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Newport’s Winterfest finds a new home

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News/Outdoors

NEWPORT — Over 800 community members came out Saturday to enjoy Newport’s Winter Festival from a new location on the banks of Prouty Beach.

The event, which had been hosted at Gardner Park for decades, included music, horse-drawn wagon rides, hot food, fireworks and thanks to some excavation work at the park this fall, a brand new community sledding hill.

“The Waterfront Recreation Path was a project we began at Prouty Beach in October to connect the bike path with the new trails going in at the Bluffside Farm next summer,” said Jessica Booth, Director of Parks and Recreation for the City of Newport. “During construction, our Public Works crew removed a lot of material from the park leaving behind some rolling hills and slopes next to our summer camp building. It didn’t take long for us to realize the potential for sledding there in the winter.”

On Saturday, local kids came in droves and tried out their snowboards, tubes, and sleds in every shape and size.

The evening was spent fearlessly traversing the hillside with friends, siblings, and pairs of parents and kids eager for their next turn to ride down.

Thrill-seekers branched off and made new trails in the nooks and crannies of the hilly shoreline, breaking only for sips of hot cocoa and a roasted marshmallow.

The more mellow guests, who were less intrigued by the sledding hill, enjoyed a variety of family activities including a progressive story walk hosted by the Vermont Land Trust and scenic wagon rides with breathtaking views of Lake Memphremagog.

Many snowmobilers rode-in off the V.A.S.T. trail to warm up by the bonfires and enjoy the food and fireworks.

“We are very pleased with the turnout and plan to make Prouty the new, permanent home for Newport’s Winter Festival,” Booth said. “It’s all part of the City’s effort to highlight Lake Memphremagog and create more outdoor recreation opportunities for our residents and visitors.”

Prouty Beach is closed to vehicles during the winter, but Parks & Recreation staff plan to keep a path plowed for access to that area of the park for sledding.

Families can leave vehicles at North Country High School and walk a short distance across the soccer field to go enjoy the hill.

Snowmobilers are also permitted in the park on the marked V.A.S.T. trails.

Two-vehicle crash in Brighton

in Brighton/Newport/News

BRIGHTON — Police responded to a two-vehicle crash in Brighton on Friday.

The crash took place at the intersection of Vermont Route 105 and Route 114 at around 7:14 p.m.

According to the police report, Alexander Wing, 33, of Stowe, was headed north on Route 114 and failed to yield to oncoming traffic while turning onto Route 105.

Wing’s vehicle was hit by a truck being driven by Dave Laney, 42, of N. Stratford, NH, who was headed east on Route 105.

Police say Wing suffered minor injuries and was transported to North Country Hospital.

Laney was not injured during the crash.

Brighton Fire, Newport Ambulance, and Wright’s Towing all responded to assist at the scene.

Peace Project at Newport City Elementary School

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — The MAC Center for the Arts was invited to celebrate the Newport City Elementary School’s PEACE PROJECT, which is in full swing schoolwide.

The colorful art concept was designed by Lynn Leimer-Flint, of a tree with every student’s hands adorned with peace symbols to represent leaves on the tree.

Using the motto of “Many Hands make light work,” the collaboration manifested the Peace Tree in a record 45 minutes.

Photo:

Completed project photo: (l to r) Jenna Walsh, Cadence Sanville, Julliette Perkins, Gwen Roberge, MAC members Joyce Flint, Debra Gosselin, Lynn Leimer-Flint (MAC President), Janice Luce (MAC Secretary), Angela Gluck, and Pam Ladds (MAC VP)

Students Gwen Roberge, Julliette Perkins, Cadence Sanville, and Jenna Walsh, building the Peace Tree.

Borderline Players to hold auditions for The Addams Family, March 7

DERBY LINE — Auditions for The Addams Family: The Musical will take place Saturday, March 7, from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m. at the First Universalist Parish Hall in Derby Line.

Borderline Players will present this production in the Haskell Opera House on August 7-8-9 and 14-15-16, 2020.

In the kooky world of the Addams Family, to be sad is to be happy, to feel pain is to feel joy.

Nonetheless, this quirky family still has to deal with many of the same challenges faced by any other family, and the spookiest nightmare faced by every family: the kids are growing up.

Gomez and Morticia’s dark, macabre daughter Wednesday is now a young woman who has fallen for a sweet, smart boy from a normal, respectable family.

