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Northeast Kingdom

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.

NorthWoods Stewardship 30th Anniversary Open House on June 8

in Charleston/News/Northeast Kingdom/Outdoors

EAST CHARLESTON — The NorthWoods Stewardship Center in East Charleston is celebrating three decades of environmental stewardship in the northeast with a 30th Anniversary Open House on June 8, 2019, from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

The event is open to the public and includes a free dinner, music by celebrated Celtic ensemble The Wind that Shakes the Barley, a video release, a silent auction featuring items from local businesses and artisans, and keynotes by local community leaders.

Join the staff and community as they look back on three decades of work, from the organization’s founding by Bill & Pat Manning as the Vermont Leadership Center, through the growth of education, youth conservation and land management programs, and the expansion of the campus to 1,500 acres of protected trails and demonstration forest.

Today, the Center employs local youth in conservation efforts in all 6 New England states, serves children throughout the NEK through their after-school and camp programs, and partners with federal, state and local agencies to provide ongoing trail, forestry, and watershed conservation work on public and private lands throughout the region.

All are welcome to attend this free event, located at 154 Leadership Drive, in East Charleston.

Irasburg’s Leach Public Library to celebrate life and work of Howard Frank Mosher

IRASBURG — The Leach Public Library in Irasburg will hold the third annual celebration of beloved Vermont author Howard Frank Mosher during an event at the library.

The gathering will take place at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday, June 2, the 76th anniversary of his birth.

Howard Frank Mosher made his home in Irasburg until his death in 2017.

Many of Mosher’s books feature the fictional town of “Kingdom Common,” loosely modeled on Irasburg, with elements of Orleans and Newport.

In 2016, Mosher donated his personal book collection to the Leach Public Library, where he served as a longtime member of the board of trustees.

“It has become a tradition for us to celebrate our friend and neighbor Howard Frank Mosher on his birthday,” said Leach Library trustee Judith Jackson.

Refreshments, featuring some of Howard Frank Mosher’s favorites, will be served.

“It’s an opportunity to recognize anew his unique insight into the life and people of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, his affection for them, and ours for him,” Jackson added.

Quiros and Stenger indicted on fraud charges related to Jay Peak EB-5 projects

in Jay Peak/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan was in Newport today to announce that four people were charged with conspiring in a multi-year wire fraud scheme to defraud immigrant investors seeking green cards through the EB-5 program, among other charges.

Ariel Quiros, 63, William Kelly, 70, both of Florida, along with Jong Weon Choi, 58, of South Korea and William Stenger, 70, of Newport, were indicted by the federal grand jury on criminal charges in connection with their management of the Jay Peak Biomedical Research Park EB-5 investment project, also called the AnC Vermont project.

In addition to the wire fraud conspiracy count, the defendants face other charges, including six separate counts of wire fraud and various counts of concealing material facts or presenting false statements in a matter within the jurisdiction of a federal agency, namely United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), which oversaw the EB-5 process.

Quiros is also charged with two counts of money laundering.

The indictment alleges that the defendants misrepresented facts to the SEC, which investigated the Jay Peak EB-5 offerings while the defendants were seeking new AnC investors.

A civil action by the SEC ended the defendants’ control of the EB-5 projects.

“As alleged in this indictment, this scheme defrauded hopeful immigrant investors in what may be the largest financial crime in our state history,” Nolan stated.

The defendants face a maximum penalty on the most serious charges of 20 years in prison, three years of supervised release, a $250,000 fine or twice the gross gain or loss, and restitution to the victims.

The indictment also alleges forfeiture against the defendants.

“This case is about greed and deceit,” James N. Hendricks, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation said. “The defendants’ broken business promises have left not only a physical scar on the city of Newport, but also an intangible scar on the promise of economic development for the Northeast Kingdom and on the dreams of many hopeful immigrants.”

The indictment alleges a scheme conceived in 2011 and carried through until the defendants lost control of the project in April 2016.

The AnC project was the seventh EB-5 project managed by Quiros and Stenger, but the first involving a business outside a ski resort.

