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Teacher at Lyndon Institute accused of inappropriate relationship with student

in Lyndonville/News/Northeast Kingdom

LYNDON — A teacher at Lyndon Institute who is accused of having an inappropriate relationship with a student is facing charges, police say.

Anitra Lahiri, 44, of Bethlehem, New Hampshire, was arrested Tuesday and charged with sexual exploitation of a minor and disseminating indecent material to a minor.

According to a statement issued by police, the Department of Children and Families began an investigation with State police into the matter back in November of 2018.

They allege she had an inappropriate relationship with a minor who was a student at the school.

Detectives said the relationship happened during the end of the last school year.

Lahiri is scheduled to appear in Caledonia Superior Court on Jan. 28 for arraignment.

Local teen swimmer selected one of Vermont Sports Magazine’s Athletes of the Year

in Derby/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom/Outdoors

DERBY – Fourteen-year-old Vera Rivard has been selected as one of Vermont Sports Magazine’s 2018 Athletes of the Year.

Vera and her family live in Springfield, NH and have a summer camp in Derby with access to Lake Memphremagog, where she trains.

During the winter she swims with Upper Valley Aquatic Club.

In July of 2018, Vera became the youngest swimmer, male or female, to swim the 25-mile length of Lake Memphremagog, which she did in 16 hours and 24 minutes.

Just as impressive, she did so against fierce headwinds during the first 15 miles, which knocked five other experienced swimmers out of the water, leaving her among only two who finished in Magog.

In August of 2018, she also completed the NEK Swim Week, 8 Lakes over the course of 9 days, double-crossing Lac Massawippi and Willoughby, for a total of 60 miles on all eight lakes.

At the beginning of the year, in February of 2018, she became the youngest swimmer to participate in the Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival, swimming each and every event from the 25-meter hat competition to the 200-meter freestyle.

This year, she leads a group of four youth swimmers participating in the festival, including her eleven-year-old sister Margaret.

She started her open water swimming in 2014, when she was 10, with a 1-mile swim at Kingdom Swim and a 3-mile swim at Caspian.

She has grown her distances each year since then.

While she was swimming Kingdom Swim’s 10-mile course in 2016 around the islands of Derby Bay, she and her mother fell in love with the lake, and her family bought a summer camp in Derby, with access to Lake Memphremagog.

Step into the new year with a First Day Hike in Westmore

in Northeast Kingdom/Outdoors/Westmore

WESTMORE — While many are planning to burn the midnight oil to ring in 2019, others are aiming to get out of bed and into nature on the first day of the New Year.

State parks around the nation will host free, guided hikes as a part of First Day Hikes, and Jean Haigh with The Green Mountain Club will be leading a tour of Long Pond in Westmore.

Hikers will meet at 10:00 a.m. at the Long Pond Trail Head.

The hike has beautiful views of Long Pond, Lake Willoughby, and Bald Mountain.

It is considered a moderate trail with a few tricky areas.

Snowshoes or microspikes will be needed for this 4-mile round trip.

The hike is in memory of Dave Hardy, who devoted decades of work to the stewardship of the Long Trail.

All ages are welcome.

For more information, contact Jean at jhaightvt@gmail.com, or call 802-586-9637.

(left to right) Fred's Energy Derby office receptionist Desiree, NEKCA's Merry Hamel, Fred's Energy General Manager Dennis Percy, and Rachel Twofoot from Northpoint with toys dropped off to the Fred's Energy Derby office.

Toy drives make it a happier holiday for many local children

in Derby/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

DERBY — This holiday season, Fred’s Energy helped to collect donations for local toy drives at each of their three office locations.

The Fred’s Energy Derby office collected for the NEKCA and Northpoint Toys for Kids toy drive. Toys for Kids is helping approximately 191 families this year.

In addition, for every toy dropped off, donors were eligible to enter for a chance to win 100 gallons of propane or oil and a 3 foot tall snowman gift tower filled with holiday treats.

Cindy Royer of Barton was selected from the entries at the Derby office.

The Fred’s Energy Lyndonville office collected for the St. Johnsbury Fire Department Kingdom Santa Fund. The fund will be helping approximately 500 families this year.

The Fred’s Energy Morrisville office collected toys for The Lamoille Family Center Holiday Project. The project will be helping 323 children this year.

All donated toys are being distributed locally.

Becky Gonyea of Morrisville was the winner selected at the Morrisville office.

The winner from the Fred’s Energy Lyndonville office asked to make an anonymous donation of the fuel to be split between two households in need.

Pam Ladds of Newport, and Julie Zeitlinger of Sutton, Quebec, ready to swim at Lake Willoughby, on December 15.

Training for the winter swim at Willoughby

in News/Northeast Kingdom/Westmore

WESTMORE — Winter swimmers around North America are hard at it training and qualifying for the Fifth Annual Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival coming up on February 23-24, 2019 in Newport.

Two locals, Pam Ladds of Newport, and Julie Zeitlinger of Sutton, Quebec, took advantage of the open waters at Lake Willoughby on Saturday.

Water temperature was about 35 degrees.

Willoughby stays open later than most lakes in the region because it is so deep under the cliffs, making it a perfect venue for winter swimming, late into December and even early January.

So far, almost 80 swimmers have signed on to the Festival in February, with room for about 20 more.

