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Three Charged for Assault Outside Troy General Store Plead Not Guilty

in Derby/Feature/Newport/News/Troy

NEWPORT — Three men who were charged in an assault that took place outside the Troy General store on March 6, were in court on Tuesday. All three pled innocent to the charges.

Jonathan J. Degre, 19, of Newport Center, pled innocent to a felony charge of aggravated assault.

Casey Wheeler, 38, of Derby, and Daniel Beaumont, 25, of Newport, each pled innocent to aggravated assault and disorderly conduct by fighting.
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Authentic Dominican Republic Cuisine Served Up in Stanstead

in Derby Line/Feature/News/Stanstead

STANSTEAD, QC — The name Cuisine L’abeille, which translates to “The Kitchen Bee,” is one that fits restaurant owner Lucia Sanchez’s story.

Lucia was born in a little village in the Dominican Republic. She learned to cook in what she describes as the “natural” way, by spending time with her family in the kitchen. Her father was a beekeeper, and as a young girl she watched her father working with bees, and learned some valuable lessons in life.
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Demolition Permit Issued to AnC Bio Vermont

in Feature/Newport/News

NEWPORT — A land use permit to start demolishing part of the old Bogner plant was issued to AnC Bio on Monday. The permit, issued by the District 7 Environmental Commission to Jay Peak Biomedical Park, also known as AnC Bio Vermont, came six days after being issued municipal permits by Newport’s development review board. Demolition could begin as early as June.
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11 Guns Stolen from Rite Way Sports Recovered, 21 Still Missing

in News

RICHFORD — The office of the United States Attorney for the District of Vermont stated that two men were arrested on Tuesday on gun and drug charges.

Larry Garrow, 26, of Richford, was arrested and charged with stealing firearms from a federally licensed firearms dealer in Hardwick.

Albert Torres-Morales, 29, of Richford, was arrested and charged with distribution of cocaine on January 2, 2014, and possessing with the intent to distribute heroin on April 22, 2014. Both were in federal court on April 23, 2014.
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Newport Man Faces Felony Charge After Offering to Help Police

in Feature/News

NEWPORT — “I could give you a hard time if I wanted to, but I’m not,” Trevor Smith is reported to have said on March 12, following a strange incident that landed him in front of a judge, facing a felony charge.

Smith, 32, of Newport, was arrested after he repeatedly offered to help police transport a child that was left outside shortly during an arrest on Route 105 in Derby, while the child’s mother was being arrested. Smith pled innocent to the charge of impeding a public officer.
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Seymour Lake Association Planning to Sue State of Vermont

in Feature/News

MORGAN — The Seymour Lake Association’s (SLA) Board of directors announced that they plan to file suit this week against the State of Vermont, Agency of Natural Resources (ANR). The lawsuit is the culmination of six years of what SLA characterizes as “fruitless discussions and inaction by ANR, resulting in continued water quality degradation, property damage, and violations of an existing Vermont statute and a Vermont Supreme Court decision, both specific to water levels at Seymour Lake.”
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Columbia Forest Products Up and Running After Fire Friday Night

in News

NEWPORT — Local firefighters are being commended for their quick response and teamwork on Friday night, as they contained and extinguished a fire at Columbia Forest Products. The fire broke out at around 6:30 p.m. inside the boiler room of the mill.

The mill was shut down for the Good Friday holiday. Newport City Firefighters and the Derby Line Fire Department quickly arrived on the scene, and the fire was extinguished.

According to Columbia Forest Products plant manager Glenn Foster, everything seems to be back up and running with no delays in production.

“The boiler room was operating at one hundred percent capacity as of Saturday morning,” Foster said. “We do not see any interruption to normal production for Monday, April 21.”

The mill did not seem to suffer any major damage.

The Newport Police Department issued this statement on their Facebook page:

“Great job by the Newport City Fire Department Firefighters and Derby Line Fire Department Firefighters Friday evening at Columbia Forest Products. Another great save due to excellent team work. Thank you to the Newport Ambulance Service and the Newport Police Department for your assistance.”

Party in Irasburg Turns Violent: Four Arrested

in Feature/News

IRASBURG — A wild party last night in Irasburg became a crime scene after a large fight broke out inside. A home next door to the party was also vandalized in the process, leaving Vermont State Police calling for backup from the U.S. Border Patrol. Many were underage, and four were arrested.

