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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newport man charged after alleged attack, sexual assault

in Newport/News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

in Barton/Newport/News

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

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

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

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

Mercurio was cited into Orleans County Court and released.

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

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newport student receives Land Stewards Award

in Newport/News

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

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

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

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

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

He plans to continue farming and logging after graduation.

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

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

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

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

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Community celebrates 30 years of NorthWoods Stewardship Center

in Charleston/Newport/News/Outdoors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tractor fire in Coventry

in coventry/Newport/News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The cause remains under investigation but is not considered suspicious.

Memphremagog Watershed Association to hold panel on PFAS/PFOA

in Newport/News

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

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

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

Panelists are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Light refreshments will be served.

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

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

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

in Derby/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

VDH: E-cigarettes, vaping and JUUL Resource 2019

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

Truth Initiative E-Cigarettes Fact Sheet

The U.S. Surgeon General’s Fact Sheet

Parent Tip Sheet

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

Missing hikers found safe in Jay

in Jay/Newport/News/North Troy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

All five hikers were physically fine, minus insect bites.

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

The rebirth of Albany General Store

in Albany/Newport/News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

in Newport/News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

in Barton/Newport/News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Local student-athletes honored at Stanstead College

in Derby/Newport/News/Stanstead

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Congressman Peter Welch meets with NEK Young Professionals

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom/St. Johnsbury

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clausing and Findlay recognized for community service

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clausing and Findlay are active members of several other organizations.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tour de Kingdom kicks off this Friday

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another 30 riders are signed up for Sunday.

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

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

Police: Fire in Newport considered suspicious

in Fire/Newport/News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Island Pond man killed in single-vehicle crash

in Brighton/Island Pond/Newport/News

BRIGHTON — A 52-year-old man from Island Pond was killed during a single-vehicle crash in Brighton on Saturday.

At around 7:30 p.m. police were notified of the crash, which took place along Route 105 near the intersection with Basil Hill.

The driver, identified as Nathan Wilcox, died as a result of the injuries sustained in the crash.

Police say Wilcox went off the road in a 1977 Jeep while attempting to negotiate a turn.

Bill Stenger fired by Jay Peak receiver following fraud indictment

in Jay Peak/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Bill Stenger was fired from his job as a consultant working for the receiver overseeing Jay Peak and related properties.

Michael I. Goldberg, the receiver for Jay Peak, made the announcement on Friday.

In a statement, Goldberg said Stenger’s termination should not be interpreted as an indication that “the receiver believes that William Stenger did anything wrong.”

He says the decision to terminate Stenger at this time is simply based on his opinion that it would not be appropriate to continue to retain him in light of the recent indictment.

Last week Stenger was in federal court in Burlington to plead not guilty to criminal charges alleging he conspired in a multi-year wire fraud scheme to defraud immigrant investors seeking green cards through the EB-5 program.

He was released after posting a $100,000 appearance bond.

As a consultant working for the receiver, Stenger was paid at a rate of $50 per hour and was allowed to use of an older model Volvo belonging to Jay Peak.

Goldberg says he wishes Bill Stenger and his family well in this difficult time.

Truck thefts land Newport man 3-8 years behind bars

in Derby/Newport/News

NEWPORT — A 27-year-old man from Newport was sentenced to serve three to eight years behind bars for stealing two vehicles.

David Fletcher appeared in court for a sentencing hearing on May 16 after being convicted by a jury on felony charges of grand larceny, two counts of vehicle operation without owner consent, and a misdemeanor charges of careless or negligent operation.

Back on October 18, 2017, police responded to a report of a stolen truck from the Eastside restaurant. Hours later, police were dispatched to another report of a stolen truck from a home in Derby.

The victim in Derby told police that he had picked up two hitchhikers and gave them a ride back to what he believed to be their truck, which was partially submerged at the Derby Fish & Game Club pond.

He was unable to help them remove the vehicle from the pond, and dropped them off at the Border Motel.

Within the hour his truck was stolen.

Fletcher admitted to taking both vehicles on a cell phone video that was later turned over to police.

At the time that both crimes were committed, Fletcher was on furlough for burglary, and assault charges.

“The State requested a more significant jail sentence because of this defendant’s record and the fact that he was on furlough at the time of the offenses,” State’s Attorney Jennifer Barrett said. “The court imposed a sentence that deviated below the State and Department of Correction’s recommendations.”