For more information and to register for the Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival visit http://kingdomgames.co/memphremagog-winter-swimming-society/

Borderline Players to hold auditions for 2019 spring, summer shows in Derby Line

DERBY LINE — After a highly successful debut season, Borderline Players will hold auditions for its spring and summer productions on Friday, January 4 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m and Saturday, January 5 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the First Universalist Parish Hall in Derby Line.

The first show of the season will be All Together Now, an original comedy written and directed by border humorist Ross Murray.

It’s Labour Day, 1973. In Holland, Vermont, a rock festival is set to begin, while at the Haskell Free Library, rumors begin to fly that the former Fab Four will be meeting there.

But when a mysterious stranger and confused American tourists turn things upside down at the world’s only international library, soon no one knows whether they’re coming or going.

Roles for All Together Now are available for 5 males, 4 females and one small role for a child (5-10).

Two male roles and one female role are for actors age 18-30.

Another male role is ideal for a francophone male (40-60) who can perform in English.

Performances are May 10-12 and 17-19.

The summer production will be the popular Abba musical Mamma Mia.

On a small Greek island, Sophie dreams of a perfect wedding — one which includes her father giving her away. The problem? Sophie doesn’t know who he is! Her mother refuses to talk about the past, so Sophie decides to take matters into her own hands.

She secretly invites her three possible fathers to the wedding, convinced that she’ll know her father when she sees him.

But when all three turn up, it may not be as clear as she thought.

This production will be directed by Mary Hoadley and features multiple principal and feature roles along with ensemble roles for men and women age 16+.

Singing and dancing men especially sought. Performances will run August 9-11 and 16-18.

A fall production, scheduled for October 18-20 and 25-26, is yet to be finalized.

Play and character details are available at https://borderlineplayers.org

To book an audition time and receive audition script sides, contact Borderline Players at borderlineplayers@outlook.com

Drop-ins are also welcome.

Glover native Sarah Waring joins the Vermont Community Foundation

in Glover/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — The Vermont Community Foundation recently announced that Sarah Waring has been hired as its vice president for grants and community investments and will join the Foundation at the end of December.

Waring, who was born and raised in Glover, will step into her new role as the Foundation continues to expand its efforts to close Vermont’s opportunity gap—the divide in access to education, jobs, health, and community vitality that keeps many Vermonters from getting ahead in life.

Earlier this year, the Foundation declared its belief that the opportunity gap was the single greatest challenge to the health and vitality of the state, and focused its staff-directed discretionary programs and its mission-related investments on closing the gap.

It also changed its grantmaking processes to emphasize deeper engagement between the Foundation’s staff and the communities it serves.

Waring’s career has been focused on community development and natural resource management, using collaborative and whole systems approaches.

She was director of programs for the Farm and Wilderness Foundation in Plymouth, program director at the Vermont Council on Rural Development, socioeconomics program manager at the Sonoran Institute in Bozeman, Montana, and a social science coordinator for the Bureau of Land Management in Washington, D.C.

Since 2013, she has been the Executive Director at the Center for an Agricultural Economy, an innovative nonprofit focused on building a just and regenerative local food system and working in economic and community development arenas in the Northeast Kingdom.

“It’s an honor to be joining the Community Foundation,” said Waring. “I am incredibly excited about the challenges ahead, particularly in how philanthropy and giving can play a critical role in systems change and be used to work directly with communities to understand and address the opportunity gap.”

Waring has served on numerous boards, steering committees, and councils.

She earned her B.A. from Haverford College and her Masters of Applied Anthropology from the University of Maryland. She lives in East Montpelier with her family.

“Sarah has a proven track record of working statewide, regionally, and locally on successful efforts that use community momentum to do great things,” says Foundation President & CEO Dan Smith. “She’ll be a critical part of our work to ensure that philanthropy is responsive to the needs and hopes of Vermonters who feel the opportunity gap most strongly.”

Woman killed in Barnet fire

in News/Northeast Kingdom

BARNET — Authorities say that a 21-year-old woman was killed during a barn fire in Barnet early this morning.

The fire took place at 731 Whitehill Road, at around 4:30 a.m.

The structure was a barn-type building.

The victim has been identified by witnesses as Kelsey Locke, 21, of Groveland, Massachusetts.

Authorities say an investigation into the cause and origin of the fire is still underway, but it does not appear suspicious at this time.

Moore appointed to Community Bancorp. and Community National Bank boards

in Derby/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

DERBY — Community National Bank and Community Bancorp. President and Chief Executive Officer Kathryn M. Austin announced this week the appointment of Jeffrey Moore to the Boards of Directors.

Moore’s appointment will be effective January 1, 2019.

He will serve on the Corporate Governance/Nominating Committee of the Company’s Board and the Risk Management Committee of the Bank’s Board.

Moore is the owner and President of Quest Transportation, a freight logistics company based in St. Johnsbury.

He launched the business in 1985 after working at St. Johnsbury Trucking for three years.

Looking at supply chain logistics, he recognized the need for a freight broker and created a national freight network.

As an innovator and entrepreneur, Moore continued to expand his business interests.

In 2008, he created Pellets Now, a wholesale distributor of bio-energy fuels, and in 2014, Moore assumed the position of General Manager of Wells River Chevrolet in Wells River, testing the waters for possible ownership.

