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Border humorist Ross Murray releases new collection “A Jerk in Progress”

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Stanstead

STANSTEAD, QC – Eastern Townships writer Ross Murray will release his third collection of humor, A Jerk in Progress, at Black Cat Books in Lennoxville on Sunday, September 15 at 3:00 p.m.

Subtitled “Various Nonsense,” the collection features more than 80 columns and essays that originally appeared in The Sherbrooke Record and Life in Quebec magazine as well as in audio form on CBC Radio’s afternoon program “Breakaway.”

The book can be purchased on Amazon through this link.

The book is split into two sections – “From the Makers of Rictusol,” which contains satire and whimsy covering everything from public service announcements to Bethlehem’s Three Kings at the shopping mall; and “Contains Minimum Two Dead Mice,” which offers up episodes from the author’s life.

Ross Murray has written a weekly column for The Sherbrooke Record for over 15 years and prior to that in The Stanstead Journal.

He has also been a regular contributor to CBC Radio, McSweeney’s Internet Tendencies, and other publications.

In addition to his two previous collections, Murray published his debut novel, A Hole in the Ground, in 2016, and in May of this year directed his original play, All Together Now, based on a local legend about how the former Beatles almost met at the Haskell Free Library.

The launch at Black Cat Books is free and open to the public.

Murray will also be at the Townships Expressions table at Townshippers’ Festival in Cowansville on Saturday, September 21 and will be participating in the Townships Authors round table at the Knowlton Literary Festival, Saturday, October 19 at 9:30 a.m.

You can order the book by emailing Murray at: or through his Facebook page.

You can also sample his writing at his website Drinking Tips for Teens at:

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Body found in Stanstead

in Stanstead

STANSTEAD, QC — The Sûreté du Québec have located a body in a field off Rue Dufferin in Stanstead.

Police say the cause of death is unknown at this time.

The body has not been identified yet, but police in the area have been looking for a 70-year-old man who went missing on August 6.

Authorities in Quebec have been asking the public for help in locating Garry Ellis, a resident of Stanstead.

Ellis was last seen at around 6:00 a.m. on August 6 at a bank in Stanstead.

Investigators were on scene and collecting evidence at around 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.

ABBA musical Mamma Mia! opens August 9 at the Haskell

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — The crowd-pleasing musical Mamma Mia! comes to the Haskell Opera House in Stanstead and Derby Line, on August 9-11 and 16-18.

Featuring over 20 songs by the Swedish pop phenomenon ABBA, the musical centers around Sophie, whose dream of a perfect wedding includes her father giving her away.

The problem? Sophie doesn’t know who he is. Her mother, Donna, refuses to talk about the past, so Sophie secretly invites her three possible fathers to the wedding, convinced that she’ll know her father when she sees him. But when all three turn up, it may not be as clear as she thought.

“After years of waiting for Mamma Mia! to be available for community theatres, this production is a dream come true for me,” said director Mary Hoadley. “It has personal meaning for me, but it’s truly a fun and uplifting show. You simply can never hear enough ABBA, and our cast is so abundantly talented that it just makes it that much better.”

The cast features local stage veteran Ruth-Ann Fletcher as Donna and Holly Lillis as Sophie.

Potential dads are played by Mike Desjardins, James Merriam and Todd Cubit, joined by Sarah Comtois and
Tiffany Quinn as Donna’s former bandmates along with a large supporting cast from both sides of the
Canada-US border:

Meghan Corbett, Jessi Sackett, Lourdes Ortiz, Thomas Alexandre, Shannon Quinn, Roderick Owens, Jaime Comtois, Amy Nadeau, Autumn Cubit, Debbie Bishop, Dayna Alexandre, Emmie Wilkie, Dorothy Moffatt and Charli Kellaway.

Choreography is by Hope Guisinger.

The performances will include the live band last seen backing last summer’s hit production of Little Shop
of Horrors and will once again be led by musical director Mark Violette on keyboards, with Gideon Yellin,
guitar; Lloyd White, bass; and Alex Lepanto, drums.

Showtimes are Friday and Saturday, August 9 and 10 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee Sunday, August 11 at 2:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, August 16 and 17 at 7:30 p.m., with a second matinee Sunday, August 18 at 2:00 p.m.

Tickets (at par) are $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors and are available at the MAC Center for the Arts in Newport and the Colby-Curtis Museum in Stanstead or online (U.S. funds only) at

Tickets also available at the door.