In one fateful, hilarious night, the Addams family must face the one horrible thing they’ve managed to avoid: change.

The show will be directed by Sarah Comtois, with music direction by Mark Violette, both of whom were last seen in 2019’s production of Mamma Mia!

Roles are available for all voices and ages, including ensemble roles.

View character details at https://borderlineplayers.org.

For more information or to reserve a time, contact borderlineplayers@outlook.com.

Officer Josh Lillis and K-9 Ozzy recognized as Tracking Team of the Year

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Officer Josh Lillis and K-9 Ozzy of the Newport Police Department were recently recognized as the 2019 K-9 Tracking Team of the Year.

Officer Lillis and K-9 Ozzy were honored by the Vermont Canine Police Association on Friday, Feb. 21 at the Vermont Police Academy with the 2019 K-9 Tracking Team of the Year Award.

“I’m very proud of the accomplishment and happy to be recognized for this achievement,” Officer Lillis said.

The award recognizes the duo’s exceptional work tracking and apprehending criminal suspects and missing persons.

Over the last year, the pair have had six successful tracks that led to the apprehensions of suspects attempting to elude arrest and missing persons.

“This award is a true testament to the endless hours and hard work put in by Officer Lillis and K-9 Ozzy to be proficient and successful in tracking,” said Lt. Travis Bingham. “We are proud of their accomplishments.”

Lt. Bingham was the Newport Police Department’s K-9 handler from 2006-2018, and has worked closely with both Officer Lillis and K-9 Ozzy.

Officer Lillis and K-9 Ozzy have been working together on the road for approximately one year.

K-9 Ozzy is a two-year-old Belgian Malinois certified in both Patrol/Tracking and Narcotics Detection.

The Tracking team of the year is one of the many awards that is voted on by the Vermont Canine Police Association Committee members for K-9 teams in the states of Vermont and New Hampshire.

There are approximately 50 K-9 teams that belong to the association.

Naughton named top Mental Health First Aid trainer in Vermont

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Sunny Naughton, Regional Prevention Partnerships Grant Coordinator out of Northeast Kingdom Learning Services, was recently named the Top Mental Health First Aid Trainer in Vermont alongside her frequent training partner, Lance Metayer.

The National Council of Behavioral Health gives out these honors based on number of trainings, attendees, and evaluations.

Mental Health First Aid is a skills-based training course that teaches participants about mental health and substance-use issues.

MHFA is described as the help you give someone, similar to CPR, before a professional can step in.

The training also offers ways to support those around us living with mental illness every day in hopes of avoiding a crisis situation.

Naughton has trained over 400 Northern Vermont community members in just two years, hosting over 30 training sessions in various sectors of the community including educational staff, human services, security, and college resident advisors.

The process to become a trainer is 40 hours in which students learn the materials as well as best practices for presenting from seasoned facilitators, take several written tests and present to classmates to be adjudicated.

Naughton is certified in both Youth and Adult Mental Health First Aid.

“I feel that everyone should take this training,” Naughton said. “While much of the information is likely already something someone is accustomed to, having the chance to see it laid out in a way that can allow us to think differently about how we interact with one another on a daily basis can be life-changing.”

Naughton went on to explain that you never know what someone else is experiencing, and a little extra kindness or offer of support can make a big difference in someone’s life.

Mental Health First Aid has been offered in Vermont through partnerships at NEKLS, Northern Vermont Regional Hospital, Northeast Kingdom Human Services and Vermont Care Partners.

The training is free of charge and can hold between 10 to 30 participants.

To learn more or to schedule a training for your community, workplace or extracurricular organization, email sunny.naughton@neklsvt.org

Police: Brownington man arrested for DUI #2, violation of conditions of release

in Brownington/Newport/News

BROWNINGTON — A 36-year-old man was arrested for his second DUI, as well as criminal DLS, and violating conditions of release in Brownington yesterday.

Police say they initiated a motor vehicle stop on Hinman Settler Road at around 7:49 p.m.

While speaking with the driver, identified as Leo Davignon, of Brownington, police say they detected indicators of impairment.

Following an investigation, police found that Davignon’s driver’s license was criminally suspended and he also had an active set of conditions of release stating he could not operate a motor vehicle.

He was arrested and transported him to the State Police Derby barracks for processing.

