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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.”

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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

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.

Local schools receive school safety grants

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — A total of 239 Vermont schools have been awarded safety grants totaling $4 million, which will fund infrastructure upgrades designed to improve school safety.

Locally, this money will be distributed to the following schools:

Albany Community School
$14,643.38

Barton Graded School
$14,546.25

Brighton Elementary School
$7,079.25

Charleston Elem School
$15,629.25

Coventry Village School
$8,432.25

Craftsbury School
$24,750.75

Derby Elementary School
$24,996.75

Irasburg Village School
$7,500.00

Lake Region
$25,000.00

Lowell Graded School
$13,687.50

Newport City Elem Schools
$3,975.00

North Country Union Jr High
$25,000.00

Orleans Central Early Childhood
$14,963.51

Orleans Elementary School
$16,706.06

Purchases will include interior and exterior door locks, indoor and outdoor public address systems and other infrastructure upgrades to improve safety.

Schools were eligible for up to $25,000 and will be responsible for a 25 percent grant match. The average award is around $16,000. The funds will be distributed by the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year.

“Getting these projects started quickly will help students, staff, and administrators focus on learning,” said Gov. Phil Scott.

A statewide safety assessment, directed by Governor Scott and conducted on schools throughout Vermont earlier this year, helped schools and State officials identify needs and priority projects for the available funding.

Body of 84-year-old Danville man recovered from Joe’s Pond

in Danville/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

DANVILLE — Police say the body of a Danville man who was reported missing on Sunday was located at Joe’s Pond.

John Sales, 84, is said to have left his home in Danville at around 6:30 a.m.

His vehicle was located in West Danville, and articles of clothing were found near Joe’s Pond.

This morning, rescue crews conducted a search by boat of Joe’s Pond and found human remains in the water about 50 feet from shore.

Police say the body was recovered and has been identified as Sales.

The investigation is ongoing, but police say foul play is not suspected at this time.

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the St. Johnsbury Barracks at 802-748-3111.

Westmore Mountain Challenge returns, 1 day 5 mountains

in Charleston/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom/Wheelock

EAST CHARLESTON — This coming fall the NorthWoods Stewardship Center is gearing up for their second annual Westmore Mountain Challenge on Saturday, October 13, 2018.

The 5-mountain marathon hike highlights some of the best natural features of the Northeast Kingdom during peak fall foliage, attracting local hikers and participants from throughout New England.

Hikers circle around the south end of Lake Willoughby to summit the mountains of Moose, Hor, Pisgah, Haystack and Bald, then either catch a shuttle or continue down the road for the full marathon distance back to NorthWoods Stewardship Center in East Charleston to celebrate.

“Last year’s event was a great success. We very quickly filled our 120-person limit and had a dozen more clamoring to sign up after registration closed,” said event organizer and NorthWoods Education & Outreach Director, Maria Young.

This year, the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation, which owns the land and sponsors the event, has agreed to increase the limit to 150 participants, to allow more people the chance to participate, while continuing to maintain a responsible and conscientious use of the trail system.

“There are many ways to participate, at all levels,” Young said. “Some people are trying for a best personal time, or first to finish. Last year we had a group from Sterling College who ran it as a relay, arranging their own pickup and drop-offs.”

All of the trails in the Westmore Mountain Challenge have been work projects of the NorthWoods Conservation Corps, which employs local youth crews to build and maintain miles of trails to public lands across the NEK and New England.

The proceeds from this event help support NorthWoods’ conservation, forestry, and education programming, including the youth crews who maintain the trails.

This year is looking even more popular than the 2017 inaugural hike, with over half the registration slots filled within the first few weeks.

Hikers interested in participating should move fast, with only 20 or so spots left.

To register, visit the NorthWoods Stewardship Center website at northwoodscenter.org.

Classes for caregivers offered in Newport next month

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — According to the Family Caregiver Alliance, an estimated 44 million Americans age 18 and older provide unpaid assistance and support to older people and adults with disabilities who live in the community.

Evidence shows that most caregivers are ill-prepared for their role and provide care with little or no support.

