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Missing hikers found safe in Jay

in Jay/Newport/News/North Troy

NEWPORT — Local emergency workers rescued five lost hikers in the North Troy/Jay area on Sunday.

Police were notified of the incident at around 8:30 p.m. when a friend of the hiking group reported that they were due to meet him at a Long Trail crossing in Richford, at approximately 4:00 p.m.

He told police he checked in with the hikers at noon, and everything was fine, but then was unable to reach them via cell phone afterward.

All five hikers ranged in age from 60 to 75 years of age.

They began their hike from the Journey’s End trailhead in North Troy at 10:00 a.m.

One of the hikers was eventually able to contact 911 and GPS coordinates were obtained by police.

Based off of their location, a State Police cruiser was able to patrol the roadways near Journey’s End Road and blare the cruiser siren, which the lost hikers were able to faintly hear.

With the assistance of members from the North Troy Fire Department, who, with all-terrain vehicles and intimate knowledge of the wooded area, police were able to locate the lost hikers in a densely wooded area approximately 3/4 of a mile southwest of the Journey’s End Road/North Jay Road intersection.

All five hikers were physically fine, minus insect bites.

They were identified as John Boutin,66, of Fairlee, Elizabeth Boutin, 70, of Vaschon, WA, Linda Boutin, 75, of West Fairlee, Mary Bombard, 64 of Fairlee, and Kathleen Herrington, 71, of Montpelier, VT

Jay Focus Group offering summer camp scholarship opportunities, and more

in Jay/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — The Jay Focus Group recently announced scholarship opportunities for 2019.

The group’s “Community Service Scholarship” provides funding up to $500 to high school seniors from Orleans County to assist with educational costs of continuing their education.

The scholarship requires previous community service involvement, and the deadline for applying is April 19.

The winner will be announced on May 3.

In addition, the group’s 6th Annual “Summer Camp Program” sends students from Orleans County to a summer camp for a week. The program aims to help create a memory that will last a lifetime.

Applications and a brief description from each student must be submitted to the Jay Focus Group Summer Camp Program no later than April 25.

A decision on Summer Camp Program awardees will be made by May 1.

This program is open to kindergarten through Grade 12 as of July 1, 2019.

Summer Camp choices include Raised Jay Peak Summer Day Camp, Hazen’s Notch Summer Camp in Montgomery, Green Mountain Conservation Camp at Buck Lake, in Woodbury, Siskin Ecological Adventures/Coutts – Moriarty Summer Camp at Lake Salem, in Derby, and Circus Smirkus 2019 Summer Camps.

The members of the Jay Focus Group realize the cost of transportation for camp may be a burden to some families and they have voted to reimburse the cost of gas to those families providing an itemized expense form with original receipts.

For applications, click here.

Select Jay Peak EB-5 documents to be released following settlement

in Jay/Jay Peak/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Today the State of Vermont and VTDigger announced a settlement in the matter regarding two public records requests by the news organization related to Jay Peak’s EB-5 program.

Under terms of the settlement, the State of Vermont agreed to provide VTDigger the originally requested documents as well as additional agreed-upon Jay Peak records.

“VTDigger remains committed to making sure that the story of Jay Peak is told in its entirety,” Anne Galloway, founder and editor of VTDigger, said.

Galloway says the records released on Friday are long overdue to the public.

VTDigger began covering allegations of fraud at the ski area back in 2014, and has been seeking documents on the public’s behalf since that time.

Due to ongoing litigation, only a few hundred records have been released, with disclosure pending on 1.5 million pages of documents between Shumlin administration officials and Jay Peak developers.

VTDigger’s legal team filed a complaint in January seeking official communications between the Agency of Commerce and Community Development and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service regarding the projects at Jay Peak Resort.

Requests for the records from VTDigger have been repeatedly denied over the past three years.

“It is refreshing to see the State and its citizens cooperate in the release of public documents,” Tim Cornell, VTDigger’s attorney, said. “This brings us a step closer to finding out how the Jay Peak scandal happened.”

In 2014, the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation began an investigation into the fraud at Jay Peak, which ultimately led to federal and state action.

