Newport Archives - Page 51 of 52 - Newport Dispatch
Category archive

Newport - page 51

In His Own Words: Corey Therrien for Newport City Council

in Feature/Newport

NEWPORT — Corey Therrien, who is running for Newport City Council, sat down for an interview with Newport Dispatch last night at Montgomery Cafe, to talk about why he decided to run, and what makes him the best choice for the job.

Newport Dispatch has put together some of the conversation to introduce Mr. Therrien to Newport voters as they head into Town Meeting Day on Tuesday, March 4. Please listen to the interview below:

Addressing Homelessness and Housing Issues in Newport

in Feature/Newport

NEWPORT — Wednesday night at the monthly Community Commons meeting at the Gateway Center in Newport, the topic was housing. The meeting was a way to bring together the facts, to identify the need, and to come together to try and come up with a solution.

When it comes to addressing the issue of homelessness in the Northeast Kingdom, one of the problems is that it tends to be invisible. However, the numbers are shocking.

On Tuesday, Community Health Integration in St. Johnsbury saw 24 people who needed shelter for the night. In Newport, Home Team, a group of residents trying to help by offering overnight kits for those in need, have issued 20 kits so far. The kits include such basic necessities as a hat, gloves, and space blanket. It is also estimated that at least 20 veterans are homeless in the Northeast Kingdom.

The current state of affordable subsidized housing tells another story. There are 420 people in the area currently on a waiting list to have access to such facilities. The waiting list at Newport Senior Housing is 30 people.

And then there is the issue of housing affordability. If you spend less than 1/3 of your income on housing related expenses, it is considered affordable. However, in Orleans county, we pay more than 50 percent of our income for housing, a number which demonstrates that people do not make enough money in the area to afford to live in the housing that is available.

photoParticipants on Wednesday night, assembled in a circle, sat for over 2 hours to address these housing issues.

“Today we’re identifying a need,” Patricia Sears, moderator of the Community Commons gathering said. “If we work together, we can find a solution.”

In order to find the solution, it was important for the group to identify not only the need, but some of the obstacles that get in the way of making the positive changes that the group would like to see happen.

Here again, the facts are shocking. It appears one of the biggest issues to opening a homeless shelter in the area is insurance. For a local church to offer an overnight facility, they would need to buy an additional liability insurance that most could not afford.

Much of the meeting Wednesday night focused on this need for a local warming shelter, and served as the starting point for this newly formed coalition.

When members of the Newport City Council were asked by a group of local church leaders as to some of the other hoops besides insurance that would need to be jumped through in setting up a shelter, they were told that there are also zoning issues, state safety issues, as well as building codes.

Merton Bangemann-Johnson of Rural Edge, the Northeast Kingdom’s affordable housing non-profit, said that it is cheaper to build a shelter from scratch, than it is to retrofit an existing building.

After some heated discussion, there was some consensus that unfortunately it does comes down to economics, and that those issues need to be addressed early on in the planning of how the group will move forward to address the issue.

“We don’t have the funds,” Newport Mayor Paul Monette said. “We can maybe work with you, but we’re trying to keep our tax rate down and promote development. We also don’t have the land in Newport, which is another issue.”

“It’s easy to throw stones, but the real problem is that we’re poor,” City Manager John Ward said. “People come here to live, and they don’t have jobs, and we can’t afford to maintain them.”

The meeting concluded by focusing on the importance of staying connected, and networking with people interested in helping work toward tackling some of the issues which were brought up. The Community Commons meetings are designed to facilitate such connections.

“The numbers we went over tonight really tell a story,” Scott Libby, pastor of the Grace Brethren Church, said after the meeting. “I’m also really interested as to what the liability insurance would cost at our church to set up a shelter, because I just don’t know.”

One local church leader who did not want his name mentioned in this article stated that he felt the need to organize an effort to open a homeless shelter was clear, and that he and his colleagues would look into the issue, but, he felt that City Council members who attended the meeting did not seem to offer any hope toward it becoming a reality.

“It’s one thing for us to try to come up with a location, and to organize the effort, but tonight the City Council members didn’t have one positive thing to say as far as making it seem even remotely possible,” the church leader said. “You need some reassurance when you start a project like this, and you saw tonight that we didn’t really get any.”

The Community Commons gatherings are held from 6 to 8 p.m. on the third Wednesday of every month. There is an optional pot luck dinner, and all are welcome.

AARP Vermont Announces Community Action Grant Winners in Newport

in Newport

NEWPORT — As AARP Vermont continues to support efforts to make Newport a more “age-friendly” city, they have announced the winners of their 2014 Community Action Grants. The winners are:

Fresh Start Community Farm, Jennifer Black ($2,000)
Newport Dispatch, Bryan Marovich ($2,000)
Cornucopia Program/Umbrella Inc., Lynne Rublee ($1,000)
The Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Ayeshah Raftery ($1,000)

In partnering with AARP Vermont, Newport has committed to embrace the changing demographics of an aging population by focusing on safe, walkable streets, better housing and transportation options, access to key services, and community engagement opportunities for all ages. These Community Action Grants support that direction by funding small, grassroots organizations that are working to advance the Age Friendly movement.