On Friday, April 18, the police were called to the Rowell residence in Irasburg at 11:45 p.m. after they contacted the authorities to report that their window had been smashed out by a rock that someone had thrown from a large party next door at Thomas Pingree’s residence. According to police, the Rowell’s reported that there were kids outside yelling for Mr. Rowell to come out and fight. They were also throwing bottles all over the place.

When the police arrived, a large fight had broken out inside Pingree’s home. The police were forced to enter the residence by force and subsequently had to restrain numerous people who were actively fighting. The state police requested assistance from the Border Patrol as the crowd numbered roughly 50 people.

Numerous people fled the area when the police arrived, however, many were screened for alcohol consumption. Several tickets were issued for underage drinking.

Pingree, 25, was cited for unlawful mischief and enabling the consumption by minors.

One man, age 18, was charged with providing false information to a law enforcement officer. Two others were charged with disorderly conduct and under age consumption of alcohol.

The police are saying that the case remains open and additional charges may be forthcoming at a later date.

Police Looking for Missing Runaway From Saint Johnsbury

in Feature/News

ST. JOHNSBURY — The search continues for runaway Lauren Blackmon, now age 17. During the early morning hours of October 9, 2012, Blackmon, ran away from her residence on Moose River Drive in St. Johnsbury.

Blackmon, who was living with a friend’s family, was facing relocation out of state. It is believed she intentionally ran away to avoid the move. Within a month of running away, there were reported sightings of her in the St. Johnsbury area. However, since these initial reports, no further sightings were made to authorities.

The case remains open and active with the Vermont State Police. Follow-up interviews with family, friends, and associates of Blackmon have not revealed any new contact between Blackmon and these individuals.

Blackmon will turn 18 in October of 2014, but the Vermont State Police remain concerned as there is no indication she is prepared to provide for herself, and officials would like to confirm her welfare.

At the time Blackmon ran away, she was approximately 5’7″ tall, weighing approximately 170 pounds, with hazel eyes, and blond hair.

Derby Line Credit Union Manager Gets 3 Years for Defrauding Over $633,000

in Feature/News

DERBY LINE — Debra Kinney, 59, of Derby Line, was sentenced to three years imprisonment, followed by five years of supervised release, after pleading guilty of defrauding Border Lodge Credit Union accountholders of over $633,000. According to court papers, Kinney’s acts of embezzlement occurred over a period of years.

Kinney was the manager of the Border Lodge Credit Union in Derby Line. In November 2012, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, along with state and federal bank regulators, searched the credit union and seized the documents and operations of the financial institution based on evidence of widespread fraud and misappropriation of accountholders’ funds.

After an ensuing investigation, Kinney was indicted. Federal credit union regulators permanently shut down and liquidated the assets of the credit union.

Kinney pled guilty to the federal fraud charges in January, 2014.

According to court papers, Kinney would frequently write checks to herself or for her benefit, and for that of family members drawn from credit union accountholders without authorization. A subsequent financial investigation determined she removed hundreds of thousands of dollars from multiple accountholders. All told, the investigation revealed improprieties with 33 different accounts.

All of the losses of individual accountholders were insured by the National Credit Union Administration which insures credit union accounts up to $250,000. As part of the liquidation of the credit union, the National Credit Union Administration paid accountholders for losses they suffered. To date, Kinney has not paid any restitution.

Woman Rescued From Flood Waters in Montgomery

in Feature/News

MONTGOMERY — A woman was rescued in Montgomery on Tuesday at around 5:30 p.m., after being stuck in rising flood waters on Longley Bridge Road. Police and a local resident, using a large farm tractor, were able to pull the woman out of her vehicle to safety.

Vermont State Police received the call that a full sized truck was caught in the flood waters.

Franklin County Sheriff’s Office Corporal McKenney was the first law enforcement to arrive on scene. He and nearby resident, Stanley Longley, saw that the truck was still occupied. Realizing the woman inside was sitting in the frigid water and fearing the vehicle may be swept away, Corporal McKenny and Mr. Longley took action.

Mr. Longley obtained his farm tractor from his residence and drove it to the edge of the flood water. Corporal McKenny boarded the tractor and they backed into the water towards the stuck vehicle. Once at the vehicle, Corporal McKenny was able to break a window and pull the woman out of the truck.

