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Out of the Darkness Walk to fight suicide September 7 in Newport

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Volunteers from around the Northeast Kingdom are joining the quarter of a million people who are walking in towns across the United States to draw attention to the fight for suicide prevention.

The annual Out of the Darkness Walk will be held at Gardner Park at 10:00 a.m. on September 7.

This walk supports the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention’s education, research and support programs and its bold goal to reduce the annual U.S. rate of suicide 20 percent by the year 2025.

“Suicide touches one in five American families,” Mary Butler, AFSP Vermont Board member, said. “We hope that by walking we will draw attention to this issue and keep other families from experiencing a suicide loss. Our ultimate goal is to save lives and bring hope to those affected by suicide.”

The Out of the Darkness Walk is one of more than 550 Out of the Darkness, Community, Campus, and Overnight walks being held nationwide this year.

The walks are expected to unite more than 300,000 walkers and raise millions for suicide prevention efforts.

Last year, these walks raised over $21 million for suicide prevention. Locally, the walk raised over $15,000 and had over 200 participants.

“These walks are about turning hope into action,” said AFSP CEO Robert Gebbia. “The research has shown us how to fight suicide, and if we keep up the fight the science is only going to get better and our culture will get smarter about mental health.”

You can register to walk, start a team, or donate by visiting www.afsp.org/Newportvt

If you want to support the walk but unable to be there on the 7th, join everyone at the Eastside at 6:00 p.m. for a benefit dinner. Tickets are $25/person and available from Lillian Bathalon at 802-744-2493.

Congratulations local Vermont High School Completion Program graduating class of 2019

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

LYNDON — Last week Northeast Kingdom Learning Services (NEKLS) celebrated their Vermont High School Completion Program graduating class of 2019.

Master of Ceremonies was Chris Hardy, who welcomed the large crowd of family and friends and introduced the 15 of 58 graduates who chose to attend the cap and gown ceremony.

Local graduating students in attendance included:

John Mayhew Sr. of North Troy, Silas Worthington of Island Pond, Abigale Jordan of Troy, Skye Wheeler of Morgan, Rashonda Cherry of St. Johnsbury, Celine Gibson of St. Johnsbury, Kamrin Ivone of Orleans, Tyler Ivone of Orleans, Amanda Farley of Charleston, Christina Deslandes of Barton, Tammy Cornell of Newport, Christina Bennett of Orleans, Dante Letzelter of Glover, Lyla Gilbert of Craftsbury, and Caleb Cerutti of Woodbury.

Jodi Woodard, NEKLS Board of Directors Chair, congratulated the graduates on achieving a goal that would set them on the path to the next steps in their lives.

The featured guest speaker was Jess DeCarolis, director of Student Pathways at the Vermont Agency of Education, who gave an inspiring speech urging the graduates to believe in themselves and to pursue their dreams.

Student speakers were also featured at this year’s ceremony.

Frank Sawicki, NEKLS Learning Center Manager in Canaan, read an essay from Canaan graduate Steven Bashaw, who was unable to attend graduation.

St. Johnsbury Learning Center graduate Celine Gibson performed a rendition of “Mr. Tambourine Man” on her ukulele, which she had learned to play as part of her High School Completion Program plan.

The highlight of the evening was the presentation of diplomas to the graduates by High School Completion Plan managers Tricia Musgrove, Suzanne Pelletier, and Sarah Roy, as well as by Learning Center managers Frank Sawicki and Joseph Sylvain.

Applause and cheers filled the room when the graduates turned their tassels and opened the door to their next adventure.

Police say fire in Newport considered suspicious

in Fire/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Investigators say that a fire that broke out in Newport early this morning is considered suspicious.

The structure fire took place at a residence on Prospect Street at around 1:23 a.m.

Authorities say that the fire started in a room on the first floor of the two-story structure.

The windows in the room broke from heat and pressure, and the fire began to exit the building through the windows and extend towards the second floor.

Fire personnel were able to suppress the fire quickly, preventing any subsequent fire spread or further damage to the building or other surrounding structures.

The building contained two separate apartments.

The second-floor apartment had been vacant for some time and the tenants in the first-floor were in the process of moving out and not currently residing there. 

Witnesses told police they’ve seen people entering and exiting the first-floor apartment on a regular basis, and several people were seen entering and exiting the apartment shortly before the fire was reported. 

There were no reported injuries, however, the building sustained extensive first-floor fire, smoke, and water damage.  

Fire investigators responded to the scene later this morning and began an origin and cause investigation.

According to a statement issued by investigators, the cause remains under investigation and is considered suspicious. 

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact Det. Sgt. Michael LaCourse at the Derby Barracks at 802-334-8881, Sgt. Charles Moulton at the Newport City Police Department at 802-334-6733 or by contacting the Vermont Arson Tip Award Program(VATAP) hotline at 1-800-32-ARSON(1-800-322-7766).

The VATAP will pay up to a $5,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.

Barton man facing charges after kicking in apartment door

in Barton/Newport/News

BARTON — A 21-year-old resident of Barton is facing numerous charges following an incident early this morning in Newport Center.

Police say Zackery Champagne is being charged with burglary, unlawful trespass, simple assault, and resisting arrest.

The incident took place at around 5:45 a.m. when police received a call from a 45-year-old woman at an apartment in Newport Center, who stated that Champagne had kicked her door in, causing the door to hit her in the head as she was standing in the doorway.

She advised police that Champagne fled into the field behind the apartment building.

Police say when they arrived, Champagne was seen in the bushes behind the building and fled from police.

A K9 track was set up with the assistance of the Newport Police Department.

US Border Patrol was also in the area to assist and located Champagne walking along Vermont Route 105 in Newport Center.

He was taken into custody for the incident, as well as an active arrest warrant out of Orleans county.

68-year-old swimmer sets record on Lake Memphremagog

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — A 68-year-old mother of two and grandmother of three swam the 25-mile length of Lake Memphremagog between Newport, Vermont, and Magog, Quebec in 24 hours and 8 minutes.