Reserve in advance by contacting Borderline Players via email or Facebook.

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    Rugby Major S Emily Willis, Newport, with coaches Eryn Hessian and Emily Norris
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    Patrick Young, Derby Line, (second from left) earned a Major S for rugby
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    Andrew Bouchard, Newport, (centre) was the top male points earner on the SC tennis team
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    Bradley James “BJ” Roy, Derby, (right) earned the Sportsmanship Award for lacrosse
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    Ryan Young, Derby Line, (second from left) earned a Senior S for rugby

Local student-athletes honored at Stanstead College

in Derby/Newport/News/Stanstead

STANSTEAD, QC — A number of local student-athletes were honored for their achievements during a recent athletic assembly at Stanstead College.

Patrick Young, grade 12, was a first-time “Major S” winner for senior boys rugby.

Emily Willis, grade 12, of Newport, won her first “Major S” for senior girls rugby and her second of the year, having earned one in basketball the season prior.

Andrew Bouchard, of Newport, was awarded a “Senior S” for tennis and was the Tennis Shield male winner.

BJ Roy, of Derby, received a Sportsmanship Award for lacrosse.

Alison Barlow, of Newport, was given a Sportsmanship Award for senior girls rugby.

Also honored during the assembly, was Ryan Young, of Derby Line, who received a “Senior S” for rugby.

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.

“All Together Now” combines local history, myth and fiction

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — Borderline Players is getting ready to present an original comedy by border humorist Ross Murray, All Together Now. The show promises to be a love letter to the Haskell Free Library, life on the line and a resilient local myth.

Performances are set for May 10-12 and May 17-19.

It’s Labor Day, 1973. In Holland, Vermont, a rock festival is set to begin while, at the Haskell Free Library, rumors begin to fly that the former Fab Four will be meeting there.

But when a mysterious stranger and confused American tourists turn things upside down at the world’s only international library, soon no one knows whether they’re coming or going.

The comedy mixes local characters and history – including the infamous Mac’s Party at Mead Hill, and whimsical fiction in a comedy that doesn’t explain the myth of how the Beatles didn’t come to the Haskell so much as add new layers of possibilities.

“I wanted to create a play that would appeal to local audiences by drawing on actual historical events,” says writer/director Murray. “Other than hearsay, there’s no actual record of this Beatles meeting ever being planned, so it leaves the door wide open to create my own version and mix some fictional characters with the historical ones. No one knows the truth, so why not make up my own.”

In fact, the subtitle of the play is “A Possibly True Story of a Thing That Almost Happened.”

In keeping with the theme of the play, the cast features players from both sides of the border, with Leanne Harple of Glover, Sue Kuzma of Derby Center, Mike Desjardins of Newport, Eric Alexandre of Georgeville, Que., John Young of Newport, Jessi Sackett of Newport, and making their local stage debut Benjamin Tabah of Lennoxville, Que., Crystal Hall of Newport, and Adam Spirk of Stanstead, Que.

Having appeared in a number of QNEK productions and last season’s Fuddy Meers, Ross Murray is directing his original script.

A resident of Stanstead, Quebec, Murray writes a weekly humor column for The Sherbrooke Record and has contributed to CBC Radio and McSweeney’s Internet Tendency among other publications.

All Together Now is his first script.

Show times are Friday and Saturday, May 10 and 11 at 7:30 p.m., Sunday, May 12 at 2:00 p.m., Friday and Saturday, May 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 19 at 2:00 p.m.

Tickets are $15 adults, $12 seniors and students and are available now online through or Catamount Arts.

Tickets are also available at the MAC Center, in Newport, and the Colby-Curtis Museum, in Stanstead.

For more information, contact

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.

Borderline Players to hold auditions for 2019 spring, summer shows in Derby Line

DERBY LINE — After a highly successful debut season, Borderline Players will hold auditions for its spring and summer productions on Friday, January 4 from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m and Saturday, January 5 from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the First Universalist Parish Hall in Derby Line.

The first show of the season will be All Together Now, an original comedy written and directed by border humorist Ross Murray.

It’s Labour Day, 1973. In Holland, Vermont, a rock festival is set to begin, while at the Haskell Free Library, rumors begin to fly that the former Fab Four will be meeting there.

But when a mysterious stranger and confused American tourists turn things upside down at the world’s only international library, soon no one knows whether they’re coming or going.