McKenny, with the assistance of Enosburg Rescue member Dean Scott, was able to get the woman to the tractor. They then drove all involved to safety.

Members of the Vermont State Police, Franklin County Sheriff’s Office, Enosburg Rescue, and area fire departments responded to the scene. During their response units found direct routes to the stuck vehicle were impassible due to flood waters and heavy mud on the back roads. This drastically increased response times as alternative routes were sought.

At one point a responding ambulance and fire truck were stuck in heavy mud on Longley Bridge Road.

The woman was not seriously injured and was transported to Northwest Medical Center for precautionary purposes.

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3 Families in Barton Temporarily Displaced by Flooding

in Feature/News

BARTON — Three families needed to seek temporary shelter last night as the power was shut off at their apartment building at 66 Glover Road in Barton, as the water level rose in the building’s basement.

The Red Cross is reporting that volunteers supported the displaced residents in Barton, as well as Lyndonville last night as flood waters continued to rise overnight.

In Lyndonville, six residents sought refuge at the local fire department, where the Red Cross provided the staff, equipment, and food to open a temporary shelter.

All of those in need of assistance were able to head home by 7:30 a.m. as waters receded. The assistance provided overnight, as with the frequent assistance provided this winter to families devastated by house and apartment fires, is provided by the American Red Cross without charge.

All of Orleans County is still under a flood watch issued by the National Weather Service. A flood watch means that there is a potential for flooding based on current forecasts.

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Sherbrooke Woman Processed for Suspicion of DUI at U.S. Border

in Feature/News

DERBY LINE — The police are saying that a 25-year-old woman from Sherbrooke, Quebec, was taken into custody at the U.S. border in Derby Line on Thursday, after she was believed to be intoxicated. Customs officers became suspicious when the woman tried to enter a closed entry lane, and ran over several cones.

The woman is reported to have tried to cross into the U.S. at the I-91 Port of Entry at around 11 p.m. on Thursday, April 10.

U.S. Customs Officers advised that she drove her car into a closed lane of entry, running over several cones that marked the lane closure in the process. Officers are reporting that upon speaking with her, they detected a strong odor of intoxicants, and several signs of intoxication.

The Vermont State Police arrived, and the woman agreed to standardized field sobriety exercises. She was subsequently taken into custody and transported to the Derby Barracks, where she was processed for suspicion of DUI.

She is scheduled to appear in Orleans County Court on April 29.

Accident on I-91: Newport Woman Airlifted to Dartmouth Hitchcock

in Feature/News

NEWPORT — A 74-year-old woman was transported by helicopter from North Country Hospital to Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital this afternoon after being involved in a major accident on I-91 near Irasburg.

Delma Reed, of Newport, suffered an injury to her left arm after her vehicle overturned during the two vehicle crash. Rebecca Deyo, 54, of Derby, was the driver of the other vehicle.

At around 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, April 13, both drivers were traveling north on I-91 near mile marker 162 in Irasburg. Both drivers were traveling around 65 miles per hour. According to the police, Reed had been driving behind Deyo in the travel lane, and started to change lanes, when Deyo changed lanes as well, striking Reed.

After the collision, Reed, traveling in a 2007 Subaru Impreza, traveled off the blacktop and onto the soft portion of the median. While attempting to steer the vehicle back onto the blacktop, the vehicle overturned, coming to an uncontrolled rest on its roof in the passing lane.

The Subaru was totaled, and Reed suffered a severe injury to her left arm. She was taken to North Country Hospital for treatment before being airlifted to Dartmouth Hitchcock.

Deyo’s vehicle, a 2005 Ford Explorer, was able to be driven from the scene.

The case is still under investigation, however, the police report that neither speed nor alcohol appear to be factors in the crash.

Checks Stolen from Irasburg Man: Arrest Made

in News

IRASBURG — A 75-year-old man from Irasburg had two checks stolen from him turn up in the Enosburg area on Wednesday.

Richard Green, of Irasburg, had a woman by the name of Cynthia Huntington living with him briefly. Huntington, 33, is alleged to have stolen two checks from Green when she left.

On Wednesday, April 9, the Vermont State Police were notified that the checks had been used in Enosburg. One of the checks was written in the amount of $245, and the other for $200. With the help of a friend, Huntington is said to have cashed one of the checks at Enosburg Community Bank. The other check turned up at the Hannaford Supermarket, where it was used to buy groceries.

