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Photo by Tanya Mueller.

Tragic death on bike path in Derby

in Derby/Newport/News
Photo by Tanya Mueller.
Photo by Tanya Mueller.

DERBY — Authorities believe that cardiac arrest was the cause of the tragic death of a 33-year-old man from Beebe Plain, who passed away yesterday after collapsing on the bike path in Derby.

Police say that Michael Scherer, and his wife were out for a run along the bike path Sunday morning, when Michael began to experience difficulty breathing, and shortness of breath.

Michael was forced to stop running, and later collapsed. According to a statement issued by the Vermont State Police, Michael became unresponsive, at which point his wife immediately called 911 and began to perform CPR. The statement issued by police goes on to say:

EMS responded and transported Michael to the North Country Hospital in Newport where attempts to resuscitate Michael were unsuccessful. Members from the Vermont State Police and an Assistant Medical Examiner responded to the hospital to investigate the death. Preliminary indication are that the death was a result of cardiac arrest. Michael’s body was transported to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner for autopsy to determine the exact cause of death. 

According to a few eyewitness accounts, the incident happened near the area of the bike path that runs through Sunset Acres.

Valesquez sentenced to 5 month prison term in Canada

in Derby/Newport/News

newport vermont news

NEWPORT – The 31-year-old woman from Newport who led police on an international chase after allegedly attempting to break into the Derby Corner Mini Mart, has quickly been sentenced in a Sherbrooke court for her crimes committed in Quebec.

Valentina Valesquez was sentenced to serve five months in prison. She pled guilty to the charges against her, which included impaired and dangerous driving, armed assault, flight from a peace officer, and failure to report at a border crossing.

After serving two-thirds of her sentence, Canadian border service agents will escort her to the border where she will be handed over to U.S. law enforcement.

Velasquez is accused of attempting to break into the Derby Corner Mini Mart on September 26. Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the store on the morning of the incident, and encountered her attempting to flee the scene in a tan Oldsmobile sedan.

A pursuit by several local law enforcement agencies followed Velasquez north on Route 5 to Derby Line, where she crossed into Canada at the Route 5 Port of Entry without stopping.

Canadian authorities continued the pursuit, eventually using spike strips to force the vehicle off of the road.

Velasquez was taken into custody by Sûreté du Québec in Coaticook, and has been held in Canada since the incident.

US Winter Swimming Championships to debut on Lake Memphremagog in Newport

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

wnter swimming championships Newport Vermont

NEWPORT — Kingdom Games and the US Winter Swimming Association (USWSA) are partnering to host the first ever US Winter Swimming Championships in North America. The championships will be held during the weekend of February 21, 2015, on Lake Memphremagog, in two 25-meter swimming lanes cut out of the frozen lake.

The water temperature of Lake Memphremagog is expected to be around 32 degrees Fahrenheit, and the likely air temperature will range from 0 to 25 degrees. The organizers plan to offer championship races over the following distances: 25, 50 and 100 meters.

A 250 meter event will be included if there are sufficient resources to build proper warming facilities for swimmers who will need to recover following a swim of this distance in such cold water.

The swimming lanes will be cut out of the “infield” of a 700 meter speed skating oval which will also host the North American Speedskating Championships two weeks prior to the swimming championships. The oval was made last year adjacent to the The EastSide Restaurant in Newport.

The US Winter Swimming Association is a recently formed non-profit organization with the mission to promote winter swimming in the United States. Winter swimming is extremely popular in countries with colder climates. Competitions in Russia, the Czech Republic, Poland, Sweden, Finland, Latvia, Estonia, China, and even Great Britain and South Africa typically draw hundreds of swimmers. Over 1,300 swimmers competed in the 2014 Winter Swimming World Championships which were held in Lapland, Finland this past February.

get-attachment (1)In the US, interest in winter swimming has been growing over the past five years. The USWSA was formed to make these competitions available in the United States.

When Kingdom Games expressed an interest in conducting a winter swimming event on Lake Memphremagog, the founders of USWSA were quick to respond and a partnership was formed.

Kingdom Games and the USWSA are also in discussions with South Africa’s Ram Barkai, the founder of the International Ice Swimming Association, to explore the feasibility of conducting future “ice swims” which are 1 km or longer. However, the infrastructure and local experience required to safely support swimmers during and after these longer distances needs to be in place before these longer swims can be added to the calendar.

The organizers are looking for local and national support for this first championship venture and they will be opening an online registration on November 1, 2014 via http://kingdomgames.co and www.uswsa.org.

There is much work to be done to make this winter swimming championships happen. Community support in the Newport area will be critical in addition to the support of the winter swimming community in the USA and abroad. Sponsorship of the event both locally and nationally will also be important to help cover the costs of creating the venue and providing proper recovery facilities when the swimmers exit the water.

Kingdom Games and the USWSA have already formed a strong partnership and each of the principal organizers has experience in undertaking large athletic challenges. They are confident that, with local and national support and the support of swimmers themselves, this winter swimming championships can be organized within the next four months.

For more information please contact: Phil White, Director, Kingdom Games at phw1948@gmail.com (802-249-9100)

R Cristian Vergara, US Winter Swimming Association, info@uswsa.org

Police say they were tipped off before I-91 heroin bust

in coventry/Newport/News

Heroin bust Newport, Vermont

NEWPORT — According to court documents, police were tipped off that the two women from the Newport area who were arrested in Brattleboro with over 900 bags of heroin, were making a trip to Hartford, Connecticut, to pick up a substantial amount of heroin that would be resold in Vermont.

