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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.

Amphibians begin migration, drivers asked to slow down

in News/Northeast Kingdom/Outdoors

NEWPORT — One of the great wildlife migrations is happening right now, and it’s taking place right at our feet.

You may have already heard the spring peepers or wood frogs calling in your backyard. Or perhaps you’ve noticed salamanders crawling over rocks in a nearby stream.

Amphibians are on the move, but their spring breeding migration can too often become deadly.

Amphibians migrate by the thousands each spring in search of breeding pools. This migration frequently takes them across roads and highways where they are killed by cars, which contributes to species’ decline in Vermont, according to biologist Jens Hilke with the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.

“Frogs and salamanders become active on rainy spring nights,” said Hilke. “On these nights, drivers should slow down on roads near ponds and wetlands or try to use an alternate route. These amphibian ‘hotspots’ can lead to the death of thousands of animals on a single night.”

Hilke is asking drivers to report these hotspots, or areas with large numbers of frogs and salamanders that cross the road all at once.

You can contact the Vermont Reptile & Amphibian Atlas by emailing Jim Andrews at

“We work hard to identify these hotspots and to mitigate the problem whenever possible to help give these animals a better chance of survival,” said Hilke.

The Fish & Wildlife Department is working with the Vermont Agency of Transportation to include culverts and wildlife barriers in road construction plans to allow wildlife, from frogs to moose, to more safely cross the road.

The town of Monkton has completed a highway project that is aimed at providing amphibians with a safe way to cross under the road.

Conservation officials and volunteers also work together on rainy spring nights to slow traffic and manually move amphibians across the road.

Trout sea­son opens this Saturday

in Northeast Kingdom/Outdoors

NEWPORT — Ver­mon­t’s tra­di­tional trout fish­ing sea­son is set to open on Sat­ur­day, April 14, and de­spite re­cent cold weather and lin­ger­ing snow cover across the state, of­fi­cials from Ver­mont Fish and Wildlife say an­glers can be suc­cess­ful early in the sea­son by fol­low­ing a few ba­sic tips.

“Just like any other time of year, an­glers fish­ing early in the spring should ad­just their tac­tics based on the con­di­tions,” said Bret Ladago, state fish­eries bi­ol­o­gist. “Given the cold weather and runoff from re­cent storms and snow melt, wa­ter lev­els will be high, flows will be faster than nor­mal and wa­ter tem­per­a­tures will be cold.

Ladago says an­glers may want to tar­get small to medium low-el­e­va­tion rivers and streams where flows are slow and wa­ters will warm more quickly. Find­ing wa­ter that is­n’t too muddy can be key, and slow­ing your lure or bait re­trieval will help tempt slug­gish trout into bit­ing.

Trout will of­ten hold close to the bot­tom in the deeper ar­eas of streams dur­ing high flow con­di­tions to con­serve en­ergy. Choose lo­ca­tions and tac­tics that al­low for fish­ing bait or lures right along the bot­tom.

Ladago says that fish­ing slowly with worms or spin­ners through deep holes be­hind cur­rent breaks cre­ated by big boul­ders, downed trees or log-jams can be pro­duc­tive for early sea­son trout.

Ver­mont is known for its ex­cel­lent and di­verse fish­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for wild trout. Trout stock­ing in streams and rivers gen­er­ally oc­curs in May, fol­low­ing spring runoff, so most early sea­son fish­ing is en­tirely sup­ported by wild trout.

“An­gling suc­cess may be im­proved by fo­cus­ing on wa­ters known to hold wild fish,” Mr. Ladago said. “De­spite un­pre­dictable weather dur­ing early spring, each year an­glers re­port catch­ing im­pres­sive trout dur­ing open­ing week­end.”

Folk music stars Natalie Haas and Yann Falquet to perform at Irasburg Town Hall

IRASBURG — The Artemis Concert Series will be presenting their inaugural concert, featuring renowned Celtic musicians Natalie Haas and Yann Falquet, on Friday, April 27 at 7:30 p.m.

