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Accident on I-91: Newport Woman Airlifted to Dartmouth Hitchcock

in Feature/News

NEWPORT — A 74-year-old woman was transported by helicopter from North Country Hospital to Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital this afternoon after being involved in a major accident on I-91 near Irasburg.

Delma Reed, of Newport, suffered an injury to her left arm after her vehicle overturned during the two vehicle crash. Rebecca Deyo, 54, of Derby, was the driver of the other vehicle.

At around 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 13, both drivers were traveling north on I-91 near mile marker 162 in Irasburg. Both drivers were traveling around 65 miles per hour. According to the police, Reed had been driving behind Deyo in the travel lane, and started to change lanes, when Deyo changed lanes as well, striking Reed.

After the collision, Reed, traveling in a 2007 Subaru Impreza, traveled off the blacktop and onto the soft portion of the median. While attempting to steer the vehicle back onto the blacktop, the vehicle overturned, coming to an uncontrolled rest on its roof in the passing lane.

The Subaru was totaled, and Reed suffered a severe injury to her left arm. She was taken to North Country Hospital for treatment before being airlifted to Dartmouth Hitchcock.

Deyo’s vehicle, a 2005 Ford Explorer, was able to be driven from the scene.

The case is still under investigation, however, the police report that neither speed nor alcohol appear to be factors in the crash.

Suspicious Activity Prompts Newport Police to Issue Reminder to Parents

in Feature/Newport

NEWPORT — The Newport Police Department is investigating an incident that took place today at around 4:45 p.m. in the former Vermont Teddy Bear parking lot off Farrant Street.

A white male in his 40’s with short brown hair and a beard, approached two young children who were playing in the area and asked them questions about a residence on Farrant Street. The two children didn’t recognize the subject and ran immediately home. The subject was driving a maroon, four door sedan.

Although the police are saying that it does not appear at this time that it was an attempt to abduct the children, they are using the incident as a reminder to parents to always keep a watch on their children as the weather gets warmer, and they are eager to play outside.

They are also reminding everyone not to hesitate in calling the police if they see any suspicious persons or vehicles that they do not recognize.

Greensboro Awarded $251,000 USDA Grant to Improve Drinking Water Quality

in Feature/News

GREENSBORO — The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Wednesday that it has awarded a $251,000 Emergency Community Water Assistance Grant (ECWAG) to Greensboro Fire District 1 to improve drinking water quality for users in Greensboro Village.

The grant will help the Fire District develop an additional well. The system’s existing wells have suffered from drought conditions in the past two years, forcing residents to draw untreated drinking water directly for Caspian Lake. Untreated surface water does not meet the standards of the Safe Drinking Water Act, requiring the system to issue boil water notices to its users.

“In the middle of our two-year pipe replacement project, our primary well started to dry up,” John Makin, a member of Greensboro’s Prudential Committee said. “USDA Rural Development stepped in with critical funding for a new well. This has been a major undertaking for our Fire District Prudential Committee. We have been very fortunate to have the professional help that has been provided throughout this project.”

The Fire District is in the final stages of an 18,000 foot water line replacement project scheduled to be completed in the coming months. USDA Rural Development provided $2,833,250 in low cost loans and grants through the agency’s Water and Waste Disposal Program.

The new lines will increase fire protection and decrease water consumption due to old leaking pipes. The contractor for the project, Munson Earth Moving Corp., recently received the Associated General Contractors of Vermont 2013 Best Builders award for this project.

“Safe, high quality drinking water in sufficient quantity is not a luxury, it is a necessity,” Ted Brady, the State Director of USDA Rural Development Vermont and New Hampshire, said. “Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and the team at USDA Rural Development recognize that our rural communities cannot shoulder the burden of making large drinking water improvements alone, and the ECWAG program is one of the most effective tools we can use to address sudden and unforeseen water quality and quantity concerns.”

Trout and Bass Fishing Starts Tomorrow: Local Fishing Guide

in Feature/News

ORLEANS — Trout fishing and bass catch and release seasons open tomorrow, and anglers are looking forward to fishing the local lakes and streams.

The Willoughby River in the Village of Orleans is a popular spot for spring fishing. The Willoughby flows north from Lake Willoughby to Lake Memphremagog, and rainbow trout and landlocked salmon can be seen jumping the falls on their spring spawning run. The trout swim up river for about 15 miles from Lake Memphremagog, where they spawn in the rocky shale of the river just out from Lake Willoughby.

The Willoughby River is also relatively unpolluted and rich in oxygen, which make ideal water conditions for trout.

