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Vermont expands Stay to Stay Weekends to include Newport

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — The Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing announced the expansion of its Stay to Stay Weekends to now include Newport.

Stay to Stay is an economic development tourism program launched as a pilot last year, that has successfully relocated over a dozen people from across the country to Vermont.

Newport will host Stay to Stay Weekends on July 26-29, and December 13-16.

“The Stay to Stay Weekends will help build broader national awareness of the Northeast Kingdom as an exceptional place to not just play, but also live and work,” said Wendy Knight, Tourism and Marketing Commissioner.

The 3-day networking weekends are for out-of-state visitors interested in living full-time in Vermont.

Weekends begin with a Friday evening reception hosted by a local chamber of commerce or young professional’s network.

Saturday and Sunday offer unstructured opportunities to explore the region and get a glimpse into living in the community.

On Monday, guests meet with employers, tour the area with a realtor, or visit an incubator/co-working space to meet with entrepreneurs and professionals.

The Stay to Stay Weekends in Newport will also include Monday morning visits to local childcare centers to demonstrate the region’s appeal to young families.

“We need to grow Vermont’s workforce, it’s the crux of every challenge and cornerstone of every solution we face in Vermont,” said Governor Scott. “And we need to use every tool in the toolbox to achieve this goal.”
Newport will host the Stay to Stay Weekends July 26-29, and December 13-16.

Police: Derby woman charged following assault on officer at hospital

in Derby/Newport/News

NEWPORT — The Newport Police Department says they arrested a woman over the weekend on multiple charges, including assaulting a police officer.

Makayla Belmore, 19, of Derby, is facing charges of assault on a law enforcement officer/protected professional, obstruction of justice, and aggravated disorderly conduct.

Early Sunday morning police say they responded to North Country Hospital to have an officer on standby after Belmore, who had an active trespass notice, had come to the emergency room as a patient.

The responding officer and a member of hospital security entered her room after hearing yelling coming from inside.

Police say when they entered the room, she threw a cup full of liquid that struck the officer.

“She then resisted the officer and staff’s efforts to restrain her, attempting to sit up and strike both the Newport Police officer and the security officer,” a statement issued by police reads.

Police say Belmore at one point kicked the security officer in the face and twice spit in the face of the police officer while continuing to violently resist efforts to restrain her.

They say she also made repeated verbal threats against both officers.

She was placed under arrest and subsequently arraigned yesterday and released with conditions.

NEK students take part in SEEDS leadership training

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Thirteen local students recently joined in the statewide SEEDS Summer Leadership Training Program held at Northern Vermont University-Lyndon.

They spent spend three days and two nights on campus with students from around the state.

Students participated in team-building activities and team challenges.

They also took part in projects and games designed to help them find their passion, build their confidence, map out long-term goals and develop a strong sense of purpose as they transition into high school.

Pictured from left-to-right, are:

(back row) Robert West and Kai-Lee Huang, both from Danville School; Bailey Shepard, Hazen Union High School; Emma Chaput, Troy School; Paige Ainsworth, Hazen UHS; Lydia Ste. Marie and Kloey Descheneau, both from Troy School; Will Patnoe and Felicia-Ann Flint, both from Craftsbury Academy. Front row, from left-to-right: Jasmine Dunbar, Danville School; Justice Clark, Brighton Elementary School; Destiny DeMasi, Danville School, and Sophie Michaud, Lake Region Union High School.

Independent feature film screening in Derby Line this Thursday

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Newport/News

DERBY LINE — The award-winning first-time feature film ‘Farmer of the Year,” by Vermonters Kathy Swanson and Vince O’Connell, will screen at the Haskell Opera House in Derby Line this Thursday, July 11.

The film, ‘Farmer of the Year,’ written by Swanson and shot largely at the farm on which she grew up in her hometown of Tyler, Minnesota, tells the story of an aging farmer, who, after selling the farm he’s worked for over 60 years, finds himself useless and adrift.

Struggling to maintain his youth he road-trips across the country in a ’73 Winnebago with his equally directionless and unreasonably self-confident granddaughter.

Heading west, they find themselves in seemingly impossible situations with only each other for support.

As the journey progresses so does their relationship and they begin to understand and appreciate each other as individuals while discovering that being young and being old, aren’t all that different.

“A small town screening in a building that’s been the center of the community for generations feels like such a Vermont way to screen the film,” said Swanson.

The filmmakers met at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in the early ’80s where they worked 3 hours a day for room and board before moving to Western Massachusetts to grow their business, VOMAX, a custom athletic apparel manufacturing company started by O’Connell in one of the dorm rooms at the Center.

After selling the company, the couple moved back up north to Craftsbury.

“We’ve wrapped up our festival circuit and self-distributing the film across the country theatrically now,” said O’Connell. “We’ve been in about 90 theaters since September.”

‘Farmer of the Year’ will screen at the Haskell Opera House on July 11, at 7:00 p.m., followed by a Q&A session led by the filmmakers.

General admission tickets are $12, and available at the door.

North Country Hospital celebrates 31st Annual Scholarship Golf Classic

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — A morning storm on June 30 didn’t dampen the spirits of 24 teams ready to hit the course at Newport Country Club for the 31st Annual Healthcare Scholarship Golf Classic.

Thanks to the generosity of sponsors and players, North Country Hospital was able to provide 22 new healthcare education scholarships this year, along with many renewals.

Student teams from North Country Union High School and Lake Region Union High School were also sponsored to play.

Northpoint Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram provided the chance to win a Jeep Cherokee on the 2nd hole, with a few golfers getting within five feet of the pin or even onto the green.

Men’s longest drive went to Tyler Smith and ladies longest drive went to Susan Wu, with each year this award honoring the memory of Perry and Priscilla Fitch.

