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Northeast Kingdom

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/.

Orleans County residents named to Vermont Agricultural Hall of Fame

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom/Westfield/Westmore

NEWPORT — The Vermont Agricultural Hall of Fame recently announced the 2019 inductees. Now in its 17th year, the Hall has inducted 80 Vermonters to date.

Joanna Samuelson Lidback, of The Farm at Wheeler Mountain in Westmore, was inducted as a merging leader, and Jack and Anne Lazor, of Butterworks Farm in Westfield, were inducted for lifetime achievement.

Emerging Leader: Stepping Up to Become the Next Generation of Leaders (age 40 and under) Joanna Samuelson Lidback, Westmore

Lidback is a farmer, agricultural business consultant, 4-H volunteer, and family farm advocate.

Together with her husband Adam, she owns The Farm at Wheeler Mountain, a family dairy farm located in Westmore.

Lidback earned a BS in Applied Economics and Business Management from Cornell, and an MBA from Babson F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business. She is currently employed as Business Consultant for Yankee Farm Credit.

In this role, she helps dairy farmers with the challenges of developing business, estate, and succession plans.

Her love of farming extends well beyond the boundaries of Vermont. She is a Board Member with the Global Farmer Network – a non-profit advocacy group led by farmers from around the world.

She has also testified on behalf of Vermont farmers before the US House and Agriculture Committee and Senate Agriculture Committee in Washington, D.C.

Lidback was honored by the American Jersey Cattle Association with the Young Jersey Breeder Award in 2016. S

She was an active member of the Agri-Mark Young Cooperators Program and served as a YC Representative from 2012-2015.

She is also active in the Vermont Farm Bureau and currently serves as First Vice President of the Orleans County Farm Bureau.

She and Adam are raising three young children together on the family farm.

Lifetime Achievement: 30+ Years of Outstanding Service to Vermont Agriculture, Jack and Anne Lazor, Westfield

Jack and Anne Lazor began farming in 1976. For more than forty years, they have built a reputation for producing outstanding organic yogurt, stewarding the land, and advocating for organic agriculture.

Their Butterworks Farm grass-fed yogurt is sold in nearly 80 groceries and coops across Vermont and in neighboring states.

Together with a dedicated team, they produce some of the finest organic yogurt available.

Anne and Jack have been a steadfast team in farming, family, and life.

Jack is a teacher and a member of the “Agrarian Elders,” a group of twenty-four pioneers considered to be the founders of organic agriculture in the U.S.

Over the years, both he and Anne have devoted themselves to teaching the next generation of farmers how to raise animals, steward the land, and produce products ethically and sustainably.

Farming is a family affair for the Lazors, who raised their daughter, Christine, together at Butterworks.

Today, the Lazors enjoy sharing their love of agriculture, and Butterworks Farm, with their grandchildren.

Police looking for dirt bike rider

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — The Orleans County Sheriff’s Department is seeking the public’s help identifying the operator of a red Honda dirt bike that took off from law enforcement today.

Police say at approximately 1:00 p.m. the operator took off from police and “showed no regard for the lives of anyone else on the trail system.”

Police say he was in a group with a new style blue Polaris RZR 1000 Turbo, a red Polaris 4-wheeler, and a red CF-Moto UTV.

According to police, information gathered suggest the individuals may live near the Johnson area.

Anyone with information is being asked to contact the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department.

70-year-old sets records in 25-mile Lake Memphremagog swim

in Magog/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — On Monday, 70-year-old Dan Shub of Baltimore, MD, swam the 25-mile length of Lake Memphremagog, between Newport, Vermont, and Magog, Quebec, or, as it’s also known, “In Search of Memphre.”

He is the oldest person to complete this 25-mile swim.

He entered the water at 11:22 p.m. on Sunday, July 7, 2019, at the EastSide Restaurant in Newport, and exited at Park de Baie-du-Magog on July 8, at 8:33 p.m.

Shub also set the record for the longest time in the water to successfully complete the distance, at 21 hours and 11 minutes.

He is the 36th person to complete “the Search” since the swim was started in 2011 on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 by Elaine Kormbau Howley and Phil White, to promote a more open border by re-opening the lake to international swimming.

This year, Dan dedicated his swim to the Lost Children.

