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Car hits snowmobile on Lake Road, Newport

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — A car hit a snowmobile in Newport on Saturday.

The crash took place on Lake Road at around 2:30 p.m.

According to the police report, Michael Fontaine, 32, of Newport, crashed into the snowmobile as it was crossing the road.

Police say Aaron Martin, 39, of Dallas, PA, had failed to yield to oncoming traffic before crossing.

Both vehicles had some damage, but nobody was injured during the incident.

Two-vehicle crash on I-91, Barton

in Barton/Newport/News

BARTON — Police responded to a two-vehicle crash in Barton yesterday.

The crash took place on I-91 south at around 11:43 a.m.

Police say while attempting to move into the passing lane, Jesse Elliott, 53, of Newport, hit the passenger side of a vehicle driven by Kent Hall, 64, of Lyndonville.

Elliott’s vehicle sustained damage to the driver’s side bumper, tire, and hood.

Hall’s vehicle sustained damage to the passenger side front and rear doors, and rear bumper.

Police say nobody was injured in the crash.

Both vehicles were towed from the scene by Ray’s Auto Services.

Amy Gillespie, candidate for Newport City Council

in Letter to the Editor/Newport

Dear community members of the Newport City area, my name is Amy Gillespie and I am running for a seat on the Newport City Council.

Today I am writing to you in hopes of planting a few seeds.

Unless you’ve been attending the City Council meetings or watching them online from NEK-TV, you might not even know of what is happening in our City.

Luckily, I am here to shine a little light on the status of our City for you all.

Our City is crumbling at the hands of most of the current elected officials, the Mayor, and the non-resident City Manager.

They seem to have forgotten that as elected/appointed officials, they are chosen to represent their constituents: hear concerns, research ideas, and find a plan that works for mostly everyone to achieve the goal/solve the problem.

However, this isn’t the case.

I see misconduct that even if publicly voiced and documented, no one is held accountable.

I see our Community members’ needs being pushed aside at the expense of private agendas.

I see intolerant behavior that undermines the work of Martin Luther King Jr, Harriet Tubman, and Rosa Parks, instead of embracing and celebrating their achievements.

And lastly, I see our City’s Annual Report that resembles more of a bitter diary entry, than a well-versed reflection of our City’s accomplishments.

However, I believe that our City has every chance to emerge from the rubble and become a strong, flourishing, and supportive community that we all need.

I can see our Council appointing a new City Manager, someone honest, kind, AND capable.

I can see a transparent process and decisions based on integrity, instead of poor intentions.

I can see our youth having safe spaces to learn and grow, regardless of cost/status.

I can see those with mental health issues actually supported, instead of given a temporary band-aid.

I can see those with substance abuse issues embraced with hope, instead of stigmatized.

And I can see Newport being a desired destination, instead of the failed result of poor economic circumstances.

Our community’s growth has been stunted by poor planning and decision making.

With the current “leadership,” we will only keep living the same cycle of mediocrity over and over again. Until we choose to speak up and stop backing down.

First, we must shatter every preconceived threat from the City Manager- our city CAN run without her, possibly even soar at the opportunity of a fresh start- new ideas, new morals, new beginnings.

On March 3rd, we have the chance to start cultivating something special in Newport. Together.

And I would be truly honored to have your vote for City Council and look forward to working hard for a better future for us all.

And almost even more importantly, I’d love your support in convincing the Council of NOT re-appointing Laura Dolgin for City Manager.

Sincerely, Amy Gillespie

Man charged with smuggling endangered tropical birds in Derby Line

in Derby Line/Newport/News

DERBY LINE — Jafet Rodriguez, 39, of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, has been charged with unlawfully smuggling tropical birds into Vermont from Canada, in violation of the Endangered Species Act and the federal anti-smuggling statute.

Rodriguez appeared before United States Magistrate Judge John Conroy yesterday and was released on personal recognizance.

