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Police: Fire in Newport considered suspicious

in Fire/Newport/News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Island Pond man killed in single-vehicle crash

in Brighton/Island Pond/Newport/News

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

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

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

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

North Country Hospital and NVRH open new sleep clinic

in Health/News/Northeast Kingdom/St. Johnsbury

ST. JOHNSBURY — The Northern VT Center for Sleep Disorders held a grand opening and ribbon cutting of its new space in St. Johnsbury last week.

Local community members, as well as staff from North Country Hospital and Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital (NVRH), enjoyed a summer afternoon at the entrance to the newly developed space.

The center is located in the Shippee Family Eye Care building at 468 Hospital Drive, St. Johnsbury.

Sleep center staff members proudly offered tours of the new space, which has the capacity for four sleep rooms and four examination/consult rooms.

Guests were able to meet with providers and learn about local sleep and pulmonary services.

Dr. Veronika Jedlovszky is the Medical Director and is board certified in Sleep and Pulmonology.

Other staff includes Dr. Weili Gray and nurse practitioner Danielle Speer, as well as sleep techs and registered polysomnographers.

Dr. Jedlovszky added that there is a long history of Newport providing sleep services to the Northeast Kingdom and beyond, having outgrown its space more than once.

The original sleep center began on the second floor of North Country Hospital in 1997 and is certified by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.

“The comprehensive team can provide evaluation and treatment for obstructive sleep apnea, breathing and movement disorders, insomnia, restless legs syndrome, as well as narcolepsy,” Dr. Jedlovszky explained of the services. “Over the years, the sleep center has also provided services in Morrisville and St. Johnsbury. In 2010 a 2-bed sleep clinic was started at NVRH and since then has been outgrowing its space time and again.”

The Newport clinic at North Country Hospital will remain, and this new center opened officially on May 30 now adds capacity in the St. Johnsbury region.

Efforts are also underway to recruit an additional pulmonologist to work mostly at the St. Johnsbury site.

Leaders from the two organizations agreed that this type of collaboration is important to sustain specialized health care services in Northern Vermont because of cost and geography.

Bill Stenger fired by Jay Peak receiver following fraud indictment

in Jay Peak/Newport/News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After 174 years, the Stanstead Journal closes its doors

in News/Quebec/Stanstead

STANSTEAD, QC — The Stanstead Journal, an English weekly newspaper published since 1845 in Stanstead, Quebec, published its last weekly edition this week.

It was the oldest weekly newspaper in Quebec.

In Wednesday’s edition, the paper put out a notice stating that “it is no longer a viable business and no real government help is forthcoming.”

Publisher Jean-Yves Durocher noted that he still believes that the Stanstead community needs a “paper-based” news source, and says that subscribers will still be getting a paper product about 10 times per year.

The physical office on Dufferin Street will be closed to business starting June 3, and staff will be moving out of the building in July.

In the notice, Durocher said that the Stanstead Journal will slowly have a much better web presence over the next few months.

“We have also seen a shift in our core market, which is older as it is with all newspapers,” the notice reads. “While you would never see them with a phone or a tablet two years ago, this is not the case today.”

It’s still unclear as to how much energy the paper plans to put into its online efforts.

Currently, their website is dated and has very little content and no local news available online.

A subscription to the Stanstead Journal was $45 annually in Orleans County.

NorthWoods Stewardship 30th Anniversary Open House on June 8

in Charleston/News/Northeast Kingdom/Outdoors

EAST CHARLESTON — The NorthWoods Stewardship Center in East Charleston is celebrating three decades of environmental stewardship in the northeast with a 30th Anniversary Open House on June 8, 2019, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The event is open to the public and includes a free dinner, music by celebrated Celtic ensemble The Wind that Shakes the Barley, a video release, a silent auction featuring items from local businesses and artisans, and keynotes by local community leaders.

Join the staff and community as they look back on three decades of work, from the organization’s founding by Bill & Pat Manning as the Vermont Leadership Center, through the growth of education, youth conservation and land management programs, and the expansion of the campus to 1,500 acres of protected trails and demonstration forest.

Today, the Center employs local youth in conservation efforts in all 6 New England states, serves children throughout the NEK through their after-school and camp programs, and partners with federal, state and local agencies to provide ongoing trail, forestry, and watershed conservation work on public and private lands throughout the region.