The concert will be held at the Irasburg Town Hall, and will include a potluck buffet.

Tickets are $10 for adults, and kids under 12 are free. They are available at: http://

Natalie and Yann’s duo draws on the rich folk music of Quebec, Scandinavia, and Western Europe, and they’ve performed to sold-out crowds throughout Europe and the U.S.

Natalie Haas is one of the most sought-after cellists in Celtic music today. She has appeared on over 50 albums, including those of Cape Breton fiddler Natalie MacMaster, Irish greats Altan, Solas, Liz Carroll, and Mark O’Connor.

Montrealer Yann Falquet is one of the most creative acoustic guitarists in today’s Québécois music scene, and has recorded five albums and toured the world with French Canadian power trio Genticorum.

The Artemis Concert Series is the creation of NJ Symphony violinists and Brownington residents JoAnna Farrer and Darryl Kubian.

The Series aims to celebrate the rich traditions of both the folk and classical music worlds, bringing local and international artists together for exciting performances in the Northeast Kingdom.

The Series is proudly sponsored by Cindy Sanville, of Sanville Real Estate, LLC., based in Irasburg.

Troy couple find purpose and spirit in restorative justice

in News/North Troy/Northeast Kingdom/Troy

TROY — Annie and Irv Fellows of Troy have long sought to make a difference in the world. For more than 30 years, Irv and Annie worked for the government, attempting to bring their passion for helping people through that venue.

“When I retired, Annie and I made a commitment that we would seek other ways to help people in need,” Irv said.

Then, about 4 years ago, Irv met Orleans County Restorative Justice Center’s Executive Director, Barbara Morrow during an effort to set up a Newport area warming shelter.

“She asked me if I would like to be on a ‘Circles of Support and Accountability’, called CoSA for short,” he said. “I initially had no idea what that was, but I found the concept challenging and well aligned with my spiritual principles. At first, I had little confidence that I could contribute anything, but, as time went by, I realized my perspective and life experiences could be supportive. Annie saw that I was finding CoSAs rewarding, and she decided to do volunteer as well.”

A CoSA is a team of usually three volunteers who, with a trained facilitator, work with someone called a “core member,” a person reentering the community from incarceration, for a year.

The team works with the person to figure out what problems they face and how they might address those problems. The team and the core member come up with a plan for the future and identify skills the core member has or could develop that will help them overcome present or future barriers. The CoSA group also acts as a source of accountability and a sounding board.

The Fellows said there are many rewards and frustrations to volunteering as a CoSA team member, but that the rewards are worth it.

“I’ve become aware of many bureaucratic barriers a person faces when they are trying to successfully reenter the local work environment,” Irv said. “For instance, a person needs to have their social security card to get a job. Seems like a simple thing, unless their card has been lost and they have no transportation. Obtaining a new copy of that card often involves seeking a copy of a long-misplaced birth certificate and a long bus ride to Montpelier. The lack of a driver’s license can also be a barrier. Without public transportation in the area, a person trying to get back on his or her feet often has to settle for a minimum wage job within walking distance. They often end up living on a financial knife’s edge, and even a small unexpected expense can make them vulnerable to frustration and depression, and the temptation to return to old ways.”

With that said, Irv Fellows said there are beautiful successes, often helped along by a core member with a good attitude about the process and support their receiving.

It can happen, the Fellows say, that amazing things take place in a person’s life through the process.

“My first CoSA involved a person who had alcohol and anger issues. When he started, he was adrift. He did not know how to handle money, he was isolated and he had very few prospects for employment. He worked very hard to avoid alcohol and completed training to control his anger. We taught him how to handle his money, and he listened to our advice. Soon, he began to bloom. He gained confidence in himself and his ability to control his own life. We sought people willing to give him a chance as an employee, and his work ethic soon convinced them he was a valuable worker. It has been more than a year since his CoSA ended, and his hard work continues to bring him success.”

Irv and Annie have served on a number of CoSA teams, and they say each one is a very different experience. What isn’t different, they said, is the caliber of volunteers they share this work with.