According to court documents, on December 30, 2019, at 10:30 a.m., Rodriguez walked across the Canadian border near the Haskell Free Library in Derby Line and approached a car parked in Stanstead, Quebec.

According to the Government’s allegations, the defendant retrieved a black duffle bag containing the birds from the vehicle parked in Quebec and then walked back into the United States.

United States Border Patrol Agents intercepted Rodriquez after he entered another vehicle with Pennsylvania license plates in Derby Line.

The agents recovered seven live tropical birds from this vehicle.

According to court records, the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory determined that five of the birds were Yellow-headed Amazons and two birds were White-bellied Parrots.

These birds are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, commonly referred to as “CITES”.

Under the Endangered Species Act, species which are protected under CITES cannot be imported without the appropriate permits.

The birds were turned over to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and transported to the New York Animal Import Center in Rock Tavern, New York for a period of quarantine.

If he is convicted, Rodriguez faces a maximum possible term of imprisonment of 20 years under the statute prohibiting the unlawful smuggling of merchandise into the United States.

Newport City Council candidate forum, Feb. 20

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — A candidate forum will take place on Thursday, Feb. 20, featuring all five candidates seeking election to the Newport City Council.

The forum will be held at the meeting room of the United Church of Newport from 6 to 8 p.m.

There are five candidates seeking two positions of alderman on the city council, creating a best two-of-five race.

Voters will make their choices at the polls on Town Meeting Day, Tuesday, March 3.

All five candidates have said they will attend the forum.

They are Kevin Charboneau, the only incumbent in the race; John Wilson, a long-time former alderman; and three newcomers to the council, Amy Gillespie, Carl King, and Chris Vachon.

Julie Raboin, whose term is up as alderman this year, has opted not to run again right now.

The moderator will be Bruce James, president of Vermont’s North Country Chamber of Commerce based in Newport City.

Questions will be asked by area journalists and members of the audience.

The forum is organized by Robin Smith, a reporter for The Orleans County Record/The Caledonian-Record.

Residents, voters, and anyone interested in Newport City are invited to attend.

4 women in their 70s to swim at Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News/Outdoors

NEWPORT — Four septuagenarian women will be among the 90 winter swimmers participating in this year’s Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival on February 29 and March 1.

They will be swimming in a 25-meter, two-lane pool cut in the ice near the EastSide Restaurant in Newport.

Water temperatures typically run about 30.5 F and air temperatures during the swims in previous years have ranged from -10 F to 30 F.

Ginny Peck, age 76, of North Woodstock, NH, will be swimming in her fourth festival.

Local, Pam Ladds, of Newport, just turned 70 and will be swimming in her third festival.

Sharon Purdy, of Toronto, ON, also 70, swam last year for the first time.

New this year, will be Anne Coen, 77, of Canton, Ohio.

She is a member of a six-person team, “The Buckeye Bluetits,” who will be traveling to the Festival from Ohio for the very first time.

The Winter Swim Festival is now in its sixth year.

Each year it has grown, with this year participants coming from 18 states, 2 Canadian provinces, and Ireland.

Online registration is still open but will close on February 15, 2020.

For more information: CLICK HERE.

Snowmobile causes car to crash into telephone pole, Derby

in Derby/Derby Line/Newport/News

DERBY — A 62-year-old man was from Derby Line hit a telephone pole after a snowmobile crossed his path yesterday.

The crash took place on U.S. Route 5 near Beebe Road at around 5:22 p.m.

Police say Richard Blais was headed north when Nicholas Adams, 34, of Colchester, was driving a snowmobile west along the VAST trail, approaching the Route 5 road crossing.

Adams told police that he slowed and came to a stop to look for traffic but did not see Blais approaching from the south and continued into the road to cross.

Police say Blais swerved his vehicle to avoid a collision with Adams, crashing into a telephone pole.

Adams was issued a ticket for violation of operation across highways.

Blais was not injured during the incident, police say.