The Vermont State Police caught up with Huntington and questioned her in the matter. According to the police, Huntington admitted to stealing the checks from Green out of his checkbook when she left his home.

She was subsequently charged with false pretenses and ordered to appear in Vermont District Court to answer to that charge.

Greensboro Awarded $251,000 USDA Grant to Improve Drinking Water Quality

in Feature/News

GREENSBORO — The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced Wednesday that it has awarded a $251,000 Emergency Community Water Assistance Grant (ECWAG) to Greensboro Fire District 1 to improve drinking water quality for users in Greensboro Village.

The grant will help the Fire District develop an additional well. The system’s existing wells have suffered from drought conditions in the past two years, forcing residents to draw untreated drinking water directly for Caspian Lake. Untreated surface water does not meet the standards of the Safe Drinking Water Act, requiring the system to issue boil water notices to its users.

“In the middle of our two-year pipe replacement project, our primary well started to dry up,” John Makin, a member of Greensboro’s Prudential Committee said. “USDA Rural Development stepped in with critical funding for a new well. This has been a major undertaking for our Fire District Prudential Committee. We have been very fortunate to have the professional help that has been provided throughout this project.”

The Fire District is in the final stages of an 18,000 foot water line replacement project scheduled to be completed in the coming months. USDA Rural Development provided $2,833,250 in low cost loans and grants through the agency’s Water and Waste Disposal Program.

The new lines will increase fire protection and decrease water consumption due to old leaking pipes. The contractor for the project, Munson Earth Moving Corp., recently received the Associated General Contractors of Vermont 2013 Best Builders award for this project.

“Safe, high quality drinking water in sufficient quantity is not a luxury, it is a necessity,” Ted Brady, the State Director of USDA Rural Development Vermont and New Hampshire, said. “Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and the team at USDA Rural Development recognize that our rural communities cannot shoulder the burden of making large drinking water improvements alone, and the ECWAG program is one of the most effective tools we can use to address sudden and unforeseen water quality and quantity concerns.”

Trout and Bass Fishing Starts Tomorrow: Local Fishing Guide

in Feature/News

ORLEANS — Trout fishing and bass catch and release seasons open tomorrow, and anglers are looking forward to fishing the local lakes and streams.

The Willoughby River in the Village of Orleans is a popular spot for spring fishing. The Willoughby flows north from Lake Willoughby to Lake Memphremagog, and rainbow trout and landlocked salmon can be seen jumping the falls on their spring spawning run. The trout swim up river for about 15 miles from Lake Memphremagog, where they spawn in the rocky shale of the river just out from Lake Willoughby.

The Willoughby River is also relatively unpolluted and rich in oxygen, which make ideal water conditions for trout.

Brook trout are a native species, as well as being Vermont’s official coldwater fish. Wild brook trout in the smaller streams are often eager to feed, but fishing smaller streams can be challenging because they can be easily spooked. When fishing these waters keep a low profile so they don’t see you.

Casting can also be a real challenge in smaller streams. Use a short rod or make short, underhand tosses. Worms are the bait of choice in small streams because there is usually not enough room to effectively fish an artificial lure.

Tomorrow also starts bass catch and release season. Bass have been growing in popularity with Vermont’s anglers, and the Northeast Kingdom boasts many great options for catching both largemouth and smallmouth bass.

Picture 5Gardner Park, located on Lake Memphremagog in Newport, is a good spot for bass fishing. Much of the Gardner Park waterfront can be fished easily. A good location is where the Clyde River enters the lake. A footbridge just to the west of the US-5 bridge is another spot that you might want to try.

Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department officials are reminding anglers that felt-soled boots or waders are prohibited to curb the spread of invasive algae.

The official season dates are:

Bass Catch & Release Season (Apr 12 2014 – Jun 13 2014)

Trout & Landlocked Salmon (Apr 12 2014 – Oct 31 2014)

Have fun, and stay safe. If you want to share any of your photos from this season, post them to our Facebook wall, or else use the hashtag #newportdispatch on Instagram.

City to Buy Fire Equipment Needed for AnC Bio Project

in Feature/News

NEWPORT — The city drafted new zoning bylaws to accommodate the proposed AnC Bio plant. The adjustments were related to height restrictions for buildings in a light industrial zone. This required Fire Chief Jamie LeClair to meet with developers and assess the situation. His decision is that the city needs five high-rise packs in order to respond if a fire ever broke out at the plant.