“There is a real reward in getting to know other CoSA volunteers,” Irv Fellows said. “I find them to be remarkable people.”

The Orleans County Restorative Justice Center’s Executive Director, Barbara Morrow, shares Fellow’s outlook on the volunteers, and welcomes interested people to find out how they can take part too.

“We will have a Circles of Support and Accountability training in Lyndonville May 3rd and 4th,” Morrow said.

This is required of all CoSA volunteers, has received rave reviews, and is a great orientation to work with our clients. We invite people to attend even if they’re not sure yet that they would volunteer, but are thinking about it.”

To learn more about OCRJC services, visit their website at, email or call 802-487-9327.

  • 29391534_10210547040984699_1653501595_o-2.jpg
    Photo by Tanya Mueller.

Old Stone House prepares for May opening

in Brownington/News/Northeast Kingdom

BROWNINGTON — A fresh en­ergy is dri­ving the Old Stone House Mu­seum in Brown­ing­ton to­wards open­ing day on May 16. Com­mu­nity out­reach classes will be in­ter­min­gled with an up­dated list­ing of events.

Out­reach classes for adults will in­clude tile mo­saics, plein air draw­ing, yeast-bread bak­ing, ca­nine obe­di­ence, and more.

The mu­seum will also be ap­peal­ing more to chil­dren and young fam­i­lies by of­fer­ing a weekly kids’ day each Fri­day from June 15 through Au­gust 24.

Kids’ day will be­gin at 11 a.m. with spe­cial ac­tiv­i­ties planned on-site, fol­lowed by out­door pic­nick­ing. Chil­dren un­der 18 can en­joy tours those Fri­days for a re­duced rate.

Time Trav­el­ers Camp for kids ages 8 to 12 will run from July 23 through 27. This year the camp will fo­cus on her­itage arts and will in­clude pit-fired pot­tery, slate paint­ings, sap bucket lanterns, along with other pop­u­lar ac­tiv­i­ties to choose from in the af­ter­noons.

New and old fa­vorite events will pique in­ter­est for mu­seum vis­i­tors.

The sea­son starts with the vol­un­teer ori­en­ta­tion carousel and tea on Thurs­day, April 26.

Things take off in May with the pop­u­lar Spring Field Days for school­child­ren on May 15 and 22, en­gines show on June 16, the gala fund-raiser on July 19, and Old Stone House Day on Au­gust 12.

The new stars party fund-raiser happens on Sep­tem­ber 1, which will in­clude live mu­sic, Fair­banks Mu­seum-led star gaz­ing on Prospect Hill us­ing high-pow­ered tele­scopes, food truck ven­dors, and more.

Open sea­son will draw to a close with a “boo!” at the new “Haunted Old Hall­ways” and trick-or-treat­ing event for kids and fam­i­lies on Oc­to­ber 28.

RuralEdge appoints interim CEO

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

LYNDONVILLE — The Board of RuralEdge (RE) announced the appointment of Patrick Flood as interim CEO, effective April 3, 2018, following the resignation of Trisha Ingalls, in February.

Louise Bonvechio, chair of the RuralEdge Board of Directors, announced the transition plans.

“I am happy to announce that Patrick Flood has been hired as an interim CEO to provide leadership during the executive transition period,” Bonvechio said. “The RE board is enthusiastic about choosing Patrick for his adept abilities to work with rural communities, his confident leadership style, and his demonstrated skills to lead an organization through challenging times.”

Flood, who lives in East Calais, VT, worked for 29 years in state government, in the VT Agency of Human Services (AHS).

He was the Commissioner of the Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living, the commissioner of the Department of Mental Health following tropical storm Irene, and the Deputy Secretary of AHS for four years.

After leaving state government in 2013, he was CEO of Northern Counties Health Care, based in St. Johnsbury, until retiring in 2016. He has also served as a trustee of Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital.

“I am looking forward to this opportunity,” Flood said. “Housing that is affordable is critical to our communities, and I hope, with the help of all the staff, to strengthen Rural Edge’s capacity to meet that need.”

