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Judith Jackson of Irasburg announces candidacy for Vermont house

in coventry/Irasburg/Newport/News/Troy

IRASBURG — Judith Jackson, a member of the Irasburg Planning Commission, announced on Thursday her candidacy for the Vermont House of Representatives to represent the citizens of Irasburg, Coventry, Newport Town, Newport City, and Troy.

Jackson, running as a Democrat, joins her neighbor and fellow Irasburg Ridge Alliance (IRA) organizer Dr. Ron Holland on the ballot for State Representative for the district of Orleans.

“I’ve seen the huge impact of policies and decisions made in Montpelier on almost every aspect of life in Vermont towns,” Jackson said. “With our Northeast Kingdom towns facing so many critical issues, from energy siting to education to our economy, it seemed like a good time to speak up.”

Before moving to Irasburg with her husband Peter Limon in 2010, Jackson spent most of her professional life as the communication director for Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy national laboratory located near Chicago and dedicated to research in particle physics, the science of the fundamental nature of the universe.

“From the western suburbs of Chicago to the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont was quite a change,” Jackson said. “My work at Fermilab took me to countries all over the world. However, I grew up on a Vermont dairy farm, so moving to Irasburg felt like coming home. I do know from personal experience the effect of the price of milk on a farm family’s livelihood. Now I’d like to put my Vermont heritage and a lifetime of experience in communication to work on behalf of my neighbors in Orleans County. ”

Besides serving as the clerk of the Irasburg Planning Commission, Jackson is a trustee of Irasburg’s Leach Public Library and a founding member of the Irasburg Ridgeline Alliance, a citizens’ group dedicated to the responsible development of renewable energy and the preservation of Irasburg’s ridgelines.

She is the mother of three children, including her daughter Annie Jackson, who lives at Heartbeet Lifesharing in Hardwick.

Two dead, two injured after tragic accident in West Charleston

in Charleston/Derby/Derby Line/Newport/News

WEST CHARLESTON — Two people from Orleans County were tragically killed in a single-vehicle crash that took place in West Charleston on Sunday.

Police say Esperanza Robles, 29, of Derby Line, and Ryan Coulter, 26, of Newport, were killed in the crash that happened on Vermont 105, at around 4:40 p.m.

According to a statement issued by police, Joshua Cole, 30, of Derby, was operating a 1994 Honda Prelude traveling west in the town of West Charleston, when he lost control while exiting a sharp corner.

The vehicle traveled off the north side of the road.

Cole’s vehicle then struck a large tree off the side of the roadway.

Police say the three passengers were all ejected from the vehicle, and that no one in the car was wearing a seatbelt.

Amanda Letourneau, 27, of East Charleston, suffered head and leg injuries.

Cole also suffered head injuries from the crash.

“Alcohol and speed are factors contributing to the accident,” a statement issued by Sgt. Sean Selby of the Vermont State Police reads.

The accident remains under investigation.

Wanted Newport fugitive found hiding in a closet in Holland

in Holland/Newport/News

HOLLAND — The U.S. Marshals Service, Vermont Violent Offender Task Force (VVOTF) arrested a fugitive in Holland, wanted for three outstanding felony arrest warrants.

Jay Gochie, 37, of Newport was picked up yesterday morning. He has been wanted by police since August 21, 2015, for underlying charges related to his parole violation which included 29 offenses.

Many of the offenses included felonies, such as six counts of burglary of an unoccupied dwelling, one count of burglary, and two counts of felony forgery.

Gochie was also wanted by The Hardwick Police Department for a burglary which occurred in Hardwick on August 13, 2015.

Additionally, he was wanted by The Vermont State Police in Derby for felony vehicle operation without owner’s consent which allegedly occurred around the time of the burglary in Hardwick.

After this incident, it is alleged that Gochie was actively hiding from law enforcement, evading arrest, and had shaved his head to alter his appearance.

Police also say they believe that he was committing more burglaries while out on the run.

Gochie is no stranger to the criminal justice system. He has a significant criminal history which started when he was a teenager.

His extensive criminal history displays offenses in the Vermont counties of Orleans, Franklin, Lamoille, and Caledonia.

These charges include at least 6 burglaries of an unoccupied dwelling, escape custody from furlough, possession of narcotics, a false alarm bomb threat, grand larceny, possession of stolen property, false information to police, multiple forgery charges, several charges for violating conditions of release, and numerous charges for violation of parole.

In February 2016, Newport Probation and Parole requested the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service in locating and apprehending Gochie, as his whereabouts were unknown.

