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Weather-related rollover crash on I-91 in Derby

in Derby/Newport/News

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

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

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

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

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

Newport man wins “Best Freestyle Beard” in Vermont

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Make-A-Wish Vermont announced the ‘Best Beard in Vermont’ award for 2019, and local Eythan Burnham, of Newport, took home best “Freestyle Beard.”

Steve Reilly, of Bristol, was named Best Beard in Vermont as the ultimate winner of the Third Annual Vermont Beardies held in Burlington over the weekend.

Over 100 bearded Vermonters submitted their beards and more than 650 of their friends and supporters voted with their donations to raise nearly $55,000 to grant wishes to Vermont’s children facing life-threatening medical conditions.

“My father and I did it last year and had a ball, so we decided to do it again,” Burnham said. “I Love seeing how these kids with disabilities or illnesses strive and are actually a kid for a day, and get to forget about all the hard things they are going through.”

In the finals on Saturday night, the top fundraising contestants were judged in three categories:

Best Urban Beard, Best Freestyle Beard, and Best Backwoods Beard.

The Best Urban Beard award went to Jim Beebe-Woodard of Underhill.

MAC Center to host “Junque and Trunk” sale fundraiser event April 6

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — The MAC Center for the Arts is getting ready for their 3rd Annual “Junque and Trunk Sale.”

The event will take place on April 6 from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. in the downstairs gallery of the center.

This indoor yard sale categorizes items as “junque,” for 99 cents and “trunk,” for larger items priced to sell.

The fundraiser’s profits will go toward installing a handicap bathroom and lift to the lower gallery.

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

Newport Police warning public about phone scam

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Newport police are warning residents about a phone scam seeking personal information, claiming that the call recipient has committed Social Security fraud.

On Wednesday, police received a call from a Newport resident reporting that he had received three “robocalls” from two different phone numbers that day, claiming to be from a Social Security office and were contacting him about Social Security fraud.

A robocall is a prerecorded message from a person or digital voice that typically prompts the call taker to stay on the line and wait to speak with a person.

Police say the phone numbers the resident received calls from were:

1-800-925-7110
1-800-681-9891

Through the subsequent investigation, it was determined that the calls were scams seeking to get personal information from the call taker.

“Unfortunately, these calls seem to be growing more and more frequent,” Newport Police Chief Seth DiSanto said. “People should never take calls from numbers they that do not recognize and should understand that caller ID may falsely show a local phone number, when in fact it is a scam call coming from another location.”

To help people protect themselves from similar scams, the Federal Trade Commission (FCC) offers several tips on its website, including the following:

Do not take calls from unknown numbers.

Do not share personal, identifying information like Social Security numbers, account numbers, or mother’s maiden names.

If a caller claims to represent an organization and you are doubtful, hang up and contact that agency to verify whether the call was truly from a representative.

Caller ID is not always accurate. A call from a “local” number might not be coming from a local person or organization.

Never pay a caller using a gift card or prepaid credit card.

Industrial hemp workshop in Newport April 19

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — If you’re thinking about jumping into the fast-growing industrial hemp market, there will be an informative workshop in Newport on April 19.

The workshop will meet in the Emory Hebard State Office Building, at the conference room on the 2nd floor, Room 250, from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The event is free and open to everyone, but RSVPs are required.

Attendees will join the Orleans County Natural Resources Conservation District, representatives from the Natural Resource Conservation Service, the University of Vermont, Northeast Kingdom Hemp, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets, Vermont Cannabis Solutions, and a farmer panel for a discussion on growing industrial hemp, from field planning to market access.

The workshop will cover soil and water quality considerations, agronomics, nutrient management, market access, state regulations, and growing contracts.

Nick Comerci, a soil conservationist with NRCS in St. Johnsbury, will open the workshop with an overview of how to plan for a new crop with soil and water quality in mind.

Comerci will discuss soil characteristics, the importance of taking soil samples, and how field layout and tillage practices associated with hemp cultivation may impact soil and water quality.

Dr. Heather Darby of UVM Extension will share more specific details about growing industrial hemp, including access to seeds, fertility, irrigation, pest management, and common diseases.