State Police Sgt. Eric Albright wrote in an affidavit that he was informed on Friday before the bust of the names of the suspects, Ashley Geoffroy, 26, of Newport, and Kirby Davis, 30, of Coventry. He was also aware of the description of the vehicle being used in the run, a red Subaru Impreza hatchback with a distinctive “taxi” sticker on the car.

State troopers were watching for the vehicle on I-91 north, when it was spotted at around 1 p.m. Friday. Albright wrote that he saw the car weaving between lanes, as well as the tires crossing over the fog line.

“Had I not observed this or any other motor-vehicle violations, I would have stopped the vehicle to investigate the reported drug activity,” he wrote.

Police say that Davis was the driver and Geoffroy was the passenger. According to the affidavit, Davis claimed that she had picked up Geoffroy as a taxi passenger in Connecticut. Geoffroy allegedly told police while being interviewed separately that she was asked to take a ride with Davis, leaving from Newport in the morning.

Police say they found 910 bags of heroin, wrapped in two packages, in the trunk of the vehicle. Court documents also say that Davis was found with 14 bags of heroin in her pocket. Vermont State Police say the amount of heroin seized has a street value of $13,650.

Davis faces one felony count of heroin trafficking, and Geoffroy faces a felony count of heroin trafficking and one misdemeanor count of violating her conditions of release.

The two women both appeared in Windham Superior Court Criminal Division on Monday for their arraignment, where they both pled not guilty.

They are not currently in custody, however, they are not allowed to be in contact with each other, as part of the conditions of release imposed by the court.

QNEK’s “Wait Until Dark” begins Friday

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DERBY LINE — QNEK Productions, the Award-Winning International Theatre Company in Residence at the Haskell Opera House, finishes its 21st Mainstage Season with the highly entertaining and suspenseful thriller, Wait Until Dark, directed and designed by Susan-Lynn Johns with a set built under the guidance of Tom Rooney by the North Country Union High School Building Trades class.

Written by Frederick Knott, author of the classic mystery, Dial M for Murder, Wait Until Dark captures the audience with its complex story and noir undertones. In a time when gore and extreme violence run rampant in film and television, audiences will find it refreshing to find horror in the chase, more so than in a pool of blood.

The heroine of the story, set in the 1960s, is blind housewife, Susy Hendrix (Mary Hoadley, Newport). Independent and resourceful, Susy is learning to cope with her blindness, which resulted from a recent accident. She is aided by her difficult, slightly unreliable young neighbor, Gloria (Victoria Young, Newport), with whom she has an exasperated but lovingly maternal relationship.

Susy’s life is changed as she is terrorized by a group of criminals who believe she has hidden a baby doll used by them to smuggle heroin into the country. Unknown to Susy, her photographer husband Sam (Nathan Sargent, Newport) took the doll as a favor for a woman he met on an international plane flight and unwittingly brought the doll to the couple’s New York apartment when the woman became afraid of the customs officials.

Alone in her apartment and cut-off from the outside world, Susy must fight for her life against a gang of ruthless criminals, led by the violent, psychotic Roat (Ross Murray, Stanstead). The tension builds as Roat and his accomplices Carlino (Brian McCrea, Newport) and Mike Talman (Mike Desjardins, Newport), impersonate police detectives and friends of her husband in order to win Susy’s confidence, gaining access to her apartment to look for the doll.

The climax of the play, a vicious physical confrontation between Susy and Roat in her dark kitchen, is one of the most memorable and frightening scenes in theatre history. Rounding off the cast as policemen are James Cross of Island Pond and Eric Alexandre of Magog.

Performance dates are October 10, 11, 17, and 18 at 7:30 p.m and October 12 at 2:00 p.m. at the Haskell Opera House, Derby Line, VT/Stanstead, QC.

Reserve tickets by calling the QNEK Box Office at 802-624-1490, charge tickets via phone or online through Catamount Arts, 888-757-5559, www.catamountarts.org, or purchase at The MAC Center for the Arts, Main Street, Newport.

For information and group rate quotes contact the QNEK Business Office at 803-334-2216.

Community coming together to help woman battling cancer

in Newport/News

Picture 16NEWPORT — Newport Car Wash, and members of the community are coming together to help a local woman who is battling cancer.

The Newport Car Wash, located next to the fire station, is having a bake sale, bottle drive, pumping for tips, and more, all to help raise money for Terry Corr. The fundraising event will start on Thursday, October 9, and run through the 12th.

On October 11, they will be offering hamburgers and hot dogs at a very reasonable price, and there will even be a bounce house available for kids.

The car wash is seeking donated baked goods, which can be dropped off by Wednesday. Anyone wishing to drop off bottles or cans can do so between the 9th and the 12th.

All proceeds will be donated to Terry. Make sure to stop in and support our fellow community member.

If you have kids, bring them out Saturday for the bounce house.

Newport and Coventry residents arrested with over 900 bags of heroin

in coventry/Newport/News

newport vermont drug arrests sweepNEWPORT — Two residents of Orleans County were arrested in Brattleboro on Friday after police discovered they had over 900 bags of heroin in their possession.

