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Investigators try to determine if fire during Orleans church vandalism was deliberate

in News/Orleans

ORLEANS — Police are saying that the man accused of vandalizing a church in Orleans has denied deliberately setting a small fire inside the building, and that fire investigators are still unable to determine if the fire was set deliberately or not.

On December 14, Justin Roy, 20, of Orleans, was arrested after police responded to a report of a fire at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church on East Street. During the vandalism a tablecloth had been set on fire, causing damage to a wood panel. The fire was quickly extinguished.

Today, fire investigators opened an investigation trying to determine if the fire was set, or possibly accidental. Police say Roy, after being arrested for burglary and vandalism, denied deliberately setting the fire.
Investigators say the suspect had previously wrapped a knife with a cloth, lit it on fire and used it as a light source while inside the church. They say he used the torch until some candles were located as a source of light.

The tablecloth that burned the wall was ignited from the bottom, and burned upward towards the top of the table. Investigators say no evidence of an ignition source was located at or near the fire.

Detective Sergeant Larry Smith says he believes the ignition source was probably from a lighter or candle, but that no remnants of the candle was found in the area to indicate an accidental ignition.

The source of the fire is still undetermined.

On Tuesday, Roy pled not guilty to charges of burglary, unlawful mischief, and unlawful trespass.

Suspect arrested after Orleans church vandalized

in News/Orleans

ORLEANS — An Orleans man is facing numerous charges after St. Theresa’s Catholic Church was vandalized on Monday night.

Police say that Justin Roy, 20, of Orleans, was arrested for burglary, unlawful mischief, and unlawful trespass, after a call came in at around 8 p.m. of a fire at the church, located at 44 East Street.

Father Timothy Naples said that items were broken and a tablecloth had been set on fire, causing damage to a wood panel in the building, however, the fire was extinguished by a neighbor.

Police say that the damages are estimated at around $3,000, with much of the damage labor intensive to clean up, after several fire extinguishers were discharged throughout the building.

Entry into the church was made by breaking out a window, and Fr. Naples said that the perpetrators cut themselves in the process, and that there was a significant amount of blood at the site.

The church usually holds services on Saturday evening, and say that they will work to get the building cleaned up in time. They say there is also the possibility of holding services in the parish hall.

Roy was lodged at Northern State Correctional Facility for lack of bail.

Photo taken by Linda Willey-Campbell.

Fire in Orleans destroys home

in News/Orleans

ORLEANS — Fire destroyed a home in Orleans on Tuesday, leaving a local family temporarily homeless.

The fire broke out at around 1 p.m. on South Street, at a two-story home built on the edge of the Barton River, near the Ethan Allen plant.

The home was owned by Jeremy Glodgett and Jessica Ortiz.

There was nobody home at the time of the fire, and there were no injuries reported.

The Orleans Fire Department was assisted by several area departments to help battle the blaze throughout the afternoon.

The family of five have been in contact with the American Red Cross, who are helping them with their immediate needs. In the next few days a caseworker with the Red Cross will help direct the family to needed services.

There is no word yet as to what may have caused the fire.

Photo taken by Linda Willey-Campbell.
Photo taken by Linda Willey-Campbell.

Orleans man facing numerous charges

in Derby/News/Orleans

DERBY — Police say a 46-year-old man from Orleans is facing multiple charges, after they began an investigation several months ago regarding a vulnerable adult and a family member who they say was taking advantage of him.

The arrest took place on Friday in Orleans.

Police say Dennis Crawford, 46, is facing charges of financial exploitation of a vulnerable adult, grand larceny, abuse neglect of a vulnerable adult, and false information to a law enforcement officer.

The investigation started back in August, when police were tipped off about the case.

On Friday a search warrant was executed at Crawford’s residence with the help of Border Patrol, K-9 Units, VSP Computer Crimes, and local BCI personnel to look for further evidence of the crimes.

Police say the victim in the case is Theodore Ackley, 86, of Derby.

Crawford was arrested for the violations, and was released on conditions.

Orleans man pleads innocent to felony charges after weekend arrest

in Newport/News/Orleans

NEWPORT — A 24-year-old man has been charged with attempted murder and domestic assault, after police say that he choked a woman in Newport.

Alan Tanguay, of Orleans, was in court on Tuesday, where he pled innocent to the two charges.

The incident happened at around 10 p.m. on Saturday, November 7, at an apartment on Compass Drive.

Newport police arrived at the scene, and according to an affidavit filed by patrolman David Jacobs, the victim told them that Tanguay had chocked her until she passed out.

The affidavit goes on to say that she told police when she awoke, she went outside to locate Tanguay, who ran back inside and locked the door.

When the woman came back with a neighbor, the door was unlocked. According to the affidavit, the woman said that Tanguay was passed out on the floor, and trying to wake him up, she poured water on his face. She went on to say that while calling 911, he got up and ran away.

