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Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Weekend! returns to Island Pond starting Friday

ISLAND POND — The Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Weekend will take place in downtown Island Pond, this weekend, from May 24 – 27.

The weekend offers four days of non-stop events including a champagne reception, karaoke, spa services, Paint ‘n Sips and wine & cider tastings, Tai Chi & exercise classes, and a living history exhibit at the IPHS museum.

Nationally known comedian Bil Benden will kick-off the weekend on Friday night with his comedy show, Saturday night will feature the return of Men in Motion and Sunday night will feature the NEK’s first Drag Bingo tournament hosted by Emoji Nightmare & Nikki Champagne.

The weekend will wind up on Monday morning with their annual Memorial Day Parade.

The Island Pond Renewal Committee created the Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Weekend in 2018 and it was a hit beyond all expectations.

People from as far away as Cape Cod flocked to Island Pond looking for the most fun ladies’ weekend in New England, and they found it.

Almost every event was sold out and all received rave reviews.

The committee has once again joined with all the downtown businesses to create an even bigger weekend full of events with something for everyone.

Friday starts with a champagne reception at the Essex House with champagne and hors d’oeuvres.

Members of the organizing team will be on hand to answer questions and make sure everybody is oriented to the locations of all the events.

Headlining Friday night’s entertainment will be comedian Bil Benden. He has worked with Drew Carey, Robert Schimmel, Tim Allen, and Ray Romano, in addition to many others.

He has also been featured on HBO, Comedy Central, A&E, and Fox.

He will bring his unique comedic style to the American Legion Brighton Post #80 stage and while this event is part of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!, it is open to everyone 21 years of age and older.

Friday night will end with karaoke at the Essex House featuring NEKaraoke.

Saturday starts off with a beginner Tai Chi class hosted by Brighton Recreation’s Director, Doug Niles.

Next, get the blood pumping with an invigorating cross training workout also instructed by Doug Niles.

The Hearth & Home Country Store will be hosting a wine tasting with 6 specially selected varieties.

Everyone’s favorite Paint ‘n Sip instructor Natalie Anne will be holding a Sap Bucket Paint ’n Sip at Hobo’s Cafe during the afternoon.

Jesse’s Little Kitchen will be offering their popular $2 off a large pizza special all weekend so the father’s left at home with the kids don’t need to cook.

Then it’s time for a little pampering at the Essex House & Tavern. Enjoy a chair massage from one of their licensed providers. Try out a set of Color Street nails as part of your manicure or a Henna by Kate tattoo. They will even be serving a light elegant snack provided by the Essex House.

Saturday night will be headlined by New England’s #1 male revue show, Men In Motion. Each of their shows are expertly designed, choreographed and created events with one goal in mind–the perfect girls’ night out.

The Essex House will be hosting a Wings, Brews & Tunes event so all the men won’t feel left out!

Sunday will start with a Morning After breakfast at Hobo’s Café followed by a Living History Exhibit at the Island Pond Historical Society Museum.

The Hearth & Home Country Store will be hosting a cider tasting featuring 6 specially selected varieties.

Natalie Anne will be back at the American Legion for a Barn Board Paint ‘n Sip.

Sunday will end with a bingo tournament like no other in the NEK. Emoji Nightmare & Nikki Champagne will be traveling from Burlington to host Drag Bingo at the American Legion.

This event will be a little bit campy and a whole lot of fun. In addition to laughs, cash prizes will be paid out to all winners.

Monday morning will feature the annual Memorial Day Parade in beautiful downtown Island Pond organized by the American Legion Brighton Post #80.

This event will honor those that have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Tickets may be purchased at http://Tickets.VisitIslandPond.com or in person at The Hearth & Home Country Store in downtown Island Pond.

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

in Derby/Holland/Newport/News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Online registration is open at www.kingdomgames.co

Newport woman arrested after pedestrian struck with van

in Newport/News/Orleans

NEWPORT — A 32-year-old woman from Newport is scheduled to appear in court today after she was arrested following an incident involving a vehicle and a pedestrian in the Waterfront Plaza area on Monday.

Police are saying that Monica Donofrio is facing a charge of “grossly negligently operating a motor vehicle with serious injury resulting.”

Yesterday, at approximately 7:45 p.m., police responded to the scene of the incident and say they found a 35-year-old Orleans woman on the ground behind a van.

She was conscious and alert but had suffered serious injuries.

The victim was taken by ambulance to the hospital and later airlifted to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire.

According to police, the victim was in serious but stable condition this morning.

After a preliminary investigation, police say that the driver of the vehicle, identified as Donofrio, had been confronted by the victim and another woman, who had become concerned when they observed that she had left her four children inside the van while she went into a store.

Prior to the crash, the two women were in the process of calling the police.

Donofrio was booked and is expected to be arraigned in court today.

According to police, her children were taken into the custody of a family member after the incident, and the Department of Children and Families was notified.

Police: Barton man arrested with 60 bags of heroin

in Barton/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Police say a 29-year-old man from Barton was arrested in Newport with 60 bags of heroin inside his vehicle.