AARP officials conducted the selection process along with Patricia Sears of Newport City Renaissance Corp. and community leader Pam Ladds.

“This was an eye-opening experience,” said Sears. “It was encouraging to see so many good ideas out there that enrich our community in different ways. We are very grateful to have AARP as a partner — to not only fund these grants, but to work with us on ways to improve Newport for all ages.”
 
Ladds indicated how difficult it was to choose winners.

“We are fortunate to have such great energy in Newport around community development, but it made for a very difficult selection process,” said Ladds.  “I wish we could fund them all!”
 
“We are very pleased to extend support to these projects as a way to foster local community development initiatives in Newport,” said Greg Marchildon, state director at AARP Vermont.  “We received a broad range of proposals to consider this year and we hope these modest grants will inspire and support dedicated grassroots groups that have a vision for Newport and how it can be enhanced. We are committed to working with our partners and officials in Newport as they develop future plans and we expect to continue this program next year as well.”

AARP Vermont Outreach Director Kelly Stoddard Poor was also part of the selection committee.

Below is a summary of each organization:

Fresh Start Community Farm — Fresh Start Community Farm was started in 2011 with a mission to provide access to fresh food while also building a strong community. It now operates four sites and is completely volunteer based. Last year, the farm produced over 4,900 pounds of food and donated 2,100 pounds to the community. It also launched an Adopt-a-Grandparent program which pairs elderly and younger volunteers who garden together. With the AARP grant, Fresh Start will expand its programs by purchasing raised beds which will provide wheelchair access for volunteers who need it.

Newport Dispatch — This independent online news site is focused on Newport and surrounding towns featuring human interest, arts and entertainment news. Launched in October 2013, the aim is to provide an additional resource while engaging more people in community activities and issues. The AARP grant will support Newport Dispatch’s effort to provide strong citizen journalism for NEK residents and fund more advanced audio equipment.

Cornucopia Program / Umbrella Inc.
— A non-profit serving the Northeast Kingdom by providing advocacy services for women and families who are victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. Cornucopia is an Umbrella program that helps those in unsafe living situations as they move into more secure and independent arrangements. Partnering with Vermont Works for Women, it provides meals to low-income and homebound seniors and these meal sites also serve as a place for those over 60 to access Umbrella’s domestic violence and sexual violence services. The meal sites have proven to offer great meals and a place for seniors to connect with one another and learn about vital community services. This grant will help Cornucopia to extend its job training initiatives for vulnerable female citizens.

The Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (VABVI)
— Established in 1926, VABVI works to help blind and visually impaired Vermonters become independent. Operating across the state, they hold regular Peer Assisted Learning and Support (PALS) classes providing a place for participants (mostly seniors) to discuss how their impairments affect their lives and how to cope with them. The PALS group in Newport, led by Harriet Hall, helps seniors in the area on issues ranging from learning to make meals, continue socializing, coping with vision loss, assistive technology and awareness. The AARP grant will provide a resource the Newport PALS group to secure guest speakers, provide food and materials as well as to organize community awareness events.

Scenes from Penguin Plunge Newport 2014

in Feature/Newport

NEWPORT — “It was a lot colder getting out,” Matt Smith said. “It almost felt like your skin was freezing.

Mr. Smith was one of the brave souls who faced single digit temperatures on Sunday as they jumped into Lake Memphremagog to raise money for Special Olympics Vermont.

The Penguin Plunge is a three-part event series that reaches 1,500 brave participants across Vermont and the surrounding states. The highly anticipated fundraising event now attracts school groups, sports teams, businesses, families, and law enforcement.

“It was not as bad as I thought it would be,” Ms. Hardin, who jumped in with a team from North Country Hospital Rehab Services, said. “Our team was ready for this, and I think we’re all in for next year.”

Newport Dispatch has put together the following video from the event, as well as some photos taken by Tanya Mueller.

IMG_0414

IMG_0515

IMG_0509

IMG_0356

IMG_0508

IMG_0503

IMG_0498

IMG_0486

IMG_0481

IMG_0475

IMG_0466

IMG_0462

IMG_0437

IMG_0419

IMG_0393

IMG_0387

IMG_0384

IMG_0382

IMG_0379

IMG_0365

IMG_0362

IMG_0352

IMG_0345

Columbia Forest Products Employee Injured In Chipper Room

in Feature/Newport

NEWPORT — On Tuesday evening at around 9:30, an individual’s arm was pinched in a belt that is located inside the chipper room at the Columbia Forest Products facility in Newport.

Although initial reports of the incident reported that the individual involved in the tragic accident had his arm caught in the chipper, Glenn Foster, Columbia Forest Product’s local Plant Manager, stated that it was only the belt itself that caused the injury.