Police caught up with Tanguay later in the night. He denied that the incident happened.

In Orleans County Superior Court, Tanguay pled innocent to the felony charges.

He was ordered held without bail.

Police looking for driver after hit-and-run in Orleans

in Barton/News/Orleans

ORLEANS — Police are looking for the driver involved in a hit-and-run that took place in Orleans on Wednesday afternoon.

The crash happened on Vermont Route 58 in the Village of Orleans.

Patrick Ferland, 69, of Barton, told police that while he and his young grandson were traveling west, a turquoise color older Honda sedan with a hatchback was traveling eastbound toward them and had crossed over the double yellow lines, into their travel lane and “side swiped” Ferland’s truck, causing damage.

The operator of the greenish blue or turquoise colored Honda that caused the damage took off without stopping and exchanging information or checking to see if any of the occupants had sustained any injuries.

The Honda left behind the driver’s side mirror as well as other parts that were located at the site of the crash.

Police say the Honda they are looking for, along with missing the driver’s side mirror, would have damage to the driver’s side front end.

Anyone with any information regarding this incident is being asked to contact Senior Trooper Amy Borsari of the VSP at 802-334-8881.

Jacob Hochstrasser-Borsari (middle right) shares the Pitcher Prize with Julia Gilpin, presented by College board chairman Jonathan Cowen (left) and guest speaker George Diamondoupolis, Class of 1994.

Local students earn top prizes at Stanstead College

STANSTEAD, QC — Jacob Hochstrasser-Borsari of Holland was the major prize-winner at Saturday’s Baccalaureate and Prize-Giving Service for Stanstead College, held at Centenary United Church.

In addition to winning the Grade 12 prizes for Chemistry, Physics and the highest Term 3 average, Jacob won the Choir Award, the Technology Prize, the Community Service Award, the Spofforth Trophy for Excellence in Science and Mathematics, the Arthur E. Curtis Jr. Award for the top student entering an engineering program, the Bowman Hall Award for a major athlete with the highest average, and the Birks Silver Medal for the highest overall average in Grade 12.

To top it all, Jacob shared the Pitcher Memorial Prize with fellow head prefect Julia Gilpin of Wemindji, Quebec. This is the school’s top prize, awarded to the student who has exerted the greatest influence for good. Headmaster Wolfe said the tie was a result of a dead heat in the voting. This is the first time since 1970 that the award has been shared.

Jacob will be studying electrical engineering at McGill University in Montreal this fall.

Jacob Hochstrasser-Borsari (middle right) shares the Pitcher Prize with Julia Gilpin, presented by College board chairman Jonathan Cowen (left) and guest speaker George Diamondoupolis, Class of 1994.
Jacob Hochstrasser-Borsari (middle right) shares the Pitcher Prize with Julia Gilpin, presented by College board chairman Jonathan Cowen (left) and guest speaker George Diamondoupolis, Class of 1994.

Ryan Fletcher, a graduating Grade 12 student from Irasburg, won the first-ever Ashworth Scholarship, awarded to a deserving local day student who consistently demonstrated effort and excelled in some area of activity. Ryan also won the Grade 12 French and Philosophy prizes, as well as the Jazz Band Award.

Ryan will be studying physics at St. Lawrence University in the fall.

Ryan Fletcher receives the first Ashworth Scholarship from former teacher Peter Ashworth.
Ryan Fletcher receives the first Ashworth Scholarship from former teacher Peter Ashworth.

Kaylee Bowen, a Grade 10 student from Orleans, won the Faculty-Staff Award, presented to a student who is deemed most likely to benefit from returning to the College and who exemplifies the qualities of health, wisdom and integrity. She also won the Leonard McGilton Memorial Award, presented to a senior returning local student.

Andrew Bouchard of Newport was the top student in Grade 7, winning prizes for Art, Geography, History, Math, Science and French. He also had the top overall average in Grade 7.

Emily Willis of Newport cleaned up in Grade 8, earning prizes for French, Geography, History, Math, Music, Science and the highest overall average.

Alexander Bimm of Montgomery had the highest average in Grade 9 and won the class prize for French, Math and Science. He also earned the E. Harper Junior Debating Trophy, the Thespian Shield for Acting and the Banting Award, presented to a returning local student for academic achievement.

Ian Kemp, a Grade 12 student from Coventry, won the John T. Hackett Trophy for Senior Debating. He will be studying political science at St. Francis Xavier University in Nova Scotia.

Sadie Smith, Grade 11, of Montgomery earned the Billy Huckins Memorial Award for dedication, hard work, achievement and courage. Her sister Annawon the English prize for Grade 10.

Finally, Patrick Young, Grade 8, from Derby Line, won his class English prize, while the Grade 7 English prize went to Francesca Richardi of Newport Center. Elizabeth Gaudreau of Newport won the Grade 9 Music prize.

