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Northeast Kingdom

NEK Day at the Statehouse, Jan. 28

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Artists and educators, organizers and entrepreneurs from the Northeast Kingdom will be hitting the hallways and committee rooms of the Vermont Statehouse on Tuesday, January 28, for the second annual NEK Day.

The goal is to celebrate recent successes in the three-county region, share the innovative rural community development models that are forming in the NEK and work with legislators on solutions for current and prospective residents and businesses.

“Like many rural communities across the country, the Northeast Kingdom faces significant challenges, but we are coming together as a region and developing innovative solutions to build vibrant rural communities,” said Katherine Sims, Director of the Northeast Kingdom Collaborative. “Our future is bright and we’re excited to share our best practices and to work with legislators to support rural communities across the state.”

Advocacy Training with Amy Shollenberger from Action Circles at 9:00 a.m. in the Snelling Room at the Vermont Historical Society Museum.

This training will introduce participants to the legislative process, how to talk to legislators and tips for testifying in front of committees.

Welcome & Press conference at 10 a.m. in the Cedar Creek Room with NEK leaders, Lt Governor David Zuckerman and other key leadership.

Pie Social and NEK Business Showcase in the cafeteria lounge from 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

Reps from NEK businesses and non-profit organizations including Northern Vermont University, Catamount Film & Arts, Kingdom Trails and HEAT Squad will be in attendance, and available for interviews.

NEK leaders will testify before legislative committees throughout the day:

House Commerce & Economic Development Committee: 9 – 10 a.m.
Senate Economic Development, Housing & General Affairs: 10:30 – 10:45 a.m.
House Education Committee: 1 – 2 p.m.
Senate Education Committee: 1:30 – 2 p.m.
House Energy & Technology Committee: 1-2 p.m.
House Agriculture Committee: 11 a.m. – noon
Senate Agriculture & Forestry Committee: 1 – 2 p.m.
Small group discussion with the Rural Caucus: noon – 1 p.m.
House Committee on Natural Resources, Fish and Wildlife: 1:00-1:45 p.m.

The NEK Collaborative has been working to increase coordination and communication
among NEK businesses and nonprofits for more than 20 years.

Since their first NEK Day this time last year, the region has made incredible strides towards building vibrant, thriving communities in the Northeast Kingdom.

The organization has brought together dozens of partners to implement strategic action plans in two key areas:

1. Expanding leadership development
2. Advancing economic growth at the intersection of the creative, recreational and food sectors.

For more information visit: www.nekcollaborative.org/nekday

Vermont Welcome Wagon comes to the NEK

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT – The Vermont Welcome Wagon has landed in the Northeast Kingdom with its second chapter in the State open and ready for participants.

The VT Welcome Wagon Project (VTWWP) is a program where new arrivals or returnees are connected with current residents, or ‘hosts’ through an informal meet and greet.

It provides new folks with the opportunity to learn more about the region and ask honest questions with honest answers about the ins and outs of the community—where’s the nearest laundromat? Where do you go out to eat? What’s there to do on a rainy day? What’s the childcare situation like?

The goal is to accelerate the time it takes to “figure out” Vermont and get connected to the community in meaningful ways.

The Northeast Kingdom Young Professionals Network (NEK YPN) decided to take on this initiative last spring upon learning about the program that began in Chittenden County.

“We are simply thrilled that the NEK YPN has partnered with VWWP to launch a local chapter of the program,” VWWP co-founder Krysta Sadowski said. “Their commitment to connecting and serving their community combined with the energy and skills of their leadership team makes them an ideal partner for leading this program in the NEK.”

While the VT Welcome Wagon Project is for all ages, the NEK YPN was thrilled to take on the leadership of this program and offer it to all community members and new arrivals in the NEK.

Thanks to grants from both the Vermont Community Foundation and the NEK Collaborative, the NEK YPN has been able to secure a part-time administrative staff member to oversee the unveiling of the project.

This program is open to anybody new or returning and there are no age limits or restrictions.

The NEK YPN manages the program but participants do not need to be a member to utilize it.

Materials and sign up information can be found at https://www.vtwelcomewagon.org/

Fred’s Energy helped collect toys for local holiday toy drives

in Derby/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

DERBY — This holiday season, Fred’s Energy once again helped support local area toy drives.