Men’s division results were:

1st Low Gross – Don Hunt, Steve Fisher, Gary Bickford, Bobby George (52)

2nd Low Gross – Tim Bronson, Greg Bronson, Jonathan Cote, Dawson Cote (59)

1st Low Net –Jim Murphy, Andy Karwooki, Robert Reynolds, Chris Provencher (51.6)

2nd Low Net –Brian Nall, Bill Perket, Umair Malick, Ben Schroer (51.8)

The results for Mixed Division were:

1st Low Gross – Steve Hurd, Bev Gage, Megan Sargent, Chris Wing (62)

2nd Low Gross –Sophia Clements, Grace Giroux; Roger Cartee, Bob Dunn (63)

1st Low Net – Alan Franklin Jessie Davignon, David Price, Nancy Price (53.8)

2nd Low Net – Gene Wu, Susan Wu, Larry Sisson, Nancy Sisson.

Because of former hospital CEO Sid Toll’s vision of creating this event as a fundraiser, since 1988, North Country Hospital has awarded 336 scholarships to local students, many of whom have returned to work in the area after college.

“This has been a team effort year after year, and we thank all of our sponsors as well as those who support North Country Hospital and the tournament by playing each year,” Tournament Chair Fran Smith said.

Son of a Swim kicks off open water swimming season in the Kingdom

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

DERBY — On Saturday, June 29, the Northeast Kingdom Open Water Swimming Association and Kingdom Games cracked the cap on Summer’s open water swimming season.

In total, 14 swimmers, ages 12 to 64, from Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Montreal, swam distances of 2, 4, 6.5 and 10 miles, on Lake Memphremagog.

They swam from Derby Bay out to and around Bell, Province, Black, and Cove Islands.

Winds were light, with water temperature a 70 F. A threat of showers and thunderstorms held off as all swimmers finished their chosen distances.

Participants included three swimmers who have swum the 25-mile length of Lake Memphremagog, including Charlotte Brynn, Paula Yankauskas, and Vera Rivard.

Natalie Lang, who also participated on Saturday, will be attempting to swim the length of Memphremagog in July.

Yankauskas hold’s the record as the oldest person to swim the length of the lake, which she did when she was 60 years old, and Vera Rivard holds the record as the youngest to swim the length of the lake, which she did last year when she was just 14.

The roster also included six kayakers and crew who have supported “In Search of Memphre,” including Pam Ladds, Jerry Zeankowski, Kevin, Darcie and Margaret Rivard, and Cynthia Needham.

Son of a Swim was started in 2009 to help new swimmers qualify for Kingdom Swim.

Over the years, the swim has grown and moved from Prouty Beach in Newport to Derby Bay.

The swim now incorporates the islands of Derby Bay as its “buoys,” and offers the beauty and magic of this area of Lake Memphremagog.

The swim now includes not only newcomers to open water swimming, but also more experienced swimmers impatient to get their season underway, who are looking for a well-supported swim in June.

The swim is organized by Kingdom Games and the Northeast Kingdom Open Water Swimming Association.

Next up in July will be In Search of Memphre, July and Kingdom Swim, their Flagship Swim, on July 27, and in August, NEK Swim Week, August 10 to 18, and more 25-mile solo and group swims.

Kingdom Games offers over 25 days of running, biking and swimming events throughout the year.

Victims identified in fatal NEK crashes

in Morgan/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Details are emerging in the two fatal car crashes that took place in Orleans County this morning.

Police responded at around 6:00 a.m. to a two-vehicle crash on Vermont Route 100 in Newport Center by Tetreault Road.

A 2015 Ford Edge was fully engulfed in flames when police arrived.

According to the police report, the driver of the Ford, identified as James Robitaille, 33, of Montgomery, was killed during the crash.

Police say the second vehicle, a 2010 Chevrolet Malibu, was located on its roof and the sole occupant was also pronounced deceased.

The driver was identified as Rex Starr, 68, of Lowell.

Police say the crash remains under investigation, but it appears as though Robitaille was traveling southbound and began to pass another vehicle at the crest of a hill, and collided with Starr, traveling in the northbound lane.

Police say during the initial investigation, the report of the second crash in the town of Morgan was received.

This was a single-vehicle crash on Vermont Route 111 by Barter Road.

The operator, identified as Daniel Frascoia, 27, of Newport, was also pronounced deceased.

The vehicle was located off of the westbound travel lane when police arrived.

“Based on evidence at the scene, the crash likely occurred during the early morning hours and is estimated at around 5:00 a.m.” Trooper Abigail Drew said in a statement.

Both crashes remain under investigation at this time.

Police: 2 killed in Newport Center crash, 1 killed in Morgan

in Morgan/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Police say that three people have died in two separate car crashes in Orleans County this morning.

First, a two-car collision at around 6:00 a.m. killed both drivers on Vermont Route 100 in Newport Center.

The second incident took place on Route 111 in Morgan.

Police say this was a single-vehicle crash, that took the life of one person.

Police have not released any more information regarding these incidents.

Brownington, Derby women arrested in Massachusetts for allegedly trafficking cocaine

in Brownington/Derby/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Two women from Orleans county are facing drug trafficking charges after police in Massachusetts allegedly found 63 grams of cocaine in their car after a traffic stop early Sunday morning.

Police say they stopped a 2007 Ford 500 sedan on I-91 northbound, in Greenfield, Mass, for motor vehicle violations at 3:00 a.m.

As a result of an investigation, the four occupants of the vehicle were allegedly found to be in possession of approximately 63 grams of cocaine.

The driver was identified as Kimberly Lawrence, 41, of Brownington, and one of the passengers was identified as Kitty Godin, 38, of Derby.

Police say Lawrence and Godin were charged with trafficking in cocaine, and conspiracy to violate drug law.