The defendants designed the project to raise $110 million from immigrant investors in order to build and operate a biotechnology company, AnC Vermont, on a property in Newport.

From 2012 to 2016, the defendants obtained over $80 million from over 160 immigrant investors in the AnC project.

Under the EB-5 program created by Congress, immigrant investors could obtain green cards by investing $500,000 each in a United States business that would create ten jobs per investment.

Pursuant to federal law, the AnC project was regulated and monitored by USCIS and the Vermont Regional Center, a part of state government.

According to the indictment, the defendants’ scheme involved both secret embezzlement of immigrant investor funds and deceit about the AnC project’s jobs and revenue.

The defendants designed the project so that Quiros and Choi, who were secret partners, could siphon millions of dollars in investor funds into their pockets.

As the defendants raised investor money, Quiros used the money for his own purposes instead of using it to build the project.

The defendants then concealed this misuse of funds.

The indictment also charges that the defendants created a fraudulent AnC business plan based on a “party line” conceived to misrepresent the number of jobs that would be created by the project and the business revenue that would be generated from the project.

Marketing the project to immigrant investors depended on job creation and future revenue, since the defendants emphasized their ability to satisfy the job creation standards under EB-5 law and repay immigrant investors.

The indictment charges that the defendants devised job and revenue projections based on the number of jobs needed to obtain project approval from USCIS without regard to a viable plan to actually create those jobs or achieve those revenues.

AnC Vermont would supposedly rent clean rooms, market stem cell therapies, and manufacture artificial organs.

The defendants made fraudulent statements in regard to all three facets of the future business, in particular with regard to how soon the project would generate jobs and revenue.

Rather than disclose that they were creating a start-up business that would need large capital reserves to operate in the early stages, the defendants falsely represented that they had a plan where AnC Vermont would successfully market its products as soon as construction was complete.

In addition to the wire fraud and wire fraud conspiracy charges, the indictment charges Quiros with two money laundering counts relating to two transactions where he used AnC investor funds for personal expenses, specifically a $6 million payment to the IRS and the purchase of a vehicle.

Further, the indictment contains five concealment or false statement counts.

First, it alleges that the defendants concealed from the Vermont Regional Center how Quiros used approximately $21 million in investor funds to pay off a loan unrelated to the AnC Vermont project.

Next, the indictment alleges that Quiros, Kelly, and Choi concealed that Choi was being investigated in Korea for financial crimes, and falsely represented that AnC Korea, a company they claimed would supply the technologies that AnC Vermont would market, was not in financial distress.

Finally, the indictment charges Stenger with presenting false documents and statements to the Vermont Regional Center.

One of these counts focuses on a misrepresentation by Stenger that he had followed the Regional Center’s direction to stop marketing the AnC project in mid- 2014.

The other charges as false a written presentation Stenger made to the Regional Center in January 2015 as he was seeking permission to continue recruiting investors for the AnC project.

Quiros, Kelly, and Stenger surrendered to the custody of the United States Marshals Service this morning and appeared for arraignment on the charges in federal court later today.

Choi remains at large.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Weekend! returns to Island Pond starting Friday

ISLAND POND — The Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Weekend will take place in downtown Island Pond, this weekend, from May 24 – 27.

The weekend offers four days of non-stop events including a champagne reception, karaoke, spa services, Paint ‘n Sips and wine & cider tastings, Tai Chi & exercise classes, and a living history exhibit at the IPHS museum.

Nationally known comedian Bil Benden will kick-off the weekend on Friday night with his comedy show, Saturday night will feature the return of Men in Motion and Sunday night will feature the NEK’s first Drag Bingo tournament hosted by Emoji Nightmare & Nikki Champagne.

The weekend will wind up on Monday morning with their annual Memorial Day Parade.

The Island Pond Renewal Committee created the Girls Just Wanna Have Fun Weekend in 2018 and it was a hit beyond all expectations.

People from as far away as Cape Cod flocked to Island Pond looking for the most fun ladies’ weekend in New England, and they found it.

Almost every event was sold out and all received rave reviews.

The committee has once again joined with all the downtown businesses to create an even bigger weekend full of events with something for everyone.

