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Officer Tanner Jacobs awarded “Officer of the Year”

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — On Friday, the Newport Police Department announced that Officer Tanner Jacobs has been awarded 2015 “Officer of the Year.”

Officer Jacobs has only been a full-time member of the department since February 2, 2015. Previously he worked part-time with the NPD for about two years.

A 23-year-old resident of Derby, Jacobs has proven himself to his colleagues as a very calm, professional and thorough officer.

Just two weeks into the job, Jacobs took the lead during a stabbing incident. Although Newport Police Chief Seth DiSanto admits he thoroughly evaluated his procedure, says he could find nothing Jacobs could have done better during the incident.

“We’ve been impressed by the type of behavior and work we continue to see out of Officer Jacobs, missing no steps, time and time again,” said Chief DiSanto. “He is a very intelligent young officer.”

The Officer of the Year award is not given based on statistics or any one specific incident, but overall performance throughout the year.

AARP Vermont announces Community Action Grant winners in Newport

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Five small organizations with big plans have been selected to receive Community Action Grants from AARP Vermont supporting their efforts to make Newport a more “Age-Friendly” city. In partnering with AARP Vermont, Newport has committed to embrace the changing demographics of an aging population by focusing on safe, walkable streets, better housing and transportation options, access to key services and community engagement opportunities for all ages.

These Community Action Grants support that direction by funding small, grassroots organizations that are working to advance the Age Friendly movement.

After a thorough review process, the following projects were selected:

Rural Community Transportation, Sandy Thorpe – $2,000
Now Playing Newport, Jim McKimm – $1,000
Newport Dispatch, Bryan Marovich – $1,500
Newport Jazz Festival, Cynthia More – $750
Upper Kingdom Food Access, Jane U. Edwards – $500
Laptop and Computer Project, Marina Brown – $250

Rural Community Transportation (RCT) is a non-profit transportation service that has been providing public transit in Essex, Caledonia, Orleans, and Lamoille counties for over 25 years. RCT sees the benefits of increasing multi-modal transportation by adding walking and bike routes to their Bus Schedules and Service Guides. This grant will further support RCT’s goal of increasing active transportation by encouraging community members to walk, bike, and ride public transportation with up to date connectivity information. With the help of the AARP grant, RCT will be able to print new Bus Guides that will allow community members to see where they can get off or on to walk or bike designated paths.

Now Playing Newport St. Mark’s Church began the Music/Lunch Program in 2015. Their events have been incredibly successful; creating a community where seniors can meet, interact, and experience the power music has in promoting healthy aging. Thanks to the AARP grant, they will be able to grow this program and provide a larger meal for those who attend. This will allow St. Marks to increase their attendance from an average of 30 to 50 and still be able to provide everyone with a full meal.

Newport Dispatch has been providing free community news to Orleans County, Vermont for almost three years. Last year they made a shift towards creating and promoting local videos. Their next project is a monthly series of videos that focus on the experiences of older adults living in the community. The piece will feature those who make a difference in their community and provide advice to current younger generations. The AARP grant will help foster this intergenerational connection by supporting the technical needs of this project.

Newport Jazz Festival was created in 2015 to help promote Newport businesses, draw crowds and bolster tourism in Newport. The Jazz festival is an inclusive event for all ages both on stage and in the audience. The grant will help by providing transportation for older adults in the community so they can more easily attend the performances.

Upper Kingdom Food Access is a community initiative started in 2015 to promote healthy outcomes from better eating. To achieve healthier lifestyles and combat food insecurity, the initiative focuses on education to all ages about choices within the food system with a focus on Orleans and northern Essex Counties. The grant has provided the funding to create The Upper Kingdom Food Resource Directory which will increase access to food for those in need. The directory will provide a centralized source of where and how to better connect and access a wide variety of local food resources for both those in need and those providing service.

The Laptop and Computer Project is a grassroots initiative spearheaded by Marina Brown to increase and enhance access to technology information for low income elders. The project places user friendly computers with lightweight computer operating systems that have been rehabbed into the hands of low income elders to increase communication and lessen isolation. With the help of the AARP grant, the Laptop and Computer Project will be able to provide five seniors with computers and access to information.

AARP Vermont officials and community representatives conducted the selection process and AARP is partnering with the Newport City Renaissance Corp. to administer the grants.