A CEO search committee, comprised of board directors, stakeholders, and staff, has been formed. The process is expected to take six to nine months.

Brianna Maitland still missing after 14 years

in Montgomery/News/Northeast Kingdom/Vermont

MONTGOMERY — Monday marks the 14 year anniversary of the disappearance of Brianna Maitland, and detectives say they continue to investigate active leads in this case.

Brianna Maitland, 17 years old at the time of her disappearance, was last seen at her place of employment at the Black Lantern Inn, located in Montgomery.

Maitland reportedly left work on March 19, 2004, at approximately 11:20 p.m. Her car was discovered the next day adjacent to an abandoned farmhouse, located on VT Route 118 in the town of Montgomery, a short distance from work.

The Vermont State Police, along with the Maitland family, strongly emphasize the importance of anyone coming forward with information.

Police say they continue to be vigilant in their efforts to investigate all tips provided by the public.

The Vermont State Police is offering a reward of up to $5,000.00 for information leading to the resolution of this case and/or information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible.

The Vermont State Police offers rewards on specific major cases with an emphasis on unsolved homicides and missing persons where foul play is suspected.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at (802) 524-5993.

Public meeting to be held on conserved lands in Norton and Holland

in Holland/Northeast Kingdom/Norton

HOLLAND — The Vermont departments of Fish & Wildlife, and Forests, Parks, & Recreation are holding a public meeting to discuss future management and use of a group of conserved lands in the Northeast Kingdom.

The meeting will discuss the Bill Sladyk Wildlife Management Area, Black Turn Brook State Forest, and Averill Mountain Wildlife Management Area, primarily in the towns of Norton and Holland.

The meeting will take place on Tuesday, March 20 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. at the Town of Brighton Elementary School.

“These lands occupy a special place in Vermont, with vast areas of both softwood and hardwood forest, numerous ponds and streams, and many opportunities for remote experiences,” said Doug Morin, a biologist for the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.

This is part of the routine management planning process for state lands owned by the Agency of Natural Resources.

The meeting will provide an opportunity for members of the public to provide input on how the lands may best be used for sustainable forestry, fish and wildlife habitat, and outdoor recreation.

“Large areas of interconnected conserved lands with healthy forests and waters such as these are essential in Vermont,” Morin said. “They form the foundation of the state’s working landscape, providing areas for outdoor recreation, tourism, and sustainable forestry practices.”

The public may also submit comments directly until April 20, 2018.

For more information about the meeting or the planning process, or to submit a comment, contact Doug Morin at

Brownington woman arrested for 2016 homicide

in Brownington/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

BROWNINGTON — A Brownington woman is facing charges relating to the death of a 38-year-old man back in March of 2016.

Today, the Orleans County State’s Attorney Office and the Vermont State Police Major Crime Unit, announced the arrest and indictment of Jennifer Simard, 46, of Brownington, for murder, 2nd degree, and manslaughter, in the death of Kevin Smith in Brownington.

In June of 2016, authorities ruled the manner of Smith’s death as a homicide, the cause of death being a stab wound to the chest.

Authorities say the indictment is the result of an on-going investigation.
Simard was processed and lodged at the Northern State Correctional Facility.

She is due to appear in court on Monday.

North Country Hospital CEO Claudio Fort leaving

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — Today the North Country Hospital Board of Trustees accepted the resignation of President & CEO, Claudio Fort.

Fort is leaving to fill the position of long-time CEO of Rutland Regional Medical Center, Thomas Huebner, who is retiring at the end of March.

Chairman of the North Country Hospital Board of Trustees, Frank Knoll, expressed appreciation for Fort’s nine years of service at the helm of North Country Hospital.

“Claudio has left the organization well positioned for the future and we wish him continued success in his new position,” Knoll said.

The North Country Hospital Board of Trustees is working with Fort to develop a transition plan and begin the search process for Fort’s successor.

“I am and will forever be grateful to have had the opportunity to advance the mission of North Country Hospital,” Fort said. “With a committed board, talented medical staff, and engaged employees, I know that the organization’s best days lie ahead.”