Friday starts with a champagne reception at the Essex House with champagne and hors d’oeuvres.

Members of the organizing team will be on hand to answer questions and make sure everybody is oriented to the locations of all the events.

Headlining Friday night’s entertainment will be comedian Bil Benden. He has worked with Drew Carey, Robert Schimmel, Tim Allen, and Ray Romano, in addition to many others.

He has also been featured on HBO, Comedy Central, A&E, and Fox.

He will bring his unique comedic style to the American Legion Brighton Post #80 stage and while this event is part of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!, it is open to everyone 21 years of age and older.

Friday night will end with karaoke at the Essex House featuring NEKaraoke.

Saturday starts off with a beginner Tai Chi class hosted by Brighton Recreation’s Director, Doug Niles.

Next, get the blood pumping with an invigorating cross training workout also instructed by Doug Niles.

The Hearth & Home Country Store will be hosting a wine tasting with 6 specially selected varieties.

Everyone’s favorite Paint ‘n Sip instructor Natalie Anne will be holding a Sap Bucket Paint ’n Sip at Hobo’s Cafe during the afternoon.

Jesse’s Little Kitchen will be offering their popular $2 off a large pizza special all weekend so the father’s left at home with the kids don’t need to cook.

Then it’s time for a little pampering at the Essex House & Tavern. Enjoy a chair massage from one of their licensed providers. Try out a set of Color Street nails as part of your manicure or a Henna by Kate tattoo. They will even be serving a light elegant snack provided by the Essex House.

Saturday night will be headlined by New England’s #1 male revue show, Men In Motion. Each of their shows are expertly designed, choreographed and created events with one goal in mind–the perfect girls’ night out.

The Essex House will be hosting a Wings, Brews & Tunes event so all the men won’t feel left out!

Sunday will start with a Morning After breakfast at Hobo’s Café followed by a Living History Exhibit at the Island Pond Historical Society Museum.

The Hearth & Home Country Store will be hosting a cider tasting featuring 6 specially selected varieties.

Natalie Anne will be back at the American Legion for a Barn Board Paint ‘n Sip.

Sunday will end with a bingo tournament like no other in the NEK. Emoji Nightmare & Nikki Champagne will be traveling from Burlington to host Drag Bingo at the American Legion.

This event will be a little bit campy and a whole lot of fun. In addition to laughs, cash prizes will be paid out to all winners.

Monday morning will feature the annual Memorial Day Parade in beautiful downtown Island Pond organized by the American Legion Brighton Post #80.

This event will honor those that have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

Tickets may be purchased at http://Tickets.VisitIslandPond.com or in person at The Hearth & Home Country Store in downtown Island Pond.

Community National Bank receives Worksite Wellness Award

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Members of Community National Bank’s (CNB) Wellness Committee recently attended the Worksite Wellness Conference in Burlington to accept a Governor’s Excellence in Worksite Wellness Award.

Each year the Vermont Department of Health and the Governor’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports honor Vermont businesses for their efforts to promote health and wellness in the workplace.

CNB’s Wellness Committee, initiated in 2017, offers engaging activities that encourage physical fitness, healthy eating habits and emotional health for the bank’s employees.

The response rate to the Wellness Committee’s efforts shows that CNB employees have welcomed the opportunities to learn about health-related topics and to participate in activities that promote fitness and well-being.

The bank says they are honored to have received the Gold Level award for the Governor’s Excellence in Worksite Wellness.

Community National Bank is an independent bank that has been serving Vermont communities since 1851.

They have offices located in Derby, Barre, Barton, Derby Line, Enosburg Falls, Island Pond, Lyndonville, Montpelier, Morrisville, Newport, St. Johnsbury and Troy.

NEK native to lead private journaling workshop in Newport

NEWPORT — This week Sunshine Silver Lining Vision Consulting, a media, management, and networking consulting company based out of Newport, announced their premiere workshop series “Tea and Tales.”

This series of writing and reading workshops will highlight both Vermont writers and authors as well as a variety of writing styles from journalling to memoir, along with poetry and screenwriting.