To provide support to caregivers, the NEK Council on Aging (NEKCOA) is offering two self-care classes in Newport this fall.

The first is Managing Stress, a 90-minute free workshop focusing on tools to manage the daily stresses faced by caregivers.

The class takes place on Wednesday, Sept. 12, from 6-7:30 p.m. in the downstairs Meeting Room at North Country Hospital.

The workshop will be facilitated by Nancy Oakes, the NEKCOA Director of Family Caregiver Support.

“Family caregivers need to take care of themselves,” Oakes said. “When we take care of ourselves, we can prevent or recover from some of the negative effects of stress that caregivers experience. By reducing resentment, caregivers can offer more loving and supportive care.”

Powerful Tools for Caregivers, is a six-week, in-depth class to help caregivers reduce stress, improve self-confidence, communicate needs and feelings more effectively, balance their lives, deal with difficult emotions, and increase their ability to make tough decisions and locate helpful resources.

The class begins on Wednesday, September 26th and runs every Wednesday until October 31st from 3 – 4:30 p.m. in the Vermont Room at Goodrich Memorial Library in Newport.

It will be facilitated by Nancy Oakes and Lucy LeMay, a Case Manager for NEKCOA.

Organizers are requesting that a small donation is made to cover the cost of the class book, but is not required.

Registration is required.

Call Nancy Oakes at 802-751-0435 or email info@nekcouncil.org and place “caregiver” in the subject line.

NEK Swim Week, 8 lakes in 9 days

in Newport/Northeast Kingdom/Outdoors

NEWPORT — As we head deeper into the miracle of summer, NEK Swim Week is approaching.

From August 11 to August 19, swim week will cover 8 lakes in 9 days throughout the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and the Eastern Townships of Quebec

The event schedule is as follows:

Saturday, August 11 at Crystal, Sunday, August 12 at Island Pond, Monday, August 13 at Lac Massawippi, Tuesday, August 14 at Lake Seymour, Wednesday, August 15 at Echo Lake, Thursday, August 16 the Province Island Swim, Saturday, August 18 at Lake Willoughby, and Sunday, August 19 at Caspian Lake.

Swim week had its origins with the Lake Willoughby Swim in 2010, starting with just 12 swimmers that the first year.

This year, around 60 swimmers will come from Ottawa, Montreal, California, South Carolina, Florida, West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Indiana, Texas, Delaware, Maine, Tennessee, DC, Arizona, Maryland, and all over Vermont.

All swimmers are accompanied by escort kayakers. Volunteer patrol boats on each of the other lakes make the swims possible.

The swims are organized by Kingdom Games, which now hosts over 25 days of running, biking, swimming, and ice skating events in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

Teen becomes youngest to complete historic 25-mile swim across Memphremagog

in Magog/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Swimmers participating in the 25-mile length of Lake Memphremagog amateur swim known as “In Search of Memphre,” were greeted with headwinds from the north ranging from 10 to 20 MPH for the first 15 miles on Wednesday. The waves and chop were high.

Despite conditions, two of the seven swimmers completed the international swim that starts in Newport, Vermont, and ends in Magog, Quebec.

Sharessa Guiterrez, 37, of Omaha, Nebraska completed with a time of 15 hours and 51 minutes.

Vera Rivard, 14, of Springfield, New Hampshire and Derby, Vermont, came in at 16 hours and 24 minutes. In doing so, she became the youngest person ever to cross the 25 miles of Lake Memphremagog.

Five other swimmers laid down inspiring swims and completed various distances fighting the headwinds.

Cara Marie Manlandro, 28, of Derwood, Maryland, completed 23.5 miles before communication difficulties regarding the landing location caused her to end her swim, just short of the finish.

Sandra Frimerman-Bergquist, 34, of Exelsior, MN, Eric Schall, 57, of Kingston, PA, Dan Shub, 69 of Baltimore, MD, and Mary Stabinsky, 41, of Plains, PA, completed various distances ranging from 6 to 17 miles.

Shub was the oldest person to attempt a Memphremagog Crossing and the last of those to pull. He completed 17 miles.