“An individual’s arm was pinched in a belt that is located inside the chipper room, although the chipper itself was not involved in the incident,” Foster said.

In a statement released by Foster, he did not play down the extent of the injury, but wanted to make it clear that the chipper was not involved.

He went on to say that an extensive investigation is taking place that will reveal the root cause of the incident.

In the meantime, Mr. Foster and his human resource team are reaching out to the individual and his family to do what they can to get him on the road to recovery.

Foster also went on to compliment Columbia employees that responded, the Newport fire department, EMT attendees and North Country Health system’s emergency response teams for doing a fantastic job providing quick medical attention.

Newport City Fire Chief James LeClair also stated that Columbia Forest Products employees did an excellent job at getting the man out of harms way.

Video Highlights from the Fire and Ice Radar Run Snowmobile Event with Results

in Feature/Newport

NEWPORT — It’s a bird…it’s a plane…no…it’s Pat Sicard’s snowmobile going 135 miles per hour down Lake Memphremagog.

The Fire and Ice Radar Run took place on Saturday behind the East Side Restaurant. The event had 57 people sign up to take a high speed run down the 600 foot track, with a 400 foot slowdown lane.

Pat Sicard was just shy of setting an all-time record for the event. Joe Churly clocked in at 125 miles per hour, the second fastest ride of the day.

Below are the race results:

700 Improved (mph)

Mark Labrie (99)
Jim Corr (97)

700 Modified

Nate Botala (99)
Stephanie Clark (97)

Stock Power Up Four Stroke

Tom Ashley (104)
Chris Fisher (96)

Open 100 Pro Stock

Joe Churly (125)
Todd Demarini (119)

Outlaw

Pat Sicard (135)

Kids

Jonathan Hunt (53)
Connor Oliver (47)

Powder Puff

Michelle Matten (74)
Karen Fontaine (72)

Vintage

Doug Matten (77)
Andrew Matten (76)

500 Stock

Dan St. Hilaire (88)
Sam Schneider (77)

600 Stock

Nick Sicard (93)
Joseph Egitto (87)

700 Stock

Dana Morse (92)
Bob Vidile (90)

800 Stock

Ben Fitzgerald (92)
Jimmy Reid (91)

800 Improved

Mark Labrie (106)
Carl Dudley (105)

Stroke 1,000 Stock

Derrick Choquette (95)
Josh Briere (93)

1,000 Stock

Jimmy Reid (98)
Dave Wulfson (95)

Snowmobiling Weekend Starts Today

in Newport

NEWPORT — Starting today and running through Sunday, snowmobilers from Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine are taking part in a three-day weekend when riders who are registered in any one of these states can ride the trails of the other two states for free.

The states have agreed to allow trail access without having to pay another state for the opportunity to ride there. Officials say that it is good for the economy of all three states.

All other host state regulations apply, including speed limits, youth laws and Vermont’s mandatory liability insurance law.

This reciprocity weekend has been going since 2010, with Maine joining the weekend festivities in 2011.

So if you have a snowmobile legally registered in any of the participating states, starting today you are allowed on trails in all three states.

Have fun, and be safe.

For more information on snowmobiling in the area, visit the Drift Dusters Snowmobile Club, and the North Country Mountaineers Club.

I Heart Newport Collects Clothing for Lyndon State College Graduates

in Feature/Newport

NEWPORT — For young people trying to enter the workforce without a job, it can sometimes be difficult to afford the clothes you need to “dress for success.”

Lyndon State College has the answer. A “Dress for Success” clothing drive. The goal is to provide a free business-ready outfit for each junior or senior who could use the help. The clothes provide a starting point for the students’ professional wardrobe.

On Friday night, I Heart Newport, a local Facebook group with over 200 members, held a clothing exchange of their own. They decided it would be a great opportunity to help LSC out. What would have normally been a free-for-all clothing exchange, turned into a great way to collect clothing for the LSC Dress for Success drive.

Before the ladies in attendance Friday night were allowed to start swapping clothes, they pulled out a couple of outfits that would be suitable for the graduating LSC students to wear during interviews.

“Tonight was another great example of local people sharing love and support to their community-at-large,” said Beth Barnes, founder of I Heart Newport. “I’d like to wish all graduating seniors happy job hunting and good luck.”

Some of Friday night’s attendees included Diana Poulin of Muddy Waters Pottery, Lori Gilbar Christopher, who works for Vermont Family Network, Wendy Franklin, Director of Community Outreach North Country Hospital, Jess Philippe, Christina Contoir, Assistant Director, Ctr. for Rural Entrepreneurship at Lyndon State College, and Ruth Sproull, owner of Little Gnesta Bed and Breakfast.

Below are some scenes from the night.

