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After 174 years, the Stanstead Journal closes its doors

in News/Quebec/Stanstead

STANSTEAD, QC — The Stanstead Journal, an English weekly newspaper published since 1845 in Stanstead, Quebec, published its last weekly edition this week.

It was the oldest weekly newspaper in Quebec.

In Wednesday’s edition, the paper put out a notice stating that “it is no longer a viable business and no real government help is forthcoming.”

Publisher Jean-Yves Durocher noted that he still believes that the Stanstead community needs a “paper-based” news source, and says that subscribers will still be getting a paper product about 10 times per year.

The physical office on Dufferin Street will be closed to business starting June 3, and staff will be moving out of the building in July.

In the notice, Durocher said that the Stanstead Journal will slowly have a much better web presence over the next few months.

“We have also seen a shift in our core market, which is older as it is with all newspapers,” the notice reads. “While you would never see them with a phone or a tablet two years ago, this is not the case today.”

It’s still unclear as to how much energy the paper plans to put into its online efforts.

Currently, their website is dated and has very little content and no local news available online.

A subscription to the Stanstead Journal was $45 annually in Orleans County.

Stanstead College presents comedy This Must Be the Place

in Arts and Entertainment/Quebec/Stanstead

STANSTEAD — The public is invited to attend “This Must Be the Place,” a comedy by American playwright Monk Ferris, being presented by Stanstead College on Friday and Saturday, April 12 and 13 at 7:30 p.m.

Admission is free for all shows.

Directed by teacher Nicki Campbell, the production features performances by Stanstead College students:

Rosemarie Ladouceur (Magog, Que.), Phil Martel (Laval, Que.), Nicolas Del Rio Weinberg (Mexico City), Mackenzy St-Pierre (Ogden, Que.), Abby Murray (Stanstead, Que.), Sage Lovejoy (Coventry, Vt.), Bodie Nobes (St-Thérèse, Que.), Ali Barlow (Newport, Vt.) and Helen Yudo (Dollard-des-Ormeaux, Que.).

Come out and enjoy this whirlwind comedy in Pierce Hall on the campus of Stanstead College.

VT Fish & Wildlife to conduct angler survey on Lake Memphremagog

in Newport/News/Outdoors/Quebec

NEWPORT – The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is beginning an angler survey on Lake Memphremagog this December.

The survey will extend through November 2020 and will survey anglers on both the American and Canadian sections of the lake.

Clerks from the department will interview anglers on the lake 2 to 4 days per week, including Saturdays and Sundays during the survey period.

Survey activities will include visual counts of anglers, interviews of anglers to obtain information about the fishing effort, catch and harvest rates, and biological data such as the length, weight, and age of fish kept by anglers.

The Great Lakes Fishery Commission funded the two-year survey.

Lake Memphremagog is over 30 miles long.

Three-quarters of the lake is in Quebec, however, three-quarters of the land area that drains into the lake, is in Vermont.

“The angler survey will provide important biological data about the fishery and angling pressure in different areas of Lake Memphremagog,” said Pete Emerson, a fisheries biologist with Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “This information is extremely useful to our department in helping us manage the lake’s fish populations.”

Emerson emphasized to anglers that all information shared with the survey clerks will remain confidential.

“Ultimately, anglers providing honest, accurate information will allow us to manage the resource moving forward and ensure that quality fishing opportunities remain in Lake Memphremagog for years to come,” he said.

13-year-old boy killed in head-on collision in Stanstead, Quebec

in Eastern Townships/Quebec/Stanstead

STANSTEAD, QC — A head-on collision just north of the U.S. Border in Stanstead, Quebec, took the life of a 13-year-old boy on Sunday.

The tragic accident happened at around 4:00 p.m. on Highway 143, near the intersection of Chemin Curtis.

According to the Sûreté du Québec, a car veered into oncoming traffic and crashed head-on with another vehicle.

The victim, along with another boy who was 12-years-old, were passengers in the car that police say crossed into the other lane.

The driver and the two boys were taken to the hospital, where the 13-year-old passed away.

The other driver was also transported to the hospital to be treated for what police describe as serious, but non-life-threatening injuries.

“Our investigators are currently working to determine the exact cause of the collision,” said Sergeant Daniel Thibodeau, spokesperson for the Sûreté du Québec.

Highway 143 was closed for several hours on Sunday night to allow the SQ agents to do a complete analysis of the scene.

Stanstead College breaks ground on new residence

in News/Quebec/Stanstead

STANSTEAD, QC — Stanstead College Head of School Michael Wolfe joined with Property Committee members Judith Cowen and Ellen Bounsall along with students and faculty this morning to break ground for a new residence exclusively for Grade 12 students.

The school says the residence will meet the growing demand for accommodation and provide graduating students the sense of what it is like to live at university.

It will be the first new residence at the school since the opening of Webster House in 1991.

With increased enrollment, particularly in the higher grades, the senior residences have reached maximum capacity.

The school also says the new residence will recognize the fact that grade 12 students are transitioning to adulthood and should have certain privileges not afforded the younger students.