According to police, Jordan Medley is currently facing charges of possession of heroin and violation of conditions of release.

At around 1:00 p.m. on May 16, police say they stopped Medley on Central Street for a number of motor vehicle violations.

At the time, Medley was taken into custody as a result of an ongoing investigation by the Newport Police Department.

According to the report, police located 60 bags of heroin in the truck.

Medley is currently on several active pre-trial conditions of release and was found to be in violation of three of those conditions.

He was lodged at the Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport.

Local nurses honored at annual dinner

in Health/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Every year at North Country Hospital, nurses nominate their peers for one of four special awards.

This year awards were given to Kim Blanchard for customer service, Angela Coblentz for professional growth, Chelsea Hamel for community, and Marie Dumas for quality.

These accolades were all revealed at the nurses week dinner on May 7 at the East Side Dancing Sail Banquet Room.

President of the Medical Staff, Dr. Umair Malik, kicked off the evening.

“We docs wouldn’t be able to keep our jobs without the obvious commitment and compassion our nurses demonstrate each and every day,” Dr. Malik said.

North Country Hospital nurses say they appreciate the continuous competence and caring demonstrated, and noted many of these traits on their nomination forms for the Nursing Excellence Awards.

Kim Blanchard, LPN, North Country Primary Care in Newport, was honored for an extraordinary commitment to customer service, evident in her interaction with patients.

The hospital says Blanchard is kind and compassionate during visits and never hesitates to assist any patient in any way she can, always with a smile and positive interaction.

Angela Coblentz, RN, Emergency Department, was honored for her commitment to professional growth that is evident in the ways she has pursued increasing her nursing knowledge and skills.

She completed her BSN while working full time and picking up extra shifts, became a member of the Transport Team, become a Holter Monitor super-user and took the initiative to complete other classes on her own.

Chelsea Hamel, RN, has worked countless hours outside of work time with her co-workers to organize raising $8,000 for the 3rd Annual Penny Sale and Silent Auction to benefit the hospital’s oncology fund.

For the past three years, the fundraiser has become more and more successful and this has helped the community in many ways.

Hamel participates in the planning of many office activities, regardless of the cause.

Marie Dumas, an RN in the Intensive Care Unit, is continually updating her practice to reflect current nursing standards.

She recently co-presented an in-service to other nurses and LNAs related to the updated Sepsis guidelines. She personally has pushed others to stay current with their practice and is always available to field any questions others have.

“I know you are incredibly engaged with your patients, your units, your professional lives, and your own communities and families,” Vice President of Patient Care Services, Avril Cochran said. “We may all do different things every day in our areas of expertise, but one thing always remains, our patients are our number one priority.”

Hospital and practice nurses receiving more advanced degrees in the past year include:

Heidi Hawkins, Avril Cochran, Alexandra Peters, Jessica Gaudreau, Ashlee Daigle, Angela Coblentz, Abby Provost, Lyndsay Sykes, Debra Beauchesne, Lindsey Gaboriault, Ann-Marie Dohn, and Lindy Perry.

Newport awarded $85,000 for intersection improvement project

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — The Vermont Downtown Development Board recently allocated over $600,000 in grants to improve eight downtown areas, and some of this money is going to support sidewalk improvements in Newport.

Newport is set to receive $85,000 for safety improvements to one of downtown Newport’s busiest intersections, a priority identified in the recently completed Downtown and Waterfront Master Plan.

Money from the grant will be used to address the Fyfe, Main, and Second Street intersections.

The project includes extending the curbing and installing “rapid flashing beacons” at the intersection.

Fyfe will be slightly widened to accommodate delivery trucks, and the municipal lot will see some changes as well.

The one-way parking on Second Street will be flipped to allow better intersection alignment.

City officials say they expect work to start late in the summer-autumn months.

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

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

in Derby/Newport/News/Outdoors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s also an important grassland bird production area.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Road Closure: Route 105 in Newport Center starting May 20

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — The Vermont Agency of Transportation will be closing Route 105 in Newport Center for 4 days starting May 20 through May 23.

In order to replace a failing culvert, the AOT will be closing the road approximately 3.6 miles west of the VT100 intersection, between Bear Mountain Road and the Perrault Farm.

The road will be closed to all traffic, including motor vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians.

Travelers should look for detour signage and take alternate routes around the closure.

Nearly 400 students show up for North Country Hospital’s Teddy Bear Clinic

in Health/Newport/News

NEWPORT — It’s been a busy week at the hospital, as visiting kindergartners and first graders have been getting their favorite stuffed animals weighed and immunized at the Teddy Bear Clinic.

Nearly 400 students from 15 schools in the two local supervisory unions marched proudly with their buddies into North Country Hospital.

Multiple stations provided education and care, including the emergency department and the ambulance bay.

Students learned about summertime safety and the mechanics of the skeleton.

This year, thanks to Glover and Newport EMT services, visiting students even saw firsthand the operation of an ambulance.