They were held on $50,000 bail each and were scheduled for arraignment in court on Monday.

A youth session in PROSPER’s after-school Family Program at Lyndon Town School in Lyndonville, Vt. Working with a group of sixth graders are PROSPER Family Program facilitators Dakota Fournier, seated at the table, and Lynzy Guyer, standing, both teachers at the school. (Photo: Anthony Willey)

Grant awarded to fund youth risk reduction programs in Newport, Derby schools

in Derby/Newport/News

NEWPORT — The University of Vermont Extension will expand a program proven to reduce risky behavior in youth, including substance misuse, called PROSPER, to schools in Newport and Derby.

The program, named PROSPER, for Promoting School-Community-University Partnerships to Enhance Resilience, was developed jointly at Iowa State University and Pennsylvania State University in 2001 and has been implemented in communities around the country since then.

Its effectiveness has been demonstrated in nearly 80 published research studies.

The two-year program targets sixth and seventh graders.

“We’re honored and pleased to be able to expand the PROSPER program to three communities in the Northeast Kingdom,” said Chuck Ross, director of UVM Extension. “The program has generated impressive results nationally and in the three Vermont schools where it’s in place. We have every reason to expect similar success in St. Johnsbury, Newport and Derby.”

The PROSPER expansion to St. Johnsbury and Newport will be funded with a $599,124 grant from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) within USDA.

Funding for the Derby expansion is coming from Iowa State.

The program will be implemented at Newport City Elementary School in Newport, and Derby Elementary School and North Country Union Junior High School in Derby, which serves both Newport and Derby.

The PROSPER program in Newport launched on July 1, with Derby following three months later.

The PROSPER Model

The PROSPER program builds competency and confidence in sixth and seventh graders and improves family functioning as bedrock strategies for preventing behavior problems in youth.

In sixth grade, PROSPER engages families in an after-school program called Strengthening Families Program: For Parents and Youth Ages 10-14.

The program shifts to an in-school focus during seventh grade with the delivery of Lifeskills programming.

During both years, teachers and counselors in the school deliver a set curriculum that research has shown to be effective.

Critical to the program’s success is the work of a team of eight to ten community members, including parents, teachers and other school personnel, Department of Health representatives and community members.

The community team helps fine-tune the messaging of the program to the specific needs of the school, does fundraising to ensure the program is sustainable after the five-year grant expires, conducts outreach to the community about PROSPER and oversees the program’s implementation via monthly meetings.

VTrans to close VT Route 191 in Newport starting July 8

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — The Vermont Agency of Transportation plans to close VT Route 191 in Newport on July 8.

Crews are working to remediate slope failures affecting the roadway and to increase its safety.

Crews are preparing for the six-week road closure, which is scheduled to reopen by August 19.

The closed section of VT Route 191 begins approximately one mile west of the Interstate 91 interchange and extends approximately 1,450 feet.

During the road closure, traffic will be detoured via Interstate 91, US Route 5/VT Route 105, and US Route 5.

A combination of layers of rock, groundwater, and poor soil conditions have caused continuous slope movements since the construction of the roadway in 1971.

The Route 191 project was developed to prevent future slope movements from deteriorating the roadway further.

The project includes full-depth reconstruction of VT Route 191, replacing the culvert located approximately 30 feet below the surface, and installing three active extraction wells to alleviate groundwater pressure and increase the stability of the roadway.

New healthcare scholarships awarded to local students

in Health/Newport/News

NEWPORT — A recent group of high school graduates plus a medical school student are the latest recipients of healthcare scholarships awarded on behalf of North Country Hospital.

This year 22 new healthcare scholarships were recently awarded, totaling $22,000.

In addition, North Country Hospital renews scholarships for consecutive years providing students stay in healthcare education and maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Each year the scholarship review committee makes selections based on student essays, transcripts, extra-curricular activities, as well as financial need.

Applicants must also live in the hospital’s service area in order to initially apply.

The Healthcare Career Scholarship is made possible by the annual North Country Hospital Scholarship Golf Classic, with proceeds each year going directly to awardees.

The 31st annual scramble is set for this Sunday, June 30, with 8:00 a.m. registration and a 9:00 a.m. shotgun start at Newport Country Club.

This year a total of 10 awards were received from this fund.

They went to Lake Region Union High School graduates Emma Perkins and Mackenzie Young; United Christian Academy graduate Gracie DeLaBruere; and North Country Union High School graduates Emilie Bouchard, Alyssa Choquette, Isabella DeSena, Calah Gaiolina, Mallory Lancaster and Jonah Wheeler; and medical school student, Faith Wilson

Caryl B. Custer Scholarship for Nursing Students awards went to North Country graduates Ryan Beloin, Olivia Berthiaume, Angelina Catuogno, Gabri-Elle Cota, Allison Gray, Shelby Morin and Aliza Wright; And Lake Region graduates Raegan Blanchard and Michaela Poginy.

This fund was created by summer resident Dr. Keith Custer in memory of and on behalf of his wife Caryl, who was a nurse manager in Florida for many years.

She individually supported many nursing students with scholarship monies in the past.

This year two students received The Legends Scholarship – Lauryn Goulet (NCUHS) and Alaina Zenonos (LRUHS).

This fund was created in 2010 and has since named some “Legends” of North Country Hospital: Merrilyn Barry, Robert Trembley, MD, Thomas A.E. Moseley, MD, A. David Alsobrook, MD, and Cecile Gelineau, RN.

In 2015 the Sidney A. Toll Scholarship Fund was created, honoring long time previous CEO and founder of North Country Hospital’s scholarship golf tournament.

This year’s recipient is Jenna Morey (NCUHS).

Contributions to North Country Hospital for any of the scholarship funds help sustain these awards for years to come.

Students receive awards for 2-year, 4-year as well as graduate programs.