All are welcome to attend this free event, located at 154 Leadership Drive, in East Charleston.

Truck thefts land Newport man 3-8 years behind bars

in Derby/Newport/News

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

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

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

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

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

Within the hour his truck was stolen.

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

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

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

Irasburg’s Leach Public Library to celebrate life and work of Howard Frank Mosher

IRASBURG — The Leach Public Library in Irasburg will hold the third annual celebration of beloved Vermont author Howard Frank Mosher during an event at the library.

The gathering will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 2, the 76th anniversary of his birth.

Howard Frank Mosher made his home in Irasburg until his death in 2017.

Many of Mosher’s books feature the fictional town of “Kingdom Common,” loosely modeled on Irasburg, with elements of Orleans and Newport.

In 2016, Mosher donated his personal book collection to the Leach Public Library, where he served as a longtime member of the board of trustees.

“It has become a tradition for us to celebrate our friend and neighbor Howard Frank Mosher on his birthday,” said Leach Library trustee Judith Jackson.

Refreshments, featuring some of Howard Frank Mosher’s favorites, will be served.

“It’s an opportunity to recognize anew his unique insight into the life and people of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, his affection for them, and ours for him,” Jackson added.

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

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

in Newport/News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

in Jay Peak/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

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

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

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

Quiros is also charged with two counts of money laundering.

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

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

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

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

The indictment also alleges forfeiture against the defendants.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The defendants then concealed this misuse of funds.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Choi remains at large.

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

in Derby/Holland/Newport/News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Online registration is open at www.kingdomgames.co

Newport woman arrested after pedestrian struck with van

in Newport/News/Orleans

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

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

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

She was conscious and alert but had suffered serious injuries.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Police: Barton man arrested with 60 bags of heroin

in Barton/Newport/News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Local nurses honored at annual dinner

in Health/Newport/News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newport awarded $85,000 for intersection improvement project

in Newport/News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

in Derby/Newport/News/Outdoors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s also an important grassland bird production area.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Road Closure: Route 105 in Newport Center starting May 20

in Newport/News

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

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

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

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

Nearly 400 students show up for North Country Hospital’s Teddy Bear Clinic

in Health/Newport/News

NEWPORT — It’s been a busy week at the hospital, as visiting kindergartners and first graders have been getting their favorite stuffed animals weighed and immunized at the Teddy Bear Clinic.

Nearly 400 students from 15 schools in the two local supervisory unions marched proudly with their buddies into North Country Hospital.

Multiple stations provided education and care, including the emergency department and the ambulance bay.

Students learned about summertime safety and the mechanics of the skeleton.

This year, thanks to Glover and Newport EMT services, visiting students even saw firsthand the operation of an ambulance.

Police looking for suspect after Dollar General in North Troy broken into

in Newport/News/North Troy

NORTH TROY — Police responded to an alarm at the Dollar General in North Troy early this morning.

The call came in at around 1:00 a.m.

When they arrived at the location on East Main Street, police say they discovered that the store had been forcefully entered and items inside were scattered around.

The store was cleared by troopers.

Video surveillance footage indicated a single male, wearing a red jacket, gloves, and a face covering, forcefully entered the store, placed items in a bag, and left the store through the same place he entered.

A state police canine was used in an attempt to track the suspect but he was not located.

Anyone with information about this incident is being asked to contact State police at 334-8881.

The High Immunization Rates Certificate of Achievement was presented, left to right: Addie Atwood, RN, Leah Rogers, Practice Manager, Julie Barr, Patient Services Coordinator, Jim Biernat, RN, VT Department of Health, Alexandra Bannach, MD, Thomas Harvey, RN, VT Department of Health, Donna Chesney, Patient Services Coordinator and Carol Leigh, RN

North Country Pediatrics in Newport recognized for high immunization rates

in Health/Newport/News

NEWPORT — Last week during Infant Immunization Week, the Vermont Department of Health made its way around the state to 25 pediatric practices, recognizing them for the work they have done to increase child immunization rates.

North Country Pediatrics in Newport excelled for the second year by making sure as many patients as possible received their necessary immunizations.

For a medical practice to receive recognition, at least 90 percent of its child patients must be up to date with immunizations for 11 vaccine-preventable diseases, including measles, mumps, and whooping cough.

This is a significant accomplishment, with current reports of a measles outbreak nationwide.