North Country Hospital and VASA team up to teach ATV safety

in Health/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

NEWPORT — For kids who like to ride ATVs, North Country Hospital will be hosting a free ½ day classroom training course sponsored by VASA on Saturday, March 24 from 9 a.m. – noon in the downstairs Meeting Room.

This free course which teaches safe and responsible ATV operation is a requirement for all Vermont kids aged 12-17.

North Country Hospital says they understand the importance of this required training especially since nationwide, children under the age of 16 accounts for 40 percent of ATV accidents and fatalities.

There were 25 off-highway vehicle-related deaths in Vermont from 2013-2017. ATVs are included in the category of off-highway vehicles.

In an effort to keep these numbers from rising, North Country Hospital, Safe Kids Vermont, and VASA are urging Northeast Kingdom youth to attend this free event.

“Your child’s ATV is a machine, so it’s not only important to match them with a size appropriate ATV, it’s equally important that they understand the rules, regulations and ways in which to safely operate them,” says Dani Luke, Operations Director for VASA.

The ATV safety course will provide children with the state-approved, required safety certificate.

To register for the training, please contact Dani Luce at or call 802-477-5075. Space is limited and the deadline to register is March 10, 2018.

Lunch and snacks are provided for youth and parents, grandparents or other adults are welcome to stay too.

Once your child is registered by March 10 they will receive the appropriate course materials.

Kidder Hill Community Wind stops project activities

in Lowell/News/Northeast Kingdom

LOWELL — Kidder Hill Community Wind announced today the suspension of project planning activities for the proposed two-turbine wind installation in Lowell.

Citing a turbulent climate for renewable wind energy in Vermont and the urgent need for more renewables to be built, the project explained that resources will be reprioritized toward building renewable energy elsewhere.

“The Phil Scott administration has made clear that it will do whatever it can to stop renewable wind energy from being built here in Vermont,” explained project spokesperson Nick Charyk. “Our resources will be devoted to deploying cost-effective, renewable wind projects in states committed to cutting fossil fuel emissions.”

David Blittersdorf, a lifelong Vermonter and renewable energy advocate, says that Kidder Hill Community Wind is part of his vision for combatting our CO2 crisis.

Within the past seven years, Blittersdorf has led three separate partnerships in building two 2.2 MW community-scale solar farms in South Burlington, as well as Georgia Mountain Community Wind, a 10 MW wind farm that helps the city of Burlington source 100 percent of its power from renewable generation.

Blittersdorf is also a project partner for Dairy Air Wind, a single turbine project proposed in a cornfield on a 450-acre dairy farm in Holland.

Dairy Air Wind was awarded a state Standard Offer contract to sell electricity in Vermont, and is in the process of being permitted.

Dairy Air Wind is moving forward, and plans to earn a certificate of public good and begin construction later this year.

“By not confronting our own energy challenges we will continue to rely on other states for our energy solutions and continue to write IOUs to our children and grandchildren for the effects of our addiction to spewing carbon,” Blittersdorf said. “As long as Vermont continues to make the unfortunate decision of relying on our neighbors for energy solutions, we will focus our efforts on developing renewables in places where it is possible to actually get projects built.”

Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival draws international crowd

NEWPORT — Winter swimmers gathered in Newport for a weekend of swimming in a 25-meter, two-lane pool cut in the ice of Lake Memphremagog.

They swam in a Hat Competition, 25 Meter freestyle, breaststroke, and butterfly, as well as the 50, 100, and 200-meter freestyle.

The ice was two feet thick, with water temperatures 30.8 F. Air temps were in the 30’s on Saturday and in the 20’s on Sunday. Many were new to the sport and had been training and acclimating to cold water swimming for months.

Conor Turner of Dublin, Ireland, set records in the 100-meter and 200-meter freestyle.

Craig Ross, of Guelph, Ontario, set pool records in the 25 freestyle, 25 butterfly, and 50-meter freestyle.