Deputy U.S. Marshals gathered information on his possible whereabouts, and on May 26, 2016, he was finally taken into custody at a Holland residence located along the U.S. and Canadian border.

He was found hiding in a closet.

He was held on $75,000 bail.

This arrest was the result of a culmination of investigative efforts by the U.S. Marshals VVOTF, The Vermont State Police, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations, The U.S. Border Patrol, and The Orleans County Sheriff’s Department.

Dr. Ron Holland of Irasburg announces candidacy for Vermont House of Representatives

in coventry/Irasburg/Newport/News/Troy

IRASBURG — Dr. Ron Holland, the senior emergency physician at North Country Hospital, announced his candidacy for the Vermont House of Representatives to represent the citizens of Irasburg, Coventry, Newport City, Newport Town and Troy.

He filed the required petition with the District Clerk in Newport yesterday.

“I’ve been practicing medicine since 1972, and every day I see both the successes and failures of the health-care system,” Holland said. “A revolution in healthcare is impossible. Instead, we need a health care system that can learn and gradually decrease costs and increase effectiveness. With my years of experience in both medicine and policy analysis, I have decided that it is time to reframe the debate so that health care providers, not politicians, can improve the system.”

Dr. Holland began practicing medicine in Orleans County in 1979. After completing an Internal Medicine Residency at the University of Vermont, he opened a primary care practice in Barton.

Since 1989 he has practiced emergency medicine and completed a graduate program in health policy at Harvard University and a National Library of Medicine Fellowship in decision and policy analysis at Tufts University.

He has professional publications on the cost-effectiveness of health care interventions.

His analysis on the placement of dialysis facilities in Vermont was the basis for state approval for the “Ron Holland, M.D. Community Dialysis Facility” at North Country Hospital that garnered federal, state and community support.

The facility celebrated its tenth anniversary this week.

He also performed a cost-effectiveness analysis of the Lowell Wind Project that demonstrated that this project is eight times more costly than other options to reduce carbon emissions.

He says ridgeline wind projects generate generous profits for developers but are far too expensive as options for meaningful carbon emission reduction, even without consideration of the damage they do to ridgeline ecosystems.

Dr. Holland and his wife Laurie live in Irasburg. Their family includes four children, Abe, Larson, Jesse, and Althea.

He also has five horses, two dogs, and a barn cat.

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North Country Hospital hosts annual Teddy Bear Clinic

in Health/Newport

NEWPORT — North Country Hospital hosted its annual “Teddy Bear Clinic” last Thursday and Friday. Kindergarten classes from Orleans, Irasburg, Glover, Newport, Derby, St. Paul’s and United Christian Academy brought their favorite stuffed animals in for a routine checkup.

This program, designed to familiarize children with the hospital and staff, is in its 29th year. The furry patients received a full wellness workup including weight, and a quick, painless shot.

The children were given tours of the ambulance, met with emergency staff and received a presentation on summertime safety from the Emergency Room staff.
 
“It is our intent that these children get to see that the hospital and the staff are here to help,” said Ann Edgerley, RN. “We also want them to become familiar with the ambulances, and hospital surroundings. This way, if they ever have to visit the hospital, it will be a less scary experience for them.”

The program has run every year for almost 3 decades and has been organized by Emergency Room Nurse Ann Edgerly, RN and Director of Volunteers Merrilyn Barry.

“We love interacting with the kids and taking this opportunity to help them become a little less anxious about visiting the doctor,” said Merrilyn. “It feels good to be able to teach them about staying safe and knowing that we may have a small part in preventing childhood injuries.”

In recent years, the coordinators of the Teddy Bear Clinic have started bringing in more heath care professionals to participate in the clinic to ensure that it continues to grow and remain a community tradition for many years to come.

Little Gnesta B&B in Newport earns 2016 TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence

in Newport

NEWPORT — Little Gnesta B & B just received a TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for the fifth straight year. The achievement celebrates hospitality businesses that have earned great traveler reviews on TripAdvisor over the past year.

Certificate of Excellence recipients include accommodations, eateries and attractions located all over the world that have continually delivered a quality customer experience.

“We’re so lucky to have such wonderful customers,” says Ruth Sproull, owner of Little Gnesta B & B. “We’re so grateful for the generosity of those who take the time to leave reviews at TripAdvisor,” she added.

The Certificate of Excellence accounts for the quality, quantity and recency of reviews submitted by travelers on TripAdvisor over a 12-month period.