Beth Barnes presenting Christina Contoir, Assistant Director, Ctr. for Rural Entrepreneurship at Lyndon State College, with one of her contributions to the Dressed For Success drive.
Beth Barnes presenting Christina Contoir, Assistant Director, Ctr. for Rural Entrepreneurship at Lyndon State College, with one of her contributions to the Dressed For Success drive.
Lisa Daigle-Farney, Director of Community Education & Outreach at Northeast Kingdom Learning Services, proves that hats never go out of style.
Lisa Daigle-Farney, Director of Community Education & Outreach at Northeast Kingdom Learning Services, proves that hats never go out of style.
Beth Barnes won the prize for bravery  by agreeing to be photographed in this rather creative outfit proving that  flamingos and plaids do not equal a fashion statement.
Beth Barnes won the prize for bravery
by agreeing to be photographed in this rather creative outfit proving that
flamingos and plaids do not equal a fashion statement.

January’s Third Thursday Open Mic in Newport

in Feature/Newport

NEWPORT — The word is out. Newport has an open mic, and there is no shortage of talent in the area.

It was the first Third Thursday Open Mic of 2014 at Montgomery Cafe, and the monthly event continues to draw a crowd.

“I marvel at the talent that such a small area produces,” Beth Barnes, who started the event, said. “Everyone is so unique, everyone so worthy, and everyone so appreciated by the audience that comes out and supports them.”

Melissa Vanderwerf captured the scenes from the night which are displayed below.

“I would like to thank Melissa especially for the beautiful and expressive photos she captured,” Ms. Barnes said.

Newport Dispatch did an audio story on last month’s Third Thursday Open Mic. To listen CLICK HERE.

All photos by Melissa Vanderwerf.

IMG_1165[1]

IMG_1160[1]

IMG_1090[1]

IMG_1084[1]

IMG_1075[1]

IMG_1009[1](2)

IMG_0930[1]

IMG_0842[1]

$21 Million Military Contract to Bring 43 Jobs to Newport

in Feature/Newport

NEWPORT — In October, Revision Military laid off 35 its 57 workers in Newport when it didn’t get the government contract that company official had counted on. On Monday, the company announced that they had won a new contract worth $21 million, that will bring 43 jobs back to Newport. The contract is to supply the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) – Troop Support,  with 90,000 Advanced Combat Helmets (ACH).

“Revision is proud to answer the U.S. Military’s call for an additional 90,000 ACH helmets,” Jonathan Blanshay, CEO of Revision, said in a statement Monday. “We’re a proven and dependable supplier having delivered over a million helmets from the Newport manufacturing facility. In addition to leveraging existing manufacturing technologies to deliver head protective solutions for today, like the ACH, we’re also shaping the future of soldier protection with innovative composite materials, new manufacturing processes and integrated designs.”

In addition to this contract, Revision was recently selected as a development partner for the U.S. Army’s Integrated Head Protection System, which is being built up to become the Army’s next widely-fielded head protection system.

Revision employs 200 people worldwide, including 125 in Essex Junction. Employees in Essex were unaffected by October’s job losses.

[AUDIO] Saturday Night Swing in Newport

in Feature/Newport

A wise man once said, “It don’t mean a thing, if it ain’t got that swing.”

Saturday night at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, the 18 piece Swing North Big Band played their Swinging Epiphany Celebration. The show was part of the Now Playing Newport music series. Press play below to hear the story.



For more information about the Now Playing Newport music series, please visit them online at NowPlayingNewport.Com | All photos by Tanya Mueller. |


IMG_0102

IMG_0097

Newport Vermont Music 1

IMG_0081

IMG_0077

IMG_0074

IMG_0068

IMG_0049

IMG_0041

Newport Vermont Music

IMG_0109

Sound Bites: Newport’s Third Thursday Open Mic Night at Montgomery Cafe [AUDIO]

in Arts and Entertainment/Feature/Newport

Newport Dispatch visited the Third Thursday Open Mic Series at Montgomery Cafe in Newport. Thursday’s event brought together local poets and musicians. Started by Beth Barnes three months ago, word of Newport’s open mic has quickly spread, with musicians coming out from Lyndonville just to participate.

Please press play below to hear some of the music, and to be introduced to some of the musicians who are coming to Newport once a month for the event.

IMG_9900

IMG_9897

IMG_9963

IMG_9947

IMG_9877

IMG_9888

Newport Moving into the Future: Two Wheels and Two Feet at a Time

in Feature/Newport/News

Photo Left to Right – Jeff Manning, owner of The Village Bike Shop, Gary White, local marathon runner, and Dr. Peter Harris, shared their personal stories and expertise in order to educate and invite discussion at Saturday’s community forum “Streets, Sidewalks, and Bike Paths,” co-hosted by the he HealthWorks ONE Coalition and the Newport City Renaissance Corporation Design Committee.