Police are reporting that Kirby Davis, 30, of Coventry, and Ashley Geoffroy, 26, of Newport were both arrested and lodged at the Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield.

The arrests happened at around 1 p.m. Friday, when the two were pulled over for a minor traffic violation on I-91 North, at exit 2, Brattleboro.

After the traffic stop, the trooper discovered they had over 900 bags of heroin in the vehicle.

They were arrested and charged with possession of heroin, trafficking heroin, and importation of heroin.

The two will appear in Windham County court on Monday, October 6.

Missing Dog: Newport

in Newport/News

UPDATE: The dog was located. Thank you to everyone who helped get the word out and locate the animal so quickly.

Below is a flyer for a dog that went missing this morning, last seen in Newport. He may have been put in a tan truck. Please contact owners if you know where the dog may be.
missing dog newport

Newport Vermont News

Hunt homicide ruled justifiable.

in Newport/News

Newport Vermont News

No charges will be filed against Christian Cornelius in the fatal stabbing incident that took place at his home in July. Prosecutors say that 31-year-old Cornelius acted in self-defense. The statement below was issued by Orleans County State’s Attorney Alan Franklin. It has been posted in its entirety. We do apologize for the awkward formfitting of the text, as it is a photo of the original statement, which was put out on Tuesday.

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Police looking for man who stole 3 bottles of wine and air conditioning unit from Price Chopper

in Newport/News

Suspect(2)-736168

NEWPORT — Police are looking for an unidentified man who stole three bottles of wine and an air conditioner from Price Chopper.

According to a release issued by the Vermont State Police, the man was at Price Chopper on Friday, September 26, at approximately 11:00 a.m.

Suspect Vehicle-739826During his visit to the store he stole the items and was caught on surveillance cameras leaving the parking lot in a red Jeep.

During the investigation police were able to obtain the surveillance footage, and have released these photos in an attempt to identify the suspect.

Anyone with information regarding the man in these photos or the red Jeep, is being asked to contact the Vermont State Police Derby Barracks at 802-334-8881.

police chase derby vermont newport
Mug shot of Valentina Velasquez, taken from a prior arrest. Photo courtesy of the Vermont State Police.

Quebec court orders psychiatric exam for international police chase suspect

in Derby/Eastern Townships/Newport/News/Quebec/Sherbrooke

police chase derby vermont newport
Mug shot of Valentina Velasquez, taken from a prior arrest. Photo courtesy of the Vermont State Police.
SHERBROOKE, QC — Valentina Velasquez, 31, of Newport, will undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine her ability to face the charges against her in Canada, after she led police on an international chase that started in Derby, and ended near Coaticook, Quebec.

The request for the evaluation came through her lawyer who was at the Sherbrooke Courthouse Monday afternoon. Velasquez remains in custody in Canada, where she faces charges of impaired and dangerous driving, armed assault, and flight from a peace officer.

It is expected that Velasquez will be held in Canada until her Canadian criminal charges are completed. She will then return to the U.S. to face her Vermont charges, which include attempted burglary, driving while license suspended, attempting to elude, careless and negligent operation, and larceny of a motor vehicle.

Velasquez is accused of attempting to break into the Derby Corner Mini Mart. Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the store early Friday morning, and encountered Velasquez attempting to leave in a tan Oldsmobile sedan.

A pursuit by several local law enforcement agencies followed Velasquez north on Route 5 to Derby Line, where she crossed into Canada at the Route 5 Port of Entry without stopping.

Canadian authorities continued the pursuit, eventually using spike strips to force the vehicle off of the road.

Velasquez was taken into custody by Sûreté du Québec in Coaticook. She was found at the time to be in possession of a firearm.

Woman imprisoned for embezzling from Newport employer

in Newport/News

Barton Vermont Newport Vermont prison sentenceNEWPORT — Manon Cote, 47, of Newport, was sentenced on Monday in United States District Court in Brattleboro to 15 months of imprisonment, following a forgery charge which stemmed from Cote’s embezzlement of hundreds of thousands of dollars from a car dealership in Newport.

Cote was ordered to serve three years of supervised release following completion of her prison term, and pay restitution of about $368,000. Cote was directed to surrender to the Bureau of Prisons on November 18 to begin serving her sentence.

On March 21, 2013, a federal grand jury in Burlington returned a three count indictment charging Cote with mail and wire fraud and forging checks of an organization. Cote pled guilty to the forgery charge last October.

Cote was employed as office manager for DeLaBruere’s Auto Sales, Inc., a new and used car and truck dealership in Newport.

Between 2006 and January 2012, Cote embezzled about $380,000 from DeLaBruere’s, primarily stealing cash from the daily receipts she was responsible for depositing into the company’s bank account. Cote tried to cover up the thefts of cash by writing company checks to unauthorized payees in amounts equal to the sum of cash she was stealing, then depositing the checks back into the company bank account.

In issuing those checks, Cote used without authority the signature stamp of the owner of DeLaBruere’s. Cote stole additional company funds by improperly issuing checks to herself, by using company funds to pay personal loans, and by using the company credit card for personal reasons.

police chase derby vermont newport
Mug shot of Valentina Velasquez, taken from a prior arrest. Photo courtesy of the Vermont State Police.