Each of their three offices was a toy donation site and for every toy donated, Fred’s Energy offered individuals the chance to win100 gallons of propane or oil, and a 3 ft. tall snowman gift tower filled with holiday treats.

The Fred’s Energy main office in Derby helped collect toys for the NEKCA & Northpoint “Toys for Kids” toy drive, the Morrisville office helped collect toys for The Lamoille Family Center’s “Holiday Project,” and the Lyndonville office helped collect toys for the St. Johnsbury Fire Department’s “Kingdom Santa Fund.”

Each of these organizations was selected because all toys donated would be distributed right back into our local communities.

“This time of year can be a struggle for many, yet numerous local families were helped because of your incredible thoughtfulness,” Fred’s Energy said in a statement. “Your toy donations brought such JOY to so many children and brightened everyone’s holiday.”

Ryan Pelow of the St. Johnsbury Fire Department pulled Donald Raboin’s name from all the entries received at the Fred’s Energy Lyndonville office.

Raboin, in the true spirit of the holidays, gifted the fuel to a parent.

Wendy Chauvin of the Lamoille Family Center drew Sarah Denis’ name from all the entries received at the Fred’s Energy Morrisville office.

Denis, too, gifted it forward by donating the fuel to the Lamoille Family Center for someone in need.

Michaela Fields was the winner in the Fred’s Energy Derby office toy drive drawing.

Rachel Twofoot from Northpoint selected Michaela’s name when she and Mary Hamel from NEKCA arrived to pick up the toys for distribution.

Vermont Public Radio to expand coverage of the NEK

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Report For America has selected Vermont Public Radio to host a journalist next year to expand coverage of the Northeast Kingdom.

VPR’s Northeast Kingdom reporter will be one of 250 emerging journalists in 164 host news organizations to serve local communities across 46 states in the coming year.

Report For America will cover half the salary of the one-year-long appointment, with VPR and local fundraising initiatives covering the rest.

“VPR has been working toward more Vermonters hearing and seeing themselves in our coverage,” said Sarah Ashworth, Vice President of News. “Our reporter will live and work in the region and will weave the voices and perspectives of the Kingdom into our broader coverage of issues in Vermont.”

Report for America is a national service program that positions emerging journalists into local news organizations to report on under-covered issues and communities for a duration of one or two years.

Newsrooms were selected through a rigorous national competition, and Report For America announced that VTDigger and the Valley News would receive corps members next year.

“It’s a big deal that our region will receive three Report For America journalists,” said VPR President Scott Finn. “There’s been a scary drop in the number of journalists in Vermont, but with support from our members, we can preserve great journalism here and across rural America.”

Salvation Farms to provide fresh produce to senior meal sites in the NEK

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — The Vermont Community Foundation’s Northeast Kingdom Fund awarded Salvation Farms a grant to support a growing partnership with the Northeast Kingdom Council on Aging.

Together, the organizations are increasing the amount of fresh, local produce used by community meal sites within the Kingdom.

“We’re thrilled to establish the partnership with Salvation Farms in the Northeast Kingdom,” said Laura Valcour, the Northeast Kingdom Council on Aging’s Director of Nutrition and Wellness. “What an incredible opportunity to support our local farms, our communities, and our food system. It’s a win-win for all.”

Located in Morrisville, Salvation Farms is a non-profit organization that coordinates and distributes the collection of Vermont grown surplus fruits and vegetables.

“Salvation Farms started gleaning the Lamoille Valley in north, central Vermont fifteen years ago,” said Theresa Snow, Executive Director of Salvation Farms. “We are eagerly exploring this expanded distribution opportunity with the Northeast Kingdom Council on Aging, making Vermont’s agricultural bounty available to seniors in the state’s northeast region.”

In 2018, their Lamoille Valley Gleaning program captured and moved an excess of 210,000 servings of wholesome, locally grown produce that would have remained unused.

This nutritious food was provided to programs that feed some of the regions more vulnerable residents.

During a fall and winter pilot, Salvation Farms has delivered a variety of gleaned produce to six senior meal sites biweekly in Barton, Glover, Lyndonville, Orleans, West Burke, and Danville.

