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QNEK set to present Nunsense A-Men, starting Friday

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — QNEK Productions is thrilled to be bringing back the little sisters of Hoboken in an all new and hilarious production of Nunsense A-Men! It’s the Nunsense you know and love, but this time starring all men. Think of it as “Mrs. Doubtfire enters the Convent.”

You won’t want to miss this new twist on a QNEK favorite.

Nunsense A-Men! begins when the Little Sisters of Hoboken discover that their cook, Sister Julia, Child of God, has accidentally poisoned 52 of the sisters, and they are in dire need of funds for the burials. The sisters decide that the best way to raise the money is to put on a variety show, so they take over the school auditorium, which is currently set up for the eighth grade production of “Grease.”

Directed by QNEK’s Founder and Artistic Director, Lynn Leimer, Nunsense A-Men! features Brian McCrae, Ron St. John, Tim Daley, Mike Desjardins, and Todd Cubit with Janice Luce on the piano and Sean MacAllister on the drums.

Behind the scenes support comes from Assistant Director Anita Mayhew, Stage Managers Judy Castonguay and Sue Kuzma, Tech Director Dennis Zeigler, Lighting Designer David Harrison, and Light board Operator Sara Cubit.

Featuring star turns, tap and ballet dancing, an audience quiz, and comic surprises, this show has become an international phenomenon. With more than 5000 productions worldwide, it has been translated into 21 languages and this year marks the 20th Anniversary of QNEK’s first production! Nunsense A-Men!

The show plays September 11th through the 20th at the Haskell Opera House on Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Tickets are available by calling the QNEK Box Office at 802-334-2216, reserving by email at qnek.com, by advance purchase online or by phone at catamountarts.org, the Catamount Arts Box Office at 888-757-5559, and by advanced purchase at the MAC Center for the Arts in downtown Newport.

Photo clockwise from top Left: Todd Cubit, Brian McCrae, Tim Daley, Ron St. John, Mike Desjardins. Tim Daley seen in cover photo.

Nunsense Collage

Letter to the Editor: The chicken kerfuffle in Newport is over

in Newport

The following letter to the editor was submitted by Newport resident Diana Mara Henry.

After last week’s Planning Commission meeting, it was decided that there is no point in limiting the number of chickens in Newport, and that a simple change to the bylaws requiring fencing and no roosters would suffice. As the Mayor requested that there not be an ordinance that would make more demands of the police department, and as the animal control officer, one of the Planning Commissioners reminded us, can do nothing about nuisance animals on private property but only about those that are loose. So as to the hens now said to be running around on the Bluff Road, the Planning Commission is working with animal control to use the tools at their disposal to ensure the public safety.

Anyone who has not attended one of these meetings because they think they might be boring should think again: at the last meeting, Newport’s most prominent citizen swore to shoot any chicken that came into his yard, at which point a couple of the Planning Commissioners alerted him to the fact that shooting is against the law within city limits. And it was brought out that the head of Planning has no written complaints for this most extensively debated measure of control for the half dozen or so homeowners who are making an effort to be locavores. However, it was snappishly agreed that any complainants henceforth would be required to “sign a paper” which should be reassuring to anyone who has been, is, or will be pursued by the city for planning action engendered by an alledged complaint.

Another Planning Commissioner has decided to drop his ongoing single-minded focus on “taking away the chickens” from those who have them now, and decided to extend his fellow-citizens respect and reprieve from threats and abuse. Most encouragingly, Mr. Charles Elliott has decided that his original enthusiasm for modeling Newport on South Burlington, requiring $30 licensing fee and “inspection,” followed by $10 yearly relicensing fees and “reinspection” is not worth the time and effort, given the handful of residents who would be involved, the clear language of the Vermont State code 24 V.S.A. 4413(d) forbidding zoning bodies to regulate poultry, and realizing that his focus and that of the Commissioners as a body would be more honorably and efficiently employed if turned to recouping the tax revenues lost by the unfulfilled commitment resulting in a derelict downtown and the non-payment of rents owed by contract for ships at the Gateway, which would engender at least a hundred times more revenue for his city.

Hurray for the Planning Commission! And if you think this is just wishful thinking, do come to the next Planning Commmission Meeting on Tuesday, September 15th at 7 p.m. at Newport City Hall and see for yourselves….

Diana Mara Henry

Newport City Flower Pot Program seeking sponsors

in Newport/News/Uncategorized

NEWPORT — A few years back Penny Thomas went door-to-door seeking money to kickstart a beautification program in Newport City. Now, the Newport City Renaissance Corporation (NCRC) is overseeing the project, and they are seeking community sponsors to continue to keep the project going.