Swimmers left Newport at 5:31 a.m. as the sun began to rise.

Water temperatures ranged from 72 through 74 throughout the day, with sunny skies. The air temperature was in the 60s and 70s, and the high winds began to diminish at around noon.

In Search of Memphre was started in 2011 to promote a more open border with Canada.

Swimmers in this year’s Search dedicated their swims to the Asylum Seekers and are encouraging donations to the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project at https://asylumadvocacy.org/

The swim was organized by Kingdom Games, which hosts over 25 days of running, biking, swimming and ice skating events in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and the Eastern Townships of Quebec.

Open discussion Aug. 1 on sex offenders in Newport community

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — The Orleans County Restorative Justice Center will hold a community education event about sex offenders in Orleans County Vermont.

This event is free, and starts at 5:00 p.m. on August 1, 2018, upstairs at the Goodrich Memorial Library.

Gary Marvel, Field Operations Manager for the Vermont Department of Corrections, will provide statistics, discuss treatment options, and address types of sex offenses.

He will also relate some of his experiences investigating and supervising sex offenders, and respond to questions.

Marvel is also the co-director of the Vermont Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Sexual Abuse.

Please let the Justice Center know you are coming or get more information, by emailing them at bmorrow@kingdomjustice.org or calling 802.487.9327.

Shrinedom ticketholders get money back

in Irasburg/News/Northeast Kingdom

IRASBURG — Vermonters and others who purchased tickets to a concert gone wrong will be eligible for refunds.

The Attorney General’s office says they resolved its investigation of Shrinedom 2017, a rock festival that was supposed to take place in Irasburg.

Seven bands were contracted to play, including local bands and national acts Vince Neil, Slaughter, Warrant, Lita Ford, and Firehouse.

On the day of the festival, the organizers had not sold enough tickets to pay the national bands, who did not perform.

The bands and the public were told that there were issues with the generators, when in fact not enough tickets were sold to pay the bands.

Ten thousand dollars have been provided for ticketholders who have not yet been reimbursed.

Approximately $10,000 has already been reimbursed to consumers by PayPal, which processed many of the payments.

Ticket buyers eligible for reimbursement can submit an online form located at the Attorney General’s website.

Consumers seeking to make a claim for reimbursement will be required to produce a proof of purchase or affirm under penalty of purchase that they purchased tickets for which they have not been reimbursed, and to state the amount spent on tickets.

The investigation concluded that the festival should have been delayed in August 2017 due to poor ticket sales, but organizers chose not to delay in hopes of securing sales the day of the event to cover costs.

Poor judgment and lack of experience in organizing a music festival of this size led hundreds of consumers to purchase tickets to an event which did not run as advertised.

Local bands Raized on Radio, MindTrap, and the Nashville Country Band did perform.

The main organizers were Adam Johnson and Marcus Clay of Irasburg.

Johnson was primarily responsible for the event, but he relied heavily on Clay’s alleged expertise in producing music events.

Mount Sinai Shriners No 3, the Montpelier, Vermont chapter of the International Shriners, heavily funded the event, which was to raise money for the organization.

Some participants in the event stated that they agreed to participate based on the understanding that the Shriners were affiliated with the event, though it was held by a separate organization called Kingdom Cares, which was created by Johnson.

Johnson has agreed not to direct any fundraisers for five years.

Clay will not produce any events with an audience greater than 1,000 for five years.

All parties have agreed to take steps to avoid mistakes with fundraising events in the future, under penalty of violating the agreement.

“I’m happy this matter is resolved and ticketholders will be compensated,” said Attorney General Donovan.

Swimmers set to swim full length of Memphremagog on Wednesday

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom/Outdoors

NEWPORT — This Wednesday, seven ultra-marathon open water swimmers will gather to swim the 25-mile length of Lake Memphremagog, between Newport, Vermont and Magog, Quebec.

They will be departing from the EastSide Restaurant and Prouty Beach in Newport at 5:00 a.m. and expected to cross the border into Canada between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m.

In Search of Memphre is an amateur swim, started on the tenth anniversary of 9/11 intended to promote a more open border with our Canadian neighbors.