Woman sends police on international chase after attempted burglary in Derby

in Derby/Eastern Townships/Newport/News/Quebec

police chase derby vermont newport
Mug shot of Valentina Velasquez, taken from a prior arrest. Photo courtesy of the Vermont State Police.
DERBY — A woman sent authorities on an international police chase this morning, after an attempted burglary in Derby.

Police received a 911 call early this morning from the Derby Corner Mini Mart, located at 3131 US Route 5, reporting that a woman was attempting to break into the store with a long gun. Troopers from the Vermont State Police and deputies from the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department responded immediately to the area.

Sheriff’s deputies, already in the area, arrived at the store and encountered the woman attempting to leave in a tan Oldsmobile sedan.

A pursuit was initiated by the sheriff’s deputies and agents from the US Border Patrol, who followed the vehicle north on Route 5 to Derby Line. The vehicle crossed into Canada at the Route 5 Port of Entry.

Canadian authorities continued the pursuit while Vermont law enforcement officers ended their pursuit at the border. Canadian law enforcement pursued the vehicle north towards Coaticook, Quebec. During the pursuit one Canadian police cruiser was rammed.

Ultimately, spike strips were deployed and the suspects vehicle was forced off the road. The sole occupant of the vehicle, Valentina Velasquez, 31, of Newport City, was taken into custody by Sûreté du Québec in Coaticook.

Velasquez was in possession of a firearm. Authorities also determined that the suspects vehicle had been stolen from a residence in Newport City where Velasquez was staying.

Vermont law enforcement are working with Canadian law enforcement in a joint investigation. In Vermont, Velasquez will be charged with Attempted Burglary, Driving while License Suspended, Attempting to Elude, Careless and Negligent Operation, and Larceny of a Motor Vehicle.

In Canada, Velasquez will be charged with Impaired and Dangerous Driving, Armed Assault, and Flight from a Peace Officer. Velasquez is also a suspect in numerous other local burglaries.

Velasquez was transported to the hospital for medical evaluation, but was uninjured from the incident.

Once released from the hospital, Velasquez will be held in Canada until her Canadian criminal charges are completed and then will return to Vermont to face Vermont charges.

Five injured in crash on Lake Road in Newport

in Newport/News

Car accident Newport Vermont

NEWPORT — Police have not yet released the names of the five people who were transported to the hospital last night after a single vehicle crash that took place on Lake Road.

According to information released by Newport Police, the single-vehicle crash took place at around 9:37 p.m., Thursday night.

The vehicle was traveling north on Lake Road near Bogner Drive when it left the roadway, traveling down a steep embankment.

All five passengers sustained injuries and were transported to the North Country Hospital. One occupant had to be extricated by the Newport City Fire Department. The vehicle sustained extensive damage.

Police have said that alcohol does not appear to have been a factor in the crash.

Newport Police Department, Newport City Fire Department and Newport Ambulance responded to the scene. Vermont State Police, Orleans Ambulance, Mississquoi Ambulance and Derby Line Ambulance also responded as mutual aid.

There is no more information about the accident available at this time.

Act 250 permit issued to AnC Bio

in Newport/News

AnC Bio medical park newport vermont

NEWPORT — AnC Bio, also known as Jay Peak Biomedical Research Park, was issued a Land Use Permit by the District 7 Environmental Commission. This should allow work to begin on the facility by October.

The permit was issued on Wednesday, and states that there will be no work done on vaccines at the facility. The FDA will also need to inspect both the building and each research project carried out at the site.

The construction of the AnC Bio facility will include a 84,943-square-foot addition to be built on what remains of the Bogner plant.

The new building will be a four-story tall research and manufacturing site, specializing in medical devices and artificial organs. The AnC Bio project is estimated to cost close to $70 million, and is funded by the EB-5 Investment Program.

It is said that AnC Bio will eventually employ as many as 450 people, and the construction phase should employ a number of local workers.

AnC Bio Vermont in NewportEB-5 investment has driven the Northeast Kingdom Economic Development Initiative, laid out by Jay Peak president and partial owner Bill Stenger, along with the majority owner Ariel Quiros. It is an immigration program allowing immigrants and their immediate family members to receive conditional visas in exchange for their investment in a U.S. business.

In Vermont, which is part of the “rural program,” if $500,000 and 10 jobs’ worth of economic activity is attributed to that investment within two years, the visas become green cards.

Water main break drains 30,000 gallon reservoir in Newport Town

in Newport/News

No water in Newport Town Vermont

NEWPORT — Town officials said that an 8-inch water main broke on Tuesday night, causing a 30,000-gallon reservoir to drain.

Most residents were without water as a result of the break. Officials have said that repairs are underway, which will allow the reservoir to start refilling, with about two-thirds of the town by noon having their services restored.

It is expected that everyone should have their water back on by early evening.

The incident caused Newport Town School to be closed on Wednesday, but they should be open tomorrow.

Coventry farmer agrees to pay $33,000 for agricultural water quality violations

in coventry/Newport/News

Orleans County Superior court Newport Vermont

NEWPORT — Richard M. Nelson, a dairy farmer in Coventry, has admitted to violations of Vermont’s water pollution law and agricultural practice regulations and has agreed to pay $33,000.00 in civil penalties for the violations.