“The providers and staff at these 25 practices deserve recognition and praise for their hard work protecting children who are at their most vulnerable age,” said Vermont’s Immunization Program Director Christine Finley.

Newport was fortunate to have Jim Biernat, RN, who is also a North Country Hospital trustee, help present the award to Alexandra Bannach, MD and staff.

MAC Center for the Arts presents Gabe Tempesta Selected Paintings

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — MAC Center for the Arts presents Gabe Tempesta’s solo Exhibition entitled Selected Paintings with an opening reception on Friday, May 24, 2019, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. in the MAC’s Downstairs Connection.

The opening is free and open to the public.

To highlight Tempesta in his own words:

“Being born and raised in the Vermont landscape has given rise to the current scope of my artwork. I am continually inspired by the natural landscape while exploring at home or while traveling and look to capture and celebrate that with my paintings. My formal education is from Montserrat College of Art where I studied illustration. After training and pursuing a career as an illustrator as a matter of practicality for ten years I felt an urge for more creative freedom in the form of fine-art landscape and wildlife painting.


My black and white paintings have evolved from a charcoal and watercolor mixture to oil paint. I recently switched to oil paint in order to more easily mimic the lens effects of photography. I love the process of capturing an image through a camera lens with pixels then bringing it to life by hand with paint. Early on I considered pursuing photography as a career until this was superseded by my passion for drawing and painting. Now I feel I have come to a balance between the two.
I leave out the color in my paintings in order to focus on composition, form, and contrast and to engage in a more simple and direct creative process. I strive to create a fresh approach to traditional landscape painting where I look for dynamic vantage points in which to portray common features of the landscape and the wildlife within it. I want the viewer to be familiar with what they see but to get the feeling that they ‘haven’t quite seen it like that before.”

The exhibit will continue through Saturday, June 22, 2019, and can be seen from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. during regular business hours.

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

Seven people arrested illegally entering the U.S. in Derby Line

in Derby Line/Newport/News

DERBY LINE — Six people who authorities say entered the U.S. illegally in Derby Line, and the driver who picked them up, were arrested on Wednesday.

According to the criminal complaint, on the evening of May 1, agents at the Newport Border Patrol station learned that a group of people were entering the United States from Canada on foot, near an area known as Goodall Farm.

Agents in the area say they observed six individuals huddled together in a wooded area near the border.

Shortly thereafter, they say an SUV drive up to the group. The vehicle stopped and the six individuals got in. The vehicle was later pulled over.

Authorities say the driver was identified as Francisco Alejo-Medrano, 27, a citizen of Mexico.

The six passengers were all determined to be undocumented Mexican citizens.

All seven people in the vehicle were arrested.

Alejo-Medrano appeared in court yesterday on a charge that he unlawfully transported a group of people entering the United States illegally.

U.S. District Judge Christina Reiss ordered that Alejo-Medrano be detained pending further proceedings.

According to court records, the six passengers are being charged with unlawfully entering the United States.

If convicted, Alejo-Medrano faces up to five years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.

Circle K in Barton robbed

in Barton/News

BARTON — The Circle K in Barton was robbed late Tuesday night.

Police responded to the robbery at around 11:45 p.m.

According to the report, the suspect entered the store threatening that he had a weapon and demanded that the store clerk hand over the money from the cash register.

The suspect is described as a Caucasian male, approximately 5’6” to 6’ tall with a medium build and possibly in his mid to late 20s.

He was wearing a dark colored hooded sweatshirt which covered his face and dark colored pants.

After receiving an undisclosed amount of money the offender fled the scene on foot.

Anyone with information regarding this case is being asked to contact the call 802-334-8881.

Newport police charge two after high-speed chase in stolen SUV

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Police arrested two people yesterday after they allegedly led police on a high-speed chase in a stolen SUV.

According to the report, Justin Morgan, 27, of Newport, was charged with aggravated operation without owners consent, attempting to elude, grossly negligent operation, excessive speed, attempted aggravated assault on a police officer, recklessly endangering another person, and possessing stolen property.

Carrie Tetreault, 32, of Sheffield, was charged with aggravated operation without the owner’s consent.

Police say they were tipped off on Monday that a white 2016 Toyota Rav4 had been stolen and was likely being operated by Tetreault.