Allen Cubit to perform “Dichterliebe” in Newport with pianist Vivian Spates

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Locally renowned tenor Allen Cubit will present a special concert spotlighting Robert Schumann’s, Dichterliebe, on June 1, 2019, at 7:00 p.m. at the United Church of Newport.

He will be accompanied by the extraordinary pianist, Vivian Spates.

Cubit is well known professional tenor that has graced the stages in the Northeast Kingdom, Canada, and beyond.

He has sung with the Vermont Philharmonic, was a soloist in concert with the acclaimed John Weaver, one of America’s finest concert organist, as well as having sung with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and performed at the iconic Carnegie Hall.

There is something distinctive about the combination of classical music, romantic themes, and the tenor voice that evokes a sense of overwhelming joy. Robert Schumann is a genius as a composer/lyrist in this realm.

Dichterliebe is one of his best-known works and highlights the poetry of Heinrich Heine in a 16-song cycle which takes the singer and listeners on a journey of a person who is mourning lost love and overcoming the heartbreak that inevitably follows.


“This work is not just a soloist with an accompaniment, as Schumann himself was an accomplished pianist,” Cubit said. “We find a balanced interplay between voice and piano taking the themes and telling the story of love throughout the work.”

It is truly a full collaboration on the part of the artists. Spates is a featured and integral performer in the presentation.

The duo has been rehearsing for several months and will round out the evening’s concert with a cache of eclectic songs, including pieces by Beethoven, Donaudy and Carissimi.

“I enjoy the beauty of Schumann’s music and I am excited to share that beauty with my local community,” Cubit said.

The concert is free and open to the public, however, donations are greatly appreciated.

For more information cubitallen@gmail.com or Click here for the event page on Facebook.

Officer Lillis and K-9 Ozzy appear as characters in new crime novel

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — A few familiar faces appear as characters in a crime novel set in Newport that was recently published.

Officer Joshua Lillis and K-9 Ozzy made their debut as characters in “The Obsession,” written by Carol Kravetz.

Kravetz is an internationally published author, and her latest novel was published earlier this spring.

The novel is the fourth installment in Kravetz’s Bathville Books series.

As she was researching K-9 tracking for her book, Kravetz contacted Lillis to learn more.

He taught Kravetz all about the process of tracking with the help of a police dog, and the work he and K-9 Ozzy are trained to do to locate victims and suspects.

“This was a unique, fun opportunity to explain what K-9 Ozzy and I do when we work together, and to help Carol realistically portray what K-9 tracking actually looks like in her novel,” Officer Lillis said.

In addition to including Lillis and K-9 Ozzy as characters, the novel is set in the Newport, area.

“When I started communicating with Officer Lillis, outlining what I needed, he responded promptly with photos of Ozzy and advising he would love to help,” Kravetz said.

Kravetz says he answered a lot of questions and explained patiently and willingly the intricacies involved with tracking a victim or suspect, right down to getting a scent, locating the person, and how Ozzy will work tirelessly until told to stand down.

“He taught me a lot by showing me how important a K-9 team is and I can’t thank him enough for taking the time to help me bring that part of my story alive,” Kravetz said.

“Hopefully, when people read the book, they’ll understand a little more about K-9 tracking, all while enjoying the narrative Carol created,” Lillis added.

Quiros and Stenger indicted on fraud charges related to Jay Peak EB-5 projects

in Jay Peak/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan was in Newport today to announce that four people were charged with conspiring in a multi-year wire fraud scheme to defraud immigrant investors seeking green cards through the EB-5 program, among other charges.

Ariel Quiros, 63, William Kelly, 70, both of Florida, along with Jong Weon Choi, 58, of South Korea and William Stenger, 70, of Newport, were indicted by the federal grand jury on criminal charges in connection with their management of the Jay Peak Biomedical Research Park EB-5 investment project, also called the AnC Vermont project.

In addition to the wire fraud conspiracy count, the defendants face other charges, including six separate counts of wire fraud and various counts of concealing material facts or presenting false statements in a matter within the jurisdiction of a federal agency, namely United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which oversaw the EB-5 process.

Quiros is also charged with two counts of money laundering.

The indictment alleges that the defendants misrepresented facts to the SEC, which investigated the Jay Peak EB-5 offerings while the defendants were seeking new AnC investors.

A civil action by the SEC ended the defendants’ control of the EB-5 projects.