In doing so, Pat Gallant-Charette, of Westbrook, Maine, became the oldest person to swim the length of Lake Memphremagog in compliance with the general standards for channel crossing and open water marathon swimming.

She set off from the EastSide Restaurant in Newport at 10:11 p.m. on July 31, and cleared the water in Magog at 10:19 p.m. on August 1, 2019. 

She also set the record for the longest time to complete a swim the length of the lake. 

As she stepped ashore in Magog, she became the fourth person to complete the Triple Crown of Lake Monster Swims, swimming the length of Loch Ness on August 19, 2018, and the length of Lake Tahoe on August 8, 2018, both when she was 67-years-old. 

Gallant-Charette already had an extraordinary record of accomplishment, including swimming the English Channel twice, the Catalina Channel, as well as Tsugaro Strait, North Channel, Kaiwi Channel, all completed after she turned 60 years old.

She earned her induction into the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame as an Honor Swimmer earlier this year.

During this swim, she was escorted by Phil White, Director of Kingdom Games, piloting a pontoon boat named Lucky, and her sister-in-law, Jean Murdoch-Gallant, who has crewed for most of her storied swims.

The swim is part of a series of expeditions and solo swims the length of Lake Memphremagog known as “In Search of Memphre,” organized and hosted by Kingdom Games.

Water temperatures were 74 F the length of the lake. The air temperature was in the high 50s at night and rose to the mid-70s during the day. Winds were 2 to 5 mph from the south during the first few hours of the swim. 

As the sun rose, the winds shifted and varied from light to up to about 10 mph.

At about 2/3 of the way into the swim, she experienced an injury to her lat which prevented her from lifting her right arm out of the water. 

She tried backstroke and breaststroke to loosen herself up, but she could not resume a full crawl and she had slowed down considerably. 

Making matters worse, Gallant-Charette encountered the pull of the River Magog at the northeast end of the lake during the last mile.

After her swim, she called the swim “a beast,” and “one of the five toughest swims” she has completed.

Ex-guard sentenced to 3 months for smuggling Buprenorphine into Newport prison

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Grant Vance, a former correctional officer at Northern State Correctional Facility in Newport, was sentenced to three months of incarceration.

On the same day, the judge also sentenced Gregory Paradis, an inmate with whom Vance conspired, to 15 months of incarceration.

According to court records, between 2003 and 2018, Vance was employed as a Correctional Officer at Northern State Correctional Facility (NSCF) in Newport, where Paradis was an inmate.

During the summer of 2017, administrators at NSCF began an investigation into the smuggling of controlled substances into the facility.

Administrators spoke with six confidential informants who all stated that Vance was smuggling buprenorphine.

Vance routinely brought the buprenorphine into the facility on Thursdays, obscuring it within a hollowed-out marker of the same type used by prison staff.

On Thursday, June 28, 2018, a federal search warrant for the defendant was executed as he arrived at work.

In Vance’s possession was a marker containing 61 buprenorphine strips.

According to inmates, a single strip of buprenorphine could be sold for as much as $600.

Vance received the buprenorphine by mail from former inmates and family of current inmates.

Postal records detailed seven packages being sent to his P.O. Box during the year leading up to his arrest.

After smuggling the buprenorphine, he gave it to Paradis, who then distributed it to other inmates.

According to court records, Vance also smuggled cigarettes and marijuana into the facility.

Newport man sentenced to 90 months in jail

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — A Newport man will spend 90 months behind bars for burglarizing a pharmacy as well as several firearms offenses.

Daniel Greenwood, age 43, was sentenced to 90 months in jail.

Greenwood had previously pleaded guilty to possessing a firearm as a convicted felon in October 2017 and to a burglary of the Kinney Drugs in Cambridge that same month.

At the time of offenses, Greenwood had absconded from state supervision and was a fugitive during late 2017.

He was arrested in late 2017 in Massachusetts and charged in connection with another burglary offense for which he is currently serving a sentence.

The firearms possession charge relates to a burglary of a residence in Thetford, on October 21, during which Greenwood attempted to steal the homeowner’s hunting rifle.

The homeowner, however, arrived home during the burglary and forcibly took back his rifle as Greenwood was fleeing the scene.

Greenwood has a prior federal firearms conviction, according to the charges.

The pharmacy burglary charge is a federal crime because Greenwood is alleged to have stolen over $500 in controlled substances during the burglary, which occurred on the night of October 15 when the pharmacy was closed.

AOT reports low fatality rate on Vermont highways in 2019

in Newport/News/Vermont

NEWPORT — According to a new report by the Agency of Transportation (AOT), Vermont has seen a low number of fatalities on the state’s highways for the year to date.

Statistically, Vermont experiences approximately 25-35 fatalities on its highways through the end of July.

This year, there have been 13 fatalities.

“While the reduction in the fatality rate so far this year is worth noting, we must be mindful that thirteen people lost their lives,” said Transportation Secretary Joe Flynn. “One fatality is one too many.”

The report suggests that there are several possible reasons for the lower fatality rate so far this year.

One predominant reason is that motorists are making better decisions.

AOT highway safety experts believe that there is greater public awareness about the dangers of distracted driving and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

“We need to be vigilant with our highway safety efforts to continue moving toward our goal of zero deaths,” said Keith Flynn, Manager of the Behavioral and Data Units in the State Highway Safety Office.

While the number of fatalities fluctuates from year to year, the low 2019 fatality date is noteworthy.

Through the end of July, in 2018, there were 36 fatalities; in 2017, there were 31; and in 2016, there were 36.

Lowering the fatality rate and reaching the goal of zero fatalities is a common effort. Each driver’s behavior affects everyone else on the road.

The AOT is asking all motorists to commit to one another and keep lowering fatalities by slowing down, putting phones away when we drive, and not driving under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol.

