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All photos courtesy of Phil White.

Open water swimming season started Saturday on Lake Memphremagog

in Arts and Entertainment/Newport/News
All photos courtesy of Phil White.
All photos courtesy of Phil White.

NEWPORT — Opening day of open water swimming season in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and Eastern Townships of Quebec kicked off on Saturday. In all, eight swimmers from Massachusetts and Vermont took part in the first swim of the season.

The “Son of a Swim” courses offered 2, 4, and 6 miles of open water swimming on Lake Memphremagog. The course was set up to allow swimmers the chance to qualify for Kingdom Swim, which takes place in July.

Four swimmers completed their personal bests, swimming the chilly, 59 degree waters under a light drizzle for most of the morning.

open water swimming lake memphremagog vermont newport 1

Christina Carrier, 52, of Easthampton, Massachusetts, competed 2 miles without a wet suit and qualified for the 3 mile course at Kingdom Swim.

Sandra Alton, 39, also of Easthampton, completed 4 miles, qualifying for the six mile course.

Galen Broido, 19, of Hinesburg, completed 2 miles, qualifying for the 3 mile course.

Scott Traer, 33, of Woburn, Massachusetts, completed the 4 mile distance, his longest open water swim.

open water swimming lake memphremagog vermont newport 3

For Bethany Bosch, 29, of Wallingford, it was just a little training swim. Bethany has completed the ten mile course of Kingdom Swim, twice. Last year she completed the 25 mile, international swim between Newport, Vermont, and Magog, Quebec. And this year she is in training for an attempt to cross the English Channel.

Sue-Ellen Boorer, 60, of Warren, did the two mile swim without a wet suit. She is one of a growing group of NEKOWSA Season Pass Holders, taking advantage of the expanding offerings of lake swims throughout the summer.

Paula Yankouskas, 58, of Hyde Park, did four miles, without a wet suit. Paula is a long time, ten mile Kingdom Swimmer who has transitioned from swimming with a wet suit, to without. She also a NEKOWSA pass holder and is in training for this year’s 25 mile “Search” coming up in September.

Even Guri, a three-year-old chocolate lab from Wallingford, the first dog known to have swum the five mile length of Lake Willoughby last year, took part in the action.

Son of a Swim was limited to 10 swimmers and is offered especially to help those who need to complete a particular distance to qualify for Kingdom Swim in July. It is one of 15 days of open water swims hosted by Kingdom Games and the Northeast Kingdom Open Water Swimming Association in the legendary lakes of northern Vermont and the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

open water swimming lake memphremagog vermont newport 4

Newport Center man denies stabbing pig roast host

in Newport/News/North Troy

Orleans County Superior court Newport Vermont

NEWPORT — A Newport Center man who was tasered by police and arrested on June 7, pled innocent on Tuesday to felony charges of disorderly conduct by fighting, aggravated assault, and aggravated assault with a weapon.

Troy Guertin, 29, appeared in court on Tuesday to answer the charges relating to an incident that took place at an annual pig roast in North Troy. Guertin is accused of stabbing the party host in the finger.

Four police officers arrived at the scene of the incident late Saturday night.

According to an affidavit by Trooper Debra Munson, they spoke with the host of the party, Curtis Laramee, who said that earlier he heard Guertin quarreling with another guest. He approached the two arguing men, and told them that he didn’t want any fighting at the event. According to the affidavit, at one point, Guertin was asked to leave, and he grabbed something from out of the waist of his pants, and jabbed it toward Laramee.

Laramee held out his hand to block the movement, and stated that he felt a sharp pain in his hand. He suffered a half, to one inch cut on his ring finger.

When officers went to Guertin’s home to question him about the incident, he denied the stabbing charge.

In an affidavit by Deputy Sheriff Tyler Jacobs, Guertin is reported to have became upset during the conversation with police, and made several “bluff charges” toward Jacobs, and trooper Brian Connor. The affidavit states that Guertin made a grab at a flashlight that Connor was holding, causing him to use his taser on Guertin. Officers were then able to get him handcuffed.

In court on Tuesday, Guertin was released by Judge Michael Pratt.

Major cocaine trafficking ring busted in Quebec using long-haul truck shipments from the U.S.

in News/Quebec
Police still looking for Raymond Demers and Wayne Rutherford. Photo courtesy of RCMP
Police still looking for Raymond Demers and Wayne Rutherford. Photo courtesy of RCMP

STANSTEAD, QC — The RCMP are reporting that they, along with other police agencies, dismantled a drug trafficking ring that used secret compartments inside refrigerated trucks loaded in the United States, to bring cocaine into Quebec.

In all 17 people from Quebec were arrested from Bolton, Lake Brome, St. Jerome, as well as other cities in the region. Most of the men arrested were truck drivers.

Police say cocaine was packed in the refrigerated trucks in California, then concealed by shipments of fruits and vegetables that ended up on food shelves inside Canadian supermarkets.

The RCMP and the Canada Border Services Agency are saying that Denis Simoneau, 60, of East Bolton, oversaw the smuggling ring that involved the long-haul truck shipments, and are alleging that he served as the groups leader.

Authorities are searching for Raymond Demers and Wayne Rutherford, who remain at large.

The accused will be in court on Friday to face charges of drug trafficking, conspiracy, and money laundering.

The investigation, known as Project Crypto, was three years in the making.

Two street signs stolen in Lowell, third thrown into a river

in Lowell/News

street signs stolen in lowell vermont

LOWELL — The Vermont State Police are reporting that two street signs in Lowell were stolen, and a third was removed from its location. Sometime between Tuesday and Thursday the signs went missing.

One was stolen from Kempton Hill Road, located at the intersection with the Mines Road. The other was taken from Mines Road, located at the intersection with Vermont Route 58.

The third sign indicated a narrow bridge ahead, and was removed from its location and discarded in the river located in the same general area.

