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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

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 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

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 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

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.

New cots provide family bonding and comfort at NCH

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — North Country Hospital recently purchased five new “comfort cots,” that should provide more comfort and positive experiences for patients and their families.

This new generation of furniture is a love seat, large enough for 2-3 people to sit in, a lounge chair, as well as a pullout hide-a-bed.

The new piece has multiple uses, with the opportunity for parents to be close to a sick child in a pediatric room or for a lactation consultant to sit beside a nursing mom.

“What a difference these new comfort cots are going to make for our families,” said Anne Flynn, RN, Director of Maternal Child Health at North Country Hospital.

Previously each of the patient rooms in the department provided an outdated hospital bed, out of commission for patients but referred to as comfort cots, for dad or a family member to stay overnight.

The purchase of five new cots was made possible by the hospital Auxiliary.

When hospital staff finally found the right piece of furniture, they approached the Auxiliary, proposing that this might be a project of interest.

“A few of us attended a demonstration when the hospital was in the process of selecting a model, and we were so impressed,” Auxiliary President, Betty Lahar said. “On behalf of the Auxiliary I am happy that our group voted to make this purchase for Maternal Child Health.”

Lake Region graduate shot to death in Barre

in Barton/News/Northeast Kingdom

BARRE – A 29-year-old graduate of Lake Region Union High School was allegedly shot to death by her ex-boyfriend, who then took his own life in Barre on Wednesday.

According to Barre police, Luke Lacroix, 30, was brandishing a handgun when he barged into the apartment of his ex-girlfriend, Courtney Gaboriault.

Once inside, a struggle ensued with Fred Longchamp, a friend of Gaboriault’s.

Longchamp was able to break free and call the police, who arrived on the scene as multiple gunshots rang out.

Gaboriault came stumbling out of the building, police say, and was pulled to a safe location.

She had multiple gunshot wounds and died at the scene a short time later.

Police found Lacroix dead from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Gaboriault worked for The Vermont Department of Public Safety for nearly five years with the Vermont Crime Information Center.

She was born and raised in Vermont and graduated from Lake Region Union High School in Barton in 2007.

In 2011 she earned a bachelor’s degree in human services from what was then Lyndon State College.

Her parents, younger sister and extended family live in the Northeast Kingdom and central Vermont.

“This was another senseless act perpetrated by a man who sought to control and dominate another person,” said Thomas D. Anderson, commissioner of Public Safety.

At the Department of Public Safety, Gaboriault was known for her good humor, her love of animals and her commitment to helping others.

“She was always happy to help a co-worker with any issue. She brought a sense of joy to her work and her co-workers every day,” said Jeffrey Wallin, director of the Vermont Crime Information Center. “Her loss is keenly felt by her colleagues and all whose lives she touched. The thoughts of everyone who knew and worked with Courtney are with her family and friends.”

Impersonating law enforcement alert in Orleans County

in coventry/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

COVENTRY — The Orleans County Sheriff’s Department is notifying residents of a white male with black hair and a noticeable red rash on the left side of his neck, who is possibly impersonating law enforcement.

At around 8:30 p.m. on Sunday, a woman says she was traveling south on the Alder Brook Road in Coventry when a light blue car activated a red and blue flashing light bar on the roof of the vehicle and began to follow her.

The woman told police that she didn’t feel comfortable pulling over in a rural area as the car didn’t look like a police car and had no police markings on it.

The vehicle continued to follow her displaying the red and blue flashing lights until she got to the intersection of Vermont Route 14 and US 5 in Coventry, where she pulled over to the side of the road.

The driver of the light blue car pulled over behind her and exited his vehicle. He approached and told her he had stopped her for speeding.

Police say he then got back in his car and turned around and quickly departed back in the direction he had just come from.

The driver is described as a white male of small stature, approximately 130-140 lbs, possibly 30 to early 40 years of age with black hair and a noticeable red rash on the left side of his neck.

The woman told police he was wearing a t-shirt and blue jeans at the time.

The vehicle is described as a light blue, mid-sized car with a red and blue light bar on the roof.

Anyone who may have witnessed this event or has information about the unknown white male or light blue car involved is asked to contact the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department at 802-334-3333.

MWA continues Youth Discovery Program on land

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — The popular Youth Discovery Program that last year saw 300 third grade students from Orleans County learning about the area aboard the Northern Star boat, has been continued on land.

The program used a similar approach as was used on the Northern Star.

Students from Newport City, St Paul’s, Charleston, Derby, and Newport Town became “Lake Detectives,” using their senses to observe and explore during a nature walk.