Born and raised in St. Johnsbury, Moore graduated from St. Johnsbury Academy and attended Lyndon State College.

He is deeply committed to his community and currently serves on the St. Johnsbury Select Board, NVRH Board of Trustees, and the St. Johnsbury-Lyndonville Industrial Park Board.

He is also a member of the Catamount Arts Advisory Council.

Moore previously served on the boards of the NEK Chamber of Commerce, St. Johnsbury Chamber of Commerce and St. Johnsbury Development Fund.

When he’s not at work, you can find him on the slopes of Burke Mountain or enjoying some quiet time at Lake Willoughby, two of his favorite places.

Backcountry ski and ride project in Willoughby State Forest expands

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom/Outdoors/Westmore

WESTMORE — The Northeast Kingdom Backcountry Coalition, also known as NEKBC for short, is updating its pilot backcountry ski and ride project in the Willoughby State Forest.

The coalition began working with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation in the fall of 2016 to design and develop winter backcountry recreation opportunities that supplement the existing ski and snowshoe trail network in the Willoughby State Forest.

The project is the first of its kind on state lands to provide access and manage vegetation to provide backcountry snow sports for the public.

NEKBC says they are committed to creating legitimate and sustainable backcountry routes and hopes to stop rogue and illegal cutting on state and private lands.

Most recently, the coalition has been working closely with specialist Luke O’Brien, who is one of several such professionals across the state recently hired to work closely with partners, volunteers, and contractors on outdoor recreation projects on state lands, including sustainable trail development and maintenance, assessment and monitoring of recreation sites, and promoting sustainable outdoor recreation activities.

The collaborative project has resulted in the design of backcountry zones that include ski lines on Mt. Hor, and Bartlett Mountain.

Also developed is a network of uphill tracks to connect to the parking lot on Route 5A and the various backcountry zones.

These improvements complement the existing 12k network of groomed Nordic ski trails offered in the Willoughby State Forest.

The group says they continue to work to identify, mark, clear, and monitor trails to create a sustainable backcountry trail system in the forest.

Driving too fast: I-91 traffic slowed after several crashes

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — The snowstorm today had police responding to multiple slide-offs and crashes on Interstate 91, including a tour bus that police say was driving too fast for conditions, and was even seen passing vehicles before sliding into the median.

At 3:00 p.m. a tractor-trailer unit slid into a guardrail and subsequently jack-knifed across the southbound lanes of I-91.

The cab of the truck was stuck in the ditch while the trailer extended onto the roadway, blocking traffic. The Interstate needed to be closed from Exit 28 to 27 southbound for 2.5 hours.

At 5:40 p.m. a tour bus was traveling southbound and spun around before sliding into the median and partially overturning.

Witnesses reported the bus had been passing vehicles prior to the crash.

There were 14 people on board the bus at the time, and many reported minor injuries. All injured parties were checked on the scene and none required hospitalization.

The driver was ticketed for traveling too fast for conditions.

Interstate 91 south was again closed for a short period of time for the removal of the bus, however, one lane of traffic remained open for the majority of the crash investigation.

At around 5:00 p.m., a tractor-trailer unit jackknifed near mile-marker 153.

The cab and trailer slid off the roadway and into the median.

Removal efforts required the passing lane of the interstate to be closed for a short period of time.

The driver and sole occupant of the tractor-trailer were not injured.

Police say all incidents were caused by a result of the operators traveling too fast for existing road conditions.

Free Discover Girl Scouts event Nov. 29 in Brownington

in Brownington/Northeast Kingdom/Outdoors

BROWNINGTON — Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains will be holding a free information session for girls and parents on Thursday, Nov. 29, from 6 to 7 p.m. at Brownington Central School.

Those interested and their families will meet local Girl Scouts and volunteers, as well as learn about expanded STEM and outdoor programs.

They will also enjoy fun, girl-led activities, explore available programs, learn about volunteer opportunities, and register to become Girl Scouts.

Plus, girls will receive a free Discover Girl Scouts embroidered patch.

Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains serves over 10,000 girls throughout New Hampshire and Vermont.

To learn more about Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains, visit www.girlscoutsgwm.org, or call 1-888-474-9686 if you have any questions.

Community partners in Essex, Orleans, awarded grant to battle opioid epidemic

in Essex County/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Local community partners in Caledonia, Essex, Orleans, Franklin, and Grand Isle counties are energized to address the local opioid epidemic, thanks to a $200,000 one-year federal planning grant.

Several community organizations around the state came together two months ago to submit a federal planning grant application to the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to fund a community process that would help to combat the opioid problem.

Impressed with the group’s submission, HRSA not only gave the communities the grant as initially requested, but provided the group with additional funds to realize their goals.

The request was only one of two submissions funded in Vermont and one of only 95 grants awarded nationally.

The Northeast Kingdom Consortium consists of the following partners:

The Community Restorative Justice Center, Vermont Cares, Northern Counties Health Care, Inc., Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital, North Country Hospital, Northeast Kingdom Learning Services, Northeast Kingdom Community Action, and Kingdom Recovery Center, and the Department of Health St. Johnsbury Office.

These organizations will be meeting regularly over the next year to develop a plan to identify gaps and services related to opioid prevention, treatment, and recovery in their respective regions.