NCRC is happy to present The Newport City Flower Pot Program. The project, spearheaded by Penny Thomas, began with hanging flower baskets on Main Street and has expanded across Veteran’s Memorial Bridge and East Main Street. The concrete urns full of flowers on the Causeway and the street-level whiskey barrels on Main Street are also part of this beautification program.

Thomas grew the program to its current size, and in 2015, passed the torch to NCRC. NCRC’s Design Committee gladly accepted the task of overseeing the flowers. 

NCRC is now seeking local support to continue the program into the future.

Each flower pot is valued at $180.00, which covers spring set-up, summer-long watering and fertilizing, and annual equipment maintenance.  

NCRC welcomes those interested to sponsor a flower pot or multiple pots to help out. Simple donations of any amount are also welcome.  

Donations can be made online, by mail, or in person.

For more information, Click Here.

Boston Theater group returning to Newport

in Newport

NEWPORT — The HealthWorks/NEKLS Coalition and Orleans County Restorative Justice Center are sponsoring performances and youth workshops with the Boston-based theater group the Improbable Players, as well as local actor Rusty DeWees.

The Gateway Center will be the venue for a September 23rd performance at 7:00 p.m. of the Improbable Player’s program “Running on E,” which is a story about four friends, divided by their opinions about drinking and drug use.

The show is described as a vivid portrayal of the hope and reality of recovery.

The Improbable Players use theater to address public health issues and solutions to those issues through improvisational workshops and performances.

Four actors from Improbable Players will present the program at NCUHS on September 23, followed by an afternoon improv workshop. The show will be held at Lake Region Union High School on September 24.

The Improbable Players performed at NCUHS in April and worked with youth to develop skits, and did a public program of performances ending with a dialogue with the audience in Newport. Following the workshop with Improbable Players, NCUHS students continued working on skits, and performed for middle school students in Lowell in June.

Rusty DeWees, local actor and comedian, also has taken time to promote positive lifestyle choices among high school age kids through his career.

Following the Improbable Players workshop, DeWees will meet with youth at Goodrich Memorial Library on September 30 at 3 p.m. to help develop skits with positive messages to perform at local middle schools. He will start off the workshop by performing comedy and music.

Workshops are for ages 12 through 22.

For more information contact Lesley Becker, HealthWorks Coalition Prevention Coordinator, at 802-334-2725.

Missing Newport man found dead in Barton River

in Glover/Newport/News

GLOVER — Police are reporting that Travis Stuart, 41, of Newport, was found deceased in the Barton River, approximately 1/2 mile from where he went missing on Tuesday.

They say that there is no evidence at this time to indicate this as being a suspicious death or involving foul play.

Stuart’s death is still under investigation and pending an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death.

On Tuesday night police began searching for Stuart after he went missing in Glover while working at a farm located near the Junction of VT-16 and VT-122.

The tractor he was using was located at the edge of a field at around 11:30 a.m., but Stuart was gone.

The Vermont State Police Search and Rescue Team, Derby Troopers, VSP K9, Orleans County Sheriff’s Deputies, Newport Police, and the Glover Fire Department continued the search Wednesday.

Just after 10 a.m., police say they located his body in the Barton River.

Police search for missing Newport man last seen in Glover

in Glover/Newport/News

GLOVER — Police said Tuesday night that they were searching for a 41-year-old man from Newport who went missing in Glover.

At around 6 p.m. police were notified that Travis Lee Stuart, 41, of Newport, was missing. His mother reported that he was last known to be tedding hay at a farm field in Glover.

The farm is located near the Junction of VT-16 and VT-122.

Stuart works as a farm hand on a nearby farm located on Dexter Mountain Road in Glover, about three miles from the field.

The tractor was located at the edge of the field around 11:30 a.m., but Stuart was gone.

Since he had not reported back at the farm or his home in Newport, family members became increasingly concerned and notified police this evening.

The Vermont State Police Search and Rescue Team, Derby Troopers, VSP K9, Orleans County Sheriff’s Deputies, Newport Police, and the Glover Fire Department are continuing to search at this time.

At this time authorities are requesting anyone who has seen Travis Stuart or knows his whereabouts to contact the Vermont State Police.

A photo of Stuart can be seen below:

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Jenny Dunne and Phil Gosselin set to bring Broadway & Beyond to Newport

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — Jenny Dunne and Phil Gosselin, two local artists just finishing up their Suds appearances for QNEK, are bringing the bright lights of Broadway and beyond to the Now Playing Newport stage.

The two will be bringing old treasures and new classics from the Great White Way as this crackerjack pair sings your musical favorites.

The show starts Saturday, September 5, at 7 p.m. at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, located at 44 Second Street in Newport. Reception with the artists will follow the show.