Attempt to thaw frozen pipes sparked Lake Road fire

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — A fire that broke out in Newport was caused by a heating device that was being used to thaw frozen pipes, fire investigators say.

At around 9:30 a.m. on February 9, the Newport City Fire Department responded to 1161 Lake Road for a house fire.

The homeowners were home at the time of the fire.

Authorities say the fire was on the second floor and attic area of the house.

After putting out the fire, Newport City fire chief requested an origin and cause investigation.

Investigators determined that the fire had originated on the first floor, on an inside wall.

The fire traveled upward within the walls of the old house and into the attic space.

Once in the attic the fire quickly spread.

The second floor and roof structure of the house was destroyed, and the remaining first floor resulted in heavy smoke, water, and fire damage.

Investigators say the cause of the fire was determined to be the use of a heating device by the homeowner to thaw frozen pipes inside the house.

Fire investigators say you should never use an open flame to thaw frozen pipes.

To prevent pipes from freezing open cabinet doors to expose the pipe to the natural heat in your home.

They say insulating your pipes or leaving your faucet at a slow drip can also avoid any freezing.

Jeremy Labbe, Michelle Faust and Jeff Weld in the Ready Set Grow Playground

Ready Set Grow in Newport partners with Casella

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Ready Set Grow Center for Early Childhood Education opened in Newport this past September thanks to the support of many community and state-wide partners.

Locally, Casella Waste Systems came on board as a strong supporter early on.

Michelle Faust, Executive Director of Northeast Kingdom Learning Services, the organization that both created and oversees Ready Set Grow, says she understands the importance of collaboration in order to make life in the Northeast Kingdom viable for families.

“NEKLS, Inc. is grateful to Casella for their generous donation in supporting the opening of Ready, Set, Grow Childcare Center,” said Faust.

Casella and its subsidiary company New England Waste Services of Vermont (NEWSVT) which owns and operates the Coventry landfill, donated $10,000 to Ready Set Grow to support the startup of the center this past fall.

With Casella’s support, the center is looking forward to having all rooms open with full enrollment by the end of February.

“We were blown away by Michelle’s vision for the center and knew we wanted to help in any way possible,” said Jeff Weld Director of Community Engagement at Casella. “To see her vision come to life has been amazing. We are so honored to be a part of this vibrant community and to play a small role in helping this vital asset come to life.”

Faust says she feels that Casella’s commitment to community, employees, and children is to be applauded.

“If we want a thriving economy, we must recognize the important role that employers can play in supporting their employees that have children that need childcare,” she said. “High-quality childcare is costly, ask any working parent how much of their paycheck goes to provide care for their children.”

Ready Set Grow provides childcare in-house along with services from Northeast Kingdom Community Action Headstart.

Meals are provided through a collaboration with Umbrella’s Cornucopia Program and The Northeast Kingdom Children’s Museum will open in 2020.

For more information or to enroll your child, call 802 995-2051.

Burglary in Barton

in Barton/Newport/News

BARTON — Police say someone broke into a home in Barton and stole several collectibles.

The burglary was reported in the area of Pageant Park Road at around 10:19 a.m. on Wednesday.

Forced entry was made into the home and numerous collectible model cars were stolen, police say.

Police are asking anyone coming into contact with someone attempting to sell collectible model cars or has any information that may help the investigation to call 802-334-8881.

Two-vehicle crash with injury, Irasburg

in Brownington/Irasburg/Newport/News

IRASBURG — Police responded to a two-vehicle crash in Irasburg this morning.

The crash took place on U.S. Route 5 at around 6:45 a.m.

According to the report, Robert Davignon, 29, of Brownington, was headed north and Wesley Kidder, 30, of Sutton, was headed south.

The vehicles struck as they passed each other.

Police say Davignon sustained “non-life threatening injuries” and was transported to North Country Hospital.

Kidder was not injured during the crash.