“We want to make your transition to university even better and we feel that this type of residence is going to help with that because most of the residences you’re going to move into for university truly are co-ed,” said Wolfe.

While the residence will be co-ed, it will have separate wings for boys and girls, with no shared entry point except the front door.

It will be constructed between the existing Amaron Gymnasium and Alumni House at the northwestern corner of campus.

The residence is expected to be ready for the fall of 2019.

Cowen, a member of the school’s property committee, and Ms. Bounsell, a member of the new residence committee, joined Wolfe in a ceremonial groundbreaking, following which the current grade 11 students – the future first residents of the new building – gathered for a photo.

Vermont officials conduct zebra mussels survey on Lake Memphremagog

in Eastern Townships/Newport/News/Quebec

NEWPORT — In response to the discovery in July of zebra mussels in Magog Bay, Quebec, the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (VTDEC) surveyed the U.S. portion of Lake Memphremagog for zebra mussel adults and veligers, the microscopic zebra mussel juveniles.

On August 13, VTDEC snorkelers surveyed areas with suitable habitat in multiple locations in the American waters of the lake looking for adult zebra mussels.

Rocky areas in 1 to 8 feet of water were examined closely. No adult zebra mussels were documented at any of the locations surveyed using this method.

VTDEC also sampled for zebra mussel veligers at five locations on the U.S. side of the lake – three locations close to the border with Canada and two locations adjacent to Newport.

The veliger samples were analyzed under a microscope, and again, no zebra mussel veligers were detected.

Zebra mussels are an invasive species.

They are a small freshwater mollusk that attaches to firm surfaces and can clog pipes and other underwater infrastructure.

They are also filter-feeders, consuming microscopic aquatic life that is the base of the food web for our lakes. Their feeding habits can impact the native species that also consume those food sources.

Although zebra mussels have not been confirmed in U.S. waters of Lake Memphremagog, the lake will still be classified as positive for zebra mussels by the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.

“It is extremely important that all users of the lake clean, drain, and dry their watercraft, trailers, and gear when leaving Lake Memphremagog,” said Kendall Lambert, Administrative Director of the Memphremagog Watershed Association.

“We do not want to spread zebra mussels to our other waterbodies.”

The Newport City dock boat washing and greeter station will be open through the end of the season for the public to clean, drain, and dry watercraft and trailers.

The Clintons vacationing in North Hatley

in Eastern Townships/Quebec

NORTH HATLEY, QC. — Former U.S. president Bill Clinton, former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, their daughter Chelsea and their two grandchildren are currently vacationing in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, at a small village just north of the border of Derby Line.

The family is staying at the Manoir Hovey in North Hatley, a village of 750 people, located at the north end of Lake Massawippi, about 20 miles from Derby Line.

Manoir Hovey is listed as number 19 on the world’s finest hotels list by Travel & Leisure Magazine. Last week, the U.S. Secret Service visited the resort to set up security during the family’s stay.

The Clintons will be staying until Aug. 19 in one of the suites.

The village of North Hatley was also the location for the shooting of a few films, including Secret Window with Johnny Depp.

Canadian men accused of smuggling 30 pounds of marijuana into U.S. through North Troy

in News/North Troy/Quebec

NORTH TROY — Two men from Canada were picked up by Border Patrol trying to cross illegally into the United States with 30 pounds of marijuana.

Robert Eldridge, 67, and James Gauthier, 56, both residents of Quebec, appeared in United States District Court in Burlington following their arrest for possessing marijuana with intent to distribute.

According to the criminal complaint, the defendants were arrested in the evening on April 2 in North Troy, just south of the international boundary.

Agents observed Gauthier hiking through the woods south from Canada, then saw him put two duffle bags into a car being driven by Eldridge.

Agents detained both defendants, searched the bags and discovered about 30 pounds of marijuana.

If convicted, the defendants face up to five years of imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000.

U.S. Magistrate Judge John M. Conroy released Eldridge on conditions pending his next hearing but ordered that Gauthier be temporarily detained until another hearing.

[VIDEO] Weekend des arts Bleu Pastel at the Bleu Lavande farm in Fitch Bay, Quebec

in Arts and Entertainment/Eastern Townships/Quebec

The video above was shot during the Weekend des arts Bleu Pastel at Bleu Lavande farm in Fitch Bay, Quebec.

FITCH BAY, QC — More than 50 artists participated in the third annual Weekend des arts Bleu Pastel, held at the Bleu Lavande farm in Fitch Bay, Quebec.

The exhibition ran from June 27-28, kicking off the summer season at Bleu Lavande.

Artists, photographers and craftspersons of the region and throughout Quebec had their work set up on display for visitors, held amidst the beautiful 100,000 lavender plants on site.

Bleu Lavande is recognized as one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Eastern Townships.






Scenes from opening weekend of QNEK’s 23rd season

in Arts and Entertainment/Quebec/Vermont

Photos by Tanya Mueller

QNEK Productions kicked off its 23rd season with the dark and delightful comedy Arsenic and Old Lace by Joseph Kesselring. Newport Dispatch photographer Tanya Mueller captured these photos during Sunday’s performance. If you missed the shows last weekend, be sure to come up to the Haskell Opera House to catch one Friday or Saturday at 7:30 p.m., or Sunday at 2 p.m.