To qualify, a business must maintain an overall TripAdvisor bubble rating of at least four out of five, have a minimum number of reviews and must have been listed on TripAdvisor for at least 12 months.

“With the Certificate of Excellence, TripAdvisor honors hospitality businesses that have consistently received strong praise and ratings from travelers,” said Heather Leisman, Vice President of Industry Marketing, TripAdvisor. “This recognition helps travelers identify and book properties that regularly deliver great service.”

Eden Specialty Ciders of Newport receives national recognition

in Newport

NEWPORT — Eden Specialty Ciders of Newport has recently won national recognition for the quality of its hard ciders.

Their new releases of Sparkling Dry and Sparkling Semi Dry hit markets last month.

In January Eden was voted Best Cidery 2015 on Rate Beer, and last month at the Great Lakes International Cider & Perry Competition (GLINTCAP) they took home Best in Class for their new release of the Sparkling Dry Cider, as well as a gold medal for their Sparkling Semi Dry.

Last year’s release of the Semi Dry won Best in Class too, as well as a 2016 Good Food Award.

GLINTCAP is the largest cider competition in the world and received over 700 entries from North American and European commercial cider producers.

“Our mission has always been about quality over quantity.” Says Eleanor Léger, Founder and Co-Owner of Eden, which has been producing cider for 9 years. “We are fortunate to work with amazing heirloom and cider variety apples from great growers like Zeke Goodband at Scott Farm and Steve Wood at Poverty Lane Orchards. These apples are rare and expensive, and bring complexity, tannin, and depth of flavor to our sparkling hard ciders.”

In recognition of the expansion of their portfolio beyond ice ciders, Eden recently executed a name change from Eden Ice Cider Company to Eden Specialty Ciders, and brought on David Biun, formerly head cider maker at 1911 Ciders in New York, to be head cider maker and bring greater expertise to Eden’s hard cider offerings.

NACO gearing up for 5th annual Spring Concert

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — The Newport Area Community Orchestra is presenting its 5th Annual Spring Concert on Sunday, June 5th at 3:00 p.m. at the United Church in Newport.

This year, the orchestra will be featuring its largest ensemble to date, now totaling 45 members. The orchestra has established itself as an international ensemble, with members from the Northeast Kingdom, Maine, Japan, Taiwan, China, Canada, New Hampshire and Massachusetts.

They will be featuring Bob Smith, trumpet, Howie Arzt, clarinet, and Peter Storrings, tenor saxophone, as soloists for the concert.

Also featured will be Molly Kelly as the orchestra’s first assistant conductor who will be conducting “The Prayer of St. Gregory,” for solo trumpet and strings by Alan Hovhaness.

The program will include music by Hovhaness, Prokofiev, Verdi, Von Weber and Bizet.

This concert promises to be one of the orchestras best, so mark the date on your calendars.

Admission will be a donation of $5 at the door.

Newport man arrested for trafficking heroin and dragging arresting officer with car

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — A 24-year-old man from Newport was arrested in Massachusetts after police say he was found with drugs in his vehicle and dove off during the stop, dragging the trooper alongside.

Justin R. Morgan, of Newport, is facing a slew of charges following the incident.

Police say they stopped a 2006 Mazda 6 after observing Morgan commit motor vehicle violations on I-91.

As the state trooper approached the vehicle, Springfield Mass Police Officer Dan Cintron stopped to offer assistance if needed.

The trooper spoke to Morgan and asked for his driver’s license. While speaking with the occupants, the trooper observed a small bag of crack cocaine.

He opened the driver’s door and ordered Morgan out as he placed one handcuff on him. Police say he refused to comply, pulled away, put the car in drive and began to drive forward, dragging the trooper alongside.

With his body half inside the car and fighting for control, the trooper says he was able to get the vehicle into park, but Morgan immediately pulled it back into drive and began forward again.

Fearing he would roll out and be ran over, the trooper moved himself completely inside the vehicle, still fighting for control.

At this point, Officer Cintron was alongside the passenger side also ordering Morgan to stop.

After approximately 300 feet, police were able to take control of the vehicle and get it stopped, as Officer Cintron pulled Morgan through the passenger side door onto the pavement.

The passengers were subsequently identified as Joseph A. Peets, 30, of Morrisville, and Robert G. Fitzgerald, 26, of Eden.

All three men were subsequently found to be in possession of approximately 800 bags of heroin.

All three were placed under arrest and transported to the State Police Springfield Barracks for booking.