Karen Devereux of NEK Hemp will talk about drying and curing your hemp crop, processing options, testing your product, and entering the retail market.

To round out the formal presentations, Stephanie Smith from VAAFM will be there to review state permitting requirements, and Andrew Subin from Vermont Cannabis Solutions will discuss how to protect yourself as a contracted grower.

There will also be a farmer panel to offer real-world hemp cultivation experience and plenty of time for questions and answers.

The Hemp Industries Association reported that total U.S. retail sales of hemp products reached almost $700 million in 2016.

In Orleans County alone, 51 growers registered 245 acres of industrial hemp with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets in 2018, and more growers are expected to register this year.

If you might be interested in attending, RSVP with Emily Irwin at 334-6090, extension 7008, or emily.irwin@vt.nacdnet.net.

Women LEAD initiative launching in Newport at March 25 event

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — A new initiative led by Michelle Tarryk and Barbara Morrow, along with over two dozen women leaders and business owners across the Northeast Kingdom, say they’ve come together to foster leadership in girls and women in the NEK.

The project is called Women LEAD, and the group will launch with a fundraiser at The Eastside Restaurant on Monday, March 25, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Women LEAD is in alignment with recommendations from the recent NEK Collaborative Leadership Development Task Force Action Plan.

Recommendations include creating a NEK Leadership Institute as well as a project focusing on engaging NEK Women in Leadership Learning.

“This project has been an absolute thrill,” Tarryk said. “I am in awe of the women who participated in the calendar and I am also very excited about the leadership opportunities that we will be able to bring to young girls throughout the kingdom.”

The group is inviting those interested to come out for complimentary appetizers, a cash bar, and to hear from several collaborators.

Presenters at the event include Michelle Tarryk of Northeast Kingdom Learning Services, Katherine Sims of the NEK Collaborative, Alice Kitchel, State President of Business and Professional Women’s Club, Sunny Noelle Naughton of the Northeast Kingdom Young Professionals Network, and Vermont Photographer Mary Claire Carroll.

Newport awarded $35,000 outdoor recreation grant

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Governor Phil Scott and the Vermont Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative announced that the City of Newport is one of two recipients of the VOREC Community grants to help grow local economies by promoting outdoor recreation.

Newport will receive $35,000 for a critical trail connection project between Prouty Beach and Bluffside Farm as part of the city’s Waterfront Recreation Trail and Lake Access project.

The program awards grants of $10,000 to $100,000 to help Vermont communities fully leverage their local outdoor recreation assets to become “outdoor recreation friendly.”

Newport will serve as a prototype for other recreation-oriented cities and towns seeking to expand their economies.

“This program helps make major recreation projects attainable for communities with support from a diverse group of local experts,” said Governor Phil Scott.

Crash with injury in Newport

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — A woman was injured in a crash involving a tractor-trailer that took place in Newport on Thursday.

At around 6:40 a.m. police responded to a report of a tractor-trailer that had collided with a sedan at the intersection of Access Road and Western Avenue.

The driver of the sedan, a 24-year-old Colebrook, New Hampshire woman, was injured and taken by ambulance to North Country Hospital.

According to police, her injuries were not believed to be life-threatening.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, a 58-year-old Quebec man, was uninjured.

Police say the initial investigation indicates that the woman failed to stop at the traffic light at the intersection and was struck as a result.

As of Friday afternoon, no charges or citations have been issued and the crash remains under active investigation.

The passenger’s side of the sedan sustained heavy damage and both vehicles came to rest about 50 yards from the intersection.

The intersection was temporarily closed while first responders tended to the injured woman.

Deadlines near to remove ice fishing shanties

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — While locals wait for the ice to go out by watching the vanilla extract mascot placed on Lake Memphremagog​ to sink, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is reminding ice fishing enthusiasts not to play the same game with their shanties.

Vermont state law requires that all ice fishing shanties be removed from the ice before the ice weakens.

The shanty must be removed before the ice becomes unsafe or loses its ability to support the shanty out of the water, or before the last Sunday in March, whichever comes first.

That date this year will be on March 31.