An investigation into the crash remains ongoing and anyone who may have witnessed it is asked to contact the State Police barracks at 334-8881.

Officer Tanner Jacobs awarded 2019 Officer of the Year

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Officer Tanner Jacobs has been awarded the 2019 Officer of the Year for the Newport Police Department.

Jacobs has been with the department since February 2015.

Since joining, he has become one of the department’s Taser and ATV instructors.

Chief DiSanto says Jacobs had several accolades, high call volume, and was nominated by his supervisors.

Driver’s Outdoor Power of West Charleston launches new brand “America’s Logger”

in Newport/News/West Charleston

WEST CHARLESTON — For years Scott Driver, owner of Driver’s Outdoor Power, has been providing repair and sales on new and used outdoor power equipment, forestry supplies, and clothing from his store location in West Charleston.

Now, he’s looking to bring his local brand to the world, recently launching a new website as well as a new line of branded apparel.

The new brand, called America’s Logger, was formed this year.

With the tagline “Clothing and Products to Fit Your Mindset,” Driver says America’s Logger designs strive to let the customer voice what they’re feeling.

Their signature America’s Logger hoodie reads: “Give up one freedom, lose them all.”

The new online shop also sells a lot of the great products the West Charleston store is known for, including Husqvarna and Jonsered brand clothing and accessories, Strikemaster bibs, and forestry accessories.

For more information, visit the new site HERE or at or keep in touch throiugh the Driver’s Outdoor Poweron Facebook page.

Photo by Bradleigh Stockwell.

MAC Center for the Arts celebrates ADA upgrades to facility

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Recently, the MAC Center for the Arts underwent a major upgrade to become ADA compliant.

The facility added a handicap bathroom and changed the blueprint of the floor plan to accommodate wheelchair accessibility.

While the process was costly, they say the results are priceless.

The renovation began January 5 with a concerted effort on the part of the artists to deconstruct the venue of all artwork to allow the construction and overhaul to begin.

The two-week endeavor and redeveloped space greeted customers with a Grand Re-Opening on January 25.

During the entire month of February, a “RAFFLE” is being held to help continue the funding for more ADA upgrades.

Come see the new MAC or take part in the raffle by stopping in during winter hours, Wednesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

For more information call 802-334-1966.

Driver arrested for DUI after high-speed chase in Coventry

in coventry/Newport/News/St. Johnsbury

COVENTRY — A 28-year-old man from St. Johnsbury was arrested early this morning after a police chase in Coventry.

A trooper with the Vermont State Police says he was monitoring traffic on US Route 5 when he observed a white truck traveling at 80 miles-per-hour in a posted 50 miles-per-hour zone.

The trooper attempted to stop the truck, but it fled at a high rate of speed for about five miles.

Police say the driver attempted to evade law enforcement by stopping on a dead-end road and turning off its lights.

The driver was identified as Alan Tanguay.

Police say while being taken into custody, Tanguay resisted arrest.

He was transported to the Derby barracks for processing and lodged at Northern State Correctional Facility.

He is facing charges of attempting to elude, excessive speed, negligent operation, DUI, and resisting arrest.

Brownington couple charged with arson

in Brownington/Irasburg/Newport/News

BROWNINGTON — A man and a woman from Brownington were arrested and face charges after a fire in Irasburg back in November of 2019.

Police say Teresa Guay, 55, and her husband Roger Guay, 59, are being charged with 1st-degree arson, conspiracy, and insurance fraud.

On November 16, 2019, the Irasburg Fire Department was dispatched to a residential structure fire at 1754 Covered Bridge Road.

The fire had originally been reported as an accidental fire started by a cigarette falling onto paper towels used to clean a fuel oil spill.

According to authorities, the investigation revealed that the fire had been planned and intentionally set by the homeowners.

Brownington man arrested for 3rd DUI, violation of conditions

in Brownington/Derby/Newport/News

BROWNINGTON — A 30-year-old man from Brownington was picked up for his third DUI on Wednesday, and police say he was in violation of his conditions of release.