The fantastic cast features founder and Artistic Director Lynn Leimer, and favorites from both sides of the border, including:

Susan Lynn Johns – Derby
Mike Desjardins – Newport Center
Chris Planetta – Stanstead, QC
Ross Murray – Stanstead, QC
Doug Flint – Newport
Andrea Webster – Barton
Mark Rumery – Derby Line
Calvin Longe – Morgan
Jim Cross – Island Pond
Lonn Stewart – Newport
Ron St. John III – Newport

Magog police seize more than 300 marijuana plants during Thursday morning raid

in Eastern Townships/Magog/Quebec

MAGOG, QC — Police in Magog are reporting that they took down a major marijuana cultivation site this morning at around 8:00 a.m.

According to police, the bust took place on St. Anne Street in the Omerville sector. Police had been investigating the apartment building for more than two weeks, collecting evidence and waiting to be issued a search warrant.

During the raid, a 43-year-old man was at the location and police say they consider him to be the main suspect. He was arrested for cultivation of marijuana and possession of marijuana.

The search resulted in the seizure of more than 300 marijuana plants, an undisclosed amount of marijuana “in bulk,” and a production schedule.

Police also discovered the facility was stealing electricity, which was later confirmed by Hydro-Québec.

Magog police are saying that the suspect has several criminal records dating back to the early 1990s.

police chase derby vermont newport
Mug shot of Valentina Velasquez, taken from a prior arrest. Photo courtesy of the Vermont State Police.

Velasquez back in Vermont to face charges

in Derby/Derby Line/Newport/Quebec/Sherbrooke/Stanstead/Vermont

police chase derby vermont newport
Mug shot of Valentina Velasquez, taken from a prior arrest. Photo courtesy of the Vermont State Police.
DERBY LINE — The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) arrived last week at the Derby Line port of entry with Valentina Velasquez.

Velasquez, the suspect in an attempted armed robbery that took place in Derby, who fled the country and illegally entered Canada without inspection in September, was subject to a Canadian Removal Order due to criminal activity in the province of Quebec.

Before Velasquez entered Canada and failed to present herself to a CBSA office, she is alledged to have attempted to rob the Derby Corner Mini Mart with a rifle, leading police on a high-speed chase on Route 5.

The pursuit ended in Quebec when she lost control of her vehicle and was apprehended by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and Sûreté du Québec.

At court in Sherbrooke, Quebec, Velasquez pled guilty and was sentenced to 135 days of prison for offenses under the Criminal Code of Canada and under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act.

On January 7, after serving her sentence in Canada, she was turned over to U.S. authorities by the CBSA.

Police now say that law enforcement databases indicate that 31-year-old Velasquez has a lengthy criminal record and was the subject of two active arrest warrants outside of Orleans County.

“Active collaboration with our federal, state and international law enforcement partners led to the return of an alleged criminal to face justice in Vermont,” said Kevin W. Weeks, CBP director of Field Operations in Boston. “Protecting public safety is a responsibility that falls on both sides of the international boundary, and CBP is proud to work side by side with our Canadian counterparts, taking dangerous people off the street.”

The charges and allegations contained in criminal complaints are merely accusations, and defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Vermont and Quebec police taking part in cross-border training today

in Newport/News/Quebec/Vermont

Derby Line Vermont Stanstead Quebec BorderJAY — Police from Vermont and Quebec are getting to know each other so they’ll be ready in case there’s a major incident or natural disaster along the U.S. – Canadian border.

The Vermont State Police and the Sûreté du Québec, Quebec’s provincial police, are participating in a joint exercise with federal border agencies in an effort to address the unique challenges of policing at the international border. The exercise is being held today and tomorrow at Jay Peak Resort.

At the training participants will get to know their cross-border state, provincial, and federal counterparts, including Royal Canadian Mounted Police, U.S. Border Patrol, Canadian Border Services Agency, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection Field Operations.

They will be addressing ways to enhance cooperation and collaboration between their agencies. Training will be conducted today, and tomorrow they will put that training into practice with a practical exercise.

“Our goal is to eliminate the border as a barrier,” Lieutenant Michael Manning, of the Vermont State Police and Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, said. “Terrorism, natural disasters and the needs of our respective citizens for public safety services are not restricted to or prevented due to town, county, state, provincial or international borders,”

Law enforcement representatives from New York and Maine will also be in attendance.

“This workshop is an opportunity to engage our state, provincial and federal partners in a series of discussion based exercises in order to address challenges and identify best practices for more effective management of incidents that require multiagency response and to continue to enhance cooperation and collaboration amongst allied public safety agencies,” Manning said.

Photo by Tanya Mueller.

Locals take to curling at Border Curling Club

Players from the Tuesday night league at the Border Curling Club stop to take a group photo. All photos from this dispatch are by Tanya Mueller.
Players from the Tuesday night league at the Border Curling Club stop to take a group photo. All photos from this dispatch are by Tanya Mueller.