Newport area prevention specialist attends National Leadership Forum in D.C.

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Northeast Kingdom Learning Services recently had the opportunity through the Regional Prevention Partnerships Grant to send a staff member to CADCA’s National Leadership Forum in D.C.

Local Prevention Specialist Ally Howell attended alongside many state-wide colleagues to learn and share what Vermont needs to make substance use and misuse prevention a priority in communities.

“This was an excellent opportunity to learn from great work happening in coalitions and communities all over the nation facing the same struggles we are here in the NEK,” Howell said.

She says workforce development, high poverty, and high rates of substance use and misuse are some of these key issues.

CADCA’s National Leadership Forum is a 4-day conference packed with multiple adult and youth-oriented opportunities to learn the latest strategies to fight substance misuse and hear from nationally-known experts and policymakers with a full day dedicated to Capitol Hill events.

Workshops Howell attended ranged from engaging the next generation, to how to build a teen center with no money.

“I’m proud to report that Vermont was well represented by bringing on one of the largest numbers of youth in the nation,” Howell said. “It was inspiring to hear the successes and passion as well as challenges from young people all across the state. Despite the tough work we are faced with there’s a lot of potential and hope.”

For more information and to get involved in local prevention efforts, contact allyson.howell@neklsvt.org

Brownington man found parked, facing wrong direction on I-91 charged with DUI

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Newport Police have charged a man with DUI after locating his vehicle stopped facing the wrong direction on I-91.

Justin Gaboriault, 28, of Brownington, has been charged with driving under the influence, gross negligent operation, and reckless endangerment.

At around 4:20 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 23, Newport Police responded to a report of a vehicle facing the wrong direction at mile marker 175 on I-91.

Two Border Patrol units were already at the scene when police arrived.

They say a Chevrolet truck was facing north on the southbound shoulder.

Border Patrol Agents say attempts to wake the driver of the truck had been unsuccessful.

Newport Police were able to wake Gaboriault, who was sitting in the driver’s seat with the engine running.

He allegedly appeared disoriented, smelled of intoxicants, had bloodshot and watery eyes, and declined transportation to an area hospital, police say.

He was transported to the Newport Police Department, where police say he submitted to and ultimately failed multiple sobriety tests.

He declined to take a preliminary breath test.

Gaboriault was held overnight at the Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport on $2,500 bail and is expected to be arraigned today at Orleans County Superior Court.

Environmental Concern by Peggy Stevens | East Charleston

in Letter to the Editor/Newport/News

Dear Editor,

I would like to bring to the attention of your readers a study, completed in 2017 and published last Fall by the USGS and Vermont Fish and Wildlife, that has received little if any notice.

I received a copy of the study from a Canadian friend, not through the State or local media.

I have asked local fishermen, members of the MWA, folks who I thought would be in the know and have been amazed by the lack of awareness of such an important local environmental finding.

When you open the link provided here, you may, like me, be disturbed by the photos of Brown Bullhead sampled from two sites in the south end of Lake Memphremagog between 2014-17.

30 percent of samples, a statistically very high percentage according to the researchers, have raised black cancerous lesions, not only on the skin but also in the tissues and organs of affected fish.

One can’t help wonder if there may be a connection to the recent report that tests of effluent from Newport and Montpelier Waste Water Treatment Facilities- the only two in the state that accept landfill leachate- was many times over the limit for PFAS chemicals set by the state for drinking water.

These WWTFs had the highest PFAS levels of any WWTFs in the state.

Even though Newport WWTF no longer takes leachate, thanks to the District 7 Act 250 temporary ban effective October 23, 2019, until 2024, the “forever” PFAS chemicals (and other toxins present in the millions of gallons of leachate already dumped untreated into the lake) build up and remain in the ecosystem of Memphremagog.

Representatives of the Agency of Natural Resources and Vermont Fish and Wildlife, when asked, have downplayed concerns that contaminants in the lake may be causally related to the incidence of cancerous melanomas in this fish population.

A spokesperson from DEC has said these Bullhead cancers, first identified in 2012, may be caused by a railroad petroleum spill.

Has there been further sampling of water, sediment, and the fish tissue, as recommended in the conclusion of the USGS study, to determine what the underlying cause may be?

Is analysis being done for PFAS or other leachate chemicals as well as petroleum-related chemicals?

