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Snowmobile crash with injury in Holland

in Derby Line/Holland/Newport/News

HOLLAND — A 49-year-old man from Morgan was taken to the hospital after a snowmobile crash on Tuesday.

At around 9:00 p.m. the incident was reported on VAST trail 105, in Holland.

Members of the Derby Line Fire Department located the male and transported him down the trail to the ambulance.

The operator of the snowmobile was identified as Brian Judd.

According to the report, Judd was traveling east and was unable to maintain his lane of travel around a right-hand corner.

He traveled off the trail and into several trees.

Judd was transported to North Country Hospital.

Police say the crash is still being investigated, and that no information about his injuries is available at this time.

Eight NEK farmers write nutrient management plans

in News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Over six weeks this winter, eight NEK dairy producers who enrolled in the UVM Extension course, “Digging In – A Nutrient Management Course for Farmers,” wrote their own nutrient management plans (NMPs).

Farmers in the class, held at Sterling College in Craftsbury, received technical assistance from the Orleans, Caledonia, Essex, and Winooski Conservation Districts through a USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) grant.

Through the RCPP program, farmers are offered technical assistance in preparing a Land Treatment Plan (the foundation of an NMP), taking soil and manure samples, and one-on-one help throughout the UVM course.

A nutrient management plan is a working document that combines scientific data with the farmer’s knowledge of their land to create a plan that determines crop needs and allocates nutrient spreading by field.

The goals of a nutrient management plan are to improve soil health, maximize yields, improve efficiency, and minimize the impact on natural resources.

The UVM Extension course includes lectures on soil science, crop yields, water quality and meeting the RAPs.

The course also incorporates time for farmers to write their own NMP using the UVM-developed online goCrop™ software.

Because a nutrient management plan is a working, living document, it should be updated yearly.

To this end, the Orleans County Conservation District, in collaboration with UVM Extension, will be holding a free, one-day goGraze™ training and update class open to all NEK producers with a UVM goCrop™ account.

This class will take place on Wednesday, March 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Eastside Restaurant in Newport.

Lunch will be provided, and the class will introduce participants to a relatively new addition to the goCrop™ software, goGraze™.

The new software allows producers to create a grazing plan and keep detailed records throughout the grazing season.

The format for the class will be instruction in the morning, lunch, and time in the afternoon for participants to work on updating their nutrient management plans or apply the skills they learned in the morning.

Pre-registration is required. Contact Emily Irwin to sign up or with questions at 802-334-6090 ext. 7008 or emily.irwin@vt.nacdnet.net.

Sugarhouse in Glover destroyed by fire

in Glover/Newport/News

GLOVER — A sugarhouse was found destroyed by fire yesterday in Glover.

The incident took place at 760 Young Road.

Police say Merle Young Jr. arrived at the property at 9:00 a.m. to find the building completely burned.

Young had been at the property on March 3 with family members attempting to thaw frozen water pipes.

He left at approximately 7:00 p.m.

Police say during the night the building caught fire, going unnoticed and completely burning until it self extinguished.

Glover Assistant Chief Jobe Breitmeyer contacted the Department of Public Safety Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit to request assistance with an origin and cause investigation.

Authorities say the cause of the fire could not be determined because of the complete destruction and consumption of all combustible materials.

Police say the fire is not considered suspicious at this time.

Photo by Patricia Przybylinski.

Business booms in Newport area with Winter Swim and other weekend events

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Last weekend, Newport came alive with the Winter Swim Festival, Wright’s Ice Fishing Derby, and the Ryan Coulter Pond Hockey Tournament.

Businesses reported seeing what some called a record week. Most restaurants had waiting lines and area hotels were packed.

Darrick Granai from Newport City Inn and Suites plus Derby 4 Seasons Hotel cites the many events in the area as to why it was so busy.

“There were hockey players in town for a tournament, the international swimmers, a fishing tournament, skiers, snowmobilers and fat bikers,” Granai said. “If we had more events, more often, we’d have this kind of business every week,” Granai reported.

Also in the area were families participating in and watching the Rotary Basketball Tournament with teams from far and wide across northern and central Vermont, which contributed to the crowds.

Steve Wright and crew at Jay Peak were working hard as Jay hosted almost 10,000 visitors Saturday between skiing, the water park, the ice hockey tournament, and Jay’s climbing center.

With 10,000 visitors just twenty minutes from Newport, many businesses reported that a number of the Jay visitors came in and explored Newport and establishments on the Derby Road in the evening.

Frank Richardi from restaurants Lago Trattoria and The Warehouse Pub said he was very happy with the business over the weekend.

“We did have a waiting line at times, but we were fortunate to get people in, seated, and made them very happy,” Richardi said. “The pub at the Warehouse was full and our billiards tables were filled all night long. It was a great atmosphere.”

Getting a table on Friday night was tricky at some restaurants, and the crowds were larger Saturday.

Jaspers Tavern had a full house of revelers, attached to the international swim, from mid-afternoon to closing. The fun party atmosphere in a traditional-style pub was enjoyed by the international crowd.

The Eastside Restaurant and its Quarter Deck Pub were in full swing from lunch til closing with food, drinks, and entertainment.

At the Winter Swim Festival, weather on Saturday was sunny with light winds and air temperatures in the upper 20s and into the mid-30s.

Sunday was generally cloudy with a bit more wind and slightly lower temperatures which rose as the day progressed and, after the festival had concluded, turned to rain.

As Granai summed it up, “the bottom line is events bring in the dollars to local businesses.”