BEEBE, QC — Sometimes given the nickname “chess on ice,” curling is a sport that has roots in medieval Scotland, but is most firmly established in Canada, having been brought here by Scottish emigrants.

Located just up the street from the U.S. border, the Border Curling Club in Beebe, Quebec, is the place to go if you want to learn more about this interesting sport. With a membership just about split between 40 percent American and 60 percent Canadian, the club is truly international.

Picture 57So what is curling anyway? Many of us have seen it played on television during the Olympics, but might not fully understand the game.

Curling is a sport where players slide polished granite stones on a sheet of ice towards a target area segmented into four concentric circles, known as the “house.” The stones, also called “rocks,” weigh in at 47 pounds each.

Two teams, each consisting of four players, take turns sliding the rocks across the ice toward the house. Each team has eight rocks. The purpose is to accumulate the highest score, with points scored for the rocks resting closest to the center of the house at the conclusion of each “end,” which is completed when both teams have thrown all of their rocks. A game may consist of ten or eight ends.

The path of the rock can be influenced by two sweepers with brooms who accompany it as it slides down the ice, using the brooms to alter the state of the ice in front of the rock. The more they sweep the ice, the more the rock will travel.

It takes a great deal of strategy and teamwork as players work together to choose the ideal path and placement of a rock for each situation.

Picture 56Patricia Vana, from Derby, has been curling for fifteen years. She plays three times a week. Her career teaching French at North County High School fit well with being a member of the curling club. She used to bring groups up to the club to expose them to the French language. For Vana, the Border Curling Club provides a place for neighbors from both sides of the border to come together, and she enjoys that curling is something anyone can do.

“I like the fact that women can play as well as men in this sport,” Vana said. “It provides a physical activity, a mental activity, and it’s extremely social. I like the sweeping because it’s a really good workout, and I love the fact that this is a club where Americans and Canadians can play together.

Paul Bosco, who curls with his wife Elizabeth, is finding his way back to the sport after taking a 25 year hiatus.

Picture 55“I joined this club back in 1979, and I was a member for about five years,” Bosco said. “I took twenty-five years off when I moved out to Jay while I was raising my family, but I’m back now and have been curling here for about six years.”

Bosco also enjoys the way the sport challenges the physical and mental ability of those who play.

“It’s nice because it’s almost like being outdoors, and curling is a game that takes finesse and strategy,” Bosco said. “You have a combination of both physical and mental challenges to face.”

Getting involved in curling is not as difficult as it might seem as a beginner. The Border Curling Club offers clinics and workshops for newbies, and they even have some equipment that you can use while getting started.

“The best thing to do to get involved in curling if you might be interested is to come to one of our free workshops, and give it a try,” said Chris Planetta, who coaches the Stanstead College curling team. “The Friday night mixed league is a time for people to come out and have fun, and is less competitive than the Tuesday night league. On Saturday morning we have a program for kids and teenagers where they can try it out. It’s a lifelong sport.

Picture 59Anyone interested in trying curling can visit one or both of the free upcoming curling workshops:

Wednesday, December 3, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, December 7, at 1 p.m.

All that is needed is some warm clothing and a clean pair of sneakers. Questions or RSVPs can be sent to Pat at: 802-334-2590 or the club at: 819-868-0651.

You can visit their Facebook page at:
They also have a website, located at:

For highlights from Tuesday night, watch the short video below:

police chase derby vermont newport
Mug shot of Valentina Velasquez, taken from a prior arrest. Photo courtesy of the Vermont State Police.

Quebec court orders psychiatric exam for international police chase suspect

in Derby/Eastern Townships/Newport/News/Quebec/Sherbrooke

police chase derby vermont newport
Mug shot of Valentina Velasquez, taken from a prior arrest. Photo courtesy of the Vermont State Police.
SHERBROOKE, QC — Valentina Velasquez, 31, of Newport, will undergo a psychiatric evaluation to determine her ability to face the charges against her in Canada, after she led police on an international chase that started in Derby, and ended near Coaticook, Quebec.

The request for the evaluation came through her lawyer who was at the Sherbrooke Courthouse Monday afternoon. Velasquez remains in custody in Canada, where she faces charges of impaired and dangerous driving, armed assault, and flight from a peace officer.

It is expected that Velasquez will be held in Canada until her Canadian criminal charges are completed. She will then return to the U.S. to face her Vermont charges, which include attempted burglary, driving while license suspended, attempting to elude, careless and negligent operation, and larceny of a motor vehicle.

Velasquez is accused of attempting to break into the Derby Corner Mini Mart. Sheriff’s deputies arrived at the store early Friday morning, and encountered Velasquez attempting to leave in a tan Oldsmobile sedan.

A pursuit by several local law enforcement agencies followed Velasquez north on Route 5 to Derby Line, where she crossed into Canada at the Route 5 Port of Entry without stopping.

Canadian authorities continued the pursuit, eventually using spike strips to force the vehicle off of the road.

Velasquez was taken into custody by Sûreté du Québec in Coaticook. She was found at the time to be in possession of a firearm.

police chase derby vermont newport
Mug shot of Valentina Velasquez, taken from a prior arrest. Photo courtesy of the Vermont State Police.