When street signs are stolen they are often used as decorations, however, sometimes it is done to avoid obeying the law by claiming later the sign was not there.

Usually considered to be a prank by the perpetrators, the theft is often costly and inconvenient for the municipality.

In the United States, each street sign generally costs between $100 and $500 to replace.

Anyone with information pertaining to this theft is encouraged to contact the Vermont State Police, Derby Barracks 802-334-8881.

Canada undermining wildlife protections, according to Vermont Natural Resources Council

in News/Vermont
Photo showing a before and after image of the Boreal Forest, Alberta Canada, May 31, 2011.
Photo showing a before and after image of the Boreal Forest, Alberta Canada, May 31, 2011.

MONTPELIER — According to a document released today by the National Wildlife Federation and Vermont Natural Resources Council, destructive mining and drilling practices in the heart of Canada’s forest bird nurseries have killed thousands of birds and are putting millions more at risk, including the critically endangered whooping crane, America’s tallest bird.

The Department of Interior is under a legal obligation – known as the Pelly Amendment – to determine whether tar sands mining and drilling in Canada is undermining a century-old international treaty to protect North America’s shared songbirds and waterfowl.

“The high carbon intensity of tar sands is driving climate change and putting people and wildlife at risk,” said Johanna Miller, energy program director at the Vermont Natural Resources Council. “Vermont wildlife enthusiasts, birders, and hunters should be gravely concerned about the impact tar sands has on bird species and their habitat.”

As the report details, tar sands development sits in the heart of the previously pristine boreal forest, a haven for bird production. But now an area the size of Florida is being destroyed by huge open-pit mines, toxic waste tailings ponds that are visible from space, extraction wells, noisy compressor stations, refineries, and networks of new roads, drilling pads, seismic lines, and pipelines.

“Unchecked tar sands development is turning a vast, irreplaceable breeding ground into a toxic wasteland,” said National Wildlife Federation Senior Counsel Jim Murphy. “The Canadian Government has vowed to protect these birds, but it is turning a blind eye.”

Oil-laden tailings ponds have resulted in the deaths of countless waterfowl. In 2008, 1,600 ducks died in Syncrude tailings ponds. An October 2010 storm resulted in hundreds of ducks landing on a Suncor tailings pond near Fort McMurray, killing 550 birds.

Canada tar sands oil killing brids

As of 2010, 43 species of internationally protected birds had suffered fatalities from exposure to tar sands tailings ponds. Unabated tar sands development could result in the reduction of 70 million hatchlings over a forty year period.

Of the 130 internationally protected American migratory and songbird species listed in the report as threatened by tar sands development, many are familiar names to bird watchers, hunters, and wildlife enthusiasts in Vermont. The list includes:

Snow Goose, American Goldfinch, Evening Grosbeak, Great Blue Heron, Common Loon, Northern Pintail, Wood Duck, Siskin, Cedar Waxwing, and the Pileated Woodpecker.

“Wildlife and tar sands don’t mix,” said Murphy. “The Canadian Government is putting polluting fossil fuel profits above the welfare of birds and other species. Secretary Jewell and President Obama can send a message to Canada that it is unacceptable to undermine our shared wildlife heritage. The President needs to act by rejecting dirty tar sands pipeline projects like Keystone XL. Moving forward with clean, wildlife-friendly energy, not tar sands, is the answer.”

Rollover crash in Troy

in News/Troy

rollover accident newport vermont

TROY — A 64-year-old West Charleston man was fortunate enough to escape with only minor injuries after totaling his car in a rollover crash in Troy that took place during the early hours of the morning last Thursday.

Vermont State police report that they responded to a single vehicle crash on Vermont Route 100 near the intersection of Routhier Road in the town of Troy at approximately 2:08 a.m.

Paul Redden of West Charleston was identified as the driver.

Redden was traveling north on Vermont Route 100 when his vehicle went off the west side of the roadway, traveling approximately 200 yards before rolling over.

Redden was transported to North Country Hospital for minor injuries.

He was driving a 2010 Suzi SX4 that was totaled as a result of the crash.

Water system upgrade underway in Derby Line

in Derby/Derby Line/News

derby line water line project

DERBY LINE — The water system upgrade that voters in both Derby Line and Derby voted to bond for in January has been underway over the past few weeks. The project was needed because there was not enough water flow to aggressively fight a fire at the Derby Elementary School if one ever broke out.

At a meeting last Tuesday, the trustees reported that the project is going great and residents are happy with the way the construction is going.

The Elm Street paving will take place after the water project in that area has been completed.

In January, voters in Derby voted to borrow $410,000 needed to help split the cost with the village of Derby Line for the new waterline to the Derby Elementary School. The town agreed to contribute to the cost of the new waterline extension because it was a safety issue.

The village of Derby Line voted to bond for the $1.2 million needed for the entire cost of the project.

The average Derby Line resident pays about $370 per year for water. The village portion of the annual loan payment will be around $53,000, increasing the water rate an extra $85 dollars per year.

Water line project derby line vermont

A sneak peek at Q Burke Mountain Resort Hotel

in Burke/News/Vermont
A before and after view of the new Q Burke Mountain Hotel Resort and Conference Center. Top photo by Tim Daley. Bottom courtesy of PeakCM Construction.
A before and after view of the new Q Burke Mountain Hotel Resort and Conference Center. Top photo by Tim Daley. All drawings courtesy of PeakCM Construction.

BURKE — Construction of the new 116 suite Q Burke Mountain Resort Hotel & Conference Center began last Tuesday with a groundbreaking ceremony. During the event, Jay Peak President Bill Stenger referred to the project as, “likely the most beautiful hotel site in the state of Vermont.”

The hotel will take inspiration from the Tram Haus Lodge at Jay Peak. It’s scheduled to open in November of 2015.

The structure has been designed to reflect the natural beauty of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. The project will use local Vermont materials and local craftsman in an attempt to stay true to the character of the region.