Jed’s Maple gearing up for open house weekend March 23 & 24

in Derby/News

DERBY — Jed’s Maple Products of Derby will be hosting their 20th Annual Sugar on Snow Party and Maple Open House on March 23 and 24 this year.

The event will be held in conjunction with the Vermont statewide Maple Open House.

The Wheeler family says they are excited to once again open their doors to friends, family and the community to celebrate maple sugaring time in Vermont.

Doors will open at 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. both days.

This free family event includes sugar on snow, wood-fired maple pizza, maple specialty food sampling, tours of the eco-friendly sugarhouse and the maple museum.

There will also be storytime with sugarmaker Steve, and lots of other activities.

Most activities take place outside, so please dress accordingly for the weather.

Jed’s Maple Products is a certified organic sugarmaker.

They use high-pressure steam in their evaporator rather than wood or oil.

The maple museum is housed in the sugarhouse that Steve grew up sugaring in and allows visitors to take a step back in time to explore the local area’s maple history.

Jed’s Maple is also a proud participant in Audubon’s Bird Friendly Maple Program.

They will be sharing information throughout the weekend about how they help the migratory songbirds that nest in their woods during the spring and summer months.

‘Auddie’, the Jed’s Maple Bird Ambassador, will be making appearances both days!

Jed’s Maple Products is located at 259 Derby Pond Rd. in Derby.

Irasburg man facing charges after shooting at family members, dog

in Irasburg/Newport/News

IRASBURG — A 33-year-old man from Irasburg is facing numerous charges after an incident that took place on Wednesday.

Police responded to Simino Lane for a report of an escalating incident in which a man was intoxicated and fighting with family members.

The suspect was identified as Joshua Hall.

Police say Hall began shooting a shotgun at family members. State Police arrived at the scene moments later and led the victims to a safe location.

According to the report, Hall was highly intoxicated and shot several shotgun rounds at the victims and at the dogs.

Police began informing neighbors of the incident and contained the area.

After speaking with Hall over the phone police were able to take him into custody after a short period without further incident.

A statement regarding the incident issued by Trooper Joshua Mikkola reads:

“The investigation revealed Hall and a victim had been arguing earlier that evening after Hall had been consuming a large amount of alcohol. When family members arrived to help the victim leave the residence, Hall became upset and would not allow another victim to call 911 for help. During the struggle over the phone to call for help, Hall knocked over a small child causing the child to receive a facial injury. The incident then escalated when the victims began leaving. Hall exited the residence with a shotgun and began shooting at the victims and then the dogs. Nobody was injured by the projectiles, however, Hall approached a victim and struck the victim in the face with the buttstock of the shotgun. The victims were able to escape as Vermont State Police arrived at the residence.”

Hall was held at Northern State Correctional Facility and appeared in court today to answer to the charges of first degree aggravated domestic assault, second degree aggravated domestic assault, aggravated assault with a weapon, interference with access to emergency services, reckless endangerment, and cruelty to a child.

Police: Missing Derby woman found dead in Peacham

in Derby/Newport/News

PEACHAM — The search for a missing woman from Derby ended tragically today, after police say she was found deceased.

Cecile Aubin, also known as Cecile LaClair, was located in the town of Peacham.

Police have not released much information, but say her death is not suspicious at this time.

Authorities say the cause and manner of her death is pending an autopsy.

It was reported that Aubin left a residence on Pine Hill Road in Derby sometime around 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 21.

She was last seen leaving the residence in her orange Subaru Impreza.

Police say there is no more information available at this time.

NEK Young Professionals making inroads in region

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT – The Northeast Kingdom Young Professionals Network has launched a number of new initiatives and hosted a number of successful events this past year, significantly increasing the numbers of its organization region-wide.

The board reflects the geographic diversity of the region, with Maire Folan, the program manager of the Green Mountain Farm-to-School office in Newport, serving as committee chair.

Patrick Sodums, the YPN vice chair, brings a hospitality background to the group, as he works as the conference and corporate sales manager of the Burke Mountain Hotel & Conference Center in East Burke.

Rounding out the board is Sarah Chadburn, the group’s treasurer, who serves as a credit analyst at Community National Bank in Newport.

“The vision of the NEK YPN is to be a network for young professionals living and working in and around Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom,” Folan states. “We hope to provide valuable leadership, relationship, and education opportunities through collaboration with community partners.”

The group has held successful social events, or mixers, to bring people together.

It hopes to soon roll out some new programs that will welcome new folks to the area and provide more leadership opportunities.

The Northeast Kingdom Young Professionals Network was re-energized two years ago by Geoffrey Sewake after having been established by then-Northeast Kingdom Chamber President Hannah Manley in 2011.

The main purpose of the group is to serve the needs of young professionals, employees, leaders, and entrepreneurs of the tri-county region, who are hoping to find networking and social opportunities with others in their area.

“We recognize the word ‘young’ to be dynamic, not static, and ‘professional’ to be inclusive, not exclusive,” Folan noted. “We welcome all to this group.”

In the past two years, the NEK YPN has sponsored a number of events in the Northeast Kingdom and partnered with similar groups in northern New Hampshire in an attempt to reach out to more young professionals throughout the North Country.

Such meetings have not only allowed more professionals to network with each other but also helped the committee determine what the needs of young professionals are in the Kingdom.