Police looking for suspect after Dollar General in North Troy broken into

in Newport/News/North Troy

NORTH TROY — Police responded to an alarm at the Dollar General in North Troy early this morning.

The call came in at around 1:00 a.m.

When they arrived at the location on East Main Street, police say they discovered that the store had been forcefully entered and items inside were scattered around.

The store was cleared by troopers.

Video surveillance footage indicated a single male, wearing a red jacket, gloves, and a face covering, forcefully entered the store, placed items in a bag, and left the store through the same place he entered.

A state police canine was used in an attempt to track the suspect but he was not located.

Anyone with information about this incident is being asked to contact State police at 334-8881.

The High Immunization Rates Certificate of Achievement was presented, left to right: Addie Atwood, RN, Leah Rogers, Practice Manager, Julie Barr, Patient Services Coordinator, Jim Biernat, RN, VT Department of Health, Alexandra Bannach, MD, Thomas Harvey, RN, VT Department of Health, Donna Chesney, Patient Services Coordinator and Carol Leigh, RN

North Country Pediatrics in Newport recognized for high immunization rates

in Health/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Last week during Infant Immunization Week, the Vermont Department of Health made its way around the state to 25 pediatric practices, recognizing them for the work they have done to increase child immunization rates.

North Country Pediatrics in Newport excelled for the second year by making sure as many patients as possible received their necessary immunizations.

For a medical practice to receive recognition, at least 90 percent of its child patients must be up to date with immunizations for 11 vaccine-preventable diseases, including measles, mumps, and whooping cough.

This is a significant accomplishment, with current reports of a measles outbreak nationwide.

“The providers and staff at these 25 practices deserve recognition and praise for their hard work protecting children who are at their most vulnerable age,” said Vermont’s Immunization Program Director Christine Finley.

Newport was fortunate to have Jim Biernat, RN, who is also a North Country Hospital trustee, help present the award to Alexandra Bannach, MD and staff.

MAC Center for the Arts presents Gabe Tempesta Selected Paintings

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — MAC Center for the Arts presents Gabe Tempesta’s solo Exhibition entitled Selected Paintings with an opening reception on Friday, May 24, 2019, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. in the MAC’s Downstairs Connection.

The opening is free and open to the public.

To highlight Tempesta in his own words:

“Being born and raised in the Vermont landscape has given rise to the current scope of my artwork. I am continually inspired by the natural landscape while exploring at home or while traveling and look to capture and celebrate that with my paintings. My formal education is from Montserrat College of Art where I studied illustration. After training and pursuing a career as an illustrator as a matter of practicality for ten years I felt an urge for more creative freedom in the form of fine-art landscape and wildlife painting.


My black and white paintings have evolved from a charcoal and watercolor mixture to oil paint. I recently switched to oil paint in order to more easily mimic the lens effects of photography. I love the process of capturing an image through a camera lens with pixels then bringing it to life by hand with paint. Early on I considered pursuing photography as a career until this was superseded by my passion for drawing and painting. Now I feel I have come to a balance between the two.
I leave out the color in my paintings in order to focus on composition, form, and contrast and to engage in a more simple and direct creative process. I strive to create a fresh approach to traditional landscape painting where I look for dynamic vantage points in which to portray common features of the landscape and the wildlife within it. I want the viewer to be familiar with what they see but to get the feeling that they ‘haven’t quite seen it like that before.”

The exhibit will continue through Saturday, June 22, 2019, and can be seen from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during regular business hours.

For more information visit www.maccenterforthearts.com or call 802-334-1966.

Seven people arrested illegally entering the U.S. in Derby Line

in Derby Line/Newport/News

DERBY LINE — Six people who authorities say entered the U.S. illegally in Derby Line, and the driver who picked them up, were arrested on Wednesday.

According to the criminal complaint, on the evening of May 1, agents at the Newport Border Patrol station learned that a group of people were entering the United States from Canada on foot, near an area known as Goodall Farm.

Agents in the area say they observed six individuals huddled together in a wooded area near the border.

Shortly thereafter, they say an SUV drive up to the group. The vehicle stopped and the six individuals got in. The vehicle was later pulled over.

Authorities say the driver was identified as Francisco Alejo-Medrano, 27, a citizen of Mexico.

The six passengers were all determined to be undocumented Mexican citizens.

All seven people in the vehicle were arrested.

Alejo-Medrano appeared in court yesterday on a charge that he unlawfully transported a group of people entering the United States illegally.

U.S. District Judge Christina Reiss ordered that Alejo-Medrano be detained pending further proceedings.

According to court records, the six passengers are being charged with unlawfully entering the United States.

If convicted, Alejo-Medrano faces up to five years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.

Newport police charge two after high-speed chase in stolen SUV

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Police arrested two people yesterday after they allegedly led police on a high-speed chase in a stolen SUV.

According to the report, Justin Morgan, 27, of Newport, was charged with aggravated operation without owners consent, attempting to elude, grossly negligent operation, excessive speed, attempted aggravated assault on a police officer, recklessly endangering another person, and possessing stolen property.