Roles for All Together Now are available for 5 males, 4 females and one small role for a child (5-10).

Two male roles and one female role are for actors age 18-30.

Another male role is ideal for a francophone male (40-60) who can perform in English.

Performances are May 10-12 and 17-19.

The summer production will be the popular Abba musical Mamma Mia.

On a small Greek island, Sophie dreams of a perfect wedding — one which includes her father giving her away. The problem? Sophie doesn’t know who he is! Her mother refuses to talk about the past, so Sophie decides to take matters into her own hands.

She secretly invites her three possible fathers to the wedding, convinced that she’ll know her father when she sees him.

But when all three turn up, it may not be as clear as she thought.

This production will be directed by Mary Hoadley and features multiple principal and feature roles along with ensemble roles for men and women age 16+.

Singing and dancing men especially sought. Performances will run August 9-11 and 16-18.

A fall production, scheduled for October 18-20 and 25-26, is yet to be finalized.

Play and character details are available at

To book an audition time and receive audition script sides, contact Borderline Players at

Drop-ins are also welcome.

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.

Man injured, calves killed in Holland barn fire

in Holland/News/Stanstead

HOLLAND — A man was injured, and several calves killed after a barn fire broke out late Tuesday morning in Holland.

Firefighters were notified at around 11:40 a.m. of the incident at the Champney farm, located on School Road.

Cows were seen wandering the area after being herded out of the barn.

While trying to stop the fire, a worker at the farm suffered burn injuries and had to be transported to North Country Hospital.

Several others suffered smoke inhalation and were treated at the scene.

Crews from Derby Line, and Stanstead, Quebec, were able to contain the fire, and keep it from spreading throughout the barn.

Around six claves were killed in the incident.

The fire originated when fuel ignited while a piece of gas-powered equipment inside the barn was being worked on.

A section of the barn will have to be torn down due to the damage, but most of it is salvageable.

There is no update yet as to the condition of the injured man.

Agatha Christie’s classic The Mousetrap opening at the Haskell October 12

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Newport/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — One of the most popular plays of all time, the classic Agatha Christie murder mystery, The Mousetrap, will be showing at the Haskell Opera House October 12-14 and 19-21.

This Borderline Players production of The Mousetrap is directed by Thomas Perry, who most recently directed the troupe’s sold-out summer production of Little Shop of Horrors.

The cast includes Marianna Barrett, Jim Cross, Leanne Harple, Sue Kuzma, Shannon Quinn, Jessi Sackett, Jim Young, and John Young.

First produced in London’s West End in 1952, this “whodunnit” has been running continuously ever since, making it the longest running show in history.

A group of strangers is stranded in a boarding house during a snow storm, one of whom is a murderer.

The suspects include the newly married couple who run the house, and the suspicions in their minds nearly wreck their perfect marriage.

Others are a spinster with a curious background, an architect who seems better equipped to be a chef, a retired Army major, a strange little man who claims his car has overturned in a drift, and a jurist who makes life miserable for everyone.

Into their midst comes a policeman, traveling on skis. He no sooner arrives, when a second murder occurs.

To get to the rationale of the murderer’s pattern, the policeman probes the background of everyone present, and rattles a lot of skeletons.

This production of The Mousetrap is underwritten by North Country Hospital.

Showtimes are Friday and Saturday, October 12 and 13 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee Sunday, October 14 at 2:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, October 19 and 20 at 7:30 p.m., with a second matinee Sunday, October 21 at 2:00 p.m.

Tickets are $15.00 for adults, $12 for students (under 17) and $12 for seniors (55+).

They are on sale in Newport, at the MAC Center and Madam Archetype’s Panoply, and in Stanstead at the Colby-Curtis Museum.

You can also get tickets online at, or at the Haskell box office one hour before the show.

Photo by Tanya Mueller.

Border Curling Club hosting two free learn to curl clinics

in Newport/News/Stanstead

BEEBE — If you ever wanted to try out the sport of curling, now’s your chance. The Border Curling Club is hosting two free Learn to Curl Clinics.

Curling is a popular, low-impact, life-long sport for all ages and genders. It’s not weather dependent or cost prohibitive.

Clinics will be held Wednesday evening October 3, starting at 6:30 p.m. and Saturday, October 6, at 1:00 p.m.

Both clinics will last approximately 2 hours.