Trooper Pennoyer said he conducted a welfare check at around 8:00 p.m. on a driver who was parked on Hinman Settler Road in Brownington.

The driver was identified as Brian Maxwell.

Trooper Pennoyer said he detected indicators of impairment at the scene.

Maxwell was placed under arrest and transported to the State Police barracks in Derby for processing.

According to the report, Maxwell was in violation of his conditions of release, which stated he was not to consume alcohol.

Northeast Kingdom Young Professionals Network receives $3,000 grant

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — The Northeast Kingdom Young Professionals Network (NEK YPN) recently received a $3,000 grant from the Vermont Community Foundation’s Northeast Kingdom Fund.

The grant will help further NEK YPN’s mission of supporting young professionals both socially and professionally by expanding outreach efforts and promoting a new Welcome Wagon Program.

“We are really excited to launch a new chapter of the Welcome Wagon Project here in the NEK,” said Maire Folan. “It will complement our efforts to connect residents and newcomers and build social capital in our communities”

The NEK YPN is a network for young professionals living and working in and around the NEK.

It strives to bring together all professionals that value connection and collaboration in work and play.

They see ‘young’ as subjective and the group encourages everyone to engage.

Visit the group’s Facebook page @Northeast Kingdom Young Professionals Network or email them at nekypg@nekchamber.com.

The Northeast Kingdom Fund is a permanent philanthropic resource dedicated to supporting the people and communities of Caledonia, Essex, and Orleans Counties.

Crop circles pop up in Newport

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Saturday in Newport, the Recreation Committee hosted another successful fundraiser for the local Playground and Splashpad project.

“Crop ‘til You Drop for Gardner Park” was met with enthusiasm as over 15 participants gathered in the Newport Municipal Gym for a day of crafting and camaraderie.

“Crop events are very popular in other states, especially for those who like to do scrapbooking,” said Jaime Comtois, who led the event for the Newport Recreation Committee. “Since it was our first time hosting an event like this in Newport, we decided to make it open to all crafters whether they wanted to come scrapbook, paint, knit or work on their latest sewing project.”

The goal was to have at least ten participants for this first-time event. On Saturday, almost 20 community members came out, and the group raised almost $500 for the project.

If you’ve never heard of a crop event, it’s essentially a social gathering where participants pay a fee, in this case, a $25 donation.

During long Vermont winter months, locals appreciate an opportunity to get out of the house, meet new people and mingle over common interests.

The day was spent sharing techniques, learning tips and for some, picking up a new art form.

Comtois and her fellow committee members even awarded door prizes and played a few games with participants before enjoying a bountiful potluck lunch.

“I’m always pleasantly surprised with the Rec Committee’s creativity when it comes to community events and fundraisers,” said Jessica Booth, Director of Parks & Recreation for the City of Newport. “I would have never come up with something like this, but everyone had a great time and kept asking when we could do it again.”

In response to the popular request, the Newport Recreation Committee scheduled another “Crop ‘til You Drop” event on Saturday, March 21, in the Newport Municipal Gym from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. to benefit the Gardner Park Playground & Splashpad project.

Community members interested in joining can register online at www.NewportRecreation.org/WHATSHAPPENING or call the Parks & Recreation office at (802)334-6345.

VSP trooper involved in crash on I-91, Derby

in Derby/Newport/News

DERBY — A Vermont State trooper was involved in a single-vehicle crash in Derby early this morning.

Just after 12:00 a.m. trooper Richard Berlandy was on duty operating his assigned 2015 patrol Ford Explorer on I-91 south.

Police say the roadway was covered with about one inch of slush, snow, and ice, resulting in Berlandy losing control of the vehicle.

The vehicle struck a wire guardrail.

Airbags were deployed and the vehicle sustained significant damage to the front end, rear bumper, and side panels.

