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Circle K Robbery Investigation Comes Together

in Feature/News

BARTON — The investigation of the armed robbery at Circle K in Barton that happened on January 23 is starting to be pieced together. Police now feel they have identified the suspect and the driver of the getaway car.

On Tuesday, Daniel Dunn, 23, pleaded not guilty to charges related to the armed robbery, as well as the theft of nearly $2000 worth of musical equipment from Neil Snow’s apartment in Barton. Dunn, who lives in Oxford, Maine, confessed to police when interviewed earlier.

It’s not clear why Vermont State Police secured a confession from Dunn while questioning him in Maine, but did not arrest him at the time. Dunn showed up to court in Newport on Tuesday voluntarily. He is being held on $150,000 bail.

Also on Tuesday, Vermont State Police met with Susanne Champagne, age 27, of Enosburg, at the State Police barracks in St. Albans in connection with the investigation of the armed robbery.

Video surveillance from the store showed the robber was dropped off at the store by a yellow vehicle.

The investigation revealed that Champagne was operating her yellow Chevrolet Cavalier and dropped off Daniel Dunn at the Circle K store in Barton immediately prior to Dunn robbing the store. Dunn was picked up by Champagne who then transported Dunn away from the scene. Champagne later destroyed the clothing worn by Dunn during the robbery.

Champagne was issued a citation to appear in the Orleans Criminal Unit of the Vermont Superior Court on April 22 on charges of Accessory Before the Fact and Accessory After the Fact.

In an affidavit written by Detective Sgt. David Peterson, Dunn and Champagne were pulled over in Lyndonville just after the robbery because their car matched the one described in the robbery. Dunn had changed clothes and told police that they had come to Lyndonville from Orleans, not Barton. Dunn was still wearing a pair of untied work boots, which the officer noted as being mentioned in the suspect’s description. Because they had no reason to detain them at the time, they were released following the stop.

During the course of the investigation, Dunn’s cell phone was tracked as being in the area at the time of the robbery.

In Maine, both Dunn and Champagne confessed, with Champagne stating, “Okay, yes, Danny robbed the Circle K.” She also informed police that they did it because they needed money to purchase heroin.

It also came out in the confession that the two were in Lyndonville to buy heroin when they were pulled over after the robbery. Dunn stated that he fled to Maine to get cleaned up from his drug addictions.

Man Sets Car on Fire in Newport, Then Writes Apology to Owner

in Feature/News

NEWPORT — Cory Carpenter Jr., 33, of Newport, pleaded not guilty on Monday to a felony charge of third-degree arson and a misdemeanor count of unlawful mischief. The charges are relating to a bizarre incident that happened on Main Street in Newport on Saturday night, where police responded to a blue Dodge Neon ablaze 20 minutes before midnight.

According to an affidavit written by Newport City Police Officer Joshua Lillis, Shanda Powers reported that her car was on fire Saturday night. When Lillis responded, Powers told him that she saw a tall, thin man wearing a trench coat start the fire.

One of the firefighters on the scene spotted a man who matched the description of the man Powers described, standing in a doorway on Main street watching the fire.

When Lillis asked Carpenter why he set fire to the vehicle, his response was, “What car?”

When Lillis told Carpenter that there was a witness who saw him do it, his response was, “If you tell me who owns the car, I’ll tell you why I did it.”

According to court records, Fire Chief Jamie LeClair recovered part of the gas opening, and it had been stuffed with a rag and a lighter.

According to the affidavit, when Lillis told Carpenter the name of the car owner, he replied, “I did it to be an asshole.”

But, as it turns out, whoever Carpenter had intended to seek revenge on, Shanda Powers was not that person. Carpenter later wrote an apology note while in custody, after learning that the car belonged to someone else. The note reads:

“I apologize for setting fire to your car. Wasn’t my intentions. Peace be with you. Truly sorry. Cory L. Carpenter Jr.”

Lillis wrote in his affidavit that surveillance cameras caught Carpenter in the act of setting the car on fire. He also wrote that Carpenter was found in possession of Clonazapam pills which belonged to his mother, and his blood alcohol content was 0.207 percent.

Carpenter is currently in Northern State Correctional Facility for lack of a $500 deposit on a $5,000 bail.

Two Men Deny Charges in Murder of Mary “Pat” O’Hagan

in Feature/News

ST. JOHNSBURY — Appearing in Vermont Superior Court on Monday afternoon, two of the men charged in the murder of Mary “Pat” O’Hagan pleaded not guilty to charges of first degree murder, kidnapping, and burglary.