“Vermont’s laws and regulations relating to agricultural water quality help keep our state waterways clean,” said Attorney General William H. Sorrell. “Farmers should know that when those requirements are not met, the State will pursue enforcement claims in State court.”

The agreement ends a case that was filed by the Attorney General’s Office in August of 2012 alleging that Mr. Nelson’s farm was discharging agricultural runoff from the farm’s bunker silos into a stream near the farm. Under the terms of the court-approved settlement, Mr. Nelson admitted to liability for violating Vermont’s accepted agricultural practices and statutory prohibition on discharges to state waters at the Coventry farm at various times between 2009 and 2011.

Mr. Nelson implemented corrective actions to eliminate the discharges to state waters to the satisfaction of the State agencies.

“We know that agricultural operations can be a contributor of pollutants in our lakes, ponds, streams and rivers,” Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner David Mears said. “We expect medium farm operations such as Mr. Nelson’s will follow best management practices to prevent these discharges, however we will continue to work together to ensure the rules for agricultural water quality pollution are adhered to.”

Secretary of Agriculture Chuck Ross stated that “our Agency is committed to taking meaningful enforcement actions when farms have demonstrated their unwillingness to follow the rules. Farmers have to understand that water quality protection is vital to keeping agricultural operations sustainable into the future.”

The settlement was approved by the Orleans Superior Court.

Fall Festival Scarecrow Award Winners Announced

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — The Newport Fall Foliage Festival Scarecrow Contest Awards have been announced and several local businesses and organizations are among the best.

“The effort, time and creativeness put into this year’s scarecrows was fabulous,” Newport Live event organizer Bruce James said. “It was such a colorful show and exhibition that the judges had a tough time coming up with the best.”

Awards were handed out in five categories. And the winners are:

Newport City Motel and Suites “Most Creative”
Community College of Vermont “Most Traditional”
Vermont Health Department “Most Colorful”
Community National Bank “Most Humorous”
Newport Parks & Recreation “Most Scary”

The Newport City Motel and Suites scarecrows depicted Vermont’s four seasons with costumed scarecrows appropriate for each season.

Newport Motel scarecrow

The Most Traditional award to the Community College of Vermont was for a scarecrow with a traditional burlap bag head and fall leaves.

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Vermont Health Department’s scarecrow of “Mr. Gill Finley, Mercury Health Inspector” was of a scarecrow fishing, complete with pole, lures, rubber boots and cooler.

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“Penny”, the Community National Bank’s scarecrow sat on bales of hay and held a handful of “dollar bills”. The Newport Parks & Recreation Department dressed the downtown granite trout in a red “skirt” and flowing straw hair, to garner the Most Scary award.

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Winners will receive an advertising package from Moo 92, Golf Greens Fees from Newport Daily Express or a Moo 92 Office Pizza Party from Moo 92 and Village Pizza.

The Newport Live organization reminds everyone to start thinking of ideas for the window “Snowman Contest” as part of Newport’s Santa Festival and Parade, Saturday December 6th in downtown Newport.

Kingdom Swimmers raise $2,755 for North Country Hospital’s Patient Care Initiative Fund

in Newport/News

open water swimming lake memphremagog vermont newport 1

NEWPORT — Kingdom Swim and open water swimmers from all over the nation who participated this past July raised a total of $2,755 for North Country Hospital’s Patient Care Initiative Fund.

Twenty percent of adult registration fees supported the fund.

Swimmers also raised money through a raffle with several significant prizes, including a slot in the Arizona SCAR Challenge, a slot in Ned Denison’s Cork Distance Swim Camp, a guided swim in San Francisco Bay from Alcatraz to San Francisco, a slot in next year’s Kingdom Swim, and a $100 gift certificate at the EastSide Restaurant.

The Fund supports uncovered medical expenses of low income Vermonters such as gas cards to help with transportation costs involved in receiving treatment or therapy.

For more info contact Wendy Franklin at 802-334-7331 or Phil White 802-249-9100.

Antiques and classics come out for the Newport Fall Foliage Festival

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport
Award winners from the Newport Fall Foliage Festival Antique Car Show. From left to right:  Chick Gagnon, Kenneth Farino and Larry Gaboriault. All photos courtesy of Newport Live.
Award winners from the Newport Fall Foliage Festival Antique Car Show. From left to right: Chick Gagnon, Kenneth Farino and Larry Gaboriault. All photos courtesy of Newport Live.

NEWPORT — The Newport Fall Foliage Festival attracted nearly 30 vehicles for its Antique and Classic Car Parade during Saturday’s festival. Awards were handed out in the three categories of:

Most Interesting
Best Restoration
Judges Award

Roger Grenier, of Derby Line, drove his special edition Ford Mustang, celebrating the car’s 40th anniversary. There were muscle cars from the 60’s and 70’s with motors ranging up to Hugh McNeal’s 425 cubic inch 370 horsepower Oldsmobile Starfire convertible. There were classic Pontiacs, Chryslers, Plymouths, Chevys and Dodges, in addition to suped up pickups and an antique Willys Jeep.

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The parade also featured the next generation of car collectors, with Katherine Slicer’s John Deere 110 and Kate Cornelius’ customized purple leaf GoKart. While most vehicles in the parade were motor driven, Ben Luna rode in a 1907 green horse drawn Wagonette carriage owned and driven by Steve Allen.