All contents, debris, wood, and supports must also be removed so they do not become a hazard to navigation in the spring.

The fine for leaving your ice fishing shanty on the ice can be $1,000, and shanties may not be left at state fishing access areas.

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.

Monette re-elected as Newport City Mayor

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Paul Monette was re-elected as Newport City Mayor on Tuesday.

Mayor Monette hung on to claim victory by just two votes, edging out challengers John Wilson, and Dan Ross.

Monette received a total of 193 votes, and Wilson, a former city council president, received 191.

Monette, who has served as Mayor since 2009, said he believes that it may have been the closest election in the city’s history.

Oddly enough, Ross, who finished third in the race for mayor, was re-elected to his position as alderman.

Wilson, who also ran for alderman, was defeated by Melissa Pettersson.

Pettersson received 296 votes, and Ross finished with 262, enough for a seat on the city council.

James Merriam finished with 254 votes, and Wilson finished last with 245.

Snowmobile crash with injury in Holland

in Derby Line/Holland/Newport/News

HOLLAND — A 49-year-old man from Morgan was taken to the hospital after a snowmobile crash on Tuesday.

At around 9:00 p.m. the incident was reported on VAST trail 105, in Holland.

Members of the Derby Line Fire Department located the male and transported him down the trail to the ambulance.

The operator of the snowmobile was identified as Brian Judd.

According to the report, Judd was traveling east and was unable to maintain his lane of travel around a right-hand corner.

He traveled off the trail and into several trees.

Judd was transported to North Country Hospital.

Police say the crash is still being investigated, and that no information about his injuries is available at this time.

Sugarhouse in Glover destroyed by fire

in Glover/Newport/News

GLOVER — A sugarhouse was found destroyed by fire yesterday in Glover.

The incident took place at 760 Young Road.

Police say Merle Young Jr. arrived at the property at 9:00 a.m. to find the building completely burned.

Young had been at the property on March 3 with family members attempting to thaw frozen water pipes.

He left at approximately 7:00 p.m.

Police say during the night the building caught fire, going unnoticed and completely burning until it self extinguished.

Glover Assistant Chief Jobe Breitmeyer contacted the Department of Public Safety Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit to request assistance with an origin and cause investigation.

Authorities say the cause of the fire could not be determined because of the complete destruction and consumption of all combustible materials.

Police say the fire is not considered suspicious at this time.

Photo by Patricia Przybylinski.

Business booms in Newport area with Winter Swim and other weekend events

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Last weekend, Newport came alive with the Winter Swim Festival, Wright’s Ice Fishing Derby, and the Ryan Coulter Pond Hockey Tournament.

Businesses reported seeing what some called a record week. Most restaurants had waiting lines and area hotels were packed.

Darrick Granai from Newport City Inn and Suites plus Derby 4 Seasons Hotel cites the many events in the area as to why it was so busy.

“There were hockey players in town for a tournament, the international swimmers, a fishing tournament, skiers, snowmobilers and fat bikers,” Granai said. “If we had more events, more often, we’d have this kind of business every week,” Granai reported.

Also in the area were families participating in and watching the Rotary Basketball Tournament with teams from far and wide across northern and central Vermont, which contributed to the crowds.

Steve Wright and crew at Jay Peak were working hard as Jay hosted almost 10,000 visitors Saturday between skiing, the water park, the ice hockey tournament, and Jay’s climbing center.

With 10,000 visitors just twenty minutes from Newport, many businesses reported that a number of the Jay visitors came in and explored Newport and establishments on the Derby Road in the evening.

Frank Richardi from restaurants Lago Trattoria and The Warehouse Pub said he was very happy with the business over the weekend.

“We did have a waiting line at times, but we were fortunate to get people in, seated, and made them very happy,” Richardi said. “The pub at the Warehouse was full and our billiards tables were filled all night long. It was a great atmosphere.”

Getting a table on Friday night was tricky at some restaurants, and the crowds were larger Saturday.

Jaspers Tavern had a full house of revelers, attached to the international swim, from mid-afternoon to closing. The fun party atmosphere in a traditional-style pub was enjoyed by the international crowd.