Brook trout are a native species, as well as being Vermont’s official coldwater fish. Wild brook trout in the smaller streams are often eager to feed, but fishing smaller streams can be challenging because they can be easily spooked. When fishing these waters keep a low profile so they don’t see you.

Casting can also be a real challenge in smaller streams. Use a short rod or make short, underhand tosses. Worms are the bait of choice in small streams because there is usually not enough room to effectively fish an artificial lure.

Tomorrow also starts bass catch and release season. Bass have been growing in popularity with Vermont’s anglers, and the Northeast Kingdom boasts many great options for catching both largemouth and smallmouth bass.

Picture 5Gardner Park, located on Lake Memphremagog in Newport, is a good spot for bass fishing. Much of the Gardner Park waterfront can be fished easily. A good location is where the Clyde River enters the lake. A footbridge just to the west of the US-5 bridge is another spot that you might want to try.

Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department officials are reminding anglers that felt-soled boots or waders are prohibited to curb the spread of invasive algae.

The official season dates are:

Bass Catch & Release Season (Apr 12 2014 – Jun 13 2014)

Trout & Landlocked Salmon (Apr 12 2014 – Oct 31 2014)

Have fun, and stay safe. If you want to share any of your photos from this season, post them to our Facebook wall, or else use the hashtag #newportdispatch on Instagram.

City to Buy Fire Equipment Needed for AnC Bio Project

in Feature/News

NEWPORT — The city drafted new zoning bylaws to accommodate the proposed AnC Bio plant. The adjustments were related to height restrictions for buildings in a light industrial zone. This required Fire Chief Jamie LeClair to meet with developers and assess the situation. His decision is that the city needs five high-rise packs in order to respond if a fire ever broke out at the plant.

“When you have a high-rise structure, the state mandates that they put in a standpipe, which is a pipe that goes on each floor that the fire department can hook into with their hoses to have access to water,” Fire Chief Jamie LeClair said on Wednesday. “These high-rise packs have all the equipment to hook into the standpipes to fight the fire, as opposed to stretching a bunch of hose from the outside, all the way up four or five floors.”

On Monday night, in order to make sure that the AnC Bio project does not come across any hang-ups, the city council voted to fund the new equipment in next year’s budget. The equipment is estimated to cost $19,600.

City Manager John Ward’s reasoning was that even with tax breaks given to AnC Bio, the city would collect more in property tax than the price of the new equipment. With the AnC Bio plant appraised at $30 million, even with a 90 percent tax break, the city would receive $34,791 in tax payments.

LeClair said that the new equipment could be used to fight a fire anywhere that has standpipes built into the structure, noting that North Country Hospital is one such building, however, he stated that they are not necessarily in use at the hospital.

He also noted that maintaining the standpipes is often costly, but that it is entirely up to the property owner, and is not a cost that would fall on taxpayers in the future.

The other options to pay for the equipment would have been to seek impact fees from the developer, in this case Bill Stenger and his partners, or else search for grants.

Newport City Council Bans Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

in Feature/Newport

NEWPORT — The message from the Newport city council on Monday night was clear. There will be no medical marijuana dispensaries allowed within the city. The council agreed to new zoning language that would ban the possibility of a dispensary opening up in Newport.

Vermont has four approved dispensaries already, with 1,061 registered medical marijuana patients. Within the last year, the number of patients approved to use medical marijuana in Vermont has increased by 90 percent.

“This was about medical marijuana, not general use, only available by prescription,” Newport resident Pam Ladds said. “It’s an affordable and effective treatment for many diseases. The city council was against it from a place of ignorance as to the medical uses of marijuana, and cloaked their argument in “illegality,” despite it being the state that wants the dispensaries.”

Since 2004, Vermont has allowed patients with certain illnesses to use marijuana medicinally to help with pain management, as well as appetite stimulation. But as far as dispensaries go, they have only been operating in the state for less than a year now.

The dispensaries are located in Brattleboro, Montpelier, Brandon, and Burlington. For patients in the Northeast Kingdom, traveling to these locations is not very convenient. Only 705 people actually use the state’s four dispensaries.

“The move by city council was absurd and unnecessary,” Ladds went on to say. “Current zoning laws would have prevented a downtown location anyway, so changing the zoning was totally redundant. It also ignored several community members, and four out of the five planning commission members. It is dangerous to insert something in the bylaws that is intended to prevent a medical decision.”

House lawmakers are looking to approve two more dispensaries. They are also looking into adding post traumatic stress disorder to the list of conditions that qualify a patient for medical marijuana.