In April 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the State of Vermont charged the developers of Jay Peak Resort with 52 counts of fraud and the misuse of $200 million in foreign investor funds.

The developers’ “Ponzi-like” scheme was perpetrated over an eight-year period from 2008-2016, during which the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development administered the EB-5 program.

Road to Jay Peak closed twice during storm

in Jay/Newport/News

JAY — Vermont Agency of Transportation crews were busy at Jay Peak this morning during the snowstorm after vehicles were unable to make it up the hill.

At 8:48 a.m. police responded to a report of a vehicle crash on Vermont Route 242, in Westfield, the back side of Jay Peak.

There was one vehicle in the snow bank and 47 vehicles who were not able to make the hill to the resort and were blocking traffic.

Both sides of Route 242 were shut down for approximately one hour while the vehicles were turned around to wait at the bottom of the mountain until AOT was able to plow the roadway for traffic to flow.

At 11:14 a.m. the Vermont State Police were back in Jay after two tour buses got stuck trying to go up the mountain.

One of the tour buses ended up blocking both lanes of travel.

Route 242 was closed again for approximately one and a half hours.

Rescue crews locate missing skier near Jay Peak

in Jay/Jay Peak/Westmore

JAY — Search and rescue crews were able to locate a 69-year-old man from Newport this evening after he got lost skiing earlier in the day.

Peter Harris, 66, of Derby, alerted authorities at around 2:45 p.m. that he and a group of three others were skiing the backwoods near the top of Vermont Route 242, by the Long Trail in Jay, when his party lost contact with Robert Staniforth.

A search was carried out on foot and via tracked vehicles by members of Jay Peak Ski Patrol, the Jay and Troy Fire Departments, along with State Police Search & Rescue.

Police say phone contact with Staniforth was intermittent, however, enough contact was made to obtain a GPS coordinate that aided rescuers from Jay Peak Ski Patrol to locate him at approximately 6:30 p.m.

He was located in the deep woods between Jay Peak and Westfield Village.

Once out of the woods, Staniforth was evaluated by medical personnel from Mississquoi EMS and found to be in good health.

The other members of his skiing party were Michael Kiser, 66, of Derby, and Leigh Mallory, 67, of Colchester.

Car crashes into utility pole in Newport Center

in Jay/Newport/News

NEWPORT — An 18-year-old driver escaped uninjured after crashing into a utility pole in Newport Center on Monday.

At around 9:15 p.m. police responded to the single-vehicle crash on Searles Road.

Police say the driver, identified as Rider Morse, of Jay, traveled off the road and struck the utility pole, snapping it in half.

According to the report, Morse was not injured during the crash, but the vehicle, a 2008 Nissan Altima, had to be towed from the scene.

Vermont Electric responded afterward to replace the utility pole.

Jay man allegedly admits to local burglaries

in Jay/Newport/News/North Troy

NEWPORT — Police say a 21-year-old man from Jay was arrested in connection to a series of burglaries in the area, including one at the Jay Country Store.

Joshua Furlow was arrested this week following an investigation into a burglary in North Troy.

On Thursday, police responded to investigate the burglary at a residence on N. Pleasant Street.

The victim told police someone had been in their home and taken cash, jewelry, and other personal property.

According to police, after several interviews and an investigation, Furlow was arrested.

During the investigation, police also say Furlow admitted to a retail theft at the Derby Walmart and to being one of two individuals who burglarized the Jay Country Store on July 27.

He was lodged on $15,000 bail at the Northern State Correctional Facility and is scheduled to appear in court on Monday.

Jay Country Store burglarized

in Jay/News

JAY — Police are investigating a burglary that took place at the Jay Country Store.

This morning at around 5:40 a.m., authorities were advised of the incident.

Police say two suspects forced their way inside the store through a window.

According to the report, liquor, clothing, as well as a few other items, were taken from the store.

Surveillance footage was obtained as well as physical evidence from the scene, but police have not yet released the footage.

The investigation is ongoing.

No other details are available at this time.

Two motorcyclists seriously injured in Jay

in Jay/News

JAY — Two motorcyclists were seriously injured during a crash in Jay this afternoon.

At around 3:15 p.m. police were notified of the crash on Vermont Route 105, just east of the Richford Town line.