Joining this July’s Search are Vera Rivard, 14, of Springfield, NH and Derby, VT, Eric Schall, 57, of Kingston, PA, Mary Stella Stabinsky, 41, of Plains, PA, Sharessa Gutierrez, 37, of Omaha, NE, Sandra Frimerman-Bergquist, 34, of Excelsior, MN, Dan Shub, 69, of Baltimore, MD, and Cara Manlandro, 38, of Derwood, MD.

They are joined by 26 others in support of the swim, serving as escort and patrol boat pilots, crew, and ground personnel.

Border crossing has been facilitated by Canadian law enforcement which has reviewed the roster of participants and pre-approved the crossing.

Organizers say US officials have been extremely helpful in facilitating crossings.

If successful, Vera Rivard would be the youngest to swim the length of the lake and Dan Shub would be the oldest to do so.

In 2018, at least 60 swimmers will be undertaking swims of various distances, from 10km to 25 miles, that involve crossing the border.

This year’s class of “Swimmer Scouts” have dedicated their swims to the Asylum Seekers and are encouraging donations to the Asylum Seeker Advocacy Project at https://asylumadvocacy.org/

Several of the swimmers, their support, and their families come from backgrounds of seeking asylum in the United States from horrific and dangerous conditions in their nations of origin.

Brighton man appointed to Fish & Wildlife Board

in Brighton/News/Northeast Kingdom

BRIGHTON — Governor Phil Scott recently appointed Mike Kolsun of Brighton to represent Essex County on the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Board.

The fourteen-member board is a group of Vermont citizens that enact fish and wildlife regulations for hunting, fishing, and trapping.

Members serve six-year terms.

Kolsun is a self-proclaimed “late-onset hunter.”

He took up hunting in his early twenties, learning about safety, ethics, and respect for the sport through good friends and mentors.

Kolsun was inspired by these mentors to give back and has been a hunter education instructor for 30 years, in addition to being a certified bowhunter and trapper education instructor.

He also instructs for the Conservation Leaders for Tomorrow program and helped develop Vermont’s “Let’s Go Fishing” program.

“The Fish and Wildlife Board members bring a strong level of personal experience to the job of setting Vermont’s hunting, fishing, and trapping regulations,” said Gov. Scott.

“We’re glad to welcome Mike to the board,” said Kevin Lawrence, Fish & Wildlife Board chair. “Board members are charged with the complex task of setting fishing, hunting, and trapping regulations after evaluating the scientific recommendations and legal advice from the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, along with the input from the state’s hunters, anglers, trappers and wildlife watchers.”

State settles with Stenger and Quiros

in Jay Peak/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT – Officials gathered at the Newport waterfront today to announce a settlement in the State’s EB-5 enforcement action.

Ariel Quiros will pay the State $2 million dollars as part of the settlement, which will be satisfied through his transfer to the State of title to five properties located in the Northeast Kingdom.

Stenger will pay $100,000 over the course of four years.

The State of Vermont filed a motion with the Washington Superior Court seeking approval of the settlement. If the Court approves, all of the proceeds of the settlements will be used for economic development in the Northeast Kingdom.

“We see this as another step in the healing process for our community,” said Newport Mayor Paul Monette. “Now that some of the uncertainty has been lifted, we want to continue to build on the momentum created by Newport’s recent centennial celebration and work together as a community to move the city forward.”

In conjunction with the settlements, Attorney General Donovan has asked Auditor Doug Hoffer to perform an audit of the State’s involvement with the EB-5 projects at Jay Peak.

Documents pertaining to the EB-5 program will be delivered to Auditor Hoffer upon the Court’s approval of the Quiros settlement.

“These settlements serve the public interest,” Attorney General Donovan said. “They will allow us to address the loss of trust in state government that has resulted from this fraud by performing a complete audit of the State’s role in the EB-5 projects.”

The settlements resolve the State’s enforcement actions in connection with EB-5 projects.

“With over $2 million dollars the state will receive in this settlement we will be able to help the Northeast Kingdom and Newport in particular with much-needed funding for economic development,” said Governor Scott.

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