“As alleged in this indictment, this scheme defrauded hopeful immigrant investors in what may be the largest financial crime in our state history,” Nolan stated.

The defendants face a maximum penalty on the most serious charges of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine or twice the gross gain or loss, and restitution to the victims.

The indictment also alleges forfeiture against the defendants.

“This case is about greed and deceit,” James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation said. “The defendants’ broken business promises have left not only a physical scar on the city of Newport, but also an intangible scar on the promise of economic development for the Northeast Kingdom and on the dreams of many hopeful immigrants.”

The indictment alleges a scheme conceived in 2011 and carried through until the defendants lost control of the project in April 2016.

The AnC project was the seventh EB-5 project managed by Quiros and Stenger, but the first involving a business outside a ski resort.

The defendants designed the project to raise $110 million from immigrant investors in order to build and operate a biotechnology company, AnC Vermont, on a property in Newport.

From 2012 to 2016, the defendants obtained over $80 million from over 160 immigrant investors in the AnC project.

Under the EB-5 program created by Congress, immigrant investors could obtain green cards by investing $500,000 each in a United States business that would create ten jobs per investment.

Pursuant to federal law, the AnC project was regulated and monitored by USCIS and the Vermont Regional Center, a part of state government.

According to the indictment, the defendants’ scheme involved both secret embezzlement of immigrant investor funds and deceit about the AnC project’s jobs and revenue.

The defendants designed the project so that Quiros and Choi, who were secret partners, could siphon millions of dollars in investor funds into their pockets.

As the defendants raised investor money, Quiros used the money for his own purposes instead of using it to build the project.

The defendants then concealed this misuse of funds.

The indictment also charges that the defendants created a fraudulent AnC business plan based on a “party line” conceived to misrepresent the number of jobs that would be created by the project and the business revenue that would be generated from the project.

Marketing the project to immigrant investors depended on job creation and future revenue, since the defendants emphasized their ability to satisfy the job creation standards under EB-5 law and repay immigrant investors.

The indictment charges that the defendants devised job and revenue projections based on the number of jobs needed to obtain project approval from USCIS without regard to a viable plan to actually create those jobs or achieve those revenues.

AnC Vermont would supposedly rent clean rooms, market stem cell therapies, and manufacture artificial organs.

The defendants made fraudulent statements in regard to all three facets of the future business, in particular with regard to how soon the project would generate jobs and revenue.

Rather than disclose that they were creating a start-up business that would need large capital reserves to operate in the early stages, the defendants falsely represented that they had a plan where AnC Vermont would successfully market its products as soon as construction was complete.

In addition to the wire fraud and wire fraud conspiracy charges, the indictment charges Quiros with two money laundering counts relating to two transactions where he used AnC investor funds for personal expenses, specifically a $6 million payment to the IRS and the purchase of a vehicle.

Further, the indictment contains five concealment or false statement counts.

First, it alleges that the defendants concealed from the Vermont Regional Center how Quiros used approximately $21 million in investor funds to pay off a loan unrelated to the AnC Vermont project.

Next, the indictment alleges that Quiros, Kelly, and Choi concealed that Choi was being investigated in Korea for financial crimes, and falsely represented that AnC Korea, a company they claimed would supply the technologies that AnC Vermont would market, was not in financial distress.

Finally, the indictment charges Stenger with presenting false documents and statements to the Vermont Regional Center.

One of these counts focuses on a misrepresentation by Stenger that he had followed the Regional Center’s direction to stop marketing the AnC project in mid- 2014.

The other charges as false a written presentation Stenger made to the Regional Center in January 2015 as he was seeking permission to continue recruiting investors for the AnC project.

Quiros, Kelly, and Stenger surrendered to the custody of the United States Marshals Service this morning and appeared for arraignment on the charges in federal court later today.

Choi remains at large.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Weekend! returns to Island Pond starting Friday

ISLAND POND — The Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Weekend will take place in downtown Island Pond, this weekend, from May 24 – 27.

The weekend offers four days of non-stop events including a champagne reception, karaoke, spa services, Paint ‘n Sips and wine & cider tastings, Tai Chi & exercise classes, and a living history exhibit at the IPHS museum.

Nationally known comedian Bil Benden will kick-off the weekend on Friday night with his comedy show, Saturday night will feature the return of Men in Motion and Sunday night will feature the NEK’s first Drag Bingo tournament hosted by Emoji Nightmare & Nikki Champagne.