At a young age, Shub became a cancer survivor, which led him into an active lifestyle as a triathlete and long-distance open water swimmer.

He has participated in many swims in the Northeast Kingdom, including two 25 km Border Busters at Kingdom Swim and last year’s July Expeditionary Search, in which he was beaten back by high winds in his face, but only after he had completed 16 miles of very tough swimming.

He was among 5 others who failed to complete that day, while only 2 made it to the finish.

This year, he returned to finish business.

Vermont expands Stay to Stay Weekends to include Newport

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — The Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing announced the expansion of its Stay to Stay Weekends to now include Newport.

Stay to Stay is an economic development tourism program launched as a pilot last year, that has successfully relocated over a dozen people from across the country to Vermont.

Newport will host Stay to Stay Weekends on July 26-29, and December 13-16.

“The Stay to Stay Weekends will help build broader national awareness of the Northeast Kingdom as an exceptional place to not just play, but also live and work,” said Wendy Knight, Tourism and Marketing Commissioner.

The 3-day networking weekends are for out-of-state visitors interested in living full-time in Vermont.

Weekends begin with a Friday evening reception hosted by a local chamber of commerce or young professional’s network.

Saturday and Sunday offer unstructured opportunities to explore the region and get a glimpse into living in the community.

On Monday, guests meet with employers, tour the area with a realtor, or visit an incubator/co-working space to meet with entrepreneurs and professionals.

The Stay to Stay Weekends in Newport will also include Monday morning visits to local childcare centers to demonstrate the region’s appeal to young families.

“We need to grow Vermont’s workforce, it’s the crux of every challenge and cornerstone of every solution we face in Vermont,” said Governor Scott. “And we need to use every tool in the toolbox to achieve this goal.”
Newport will host the Stay to Stay Weekends July 26-29, and December 13-16.

NEK students take part in SEEDS leadership training

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Thirteen local students recently joined in the statewide SEEDS Summer Leadership Training Program held at Northern Vermont University-Lyndon.

They spent spend three days and two nights on campus with students from around the state.

Students participated in team-building activities and team challenges.

They also took part in projects and games designed to help them find their passion, build their confidence, map out long-term goals and develop a strong sense of purpose as they transition into high school.

Pictured from left-to-right, are:

(back row) Robert West and Kai-Lee Huang, both from Danville School; Bailey Shepard, Hazen Union High School; Emma Chaput, Troy School; Paige Ainsworth, Hazen UHS; Lydia Ste. Marie and Kloey Descheneau, both from Troy School; Will Patnoe and Felicia-Ann Flint, both from Craftsbury Academy. Front row, from left-to-right: Jasmine Dunbar, Danville School; Justice Clark, Brighton Elementary School; Destiny DeMasi, Danville School, and Sophie Michaud, Lake Region Union High School.

Son of a Swim kicks off open water swimming season in the Kingdom

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

DERBY — On Saturday, June 29, the Northeast Kingdom Open Water Swimming Association and Kingdom Games cracked the cap on Summer’s open water swimming season.

In total, 14 swimmers, ages 12 to 64, from Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Virginia, and Montreal, swam distances of 2, 4, 6.5 and 10 miles, on Lake Memphremagog.

They swam from Derby Bay out to and around Bell, Province, Black, and Cove Islands.

Winds were light, with water temperature a 70 F. A threat of showers and thunderstorms held off as all swimmers finished their chosen distances.

Participants included three swimmers who have swum the 25-mile length of Lake Memphremagog, including Charlotte Brynn, Paula Yankauskas, and Vera Rivard.

Natalie Lang, who also participated on Saturday, will be attempting to swim the length of Memphremagog in July.

Yankauskas hold’s the record as the oldest person to swim the length of the lake, which she did when she was 60 years old, and Vera Rivard holds the record as the youngest to swim the length of the lake, which she did last year when she was just 14.

The roster also included six kayakers and crew who have supported “In Search of Memphre,” including Pam Ladds, Jerry Zeankowski, Kevin, Darcie and Margaret Rivard, and Cynthia Needham.

Son of a Swim was started in 2009 to help new swimmers qualify for Kingdom Swim.

Over the years, the swim has grown and moved from Prouty Beach in Newport to Derby Bay.

The swim now incorporates the islands of Derby Bay as its “buoys,” and offers the beauty and magic of this area of Lake Memphremagog.