Three-car crash with injuries in Derby

in Derby/Newport/News

DERBY — A three-car crash in Derby on Friday sent two people to the hospital, police say.

The crash took place in the westbound lane of U.S. Route 5, in front of the Vianor Tire and Sears Store parking lots.

According to police, Linda Kudla, 65, of Derby, was stopped, signaling to turn left into the Sears Store parking lot, waiting for traffic to clear so she could proceed across the eastbound lane.

Police say Chelsey Christino, 24, of Newport, was also traveling west and stopped in traffic behind Kudla.

According to the report, the third vehicle was being operated by Tucker Crowe, 17, of Island Pond.

Police say by the time Crowe noticed the two cars were stopped, he was unable to stop and collided with Christino’s vehicle.

The force of the impact caused Christino to collide with Kudla.

Christino and her passenger, Tristin Webb, 20, of Newport, were transported to the North Country Hospital by the Newport Ambulance.

Police say Kudla’s vehicle was able to be driven from the scene.

Posing with the MEMIC award by an eyewash station in the hospital’s laundry, are left to right, Eric Dupuis, Facilities Supervisor, Amy Kimball, RN, Infection Prevention Coordinator, David Cunningham, Facilities Director, Oren Martin, Director of Laboratory, and Andre Bissonnette, CFO.

North Country Hospital honored for workplace safety

in Health/Newport/News

NEWPORT — North Country Hospital was recently honored with an award for exceptional on-the-job safety performance during The MEMIC Group’s Annual Meeting of Policyholders.

Only nine employers out of more than 20,000 MEMIC policyholders across the country, received a 2019 award for workplace safety from the workers’ compensation insurance specialist.

Chief Financial Officer Andre Bissonnette accepted the award on behalf of North Country Hospital.

“As soon as I met Andre, he started telling the story of North Country Hospital and it aligned perfectly with our methodology at MEMIC,” MEMIC Loss Control Manager Scott Valorose said. “They don’t just talk about caring for employees and safety. Over the years I’ve seen them live it every day and their low claim numbers back that up.”

Bissonnette says that over the years, they’ve built a safety program that brought cultures together, both clinical and non-clinical.

“We brought patient safety and what you would call physical plant safety together onto one proactive committee,” Bissonnette said. “It’s helped break down walls and creates a lot of collaboration. I’m proud of how our safety culture has evolved, and it’s really everyone working together to create the safest environment throughout the organization.”

More than 1,000 visit Maxwell’s Neighborhood Farm in Newport

NEWPORT — On Saturday, more than 1,000 visitors flocked to Maxwell’s Neighborhood Farm in Newport.

The Newport dairy farm was packed as guests enjoyed a Vermont-inspired pancake breakfast and took a self-guided tour of the 1,000 cow dairy farm.

In its fifth year, Vermont Breakfast on the Farm aims to connect the public with hard-working dairy farming families like the Maxwell family.

Fourteen educational stations throughout the farm tour helped visitors learn about daily life on the farm.

Those stations included a look at sustainable technologies and practices, including the Maxwell’s methane digester which utilizes cow manure, capturing methane gas, turning it into renewable electricity to power the farm and surrounding homes.

Guests also saw how farmers safeguard local waters like Lake Memphremagog through the use of protective cover crops, and toured the Maxwell’s free-stall-barns where cows have 24-7 access to fresh food, water, and comfortable beds.

Maxwell’s Neighborhood Farm was founded in 1957 by Maurice and Lois Maxwell.

They raised four sons on the farm, including Brad, Stewart, Anthony, and Jeffery.

All four brothers chose careers on the farm alongside their parents. Their family farming tradition continued when their grandchildren, Matt Maxwell and Darik LeBlanc, 3rd generation farmers – joined them on the farm.

The 4th generation, the great grandkids of Maurice and Lois, are now growing up on the family farm as well.

“The fact that four generations get to be on this farm working together, caring for our cows and land each day, that’s a special thing,” said third-generation dairy farmer Matt Maxwell.

The Maxwell farm now milks nearly a thousand cows and spans 2,000 acres of corn and hay. The farm is also well known for growing vegetables, Maxwell’s Neighborhood Greens, for local schools and businesses in a greenhouse, warmed by excess heat generated by their methane digester.

More than 100 volunteers from across Vermont, many with experience in the dairy industry, joined the Maxwell family and their employees to help answer visitor questions about modern dairy farming.

“I’m proud to be a Vermont dairy farmer, to be producing a nutritious food for my community, state, and region,” Maxwell added. “I’m honored to see all of these people who came out today to get a glimpse into what we do.”

Newport man charged after alleged attack, sexual assault

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — A Newport man has been arrested and charged after an alleged attack in the city.

Police say 34-year-old Geromy J. Wells has been arrested and charged with aggravated assault, lewd and lascivious conduct, and unlawful restraint.

At around 3:00 a.m. on Saturday, a woman reported to police that she had been attacked late Friday evening by a man while she was walking near the footbridge coming from the Vista Food parking lot on Route 5 in Newport.

The victim reported to police that an adult male attacked her and fondled her while grabbing her wrist and refusing to let go.

The victim was allegedly pushed to the ground, causing her to hit her head and touched inappropriately while the assailant attempted to kiss her against her will.

Police received a description of the alleged assailant and began an investigation.

Newport Police say the investigation led to Wells who was arrested without incident.

He was ordered held on $75,000 bail pending arraignment on Monday.

“The victim in this case contacted police, shared an extremely difficult account of a violent attack, and gave police an excellent description, leading to the arrest of the suspect,” Newport Police Chief Seth DiSanto said.

Driver hit 111 mph on I-91, according to police radar

in Barton/Newport/News

BARTON — A 31-year-old man from Quebec has been charged with excessive speed after being clocked traveling 111 miles-per-hour on I-91, police said.