“This grant is great news for the NEK, particularly the communities of Essex County,” Shawn P. Tester, CEO of Northern Counties Health Care said. “It will enable us to build on our already strong foundation in addressing the opiate crisis. I am especially excited about the opportunities to collaboratively develop prevention strategies, to really turn the curve on addiction.”

Community Justice Centers in both regions have been designated as lead agencies to facilitate this process in each district.

This planning year will utilize a restorative process to engage the community in an on-going dialogue to learn from many diverse groups and voices across the region, including individuals currently in long-term recovery.

The group says other agencies are also coming on board as the grant progresses.

“This grant, and what it will make possible, are proof of what can happen when our community partners come together to take on a challenge as serious as the opioid epidemic,” Senator Patrick Leahy said.

Orleans County Trails coordinator receives prestigious award

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — At the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers (VAST) annual meeting, Orleans County Trails Coordinator Raymond Rodrigue received County Trails Coordinator of the Year.

This prestigious award is given out annually to the county trails coordinator who best exemplifies the hard work and dedication needed to keep Vermont’s trail system open and viable on a year to year basis.

There are 14 county trails coordinators in Vermont.

Rodrigue became county trails coordinator in 2014 but has been involved in his local club, Orleans Snowstormers for 22 years, 19 of which was in an officers position.

In 1999, he undertook the task of completely redesigning all of the junction signs for his club.

When he’s not riding his snowmobile or grooming in the winter, he’s attending VAST meetings and working behind the scenes to keep Vermont’s trails open.

Rodrigue’s work does not end when the snow melts.

He remains busy throughout the summer overseeing and approving all of the projects throughout Orleans County.

This Summer and Fall, $44,000 worth of construction projects are being proposed for Orleans County snowmobile trails, most of which will be done by local contractors with locally purchased supplies.

Orleans county snowmobile clubs always have been and will continue to be an economic boost for the Northeast Kingdom.

Grant awarded to help Orleans County fight domestic violence

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — The Orleans County State’s Attorney’s Office, partnering with the Advocacy Program at Umbrella and the Newport City Police Department, recently announced that they have been awarded a STOP Grant through the Department of Justice.

The STOP Grant in Orleans County will fund a legal advocate that will be housed at Umbrella and an investigator from the Newport Police Department that will be housed at the State’s Attorney’s Office.

The majority of the homicides in Orleans County have been domestic violence related.

The goal is to increase survivor safety by providing victims with appropriate and necessary assistance throughout the court process, increasing offender accountability, and aiding in domestic violence homicide prevention.

The group says these goals will be met with a collaboration of advocate services, prosecution of offenders, increased training related to domestic violence, human trafficking, and sexual abuse.

Orleans County will now be implementing a lethality assessment on the scene at all domestic violence-related calls for service.

“Domestic violence continues to be a significant problem in Orleans County,” State’s Attorney Jennifer Barrett said. “I am confident this grant will positively impact Orleans County.”

US Cross Country National Championships coming to Craftsbury

in Craftsbury/Northeast Kingdom/Outdoors

CRAFTSBURY COMMON — The Craftsbury Outdoor Center will host the 2019 US Cross Country National Championships.

The event will take place from January 3 through January 8.

Presented by L.L. Bean, the championships will include a week of cross-country racing featuring the best athletes in the country, including Vermont Olympians and the future stars of United States skiing.

These competitions will crown National Champions, serve as tryout races for the US World Junior Championships, U18 Scandinavian Cup, and help select athletes for the FIS World Cup and World Championships.

The best junior and senior athletes in the country will be in attendance to compete for a chance to represent Team USA in international competition.

Racing kicks off on Thursday, January 3 with a 10k/15k classic individual start competition.

Friday features a 1.5km sprint in the classic style.

After a day off on Saturday, racers will compete in a freestyle mass start competition on Sunday, January 6, 30k for men, 20k for women, 10k for junior boys, and 5k for junior girls.

On Sunday evening, all registered coaches and athletes are invited to a banquet which will recognize race winners and name the World Junior and U18 Scandinavian Cup teams.

Tuesday, January 8th wraps up the series with 1.5km freestyle sprints.

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Barton native breaks the ice aboard Coast Guard ship

in Barton/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

When Shannon Eubanks graduated Lake Region Union High School in Barton, Vermont, she did so surrounded by people she had grown up with for years.

During her childhood, the small New England town was Eubank’s playground for a myriad of outdoor activities, such as snowboarding and hiking; and often times, her middle school class would take breaks to ski during the school day.

As Eubanks would describe it, Barton was the kind of small town where everyone knew each other. Little did she know at the time, she would later surround herself with a similar close-knit group of people on a polar icebreaker in the Arctic Ocean.

The youngest of three, her parents met and married while they were waiting to go to school to become radiomen in the U.S. Coast Guard After serving 10 years, her mother left the service, and her father retired after serving 20.
It would only seem fitting for Eubanks to follow in her parent’s footsteps. It eventually happened, but she ended up having to seek out the opportunity, rather than feeling the pressure to continue her parents’ tradition.

“I never thought I was going to join the military,” Eubanks said. “I didn’t even give it much thought growing up. My parents liked to keep their work life separate from their personal life. They never pressured me into joining the Coast Guard, but when I started thinking about what I wanted to do with my life, I began asking them questions.”