“We are very pleased to extend support to these projects as a way to foster local community development initiatives in Newport,” said Greg Marchildon, state director at AARP Vermont. “We received a broad range of proposals to consider this year and we hope these modest grants will inspire and support dedicated grassroots groups that have a vision for Newport as an Age Friendly city and how it can be enhanced. We are committed to working with our partners and officials in Newport as they develop future plans and we expect to continue this program going forward.”

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization with 125,000 members in Vermont and 40 million members nationally. Through a wide array of special benefits, services, and information resources, they help members make important choices, reach their goals and dreams, and make the most of life after 50.

Derby and Newport schools awarded farm-to-school grant

in Derby/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Derby Elementary School and Newport City Elementary School are joining forces to champion farm-to-school in the Northeast Kingdom through a joint farm-to-school grant provided by the Vermont Agency of Agriculture and Markets. The two town teamed up with Green Mountain Farm-to-School (GMFTS) to apply for the competitive Farm-to-School Grant Program, eventually being awarded $9,000 to implement a variety of farm-to-school programs between the schools.

“I am ecstatic that Derby and Newport Elementary received a farm-to-school implementation grant,” says Caroline Aubry, the farm-to-school coordinator with GMFTS that works with both schools and helped them apply for the grant. “The grant is going to allow them to expand their programming so more children will have access to fresh, healthy produce and be able to receive more nutrition and agriculture education.”

Through the farm-to-school implementation grant, which provides funding through May 2017, Derby Elementary School and Newport City Elementary will work to accomplish several objectives. The objectives were agreed upon and will be implemented by a joint farm-to-school committee comprised of administrators, teachers, and parents from both schools.

They will work to increase the amount of local food being served in the school food program by five percent by planting more food in the school gardens and incorporating popular taste tests of new vegetables into the menu. The schools will also explore composting initiatives and build infrastructure to comply with Act 148, the Universal Recycling Law.

Each school will also purchase a mobile cooking cart to streamline cooking activities with students, invest in tools to maintain the school gardens and clean and process vegetables grown in them for the cafeteria, and purchase garden kits for classes to utilize the garden space to promote Next Generation Science Standards.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to teach kids about where their food comes from and how important it is to grow your own local food as well as have access to more fresh local vegetables,” says Stacey Urbin, principal, Derby Elementary School. “We are looking forward to our students continuing to be involved with farm-to-school programming and having some added pieces. The teachers are very excited to be using the garden as a teaching space, particularly with science lessons.”

Derby Elementary School began working with GMFTS last year to bring farm-to-school programming to their students through a similar farm-to-school grant while Newport City Elementary has been working with GMFTS since 2010. Both schools grow their own vegetables in school gardens, celebrate Vermont Harvest of the Month through monthly, school-wide taste tests, and provide nutrition and agriculture lessons.

City budget approved, school budget denied at Newport City Town Meeting

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — A $3.1 million city budget, as well as all appropriations, easily passed at Town Meeting Day in Newport City yesterday.

Budget requests from both North Country Union Junior High and North Country Union High School passed with over 60 percent of the vote.

The Newport Elementary School budget was shot down with 55 percent of voters against the $5.74 million budget request.

The request was $200,000 more than last year’s budget.

Closing out the town meeting, Christopher Royer and Vikki Lantagne were elected to the city school board, defeating Wendy McGillivray in the closely contested race.

Two charged with selling heroin, embezzlement from Jay Peak

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Two former Newport residents now living in Ohio, have been charged with selling heroin. One of the accused, a former employee at Jay Peak, was also charged with embezzlement from the resort.

Jaimey L. Dyer, 30, and Anthony Tanner, 33, were arraigned in Orleans County Superior Court on Tuesday, were they both denied the charges.

According to court records, the two sold a confidential informant heroin on five separate occasions between July and August of 2015.

The informant wore a wire while purchasing the drugs with marked bills.

Dyer also faced embezzlement charges after police say they were handed over surveillance footage and transaction records by security at Jay Peak Resort, which showed her stealing from Mountain Dick’s Pizzeria.

According to the affidavit, Dyer is accused of stealing $1,161 while she worked at Jay Peak, carrying out sales that were never entered into the computer.

Both Dyer and Tanner were unable to make bail, and ordered to jail.

Community to discuss drug and gang issues

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Mary Alice McKenzie, Director of the Burlington Boys and Girls Club will be among participants at Building a Resilient Community, an open public meeting on March 2, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Newport’s Gateway Center.

The emphasis will be on drug and gang proofing the community. The meeting will be facilitated by Action-Circles and will involve small group work and a follow-up event.

“We’ll learn how other communities are positively responding to the challenge of drugs and gangs in their towns, and recognize what assets are already working for us,” said Barbara Morrow, Director of the Orleans County Restorative Justice Center.