Woman sends police on international chase after attempted burglary in Derby

in Derby/Eastern Townships/Newport/News/Quebec

police chase derby vermont newport
Mug shot of Valentina Velasquez, taken from a prior arrest. Photo courtesy of the Vermont State Police.
DERBY — A woman sent authorities on an international police chase this morning, after an attempted burglary in Derby.

Police received a 911 call early this morning from the Derby Corner Mini Mart, located at 3131 US Route 5, reporting that a woman was attempting to break into the store with a long gun. Troopers from the Vermont State Police and deputies from the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department responded immediately to the area.

Sheriff’s deputies, already in the area, arrived at the store and encountered the woman attempting to leave in a tan Oldsmobile sedan.

A pursuit was initiated by the sheriff’s deputies and agents from the US Border Patrol, who followed the vehicle north on Route 5 to Derby Line. The vehicle crossed into Canada at the Route 5 Port of Entry.

Canadian authorities continued the pursuit while Vermont law enforcement officers ended their pursuit at the border. Canadian law enforcement pursued the vehicle north towards Coaticook, Quebec. During the pursuit one Canadian police cruiser was rammed.

Ultimately, spike strips were deployed and the suspects vehicle was forced off the road. The sole occupant of the vehicle, Valentina Velasquez, 31, of Newport City, was taken into custody by Sûreté du Québec in Coaticook.

Velasquez was in possession of a firearm. Authorities also determined that the suspects vehicle had been stolen from a residence in Newport City where Velasquez was staying.

Vermont law enforcement are working with Canadian law enforcement in a joint investigation. In Vermont, Velasquez will be charged with Attempted Burglary, Driving while License Suspended, Attempting to Elude, Careless and Negligent Operation, and Larceny of a Motor Vehicle.

In Canada, Velasquez will be charged with Impaired and Dangerous Driving, Armed Assault, and Flight from a Peace Officer. Velasquez is also a suspect in numerous other local burglaries.

Velasquez was transported to the hospital for medical evaluation, but was uninjured from the incident.

Once released from the hospital, Velasquez will be held in Canada until her Canadian criminal charges are completed and then will return to Vermont to face Vermont charges.

Paula Yankauskas, 60, of Hyde Park, Vermont swimming the length of Lake Memphremagog. Photo by Phil White.

Three swim the 25 mile length of Lake Memphremagog

Paula Yankauskas, 60, of Hyde Park, Vermont swimming the length of Lake Memphremagog. Photo by Phil White.
Paula Yankauskas, 60, of Hyde Park, Vermont swimming the length of Lake Memphremagog. Photo by Phil White.

DERBY — Three marathon open water swimmers completed this year’s 25 mile, international swim between Newport, Vermont and Magog, Quebec.

The swim, called “In Search of Memphre,” started on Friday night, with five swimmers, but was halted by a thunderstorm that hit just an hour into the swim. It was rescheduled to Saturday night, with four swimmers at the start. Three left the ramp at The Gateway Center in Newport, at 11:02 p.m. The fourth started an hour later at 12:02 a.m.

Grace van der Byl, 36, of Solana Beach, California was the first to the finish, with a time of 11 hours and 33 minutes. She recently won the 28 mile Manhattan Island Marathon Swim. Her support crew included Margrethe Horlyck-Romanovsky of New York City and Eri Utsunomiya of Jersey City, New Jersey. This swim was Grace’s longest time in the water and her longest swim without current assists.

David Uprichard, 48, of New York, finished in 15 hours and 59 minutes. He was supported by Manuela Jessel of New York City, and Hayley Joseph of Coventry. David has experience swimming into Canadian waters, having completed Kingdom Swim’s 15 Mile Border Buster this past July. This was the longest swim of his life.

Paula Yankauskas, 60, of Hyde Park, swam into Magog as the sun was setting, finishing in 19 hours and 55 minutes. She was supported by Deborah Beier of Hyde Park, and Cynthia Needham, also of Hyde Park. She also had experience crossing into Canada during Kingdom Swim’s 15 mile Border Buster.

It’s believed that Paula is the oldest person to swim the length of the lake, ever. She smashed the record for the longest time in the water set by Elaine Kornbau Howley in 2011, with a time of 17 hours and 59 minutes.

Franco Prezioso, 48, of Bel Air, Maryland, swam to the Canadian Border, but pulled out at that point.

Three additional support boats accompanied The Search, piloted by Bruce and Karen Lippens of Derby, Greg O’Connor of Natick, Massachusetts, Robert Fernald of North Hampton, New Hampshire, Phil White of Derby, Pam Ladds of Newport, and Elaine Korbau Howley of Waltham, Massachusetts.

In Search of Memphre was started in 2011 on the weekend of the tenth anniversary of 9/11. The goal of the 25 mile, international swim is to promote a more open border between the United States and Canada and to search for the legendary and swimmer friendly lake creature, Memphre.