She considered the other military branches, but the Coast Guard appealed to her because of their lifesaving mission. Once she made the decision to enlist, Eubanks traveled six hours to visit the nearest recruiting office.
At 19 years old, Eubanks raised her right hand, took the oath of enlistment and headed to basic training in Cape May, New Jersey.

Three years later, Eubanks is now a third class petty officer stationed aboard the U.S. Coast Guard Cutter Healy – a 420-foot polar icebreaker homeported in Seattle and one of only two icebreakers in U.S. service. Each summer, Eubanks deploys in the Arctic with a team of scientists to assist them in conducting scientific research.

As a boatswain’s mate aboard the ship, she is in charge of piloting the ship’s small boats, standing watch on the ship’s bridge and supervising a small workforce of enlisted members. With the lives and safety of her fellow shipmates at stake, it’s a responsibility Eubanks doesn’t take lightly, and it often takes her out of her comfort zone.

“Military service can be a bit of a challenge,” Eubanks said. “At times, you have to take on different personalities you wouldn’t normally display. You also have to force yourself to be more responsible because you have a more responsible role.”

Despite the serious nature of her job, Eubanks’ personality is hard to miss. She’s often heard before she’s seen by singing Simon and Garfunkel tunes or 90s rock hits, and she wears a smile as if it were a uniform requirement. In fact, her bubbly personality earned her the nickname Giggles – a name that is memorialized on the back of her hard hat in thick, black lettering that reads “Gigls” for short.

“She’s a very bubbly person, and it radiates to those around her,” Eubanks’ supervisor, Chief Petty Officer Nathan Poppink, said. “It has a cascading effect on everyone she works with.”

However, below that infectious personality lies an ambition and drive, and her hard work has not gone unnoticed.

“She’s very passionate and proactive in her work,” Poppink said. “In the year and a half I’ve known her, she has really improved, and she is ready to make that next step to be a second class petty officer and beyond.”

Whether she blasting a 90’s chart-topper or piloting a small boat through the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean with a team of scientists in her boat, Eubank’s bubbly personality and drive only serve to highlight her future ambitions.

She plans to apply to Officer Candidate School at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and hopes to be a rescue pilot where she can continue to work toward the very goals that attracted her to the service – to save lives.

Story and Photos by NyxoLyno Cangemi, U.S. Coast Guard.

Gubernatorial candidate Christine Hallquist touring Orleans County on Friday

in Glover/Greensboro/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Democratic Gubernatorial candidate Christine Hallquist will be touring Orleans County this Friday.

She will be at the Eastside in Newport from 9:30 a.m. until 11:00 a.m., at Parker Pie in West Glover from 12:00 p.m. until 1:30 p.m., and at the Highland Lodge in Greensboro from 2:30 p.m. until 4:00 p.m.

These events are open to the public and organizers say all are welcome.
 
Hallquist, the former CEO of Vermont Electric Cooperative, has said that her number one campaign issue is rural economic development.

She also says she advocates for a strong social safety net for Vermonters, universal healthcare, universal broadband, and a $15 minimum wage.
 
“We encourage everyone to come and meet Christine and learn more about what she can do to support the Northeast Kingdom,” said Mimi Smyth, chair of the Orleans County Democratic Committee.

Orleans County Sherrif’s Department a finalist to win new SUV for K9 unit

in Derby/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

DERBY — The Orleans County Sheriffs Department K9 team has been named one of 30 finalists in the Vested Interest in K9’s Law Enforcement Sports Utility Vehicle Giveaway.

Deputy Tyler Jacobs and K9 Jonah will compete for public votes to win a new Chevy Tahoe SUV with Police Pursuit Package and additional K9 unit customizations.

The prize is worth up to $50,000.

Vested Interest in K9s was the provider of the K9 ballistic vest used by Deputy Jacobs for Jonah, and the department says they are grateful to the organization for providing the vest back in 2016, and for the work that the organization does around the country to help protect a valuable law enforcement resource.

“This opportunity is a unique opportunity to obtain a needed and valuable piece of equipment that would greatly support the departments K9 unit and we couldn’t be more pleased to have been selected as a finalist,” said Chief Deputy Philip Brooks.

The public is invited to vote once per day for Deputy Tyler Jacobs and K9 Jonah on the charity’s contest page.

Public voting runs from October 1st through the 31st.

The K9 team with the most votes by the end of the contest wins the new Chevy Tahoe SUV.

The winner will be announced on the Vested Interest in K9s website and social media sites.

Upcoming workshop to showcase local erosion control practices

in News/Northeast Kingdom/Outdoors

NEWPORT — There will be a workshop on October 4 at the Dolloff Pond Access Ramp in Willoughby State Forest to showcase the erosion control practices installed by the NorthWoods Watershed Crew over the summer.

The workshop is the last part of an outreach program conducted by the Memphremagog Watershed Association (MWA) over the 2018 field season.

“With funding from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, this year MWA has been providing educational programming on shoreland erosion control practices to professionals and has also been connecting professionals with projects in our area,” explains Kendall Lambert, Administrative Director for MWA.

In May and June MWA held two workshops showcasing erosion control methods for shoreland properties.