The two brothers, Kieth J. Baird, 33, and Richard E. Fletcher, 27, are charged with killing the 78 year old woman in her Sheffield home in September of 2010.

Although bail was set at $500,000, both men will remain behind bars as Baird is awaiting trial for violating court orders, and Fletcher is serving time for another incident.

The third man charged in the case, Michael Norrie, 23, is currently serving time in a federal prison in Pennsylvania, and is due to be arraigned at a later date.

In an affidavit by State Police Sgt. Jason Letourneau which outlined evidence against the three men, it is reported that they had told friends, inmates, and even prison guards as to what happened the night that O’Hagan was killed.

O’Hagan was shot inside her home in what officials are calling a botched home invasion. Bird hunters discovered O’Hagan’s body nearly 10 miles away from her home in Wheelock on October 3, 2010.

In Letourneau’s affidavit, Norrie indicated that the three men had been doing crystal meth the night of the break in.

12 Homeless Following Apartment Fire in St. Johnsbury Friday Night

in Feature/News

ST. JOHNSBURY — There is no word yet as to what caused a fire that ripped through an apartment building in St. Johnsbury on Friday night, leaving 12 people homeless, however, it is believed that the blaze originated from a candle that was burning in one of the bedrooms.

The fire broke out on the second floor of the building, located on Pearl Street, just after 8 p.m. Fire crews evacuated eleven people living in the Walden Mountain Apartments, as well as a person who lived next door.

The Red Cross says that they are providing food, lodging, and financial assistance to those impacted by the fire.

Friends of those affected have taken to Facebook to start organizing an effort to collect clothes for the children living in the building.

The roof of the building is completely gone. A fire investigation is underway.

Dropped Cigarette Lighter Causes Accident on I-91 Friday Evening

in Feature/News

COVENTRY — On Friday at approximately 6:41 p.m. the Vermont State Police responded to an accident on Interstate 91. The two vehicle collision happened near mile marker 168 in the northbound lane.

Robert Cote and his wife Patrice Cote, both of Albany, were traveling in a 2003 Ford Taurus, when they were struck from behind while traveling north on the Interstate.

Alexandra Rooker, 23, of Fair Haven, was traveling in a 2004 Toyota Corolla when she rear ended the Ford.

Troopers then spoke with Rooker who advised she grabbed for her lighter that fell and when she looked up she hit the rear of the car in front of her.

Rooker was issued a Vermont Civil Violation Complaint for following to closely. Orleans Rescue was on scene.

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Removal of Trees in Coventry by State Highway Department Angers Some Residents

in Feature/News

COVENTRY — A number of Coventry property owners along Route 5 have voiced their concern over the removal of trees that were damaged during the ice storm in December by state highway workers. Some residents are claiming that they were robbed of firewood that they feel was rightfully theirs.

After the ice storm the state highway department was working to clean up storm damaged trees, broken limbs, branches and brush from damaged vegetation, as well as eliminate all overhead hazards due to broken limbs and branches. A large section of Route 5 needed to be cleared. During the cleanup, some wood was removed without notifying the property owners because it was an emergency project. Now, a few of those property owners are upset that they were not offered some of the burnable timber.

“We like to be good neighbors,” Scott Rogers, Director of the Vermont Agency of Transportation Operations Division, said. “The way we like to do things is to work with the property owners that are adjacent to the right-of-way, and it gets a little confusing in terms of the legality because some of the rights-of-way we own, and some we have a highway easement that controls the property. Typically, what we do is talk with the property owners in advance and offer to work with them. A lot of times that includes providing them some of the wood if it’s burnable, but in a lot of cases it’s not.”

Rogers stated sometimes property owners do retain certain residual rights, but the state can remove certain materials such as timber from the right-of-way for highway use.

“We can’t sell the wood to third parties, and we can’t take it for personal use,” Rogers said. “Along those lines it’s legitimate for us to use the timber to heat the state highway garage. But, we couldn’t use it to heat the local school for example.”

The Route 5 stretch in Coventry was especially tricky to make safe after the storm. Rogers explained that the situation needed to be addressed quickly, which resulted in the lack of notification to property owners.

“We were concerned with the potential for additional timber to fall given that we were expecting more storms. The district wanted to get it cleared out quickly. Even after we got the wood that was across the road cleared, there were still areas with some steep banks with trees above that could come down.”