Police say they were patrolling northbound traffic on Interstate 91 in the town of Barton on Tuesday when they observed a vehicle traveling at a high rate of speed.

The vehicle speed was captured by stationary radar at 111 mph.

Police stopped the vehicle for the speed violation and the operator was identified as Michael Mercurio, of L’ile Bizard, Quebec.

Mercurio was cited into Orleans County Court and released.

“BLUE – An Exploration of the Colour” opening at the MAC Center June 28

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — The MAC Center for the Arts is inviting the public to come experience total immersion into the color blue, by joining them at their latest exhibit, “BLUE – An Exploration of the Colour.”

The exhibition opens on June 28, inside the Downstairs Connection at the center, with a reception from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.

Works in several disciplines will be shown, all of which will represent a personal interpretation of the color blue.

Come out and experience the blue of the painter, the weaver, the jeweler, the potter, and the photographer. 

The exhibit is free and open to the public and runs through August 19 and is open 7 days a week, Monday through Saturday, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Sunday 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

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

Newport student receives Land Stewards Award

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Since 2005, the Vermont Land Trust has been recognizing outstanding high school juniors and seniors who are dedicated to agriculture and forestry.

This year, Shapleigh Andrew of Newport received one of seven Land Stewards Awards presented by the land trust, along with a check for $250.

Andrew was nominated by Sam Nijensohn, his natural resources instructor at North Country Career Center in Newport.

“Shapleigh – or Shap, as he is usually called – is the quintessential Vermont farm kid,” Nijensohn shared. “He has been working hard at his family’s dairy farm since he could hold a shovel.”

Andrew has demonstrated great stewardship through his commitment to the family farm and a 2,000-tap sugaring operation he runs.

He plans to continue farming and logging after graduation.

Dan Kilborn of the Vermont Land Trust presented the award to Andrew during a class visit to Bluffside Farm in Newport.

The Vermont Land Trust owns Bluffside Farm, which the school uses for outdoor education.

“I have no doubt that he will be working Vermont’s fields and forests his whole life,” Nijensohn added. “He has seen the ups and downs of the lifestyle but embraces it wholeheartedly.”

Breakfast on the Farm comes to Maxwell’s Neighborhood Farm in Newport this Saturday

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Vermont’s Breakfast on the Farm comes to the Maxwell’s Neighborhood Farm this Saturday, June 22 in Newport.

This is the first time the event has been hosted in the Northeast Kingdom.

This free, public event includes a Vermont-style pancake breakfast featuring local products, a self-guided tour of the farm including 14 educational stations, and a peek into the life and business of dairy farming in Vermont.

Media are invited to see first-hand how the farm cares for their cows, creates renewable energy, enhances their community, supports their employees and protects the environment.

Over 1,000 visitors are expected, including agricultural leaders, educators and industry representatives including.

On site will be three generations of the Maxwell family, owners and operators of the Maxwell’s Neighborhood Farm and their employees interacting with the public, Dr. Julie Smith, DVM, PhD, UVM Department of Animal and Veterinary Sciences UVM Extension agronomists and specialists, as well as over 100 volunteers from the agricultural community.

The event will take place between 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. and the Maxwell’s Neighborhood Farm is located at 213 Maxwell Road.

Community celebrates 30 years of NorthWoods Stewardship Center

in Charleston/Newport/News/Outdoors

EAST CHARLESTON — The NorthWoods Stewardship Center in East Charleston recently celebrated 30 years of environmental conservation, education, and stewardship in the communities of northern New England.

Over 150 community members attended the event, which included a free community dinner, live music by Celtic ensemble “The Wind that Shakes the Barley,” and a silent auction featuring items donated by local artisans and businesses.

Executive Director Jonathan Gilbert welcomed guests to the celebration and highlighted the premiere of a short video recognizing the three-decade history of NorthWoods, from its founding in 1989, to its current programs in forestry and landowner services, conservation science, outdoor environmental education, and the New England-wide youth Conservation Corps.

Sterling College faculty member Farley Brown reminisced with NorthWoods founder and past president of Sterling College, Bill Manning, upon the Center’s beginnings building upon an experiential model of environmental education to serve local youth and communities in the region.

Guest speaker Steve Agius, manager of the Nulhegan Basin Division of the Silvio O. Conte U.S. Fish & Wildlife Refuge in Brunswick, spoke about the NorthWoods Conservation Corps which employs youth in trail and conservation work at state and federal lands throughout the region, and the importance the program has to the refuge system throughout the northeast.

“The conservation work being done on these regional refuges, from the coast of Maine to Long Island Sound, would not be possible without NorthWoods and their trustworthy teams of well trained and hardworking youth crews,” said Agius.

Luke O’Brien, previously the NorthWoods Trails Director, reflected upon the important and diverse experiences and relationships he built in his nearly 20 years at the Center, and upon the ongoing value of NorthWoods programs in being able to provide young adults with a connection to the land and boost in self-confidence at an influential time in their lives.

The impact of NorthWoods over the years was echoed by Gilbert as he spoke about the Center’s current and future work in the community and shared plans for the building of a new Conservation Barn to serve as a base of operations for expanding Conservation Corps and Forestry crews in years to come.

Tractor fire in Coventry

in coventry/Newport/News

COVENTRY — Authorities say that a tractor fire last night in Coventry does not appear to be suspicious at this time.

At around 11:30 p.m. the Irasburg Fire Department responded to a report that a tractor parked in a cornfield was fully engulfed with flames.

The cornfield was in the area of the intersection of Coventry Station Road and Pelkey Road.

Police say the tractor had been in use planting corn during the day and had been parked since late afternoon.

Nelson Farms employees had performed some minor repairs to the planter that was attached to the tractor after the tractor was parked.