The Newport city council said that other communities within the Northeast Kingdom could host a dispensary, and that they needed to step up to the plate.

Barton River Expected to Flood: Health Department Urges Spring Flood Preparedness

in Feature/News

NEWPORT – The National Weather Service is saying that the Barton River is expected to cause minor flooding overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday. The forecast is saying that the flooding will impact Maple Street and River Road between Orleans and Coventry station. They are saying that there will be extensive field and lowland flooding.

The flood stage is at 8.0 feet, and is expected to rise near 8.5 feet by late Wednesday.

Today, the Health Department sent out a message urging all Vermonters to prepare for spring flooding.

Spring flooding is a potential hazard every year as ice floes break like pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle, forming blockages at bridges and tributaries, causing rivers and streams to overflow their banks.

“Flooding is a leading cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S., and most are preventable,” said Chris Bell, director of public health preparedness for the Vermont Department of Health. “Public Health Week is a good time for us all to remind each other not to underestimate the power of water, especially moving water.”

Part of being ‘Vermont Strong,’ Bell said, is to be ready for any hazard, including the possibility of flooding.

Most flooding-related deaths occur when people attempt to drive through flooded roadways, or cross moving water. Six inches of moving water can knock down an adult, and 18 inches can carry away a vehicle, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Floodwaters can also contain harmful bacteria, sewage, agricultural or industrial waste, chemicals, metals, and other substances. It can even contaminate drinking water wells.

The Health Department has extensive information about precautions to take before and after a flood at: http://healthvermont.gov/enviro/water/flood.aspx.

Emergency information about flooding and power outages is also available in English plus 10 other languages at: http://www.healthvermont.gov/local/rhealth/rh_fact.aspx

The American Red Cross has also just released a new flood app to help get your family and home ready for a flood, now available at iTunes or Google Play app stores.

Controlled Burn in Stanstead Sunday Morning

in Feature/News

STANSTEAD, QC — The Stanstead Fire Department conducted a fire training exercise on Sunday morning, burning down an old house owned by the FamilyPrix pharmacy. The house was also owned by Raymond Falconer for many years.

The fire was started at 9 a.m. By around noon the building was completely down. The area was still smoldering Monday afternoon.

The drill allowed firefighters the opportunity to keep the fire contained to one area, as well as watch the way the flames spread from start to finish.

Stanstead firefighter Jason Hartley said the exercise was just a “surround and drown,” where the department was only concerned with keeping the fire contained, rather than training in any inside firefighting or search and rescue techniques.

“It was a good training experience, especially for the new guys on the department who have not had as much experience yet,” Hartley said. “The drill allowed them to watch the way the fire evolved, and we worked together to keep it contained.”

Because the Stanstead Fire Department works as mutual aid with Derby Line, Vermont, they were notified of the drill.

All Photos by Jason Hartley.

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Break-In at Mr. O’s Sporting Goods: Firearms Stolen

in Feature/Newport

NEWPORT — Several firearms are missing from a local sporting goods store after a break-in that took place on Friday.

The Newport Police are reporting that early Friday morning, April 4, they were called out to Mr. O’s Sporting Goods on East Main Street, after a security alarm had been set off.

Officers arrived on the scene at around 1 a.m. and discovered that the store had been broken into.

The Vermont State Police assisted in the search, but the perpetrators had already fled the scene. After an investigation, several pieces of evidence were gathered, including surveillance video which recorded the incident.

Newport Police are saying that several firearms had been stolen during the break-in. Mr. O’s has been in business since 1981, and carries firearms by Remington, Savage, Weatherby, Marlin, Winchester, and Ruger.

The Newport Police are actively reviewing that surveillance video, and anyone with any information is being asked to contact the Newport Police at: 802-334-6733.

5 New Border Protection Officers Coming to Derby Line

in Feature/News

DERBY LINE — The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency are saying that Vermont will be receiving 10 new officers, five of which will come to Derby Line. On Monday, the agency announced that they will be bringing in 2,000 additional border protection officers to further enhance security and improve service at ports of entry across the country.

In the case of Derby Line, the move will address slow border crossings into the U.S. that can negatively impact Vermont businesses. During summer travel months, wait times at the port can be more than a few hours long.

Derby Line and Highgate Springs ports of entry have been recognized as being the most in need of this increase in officers.

The need for additional staff at Derby Line has been an issue since 2009. From January 2009 to July 2013, Derby Line saw a 21 percent decrease in its staff, according to research done by Senator Bernie Sanders’ office.

The five new officers should be in Derby Line by the end of September of 2015.