“An important priority of the NEK YPN is to reach every corner of the Kingdom and help and assist young professionals, as they are not only the leaders of tomorrow, but, in many cases, today’s leaders as well,” said Darcie McCann, executive director of the Northeast Kingdom Chamber. “We as a chamber, as well as other chambers throughout the Kingdom, are striving to work as closely with the group as possible to ensure we give them the support and skills they need to succeed.”

Memoir and poetry workshop coming to the MAC Center March 16

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — The MAC Center for the Arts will be holding a writing workshop, Saturday, March 16, from 1:00-4:00 p.m.

The workshop is called “The Power of the Personal Metaphor: A Memoir and Poetry Workshop.”

Come discover how personal metaphors inspire the creation of poetry and memoir.

Whether your interest is in writing poetry or prose, this workshop will delve into the ways metaphor and figurative language work to express the power of our individual experiences and emotions.

In the workshop, the group will use short writing exercises and spend some extended writing time to explore, develop and extend metaphors into poetry or prose.

This workshop will also be relevant for visual artists who use metaphorical imagery in their work.

The workshop will conclude with volunteers sharing their work.

The workshop is limited to 15 participants, ages 14 years and older.

Pre-registration is suggested by March 13.

Registration forms can be found online or by stopping in at the MAC Center for the Arts.

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

You can also email pattyos@earthlink.net

Woman reported missing in Derby

in Derby/Newport/News

DERBY — Police are looking for a woman from Derby that went missing last week.

Cecile Aubin, also known as Cecile LaClair, left a residence on Pine Hill Road in Derby sometime around 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, February 21.

It was reported that Cecile has not reached out to any family members, which is highly unusual for this long.

She was last seen leaving the residence in her 2010 orange Subaru Impreza, with Vermont registration FTB220.

The vehicle is registered to Cecile.

She is described as a white female, 5’6″, 120 lbs, hazel eyes with black shoulder length hair.

Police are asking anyone with any information about her whereabouts or the location of her vehicle to call 802-334-8881.

Fire destroys barn in Coventry

in coventry/Newport/News

COVENTRY — The Newport City Fire Department responded to a structure fire in Coventry this morning.

A large, two-story barn at 862 Heermanville Road was fully engulfed in flames at around 9:20 a.m.

The barn was no longer in use as a dairy barn and used primarily for storage.

It was completely destroyed by the fire, however, no person or animal was injured.

Newport City Fire Chief Jamie Leclair contacted authorities to request assistance with an origin and cause investigation.

An investigation was initiated and initial investigation efforts suggest that the fire appears to be electrical in nature and non-suspicious.

First witnesses on scene noticed the fire in the southwest corner of the building.

Anyone that may have witnessed the fire is asked to contact Detective Sgt Michael LaCourse at 802-334-8881.

Railway fined for mismanaging hazardous materials at Newport maintenance facility

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Central Maine & Quebec Railway, owner and operator of a railroad maintenance facility in Newport, was fined $12,000 for improperly managing hazardous materials and releasing hazardous materials to the environment.

During a May 2018 compliance inspection, DEC personnel found absorbent materials contaminated with petroleum in open, unmarked containers, at its Glen Road facility and railyard.

DEC officials also discovered petroleum in the soil, indicating that petroleum from railway maintenance activities had been released onto the ground.

The company was also keeping unidentified hazardous waste in a service building at the facility.

Hazardous waste contains dangerous chemicals. These chemicals can harm public health and the environment.

“Hazardous releases can be prevented by following storage and management practices outlined in Vermont’s hazardous waste management rules,” says Emily Boedecker, DEC Commissioner. “To avoid dangerous spills, companies need to identify hazardous materials and keep them in sealed containers in dry storage spaces. This is the law, and these common-sense practices will keep workers safe and prevent hazardous materials from reaching our soil and water.”

Following the inspection, DEC directed the company to clean up contaminated soils and implement proper storage and labeling practices for all hazardous materials on the property.

Central Maine & Quebec Railway US Inc. completed a remediation effort in July 2018 that removed over 10 tons of oil-contaminated soil and hazardous materials from the property.

The company also agreed to pay a $12,000 fine for the violations.

The Environmental Division of the Vermont Superior Court approved the agreement between DEC and the company in an order dated February 15, 2019.

Agricultural and natural resource meeting March 15 in Newport

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Orleans County Conservation District, in cooperation with Natural Resources Conservation Service, is hosting a meeting to receive input from the public and our partners regarding natural resource priorities in the area.

NRCS administers several programs funded through the Federal Farm Bill.

These programs are designed to assist farmers, forest owners, and other landowners implement projects that benefit soil health, water quality, wildlife habitat, and other natural resource concerns.

The meeting will be held on Friday, March 15, from 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at the USDA Service Center Conference Room at 59 Waterfront Plaza in Newport.

The public is welcome and strongly encouraged to attend this meeting.

Organizers ask that anyone interested RSVP by March 8.

To RSVP, or for further information, contact the Orleans Conservation District at 802-334-6090 x 7008.

United Christian Academy’s Bronze Ambassadors head to Florida

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — The Bronze Ambassadors of the United Christian Academy in Newport are headed south for a series of performances.

Now in its twenty-second year of community service and music performance throughout the country, the ensemble will travel to central Florida from February 26 through March 5.

During the week-long tour, the Ambassadors will visit a prison for teens in Gainesville, an orphanage in Lakeland, a children’s museum in Tampa, and a children’s hospital in Orlando.

They will also visit a church in Melbourne, where they will participate in a Catholic mass.

Over the years they have rung at national venues in New York and Washington D.C. and frequently perform locally at hospitals and churches.