A nearby neighbor noticed the fire at approximately 11:30 p.m. and called 911.

No one was injured and the tractor is considered a total loss.

Investigators responded to the scene early this morning and say that there appears to have been a catastrophic failure in the tractor’s electrical system.

The cause remains under investigation but is not considered suspicious.

Memphremagog Watershed Association to hold panel on PFAS/PFOA

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — The Memphremagog Watershed Association (MWA) will hold a panel discussion on the science and monitoring of an emerging class of chemicals called PFAS/PFOA.

Pre- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances, or PFAS, are man-made chemicals that have been used for decades in the manufacturing of common household items like Teflon pans, fabric and furniture, and are also the by-product of some industrial processes.

These chemicals are persistent in both humans and the environment and have been linked to human health problems.

Panelists are:

Appla Raju Badiredy, Ph.D. and Wenyu Zhu, Ph.D. of the University of Vermont Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering.

Angela Slitt. Ph.D. of the University of Rhode Island College of Pharmacy, Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation geologist Jonathan Kim, Ph.D. of the Vermont Geological Survey.

Richard Spiese, hazardous sites project manager of the Waste Management and Prevention Division of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation.

The moderator will be Charles Woods of Morgan, a retired biology professor and Department Chair of the University of Florida.

This program is part of the MWA’s annual meeting to be held on Friday, June 2, at the Gateway Center.

The business meeting begins at 5:30 p.m., with the panel discussion at 7 p.m.

Light refreshments will be served.

To help raise awareness of this emerging class of chemical and how common they are in our daily lives, MWA is collecting household item the contain PFAS/PFOA and will be teaming with local artists to create a sculpture out of these items to be unveiled in late summer or early fall.

Items appropriate for this project are Teflon pans and utensils, fabrics or small furniture, empty paint or household cleaner containers

NEKLS Prevention Services works with local schools to combat youth vaping epidemic

in Derby/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among middle and high school students in Vermont, and new data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey has shown that there is an alarming number of students in Orleans county who report trying electronic vapor products.

In an effort to combat that growing statistic, Lake Region Union High School collaborated with NEKLS Prevention Services and held a parent informational night as well as educational sessions for students.

The goal of the two events was to inform parents and students of the growing concerns around these products. E-cigarettes come in many different sizes, colors, and types.

Tobacco companies have even designed products to resemble small electronic devices that are compact and allow for discreet carrying and use. Lake Region administration and staff say they are seeing an increase in e-cigarette devices that look like USB sticks and other everyday items.

“We believe that it’s critical parents talk with their children about these products to let them know that vaping is not safe and that long term impact of the use of e-cigarettes is unknown,” Sharon Gonyaw, Vice Principal, and Andre Messier, Principal, of LRUHS said in a joint statement.

Health officials say that kids need to know that nearly all e-cigarettes contain nicotine.

Research has not only shown that nicotine is highly addictive and is harmful to a developing adolescent brain, but most concerning is that exposure to nicotine can lead to addiction and disrupt attention and learning.

NEKLS Prevention Services has also closely collaborated with North Country Union Junior High School health educator, Julie Gunn and SAP, Pat Gelo, on educating students.

This outreach has come through class presentations, “Kick Butts Day” activities, and getting updated Vermont Dept of Health substance-free signage posted around the school grounds and fields.

“I often challenge students to think about what they want to control their lives when it comes to nicotine addiction,” Julie Gunn said. “I enjoy sharing information and helping them in making good decisions around being nicotine free.”

Most recently, NEKLS Prevention Services attended NCUJHS’s Parent Night and offered several mini E-Cigarette presentations to parents, beginning with a 5-minute video from VOX Media, “How Juul Made Nicotine Go Viral” followed by a brief presentation and Q&A.

“I would say the most important thing we need to do is educate everyone, students, parents and community members about the dangers of vaping,” Pat Gelo said. “Knowledge is power.”

Messier and Gonyaw say that the community must work together to provide children with the knowledge and support to help them make a healthy decision when it comes to vaping.

Below are facts and resources from the Vermont Department of Health to help raise awareness about the vaping crisis and nicotine addiction.

◙ E-cigarettes, which frequently contain nicotine, are never safe for youth and young adults.

◙ E-cigarette use among youth increased by 75% from 2017 to 2018 [National Youth Tobacco Survey].

◙ Youth use of e-cigarettes increases the future risk of smoking traditional cigarettes and can be just as addictive.

◙ Customizable e-cigarette devices can be used to deliver non-nicotine substances, such as cannabis extract or honey oil.

◙ According to a study by Environmental Health Perspectives, 75% of fruit-, candy- and cocktail flavored e-cigarettes, which attract youth, contained diacetyl, a chemical linked to lung disease.

◙ E-cigarette aerosol can contain harmful substances, including nicotine, heavy metals like lead, volatile organic compounds and cancer-causing chemicals [John Hopkins School of Public Health].

◙ Since launching in 2016, JUUL has become the most popular e-cigarette on the market. Its design, which looks like a USB flash drive, makes it easy to conceal.

◙ All JUUL products contain nicotine; one pod delivers the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes.

◙ Signs of addiction to nicotine include trembling, nausea and frequent e-cig use. Watch for behavior such as frequent trips to the bathroom, reports of illness or hand-to-mouth activity.

◙ Youth can receive help in quitting e-cigarettes from their pediatrician. School nurses can assist by recognizing symptoms, discussing these with the student and parent and referring to 802Quits, Vermont’s 24/7 quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) for ages 13 and older. For more, visit 802quits.org

◙ It is illegal to sell any tobacco product to minors, including e-cigarettes, yet underage teens are obtaining devices, often from older students or family and friends.

◙ E-cigarettes are called “tobacco substitutes” in Vermont’s state statute. Use of e-cigarettes is banned – except for vape shops – wherever lit tobacco products are restricted, including on school grounds, at school events and while being transported.