NEWPORT — The HealthWorks ONE Coalition, serving Orleans and Northern Essex Counties, in collaboration with the Newport City Renaissance Corporation Design Committee, asked the community where they want to go. On Saturday, a community forum was held in the Hebard State Building. Despite the below zero temperatures, a large contingent of people gathered to listen to the speakers and to share their opinions and hopes on how we can all move into the future, together.

forum_3“I’m so encouraged by the number of people who came together for the common good of our community,” Beth Barnes, Fit and Healthy Coordinator for HealthWorks ONE said. “We have the strong beginnings of a sound infrastructure that supports and encourages biking, walking and alternative modes of transport, but we can always improve.”

Dr. Peter Harris, a local athlete and champion for good health gave a compelling presentation in which he stressed the importance of healthy eating and exercise habits. His message to all is that if we take care of our bodies they will take care of us. Dr. Harris is a strong advocate for enjoying what the Newport area has to offer, especially during the winter. He reminded everyone that Memphremagog Ski Touring Foundation, a local non-profit, is a great resource available to the entire community.

Jeff Manning, owner of The Village Bike Shop in Derby, brought bicycles and explained ways to introduce children to the delights, as well as the importance of riding.

“We need to encourage children to ride, but it’s our responsibility as adults to teach them the right ways to do it,” Jeff said. “Safety should always be the first lesson so children grow up respecting the roads, and learn to enjoy the freedom a bike can offer.”

Mr. Manning, like most at the forum, is a strong advocate for a path that would connect Derby to Newport, bringing the two towns with a strong connection even closer.

The final speaker was Gary White, who gave a touching account of how he was encouraged to run his first marathon by local trainer, Sharon Stewart. He said that his father’s final advice was to take better care of himself. Gary took that advice to heart. He changed his life by starting a carefully planned exercise routine. He has now run countless marathons, and even has his name in the Guinness Book of World Records. Mr. White, who spends countless hours using the local streets and paths each week, brought the forum his own reports on what he encounters, and how he thinks Newport’s streets, roads, and paths could be improved.

The goal of the forum was to give the community a platform where they could listen, learn, and share their ideas. HealthWorks ONE and the Design Committee are committed to implementing ways by which all Newport’s streets can be user friendly for everyone.

“I feel that a collaboration between interested community members, local government, non-profits, and businesses, is a way to work toward giving people more of a choice when it comes to getting where they want to go,” Ms. Barnes closed by saying. “The forum was very encouraging.”

For more information, please contact Beth at beth.barnes@neklsvt.org

All photos by Tanya Mueller.

A view from Saturday’s Santa Festival in Newport

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and Santa Clause is coming to town. Saturday’s Santa Festival in Newport let everyone in town know. Festivities kicked off downtown at 11 a.m. If you were not able to make it out Saturday, here is a collection of photographs taken by Tanya Mueller that will give you a sense of just how in the spirit of the holidays the people of Newport are this year. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

IMG_9652 (2)

Newport Vermont Santa Festival

Newport Vermont Santa Festival 1

IMG_9670 (2)

IMG_9689

IMG_9704

IMG_9705

IMG_9704 (2)

IMG_9717

IMG_9726

IMG_9722 (2)

IMG_9725 (2)

IMG_9677

IMG_9733 (2)

Community Action Grant Applications Sought in Newport

in Newport/News

Deadline Approaching

NEWPORT — AARP Vermont is encouraging groups and citizens to submit applications for the 2014 Community Action Sponsorship Program — a program to provide modest grant funds and technical support to community groups or individuals. The initiative is part of the recently adopted Age Friendly Communities initiative aimed at preparing Newport for the rapidly aging demographic shift – particularly in the areas of housing, mobility and community engagement.

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

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

“We are committed to supporting community efforts in Newport and encourage those interested to apply. Our selection criteria and process are flexible and we are open to a broad range of ideas,” said Kelly Stoddard Poor of AARP Vermont.

The sponsorship is open to individuals, grassroots groups and small non-profits in Newport and should represent a desire to make change through local level activism and advocacy.

The deadline for applications is December 31, 2013. Up to four groups will be selected for grants ranging from $500-$2,000. Grants will be one-time funding for a 12-month period and groups who are awarded sponsorships will receive technical assistance and training from AARP staff.

AARP is partnering with Newport City Renaissance Corp. and executive director Patricia Sears on the effort. Applications and an RFP are available from Kelly Stoddard Poor at 802-951-1313 or kstoddardpoor@aarp.org

Newport to Become an Age-Friendly Community

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — With the support of Newport Mayor Paul Monette, Newport City Council and developer Bill Stenger, Newport is poised to become Vermont’s first city to join AARP’s nationwide Network of Age Friendly Cities. As such, the city embraces the changing demographics of an aging population by focusing on safe, walkable streets, better housing and transportation options, access to key services and community engagement opportunities for all ages.

As Newport plans for major redevelopment of its downtown and economic base, the city and its partners — including AARP Vermont and the Newport City Renaissance Corp. — are looking at ways to prepare for a rapidly aging population.