They learned the origins of Lake Memphremagog, where all the water in the lake comes from, and their school watershed address.

They also investigated the damage the can happen from runoff and how to protect our lakes and streams with buffer planting.

Since participants could not be on the water they went in the water and added a near-shore experience, wading in and collecting some macroinvertebrates living in the water.

Later students observed them under a magnifying lens.

Continuing this program on land will enable the Memphremagog Watershed Association to jump the program back onboard when the boat floats again.

Healthcare scholarships awarded to local students by North Country Hospital

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Eighteen new healthcare scholarships were recently awarded to high school seniors and one adult, totaling $18,000.

In addition, North Country Hospital has renewed scholarships for consecutive years providing students stay in healthcare education and maintain a minimum 3.0 GPA.

Each year the scholarship review committee makes selections based on student essays, transcripts, extra-curricular activities, as well as financial need.

Applicants and families must also live in the hospital’s service area in order to initially apply.

This year a total of 10 awards were received from this fund.

They went to Lake Region Union High School graduates Krystianna Ingalls and Melanie Joubert, and North Country Union High School graduates Jacob Bean, Chelsea Daigle, Carley Giroux, Lettie Hale and Brooklyn Szych-Brown.

Cara Strona, Elizabeth Gaudreau, and Brianna Doty also received scholarships from this fund.

Caryl B. Custer Scholarship for Nursing Students awards went to North Country graduates Brianna Crouch, Gwen Pettengill, Mariah Poutre and Chantal Therrien.

Lake Region graduate Paige Menard also received this award.

The fund was created by summer resident Dr. Keith Custer in memory of and on behalf of his wife Caryl, who was a nurse manager in Florida for many years.

She individually supported many nursing students with scholarship monies in the past.

This year NCU graduates Emily Perkins and Riley Laffoon received The Legends Scholarship.

This fund was created in 2010 and has since named five “Legends” of North Country Hospital, including Merrilyn Barry, Robert Trembley, MD, Thomas A.E. Moseley, MD, A. David Alsobrook, MD, and Cecile Gelineau, RN.

In 2015 the Sidney A. Toll Scholarship Fund was created, honoring long time previous CEO and founder of North Country Hospital’s scholarship golf tournament.

This year’s recipient is Jaime Kramer, having received her bachelor’s degree and going on to become a physician assistant.

Contributions to North Country Hospital for any of the scholarship funds help sustain these awards for years to come.

Students receive awards for 2-year, 4-year as well as graduate programs.

The Healthcare Career Scholarship is made possible by the annual North Country Hospital Scholarship Golf Classic, with proceeds each year going directly to awardees.

The 30th annual scramble is set for Sunday, July 22, with 8 a.m. registration and a 9 a.m. shotgun start at Orleans Country Club.

For more information, call the Development/Community Relations office at (802) 334-4186.

Welcoming the Newport Vermont Centennial Celebration, June 29 – July 6

in Newport/Northeast Kingdom

In this video, Newport City Manager Laura Dolgin and Recreation Supervisor Jessica Booth talk about the upcoming Centennial Celebration, June 29 – July 6.

Come out for 8 days of festivities and events to celebrate Newport across the ages.

A parade, family fun, live entertainment, exhibitions, food, fireworks and much more are coming.

Please come celebrate Newport, 100 years in the making.

[VIDEO] 2nd Annual Opioid Awareness Walk in Newport

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

On Sunday, NEK Stand Strong hosted the 2nd Annual Opioid Awareness Walk in Newport.

The event filled the community with awareness and memories of those fighting the opioid crisis.

Guest speakers included Travis Blake, Sierra Ruth and Tennyson Marceau. The talks were followed by a one-mile walk around the Newport Waterfront.

Upon returning to the gazebo MTV’s Brandon Novak shared his story of recovery with the crowd.

Photos by Tanya Mueller.

NorthWoods Stewardship Center plants over 7000 trees in Northern Vermont

in Charleston/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

CHARLESTON — Spring is always a busy time around the NorthWoods campus. The Conservation Corps Crew gears up to begin spring trail projects, the Forestry team starts fieldwork for management plans and invasive species control, and the Conservation Science program finds new homes for thousands of young trees and shrubs.

To date, the Conservation Science team has completed a scheduled 5 weeks of planting projects, with a total of 7,273 trees and shrubs, ranging in size and style from 18” live stakes and small tubestock, to bareroot trees up to 10 feet tall.