At the car show in the parking lot of the Gateway Center, judges awarded Chick Gagnon the Most Interesting Award for his 1936 Ford Tudor.

The Best Restoration Award went to Kenneth Fearino for his 1977 Chevrolet Nova Concourse.

The Judges Award was presented to Larry Gaboriault and his Maroon 1976 Pontiac Catalina.

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Photo by Mica Collier.

Bee causes accident in Coventry on Saturday

in coventry/Newport/News
Photo by Mica Collier.
Photo by Mica Collier.

COVENTRY — A 19-year-old man from Barton was involved in a single-vehicle crash yesterday in Coventry, after a bee flew inside his window.

According to a statement issued by Vermont State Police, Watson Gunnar was traveling south on US Route 5, when he becme distracted by a bee that flew into his vehicle.

Watson veered off the right side of the roadway, and collided into the rocky hillside.

Newport Fire and Rescue assisted at the scene. Watson was uninjured in the crash.

Watson was driving a 2000 Ford Expedition, which sustained damage to the front end and rear passenger side. The vehicle had to be towed from the scene.

Should we be worried about empty shops on Main Street in Newport?

in Newport/News

This story, titled “Should Newport be Worried About Empty Storefronts?” aired on WCAX on Thursday. The report looks at the empty shops on Main Street in downtown Newport, and the setback that took place when the deal fell through to convert the lakefront property at Waterfront Plaza into the visitor and convention center.

Newport man injured in crash on Darling Hill Road in Derby

in Derby/Newport/News

accident in newport vermont news

DERBY — A 41-year-old Newport man was taken to the hospital last night after his car hit a rock ledge on Darling Hill Road.

Clinton Mihill, of Newport, was headed south in a 1987 Chevrolet truck, when he appeared to leave the road. Mihill hit a rock ledge head on.

Orleans County Sheriff’s Department responded to the scene of this single vehicle crash on Wednesday, at around 4:25 p.m. The accident took place near 323 Darling Hill Road.

Mihill was taken to North Country Hospital by Derby Line Ambulance. According to a release issued by police, he was treated for head injuries, but there has been no update as to his condition.

Police are reporting that he was not wearing his seat belt at the time. His truck sustained extensive damage, and is reported to have been totaled.

Photo by Tanya Mueller.

Fat Bike Demo Day coming to Derby

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby/Newport
Photo by Tanya Mueller.
Photo by Tanya Mueller.

DERBY — Think that cold weather is the end of bike riding season? Think again.The Village Bike Shop will be hosting a Demo Day on Sunday September 28, for all those riders who’d like to try a fat bike, mountain bike or even a cyclocross bike.

It’s the perfect opportunity to try a new ride and maybe try some of the awesome single and double-track trails in Primeau Woods. Primeau Woods is a local network of off road trails that can be accessed either from the dedicated parking off the North Derby Road, or direct access off the Beebe Spur bike path.

This track is a hidden gem, and if you have not had the opportunity to explore the Memphremagog Ski Touring Foundation (MSTF) trails, then mark your calendars for September 28, 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

These trails were created for cross country skiing but are open to bikes during the spring, summer and autumn. This network of trails is inviting to the novice rider but can also be challenging to the more advanced riders. It will also be a perfect place to demo a new bike.

Jeff Manning, owner of The Village Bike Shop, will have a selection of bikes and easy parking is available off the North Derby Road, just look for the colorful balloons and the MSTF Parking sign right next to the green barn.

Riders are also invited to support this local gem by joining MSTF so we can ensure a bright future for all-season sports. The trails are maintained by tireless volunteers who get up to groom the trails while most of us are still sleeping, but during the non snow seasons they open the trails to bikers free-of-charge.

Newport Vermont News
Kingdom Games will again maintain a speed skating track on Lake Memphremagog, as well as host an international speed skating event in Newport. Photo by Phil White.

Newport wins bid to host speed skating marathon on Lake Memphremagog

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News
Newport Vermont News
Kingdom Games will again maintain a speed skating track on Lake Memphremagog, as well as host an international speed skating event in Newport. Photo by Phil White.

NEWPORT — Kingdom Games, in partnership with Marathon Skating International (MSI), has been selected to host the North American Marathon Speed Skating Championships, January 31 and February 1, 2015 on Lake Memphremagog. Each year the event alternates between venues in Canada and the United States. For 2015, the bid was awarded to Kingdom Games, who will sponsor 25 km and 50 km marathons on the natural ice of the lake.

Participants are expected from all parts of Canada and the US.

As it did earlier in 2014, Kingdom Games will build and maintain a 700-meter oval track on Lake Memphremagog in front of The Eastside Restaurant & Pub. Kingdom Games and MSI is also seeking volunteers as well as financial support to purchase equipment dedicated for this purpose.

Earlier this year, Kingdom games and MSI agreed to establish the Lake Memphremagog venue as a permanent yearly spot on MSI’s speed skating calendar. The two-day speed skating event is dedicated to Hutch Jenness, a beloved husband, father, physician, and good friend to many in the community.

Hutch loved endurance athletics and was often seen sculling on Lake Memphremagog, a lake he loved. He caught the passion for long-distance skating when Dutch speed skating enthusiasts came to Newport in February of 1983. In 1985 he was out on the lake alone, training for the Elfstedentocht, the famous eleven cities race in The Netherlands, when he fell through the ice and drowned near Georgeville.