The Eastside Restaurant and its Quarter Deck Pub were in full swing from lunch til closing with food, drinks, and entertainment.

At the Winter Swim Festival, weather on Saturday was sunny with light winds and air temperatures in the upper 20s and into the mid-30s.

Sunday was generally cloudy with a bit more wind and slightly lower temperatures which rose as the day progressed and, after the festival had concluded, turned to rain.

As Granai summed it up, “the bottom line is events bring in the dollars to local businesses.”

Irasburg man facing charges after shooting at family members, dog

in Irasburg/Newport/News

IRASBURG — A 33-year-old man from Irasburg is facing numerous charges after an incident that took place on Wednesday.

Police responded to Simino Lane for a report of an escalating incident in which a man was intoxicated and fighting with family members.

The suspect was identified as Joshua Hall.

Police say Hall began shooting a shotgun at family members. State Police arrived at the scene moments later and led the victims to a safe location.

According to the report, Hall was highly intoxicated and shot several shotgun rounds at the victims and at the dogs.

Police began informing neighbors of the incident and contained the area.

After speaking with Hall over the phone police were able to take him into custody after a short period without further incident.

A statement regarding the incident issued by Trooper Joshua Mikkola reads:

“The investigation revealed Hall and a victim had been arguing earlier that evening after Hall had been consuming a large amount of alcohol. When family members arrived to help the victim leave the residence, Hall became upset and would not allow another victim to call 911 for help. During the struggle over the phone to call for help, Hall knocked over a small child causing the child to receive a facial injury. The incident then escalated when the victims began leaving. Hall exited the residence with a shotgun and began shooting at the victims and then the dogs. Nobody was injured by the projectiles, however, Hall approached a victim and struck the victim in the face with the buttstock of the shotgun. The victims were able to escape as Vermont State Police arrived at the residence.”

Hall was held at Northern State Correctional Facility and appeared in court today to answer to the charges of first degree aggravated domestic assault, second degree aggravated domestic assault, aggravated assault with a weapon, interference with access to emergency services, reckless endangerment, and cruelty to a child.

Police: Missing Derby woman found dead in Peacham

in Derby/Newport/News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NEK Young Professionals making inroads in region

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT – The Northeast Kingdom Young Professionals Network has launched a number of new initiatives and hosted a number of successful events this past year, significantly increasing the numbers of its organization region-wide.

The board reflects the geographic diversity of the region, with Maire Folan, the program manager of the Green Mountain Farm-to-School office in Newport, serving as committee chair.

Patrick Sodums, the YPN vice chair, brings a hospitality background to the group, as he works as the conference and corporate sales manager of the Burke Mountain Hotel & Conference Center in East Burke.

Rounding out the board is Sarah Chadburn, the group’s treasurer, who serves as a credit analyst at Community National Bank in Newport.

“The vision of the NEK YPN is to be a network for young professionals living and working in and around Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom,” Folan states. “We hope to provide valuable leadership, relationship, and education opportunities through collaboration with community partners.”

The group has held successful social events, or mixers, to bring people together.

It hopes to soon roll out some new programs that will welcome new folks to the area and provide more leadership opportunities.

The Northeast Kingdom Young Professionals Network was re-energized two years ago by Geoffrey Sewake after having been established by then-Northeast Kingdom Chamber President Hannah Manley in 2011.

The main purpose of the group is to serve the needs of young professionals, employees, leaders, and entrepreneurs of the tri-county region, who are hoping to find networking and social opportunities with others in their area.

“We recognize the word ‘young’ to be dynamic, not static, and ‘professional’ to be inclusive, not exclusive,” Folan noted. “We welcome all to this group.”

In the past two years, the NEK YPN has sponsored a number of events in the Northeast Kingdom and partnered with similar groups in northern New Hampshire in an attempt to reach out to more young professionals throughout the North Country.

Such meetings have not only allowed more professionals to network with each other but also helped the committee determine what the needs of young professionals are in the Kingdom.