“When you have a high-rise structure, the state mandates that they put in a standpipe, which is a pipe that goes on each floor that the fire department can hook into with their hoses to have access to water,” Fire Chief Jamie LeClair said on Wednesday. “These high-rise packs have all the equipment to hook into the standpipes to fight the fire, as opposed to stretching a bunch of hose from the outside, all the way up four or five floors.”

On Monday night, in order to make sure that the AnC Bio project does not come across any hang-ups, the city council voted to fund the new equipment in next year’s budget. The equipment is estimated to cost $19,600.

City Manager John Ward’s reasoning was that even with tax breaks given to AnC Bio, the city would collect more in property tax than the price of the new equipment. With the AnC Bio plant appraised at $30 million, even with a 90 percent tax break, the city would receive $34,791 in tax payments.

LeClair said that the new equipment could be used to fight a fire anywhere that has standpipes built into the structure, noting that North Country Hospital is one such building, however, he stated that they are not necessarily in use at the hospital.

He also noted that maintaining the standpipes is often costly, but that it is entirely up to the property owner, and is not a cost that would fall on taxpayers in the future.

The other options to pay for the equipment would have been to seek impact fees from the developer, in this case Bill Stenger and his partners, or else search for grants.

Barton River Expected to Flood: Health Department Urges Spring Flood Preparedness

in Feature/News

NEWPORT – The National Weather Service is saying that the Barton River is expected to cause minor flooding overnight Tuesday and into Wednesday. The forecast is saying that the flooding will impact Maple Street and River Road between Orleans and Coventry station. They are saying that there will be extensive field and lowland flooding.

The flood stage is at 8.0 feet, and is expected to rise near 8.5 feet by late Wednesday.

Today, the Health Department sent out a message urging all Vermonters to prepare for spring flooding.

Spring flooding is a potential hazard every year as ice floes break like pieces of a giant jigsaw puzzle, forming blockages at bridges and tributaries, causing rivers and streams to overflow their banks.

“Flooding is a leading cause of weather-related deaths in the U.S., and most are preventable,” said Chris Bell, director of public health preparedness for the Vermont Department of Health. “Public Health Week is a good time for us all to remind each other not to underestimate the power of water, especially moving water.”

Part of being ‘Vermont Strong,’ Bell said, is to be ready for any hazard, including the possibility of flooding.

Most flooding-related deaths occur when people attempt to drive through flooded roadways, or cross moving water. Six inches of moving water can knock down an adult, and 18 inches can carry away a vehicle, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Floodwaters can also contain harmful bacteria, sewage, agricultural or industrial waste, chemicals, metals, and other substances. It can even contaminate drinking water wells.

The Health Department has extensive information about precautions to take before and after a flood at: http://healthvermont.gov/enviro/water/flood.aspx.

Emergency information about flooding and power outages is also available in English plus 10 other languages at: http://www.healthvermont.gov/local/rhealth/rh_fact.aspx

The American Red Cross has also just released a new flood app to help get your family and home ready for a flood, now available at iTunes or Google Play app stores.

Controlled Burn in Stanstead Sunday Morning

in Feature/News

STANSTEAD, QC — The Stanstead Fire Department conducted a fire training exercise on Sunday morning, burning down an old house owned by the FamilyPrix pharmacy. The house was also owned by Raymond Falconer for many years.

The fire was started at 9 a.m. By around noon the building was completely down. The area was still smoldering Monday afternoon.

The drill allowed firefighters the opportunity to keep the fire contained to one area, as well as watch the way the flames spread from start to finish.

Stanstead firefighter Jason Hartley said the exercise was just a “surround and drown,” where the department was only concerned with keeping the fire contained, rather than training in any inside firefighting or search and rescue techniques.

“It was a good training experience, especially for the new guys on the department who have not had as much experience yet,” Hartley said. “The drill allowed them to watch the way the fire evolved, and we worked together to keep it contained.”

Because the Stanstead Fire Department works as mutual aid with Derby Line, Vermont, they were notified of the drill.

All Photos by Jason Hartley.

