.

Police say Hinton led them on a pursuit on Hinman Settler road where he continued to travel at high rates of speed.

The pursuit ended on VT Route 5A in the town of Westmore, where he was eventually taken into custody.

“While taking Hinton into custody, multiple indicators of impairment were detected,” Trooper Mark Pohlman said in a statement. “Hinton willingly completed standardized field sobriety exercises and was ultimately found to be operating under the influence of alcohol.”

Weather-related rollover crash on I-91 in Derby

in Derby/Newport/News

DERBY — A 31-year-old driver from California was involved in a rollover crash on I-91 on Friday.

State troopers were called to the Interstate near mile-marker 171 in the town of Derby, at around 8:45 a.m.

Police say the driver, identified as Adrian Hernandez, of LaPuenta, CA, lost control of his Ford van and spun into the median.

The van overturned in the median and came to rest on the driver’s side.

According to the report, no injuries were reported at the scene.

Jed’s Maple gearing up for open house weekend March 23 & 24

in Derby/News

DERBY — Jed’s Maple Products of Derby will be hosting their 20th Annual Sugar on Snow Party and Maple Open House on March 23 and 24 this year.

The event will be held in conjunction with the Vermont statewide Maple Open House.

The Wheeler family says they are excited to once again open their doors to friends, family and the community to celebrate maple sugaring time in Vermont.

Doors will open at 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. both days.

This free family event includes sugar on snow, wood-fired maple pizza, maple specialty food sampling, tours of the eco-friendly sugarhouse and the maple museum.

There will also be storytime with sugarmaker Steve, and lots of other activities.

Most activities take place outside, so please dress accordingly for the weather.

Jed’s Maple Products is a certified organic sugarmaker.

They use high-pressure steam in their evaporator rather than wood or oil.

The maple museum is housed in the sugarhouse that Steve grew up sugaring in and allows visitors to take a step back in time to explore the local area’s maple history.

Jed’s Maple is also a proud participant in Audubon’s Bird Friendly Maple Program.

They will be sharing information throughout the weekend about how they help the migratory songbirds that nest in their woods during the spring and summer months.

‘Auddie’, the Jed’s Maple Bird Ambassador, will be making appearances both days!

Jed’s Maple Products is located at 259 Derby Pond Rd. in Derby.

Police: Missing Derby woman found dead in Peacham

in Derby/Newport/News

PEACHAM — The search for a missing woman from Derby ended tragically today, after police say she was found deceased.

Cecile Aubin, also known as Cecile LaClair, was located in the town of Peacham.

Police have not released much information, but say her death is not suspicious at this time.

Authorities say the cause and manner of her death is pending an autopsy.

It was reported that Aubin left a residence on Pine Hill Road in Derby sometime around 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 21.

She was last seen leaving the residence in her orange Subaru Impreza.

Police say there is no more information available at this time.

Woman reported missing in Derby

in Derby/Newport/News

DERBY — Police are looking for a woman from Derby that went missing last week.

Cecile Aubin, also known as Cecile LaClair, left a residence on Pine Hill Road in Derby sometime around 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 21.

It was reported that Cecile has not reached out to any family members, which is highly unusual for this long.

She was last seen leaving the residence in her 2010 orange Subaru Impreza, with Vermont registration FTB220.

The vehicle is registered to Cecile.

She is described as a white female, 5’6″, 120 lbs, hazel eyes with black shoulder length hair.

Police are asking anyone with any information about her whereabouts or the location of her vehicle to call 802-334-8881.

Police investigate threats at North Country Junior High School

in Derby/Newport/News

DERBY — Police were called out to North Country Junior High School in Derby this afternoon after they say a juvenile made several verbal threats.

At around 12:50 p.m. Vermont State Police responded to NCUJHS.

According to a statement issued by police, they investigated the incident and found the threats made were not credible.