Youths compete in Orleans and Essex counties 4-H dairy show

in Essex County/Newport/News/Orleans

BARTON — A total of 56 “4-H’ers” from ten area 4-H clubs took part in the annual Orleans and Essex Counties 4-H Dairy Show, recently held at the Orleans County Fairgrounds in Barton.

The youths, ages 8 to 18, competed for ribbons and championships in both fitting and showmanship and conformation contests.

The show judge was Shayne Brus from Ayers Cliff, Quebec.

In fitting and showmanship, the focus was on the exhibitors and how well they handled their animal.

Isabel Hall was named the Senior Fitting and Showing Champion. The Junior Fitting and Showing Champion was Christin Haynes. Both 4-H’ers are from East Montpelier and are members of the Udderly Crazy 4-H Club.

Capturing first in their respective fitting and showmanship contests, arranged by age, were:

Novice (age 8 and first year in 4-H): Talon Michaud, East Hardwick

Novice (ages 9-13 and first year in 4-H): Ryder Curavoo, Berlin

Junior (ages 9-10): Cash Mosher, Derby

Junior (age 11): Cristin Haynes, East Montpelier

Junior (ages 12-13): Livi Russo, Lunenburg

Senior (ages 14-15): Caroline Kirby, East Montpelier

Senior (ages 16-18): Isabel Hall, East Montpelier

In the conformation classes, organized by age and breed of animal, the judge looked at the physical structure, condition, and appearance of each animal.

Championships were awarded as follows:

AYRSHIRE:

Senior Champion and Grand Champion: Abagail Hurd, Hardwick, with her two-year-old cow.

Junior Champion and Reserve Grand Champion: Livi Russo, Lunenburg, with her winter calf.
Junior Reserve Champion: Abagail Hurd, Hardwick, with her spring yearling.

BROWN SWISS:

Junior Champion and Grand Champion: Olyvia Fortin, Newport, with her spring calf.

Junior Reserve Champion and Reserve Grand Champion: Olyvia Fortin, Newport, with her fall calf.

GUERNSEY:

Junior Champion and Grand Champion: Cody Trudeau, Hardwick, with his spring yearling.

Junior Reserve Champion and Reserve Grand Champion: Cody Trudeau, Hardwick, with his winter yearling.

HOLSTEIN:

Senior Champion and Grand Champion: Ryanne Nadeau, Derby, with her three-year-old cow.

Senior Reserve Champion and Reserve Grand Champion: Cash Mosher, Derby, with his two-year-old cow.

Junior Champion: Isabel Hall, East Montpelier, with her fall calf.

Junior Reserve Champion: Ryder Hoffman, Berlin, with his summer yearling.

JERSEY:

Senior Champion and Grand Champion: Livi Russo, Lunenburg, with her two-year-old cow.

Senior Reserve Champion: Zoe Young, West Glover, with her two-year-old cow.

Junior Champion and Reserve Grand Champion: Abel Brown, Sutton, with his winter calf.

Junior Reserve Champion: Lane Pickard, Derby, with his winter yearling.

MILKING SHORTHORN:

Junior Champion and Grand Champion: Nora Demaine, West Glover, with her fall calf.

Junior Reserve Champion and Reserve Grand Champion: Max Demaine, West Glover, with his summer yearling.

To learn more about the 4-H dairy program in Essex and Orleans Counties, contact Lindy Birch at (802) 334-7235, ext. 481.

The MAC Center to present “Yves Klein: The Man Who Invented Blue”

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — As a special presentation on the final weekend of the MAC Center’s stunning exhibition “Blue: an Exploration of the Colour,” local artist, filmmaker, and MAC Center member Bradleigh Stockwell will present a lecture about “Yves Klein: The Man Who Invented Blue.”

This event will take place on Saturday, August 17, at 2:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

When he died in Paris in 1963 at the age of 34, Klein was a successful artist and poised for international fame.

In his brief career, he created many of the performance and artistic techniques which would become standard practices in the decades to come.

Among his most notorious was creating art in front of an invited audience as musicians performed.

More important was his creation of a special type of blue paint, now known as International Klein Blue.

Klein made it his artistic signature, applying it to large canvases, sponges, sculptures, massive murals, and even models who became, in his words, “living paintbrushes.”

The MAC Center exhibition includes a large work created with “IKB.”

Mr. Stockwell’s lecture will include a live demonstration of this hue.

Also on the program: a fascinating filmed interview with Klein’s widow, Rotraut.

This film is being shown by special arrangement with Denmark’s Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Humlebæk, Denmark.

Please note that this half-hour film contains brief, artistic, but explicit female nudity.

Gallery hours at the MAC are Mon-Sat 10-5 and Sun 10-6.

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

Two men arrested after boat theft in Newport

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Police arrested two individuals following the recovery of a stolen boat early yesterday morning.

Kyle Lowe, 34, of Newport, was arrested and given a citation for operation without owner’s consent and resisting arrest.

Robert Ingram, 35, also of Newport, was arrested and given a citation for operation without owner’s consent.

At 12:04 a.m. on Tuesday, police say they responded to the East Side Restaurant on a report that two men had stolen a boat with an outboard motor from the adjoining marina.

Police spoke with a witness and located the boat in the middle of the lake.

Newport Police subsequently began coordinating with Border Patrol agents, who launched their own vessel after Lowe jumped into the water and began to swim while Ingram allegedly rowed further away.

When he reached the shore, Lowe was located underneath a gazebo and officers attempted to take him into custody.

Police sat he actively resisted through the arrest.

Ingram was taken into custody after the stolen boat was intercepted by Border Patrol agents on the lake.

Ingram was given a citation to appear in court at a later date and held overnight due to his alleged intoxication.

Lowe was cited for his alleged violations and held on three unrelated arrest warrants.

Area students kick off shadowing week at North Country Hospital

in Health/Newport/News

NEWPORT — This year marks the thirteenth year that North Country Hospital has supported Medquest, the week-long healthcare job shadowing program.