Morgan was charged with the following:

Heroin/Morphine/Opium, Trafficking in (approximately 20 grams)
2. Conspiracy to Violate Drug Law
3. Assault and Battery with Dangerous Weapon (motor vehicle)
4. Assault and Battery on a Police Officer
5. Resisting Arrest
6. Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle
7. Identify Self, Motor Vehicle Operator Refuse to
8. Marked Lanes Violation;
9. Number Plate Violation.

Passengers Fitzgerald and Peets were both charged with the following:
1. Heroin/Morphine/Opium, Trafficking in (approximately 20 grams)
2. Conspiracy to Violate Drug Law

Morgan was held on $50,000 bail.

Police: Missing Derby man may have fled area, facing sexual assault charges

in Newport/News

DERBY — Police are saying that an arrest warrant has been issued for a man from Derby who was reported missing last week, as they now believe that he may have fled the area as he is facing sexual assault charges.

Peter Gaudreau, 62, was last seen at his residence on the North Derby Road on Friday night, authorities say.

A search of the fields and wooded area behind his residence was carried out on Tuesday, and he was not located.

An arrest warrant was then issued for Gaudreau for violation of conditions of release that had been set as a result of his arrest in 2014 for sexual assault.

In 2014, Gaudreau was charged with sexually assaulting a child under the age of 16. Police say that the offenses took place in multiple towns across Orleans County, over the course of four years.

His next scheduled court appearance was set for July 2016.

The investigation to locate Gaudreau is ongoing, and police say leads are being followed up.

Anyone with information is asked to contact the Vermont State Police in Derby, at 802-334-8881.

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    Pictured L-R (Dave Ladd, VAST Awards Committee Chairman; Ernest Choquette, Country Riders Snowmobile Club; Raymond Rodrigue, Orleans Snowstormers; Marshall Bowman, North Country Mountaineers; Merle Young, Glover Trailwinders; Roger Gosselin, VAST Orleans County Director.

Four local snowmobilers awarded for over 30 years of service to VAST

in Newport/Outdoors

NEWPORT — Four local snowmobilers were presented with the Trailblazer Award at the last Orleans County Snowmobile Association meeting in Newport Center.

The Trailblazer Award, presented by the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST), honors the grassroots spirit and dedication of the many people who have made snowmobiling what it is today, as they have freely given their time, hard work, and resources for over 25 years.

Those awarded were:

Ernest Choquette, with the Country Riders Snowmobile Club.
Raymond Rodrigue, with the Orleans Snowstormers.
Marshall Bowman, from North Country Mountaineers.
Merle Young, of the Glover Trailwinders.

Snowmobiling in Vermont has a rich history of volunteer participation. It all started with a few snowmobilers informally coming together to create and maintain trails and creating VAST, to what is done today to manage the Vermont Statewide Snowmobile Trail System.

As true “Trailblazers,” these four men have forged ahead and built the foundation of healthy and active clubs and counties, not to mention a trail system which is the envy of the Northeast.

For more information, contact Roger Gosselin, VAST Orleans County Director at (802) 274-4502.

Caregiving the topic this Wednesday night at Community Commons

in Newport

NEWPORT — Almost everyone takes on the role of caregiver at some point. Whether it’s for an elder, a child, or as a caregiving employment, it’s ahead for most of us.

Community Commons will explore the needs, pitfalls, and highlights of caregiving locally.

“Caregiving provides a rich range of topics for us to examine,” says Barbara Morrow, Executive Director of the Orleans County Restorative Justice Center. “I’m betting we’ll talk about everything from caregiver support to financial abuse.”

The monthly meeting will be held Wednesday, May 18, at the Gateway Center, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. All are welcome.

“Our community is one that wants to age in place, and nurture our youngsters,” Morrow said. “We can form more partnerships and communication lines to favor these concerns. There’s a lot of people doing a lot of positive things, but how to find out when you’re in need?”

Community Commons meetings have been underway for over two years now, and have resulted in a number of partnerships and projects.

It is sponsored in part by Community National Bank, AARP-VT, and is assisted with in-kind from the City of Newport.

All are welcome at any of the once monthly meetings. For more information, contact the Justice Center at 802-487-9327.

[VIDEO] Gubernatorial candidate Sue Minter talks with Newport Dispatch

in Newport/News

Sue Minter is one of three Democratic candidates running for Governor of the state of Vermont.

On May 5, she made a stop in Newport.

She spoke with Newport Dispatch at the Goodrich Memorial Library, to talk about the future of Newport, and to answer questions submitted by Newport Dispatch readers.