Law enforcement, educators, and medical professionals have also been invited, so Morrow is hoping for a rich and productive conversation with lots of insights for everyone involved.

“Every state in the Union has gang activity,” Morrow said. “If there are drugs, there are gang members. People will leave the meeting with knowledge, and can be ambassadors for their own work, social groups, and organizations. We’re operating on the principle that everyone can do something, and lots of smaller things have an effect.”

For more information, contact the Orleans County Restorative Justice Center at 802.487.9327 and review their website at www.kingdomjustice.org.

Smoke-free Places Forum to be held at the Gateway Center in Newport March 5

in Newport

NEWPORT — The HealthWorks ONE Coalition and Vermont Department of Health are sponsoring a Community Forum at the Gateway Center in Newport on March 5, 2016, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Everyone is invited to participate in this free event and lunch will be provided for participants by North Country Hospital.

The forum will feature Ron Redmond, Executive Director of Church Street Marketplace in Burlington as keynote speaker. There will be a panel of local residents addressing the topic of “livability” in Newport, and how to make the area even more inviting for residents and visitors alike.

Mr. Redmond has been at the helm at Church Street Marketplace for 17 years.

Burlington’s Church Street Marketplace has become a smoke-free area, due to concerns about second-hand smoke exposure. They were following the example of outdoor pedestrian malls and plazas across the country.

The ability to host events that serve both the local community and attract visitors is a strength shared by Newport and Burlington. Newport’s downtown and parks are a great place for community events. These public events draw large crowds, and lately, some attendees find it difficult to attend with the likelihood of secondhand smoke exposure.

According to the Vermont Department of Health, people may find it difficult to enjoy festivities that aren’t smoke-free, because exposure to secondhand smoke can cause eye and throat irritation while prolonged exposure increases risk of lung cancer, heart attack and respiratory disease. Children and adults with asthma or allergies tend to feel better when they’re not exposed to secondhand smoke.

This upcoming Smoke Free Places Forum held at the Gateway Center in Newport on March 5 will allow participants the opportunity to learn more, as well a voice their opinion on the issue. Everyone is invited to participate and help in envisioning a healthier Newport.

To register to attend the Forum, RSVP to smokefreeplaceforum@gmail.com or call 802-334-2725.

Photo by Tanya Mueller.

$674,000 USDA grant will be used to improve water quality of Lake Memphremagog

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service State Conservationist Vicky Drew said that Vermont received $674,000 in funding for a project targeting water quality in Lake Memphremagog.

The money is part of $720 million in grants that will be used for 84 conservation projects across the country that will help communities improve water quality, combat drought, enhance soil health, support wildlife habitat and protect agricultural viability. These projects make up the second round of the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) created by the 2014 Farm Bill.

“The Orleans County Natural Resources Conservation District will lead this effort which aims to install conservation practices to address degraded water quality from agricultural runoff,” explained Drew.

Vermont is also part of a multi-state RCPP project, led by New Hampshire, which received $5.2 million to assist private forestland owners in increasing the quantity and quality of young forest habitats.

“We put out a call for innovative and results-focused projects that will deliver the most conservation impact,” said Drew. “Our partners answered with creative, locally-led approaches to help producers support their ongoing business operations and address natural resource challenges in their communities, here in Vermont, and across the nation.”

Water quality and drought are dominant themes in this year’s RCPP project list with 45 of the 84 projects focusing on water resource concerns.

USDA invested $370 million in 115 high impact RCPP projects during 2015, including one project in Vermont, led by the Vermont Association of Conservation Districts, which aims to educate small farmers in the development of nutrient management plans to help reduce phosphorus and nutrient runoff into Lake Champlain.

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Upcoming exhibition at the MAC will take viewers on a photographic journey to ANTARCTICA

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/Orleans

NEWPORT — While the Northeast Kingdom has been experiencing an unusually warm winter, replete with green grass and significant absence of snow and ice; there is one spot in Newport that you can glance the glaciers and feel the chill.

The MAC Center for the Arts is proud to announce the exclusive exhibit, opening February 20 in the downstairs gallery: ANTARCTICA – a Photographic Journey, by photographer, Stephen K. Malshuk.

Malshuk was born in Newport, Vermont in 1952. He holds a B.S. in Secondary Education, University of Vermont, 1974 and J.D., University of Puget Sound, 1985.