The goal is to enable senior meal programs to use locally sourced food more regularly and to improve the nutritional value of the meals.

The deliveries also provide kitchen managers and meal site staff time to share recipes, storage techniques, and to build a network of support.

Lady Liberty has returned to West Glover for Lake Parker Ice Out contest

in Barton/Glover/News/Northeast Kingdom

WEST GLOVER — Lady Liberty has returned to West Glover for the second annual Glover Ambulance Ice Out fundraiser, and tickets are on sale just in time for Christmas.

Last year, the Glover Ambulance began the event as a way to help fundraise while honoring a fun piece of local lore.

This year, the fun begins just in time for the holidays.

According to legend, West Glover’s Lone Tree Hill was once considered as the location for the Statue of Liberty.

The proximity to Canada made the location quite attractive.

Instead, she was sent to New York Harbor.

Now, she will return to West Glover every winter in the form of a beautiful wooden replica, painted by the 2018-2019 Lake Region Union High School art students.

Throughout the season the statue will be moved around the lake, so keep an eye out for her.

You can even take photos when you see her and submit them to the Glover Ambulance’s Facebook page for a chance to win other prizes.

Watch the Glover Ambulance’s Facebook Page for additional ticket sale locations and Lady Liberty Fun.

Tickets go on sale at several area businesses this Wednesday, December 18, including C&C in Barton, Nick’s Snack Shack in Barton, EM Browns in Barton, the Glover Town Clerk’s Office, Parker Pie in Glover and the Westmore Town Clerk’s Office.

Tickets are also available at the Glover Ambulance Bay or by contacting the Glover Ambulance through Facebook.

Tickets will be available until the ice goes out.

The winner will receive half the proceeds and the rest will go directly to the Glover Ambulance Squad.

NEK-TV to air panel with experts regarding underage drinking in the NEK

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

Photo: Amber Robbins, Phil Brooks, Shari-Lee Ryan, Kyle Ingalls, Jennifer Jacob-Harlow, Frank Sawicki, Allyson Howell, Dave Jacobs, Terry DiFazio and Todd Pronto.

NEWPORT — Experts in youth substance, youth mental health, and law enforcement came together on Tuesday to film a panel regarding underage drinking produced by the Prevention, Intervention, Treatment and Recovery Collaborative (PITR).

Sunny Naughton and Allyson Howell of Northeast Kingdom Learning Service received a modest grant from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration to promote a local forum.

The duo brought together partners active in the PITR Collaborative to answer questions from both the community and a live audience.

Terry Difazio facilitated with direction from Tod Pronto, both from NEK-TV.

The panel can be seen on NEK-TV on:

Monday, December 16, at 2 p.m.
Tuesday, December 17, at 9 a.m.
Wednesday, December 18, at 8 p.m.
Thursday, December 19, at 9 a.m.
Friday, December 20, at 2 p.m.

Copies are available by contacting NEK-TV by calling (802) 334-0264

Burke to shine with holiday spirit this Sunday

in Burke/Newport/Northeast Kingdom

BURKE — Santa is coming to West Burke, and he has presents for the kids this Sunday.

Stop by to meet him, go for a sleigh ride, have some cookies, cocoa, and lots of fun.

The event is free and kicks off at 11:00 a.m. at Mike’s Gas & Redemption, located at 3799 US-5.

Organizers are asking if you can, please bring non-perishable food to be donated to the local food shelf.

The event will wrap up at 1:00 p.m., but the fun doesn’t end there.

Come out to the library in East Burke Village at 2:00 p.m. for cookies, cocoa, and music from the Newark Balkan Chorus, as everyone gathers to light up the display of Christmas trees and enjoy a holiday party.

Each tree was ‘adopted’ and decorated by a local school or business.

The Burke Chamber will choose five winning trees. The winners will each get a check for $100 made out to a charity of their choice.

The event is also free, but if possible bring non-perishable food items to be donated to the food shelf.

This holiday party and tree lighting in the village will end at 5:00 p.m.

NorthWoods accepting nominations for 7th Annual Buzzell Award

in Charleston/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

CHARLESTON — NorthWoods Stewardship Center is accepting nominations for the seventh annual George Buzzell Forest Stewardship Award.