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5 New Border Protection Officers Coming to Derby Line

in Feature/News

DERBY LINE — The U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency are saying that Vermont will be receiving 10 new officers, five of which will come to Derby Line. On Monday, the agency announced that they will be bringing in 2,000 additional border protection officers to further enhance security and improve service at ports of entry across the country.

In the case of Derby Line, the move will address slow border crossings into the U.S. that can negatively impact Vermont businesses. During summer travel months, wait times at the port can be more than a few hours long.

Derby Line and Highgate Springs ports of entry have been recognized as being the most in need of this increase in officers.

The need for additional staff at Derby Line has been an issue since 2009. From January 2009 to July 2013, Derby Line saw a 21 percent decrease in its staff, according to research done by Senator Bernie Sanders’ office.

The five new officers should be in Derby Line by the end of September of 2015.

The Department of Commerce estimates the rate of travel into the United States will increase by 3.4 to 4.3 percent annually in the coming years. That growth will represent an additional 17 million visitors when compared to 2012 numbers.

Fender Bender on Shattuck Hill Road Thursday Morning

in News

DERBY — There was a two vehicle car accident at the intersection of Route 5 and Shattuck Hill Road in Derby on Thursday morning just before 8 a.m.

James Walsh, 46, of Newport, suffered minor damage to the rear bumper and hatchback area of his 2008 Kia Ron. Walsh was rear ended by Dana Spates when he had slowed down to stop at the light at the intersection.

Spates, 53, was driving a 2008 Ford truck. The vehicle had minor damage to the front bumper and plate area as a result of the accident.

There were no injuries, and both drivers were wearing their seat belts.

Spates was issued a ticket for following too closely.

Colombian Deportee Caught Trying to Elude Inspection at Derby Line Customs

in Feature/News

DERBY LINE — John Acosta-Bermudez, a Colombian citizen with landed immigrant status in Canada, is being detained after trying to elude inspection at the port of entry in Derby Line.

According to the criminal complaint, immigration officials at the Route 5 Port-of-Entry in Derby Line observed a black vehicle enter the country Saturday morning on March 29. The car did not stop for inspection, but instead headed south on Interstate 91.

A Border Patrol agent followed and stopped the car on the highway. Acosta-Bermudez was driving, with an undocumented alien traveling with him.

Acosta-Bermudez has twice been deported from the United States following a New York robbery conviction, as well as a federal passport fraud conviction. As a deportee, he is not allowed to return to the United States without the advance permission of the Attorney General.

Acosta-Bermudez appeared in United States District Court in Burlington on Monday on a charge that he reentered the United State after having been deported.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy ordered that the defendant be detained pending his next hearing.

The United States Attorney emphasizes that the charge against Acosta-Bermudez is merely an accusation, and that the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until he is proven guilty.

If convicted, Acosta-Bermudez faces up to 20 years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. The actual sentence would be determined with reference to federal sentencing guidelines.

Acosta-Bermudez is represented by Assistant Federal Public Defender David McColgin. The prosecutor is Assistant U.S. Attorney Gregory Waples.

Driver Falls Asleep at the Wheel Causing Accident in Albany

in Feature/News

ALBANY — A driver reportedly fell asleep at the wheel causing a collision on Vermont Route 14 in Albany, Saturday morning.

Amanda Merrill, 20, of Albany, was driving a 2003 Subaru Baja south on Route 14 just after 8 a.m. Vermont State Police report that Merrill fell asleep and crossed the center line into the northbound lane.

Beth Hernandez, 51, of Craftsbury, was driving a 2006 Toyota truck north on Route 14, when she was struck by Merrill who had drifted into her lane.

Both drivers were wearing their seat belts and sustained injuries, however, police indicate that they were not life threatening. Hernandez was transported to North Country Hospital by Orleans Ambulance, and the Albany Fire Department was dispatched to the scene.

Both vehicles sustained damage and had to be towed from the scene by Rays Auto out of Newport, and Rockwell Auto out of Craftsbury. Both had severe front end and driver’s side damage.

Tattoo Shop Open for Business in Evansville

in Feature/News

EVANSVILLE — Tattoo artist Don Furbush and his wife Jenifer are living the dream. After opening up a tattoo shop in Lyndonville in 2009, and establishing himself as one of the most reputable and trusted professional tattoo artists around, Don and his family have decided to move to a location a little closer to home.

On March 7, Don’t Tats opened up their new shop in Evansville, in a building located on their own property.