Selections will include: “If I loved You” from Carousel, “I Have Dreamed” from the King and I, “On the Street Where You live” from My Fair Lady, “Ya Got Trouble” from the Music Man, “Love, You Didn’t Do Right by Me” from White Christmas, and many more.

Jenny Dunne is an actor and singer originally from Colorado who relocated to the Northeast Kingdom recently from New York. She holds a degree in Theatre Performance from the University of Colorado at Boulder and has been lucky enough to perform acting, improv, and music professionally across the United States and in Ireland.

Jenny works at QNEK Productions as an Associate Producing Director and is looking forward to directing the final show of their season, Steel Magnolias.

Phil Gosselin is a native Vermonter who has returned to the Northeast Kingdom in 2012 with partner Jenny Dunne. With a BFA in Musical Theatre Performance from Syracuse University, Gosselin has worked as an actor, regionally along the eastern coast of the United States, and now produces and directs theatre alongside his fiancee Jenny Dunne, with QNEK Productions, Theatre Company in Residence at the Haskell Opera House.

Tickets are $10 available, and available at http://www.nowplayingnewport.com/season.html

Newport man gets 16 months in prison after standoff with police

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Derick Niles, 37, of Newport, was sentenced on Tuesday to 16 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, on his conviction for being a drug user in possession of a firearm.

Niles’s federal conviction arose from his September 25, 2013, confrontation with various law enforcement agencies from the roof of his Newport garage, armed with a rifle.

Niles had also ordered his teenage son into the woods with another loaded rifle to maintain a second firing position. The stand-off lasted about five hours.

Earlier this year, Niles pleaded guilty to the federal charge, and admitted being a drug user.

At the sentencing hearing on Tuesday, the Court rejected his argument that his actions could be partially excused by his drug use at the time of the confrontation. Niles has multiple prior misdemeanor convictions for various crimes during 1995-2014.

Niles has been in custody of the U.S. Marshal’s Service since June of 2015. The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, and the Newport Police Department.

Derby native Nick Fortin to lead state’s deer management program

in Derby/Newport/Vermont

DERBY — Vermont Fish & Wildlife has hired a new biologist, Nicholas Fortin, to lead the state’s deer management program.

Fortin grew up in Derby, and is a 2001 graduate of North Country Union High School in Newport.

He has an associate’s degree in fish and wildlife technology at Paul Smiths College in New York, a Bachelor of Science degree in wildlife ecology at the University of Maine, and his Master of Science degree in natural resources-wildlife at the University of New Hampshire.

Fortin is currently conducting disease research for both the Washington and Idaho Departments of Fish and Wildlife.

“I’m super excited to get this job, being able to return to my home state of Vermont and working on a wildlife species, white-tailed deer, that I am passionate about,” said Fortin. “This is a great opportunity to work for the Fish & Wildlife Department and interact with the state’s hunters and others who care about deer.”

He will start work in Vermont on September 14.

Fortin has previously done research and assisted in management of moose and deer in New Hampshire, mule deer and moose habitat in Wyoming, and deer wintering areas in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom.

“We look forward to having Nick Fortin join our team of wildlife scientists in doing research and management to help conserve Vermont’s wildlife and their habitats,” said Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter. “Nick will be the lead person on the deer project with collaboration from other biologists on the big game team and from different regions.”

nick fortin

Fire Sunday night destroys Newport home

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — A home in Newport Center was destroyed after a fire broke out at around 6 p.m. Sunday evening. Authorities say the house is considered a total loss, with damages estimated at around $240,000.

The home, located on the corner of Logan Road, and Poginy Hill Road, was completely engulfed in flames when firefighters arrived.

Firefighters battled the blaze for several hours until it was finally extinguished. The scene was finally cleared at around midnight.

Authorities say that the homeowner was Allen Matten, and that he and his son were uninjured during the incident.

On Monday morning fire investigators with the Vermont State Police and the Division of Fire Safety began conducting an investigation to determine the cause of the blaze. The investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with any information regarding the fire is being asked to contact Detective Sergeant Todd Ambroz of the Vermont State Police in Williston at 802-878-7111.

Work on Newport Substation starts this week

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Work begins this week on the Newport Substation. The Vermont Electric Power Company (VELCO) says that there will be an increase in truck traffic as they access the project site by way of Clyde Street.

The work includes limited tree clearing, ground grading, and construction to upgrade the existing VELCO substation and to relocate the Vermont Electric Cooperative substation within the VELCO substation fence. The upgrades are necessary to maintain system reliability.

Tree clearing will begin this week followed by below-grade site work through fall. The below-grade site work will resume in the spring of 2016. Truck traffic associated with material hauling and concrete foundation installations will occur during this phase.

Above-grade construction will also take place through fall and resume in spring 2016. Commissioning and operation of the upgraded substations is anticipated for the fall 2016.
 