Minter has served Vermont as Secretary of Transportation, Deputy Secretary of Transportation, Irene Recovery Officer, and was elected four times as State Representative from Waterbury, Duxbury, Huntington and Buel’s Gore.

The above video is edited from that interview.

MAC Center for the Arts to present evening of music and prose

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — The MAC Center for the Arts is presenting a presentation of authors and musicians called “LUNARt MADNESS,” crafting words and song in celebration of the full moon and spring.

The event will take place Saturday, May 21, from 7 to 9 p.m. at the MAC Center for the Arts, located at 158 Main Street, in Newport. The event is open to the public, and all are invited to attend.

The exclusive lineup of MAC writers includes Jerry Johnson, Lisa Foster, Mary Brenner, Dianne LaPlante and Mary Liz Riddle.

MAC musicians include Nate Sargent, Janice and Ben Luce, Brian McCrae, John Selmer with Emcees Susan-Lynn Johns and Lynn Leimer.

Original prose, original songs, classic music and audience participation sing-alongs will embellish the enchantment of seasonal equinox.

Seating will be limited, but if you buy your tickets in advance, you can enjoy a 10 percent discount at either Newport Ciderhouse or Dusit Thai.

LUNARt Madness is a benefit for the MAC Center and general admission is $7.00.

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

Police: Two Newport men caught with 418 bags of heroin

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Two men from Newport were picked up by police in Brattleboro after authorities say a routine traffic stop turned up a large amount of heroin.

Shawn Gardner, 30, and Brandon Sheltra, 20, are being held after police say they say found 418 bags of suspected heroin in their possession.

The incident took place on I-91 north at exit 1 in the town of Brattleboro, when a trooper from the Vermont State Police pulled their vehicle over for speeding.

Police say they suspected Gardner of operating while impaired by drugs, and that they found the heroin after searching the vehicle.

Both were arrested.

Police say Gardner faces charges of DUI-drugs, possession of heroin, trafficking heroin, and importation of heroin.

Sheltra faces charges of possession of heroin, trafficking heroin, and importation of heroin.

Both were ordered held on bail, and taken to the Vermont Department of Corrections in Springfield.

Newport Town School students win grant from Vermont Lottery

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — The Newport Town School was recently selected as the Spring 2016 winner of the Educate/Innovate Grant Program, funded by the Vermont Lottery.

The program will provide 25 iPads to the school in support of their proposal, which was a student-selected project meant to address what they perceive as a problem in their community.

The students will be working with Frontiere Animal Shelter in Orleans to help streamline and promote pet adoptions.

The project will integrate multiple core curriculums as they use video, editing, writing and marketing tools to help the local shelter accelerate pet adoptions over time.

During guidance class, sixth graders researched possible projects before voting on the one that ended up being submitted for the grant.

“Our students are learning the importance of giving back to the community, and what we learned while pitching ideas was that they are really interested in helping animals,” School Counselor Sarah Feldman said.

Four out of the five projects students came up with were based around helping animals.

Students will collect data and monitor their success as they develop the program.

Reviewers with the Vermont Lottery and Vermont Agency of Education say the proposal was a favorite of theirs because it represented a student-identified issue within their community.

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    Monique Hilliker and son Dominic, a student at North Country Union Junior High School, both attended the ATV safety training course.

North Country Hospital and VASA team up in the name of ATV safety

in Health/Newport

NEWPORT — North Country Hospital, Safe Kids Vermont and VASA, Vermont ATV Sportsman’s Association, held a half day classroom training on April 23 to teach local youth the importance of safe riding and following the rules when riding ATVs.

Trained instructors from VASA conducted the four-hour training, and students even enjoyed a visit from local Game Warden Jenna Reed.

All thirteen students passed the test, anxious to receive their state approved certificate that allows them to ride legally.

“Over 100,000 families every year are impacted by ATV deaths and serious injuries,” Rachel Weintraub, Legislative Director and General Counsel for Consumer Federation of America said. “ATVs are one of the most dangerous products the Consumer Product Safety Commission regulates, causing more deaths and injuries than almost any other product under CPSC’s jurisdiction.”

Preventable injuries are the number one killer of kids in the United States. Through education and outreach efforts, North Country Hospital remains committed to helping reduce the risks of injury to local youth.

“It’s important for youth to learn good habits at an early age and to also learn the rules,” said Beth Barnes, Community Outreach Specialist at NCH.