On Wednesday at the Coventry Community Center there will be a meeting at 6 p.m. with Dale Perron, the manager of the Agency of Transportation District 9, and Coventry residents, to discuss the issue. For now, Perron says that if land owners want the wood back, they will work with them to resolve the issue.

Rogers expressed his commitment to working with Coventry landowners to resolve the issue also.

“We understand that people are struggling with the cold winter, and any type of heating assistance is an understandable request, so we are sympathetic to anyone who would have liked to use the material for firewood,” he said.

Vermonters Paying the Price for Propane Shortage Caused by Midwestern Farming Practices

in Feature/News

NEWPORT – If you are heating your home with propane, you already know it’s costing you more than usual this winter. What you might not know is that you’re paying the price for a propane shortage that has nothing to do with cold temperatures in the Northeast. The problem lies in the Midwest, and the way that farmers dry their corn crops.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the average price of residential propane in Vermont during the month of February was $4.36 per gallon. That’s an increase of $1.15 per gallon since October.

This increase is a result of a propane shortage which started in the fall of 2013, when farmers in the Midwest used around 300 million gallons of propane to dry their corn crops. This was much more than usual. How much more? About 235 million gallons more.

The reason for such a dramatic spike in propane use is blamed on wetter-than-normal corn from the 2013 harvest. Part of the reason that the corn did not dry in the field was that it was planted late.

When corn does not dry in the field, grain elevator operators use propane-fueled heaters to get it to a lower moisture level so it can be safely stored.

According to the National Propane Gas Association, more than 660,000 farmers use propane for irrigation pumps, grain dryers, standby generators and other farm equipment. Besides crop drying, propane is used by farmers for fruit ripening, water heating, and food refrigeration.

The other major factor causing an increase in propane prices is the export market. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, by January 2013 U.S exports of propane were at 168,000 barrels per day. By October, exports had jumped to 408,000 barrels per day.

Vermont Senators Bernie Sanders, Patrick Leahy, and Congressman Peter Welch asked U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker in February to use emergency powers to temporarily restrict exports of propane.

They pointed out that prices for the fuel have risen over 30 percent in just three months.

Cows Killed During Barn Fire in Morrisville on Friday

in Feature/News

MORRISVILLE — About six cows were killed on Friday as a fire ripped through a barn owned by Dwayne Lamphear of L&L Farms in Morrisville.

The fire was reported by a passerby who saw smoke coming from the 340 foot cattle barn located on the property. The Morrisville Fire Departments responded to the scene at 742 Fitzgerald Road. Upon arrival, the front portion of the barn was fully in flames. High winds made it difficult for firefighters to battle the blaze, which quickly grew, pushing through the barn.

Mr. Lamphear arrived and was able to get most of the cattle out of the barn before the entire roof structure collapsed, however, some of the cows could not be saved. The structure was a total loss, with damages estimated to be in excess of $800,000.00. No one was at the barn at the time of the fire so there were no injuries.

The Morrisville Fire Department contacted the Vermont State Police and requested a fire investigation be conducted. Detectives from the State Police Fire Investigation Unit and an investigator with the Division of Fire Safety began the investigation.

After conducting a partial scene investigation, as most of the building had completely collapsed, the fire cause is deemed to be undetermined at this time and not suspicious. However, investigators believe that the fire was most likely related an electrical issue.

Weather-Related Accident in Irasburg on Wednesday

in Feature/News

IRASBURG — The strong winds and blowing snow yesterday afternoon led to an accident in Irasburg. At around 2:20 p.m. the Vermont State Police responded to a single car crash on Vermont Route 58, near Houston Heights.

Lawrence Monfette, 52, of Newport, was driving a 2004 Jeep Liberty when he lost control of his vehicle in a patch of snow that had blown across the road.

Monfette tried to gain control by steering toward the right, causing his vehicle to face east in the westbound travel lane. The vehicle then slid off the north side of the roadway where it flipped onto its driver’s side.

Monfette did not suffer any injuries. The Jeep had damage to both front quarter panels, the front lower
bumper area, and the driver’s side door.

Ray’s Auto towed the vehicle from the scene of the accident.

Coventry Woman Arrested for Suspicion of DUI After Rollover Crash in Westmore

in Feature/News

WESTMORE — On Saturday at around 6:30 p.m. State Police responded to a motor vehicle rollover crash on Vermont Route 5A in Westmore.