Construction activities will be restricted to the hours between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday and between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. on Saturdays, in accordance with the Vermont Public Service Board’s order.

No construction activities or deliveries may occur on Sundays or state or federal holidays.

These restrictions won’t apply to construction activities that must be performed during required outages needed to maintain system reliability.

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Volunteers wanted for Newport Jazz Festival

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — With the first ever Newport Jazz Festival just around the corner, planning for the event is in full gear. Organizers are seeking help from the community and welcoming volunteers, starting with an organizational meeting this Saturday.

output_vN5eglAnyone wanting to get involved and help out with the upcoming Newport Vermont Jazz Festival is invited to a meeting on July 18, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The meeting will take place in the Conference Room upstairs from Newport Natural on Main Street.

Organizers are looking to get people involved in the following areas:

1. Staffing the “Green Room” – offering refreshments for the musicians.

2. Selling Tickets for the Evening Performances in the Gateway Center.

3. Assisting the Stage Managers.

4. Ambassadors – directing people, answering questions, helping out of town tourists.

5. Musical Equipment movers – helping to speed up the transition time between bands.

The group is also inviting anyone to offer their own special skills that can help assist in the event, so come on out Saturday find out how you can get involved.

The Newport Jazz Festival will take place on August 7, 8, and 9th in downtown Newport.

For more information visit the event’s Facebook page at:

Facebook.com/NewportVermontJazzFestival

Or the website at:

NewportVtMusic.com

Affidavit paints grisly crime scene during Newport stabbing

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — A recently released affidavit describes a frightening and grisly scene during the early morning hours at a Newport apartment, where a woman was stabbed by her husband in the neck and abdomen.

Roberto Vargas, 53, of Newport, was in court on Monday where he pled not guilty to the charges he faces after allegedly stabbing his wife.

The incident took place on Saturday morning at around 12:26 a.m., at the suspect’s Central Street apartment.

The affidavit, filed by Newport Police Officer Tanner Jacobs, states that while being treated at North Country Hospital, the victim told police that the stabbing took place after an argument.

The victim told police that Vargas had been watching the horror film “Scream,” which has a scene where one of the characters is stabbed. She told police that Vargas said something to the effect of “I wish I could do that and get away with it.”

The affidavit goes on to say that the two continued arguing, which continued through text messages when Vargas went upstairs to the bedroom.

The victim described Vargas as “intoxicated” at the time.

When Vargas stopped responding to the text messages, the woman went upstairs into the bedroom. She told police that she did not remember what happened next, other than receiving a “sharp poke” in the neck.

Police say they found the victim bleeding profusely from a neck wound two and a half inches long, and a quarter of an inch deep. She was also bleeding from a wound in her abdomen.

Police say that when they arrived, Vargas willingly surrendered to arrest, however, they did not immediately find the knife, which had been stuffed in some insulation in the basement. The knife is said to have a four inch blade.

The crime scene was described as having blood on the floor, walls, and bed.

In court on Monday, Vargas pled not guilty to the charges of 2nd degree attempted murder, 1st degree aggravated domestic assault with a weapon, as well as violating his probation.

If convicted Vargas could be sentenced to a possible life sentence.

Letter to the Editor: What the Cluck?

in Newport

The following letter to the editor was submitted by Newport resident Diana Henry.

When I was little, my father used to say when they couldn’t hear me playing and it was too quiet in the house: “Go tell Diana, whatever she’s doing, to STOP IT!”

The Newport Planning Commission has adopted that practice, apparently. Now that a block of mainstreet has left a gaping hole in our town center and tax revenues, with the ANC Bio building at a halt, they are apparently unaware of having any other fish to fry, than planning at a meeting on Tuesday at 7 to limit the number of chickens folks can have in Newport. As a friend, says: “What the Cluck?”

It’s not just limiting the number of chickens…oh, you might think, no roosters to wake up the neighbors / no disturbance-causing animals outside the limits of a property. I am sure there are already noise ordinances and public nuisance ordinances in Newport, but after all, the Planning Commission is looking for meaningful employment…

But no, they are planning to limit folks to 6 birds within the limits of a property THREE ACRES or less…Now I ask you, how many folks in Newport have a property of three acres or more? Is food self-sufficiency limited to only estate-holders with a safe in the basement?

If people are to build fencing high enough and sturdy enough to keep in fowl, it is too expensive for many home owners, certainly for apartment dwellers, to envision without perhaps a cooperative arrangement of friends or neighbors to share the burden of time and cost. Even if they are flying solo, let them have a little bit of that old-timey Vermont freedom and new-fangled food self-sufficiency. City Planners: What the Cluck!