The swim now includes not only newcomers to open water swimming, but also more experienced swimmers impatient to get their season underway, who are looking for a well-supported swim in June.

The swim is organized by Kingdom Games and the Northeast Kingdom Open Water Swimming Association.

Next up in July will be In Search of Memphre, July and Kingdom Swim, their Flagship Swim, on July 27, and in August, NEK Swim Week, August 10 to 18, and more 25-mile solo and group swims.

Kingdom Games offers over 25 days of running, biking and swimming events throughout the year.

More than 1,000 visit Maxwell’s Neighborhood Farm in Newport

NEWPORT — On Saturday, more than 1,000 visitors flocked to Maxwell’s Neighborhood Farm in Newport.

The Newport dairy farm was packed as guests enjoyed a Vermont-inspired pancake breakfast and took a self-guided tour of the 1,000 cow dairy farm.

In its fifth year, Vermont Breakfast on the Farm aims to connect the public with hard-working dairy farming families like the Maxwell family.

Fourteen educational stations throughout the farm tour helped visitors learn about daily life on the farm.

Those stations included a look at sustainable technologies and practices, including the Maxwell’s methane digester which utilizes cow manure, capturing methane gas, turning it into renewable electricity to power the farm and surrounding homes.

Guests also saw how farmers safeguard local waters like Lake Memphremagog through the use of protective cover crops, and toured the Maxwell’s free-stall-barns where cows have 24-7 access to fresh food, water, and comfortable beds.

Maxwell’s Neighborhood Farm was founded in 1957 by Maurice and Lois Maxwell.

They raised four sons on the farm, including Brad, Stewart, Anthony, and Jeffery.

All four brothers chose careers on the farm alongside their parents. Their family farming tradition continued when their grandchildren, Matt Maxwell and Darik LeBlanc, 3rd generation farmers – joined them on the farm.

The 4th generation, the great grandkids of Maurice and Lois, are now growing up on the family farm as well.

“The fact that four generations get to be on this farm working together, caring for our cows and land each day, that’s a special thing,” said third-generation dairy farmer Matt Maxwell.

The Maxwell farm now milks nearly a thousand cows and spans 2,000 acres of corn and hay. The farm is also well known for growing vegetables, Maxwell’s Neighborhood Greens, for local schools and businesses in a greenhouse, warmed by excess heat generated by their methane digester.

More than 100 volunteers from across Vermont, many with experience in the dairy industry, joined the Maxwell family and their employees to help answer visitor questions about modern dairy farming.

“I’m proud to be a Vermont dairy farmer, to be producing a nutritious food for my community, state, and region,” Maxwell added. “I’m honored to see all of these people who came out today to get a glimpse into what we do.”

Driver sideswipes police cruiser while surfing internet for episode of “Saved by the Bell”

in News/Northeast Kingdom/Vermont

THETFORD — Police say a Wells River man was on his phone surfing the internet for a specific episode of the 90’s television sitcom ‘Saved by the Bell,’ when he sideswiped a police car.

The driver was identified as 55-year-old Kevin Bacon.

Bacon was driving a 2016 Chevrolet Spark down Interstate 91 when he struck the cruiser at around 3:45 p.m.

The car was parked while the police officer was helping a motorist in the breakdown lane.

Bacon continued for a short distance after the incident and was taken into custody about a mile from the crash scene.

According to police, their investigation revealed that Bacon was looking down at his cell phone at the time of the crash, as well as several minutes beforehand.

Police say he never saw the marked police cruiser.

There were no injuries during the incident.

State Police officials did not identify which episode was of such interest to Bacon.

He was arrested for gross negligent operation of a vehicle and leaving the scene of a crash, as well as being issued a traffic citation for texting while driving.

NEKLS Prevention Services works with local schools to combat youth vaping epidemic

in Derby/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Electronic cigarettes or e-cigarettes are the most commonly used tobacco product among middle and high school students in Vermont, and new data from the Youth Risk Behavior Survey has shown that there is an alarming number of students in Orleans county who report trying electronic vapor products.

In an effort to combat that growing statistic, Lake Region Union High School collaborated with NEKLS Prevention Services and held a parent informational night as well as educational sessions for students.

The goal of the two events was to inform parents and students of the growing concerns around these products. E-cigarettes come in many different sizes, colors, and types.