Carrie Tetreault, 32, of Sheffield, was charged with aggravated operation without the owner’s consent.

Police say they were tipped off on Monday that a white 2016 Toyota Rav4 had been stolen and was likely being operated by Tetreault.

Officers were working a detail on Glen Road when they saw the vehicle at approximately 12:26 p.m, which they identified by its license plate.

Newport Police say that they knew Morgan and recognized him as the driver of the vehicle.

When police attempted to perform a motor vehicle stop, the vehicle allegedly took off at a high rate of speed after initially pulling over.

According to a statement issued by police:

“The vehicle sped through a construction zone in the road, endangering the lives of workers, one of whom was placing cones and signs in the roadway. The vehicle almost struck Sheriff Kirk Martin, who was deploying spike strips at the intersection of Fern Street and Glen Road, but the vehicle swerved onto a lawn. The SUV reached speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour and nearly struck a pedestrian walking his dog on West Echo Lake Road.”

Police say after the vehicle got stuck in the mud on Sanderson Hill Road, Morgan and Tetreault led on foot.

They were tracked by police with the assistance of K-9 Ozzy and placed under arrest after they were found running behind a residence on Route 5A.

“This was a dangerous incident involving two people fleeing from police in a stolen car who were willing to endanger the lives of pedestrians, road workers and police officers,” Chief DiSanto said.

Morgan was held on $2,500 bail at Northern State Correctional Facility.

Tetreault was released on the condition that she appear in court for arraignment.

The suspects were scheduled to be arraigned in Orleans District Court today.

Suspected drunk driver crashes into telephone pole in Newport

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Police have arrested and charged a Newport man following a crash early Sunday morning.

At around 1:15 a.m. police say they came upon fallen telephone pole wires which led them to the scene of a crash involving a motor vehicle into a telephone pole near Union Street and Prouty Drive.

The driver of the vehicle, identified as Ryan Brewster, 32, of Newport, was charged with a second offense of driving under the influence, gross negligent operation, criminal refusal and false information to law enforcement.

Police say he sustained injuries and was medically cleared by EMTs following the crash.

According to the report, a female passenger refused medical attention and did not appear to have any injuries from the crash.

Both Union Street and Prouty Drive lost power temporarily after the crash, and Prouty Drive was closed until approximately 9:30 a.m. on Sunday.

“Reckless driving endangers the life of the driver, passengers and everyone else on the road,” Chief DiSanto said. “Let this serve as a reminder to our community that it’s crucial to drive responsibly, pay attention and follow the rules of the road.”

Brewster will appear in Orleans Criminal Court on May 14.

Police: Underage drinking party busted in Westmore

in Newport/News/Westmore

WESTMORE — Police say that for two weekends in a row, they’ve responded to complaints of underage drinking at a house in Westmore.

At around 11:20 p.m. on Friday, police say they received a report of an underage drinking party at a home located on Hinton Hill.

Police say when they arrived the home had a large number of vehicles parked in the driveway and in the roadway.

According to the report, individuals were seen fleeing from the residence into the woods.

Troopers say they also responded to the same residence the weekend prior for a similar complaint.

A total of 10 minors were issued diversion paperwork for the consumption of alcohol under the age of 21 between the two separate responses.

Police say the homeowner was cited into court for enabling alcohol consumption by minors.

Authorities investigating explosion and fire in Holland

in Derby Line/Fire/Holland/Newport/News

HOLLAND — Authorities say that an explosion and fire that took place at a home in Holland on Wednesday is currently being investigated.

At around 2:45 p.m. the Derby Line Fire Department responded to a report of a home explosion and a fire located at 2896 Gore Road North.

Fire personnel found that the residence was completely engulfed and partially collapsed.

According to the report, the homeowners are identified as Mark Newell and Cynthia Merrill.

Police say nobody had been at the home for several days, and there were no reported injuries.

An investigation unit was contacted to try and determine the origin and cause of the incident.

Investigators say that because of the amount of fire damage and consumption of combustible materials, nothing can be determined at this time.

They are requesting anyone with information regarding this incident to contact Det. Sgt. Michael LaCourse at the Derby Barracks at 802-334-8881 or by contacting the Vermont Arson Tip Award Program (VATAP) hotline at 1-800-322-7766.

The VATAP will pay up to a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Tribute to Manfred Rieder opens this weekend at the MAC

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — The MAC Center for the Arts will share a posthumous tribute to the late Manfred Rieder starting this Saturday, April 27, from 10:00 – 5:00 p.m.

The tribute will display a selection of Rieder‘s works, housed in the MAC’s newly named space, the Downstairs Connection.

In Manfred Rieder‘s own words:

”My fantasy structures are the result of being brought up by my grandparents and after my grandmother’s death when I was eight years old by grandpa alone. He was a well-known Austrian architect and from an early age taught me how to draw and paint and then had me assist in making his architectural dioramas and models for his clients. The love of architecture has never left me and now I express it through my little houses and scenes. I have always been fascinated by any form of transportation, from trains to cars, to airplanes and ships and I try to incorporate some of this in my work as well. I only use found wood, unwanted articles and everyday items I find in my shop or in the woods.”