Winter Swim Festival this weekend in Newport

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom/Outdoors

NEWPORT — This weekend, 85 winter swimmers supported by 35 volunteers, will be competing in a two-lane, 25-meter pool cut in the ice on Lake Memphremagog.

Swimmers are traveling from all over the United States for the event, as well as internationally from South Africa, Scotland, Spain, and Quebec.

They will be swimming 25-meter, 50-meter, 100-meter, and 200-meter events, starting with a fiercely competitive 25-meter “Hat Competition,” starting at 9:30 a.m.

Newport offers the only 25-meter, two-lane winter swim pool cut in the ice, in all of North America.

The pool is cut by Michael Booth and Josh McCoy.

Four youth will be competing, including Margaret Rivard, of Springfield, NH, age 11, her older sister Vera Rivard, age 15, Esme Kimber, age 12, of East Corinth, and Denis Graham, age 17, of Verona, WI.

On the other end of the spectrum are two septuagenarians, Ginny Peck, 73, of North Campton, NH, and Kathleen McDonnell, 71, of Toronto, ON.

There are 10 others in their 60s taking part in the swim.

Approximately 35 volunteers will be supporting the weekend event, some traveling from Maryland, Quebec City, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Magog.

Cutting of the pool will begin on Wednesday.

A ribbon cutting and opening ceremony with potato gun salute will take place at 3:00 p.m. on Friday.

The first swim starts at 9:30 a.m.

Spectators are welcome to come out and watch these remarkable swimmers.

The Winter Swim Festival is organized by Kingdom Games which holds over 20 days of highly acclaimed running, biking, and swimming events in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

Orleans County Conservation District staff attend Industrial Hemp Conference

in News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Last week, district manager Sarah Damsell and Land Treatment and Nutrient Management Specialist Emily Irwin attended the University of Vermont’s first Industrial Hemp Conference.

The 2018 Farm Bill defined hemp as an agricultural commodity and removed it from the list of controlled substances.

Each state will eventually be required to submit a plan to monitor and regulate the production of hemp.

Hemp and marijuana are different varieties of the same species, Cannabis sativa L.

To be considered hemp, the crop must contain less than 0.3% THC, the psychoactive component of the cannabis plant.

Hemp can be grown for CBD oil, a cannabinol found in hemp and typically used in health supplements, fiber, or seed.

CBD has several purported health benefits, including relief from inflammation, pain, and seizures.

Many agricultural producers in Orleans County see industrial hemp as a new market opportunity.

The conference was geared towards growers, and sessions focused on topics such as breeding and selection of CBD hemp, pest management, and fertility management.

To grow hemp for high-value CBD production, the hemp plant must be managed as a specialty crop, and given the nutrients and attention it needs to thrive.

Conference sessions also covered other emerging markets for hemp products, including fiber and grain.

There were several representatives present at the conference from state and federal agencies.

Growers wishing to cultivate or process hemp must register with the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food, and Markets, and provide appropriate maps, GPS locations, and applicable fees.

More information on the registration process, as well as instructions for how to register online, can be found at http://www.agriculture.vermont.gov/public-health-agricultural-resource-management-division/hemp-program.

There are also federal cost-share programs available to farmers through the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), including funding available through NRCS for building seasonal high tunnels.

In terms of risk coverage for hemp, the Farm Services Agency (FSA) does not yet have the guidance or authority to apply current FSA programs to hemp.

However, interested growers should stay in touch their local FSA and NRCS representatives, as guidance is still changing.

Vermont Organic Farmers, the certifying arm of the Northeast Organic Farmers Association in Vermont, can certify industrial hemp that is used exclusively for industrial purposes, including fiber and seed.

Hemp oil, consisting of stalk, leaf, seed, or hemp meal intended for human or livestock consumption, cannot be certified organic.

The Orleans County Natural Resources Conservation District will be holding an informational workshop in the next few months that will cover the ins and outs of growing industrial hemp.

Taste of the Kingdom event February 27

in Jay Peak/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — The 11th Annual Taste of the Kingdom, a fundraising event held by Green Mountain Farm-to-School (GMFTS), will take place at 6:00 p.m. on February 27, at Jay Peak Resort’s Foeger Ballroom.



Guests will enjoy small plates and sample beverages from over 20 Northeast Kingdom food and drink producers.

This year’s Farm & Food Partners include the Highland Lodge, Barn First Creamery, Goob’s Brews & BBQ, Sterling College’s kitchen and many more.

The evening will also include live music, a silent auction featuring NEK-area businesses, and a raffle for a 2-night stay for 4 people at Jay Peak Resort. 



“This event is an annual celebration of our local food economy,” said Sophie Westover, communications and development coordinator at GMFTS. “It’s a chance to interact with some of our region’s best farmers, chefs, distillers, and brewers, all while supporting GMFTS and our work to connect farms, schools, and communities.”


All proceeds from the event will go to benefit GMFTS and its programming.

DUI crash with injury in Barton

in Barton/Newport/News/Orleans

BARTON — Police say that a 60-year-old man from Barton was charged with DUI after a two-vehicle crash on Sunday sent a man to the hospital.

At around 8:00 p.m. rescue workers were notified of the crash that occurred on US Route 5 near the intersection of Kinsey Road, in Barton.

Police say Ed Seadale exhibited signs of intoxication and was ultimately arrested and processed for DUI.

Roger Pray, 80, of Orleans, was the driver in the second vehicle and was immediately transported to North Country Hospital for treatment for minor injuries.