Also, the study says sampling was done in Hospital Cove and the South Bay-what are the exact sites where sampling was done and why were they chosen?

Were there petroleum spills in both places?

And are more sites designated for future study?

Will there be sampling of other species- other bottom-feeders as well as species further up the food chain?

One last question, why were the control samples of Brown Bullheads, taken from Ticklenaked Pond in Ryegate, free of any signs of melanomas?

Doesn’t this suggest that there may be something in our lake causing the cancers in these fish?

While I welcome efforts by the legislature and the State in the last year to prioritize Clean Water and to target PFAS pollution concerns, time is of the essence in order to protect our Vermont waters from further contamination.

The best way for the Agency of Natural Resources to gain public confidence is to be fully transparent and accountable- about the original fish study, the efforts to get to the root of the problem, and the development of plans to fix whatever needs fixing.

The citizens have a right to know if their lake is safe for fish and wildlife and for humans as well.

Are the Brown Bullheads the “canaries in the coal mine”, early warning signs of danger ahead?

Or are they some fluke of nature?

I urge your readers to open the link and read the study for themselves.

Then decide if it doesn’t make good sense to permanently ban the dumping of landfill leachate into Newport’s WWTF and Lake Memphremagog.

Why in heaven’s name continue to pour toxic leachate into waters that may well already be an unhealthy environment for at least one species, hopefully not more than one.

Sincerely concerned,

Peggy Stevens
East Charleston VT

Note: We must not ignore the fact that landfill leachate, including what used to be disposed of in Newport, continues to be disposed of via Montpelier and Plattsburgh WWTFs and sent untreated into Lake Champlain by the thousands of gallons daily, millions annually. Champlain, like Memphremagog, is a drinking water source for thousands as well as an ecosystem for our fish and wildlife. An alternative to this environmentally harmful practice- employing advanced technology- though expensive, must be planned for and implemented sooner than later. We cannot afford to wait.

NASA selects Newport resident Cynthia Shelton as Solar Systems Ambassador

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Newport resident Cynthia Shelton was recently selected to be one of just 1000 NASA Solar System Ambassadors nationwide.

This competitive program only accepts applications once per year, which are then vetted by NASA JPL staff for applicants with the right combination of presentation experience, motivation, and ideas for community engagement events.

Ambassadors are given exclusive training on NASA missions, both manned and unmanned, from scientists and astronauts, which they use to create engaging events in their local communities.

On Wednesday, February 26, at 7:00 p.m. at the Work Commons in Newport, Shelton is hosting an event called “Who Knew?”

Come find out what NASA is up to in 2020 during this free event.

Shelton says she hopes to spark interest in and excitement for the broad spectrum of NASA activities happening both on and off the Earth.

If you want to schedule a free event for your group, contact Shelton directly at SSAcynthiashelton@gmail.com.

Children’s Librarian Joanne Pariseau reading at the Dailey Library in Derby.

Dailey Memorial Library awarded grant for new children’s reading supplies

in Derby/Newport/News

DERBY — The Dailey Memorial Library in Derby will be able to get new reading supplies for young children thanks to a grant from the Vermont Electric Cooperative’s Community Fund.

The grant provided $750 in funding for the purchase of special books and storytelling kits to help the library’s children’s librarian, for both library use and visits to local childcare facilities.

The books and kits will be used for storytime sessions, and they will also be available to check out.

Families can bring them home so parents can work with their children on literacy activities, and daycare facilities can also borrow and utilize them with their preschoolers.

“This exciting project will be paramount in building children’s literacy in our community, thereby increasing the chances of success in school and ultimately in life,” said Maureen Badger, the library’s director.

The Community Fund is a voluntary program supported by VEC members who choose to round up their electric bills, donate their patronage capital dollars, or make one-time donations to the fund.

The fund then makes grants to local organizations that support economic security, energy education, emergency and disaster relief, and community development.

Rechargeable battery the cause of fire in Greensboro on Monday

in Fire/Greensboro/Newport/News

GREENSBORO — Firefighters encountered heavy smoke and an active fire in the basement of a two-story home on Country Club Road in Greensboro on Monday.

The homeowner had left the residence approximately 20 minutes before the alarm, fire investigators say.

The fire was quickly extinguished and fire damage was limited to one room in the basement.

The remainder of the home suffered moderate smoke damage.