Officers were working a detail on Glen Road when they saw the vehicle at approximately 12:26 p.m, which they identified by its license plate.

Newport Police say that they knew Morgan and recognized him as the driver of the vehicle.

When police attempted to perform a motor vehicle stop, the vehicle allegedly took off at a high rate of speed after initially pulling over.

According to a statement issued by police:

“The vehicle sped through a construction zone in the road, endangering the lives of workers, one of whom was placing cones and signs in the roadway. The vehicle almost struck Sheriff Kirk Martin, who was deploying spike strips at the intersection of Fern Street and Glen Road, but the vehicle swerved onto a lawn. The SUV reached speeds in excess of 90 miles per hour and nearly struck a pedestrian walking his dog on West Echo Lake Road.”

Police say after the vehicle got stuck in the mud on Sanderson Hill Road, Morgan and Tetreault led on foot.

They were tracked by police with the assistance of K-9 Ozzy and placed under arrest after they were found running behind a residence on Route 5A.

“This was a dangerous incident involving two people fleeing from police in a stolen car who were willing to endanger the lives of pedestrians, road workers and police officers,” Chief DiSanto said.

Morgan was held on $2,500 bail at Northern State Correctional Facility.

Tetreault was released on the condition that she appear in court for arraignment.

The suspects were scheduled to be arraigned in Orleans District Court today.

Suspected drunk driver crashes into telephone pole in Newport

in Newport/News

NEWPORT — Police have arrested and charged a Newport man following a crash early Sunday morning.

At around 1:15 a.m. police say they came upon fallen telephone pole wires which led them to the scene of a crash involving a motor vehicle into a telephone pole near Union Street and Prouty Drive.

The driver of the vehicle, identified as Ryan Brewster, 32, of Newport, was charged with a second offense of driving under the influence, gross negligent operation, criminal refusal and false information to law enforcement.

Police say he sustained injuries and was medically cleared by EMTs following the crash.

According to the report, a female passenger refused medical attention and did not appear to have any injuries from the crash.

Both Union Street and Prouty Drive lost power temporarily after the crash, and Prouty Drive was closed until approximately 9:30 a.m. on Sunday.

“Reckless driving endangers the life of the driver, passengers and everyone else on the road,” Chief DiSanto said. “Let this serve as a reminder to our community that it’s crucial to drive responsibly, pay attention and follow the rules of the road.”

Brewster will appear in Orleans Criminal Court on May 14.

Police: Underage drinking party busted in Westmore

in Newport/News/Westmore

WESTMORE — Police say that for two weekends in a row, they’ve responded to complaints of underage drinking at a house in Westmore.

At around 11:20 p.m. on Friday, police say they received a report of an underage drinking party at a home located on Hinton Hill.

Police say when they arrived the home had a large number of vehicles parked in the driveway and in the roadway.

According to the report, individuals were seen fleeing from the residence into the woods.

Troopers say they also responded to the same residence the weekend prior for a similar complaint.

A total of 10 minors were issued diversion paperwork for the consumption of alcohol under the age of 21 between the two separate responses.

Police say the homeowner was cited into court for enabling alcohol consumption by minors.

New energy efficient home tour in Craftsbury this Saturday

in Craftsbury/News

CRAFTSBURY — The Energy Committees of Craftsbury, Glover, and Greensboro will be hosting a tour of a new, energy efficient home this Saturday, May 4.

The tour will start at 10:00 a.m. at the location on 935 King Farm Road in Craftsbury.

This is the fourth in a series of six consecutive Saturday morning tours of new and weatherized homes.

Each tour focuses on energy efficient building contractors, architects, and the homes that they have built or weatherized.

Patrick Kane, from the E. Hardwick company, Kane Architecture, was the architect who designed this 1300 sq. ft., one level home.

The goals of the design and construction were to make the house easy to maintain, comfortable, affordable to build and operate, with a focus of being environmentally friendly.

Designed and built to Efficiency Vermont certified “High-Performance Home” specifications, this home has many passive solar elements in the design with R-8 Marvin triple pane operable windows, large, custom-sized insulated glass units facing south.

It also incorporates other Passive House principles such as super insulation, air tightness, and fresh air heat recovery ventilation.

With the limited southern exposure, two high-performance triple pane skylights add nicely to the light distribution inside the house.