It is a bittersweet moment for organizers to name this two-day event The Hutch Jenness Memphremagog Speed Skating Marathon.

For more information, contact Phil White at phw1948@gmail.com. Additional information, including online registration, will be available soon online at marathonskating.org and kingdomgames.co.

Photo of 2013 entry from the Brown Cow Restaurant.

Scarecrow contest coming to Newport

in Newport/News
Photo of 2013 entry from the Brown Cow Restaurant.
Photo of 2013 entry from the Brown Cow Restaurant.

NEWPORT — The Newport Fall Foliage Festival is holding a scarecrow contest this year. The contest is expected to add a lot of fun to this year’s festivities. Families and businesses will make scarecrows and place them outside their homes, businesses, and along Newport’s Main Street.

Contest Rules:

1. Prizes will be awarded for the following categories:

Most Traditional
Most Creative
Most Colorful

2. No Scarecrow kits allowed.

3. Scarecrows must be self supporting and no taller than 7 feet once installed.

4. Submission is free.

5. Entries should be in good taste. No religious or political messages. No blood or gore, as this is a family event.

6. Scarecrows must be displayed in front of a business or photo of scarecrow at your home.

7. Fill out the Official Scarecrow Contest Entry form by clicking here.

Judging will take place on Saturday, September 20, at 1 p.m. The winners will be announced on Monday.

Both Businesses and Families should pre-register to make sure their scarecrows are judged.

For more information on the Scarecrow Contest or the Newport Fall Foliage Festival Schedule of Events, go to FallFoliageFestival.com or write event coordinators at NewportLive@Live.com.

newport vermont news

Newport Center woman facing multiple charges after Friday arrest

in Newport/News

newport vermont news

NEWPORT CENTER — A 44-year-old woman from Newport Center is facing multiple charges after being picked up by police on Friday.

According to a report issued by police, Tina Matten is being charged with Violation of Court Conditions of Release, Violation of Relief From Abuse Order, and Resisting Arrest.

Matten had an earlier run-in with police back in April, when police were advised that during the course of an argument, she had rammed her vehicle into another. While officers were on their way to the scene for this earlier incident, Matten and the victim had continued to argue, and a brief struggle over a firearm had ensued.

A single round from the firearm had been discharged during that struggle, but nobody was injured during the incident.

Vermont State Police were called out to Newport Center on Friday where they encountered Matten in violation of conditions set by the court relating to this earlier incident.

According to Trooper Rob Helm, while being arrested, Matten “actively tried to keep her arms from being handcuffed.”

Matten was lodged at Northern State Correctional Facility, and will be in court on September 16.

Green Mountain Farm-to-School in Newport awarded $102,000 USDA grant

in Newport/News/Vermont

Katherine Sims, Founder and Executive Director of GMFTS, in Burlington on Friday to receive their recent USDA grant.
Katherine Sims, Founder and Executive Director of GMFTS, in Burlington on Friday to receive their recent USDA grant.
NEWPORT — Green Mountain Farm-to-School in Newport picked up a $102,000 grant from the USDA on Friday. The grant was part of a larger $2.3 million that was given to Vermont from the USDA, aimed at creating jobs in rural Vermont.

The $102,000 awarded to Green Mountain Farm-to-School will be used to increase marketing and distribution opportunities to schools for agricultural-related businesses.

“At Green Mountain Farm-to-School, we believe that if we can change the way kids eat and think about food, we can have a positive impact on their health and the health of our farms,” said Katherine Sims, Founder and Executive Director of GMFTS.

Sims founded Green Mountain Farm-to-School in 2008 to improve childhood nutrition and support Vermont farms by connecting schools and farms through food and education.

The money in other projects will help farmers and small-business-owners with buying equipment, gaining access to capital and developing markets for their products.

Photo by Jacques Nadeau

Hand, foot and mouth disease outbreak at NCUHS postpones football game

in Newport/News
Photo by Jacques Nadeau
Photo by Jacques Nadeau

NEWPORT — As of Thursday night, more than half of the North Country Union High School football team was displaying symptoms of hand, foot and mouth disease. Six players have confirmed cases, while around 20 players could also be infected.

The outbreak has led to Friday’s game against Burr and Burton Academy to be postponed, school officials said.

Yesterday, several football players were sent to the nurse’s office after displaying symptoms of the illness. So far, other sports programs at the school have not been affected, and all other North Country games are still scheduled.

Hand, foot and mouth disease usually starts with a fever, poor appetite, a vague feeling of being unwell, and sore throat. One or two days after fever starts, painful sores usually develop in the mouth.

A skin rash develops over one to two days. The rash has flat or raised red spots, sometimes with blisters. The rash is usually on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. It may also appear on the knees, elbows, buttocks or genital area.

There is no specific treatment for the illness. Treatment mostly consists of relieving symptoms. Usually within five to seven days, the illness has passed.

$8.8 million in grants awarded for Newport State Airport expansion project

in coventry/Newport/News

Newport Vermont Airport expansion impacting wetlands

COVENTRY — The Newport State Airport will receive two FAA grants totaling $8.8 million to help with the airport’s expansion. The grants to the airport come on the heels of a Federal Aviation Administration grant of $8.1 million to Rutland-Southern Vermont Regional Airport for safety improvements.