“Vermont State Police stress this is an isolated incident and at no point was there any threat to students or staff,” a statement issued by Sgt. Sean Selby reads.

Police say that the investigation is ongoing.

Solar lights stolen along snowmobile trail in Derby

in Derby/News

DERBY — State Police are investigating a series of thefts that occurred along a local snowmobile trail.

Over the weekend someone stole approximately six solar lights along a trail in Derby.

The solar lights were attached to snowmobile intersection signs and were ripped off.

The total loss is estimated to be $165.

These lights were purchased by the Derby Driftduster Snowmobile Club to assist night riders at intersections with lighting.

Anyone with any information on these thefts is asked to contact Sgt. Sean Selby of the Vermont State Police.

The lights were only taken in the Derby area and intersections.

Single-vehicle rollover on I-91

in Derby/Newport/News

DERBY — A 35-year-old man from Newport escaped with minor injuries after rolling his vehicle on I-91 on Saturday night.

Police and emergency crews responded at around 9:00 p.m. to a report of a single-vehicle rollover crash near mile marker 171 on I-91 south, in Derby.

The driver was identified as Nathan Kemnitz.

Police say Kemnitz reported minor injuries and was transported to North Country Hospital.

According to the report he traveled off the side of the road down a slight embankment.

The vehicle rolled and landed back on four wheels.

Newport Ambulance and Derby Fire were at the scene to assist.

Local teen swimmer selected one of Vermont Sports Magazine’s Athletes of the Year

in Derby/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom/Outdoors

DERBY – Fourteen-year-old Vera Rivard has been selected as one of Vermont Sports Magazine’s 2018 Athletes of the Year.

Vera and her family live in Springfield, NH and have a summer camp in Derby with access to Lake Memphremagog, where she trains.

During the winter she swims with Upper Valley Aquatic Club.

In July of 2018, Vera became the youngest swimmer, male or female, to swim the 25-mile length of Lake Memphremagog, which she did in 16 hours and 24 minutes.

Just as impressive, she did so against fierce headwinds during the first 15 miles, which knocked five other experienced swimmers out of the water, leaving her among only two who finished in Magog.

In August of 2018, she also completed the NEK Swim Week, 8 Lakes over the course of 9 days, double-crossing Lac Massawippi and Willoughby, for a total of 60 miles on all eight lakes.

At the beginning of the year, in February of 2018, she became the youngest swimmer to participate in the Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival, swimming each and every event from the 25-meter hat competition to the 200-meter freestyle.

This year, she leads a group of four youth swimmers participating in the festival, including her eleven-year-old sister Margaret.

She started her open water swimming in 2014, when she was 10, with a 1-mile swim at Kingdom Swim and a 3-mile swim at Caspian.

She has grown her distances each year since then.

While she was swimming Kingdom Swim’s 10-mile course in 2016 around the islands of Derby Bay, she and her mother fell in love with the lake, and her family bought a summer camp in Derby, with access to Lake Memphremagog.

Rollover on West Street in Derby

in Derby/Newport/News

DERBY — A 44-year-old man from Maine escaped uninjured after rolling his vehicle in Derby on Sunday.

At around 8:50 a.m. police responded to the single-vehicle rollover on West Street.

The operator was identified as Jeffrey Andrews, of Strong, ME.

Police say he was traveling west in a 2009 Subaru Forrester at approximately 40 miles-per-hour before the incident.

Andrews failed to maintain control of his vehicle leaving the north side of the roadway crashing into boulders and rolling over into the roadway.

He was not injured, however, the vehicle was totaled.

According to the police report, the roads were slick and snow covered at the time.

Driver in fatal West Charleston crash sentenced

in Charleston/Derby/Holland/Newport/News

NEWPORT — The driver during a fatal crash in West Charleston that took the lives of two Orleans County residents back in 2016, has been sentenced.

Earlier in the year Joshua Cole pleaded guilty to charges of manslaughter and gross negligent operation, and last week was sentenced to serve eight to 15 years behind bars.