The weekend will wind up on Monday morning with their annual Memorial Day Parade.

The Island Pond Renewal Committee created the Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Weekend in 2018 and it was a hit beyond all expectations.

People from as far away as Cape Cod flocked to Island Pond looking for the most fun ladies’ weekend in New England, and they found it.

Almost every event was sold out and all received rave reviews.

The committee has once again joined with all the downtown businesses to create an even bigger weekend full of events with something for everyone.

Friday starts with a champagne reception at the Essex House with champagne and hors d’oeuvres.

Members of the organizing team will be on hand to answer questions and make sure everybody is oriented to the locations of all the events.

Headlining Friday night’s entertainment will be comedian Bil Benden. He has worked with Drew Carey, Robert Schimmel, Tim Allen, and Ray Romano, in addition to many others.

He has also been featured on HBO, Comedy Central, A&E, and Fox.

He will bring his unique comedic style to the American Legion Brighton Post #80 stage and while this event is part of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!, it is open to everyone 21 years of age and older.

Friday night will end with karaoke at the Essex House featuring NEKaraoke.

Saturday starts off with a beginner Tai Chi class hosted by Brighton Recreation’s Director, Doug Niles.

Next, get the blood pumping with an invigorating cross training workout also instructed by Doug Niles.

The Hearth & Home Country Store will be hosting a wine tasting with 6 specially selected varieties.

Everyone’s favorite Paint ‘n Sip instructor Natalie Anne will be holding a Sap Bucket Paint ’n Sip at Hobo’s Cafe during the afternoon.

Jesse’s Little Kitchen will be offering their popular $2 off a large pizza special all weekend so the father’s left at home with the kids don’t need to cook.

Then it’s time for a little pampering at the Essex House & Tavern. Enjoy a chair massage from one of their licensed providers. Try out a set of Color Street nails as part of your manicure or a Henna by Kate tattoo. They will even be serving a light elegant snack provided by the Essex House.

Saturday night will be headlined by New England’s #1 male revue show, Men In Motion. Each of their shows are expertly designed, choreographed and created events with one goal in mind–the perfect girls’ night out.

The Essex House will be hosting a Wings, Brews & Tunes event so all the men won’t feel left out!

Sunday will start with a Morning After breakfast at Hobo’s Café followed by a Living History Exhibit at the Island Pond Historical Society Museum.

The Hearth & Home Country Store will be hosting a cider tasting featuring 6 specially selected varieties.

Natalie Anne will be back at the American Legion for a Barn Board Paint ‘n Sip.

Sunday will end with a bingo tournament like no other in the NEK. Emoji Nightmare & Nikki Champagne will be traveling from Burlington to host Drag Bingo at the American Legion.

This event will be a little bit campy and a whole lot of fun. In addition to laughs, cash prizes will be paid out to all winners.

Monday morning will feature the annual Memorial Day Parade in beautiful downtown Island Pond organized by the American Legion Brighton Post #80.

This event will honor those that have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Tickets may be purchased at http://Tickets.VisitIslandPond.com or in person at The Hearth & Home Country Store in downtown Island Pond.

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Photo gallery: Dandelion Run raises over $1,000 for Umbrella

in Derby/Holland/Newport/News

DERBY — On Saturday, about 150 runners, walkers, and bikers gathered at the Eleventh Annual Dandelion Run.

The event raised a little over $1,000 for Umbrella and its advocacy and support of victims of this kind of violence.

It was cold and cloudy with hardly a dandelion in sight, but that didn’t stop everyone as they celebrated the slow-coming of Spring in the Kingdom.

Participants took to the back roads and were joined by scores of high-spirited volunteers and musicians along the course and back at the Derby Beach House.

James Cilwik, 15, of Derby, was the overall winner of the Dandy Half Marathon with a blistering time of 1:22:15.

His time was less than three minutes shy of the course record of 1:19:29 set by Christian Vachon of Magog, Quebec back in 2013.

Cindy Chaffee, 56, of Barton, Vermont, won the Last One Back to the Barn Award finishing the Half Marathon in 3:28:25. 

Last Fall Chaffee registered for her very first half marathon after she suffered a serious injury in an accident. 

The most “mature” participant was Annette Pion, 79, of Colchester, and the youngest runner was Pip Dreher, 6, of Newport.

The biggest team of the day was the Community Circle Team fielded by Community National Bank, which underwrites The Dandy, and also staffs most of the support tables out on the course.