Rieder‘s talent was not limited to the wooden creations, he also produced hundreds of pen and ink or pencil drawings, paintings, clocks, and many more.

All of the wooden diorama’s are for sale and will benefit the MAC Scholarship Fund which is given annually to graduating seniors pursuing any arts discipline in college.

It was his wish was that his legacy is hallmarked by this largesse.

The unique showcase will be on display April 27 through May 23 during regular business hours.

The exhibition is free and open to the public.

It should be noted that these items are handcrafted and for indoor display only.

The exhibition runs in concert with Portraits in Action – 25 Vermont Pioneers in renewable energy, environmental conservation, and land use planning.

For more information, visit www.maccenterforthearts.com or call 334-1966.

Jennifer Daigle promoted to Senior Credit Officer at CNB

in Newport/News

DERBY — Community National Bank President Kathryn M. Austin announced the promotion of Jennifer Daigle to Vice President and Senior Credit Officer.

Daigle joined the bank in February 2005 as a Commercial Credit Analyst and in 2006 became the Supervisor of the Commercial Credit Department.

In 2009, she was promoted to Credit Administration Officer and in 2012 to Assistant Vice President.

In 2016, Daigle became Vice President of Credit Administration.

In her new role as Senior Credit Officer, she will be responsible for analyzing the bank’s commercial loan activity and overseeing the Credit Administration Department.

Continuing her education, she has taken the Principles of Banking class through the Center for Financial Training and Education Alliance and attended the Northern New England School of Banking.

She has taken several courses through the Vermont Bankers Association and Risk Management Association (RMA) covering financial statement analysis, risk management, tax accounting, and management and financial accounting.

Daigle formerly served as chairperson of the RMA Vermont Chapter and continues to be an active board member.

She assists several non-profit organizations with their financials and actively takes part in fundraising initiatives to benefit the Department of Children and Families in Newport.

Daigle resides in Troy with her husband Rene, daughter Ashley, son Travis Letourneau, and two foster children.

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Newport City students get a taste of clinical healthcare

in Health/Newport/News

NEWPORT — A group of fifth graders at Newport City Elementary School had some hands-on experience in North Country Hospital’s Education Department.

The students were able to practice procedures for donning and doffing, sterile glove application, as well as touring through various clinical departments throughout the hospital.

North Country Hospital is able to host students each year through MedTrek, a 10-week afterschool health careers exploration program for middle school aged youth.

It was developed by Vermont Afterschool, in partnership with Northern Vermont Area Health Education Center and the UVM Larner College of Medicine AHEC Program.

This program features field trips to healthcare facilities in the local community and presentations by practicing health professionals.

Students in the program also engage in hands-on activities that relate to the health profession they are exploring each week.

High school students and undergraduates in health and science majors provide mentorship and teaching to support youth in hands-on activities.

In Newport, the program includes mentors from the North Country Career Center Health Science program.

Each session features tools and technology that make work in health care exciting, and stories are shared to inspire youth to consider a future healthcare career.

Northeast Kingdom Human Services takes on suicide prevention

in Glover/Newport/News

NEWPORT — According to the Vermont Suicide Prevention Center one Vermonter dies by suicide every three days in Vermont, and for every suicide, there are 32 attempts.

Northeast Kingdom Human Services has taken these statistics seriously and since January has provided over twenty training sessions in the area.

NKHS has adopted the evidence-based training platform of “Zero Suicide” and QPR.

QPR stands for question, persuade, and refer.

The training provides the education about how to question someone who may be suicidal, how to persuade them that it is okay to need help, and how to refer those struggling to get the help they need.

Suicide has long been something that is uncomfortable to discuss.

This training is a way to provide the tools and language to take the stigma around suicide away.

The other part of the training that is important, is recognizing the social pressures that many of our youth are facing today.

Social media ads a component of pressure and social maneuvering that was never present in the past.

These training sessions help children and adults recognize the realities that local children are living with today, and how to seek help when they need it.

Many children feel that they should not tell an adult about a friend who is suicidal, because they do not want to lose their friend.

Part of the training is encouraging people that it is better to lose a friend than lose a life.

Providing training to school teachers and college professors, parents, and students is taking the destigmatization and education around suicide to the next level.

When the program was implemented at NKHS, they provided just one training in November and one in December.

NKHS also participated in two wellness fairs to educate and raise awareness for suicide prevention, one at the Blue Mountain School, and one at St. Johnsbury Academy, as part of a community suicide awareness evening.

Both events were packed, which showed organizers the need for outreach and education even more.

The requests for these training sessions are increasing dramatically which shows the direct need for this service in the local community.

Glover Community School is the first school in the region to be creating a pilot program, where the training will be done in a three-part series, with staff first, then parents, then students.

The staff training session at the school has already been completed.

Photos: Vanilla Ice Starting to Fall 4/13/19, The official Ice-Out Time (Abram McKenny, Garrett McKenny, Drew McKenny), The winnings (Steve Lawson of Newport, Jessica Booth Director of Parks & Recreation)

The ice is out in Newport

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — After months of waiting, spring finally made its appearance with a splash in Newport on Saturday.