Diana Henry
Prospect Street, Newport

Newport man charged with attempted homicide after knife attack

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — A Newport man is being held without bail and will face charges of attempted homicide, after an early morning knife attack.

Newport police say that Roberto Vargas, 53, of Newport, was taken into custody without incident after police responded to Central Street for a reported stabbing.

The incident took place at around 12:26 a.m. on Saturday morning.

According to a statement issued by police, the victim was transported to North Country Hospital by Newport Ambulance to be treated for her injuries.

Vargas is being held without bail at the Northern State Correctional Facility.

He will face charges of attempted homicide and aggravated domestic assault.

Newport police were assisted at the crime scene by the Vermont State Police, the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department, and the U.S. Border Patrol.

Car, farm tractor crash in Newport

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — The man who rolled a 20,000 pound farm tractor over seven police cars back in August of 2012, was involved in another tractor versus vehicle collision on Tuesday afternoon.

Police say that Roger Pion, 37, of Newport, struck a 2013 Mercedes as it was attempting to pass him as he began to turn left at the intersection of Vermont Route 100 and Vermont Route 14 in Newport Center.

Pion was driving a 2007 Case International Magnum 255 tractor at the time.

The crash caused serious front-end damage to the vehicle, and the tractor lost a front tire during the incident.

Theresa Breault, 76, of Morrisville was the driver of the Mercedes.

Two passengers in her car, Arthur Breault, 81, and Arthur McNeill, 71, both of Morrisville, were transported to North Country Hospital for minor non-life-threatening injuries.

State Police, Newport Ambulance, and Newport Center Fire responded to the scene at around 1:15 p.m. on Tuesday, with Vermont Route 14 and Vermont Route 100 closed for a short time while rescue crews worked to secure the area.

Police say that the crash is still under investigation.

MAC Center for the Arts celebrates fifth annual Art in Bloom

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — Mark your calendars, because you won’t want to miss this summertime hallmark event. The MAC Center for the Arts will kick off the Fifth Annual Art in Bloom replete with a Vernissage, Thursday, July 23 from 5-7 p.m.

Every third week of July, MAC hosts Art in Bloom, a glorious three day extravaganza of floral decorations created in collaboration with the Four Seasons Garden Club and inspired by works on display at the MAC Center for the Arts.

Art in Bloom takes place all over the country, in venues great and small, where beautiful floral arrangements are matched with visual arts and handcrafts making for an impressive event for gardeners and art lovers alike.

The benefit evening for both the MAC and the Four Seasons Garden Club, will have a few lucky patrons leaving with some fabulous door prizes.

Tickets are on sale at the MAC for $10 or from any participating MAC member or Four Seasons Garden Club member.

The show will run July 24 and July 25, from 10-5 p.m.

As an added bonus, attendees will be delighted to have the distinct opportunity to visit the Downstairs Gallery and enjoy the retrospective artwork by Donna Jean Safford, 25 Years of Painting 1990-2015, on view until September 8, 2015.

Take time out of your busy schedule to smell the roses, come to the Art in Bloom.

The MAC Center for the Arts is located at 158 Main Street, in downtown Newport.

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

All photos courtesy of the MAC Center for the Arts.
All photos courtesy of the MAC Center for the Arts.

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All photos by Phil White.

Scenes from the Harry Corrow Freedom Run

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — For yet another year, runners in the Harry Corrow Freedom Run celebrated Freedom. Freedom from asphalt, and freedom to choose your distance, even midway through the event.

The run showcases the Newport — Derby Bike Path and the wonderful trail system of Memphremagog Ski Touring Foundation. Runners had a choice of 10 mile, 10K, 5K and 1 mile distances.

Runners in the 10K and 10 mile courses repeatedly said how much they loved the mix of the bike path and the MSTF trails, especially the single track loop just added by Bob Primeau to give runners a clean 3.5 miles within the MSTF part of the course.

In the 10 Mile Run, Stuart Jensen, 51, of Lyndonville, with a time of 1:14:39, and Dot Martin, 54, of Montpelier, with a time of 1:19:57 took home first place.

Mark Howard, 53, of Marshfield, (1:30:41) and Jeremy Smith, of Jacksonville, Florida (1:33:09) finished second and third among the men, while Lisa Whitney, 42, of St. Johnsbury, (1:30:08) and Mary Hennessy, 61, of Burlington, (1:30:28) took second and third place among the women.

All photos by Phil White.
All photos by Phil White.

Paul Chambers, 25 of Island Pond grabbed first place in the 10K course with a time of 0:45:42, while Janet Grimes, 52, of Shelburne Falls, Mass, was first among the women with a time of 1:19:57.