Michaela Palmer, 23, of Coventry, identified herself as the operator of the vehicle.

Palmer told police that she hit a patch of ice just before the crash. She stated that the car rolled over while she was driving through a sharp curve in the road.

Trooper Debra Munson of the Vermont State Police spoke with Palmer during an investigation at the scene of the accident, and determined that intoxication may have been to blame for the crash. She had Palmer perform a field sobriety test.

Palmer was subsequently transported to the Derby Barracks where she was processed for suspicion of DUI, and refusal to take a chemical intoxication test.

Vermont, like all other states, abides by Implied Consent Laws, which means that anyone who chooses to operate a vehicle is automatically subject to state chemical testing for Driving Under the Influence (DUI). Because a breath test is the only chemical intoxication test that can be administered on the roadside, it is the most commonly used, and therefore, the most commonly refused test.

Despite the Implied Consent Law, drivers still have to agree to testing before a breath test can be conducted. So technically, a driver can refuse testing, but the consequences for doing so are harsh and sometimes far outweigh a DUI conviction in and of itself.

Mayor Monette Working to Have Newport City Council Meetings Streamed Live Online

in Feature/News

NEWPORT — If you’ve been meaning to attend a Newport city council meeting but just can’t spare the time to get out to one, there’s some news you’ll be happy to hear. Mayor Paul Monette is working to have them streamed live online.

“The idea of streaming our meetings live on the web was my idea to allow people, who are not able to attend, to view them live via the Internet,” Monette said.

The platform Monette has chosen to use is Livestream. Livestream, formerly known as Mogulus, is a live streaming video platform that allows users to view and broadcast video content using a camera and a computer through the internet. The company offers a free ad-supported service and multi-tiered premium services.

In the future, anyone with an Internet connection can watch the meetings live on a computer or mobile device. Users will also be able to access archived meeting videos as well.

Since the project is just getting going, there are still a few bugs to work out.

“The first time I did a test was actually via my cell phone which I had setup as a hotspot,” Monette said. “This worked okay, but I need to get a better connection in the council room.”

Monette says that he still plans on taping them for rebroadcast on NEK-TV.

Vermont Electric Cooperative Sounds Alert On Scam

in Feature/News

JOHNSON — Vermont Electric Cooperative (VEC) is warning consumers about a telephone scam that preys on utility customers. Like other cooperatives across the country, VEC has received reports from customers who are being contacted by scammers asking for credit card information.

The scam involves a phone call to a consumer by a perpetrator posing as a VEC employee seeking immediate payment for service. Consumers are threatened with having service disconnected within 30 minutes unless they make a credit card payment by phone.

VEC does not make calls to customers seeking personal data like credit card account numbers, and is reminding customers to be suspicious of calls asking for any type of payment information. If a suspicious call is received, customers should hang up and contact their local law enforcement agency.

“If you have any doubts, we ask that you call VEC directly to verify if the call is legitimate,” said CEO Dave Hallquist.

The number is 1-800-832-2667.

“We’ve received reports of criminals taking advantage of utility customers in other states. Unfortunately, we’re learning that Vermont is being targeted, as well.”

School Bus and Dog Thief Changes Plea to Guilty

in Feature/News

NEWPORT — Adam Page, 23, of Newport, the man who on May 17, 2013, stole a school bus and then crashed and totaled it in Holland, pled guilty in Orleans Superior Court on Thursday.

He was facing multiple charges from the incident.

Vermont State Police originally became involved with the investigation of a stolen school bus from Newport. They discovered the bus totaled and abandoned on the Valley Road in Holland. Page had fled the scene after the crash.

A dog was recovered in the bus.

While investigating, the VSP learned that Page had broken into a house belonging to Heather Murphy, and had taken her chocolate lab, the same dog recovered in Holland. Page had stolen the bus and drove to Murphy’s home in Morgan.

Page then attempted to take a 2003 Toyota truck from Zach Alix from Toad Pond Rd. When he could not steal this truck he then stole a 1995 Ford truck belonging to Robert Durfey of Morgan. Durfey’s truck was located later in Derby.

Page was arrested on 3 counts of operating without owners consent, leaving the scene of an accident, driving on a criminally suspended license, and burglary for illegal entering Murphy’s house and stealing her dog.