Police say Charles Kilby, 63, of Newport Town, was traveling westbound when for some reason he went left of center.

His Chevrolet Tahoe sideswiped Loren Poirier, 56, of St. Albans. Poirier was traveling alongside Clark Lamson, 80, also of St. Albans.

The impact caused both motorcycles to crash.

Poirier and Lamson were transported to North Country Hospital by ambulance. Poirier was later transported by helicopter to Dartmouth-Hitchcock.

Police say Kilby was not injured.

The crash is still under investigation.

Schol­ar­ship offered for local high school se­nior

in Jay/Newport/News

JAY — The Jay Fo­cus Group will be of­fer­ing a schol­ar­ship of up to $500 for ed­u­ca­tional costs to help a local high school se­nior from Or­leans County en­hance their fu­ture through con­tin­ued ed­u­ca­tion.

The schol­ar­ship re­quires pre­vi­ous com­mu­nity ser­vice in­volve­ment.

Ap­pli­cants must at­tach one ref­er­ence re­gard­ing their com­mu­nity ser­vice in­volve­ment to their ap­pli­ca­tion, as well as con­fir­ma­tion of ac­cep­tance to their choice of con­tin­ued ed­u­ca­tion. This reference cannot be from a fam­ily mem­ber.

Schol­ar­ship ap­pli­ca­tions are due by Tues­day, May 1.

The win­ner will be an­nounced on May 15.

For an ap­pli­ca­tion, visit www.jayvt.com, or e-mail jay­fo­cusgp@gmail.com

Police: Fireplace stolen in Jay

in Jay/News

JAY — Police say someone stole a fireplace and other items from a home in Jay.

At around 12:45 p.m. today, police received a report of a burglary at a residence on North Jay Road. A trooper responded to the scene to meet with the victim.

Police say the suspects entered the residence and stole a free standing propane fireplace, an on-demand water heater, and an ultraviolet water purification system.

The water heater was said to have possibly been a Rinnai brand.

The propane fireplace was described as dark green in color with a crack in the front glass.

While the water heater and water pipes were removed, water leaked onto the wood floor and caused more damage.

Anyone with information about this case is being asked to contact the Vermont State Police.

Canadian man hit by car at Jay Peak Resort

in Jay/Jay Peak/Newport/News

JAY — Police say they responded to Jay Peak Resort early Sunday morning after a pedestrian was struck by a 2006 Hyundai.

After an initial investigation, police say a 19-year-old Newport man was leaving work at Jay Peak at around 1 a.m. and traveling on Jay Peak Road.

The pedestrian, a Canadian citizen, was walking along the edge of the roadway and stopped to speak with another Jay Peak employee when he was struck from behind.

The man was transported to North Country Hospital by Newport Ambulance with what police say were “minor, non-life threatening injuries.”

The crash remains under investigation, but police say alcohol or other substances do not appear to be a factor.

Woman re-sentenced for fatal North Troy crash that killed Jay couple

in Jay/Newport/News/North Troy

NEWPORT — A 32-year-old woman from St. Albans was in court on Tuesday to be sentenced again on two counts of gross negligence operation with death resulting, after a 2013 crash that claimed the lives of an elderly couple from Jay.

The tragic accident took place 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 Alexis Gabree.

Gabree told police after the accident that she was a recovering drug addict who had recently relapsed. Test results showed she had 11 different substances in her bloodstream at the time of the accident.

She was driving without a valid license.

At a contested sentencing hearing in April of 2014, Gabree pled guilty to the two charges, and Judge VanBenthuysen sentenced her to two concurrent sentences of 6 to 15 years to serve.

She filed a Post-Conviction Relief Complaint alleging that she had ineffective counsel and challenged the sentence she received. Her complaint was denied.

In September of 2015, she appealed her case to the Vermont Supreme Court, and in September 2017, they reversed the lower Court’s decision and remanded the case, thereby allowing Gabree to withdraw her plea.

On Tuesday, Gabree appeared in Vermont Superior Court where she reaffirmed her guilty plea to both counts and was re-sentenced to the original 6 to 15 years to serve.