According to the police report, Seadale was traveling south and Pray was traveling northbound.

“Evidence at the scene indicated Seadale operated his vehicle left of the centerline and collided with Pray in the oncoming lane,” a statement issued by Sgt. Andrew Jensen reads.

Both vehicles were unable to be driven from the scene.

Barton/Orleans Fire Department, as well as Orleans EMS, assisted at the scene.

Photo from Facebook by Danielle Lucas.

Truck through the ice on Willoughby

in Newport/News/Westmore

WESTMORE — A truck partially went through the ice on Willoughby this afternoon.

At around 3:00 p.m. Orleans Ambulance and Westmore Fire Department responded to the scene. All occupants of the truck were out and safe by the time they arrived.

The truck was approximately 50 feet from the Willoughby fishing access, partially submerged.

The driver was identified as Travis Cady, 30, of Wheelock.

Cady told police after driving on the ice, he was returning to shore when the truck hit a large bump in front of the access.

When the truck struck the ice after the bump, the front end sunk through the ice and became lodged.

Police say Cady’s ability to operate a motor vehicle in the State of Vermont was under criminal suspension.

He was issued a citation for the charge of criminal DLS.

Wrights towing responded and removed the vehicle from the ice.

Anyone accessing Lake Willoughby from the Willoughby access area is cautioned about the large hole in the ice approximately 50 feet from the access area.

Westmore Fire department marked the location where the truck fell through, however, caution in the area is stressed.

Newport City Candidates Forum coming February 21

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Vermont’s North Country Chamber of Commerce will host a Newport City Candidates’ Forum on Thursday, February 21 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the Goodrich Library

The forum is open to the public to attend, and will be broadcast live on local radio station WIKE 103.1 FM / 1490 AM and recorded for future broadcast on community accesses cable.

The forum will be moderated by chamber president Bruce James.

Five people are running for various top-level city offices including Mayor and City Council.

In the race for City Mayor are Paul Monette, Dan Ross, and John Wilson.

Running for City Council are James Merriam, Melissa Pettersson, Dan Ross, and John Wilson.

The top two vote-getters for the City Council will be elected.

Ross and Wilson are running for both mayor and city council and have said if they are elected mayor, they will turn back the council position, which would then be filled by appointment or special election.

Many people think Newport City is as at a crossroads, with its future in the balance.

Questions over ownership and future of the boardwalk along the lake, water quality issues for Lake Memphremagog, what steps the city could take, if any, to improve the downtown economic climate, growing the city’s grand list, and the ever-present tax issues are some of the questions expected to be presented.

The forum will be held on the second floor of the Goodrich Library and is open to the public to attend.

Police investigate threats at North Country Junior High School

in Derby/Newport/News

DERBY — Police were called out to North Country Junior High School in Derby this afternoon after they say a juvenile made several verbal threats.

At around 12:50 p.m. Vermont State Police responded to NCUJHS.

According to a statement issued by police, they investigated the incident and found the threats made were not credible.

“Vermont State Police stress this is an isolated incident and at no point was there any threat to students or staff,” a statement issued by Sgt. Sean Selby reads.

Police say that the investigation is ongoing.

Skier killed in accident at Jay Peak

in Jay Peak/News

JAY — A 68-year-old man from Quebec died at Jay Peak Resort this afternoon.

At 12:45 p.m. authorities were notified of a seriously injured skier at the resort.

The skier was identified as Bruce Charron, of West Montreal.

Charron reportedly lost a ski prior to striking trees along the edge of the trail.

He was immediately attended to by emergency responders and extricated from the scene by Jay Peak Ski Patrol.

He later succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased at the resort.

The incident is still under investigation and anyone with information is asked to call (802) 334-8881.

Police: Drunk skier bites, kicks trooper at Jay Peak Resort

in Jay Peak/Newport/News

NEWPORT — A 22-year-old man from New Jersey will have to face a judge on Monday to answer to numerous charges after an incident at Jay Peak Resort on Saturday.

At around 6:00 p.m. police responded to the resort for a report of an unruly and intoxicated man.

Police met with Jay Peak Security and determined the man, identified as Daniel Syzdek, would be placed into protective custody due to his high level of intoxication and aggressiveness towards those at the resort.

According to the report, Syzdek resisted arrest and during the process of taking him into custody bit a trooper. Police say he also kicked a trooper.

Syzdek was transported to Derby to be processed.

He was lodged at Northern State Correctional Facility and has to appear in court on Monday to answer to charges of disorderly conduct, resisting arrest and assault on law enforcement.

Police say that the trooper was not injured during the arrest.

Route 14 in Coventry closed after report of shots fired

in coventry/Newport/News

COVENTRY — A section of Vermont Route 14 in Coventry was closed down yesterday while police investigated a report of gunshots being fired near a residence.

At around 7:15 p.m. police received a 911 report of several shots fired in the vicinity of 84 Blake Road.

Several law enforcement agencies including the U.S. Border Patrol responded to the area to assist.

Police say they believe the shots were fired as means of target practice, and that no injuries were reported and no law violation occurred.

Vermont Route 14 in the area of Blake Road was closed for approximately 3 hours as a precaution throughout the investigation.

An alternate route was provided to traveling motorists.

Eli Goss Memorial Ice Fishing Tournament expecting record turnout this year

in Morgan/Newport/News

NEWPORT — As the Eli Goss Memorial Ice Fishing Tournament enters its ninth year, the tournament has seen a substantial increase in fisherman interest and a record number of area businesses stepping up as sponsors.