Steve spent his formative years in Orleans before going to Burlington, Vermont to attend college. To keep him from being too bored growing up; he spent lots of time at the Jones Memorial Library. While there, he found his favorite magazines contained the most photographs. What Orleans lacked for excitement, the photos in those publications compensated for.

He tends to favor photographing landscape since a landscape subject has never made a comment on what he could do to make it look “better.”

The photos in this exhibit are part of his “bucket” list of visiting all seven continents. Recently, he visited Asia. His remaining two continents are Africa and Australia.

Malshuk’s photographs have appeared in “California”, 1980, (Polaroid Type 52), Camera Arts Magazine, April, 1983; “Mt. Rainier”, 1986, Seattle P-I, June 17, 1999; “Self Portrait – watching my children at the beach”, 2001, (quad-black digital print) Seattle .

Police: Caller threatened DCF in Newport, causing lockdown

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Police say that a threat the Vermont Department of Children and Families (DCF) received this morning is responsible for the lockdown that took place at the Emory Hebard State Office Building in Newport at around 8:30 a.m.

Police say that an unidentified caller phoned the DCF office in Newport on Friday morning, stating that if the demands they were requesting were not met, they were going to come to the DCF office and engage in active violence.

Police have not said what those demands were, or what type of violence was threatened against the office.

The Newport Police placed the building on lockdown as a precautionary measure while they remained on scene and continued to investigate and try to locate the suspect.

At approximately 10:30 a.m. they had enough information to determine that the building was not in any immediate danger, and the lockdown was lifted.

Police have not said if there have been any arrests made connected to this incident, but they are saying that the investigation is still active.

Currently, the Vermont Senate Committee on Judiciary is working on a bill that would create an enhanced penalty when people in the family services division of DCF are assaulted. The bill would also establish a new offense to address criminal threatening of DCF workers.

Newport man honored at Statehouse

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Ed Brochu of Newport was among the long-time justice system volunteers honored at the Vermont Statehouse on Friday, January 5, 2016. He was nominated by the Orleans County Restorative Justice Center, primarily for his work on the reparative boards for the Center.

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“Ed is one of our longest serving volunteers,” said Barbara Morrow, Justice Center Director. “He brings so much wisdom and art to this process, and is totally committed to this work. Ed has made a big impact in the Orleans County community and on individuals who have been through our programs.”

Brochu retired from the U.S. Army several years ago, and retired again from the Internal Revenue System. However, no dust was allowed to gather under his feet as he began another career as a trained volunteer with the Guardian Ad Litem program and the Newport Justice Center as it was then named.

In his spare time, he is also a volunteer driver for Rural Community Transit.

The Justice Center provides, among other services, an alternative to the court process for some offenders.

“I’m supportive, but hold people accountable for their behaviors,” Brochu said about his work. “Sometimes I say, you can’t go through life like this. You have to get on with it.”

Brochu says he likes to find out about the offenders’ lives and what they want to be doing.

“They are intelligent people. So many do not realize they have something going for them or that they have positive talents they’re holding back.”

Brochu is one of about twenty-seven highly trained volunteers who work with the Justice Center regularly in a variety of roles.

For more information on volunteering or services, visit their website at www.kingdomjustice.org or call them at 802-487-9327.

Fundraising event this Saturday to help library pay for smoke damage cleanup

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — After a furnace malfunctioned and blew sooty smoke throughout the Goodrich Memorial Library last month, the library is now open and having a fundraising event this weekend to help pay for the damages.

After a month-long cleaning, all traces of the smoke damage are gone. Restoration Unlimited and the staff of the Goodrich have done a fantastic job restoring the library to its former glory, with new displays as well as offering regular services.

The library’s insurance will cover most of the restoration costs, but are still left with a $5,000 deductible payment.

If you would like to help, come out this Saturday to the library from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., for a special day filled with activities. All events are free and open to the public with the hope that donations will be generous.

Activities will include:

10:00 a.m. – Special story time featuring “SkippyJon Jones,” and other stories, a variety of crafts for kids with a chance to win SkippyJon Jones stuffed animal.

11:00 a.m. – Music by Nate Sargent and his guitar.

1:00 p.m. – We’ll be showing a brand new movie based on the bestselling novel about an astronaut who is presumed dead, after being left behind on a journey to Mars! Starring Jeff Daniels, Matt Damon, Michael Pena.

All Day – “Know Your Library Better Challenge.”

All Day – Bake Sale.

Raffle tickets on sale, and prizes include: 3 month Wellness Center membership, PumpHouse tickets for 4, Greens fee at Orleans Country Club, and more.