High school sophomores in northeastern and central Vermont have to apply for this special opportunity to participate in a structured, educational healthcare program.

They will be learning about medical careers while shadowing health professionals, acquiring basic medical skills, and exploring career and educational goals all while making new friends.

The students will travel to several hospitals in the northern part of the state.

The program is sponsored by Northeastern Vermont Area Health Education Center.

Attempted burglary in Brownington

in Brownington/Newport/News

BROWNINGTON — Police are seeking the public’s help in locating two men who tried to break into a home in Brownington early this morning.

At around 12:30 a.m. police say they received a report of two male subjects who attempted to gain entry into a residence on West Road.

The subjects were seen on surveillance cameras with their t-shirts over their heads, however, faces were still partially visible.

One subject walked up to the front door and attempts to open it.

The door was locked at the time.

The homeowners told police that their vehicle had been rummaged through, but nothing was taken.

Anyone who may have information regarding this incident, or possibly recognizes the men in the photo, is being asked to contact the Vermont State Police Derby Barracks at 802-334-8881.

Photo by Tanya Mueller.

Grant awarded to fight aquatic invasive species throughout Memphremagog watershed

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — The Memphremagog Watershed Association (MWA) has been awarded a grant to provide oversight services for multiple regional aquatic invasive species prevention and control projects.

The grant award of $83,673 covers 12 projects through the Memphremagog watershed at the following locations:

Shadow Lake, Island Pond, Maidstone Lake, Lake Memphremagog, Salem Lakes, Seymour Lake, and Lake Willoughby.

Funded projects include greeter programs, invasive species management programs as well as a project that will focus on an international message between the United States and Canada regarding invasive species spread prevention.

Greeter programs focus on inspecting watercraft and the education of boaters to the importance of limiting the risk of spreading invasive species.

In waters that are impacted by invasives, the health of the water body is impacted by increased biomass and ecological food chain anomalies, which can lead to limited recreational uses that effects fishing, swimming, and boating.

In some cases, toxic algal blooms are more likely due to the impact of invasive plants on the ecosystem.

The MWA says the rule of thumb is “clean, drain, and dry.”

It’s important for individual users to help out and inspect their own watercraft by checking the trailer, motor, wells and fishing equipment for aquatic plants that may be hitchhiking.

This doesn’t just help out the waterbodies but could prevent a person from receiving a ticket for transporting aquatic plant or animal material.

The transport of all aquatic plants, plant, parts, or other aquatic invasive species to or from any Vermont surface water is illegal.

You can be fined up to $1,000.

Many area lakes have been impaired with at least one invasive species, with Eurasian Milfoil being the most prevalent.

The plant invasives are a nuisance due to the fact that they out-compete native species and overgrow the system.

Boating and swimming can be seriously impacted in areas where Eurasian Milfoil and other invaders have taken hold.

In Lake Memphremagog, four invasive species can be found. The three plant invasives include Eurasian Milfoil, Curly-Leaf Pondweed, and Starry Stonewort.

The animal invasive found in Lake Memphremagog is the notorious Zebra Mussel.

Zebra Mussels are very tiny and sharp. They will cog pipes and attach to any solid surface at densities of up to 800,000 individuals per square meter.

They are very resilient and can survive in stagnant conditions for up to 30 days out of the water.

The reproductive part of the lifecycle, called a veliger, is microscopic. The microscopic veligers can be found in the cooling water of boat motors, live wells or any standing water.

Decontamination with hot water of 140 degrees F is the only known way to fully clean exposed equipment.

If you’re leaving Lake Memphremagog and launching in another lake, a 30-day drying out period is recommended, or undertake a hot water decontamination.

The following area lakes have decontamination stations:

Lake Memphremagog at the Gateway Center, Shadow Lake, and Seymour Lake.

In addition to the greeter programs, several area waterbodies have also received funding for invasive species management.

This can take the form of cutting and harvesting with a hydrorake, suction harvesting, and benthic barriers.

While individual waterbodies have programs to prevent or manage invasive species, it will take everyone who uses these waterbodies to pitch in.

Photo by Tanya Mueller.

Aquafest kicks off this Saturday in Newport

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — The summer event Aquafest will be swimming through international Lake Memphremagog and Newport this Saturday, July 27.

Aquafest is a community tradition and brings together many community partners.

One of the highlights of this year’s parade is the JeKulu Dance and Drum Theater. A traditional West African Performance and educational ensemble bringing the Spirit of West African Music and Dance to New England since 1993.

“Here in Newport, lake is life,” local resident and Parks and Recreation Director Jessica Booth said. “Some might say that Lake Memphremagog is our identity here in the city. Aquafest is an opportunity for us to celebrate all the things that make life on the shoreline so special.”

The schedule is as follows:

5:30 a.m. Kingdom Swim Begins // Prouty Beach
9:00 a.m. Newport Farmers Market //Gardner Park
10:00 a.m. Blue Art Exhibit Opens // Mac Center
10:00 a.m. Joshua House Benefit Yard Sale // 44 2nd Street
1:00 p.m. Aquafest Parade // Main Street
3:00 p.m. Cornhole Tournament // Gardner Park
7:00 p.m. Street Dance – Last Kid Picked // Main Street

“Aquafest is another fantastic Newport event celebrating the beautiful lake we live on and our community,” local entrepreneur Hannah Cornelius said. “It gets everyone together and reminds us who our neighbors are and that we are all in this together.”

AARP awards $24K Community Challenge Grant to the city of Newport

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — AARP recently announced that the city of Newport is one of the awardees for its 2019 AARP Community Challenge grant program.

The city will receive $24,172.35 for the Prouty Beach connector project, which is expected to contribute to Newport’s development of an outdoor recreational economy.

By connecting two established segments of recreational trails, the trail will form a 7-mile waterfront recreational corridor that will connect downtown Newport to the Canadian border, where it will link to a series of high-use recreational trails.