Q Burke Mountain Resort and Hotel Vermont 1

With 116 suites ranging from studios to three bedrooms, with many featuring full kitchens and outdoor balconies, the 180,000-square-foot resort will also include a slopeside restaurant, conference space, ski shops, arcade, coffee shop, and a fitness center with outdoor pool and hot tub.

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Along with the new hotel and conference center, an indoor aquatic and tennis center are also in the works.

Q Burke Aquatic Center will house a 50 meter pool and a diving pool. The 50 meter pool will be designed and constructed for training, competition, and water polo. The diving pool will have (2) one meter springboards, (2) three meter springboards, and a diving platform with 1, 3, 5, 7.5 and 10 meter levels.

Q Burke Tennis Center will consist of approximately 21 courts: 1 exterior central court, 10 indoor courts, and 10 outdoor courts. Four of the outdoor courts will be grass. The facility will also feature a food and beverage area.

The project will be carried out under the direction of PeakCM, whose president and owner, Jerry Davis, was responsible for building the Tram Haus Lodge, Hotel Jay, and Pumphouse Indoor Waterpark at Jay Peak.

Q Burke Mountain Vermont 3

Airplane crash at Newport State Airport Saturday

in coventry/Newport/News

Plane crash Newport State Airport Vermont Coventry

COVENTRY — According to the Federal Aviation Administration, nobody was injured after an airplane crashed at the Newport State Airport on Saturday. The FAA also reports that two people were inside the aircraft, while it was practicing takeoff and landing maneuvers, when the accident took place.

Vermont State Police were at the scene of the crash on Saturday when it happened, at around 12:50 p.m., and they were seen at the airport on Sunday as well.

The investigation into the crash is ongoing, but preliminary reports point toward the pilot loosing control of the aircraft while taking off.

The landing gear was ripped clean off of the plane during the incident.

It has not yet been confirmed who was flying the plane, a small single-engine model, but the aircraft is registered to Luc Quirion.

Authorities are stressing the fact that this does not mean that Quirion was the pilot involved in the crash. More information will be available when the investigation is completed.

22 hours of honor as local veteran visits WW II Memorial

in Derby Line/News
WW II veteran Joe Queenin of Derby Line taking part in an Honor Flight to Washington D.C. over the weekend.
WW II veteran Joe Queenin of Derby Line taking part in an Honor Flight to Washington D.C. over the weekend.

All photos courtesy of Scott Wheeler, owner and publisher of Vermont’s Northland Journal.

DERBY LINE — It was a long and honorable weekend trip to Washington D.C. for Derby Line resident Joe Queenin, as he took part in what is known as an Honor Flight. Queenin, a veteran of World War II, was accompanied by Scotth Wheeler, who traveled as a chaperon.

An Honor Flight is conducted by non-profit organizations dedicated to transporting as many United States military veterans as possible to see the memorials of the wars they fought in at no cost to the veterans.

The two started their 22 hour whirlwind trip to D.C. with a bus full of other veterans escorted by Vermont State Police from Burlington to the New York border. New York State Police continued the escort to the Albany airport.

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Disembarking the bus, the group was given what Wheeler described as “the biggest hero’s welcome imaginable,” making their way through the crowd cheering them on.

“Joe’s mouth literally dropped open when he saw all of this,” Scott Wheeler said. “He was stunned beyond belief.”

From Albany the two traveled with a group of other World War II veterans for the honor flight to Washington D.C. When they landed in Baltimore, the veterans were again greeted by throngs of people, including active military.

Another massive display of patriotism awaited the group as they arrived at the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C.

joe

The memorial, which opened about ten years ago, was something that Queenin had always wanted to visit. Through the Honor Flight service, not only did he get to achieve this goal, but he got to do it in style.

Both Queenin and Wheeler were stunned by the beauty of the site. For Wheeler, who had visited the site once before when it opened, it was just as impressed the second time around, especially having the honor of accompanying Queenin and the other veterans for the trip.

The group retraced their footsteps, arriving back at the hotel in Burlington at 2 a.m., about 21 and a half hours after leaving for the adventure. Both were wiped out, but a dream had come true for Joe and the other veterans who made the journey to visit a memorial to the war that shaped their lives.

“Yes, it was a great experience,” Wheeler said. “For all of us, the veterans and the chaperones.”

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Photo courtesy of

FREE and healthy food for children 18 and under this summer

in Barton/Island Pond/Newport/News
Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of The Lunchbox

NEWPORT — Green Mountain Farm-to-School’s newest project, The Lunchbox Mobile Farmers’ Market, is participating in the Summer Food Service Program for Children. Starting June 18th the Lunchbox will be serving free meals to kids 18 and under throughout the summer.

Funded by the United States Department of Agriculture, the program is designed to ensure that children who rely on free or reduced price meals during the school year continue to have adequate nutrition throughout the summer. Meals will be provided to all children 18 years of age and younger without charge. The Lunchbox will be at the following locations:


EVERY WEDNESDAY in BARTON
11:30 – 1:30 p.m.
St. Paul’s School
54 Eastern Ave

EVERY THURSDAY in NEWPORT
11:30 – 1:30 p.m.
Gardner Park
155 Gardner Park Road

EVERY FRIDAY in ISLAND POND
11:30-1:30 p.m.
Pavilion Park
95 Cross Street

The Lunchbox will also be open to the public and have meals available for purchase. All proceeds from the truck help support their work connecting kids, farms, and communities.

For more information contact Kathryn Hansis at khansis@gmfts.org or 802.334.2044. You can also connect with them on facebook at facebook.com/TheLunchboxVT for updates.

Derby woman arrested for domestic assault and resisting arrest

in Derby/News

arrest derby vermont

DERBY — A 27-year-old woman from Derby was arrested early this morning after police received a report of a domestic disturbance. The woman is reported to have kicked officers while they attempted to place her under arrest.