Eli Goss Annual Ice Fishing Tournament Ready for Fourth Year

in Feature/News

MORGAN — The Fourth Annual Eli Goss Ice Fishing Tournament will take place on Lake Seymour in Morgan, February 21,22,23.

The idea for the First Eli Goss Memorial Ice Fishing Tournament came from a meeting of the NCUHS Student Forum after the sudden loss of their friend Eli in a motor vehicle accident on September 17, 2010. 

The students met in the forum to share their struggle with all the tough feelings and questions they were faced with in the aftermath of the accident that took their closest friend.  Ice fishing was a special part of their life together and the idea was born to create an ice fishing tournament in Eli’s honor and to raise money for the Scholarship Fund in his name at United Christian Academy, where Eli attended school.

Registration will be at the Public Beach Fishing Access, with a $10 donation. Cash prize will be awarded to the winner.

Eli Trophy Bomber hats will be awarded for 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize fish. There will also be gifts and awards for fund raising and donation. For more information call (802) 673-8931, or click here to visit the event web page.

Susan Dunklee of Barton Finishes as Top American in Biathlon

in Feature/News

BARTON — Biathlon is a winter sport that combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting. It originated as an exercise for Norwegian people, and as an alternative training for the military. It is also the only Winter Olympic sport in which the U.S. has never won a medal.

Susan Dunklee, the 27-year-old Olympic athlete from Barton, was close to making history Tuesday night at the 2014 Winter Olympics. She was headed into the final shooting station of the women’s biathlon 10-kilometer pursuit in fifth place.

In an interview after the event with USA Today, Dunklee stated that when she hit the first shot, it seemed like a good sign, but she didn’t know what happened after that.

She posted the following tweet after the event on Tuesday:

Picture 8

She ended up missing three of her next four targets, which forced her to ski a penalty loop of 150-meters. The penalties dropped her to 20th. She did move up to finish 18th overall, finishing highest among American athletes competing in the event.

On Sunday, Dunklee finished 14th in the 7.5-kilometer sprint (21.48.3, with one penalty) to post the top Olympic sprint finish ever by a US woman.

Irasburg Man Sentenced to Serve 4 to 12 Years for Trafficking Heroin

in Feature/News

IRASBURG — A convicted heroin trafficker was sentenced to serve four to twelve years in prison at a sentencing hearing held in Vermont Superior Court in Orleans County on February 5, according to Vermont Attorney General Bill Sorrell.

Richard Cote, III of Irasburg was arrested on February 20, 2013 at the culmination of an investigation by the North East Vermont Drug Task Force into heroin trafficking in the Irasburg and Newport area.

During a post-arrest interview, Cote admitted that he had regularly traveled to Keene, New Hampshire, to buy heroin to bring back to sell in Orleans County, Vermont. He further admitted that he generally brought back a “finger” of heroin each time.

A “finger” is a street term for ten grams of heroin, almost three times the threshold amount of 3.5 grams required for a heroin trafficking charge.

Cote plead guilty to: heroin trafficking; five felony sales of heroin; carrying a deadly weapon while committing a felony; felony possession of marijuana; and misdemeanor possession of narcotics.

In consideration of these guilty pleas, the State dismissed a misdemeanor child cruelty charge.

In accordance with a request by the Attorney General’s Office, the sentencing judge recommended to the Department of Corrections that Cote be enrolled in any drug treatment program for which he is determined to be eligible.

Snowmobile Crash in Jay on Sunday

in Feature/News

JAY — There was a snowmobile accident in Jay on Sunday. Alan Cyr, 45, of Bristol, Connecticut, injured his left shoulder and was taken to North Country Hospital where he was treated for his injuries.

Cyr was traveling north on VAST Trail 101 in the Town of Jay at 12:30 p.m. His snowmobile went left of center and off the trail, hitting an area near a large rock. He was wearing his helmet at the time.

The windshield of the snowmobile, a 2013 Polaris 600cc, was broken during the crash. The police report that alcohol was not a factor in the crash, but that speed was a factor.

The crash is still under investigation.

Two Morgan Men Sentenced for Deer Poaching Conviction

in Feature/News

MORGAN — Vermont Fish & Wildlife wardens followed an anonymous tip that led to the arrest and conviction of Douglas Vezina of Morgan, on two counts of taking a deer out of season and one count of hunting without a license.

Vezina was charged with shooting two juvenile bucks without a license during the November 2013 deer rifle season. A legal deer taken during the November rifle season must be a buck with two or more antler points on one side.