In honor of the esteemed county forester for which it is named, this award recognizes an individual who is making a positive impact on Northeast Kingdom forests.

An award ceremony will be held at the NorthWoods Stewardship Center in March 2020.

During his 44 years as Orleans County Forester, George Buzzell exemplified the best practice of his trade, including research that helped to re-define sugarbush management in Vermont.

George cast a welcoming net, encouraging education and inviting the widest community into the conversation and practice of forestry.

With this award, NorthWoods honors the outstanding contributions of George Buzzell and recognizes those who are now carrying the torch of forest stewardship in the Northeast Kingdom.

Eligible candidates are those who have demonstrated extraordinary commitment to sustainable management of forestland in the Northeast Kingdom, and who have also worked to advance and/or share knowledge to ensure the long term resiliency and productivity of our forests.

The individual’s direct impact can include hands-on work, policy improvement, education, and training, or a combination.

Candidates for this award should embody George’s spirit of welcoming a larger community into the practice of forestry, showing how people with diverse knowledge and background can learn and work together while doing good forestry.

NorthWoods welcomes nomination of award candidates until Monday, January 13, 2020.

A written nomination is required for a candidate to be considered.

For the nomination form and instructions please contact Sam Perron at NorthWoods: (802) 723-6551 ext 302, or sam@northwoodscenter.org.

Free Victorian Style Carol Service at the Island Pond Historical Society Museum, Dec. 7

in Brighton/Island Pond/News/Northeast Kingdom

ISLAND POND — The Island Pond Historical Society Museum and Learning Center are inviting the public to a free and fun event this Saturday.

This “Free Victorian Style Carol Service” event will take place at 3:00 p.m. on Dec 7, at the Island Pond Historical Society museum.

If you have not visited the museum yet, now is your chance. It is located at 126 Cross Street, in Island Pond.

Come meet Mr. & Mrs. Charles Dickens and say hello to Father Christmas and his elves.

Remember to leave your letters to Santa in the museum’s magical wishing well, and enjoy viewing antique Grand Trunk rail memorabilia, Victorian clothing, and a host of other exciting exhibits.

Not only is entrance free, but there will also be cookies and carols galore.

So come along, wear fancy dress, enjoy the fun and feel the magic of this special Christmas Carol event, brought to you courtesy of the Island Pond Historical Society.

For details contact organizer and IPHS President Sharon J. Biron at iphspresident@yahoo.com

Holiday Magic in Island Pond, Dec. 6-8 (full schedule of events)

in Island Pond/News/Northeast Kingdom

ISLAND POND — The Island Pond Chamber of Commerce and Island Pond Renewal Committee is getting ready to present Holiday Magic in Island Pond, Friday, December 6, through Sunday, December 8.

Hobo’s Cafe is kicking off the weekend with their Fa La La La Fish Fry starting at 5:00 p.m. on Friday evening.

The Essex House & Tavern will hold an Ugly Sweater Karaoke Contest starting at 8:00 p.m. with NEKaraoke.

Saturday morning starts off with Breakfast with the Elves from 8 – 10 a.m. at Hobo’s Café.

From 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. stop by Gervais Ace Hardware to register for a chance to light the town tree or to win an 8’ stocking filled with toys.

Free photos with Santa will be taken at The Hearth & Home Country Store from 10 a.m. – noon.

All children are welcome at the American Legion Brighton Post 80 Children’s Christmas Party which will be held at the American Legion starting at 2:00 p.m.

Santa will be passing out gifts to every child in attendance.

Jessie’s Little Kitchen will be offering their Holiday Magic Pizza Special from 11:30 a.m. – 9 p.m. with $2 off any large pizza.

The Hearth & Home Country Store is holding a Holiday Wine Tasting from 1:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

The Town Tree Lighting on Main Street will take place from 4-6 p.m. with music and community caroling featuring Brighton Elementary.

The Brighton Volunteer Fire Department will be providing bonfires on Main Street and Santa will be arriving in one of their fire trucks.

From 4-6 p.m. The Village Farm will present free sleigh rides on Main Street and T. Carey’s Bakery along with Osborne Family Maple will present cocoa and cookies on Main Street.

Simon the Tanner will have a sale starting at 6:30 p.m.

Hobo’s Café will be serving up a Merry Marinated Steak Tip dinner to take the chill away.