In all, 59 students graduated with a Grade 12 diploma, including five Vermont day students.

Irasburg man pleads not-guilty to attempting to run former girlfriend off the road

in Irasburg/News/Orleans

IRASBURG — An Irasburg man was in court last week to face charges after being arrested for allegedly attempting to run a former girlfriend of his off the road back in April.

Police said that Travis Columbia, 37, of Irasburg, was charged with first degree aggravated domestic assault and gross negligent operation, after a woman called 911 several times claiming that Columbia was trying to run her vehicle off of the road.

The woman also claimed that he had punched her window while she was stopped at the fishing access in Orleans, and that Columbia had briefly fought with a passenger in her car at the time.

According to court records when police arrived to speak with the woman, Columbia had phoned her several times while officers were there, hanging up when one of the Vermont State Troopers answered.

Police say the woman told them that she feared for her life.

Police photographed evidence supposedly showing identifiable rub marks on both vehicles from when Columbia is said to have hit the woman’s back bumper at the intersection of Route 58 and East Street.

Columbia pleaded not-guilty in court last week, and Judge Timothy Tomasi ordered him held without bail pending a hearing.

Photo: The Nature Conservancy

Elm tree restoration in Orleans County

in Barton/Orleans/Vermont

NEWPORT — Although there are over 30,000 American streets bearing the name of “elm,” the Dutch elm disease felled these majestic trees with their towering canopies. Around 77 million elms died by 1970 and no strains of the elm have been able to resist the disease. 

Christian Marks, an ecologist with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), has been developing new disease tolerant strains at Green Mountain College in Poultney, in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service. These new strains will be planted in floodplains by TNC staff, the NorthWoods Stewardship Center of Charleston, and volunteers throughout Vermont. 

The restored floodplain forests will provide public demonstrations of the importance of elms for wildlife habitat and water quality.  American elms are uniquely adapted to flooding and help improve water quality by trapping sediment and absorbing excess nutrients like phosphorous. They provide habitat for eagles, osprey, otters, mink and a host of breeding songbirds. 

The group was recently in Orleans County, planting in the Willoughby Falls Wildlife Management Area, Orleans on the Barton River, South Bay WMA, and Coventry on the Black River.

Photo: The Nature Conservancy
Photo: The Nature Conservancy

“Over the next 3 years we will plant 7,000 American Elm trees and restore over 50 acres of floodplain forests that will improve water quality, fish and bird habitat and create a more resilient landscape for extreme weather events,” says Rose Paul, Director of Critical Lands & Conservation Science for the Nature Conservancy in Vermont. 
These spring plantings have been generously supported with funding from the Canaday Family Charitable Trust, Keurig Green Mountain, and Plum Creek Foundation. As a major landowner of working forests in Northern Vermont, Plum Creek has a vested interested in the health of Vermont’s riparian forests because of the important role these forests play in protecting communities and in providing enhanced recreational opportunities such as improved fishing.
The Nature Conservancy in Vermont is an environmental leader in safeguarding the natural resources of the Green Mountain State. They have conserved 300,000 acres of land, over 1,200 miles of shoreline, and manage and maintain 55 natural areas. To learn more and support their important work, please visit: www.nature.org/vermont.

Three injured in crash on I-91 in Barton Sunday morning

in Barton/Newport/News/Orleans

rollover accident newport vermontBARTON — Three people were taken to the hospital after a crash in the town of Barton, early Sunday morning.

The accident took place on I-91 South near mile marker 159, at around 3:30 a.m.

According to a statement issued by police, Jordan Starr, 22, of Troy, was driving a 2004 Mini Cooper when he collided with Melody Nunn, 62, of Newport Center.

Nunn, who was driving a 2013 Kia 4S, was in the travel lane of the interstate when she was hit from the rear by Starr.

Both vehicles rolled several times, with Starr’s vehicle landing on its side in the breakdown lane on the west side of the roadway. Nunn’s vehicle ended up on the east side of the roadway resting on the driver side, partially on the guardrail. Both cars were totaled in the crash.

Starr and Nunn were taken to North County Hospital, for what were described by police as non-life threatening injuries.

A passenger riding with Starr, Jonathan Jarry, 23, of Orleans, was also transported to the hospital for his injuries.

Home burglarized on Tarbox Hill Road in Orleans

in News/Orleans

Burglary Orleans Vermont

ORLEANS — A 78-year-old man from Orleans had $150 cash stolen from him on Thursday, after someone broke inside his home located on Tarbox Hill Road.

Police are reporting that Paul Montague was the victim in the incident, and that the perpetrator gained access to the home by forcing their way through the front door, which was locked.

According to the report:

Sometime between 8 a.m. on 10/8/14 and 4 p.m. on 10/9/14, an unknown person(s) forced their way through the locked front door of Montague’s home and stole $150 in cash.