Don Furbush of Don's Tats in Evansville. All Photos courtesy of Jenifer Furbush.
Don Furbush of Don’s Tats in Evansville. All Photos courtesy of Jenifer Furbush.
The Furbush family has been living in Evansville for the last eight years. Don’s Tats is a family business, with Jenifer working the counter, their daughter currently apprenticing, and their son working at the shop. Jenifer is especially happy to have brought their business to the town.

“This is such a beautiful area,” Jenifer said. “We enjoy being a part of the community, and want to help the area grow.”

Working as a professional tattoo artist for the past 14 years, Furbush has developed his own style, known for its color range and fine detail. His background in art, having studied at Montserrat College of Art, allows him to create some incredible portrait tattoos.

Don’s Tats has clients from all over, some even plan their vacations around coming to the area and getting a tattoo.

“Our clients are going to love this new location, now that we’re so close to Lake Willoughby,” Jenifer said.

Don puts his all into every tattoo he does, and his work is guaranteed. He can revitalize or completely change an existing and possibly embarrassing tattoo, and if you have a custom idea, bring it in and let him make it a reality.

If you would like to get in touch with Don’s Tats, they have a huge Facebook following, and are very active on it. You can reach them through it by clicking here, or call them at 802-754-1028.

Page Gets 18 Months for Stealing School Bus

in Feature/News

NEWPORT — Adam Page, 22, of Derby, was sentenced to serve 18 months in prison. He will get credit for time served since being arrested in May of 2013, after he went on a crime spree that included stealing a school bus, as well as breaking into a woman’s home and stealing her dog.

Page was in court on Thursday for sentencing. Earlier in the year he pleaded guilty to five counts against him, but on Thursday he changed his plea on two of those counts to no contest.

Vermont State Police originally became involved with the investigation when they discovered a school bus totaled and abandoned on the Valley Road in Morgan.

Page had fled the scene after the crash, but the police recovered a dog belonging to Heather Murphy inside the bus.

While investigating, police learned that Page had broken into Heather Murphy’s home, and made off with her chocolate Labrador. He had stolen the bus and drove to Murphy’s home in Morgan.

Page then attempted to take a 2003 Toyota truck from Zach Alix on the Toad Pond Road. After failing to steal the Toyota, he allegedly stole a 1995 Ford truck belonging to Robert Durfey of Morgan. Durfey’s truck was located later in Derby, however, Page was never charged with these offenses.

On Thursday, Judge Howard VanBenthuysen acknowledged the letters he received on Page’s behalf. He also said that he didn’t doubt the sincerity of Page’s apology, but that Page was going to be judged based on his actions not his words.

In total, police spent more than 20 hours investigating the case, with ambulance and firefighters spending more than five hours assisting. The brand new school bus Page stole and later totaled was worth $84,000.

Page will most likely spend the remainder of his sentence at the Caledonia Community Work Camp.

Local Ice Surfaces Weakening Rapidly

in Feature/News

NEWPORT — Vermonters are being encouraged to stay off iced waterways. Despite the recent cold weather, as we get deeper into spring, the ice is getting weaker and weaker by the day. It is best to assume that no ice surface is safe.

Even during the recent cold spell the high sun angle has been absorbed by water below the surface. That warmer water is melting the ice from the bottom up, so even if a surface seems solid, it has likely weakened significantly. Warm temperatures will degrade ice even more.

If you or anyone you know ventures onto the ice and experiences trouble, keep the following in mind:

* Always keep your pets on a leash if walking near a partially frozen waterway. If a pet falls through the ice do not attempt to rescue your pet, go for help.

* Reach-Throw-Go. If a companion falls through the ice and you are unable to reach that person from shore, throw them something (rope, jumper cables, tree branch, etc.). If this does not work, go for help before you also become a victim. Get medical assistance for the victim immediately.

* If you fall in, try not to panic. Turn toward the direction from which you came. Place your hands and arms on the unbroken surface, working forward by kicking your feet. Once out, remain lying on the ice (do not stand) and roll away from the hole. Crawl back to your tracks, keeping your weight distributed until you return to solid ice.

The best way to avoid trouble is to avoid the ice entirely until next winter. The water will be open and warm soon enough for us all to safely enjoy Vermont’s lakes and rivers.