The 2019 tournament will be held February 15-17 on Seymour Lake, Echo Lake, and Lake Memphremagog. 

Registration will be at the Public Fishing Access in Morgan.

Fishing begins at 7:33 a.m. Friday and ends at 1:33 p.m. Sunday. 

The closing ceremony, tournament games, silent auction, and raffles will be at 2:33 p.m. on Sunday.

A $15 donation to the Eli Goss Memorial Scholarship Fund will get you into the competition with a chance to win a custom designed ice shack donated and built by Limlaw Family and Friends.

Additional tickets will be sold at the registration area.

Awards include a cash prize for first place along with Eli Trophy Bomber Hats and several prizes donated by local businesses for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place fish from each lake. 

There will be separate categories and prizes for youth and pike.

A raffle and silent auction will again be held, with all proceeds going directly to student scholarships.

The Eli Scholarship Fund is also collecting bottles and cans for their annual bottle drive.

Complimentary hot food will be offered to participants each day at the registration area, compliments of the Eli Fund.   

Community support has rallied behind this year’s tournament with 50 local sponsors backing the event.

Official tournament sweatshirts are on sale now and will contribute in large part to scholarship funds.  

In 2018, The Eli Goss Memorial Fund decided to expand its tournament to include Lake Memphremagog in attempts to enhance the competition and increase attendance.

The result was an unprecedented turnout, allowing The Eli Fund to increase the amount of individual scholarship awarded to 10 Graduates of NCUHS and UCA in memory of Eli.

Since 2011, the Eli fund has awarded 48 Scholarships, totaling over $29,750.00 to graduates of UCA and NCUHS.

“I just love this event,” said Stephanie Goss, who helps the committee organize the event. “I am astounded by the generosity of local people and the spirit of reunion that has developed over the years. It allows us to remember Eli’s kind heart by supporting the dreams of students and helping them realize their dreams.”

The Eli Goss Memorial Scholarship Fund has a mission to expand scholarship opportunities to include students who did the work while balancing academics, sports, jobs, friends, and family. 

They recognize students who are involved in life, courageous in their attempts and caring in their relationships. 
 
With any donation of $40.00 or more, you can receive your own Eli Goss Memorial Ice Fishing Tournament Hoodie. 

Visit www.EliGossMemorialFund.com  and www.Facebook.com/EliGossIceFishing for more information. 

2018’s guest judges, Jonathan Goldsmith, and 2017 Best Beard in Vermont and Wish Dad, Bryan Sturge.

Contest underway to find the best beard in Vermont

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom/Vermont

NEWPORT — A truly Vermont-style fundraiser is back with the Third Annual Vermont Beardies, the contest to find the best beard in Vermont.

Bearded Vermonters are invited to enter their magnificent scruff and encourage their friends to support Make-A-Wish Vermont through social media appeals.

Contestants will compete online in three categories, Urban, Freestyle, and Backwoods.

The contest will culminate with an exciting evening to name the winner featuring celebrity judges and fun contests.

In order to participate, bearded contestants must pre-register now at www.vermontbeardies.com.

The top beards and fundraisers from the online portion of the contest will be invited to participate in a series of in-person contests to judge the majesty of their beards on March 16th at ArtsRiot in Burlington.

Fresh off his Super Bowl ad, the judging panel will include Jonathan Goldsmith, best known as Dos Equis’ original Most Interesting Man In The World.

While promising to be a night of awesome beards, crazy contests, and tons of laughs, the Vermont Beardies is being held to raise much-needed funding for Make-A-Wish Vermont.

The goal of the event is to fund wishes for three children in Vermont facing critical illnesses.

Visit www.vermontbeardies.com to enter your beard and invite your friends to support your rise to the top of the 2019 Vermont Beardies.

Hiring begins for NEK conservation crews

in News/Northeast Kingdom

EAST CHARLESTON — The NorthWoods Stewardship Center has begun hiring local conservation crew leaders and members for the 2019 field season.

The NorthWoods Stewardship Center, now in its 30th year of operation, runs youth conservation crews in partnership with US Fish & Wildlife refuges in six states, and hires 2-3 crews locally, working on trail and watershed improvement projects on public and private lands throughout the Northeast Kingdom.

Vermont crews will be based at the Silvio O. Conte Fish & Wildlife Refuge, Nulhegan Basin Division in Brunswick and at the NorthWoods Stewardship Center home campus in East Charleston.

Projects vary by season and refuge but can include the building or improvement of public access trails, habitat improvement, and wildlife monitoring.

Last year, crews at the Nulhegan USFWS Refuge installed 11 bog bridges on the Mooseway Trail and constructed 2.5 miles of new trail from the Lewis Pond Overlook to the summit of Gore Mountain.

Local NorthWoods crews completed a Universal Access Trail at Moose Bog and Sentinel Rock and cut over 6 miles of new trail over the Bluff Ridge.

Crew leaders and members aged 15 through 20-years-old are hired to work 40 hours per week for 6-8 weeks from June through August.

“This is a great opportunity for local youth interested in environmental conservation to be paid to gain training and hands-on experience in the field,” said NorthWoods Conservation Corps Field Coordinator, Dusty May.

“Even for those who don’t plan on pursuing a career in conservation, the YCC and NorthWoods crews provide valuable skills in learning to persevere, work hard, and tackle projects as a team.”

Many of the alumni consider their work on the crews to be some of the most rewarding and influential work experiences of their teenage years.

Hiring for local crews opened in January and continues through April.