Tobacco companies have even designed products to resemble small electronic devices that are compact and allow for discreet carrying and use. Lake Region administration and staff say they are seeing an increase in e-cigarette devices that look like USB sticks and other everyday items.

“We believe that it’s critical parents talk with their children about these products to let them know that vaping is not safe and that long term impact of the use of e-cigarettes is unknown,” Sharon Gonyaw, Vice Principal, and Andre Messier, Principal, of LRUHS said in a joint statement.

Health officials say that kids need to know that nearly all e-cigarettes contain nicotine.

Research has not only shown that nicotine is highly addictive and is harmful to a developing adolescent brain, but most concerning is that exposure to nicotine can lead to addiction and disrupt attention and learning.

NEKLS Prevention Services has also closely collaborated with North Country Union Junior High School health educator, Julie Gunn and SAP, Pat Gelo, on educating students.

This outreach has come through class presentations, “Kick Butts Day” activities, and getting updated Vermont Dept of Health substance-free signage posted around the school grounds and fields.

“I often challenge students to think about what they want to control their lives when it comes to nicotine addiction,” Julie Gunn said. “I enjoy sharing information and helping them in making good decisions around being nicotine free.”

Most recently, NEKLS Prevention Services attended NCUJHS’s Parent Night and offered several mini E-Cigarette presentations to parents, beginning with a 5-minute video from VOX Media, “How Juul Made Nicotine Go Viral” followed by a brief presentation and Q&A.

“I would say the most important thing we need to do is educate everyone, students, parents and community members about the dangers of vaping,” Pat Gelo said. “Knowledge is power.”

Messier and Gonyaw say that the community must work together to provide children with the knowledge and support to help them make a healthy decision when it comes to vaping.

Below are facts and resources from the Vermont Department of Health to help raise awareness about the vaping crisis and nicotine addiction.

◙ E-cigarettes, which frequently contain nicotine, are never safe for youth and young adults.

◙ E-cigarette use among youth increased by 75% from 2017 to 2018 [National Youth Tobacco Survey].

◙ Youth use of e-cigarettes increases the future risk of smoking traditional cigarettes and can be just as addictive.

◙ Customizable e-cigarette devices can be used to deliver non-nicotine substances, such as cannabis extract or honey oil.

◙ According to a study by Environmental Health Perspectives, 75% of fruit-, candy- and cocktail flavored e-cigarettes, which attract youth, contained diacetyl, a chemical linked to lung disease.

◙ E-cigarette aerosol can contain harmful substances, including nicotine, heavy metals like lead, volatile organic compounds and cancer-causing chemicals [John Hopkins School of Public Health].

◙ Since launching in 2016, JUUL has become the most popular e-cigarette on the market. Its design, which looks like a USB flash drive, makes it easy to conceal.

◙ All JUUL products contain nicotine; one pod delivers the equivalent of a pack of cigarettes.

◙ Signs of addiction to nicotine include trembling, nausea and frequent e-cig use. Watch for behavior such as frequent trips to the bathroom, reports of illness or hand-to-mouth activity.

◙ Youth can receive help in quitting e-cigarettes from their pediatrician. School nurses can assist by recognizing symptoms, discussing these with the student and parent and referring to 802Quits, Vermont’s 24/7 quitline (1-800-QUIT-NOW) for ages 13 and older. For more, visit 802quits.org

◙ It is illegal to sell any tobacco product to minors, including e-cigarettes, yet underage teens are obtaining devices, often from older students or family and friends.

◙ E-cigarettes are called “tobacco substitutes” in Vermont’s state statute. Use of e-cigarettes is banned – except for vape shops – wherever lit tobacco products are restricted, including on school grounds, at school events and while being transported.

◙ It is important for parents to talk to their kids about the dangers of using e-cigarettes, including JUUL and other commonly-used products such as Suorin, Justfog Minifit and MarkTen.

Below is a list of resources curated by NEKLS Prevention Services for parents who would like to learn more about this issue.

VDH: E-cigarettes, vaping and JUUL Resource 2019

Stanford Medicine Tobacco Prevention Toolkit: E-Cigs and Vape Pens

Truth Initiative E-Cigarettes Fact Sheet

The U.S. Surgeon General’s Fact Sheet

Parent Tip Sheet

Concerned parties are also encouraged to contact Allyson Howell from NEKLS Prevention Services, through email at allyson.howell@neklsvt.org or calling 802-334-7506.