This spring, Tea and Tales will kick off with several workshops at The Work Commons in Newport, facilitated by Northeast Kingdom Native Ilene Elliott.

Private journaling is powerful and worthwhile. The added dynamic and energy of writing in a group can provide validation, encouragement, support, and new insight.

Participants of Elliott’s workshops and retreats will be introduced to handwritten journaling strategies and techniques that can be incorporated into their daily lives.

There will be several workshops:

Saturday, April 13, 2019, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 11, 2019, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
Saturday, June 8, 2019, 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

All workshops will be held at The Work Commons in Newport.

Sessions include facilitation and refreshments. Organizers of the workshops say you only need to bring a journal and an open mind.

A life-long Vermonter, Ilene was born, raised, and lived most of her life in the Northeast Kingdom. In 2016 she relocated to central Vermont.

For almost 30 years she has nurtured her own journaling practice while facilitating journaling workshops and retreats for others.

Elliott describes journaling as a tool for self-awareness and self-discovery, a way to grow in relationship with self and stir the pot of creativity.

Pricing for Tea and Tales is a sliding scale from $15 to $30 a session and can be paid by cash, check or in person with a credit or debit card.

Participants are asked to pre-register by contacting sunny@sunshinesilverlining.com or calling or texting 917-945-6250 as space is limited.

Spring steelhead run up Willoughby Falls guided walk April 27

in Northeast Kingdom/Outdoors/Westmore

WESTMORE — Fisheries biologist Pete Emerson will be available for a guided walk at the Willoughby Falls on April 27.

The goal of the walk will be to observe the steelhead spawning migration and to answer questions from the public about the fish, the river, and the state-owned lands that border the river much of the way to Lake Memphremagog.

The walk will take place at 10:00 a.m. at the Willoughby Falls Wildlife Management Area, in Orleans.

Steelhead are a strain of rainbow trout that migrate from their natal rivers as juvenile fish when they are around six inches long.

They leave the relative safety of the river, moving downstream towards the ocean where abundant food helps them grow considerably larger than their stream-dwelling cousins.

The Orleans steelhead are content to stop their migration at Lake Memphremagog where they feed for a year before returning as adults to spawn.

Steelhead can return to spawn many years, drawing anglers who prize their strength and size. They can get as large as 24 inches and up to 6 or 7 pounds.

There is no need to sign up for this guided walk, just show up.

Jay Focus Group offering summer camp scholarship opportunities, and more

in Jay/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — The Jay Focus Group recently announced scholarship opportunities for 2019.

The group’s “Community Service Scholarship” provides funding up to $500 to high school seniors from Orleans County to assist with educational costs of continuing their education.

The scholarship requires previous community service involvement, and the deadline for applying is April 19.

The winner will be announced on May 3.

In addition, the group’s 6th Annual “Summer Camp Program” sends students from Orleans County to a summer camp for a week. The program aims to help create a memory that will last a lifetime.

Applications and a brief description from each student must be submitted to the Jay Focus Group Summer Camp Program no later than April 25.

A decision on Summer Camp Program awardees will be made by May 1.

This program is open to kindergarten through Grade 12 as of July 1, 2019.

Summer Camp choices include Raised Jay Peak Summer Day Camp, Hazen’s Notch Summer Camp in Montgomery, Green Mountain Conservation Camp at Buck Lake, in Woodbury, Siskin Ecological Adventures/Coutts – Moriarty Summer Camp at Lake Salem, in Derby, and Circus Smirkus 2019 Summer Camps.

The members of the Jay Focus Group realize the cost of transportation for camp may be a burden to some families and they have voted to reimburse the cost of gas to those families providing an itemized expense form with original receipts.

For applications, click here.

Learn how to cook a bear at the University of Irasburg

in Irasburg/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

IRASBURG — The University of Irasburg is officially open, taught by the community and for the community, with classes getting underway in April.

And don’t worry, you won’t need to fill out a FAFSA form to attend, because all courses are free.

Anyone can teach a course at the University of Irasburg, and anyone can take a course.

So far, there are 15 courses scheduled in 2019.