◙ It is important for parents to talk to their kids about the dangers of using e-cigarettes, including JUUL and other commonly-used products such as Suorin, Justfog Minifit and MarkTen.

Below is a list of resources curated by NEKLS Prevention Services for parents who would like to learn more about this issue.

VDH: E-cigarettes, vaping and JUUL Resource 2019

Stanford Medicine Tobacco Prevention Toolkit: E-Cigs and Vape Pens

Truth Initiative E-Cigarettes Fact Sheet

The U.S. Surgeon General’s Fact Sheet

Parent Tip Sheet

Concerned parties are also encouraged to contact Allyson Howell from NEKLS Prevention Services, through email at allyson.howell@neklsvt.org or calling 802-334-7506.

Missing hikers found safe in Jay

in Jay/Newport/News/North Troy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All five hikers were physically fine, minus insect bites.

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

The rebirth of Albany General Store

in Albany/Newport/News

ALBANY — The Albany General Store will be getting a second chance six years after a devastating fire severely damaged the community landmark.

Thanks in part to support from the Vermont Electric Co-op’s Community Fund, the Albany Community Trust has plans to have the store back on its feet before the end of the year.

The general store offered everything from groceries, a deli, souvenirs, and according to Arthur Wolff, a member of the community trust, it was a place to bring the community together.

He says it was and will continue to be once renovations are finished.

“It’s a place for conversation, connections and where friendships are formed and strengthened,” said Wolff.

He and the community hope that the revival of the store will bring some economic growth to the town of 940 people as well.

After the 2013 fire, the owners had struggled to cover the damages and eventually tried to sell, to no avail.

Finally, the community took the store into their own hands.

Wolff, who has 25 years of non-profit fundraising experience, said he has been astounded by the amount of local support.

The Albany Store project has received an outpouring of support from both within Albany as well as from surrounding communities.

Organizers have raised $410,000 in grants and donations, including VEC’s Community Fund donation of $1,000.

The renovation, which is expected to be completed by the end of this construction season, will feature some exciting new additions to make the space even more inviting than before, Wolff said.

Wolff said that the main part of the store will remain the same but that there will be an expanded community room made possible, in part, because the organization was able to buy an adjoining parcel of land.

“Albany is a unique, very rural, Vermont town and I don’t know that people in Burlington could understand it, to have only one little retail store that is the heart of the community,” said Wolff. “What we’re doing is trying to preserve what Albany has always been.”

Following the reading of the resolution, trustees and legislators gathered to make it official. Left to right, Tom Milnamow, Vice Chair, NCH Board of Trustees, Rep. Paul Lefebvre, NCH Board Chair, Frank Knoll, Rep. Woodman Page, NCH President & CEO Brian Nall, Rep. Lynn Batchelor, Senator Bobby Starr, Rep. Mike Marcotte and Rep. Sam Young.

House resolution presented for North Country Hospital’s 100-year celebration

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — North Country Hospital’s celebration of a century of hometown care in 2019 is more than just a look back in time.

This year’s promotion and sharing of its 100th birthday prompted local representative Woodman Page to spearhead the declaration of a House resolution, congratulating the hospital on its Centennial.

Last Thursday, representatives, and senators from the region were invited to attend a session of the North Country Hospital Board of Trustees monthly meeting.

Following an update of the “state of the union,” the group gathered to present the resolution to hospital board chair Frank Knoll and hospital President & CEO, Brian Nall.

Recognition of the 100-year milestone has continued with a historical supplement created by the Newport Daily Express, with copies available at North Country Hospital, a Centennial Family 5K, and 10K walk/run Saturday, June 15, and several other upcoming summertime events and activities.

Even the front Prouty Drive flowerbed has been planted in the shape of 100.

Woman convicted of killing husband in intentional crash, arrested for domestic assault

in Barton/Newport/News

BARTON — A 52-year-old woman from Barton on furlough for manslaughter charges connected to a 2009 crash that killed her husband, was arrested for domestic assault.

Police say Christine Billis was involved in a physical altercation on Main Street in Barton on Friday.

According to the report, Billis and the victim had been in a relationship for several months.

“After speaking with several witnesses it was determined a criminal offense had occurred,” trooper Abigail Drew wrote in a statement.

Billis was arrested and taken to Northern State Correctional Facility for revocation of her furlough.

Back in September of 2009, Billis was driving with her husband Charles in Charleston, when her car suddenly swerved into a tree.

She was treated for minor injuries, but her husband was badly injured and pronounced dead at the hospital.

Less than a year later, Billis registered with an online dating service and allegedly confessed to a man she was corresponding with that the car crash was deliberate.

She allegedly told the man that her husband was not wearing his seatbelt and that she had slammed the car deliberately into the tree.

The man wore a recording device at their first face-to-face meeting, and Billis repeated her confession.

The man took the tape to police who began their own investigation. Police say they obtained confirming confessions at subsequent meetings on police wires.

In June 2011, she was arrested for first-degree murder in the killing of her husband.

She was sentenced to serve 7-15 years behind bars.

Her minimum sentence to serve ended in June of last year.

  • Screen-Shot-2019-06-07-at-5.28.26-PM.png
    Rugby Major S Emily Willis, Newport, with coaches Eryn Hessian and Emily Norris
  • DSC_5679-2.jpg
    Patrick Young, Derby Line, (second from left) earned a Major S for rugby
  • DSC_5662-2.jpg
    Andrew Bouchard, Newport, (centre) was the top male points earner on the SC tennis team
  • DSC_5664-2.jpg
    Bradley James “BJ” Roy, Derby, (right) earned the Sportsmanship Award for lacrosse
  • DSC_5676-2.jpg
    Ryan Young, Derby Line, (second from left) earned a Senior S for rugby

Local student-athletes honored at Stanstead College

in Derby/Newport/News/Stanstead

STANSTEAD, QC — A number of local student-athletes were honored for their achievements during a recent athletic assembly at Stanstead College.