Greensboro Fire Chief David Brochu Jr. contacted investigators for assistance in determining the origin and cause of this fire.

Investigators say that the homeowner had left a rechargeable, lithium-ion battery charging in the basement.

The battery was the type used to power cordless power tools.

Investigators determined that the battery had a catastrophic failure, most likely due to over-charging, causing it to explode.

The exploding battery debris caught other nearby combustibles on fire, which eventually caught structural framing members on fire in the basement.

Fire investigators say it is strongly recommended that people monitor any re-chargeable battery device during the charging phase and also follow the manufacturer’s recommendations.

This fire is classified as accidental and not considered suspicious.

There were no reported injuries.

MAC Center accepting applications for special exhibit open to all artists

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Ecosystems Through an Artist’s Eye, the upcoming and unique exhibit organized in collaboration with the MAC Center for the Arts, Memphremagog Watershed Association, and the Orleans County Natural Resources Conservation District, opens at the MAC Center on Friday, April 3.

The show highlights farm visits, but for those who could not attend the paint-outs, it will also focus on wetlands, soil health, forest, flood plain and pollinators as the five focal points of the exhibit.

This special partnership exhibition is open to all artists and all work will be juried.

The deadline for artwork submitting applications is March 2, 2020.

Application forms are at the MAC Center for the Arts, and all work should be dropped off by Wednesday, March 18 through Saturday, March 21, between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Ecosystems Through an Artist’s Eye will run until May 16, 2020.

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

DUI crash on U.S. Route 5, Derby

in Derby/Newport/News

DERBY — Police say a woman was arrested for DUI following a two-vehicle crash on U.S. Route 5 in Derby today.

Vermont State Police, Newport Police, and the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department responded to the crash at around 5:10 p.m.

Police say Darlene Rutherford, 51, of Derby, was attempting to turn left out of the parking lot of Thompson’s Redemption, and failed to yield for an oncoming vehicle.

Her vehicle was struck while attempting to turn.

Police say indicators of impairment were detected, and Rutherford was placed under arrest and transported to the Vermont State Police Derby barracks for processing.

Local fisherman wins $5,000 ice shack from Newport Recreation Committee

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News/Outdoors

NEWPORT — The 2nd annual NEVBA Pike Tournament on South Bay turned out to be a very lucky day for one unsuspecting fisherman.

Jonathan Cote didn’t bring in the biggest fish that day, but he did purchase two raffle tickets from the Newport Recreation Committee to support the Gardner Park Playground and Splashpad project.

The tickets led to exciting news a few weeks later.

“We originally planned to raffle an ATV, but decided to go in a different direction after another local organization announced they’d be selling tickets for the community to win a 4-wheeler,” said Jenn Smith, chair of the Newport Recreation Committee. “Someone suggested an ice shack and it seemed like a good fit since we like to encourage outdoor recreation on the Lake.”

The committee, made mostly of non-fisherman, took their cue from member Vaughn Cloney.

“Ice fishing is big in this area and I knew there would be a lot of people interested in getting their hands on one of these shanties,” Cloney said.

The committee specced out a 6×10’ model with extra features like a fold-down table and sliding windows to entice ticket buyers.

“We picked a higher-end shack that people might not spend their own money on, but would give a few bucks for a chance to win, especially for a good cause,” Cloney explained.

Tickets were priced at $25.00 each or two for $40.00.

Once the unit had been delivered, it took less than a month to sell all 300 tickets and raise $2,500 for the Gardner Park Playground & Splashpad project.

The drawing, which was originally scheduled for Newport’s Winter Festival on February 29, was moved up to February 7 and the winner announced live on the radio.

The winning ticket belonged to Jonathan Cote who took home his $5,000 ice shack the following Monday.

The Newport Recreation Committee plans to host another SnoPro Ice Shack raffle next winter as an annual fundraiser for committee projects.

Community members interested in Recreation Committee happenings can visit www.NewportRecreation.org/RECCOMMITTEE or call the Parks & Recreation office at (802)334-6345.

Car hits snowmobile on Lake Road, Newport

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — A car hit a snowmobile in Newport on Saturday.

The crash took place on Lake Road at around 2:30 p.m.

According to the police report, Michael Fontaine, 32, of Newport, crashed into the snowmobile as it was crossing the road.