All have been planted at sites across northern Vermont.

The planting season began with three projects in partnership with the Connecticut River Conservancy.

The first week, the crew headed south to West Fairlee to complete two planting projects on tributaries of the Connecticut River. From there, they moved north to work on revegetating the area around the East Burke Dam removal site.

The next project took place on the Johnson Farm Wildlife Management Area in Canaan in partnership with the Essex County Natural Resources Conservation District and the VT Wildlife Fund.

At the end of the same week, the crew did a small reforestation planting on private property.

The final four projects were all riparian buffer planting projects that were funded by Ecosystem Restoration Program Grants from the VT Department of Environmental Conservation.

One project was on a small tributary of Lake Memphremagog in Newport, one was on Fish & Wildlife land on the Barton River in Coventry, and two were on the Black River in Albany.

The NorthWoods planting crew’s labor was funded through an Ecosystem Restoration Program Grant from 2017.

VIDEO: Celebrating Howard Frank Mosher in Irasburg

in Arts and Entertainment/Irasburg/News/Northeast Kingdom

On Saturday, the Leach Public Library hosted an Open House honoring the publication of “Points North,” by Howard Frank Mosher, in the town where Mosher and his wife Phillis made their home for 40 years.

Phillis Mosher gave an informal talk of recollections of the Mosher family’s life in Irasburg.

The beloved Irasburg author died in January 2017.

“Points North” was published in January 2018.

Michael Scott of Barton named Vermont’s Warden of the Year

in Barton/News/Northeast Kingdom

BARTON — Michael Scott of Barton has been named Vermont’s State Game Warden of the Year.

A game warden since 2014, Scott received the award in recognition of his excellent service from Governor Phil Scott on May 23 in Montpelier.

“I want to thank Michael for his outstanding performance in protecting Vermont’s fish and wildlife resources and serving the people of Vermont,” said Governor Scott.

Warden Michael Scott’s district includes the towns of Lowell, Albany, Irasburg, Glover, and Barton.

Warden Scott previously was honored for his heroism in attempting to save the life of an angler who had fallen through the ice on Lake Willoughby.

Scott ran across the thin ice with a rescue line before breaking in himself and held the angler while bystanders pulled them to shore.

“Warden Scott effectively enforces hunting, fishing and trapping laws,” said Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Louis Porter. “In 2017 he arrested the offender in the notorious ‘moose dragging’ case in which a violator shot and killed a lactating cow moose, likely orphaning her calf, and dragging the carcass 12 miles behind his truck — leaving it to waste beside the road. This case drew national attention and, as a result, the largest monetary donation to Vermont’s “Operation Game Thief” in history.”

Detective Jennifer Harlow recognized by Vermont Children’s Alliance

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Newport Police Department Detective Jennifer Harlow has been recognized as “One of Orleans County Children’s Advocacy Center’s Best,” in an article detailing her work protecting children from becoming victims of crime.

The article, published by the Vermont Children’s Alliance, details Detective Harlow’s work, training, and education.

“Jenn Harlow has been a Detective with the Orleans County Child Advocacy Center since 2010 and has been an integral member of the CAC/SIU since she first walked through the CAC doors almost 10 years ago,” the article states. “Having been in law enforcement for 22 years, more than half of her life has been spent in public service, protecting her community. It would seem that at the heart of the Orleans County Child Advocacy Center, there is a real-life Wonder Woman!”

The article also chronicles how Detective Harlow has completed a number of advanced training and educational courses to further her work with the Newport Police Department, including:

• Extended Forensic Interviewing training in 2013

• Advanced Forensic Interviewing training in 2010

• Obtained her bachelor’s degree in psychology

• Working as an instructor for the Vermont Criminal Justice Training Council where she teaches domestic violence courses.

• Working as an instructor at the Vermont Police Academy teaching a three-day course to all new police officers on sexual and physical abuse investigations.

Detective Harlow also regularly is called upon to serve as an expert witness in child sexual abuse cases as well as domestic violence cases.

She visits area schools and conducts Rape Aggression Defense (RAD) classes and talks to young students about technology/internet/smart phone safety and how to maintain healthy relationships.

As a detective, her work takes her around the Northeast Kingdom, and she has conducted more than 1,000 investigations into child sexual abuse, physical abuse and/or sexual assault cases.

“Detective Harlow is truly an asset not only to the Newport Police Department but also to law enforcement agencies and children’s advocacy organizations all around Vermont,” Chief DiSanto said. “I would like to express my gratitude to the Vermont Children’s Alliance for their amazing work every day and for recognizing Detective Harlow for her lifesaving and life-changing police work.”