“An important priority of the NEK YPN is to reach every corner of the Kingdom and help and assist young professionals, as they are not only the leaders of tomorrow, but, in many cases, today’s leaders as well,” said Darcie McCann, executive director of the Northeast Kingdom Chamber. “We as a chamber, as well as other chambers throughout the Kingdom, are striving to work as closely with the group as possible to ensure we give them the support and skills they need to succeed.”

Memoir and poetry workshop coming to the MAC Center March 16

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — The MAC Center for the Arts will be holding a writing workshop, Saturday, March 16, from 1:00-4:00 p.m.

The workshop is called “The Power of the Personal Metaphor: A Memoir and Poetry Workshop.”

Come discover how personal metaphors inspire the creation of poetry and memoir.

Whether your interest is in writing poetry or prose, this workshop will delve into the ways metaphor and figurative language work to express the power of our individual experiences and emotions.

In the workshop, the group will use short writing exercises and spend some extended writing time to explore, develop and extend metaphors into poetry or prose.

This workshop will also be relevant for visual artists who use metaphorical imagery in their work.

The workshop will conclude with volunteers sharing their work.

The workshop is limited to 15 participants, ages 14 years and older.

Pre-registration is suggested by March 13.

Registration forms can be found online or by stopping in at the MAC Center for the Arts.

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

You can also email pattyos@earthlink.net

Woman reported missing in Derby

in Derby/Newport/News

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

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

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

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

The vehicle is registered to Cecile.

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

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

Fire destroys barn in Coventry

in coventry/Newport/News

COVENTRY — The Newport City Fire Department responded to a structure fire in Coventry this morning.

A large, two-story barn at 862 Heermanville Road was fully engulfed in flames at around 9:20 a.m.

The barn was no longer in use as a dairy barn and used primarily for storage.

It was completely destroyed by the fire, however, no person or animal was injured.

Newport City Fire Chief Jamie Leclair contacted authorities to request assistance with an origin and cause investigation.

An investigation was initiated and initial investigation efforts suggest that the fire appears to be electrical in nature and non-suspicious.

First witnesses on scene noticed the fire in the southwest corner of the building.

Anyone that may have witnessed the fire is asked to contact Detective Sgt Michael LaCourse at 802-334-8881.

Railway fined for mismanaging hazardous materials at Newport maintenance facility

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Central Maine & Quebec Railway, owner and operator of a railroad maintenance facility in Newport, was fined $12,000 for improperly managing hazardous materials and releasing hazardous materials to the environment.

During a May 2018 compliance inspection, DEC personnel found absorbent materials contaminated with petroleum in open, unmarked containers, at its Glen Road facility and railyard.

DEC officials also discovered petroleum in the soil, indicating that petroleum from railway maintenance activities had been released onto the ground.

The company was also keeping unidentified hazardous waste in a service building at the facility.

Hazardous waste contains dangerous chemicals. These chemicals can harm public health and the environment.

“Hazardous releases can be prevented by following storage and management practices outlined in Vermont’s hazardous waste management rules,” says Emily Boedecker, DEC Commissioner. “To avoid dangerous spills, companies need to identify hazardous materials and keep them in sealed containers in dry storage spaces. This is the law, and these common-sense practices will keep workers safe and prevent hazardous materials from reaching our soil and water.”

Following the inspection, DEC directed the company to clean up contaminated soils and implement proper storage and labeling practices for all hazardous materials on the property.

Central Maine & Quebec Railway US Inc. completed a remediation effort in July 2018 that removed over 10 tons of oil-contaminated soil and hazardous materials from the property.

The company also agreed to pay a $12,000 fine for the violations.

The Environmental Division of the Vermont Superior Court approved the agreement between DEC and the company in an order dated February 15, 2019.

Agricultural and natural resource meeting March 15 in Newport

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Orleans County Conservation District, in cooperation with Natural Resources Conservation Service, is hosting a meeting to receive input from the public and our partners regarding natural resource priorities in the area.

NRCS administers several programs funded through the Federal Farm Bill.

These programs are designed to assist farmers, forest owners, and other landowners implement projects that benefit soil health, water quality, wildlife habitat, and other natural resource concerns.

The meeting will be held on Friday, March 15, from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the USDA Service Center Conference Room at 59 Waterfront Plaza in Newport.