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Local United Way donates designer children’s clothing to NCH and Umbrella

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Zutano, a Vermont-based designer of children’s clothing, accessories and nursery products, recently made a donation of new children’s clothing to Green Mountain United Way to be distributed throughout its five-county region for families in need.

In Orleans County, some of that clothing was donated to North Country Hospital’s Maternal/Child Health Department and to the Umbrella office in Newport.

“The Maternal/Child Health Unit staff of NCH are extremely grateful to the Green Mountain United Way for choosing us to share their generous gift of beautiful, colorful, new infant and toddler clothing, said Director Ann-Marie Dohn. “The clothing will brighten many of our pediatric families’ day and hospital stay.”

Zutano is one of today’s most influential brands in children’s fashion. Founded in 1989, their clothing is known for its vibrant colors and original prints.

Pictured in the photo gallery above are Ann-Marie Dohn, Madeleine Roy, Marketing Director for GMUW, and Wendy Franklin, Director of Development & Community Relations at NCH. Also pictured are Roxie Rivard of Umbrella and Madeleine Roy.

For more information about Green Mountain United Way, you can visit www.gmunitedway.org or call their Derby Line office at 802-647-2148.

Man who stole guns and drugs from Newport Police evidence room pleads no contest

in Lowell/Newport/News/Troy

NEWPORT — The 20-year-old man who was charged with breaking into the evidence room at the Newport City Police Department and stealing guns and drugs, as well as burglarizing homes and businesses in Troy and Lowell, was in court on Tuesday where he pled no contest.

According to court records, Mikeal Rivers, of Troy, could end up serving anywhere from eight to 25 years behind bars for his crimes. As part of his plea deal Rivers had some charges dismissed, and he will be able to contest the length of his sentence, which will be decided by Judge Howard VanBenthuysen.

The crimes Rivers will be sentenced for go back to November 2014, with an overnight crime spree that occurred in Troy and Lowell.

Police say Rivers, along with an accomplice, began the night in a stolen vehicle that arrived at a home on Route 100 in Troy. They abandoned the vehicle on the property, and entered a garage and stole two ATVs. They then embarked on a rash of burglaries throughout the night in Lowell, ending in three homes and one business being broken into, most of which were occupied at the time of the robberies.

One of the charges Rivers had dismissed on Tuesday was grand larceny.

Then back in February of 2015, Rivers was arrested again after probation and parole officers notified the Newport City Police Department that they were at an apartment and discovered numerous evidence bags with the contents missing. The evidence bags had Newport City Police Department case numbers on them. Residents at the apartment told police they were left there by Rivers.

Officers went back and discovered that the secured evidence room had been entered by force. The room was locked at the time, and police say Rivers gained access by breaking a window in the door.

While police were on their way to the apartment they saw Rivers walking on Main Street. He attempted to run, but was apprehended and found to be in possession of the stolen evidence, including guns and drugs.

In court on Tuesday, Rivers pled no contest to 17 charges ranging from burglary and possession of heroin, to providing false information to implicate another. He could face up to 25 years behind bars for his crimes.

Police: Cocaine overdose the cause of death after car accident in Newport

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Police say the 29-year-old man from Massachusetts who was involved in a single-vehicle crash in Newport last week died in the hospital four days later as a result of what is being called an “acute cocaine overdose.”

Calvin Miranda, of Dedham, Massachusetts, was being treated at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center following the crash which took place on January 14.

The incident happened at around 8:40 a.m. on Vermont Route 100. Miranda left the roadway while traveling north, and struck a tree.

Police say that medical personnel determined Miranda had suffered an acute cocaine overdose, which resulted in his motor vehicle crash, of which they say he only sustained minor injuries.

The vehicle, a 2015 Nissan Altima, was totaled during the accident.

Miranda was transported to North Country Hospital before being transferred to Dartmouth Hitchcock.

Newport man who bragged of being top heroin dealer sentenced to prison

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — A Newport man who bragged to police that he was the top heroin dealer in the Newport area and broke an officer’s finger during his arrest, was sentenced to serve four and a half to eight years behind bars, after he pled guilty to charges last week.

Patrick J. Mullinex, 31, of Newport, pled guilty to three charges of selling heroin and a charge of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer.

Court records show that the Vermont Drug Task Force began watching Mullinex back in June 2014, and with the help of an informant approached him to buy two bags of heroin. After completing the first buy, police say that they arranged another buy, this time a bundle of ten bags.