The American Legion Brighton Post 80 is going to warm the evening up with their Holiday Magic Party featuring The Markus Daniels Band.

The dance is open to the public and the cover is only $5.

Hobo’s Cafe will start off Sunday at 8:00 a.m. with breakfast sure to bring back memories of Christmas morning.

A Vulgar Display of Poutine will be hosting a Holiday Magic Paint ‘n Sip at 1:00 p.m. featuring instructor, Natalie Anne.

Tickets are only $50 and include all supplies, two beer or wine, a sampling of their specialty poutines.

NEK benefit fundraiser talent search registration open now

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — We all know that the NEK’s got talent, but Joshua House Inc. is having a benefit fundraiser to see people prove it.

There will be two local events this winter to both showcase local talent and raise funds for this important local non-profit.

The local talent search will kick off on Tuesday, December 17, at the Dancing Sail Event Room at the Eastside at 6:00 p.m. with a buffet and a cash bar.

Judges will choose the contestants who will go on to the talent show, which will be held at the Municipal Building on Saturday, February 8, 2020.

This search event is for ages 16 to 106.

There will be another search event in January for ages 5 to 15.

The talent show in February will be giving away cash prizes, with 1st prize coming in at $300.

Examples of acts for the talent show are people who are not being paid for their talent; people who juggle, do impersonations, card tricks, or have a chicken that plays the piano, is a comedian or an old person that has a funny way of reading jokes, and groups of friends that have something only they can do.

Organizers say the benefit is all about fun, with examples of acts for the talent show including but not limited to juggling, impersonations, card tricks, maybe even a chicken that plays the piano.

Joshua House Inc. is a local nonprofit Christian organization, which helps to prevent homelessness by providing services to people from all walks of life, faiths, and non-faith backgrounds in northern Vermont.

As a privately funded organization founded in Irasburg in 1996, it receives no federal or state funds.

All support for those in need comes from ongoing fundraisers, caring individuals, businesses, and other non-profits.

Tickets are available through catamountarts.org, at Madame Archetypes Panopole and The Eastside Restaurant & Pub in Newport, and Hearth & Home Country Store in Island Pond.

Audition information/applications are available where tickets are sold, and/or by contacting Sunny Naughton at sunny@sunshinesilverlining.com.

Public comment extended on conserved lands in NEK

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — The Vermont departments of Fish and Wildlife, together with the Forests, Parks, and Recreation department are extending the public comment period on future management and use of a group of conserved lands in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom until December 15.

Future planning is under review for how the Bill Sladyk Wildlife Management Area, Black Turn Brook State Forest and Averill Mountain Wildlife Management Area may be used for sustainable forestry, fish and wildlife habitat, and outdoor activities.

“These lands occupy a special place in Vermont,” said Doug Morin, a biologist for the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. “Large areas of interconnected conserved lands with healthy forests and waters such as these are essential in Vermont.”

The draft plan may be viewed here: PLAN.

Police: 16 arrested during month-long NEK drug sweep

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom/St. Johnsbury

NEWPORT — Authorities say a multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional law enforcement effort has been focusing on drug trafficking in the areas of Newport and Saint Johnsbury.

During the month-long operation conducted by federal, state, local, and county officers, and federal and state prosecutors, law enforcement arrested or charged 16 individuals, searched 3 residences, and seized approximately 700 bags of fentanyl and heroin, 100 grams of cocaine base, 2 firearms, and $4,000 in drug proceeds.

Those charged in federal court include:

Jen Thompson, 39, of Newport, Vermont, for maintaining a drug-involved premises and distribution of cocaine base.

Juliana Graves, 49, of Newport, Vermont, for possession with intent to distribute heroin, fentanyl, and cocaine base.

Elijah Wheeler-Watson, 23, of Clinton, Massachusetts, for possession with intent to distribute cocaine base and heroin.

Adis Djozo, 26, of Essex Junction, Vermont, for possession with intent to distribute heroin.

Alicia Parenteau, 36, of Newport, Vermont, for distribution of cocaine base.

Chakeshia Watts, 40, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, for maintaining a drug-involved premises.

Jerry Watts, 62, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, for maintaining a drug-involved premises.