Woman Arrested for Domestic Assault in Orleans

in Feature/News

ORLEANS — A woman from Orleans wound up in the Northern State Correctional Facility on lack of $500.00 bail, after being arrested on Thursday, March 20, on charges of domestic assault.

According to the police, Ellen Bean, 56, was reported to have been drinking alcohol in Orleans at around 10:00 p.m. when she got into an altercation with another individual. The Vermont State Police does not release the names of victims of domestic violence.

The victim contacted police to report that at around 10:30 p.m. Bean was driving a motor vehicle from Orleans to the town of Westmore. After contacting police, the victim also stated that in an attempt to prevent Bean from driving under the influence of alcohol, she kicked the victim in the groin and bit the victim in the arm.

According to the release issued by the State Police, the attack resulted in “a puncture wound and the complainant to feel significant pain.”

Bean was later located at a residence in Westmore where she was taken into custody. She was transported to the Derby Barracks where she was processed for the offense of domestic assault.

Bean was then lodged at Northern State Correctional Facility on lack of $500 bail. She is scheduled to appear in Orleans County Court tomorrow morning.

Snowmobile Accident in Charleston Saturday Results in Serious Injury

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CHARLESTON — The Vermont State police are reporting that a snowmobile accident took place on Saturday in Charleston. The single vehicle crash happened along the VAST trail #58 in Charleston.

At just about 7:00 p.m. the police were called out to the scene. It was determined that the victim was Don Wilson, 52, of Windham, New Hampshire. Wilson was traveling east on the VAST trail when he failed to negotiate a right hand turn.

The State Police are reporting that Wilson traveled off the south side of a small bridge on the trail, and that he was thrown from the snowmobile and collided with a tree. He was operating a Ski-Doo MX-Z 800.

He was taken to North Country Hospital and subsequently transported to Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital in Hanover, New Hampshire. It is reported that he suffered internal injuries as a result of the crash.

The Charleston Fire Dept, Derby Line Ambulance, Newport Ambulance, Vermont Fish & Wildlife, and the Brighton Police all assisted with the crash.

March Madness at Lyndon State College: 3 Men’s Basketball Players Facing Charges

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LYNDONVILLE — The Lyndon State College men’s basketball team is dealing with some March Madness, and it’s not the kind associated with the single-elimination Division I college basketball tournament performed each spring in the United States. Three members of the team are facing charges related to an incident that happened on March 11, during a pick-up basketball game at the school gymnasium.

The story starts with Howard Lyles, who was the starting point guard for the Hornets. Lyles was considered by some to be the team’s star player.

In January, Lyles was ejected from a game against Castleton for allegedly punching another player. Video of the event (watch video below article) does not show conclusively that Lyles did commit the offense. Regardless of the nature of the incident, Lyles was dismissed from the team. He was also not allowed inside the LSC’s athletic facilities.

Fast forward to March 11, Lyles, and some other members of the basketball team were playing a game of pick-up, when security guards spotted Lyles inside the building. They asked him to leave, but according to the statement issued by the police, he refused. The Vermont State Police were called in to remove Lyles from the building.

When the police arrived, they asked Lyles to leave. According to the police, Lyles “ignored the Troopers.” When they attempted to arrest Lyles for unlawful trespassing, the police report that 10-12 other individuals surrounded the officers.

Police are saying that Joshua Bosworth and David Johnson, both members of the Hornet’s team, threatened to harm them physically if they attempted to arrest Lyles. At one point police state that Bosworth attempted to grab something on Trooper Steve McGranaghan’s belt.

Lyles evaded arrest and fled the building. He was not pursued because police did not want to escalate the situation.

When Lyles, Bosworth, and Johnson turned themselves in to police on March 14, Lyles told McGranaghan he had video of the incident on his cell phone. McGranaghan asked to download the video, but Lyles refused, and started to push buttons, stating he was going to erase the video.

McGranaghan took the phone from Lyles, and charged him with obstruction of justice.

Lyles was in court on Monday to face the obstruction of justice charges. The judge decided that prosecutors did not have enough evidence, and the charges were dropped.

Lyles is still facing charges of trespassing, disorderly conduct, and resisting arrest. Bosworth is charged with hindering an arrest and disorderly conduct. Johnson is charged with disorderly conduct.

The three Lyndon State College basketball players are scheduled to be arraigned on May 5 in Caledonia Superior Court.

Below is a video from the incident in which Lyles was removed from the team in January:

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