The informant wore a wire when he met with Mullinex to purchase the drugs. Officers monitored the conversation, and with the help of the informant, set up two more buys, totaling about 1,595 milligrams of heroin.

Newport Police eventually moved in and arrested him. Police say he told them he was the top dealer in the area.

During the arrest, officers say they worried that he was having a seizure, and sat him down after fearing he might injure himself or others.

While seated, Mullinex kicked the inside of one of the officer’s knees, and then kicked his hand, breaking his right ring finger.

Last Wednesday, he was sentenced to serve four and a half to eight years in prison, and will receive credit for time already served.

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Phil White uninjured after truck goes through ice, recovery postponed until spring

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Kingdom Games Director Phil White says he will have to wait until spring to pull his truck out of Lake Memphremagog, after it went through the ice while he was out plowing the lake on Sunday.

White was working to prepare the ice for the upcoming Memphremagog Marathon Speedskating event that will take place on January 30 and 31. He had nicknamed the truck “Rolling Thunder.”

“Rolling Thunder went down, through the ice, in shallow water, 100 yards from shore,” White wrote.

He said he was able to exit the truck without any problems, and even had time to go back for his keys and his skates.

After contacting the Vermont Department of Natural Resources, he was told he will have to wait until spring to pull the truck out of the water.

“It was a warm day, early in the season, and I should have known better,” he said.

White sees Newport and Lake Memphremagog as a great venue for skating of all kinds, and created a series of winter games that include a pond hockey tournament, as well as a winter swim festival, to help promote the area through winter sports.

He says the ice on the plowed ovals remains great for skating, even if other areas of the lake can’t handle a 3/4-ton pickup with plow down.

He is also looking for help to recover his truck, issuing the following statement:

“Recovery of my truck, Rolling Thunder, will be an expensive undertaking. And yes, I am asking for help. My vision remains to establish Newport and Lake Memphremagog as a great place for lake skating and this is, without question, a huge setback. If you want to help, you can make a contribution online at the Paypal button below or send it to Kingdom Games, PO Box 310, Newport,VT 05855.”

To make a donation, CLICK HERE

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Closing reception for exhibition at the MAC next weekend, chance to win original artwork

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — A closing celebration of Lisa Eshleman Foster’s one woman exhibition at the MAC Center for the Arts will be held on Saturday January 23, from 12-5 p.m. The event will take place in the Downstairs Gallery at the MAC, located at 158 Main Street, in Newport.

This will be the last day to visit and view over 200 pieces of original work that make up the show “Ancestors…Going Way Back.”

All those who attended the opening reception and entered the raffle or attend this closing reception and enter the raffle will have the opportunity to win a piece of Lisa’s unique artwork.

Both raffles will be drawn at the end of the day January 23. You do not need not be present to win.

For those interested in purchasing one or more of Lisa Foster’s work to brighten up your space, most all of the 200 plus pieces will be reduced in price with a portion of the proceeds going to the MAC Center for the Arts. This sale does not extend to items in the upstairs gallery.

This will be the last time the public has a chance to view this particular installation.

Refreshments will also be served for those who attend.

Camouflaged Canadian caught smuggling 182 pounds of Xanax on sled in North Troy

in Newport/News/North Troy

NORTH TROY — Authorities say Cedrick Bourgault-Morin, 21, of Quebec, Canada has been charged by a criminal complaint with possessing with intent to distribute 182 pounds of Aprazolam, commonly known as Xanax.

According to the affidavit filed with the complaint, at approximately 1:00 a.m. on January 13, 2016, U.S. Border Patrol received notification of activity on the railroad tracks which lead from the international border into the village of North Troy.

This area is known to be used by smuggling organizations to smuggle people and goods into the United States. Three agents responded to the area. One agent tracked footprints in the snow from the border, while two others positioned themselves south of the suspected smuggler.

The southern agents observed Bourgault-Morin wearing white camouflage clothing, and walking on the tracks.

Bourgault-Morin was pulling a sled behind him, loaded with a large object wrapped in white camouflage. As Bourgault-Morin began to conceal the sled and its contents with snow, all three agents approached him, apprehended him, and seized the contents of the sled.

The agents discovered a large duffle bag on the sled. Upon further inspection at the Newport Station, the agents discovered the duffle to contain approximately 300 vacuum-sealed plastic bags containing pills. The pills bear markings consistent with those used to identify Xanax, which is a brand name for Aprazolam.

Aprazolam is a benzodiazepine class of psychoactive drug typically prescribed as an anti-anxiety medication. The 300 bags of pills weighed approximately 182 pounds, and have a value of approximately $1.6 million.