Perennial speedsters, Daina Bouquin, of Melrose, Mass, and Martha Woos, of Manchester, Mass, set records in the 25-meter butterfly and the 200-meter freestyle respectively.

Winners received Beef Jerky from Brault’s Market and maple syrup from Couture’s Maple Shop and B & B.

Winning the highly contested Best Hat Competition was Edwin Greenfield of Richmond Hil, Ontario, and, new this year, best team Hats, the New Mexico Dream Team, led by Erin Churchill, including, Amber Zimmerman, Terry Casey, and RuthAnn Goradia, all from Albuquerque.

The “most mature” winter swimmer was Ginny Peck, 72, from North Woodstock, NH.

The youngest winter swimmer was Vera Rivard, 14, of Springfield, NH.

Northeast Kingdom Collaborative announces regional priority areas

in News/Northeast Kingdom

HARDWICK — The Northeast Kingdom Collaborative is taking new steps for the future of the region. The organization, which works to build strong and vibrant communities in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, has worked over the last year to set a new path forward to strengthen the organization’s reach and impact including reformatting its governing board, hiring staff, and developing strategies for collaboration with funders.

A central part of the organization’s new strategy, initiated earlier this year, is to identify a focused set of issues for the region to align partners, leverage funding, and drive desired impacts.

“This collective impact model has been moving closer and closer for some time,” explained Collaborative chair, Sarah Waring. “The opportunity here is to align clear needs in the region with funding capacities for maximum impact. I’m very excited to watch this large-scale effort help the region move forward and improve the quality of life for all residents.”

For its initial round, from a field of a dozen pressing issues, the NEK Collaborative identified two key priority areas for the coming year:

Advancing Economic Development through the Creative, Recreation, and Food Sectors:
The Northeast Kingdom’s natural assets, along with its creative culture and farms, offer top-notch experiences for everyone from wilderness adventurers, to foodies looking for a farm to table experience, to artists seeking a creative community.

Given these strengths, a tri-sector task force will develop a comprehensive strategy to leverage existing assets to form new partnerships that will create jobs and retain and grow the region’s skilled workforce.

Strategies could include identifying opportunities and resources to energize downtown development efforts via sector engagement, promoting the sectors in industry recruitment and marketing efforts, and marketing the region as a hub for sector collaborations that will be attractive to both residents and visitors.

The task force could also help to foster growth in these sectors by connecting owners and entrepreneurs with the startup and growth capital and technical assistance they need to succeed as well as facilitate potential partnerships.

Expanding Leadership Development:

Local leadership is vital to the success of our state’s rural areas, but there is a need to strengthen the region’s pipeline of emerging leaders and to encourage young people to take leadership roles in their communities.

Expanding youth development and leadership programs will help more people become engaged with the civic life of their communities and provide opportunities for citizen empowerment. A leadership task force will advance programs for emerging and seasoned leaders that help participants build knowledge, strengthen skill sets, and cultivate a leadership network with shared goals and plans.

These programs could include increasing access to higher education and career training for youth, as well as assistance for adults looking for new opportunities or career growth and building a career development network. The group will identify and dismantle barriers to access including transportation, funding, and availability.

The NEK Collaborative will advance work in these priority areas by launching a task force made up of key thought leaders for each priority area, identify potential high-impact collaborative projects, and producing a priority area action plan.

After the development of the action plan, the organization will identify and leverage funding to support priority area projects, support partner implementation of priority area projects, and host an annual stakeholder convening to promote networking, resource sharing, communicate progress, and update the action plan.

This work will bring near-term benefits to people, communities, and the environment and improve the quality of life for residents of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, including an increase in proposals that address critical issues, funding for high-impact projects in the region, capacity at partner organizations, and jobs in priority area sectors.

“We are confident that by working together with multiple federal, state, local, private, and nonprofit partners we can strengthen communities and achieve social change in the Northeast Kingdom,” says NEK Collaborative Director, Katherine Sims.