The public is welcome and strongly encouraged to attend this meeting.

Organizers ask that anyone interested RSVP by March 8.

To RSVP, or for further information, contact the Orleans Conservation District at 802-334-6090 x 7008.

United Christian Academy’s Bronze Ambassadors head to Florida

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — The Bronze Ambassadors of the United Christian Academy in Newport are headed south for a series of performances.

Now in its twenty-second year of community service and music performance throughout the country, the ensemble will travel to central Florida from February 26 through March 5.

During the week-long tour, the Ambassadors will visit a prison for teens in Gainesville, an orphanage in Lakeland, a children’s museum in Tampa, and a children’s hospital in Orlando.

They will also visit a church in Melbourne, where they will participate in a Catholic mass.

Over the years they have rung at national venues in New York and Washington D.C. and frequently perform locally at hospitals and churches.

Winter Swim Festival this weekend in Newport

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom/Outdoors

NEWPORT — This weekend, 85 winter swimmers supported by 35 volunteers, will be competing in a two-lane, 25-meter pool cut in the ice on Lake Memphremagog.

Swimmers are traveling from all over the United States for the event, as well as internationally from South Africa, Scotland, Spain, and Quebec.

They will be swimming 25-meter, 50-meter, 100-meter, and 200-meter events, starting with a fiercely competitive 25-meter “Hat Competition,” starting at 9:30 a.m.

Newport offers the only 25-meter, two-lane winter swim pool cut in the ice, in all of North America.

The pool is cut by Michael Booth and Josh McCoy.

Four youth will be competing, including Margaret Rivard, of Springfield, NH, age 11, her older sister Vera Rivard, age 15, Esme Kimber, age 12, of East Corinth, and Denis Graham, age 17, of Verona, WI.

On the other end of the spectrum are two septuagenarians, Ginny Peck, 73, of North Campton, NH, and Kathleen McDonnell, 71, of Toronto, ON.

There are 10 others in their 60s taking part in the swim.

Approximately 35 volunteers will be supporting the weekend event, some traveling from Maryland, Quebec City, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Magog.

Cutting of the pool will begin on Wednesday.

A ribbon cutting and opening ceremony with potato gun salute will take place at 3:00 p.m. on Friday.

The first swim starts at 9:30 a.m.

Spectators are welcome to come out and watch these remarkable swimmers.

The Winter Swim Festival is organized by Kingdom Games which holds over 20 days of highly acclaimed running, biking, and swimming events in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

Taste of the Kingdom event February 27

in Jay Peak/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — The 11th Annual Taste of the Kingdom, a fundraising event held by Green Mountain Farm-to-School (GMFTS), will take place at 6:00 p.m. on February 27, at Jay Peak Resort’s Foeger Ballroom.



Guests will enjoy small plates and sample beverages from over 20 Northeast Kingdom food and drink producers.

This year’s Farm & Food Partners include the Highland Lodge, Barn First Creamery, Goob’s Brews & BBQ, Sterling College’s kitchen and many more.

The evening will also include live music, a silent auction featuring NEK-area businesses, and a raffle for a 2-night stay for 4 people at Jay Peak Resort. 



“This event is an annual celebration of our local food economy,” said Sophie Westover, communications and development coordinator at GMFTS. “It’s a chance to interact with some of our region’s best farmers, chefs, distillers, and brewers, all while supporting GMFTS and our work to connect farms, schools, and communities.”


All proceeds from the event will go to benefit GMFTS and its programming.

DUI crash with injury in Barton

in Barton/Newport/News/Orleans

BARTON — Police say that a 60-year-old man from Barton was charged with DUI after a two-vehicle crash on Sunday sent a man to the hospital.

At around 8:00 p.m. rescue workers were notified of the crash that occurred on US Route 5 near the intersection of Kinsey Road, in Barton.

Police say Ed Seadale exhibited signs of intoxication and was ultimately arrested and processed for DUI.

Roger Pray, 80, of Orleans, was the driver in the second vehicle and was immediately transported to North Country Hospital for treatment for minor injuries.

According to the police report, Seadale was traveling south and Pray was traveling northbound.