Police say Aaron Martin, 39, of Dallas, PA, had failed to yield to oncoming traffic before crossing.

Both vehicles had some damage, but nobody was injured during the incident.

Woman airlifted to hospital after snowmobile accident in Troy

in News/North Troy/Troy

TROY — A 54-year-old woman from Montpelier was injured during a snowmobile accident in Troy on Saturday.

According to the report, Lynn Commo was headed south on a snowmobile trail near Routhier Road when she sustained an injury stemming from an impact with the snowmobile she was operating.

Police say it occurred while she was traversing an elevated portion of the trail.

After evaluation by emergency workers, Commo was transported to UVM Medical Center via helicopter to be treated for her injuries.

Two-vehicle crash on I-91, Barton

in Barton/Newport/News

BARTON — Police responded to a two-vehicle crash in Barton yesterday.

The crash took place on I-91 south at around 11:43 a.m.

Police say while attempting to move into the passing lane, Jesse Elliott, 53, of Newport, hit the passenger side of a vehicle driven by Kent Hall, 64, of Lyndonville.

Elliott’s vehicle sustained damage to the driver’s side bumper, tire, and hood.

Hall’s vehicle sustained damage to the passenger side front and rear doors, and rear bumper.

Police say nobody was injured in the crash.

Both vehicles were towed from the scene by Ray’s Auto Services.

Man charged with smuggling endangered tropical birds in Derby Line

in Derby Line/Newport/News

DERBY LINE — Jafet Rodriguez, 39, of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, has been charged with unlawfully smuggling tropical birds into Vermont from Canada, in violation of the Endangered Species Act and the federal anti-smuggling statute.

Rodriguez appeared before United States Magistrate Judge John Conroy yesterday and was released on personal recognizance.

According to court documents, on December 30, 2019, at 10:30 a.m., Rodriguez walked across the Canadian border near the Haskell Free Library in Derby Line and approached a car parked in Stanstead, Quebec.

According to the Government’s allegations, the defendant retrieved a black duffle bag containing the birds from the vehicle parked in Quebec and then walked back into the United States.

United States Border Patrol Agents intercepted Rodriquez after he entered another vehicle with Pennsylvania license plates in Derby Line.

The agents recovered seven live tropical birds from this vehicle.

According to court records, the National Fish and Wildlife Forensics Laboratory determined that five of the birds were Yellow-headed Amazons and two birds were White-bellied Parrots.

These birds are protected by the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora, commonly referred to as “CITES”.

Under the Endangered Species Act, species which are protected under CITES cannot be imported without the appropriate permits.

The birds were turned over to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and transported to the New York Animal Import Center in Rock Tavern, New York for a period of quarantine.

If he is convicted, Rodriguez faces a maximum possible term of imprisonment of 20 years under the statute prohibiting the unlawful smuggling of merchandise into the United States.

Newport City Council candidate forum, Feb. 20

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — A candidate forum will take place on Thursday, Feb. 20, featuring all five candidates seeking election to the Newport City Council.

The forum will be held at the meeting room of the United Church of Newport from 6 to 8 p.m.

There are five candidates seeking two positions of alderman on the city council, creating a best two-of-five race.

Voters will make their choices at the polls on Town Meeting Day, Tuesday, March 3.

All five candidates have said they will attend the forum.

They are Kevin Charboneau, the only incumbent in the race; John Wilson, a long-time former alderman; and three newcomers to the council, Amy Gillespie, Carl King, and Chris Vachon.

Julie Raboin, whose term is up as alderman this year, has opted not to run again right now.

The moderator will be Bruce James, president of Vermont’s North Country Chamber of Commerce based in Newport City.

Questions will be asked by area journalists and members of the audience.

The forum is organized by Robin Smith, a reporter for The Orleans County Record/The Caledonian-Record.

Residents, voters, and anyone interested in Newport City are invited to attend.

4 women in their 70s to swim at Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News/Outdoors

NEWPORT — Four septuagenarian women will be among the 90 winter swimmers participating in this year’s Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival on February 29 and March 1.

They will be swimming in a 25-meter, two-lane pool cut in the ice near the EastSide Restaurant in Newport.

Water temperatures typically run about 30.5 F and air temperatures during the swims in previous years have ranged from -10 F to 30 F.

Ginny Peck, age 76, of North Woodstock, NH, will be swimming in her fourth festival.