The Department of Commerce estimates the rate of travel into the United States will increase by 3.4 to 4.3 percent annually in the coming years. That growth will represent an additional 17 million visitors when compared to 2012 numbers.

Car Vandalized in Irasburg

in Feature

IRASBURG — An Irasburg man woke up this morning to find out that his car had been severely vandalized.

Michael Prue, 36, called the Vermont State Police at around 7:30 a.m. Thursday morning to report the incident. Prue’s 2012 Nissan Versa had been parked the night before, and was vandalized sometime during the night. The car was parked outside a residence on the Back Coventry Road, in Irasburg.

The vehicle sustained the following damage:

The right passenger window had been smashed out.
The right front fender was damaged.
The right front light was damaged.
There were multiple dents in the hood and front fender.
The fog light holder was damaged.
There was a large spider mark in the front of the windshield.

Anyone with any information is being asked to contact the Vermont State Police.

Most Iconic Dinosaur That Ever Lived to Visit Vermont

in Arts and Entertainment/Feature

NORWICH — The most iconic dinosaur that ever lived is on its way to the Montshire Museum of Science in Norwich. The exhibit, “A T. rex Named Sue,” scheduled to open May 17, features a cast of the most complete Tyrannosaurus rex ever discovered.

At 42-feet long, 3,500 pounds, and 12 feet tall at the hips, this fully articulated cast skeleton is the keystone piece of this traveling exhibition which also includes replicated dinosaur fossils, video footage, free-standing interactive exhibits and colorful graphics.

Sue is the largest and best preserved Tyrannosaurus rex ever unearthed, and is one of the most significant fossil finds to date. Fossil hunter Sue Hendrickson found the specimen in 1990 in the Hell Creek Formation near Faith, South Dakota. In 1997, the Field Museum in Chicago purchased the 67-million-year-old fossil at auction for $8.4 million, setting the world record for the highest price ever paid for a fossil.

Only four T. rex specimens containing more than 60 percent of their original skeleton have been found. Sue is at least 90 percent complete. Only a foot, one arm, and a few ribs and vertebrae are missing. Because of its near completeness, the specimen has presented the scientific community with a variety of new evidence, and with it Field Museum scientists made important new discoveries about the biology and evolution of Tyrannosaurus rex.

Sue will be assembled in Montshire’s Main gallery and offers visitors the chance to discover what these professionals have learned. The discovery of Sue ranks as one of the most important fossil finds ever, with tremendous educational value for scientists and the general public.

Tyrannosaurus rex is the most widely recognized dinosaur in the world. Although it was first named almost a century ago, much remains to be understood about this remarkable animal. Carnivorous dinosaurs recently described from the Southern Hemisphere are of similar, or perhaps slightly larger size, but T. rex remains one of the largest flesh-eaters to have ever inhabited the Earth. With its extraordinarily powerful jaws and massive serrated steak-knife teeth, T. rex still dominates popular perceptions of the Age of Dinosaurs.

The exhibit “A T. rex Named Sue” runs from May 17 through September 7, 2014 at the Montshire Museum of Science. It will be the first time the exhibition has been to northern new England.

This exhibit was created by the Field Museum, Chicago, and made possible through the generosity of McDonald’s Corporation. Local sponsorship is provided by Geokon, as well as Lake Sunapee Bank, and King Arthur Flour. Media sponsorship provided by WCAX and NHPR.

Admission to “A T. rex Named Sue” is free with Museum admission. $16 for adults, $14 for children 2-17, and free for Montshire members and children under 2 years of age.

The Montshire Museum will be closed May 12-14 during the installation of “A T. rex Named Sue.”

The Montshire Museum of Science is a hands-on science center located on 110 acres in Norwich, Vermont. Visitors will enjoy more than 100 interactive exhibits relating to the natural and physical sciences, technology, and more. The Montshire is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Gabree Sentenced to Six to 15 Years For Fatal Accident

in Feature/Newport

NEWPORT — A year and a half after the car crash that took the lives of Art and Peggy Moran of Jay, the woman who plead guilty to charges of grossly negligent operation of a vehicle that resulted in the crash, was sentenced.

On Wednesday, Alexis Gabree, 28, of St. Albans, was sentenced to serve six to 15 years in prison.

The tragic accident happened on Route 105 in North Troy on Aug. 5, 2012. Art Moran, 82, and his wife Peggy, 75, were on their way home from church, when they were struck by Gabree, who was driving 17 mph over the speed limit. Gabree’s vehicle had strayed across the road before the accident.