“Evidence at the scene indicated Seadale operated his vehicle left of the centerline and collided with Pray in the oncoming lane,” a statement issued by Sgt. Andrew Jensen reads.

Both vehicles were unable to be driven from the scene.

Barton/Orleans Fire Department, as well as Orleans EMS, assisted at the scene.

Photo from Facebook by Danielle Lucas.

Truck through the ice on Willoughby

in Newport/News/Westmore

WESTMORE — A truck partially went through the ice on Willoughby this afternoon.

At around 3:00 p.m. Orleans Ambulance and Westmore Fire Department responded to the scene. All occupants of the truck were out and safe by the time they arrived.

The truck was approximately 50 feet from the Willoughby fishing access, partially submerged.

The driver was identified as Travis Cady, 30, of Wheelock.

Cady told police after driving on the ice, he was returning to shore when the truck hit a large bump in front of the access.

When the truck struck the ice after the bump, the front end sunk through the ice and became lodged.

Police say Cady’s ability to operate a motor vehicle in the State of Vermont was under criminal suspension.

He was issued a citation for the charge of criminal DLS.

Wrights towing responded and removed the vehicle from the ice.

Anyone accessing Lake Willoughby from the Willoughby access area is cautioned about the large hole in the ice approximately 50 feet from the access area.

Westmore Fire department marked the location where the truck fell through, however, caution in the area is stressed.

Newport City Candidates Forum coming February 21

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Vermont’s North Country Chamber of Commerce will host a Newport City Candidates’ Forum on Thursday, February 21 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Goodrich Library

The forum is open to the public to attend, and will be broadcast live on local radio station WIKE 103.1 FM / 1490 AM and recorded for future broadcast on community accesses cable.

The forum will be moderated by chamber president Bruce James.

Five people are running for various top-level city offices including Mayor and City Council.

In the race for City Mayor are Paul Monette, Dan Ross, and John Wilson.

Running for City Council are James Merriam, Melissa Pettersson, Dan Ross, and John Wilson.

The top two vote-getters for the City Council will be elected.

Ross and Wilson are running for both mayor and city council and have said if they are elected mayor, they will turn back the council position, which would then be filled by appointment or special election.

Many people think Newport City is as at a crossroads, with its future in the balance.

Questions over ownership and future of the boardwalk along the lake, water quality issues for Lake Memphremagog, what steps the city could take, if any, to improve the downtown economic climate, growing the city’s grand list, and the ever-present tax issues are some of the questions expected to be presented.

The forum will be held on the second floor of the Goodrich Library and is open to the public to attend.

Police investigate threats at North Country Junior High School

in Derby/Newport/News

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

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

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

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

Police say that the investigation is ongoing.

Police: Drunk skier bites, kicks trooper at Jay Peak Resort

in Jay Peak/Newport/News

NEWPORT — A 22-year-old man from New Jersey will have to face a judge on Monday to answer to numerous charges after an incident at Jay Peak Resort on Saturday.

At around 6:00 p.m. police responded to the resort for a report of an unruly and intoxicated man.

Police met with Jay Peak Security and determined the man, identified as Daniel Syzdek, would be placed into protective custody due to his high level of intoxication and aggressiveness towards those at the resort.

According to the report, Syzdek resisted arrest and during the process of taking him into custody bit a trooper. Police say he also kicked a trooper.

Syzdek was transported to Derby to be processed.

He was lodged at Northern State Correctional Facility and has to appear in court on Monday to answer to charges of disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and assault on law enforcement.

Police say that the trooper was not injured during the arrest.

Route 14 in Coventry closed after report of shots fired

in coventry/Newport/News

COVENTRY — A section of Vermont Route 14 in Coventry was closed down yesterday while police investigated a report of gunshots being fired near a residence.

At around 7:15 p.m. police received a 911 report of several shots fired in the vicinity of 84 Blake Road.

Several law enforcement agencies including the U.S. Border Patrol responded to the area to assist.

Police say they believe the shots were fired as means of target practice, and that no injuries were reported and no law violation occurred.

Vermont Route 14 in the area of Blake Road was closed for approximately 3 hours as a precaution throughout the investigation.