Back in May of 2016, Cole was driving a 1994 Honda Prelude 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, where it struck a large tree.

Three passengers in the Honda at the time were all ejected from the vehicle.

Esperanza Robles, 29, of Derby Line, and Ryan Coulter, 26, of Newport, were killed during the crash.

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

Investigators said that speed and alcohol were both factors in the crash.

While facing manslaughter charges, Cole was arrested in Holland back in August of 2017, after police said he was driving an ATV and almost ran into a car on Gore Road.

After the new charges, a judge ordered that he be held without bail pending the trial in this manslaughter case.

Trevor Evans leading a workshop on his property in Derby.

Trevor Evans to receive 2018 George Buzzell Forest Stewardship Award

in Derby/Newport/News

EAST CHARLESTON — The NorthWoods Stewardship Center recently announce that Trevor Evans of Derby will receive this year’s George Buzzell Forest Stewardship Award.

The award is given annually to a person who has made significant contributions to sustainable forestry and education in the Northeast Kingdom.

Evans has shown an exceptional commitment to managing his own forestland in Derby since the 1980s and is an active member of many forestry organizations.

Over the years, he has been sharing his knowledge and passion for good forestry with students, landowners, and foresters.

In addition to his outstanding efforts to promote sustainable forestry, Evans was a friend and colleague of the late George Buzzell, and the two collaborated on managing his forestland.

“Evans carries the spirit and dedication that George brought to his work, and NorthWoods is honored to recognize this with the 2018 George Buzzell Forest Stewardship Award,” Sam Perron, Sustainable Forestry Coordinator at NorthWoods, said.

Evans will be presented with the award at a ceremony on February 5, 2019, at 6 p.m. at the NorthWoods Stewardship Center.

All are invited to attend.

(left to right) Fred's Energy Derby office receptionist Desiree, NEKCA's Merry Hamel, Fred's Energy General Manager Dennis Percy, and Rachel Twofoot from Northpoint with toys dropped off to the Fred's Energy Derby office.

Toy drives make it a happier holiday for many local children

in Derby/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

DERBY — This holiday season, Fred’s Energy helped to collect donations for local toy drives at each of their three office locations.

The Fred’s Energy Derby office collected for the NEKCA and Northpoint Toys for Kids toy drive. Toys for Kids is helping approximately 191 families this year.

In addition, for every toy dropped off, donors were eligible to enter for a chance to win 100 gallons of propane or oil and a 3 foot tall snowman gift tower filled with holiday treats.

Cindy Royer of Barton was selected from the entries at the Derby office.

The Fred’s Energy Lyndonville office collected for the St. Johnsbury Fire Department Kingdom Santa Fund. The fund will be helping approximately 500 families this year.

The Fred’s Energy Morrisville office collected toys for The Lamoille Family Center Holiday Project. The project will be helping 323 children this year.

All donated toys are being distributed locally.

Becky Gonyea of Morrisville was the winner selected at the Morrisville office.

The winner from the Fred’s Energy Lyndonville office asked to make an anonymous donation of the fuel to be split between two households in need.

Newport armed robbery suspect flees police with children in vehicle

in Derby/Newport/News

DERBY — Police are looking for a 31-year-old fugitive considered armed and dangerous after he fled police with several children in his vehicle.

According to police, Lucas Putvain was spotted traveling on West Street in Derby when he saw a marked state police vehicle.

Putvain fled at a high rate of speed. He was last seen traveling east.

Police say they did not initiate a pursuit because of the children in the vehicle.

Putvain is wanted for an armed robbery that took place in Newport back in November, in which he and an accomplice ordered a man into a vehicle at gunpoint.

Putvain is charged with assault and robbery, unlawful restraint in the first degree, and in possession of a deadly weapon while committing a crime.

Police say he is armed and dangerous and should not be approached.