Police arrived at the scene and met with the victim at around 12:30 a.m. They observed bite marks and cuts on the victim and obtained a statement advising Nicole Columbia had bit the victim in the arm and punched the victim in the face several times.

Upon waiting for her to return, police observed Columbia drive into a parking lot from off U.S. Route 5. When speaking with her, police say that the odor of intoxicants was detected and field sobriety exercises were issued.

After completing field sobriety tests, Columbia was informed she was being placed under arrest for suspicion of DUI and Domestic Assault.

According to police she became upset when troopers tried to explain the situation and even attempted to leave. They are also saying that Columbia began kicking the troopers and thrashing her body.

She was taken into custody and transported to the Derby Barracks, where she was processed for DUI, Resisting Arrest, and Domestic Assault.

She is being held at Northern State Correctional Facility on lack of $750.00 cash or surety bond, and is scheduled to appear in Orleans County Court on June 10, 2014.

Derby man crashes into utility pole and flees the scene on foot

in Derby/News

arrest derby Vermont

DERBY — A 29-year-old Derby man was arrested Monday evening after his vehicle collided with a telephone pole outside the entrance of the Derby Trailer Park.

Following the crash, Tyrell Sykes was charged with Driving While License Suspended, Careless and Negligent Operation, and Leaving the Scene of an Accident. The incident took place at around 5 p.m.

Police were first informed of a black car driving erratically on I-91 in the Coventry/Derby area after someone following behind called police to report that they had seen a black car drive off the interstate several times, colliding with several guard rails.

The driver was able to get the vehicle, a Ford Fusion, back onto the road each time he drove off. The driver who called police continued to follow the car, staying on the phone with them and relaying information regarding the location of the vehicle.

The driver followed as the black car got off I-91 at Exit 28 in Derby, traveling on US Route 5 toward Derby Center. Outside the Derby Trailer Park, the vehicle again traveled off the road, this time striking a telephone pole.

The driver then fled the scene on foot, running behind the Champlain Equipment store.

Shortly after the crash, Orleans County Sheriff’s Deputies arrived at the scene. Sykes was taken into custody by Deputy Kyle Ingalls, after he was located running near the wood line off the west side of the Beebe Road.

Sykes required medical treatment for injuries relating to the crash. Newport Ambulance was called to transport him to North Country Hospital.

The utility pole at the entrance of the Derby Trailer Park sustained extensive damage and will need to be replaced.

Scott Wheeler to interview Jennifer Barrett in public forum on NEK-TV

in Newport/News

Scott Wheeler interview NEK-TV

NEWPORT — This Friday Scott Wheeler is interviewing Jennifer Barrett during a public forum program that will air on NEK-TV in Newport.

Ms. Barrett has recently announced that she plans to run for Orleans County State’s Attorney. The position is currently held by Alan Franklin, who is seeking another term. At least one other candidate, possibly two, plan to vie for the position.

Wheeler is reaching out to the public and seeking comment on some of the pressing legal issues the community sees in Orleans County.

“What are some of the law enforcement challenges facing Orleans county?” Wheeler asked.

He plans to to have Ms. Barrett address some of these issues. Anyone who wishes to contact Wheeler and get their question asked during the interview can contact him through his Facebook page by clicking here.

The show will air on NEK-TV channel 17 on Thursday, June 12 at 8 p.m. and Friday at 9 a.m.

In addition, he will post them online. Plans are to eventually welcome other candidates for this position, as well as candidates for other elected positions in Orleans county, onto this public forum program.

You can check out Ms. Barrett’s Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/barrettfororleans

Wheeler, known for his acclaimed Vermont’s Northland Journal publication, as well as his Northeast Kingdom Voice television show, is doing this interview and possible series as a separate project. He even served in the State House for a few years, so he is no stranger to politics.

Volunteers come together to help fix a roof

in Newport/News

photo 3

All photos courtesy of Paul Kearse

NEWPORT — Richard and Christine Wojcik who live at 1094 Upper Quarry Rd, Newport, had a roof that closely resembled a sieve. Last Saturday, a group of local volunteers came together to remedy that.

Richard and Christine have a daughter suffering from leukemia and have been spending a lot of time in Boston for her treatment. On Saturday, Richard was there with The Northeast Kingdom arm of Upper Valley Habitat for Humanity to remove the existing asphalt shingle roof.

They removed the old shingles using square edge shovels and pounded down any remaining nails.

Paul Kearse, a contractor, followed along doing the actual roofing. Paul did this for free to help with the effort.

It was a cool day with a comfortable breeze, no rain, and great views of Willoughby Notch and Burke Mountain from the north. The group enjoyed fried chicken and pizza.

Below are some photos from the effort provided by Paul Kearse:

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photo 4 (1)

photo 1

Vermont Salmonella Cases Linked to Baby Chicks

in News/Vermont

salmonella outbreak Vermont four sick

BURLINGTON — For the fourth year in a row, baby poultry from a single hatchery in Ohio are responsible for an outbreak of Salmonella infections in Vermont and other states across the country.

So far this year, the Vermont Department of Health has identified five Vermont cases, including four small children, of salmonellosis associated with baby poultry. All four cases have recovered from their illness. The Department of Health found the same strain of Salmonella responsible for the illnesses in samples collected from the chicks. In each Vermont case, the birds were traced back to Mount Healthy Hatchery in Ohio.

The Department of Health is collaborating with other state health departments, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the United States Department of Agriculture to investigate the outbreak.

More information about the investigation can be found at: http://www.cdc.gov/salmonella/live-poultry-05-14/

When baby poultry carry Salmonella they may not appear to be sick, but they can still spread the germs to people. Live poultry may have Salmonella bacteria in their droppings and on their bodies (feathers, feet, and beaks) even when they appear healthy and clean. The germs can also get on cages, coops, and other objects in the area where birds live and roam.