Interested applicants should visit northwoodscenter.org to learn more and apply, or contact corps@northwoodscenter.org, or 802-723-6551×304.

Photo caption: 2018 Backcountry Crew member Tony Barnett clearing trail on the Bluff Ridge.

Vanilla Ice on Lake Memphremagog

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — A bottle of pure vanilla extract next to a few blocks of ice sits waiting on Lake Memphremagog. Get it? Vanilla Ice.

It’s a question as old as the lake herself. Every spring we muse over the age-old question, “when do you think the ice will go out?”

Lake Memphremagog is deep, with ice as thick as 30 inches some winters, but Vermonters never tire watching for any indicative sign of the changing season.​

To celebrate this time-honored tradition, and to make things a little more interesting while we wait, Newport Parks & Recreation runs the annual contest for residents and visitors on Lake Memphremagog.

Each year a weighted mascot is placed in the bay at ​Gardner Memorial Park​ attached to a time clock.

The mascot for this year’s “ICE OUT” content is the work of Newport Parks foreman Mac McKenny.

The facade can be seen from the Causeway bridge and stands steadfast through snowstorms, wind and rain until the ice beneath finally gives way to the early warmth of spring.

When the mascot drops, the Ice Out clock stops recording the official moment that the ice is out in Newport. People keep pretty close tabs on the facade as they pass the Causeway.

“It gives the community something to look for on the lake and they get a kick out of it,” Jessica Booth, Director of Parks & Recreation for the City of Newport, said.

Booth and McKenny say they’re always inundated with calls and emails as soon as the mascot goes under.

“Checking the clock throughout the day is part of the fun while we’re working around Gardner park,” said McKenny, who is in charge of making the official call for ice-out time. “But if the ice goes out on the weekend or in the evening when we’re not around, there’s plenty of people ready to report in.”

When the ice finally does go out on Lake Memphremagog, the news is always welcome to one lucky contestant who entered the closest prediction in the annual contest.

The nearest prediction, without going past, to the actual date and time wins 50 percent of the contest pool. The pool usually totals about $500, depending on ticket sales.

The other half of Ice Out proceeds will benefit the Gardner Memorial Park ​Playground & Splashp​ad Project this year.

Memphremagog Ice Out tickets can be purchased at Little G’s Deli, Hoagies, Jimmy Kwik, Westside Market, East Main General or the Parks & Recreation office.

Predictions can be submitted online too at NewportRecreation.org/ICEOUT.

Deadline to submit your guess is Monday, April 1, 2019, or when the ice goes out, whichever comes first.

For more information, call Newport Parks & Recreation at 802-334-6345.

Newport man arrested following shooting

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Police in Newport arrested a man after a shooting last night.

Larry Brown, 49, of Newport was arrested and charged with aggravated assault.

On Thursday, police initiated an investigation after a man arrived at the station and reported that Brown had shot at him following an argument.

The man alleged Brown fired two shots in his direction, but neither round struck him.

Police say they conducted a more thorough on-scene investigation at Brown’s residence, where the altercation allegedly occurred.

Through their investigation, police allege that Brown and the victim had been spending time together when an argument ensued and that Brown fired a weapon at the victim as he was leaving.

A spent shell casing was located on the ground at the scene and seized as evidence.

There were no injuries as a result of the incident.

Brown was released on his own recognizance, on the condition that he not consume alcohol or be in the possession of any firearms or deadly weapons.

He was also ordered to stay away from the victim and that he appears for his arraignment, which was scheduled for today at 12:30 p.m.

Photo © Eric Hanson

Elinor Osborn of Albany receives Citizen Scientist of the Year Award

in Albany/Newport/News

ALBANY — The Vermont Center for Ecostudies (VCE) recently announced Elinor Osborn of Albany as the recipient of the 2018 Julie Nicholson Citizen Science Award.

Established in 2009, the annual Julie Nicholson Citizen Science Award honors volunteer Julie Nicholson’s extraordinary passion and commitment to birds and wildlife conservation through her many years of tireless work as a citizen scientist.

Elinor Osborn was chosen as the 2018 awardee as she exemplifies this same spirit and dedication to conservation and citizen science.

So, what is a citizen scientist? A citizen scientist is an individual who voluntarily contributes their time, effort, and resources to collect or analyze data in collaboration with professional scientists.

A science background is not necessary to participate—just enthusiasm and a willingness to learn.

Elinor’s commitment to citizen science and wildlife conservation spans decades—and includes contributions to the Vermont Loon Conservation Project, the Second Atlas of Breeding Birds of Vermont, the Vermont Butterfly Survey, and the Vermont Bumble Bee Atlas.

An accomplished professional photographer, Elinor has donated many stunning photographs for use in VCE’s and other conservation nonprofit’s outreach materials.

Before coming to Vermont, Elinor and her husband George lived in upstate New York—she working as a music teacher and George as a trombonist in the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra.

After retiring, she had the good fortune to follow the Trumpeter Swan Migration Project, photographing and writing a children’s book about it.

Elinor and George started coming to Vermont to ski at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center about 1980, and moved to the area when they retired.

Soon after, Elinor began photographing loons and participating in VCE projects.

“Elinor has covered Great Hosmer Pond as an adopt-a-lake volunteer since the late 1990s,” says Eric Hanson, VCE’s loon biologist and leader of VCE’s Vermont Loon Conservation Project. “She and George spent many nights helping me with loon banding efforts and nighttime rescues. They kayaked lakes all over the Northeast Kingdom to monitor loons for VCE.”