If convicted, Bourgault-Morin faces a maximum of five years of imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.

The United States Attorney emphasizes that the charge in the complaint is merely an accusation, and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty.

“This is a great example of some of the training and unique skills our agents use to perform their border security mission,” said U.S. Border Patrol Agent-in-Charge Fernando Beltran. “I commend these agents for their continued vigilance in tracking criminals, and for seizing harmful drugs before they get into our communities.”

Single-vehicle crash in Newport Tuesday morning

in Newport/News/North Troy

NEWPORT — Police say a 19-year-old man from North Troy is okay after a bad car crash that happened yesterday morning in Newport.

The single-vehicle accident took place on Tuesday at around 10 a.m., on Vermont Route 100 near Wheeler Corner Road.

Police say Cody Putvain, 19, of North Troy, was alone in his vehicle headed south when he traveled off the roadway down a steep embankment. He struck a tree, and continued on.

The vehicle traveled about another 300 feet through a property that is located at the end of Wheeler Corner Road, and into the trees before it finally stopped.

Because of the pitch of the embankment, the passenger’s side of the vehicle, including the roof, hit the tree and caused major damage, totaling the 2001 Chevy Impala.

Putvain was transported to North Country Hospital.

They also say that there were several witnesses, and the crash is still under investigation.

Goodrich Memorial Library closed after furnace leaves interior a sooty mess

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — The Goodrich Memorial Library will be closed for the next two weeks after the furnace began blowing sooty smoke inside the building last week.

The incident happened on December 30, when the building’s furnace failed, causing smoke to fill throughout the whole two-story building. The smoke caused alarms to go off, and the Newport City Fire Department were quick to respond.

Firefighters worked to clear the air by bringing in large fan units.

Although the furnace has since been fixed and a replacement part is on the way, the damage the smoke left behind is going to take a while to clean up.

The soot from the smoke has left a film on just about everything, from books and walls, to a collection of stuffed birds on the second floor of the historic building that were a gift to the library in the 1920s.

The library is currently being washed room by room by Restoration Unlimited, a carpet cleaning company in Newport.

Library events, such as the Vermont Humanities Council’s First Wednesdays series, have been moved to the Gateway Center.

At this time it is unknown what the total cost of the damages are. The library will remain closed until the cleanup is complete.

Award-winning Vermont author Katherine Paterson to give talk in Newport this Wednesday

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

UPDATE: The library has furnace problems and will be closed. Wednesday’s Humanities Program will be at the Gateway.

NEWPORT — Award-winning Vermont author Katherine Paterson will speak about the importance and many benefits of reading in a talk at the Goodrich Memorial Library this Wednesday, starting at 7:00 p.m.

Her talk, “Reading for the Life of the World,” is part of the Vermont Humanities Council’s First Wednesdays lecture series and is free and open to the public.

Paterson has twice won both the Newbery Medal and the National Book Award. She received the 1998 Hans Christian Andersen Medal as well as the 2006 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for her work.

The Vermont Humanities Council’s First Wednesdays series is held on the first Wednesday of every month from October through May in nine communities statewide, featuring speakers of national and regional renown.

Upcoming Newport talks include “Confused by the News?” with veteran journalists David Shribman and Cynthia Skrzycki on February 10, “Photographing Any Place: Real or Ideal?” with Vermont photographer John Miller on March 2, and “Myths of World War II” with UVM History Professor Emeritus Mark A. Stoler on April 6.

For more information, contact the Goodrich Memorial Library at 802.334.7902.

129-acre Bluffside Farm purchased by Vermont Land Trust

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — In response to community support, the Vermont Land Trust (VLT) purchased the 129-acre Bluffside Farm in Newport last Tuesday. VLT will be a temporary owner of the farm in order to create time to work with the Newport community on a long-term ownership plan.

VLT will engage with Newport residents on how to best maximize use of the land for purposes such as farming, recreation, and natural resource protection, but they don’t plan to be the long-term owner of the property.

“The Vermont Land Trust decided to step in as an interim owner, to give the community more time to explore what this property could mean to Newport going forward,” said Tracy Zschau, VLT’s Conservation Director.

When the news of the impending foreclosure auction for the Newport farm owned by the Scott family first surfaced, the Vermont Land Trust responded to community members who feel that the property is a special place with significant agricultural, recreational, natural resource, water quality and scenic value. It is in a prime city location located near the Beebe Spur rail trail, Prouty Beach, North Country Union High School, and North Country Hospital.