Expert speakers from the public and private sectors were brought to Shadow Lake in Glover as well as the North Country Career Center in Newport to speak about the need for these practices and to demonstrate or provide tours installed practices.

The workshops attracted nearly 70 participants.

After the workshops, MWA staff has been working to connect local landowners with professionals who can evaluate, design, and implement erosion control practices.

“Every time it rains, that stormwater runs off impervious or slick surfaces and carries sediment, and maybe even your driveway or shoreline, into our waterways,” Lambert explained.

Erosion from our shorelands is not only inconvenient for landowners, but it carries sediment, phosphorus, and pollutants into our waterways.

This impacts local water quality and aquatic habitat.

If you’re interested in coming to the October workshop to tour project examples, the workshop will be on Dolloff Pond Road, on the Dolloff Pond access ramp, Sutton, Vermont from 1:00-3:00 p.m. on October 4.

Jed’s Maple Fall Open House October 6-8

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby/News/Northeast Kingdom

DERBY — Jed’s Maple Products of Derby will be hosting their 6th Annual Fall Open House October 6-8 this year.

Celebrate the flavors of Fall throughout the holiday weekend.

They will be open from10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. all three days.

This family event is free and includes wood-fired maple pizza, maple specialty food sampling and tours of the family maple museum.

There will be samples of seasonal products available for tasting.

Jed’s Maple Products is a certified organic sugarmaker. They use high-pressure steam in their evaporator rather than wood or oil.

The maple museum is housed in the sugarhouse that owner Steve grew up sugaring in and allows visitors to take a step back in time to explore the local area’s maple history.

Jed’s Maple is also a proud participant in Audubon’s Bird Friendly Maple Program.

They will be sharing information throughout the weekend about how they help the migratory songbirds that nest in their woods during the spring and summer months.

Jed’s Maple Products is located at 259 Derby Pond Road.

Photo by Phil White.

Fly to Pie this Sunday

in coventry/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom/West Glover

WEST GLOVER — Runners, bikers, and hikers are rolling into the roster for another “Fly to Pie,” this coming Sunday.

Fly to Pie is a road race for individuals and families across the beautiful dirt roads through “the gut” of the Northeast Kingdom.

The 10km race and walk will start off in Irasburg Common.

The 13.5-mile, 17-mile, and 26.2-mile runners and bikers will start at the airport in Coventry.

All participants end up at Parker Pie in West Glover.

Parker Pie promises all the pizza you can eat, with Hill Farmstead Beer on tap.

There will be music on site provided by Beg, Steal or Borrow.

In addition, 20 percent of all registration fees go directly to The Halo Foundation, to support individuals and their families in their fight against cancer.

New roadside signs showcase local farmers’ leadership on water quality

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — More than 5,000 acres of corn fields will be planted with a cover crop in Orleans County this fall, and thousands of more acres received other conservation practices such as no-till planting and conversion to grass crops.

New roadside signs are helping to highlight this work that can be otherwise very hard to notice.

There are four different signs, “Cover Crop,” “No-Till Planting,” “Growing Grass” and “Stream Side Planting.”

They all share the tagline, “For my land. For our water,” because these conservation practices usually improve the health of soils and crops, as well as protecting water quality.

“Most people don’t realize that a lot of farmers here are already doing a good deal of work for soil conservation and water quality,” said Sarah Damsell, who assists farmers with many of these practices through her role at Orleans County Conservation District.

Cover cropping, or “green manure,” is the practice of growing plants for the purpose of covering the soil, especially through the late fall, winter and spring, when many fields would otherwise be bare.

The plants protect the soil from erosion and build soil organic matter, retaining valuable soil in fields and keeping it out of waterways.

Cover crops also hold nutrients through the winter and release them in the spring, providing a boost to the spring crop and reducing the potential for nutrients to leach from the soil during the winter.

Perennial crops improve soil health and water quality because they have deep roots, diverse plant mixes, and never leave the ground uncovered.

Although the signs simply name “grass,” farmers usually grow a diverse mix of grasses and legumes.

This hay and pasture is an important forage source for most farmers, and many Vermont farms don’t grow anything but perennial grass-legume crops.

Farmers who do grow annuals, however, plant grass crops in strategic areas like along streams, in steep areas, through low-lying swales, and in contoured strips.

In all of these places, the grass crop serves to prevent sediment and nutrients from leaving fields and entering streams.

No-till planting is a method used to plant and grow a crop such as corn while leaving a year-round cover of living or residual plant material on the field.

The practice boosts soil organic matter, increases soil tilth and infiltration, and protects the soil from erosion.

While the benefits are significant, the learning curve can be a challenge.

The practice is catching on.

Vermont Symphony Orchestra fall tour coming to Derby Line, Greensboro

DERBY LINE — Kicking off the start to another colorful Vermont autumn, the Vermont Symphony Orchestra (VSO) will be traveling across the state beginning Sept. 27 to celebrate the many sounds and sights of the season.

The ​Made in Vermont Statewide Tour​ will reach six communities throughout the state, sharing well-loved classics as well as an original, unconventional collaboration with the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival.

The tour will reach Orleans County with a visit to the Haskell Opera House on September 30, and the Highland Center for the Arts in Greensboro, on October 7.

The Made in Vermont Statewide Tour will surprise and delight attendees this fall as the VSO welcomes trumpets, timpani, and film to the stage.