“With our aging population, especially in Vermont, we must ensure all communities are friendly to all residents from our youth to our senior citizens,” said Mayor Monette in his letter of support to AARP. With the support of a city council resolution, he pledged to establish an advisory citizens’ committee that includes the active engagement of older adults, and he committed to responding with a “concrete and robust plan of action” to address the needs of older residents.

Jay Peak CEO Bill Stenger also expressed support to have Newport considered an Age-Friendly city as part of the AARP network. “I would very much like to see Newport as a frontrunner in our state to proactively address the needs of our valuable aging population,” he wrote. “This initiative will prepare our city and community for the steadily aging population while benefiting all of our residents.”

AARP’s role in this program advances efforts to help people live easily and comfortably in their homes and communities as they age, and encourages older citizens to take active roles and have their voices heard. Focus areas include housing, transportation, caregiving, community engagement, volunteering, social inclusion and combatting isolation among elders.

A key player in leading the effort has been the Newport City Renaissance Corp. and its executive director Patricia Sears. “We are very excited about this partnership with AARP and really value its role in helping Newport realize our potential as a livable community for all ages,” she said. “With the significant investment coming to our region, our city is in a unique position to effect change in ways that will benefit residents and businesses alike.”

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization with 138,000 members in Vermont and 40 million members nationally. Through a wide array of special benefits, services, and information resources, we help our members make important choices, reach their goals and dreams, and make the most of life after 50.

This release was sent in by:

David Reville, Communications Director
AARP Vermont
802-951-1303

Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture says that Vermont is leading the country in terms of Agriculture, but faces challenges from the Food Safety Modernization Act

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Chuck Ross, the secretary of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, was in Newport on Tuesday to listen to the concerns of local farmers. The meeting was the first in a series of listening sessions, the rest of which will take place over the next few months throughout the state.

The low turnout in Newport for the meeting made it more of a listening session for the audience, as Ross had plenty to say in regards to the good things that are happening with Vermont’s agriculture. He also warned of the threat that the state faces in light of the Food Safety Modernization Act draft that was recently passed by Congress.

One thing that Vermont’s agriculture has going for it, is Chuck Ross himself. The Secretary of Agriculture has been named President of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture. Listening to him speak on Tuesday, it was clear that as a state, we have one of the most knowledgeable minds in the industry working for us.

Ross laid it out for those in attendance. As a state, we are leading the way, and we also will face severe challenges set by the Food and Drug Administration.

“When you look at the state of Vermont, and what’s happening in agriculture, it’s really exciting,” Ross said. “We are leading the country in a number of ways. We’re on the cutting edge.”

According to Ross, when you talk about agriculture in Vermont, you have to start with dairy. The dairy farms support the dairy manufacturing industry in the state. This provides many Vermonters with quality jobs.

“I can’t underscore enough the importance that dairy is to the state. A lot of the other agriculture, like cheese making and yogurt, is what I call dairy plus, because it’s supported by the dairy farms. Also, the dairy farmers over the last 70 years have held the land, kept it open, and kept it productive.”

Ross went on to say that although there has been talk about herd numbers across the state decreasing, down about 2,000 cows over the last couple of years, the herd supply is fairly stable, and the milk supply is stable.

“Our farmers are getting better and better at producing more milk per cow, every year,” he said.

Chuck Ross in NewportRoss talked about what he called the “agriculture renaissance,” happening in the state, that is bringing in a younger generation of farmers. This influx of younger farmers are proving to be successful in marketing and exporting their products all over the country, which is helping to build a new and diversified economic based agriculture. At a time when the average age of dairy farmers is in the 50’s, and the number of dairy farmers decreases, these new businesses are making a good partnership with the dairy community by putting less stress on the service industries that have been built around dairy.

Ross also pointed out that Vermont is leading the way in terms of diversification and localization of agriculture.

“Vermont is seen as one of the top three artisan cheese regions in the world,” Ross said. “Our artisan cheeses compete internationally, and do incredibly well in every competition they enter. But, you can’t do good cheese, without great milk.”

Vermont is also the number one producer of maple products in the United States. Maple production is the fastest growing and most profitable agriculture in the state. Our northern neighbors in Quebec are still by far the largest producer of maple in the world.

We are also number one when it comes to direct marketing of agriculture, with CSA programs, farmers markets, and roadside stands, driving this type of growth.

“People are copying what we’re doing in Vermont in terms of supporting and growing our local economies and communities by investing in agriculture,” Ross said.

The challenge that we face comes by way of the federal government, with the Food Safety Modernization Act. The draft is a set of regulations by the Food and Drug Administration, which was drafted in response to legislation passed by Congress to make our food system safer. According to Ross, as the draft stands today, it will seriously impact the state’s agriculture, making it much harder for farmers to do business.

“This is a huge cloud hanging over much of what we’re doing with agriculture in the state of Vermont,” Ross said. “Quite candidly, the FDA wrote a draft that is not well constructed to be useful, effective, or implementable in a way that works for agriculture in Vermont and many other states.”