The largest youth team was the Canaan Boys Running Club, coached by David Herr. The team won ski tickets to Burke Mountain.

Also winning Burke tickets were “The Brownies” for fielding the “most fluid team” and the runners from our newest sponsor Barr Hill by Caledonia Spirits for fielding the “most high-spirited team.”

Caledonia Spirits Raw Honey was distributed to three teams, the Merry Macksters for being the largest out of state team, the Quebecsters for being the largest international team, and The Dartmouth Dandies for the love of the run.

Others were awarded prizes of Brault’s beef jerky, Couture’s maple syrup, Caledonia Spirits RAW Honey, as well as Burke Mountain ski passes.

Participants honored and remembered Terri Weed, who was killed by her boyfriend on May 21, 1981.

The Dandy is underwritten by Community National Bank and is supported by Jay Peak, Burke Mountain, Barr Hill at Caledonia Spirits, Untapped, Kingdom Trails, and the Derby Village Store.

Next year’s Dandy will be held on Saturday, May 23rd, 2020.

Kingdom Games hosts two more runs this year. The Harry Corrow Freedom Run on July 4, and Fly to Pie – Kingdom Marathon on September 29.

Online registration is open at www.kingdomgames.co

Newport woman arrested after pedestrian struck with van

in Newport/News/Orleans

NEWPORT — A 32-year-old woman from Newport is scheduled to appear in court today after she was arrested following an incident involving a vehicle and a pedestrian in the Waterfront Plaza area on Monday.

Police are saying that Monica Donofrio is facing a charge of “grossly negligently operating a motor vehicle with serious injury resulting.”

Yesterday, at approximately 7:45 p.m., police responded to the scene of the incident and say they found a 35-year-old Orleans woman on the ground behind a van.

She was conscious and alert but had suffered serious injuries.

The victim was taken by ambulance to the hospital and later airlifted to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center in New Hampshire.

According to police, the victim was in serious but stable condition this morning.

After a preliminary investigation, police say that the driver of the vehicle, identified as Donofrio, had been confronted by the victim and another woman, who had become concerned when they observed that she had left her four children inside the van while she went into a store.

Prior to the crash, the two women were in the process of calling the police.

Donofrio was booked and is expected to be arraigned in court today.

According to police, her children were taken into the custody of a family member after the incident, and the Department of Children and Families was notified.

Police: Barton man arrested with 60 bags of heroin

in Barton/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Police say a 29-year-old man from Barton was arrested in Newport with 60 bags of heroin inside his vehicle.

According to police, Jordan Medley is currently facing charges of possession of heroin and violation of conditions of release.

At around 1:00 p.m. on May 16, police say they stopped Medley on Central Street for a number of motor vehicle violations.

At the time, Medley was taken into custody as a result of an ongoing investigation by the Newport Police Department.

According to the report, police located 60 bags of heroin in the truck.

Medley is currently on several active pre-trial conditions of release and was found to be in violation of three of those conditions.

He was lodged at the Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport.

Local nurses honored at annual dinner

in Health/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Every year at North Country Hospital, nurses nominate their peers for one of four special awards.

This year awards were given to Kim Blanchard for customer service, Angela Coblentz for professional growth, Chelsea Hamel for community, and Marie Dumas for quality.

These accolades were all revealed at the nurses week dinner on May 7 at the East Side Dancing Sail Banquet Room.

President of the Medical Staff, Dr. Umair Malik, kicked off the evening.

“We docs wouldn’t be able to keep our jobs without the obvious commitment and compassion our nurses demonstrate each and every day,” Dr. Malik said.

North Country Hospital nurses say they appreciate the continuous competence and caring demonstrated, and noted many of these traits on their nomination forms for the Nursing Excellence Awards.

Kim Blanchard, LPN, North Country Primary Care in Newport, was honored for an extraordinary commitment to customer service, evident in her interaction with patients.

The hospital says Blanchard is kind and compassionate during visits and never hesitates to assist any patient in any way she can, always with a smile and positive interaction.

Angela Coblentz, RN, Emergency Department, was honored for her commitment to professional growth that is evident in the ways she has pursued increasing her nursing knowledge and skills.

She completed her BSN while working full time and picking up extra shifts, became a member of the Transport Team, become a Holter Monitor super-user and took the initiative to complete other classes on her own.