This recreational corridor should increase pedestrian and biking traffic into downtown, helping to promote business growth.

“We are very pleased to direct resources to these projects as a way to support and encourage local community development initiatives aimed at creating more livable, engaging and healthy communities,” said Kelly Stoddard-Poor, community outreach director at AARP Vermont.

The Community Challenge grant program is part of AARP’s nationwide Livable Communities initiative which helps communities become great places to live for residents of all ages.

“There were a number of really exciting proposals to consider this year and it was a difficult selection process,” Stoddard-Poor said. “We look forward to watching these projects come to fruition.”

Truck stolen, damaged in Barton

in Barton/Glover/Newport/News

BARTON — Police say someone took a truck for a joy ride in Barton, causing substantial damage to the vehicle.

At some point on Saturday night, someone stole a truck owned by 62-year-old Paul Labrecque of Barton.

Labrecque’s vehicle, a 2015 Chevy truck, was taken from his driveway located on Glover Road.

Police say the subjects caused substantial damage to the truck and returned it in the early morning hours on Sunday.

According to the report, another vehicle parked in the driveway was gone through and change stolen from inside.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Vermont State Police.

Police are reminding the public to lock vehicles and do not leave keys inside while unattended.

Bonvechio promoted to Executive Vice President and CFO at Community National Bank

in Derby/Newport/News

DERBY — Community National Bank President and CEO Kathy Austin recently announced the promotion of Louise Bonvechio to Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer, Cashier and Corporate Secretary of Community National Bank and Treasurer and Corporate Secretary of Community Bancorp.

Bonvechio has worked for Community National Bank for over 25 years.

“Louise is very deserving of this promotion as she competently manages all aspects of the Bank’s fiscal functions while providing outstanding leadership for the organization,” Austin said.

This year she completed the Stonier Graduate School of Banking and earned a Leadership Certificate from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Bonvechio is very involved in serving the local communities.

She is Board Chair of Rural Edge, a Director and Treasurer of the Emory Hebard State Office Building Condo Association and a member of the ReNewport Catamount Arts Creative Hub committee.

She recently served as a Trustee and Treasurer of the Goodrich Memorial Library and chaired the ReNewport Community Visit, a Vermont Council on Rural Development program.

Other recently held positions include a member of the Regional Advisory Board for the North Country Career Center and a member of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston’s Member Advisory Panel.

Bonvechio was presented with the Vermont Bankers Association’s Outstanding Community Service Banker Award in 2017.

She and her husband Brian make their home in Newport.

Larry Labor receives prestigious honor

in Health/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Longtime local pharmacist and retiree of North Country Hospital Larry Labor, BS, RPh, has been officially named a Legend as part of the Legends Scholarship program at North Country Hospital.

Created in 2010 to honor exceptional and legendary healthcare professionals, The Legends Scholarship program is dedicated to serving the needs of our community, and of local students pursuing a career in healthcare.

Legends are nominated by their peers and the criteria include individuals who have provided outstanding care, whether it be clinical or non-clinical. For decades, they have contributed greatly to the patient-centered culture at North Country Hospital and the impact they’ve made has been positive and significant.

Pharmacy Technician, Bonnie Davis, spearheaded this nomination, and read a moving nomination letter at the official ceremony Thursday.

His honorary plaque of Stewardship will hang alongside the other Legends of North Country.

It was clear at the ceremony that Labor considers the hospital his second family.

“Through the decades of service, I have had the privilege of working with the finest providers, as well as forward-thinking trustees and I am honored to have had this opportunity.”

Other North Country Hospital Legends include Merrilyn Barry, Dr. Robert Trembley, Dr. David Alsobrook, Dr. Thomas A.E. Moseley, and Cecile Gelineau, RN, who had the idea of creating a new healthcare scholarship fund.

Those who wish to honor Larry Labor and North Country’s Legends by donating to the Legends Scholarship Fund can send contributions to:

North Country Hospital, Attn: Wendy Franklin, Development/Foundation Office, 189 Prouty Drive, Newport, VT 05855

Or, by visiting www.northcountryhospital.org/make-a-donation/.

Derby man held without bail after alleged assault

in Derby/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Police say they arrested a habitual sex offender earlier this week after he allegedly assaulted a local woman.

Timothy Souliere, 56, of Derby, was arrested on Tuesday and charged with lewd and lascivious conduct, unlawful restraint, simple assault, and habitual offender.

He was arraigned yesterday in Orleans District Court and was held without bail.

On Tuesday, July 16, police say a woman reported that she had been attacked by Souliere on July 11, in a hallway of an apartment building on Governor Drive.

Police say Souliere was known to the woman.

According to a statement issued by police relating to the incident, an investigation indicates that Souliere assaulted the victim while she was walking to her apartment.

Souliere is a registered sex offender and is on the Vermont Sex Offender Registry for life.

He is a habitual offender with two felony convictions of lewd and lascivious conduct in Vermont as well as a felony conviction of sexual assault in Arizona.

Emerald Ash Borer detected in Derby Line

in Derby Line/Newport/News

DERBY LINE — The USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has confirmed that insects collected from ash trees in Derby Line are emerald ash borers (EAB).

This is the first detection in Orleans County.

Landowners and other residents of Derby and surrounding towns are urged to look for signs and symptoms of the insect and report suspicious findings on vtinvasives.org.

Based on tree symptoms, EAB had already spread to this location before it was first detected in Vermont last year.

Although this is a new location in Vermont, the Coaticook and Memphremagog Regional County Municipalities, due north of Orleans County in Quebec, have been part of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s EAB regulated area since January 2018.

EAB is likely to be present in other locations within ten miles of known infestations.

In addition to Derby, this area includes Newport City and Holland, and parts of Newport Town, Coventry, Charleston, Brownington, Morgan, and Norton.