Bill Brown, Jr. 35, of Newport Center, and Kevin Gill, 38 of Island Pond, took 2nd and 3rd place among the men.
Former Falcon cross country star, Andrew Franklin, 18, of Newport, took the 5K run with a blistering time of 0:21:20. James Cilwik, 11, of Derby, and Andrew Drageset, 13, finished second and third among the men with ties of 0:26:51 and 0:28:46 respectively.

On the women’s side of things, Rachel Petzoldt, 16, of Westfield, claimed first place (second overall) with a time of 0:28:51, while Eliza Farber of Montclair, New Jersey, and Olivia Berthiume,14, of Westfield brought in times of 0:30:39 and 0:31:13.

The One Miler saw Rachel Farber, 14 and Grace Melville, 13, both of Montclair, New Jersey, both take first place with shared times of 0:09:41.

Next runs by Kingdom Games: A 2.5 mile trail run from South Beach of Lake Willoughby on July 18th and the 5 and 10 mile runs at the Echo Lake Road Race & Swim on August 22nd.

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Towels to blame for small fire at Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Investigators say that towels that were used for cleaning and stored in a bag spontaneously combusted inside the Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center in Newport on Monday night.

The Newport City Fire Department was notified of smoke inside the building at around 11:55 p.m.

When they arrived on the scene, they found that the building was full of smoke. Once inside the firefighters found a shopping cart containing a bag of towels that was smoking. They pushed the cart outside where it burst into flames.

They were quickly able to extinguished the fire, and removed the smoke from the building.

On Tuesday a fire investigation unit was sent to the Tasting Center to conduct an investigation. They determined the cause of the fire as spontaneous heating.

Authorities say the the fire was caused because the towels, even though they were laundered, had chemical residue still on them, and once stored in a bag set off a chemical reaction that led to their combustion.

“Please remember to store rags and towels that have oil or grease or other chemicals on them in an area that would allow good ventilation, and do not keep them in a bag or other container that would provide insulation and allow for spontaneous heating,” Paul Cerutti, Assistant State Fire Marshal said.

The damage is estimated at $5,000.

Memphremagog Watershed Association hosts Blueberries for Blue Waters Workshop

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — For the second year the Memphremagog Watershed Association (MWA) held a “Blueberries for Blue Waters Workshop.”

MWA members Ginnie & Bob Bowman hosted the event on June 27. The workshop included a presentation by Perry Thomas, Manager for Lakes and Ponds Management about the nearshore ecology and relationship to shorelands.

Perry also invited participants to view some of the lake shore critters via a dissecting microscope. 

Judy Davis of the Federation of Vermont Lakes and Ponds (FOVLAP) provided information about planting and caring for blueberries and discussed the benefits of vegetative buffers.

All participants received four mature blueberry plants, a variety to promote healthy pollination, soil amendments, handouts to support “Lake Wise” best practices and a shoreland management buffer pledge.


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For the past few years, Vermont lake associations and homeowners wishing to learn more about managing their properties for lake health have had the opportunity to receive workshops, educational materials, and plants to help defray the cost of planting buffers.

Through the Buffers for Blue Lakes program, lake associations invited local homeowners to attend a workshop where they learned about lake ecology and the role that shoreland buffers play in creating healthy shallow water ecosystems.

In addition to the workshop and educational materials, homeowners on each lake received blueberry plants, soil amendments, and technical support for planting their blueberries.

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Photos courtesy of the Vermont State Police.

Two Newport residents arrested while trying to steal a boat

in Derby/Newport/News

DERBY — Two Newport residents are behind bars after a bizarre incident that took place at a home in Sunset Acres on Sunday morning.

Police say that Spencer Lucas, 25, and Danual Morrow, 42, are accused of going on a crime spree along the Newport bike path, that ended in the two trying to steal a boat from a residence.

A witness to the incident says that they had the boat running, and were attempting to get it off of the lift, when the boat owner came out and asked what was going on.

They are reported to have said that they were repossessing the boat, and then came up on the property and started looking around the tool shed. The boat owner asked again what they were doing, when one of the suspects replied, “we’re looking to see what else you got.”

It’s alleged that at some point they threatened to kill the boat owner. Both are said to have resisted arrest.

Through investigation police say it was determined that they attempted to steal several boats and caused various damage during the crime spree. Police say Lucas and Morrow were found in possession of stolen property and Lucas was in possession of a controlled substance.

Photos courtesy of the Vermont State Police.
Photos courtesy of the Vermont State Police.

Both were lodged at Northern State Correctional Facility for violations of their probation and parole.

They are facing charges of theft, unlawful mischief, unauthorized use of boat, and possession of narcotics.

A statement issued by police lists the victims as Gerald West, Donald Chapdelaine, and David Dahl.