People can be exposed to Salmonella by holding, cuddling, or kissing the birds and by touching objects where the birds live, such as cages or feed and water bowls. People become infected with Salmonella when they touch something that is contaminated with Salmonella bacteria and then touch their mouth or eat with their hands.

Infection with Salmonella typically causes diarrhea, vomiting, fever, and/or abdominal cramps. Illness can be severe and require hospitalization. Young children, elderly, and those with weakened immune systems are more likely to develop severe illness. Salmonella may spread from the intestines to the bloodstream and then to other parts of the body and can be fatal without prompt treatment.

Young children are especially at risk for illness because their immune systems are still developing and they are more likely to put their fingers or other items into their mouth. The Health Department recommends that children should not handle baby poultry.

You can reduce the risk of Salmonella infection from live poultry by taking the following common sense steps:

Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water right after touching live baby poultry or anything in the area where they live and roam. Use hand sanitizer if soap and water are not readily available. Adults should supervise hand washing for young children.

Don’t let younger children, especially those less than 5 years of age, handle or touch chicks, ducklings, or other live poultry.

Don’t snuggle or kiss the birds, touch your mouth, or eat or drink around live baby poultry.

Don’t let live baby poultry inside the house, in bathrooms, or especially in areas where food or drink is prepared, served, or stored, such as kitchens or outdoor patios. Keep live poultry outside.

Don’t eat or drink in the area where the birds live or roam.

Tour de Kingdom set to start

in Arts and Entertainment/News/Vermont

Tour de Kingdom Newport Vermont

NEWPORT — About 50 road cyclists from all over New England, New York, Ontario, Quebec, and as far away as Florida and California, are starting to pack their bags and make their way to join this year’s Eighth Annual Tour de Kingdom.

The event offers one to five days of cycling in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and The Eastern Townships of Quebec. It will run from Wednesday, June 4th, through Sunday, June 8th.

This year’s Tour will raise money for North Country Hospital’s Patient Care Initiative Fund, which helps low-income Vermonters with unreimbursed expenses related to medical care, such as gas cards to help with travel expenses related to treatments for cancer patients.

Twenty percent of all U.S. registration fees go to the fund. Twenty percent of Canadian registration fees are donated to the Christian Vachon Foundation in Magog.

The Tour has evolved from a one day event when it started in 2007, to five days of guided and supported rides through some of the most beautiful countryside in North America. Each evening riders gather at what they call “The Long Tables of Newport, Coventry, and Derby,” with a different restaurant picked each night for a group dinner.

They will also have a “Shop Till You Drop” party at the all new Louis Garneau Factory Outlet. There is even an award for the most unique or fun thing purchased at Pick & Shovel.

Registration remains open on line at www.tourdekingdom.org.

Van explodes in Magog Walmart parking lot

in News/Quebec

explosion at Magog Walmart quebec

MAGOG — A 60-year-old man suffered burns on nearly 25 percent of his body after his van exploded on Thursday in the parking lot of the Magog Walmart. A woman who was near the explosion also suffered a leg injury, and four other cars were damaged as a result of the incident.

The blast occurred just before noon, May 29, and was powerful enough to be heard from as far away as downtown Magog.

After the explosion, smoke was visible from afar as firefighters arrived on the scene, with the van completely engulfed in flames. Magog police are investigating the cause of the explosion.

Firefighters found two propane tanks in the vehicle, and a witness is saying that they heard two or three explosions as the man was seen exiting the van from the passenger side door after the first explosion.

The victim was transported to the burn unit at the CHUS Hotel-Dieu Pavilion in Sherbrooke. His injuries are said to be non-life-threatening.

“He was conscious, with first and second degree burns,” said Alain Roy, chief of operations at Ambulance Estrie. “For the circumstances, it could have been much worse than that.”

The fire was quickly contained.

Bee causes tractor-trailer crash in Morgan Thursday evening

in Morgan/News

bee causes accident in morgan vermont

MORGAN — A tractor-trailer crashed on Route 111 in Morgan Thursday evening, after the driver drove off the road while swatting at a bee.

Russell Greer, 65, of New Hampshire, was driving the truck after delivering his cargo. He was traveling back to Pittsburg, New Hampshire, when the crash occurred.

Greer told police that a bee flew inside his window, and while he was trying to swat it out of the truck, he drove off the road.

The unit had to be towed due to damage sustained in the crash. There was minor damage to the passenger’s side exhaust stack as well as a broken tie-rod.

Greer was not injured in the crash, and presumably, nor was the bee.

All joking aside, over 500,000 accidents occur each year as a result of insects, so bee careful.

Troopers involved in Barton shooting identified

in Barton/News

Barton vermont shoting

Trooper Seth Loomis (left) and Sergeant Denis Girouard (right) along with the police cruiser that Eric Jackson is accused of ramming into, causing the troopers to open fire on Jackson.

BARTON — The troopers involved in the recent shooting of a Lyndonville man in Barton early Wednesday morning have been identified as Sergeant Denis Girouard and Trooper Seth Loomis.

Sgt. Girouard, age 43, was hired by the Vermont State Police in July 2000 and is currently assigned as a patrol commander at the St. Johnsbury Barracks.

Trooper Loomis, age 26, was hired by the Vermont State Police in November 2011 and is currently assigned as a Trooper First Class at the St. Johnsbury Barracks.

Both members remain on administrative leave, with pay.

The suspect, Eric Jackson, age 27, remains at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC), where he is listed in stable condition and receiving treatment. He is in the custody of the Vermont Department of Corrections while being treated at the hospital.

He will be charged in Caledonia County when he returns to Vermont, as the incident originated in that county.

The initial investigation has revealed that Jackson may have been involved in several vehicle thefts and burglaries prior to the incident. Authorities are also saying it’s possible that Jackson was not working alone.

The shooting occurred at approximately 2:08 a.m. after Jackson allegedly stole a vehicle from a residence on US Route 5 in Sutton, and fled the scene at a high rate of speed. After a lengthy pursuit, Jackson momentarily stopped on Burton Hill Road in Barton, changed directions by quickly accelerating in reverse, and repeatedly rammed two state police cruisers causing extensive damage and putting the troopers in fear of their safety.