Following another successful year of collaboration with the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival, a world premiere composition by the VSO’s Matthew LaRocca will accompany filmmaker Robin Starbuck’s “How We See Water,” making for an unforgettable multisensory experience.

Internationally-renowned violinist Soovin Kim will both conduct the orchestra ensemble and lead listeners through Mozart’s Violin Concerto No. 1, opening each of the tour’s performances.

Kim is noted as an active recording artist who is dedicated to the Vermont arts community, having spent 5 years playing in the Vermont Youth Orchestra and founding the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival.

Photo by Phil White.

Four more swimmers complete 25-mile marathon swim from Newport to Magog

in Magog/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — This week four marathon open water swimmers completed the 25-mile, international swim on Lake Memphremagog between Newport, Vermont, and Magog, Quebec, known as In Search of Memphre.

On Wednesday, they entered the water from the EastSide Restaurant at midnight, swam through the night, and arrived at the beach at Parc du la Baie-du-Magog in the early afternoon.

Susan L. Knight, 48, of Kennebunk, ME, completed in 12 hours and 59 minutes, followed by Abigail Fairman, 41, of New York, NY, in 13 hours and 40 minutes.

Kate English, 30, of Seattle, Washington, completed in 13 hours and 56 minutes, and Daniela Klaz, 26, of Jamaica Plain, MA in 14 hours and 26 minutes.

Water temperature of the lake ranged from 68 to 70 F. Air temperatures dropped to the high 50’s during the night and rose to the high 60s and low 70’s during the day.

Winds were light and variable throughout the swim.

The swim is organized and hosted by Kingdom Games which now offers over 25 days of running, biking, swimming, and ice skating in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

Communities gather for harvest festivals at local schools

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Green Mountain Farm-to-School will host harvest festivals with 11 Northeast Kingdom schools in celebration of local food, agriculture, and healthy communities.

The harvest festivals are an opportunity for the community to gather around and share a meal prepared by students from produce harvested from school gardens or sourced from local producers.

The festivals take place between September and October and are open to the local community. They reinforce farm-to-school programming by providing students with the opportunity to connect the dots between planting a crop, harvesting it, and turning it into a healthy meal.

Since most students were involved with planning, planting, and caring for their school gardens the previous spring, the festivals are an exciting time for students to reap the benefits of their work and share that experience with their families and friends.

At all-school harvests, each student participates in an aspect of harvesting, whether that be up-rooting beets from the soil, collecting ripe tomatoes from the vine, or cutting broccoli off its stalk.

After the produce has been harvested, coordinators work closely with students on the day of the festival to prepare the meal that they will later share.

Each class takes a turn preparing a different aspect of the meal.

Kindergarten students may help stir the batter for beet brownies, 2nd graders might shred carrots for a slaw, and 5th graders might help chop vegetables for a vegetable stew.

At the end of the collaborative process, almost every student has been involved in preparing the meal, sharing a sense of accomplishment and pride.

Once the meal has been completed with the help of students, volunteers, teachers, and food service staff, the community gathers around for a shared experience and a delicious meal.

The festivals are a component of Green Mountain Farm-to-School’s multifaceted approach to farm to school programming that reaches across the classroom, cafeteria, and community.

Contact your local elementary school for dates and times in Barton, Coventry, Derby, Glover, Irasburg, Jay/ Westfield, Lakeview, Lowell, Newport City, Orleans, and Troy.

NorthWoods announces new executive director

in Charleston/News/Northeast Kingdom/Outdoors

EAST CHARLESTON — The NorthWoods Stewardship Center announced the appointment of Jonathan Gilbert as the organization’s new executive director.

Originally from Quebec and now 20 years in Vermont, Gilbert says his passion is promoting a healthy society based on harmonious relationships between people and the land.

“I am honored to merge my journey with the NorthWoods community and to deepen my relationship with the land and the northern forest,” Gilbert said.

As a co-founder of Heartbeet Lifesharing in Hardwick, he arrives with a vast range of life experiences in community building and a love for the earth, people, and the local community.

The NorthWoods Stewardship Center is an environmental non-profit based in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and serves communities throughout New England.

The organization is in its 29th year of outdoor education, forestry, and conservation service programming.

“We are very excited to welcome Jonathan to the NorthWoods community,” NorthWoods board president Cathie Wheeler said. “His leadership skills and communication style bring a new rhythm and focus to the organization.”

  • 40631824_1804804752889397_2981648451017637888_o-1.jpg
    Photo by Cory Curtis.
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    Photo by Caitlyn Paige Ainsworth
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    Photo by Caitlyn Paige Ainsworth
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    Photo by Caitlyn Paige Ainsworth
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    Photo by Caitlyn Paige Ainsworth
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    Photo by Caitlyn Paige Ainsworth
  • 40613216_10216594421149973_3004369111481319424_n-1.jpg
    Photo by Christina Crowley
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    Photo by Caitlyn Paige Ainsworth
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    Photo by Caitlyn Paige Ainsworth
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    Photo by Caitlyn Paige Ainsworth

Orleans County slammed by powerful storm

in Albany/Irasburg/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

IRASBURG — Close to 1,300 people were left without power after a powerful storm ripped through Orleans County on Monday.