Jay gears up for second annual Oktoberfest celebration

in Arts and Entertainment/Jay/Outdoors

JAY — The town of Jay Community Recreational Centre and the Jay Focus Group are teaming up to bring on the fun at Jay Oktoberfest on Saturday, October 7.

Activities begin with a Pumpkin Pi(e) 3.14-kilometer race at the Jay Community Recreational Centre.

“This will be a wonderful celebration of fall,” said Peggy Loux, Jay Focus Group and select board member.

Registration is at 8:30 a.m., and the race start is at 9. Other activities include a pumpkin carving and decorating contest, as well as a chili-cooking contest.

From 9 a.m. until 4 p.m., kids and adults alike can play Oktoberfest games in downtown Jay, including pumpkin and gourd bowling, crabapple chip and putt, apple croquet, cornhole, candy corn toss, apple flingshot, small pumpkin launchers, and pumpkin trebuchet to name a few.

Lynx Mountain Guides will provide a Tyrolean adventure from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

All activities are in downtown Jay and games require tickets, which will be available for purchase at the event. There will also be over 20 vendors on site to show their wares.

The Jay Village Inn is hosting the band Neighbors Hate Us from 1 to 4 p.m. Oktoberfest food and drink specials will be on the menu.

Contest winners will be announced during the music in the afternoon.

Proceeds from the event go towards trail development and maintenance at the Jay Community Recreational Centre.

For more information, go to jayvt.com, or .

Concerned citizens help police nab impaired driver in Newport

in Jay/Newport/News

NEWPORT — A 47-year-old man from Jay was arrested for a DUI on Thursday morning in Newport.

At around 6:40 a.m., a state police trooper was flagged down by multiple concerned citizens in Newport City.

One of the witnesses told police that a Dodge Ram with a sander in the bed of the truck was driving around the city erratically.

The trooper was then advised by another concerned citizen that the driver was having trouble speaking. This witness described the same vehicle.

Police made contact with the vehicle in Newport City in front of Little G’s Market.

The operator identified himself verbally as Christopher Gagne.

Police say Gagne’s speech was unintelligible at times and the odor of intoxicants was detected.

He was arrested and transported to Newport City Police Department for processing.

Officials warn of phone scams in Newport, Jay, North Troy

in Jay/Newport/North Troy

NEWPORT — Vermont business owners in Newport, Jay, and North Troy have reported receiving a call from a person claiming to be from the Vermont Electric Cooperative, the businesses’ electric utility, demanding immediate payment of an alleged delinquent bill.

The caller threatens that electric power will be disconnected unless immediate payment is made.

The caller had account numbers for some of the businesses.

Authorities say these calls are not from the electric utility, and that this is a scam call. They say scammers have also used the names of other electric utilities when making these phony calls in past years.

If you receive a call from someone claiming your power is about to be disconnected, hang up.

If you want to verify the claim, call the customer service number on your utility bill.

Vermont Electric Cooperative customers may call 1-800-832-2667 or 1-802-635-2331 with any questions.

If you need assistance in resolving an actual disconnection issue with your utility, you may contact the Vermont Department of Public Service at 800-622-4496.

Scam callers frequently use Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) telephone services to place calls over an internet connection. This allows the scammers to mask the callers’ location. They are also using software that allows the callers to “spoof” the Caller ID system.

The majority of these calls come from overseas. Consumers should not respond to the calls or call the numbers provided by the scammers.

Consumers who have sent funds should contact their financial institution, the Consumer Assistance Program, and their electric utility immediately to protect their accounts.

Receipt of these kinds of calls, along with any other scams consumers receive, can be reported to the Consumer Assistance Program by filing a complaint on-line at www.uvm.edu/consumer or by calling 800-649-2424.

For more information on financial frauds, identity theft and other scams, visit the Consumer Assistance Program website at www.uvm.edu/consumer.

Katherine Sims of Lowell announces candidacy for the Vermont House of Representatives

in Jay/Lowell/News/Westfield

LOWELL — Katherine Sims of Lowell announced on Monday that she is running for the Vermont House of Representatives to represent the residents of Eden, Lowell, Jay, Westfield, and a portion of Troy.