Ross stated that people producing produce for direct human consumption are going to be regulated according to the Food Safety Modernization Act in ways that they have never been regulated before.

“Very significantly for the state of Vermont, the Pasteurized Milk Ordinance is potentially being rewritten,” Ross said. “The PMO has served us well. I’m scratching my head wondering why are they going to mess with something that has enabled us to produce the best food product for human consumption in the world, year after year.”

Ross said that many have been engaged in pressing the FDA not to take the draft set of rules, and make it a final set of rules. He said that they are requesting that a second draft be written.

While discussing what some of the new rules would be, Ross said that one says that you can not harvest a product for human consumption for nine months after you have applied manure. That would be a growing season in the state of Vermont. You would also have to wait 45 days to harvest a product that used compost as a soil amendment.

When asked if the FDA was considering a redraft of the rules as they stand, Ross said that he is optimistic.

“I’d say we’ve gone from unlikely, to possible.”

Christmas Tree Shops in Newport Are Open For Business

in Newport

NEWPORT — Thanksgiving is behind us. Next stop, Christmas. What better way to start the season than with a locally grown tree? Within a few miles of each other on Main Street in Newport, you have your choice of two great spots to grab a wonderfully fragrant tree or wreath for the holidays this year.

The Garden Patch Farm Stand, located at 1700 East Main Street, has a wonderful selection of trees lined up and ready to go.

IMG_9552

Just down the road and across the street from Cumberland Farms, at 535 East Main Street, Carl Szych and his family are up and running. Mr. Szych brings in the homegrown trees from his two farms, one located in Brownington, and the other in Coventry. Both of his tree farms offer a choose and cut option, but for one ready to go, stop in at his stand in Newport.

Christmas trees Newport Vermont

Mr. Szych has been in this spot for 18 years, and many of his customers come back every year to buy one of his trees.

“We just had somebody stop in today who has been buying Christmas trees from us for the last five
years,” Mr. Szych said.

There is also a nice selection of wreaths on display.

IMG_9558

Music Series Returns to St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Newport

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — After a five year hiatus, music will again fill the historic St. Mark’s Episcopal Church on Second Street, Newport, with “Now Playing Newport – A Vermont Music Series.” It will be the only year-round music series in the Newport area, taking place on a monthly basis.

Jim McKimm, who for five years directed the former “Music For A Sunday Afternoon Series,” is returning to his musical roots after being a founding member of the MAC Center for the Arts, and serving as its president for five years. Mr. McKimm, who moved to Vermont in 1997, has served as Director of Music at St. Mark’s for the last twelve years, having served several churches in both New York City and New Jersey throughout his career.

Lynn Perry, member of the Newport Area Community Orchestra, and Jim McKimm, Series Director, look over the poster for the first concert in the “Now Playing Newport” music series which will begin on December 15th, at St. Mark's Episcopal Church.
Lynn Perry, member of the Newport Area Community Orchestra, and Jim McKimm, Series Director, look over the poster for the first concert in the “Now Playing Newport” music series which will begin on December 15th, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church.
Joining as local music partners in the series will be Dr. Sara Doncaster, the Music Department Head at Lake Region High School, and Ken Michelli, founder and director of the Newport Area Community Orchestra.

New to the program will be a series of free youth concerts, starting with the Lake Region High School Select Chorus, who will present their holiday program on Sunday, December 15, at 4 p.m., under the direction of Dr. Doncaster. Their repertoire will include sacred music of various types.

The series will be reaching out to the other schools and youth groups in the area for the 2014 season.

The series is administered separately from the church and will be administered strictly by grants, sponsors, donations, and ticket sales. Receptions will follow most programs in the church’s Parish House.

St. Mark’s, completed in 1883, has changed little since it was built. The building’s vaulted wooden ceiling makes for wonderful room acoustics. The small venue will allow for an intimate experience for both the audience, as well as the musicians.

For complete details on the series and programs, visit them at www.nowplayingnewport.com.

If you know of anyone who may be interested in taking part in the series, please contact concerts@nowplayingnewport.com.

“Surreal,” A Surrealist Art Exhibition in Newport Starts December 7

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

Surreal art opening Newport Vermont

NEWPORT — On Saturday, December 7, there will be a wine and cheese reception for the opening of “Surreal,” an exhibit of surrealist and otherwise weird paintings, photographs, sculpture, and video. On display will be the works of Vermont artists Bradleigh Stockwell, Mary Brenner, Diana Mara Henry, Chris Hudson, Sam Thurston, Mandee Roberts, Phyllis Hammond, and others. Also on display will be the gallery’s collection of surrealist works by the late Seattle artist Donald Peel.

The event will take place at The 99 Gallery and Center, behind 316 Main Street, and across from the Family Dollar in downtown Newport.

The opening starts at 6 p.m. and will run until 8 p.m.

Come out for this relaxing and entertaining evening of unusual art. The exhibition runs through January 31, 2014.