Gabree told police after the accident that she was a recovering drug addict who had recently relapsed. Test results showed Gabree had 11 different substances in her bloodstream at the time of the accident, and she was driving without a valid license.

Art Moran died at the scene, and his wife died later as a result of the injuries sustained during the accident. The couple had been married for more than 50 years.

Gabree at the time was on her way to visit her boyfriend at the Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport. She received minor injuries and was briefly hospitalized.

She plead guilty on two counts of gross negligent operation of a motor vehicle, with a fatality resulting. She will serve six to 15 in prison.

As part of the plea agreement, Gabree, without the court’s approval, will never drive legally again.

Delayed Spring Weather Changes Options for Anglers

in Feature/Newport

NEWPORT — The late return of spring weather and persistent ice may alter the plans of some anglers this year. While the winter weather extends opportunities for ice fishing on some water bodies, it can also delay anglers’ access to open water for the start of trout season.

“Late springs such as this one traditionally delay the onset of open-water fishing by a few weeks,” said Col. David LeCours, Fish & Wildlife’s head of law enforcement. “But during these years, the ice fishing on lakes such as Champlain and Memphremagog remain good as long as the ice remains stable and safe.”

Trout fishing season opens on April 12 this year, but on most waters in Vermont trout fishing is restricted to casting and trolling rather than ice fishing. Anglers should take note that on rivers, streams, and lakes with seasonal closures, they may not cut a hole through the ice to go ice fishing for trout during the open-water trout season.

LeCours reminded anglers that ice shanties should have been removed by the last Sunday in March, even if the ice remains thick. Temporary fabric wind shelters that remain with the angler are permitted. He also urged anglers to check fishing regulations regarding which waters remain open to fishing year round.

Anglers should proceed with caution and continuously check ice thickness and stability when walking out on ice. Ice conditions have become dangerously thin in many parts of Vermont.

Colombian Deportee Caught Trying to Elude Inspection at Derby Line Customs

in Feature/News

DERBY LINE — John Acosta-Bermudez, a Colombian citizen with landed immigrant status in Canada, is being detained after trying to elude inspection at the port of entry in Derby Line.

According to the criminal complaint, immigration officials at the Route 5 Port-of-Entry in Derby Line observed a black vehicle enter the country Saturday morning on March 29. The car did not stop for inspection, but instead headed south on Interstate 91.

A Border Patrol agent followed and stopped the car on the highway. Acosta-Bermudez was driving, with an undocumented alien traveling with him.

Acosta-Bermudez has twice been deported from the United States following a New York robbery conviction, as well as a federal passport fraud conviction. As a deportee, he is not allowed to return to the United States without the advance permission of the Attorney General.

Acosta-Bermudez appeared in United States District Court in Burlington on Monday on a charge that he reentered the United State after having been deported.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy ordered that the defendant be detained pending his next hearing.

The United States Attorney emphasizes that the charge against Acosta-Bermudez is merely an accusation, and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty.

If convicted, Acosta-Bermudez faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. The actual sentence would be determined with reference to federal sentencing guidelines.

Acosta-Bermudez is represented by Assistant Federal Public Defender David McColgin. The prosecutor is Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Waples.

Snow Will Keep Manure Off Fields As Spreading Ban Ends

in Feature/Newport

NEWPORT — To some, mostly farmers, manure spread on the field smells like money. To others, basically everyone else, it just smells. Regardless of which side of the fence you’re on, you most likely will not smell either tomorrow, even though the winter spreading ban will end.

The first day of April marks the end of the Winter Manure Spreading Ban imposed by the Accepted Agricultural Practice Regulations (AAPs). The continued presence of snow pack on farm fields will present a challenge to farmers who wish to start spreading manure as soon as the ban is over.

The AAPs require that all agricultural wastes be managed in order to prevent adverse impacts to water quality. That means that while it is legal to spread manure once the winter ban is over, manure must still be applied in a way that does not result in runoff of manure to surface water or across property boundaries. Once the snow begins to melt, manure can be carried away to the low points in the landscape.

To prepare for spring planting, farmers begin emptying their manure storage tanks. It’s the first step in the process of growing the crops that will sustain the farm for the next year. Most dairy farms have the capacity to store manure for about six months in a pit or tank that prevents it from leaching into the ground. In the spring and fall these pits get emptied out and spread on the fields.

To help farmers remain in compliance with the AAPs, the Agency of Agriculture strongly recommends the following:

1) If you still have room in your manure pit, wait until snow is off the fields before you spread manure.

2) If you must spread manure before snow is off the fields, choose fields that are relatively flat and far away from rivers and streams.