David and Georgeville

QNEK getting ready to present SUDS: The Rocking 60’s Soap Opera


DERBY LINE — QNEK Productions continues its 21st Season by presenting SUDS: The Rocking 60’s Soap Opera at the Haskell Opera House September 12, 13, 14, 19, and 20.

In the style of other jukebox musicals like Forever Plaid, Mamma Mia, and Jersey Boys, that use an artist’s or particular decade’s music to tell a story, SUDS sets a comedy in the world of the greatest musical hits of the 1960’s. If audiences aren’t grooving in their seats, they’ll be rolling in the aisles for this non-stop, bubbly-fun party for all ages.

Cindy’s birthday begins as sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows, but when the mail arrives, so does trouble, and her day just keeps getting worse. Alone in the world, and in the laundromat she works in, Cindy decides that she can’t go on. But, out of the blue two strangers arrive to save her.

Marge and DeeDee couldn’t be more different than one another, but they have one thing in common. They are both Cindy’s guardian angels, sent to earth to teach her about true love, and leading life to its fullest. What they didn’t plan on was needing a little help themselves. It turns out that guardian angels sometimes need guardian angels of their own.

With songs like You Can’t Hurry Love, RESPECT, These Boots Are Made for Walkin’, I Say A Little Prayer, Goin’ to the Chapel, and so many more, SUDS is a must-see for audiences of all ages.

Directed by Phil Gosselin with Musical Direction by Mark Violette, this fantastic four-person dynamo is led by Jenny Dunne as the loveably impressionable Cindy, with Ruth-Ann Fletcher as brassy, no-nonsense Marge, and Danielle Carrier as the manically perky Dee Dee. Phil Gosselin rounds out the cast, juggling the rest of SUDS’ delightfully memorable characters.

SUDS’ production team includes Stage Manager Lisa Foster McCrae, Set Engineer/Master Carpenter Rick Gosselin, Lighting Engineer Dennis Zeigler, and Production Assistants Emma Castle and Benjamin Barrup.

QNEK’s SUDS: The Rocking 60’s Musical Soap Opera runs for six performances, from Friday, September 12 through Saturday, September 20, at the Haskell Opera House in Derby Line, Vermont and Stanstead, Quebec.

Tickets and information are available by calling the QNEK Box Office at (802) 334-2216, visiting, at the MAC Center on Main Street in Newport, or by advance purchase online or by phone at and the Catamount Arts Box Office at 888-757-5559.

74-year-old woman attacked in Stanstead East

in Eastern Townships/News/Quebec/Stanstead

elderly woman attacked in stanstead quebec

STANSTEAD — Authorities in Quebec are saying that a 74-year-old woman from Stanstead East suffered a severe head injury on Monday morning after an altercation with someone she knew.

Melanie Dumaresq, a spokesperson for the Sûreté du Québec (SQ), said that the altercation was with someone the victim knew, but she did not want to specify the nature of the relationship.

At around 7:30 a.m., the suspect, said to be a 50-year-old woman, came in and attacked the victim with a blunt object. A neighbor, who heard screams come from the residence, called 911 to report the incident.

The woman was transported by ambulance to a hospital in Magog, and is said to have been conscious. Authorities have not released more information about the condition of the victim.

Police made an arrest in the case, locating the suspect at her residence, also in Stanstead.

An investigation was opened by the SQ and crime scene technicians were called to the residence of the victim. The suspect was questioned regarding the attack, and was in court in Sherbrooke on Tuesday.

CBP expands Trusted Traveler Enrollment Center in Derby Line

in Derby Line/News/Quebec/Stanstead/Westmore

us port of entry derby line vermont

DERBY LINE — On July 15, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials expanded the programs and hours offered at the Trusted Traveler Enrollment Center located at Interstate 91, in Derby Line. The CBP center will offer travelers in the Vermont area the option to choose a program that best fits their individual travel needs and accommodates their busy schedules.

New hours of operation will be on Tuesday and Thursday from 8 a.m. to noon and 7 to 9 p.m. The Enrollment Center is for processing applicants for CBP’s Trusted Traveler Programs for Global Entry, NEXUS and FAST.

“Expanding the Enrollment Center in Derby Line not only provides a convenient, easy-access location for new applicants to complete their interview and finalize their membership,” said Derby Line Port Director Daniel Mattina. “This location also expedites the Trusted Traveler process and is proof of CBPs continuing commitment to improve processing and wait times and the traveler’s experience.”

The Trusted Traveler Programs provide expedited clearance for pre-approved low-risk international travelers and members of these programs can expect expedited processing when entering the United States through dedicated vehicle lanes at many land borders or by using automated kiosks at airports.

Members are also eligible to expedite their domestic travels by using TSA’s pre-check trusted traveler security screening lines.

Travelers interested in enrolling in one of CBP’s Trusted Traveler Programs can learn more about the programs and apply online using the CBP Global Online Enrollment System (GOES).

Newport Area Community Orchestra kicks back into gear with fall rehearsals


NEWPORT — The Newport Area Community Orchestra is ready to begin their fall rehearsals, starting Tuesday, August 5 at 6:30 p.m. at the First Universalist Parish on Main Street in Derby Line.