An alternate route was provided to traveling motorists.

Eli Goss Memorial Ice Fishing Tournament expecting record turnout this year

in Morgan/Newport/News

NEWPORT — As the Eli Goss Memorial Ice Fishing Tournament enters its ninth year, the tournament has seen a substantial increase in fisherman interest and a record number of area businesses stepping up as sponsors.

The 2019 tournament will be held February 15-17 on Seymour Lake, Echo Lake, and Lake Memphremagog. 

Registration will be at the Public Fishing Access in Morgan.

Fishing begins at 7:33 a.m. Friday and ends at 1:33 p.m. Sunday. 

The closing ceremony, tournament games, silent auction, and raffles will be at 2:33 p.m. on Sunday.

A $15 donation to the Eli Goss Memorial Scholarship Fund will get you into the competition with a chance to win a custom designed ice shack donated and built by Limlaw Family and Friends.

Additional tickets will be sold at the registration area.

Awards include a cash prize for first place along with Eli Trophy Bomber Hats and several prizes donated by local businesses for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place fish from each lake. 

There will be separate categories and prizes for youth and pike.

A raffle and silent auction will again be held, with all proceeds going directly to student scholarships.

The Eli Scholarship Fund is also collecting bottles and cans for their annual bottle drive.

Complimentary hot food will be offered to participants each day at the registration area, compliments of the Eli Fund.   

Community support has rallied behind this year’s tournament with 50 local sponsors backing the event.

Official tournament sweatshirts are on sale now and will contribute in large part to scholarship funds.  

In 2018, The Eli Goss Memorial Fund decided to expand its tournament to include Lake Memphremagog in attempts to enhance the competition and increase attendance.

The result was an unprecedented turnout, allowing The Eli Fund to increase the amount of individual scholarship awarded to 10 Graduates of NCUHS and UCA in memory of Eli.

Since 2011, the Eli fund has awarded 48 Scholarships, totaling over $29,750.00 to graduates of UCA and NCUHS.

“I just love this event,” said Stephanie Goss, who helps the committee organize the event. “I am astounded by the generosity of local people and the spirit of reunion that has developed over the years. It allows us to remember Eli’s kind heart by supporting the dreams of students and helping them realize their dreams.”

The Eli Goss Memorial Scholarship Fund has a mission to expand scholarship opportunities to include students who did the work while balancing academics, sports, jobs, friends, and family. 

They recognize students who are involved in life, courageous in their attempts and caring in their relationships. 
 
With any donation of $40.00 or more, you can receive your own Eli Goss Memorial Ice Fishing Tournament Hoodie. 

Visit www.EliGossMemorialFund.com  and www.Facebook.com/EliGossIceFishing for more information. 

2018’s guest judges, Jonathan Goldsmith, and 2017 Best Beard in Vermont and Wish Dad, Bryan Sturge.

Contest underway to find the best beard in Vermont

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom/Vermont

NEWPORT — A truly Vermont-style fundraiser is back with the Third Annual Vermont Beardies, the contest to find the best beard in Vermont.

Bearded Vermonters are invited to enter their magnificent scruff and encourage their friends to support Make-A-Wish Vermont through social media appeals.

Contestants will compete online in three categories, Urban, Freestyle, and Backwoods.

The contest will culminate with an exciting evening to name the winner featuring celebrity judges and fun contests.

In order to participate, bearded contestants must pre-register now at www.vermontbeardies.com.

The top beards and fundraisers from the online portion of the contest will be invited to participate in a series of in-person contests to judge the majesty of their beards on March 16th at ArtsRiot in Burlington.

Fresh off his Super Bowl ad, the judging panel will include Jonathan Goldsmith, best known as Dos Equis’ original Most Interesting Man In The World.

While promising to be a night of awesome beards, crazy contests, and tons of laughs, the Vermont Beardies is being held to raise much-needed funding for Make-A-Wish Vermont.

The goal of the event is to fund wishes for three children in Vermont facing critical illnesses.

Visit www.vermontbeardies.com to enter your beard and invite your friends to support your rise to the top of the 2019 Vermont Beardies.

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