3) If you must spread on fields near rivers and streams, do not apply manure within 150 feet of the top of the bank.

4) If you are spreading in fields with ditches, do not apply manure within 150 feet of the ditch.

5) Do not apply manure within 100 feet of property lines and roads.

6) Utilize reduced rates of application.

If farmers observe these added safety precautions while land applying manure in the presence of snow, they will help to minimize any runoff of manure that could occur during snow melt. The Agency urges all those considering applying manure at this time of year to operate with the utmost of care so that water quality is best protected.

Driver Falls Asleep at the Wheel Causing Accident in Albany

in Feature/News

ALBANY — A driver reportedly fell asleep at the wheel causing a collision on Vermont Route 14 in Albany, Saturday morning.

Amanda Merrill, 20, of Albany, was driving a 2003 Subaru Baja south on Route 14 just after 8 a.m. Vermont State Police report that Merrill fell asleep and crossed the center line into the northbound lane.

Beth Hernandez, 51, of Craftsbury, was driving a 2006 Toyota truck north on Route 14, when she was struck by Merrill who had drifted into her lane.

Both drivers were wearing their seat belts and sustained injuries, however, police indicate that they were not life threatening. Hernandez was transported to North Country Hospital by Orleans Ambulance, and the Albany Fire Department was dispatched to the scene.

Both vehicles sustained damage and had to be towed from the scene by Rays Auto out of Newport, and Rockwell Auto out of Craftsbury. Both had severe front end and driver’s side damage.

Tattoo Shop Open for Business in Evansville

in Feature/News

EVANSVILLE — Tattoo artist Don Furbush and his wife Jenifer are living the dream. After opening up a tattoo shop in Lyndonville in 2009, and establishing himself as one of the most reputable and trusted professional tattoo artists around, Don and his family have decided to move to a location a little closer to home.

On March 7, Don’t Tats opened up their new shop in Evansville, in a building located on their own property.

Don Furbush of Don's Tats in Evansville. All Photos courtesy of Jenifer Furbush.
Don Furbush of Don’s Tats in Evansville. All Photos courtesy of Jenifer Furbush.
The Furbush family has been living in Evansville for the last eight years. Don’s Tats is a family business, with Jenifer working the counter, their daughter currently apprenticing, and their son working at the shop. Jenifer is especially happy to have brought their business to the town.

“This is such a beautiful area,” Jenifer said. “We enjoy being a part of the community, and want to help the area grow.”

Working as a professional tattoo artist for the past 14 years, Furbush has developed his own style, known for its color range and fine detail. His background in art, having studied at Montserrat College of Art, allows him to create some incredible portrait tattoos.

Don’s Tats has clients from all over, some even plan their vacations around coming to the area and getting a tattoo.

“Our clients are going to love this new location, now that we’re so close to Lake Willoughby,” Jenifer said.

Don puts his all into every tattoo he does, and his work is guaranteed. He can revitalize or completely change an existing and possibly embarrassing tattoo, and if you have a custom idea, bring it in and let him make it a reality.

If you would like to get in touch with Don’s Tats, they have a huge Facebook following, and are very active on it. You can reach them through it by clicking here, or call them at 802-754-1028.

Page Gets 18 Months for Stealing School Bus

in Feature/News

NEWPORT — Adam Page, 22, of Derby, was sentenced to serve 18 months in prison. He will get credit for time served since being arrested in May of 2013, after he went on a crime spree that included stealing a school bus, as well as breaking into a woman’s home and stealing her dog.

Page was in court on Thursday for sentencing. Earlier in the year he pleaded guilty to five counts against him, but on Thursday he changed his plea on two of those counts to no contest.

Vermont State Police originally became involved with the investigation when they discovered a school bus totaled and abandoned on the Valley Road in Morgan.

Page had fled the scene after the crash, but the police recovered a dog belonging to Heather Murphy inside the bus.

While investigating, police learned that Page had broken into Heather Murphy’s home, and made off with her chocolate Labrador. He had stolen the bus and drove to Murphy’s home in Morgan.

Page then attempted to take a 2003 Toyota truck from Zach Alix on the Toad Pond Road. After failing to steal the Toyota, he allegedly stole a 1995 Ford truck belonging to Robert Durfey of Morgan. Durfey’s truck was located later in Derby, however, Page was never charged with these offenses.

On Thursday, Judge Howard VanBenthuysen acknowledged the letters he received on Page’s behalf. He also said that he didn’t doubt the sincerity of Page’s apology, but that Page was going to be judged based on his actions not his words.