The thunderstorm appears to have hit Irasburg the hardest, with downed trees smashing a few cars, and taking out power lines.

One of the most dramatic photos to come in from Monday was captured by Cory Curtis in Westmore at around 6:40 p.m.

The photo, which almost looks like a tornado, was taken from the top of Hinton Hill, overlooking Lake Willoughby.

Curtis, the owner of Pine Brook Logging and Guide Service, said he couldn’t see more than five feet in front of him.

“The rain and winds that came from it were massive. Like nothing I’ve ever seen in 37 years.”

Albany was also hit hard during the storm.

Power lines were brought down with the heavy wind, rain, and lightning.

The photos above were taken by Cory Curtis, Caitlyn Paige Ainsworth, and Christina Crowley.

Photo taken by Rick Desrochers with Northern Dreams Photography.

Local group working tirelessly to keep the Northern Star afloat

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — The Memphremagog Community Maritime (MCM) group says they are moving towards their goal of keeping the Northern Star in the Northeast Kingdom.

MCM has been working to keep the boat in the community so that it can continue to be available for cruises and as a floating classroom for lake studies and nautical experiences.

The group was recently awarded non-profit status, making it eligible for grants and able to accept tax-deductible donations.

Treasurer Susan Watson confirmed that the organization had received its first grants and is now raising money to ensure that the purchase of the Northern Star can happen as soon as the boat is available.

“The absence of the Northern Star on the lake has been a significant loss for the community this year,” said Patrick Martell, President of the Charter Member Board. “She has been missed. People are constantly asking when they will be able to cruise again.”

The group is now actively fundraising to allow for the purchase of the Northern Star.

Once that happens the boat can be inspected and the hull repainted, restored, and made ready to sail Lake Memphremagog again.

The group says they plan on having a full schedule of cruises for next spring and summer, as well as special onboard events.

Through partnerships with other lake based organizations, a curriculum for environmental lake based studies are being developed.

“We would love the community to become more involved,” said Vice President Mark Hayes. “We are looking for imagination and investment of time as well as of dollars.”

Member Patricia Kilday added that it is the perfect time to keep the Northern Star here as we are recognizing the real concerns for the long-term health of our international lake.

“This beautiful boat will give us a way to do that and encourage younger people to become aware of how to keep our waters clean,” she said.

The group says they feel that if the boat is lost it is unlikely another boat will be available in the future.

“Keeping her afloat for the benefit of the community seems important,” Martell added.

If you are interested in keeping the Northern Star afloat go ahead and contact Patrick Martell at 802-673-0115 or email MCMNorthernStar@gmail.com

Re­demp­tion Gravel Bi­cy­cle Race coming to Brownington this Saturday

in Brownington/News/Northeast Kingdom

BROWNINGTON — The Re­demp­tion Gravel Bi­cy­cle Race will de­but at the Old Stone House Mu­seum in Brown­ing­ton on Sat­ur­day, Sep­tem­ber 1.

Currently, the event has over 250 rac­ers en­listed.

The race promises to be a challenge to both physical and mental toughness.

Racers have the choice of 100 miles or 50 miles of beautiful local gravel roads.

The Re­demp­tion Gravel Race was cre­ated by An­thony Moc­cia and Heidi My­ers, who cre­ated the renowned Rasputitsa Spring Clas­sic.

The Ra­putitsa Spring Clas­sic is held in East Burke in April and brings in over 1,500 rac­ers an­nu­ally.

Moc­cia and My­ers say they hope to grow the Re­demp­tion Gravel Race to the same level by next year and will turn this race into a three-day stage race for 2019.

New hunting and angling workshop series kicking off in East Charleston

in Charleston/News/Northeast Kingdom/Outdoors

EAST CHARLESTON — This week NorthWoods Stewardship Center (NWSC) and the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Conservation Group (VFWCG) announced a new workshop series kicking off this September called Modern Traditions in Hunting and Angling.

The upcoming workshops give equal weight to “the old ways,” traditions in hunting and angling that include a deep connection with the land and wildlife, as well as a modern approach and understanding of the role that hunting and fishing have in conservation and our communities today.

While the mission and community of both non-profit organizations have often covered common ground, this series marks a more formal commitment from both groups.

The events slated for the coming year seek to reach a broader audience, to provide skill-building, knowledge and enrichment activities, forums for idea sharing, and to inspire and empower more of the local community to take part in the traditions of hunting and angling that have deep roots in this region.

VFWCG Board President Matt Breton and NWSC Education Director Maria Young see this series as an ideal way to reach those goals.Breton recognizes that stepping in as a new adult hunter or angler can be intimidating.

“We want to break down barriers to participation for those people who want to hunt and fish but lack the knowledge and skills required so that they can procure food for themselves and their families, and interact with nature at a deeper level,” said Breton.

In the Fall of 2018, look for “Bucks That Got Away,” on Saturday, September 29, a workshop based on Breton’s recently published book of the same name, featuring tips for success for the thoughtful hunter and tracker.

On October 20, a Wild Game Processing workshop will help those new to the experience, and those looking to hone their techniques and learn from a professional butcher and avid hunter.

Other workshops and collaborations planned for the coming year include a film screening and land ethic discussion panel, duck decoy making, a shed meet and wild game dinner, and a youth fishing derby.

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