MAC Center for the Arts Holiday Opening Reception Brings Art Lovers to Newport

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

It was seasons greetings from the MAC Center for the Arts to the people of the area Friday night, as the gallery hosted their Holiday Opening Reception. The event, which took place from 5-7 p.m., showcased all new artwork from gallery members.

Visitors were treated to the sounds of the newly formed Newport Area Piano Sextet, who were set up in the back of the gallery. The group played a variety of music, including traditional Christmas carols.

MAC Center for the Arts Newport Vermont 1
With a reception held every quarter, Friday marked the sixth time the MAC Center has hosted one during the Christmas season. Visitors circled the gallery viewing all the new artwork that filled the walls, a large selection of which was done specifically for the holidays.

Members of the collaborative wore name tags identifying themselves as artists, which allowed visitors the opportunity to discuss the artwork with the artists themselves.

IMG_9334

“This is my first time at the Holiday Reception, and I’m so impressed with how many people showed up tonight,” Elinor Osborn, a photographer from Craftsbury said.

IMG_9359

Regular business hours at the MAC Center are Monday through Saturday, from 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. The newest selection of artwork makes for great holiday shopping. You can also visit the MAC Center online at http://www.memphremagogartscollaborative.com

Check out DISPATCH TV for a short video from Friday night’s reception at the MAC Center.

newport vermont news

Willey Claims Charges of Chasing Border Patrol Agent and Waving Handgun “Totally Fabricated”

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — “This is all totally fabricated,” Jason Willey, 30, of Derby Line told Judge Howard VanBenthuysen in court on Tuesday.

Willey is accused of chasing a Border Patrol agent in a residential area, as well as displaying a handgun while speaking with a Customs officer. He claims to have no idea why he was in court, and is being held at Northern State Correctional Facility in lieu of bail, after invoking his right to take 24 hours before entering a plea.

The judge said the court would enter pro forma not guilty pleas to misdemeanor charges of reckless endangerment and careless or negligent operation. Bail was set at $25,000. The judge also ordered Willey to refrain from harassing any state or federal law enforcement officers, or possessing any weapons.

The incidents took place on two separate occasions, starting on Nov. 2, when Willey is said to have spotted Customs and Border Protection Officer Stephan Isabelle off duty at the Circle K station in Derby Line. According to an affidavit filed by Sergeant Michael LaCourse, Willey was starring at Isabelle while pumping gas, and allegedly pointed his finger in the shape of a gun, and made a shooting gesture.

Isabelle followed Willey and called for back-up. Customs and Border Protection Officer Justin Speaks spotted the car parked in Willey’s driveway on Lyon Road, where Willey is said to have grabbed a handgun that was tucked in the waistband of his pants. Willey put his hands about his head for Speaks to seize the gun after Speaks drew his weapon.

The chasing incident took place Nov. 14, when Border Patrol Agent John Marquissee saw Willey drive by. Marquissee states that he noticed Willey because of the incident which took place on Nov. 2.

According to an affidavit filed by state police trooper David Upson Jr., at 11:30 p.m., Marquissee stated that Willey began following him at speeds up to 80 miles per hour in a 25 miles per hour zone. Marquisse claims that he was being followed so closely, that he could not see Willey’s headlights, and that at one point, Willey cut his headlights completely.

Afterward, Willey sped off, and Marquisse was unable to locate Willey’s vehicle. Later, state troopers found Willey’s car parked in a lot on Route 105 in Newport Center, where Willey’s girlfriend, Pamela Binette, was in the drivers seat.

Binette is said to have confirmed the story of the chase, and that Willey told her to switch seats with him, which she did out of fear.

Newly Formed Piano Sextet Will Play Friday Nov. 22 at MAC

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport

photPiano Sextet Newport Area Community Orchestra

NEWPORT – The newly formed Newport Area Community Orchestra Piano Sextet will be performing at the Memphremagog Arts Collaborative on Friday, November 22nd from 5-7 p.m. for their annual Holiday Reception.

The group will be playing a variety of music including traditional Christmas carols.

The members are from left to right: Ken Michelli, Mark Violette, Linda Aiken, Lynn Perry, Howie Arzt, and Chris Maginniss.

Images From Newport Fire Thursday Afternoon

in Newport/News

All photos by Manfried Starhemberg

NEWPORT — The fire which blazed Thursday afternoon on Central Street in Newport left three families without a home. The apartment building, owned by Memphremagog Rentals, was completely destroyed. Nearby homes were evacuated by the Newport City Fire Department and Police Department due to the thick, noxious smoke which filled the surrounding area.

Newport Vermont Fire

The fire broke out around 1 p.m. The Derby Line Fire Department was called in to help battle the fire which burned well into Thursday evening.

Newport Vermont Fire 2

As of Thursday night, not much is known as to the cause of the fire, however, a cause and origin investigation will be done. There were no injuries. All residents who were inside the building at the time made it out safely.

Newport Fire Vermont

Go to Top