In total, police spent more than 20 hours investigating the case, with ambulance and firefighters spending more than five hours assisting. The brand new school bus Page stole and later totaled was worth $84,000.

Page will most likely spend the remainder of his sentence at the Caledonia Community Work Camp.

St. Johnsbury World Maple Festival Set For April 26

in Feature/Vermont

ST. JOHNSBURY — On Saturday, April 26, a significant portion of historic downtown St. Johnsbury will host the World Maple Festival. Maple syrup judges will determine this year’s World Champion Maple Syrup Producer.

Events at the festival will include:

5K Sap Lap Run
Pancake Breakfast
Sugar on Snow
Music from “The Labor Days” and “Tritium Well”
Rock Climbing
Kid’s Activity Area
Food Court
Historical and Scientific Exhibits
Maple Syrup Judging

The World Maple Festival is organized by a group of volunteers from St. Johnsbury who are committed to the advancement of the Maple Industry and its historical connection to the town.

“This year’s festival promises to have something for the thousands that will attend.” Scott Beck, World Maple Festival organizer, said. “We are anxious to welcome maple syrup producers and lovers from around the world to St. Johnsbury.”

Approximately 80 vendors will be in attendance.

Detailed information about the World Maple Festival can be found at www.worldmaplefestival.org. Interested vendors and syrup producers should email Scott Beck at scottbeck@worldmaplefestival.org to reserve space or enter the syrup contest.

For local hotel accommodations, call 802-748-1500.

Cross Border Friendship and Partnership Grows

in Feature/Newport

NEWPORT — Phil White of Kingdom Games, and Christian Vachon of the Fondation Christian Vachon, announced that they will be partnering. Christian Vachon has won the past two Dandelion Runs, and the partnership with Kingdom Games will help support Vachon’s work to help underprivileged children in the Magog area, as well as throughout the Eastern Townships.

Kingdom Games organizes over 40 days of running, biking, swimming, triathlon, kayaking, and skating in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and the Eastern Townships of Quebec. Recently they have seen an increase in Canadian participation in the events. This year 20 percent of all adult Canadian registration fees will be dedicated to the Fondation Christian Vachon.

“We got to know Christian, Michel, and Daniel during the Relais du Lac Memphremagog, helping with border crossing issues, establishing a better relay station in downtown Newport, and redirecting them to use the Newport-Derby bike path heading north,” Phil White said. “When we saw the growing numbers of athletes from Canada participating in our events, we thought it made sense to donate a portion of Canadian registration fees to a Canadian charity.”

Photo’s are of Christian Vachon at the finish of last year’s Dandelion Run, which he won with an impressive time of 1:19:23. All photos courtesy of Kingdom Games.
Christian Vachon at the finish of last year’s Dandelion Run, which he won with an impressive time of 1:19:23. All photos courtesy of Kingdom Games.
Coming up on May 17 is the Dandelion Run. It’s a half marathon distance with a 10K option and relay options. It is run largely on dirt roads through the dandelion fields of Morgan, Holland, and Derby. There will be musicians at every relay station.

“We appreciate the support and value the friendship of Phil White and Kingdom Games,” Vachon said. “He puts on some great events that are drawing athletes from all over the world. He’s helped with our Relais du Lac Memphremagog and we are actively encouraging our participants to sign on to The Dandelion Run.”

Most recently, Kingdom Games plowed a temporary skating path between Newport and Magog so that marathon Nordic skaters could skate the length of the lake. It hosts bike rides around Lake Memphremagog, a 25 mile swim the length of the lake, and a 4 day, 3 night kayaking trip on the lake.

For more information on the Dandelion Run, visit them online by clicking here. For more info on Fondation Christian Vachon, click here.

Local Ice Surfaces Weakening Rapidly

in Feature/News

NEWPORT — Vermonters are being encouraged to stay off iced waterways. Despite the recent cold weather, as we get deeper into spring, the ice is getting weaker and weaker by the day. It is best to assume that no ice surface is safe.

Even during the recent cold spell the high sun angle has been absorbed by water below the surface. That warmer water is melting the ice from the bottom up, so even if a surface seems solid, it has likely weakened significantly. Warm temperatures will degrade ice even more.

If you or anyone you know ventures onto the ice and experiences trouble, keep the following in mind:

* Always keep your pets on a leash if walking near a partially frozen waterway. If a pet falls through the ice do not attempt to rescue your pet, go for help.