The Curling Club will provide all equipment needed.

Participates should bring super clean running shoes and wear loose-fitting pants and warm clothes like a sweater, hat, and gloves.

Come to one or both clinics.

For the third year, the Border Curling club will also be giving a nine-week beginner course using the Curling 101 curriculum.

New curlers will learn the game, strategy, rules, and fundamentals in a supportive environment.

This course will run on Wednesday evenings from 7:00-9:00 p.m. beginning on October 17.

The cost for the course will be $10.00 per session.

The sessions are free of charge to Border Curling Club members.

The Border Curling Club is located in Stanstead (Beebe) Quebec at 26 Rue Principale.

The Club is across the street from Rock of Ages Company or approximately 4 buildings on the right after passing through the Canadian port of entry in Beebe.

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.

Little Shop of Horrors opens at the Haskell August 10

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Newport/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — If you like your musicals with a little bite, then you won’t want to miss Borderline Players’ production of Little Shop of Horrors, playing at the Haskell Opera House August 10-12 and 17-19.

Based on the 1960 low-budget film of the same name, Little Shop was written by Howard Ashman and composer Alan Menken, debuting off-off-Broadway in 1982 and quickly becoming a popular staple of American musical theatre.

In 1987, a film version was produced of the musical starring Rick Moranis.

The comedy tells the story of Seymour Krelborn, a meek and dejected assistant at a floral shop who happens upon a strange plant, which he affectionately names “Audrey II” after his crush at the shop.

Little does he know that this strange and unusual plant will develop a soulful R&B voice, a potty mouth, and an unquenchable thirst…

This Borderline Players production is directed by Thomas Perry.

In keeping with the international theatre and the international company, the cast consists of a cast of American and Canadian talent, including Shelly Bourgeois as Audrey, Allen Cubit as Seymour, Ron St. John III as Orin, Tristan Slicer as Mr. Mushnik, Sonia Patenaude as Audrey II, and Maggie Anderson, Emmie Wilkie and Jessi Sackett as Chiffon, Crystal and Ronnette.

Rounding out the cast are Nicki Campbell, Debbie Bishop and Addie Poginy.

In the band are Mark Violette, keyboard; Gideon Yellin, guitar; Lloyd White, bass; and Alex Lepanto, drums.

Showtimes are Friday and Saturday, August 10 and 11 at 7:30 p.m., with a matinee Sunday, August 12 at 2:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, August 17 and 18 at 7:30 p.m., with a second matinee Sunday, August 19 at 2:00 p.m.
Tickets (at par) are $15 for adults, $12 for students and seniors and are available at the MAC Center for the Arts and Madame Archetypes Panoply in Newport and the Colby-Curtis Museum in Stanstead.

Tickets also available at the door.

You can also purchase tickets online at in US funds.

Borderline Players presents dark comedy Fuddy Meers at the Haskell starting May 11

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — Borderline Players, a new theater company registered in Vermont and Quebec, will present Fuddy Meers at the Haskell Opera House stage for four performances on May 11, 12 and 13.

Written by American playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, Fuddy Meers tells the story of an amnesiac, Claire, who starts each morning with no memory, her husband and teenage son having to fill her in daily about her life.

When she is kidnapped, Claire – and the audience – must piece together the ensuing mayhem.

The original Broadway production was described by The New York Times as a “dark, sweet and thoroughly engaging comedy.”

Performance times are Friday, May 11 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, May 12 at 2 and 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, May 13 at 2:00 p.m.

Tickets are only $15 and available by calling the Haskell Opera House box office at 819-876-2471, ext. 205 or 819-873-3022, ext. 205.

You can also grab tickets at:, through Catamount Arts, or at the door.

Please note that this play contains adult language and themes and is not recommended for young children.

The Borderline Players’ production of Fuddy Meers is directed by Kim Prangley, a veteran of QNEK productions during the company’s 25-year run as the Haskell as the resident theater company, a tradition that continues in 2018 with the debut of the new community-based company.

Prangley also takes on the role of Claire, accompanied by local actors from both sides of the border including Calvin Longe, Ross Murray, Chris Planetta, Mark Rumery, Pamela Frohn and Susan Neumann.

Set design is by Bradleigh Stockwell.

Truck catches fire on I-91 in Glover

in Glover/News/Stanstead

GLOVER — A tractor-trailer burst into flames on I-91 south in Glover this morning.