Moving any infested material, especially ash firewood, logs, and pruning debris, can quickly expand the infestation.

One important recommendation is to obtain firewood locally.

Authorities say if you’re going camping this summer to leave your firewood at home.

It is still illegal to bring untreated firewood from out of state into Vermont.

EAB larvae kill ash trees by tunneling under the bark and feeding on the part of the tree that moves water and sugars up and down the trunk.

It was first discovered in North America in the Detroit area in 2002, and over the past seventeen years, it has decimated ash populations.

EAB is known to occur in 35 states and five Canadian provinces.

Orleans man pleads guilty in moose poaching case

in Newport/News/Westmore

NEWPORT — An Orleans man who dragged a cow moose eight miles behind his truck after shooting it in a Westmore hay field, has pleaded guilty to multiple charges.

Authorities say 22-year-old Gerin Fortin was in Orleans Superior Court on June 26 where he pled guilty to taking a moose in closed season and taking a moose by illegal means.

Several other related charges were dismissed.

Fortin admitted shooting a cow moose in September of 2017 in a remote Westmore hay field using the headlights of his truck.

Using his truck, he dragged the moose 8 miles over pavement to the outskirts of Orleans before abandoning the moose to rot.

Fortin was sentenced to serve 60 days on state work crew, plus probation, ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution, ordered to attend alcohol counseling, and he was ordered to forfeit the firearm he used.

Fortin also lost his privilege to hunt, fish and trap for three years in Vermont and all member states of the Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact.

The truck used to drag the moose was repossessed by a lienholder.

Chief Warden Col. Jason Batchelder credits the public’s help in bringing this case to a close.

“Many of the fish and wildlife violation cases investigated by Vermont State Game Wardens come from members of the public who care enough to provide information,” Batchelder said. “You can help by reporting a violation with a phone call to a State Police radio dispatcher, or anonymously by calling the Operation Game Thief phone.”

The toll-free Operation Game Thief line is 1-800-752-5378.

Orleans County residents named to Vermont Agricultural Hall of Fame

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom/Westfield/Westmore

NEWPORT — The Vermont Agricultural Hall of Fame recently announced the 2019 inductees. Now in its 17th year, the Hall has inducted 80 Vermonters to date.

Joanna Samuelson Lidback, of The Farm at Wheeler Mountain in Westmore, was inducted as a merging leader, and Jack and Anne Lazor, of Butterworks Farm in Westfield, were inducted for lifetime achievement.

Emerging Leader: Stepping Up to Become the Next Generation of Leaders (age 40 and under) Joanna Samuelson Lidback, Westmore

Lidback is a farmer, agricultural business consultant, 4-H volunteer, and family farm advocate.

Together with her husband Adam, she owns The Farm at Wheeler Mountain, a family dairy farm located in Westmore.

Lidback earned a BS in Applied Economics and Business Management from Cornell, and an MBA from Babson F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business. She is currently employed as Business Consultant for Yankee Farm Credit.

In this role, she helps dairy farmers with the challenges of developing business, estate, and succession plans.

Her love of farming extends well beyond the boundaries of Vermont. She is a Board Member with the Global Farmer Network – a non-profit advocacy group led by farmers from around the world.

She has also testified on behalf of Vermont farmers before the US House and Agriculture Committee and Senate Agriculture Committee in Washington, D.C.

Lidback was honored by the American Jersey Cattle Association with the Young Jersey Breeder Award in 2016. S

She was an active member of the Agri-Mark Young Cooperators Program and served as a YC Representative from 2012-2015.

She is also active in the Vermont Farm Bureau and currently serves as First Vice President of the Orleans County Farm Bureau.

She and Adam are raising three young children together on the family farm.

Lifetime Achievement: 30+ Years of Outstanding Service to Vermont Agriculture, Jack and Anne Lazor, Westfield

Jack and Anne Lazor began farming in 1976. For more than forty years, they have built a reputation for producing outstanding organic yogurt, stewarding the land, and advocating for organic agriculture.

Their Butterworks Farm grass-fed yogurt is sold in nearly 80 groceries and coops across Vermont and in neighboring states.

Together with a dedicated team, they produce some of the finest organic yogurt available.

Anne and Jack have been a steadfast team in farming, family, and life.

Jack is a teacher and a member of the “Agrarian Elders,” a group of twenty-four pioneers considered to be the founders of organic agriculture in the U.S.

Over the years, both he and Anne have devoted themselves to teaching the next generation of farmers how to raise animals, steward the land, and produce products ethically and sustainably.

Farming is a family affair for the Lazors, who raised their daughter, Christine, together at Butterworks.

Today, the Lazors enjoy sharing their love of agriculture, and Butterworks Farm, with their grandchildren.

Man facing numerous charges after bizarre incident at Lakehouse Saloon in Barton

in Barton/Newport/News

BARTON — An East Haven man is facing a slew of charges following an incident at the Lakehouse Saloon in Barton early this morning.

Police say 51-year-old Benjamin Clarke is being charged with aggravated assault on law enforcement, disarming law enforcement officer, impeding public officer, criminal threatening, aggravated assault, unlawful mischief, aggravated disorderly conduct, unlawful trespass, and resisting arrest.

According to police, Clarke entered the bar around midnight and was asked to leave by the bouncers.

Police say he refused and began throwing pool balls at patrons inside the bar, striking one man in the face with them.

He was taken outside by the bouncers where he produced a knife and began threatening them and the other patrons at the bar.

According to the report, Clarke stated several times he was going to blow up the towns of Barton and St. Johnsbury.

He then crawled across the parking lot and slashed a woman’s tire.

Shortly after slashing the tire, police arrived on the scene.

The bouncers told police that they believed Clarke had taken several doses of LSD or PCP.

Police say Clarke began to attack them on the scene by punching a trooper in the head, attempting to disarm the trooper, and threatening to kill them.

Clarke was ultimately taken into custody and transported to North Country Hospital for treatment and evaluation.