“General aviation airports like Newport State are a vital component of our national air transportation system,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said. “Airports are essential to a strong economy, facilitating tourism and commerce.”

The FAA grants will extend the runway an additional 1000 feet to serve more and larger planes. The funds will also be used to complete the airport’s apron construction, where aircraft are parked.

These infrastructure improvements are essential to the planned aircraft assembly, warehouse construction and utilization of the Free Trade Zone designation that was secured in 2011.

In total, an award of $8.08 million was issued for the runway extension, and $794,000 for the apron construction.

“This expansion will pave the way for an exciting expansion of all aviation services in our region,” Bill Stenger, president of Jay Peak Resort, said. “This grant will provide the capacity for the airport to welcome commercial aviation and substantial airfreight service. The jobs that will be fostered by this expansion will truly help all of our region.”

Derby man pleads guilty in murder case

in Derby/Newport/News

Peter Lavalette murder guilty plea Newport VermontNEWPORT — Peter Lavalette, the man accused of killing George Kouzoujian at his home in Westfield in June of 2013, has entered a guilty plea.

Lavalette, 50, of Derby, was in Orleans County Superior Court on Wednesday, where he plead guilty to second-degree murder. State’s Attorney Alan Franklin reduced the charge from first-degree murder.

A sentence of 25 years-to-life is expected for Lavalette, however, the investigation needs to be completed before sentencing. Kouzoujian’s sister, who was in court on Wednesday, will most likely address the court during the hearing.

Kouzoujian’s murder took place on June 28, 2013. He was 61-years-old at the time, and is said to have taken Lavalette in and given him employment.

Authorities did not catch up with Lavalette until July 1, in Indiana, during a traffic stop. During a field sobriety test, he confessed to the murder. He told police that he shot the man four or five times, and that the body was wrapped up in blanket inside a locked trailer behind his home on Fuller Road.

Lavalette, who said in court that he had no justification for the murder, is being held without bail.

Scott Milne enjoying a conversation with Ron Wright on Tuesday morning at Newport Farm and Garden - Agway.

Scott Milne answers questions sent in by Newport Dispatch readers

in Newport/News/Vermont

On Tuesday, Scott Milne, the Republican candidate for Vermont Governor, was in the Newport area campaigning. He stopped in at Newport Farm and Garden – Agway. Milne took time to answer some questions sent in from our readers through our Facebook page. Below are Scott’s direct responses to these questions, along with some photos by Tanya Mueller from the meeting:

Corey Therrien: “I haven’t paid much attention to him, but perhaps you could ask about how he either differentiates or assimilates towards the national republican party? Vermont is a unique place, and an ultra right wing candidate wouldn’t work here. Also, how he plans to work with the democratic super majorities that are also in Montpelier.”

Mick Conley: “I’d like to know why he is bothering to run. Seems like a lot of work with no chance of winning.”

Lisa Sanville: “We want him to run , this gov we have seems to not care , scott we need the act 260 which nowi think is the 268 to be changed now! , the town of jay seem to be noted as a rich town , ya ok, that’s a joke! my taxes have went up 1100 dollars in two yrs and it totally crazy that our town pays 100 % and others don’t , I got a lousy 104 dllors from the state to help what a joke …shumlin dosnt care at all!!! HELP US PLEASE!!! welfare reform so much fraud its sucking all our money!!!”

MaryAnn Poitras Flood: “They say that Vermont is one of the worst states for Seniors…..let’s change that to the BEST!!! and for education/schools, and for lower taxes, and for etc. etc. Make our State be the BEST of ALL!!! because the people who live here ARE and we deserve a governor who will make the changes for the PEOPLE.”

All photos by Tanya Mueller:

Scott Milne enjoying a conversation with Ron Wright on Tuesday morning at Newport Farm and Garden - Agway.
Scott Milne enjoying a conversation with Ron Wright on Tuesday morning at Newport Farm and Garden – Agway.
Scott Milne, along with his son, gather for a group photo, along with Ron Wright, and Tracie Jaquish Quirion, and Bob Quirion.
Scott Milne, along with his son, gather for a group photo with Ron Wright, Tracie Jaquish Quirion, and Bob Quirion.

Scott Milne with his son in Orleans County Vermont

Newport Fall Foliage Festival looking for interesting vehicles for parade

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

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NEWPORT — The Newport Fall Foliage Festival Antique and Classic Car, Truck, Motorcycle and Tractor Parade is looking for everyone with interesting vehicles to participate in this year’s parade.

The event will be held Saturday, September 20, in downtown Newport at noon.

“This is a fun way to show off your muscle car, regardless of the year, or your restored antique car, classic car or cool looking car to the visitors at the Newport Fall Foliage Festival,” said Newport Live’s festival coordinator Bruce James. “This year we’re expanding the parade to include motorcycles, trucks, tractors, fire engines and all motorized vehicles of all types, which should make for a very interesting and exciting parade.”

The parade registration will be at 11:00 a.m. in Gardner Park with the parade kicking off at noon. The vehicles will travel down the Causeway, to Main Street, and then to the Gateway Center parking lot where prizes will be awarded in each category.

Last year nearly a thousand people lined Newport’s Main Street to view the parade and enjoy the festival.

To register beforehand and save a space in the parade, email NewportLive@Live.com.

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