At around 6:45 a.m. police responded to reports of the vehicle fire near mile marker 153.

Police say the left rear tires of the flatbed trailer were fully engulfed in flames while parked in the breakdown lane.

The truck was detached from the trailer and not harmed.

Sheffield Fire Department arrived a short time later and put out the flames. The southbound passing lane remained open.

The driver, identified as Robert Martin, 51, of Stanstead, QC, was not hurt during the incident.

Police say overheated brakes caused the truck tires to catch fire.

Borderline Players to hold auditions for spring comedy

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — Auditions for Borderline Players’ premiere production, Fuddy Meers, will take place on Saturday, January 27 from 1 to 4 p.m. in the First Universalist Parish Hall in Derby Line.

Performances are scheduled for May 4-6 and 11-13, 2018 at the Haskell Opera House.

Written by American playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, Fuddy Meers tells the story of an amnesiac, Claire, who starts each morning with no memory, her husband and teenage having to fill her in daily about her life.

When she is kidnapped, Claire–and the audience–must piece together the ensuing mayhem.

The Borderline Players’ production will be directed by Kim Prangley, a veteran of QNEK productions during the company’s 25-year run as the Haskell as the resident theater company, a tradition that continues in 2018 with the debut of the new community-based company.

Seven roles are available; 4 male and 3 female. They are Claire (about 40, generally sunny woman with amnesia); Richard (about 40, chatty, friendly, sometimes nervous man); Kenny (17, a troubled teen); limping man (about 40, a limping, lisping, half-blind, half-deaf man with secrets); Gertie (60s, a clear-headed lady who’s had a stroke); Millet (30s or 40s, an odd man with a puppet alter ego); and Heidi (30s or 40s, tough woman in a uniform).

No appointments are necessary for auditions, and scripts will be available at the hall.

For more information, contact Kim Prangley at

Auditions for the summer and fall productions will be announced at a late date.

Free Vermont Symphony Orchestra Halloween concert coming to Haskell Opera House

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — The Haskell Opera House recently announced they will host a kid-friendly, free Halloween concert on Sunday, October 29, at 2:00 p.m.

The concert includes an introduction of the instruments and several seasonally spooky selections.

The highlight of the performance is a narration with music based on the book, “A Symphony of Whales,” by Steve Schuch, taking its inspiration from a true story about whales stranded in the Siberian Sea, and the heroic efforts by villagers and a Russian icebreaker to free them.

Music plays a key role in the heartwarming rescue, and audience members get to participate in a crucial decision.

Organizers are inviting everyone to wear Halloween costumes, join the parade of costumes and take home treats afterward.

Free tckets are available the MAC Center for the Arts in Newport and the Haskell Free Library, in Derby Line.

Seating is limited.

For more information, please contact,, or call 802-873-3022 (x205).

Wood and Belsher return to the Haskell Opera House this Sunday

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — Fiddle and guitar duo Wood and Belsher will return to the Haskell Opera House in Derby Line on Sunday, October 8, for a 7:30 p.m. show.

Richard Wood, Prince Edward Island fiddler, artist, composer, and entertainer, has come full circle, not just in his musical career, but from the sheltered innocence as a child prodigy to learning life’s lessons the hard way.

Joining Wood on stage again this year is Gordon Belsher.

With a gentle charm that has become his trademark, Belsher’s versatility, engaging personality, and exceptional musicality have earned him the prestigious Music PEI 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Whether playing before festival crowds or intimate folk settings, his talent is extraordinary.

Nunsense: QNEK’s last show starts September 15

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/News/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — QNEK Productions will finish their final season with a production of their signature show, Dan Goggin’s Nunsense. The show will run September 15 – 17 at the Haskell Opera House on Friday and Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Near and dear to many in the area, this show is sure to bring on the laughs and will certainly be “habit forming!”

Lynn Leimer reprises her role as Mother Superior, a star turn that has long delighted audiences, as she hangs up the habit and retires her company after 25 years.

A local legend in her own right, Leimer is grateful for all of the support QNEK has received over the last two decades and looks forward to sharing this show that has meant so much to her and the community one more time.

Nunsense begins when the Little Sisters of Hoboken discover that their cook, Sister Julia, Child of God, has accidentally poisoned 52 of the sisters, and they are in dire need of funds for the burials. The sisters decide that the best way to raise the money is to put on a variety show, so they take over the school auditorium, which is currently set up for the eighth grade production of “Grease.”