Patrick Young, grade 12, was a first-time “Major S” winner for senior boys rugby.

Emily Willis, grade 12, of Newport, won her first “Major S” for senior girls rugby and her second of the year, having earned one in basketball the season prior.

Andrew Bouchard, of Newport, was awarded a “Senior S” for tennis and was the Tennis Shield male winner.

BJ Roy, of Derby, received a Sportsmanship Award for lacrosse.

Alison Barlow, of Newport, was given a Sportsmanship Award for senior girls rugby.

Also honored during the assembly, was Ryan Young, of Derby Line, who received a “Senior S” for rugby.

Congressman Peter Welch meets with NEK Young Professionals

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom/St. Johnsbury

ST. JOHNSBURY — Vermont U.S. Representative Peter Welch recently visited with young professionals in the Northeast Kingdom at Catamount Arts in St. Johnsbury.

The Northeast Kingdom Young Professionals Network helped to organize the breakfast with Congressman Welch’s office.

Young entrepreneurs and professionals from local non-profit organizations, serving youth and families, the service industry, and marketing, tourism and beyond joined together to share with Welch their thoughts and feelings regarding life in the Kingdom for young professionals.

Painting an honest and sincere picture, there were laughs yet also valid concerns shared about job opportunities, childcare, healthcare, homeownership, access to broadband and faith in state and local governments.

Welch offered a heartfelt thanks for the input and shared that he felt a responsibility to go back to Washington and try to help the hard workers in NEK continue to succeed.

The NEK Young Professionals Network is excited to air more of its work over the coming months, with several initiatives on the precipice of being announced.

You can join the group for a networking mixer on Thursday, June 20, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Essex House in Island Pond.

This will be the first event the group has held in Essex County.

Clausing and Findlay recognized for community service

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWARK — Jan Clausing and John Findlay were recently honored with Community National Bank’s “Community Service Award.”

The award was created to recognize remarkable people who give back to the community, making them better places to live, work and grow.

For several years Clausing and Findlay have volunteered countless hours assisting with major renovation projects and the maintenance of the Newark Union Church.

They take care of repairs as needed, help to maintain the electrical system, the antique Round Oak wood stove, and the upkeep of the grounds.

They get the church ready for the annual Old Home Day Festival, sunrise Easter services, weddings, and celebrations of life.

They work closely with Jo Ann Clausing who has also been a longtime volunteer of the church.

Clausing and Findlay are active members of several other organizations.

Clausing is a volunteer at the Lyndonville Welcome Center, a 30-year member of the St. Johnsbury Players, currently serving as Vice President, Newark Supervisor of the Northeast Kingdom Waste Management District, and a board member of Lyndon Rescue.

Findlay is a member of Faith In Action, the Lyndon Historical Society, the Vail Museum at Northern Vermont University-Lyndon, and a board member of the Darling Inn Meal Site.

Community National Bank says they were proud to present Mr. Clausing and Mr. Findlay with the bank’s Community Service Award for the first quarter of 2019.

The bank recognizes recipients by making a $500.00 contribution to a local non-profit organization of the recipient’s choice.

Clausing and Findlay have requested that their donation be made to the Newark Union Church.

For more information about this award and to nominate a deserving neighbor, visit communitynationalbank.com or contact Marketing Assistant Anne Quirion at 802-487-3513 or aquirion@communitynationalbank.com.

Tour de Kingdom kicks off this Friday

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — The three-day Tour de Kingdom will be returning for another year this coming weekend, running June 7, 8, and 9.

The current roster stands at just over 100 riders this year with online registration open through until tomorrow at 5:00 p.m.

Friday’s “Ride Around Le Lac Memphremagog,” a total of 78 miles, offers an international flavor. Currently, 30 riders are signed up, including Cindy Werhane from Portland, Oregon, who swam the 25-mile length of the lake in 2017 and is returning to bike around it as a victory lap of sorts.

The biggest day is The Moose, a 103-mile timed event, on Saturday, with 93 riders signed on, coming from 11 states and Canadian provinces.

Riders will be leaving from Mike’s Tiki Bar in East Burke, traveling north on Route 114 through Island Pond to Norton and Canaan, and returning along the Connecticut River on Route 102 to Bloomfield, then along 105 to Island Pond and back to East Burke.

Sunday offers some shorter rides, again leaving from East Burke and covering Lake Willoughby, Crystal, Seymour, and Island Pond.

Another 30 riders are signed up for Sunday.

The weather forecast looks good for all three days of the event.

Organizers say they are pleased to see the growth of the Tour and additional walk-on riders are welcome.

Police: Fire in Newport considered suspicious

in Fire/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Authorities say that a fire that broke out in Newport on Tuesday remains under investigation and is considered suspicious.

At around 11:00 a.m. the Newport City Fire Department responded to a report of a house filled with smoke at 136 Hill Street.

According to the report, there was evidence of a small fire in the basement area that one of the homeowners had extinguished by himself.

Yvan Parenteau Jr. told fire personnel that he was outside the residence when he heard a smoke detector activated inside the residence.

Parenteau stated that he found embers in the basement ceiling, and was able to keep the fire from spreading.

No one was reported to be inside the residence prior to Parenteau noticing the smoke and fire.

There were no injuries and the house sustained only minor smoke and fire damage.

Chief Jamie Leclair called for assistance with an origin and cause investigation.

Investigators from the Fire & Explosion Unit responded to the scene and opened an investigation, but were unable to locate any competent ignition sources in the area of origin.

They say that the cause remains under investigation and is considered suspicious.

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