The energy modeling for air tightness, insulation, and solar gain predict that this home will use the equivalent of ¾ of a cord of wood per year to heat while being very cool in the summer.

The electric baseboard primary heat, heat pump water heater, electric stove, and condensing dryer, combined with a 7.6 kW roof-mounted solar array, provide for a net-zero home.

Wood heat with a wood stove is the backup heat.

Part of the emphasis on low environmental impact involved sourcing lumber locally for the siding, framing, and flooring.

Other applications included using low VOC paints and stains, cellulose insulation wherever possible, and having a flat roof design that leads to a low visual impact on the hillside environment where the home sits.

Patrick Kane designs and promotes using regional materials, high energy efficiency standards and green technologies to maximize long-term affordability and aesthetic impact.

Montpelier Construction, the company that built the home, has been building energy efficient homes since 1998 and is committed to sustainable building practices and supports the use of local products and materials whenever possible.

Both will be on hand on Saturday to answer questions that you might have.

For more information, contact CraftsburyEnergyCommittee@gmail.com

Second Annual Jay Peak Schlamm Jam starts tomorrow

in Arts and Entertainment/Jay Peak/News

JAY — Jay Peak Resort will be hosting their second annual Schlamm Jam – A Celebration of Community and Spirit, starting tomorrow.

The event, which debuted last spring, is designed to celebrate the surrounding communities and raise money for local causes.

Its name comes from the German word for mud and is being sponsored by the resort’s Flake Foundation.

The event will feature raffles, live music and invited local food vendors. A key attraction is the offer of free lifts tickets for residents of local communities.

Residents will also be offered discounts on waterpark tickets, ski and snowboard rentals at Stateside, and climb times in Clips and Reels.

Two dollars of every lift ticket purchased as well as a portion of the proceeds of everything sold at Jay Peak tomorrow will go to the Flake Foundation.

The resort created the foundation last year as a way to support local causes and events in its backyard.

Since its inception, the foundation has provided monies to local schools and kids’ sports teams to purchase winter gear and athletic uniforms, contributed funds to a non-profit project dedicated to providing low-cost, community-supported mesh internet access to primarily low-income neighborhoods in Newport, and made a donation to help fund the construction of a new spur trail to the Newport-Beebee Bike Path.

Most recently, Jay Peak’s General Manager Steve Wright was a featured “celebrity chef” for the Newport Promise Community’s Celebrity Pizza making party at Lago in downtown Newport.

The annual event helps to raise money for the NPC’s outreach efforts.

The funds raised during this year’s Schlamm Jam will go to the Montgomery and Jay community recreation centers.

“Knowing that Jay Peak has programs and events like the Schlamm Jam designed to support its communities is really reassuring to organizations like ours,” said Peg Doheny, a board member of the Montgomery Recreation Center. “It feels good to know the resort is committed to the vibrancy of all of the towns around it.”

Authorities investigating explosion and fire in Holland

in Derby Line/Fire/Holland/Newport/News

HOLLAND — Authorities say that an explosion and fire that took place at a home in Holland on Wednesday is currently being investigated.

At around 2:45 p.m. the Derby Line Fire Department responded to a report of a home explosion and a fire located at 2896 Gore Road North.

Fire personnel found that the residence was completely engulfed and partially collapsed.

According to the report, the homeowners are identified as Mark Newell and Cynthia Merrill.

Police say nobody had been at the home for several days, and there were no reported injuries.

An investigation unit was contacted to try and determine the origin and cause of the incident.

Investigators say that because of the amount of fire damage and consumption of combustible materials, nothing can be determined at this time.

They are requesting anyone with information regarding this incident to contact Det. Sgt. Michael LaCourse at the Derby Barracks at 802-334-8881 or by contacting the Vermont Arson Tip Award Program (VATAP) hotline at 1-800-322-7766.

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

Tribute to Manfred Rieder opens this weekend at the MAC

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News

NEWPORT — The MAC Center for the Arts will share a posthumous tribute to the late Manfred Rieder starting this Saturday, April 27, from 10:00 – 5:00 p.m.

The tribute will display a selection of Rieder‘s works, housed in the MAC’s newly named space, the Downstairs Connection.