The orchestra will begin preparing the music for their fall concert which will take place November 1, 2014 at the Goodrich Memorial Library in Newport.

The concert will include the following music:

Concerto for Harp by Handel (Abigail Stockman, soloist)
Concertino for Horns and Orchestra by Witt (Marc Semprebon, Ros Semprebon, and Anna Shelow, soloists)
Nocture for Cello and Orchestra by Tchaikovsky (Thurmond Knight, soloist)
Haydn Symphony No. 100.

This concert will feature the largest orchestra since the orchestra’s inception in February 2011. They will have around 34 members for the concert.

Music Director Ken Michelli, is reminding everyone that anyone is welcome to join in.

If interested, contact them through their webpage at: or call 802-766-3021

Nearly 300 march in solidarity with Gaza in Sherbrooke

in Eastern Townships/News/Quebec/Sherbrooke
All photos by Meziani Djahid.
All photos by Meziani Djahid.

SHERBROOKE, QC — Chanting “Isreal assassin,” and “vivre, vivre, Palistine,” as well as accusing Israel of genocide, nearly three hundred protesters took to the streets of downtown Sherbrooke on Saturday to march in solidarity with Gaza.

The large crowd started gathering on Place de la Gare, outside the Grand Times Hotel at around noon, and by 1 p.m. the group was ready to begin the walk, waving Palestinian flags, and holding up signs calling for an end to the military action in Gaza and condemning the escalating ground offensive by Israeli troops.

Many of the demonstrators wore the traditional black-and-white checkered scarfs that have come to be the symbol of the Palestinian cause. One protester had her entire face painted the green, white, black, and red of the Palestinian flag.

Despite the size of the crowd and the heavy traffic through downtown at the time, the march was orderly. Escorted by police, the protest was vocal and passionate, but remained peaceful. The demonstration received much local support, as bystanders looking on cheered the march, and cars driving by honked their horns in solidarity.

Sherbrooke protest for Gaza Quebec 1

The crowd was diverse, with many families participating with young children, some even marching behind strollers.

The organizers of the protest were three young women in their twenties, who used the power of social media, Facebook in particular, to quickly mobilize the group.

“We denounce the attacks of Israel, and we will not allow our government to speak for us and say that we support Israel,” Hanna Krabchi, one of the organizers said after the march on Saturday. “We are not with them, we’re with the Palestinian people until the end,” she added.

Along with Krabchi, the march was organized by Hasna Agourram, and Imene Djendli.

The majority of the protesters interviewed shared Krabchi’s view that one of the main reasons for the march was to let the Canadian government know that they are not representing them when they say Canada stands with Israel.

“Me, as a Quebecois, as a Canadian, I don’t support Israel, so I don’t know who told Harper that we as a Canadian people support Israel,” a protester named Harris said afterward. “It’s a long struggle that the people of Palestine have faced, but they will have victory in the end, God willing.”

Over the weekend, the Israeli-Gaza conflict sparked protests worldwide. On Sunday, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called the shelling of Gaza by the Israelis an “atrocious action,” and called for an immediate end to the fighting.

By Monday, the two-week old conflict has seen over 500 Palestinian casualties, nearly 100 of which were children.

The march led protesters in a loop through the city, ending back where they started from. In total, the demonstration lasted close to two hours, with many of the protesters facing the heat of the day while taking part in the 18 hour fasts that have been taking place during the month of Ramadan, where Muslims do not eat or drink anything from dawn until sunset.

Sherbrooke protest for Gaza Quebec 3

QNEK Productions revives Oliver! at the Haskell Opera House

Qnek productions Derby Line Vermont Oliver

DERBY LINE — In the current trend-driven world of story telling, where Hollywood mandates selling content through gimmicks or endorsements, we can always count on a classic to refresh and satisfy our taste for powerful and thought-provoking drama.
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens is such a tale. Award-Winning QNEK Productions will revive Dickens’ masterpiece on July 25, 26, 27 and August 1, 2, and 3, at the Haskell Opera House in Derby Line, VT and Stanstead, QC, with a production that is sure to excite and capture the hearts of all ages.
Published in 1938 by Richard Brentley, this timeless story follows the pure-hearted orphan Oliver on a quest for hope and belonging; love and family. From the harsh cruelty of workhouse child labor, through the savage criminal underworld of Victorian London, Oliver’s indomitably kind spirit leads him to the gentle and comforting home of the compassionate Mr. Brownlow, for a fairy-tale ending that is truly deserved.  

Lionel Bart adapted Dickens’ novel for the stage and set it to music.  Originating with a successful run on the West End in 1960, it opened on Broadway in 1963, winning Tony Awards for Best Scenic Design, Best Musical Direction, and Best Original Score.  With immortalized songs like “Food, Glorious Food”, “Consider Yourself”, “I’d Do Anything”, and “As Long as He Needs Me”, Oliver! has been a worldwide phenomenon for over 50 years, enjoyed by all generations. 