Sims is the founder and executive director of Green Mountain Farm-to-School, a nonprofit in the Northeast Kingdom that teaches kids about nutrition and agriculture, sources local food in the community, and employs a dozen people. The project has also generated over $1 million in sales for local farmers.

“I am proud to call the Northeast Kingdom my home and I am running for state representative because I am passionate about making a difference in our community,” said Sims. “Too often policies from the Montpelier are leaving the Northeast Kingdom behind and it’s time for a new voice that understands the issues affecting our community and is willing to do something about it.”

Sims sits on the board of directors for the Vermont Council on Rural Development and the Vermont Land Trust. She was also named a “Rising Star” by Vermont Business Magazine in 2014.

“Through work in the community and with Green Mountain Farm-to-School, I have demonstrated my ability to implement creative solutions to address some of our district’s biggest challenges,” Sims said. “I will work tirelessly to strengthen our local economy, support working Vermonters, and make sure government works for all communities, including rural ones like ours.”

In addition to her work at Green Mountain Farm-to-School and board of directors service, Sims was auditor for the town of Westfield and is the organizer of the Annual Lowell Holiday Market.

“I am a lifelong Republican but I am impressed with what Katherine has to say,” said Stub Earle, former State Representative and treasurer for Sims’ campaign. “She has my vote.”

Sims will be a candidate in the Democratic Primary on August 9.

“If elected, I promise to fight for the Northeast Kingdom every step of the way,” she said, ”Together we can be a powerful voice for our community.”

$500 scholarship offered for high school senior from Orleans County

in Jay/Upcoming Events

NEWPORT — If you have served your community as a youth volunteer, one local organization would like to give you an opportunity to enhance your future through continued education, by assisting with educational costs.

The Jay Focus Group is offering a $500 Community Service Scholarship to a high school senior from Orleans County.

One scholarship will be offered per calendar year, and requires previous community service involvement.

The deadline to fill out the application is May 1, 2007, and the winner will be announced May 15, 2016.

The Jay Focus Group is a 501 (c) 3 Non-Profit Charitable Organization.

Since its inception back in 2016, many townspeople have come together to raise funds, work on town events and look to the future of the town of Jay.

For more information or to print out an application CLICK HERE, or go on line to  www.jayvt.com. You my also contact: jayfocusgp@gmail.com

Rash of break-ins hits Troy, Big Bear Real Estate burglarized

in Jay/News/Troy

TROY — Police say that four incidents of burglary and larceny took place during a crime spree that happened in Jay and Troy Tuesday night.

In total, one business, one construction site, and two residents were targeted during the rash of break-ins.

Police say that Big Bear Real Estate was burglarized sometime between 6:45 p.m. Tuesday night, and 6:30 a.m. Wednesday.

A theft also occurred at a Whitcomb Construction work site located on Leavitt Circle in the Town of Jay.

Two residents in Troy were also targeted, with a police report listing the victims as Daniel Pepin, 40, at one location, and Gregory Dunn, 36, at the other location.

Police say that numerous items were stolen in each incident, and are requesting that anyone with any information regarding this crime spree contact the Vermont State Police Derby Barracks.

Two lost skiers rescued Friday at Jay Peak

in Jay/News

out of bounds jay peak vermontMONTGOMERY — Two lost skiers from the Jay Peak Ski Area were rescued on Friday after a search effort was coordinated between St. Albans Troopers and members of the Jay Peak Ski Patrol.

Authorities say that the St. Albans Barracks received a call of the lost skiers at around 5:15 p.m. Friday.

St. Albans Troopers mobilized with elite members of the Jay Peak Ski Patrol and deployed their search into the Jay State Forest.

The search through subzero temperatures lasted over 5 hours, and resulted in the successful recovery of the backcountry skiers. There were no reported injuries as a result of the incident.

The Vermont State Police are reminding the public to follow all posted trail signs, trail markings, and ski mountain rules.

Police were looking to identify the man in the photos seen leaving the Jay Country Store in a vest he did not purchase.

Newport man turns himself in after seeing his picture on the evening news

in Jay/Newport/News
Police were looking to identify the man in the photos seen leaving the Jay Country Store in a vest he did not purchase.
Police were looking to identify the man in the photos seen leaving the Jay Country Store in a vest he did not purchase.