Randy Devoid, 50, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, for distribution of cocaine base.

Shaquille Carter, 26, of New York, New York, for possession with intent to distribute cocaine base and heroin.

Christina Thompson, 42, of Lyndonville, Vermont, for distribution of cocaine base.

Morgan Cleveland, 39, of Newport, Vermont, for possession with intent to distribute fentanyl.

Those arrested on state warrants and violations include:

Soloman Little, 26, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, who was arrested and cited for fraud.
Christopher MacKay, 52, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, who was arrested on an extraditable warrant for violation of probation in Maine, and multiple failures to appear in Vermont court proceedings.

Mark Houston, 30, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, who was arrested twice in the same day for violating the conditions of his release by breaking curfew restrictions.

Michael Barry, 26, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, who was arrested for failure to appear in Vermont court proceedings.

Michelle Churchill, 34, of St. Johnsbury, Vermont, who was arrested for violating conditions of furlough and returned to correctional custody with the Vermont Department of Corrections.
Defendant Carter is currently a fugitive.

Defendant Cleveland is at large. All other defendants were arrested during the operation.

“Today, as we did earlier this year in Brattleboro, we announce the results of a team effort by law enforcement to combat drug trafficking in one of the hardest hit areas of the state,” United States Attorney Christina E. Nolan said. “The Northeast Kingdom is suffering greatly under the weight of the drug crisis, and we deployed a sustained surge of enforcement resources to bring consequences to those selling deadly drugs in the area.”

Authorities say this operation stemmed from careful planning and collaboration by Vermont law enforcement at all levels.

James Davis named Newport City Downtown Economic Development Specialist

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT – Conrad Bellavance, Chair of Newport City Downtown Development Board of Directors, recently announced that James Davis has accepted the position of the Downtown Economic Development Specialist.

Davis is the former Director of Indoor Recreation of Orleans County (IROC), and an active youth sports coach for hockey and soccer for many years.

“Jim has many years of experience in business and in the nonprofit sector,” said Bellavance. “He has a proven track record of fundraising, organizational management, and development.”

NCDD is Newport’s downtown management organization, funded with major financial support from the City of Newport.

It is responsible for promotion, marketing, design and economic development in Newport’s designated downtown district.

“I am excited to get started,” said Davis. “The NCDD Board of Directors has laid a great foundation with their commitment to promote and preserve historic downtown Newport to be a vibrant economic, social and livable community.”

NEK summit in Burke this Thursday to spotlight impact of local leadership

in Burke/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

BURKE — The first annual NEK Leads Gathering will offer stories of leadership in communities across the region and provide tools for people interested in getting involved.

The day-long event, organized by the Northeast Kingdom Collaborative, will take place on November 14, 2019, at Burke Mountain Hotel & Conference Center.

“The most important resource we have in the Northeast Kingdom are individuals working together to solve local and regional challenges,” said Katherine Sims, NEK Collaborative’s Director. “Connecting those leaders and inspiring others to engage is how we grow that resource to get things done.”

The conference will feature nonprofit, business and political leaders on panels and in breakout workshops.

Topics include Creating Vibrant Community Hubs, Engaging Young People in Community Change, Fundraising for Community Projects, and Welcoming and Supporting New Leadership in Your Organization and Community.

There will also be an opening talk by Northern Vermont University historian Paul Searls, author of “Repeopling Vermont,” and time for small group discussion and networking.

To sign up now visit: nekcollaborative.org/nekleads.

The need for an annual gathering was identified last summer through three public forums.

More than 150 people participated either in person or via electronic survey, answering questions about how to support emerging leaders and to develop and promote new leaders from under-represented groups.

Their input fed into the work of the NEK Collaborative’s Leadership Development Task Force, which in December 2018 produced a six-part platform for action.

One component of the plan was to strengthen organizational and interpersonal connections through an annual NEK regional summit.

“We heard from people across our region that they are hungry for the chance to meet and learn from each other,” Sims said. “We’re so pleased to be able to put on this gathering and excited to see what comes from it.”

Young professionals invited to discuss future during November 11 meeting in Newport

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — If you’re 22- 40 years old, The Vermont Futures Project and the Northeast Kingdom Young Professionals Network would like to learn your insights about Vermont’s current economic challenges, your personal economic and work aspirations, and your recommendations on how to secure Vermont’s future to be a great place to work, live and play.