The Lake Memphremagog “ICE OUT” contest, now in its 5th year, garnered a record 1,444 guesses this winter.

“The number of guesses more than doubled this year, largely thanks to our Recreation Committee who put a lot of volunteer time and energy into selling tickets,” Jessica Booth, Director of Parks & Recreation, said.

Predictions came in from across the country online as well.

Many of the online submissions came from around New England, but some came from as far as Colorado, South Carolina, Wisconsin, and Georgia.

“Entering them was a little tedious, but it was interesting to see where the guesses were coming from and which dates and times were most popular,” Laura Smith, who had the pleasure of entering all 1,444 guesses into an electronic spreadsheet, said. “Five different people chose April 1 at 11:00 a.m. for example. April 20th at 4:20 was a popular guess too.”

Parks Foreman Mac McKenny happened to be at Gardner Park on Saturday fishing with his sons and nephew when “Vanilla Ice” broke through near the Causeway Bridge at 11:07 a.m.

“It was cool to actually see it go down,” McKenny said. “It started to tip and after a few minutes, the whole thing dropped. We got to see the clock stop, which was a first for sure.”

While everyone is excited that spring has finally arrived, the announcement is most exciting to first-time ICE OUT contestant Steve Lawson who submitted two predictions on Town Meeting Day in March.

His winning guess of 10:05 a.m. on 4/13/19 was just one hour and two minutes ahead of the actual time.

“My first prediction one was way too early,” he admitted and couldn’t attribute his strategy for the winning prediction to anything more than a lucky guess.

The Lake Memphremagog ICE OUT contest is an annual fundraiser for Newport Parks & Recreation.

This year the event brought in $3,166 toward the Gardner Park Playground and Splash Pad project.

Lawson took home $1,583 as his half of the 50/50 cash prize.

Police investigating burglary in Newport Center

in Newport/News

NEWPORT CENTER­ — Police responded to a burglary at a home on City Farm Road last Sunday.

Police say that the victim, identified as Christina Baker, was away from home when the burglary took place.

While physical evidence was collected from the crime scene, police say the suspect has yet to be identified.

Anyone who may have witnessed this incident or who has any information is being asked to call the police at 334-8881.

Rollover crash on I-91 in Derby

in Derby/Newport/News

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

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

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

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

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

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

Recognizing North Country Hospital volunteers

in Health/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Patients, families, as well as North Country Hospital staff, all appreciate local hospital volunteers throughout the year.

Between nearly 50 volunteers performing various jobs throughout the organization, a total of 8,000 hours have been logged over the last 12 months.

On April 8, the group was recognized for their dedication and many hours of service at a volunteer dinner prepared and hosted by the hospital’s own food and nutrition department.

On board since October 2018, President & CEO Brian Nall has been getting to know the volunteers and commented on how blessed the hospital is to have this dedicated core of individuals.

“I’m going to volunteer in the gift shop when I retire since that’s where my father volunteers at his local hospital,” Nall said.

Bill Perket, the vice president of human resources, also extended his appreciation for the commitment volunteers fulfill each and every day.

Merrilyn Barry, who leads the volunteers, proudly acknowledged everyone in attendance, awarding recognition gifts to all.

“I consider you my second family, and I love you all,” she said. “Everyone does their best to work their shift no matter what.”

NCUHS closed, police investigating threat

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — North Country Union High School is closed today, and police say a 17-year-old male suspect has been taken into custody as they investigate.

The Orleans County Sheriff’s Department says around 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday they were informed of a potential safety threat made against North Country Union High School.

As a precaution, the decision was made with school officials to cancel school Thursday while the threat is investigated.

The Orleans County Sheriff’s Department is currently working with Newport Police officers and Vermont State Police BCI detectives to resolve the incident.

According to a statement released by Deputy Kyle Ingalls, a 17-year-old male was taken into custody on unrelated charges.

In a recorded message sent to parents by Superintendent John A. Castle, all other schools in the supervisory union will remain open.

“The threat was specific to NCUHS, the high school and career center will remain closed until further notice,” Castle said in the message.

Newport police bust man with nearly 3 ounces of cocaine

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — An investigation by police in Newport has resulted in the arrest of a suspected drug dealer and the seizure of about 3 ounces of cocaine.

Glenn Porter, 54, of Lunenburg was arrested following the investigation.

Police say back in February they began receiving anonymous tips that a man was selling cocaine and unknown “pills” at the American Legion on Veterans Avenue, which borders the property of North Country Union High School.

On March 1, Police Sgt. Charles Moulton was observing the area of the American Legion when another anonymous tip was provided that the person of interest was operating a GMC pickup truck.

Moulton made note of a dark grey GMC Canyon in the parking lot.

Police say they received numerous additional tips in March about a man driving a GMC Canyon, selling cocaine during the evenings.