Courses range from “Kitchen Table Science,” taught by Phillis Mosher, to “How to Cook a Bear,” taught by Randy Royer, a master meat cutter.

For a full list of courses being offered, visit: https://bit.ly/2U7GTbz

Classes will be taught at The Barn, located at 4752 on Route 14, or at the Irasburg Library.

The University of Irasburg promises to be a place to meet new friends, learn new things, and discover all that the community has to offer.

For more information contact Judith Jackson at: judithjackson@gmail.com

Women LEAD initiative launching in Newport at March 25 event

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — A new initiative led by Michelle Tarryk and Barbara Morrow, along with over two dozen women leaders and business owners across the Northeast Kingdom, say they’ve come together to foster leadership in girls and women in the NEK.

The project is called Women LEAD, and the group will launch with a fundraiser at The Eastside Restaurant on Monday, March 25, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m.

Women LEAD is in alignment with recommendations from the recent NEK Collaborative Leadership Development Task Force Action Plan.

Recommendations include creating a NEK Leadership Institute as well as a project focusing on engaging NEK Women in Leadership Learning.

“This project has been an absolute thrill,” Tarryk said. “I am in awe of the women who participated in the calendar and I am also very excited about the leadership opportunities that we will be able to bring to young girls throughout the kingdom.”

The group is inviting those interested to come out for complimentary appetizers, a cash bar, and to hear from several collaborators.

Presenters at the event include Michelle Tarryk of Northeast Kingdom Learning Services, Katherine Sims of the NEK Collaborative, Alice Kitchel, State President of Business and Professional Women’s Club, Sunny Noelle Naughton of the Northeast Kingdom Young Professionals Network, and Vermont Photographer Mary Claire Carroll.

Deadlines near to remove ice fishing shanties

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — While locals wait for the ice to go out by watching the vanilla extract mascot placed on Lake Memphremagog​ to sink, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is reminding ice fishing enthusiasts not to play the same game with their shanties.

Vermont state law requires that all ice fishing shanties be removed from the ice before the ice weakens.

The shanty must be removed before the ice becomes unsafe or loses its ability to support the shanty out of the water, or before the last Sunday in March, whichever comes first.

That date this year will be on March 31.

All contents, debris, wood, and supports must also be removed so they do not become a hazard to navigation in the spring.

The fine for leaving your ice fishing shanty on the ice can be $1,000, and shanties may not be left at state fishing access areas.

Select Jay Peak EB-5 documents to be released following settlement

in Jay/Jay Peak/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Today the State of Vermont and VTDigger announced a settlement in the matter regarding two public records requests by the news organization related to Jay Peak’s EB-5 program.

Under terms of the settlement, the State of Vermont agreed to provide VTDigger the originally requested documents as well as additional agreed-upon Jay Peak records.

“VTDigger remains committed to making sure that the story of Jay Peak is told in its entirety,” Anne Galloway, founder and editor of VTDigger, said.

Galloway says the records released on Friday are long overdue to the public.

VTDigger began covering allegations of fraud at the ski area back in 2014, and has been seeking documents on the public’s behalf since that time.

Due to ongoing litigation, only a few hundred records have been released, with disclosure pending on 1.5 million pages of documents between Shumlin administration officials and Jay Peak developers.

VTDigger’s legal team filed a complaint in January seeking official communications between the Agency of Commerce and Community Development and U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service regarding the projects at Jay Peak Resort.

Requests for the records from VTDigger have been repeatedly denied over the past three years.

“It is refreshing to see the State and its citizens cooperate in the release of public documents,” Tim Cornell, VTDigger’s attorney, said. “This brings us a step closer to finding out how the Jay Peak scandal happened.”

In 2014, the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation began an investigation into the fraud at Jay Peak, which ultimately led to federal and state action.

In April 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission and the State of Vermont charged the developers of Jay Peak Resort with 52 counts of fraud and the misuse of $200 million in foreign investor funds.

The developers’ “Ponzi-like” scheme was perpetrated over an eight-year period from 2008-2016, during which the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development administered the EB-5 program.