After entering a guilty plea in Orleans Court on February 5, Vezina was sentenced to serve 120 days in prison. He may also be ordered to pay restitution at an upcoming hearing.

Vezina was on parole at the time of the incident for several other convictions and faces an additional six to twelve months in prison for parole violations related to the investigation.

Warden Jason Dukette seized a .30-30 rifle that was involved in the crime, which may result in a charge of felon in possession of a firearm against Vezina from the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms. Further investigation found that the rifle had previously been reported stolen.

In connection with the incident, Terrance Grondin of Morgan, was charged with assisting Vezina with the transport and processing of the deer, along with knowingly possessing deer meat taken in violation of the law. Grondin pleaded guilty in Orleans County criminal court and was fined $400.

“Most Vermont hunters pursue game lawfully and respect hunting regulations,” said Col. David LeCours, head of law enforcement for Vermont Fish & Wildlife, noting that wildlife in Vermont is held in the public trust. “Those few who choose to break the law face serious consequences.”

Police Nab Suspect in Armed Robbery at Circle K in Barton

in Feature/News

BARTON — The State Police investigation of the armed robbery that took place January 23 at Circle K in Barton has identified Daniel Dunn, age 23, of Oxford, Maine as the perpetrator of the incident.

The robbery took place at Circle K gas station located at 542 Main Street in Barton. During the incident, which transpired at approximately 6:45 p.m., a lone male subject entered the establishment brandishing a knife and demanded money from the clerk. Money was turned over by the clerk to the perpetrator, who fled the store on foot.

Video surveillance from the store showed the perpetrator was dropped off at the store by a yellow vehicle.

Dunn is currently being held out of state. It is anticipated that Dunn will appear in Vermont Superior Court, Orleans Criminal Unit, on March 11 for a charge of assault and robbery.

The investigation remains active with additional action anticipated.

Man Accused of Crushing 6 Police Cruisers With a Farm Tractor Pleads Not Guilty to Violation of Conditions of Release

in Feature/News

NEWPORT — Roger Pion, 36, the Newport man accused of crushing six police cruisers with a farm tractor monster truck style, was in court on Tuesday morning to answer the charge of violation of conditions of release. He pleaded not guilty to the charge. Judge Howard VanBenthuysen released him on $5,000 bail.

The court had earlier scheduled jury selection in the trail for the several felony charges Pion is facing for this Thursday, but his attorney, Chandler Matson, requested that the date be pushed back. Pion will most likely stand trial in late March or April.

The charge of violation of conditions of release is relating to an incident on January 27, when Community Correctional Officer John Hardy dropped by at Roger Chaffee’s home in Newport City. While Hardy spoke with Chaffee, he noticed a man he said looked familiar, working on a pellet stove. When Hardy asked the man working on the stove his name, Pion identified himself.

The next day Hardy checked on Pion’s condition of release, which was to the custody of Armond or Linda Pion. Court records state that neither were at Chaffee’s home while the correctional officer was there.

Hardy contacted Senior Trooper Clark Lombardi about the possibility that Pion had violated his condition of release. Lombardi went to Pion’s home in Newport City on January 28, and took Pion to the state police barracks to process him and issue him a citation to appear in court on Tuesday.

State’s Attorney Alan Franklin requested a higher bail be set, but Pion’s attorney highlighted the fact that Pion had gone to the home to fix a pellet stove free of charge to help Chaffee out, and was there no longer than 45 minutes.

Judge Howard VanBenthuysen said that the charges against Pion are piling up, and that the bail was high enough to ensure that Roger Pion returns to court.

From IROC to Sticks & Stuff: Derby Home Center Open for Business

in Feature/News

DERBY — It’s the kind of home improvement store that would have Tim “The Tool Man” Taylor letting out one of his famous grunts after walking through the doors. At 55,000 square feet, the Sticks & Stuff Derby Home Center is open for business.

With all the development going on in the Newport area, the owners of Sticks & Stuff knew that opening up a store in Derby would be a good move. They spent the past year looking at properties, but were on the fence as to whether or not they wanted to build a new store from the ground up, or to try and find a location with a building already on it.

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Then in March they learned that the IROC had recently been foreclosed on, so they came over and had a look. The building was ideal for the store they envisioned opening.

Sticks & Stuff opened its doors on Monday. There is 14,000 square feet of hardware retail space. Although some of the showrooms are still under construction, when complete, they will have 4,500 square feet of kitchen, bath, and flooring displays. The remaining 34,000 square feet is used to warehouse building material.