Directed by and starring QNEK’s founder and Artistic Director, Lynn Leimer, the show features local favorites reprising their roles, such as Anita Mayhew, Sally Rivard, Ruth Ann Fletcher, Emily May, and Janice Luce on piano with Sean MacAllister playing drums.

Judy Castonguay is the Stage Manager with Dennis Ziegler serving as Tech Director and Brandon Alexandre running the lights.

You do not want to miss the finale of the company that has delighted, surprised, entertained, and brought the community together for 25 years.

Come celebrate and say goodbye to local legend QNEK Productions, and “your right Reverend Mother” Lynn Leimer in Nunsense.

Tickets are available by calling the QNEK Box Office at 802-334-2216, reserving by email at, by advance purchase online or by phone at and the Catamount Arts Box Office at 888-757-5559, and by advanced purchase at the MAC Center for the Arts in downtown Newport.

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    Photo by Arik Thormahlen.
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    Photo by Phil White.

New York woman swims the length of Lake Memphremagog

in Newport/News/Outdoors/Stanstead

NEWPORT — On Monday, Jaimie Monahan, of New York, NY, swam the 25-mile distance on Lake Memphremagog between Newport, Vermont, and Magog, Quebec in 14 hours and 18 minutes.

She left the Newport City Dock at 5:53 a.m. under cloudy skies and arrived in Magog as the sun was setting at 8:11 p.m.

Winds were light and rain was heavy at times, but the threat of a thunderstorm never materialized. Water temperature ranged from 70 to 71 F.

Arik Thormahlen, also of New York, crewed for her. Phil White of Kingdom Games piloted the wooden dory, Django, and made the arrangements for pre-authorization of her clearance across the international border into Canada.

Monahan is a world renowned ultra-marathon swimmer, a world champion winter swimmer, and an accomplished ice swimmer. She won the 2016 Barra Award for Best Overall Year by the Marathon Swimmers Federation and the 2016 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year award from the World Open Water Swimming Association.

She is the first person to complete the Ice Seven Challenge, swimming a mile in sub 5 C water on all seven continents, the final swim being in Argentina on July 2nd, 2017. She has swum in the Memphremagog Winter Swim in 2015 and 2016. This is the first time she has swum in Vermont during the summer.

Monahan’s swim kicks off what is scheduled to be a record-breaking number of border-busting swims on Lake Memphremagog during this summer season.

Charlotte Brynn of Stowe is the next up with an individual solo attempt the length of the lake on July 17.

On July 29, 39 swimmers are signed up for the 25 km swim from Newport into Canada, around Province Island and back to Newport as part of Kingdom Swim.

Seven swimmers are signed on to swim the length of the lake in September.

Canadian and US border officials have helped facilitate these crossings.

Quebec man accused of smuggling guns through Haskell Free Library bathroom

in Derby Line/Eastern Townships/Newport/News/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — A 40-year-old man from Montreal was recently extradited from Quebec to face multiple federal firearms charges, including exporting firearms from the United States into Canada without a permit through the Haskell Free Library.

Authorities say that from July 2010 to April 2011, Alexis Vlachos, 40, of Montreal, working with Annette Wexler and another co-conspirator, bought approximately 100 handguns from multiple licensed gun dealers in Florida.

In purchasing these guns, the indictment alleges that Annette Wexler and her co-conspirator falsely stated on the ATF forms they were the true owners of the firearms when they were actually purchasing these firearms on behalf of Vlachos with the intention of smuggling the firearms into Quebec.

In addition, the indictment alleges that on March 25, 2011, Wexler and the co-conspirator traveled to Derby Line with multiple handguns and hid a small backpack containing these handguns in the bathroom of the Haskell Free Library.

Vlachos, who entered the library after walking from Quebec, went into the bathroom, retrieved the backpack containing the handguns, exited the library, and walked back into Quebec without going through the port-of-entry.

The indictment against Vlachos, returned by the grand jury in February 2015, contains five counts.

The first count charges Vlachos with conspiring to export approximately 100 handguns from the United States to Quebec without a munitions permit from the Department of State.

Two counts charge Vlachos with exporting specific handguns without a permit and the remaining two counts charge Vlachos with possession of specific firearms in the United States while in alien status.