Both troopers discharged their weapons in response to the on-going threat.

Detectives will continue to thoroughly investigate the incident, and anyone with information regarding the case is encouraged to call the Vermont State Police at the St. Johnsbury Barracks 802-748-3111.

Once the investigation into the shooting incident is completed the case will be reviewed independently by both the Vermont Attorney General’s Office and the Orleans County State’s Attorney’s Office.

Man falls from the Pinnacle in Baldwin’s Mills

in News/Quebec

Mount Pinnacle Baldwin's Mills suicide

BALDWIN’S MILLS, QC — Authorities in the Eastern Townships of Quebec are confirming that a man, described as being middle aged, fell off of the Pinnacle located in Baldwin’s Mills, over the weekend.

It appears that the fall was considered a “voluntary action,” which would indicate that it may have been a suicide.

The communications officer with the Surété de Quebec, Aurélie Guindon, said earlier in the week that the initial investigation into the incident points toward this possibility.

Because this is the case, there is no more information being given by the SQ, as it is their policy not to issue any public statements or details in cases of possible suicide.

Mount Pinnacle is a popular hiking destination for people in both the Eastern Townships, as well as Vermonters, as it is only about 12 miles from the border at Derby Line. There are easy walking trails to the summit, which overlook Lac Lyster.

Eric Jackson of Lyndonville.

Lyndonville man shot by police in Barton after high-speed chase

in Barton/News

Eric Jackson shot by police in barton

BARTON — A 27-year-old Lyndonville man who was on escape status from the Department of Corrections led police on a high-speed chase early this morning, after stealing a car. The incident ended with the suspect being shot by police in Barton.

The incident occurred at approximately 2:08 a.m. after the suspect, identified as Eric Jackson of Lyndonville, allegedly stole a vehicle from a residence on US Route 5 in Sutton, and fled the scene at a high rate of speed.

At the time of the incident, Jackson was wanted on escape status from the Department of Corrections.

After a lengthy pursuit, Jackson momentarily stopped on Burton Hill Road in Barton, changed directions by quickly accelerating in reverse, and repeatedly rammed two state police cruisers causing extensive damage and putting the troopers in fear of their safety.

Both troopers discharged their weapons in response to the threat.

Jackson was initially transported to North Country Hospital in Newport, and treated for gunshot wounds sustained during the incident. Jackson was then transported by ambulance to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center for treatment where he is currently listed in stable condition and is receiving treatment for his wounds.

The troopers involved in the shooting are not being identified at this time. The troopers were immediately placed on administrative leave, with pay, and were uninjured in this incident.

Detectives from the Vermont State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation were called in to investigate the incident. The Vermont State Police Crime Scene Search Team and Crash Reconstruction Team were dispatched and are processing the scene.

The investigation is being conducted in cooperation with the Caledonia County State’s Attorney’s Office, Orleans County State’s Attorney’s Office, as well as the Attorney General’s Office.

Multiple tickets issued for underage drinking after party busted up in East Burke

in Burke/News

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EAST BURKE — The Vermont State Police are reporting that early Sunday morning a party was broken up in which multiple underage drinking tickets were issued.

According to the report, On May 25, at approximately 12:45 a.m. members of the Vermont State Police, Brighton Police Department, and Lyndonville Police Department, responded to an area of East Daring Hill Road just past the intersection with Burke Hollow Road in East Burke.

Someone called police to report that the underage drinking party was going on. The party started Saturday night, and continued into Sunday morning.

When police arrived, many of the offenders fled into the surrounding woods. Most of the underage offenders were located, and multiple underage drinking diversion tickets were issued.

The offenders were subsequently released into the custody of their parents.

A similar underage drinking party was broken up last month in Irasburg, where police and U.S. Border Patrol teamed up to locate a party goer through the use of night vision goggles, after he fled the scene.

Fire at camp in Brownington under investigation

in Brownington/Fire/News

fire investigation brownington vermont news

BROWNINGTON — The State Police Fire Investigation Unit is looking into a fire that took place at a camp in Brownington on Wednesday.

Matthew DeLabruere, the owner of the camp, called to report the fire at around 8:15 p.m. on Wednesday. The fire was already out when DeLabruere arrived at the camp, located at 724 Ticehurst Road.

fire brownington vermont

There was no one in the camp during the fire and therefore no injuries. Because the fire was already out, firefighters were not called out to the scene.

A Detective from the State Police Fire Investigation Unit and a Fire Investigator from the Division of Fire Safety were at the scene on Friday to start an investigation of the incident.

The damage is estimated at $10,000.00.

The exact cause of the fire is still not known.

Walmart could be open in Derby by November 2015

in Derby/Newport/News

DERBY — The Walmart Superstore that Burlington developer Jeff Davis has been trying to bring to Derby just got one step closer. On Thursday, Davis filed an application for site plan approval with the town. Davis would like to see the store open by November 2015.

Davis’s Company, Shattuck Hill Investments, owns 17.64 acres between Route 5 and Shattuck Hill Road, the site of the proposed Walmart. An access road between Route 5 and Shattuck Hill would have to be built if the project goes forward.

site of proposed Walmart Derby Vermont

The store is estimated to cost around $16.75 million to develop, with a footprint of 160,000-square-feet, and 75 feet tall. The parking lot is estimated to hold 657 vehicles.

Walmart Supercenters are hypermarkets that stock everything a Walmart discount store does, and also include a full-service supermarket, including meat and poultry. The Derby store would also have a garden center, pet shop, and pharmacy.

Hypermarkets, like other big-box stores, typically have business models focusing on high-volume, low-margin sales. They generally have more than 200,000 different brands of merchandise available at any one time.