If you are interested in enrolling your child in future ATV safety training classes like the one last Saturday, contact Beth Barnes at bbarnes@nchsi.org for more information.

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Gubernatorial candidate Peter Galbraith visits Newport

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — On Wednesday, Gubernatorial candidate Peter Galbraith spent the afternoon speaking to Newport residents about the impact of the alleged fraud in the region committed by politically connected developers.

Galbraith visited the Renaissance Block, the giant hole in the middle of Main Street, that was supposed to include shops, offices and a hotel as part of Ariel Quiros and Bill Stenger’s redevelopment project.

“In Newport, I heard first hand and saw the consequences of a state government that failed to oversee projects that the state had sanctioned and promoted,” said Galbraith. “Working men and women in the Northeast Kingdom, the most economically disadvantaged region of the state, are understandably worried about the future of their communities. Our top priority now should be to continue operations at Jay Peak and to open the Burke resort, to minimize any job loss,” Galbraith continued.

Galbraith also spoke to businesses on Main Street, as well as attended the Community Commons meeting.

“What happened in the Northeast Kingdom is a prime example of crony capitalism where politicians put the interests of wealthy individuals and corporations ahead the citizens who elected them,” said Galbraith. “We need to investigate the state’s role in this scandal and to clean up our politics. There is no excuse for allowing wealthy individuals to corrupt our politics by using corporate entities to evade Vermont’s limits on campaign contributions. It is time for the state of Vermont to end corporate campaign contributions, something prohibited in federal elections for more than a century.”

On Monday, Galbraith called on for an independent commission to investigate the state’s role in the Northeast Kingdom fraud and reiterated his pledge to ban corporate campaign contributions as Governor.

As a senator from Windham County, Galbraith championed legislation to ban corporate contributions.

Violent fugitive caught in Newport

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — A fugitive wanted by the State of Vermont for Escape, was picked up last Friday in Newport by the U.S. Marshals Service.

Dennis Rose, 30, of Brooklyn, New York, was arrested late in the day on April 8, 2016.

Rose was wanted by the State of Vermont, Department of Corrections, Burlington Probation and Parole for Escape. His underlying charge related to his escape is aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

Police say Rose is no stranger to the criminal justice system. He has a significant criminal history which started when he was seventeen years old.

His extensive criminal history reveals offenses in the State of Vermont and the State of New York to include a Federal conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm. His additional convictions include heroin and cocaine sales, sale of a controlled substance on school grounds, aggravated assault with a weapon, 1st degree aggravated domestic assault, reckless endangerment, false information to Law Enforcement, Parole violations, and Probation violations.

On January 12, 2016, Burlington Probation and Parole requested the assistance of the U.S. Marshals Service in locating and apprehending Rose, as his whereabouts were unknown at the time.

Deputy U.S. Marshals gathered information on Rose’s possible whereabouts, and he was arrested without incident in Newport.

Rose had been a fugitive since January 11, 2016.

It is alleged that Rose was actively evading arrest from Law Enforcement and subsequently fled the Burlington area.

This arrest was the result of a culmination of investigative efforts by the U.S. Marshals, Vermont State Police, and the Newport Police Department.

Stenger and Quiros charged with running “Ponzi-like” scheme

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced fraud charges and an asset freeze against Jay Peak Resort and related businesses allegedly misusing millions of dollars raised through investments solicited under the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program.  

The SEC’s case was unsealed today in federal court in Miami, and the court has appointed a receiver over the companies to prevent any further spending of investor assets.

The SEC alleges that Bill Stenger, Ariel Quiros, and their companies made false statements and omitted key information while raising more than $350 million from investors to construct ski resort facilities and as well as the proposed AnC Bio facility in Newport. 

Investors were told they were investing in one of several projects connected to Jay Peak Inc., a ski resort operated by Stenger and Quiros, and their money would only be used to finance that specific project. 

Instead, in Ponzi-like fashion, money from investors in later projects was misappropriated to fund deficits in earlier projects.  More than $200 million was allegedly used for other-than-stated purposes, including $50 million spent on Quiros’s personal expenses and in other ways never disclosed to investors.

“This is obviously a difficult day for Vermont and for the many people, myself included, who are so invested in growing jobs and economic opportunity in the Northeast Kingdom,” said Gov. Shumlin. “Most of all, this is a difficult day for the hundreds of employees in the Northeast Kingdom who rely on Jay Peak, Q Burke, and the related projects that appeared to hold so much promise.”