Directed by Phil Gosselin with Musical Direction by Jenny Dunne, and Choreography by Lynn Leimer, this all-star international cast of thousands is led by Marc Lamontagne and Eli Moore sharing the role of Oliver on alternating performances, John Young as Fagin, Brandi Ong as Nancy, Brian McCrae as Bill Sykes, and Molly Moore and Emily Wilkie sharing the role of The Artful Dodger on alternating performances. 

QNEK’s Oliver! features Jim Cross and Meg Norman as Mr. Bumble and The Widow Corney, Zoe Lucas as Bet, Alan Franklin as Mr. Brownlow, Steve Perlin and Judy Castonguay as Mr. and Mrs. Sowerberry.  The colorful patchwork quilt of memorable characters is created by Kathy Boskind, Danielle Carrier, Bob Dunn, Lisa Foster, Gigi Gobeil-Judd, Brendan Hadash, Arden Leithead, Bianca Mackay, Deborah Mackay, Michael Moore, and Lonn Stewart.

The incredible children’s company includes Brandon Alexandre, Dayna Alexandre, Thomas Alexandre, Shauna Baraw, Marianna Barrett, Maya Brainard, Grace Castle, Caresse Comeau-Elman, Jim Gilbert, Charli Kellaway, Olivia Lemieux, Fletcher McCrae, Levi Mackay, Jillian Meredith, Josie Pearson, Dija Selby, and Victoria Young.  

Oliver!’s production team includes Stage Manager Lissy Barnes-Flint, Assistant Stage Managers Emma Castle and Keirstan Lague, Rehearsal Accompanist Chris Sellers, Dance Captain Danielle Carrier, Set Engineer/Master Carpenter Rick Gosselin, Lighting Engineer Dennis Zeigler, and Lighting Assistant Jake Borsari. 

Don’t miss this fantastic summer musical event. QNEK’s Oliver! runs for eight performances. The curtain rises on Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2:00 p.m. 

Tickets and information are available by calling the QNEK Box Office at 802-334-2216, visiting, at the MAC Center on Main Street in Newport, or by advance purchase online or by phone at and the Catamount Arts Box Office at 888-757-5559.

Foraging for Flavor: A bounty of berries in Stanstead

in Eastern Townships/Quebec/Stanstead

Bleuetière l’Or Bleu berries Stanstead Quebec

STANSTEAD, QC — If you head just north of the border at Derby Line, Stanstead is experiencing a renaissance of sorts. Residents, businesses owners, and artists are working together to bring new life into the area.

One such project is the berry farm, Bleuetière l’Or Bleu. For the third summer, filmmaker Bashar Shbib, who has over 40 feature films under his belt, including the 90’s classic Julia Has Two Lovers, is pitching in to help manage this beautiful farm that offers breathtaking views of the surrounding area.

Bleuetière l’Or Bleu, located on Route 143, next to the golf course, offers more than 5000 plants of blueberries, along with 3 acres of raspberries. The farm also offers other berries including white currents, Saskatoon Berries, known in the U.S. as Pacific Serviceberry, Western Serviceberry, Alder-Leaf Shadbush, Dwarf Shadbush, Chuckley Pear, Pigeon Berries, or Western Juneberry.

For the first year the farm will also offer cherries. Gooseberries, black currents, and both black and purple raspberries are also among the other fresh produce the farm offers, including fresh picked corn in season.

Everyone is invited to hand pick blueberries, raspberries, and juneberries, from early July until the end of August, Labor Day weekend. They also offer plenty of gladiolas and sunflowers for sale, along with fresh local honey and home made jams. The fields are well maintained and easy to access.

The farm is open daily from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information call 819-876-7568 or visit them on the web at:

You can also watch the video the farm has released below:

Bleuetière l’Or Bleu from Sunset Pictures on Vimeo.

Driver in fatal hit-run in Eastern Townships located trying to enter U.S.

in Eastern Townships/News/Quebec

hit-run eastern townships quebec

DERBY — Derby Patrol Commander Sean Selby announced today that U.S. Customs and Border Protection located a commercial vehicle that was possibly involved in the fatal hit-and-run accident that took place in the Eastern Townships of Quebec on Tuesday.

The driver, who was trying to enter the U.S. at the Beecher Falls port of entry, cooperated with the investigation by returning to Canada where he met with Canadian Law Enforcement.

The Sûreté du Québec have said that the truck driver was not under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time, and that there is a good possibility that he was not even aware that the tractor-trailer had struck the victim.

The tragedy occurred at around 4 a.m. on Tuesday, on Route 253 in the small town of Saint-Malo. The body of Anthony Labranche, 19, from Saint-Isidore-de-Clifton, was found lying in the street, following the accident.

According to reports, Labranche and a group of his friends had left a car parked in town, and were planning to walk back following a party. It is suspected that Labranche was trying to cross the road when he was struck by the truck.

In the coming days investigators will continue their efforts to complete the investigation and possibly submit an application to the Director of Criminal and Penal Prosecutions, who will decide whether criminal charges will be brought against the driver.

The name of the driver is not being released, but he is described as being in his 50s

The investigation to locate the driver was a joint effort between Vermont Law Enforcement Agencies and the Canadian Authorities, along with U.S. and Canadian Customs.

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