At the Work Commons in Newport on November 11, from 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m., facilitators Sunny Noelle Naughton, Vice-Chair of the NEK YPN and head of Sunshine Silver Lining Consulting and Lori Smith, Executive Director of the Vermont Futures Project, will be there to discuss your future and that of Vermont for the younger generation.

Space is limited to 15 for each session, so organizers ask that you reserve your spot by emailing Lori Smith at: lsmith@vtfuturesproject.org

Another meeting will be held on November 12, from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m. at the Passumpsic Bank, in St. Johnsbury.

The Vermont Futures Project, in partnership with the Statewide Young Professionals Groups, is planning several focus groups around Vermont this fall.

As the project works to create an actionable statewide plan for sustainable economic growth, they say they want to hear from young professionals currently living here, about what is most important for a thriving future.

The Vermont Futures Project works to promote the long-term economic health of Vermont through leadership, research and education.

Vermont folk horror film tour coming to Greensboro October 27

in Greensboro/News/Northeast Kingdom

GREENSBORO — The Vermont Folk Horror Roadshow will be bringing Transformations (1972) and Walter Ungerer’s The Animal—two eerie films shot and set in Vermont—to Brattleboro, Greensboro, Montpelier, and Woodstock just in time for Halloween.

The tour will visit the Highland Center for the Arts in Greensboro on October 27.

The term folk horror describes films that draw elements of folklore into the conventions of horror cinema.

Often used in reference to British films that explore rural landscapes, paganism, witchcraft, and other sources of fear, the Vermont Folk Horror Roadshow emerged through pondering the question, is there such a thing as Vermont folk horror?

In search of an answer, folklorist and VT Folklife Center Associate Director Andy Kolovos turned to the collection of Vermont-made films preserved by the Vermont Archive Movie Project.

Kolovos was already familiar with the short film Transformations, preserved by VAMP in 2015.

“More than anything else, Transformations is a celebration of the 70s women’s movement and the importance neo-pagan spirituality within it,” said Kolovos. “At the same time, it is filled with night fires, music, and ritual, and permeated by the presence of hidden power, it soundly fits the folk horror bill.”

Kolovos and VTIFF executive director Orly Yadin then began to explore the idea of staging a Vermont folk horror film tour for Halloween.

The pair reached out to Vermont film historian, horror authority and cartoonist Stephen R. Bissette for his thoughts on other Vermont films that could fit the folk horror bill.

Bissette’s answer was immediate and brief, Walter Ungerer’s “The Animal.”

Ungerer’s haunting, avant-garde film The Animal highlights rural isolation and the winter landscape as sites of loss and terror.

The Vermont Horror Roadshow will make stops at the Latchis Theater in Brattleboro on October 26, the Highland Center for the Arts in Greensboro on October 27, the Savoy Theater in Montpelier on October 29, and Pentangle Arts in Woodstock on October 30.

Bissette will introduce the films and lead a question and answer session at the Brattleboro, Montpelier, and Woodstock screenings.
Filmmaker Walter Ungerer will be at the Woodstock screening.

Northeast Kingdom October fishing report

in Newport/Northeast Kingdom/Outdoors

NEWPORT — Department fisheries biologist Pete Emerson who works in the St. Johnsbury office said landlocked Atlantic salmon fishing on the Clyde River should be picking up this week, as we’ve finally received enough rain to fill the waterbodies upstream.

Salmon are starting to show up in the Clyde River trap, so they’re on the move.

If you want to try some salmon viewing, check out the Clyde Street Bridge or the pool just downstream of the bridge, the so-called “Fair Chase Pool”.

Emerson says you can often see adult salmon and even walleye holding in the pool in both spring and fall.

The recent rains and falling temperatures in the Kingdom have also cued the brook trout, and Emerson says they’re moving upstream into the headwater spawning reaches now.

NEK bass and pike anglers have been reporting good fishing in the shallower waters of the Memphremagog main lake, Seymour Lake and Norton Pond.

As summer stratification and thermoclines break down in lakes and ponds across Vermont these species roam more freely, and aggressively feed in the cooler waters.