JAY — A 54-year-old man from Newport turned himself in to police Tuesday night after he saw images of himself on the evening news walking out of the Jay Country Store wearing a vest he did not pay for. Police had released the photos to the media just hours earlier.

Police say Stephen Romprey turned himself in at around 11:45 p.m.

An employee of the Jay Country Store contacted police back on January 7, saying that surveillance footage from the night before showed a man trying on a vest and leaving without paying. Employees working at the time told police he had come in asking to use the bathroom and saying that he was going to purchase gas.

After leaving the bathroom, he was recorded trying on several jackets before deciding on the vest. He eventually kept the vest on, put his jacket back on, and walked out without further conversation with the employees.

The surveillance footage also showed him leaving in a black Jeep Cherokee with Vermont plates. The photos were shown on a news broadcast Tuesday, and police say that Romprey turned himself in after seeing the photos.

Whether Romprey intentionally left the Jay Country Store without paying for the vest, or it was just an honest mistake, he will have to appear in Orleans County Court on February 24 to answer to the charge of petit larceny.

Accident in Coventry leaves four injured on Saturday

in coventry/Irasburg/Jay/News

car accident newport vermont newsCOVENTRY — A two-vehicle crash in Coventry over the weekend left four people injured.

Police say that on Saturday at around 12:45 p.m., Connie Savage, 49, of Jay, was headed south on Vermont Route 14 when her pickup truck slid sideways into the northbound lane, striking the front end of another truck being driven by Kenneth Hall, 61, of Irasburg.

After the initial collision, Savage’s truck continued sliding, hitting Hall’s truck a second time. Hall’s vehicle then tipped sideways on its passenger side, coming to an uncontrolled rest against a rock ledge.

According to a statement issued by police, four people were taken to North Country Hospital for the following injuries:

Connie Savage of Jay – back pain.
Duane Ruggles of Jay – back pain.
Kenneth Hall of Irasburg – back pain.
Beverly Hall of Irasburg – leg and back pain.

Both vehicles were towed from the scene, which was near the intersection of Route 5.

Police say that snow covered roadways were a contributing factor in the crash.

Photo by Jeff Farbaniec, who runs the Saratoga Skier and Hiker website. To visit the site click on the photo.

Free season passes at Jay Peak for active-duty military and their families

in Arts and Entertainment/Jay/News
Photo by Jeff Farbaniec, who runs the Saratoga Skier and Hiker website. To visit the site click on the photo.
Photo by Jeff Farbaniec, who runs the Saratoga Skier and Hiker website. To visit the site click on the photo.

JAY — Jay Peak is expanding its military free skiing offerings. This winter any Vermont resident with a current and valid military ID, along with their immediate family members, will be eligible to receive a free season pass.

The offer extends across all service branches: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and the National Guard. In addition to the free season pass, active Vermont military members and their family members will also receive a 50 percent discount on equipment rentals, and free skiing or riding lessons in the afternoons, space permitting.

“Vermonters have a long tradition of serving in the military and over the past thirteen years many of them have been in a war zone,” said Jay Peak president Bill Stenger. “Extending these types of offers that provide the chance to get outside and have some fun with family is the least we can do.”

To receive the free skiing and riding benefit, current members of the military and their families should visit the resort’s customer service center at Tramside together.

Customer Service is located just beneath the tram station. Passes will be issued after presenting military IDs that are issued to active-duty personnel and their family members.

Barton Vermont

Barton, Troy, and Jay to benefit from recent NBRC grants

in Barton/Jay/News/Troy

Barton Vermont

BARTON — It was announced on Thursday that Vermont will receive $891,679 in Northern Border Regional Commission (NBRC) funds for economic development projects in Northern Vermont. This is a $400,000 increase over funds awarded in Vermont last year.

The NBRC funds will be disbursed in five grants to five organizations in Northern Vermont, for targeted economic development and job creation by improving infrastructure and strengthening communities.

The following is a list of the grants:

$226,739 — Lyndon State College, toward establishing a new four-year B.S. Degree in
Hospitality and Tourism Management.

$250,000 — Northern Community Investment Corporation, for the construction of telecommunications
infrastructure.

$250,000 – The Towns of Troy and Jay, for wastewater pump station improvements.