Your guide to Fourth of July fireworks, events in Orleans County

in Barton/Derby/Island Pond/Newport/News/Westmore

NEWPORT — The Fourth of July falls on a Saturday this year, which seems extra conducive to a celebration. Pack the family, the lawn chairs and blankets, and head out to watch some fireworks, hear some live music, or take in a boat parade on this annual rite of summer.

Here are some of the events in Orleans County you won’t want to miss on Independence Day:

NEWPORT

Gardner Park will feature an afternoon and evening of music, bed races, hula hooping competition, vendors and more. Classic rock band The Hitmen will be one of the featured bands at this year’s festivities, with fireworks starting at 9:45 p.m.

The Farmers’ Market will even be open from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m, featuring music, vegetables, and fresh grass fed beef for those burgers.

DERBY

A parade on Main Street will start at 10 a.m.

NORTH TROY

A parade will start at 11 a.m., followed by a chicken barbecue.

ISLAND POND

The 4th of July celebration in Island Pond will be Friday, Saturday and Sunday July 3rd – 5th. Fireworks will be on Friday night at dusk. There will be events held throughout the weekend. The annual parade will be on Saturday at 11 a.m.

WESTMORE

The annual 4th of July Boat Parade will line up off Crescent Beach on Lake Willoughby at 3:45 p.m. Come out and relax on the beach and enjoy the show.

BARTON

The Barton fire Department and Orleans County Fair Association, in partnership with community sponsors, will bring the July 4th parade to Barton once again. The parade will start at 2 p.m. and will proceed from Main Street to Glover Street, Elm Street, Park Street, Roaring Brook Road and end at the fairgrounds.

The fireworks will be held at the fairgrounds at dusk.

ORLEANS COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS

An Independence Day Celebration will take place at Orleans County Fairgrounds in Barton during the day on Friday, July 4th. Activities will include antique/farm tractor pull, horse & pony pull, gymkhana, horseshoe competition, games, food and more.

GREENSBORO

Friday July 3rd – FIREWORKS – at dusk off Lake Shore Road. A good place to watch is the baseball field or public beach.

Saturday July 4th – PARADE – line up starts at 9:15 a.m. – walkers and antique cars will line up at the new fire station, everyone else on Lake Shore Road – all are welcome to be in the Parade.

The Parade starts promptly at 10 a.m. and ends at the Town Hall Green where there will be music and activities for children.

You can purchase a Chicken BBQ lunch including coleslaw, roll, beverage and dessert from the UCC for $10.00, please call 802-533-2223 to reserve your meal.

Saturday July 4th – SQUARE DANCE – in the Tent on the Town Hall Green, from 7 – 9 p.m. The Caller is Robin Russell with music by Pete’s Posse.

Admission is $5.00, children under 12 free. Sponsored by Greensboro Arts Alliance and Residency

Lenning and kayaker Don Houghton Jr. of Craftsbury in Derby Bay heading north.

Craig Lenning completes 25 mile swim from Newport to Magog

in Magog/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Craig Lenning, 36, from Denver, Colorado and his wife, May Spengler, came to town to quietly take care of some unfinished business. A 25 mile international swim between Newport, Vermont and Magog, Quebec.

Twice denied in September of 2014, first by a thunderstorm and then by a sudden illness, Lenning was able to pass in his third attempt at this 25 mile international swim.

Leaning battled 10 to 15 mile headwinds during miles 4 through 8 and again at 10 through 12. Once he passed Georgeville they turned to crosswinds. The skies were sunny and fair most of the way, with water temperatures ranging from 62 to 66 degrees.

Things were looking good until mile 19, when nausea began to take over. Boat fumes from a shifting wind were a contributing factor.

Lenning faced off a difficult final 6 miles, but was not to be denied, finishing in a time of 15 hours and 5 minutes. A light shower and a brilliant double rainbow greeted him as he passed by the Three Sister Islands, two miles out.

Lenning, his wife and crew May Spengler, and Don Houghton, Jr. at the City Dock at the start. All photos by Phil White.
Lenning, his wife and crew May Spengler, and Don Houghton, Jr. at the City Dock at the start. All photos by Phil White.

Lenning showed serious determination to finish just as the sun was setting.

Don Houghton, Jr. of Craftsbury, kayaked for him the entire swim, with Phil White and May Spengler providing support from a pontoon boat generously provided by Fran Azur and Melanie Gefert.

  Lenning and kayaker Don Houghton Jr. of Craftsbury in Derby Bay heading north.
Lenning and kayaker Don Houghton Jr. of Craftsbury in Derby Bay heading north.
Lenning swimming by Georgeville.
Lenning swimming by Georgeville.

Pianist Michael Arnowitt to play Beethoven piano sonatas this Sunday in Newport

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

NEWPORT — He’s been called one of the most creative and imaginative musicians of today. This Sunday, as part of the Now Playing Newport Music Series, Pianist Michael Arnowitt will be in town to perform the last three Beethoven piano sonatas.