Eight NEK farmers write nutrient management plans

in News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Over six weeks this winter, eight NEK dairy producers who enrolled in the UVM Extension course, “Digging In – A Nutrient Management Course for Farmers,” wrote their own nutrient management plans (NMPs).

Farmers in the class, held at Sterling College in Craftsbury, received technical assistance from the Orleans, Caledonia, Essex, and Winooski Conservation Districts through a USDA Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP) grant.

Through the RCPP program, farmers are offered technical assistance in preparing a Land Treatment Plan (the foundation of an NMP), taking soil and manure samples, and one-on-one help throughout the UVM course.

A nutrient management plan is a working document that combines scientific data with the farmer’s knowledge of their land to create a plan that determines crop needs and allocates nutrient spreading by field.

The goals of a nutrient management plan are to improve soil health, maximize yields, improve efficiency, and minimize the impact on natural resources.

The UVM Extension course includes lectures on soil science, crop yields, water quality and meeting the RAPs.

The course also incorporates time for farmers to write their own NMP using the UVM-developed online goCrop™ software.

Because a nutrient management plan is a working, living document, it should be updated yearly.

To this end, the Orleans County Conservation District, in collaboration with UVM Extension, will be holding a free, one-day goGraze™ training and update class open to all NEK producers with a UVM goCrop™ account.

This class will take place on Wednesday, March 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Eastside Restaurant in Newport.

Lunch will be provided, and the class will introduce participants to a relatively new addition to the goCrop™ software, goGraze™.

The new software allows producers to create a grazing plan and keep detailed records throughout the grazing season.

The format for the class will be instruction in the morning, lunch, and time in the afternoon for participants to work on updating their nutrient management plans or apply the skills they learned in the morning.

Pre-registration is required. Contact Emily Irwin to sign up or with questions at 802-334-6090 ext. 7008 or emily.irwin@vt.nacdnet.net.

NEK Young Professionals making inroads in region

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT – The Northeast Kingdom Young Professionals Network has launched a number of new initiatives and hosted a number of successful events this past year, significantly increasing the numbers of its organization region-wide.

The board reflects the geographic diversity of the region, with Maire Folan, the program manager of the Green Mountain Farm-to-School office in Newport, serving as committee chair.

Patrick Sodums, the YPN vice chair, brings a hospitality background to the group, as he works as the conference and corporate sales manager of the Burke Mountain Hotel & Conference Center in East Burke.

Rounding out the board is Sarah Chadburn, the group’s treasurer, who serves as a credit analyst at Community National Bank in Newport.

“The vision of the NEK YPN is to be a network for young professionals living and working in and around Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom,” Folan states. “We hope to provide valuable leadership, relationship, and education opportunities through collaboration with community partners.”

The group has held successful social events, or mixers, to bring people together.

It hopes to soon roll out some new programs that will welcome new folks to the area and provide more leadership opportunities.

The Northeast Kingdom Young Professionals Network was re-energized two years ago by Geoffrey Sewake after having been established by then-Northeast Kingdom Chamber President Hannah Manley in 2011.

The main purpose of the group is to serve the needs of young professionals, employees, leaders, and entrepreneurs of the tri-county region, who are hoping to find networking and social opportunities with others in their area.

“We recognize the word ‘young’ to be dynamic, not static, and ‘professional’ to be inclusive, not exclusive,” Folan noted. “We welcome all to this group.”

In the past two years, the NEK YPN has sponsored a number of events in the Northeast Kingdom and partnered with similar groups in northern New Hampshire in an attempt to reach out to more young professionals throughout the North Country.

Such meetings have not only allowed more professionals to network with each other but also helped the committee determine what the needs of young professionals are in the Kingdom.

“An important priority of the NEK YPN is to reach every corner of the Kingdom and help and assist young professionals, as they are not only the leaders of tomorrow, but, in many cases, today’s leaders as well,” said Darcie McCann, executive director of the Northeast Kingdom Chamber. “We as a chamber, as well as other chambers throughout the Kingdom, are striving to work as closely with the group as possible to ensure we give them the support and skills they need to succeed.”

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