The investigation culminated on Friday, March 29, when intelligence gathered by investigators indicated that the suspect would be in the area that night, selling cocaine.

Officers made a traffic stop of the suspect’s vehicle.

After an on-scene investigation, which included the use of Officer Joshua Lillis and K-9 Ozzy, it was determined that drugs were likely in the vehicle.

During the on-scene investigation, K-9 Ozzy “alerted” on the truck several times indicating the presence of an illicit substance.

The suspect’s truck and clothing were seized and later searched after police obtained a warrant.

Police say they found nearly 3 ounces of a white powdery substance, cash, and two iPhones during their search of the truck and clothing.

As a result of the investigation, Porter was arrested.

He was charged with possession of cocaine, attempted sale of cocaine, and conspiracy to sell cocaine.

He was arraigned at Orleans County Superior Court yesterday.

“I commend the officers for their hard work, as well as our citizens who came forward anonymously to report this activity,” Newport Police Chief Seth DiSanto said.

Three retire from Columbia Forest Products

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Columbia Forest Products recently announced the retirement of three long-time employees.

Donald Deslandes

Thursday, March 28, 2019, marked the retirement of Don Deslandes from Columbia Forest Products, after 28 ½ years of service.

Born in Newport, he graduated from N.C.U.H.S.

Deslandes held his first job farming on Jordan’s farm for 3 years.

He then put down new tracks for the CNR Railroad for 3 summers, after which he was a sprayer at Ethan Allen in Island Pond, for 5 years

He also worked on both the Brighton and Newport Ambulance for 9 years.

Deslandes joined Columbia Forest Products on September 7, 1990, as a janitor.

He later held the patcher job in the splicing department for a few months. He held the hazardous waste coordinator position for the last 10 years, up until his retirement.

Deslandes and his wife Candy live in Newport.

They raised 5 children; Ralph, Alain, Christine, Cheyenne and Melissa and were blessed with 4 grandchildren; Peyton, 7, McKenzie, 3, Kadence, 4 and Rayven, 2, and are expecting another granddaughter in July.

His retirement plans are to spend more time with the family. He enjoys traveling and hopes to visit Las Vegas and Florida.

Deslandes is an avid NY Yankee and Jets fan. He also enjoys camping, and fishing and will continue to do some part-time security work.

Mike Fortin

Thursday, March 28, 2019, marked the retirement of Mike Fortin from Columbia Forest Products, after nearly 25 years of service. Born in St. Albans, he graduated from N.C.U.H.S.

Fortin held his first job working on the family farm for 20 years.

He joined Columbia Forest Products on May 16, 1994, as a part-time janitor.

He later held the following jobs: pre-sorter, clipper operator, grader, defect clipper operator, weigh & tag.

He also held the service job for the last 15 years, up until his retirement.

During his tenure, he had an exemplary attendance record.

Fortin and his wife Debbie live in Holland.

They raised 1 daughter; Christine and were blessed with 3 grandchildren; Adam, 25, Jacob, 23 and Rebecca, 17.

He looks forward to planting a vegetable garden with his mother and maintaining his late father’s blueberry and raspberry patches.

He enjoys hunting and is an avid Red Sox fan.

Fortin can be found working in his sugarbush doing one of his favorite things, operating his chainsaw to expose young maple trees.

He says he will never forget the kindness from his peers following the passing of his father, and that he is fortunate to have had the opportunity to work at Columbia Forest Products.

Randy Westover

Friday, March 29, 2019, marked the retirement of Randy Westover from Columbia Forest Products, after 40 ½ years of service. Born in Newport, Westover graduated from N.C.U.H.S.

He held his first job farming as a teenager for 3 years and then worked as an assembler at Newport Plastics for 3 weeks when he received a call from Columbia for an interview.

Westover joined Columbia Forest Products on September 11, 1978, as a round-up man for approximately one year.

He held the following positions:

Janitor, salvage clipper operator, service, booker during the first five years, after which he was promoted to the drying department crew leader for 5 years, and then cutting department crew leader of which he held for the last 30 years, up until his retirement.

Westover and his wife, Lisa live in Derby Line. They raised 4 children; Adam, Amanda, Travis and Jeremy and were blessed with 8 grandchildren; Haden, 12, Kaleb, 10, Tristin, 10, Jayce, 7, Lexi, 6, Silas, 6, Jaydon, 5, Mason, 7 months, and are expecting another in September.

Westover’s retirement plans are to work on some home improvement projects and to re-learn how to play his new guitar.

He hopes to travel to Florida, Hawaii and Las Vegas.

During the summer, he enjoys riding his motorcycle and spending time at the lake.

He also enjoys modifying muscle cars, bowling, playing cards and golf on the Wii.

He may consider taking up brook fishing again and finding a part-time job.

Representatives from Columbia Forest Products say they deeply appreciate the dedicated service all three men showed over the years.

Community National Bank receives Worksite Wellness Award

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Members of Community National Bank’s (CNB) Wellness Committee recently attended the Worksite Wellness Conference in Burlington to accept a Governor’s Excellence in Worksite Wellness Award.