He was remanded to the custody of Vermont Corrections however remained at North Country Hospital for evaluation.

He was held on lack of $75,000.00 bail.

Police looking for dirt bike rider

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — The Orleans County Sheriff’s Department is seeking the public’s help identifying the operator of a red Honda dirt bike that took off from law enforcement today.

Police say at approximately 1:00 p.m. the operator took off from police and “showed no regard for the lives of anyone else on the trail system.”

Police say he was in a group with a new style blue Polaris RZR 1000 Turbo, a red Polaris 4-wheeler, and a red CF-Moto UTV.

According to police, information gathered suggest the individuals may live near the Johnson area.

Anyone with information is being asked to contact the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department.

Holland awarded grant to study future use of school building

in Holland/Newport/News

HOLLAND — The town of Holland was awarded $15,950 in state Municipal Planning Grant funds for a feasibility study for the future use of the Holland School building.

The grant and resources it allows the town to access will help to examine up to three scenarios for the future use of the building.

The town is seeking a sustainable option that will retain its function as an emergency shelter and a center for community life.

Alternatives to be considered may include, but are not limited to:

1. A cultural center with an educational component that would utilize existing classrooms.

2. A small business incubator that can utilize the commercial-grade kitchen and the highest internet speed available in the area.

3. Town offices and town garage on one site.

4. Housing with a community room.

Holland was one of 29 projects funded through the Department of Housing and Community Development for this project.

70-year-old sets records in 25-mile Lake Memphremagog swim

in Magog/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — On Monday, 70-year-old Dan Shub of Baltimore, MD, swam the 25-mile length of Lake Memphremagog, between Newport, Vermont, and Magog, Quebec, or, as it’s also known, “In Search of Memphre.”

He is the oldest person to complete this 25-mile swim.

He entered the water at 11:22 p.m. on Sunday, July 7, 2019, at the EastSide Restaurant in Newport, and exited at Park de Baie-du-Magog on July 8, at 8:33 p.m.

Shub also set the record for the longest time in the water to successfully complete the distance, at 21 hours and 11 minutes.

He is the 36th person to complete “the Search” since the swim was started in 2011 on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 by Elaine Kormbau Howley and Phil White, to promote a more open border by re-opening the lake to international swimming.

This year, Dan dedicated his swim to the Lost Children.

At a young age, Shub became a cancer survivor, which led him into an active lifestyle as a triathlete and long-distance open water swimmer.

He has participated in many swims in the Northeast Kingdom, including two 25 km Border Busters at Kingdom Swim and last year’s July Expeditionary Search, in which he was beaten back by high winds in his face, but only after he had completed 16 miles of very tough swimming.

He was among 5 others who failed to complete that day, while only 2 made it to the finish.

This year, he returned to finish business.

Vermont expands Stay to Stay Weekends to include Newport

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — The Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing announced the expansion of its Stay to Stay Weekends to now include Newport.

Stay to Stay is an economic development tourism program launched as a pilot last year, that has successfully relocated over a dozen people from across the country to Vermont.

Newport will host Stay to Stay Weekends on July 26-29, and December 13-16.

“The Stay to Stay Weekends will help build broader national awareness of the Northeast Kingdom as an exceptional place to not just play, but also live and work,” said Wendy Knight, Tourism and Marketing Commissioner.

The 3-day networking weekends are for out-of-state visitors interested in living full-time in Vermont.

Weekends begin with a Friday evening reception hosted by a local chamber of commerce or young professional’s network.

Saturday and Sunday offer unstructured opportunities to explore the region and get a glimpse into living in the community.

On Monday, guests meet with employers, tour the area with a realtor, or visit an incubator/co-working space to meet with entrepreneurs and professionals.

The Stay to Stay Weekends in Newport will also include Monday morning visits to local childcare centers to demonstrate the region’s appeal to young families.

“We need to grow Vermont’s workforce, it’s the crux of every challenge and cornerstone of every solution we face in Vermont,” said Governor Scott. “And we need to use every tool in the toolbox to achieve this goal.”
Newport will host the Stay to Stay Weekends July 26-29, and December 13-16.

Police: Derby woman charged following assault on officer at hospital

in Derby/Newport/News

NEWPORT — The Newport Police Department says they arrested a woman over the weekend on multiple charges, including assaulting a police officer.

Makayla Belmore, 19, of Derby, is facing charges of assault on a law enforcement officer/protected professional, obstruction of justice, and aggravated disorderly conduct.

Early Sunday morning police say they responded to North Country Hospital to have an officer on standby after Belmore, who had an active trespass notice, had come to the emergency room as a patient.

The responding officer and a member of hospital security entered her room after hearing yelling coming from inside.

Police say when they entered the room, she threw a cup full of liquid that struck the officer.

“She then resisted the officer and staff’s efforts to restrain her, attempting to sit up and strike both the Newport Police officer and the security officer,” a statement issued by police reads.

Police say Belmore at one point kicked the security officer in the face and twice spit in the face of the police officer while continuing to violently resist efforts to restrain her.

They say she also made repeated verbal threats against both officers.

She was placed under arrest and subsequently arraigned yesterday and released with conditions.

NEK students take part in SEEDS leadership training

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Thirteen local students recently joined in the statewide SEEDS Summer Leadership Training Program held at Northern Vermont University-Lyndon.

They spent spend three days and two nights on campus with students from around the state.

Students participated in team-building activities and team challenges.

They also took part in projects and games designed to help them find their passion, build their confidence, map out long-term goals and develop a strong sense of purpose as they transition into high school.

Pictured from left-to-right, are:

(back row) Robert West and Kai-Lee Huang, both from Danville School; Bailey Shepard, Hazen Union High School; Emma Chaput, Troy School; Paige Ainsworth, Hazen UHS; Lydia Ste. Marie and Kloey Descheneau, both from Troy School; Will Patnoe and Felicia-Ann Flint, both from Craftsbury Academy. Front row, from left-to-right: Jasmine Dunbar, Danville School; Justice Clark, Brighton Elementary School; Destiny DeMasi, Danville School, and Sophie Michaud, Lake Region Union High School.