It’s expected that the store would create 260 new jobs. The people of Derby and Newport in 2010 voted overwhelmingly in favor of the Walmart.

According to a traffic study submitted by Davis, on a regular weekday, the site would see an increase of about 6,000 vehicles. This would result in the need for traffic signals and turning lanes to be built at the Route 5 entrance to the parking lot.

Davis has said that he is willing to pay for this, as well as partially pay for traffic signals to be installed at the entrance onto Route 5, coming off of I-91

Charges from wild party in Irasburg last month faced

in Irasburg/News

Orleans County Superior court Newport Vermont

NEWPORT — The owner of a home in Irasburg where a large party was broken up by police on April 18, pled guilty to charges of enabling minors to drink. Thomas Pingree, 26, was ordered to pay $500 in fines, and spend six days on a work crew.

An 18-year-old man from Barton pled innocent to two charges relating to the night of the party. One, a felony charge of impending an officer, as well as resisting arrest.

According to an affidavit filed by State Police Sergeant Larry Smith, police were first notified of the party when a neighbor called to complain about a window that had been smashed. When they arrived to investigate, they saw several people running from the house.

Pingree is said to have offered police to help find out who was responsible for the vandalism, as the party had grown large and uncontrollable. The affidavit states that while Pingree was discussing this with police, several party goers were standing nearby, calling police insulting names.

A fight was heard breaking out inside the house, and troopers entered to break it up. Inside they saw a table full of alcoholic beverages. Because there were minors present, Pingree, as the home owner, was held responsible.

While police were issuing breath tests to underage party goers, the 18-year-old Barton man approached and asked why his friend had been handcuffed. According to the affidavit, the police answered the man, but he continued to question police. He was eventually led away by Border Patrol, who had been called in as back up.

The affidavit states that around ten minutes later the man ran away, attempting to hide from police.

He was later found with the help of night vision goggles provided by Border Patrol agents on the scene. The man has pled innocent to the charges.

Two others were charged with disorderly conduct and under age consumption of alcohol.

Dunkin’ Donuts seeking site plan approval in Derby

in Derby/News

dunkin donuts derby vermont news

DERBY — The Town of Derby Planning Commission will host a public meeting on Monday, June 2, at 7 p.m. to consider two proposals from businesses that want to build in Derby.

One is Dunkin’ Donuts, the other is a financial institution.

Applying for approval under the business name Abbott Equities, the site plans include a Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant that will seat 28 people. The location of the proposed Dunkin’ Donuts would be at 4584 Route 5. See the map below:

Site of proposed dunkin donuts derby vermont

The other proposal that will be considered at the public meeting comes from Yankee Farm Credit.

The company plans to open a branch on Commerce Way in Derby.

Moose hunting application deadline June 10, hunters urged to apply online

in Arts and Entertainment/News/Vermont

Vermont Moose Hunting Season Online Lottery

NEWPORT — Vermont’s moose hunting permit lottery application deadline is June 10, and the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is urging hunters who plan on entering to do so now online.

The application is quick and easy to fill out on the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department’s website www.vtfishandwildlife.com.

“It’s a really quick process that ensures your entry is immediately entered into the lottery,”said Director of Wildlife Mark Scott. “Plus, it saves postage. Printed moose applications are available at license agents, but we really encourage you to use the online application. It is more efficient for you and for us.”

Lottery applications are $10 for residents and $25 for nonresidents. Winners of the permit lottery must purchase resident hunting permits for $100 and nonresident hunting permits for $350.

Five moose hunting permits also are offered in an auction with a bidding deadline of August 15. Bids must be submitted on the department’s moose permit bid form available from Fish & Wildlife at 802-828-1190. Money received from the winning bids is used in the department’s conservation education programs.

A person may apply in the lottery and bid in the auction but can receive only one moose hunting permit. If a successful bidder receives a permit in the general lottery drawing, the person is no longer eligible in the auction.

The Fish and Wildlife Department is issuing 285 moose hunting permits by lottery for the regular October 18-23 moose season and 50 permits for an archery moose season October 1-7.

The 2013 Vermont Moose Harvest Report with details on last year’s hunt, including the towns where moose were taken, is on Fish & Wildlife’s website as well.

Fire in North Troy leaves family of five temporarily without a home

in News/North Troy

fire newport vermont

NORTH TROY — A fire broke out at around 7 p.m. on Sunday in North Troy, displacing a family of five. John and Amanda Farley, the owners of the home, were outside when the fire started. Nobody was hurt.

According to North Troy fire chief Dave Allen, the department responded to the structure fire, and were able to extinguish it within 30 minutes. It is believed that the fire started from an electric fan.

The Troy Fire Department was on stand by, however, Allen and around 19 North Troy firefighters were able to manage the fire without assistance. They were able to save the house, keeping the damage confined to two rooms. The home, which is located on Pine Street, also sustained water damage.

When firefighters arrived on the scene, flames were seen coming from a bedroom located on the second floor. Allen and his team were able to leave the scene by around 8:30 p.m.

The Orleans County Action Disaster Team worked with the Red Cross to arrange temporary lodging for the Farley family, as well as providing assistance for food and clothing.

The home was insured, and the initial investigation points to faulty wiring as the cause of the fire.

There is work that will need to be done before the Farley’s can move back in.

Austin Giroux, third place male overall and winner in the 12 and under category on the 10K course. All photos courtesy of Phil White.

Runners gather for the 6th annual Dandelion Run

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby/News
Austin Giroux, third place male overall and winner in the 12 and under category on the 10K course. All photos courtesy of Phil White.
Austin Giroux, third place male overall and winner in the 12 and under category on the 10K course. All photos courtesy of Phil White.

DERBY — With a tornado warning passing the night before, and rains letting up just one hour prior to the start, nothing was going to get in the way of another successful Dandelion Run. This year marked the 6th time the annual event has taken place.