The sounds of the underground lives in Holland

in Holland/News/Northeast Kingdom

HOLLAND — The underground music scene in the northern Northeast Kingdom is thriving and it lives in Holland.

Andy Bouchard, through his production company Borderline Entertainment, is queuing up music acts for the summer that will take place at The Barrage, an all ages, alternative performance space focused on bringing independent alternative musical styles to the NEK that are not usually heard live outside of the cities.

“I’m doing this because I believe more people of the Northeast Kingdom listen to independent style music than the radio station market would lead people to believe,” says Bouchard. “Plus, I was sick of driving to Burlington to have an evening of enjoying different and new independent alternative music, and I feel like there’s a solid amount of people up here who feel the same way.”

The Barrage will kick off its second summer on Thursday, May 24 with “Get the Punk Outside,” a show featuring The Inhalants, a punk group from Ontario, and The Neighbors Hate Us, a group of local loud rockers.

The venue will host four shows and a farm soiree throughout the summer with the possibility of a couple of shows cropping up along the way.

All the shows are opened to the public and are priced on a sliding scale between $5 and $15 with generosity for the traveling artists being greatly appreciated.

“Nobody is not invited,” says Bouchard while adding, “except jerks, they’re totally not invited.”

According to Bouchard, his only worry about having a music venue out in Holland is that more people will now know just how beautiful Holland is – a secret he said he’s willing to share.

“My hope for this whole venture is for good music and good times to be coming to our area,” he says.

The Barrage is located on Stearns Brook Road in Holland.

Just follow the signs saying “Rock and Roll.”

To find out more information about shows coming to The Barrage check out Borderline Entertainment on Facebook at

Regional group focuses on keys to NEK’s economic future

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — A diverse set of leaders from across Orleans, Caledonia, and Essex counties will be meeting monthly through the fall.

They were convened by the non-profit Northeast Kingdom Collaborative to tackle challenges in two crucial areas: developing the next generation of local leaders, and supporting growth at the intersection of the creative, recreational and food sectors.

“Leadership capacity is so important,” said NEK Collaborative Executive Director Katherine Sims at the first meeting of the Collaborative’s Leadership Development Task Force on May 3. “We want to know, is there more in our region that we can do to improve the pipeline.”

The arts, outdoor recreation and local farm and food economy are already economic forces in the region, Sims said.

The Collaborative’s Tri-sectors Task Force, which met for the first time on May 7, will look to strengthen the intersection between them.

“We think focusing on where there is already energy and momentum will be a strategy for success,” Sims added.

A primary task of each group will be convening a larger gathering of stakeholders in July to gather more information about the barriers to success and ideas for solutions.

Each will develop an action plan by November, which the task forces and the Collaborative will work to carry out.

For more than 20 years, the Northeast Kingdom Collaborative has been working to increase coordination and communication between organizations in the region with the goal of increasing community engagement and economic vitality.

Since 2000, the organization has worked with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development Rural Economic Advancement Program to direct federal funds to economic priorities in the region.

USDA has invested over $200 million in the three NEK counties over that period.

Last year, the Collaborative renewed its commitment by launching a new strategy, which includes a reformatted governing board, a new executive director, closer ties with private funders and the task force process.

Reaching the Millenial Generation

An early focus at the first meeting of both task forces was on the next generation of local leaders and workers in the region’s economy.

The creative, recreation and food economies are more than a source of new jobs in the region. Vibrancy in those sectors will draw young workers back to the region and keep them here as they grow their families, said Jody Fried, Executive Director of Catamount Arts in St. Johnsbury, at the Tri-Sector Task Force.

“Millenials love outdoor recreation and a close second is nightlife. They value arts and culture and sense of place,” said Fried. “The opportunity here is to match our sectors with a future workforce, which can be remote because of technology, and really try to address a long-term problem through some short-term strategic work.”

Minty Conant, a business consultant and Chief Financial Officer of Caledonia Spirits in Hardwick, agreed. “What we want is that critical mass of cool,” she said.

The Leadership Development Task Force discussed how to remove barriers to civic participation for younger leaders.

“I often feel that there are people in town who should be taking a more pro-active role because of their abilities and interest, but there is a resistance,” said Molly Veysey, Executive Director of the Old Stone House Museum in Brownington, and a member of the planning commission in Irasburg.