Annette Wexler previously pled guilty to conspiring to make false statements to licensed gun dealers and unlawful exportation. Her sentencing is scheduled to take place in July.

At his initial appearance in the United States on June 5, 2017, Vlachos pled not guilty to the charges and did not contest continued detention until trial.

If he is convicted, he faces a maximum possible term of imprisonment of twenty years.

Derby Elementary School third graders sweep into Canada

in Derby/Stanstead

STANSTEAD– Mrs. Jeanne Beaudry’s third graders from Derby Elementary School took their classroom across the border this holiday season to learn about the Olympic sport of curling at the Border Curling Club located in Stanstead, QC.

“I learned the students were studying the Olympics and Mrs. Beaudry and I thought having them come to the curling club would be a great opportunity to try out one of the sports while also learning more about its history,” said Caroline Aubry who is a member of the curling club and helped to organize the field trip.

Mrs. Beaudry’s class had been studying geography through the origins of various summer and winter Olympic sports and had several other activities geared around the international competition in addition to the field trip to Stanstead.

They included their own Olympic mini-games complete with certificates and medals and a visit by Susan Dunklee, a local biathlon Olympic athlete. The lessons weaved geography into the classroom in a fun way that excited the students and provided them with the opportunity take a fun field trip.

“The third grade visit to the Border Curling Club to learn about curling was a great experience for the instructors and students,” said Bruce Amsden, match chair and current member of the board of directors for the Border Curling Club. “They asked very intelligent questions and on the ice, the students paid attention to safety instructions and learned how to deliver stones and sweep in front of them.”

The third graders were the first American school, in recent memory, to have visited the club in Canada. The curling club prides itself on the friendly international camaraderie it shares between the two countries. The membership of the club is 60 percent Canadian and 40 percent American.

“My favorite part of the club is the sense that members are not American or Canadian, they are just curlers,” said Amsden.

In addition to welcoming students and teachers into the club, the Border Curling Club holds lessons and clinics for curlers of all ages throughout the year. There is a juniors program on Saturday that helps young curlers learn the game and to practice. It is open to anyone that it interested. The club will also be holding a “Learn to Curl Clinic” in January where all community members, of any age, are welcome to attend and learn how to curl for free.

For more information on the Border Curling Club and lessons to learn how to curling, visit

VIDEO: Haskell Opera House appoints new director

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Stanstead/Video

DERBY LINE — The trustees of the Haskell Free Library and Opera House recently announced the appointment of Hal Newman of Stanstead, Quebec as the new director of the Haskell Opera House.

In keeping with the cross-border nature of the Haskell, Newman was raised in Montreal West and attended university in the United States. After a career as, among other things, a paramedic, he and his family moved to Stanstead six years ago, where he works as a chief marketing officer for a cardiovascular research company and social media specialist for emergency management.

Newman has been involved in the arts throughout his life. Over the past two years, he has been the organizer and chief concert host of the Stanstead House Concerts Network, which has brought dozens of artists to Stanstead and region, including Oh Pep! from Australia and Canadian band The Great Lake Swimmers.

“We’re excited to welcome Hal to the Haskell team,” said Haskell board president Matthew Farfan. “He cares about the community, and he brings with him an awareness of the performing arts culture on both sides of the border. We look forward to Hal putting his vision and acute networking skills in place to make the Haskell Opera House a must-perform venue for artists.”

Founded in 1901, the Haskell Free Library and Opera House supports the cultural needs of the community on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border, both English and French, through access to information, reading material, a broad range of library services and programming as well as the visual and performing arts.

As a heritage building and as a cultural centre, the Haskell plays a critical role in enriching the lives of its members and the community.

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    Susan Granfors in Farce of Nature.

Farce of Nature, QNEK’s final mainstage show of the season starts September 9

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Newport/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — QNEK Productions is rounding out its season with the comedy “Farce of Nature,” by Jessie Jones, Nicholas Hope, and Jamie Wooten.

The non-stop hilarity of this southern-fried farce highlights a day in the life of the Wilburn family of Mayhew, Arkansas. D. Gene Wilburn is taking desperate measures to save his fishing lodge the Reel ‘Em Inn, while his wife Wanelle is taking equally desperate measures to save their marriage.

Add in a wacky sister, a mobster in protective custody, the guy he ratted out, a lovelorn couple, and a pack of wild animals, and you begin to see the wild and wonderful world of the Wilburns come to life.