After a September 14, 2015 Newport City Council meeting, where a large show of interest and support from Newport residents spoke out in favor of protection of the property, VLT decided to buy the farm. The Vermont Land Trust found temporary financing that will create time for a community process.

Using a $1 million loan from The Conservation Fund, the Vermont Land Trust was able to purchase the property on December 22.

“In partnership with community members, the land trust looks forward to considering the best use of this property that is aligned with community needs,” Zschau said. “The first step will be getting residents out on the property, which generally has not been open to public access in the past.”

A former dairy, Bluffside Farm has more than 60 acres of high quality tillable land and pasture. It was owned by the Scott family for five generations and is the largest remaining agricultural property in Newport City.

The farm has just under a mile of undeveloped frontage on Lake Memphremagog, including a natural sand beach that is considered a Vermont Nongame and Natural Heritage site. Over half the frontage is on Scott’s Cove, directly across from Newport’s Prouty Beach recreation area and campground.

Pilings are still present from a pedestrian bridge that used to connect the properties. The entire property is enrolled in Vermont’s Current Use program and the woodland is subject to a forest management plan.

As a first step, public tours of the property will be offered by Vermont Land Trust on January 9 and 19 at 1 p.m.

The tours are for community members interested in the future of the land. Attendees will meet at the farm, located at 171 Scott Farm Road, for a walk and to learn more about the property from VLT staff members.

Tour participants should come ready for the weather.

Screen Shot 2015-12-29 at 4_Fotor_Collage

NCRC cuts programs coordinator position, looking for new executive director

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — On Monday, the Newport City Renaissance Corporation (NCRC) board of directors, citing budgetary reasons, announced its decision to eliminate the organization’s programs coordinator position.

This part-time position was held by Julie Raboin.

The NCRC board is now looking to hire an executive director in the near future. This is planned as a full-time, year round, salaried position, with a base salary of up to $40,000 annually.

Until an executive director is in place, there will be a period of time when NCRC has no staff. Previously, Patricia Sears served as executive director for seven years before stepping down in 2014.

Recruitment for an executive director has been in progress since November. The NCRC board says they are currently reviewing applicant qualifications.

The new executive director will play an important role in overseeing the groups mandate as a driver and catalyst for economic change and community development. 

The executive director will also serve as the chief executive officer.

The executive director’s work will include helping attract new industry and commerce to spur job creation in Newport; promoting general public awareness of the potential of Newport; coordinating NCRC volunteer committees and acting as a liaison between those committees and the Board; overseeing NCRC fundraising activities and managing the approved NCRC budget; and acting as the main contact person with Local, State and Federal authorities responsible for Main Street programs.

With there currently being no NCRC staff, should an organization or individual need to contact a representative, they are asked to reach out to the board of directors at ncrcbod@gmail.com.

AARP Vermont Offers Community Action Sponsorship Program in Newport

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — AARP Vermont is now accepting applications for the 2016 Community Action Sponsorship Program — a program to provide modest grant funds and technical support to community groups or individuals. The initiative is part of the Age Friendly Communities initiative aimed at preparing Newport for the rapidly aging demographic shift – particularly in the areas of housing, mobility and community engagement.

AARP is partnering with the Newport City Renaissance Corporation on this effort.

“These sponsorships are intended to inspire and support grassroots groups that have a vision for their neighborhood or the city and how it can be improved to the meet the needs of all residents,” said Kelly Stoddard Poor of AARP Vermont. “This is a great opportunity for ad hoc neighborhood-based groups, small non-profits, PTOs, and NPAs to advance their work,” she said.

The Community Action Sponsorships will provide financial and other support to groups within Newport that will advocate for improvements in the following areas:

– Affordable housing options for older residents
– Delivery of services to help older residents age in the setting of their choice
– Implementation of Complete Streets: Pedestrian & Bike infrastructure (sidewalks, amenities for walkers and bikers, public art, safe street crossings, bike lanes, navigation, etc.)
– Public transit
– Fostering intergenerational and multi-cultural connection
– Financial security for low income older residents
– Socialization and fostering community connection for older residents
– Education and awareness about LGBTQ elders
– Community accessibility for residents with disabilities

AARP will select up to three groups for one-year funding in the range of $500-$2,000 each. Deadline for applications is January 29, 2016.

Information on the sponsorship program along with a downloadable RFP and application can be found at www.discovernewportvt.com.

Questions can be directed to Kelly Stoddard Poor at 802-951-1313 or kstoddardpoor@aarp.org

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