“I know a lot of people, especially women, who are organizers but are unwilling to become leaders,” added Ellen Rowe, who specializes in community and leadership development for the University of Vermont Extension Program. “They need skills and they need a mentor in order to be willing to step up.”

Motivation is also important, said John Castle, Superintendent of North Country.

“Most people don’t become a leader just to become a leader. It’s to make something happen that isn’t happening. There has to be an underlying sense of purpose.”

Optimism for the Future

Both Task Forces left the meeting with a sense of optimism about their ability to bring about progress.

“Our communities are small enough that one or two things can absolutely turn things around,” said Kevin Chamberlin, co-founder of advertising and graphic design agency, Flek.

“The scale is small enough that you can really make a difference.”

“We really have a rock star group,” Sims said about members of both Task Forces. “There is momentum and let’s seize that.”

United Christian Academy’s 2018 Spring Appeal off to great start

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — United Christian Academy’s 2018 Spring Appeal is underway, and the school says they are off to a good start.

Last Friday, April 27, UCA raised nearly $4,400.00 to kick-off its spring funding drive. Its goal was to raise $6,200.00 the first day, which is equal to one year of student tuition and raise more during the campaign.

“This would position us nicely to meet our annual funding goal for this academic year,” stated Dr. Montoro, Head of School.

United Christian Academy says they are very grateful for all those who give generously to the school.

As UCA looks to the future, they say they are excited about what “God is, and will be, doing through UCA and its students.”

One of its main objectives is to build a solid financial foundation for the school through a concrete development and funding plan, as well as reasonable enrollment growth objectives for both day and international students.

Many of its students attend on need-based scholarships, and this school year UCA provided nearly $150,000.00 in aid.

It has $60,000.00 remaining to meet its funding needs.

Since tuition only covers about half of the cost of educating students, it is vital for UCA to raise the difference.

Its students, teachers, and leadership say they appreciate the support and generosity.

UCA is truly a ministry that depends on the generosity of others who continue to see the value that the school provides.

Guided wildlife walk at Victory Basin Wildlife Management Area on May 16

in News/Northeast Kingdom/Outdoors

VICTORY — Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department and Northeast Kingdom Audubon are excited to partner on a birding and wildlife-viewing tour at Victory Basin Wildlife Management Area on May 16.

Doug Morin, a wildlife biologist with Fish & Wildlife, and Tom Berriman, an experienced birder with Northeast Kingdom Audubon, will co-lead this wildlife-based exploration of a truly unique part of Vermont.

“We’ll focus on finding the birds of Victory Basin WMA – both the exciting new arrivals of spring migrants and some of the year-round residents, including rare boreal species,” said Morin. “We’ll also keep eye out for trees, flowers, tracks, and any other curiosities we find along the way.”

Victory Basin is a vast lowland boreal forest that is common in northern Canada but rare here in Vermont, allowing visitors to feel like they’ve stepped into another world.

“We have a chance of spotting boreal wildlife such as gray jays, rusty blackbirds, snowshoe hare, and moose,” Morin said.

Two sessions will be offered on May 16, one from 7:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and a second from 10:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Participants are asked to bring binoculars and to wear appropriate clothing for being outdoors, including rain-proof layers. Waterproof boots are highly recommended, and spotting scopes and field guides are welcome.

Participants should also be able to walk 1-2 miles at a relaxed pace over a relatively flat trail.

The public can register for the event by visiting

Admission is free and is limited to the first 14 people who sign up for each session.

For information on other birding trips in the Northeast Kingdom, visit NEK Audubon at

Gov. Scott keynote speaker at annual chamber meeting in Newport

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Governor Phil Scott will be the featured keynote speaker at the Newport based Vermont’s North Country Chamber of Commerce annual meeting and luncheon.

The event will take place at 11:00 a.m. Thursday, April 25, at the Eastside Restaurant in Newport.

Governor Scott will speak on the north country’s economy and its future.

Luncheon tickets should be purchased in advance and are available on the chamber’s website at

Tickets are $20 per person or a table of 10 for $200.

The luncheon is open to both chamber members and interested community members.

At the annual meeting, the chamber will elect members for its Board of Directors, updates on this year’s Aquafest will be shared, new area businesses will be recognized, and community involvement awards will be presented to area businesses.

Vermont’s North Country Chamber of Commerce operates the Welcome Center on the Causeway in Newport plus promotes events and activities designed to improve business and lifestyle in its membership area.

The chamber membership is open to all businesses, organizations, and individuals interested in promoting the economic well-being of the greater Newport area, including Orleans County, eastern Franklin County, and northern Essex County.

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