Independent feature film screening in Derby Line this Thursday

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Newport/News

DERBY LINE — The award-winning first-time feature film ‘Farmer of the Year,” by Vermonters Kathy Swanson and Vince O’Connell, will screen at the Haskell Opera House in Derby Line this Thursday, July 11.

The film, ‘Farmer of the Year,’ written by Swanson and shot largely at the farm on which she grew up in her hometown of Tyler, Minnesota, tells the story of an aging farmer, who, after selling the farm he’s worked for over 60 years, finds himself useless and adrift.

Struggling to maintain his youth he road-trips across the country in a ’73 Winnebago with his equally directionless and unreasonably self-confident granddaughter.

Heading west, they find themselves in seemingly impossible situations with only each other for support.

As the journey progresses so does their relationship and they begin to understand and appreciate each other as individuals while discovering that being young and being old, aren’t all that different.

“A small town screening in a building that’s been the center of the community for generations feels like such a Vermont way to screen the film,” said Swanson.

The filmmakers met at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in the early ’80s where they worked 3 hours a day for room and board before moving to Western Massachusetts to grow their business, VOMAX, a custom athletic apparel manufacturing company started by O’Connell in one of the dorm rooms at the Center.

After selling the company, the couple moved back up north to Craftsbury.

“We’ve wrapped up our festival circuit and self-distributing the film across the country theatrically now,” said O’Connell. “We’ve been in about 90 theaters since September.”

‘Farmer of the Year’ will screen at the Haskell Opera House on July 11, at 7:00 p.m., followed by a Q&A session led by the filmmakers.

General admission tickets are $12, and available at the door.

North Country Hospital celebrates 31st Annual Scholarship Golf Classic

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — A morning storm on June 30 didn’t dampen the spirits of 24 teams ready to hit the course at Newport Country Club for the 31st Annual Healthcare Scholarship Golf Classic.

Thanks to the generosity of sponsors and players, North Country Hospital was able to provide 22 new healthcare education scholarships this year, along with many renewals.

Student teams from North Country Union High School and Lake Region Union High School were also sponsored to play.

Northpoint Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram provided the chance to win a Jeep Cherokee on the 2nd hole, with a few golfers getting within five feet of the pin or even onto the green.

Men’s longest drive went to Tyler Smith and ladies longest drive went to Susan Wu, with each year this award honoring the memory of Perry and Priscilla Fitch.

Men’s division results were:

1st Low Gross – Don Hunt, Steve Fisher, Gary Bickford, Bobby George (52)

2nd Low Gross – Tim Bronson, Greg Bronson, Jonathan Cote, Dawson Cote (59)

1st Low Net –Jim Murphy, Andy Karwooki, Robert Reynolds, Chris Provencher (51.6)

2nd Low Net –Brian Nall, Bill Perket, Umair Malick, Ben Schroer (51.8)

The results for Mixed Division were:

1st Low Gross – Steve Hurd, Bev Gage, Megan Sargent, Chris Wing (62)

2nd Low Gross –Sophia Clements, Grace Giroux; Roger Cartee, Bob Dunn (63)

1st Low Net – Alan Franklin Jessie Davignon, David Price, Nancy Price (53.8)

2nd Low Net – Gene Wu, Susan Wu, Larry Sisson, Nancy Sisson.

Because of former hospital CEO Sid Toll’s vision of creating this event as a fundraiser, since 1988, North Country Hospital has awarded 336 scholarships to local students, many of whom have returned to work in the area after college.

“This has been a team effort year after year, and we thank all of our sponsors as well as those who support North Country Hospital and the tournament by playing each year,” Tournament Chair Fran Smith said.

Son of a Swim kicks off open water swimming season in the Kingdom

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

DERBY — On Saturday, June 29, the Northeast Kingdom Open Water Swimming Association and Kingdom Games cracked the cap on Summer’s open water swimming season.

In total, 14 swimmers, ages 12 to 64, from Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Montreal, swam distances of 2, 4, 6.5 and 10 miles, on Lake Memphremagog.

They swam from Derby Bay out to and around Bell, Province, Black, and Cove Islands.

Winds were light, with water temperature a 70 F. A threat of showers and thunderstorms held off as all swimmers finished their chosen distances.

Participants included three swimmers who have swum the 25-mile length of Lake Memphremagog, including Charlotte Brynn, Paula Yankauskas, and Vera Rivard.

Natalie Lang, who also participated on Saturday, will be attempting to swim the length of Memphremagog in July.

Yankauskas hold’s the record as the oldest person to swim the length of the lake, which she did when she was 60 years old, and Vera Rivard holds the record as the youngest to swim the length of the lake, which she did last year when she was just 14.

The roster also included six kayakers and crew who have supported “In Search of Memphre,” including Pam Ladds, Jerry Zeankowski, Kevin, Darcie and Margaret Rivard, and Cynthia Needham.

Son of a Swim was started in 2009 to help new swimmers qualify for Kingdom Swim.

Over the years, the swim has grown and moved from Prouty Beach in Newport to Derby Bay.

The swim now incorporates the islands of Derby Bay as its “buoys,” and offers the beauty and magic of this area of Lake Memphremagog.

The swim now includes not only newcomers to open water swimming, but also more experienced swimmers impatient to get their season underway, who are looking for a well-supported swim in June.

The swim is organized by Kingdom Games and the Northeast Kingdom Open Water Swimming Association.

Next up in July will be In Search of Memphre, July and Kingdom Swim, their Flagship Swim, on July 27, and in August, NEK Swim Week, August 10 to 18, and more 25-mile solo and group swims.

Kingdom Games offers over 25 days of running, biking and swimming events throughout the year.

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