$250,000 – Vermont Agency of Transportation, for a new rail siding in Barton, connecting with the Washington Rail Road network.

$114,940 – Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, to provide a technical assistance enhancement project, assisting small businesses.

“These five new grants through the Northern Border Regional Commission will help bolster efforts to improve rail, water and telecommunications infrastructure, provide workforce training, and assist small businesses across northern Vermont,” Senator Bernie Sanders said. “Along with last week’s announcement of an $8.8 million FAA grant to expand the Newport Airport, the federal government, very appropriately, is working closely with the state of Vermont and various organizations to create jobs, increase commerce and improve the economy in the Northeast Kingdom.

The NBRC was established by Congress in the 2008 Farm Bill and was recently reauthorized in the 2014 Farm Bill. The program provides funding for economic development in economically distressed counties in Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine and New York. Leahy, as the senior most member of the Senate’s Agriculture and Appropriations Committees, played a pivotal role in renewing the Commission in the 2014 Farm Bill, which was signed into law in February, as well as in increasing its appropriations by $3.5 million in the current fiscal year.

Deer causes rollover accident in Jay

in Holland/Jay/News

rollover accident newport vermont

JAY — A 21-year-old woman from Holland was involved in a rollover accident early Sunday morning in Jay.

At around 1:50 a.m., police responded to the single vehicle rollover on Vermont Route 242 near the intersection of Shallobrook Road in the town of Jay.

Victoria Petell of Holland was identified as the operator and was traveling east when she swerved to avoid colliding with a deer.

The vehicle went off the north side of the roadway, crashing into an embankment and rolling over. Petell was transported to North Country Hospital for her injuries.

Patell was driving a 2009 Kia Spectra which was totaled during the accident.

Divas Use Laughter to Raise Money for NEKCA at Jay Peak’s Foeger Ballroom

in Arts and Entertainment/Jay

All photos by Tanya Mueller

JAY — The Vermont Comedy Divas kept the Foeger Ballroom at Jay Peak filled with laughter Friday night. The one night only benefit was organized to raise money for Northeast Kingdom Community Action.

Started in 2006, the Vermont Comedy Divas are the only all-female touring standup comedy troupe in the country. The Divas include Josie Leavitt, Sue Schmidt, Carmen Legala, Autumn Spencer, and Tracie Spencer. The show Friday night was part of their Divas Do Good charity series, where the group seeks to give back to the community by raising money for organizations with a social mission.

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“There is only one guy in here not an open target to be used as material during the show, and that’s the guy serving my drinks,” Sue Schmidt said during the opening of the show.

Although the men in the room were warned beforehand that they might be used as a punchline for the Divas, it was a group from the Memphremagog Press, who came out Friday night for their Christmas party, that took most of the ribbing.

“Sir…are you okay,” Josie Leavitt asked one of the men from Memphremagog Press after a particularly shocking set of jokes.

IMG_9663

Autumn Spencer started the night off, setting the stage for the acts that followed. Each Diva had their own style, making for an interesting mix of delivery, as well as material.

“The Divas are starting to drink…that’s always a bad sign,” Ms. Schmidt said halfway through the night.

The crowd seemed equally entertained by each comedian, which is part of the reason that the Divas work so well together as a group. They function as a whole, without any one comedian feeling like an opening act for the other. This balance leaves the group able to switch lineups each night.

“We usually pick the lineup just before the show,” Autumn Spencer said after the show. “It can be tough to go first because right from the start people are expecting to laugh. They are expecting you to be funny, and they want to see what you’ve got.”

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“We’ve really been trying to raise money for the community because we’ve had so many federal and state cuts,” Joe Patrissi, the Executive Director of NEKCA said. “We’ve had to do some significant fundraising.”

NEKCA is preparing for another fundraising event coming up on January 18, again at Jay Peak, with a show by the Dave Keller Blues Band. Proceeds for that event will go toward the Head Start program.

“The Divas were really great tonight, and we were thrilled that they agreed to do this for us,” Mr. Patrissi said.

For more information about the Vermont Comedy Divas visit them online at vermontcomedydivas.com

For more information about NEKCA visit them online at nekcavt.org.

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