Anyone with information is asked to contact VSP Derby 802-334-8881.

Dog struck and killed on I-91, police trying to contact pet owner

in News/Orleans


ORLEANS — The Vermont State Police are reporting that a dog, possibly a Pit Bull mix, was hit by a vehicle on I-91 last night. They are trying to identify the pet owner.

Yesterday, October 3, at around 10 p.m. police received a call that a dog was running up and down I-91 near mile marker 161, just north of exit 26, Orleans.

When police arrived, the dog had already been struck and killed by a vehicle traveling on the interstate.

The dog was a tan, Pit Bull mix breed. It was not wearing a collar and did not have any tags. The animal weighed approximately 30 to 40 pounds.

Anyone who is missing a dog matching this description is asked to contact the Vermont State Police: 802-334-8881.

Car flips on Route 58 in Irasburg Monday afternoon

in Irasburg/Lowell/News/Orleans

accidnet irasburg vermont

IRASBURG — Police are saying that speed appears to have been a factor in a single-vehicle crash that sent a car flipping across both travel lanes on Vermont Route 58 in Irasburg on Monday.

At around 12:15 p.m., Brandon C. Mason, 19, of Orleans, was driving a black 1996 Honda Civic, headed east.

He lost control in the corner and ended up traveling across the oncoming travel lane, hitting the guardrails. Mason told police his vehicle then ended up rolling over a few times, traveling back across both travel lanes until it came to rest off the south side of the roadway, on someone’s property.

Mason’s vehicle came to an uncontrolled rest on some items that the property owner had piled up. The vehicle just missed crashing into a large tree.

Both Mason and a 16-year-old passenger from Lowell were transported to North Country Hospital. According to a statement issued by police, they were treated for cuts and bruises.

The vehicle was totaled and had to be towed from the scene. The crash is still under investigation.

Orleans man airlifted to hospital after crash in Derby this morning

in Derby/Newport/News/Orleans

crash derby newport vermont airlifted to hospital

DERBY — An Orleans man was airlifted to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center following a single vehicle crash on Vermont Route 191 this morning that took place in Derby.

Police are saying that the driver has been identified as Joshua McAllister, age 24, of Orleans.

At 9:50 a.m., Vermont State Police arrived at the scene of the crash. According to a statement issued by police, McAllister was transported to North Counrty Hospital with major injuries.

McAllister was later transported to Dartmouth Hitchcock via D.A.R.T helicopter for further care. The crash is still under investigation.

According to an eyewitness account, McAllister’s vehicle, a 2005 Subaru Legacy, was off the road, flipped over on its roof. Police have said that the car was totaled.

We will update this story as more information is released.

Orleans man suffers broken collar bone after crash on I-91

in News/Orleans

rollover accident newport vermont

BRADFORD — An Orleans man suffered a broken collar bone and multiple lacerations during an accident on Interstate 91 early Tuesday morning.

James Baraw, 34, of Orleans, was involved in the single vehicle rollover that happened in the southbound lane at exit 16 in Bradford. Troopers from the Bradford Barracks responded to the crash at around 6:42 a.m.

Upon arrival, police say Baraw was out of the vehicle.

According to police, Baraw stated that he reached down to grab something and his vehicle traveled off the roadway. The vehicle entered the grass median and overturned.

He was transported to Cottage Hospital. He was treated for a broken collar bone and multiple lacerations, and released.

Detroit Man Said to be Former Member of Bloods Street Gang Pleads Not Guilty of Charges He Conspired to Sell Heroin in Orleans

in News/Orleans

ORLEANS — In U.S. District Court in Burlington on Wednesday, Tony Rudolph Williams Jr. of Detroit, pleaded not guilty to charges that he conspired to sell heroin from an apartment in Orleans, Vermont.

Williams, 34, was arrested on Nov. 14 in Plattsburgh, New York, while getting off of a bus. Police arrested him based on information they received from confidential informants. When searched, he was in possession of more than a half ounce of heroin, a powdery substance, and muscle relaxants. He was ordered to remain in custody after being indicted on a drug conspiracy charge by a federal grand jury last week.

According to an affidavit filed with the court by a Vermont Drug Task Force agent, Williams “admitted that he was on his way to Vermont to make money selling drugs. He admitted this was his fourth trip to Vermont. He said he had transported 2-3 grams of heroin on a prior trip and sold it in Orleans County.”

According to the affidavit, a man identified by the nickname “Shorty,” has yet to be apprehended, but is said to have periodically sold heroin and other drugs from the apartment in Orleans since June.

According to court papers, Williams is said to have told police that he was a former member of the Bloods street gang. The court fillings also state that Williams has 12 prior convictions, three of which are felonies, and that he had two warrants for his arrest in Michigan at the time he was arrested in New York.

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