Trooper Berlandy was uninjured in the crash.

Rays Auto responded to the scene and towed the vehicle, which police say was totaled.

Chainsaw stolen from parked vehicle in Albany

in Albany/Newport/News

ALBANY — Police say a chainsaw was stolen from a truck in Albany today.

According to the report, a Husqvarna 372 Chainsaw was stolen from a truck that was parked at a home on Kingdom Road.

Police say that between 12:00 a.m and 7:00 a.m, an unknown individual walked up to the home and removed the chainsaw from the truck before leaving on foot.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the State Police in Derby at 802-334-8881.

Orleans County Conservation District Annual Plant Sale

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — It’s time to get your orders in for the Orleans County Conservation District Annual Plant Sale.

The group offers a variety of bare-root plants, including fruit trees, berry bushes, native trees, and shrubs.

This year they will be offering a selection of native trees and shrubs known for enhancing pollinator habitat.

Planting on your property with these native plants can provide many benefits including tasty snacks for you and beauty to your land while protecting, enhancing or providing habitat to native pollinators.

They will also have bee nesting blocks and rain barrels for sale.

Bee blocks are being made by North Country Career Center (NCCC) Agricultural Sciences Department students and all proceeds go to Orleans County Future Farmers of America.

You can use barrels to collect and store rainwater from your roof to reduce flow volume and pollution to storm drains and surface waters.

For the full 2020 catalog and order form, visit: https://www.vacd.org/conservation-districts/orleans-county/

Orders are due by Friday, March 27, with pick-up on Saturday, May 2 in front of the USDA office at 59 Waterfront Plaza in Newport.

For questions or to ask for a hard copy of our catalog mailed to you, please contact Sarah Damsell at sarah.damsell@vt.nacdnet.net or at 802-334-6090 ext 7008.

All plant sale profits go towards our many conservation programs.

NEK Day at the Statehouse, Jan. 28

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Artists and educators, organizers and entrepreneurs from the Northeast Kingdom will be hitting the hallways and committee rooms of the Vermont Statehouse on Tuesday, January 28, for the second annual NEK Day.

The goal is to celebrate recent successes in the three-county region, share the innovative rural community development models that are forming in the NEK and work with legislators on solutions for current and prospective residents and businesses.

“Like many rural communities across the country, the Northeast Kingdom faces significant challenges, but we are coming together as a region and developing innovative solutions to build vibrant rural communities,” said Katherine Sims, Director of the Northeast Kingdom Collaborative. “Our future is bright and we’re excited to share our best practices and to work with legislators to support rural communities across the state.”

Advocacy Training with Amy Shollenberger from Action Circles at 9:00 a.m. in the Snelling Room at the Vermont Historical Society Museum.

This training will introduce participants to the legislative process, how to talk to legislators and tips for testifying in front of committees.

Welcome & Press conference at 10 a.m. in the Cedar Creek Room with NEK leaders, Lt Governor David Zuckerman and other key leadership.

Pie Social and NEK Business Showcase in the cafeteria lounge from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Reps from NEK businesses and non-profit organizations including Northern Vermont University, Catamount Film & Arts, Kingdom Trails and HEAT Squad will be in attendance, and available for interviews.

NEK leaders will testify before legislative committees throughout the day:

House Commerce & Economic Development Committee: 9 – 10 a.m.
Senate Economic Development, Housing & General Affairs: 10:30 – 10:45 a.m.
House Education Committee: 1 – 2 p.m.
Senate Education Committee: 1:30 – 2 p.m.
House Energy & Technology Committee: 1-2 p.m.
House Agriculture Committee: 11 a.m. – noon
Senate Agriculture & Forestry Committee: 1 – 2 p.m.
Small group discussion with the Rural Caucus: noon – 1 p.m.
House Committee on Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife: 1:00-1:45 p.m.

The NEK Collaborative has been working to increase coordination and communication
among NEK businesses and nonprofits for more than 20 years.