Chelsea Hamel, RN, has worked countless hours outside of work time with her co-workers to organize raising $8,000 for the 3rd Annual Penny Sale and Silent Auction to benefit the hospital’s oncology fund.

For the past three years, the fundraiser has become more and more successful and this has helped the community in many ways.

Hamel participates in the planning of many office activities, regardless of the cause.

Marie Dumas, an RN in the Intensive Care Unit, is continually updating her practice to reflect current nursing standards.

She recently co-presented an in-service to other nurses and LNAs related to the updated Sepsis guidelines. She personally has pushed others to stay current with their practice and is always available to field any questions others have.

“I know you are incredibly engaged with your patients, your units, your professional lives, and your own communities and families,” Vice President of Patient Care Services, Avril Cochran said. “We may all do different things every day in our areas of expertise, but one thing always remains, our patients are our number one priority.”

Hospital and practice nurses receiving more advanced degrees in the past year include:

Heidi Hawkins, Avril Cochran, Alexandra Peters, Jessica Gaudreau, Ashlee Daigle, Angela Coblentz, Abby Provost, Lyndsay Sykes, Debra Beauchesne, Lindsey Gaboriault, Ann-Marie Dohn, and Lindy Perry.

Newport awarded $85,000 for intersection improvement project

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — The Vermont Downtown Development Board recently allocated over $600,000 in grants to improve eight downtown areas, and some of this money is going to support sidewalk improvements in Newport.

Newport is set to receive $85,000 for safety improvements to one of downtown Newport’s busiest intersections, a priority identified in the recently completed Downtown and Waterfront Master Plan.

Money from the grant will be used to address the Fyfe, Main, and Second Street intersections.

The project includes extending the curbing and installing “rapid flashing beacons” at the intersection.

Fyfe will be slightly widened to accommodate delivery trucks, and the municipal lot will see some changes as well.

The one-way parking on Second Street will be flipped to allow better intersection alignment.

City officials say they expect work to start late in the summer-autumn months.

Great Blue Heron at Eagle Point. Photo by Doug Gimler.

Eagle Point in Derby ranked one of Vermont’s top 10 birding hotspots

in Derby/Newport/News/Outdoors

NEWPORT — With the arrival of longer days and warmer temperatures, Vermont’s bird lovers are looking to the fields and woods for a flit of color in the bushes or listening for an overhead chirp, whistle, squawk or honk as birds engage in their annual spring migration.

Some of Vermont’s best bird-watching opportunities are at the state’s 99 wildlife management areas, or WMAs.

Eagle Point in Derby was recently recognized by Vermont Fish & Wildlife as of the top 10 birding hotspots in the State.

Eagle Point WMA is a 420-acre parcel located along the eastern shore of Lake Memphremagog on the United States-Canada border.

The WMA is located approximately five miles north of Newport City on the Eagle Point Road.

The property consists of nearly a mile of lakeshore habitat, numerous wetlands, large meadows, hemlock, and mixed forest.

It supports a great diversity of wildlife including aquatic mammals, waterfowl, grassland birds, and many other wetland and terrestrial species.

Eagle Point WMA is an important waterfowl production and migration
area, particularly for black ducks, mallards, and wood ducks.

It’s also an important grassland bird production area.

Short hay crop rotations and habitat loss to development throughout Vermont elevate the importance of the 200+ acres of grassland habitat on the WMA.

Grassland species include bobolink, savannah sparrow, field sparrow, and possibly vesper sparrow.

Also present are a variety of raptors including the northern harrier, osprey, bald eagle, kestrel, red-tailed hawk, barred and great horned owls.

Eagle Point also provides excellent opportunities to see a variety of wetland and marsh species.

Herons, bitterns, snipe, pied-billed grebes, rails, common moorhens, and marsh wrens make up a large portion of the species you will most likely encounter in the marshes of the WMA.

Visit https://www.nekwildlifephoto.com for more photos like the one above from Eagle Point taken by photographer Doug Gimler.

Road Closure: Route 105 in Newport Center starting May 20

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — The Vermont Agency of Transportation will be closing Route 105 in Newport Center for 4 days starting May 20 through May 23.

In order to replace a failing culvert, the AOT will be closing the road approximately 3.6 miles west of the VT100 intersection, between Bear Mountain Road and the Perrault Farm.

The road will be closed to all traffic, including motor vehicles, bicycles, and pedestrians.

Travelers should look for detour signage and take alternate routes around the closure.

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