Local, Pam Ladds, of Newport, just turned 70 and will be swimming in her third festival.

Sharon Purdy, of Toronto, ON, also 70, swam last year for the first time.

New this year, will be Anne Coen, 77, of Canton, Ohio.

She is a member of a six-person team, “The Buckeye Bluetits,” who will be traveling to the Festival from Ohio for the very first time.

The Winter Swim Festival is now in its sixth year.

Each year it has grown, with this year participants coming from 18 states, 2 Canadian provinces, and Ireland.

Online registration is still open but will close on February 15, 2020.

For more information: CLICK HERE.

Snowmobile causes car to crash into telephone pole, Derby

in Derby/Derby Line/Newport/News

DERBY — A 62-year-old man was from Derby Line hit a telephone pole after a snowmobile crossed his path yesterday.

The crash took place on U.S. Route 5 near Beebe Road at around 5:22 p.m.

Police say Richard Blais was headed north when Nicholas Adams, 34, of Colchester, was driving a snowmobile west along the VAST trail, approaching the Route 5 road crossing.

Adams told police that he slowed and came to a stop to look for traffic but did not see Blais approaching from the south and continued into the road to cross.

Police say Blais swerved his vehicle to avoid a collision with Adams, crashing into a telephone pole.

Adams was issued a ticket for violation of operation across highways.

Blais was not injured during the incident, police say.

Attempt to thaw frozen pipes sparked Lake Road fire

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — A fire that broke out in Newport was caused by a heating device that was being used to thaw frozen pipes, fire investigators say.

At around 9:30 a.m. on February 9, the Newport City Fire Department responded to 1161 Lake Road for a house fire.

The homeowners were home at the time of the fire.

Authorities say the fire was on the second floor and attic area of the house.

After putting out the fire, Newport City fire chief requested an origin and cause investigation.

Investigators determined that the fire had originated on the first floor, on an inside wall.

The fire traveled upward within the walls of the old house and into the attic space.

Once in the attic the fire quickly spread.

The second floor and roof structure of the house was destroyed, and the remaining first floor resulted in heavy smoke, water, and fire damage.

Investigators say the cause of the fire was determined to be the use of a heating device by the homeowner to thaw frozen pipes inside the house.

Fire investigators say you should never use an open flame to thaw frozen pipes.

To prevent pipes from freezing open cabinet doors to expose the pipe to the natural heat in your home.

They say insulating your pipes or leaving your faucet at a slow drip can also avoid any freezing.

Jeremy Labbe, Michelle Faust and Jeff Weld in the Ready Set Grow Playground

Ready Set Grow in Newport partners with Casella

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Ready Set Grow Center for Early Childhood Education opened in Newport this past September thanks to the support of many community and state-wide partners.

Locally, Casella Waste Systems came on board as a strong supporter early on.

Michelle Faust, Executive Director of Northeast Kingdom Learning Services, the organization that both created and oversees Ready Set Grow, says she understands the importance of collaboration in order to make life in the Northeast Kingdom viable for families.

“NEKLS, Inc. is grateful to Casella for their generous donation in supporting the opening of Ready, Set, Grow Childcare Center,” said Faust.

Casella and its subsidiary company New England Waste Services of Vermont (NEWSVT) which owns and operates the Coventry landfill, donated $10,000 to Ready Set Grow to support the startup of the center this past fall.

With Casella’s support, the center is looking forward to having all rooms open with full enrollment by the end of February.

“We were blown away by Michelle’s vision for the center and knew we wanted to help in any way possible,” said Jeff Weld Director of Community Engagement at Casella. “To see her vision come to life has been amazing. We are so honored to be a part of this vibrant community and to play a small role in helping this vital asset come to life.”

Faust says she feels that Casella’s commitment to community, employees, and children is to be applauded.

“If we want a thriving economy, we must recognize the important role that employers can play in supporting their employees that have children that need childcare,” she said. “High-quality childcare is costly, ask any working parent how much of their paycheck goes to provide care for their children.”

Ready Set Grow provides childcare in-house along with services from Northeast Kingdom Community Action Headstart.

Meals are provided through a collaboration with Umbrella’s Cornucopia Program and The Northeast Kingdom Children’s Museum will open in 2020.

For more information or to enroll your child, call 802 995-2051.

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