Since their first NEK Day this time last year, the region has made incredible strides towards building vibrant, thriving communities in the Northeast Kingdom.

The organization has brought together dozens of partners to implement strategic action plans in two key areas:

1. Expanding leadership development
2. Advancing economic growth at the intersection of the creative, recreational and food sectors.

For more information visit: www.nekcollaborative.org/nekday

Jay Peak to host event to raise money for Gardner Park Restoration Project

in Jay Peak/Newport/News

NEWPORT – Jay Peak Resort has partnered with Newport Parks and Recreation to host the Green for Gardner Park Day—an event designed to raise money and awareness for the parks and rec department’s Gardner Park Restoration Project.

On Saturday, February 1, a portion of the proceeds from lift ticket sales will be donated to the initiative, and representatives from the Newport Recreation Committee will be on hand to share concept designs.

Gardner Park is one of Newport City’s most heavily used recreational facilities.

It attracts over 40,000 people annually hosting community events, sports leagues and general recreation visits.

Such popularity though has come with the cost of aging infrastructure in need of restoration to meet safety standards and the contemporary needs of the community.

“My family contributed to many of those 40,000 annual visits,” said Jay Peak’s General Manager Steve Wright. “The plan that the parks and rec department has come up with will evolve the play area so that future generations will be able to enjoy the park, and its surroundings, for years to come.”

Initial improvements to the park are scheduled to begin this fall and will focus on major playground and restroom facility renovations.

Project elements include replacement of all existing play structures in the play area, installation of a 40’x40′ motion-activated splashpad, updated family-style restrooms, and a modest concession area.

“Those of us working on the project have always known it’s cool enough to shout from the mountain top—and now we actually have the chance to,” said Jessica Booth, Director of Parks & Recreation for the City of Newport.

As the largest independent business and employer in the region, Wright says the resort has a responsibility to support local communities, the people who live within them, and the various causes and opportunities that help them to thrive.

“Our employees and guests live and work in Newport and the surrounding communities,” Wright said. “Having a safe and vibrant place to gather as family and friends is integral to a community’s health, and it’s our responsibility to support these sorts of efforts when we can.”

The Gardner Park Restoration Project is a long term, multi-phase initiative to improve one of Newport City’s most prominent public recreation assets.

Organizations and individuals interested in learning more about the project can call 802-334-6345, and are invited to join project representatives at Jay Peak’s Bullwheel Bar from 2:00 p.m.- 5:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 1 to learn more.

Visit www.NewportRecreation.org/SPLASHPLAY for project details.

Derby Green Nursing Home announces plans to close

in Derby/Health/Newport/News

DERBY – Derby Green, the nursing home located on US Route 5 in Derby, announced that it will close effective on or before April 30, 2020.

The home, owned by North County Hospital, filed a letter of intent today with the state’s Department of Disabilities, Aging & Independent Living Division of Licensing and Protection, laying out its plans.

Derby Green has traditionally run at high occupancy, filling most of its 23 beds in any given month.

However, as a small facility, the nursing home says it cannot achieve the economies of scale and efficiency necessary to make long-term operations financially sustainable.

They say ongoing workforce shortages and operating losses jeopardize the center’s ability to continue providing the level of care and a safe environment necessary for residents.

Losses have averaged $200,000 annually over the last three years.

This, coupled with future infrastructure needs, has led North Country Hospital to make the difficult decision to close the facility.

Derby Green says they will work with all area nursing homes and community partners to ensure each resident is transferred to the setting of their choice that best meets their individual needs.

“Patient safety and exceptional person-centered care are our top priority,” Brian Nall, North Country Hospital’s President & CEO, said. “We are committed to providing high-quality day-to-day care during this process until our last resident is transferred and Derby Green is closed.”

Nearby, Bel-Aire Center in Newport will be increasing its nursing home beds to preserve some of the capacity that would otherwise be lost with the closure of Derby Green.

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