Anyone with information regarding Putvain should immediately contact the Vermont State Police.

Moore appointed to Community Bancorp. and Community National Bank boards

in Derby/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

DERBY — Community National Bank and Community Bancorp. President and Chief Executive Officer Kathryn M. Austin announced this week the appointment of Jeffrey Moore to the Boards of Directors.

Moore’s appointment will be effective January 1, 2019.

He will serve on the Corporate Governance/Nominating Committee of the Company’s Board and the Risk Management Committee of the Bank’s Board.

Moore is the owner and President of Quest Transportation, a freight logistics company based in St. Johnsbury.

He launched the business in 1985 after working at St. Johnsbury Trucking for three years.

Looking at supply chain logistics, he recognized the need for a freight broker and created a national freight network.

As an innovator and entrepreneur, Moore continued to expand his business interests.

In 2008, he created Pellets Now, a wholesale distributor of bio-energy fuels, and in 2014, Moore assumed the position of General Manager of Wells River Chevrolet in Wells River, testing the waters for possible ownership.

Born and raised in St. Johnsbury, Moore graduated from St. Johnsbury Academy and attended Lyndon State College.

He is deeply committed to his community and currently serves on the St. Johnsbury Select Board, NVRH Board of Trustees, and the St. Johnsbury-Lyndonville Industrial Park Board.

He is also a member of the Catamount Arts Advisory Council.

Moore previously served on the boards of the NEK Chamber of Commerce, St. Johnsbury Chamber of Commerce and St. Johnsbury Development Fund.

When he’s not at work, you can find him on the slopes of Burke Mountain or enjoying some quiet time at Lake Willoughby, two of his favorite places.

Photo by Phil White.

Newport woman qualifies for upcoming Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival

in Derby/Newport/News/Outdoors

NEWPORT — A 62-year-old woman from Newport spent her Sunday qualifying for the upcoming Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival taking place in February of 2019.

Lynn Rublee swam 25 meters in 35-degree water at Eagle Point on Lake Memphremagog.

In doing so, she became the 80th winter swimmer to sign up for the upcoming Festival held on Lake Memphremagog.

Also qualifying this past weekend was Elizabeth Hershey, 52, of Conestoga, PA.

The pool is the only 25-meter, two-lane winter swimming pool cut in the ice in all of North America.

As the festival heads into its fifth year, the number of registrants has already topped last year’s numbers with room for just 20 more swimmers.

Registration closes on February 1.

Among the 80 already signed up, some of the locals include Vera Rivard, 15, and her younger sister, Margaret Rivard, 11, of Derby. Pam Ladds, of Newport, is also ready to go.

The pool is scheduled to be cut on Thursday and Friday, February 21 and 22, 2019, and the event kicks off that Saturday at 9:30 a.m.

Photo: Julie Ann Gates / Facebook

Secret ‘Santa’ pays for entire Derby Walmart store’s layaway items

in Derby/Newport/News

DERBY — The Derby Walmart had an early visit from Santa when an anonymous man paid off all the layaway items in the store, several local news outlets have reported.

Walmart shopper Julie Gates told WCAX that she encountered the anonymous man in the store.

“This can’t be, who can afford to pay for [everyone’s] layaway?” she said. “And he said ‘Santa Clause can.'”

Customer Tammy Desautels also told WCAX that her items had been paid for.

“It was kind of like surreal when they said no balance due, then it was really a reality,” she said.

Walmart could not provide a total amount that the man spent. It is also unknown how many people went home with free gifts.

The man did not want to be recognized for his good deed, and the only known photo of him was taken as he was walking away.

“There were people ahead of me who were eight, nine-hundred dollar layaways,” Gates said.

Customers purchase items on layaway by handing over an initial deposit to ensure the store holds the product.

When the shopper pays the item off in full, they can take it home. The payment method allows customers to obtain a product without putting down a major sum in one sitting.

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