Arnowitt is well known for his beautiful and sensitive touch at the keyboard, for the clarity and elegance of his musical ideas, for his abilities to find new articulations and colors from the piano, and for his innovative and thought-provoking concert programs.

“Beethoven & Arnowitt VIII” is Michael Arnowitt’s final concert in his 26-year long odyssey to perform the 32 Beethoven piano sonatas.

Starting in 1989 when he was 26 years old, Michael Arnowitt began a series of eight concerts, matching up his age as he performs the various sonatas with Beethoven’s age as Beethoven composed them. 2015 marks the end of this novel study into the psychology of aging and development with a program of Beethoven’s final three piano sonatas op. 109, 110, and 111, universally regarded as among the most spiritual and transcendent music of all time.

The program will take place on Sunday, June 28, beginning at 4 p.m., and will be followed by a reception for the artist.

Tickets are $10 and are available in advance.

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Jacob Hochstrasser-Borsari (middle right) shares the Pitcher Prize with Julia Gilpin, presented by College board chairman Jonathan Cowen (left) and guest speaker George Diamondoupolis, Class of 1994.

Local students earn top prizes at Stanstead College

STANSTEAD, QC — Jacob Hochstrasser-Borsari of Holland was the major prize-winner at Saturday’s Baccalaureate and Prize-Giving Service for Stanstead College, held at Centenary United Church.

In addition to winning the Grade 12 prizes for Chemistry, Physics and the highest Term 3 average, Jacob won the Choir Award, the Technology Prize, the Community Service Award, the Spofforth Trophy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics, the Arthur E. Curtis Jr. Award for the top student entering an engineering program, the Bowman Hall Award for a major athlete with the highest average, and the Birks Silver Medal for the highest overall average in Grade 12.

To top it all, Jacob shared the Pitcher Memorial Prize with fellow head prefect Julia Gilpin of Wemindji, Quebec. This is the school’s top prize, awarded to the student who has exerted the greatest influence for good. Headmaster Wolfe said the tie was a result of a dead heat in the voting. This is the first time since 1970 that the award has been shared.

Jacob will be studying electrical engineering at McGill University in Montreal this fall.

Jacob Hochstrasser-Borsari (middle right) shares the Pitcher Prize with Julia Gilpin, presented by College board chairman Jonathan Cowen (left) and guest speaker George Diamondoupolis, Class of 1994.
Jacob Hochstrasser-Borsari (middle right) shares the Pitcher Prize with Julia Gilpin, presented by College board chairman Jonathan Cowen (left) and guest speaker George Diamondoupolis, Class of 1994.

Ryan Fletcher, a graduating Grade 12 student from Irasburg, won the first-ever Ashworth Scholarship, awarded to a deserving local day student who consistently demonstrated effort and excelled in some area of activity. Ryan also won the Grade 12 French and Philosophy prizes, as well as the Jazz Band Award.

Ryan will be studying physics at St. Lawrence University in the fall.

Ryan Fletcher receives the first Ashworth Scholarship from former teacher Peter Ashworth.
Ryan Fletcher receives the first Ashworth Scholarship from former teacher Peter Ashworth.

Kaylee Bowen, a Grade 10 student from Orleans, won the Faculty-Staff Award, presented to a student who is deemed most likely to benefit from returning to the College and who exemplifies the qualities of health, wisdom and integrity. She also won the Leonard McGilton Memorial Award, presented to a senior returning local student.

Andrew Bouchard of Newport was the top student in Grade 7, winning prizes for Art, Geography, History, Math, Science and French. He also had the top overall average in Grade 7.

Emily Willis of Newport cleaned up in Grade 8, earning prizes for French, Geography, History, Math, Music, Science and the highest overall average.

Alexander Bimm of Montgomery had the highest average in Grade 9 and won the class prize for French, Math and Science. He also earned the E. Harper Junior Debating Trophy, the Thespian Shield for Acting and the Banting Award, presented to a returning local student for academic achievement.

Ian Kemp, a Grade 12 student from Coventry, won the John T. Hackett Trophy for Senior Debating. He will be studying political science at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia.

Sadie Smith, Grade 11, of Montgomery earned the Billy Huckins Memorial Award for dedication, hard work, achievement and courage. Her sister Annawon the English prize for Grade 10.

Finally, Patrick Young, Grade 8, from Derby Line, won his class English prize, while the Grade 7 English prize went to Francesca Richardi of Newport Center. Elizabeth Gaudreau of Newport won the Grade 9 Music prize.

In all, 59 students graduated with a Grade 12 diploma, including five Vermont day students.

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