In Manfred Rieder‘s own words:

”My fantasy structures are the result of being brought up by my grandparents and after my grandmother’s death when I was eight years old by grandpa alone. He was a well-known Austrian architect and from an early age taught me how to draw and paint and then had me assist in making his architectural dioramas and models for his clients. The love of architecture has never left me and now I express it through my little houses and scenes. I have always been fascinated by any form of transportation, from trains to cars, to airplanes and ships and I try to incorporate some of this in my work as well. I only use found wood, unwanted articles and everyday items I find in my shop or in the woods.”

Rieder‘s talent was not limited to the wooden creations, he also produced hundreds of pen and ink or pencil drawings, paintings, clocks, and many more.

All of the wooden diorama’s are for sale and will benefit the MAC Scholarship Fund which is given annually to graduating seniors pursuing any arts discipline in college.

It was his wish was that his legacy is hallmarked by this largesse.

The unique showcase will be on display April 27 through May 23 during regular business hours.

The exhibition is free and open to the public.

It should be noted that these items are handcrafted and for indoor display only.

The exhibition runs in concert with Portraits in Action – 25 Vermont Pioneers in renewable energy, environmental conservation, and land use planning.

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

Craftsbury man awarded for helping save the common loon in Vermont

in Craftsbury/News/Outdoors/Vermont

WILLISTON — Craftsbury resident Eric Hanson was recently presented the 2019 GMP-Zetterstrom Environmental Award.

Hanson is a biologist at the Vermont Center for Ecostudies (VCE) who spearheaded recovery of the formerly endangered common loon in Vermont.

Hanson’s efforts over the past 21 years have included work to educate Vermonters about loons and their nesting needs, protect nest sites, assist injured and sick loons, and ultimately build a sustainable breeding population.

His leadership led to the loons’ removal from Vermont’s endangered species list in 2005.

Statewide, loons have rebounded from a low of only seven nesting pairs in the mid-1980s to nearly 100 the past two summers.

The award was presented at Lake Iroquois, one of the state’s most recently established loon nesting sites.

“When a Vermonter hears the haunting and distinct call of a loon, we have Eric to thank for his restoration work and leadership,” said GMP Vice President Steve Costello.

Chris Rimmer, executive director of VCE, said that when Hanson learned of the award, he was characteristically humble and insistent that the credit was widely shared.

“Without question, a major reason for the successful comeback of loons in Vermont is that boaters and lakeshore owners have been made aware of what loons need, and they’re eager to help,” Hanson said. “I have over 1,400 people on my contact list, including individual volunteers, lake associations, state parks, game wardens, and other groups. These people share their love of loons with thousands more than I could possibly reach.”

The GMP-Zetterstrom Environmental Award is given annually to one person, business, group or non-profit that has made a significant contribution to Vermont’s environment.

The award is accompanied by a $2,500 donation to the winner’s environmental cause.

“It is no understatement that Eric has accomplished more for the conservation of Vermont’s environment, focusing on the common loon, than any of us will ever truly realize,” Rimmer said. “He has led VCE’s efforts to increase loon nesting nearly tenfold and engaged hundreds of citizen scientists and members of the public in the process. He’s one of the greatest collaborators I’ve ever known, and delivers results that have a big impact on the environment.”

Jennifer Daigle promoted to Senior Credit Officer at CNB

in Newport/News

DERBY — Community National Bank President Kathryn M. Austin announced the promotion of Jennifer Daigle to Vice President and Senior Credit Officer.

Daigle joined the bank in February 2005 as a Commercial Credit Analyst and in 2006 became the Supervisor of the Commercial Credit Department.

In 2009, she was promoted to Credit Administration Officer and in 2012 to Assistant Vice President.

In 2016, Daigle became Vice President of Credit Administration.

In her new role as Senior Credit Officer, she will be responsible for analyzing the bank’s commercial loan activity and overseeing the Credit Administration Department.

Continuing her education, she has taken the Principles of Banking class through the Center for Financial Training and Education Alliance and attended the Northern New England School of Banking.

She has taken several courses through the Vermont Bankers Association and Risk Management Association (RMA) covering financial statement analysis, risk management, tax accounting, and management and financial accounting.

Daigle formerly served as chairperson of the RMA Vermont Chapter and continues to be an active board member.

She assists several non-profit organizations with their financials and actively takes part in fundraising initiatives to benefit the Department of Children and Families in Newport.

Daigle resides in Troy with her husband Rene, daughter Ashley, son Travis Letourneau, and two foster children.

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