* Reach-Throw-Go. If a companion falls through the ice and you are unable to reach that person from shore, throw them something (rope, jumper cables, tree branch, etc.). If this does not work, go for help before you also become a victim. Get medical assistance for the victim immediately.

* If you fall in, try not to panic. Turn toward the direction from which you came. Place your hands and arms on the unbroken surface, working forward by kicking your feet. Once out, remain lying on the ice (do not stand) and roll away from the hole. Crawl back to your tracks, keeping your weight distributed until you return to solid ice.

The best way to avoid trouble is to avoid the ice entirely until next winter. The water will be open and warm soon enough for us all to safely enjoy Vermont’s lakes and rivers.

Woman Arrested for Domestic Assault in Orleans

in Feature/News

ORLEANS — A woman from Orleans wound up in the Northern State Correctional Facility on lack of $500.00 bail, after being arrested on Thursday, March 20, on charges of domestic assault.

According to the police, Ellen Bean, 56, was reported to have been drinking alcohol in Orleans at around 10:00 p.m. when she got into an altercation with another individual. The Vermont State Police does not release the names of victims of domestic violence.

The victim contacted police to report that at around 10:30 p.m. Bean was driving a motor vehicle from Orleans to the town of Westmore. After contacting police, the victim also stated that in an attempt to prevent Bean from driving under the influence of alcohol, she kicked the victim in the groin and bit the victim in the arm.

According to the release issued by the State Police, the attack resulted in “a puncture wound and the complainant to feel significant pain.”

Bean was later located at a residence in Westmore where she was taken into custody. She was transported to the Derby Barracks where she was processed for the offense of domestic assault.

Bean was then lodged at Northern State Correctional Facility on lack of $500 bail. She is scheduled to appear in Orleans County Court tomorrow morning.

Jed’s Maple Hosts Sugar-On-Snow Party for 15th Year

in Arts and Entertainment/Feature

DERBY — Over the weekend sugarhouses across the state opened their doors for the 13th annual Vermont Maple Open House. For 15 years Jed’s Maple in Derby has been hosting a sugar-on-snow party to celebrate the statewide event. Saturday, visitors to Jed’s Maple were treated to sugar-on-snow, wood fired maple pizza, as well as other specialty maple treats.

All photos by Tanya Mueller.
All photos by Tanya Mueller.

It was a family event, with Steve Wheeler holding a storytime in the morning, and a junior sugarmaker class in the afternoon.

“When we started our business, we decided that we wanted to put something on for friends and family,” Steve Wheeler, who runs Jed’s Maple Products, said. “This event just keeps getting bigger and bigger, and now we use it also as a way to just say thank you to the community for supporting us. We want to show our appreciation to the community for their support of what we do.”

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Maple is a Wheeler family tradition which goes back at least five generations. Now, Steve and Amy Wheeler run Jed’s Maple, producing quality food products.

“This is our whole life and our career. We make food, and maple is just one of the foods we make. But maple is special because traditionally this is where we started.”

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Although the maple season this year has not really started yet, Wheeler is optimistic about the upcoming weeks.

“Looking at the forecast for next week, it looks like we’ll be starting early sugar season,” Wheeler said. “It might be a little too cold, but it warms up by day. We’ll probably get some sap, but not a ton next week. From then on it gets better and better each day.”

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Wheeler explained how maple season always fluctuates, and is a season closely tied to Easter. With the timing of Easter following a lunar cycle, Wheeler sees that this year they are right on schedule.
“Most of the time our biggest week is the week before Easter, and then finishing up just after the holiday. With Easter four weeks away, we’re just about ready to roll.”

For more information on Jed’s Maple, visit them online at www.JedsMaple.com

Snowmobile Accident in Charleston Saturday Results in Serious Injury

in Feature/News

CHARLESTON — The Vermont State police are reporting that a snowmobile accident took place on Saturday in Charleston. The single vehicle crash happened along the VAST trail #58 in Charleston.

At just about 7:00 p.m. the police were called out to the scene. It was determined that the victim was Don Wilson, 52, of Windham, New Hampshire. Wilson was traveling east on the VAST trail when he failed to negotiate a right hand turn.

The State Police are reporting that Wilson traveled off the south side of a small bridge on the trail, and that he was thrown from the snowmobile and collided with a tree. He was operating a Ski-Doo MX-Z 800.

He was taken to North Country Hospital and subsequently transported to Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital in Hanover, New Hampshire. It is reported that he suffered internal injuries as a result of the crash.

The Charleston Fire Dept, Derby Line Ambulance, Newport Ambulance, Vermont Fish & Wildlife, and the Brighton Police all assisted with the crash.

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