Congressman Peter Welch meets with NEK Young Professionals

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom/St. Johnsbury

ST. JOHNSBURY — Vermont U.S. Representative Peter Welch recently visited with young professionals in the Northeast Kingdom at Catamount Arts in St. Johnsbury.

The Northeast Kingdom Young Professionals Network helped to organize the breakfast with Congressman Welch’s office.

Young entrepreneurs and professionals from local non-profit organizations, serving youth and families, the service industry, and marketing, tourism and beyond joined together to share with Welch their thoughts and feelings regarding life in the Kingdom for young professionals.

Painting an honest and sincere picture, there were laughs yet also valid concerns shared about job opportunities, childcare, healthcare, homeownership, access to broadband and faith in state and local governments.

Welch offered a heartfelt thanks for the input and shared that he felt a responsibility to go back to Washington and try to help the hard workers in NEK continue to succeed.

The NEK Young Professionals Network is excited to air more of its work over the coming months, with several initiatives on the precipice of being announced.

You can join the group for a networking mixer on Thursday, June 20, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Essex House in Island Pond.

This will be the first event the group has held in Essex County.

Clausing and Findlay recognized for community service

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWARK — Jan Clausing and John Findlay were recently honored with Community National Bank’s “Community Service Award.”

The award was created to recognize remarkable people who give back to the community, making them better places to live, work and grow.

For several years Clausing and Findlay have volunteered countless hours assisting with major renovation projects and the maintenance of the Newark Union Church.

They take care of repairs as needed, help to maintain the electrical system, the antique Round Oak wood stove, and the upkeep of the grounds.

They get the church ready for the annual Old Home Day Festival, sunrise Easter services, weddings, and celebrations of life.

They work closely with Jo Ann Clausing who has also been a longtime volunteer of the church.

Clausing and Findlay are active members of several other organizations.

Clausing is a volunteer at the Lyndonville Welcome Center, a 30-year member of the St. Johnsbury Players, currently serving as Vice President, Newark Supervisor of the Northeast Kingdom Waste Management District, and a board member of Lyndon Rescue.

Findlay is a member of Faith In Action, the Lyndon Historical Society, the Vail Museum at Northern Vermont University-Lyndon, and a board member of the Darling Inn Meal Site.

Community National Bank says they were proud to present Mr. Clausing and Mr. Findlay with the bank’s Community Service Award for the first quarter of 2019.

The bank recognizes recipients by making a $500.00 contribution to a local non-profit organization of the recipient’s choice.

Clausing and Findlay have requested that their donation be made to the Newark Union Church.

For more information about this award and to nominate a deserving neighbor, visit communitynationalbank.com or contact Marketing Assistant Anne Quirion at 802-487-3513 or aquirion@communitynationalbank.com.

Tour de Kingdom kicks off this Friday

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — The three-day Tour de Kingdom will be returning for another year this coming weekend, running June 7, 8, and 9.

The current roster stands at just over 100 riders this year with online registration open through until tomorrow at 5:00 p.m.

Friday’s “Ride Around Le Lac Memphremagog,” a total of 78 miles, offers an international flavor. Currently, 30 riders are signed up, including Cindy Werhane from Portland, Oregon, who swam the 25-mile length of the lake in 2017 and is returning to bike around it as a victory lap of sorts.

The biggest day is The Moose, a 103-mile timed event, on Saturday, with 93 riders signed on, coming from 11 states and Canadian provinces.

Riders will be leaving from Mike’s Tiki Bar in East Burke, traveling north on Route 114 through Island Pond to Norton and Canaan, and returning along the Connecticut River on Route 102 to Bloomfield, then along 105 to Island Pond and back to East Burke.

Sunday offers some shorter rides, again leaving from East Burke and covering Lake Willoughby, Crystal, Seymour, and Island Pond.

Another 30 riders are signed up for Sunday.

The weather forecast looks good for all three days of the event.

Organizers say they are pleased to see the growth of the Tour and additional walk-on riders are welcome.

North Country Hospital and NVRH open new sleep clinic

in Health/News/Northeast Kingdom/St. Johnsbury

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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