According to the SEC’s complaint, Quiros improperly tapped investor funds for such things as the purchase of a luxury condominium, payment of his income taxes and other taxes unrelated to the investments, and acquisition of an unrelated ski resort.

“The alleged fraud ran the gamut from false statements to deceptive financial transactions to outright theft,” said Andrew Ceresney, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.  “As alleged in our complaint, the defendants diverted millions of EB-5 investor dollars to their own pockets, leaving little money for construction of the research facility investors were told would be built and thereby putting the investors’ funds and their immigration petitions in jeopardy.”

The SEC’s complaint charges Quiros, Stenger, Jay Peak, and a company owned by Quiros called Q Resorts Inc. as well as seven limited partnerships and their general partner companies with violating the antifraud provisions of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5.  

Four other companies are named as relief defendants in the SEC’s complaint for the purpose of recovering investor funds transferred into their accounts.  The SEC seeks preliminary and permanent injunctions, financial penalties, and disgorgement of ill-gotten gains plus interest.  The agency also seeks conduct-based injunctive relief against Quiros and Stenger along with an officer-and-director bar against Quiros.

“Like Governor Shumlin, I am stunned and disappointed with the SEC report on the allegations of fraud in the Northeast Kingdom EB5 projects,” Newport Mayor Paul Monette said. “We will continue to monitor these developments to evaluate the impact on the Newport City projects.”

EB-5 investors in AnC Bio project in Newport requesting refunds

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Recently released documents by the state show that some investors in the AnC Bio Vermont project, scheduled to open in the fall of 2017 in Newport, are asking for their money back.

According to a memo sent by Bill Stenger to state regulators back on March 15, investor’s funds currently held in escrow will need to be released not only to refund investors pulling out, but to proceed with construction planned for this spring.

The money held in escrow is part of an agreement with the state that new investor funds solicited after March 2015 be held while the state conducts a financial review of the AnC Bio project.

“We have at this time investors that have requested refunds of their AnC Bio investment as part of their rescission rights, granted them by Commissioner Donegan,” Stenger wrote in the memo. “We must have these funds released in order to refund these investors.”

The project has not yet passed the financial review, and the Department says it still has many questions remaining about how AnC Bio funds have been spent to date.

State regulators have also refused to allow the release of money currently held in escrow to pay back refunds, because that money is not in the escrow account, having been raised before March 2015.

As of January 2015, the project had 128 investors, with a total of $71 million raised.

“We agree that the AnC Bio investors who have withdrawn from the project are entitled to a refund of their money,” Susan Donegan, commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation, wrote in a memo to Stanger on March 25. “However, these investors are not under the amended private placement memorandum and their money is not in the escrow account.”

Stenger also wrote that funds needed to be released from escrow to continue construction at the site in Newport.

“To proceed with construction this spring these investor’s funds must be put to work,” Stenger wrote in the March 15 memo.

Donegan suggests that in both cases the developers will have to use funds already collected and transferred to a company owned by Stenger’s business partner Ariel Quiros called Jay Construction Management.

To read the full version of memos regarding this issue between developer Bill Stenger and Susan Donegan, commissioner of the Department of Financial Regulation, CLICK HERE.

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    Beth Barnes, Community Outreach Specialist with the help of Kathy LaFratta Executive Assistant proudly display the North Country Hospital Baby Swag Bags.
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New arrivals get safe start at North Country Hospital with safety-inspired Baby Swag Bag

in Health/Newport

NEWPORT — North Country Hospital will be welcoming the youngest members of the NEK with their own “Baby Swag Bag” to take home when they leave the hospital.

North Country Hospital and Maternal Child Health have developed a special gift package just for new parents. The Baby Swag Bag is a colorful, re-usable and compact backpack filled with items designed to keep the baby safe at different stages of development.

Preventable injuries are the number one killer of kids in the United States, so being well-informed and taking precautions is in everyone’s best interest.

Babies are born to be inquisitive and active and it’s important to nurture this in all children, but to also make sure that they stay safe while discovering their new world.

“Whether it’s a new baby or an addition to a growing family, parents will want to stay current on new ideas and products that can help keep their latest family member out of harm’s way,” said Beth Barnes, Community Outreach Specialist with North Country Hospital. “Learning about a few safety tips at each stage of baby’s development is a great way to make sure they will grow up curious, active and safe.”

Safe sleeping guidelines and information on breastfeeding will be included, along with information on preventing TV/furniture tip-overs.

Added to the bag are cabinet and drawer locks, a TV anti tip strap, outlet plug covers, baby choke tube, poison control information and other items to help parents stay one step ahead of their little one at all stages.