Stannard recognized for outstanding service

in Derby/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom

DERBY — Community National Bank’s (CNB) Marketing Assistant Anne Quirion recently had the honor of presenting Ann Stannard with the bank’s Community Service Award. This award was created to recognize remarkable people who give back to our communities making them better places to live, work and grow.

Ann has been a volunteer “Advocate” with Orleans County Citizen Advocacy (OCCA) for 30 years. OCCA is a non-profit organization that brings people with developmental disabilities “Partners” and unpaid community volunteers together. OCCA’s mission is to build and support one-to-one, long-term, independent relationships so all are heard, respected, included and empowered.

Ann’s dedication to OCCA and their mission is remarkable. Over the years, Ann has served as an OCCA Board member and as a one-to-one Advocate.

As an Advocate, Ann goes the extra mile to provide her Partner with guidance and friendship. She has helped him to be successful by overcoming obstacles which continues to help him thrive in the community.

Ann has spent countless hours coordinating interactive community activities and workshops. These events are designed to integrate OCCA Partners into the community, so they are not isolated in their homes. Ann’s longstanding service to OCCA has contributed greatly to the organization’s success. Her spirit to help those with developmental disabilities in Orleans County is immeasurable.

To celebrate Ann’s commitment and dedication to her community, the bank says they are proud to present her with this award for the fourth quarter of 2017.

The bank honors and recognizes our recipients by making a $500.00 contribution to a local, non-profit organization of the recipient’s choice. Ann has requested that her donation be made to Orleans County Citizen Advocacy.

To learn more about OCCA, please visit

For more information about Community National Bank’s Community Service Award and to nominate a deserving recipient visit

Community National Bank, Vermont’s Community Bank, is an independent bank that has been serving Vermont communities since 1851. CNB has offices located in Derby, Barre, Barton, Derby Line, Enosburg Falls, Island Pond, Lyndonville, Montpelier, Morrisville, Newport, St. Johnsbury and Troy.

Guests of last year's Taste of the Kingdom enjoy the array of food, drinks, and fun at Jay Peak Resort.

Green Mountain Farm-to-School hosts 10th Annual Taste of the Kingdom

NEWPORT — The 10th Annual Taste of the Kingdom, a fundraising event held by Green Mountain Farm-to-School (GMFTS), will take place on February 28th from 6 to 8 p.m. at Jay Peak Resort’s Foeger Ballroom.

Tickets are on sale now and are available for purchase online at

The annual event draws a crowd of over 200 guests who gather to celebrate local food and drink producers in the Northeast Kingdom.

This year, guests can enjoy products from some of the regions most notable farmers, chefs and brewers including Butterworks Farm, Craftsbury General Store, Jasper Hill Farm and St. Johnsbury Distillery.

“This is an opportunity for us to gather with our neighbors and celebrate all of the amazing local producers in the region,” says James Hafferman, Executive Director of GMFTS. “We love connecting with people over local food and drink and providing a platform for businesses to showcase their products.”

Along with a silent auction and live music, this year’s event includes a raffle where anyone, regardless if they attend the event or not, can enter to win an exclusive Jay Peak Resort getaway for four people – lift tickets, water park access and climb time included.

Tickets are $5 each and directions on how to purchase them can be found at

All proceeds from the event and raffle will go to benefit Green Mountain Farm-to-School (GMFTS) and its programming.

Support from the community will ensure the Newport-based non-profit can continue providing quality programing to over half of the students in the Northeast Kingdom – planting school gardens, offering nutrition education, and serving free meals in the summer months from its Lunchbox food truck.

The event will also ensure GMFTS can continue its work connecting local farms with area schools, restaurants, and institutions through its regional food-hub, Green Mountain Farm Direct – increasing economic viability and opening new markets.

“You get to support Green Mountain Farm-to-School and the work they’re doing to connect communities through food and education all while enjoying some great local food and drinks from some of the region’s top producers,” says Caroline Paige, who has attended the Taste of the Kingdom the past two years. “What more could you ask for?”

For more information on the 10th Annual Taste of the Kingdom, to enter the raffle, or purchase tickets, visit

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