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Sticks & Stuff is a Vermont company with three other stores in the state. They are committed to keeping the environment healthy, running their operation on renewable biodiesel fuel, and working with partners who are dedicated to reducing their carbon footprint.

They also work to keep their prices down.

“I feel we are very competitive,” Kris Bullock, one of the three owners of Sticks & Stuff, said. “We’ve partnered up with an independent company, not a cooperative like ACE or True Value. We’re very competitive, and our main concern is customer service. We want our customers to have a great experience while visiting our stores. At the end of the day that’s what seems to separate us from some of the competition.”

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The store is planning a grand opening in Spring. They are currently open for business, but by then the showroom will be complete, and the parking lot will be paved.

“At the grand opening which is coming up in Spring, we’re planning a cookout, and we’ll have some of our vendors set up as well,” Bullock said.

They are open Monday through Friday 7 a.m to 6 p.m. Their weekend hours are Saturday from 7 a.m to 4 p.m., and Sunday, 8 a.m to 3 p.m.

Below is a Sticks & Stuff promotional video:

Police Seize 270 Grams of Marijuana in Stanstead, Quebec

in Feature/News/Stanstead

STANSTEAD, QC — On January 25, officers were patrolling downtown Stanstead when they noticed two individuals walking down the road. According to the police report, one of the individuals threw a bag he was carrying. The officers stated that they witnessed the suspect ditch the bag.

“The police picked up the bag and found that there was marijuana inside,” said Sergeant Melanie Dumaresq.

In total, police seized about 270 grams of marijuana mainly packaged to be sold.

Kyle Norris, 29, will have to answer to the charges in court. Norris is charged with possession of a narcotic for the purpose of trafficking and breach of condition of his probation.

The second individual was arrested for possession of narcotics.

December Winter Storms Declared Disaster For Vermont By President

in Feature/News

NEWPORT — The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal disaster aid has been made available to the State of Vermont to supplement state and local recovery efforts in the areas affected by severe winter storms during the period of December 20-26, 2013.

The President’s action makes federal funding available to state and eligible local governments and certain private nonprofit organizations on a cost-sharing basis for emergency work and the repair or replacement of facilities damaged by severe winter storms in Orleans county.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide.

James N. Russo has been named as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal recovery operations in the affected area. Russo said additional designations may be made at a later date if requested by the state and warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

North Troy Man Arrested After Crashing Car into the Dollar General

in Feature/News

NORTH TROY — On Saturday at around 8 p.m. Vermont State Police responded to a report of a vehicle crashing into the side of the Dollar General located at 83 Main St. in North Troy. There was damage to the Dollar General and minor damage to the vehicle.

While responding State Police were advised that the operator had fled the scene. During the investigation it was determined that Jeffrey Driver, 32, of North Troy was the operator. Driver was later arrested and charged with leaving the scene of an accident

Tha manager of the Dollar General stated that Mr. Driver hit the front of the building while a few customers were leaving. One of the customers witnessed the incident.

“He jumped the curb and smashed into the building,” the manager of the Dollar General said. “My employees tried to have him say, but he took off. The police went to his house and arrested him.”

The manager also said she was not exactly sure how much it is going to cost to fix the damage done to the building, but that they will be in touch with the Dollar General Employment Response Center (ERC) today. The ERC will send someone out to help them get the damage fixed. She estimated it may be anywhere between 5-10 thousand dollars.

“He was coming in to park and was going too fast, then he slammed right in,” the manager went on to say.”

Armed Robbery at Circle K Gas Station in Barton

in Feature/News

BARTON — Last night at 6:44 p.m. a lone male came into the Circle K gas station in Barton, demanding money from the clerk on duty. The perpetrator was waving a knife around, and wore a mask over his face.

He was wearing:

A dark colored hooded sweatshirt
A Green baseball cap
Gray sweatpants
Sunglasses
Gloves
Work boots

He fled the scene on foot with an undisclosed amount of money.

He is described as being average height with a slender build. The incident was caught by surveillance cameras, which clearly show an insignia depicted on the back of the sweatshirt that could help to identify him.

Circle K management stated that they are not allowed to disclose any information regarding the incident.

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Vermont State Police, Derby Barracks at 802-334-8881, or call Northeast Kingdom Crimestoppers at 802-748-2222.

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