It’s also a time on some of these lakes when you have a real shot at a lake trout in shallow water, often in the same areas as you’re catching bass and pike.

St. Johnsbury fisheries biologist Jud Kratzer fished the Passumpsic River right in the Village of St. Johnsbury the other day, and he says the river has many deep pools where stocked trout can survive the summer.

Kratzer caught four rainbow trout and spotted a couple of fairly large brown trout but was unable to get them to bite.

He also said he fished West Mountain Pond for wild brook trout and reports that pond brook trout are starting to feed again.

He landed one 9-inch brookie and lost a nice 12-incher at the net.

Fishing on remote brook trout ponds can be very good in the fall.

Good ponds to try include Jobs, Martins, West Mountain, Unknown (Ferdinand), Unknown (Avery’s Gore), South America, and Notch.

Remember using fish as bait is prohibited at most of these ponds to prevent the introduction of other fish species that could be detrimental to wild brook trout populations.

Sheffield man killed in head-on crash

in News/Northeast Kingdom/Vermont

SHEFFIELD — A Sheffield man was killed in a head-on crash on I-89 in Richmond this morning.
 
Police say it happened at around 6:50 a.m. when a 2015 Dodge Ram drifted from the southbound lanes of I-89, into the median, went airborne and struck a 2012 Ford F-350 traveling north head-on.

The driver of the Dodge Ram was identified as 48-year-old Bruce Devenger.

He was transported to UVM Medical Center for his injuries, where he was pronounced deceased.

The passenger of the Dodge was identified as Michael O’Neil, 72, also of Sheffield.

Police say he sustained serious injuries as a result of the crash and was transported to UVM Medical Center.

The driver in the Ford was identified as Kendall Roberts, 55, of Barre.

He sustained serious injuries as a result of the crash and was transported to UVM Medical Center as well.
 
The northbound lanes of I-89 were shut down for several hours while the crash scene was investigated.
 
The Vermont State Police say that alcohol, speed, and inattention are believed to be factors that contributed to the crash.

$250,000 awarded to help grow outdoor recreation economy of the NEK

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom/Vermont

NEWPORT — More money and organizational support will be available in 2020 for NEK towns and nonprofits working to expand or improve local trail-based outdoor recreation options.

The assistance comes thanks to a cooperative effort spearheaded by the Northeast Kingdom Collaborative (NEKC) and Northeastern Vermont Development Association (NVDA). 

The federal Northern Border Regional Commission this month awarded $250,000 to NVDA for a multi-pronged effort to grow the outdoor recreation economy in Caledonia, Essex and Orleans counties.

The project will assist in marketing the region as a trail-based destination through improved mapping, business tie-ins, and multi-town connections.

One component will distribute sub-grants of $10-40,000 each to support 5 to 10 community-level projects to build trails or supporting infrastructures such as kiosks, parking, and village traffic calming.

“More than twenty towns and organizations came together to develop this project,” said Katherine Sims, NEKC Executive Director. “Cooperation was the key to our success in this highly competitive grant process.”

Last year, a task force convened by the NEKC recommended a focus on connecting community outdoor recreation assets to downtowns and food-based and creative businesses.

That was one of five major initiatives to support regional economic development presented in its report, From Strength to Strength.

Following that, the Collaborative coordinated planning meetings involving towns and other organizations across the region.

Many of them had been working on trail-based projects independently.

“Trails are often what create those connections to our downtowns and businesses, but there are many more projects in the development phase than there is funding available to build them,” said Dave Snedeker, NVDA Executive Director. “This should help address that gap.”

In addition to providing funding for specific local projects, the project will also launch the NEK Outdoor Recreation Economic Collaborative, a working group facilitated by the NEKC.

That group will solicit project applications this fall with awards to towns and trail networks made in early 2020.

The group will also provide input on plans for marketing of existing recreational assets, as well as share best practices and lessons learned as projects are developed. 

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

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Congratulations local Vermont High School Completion Program graduating class of 2019

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

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

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

Local graduating students in attendance included:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photo by Tanya Mueller.

Grant awarded to fight aquatic invasive species throughout Memphremagog watershed

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

You can be fined up to $1,000.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The following area lakes have decontamination stations:

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

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

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

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

Larry Labor receives prestigious honor

in Health/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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