Each year the Vermont Department of Health and the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports honor Vermont businesses for their efforts to promote health and wellness in the workplace.

CNB’s Wellness Committee, initiated in 2017, offers engaging activities that encourage physical fitness, healthy eating habits and emotional health for the bank’s employees.

The response rate to the Wellness Committee’s efforts shows that CNB employees have welcomed the opportunities to learn about health-related topics and to participate in activities that promote fitness and well-being.

The bank says they are honored to have received the Gold Level award for the Governor’s Excellence in Worksite Wellness.

Community National Bank is an independent bank that has been serving Vermont communities since 1851.

They have offices located in Derby, Barre, Barton, Derby Line, Enosburg Falls, Island Pond, Lyndonville, Montpelier, Morrisville, Newport, St. Johnsbury and Troy.

Orleans man facing burglary charges

in Newport/News/Orleans

ORLEANS — A 39-year-old man from Orleans was arrested on Monday in Newport.

Erik Polite is facing charges of burglary, possession of stolen property, and violation of conditions of release.

Police say they were notified at around 1:00 a.m. of a burglary that took place at a residence on Maple Street in Orleans.

A State trooper and a Newport Police Department Officer located the vehicle and parties of interest on Third Street in Newport.

The vehicle was stopped in the Maplefields parking lot.

Police allege Polite entered the residence without the right to do so and while inside he committed a felony.

According to the report, a search warrant was sought for both the vehicle and Polite’s clothing.

The execution of the search warrants resulted in the location of evidence of the crime, police say.

Polite was lodged on the charges.

NEK native to lead private journaling workshop in Newport

NEWPORT — This week Sunshine Silver Lining Vision Consulting, a media, management, and networking consulting company based out of Newport, announced their premiere workshop series “Tea and Tales.”

This series of writing and reading workshops will highlight both Vermont writers and authors as well as a variety of writing styles from journalling to memoir, along with poetry and screenwriting.

This spring, Tea and Tales will kick off with several workshops at The Work Commons in Newport, facilitated by Northeast Kingdom Native Ilene Elliott.

Private journaling is powerful and worthwhile. The added dynamic and energy of writing in a group can provide validation, encouragement, support, and new insight.

Participants of Elliott’s workshops and retreats will be introduced to handwritten journaling strategies and techniques that can be incorporated into their daily lives.

There will be several workshops:

Saturday, April 13, 2019, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 11, 2019, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 8, 2019, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

All workshops will be held at The Work Commons in Newport.

Sessions include facilitation and refreshments. Organizers of the workshops say you only need to bring a journal and an open mind.

A life-long Vermonter, Ilene was born, raised, and lived most of her life in the Northeast Kingdom. In 2016 she relocated to central Vermont.

For almost 30 years she has nurtured her own journaling practice while facilitating journaling workshops and retreats for others.

Elliott describes journaling as a tool for self-awareness and self-discovery, a way to grow in relationship with self and stir the pot of creativity.

Pricing for Tea and Tales is a sliding scale from $15 to $30 a session and can be paid by cash, check or in person with a credit or debit card.

Participants are asked to pre-register by contacting sunny@sunshinesilverlining.com or calling or texting 917-945-6250 as space is limited.

Vermont Folklife Exhibition “Portraits in Action” coming to the MAC Center

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — The MAC Center for the Arts will host a special exhibition from Vermont Folklife entitled “Portraits in Action.”

The opening reception will take place on April 12, 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. in the lower gallery on Main Street, in Newport.

The exhibition presents 25 Vermont pioneers in renewable energy, environmental conservation, and land planning in photography and text, and runs through May 18, 2019.  

The event is free and open to the public.

For over a decade, the Vermont Folklife Center has been exploring the roots of the environmental movement and renewable energy in Vermont, documenting an evolving course of action that extends from the mid-1960’s to the present.

Since this arc of activity has occurred within living memory, it has been possible to seek out and speak with the very people whose work has been an engine of change.

Seventy-two interviews later, “Portraits in Action” presents twenty-five Vermont pioneers in renewable energy, environmental conservation, and land use planning.

This diverse cross-section is intended to be suggestive rather than comprehensive, recognizing that there are many more whose work has also made a difference.

The exhibit pairs portrait photography and interview audio as a way for visitors to thoughtfully connect with each person featured.

Image and audio are linked to personal statements written in response to the question:

“What will bring us to the next level in meeting the energy and environmental challenges we are facing today?”

In our current political environment, consensus on the defining issues of our era continues to elude us.

“Portraits in Action” offers the opportunity to spend time with a group of people who have been thinking hard about many of these issues over the course of their working lifetimes.  

For more information, visit www.maccenterforthearts.com, or call 802-334-1966.

Courtesy photo from Vt Folklife: Archival photo of Don Mayer (center) pictured with Mr. & Mrs. Eldy Schragg, who were responsible for teaching him about the Jacob’s Wind Generators. Photo courtesy of Don Mayer.

Police: Derby man arrested after high-speed chase

in Derby/Newport/News/Westmore

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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