Before George passed away in 2016, he joined Elinor on some of her adventures.

She recalls one night vividly—canoeing in the dark amid lurking stumps, watching Eric spotlight and eventually capture a loon.

Back on shore, she watched as Eric banded the loon and collected blood and feather samples.

“On the same night on another lake, before another capture, we saw clouds of bats darting and shining silver in the spotlight, just above the water,” Osborn recalls. “That loon was entangled in fishing line. While I held the loon’s beak just enough to keep it from opening, Eric surgically removed the line, then returned the loon to the water. Then we tumbled into our motel beds at 4:00 a.m. after a wonderful night with loons.”

These adventures and others led Elinor to write and photograph an article on loon conservation in Vermont for Vermont Life Magazine in 2003.

These days, Elinor walks a half mile down the road to check on the nesting loon pair at the south end of Great Hosmer Pond several times a week each summer.

Or when she has a chance to kayak, she checks on the whole of Great Hosmer Pond as well as Little Hosmer Pond for loon activity.

You can learn more about the Julie Nicholson Citizen Science Award and citizen science opportunities at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies website: https://vtecostudies.org.

Solar lights stolen along snowmobile trail in Derby

in Derby/News

DERBY — State Police are investigating a series of thefts that occurred along a local snowmobile trail.

Over the weekend someone stole approximately six solar lights along a trail in Derby.

The solar lights were attached to snowmobile intersection signs and were ripped off.

The total loss is estimated to be $165.

These lights were purchased by the Derby Driftduster Snowmobile Club to assist night riders at intersections with lighting.

Anyone with any information on these thefts is asked to contact Sgt. Sean Selby of the Vermont State Police.

The lights were only taken in the Derby area and intersections.

NVRH, NCH expand joint sleep medicine venture with new facility

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom/St. Johnsbury

ST. JOHNSBURY — Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital (NVRH) in St. Johnsbury and North Country Hospital (NCH) in Newport have collaborated to enhance sleep medicine services in Vermont with the opening of an expanded Northern Vermont Center for Sleep Disorders location

The center will open February 4.

The new clinic, which offers the latest in comprehensive diagnostics and treatment of sleep-related conditions, is conveniently located off I-91 (Exit 22) at 468 Hospital Drive, St. Johnsbury.

The joint venture between NVRH and NCH currently has two locations – one in Newport, at North Country Hospital, which will remain open, and one on the NVRH campus, which will transition to the new clinic location in St. Johnsbury.

“Through this partnership, the two hospitals are demonstrating a commitment to addressing the growing need for sleep medicine services in the Northeast Kingdom and beyond by investing in this new and expanded second location,” NVRH CEO Shawn Tester said.

The new clinic features four sleep rooms and four treatment rooms.

Each sleep room is equipped with a bed, television, adjustable lighting, individual climate control, and other features.

It is staffed and managed by Medical Director Veronika Jedlovszky MD, Weili Gray, MD, and Danielle Speer, ANP, as well as technicians to conduct the night time studies.

“The new clinic will provide more comprehensive and timely care for both consults and sleep studies for patients throughout the region,” Jedlovszky said.

Nearly 100 million Americans report problems with sleep disorders, which can affect an individual’s ability to function throughout the day and lead to other health problems such as cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

“Having seen the growth of the sleep center partnership over the last six years, it really was imperative that we make this expansion to meet the demand,” added North Country’s COO and the sleep clinic’s project lead, Tom Frank. “Our top-notch physicians, nurse practitioner and sleep technicians will complement both centers with sleep medicine and pulmonary care services, second to none.”

The center evaluates for and treats the full spectrum of sleep disorders in adults and children, including obstructive sleep apnea, central sleep apnea, nocturnal hypoventilation, insomnia, restless leg syndrome, periodic limb movement disorder, narcolepsy, other hypersomnia conditions, REM behavioral disorder, and other parasomnias.

Services include sleep consultation for adult and pediatric patients, sleep consultation for CDL exam, positive airway pressure therapy, CPAP, BIPAP, ASV, and other modes, oral appliance therapy, sleep hygiene education, cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia and medication management of various sleep disorders.

Tests available through the center include adult and pediatric diagnostic polysomnogram, adult and pediatric titration polysomnogram, multiple sleep latency test (MSLT), and home sleep study.

Sleep studies are available both weeknights and weekends.

Patients are encouraged to talk with their primary care provider about a referral to the sleep clinic and may also call 802-748-7901 with questions.

For more information visit www.northcountryhospital.org or www.nvrh.org.

An official ribbon-cutting and community open house will take place in late spring 2019.

Newport armed robbery suspect taken into custody

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Police say that a Newport man who has been on the run since June of 2018 was arrested today.

Lucas Putvain, 31, was arrested at around 1:00 p.m. at a location on Western Avenue in Newport City.

Putvain has an extensive criminal history and allegedly robbed a man at gunpoint back in November of 2018.

The victim told police Putvain and another person ordered him to get into their car and held him at gunpoint.

Police say he demanded money before pushing the victim out of the car. Putvain had three active warrants at the time.

In December of 2018, he was seen traveling on West Street in Derby, before police say he fled at a high rate of speed.

Police did not initiate a pursuit at that time because Putvain was traveling with children in the vehicle.

Police say during today’s arrest, 29-year-old Cassaundra Walker, of Newport, was also arrested on several outstanding warrants.

Both were taken into custody without incident and are scheduled to be seen in Orleans Superior Court this afternoon.

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