The Baby Swag Bag project has been made possible through the generosity of an anonymous donor.

North Country Hospital hosting “Bike Safety Rodeo” and ATV training for kids in April

in Health/Newport/Outdoors

NEWPORT — If you have kids, know kids or are a kid you’ll be interested to know that April is a busy month at North Country Hospital for activities that directly impact the safety of NEK children.

In an ongoing commitment to childhood injury prevention, the hospital is partnering with other organizations in order to highlight some of the ways our kids can stay safe while having a ton of fun pursuing their favorite outdoor activities.

On Saturday, April 16, North Country Hospital, in collaboration with Safe Kids Worldwide, the Village Bike Shop and community volunteers, will be hosting a Bike Rodeo from 9 a.m. – noon.

Kids of all ages are invited to bring their bikes and their helmets to the hospital parking lot on Prouty Drive and saddle up to practice riding skills and safety drills.

Kids will have a chance to maneuver through a slalom course, learn how to stop and go, how to look and listen and how to make sure their bikes are safe and ready to ride when they are.

After the rodeo, how about a ride down the bike path which is directly next to the hospital parking lot? The bike path is flat and wide and the perfect place to practice new skills and spend time with family and friends on the shores of Lake Memphremagog.

The Center for Disease Controls Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans says that children and adolescents should do 60 minutes or more of physical activity each day. “By teaching kids safe bicycling and pedestrian skills we can help them become more independent and more active, while having fun,” said Beth Barnes, Community Outreach Specialist for North Country Hospital.

Helmets will be available at the Bike Rodeo for a donation of $10.00. For questions about the Bike Rodeo, contact Beth Barnes at bbarnes@nchsi.org or 802-334-3210 ext. 351.

For kids who like to ride on four wheels instead of two, North Country Hospital will be hosting a ½ day classroom ATV training course sponsored by VASA (Vermont ATV Sportsman’s Association) on Saturday, April 23 from 9 a.m. – noon.

This free course which teaches safe and responsible ATV operation is a requirement for all kids aged 12-17.

The V.E.S.T. (VASA Education and Safety Training) ATV safety course will provide your child with the state-approved, required safety certificate so you will know your young ATV rider is a safe and certified rider.

To register for the V.E.S.T. training, please contact Dani Cady at dcady@vtvasa.org or call 802-477-5075.

Community invited to help shape the future of Bluffside Farm

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Bluffside Farm, a 129-acre property located on Indian Point and visible from downtown, is the focus of a conservation project spearheaded by the Vermont Land Trust. Following public walking tours of the property back in January, the land trust has scheduled its first public meeting to learn more about what the community would like to see happen on the land.

Three public meetings will be held in partnership with the Northeastern Vermont Development Association. The first meeting will be on Tuesday, March 29 from 6-9 p.m. at the North Country Career Center in Newport.

It will be facilitated by Karen Geraghty, Economic Development Specialist for the Northeastern Vermont Development Association.

“We hope to tap into local knowledge and excitement to explore how the land can best serve the community,” said Tracy Zschau of the Vermont Land Trust. “The meeting will provide an opportunity to learn more about the property and the role of the land trust, but the main emphasis will be gathering input on the highest and best uses of Bluffside Farm that are aligned with community needs.”

The former dairy farm was headed to auction when the Vermont Land Trust stepped in to buy. The decision was made after a strong show of public support for the purchase during a meeting held in September 2015.

The land trust took ownership of the farm at the end of December.

The farm had been in the Scott family for five generations. There are over 60 acres of tillable and pasture land with good agricultural soils. The entire property is enrolled in Vermont’s Current Use program and the woodland is subject to a forest management plan.

It is the largest remaining agricultural property in Newport City. It also had nearly a mile of undeveloped frontage on Lake Memphremagog, including a natural sand beach area. Over half of the frontage is on Scott’s Cove, directly across from Newport’s Prouty Beach recreation area and campground.

Historically the land has not had any public access.

The Vermont Land Trust does not intend to be the long-term owner of the farm.

The meeting agenda will include breakout groups to explore cultural and natural resources, health and recreation, agriculture and food production, and education. Refreshments will be served and all are welcome. Additional meetings to further the conversation and begin to focus on possible scenarios for future ownership will follow on April 28 and May 26.

For more information about the process and the meetings visit vlt.org/bluffsidefarm or call VLT Conservation Director Tracy Zschau at (802) 745-6301 or email: tracy@vlt.org.

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