On Saturday, runners from age 6 to 70 took to the back roads of Derby, Holland, and Morgan. This year the youth let their feet do the talking as they laid down some strong times. The two person Falcon relay team of Andrew Franklin, 17, of Newport, and Travers Parsons-Grayson, 17, of Lowell, set the fastest time of the day, finishing the half marathon course in a time of 1:22:56. 

Dandelion run derby vermont 1

This year’s solo winner was Chip Pierce, 53, of Newport. Pierce posted a winning time of 1:27:13.

The overall female winner was Janelle Ralph, 32 of Gold Hill, OR, with a time of 1:39:13. Vermont is the 43rd state in which she and her husband, Benjamin Ralph, have run a half marathon. She even wore bib number 43 as she posted her winning time.

Four youth took on the half marathon distance as solo runners, led by Sophia Webb, 16, of Hinesburg, with a time of 1:49:40. Sophia has been running the half marathon as a solo each year since she was 12. She says the Dandelion Run is her favorite course.  

dandelion run derby vermont 2

Leading the boys was Andreya Zvonar, 15, of Boston, MA, with a time of 1:50:58.  Andreya and his 23 year old brother, Ivan, ran solo as their parents teamed up for a two person relay.

Elena Doty, 16, of Westford, came in second among the girls and third among the youth with a time of 1:58:43. Rounding out the youth, Daniel Bevacqui, 14, of Fayston, posted a very respectable time of 2:09:06. 

The 10 K course was flooded with youth relay teams from Troy, Newport, Brighton, and Derby Elementary School, as well as relay teams posted by North Country Union Junior High, and Turning Points. 

All in all, there were 22 youth relay teams competing in the 10K course, with just about 100 youth running either solo, in relays, on both courses.

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Music at each of the relay stations and throughout the weekend was made possible by the support of Newport City Renaissance Corporation.

Over $1,000 was raised to support Umbrella and $94 was raised for the Christian Vachon Foundation from Canadian registrations. 

Runners travelled from California, Oregon, Colorado, Minnesota, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, and all over Vermont. International runners came down from Quebec City, Montreal, and the Eastern Townships.

Field Marshall Kristian Pearson and a core staff of Peter Channell, Faith Landry, Howie Lockamy, worked the event with the help of over 30 volunteers and 15 youth chaperones, who made this year’s Dandelion Run possible. 

dandelion run derby vermont 3

A pole was driven into the roof of a shed following a microburst early Saturday morning. Photo by meteorologist James Sinko of Lyndonville.

Tornado like damage caused by microburst in Craftsbury Saturday morning

in Craftsbury/News
A pole was driven into the roof of a shed following a microburst early Saturday morning. Photo by meteorologist James Sinko of Lyndonville.
A pole was driven into the roof of a shed following a microburst early Saturday morning. Photo by meteorologist James Sinko of Lyndonville.

CRAFTSBURY — Parts of Orleans county had been under a tornado warning early Saturday morning, after meteorologists had detected some rotation in the clouds. Some had even believed that we got hit with a surprise tornado after reports of damage started coming in.

Near the intersection of Collinsville and Wild Branch Road in Craftsbury, a roof was torn off of a barn, bewteen six to ten pine trees were uprooted, and a pole was driven into the roof of a shed, as shown in the picture above.

One report from a turkey hunter who was out at around 4 a.m., said he had heard the sounds of a tornado.

By Saturday afternoon meteorologists from the National Weather Service were in Craftsbury inspecting wind damage.

They are saying that the incident early Saturday morning was not a tornado, but a microburst. The damage was isolated and confined mostly in this one area of Craftsbury.

A microburst is usually less than 2 1/2 miles wide, with peak winds lasting less than 5 minutes. They cause dangerous horizontal and vertical wind shears. The National Weather Service estimates maximum wind speed from Saturday’s incident to be around 75 miles per hour.

There were no injuries from the incident.

Derby Line Man Cited in Manure Truck Crash in Derby

in Derby/Derby Line/News

manure truck spill derby vermont

DERBY — According to the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department, the driver of the manure truck that crashed in Derby on Thursday morning is facing charges for leaving the scene of the accident.

In a release issued by police, Jason Jewer, 33, of Derby Line, was issued a citation to appear in court on charges of leaving the scene of an accident and driving while his license was suspended.

Police are also saying that Jewer was treated and released from North Country Hospital for a concussion he suffered as a result of the accident.

The 1994 Western Star manure truck was carrying a load of liquid manure that spilled after the truck rolled over at around 11:35 a.m. on Thursday. The accident happened on Elm Street, near the Beebe Road in Derby. There have been three similar accidents involving commercial trucks in the last two years in this location, due to the steepness of the hill.

Manure and diesel fuel spread downhill toward a waterway that runs along Beebe Road, reaching a local driveway and lawn in the process. The spill had to be dammed up with dirt that was brought in.

The Derby Line Fire Department worked with the Agency of Natural Resources and a hazardous materials team to control the spill.

Manure truck crash in Derby causes spill, driver flees the scene

in Derby/News

manure truck spill derby vermont

DERBY — The Orleans County Sheriff’s Department is looking for the driver of a truck carrying liquid manure that crashed Thursday morning on Elm Street in Derby, just up the road from the intersection with Beebe Road.

The driver fled the scene, and has yet to be located by police.

According to a press release issued on Thursday, police are following a possible lead in the case, but are not able to locate the suspect. They are not saying that they have identified anyone involved, just that they are searching for someone they think may be to blame.

The vehicle, a 1994 Western Star manure truck, was owned by Gray’s Farms. It was carrying a load of liquid manure that spilled after the truck rolled over.

Manure and diesel fuel spread downhill toward a small waterway that runs along Beebe Road, reaching a local driveway and lawn in the process. The spill had to be dammed up with dirt that was brought in.

Area firefighters worked with a hazardous materials team to control the spill.

Authorities are asking that anyone who has any information regarding the accident contact the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department at 802-334-3333.

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