The show stars Judy Castonguay, Lisa Foster, Stephen Gonyaw, Phil Gosselin, Susan Granfors, Deborah Mackay, Brian McCrae, Andrea Webster, and John Young.

Jenny Dunne directs with Elisabeth Barnes-Flint as the stage manager, along with scenic designer Bradleigh Stockwell, set engineer Rick Gosselin, and light and sound board operator Benjamin Barrup.

You don’t want to miss this ridiculous southern romp and QNEK’s final Mainstage show of the 24th Season.

Farce of Nature plays at the Haskell Opera House September 9th – 18th, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m.

Tickets are available by calling the QNEK Box Office at 802-334-2216, reserving online at, by advance purchase online or by phone at and the Catamount Arts Box Office at 888-757-5559, and by advanced purchase at the MAC Center for the Arts in downtown Newport.

QNEK Productions Presents SEUSSICAL starting July 21

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — QNEK Productions, the award winning international theatre company in residence at the historic Haskell Opera House, continues their 24th season with the perfect show for the entire family, SEUSSICAL.

QNEK’s production of SEUSSICAL will run July 21 – 31, at 7:30 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, and Sundays at 2 p.m.

Tony winning writers, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, have brought to life all of our favorite Dr. Seuss characters in a musical caper for all ages.

The Cat in the Hat serves as our guide through the wonderful world of Seuss. We enter the story of Horton Hears a Who and soon find ourselves meeting any and every kind of character from the Seuss universe including Horton the Elephant, Gertrude McFuzz, lazy Mayzie, and Jojo the Who.

SEUSSICAL has an incredible cast featuring actors from both sides of the border.

Lynn Leimer, QNEK’s Founder and Artistic Director, stars as the mischievous Cat in the Hat along with Steve Gonyaw, Charli Kellaway, Josie Pearson, Ruth Ann Fletcher, Jessi Sackett, Suzanne Norwood, Tiffany Quinn, John Young and more.

Jenny Dunne directs with choreography by Phil Gosselin and costume design by Lisa Foster.

The production also has benefit performances for two local nonprofits. Come and enjoy a wonderful show while supporting local businesses.

The first is for the MAC Center on Friday, July 29, and the second is for the First Universalist Parish of Derby Line on Sunday, July 31.

There will also be a talkback with the cast and creative team on Sunday July 24. Any and all ticket holders are welcome to come for this questions and answer session following the show.

Tickets are available by calling the QNEK Box Office at 802-334-2216, reserving by email at, by advance purchase online or by phone at and the Catamount Arts Box Office at 888-757-5559, and by advanced purchase at the MAC Center for the Arts in downtown Newport.

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Derby Line Port of Entry to get extreme makeover this summer

in Derby Line/News/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), announced the award of a $23 million construction contract for upgrades to the Derby Line Port of Entry.

The contract will allow for the completion of necessary upgrades to the port, replacing the outdated facility which currently exists.

The project will be designed to be both energy efficient, sustainable and will be certified as LEED Gold by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Officials say the more modernized, structurally sound land port entry will help commerce and trade flow efficiently from across the border.

“Upgrading one of the key commercial ports of Vermont while strengthening our border infrastructure are important priorities,” said Robert Zarnetske, GSA Regional Administrator, New England Region. “GSA is delighted to be able to announce this long-anticipated project will begin this Summer.”

About the Derby Line LPOE Project:

The project will include a new commercial inspection building with a 2 bay commercial loading dock, cargo storage, lab space, a kennel, public counter space and CBP work areas.

A new main port building is also planned, which will include administrative offices, processing and immigration services spaces, and a violator retention area.

A photovoltaic solar array will be installed providing on-site renewable energy.

A 20 percent reduction in water consumption and a 32 percent reduction in total energy usage is projected as a result of this project.

In addition, 75 percent or more of all construction waste will be diverted from landfill through recycling.

The project will also incorporate new inspection booths, canopies, and lane configurations.

Additional site improvements consist of new lighting, fire protection, water service, sanitary sewer, site drainage and stormwater management systems, improvements to paving, signage, electrical service and a new access drive.

Construction will begin this summer.

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    All photos by Tanya Mueller.
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“Rumors” keeps audiences laughing during QNEK’s opening weekend at the Haskell

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — QNEK Productions, the award-winning international theatre company in residence at the historic Haskell Opera House, opened its 24th season over the weekend with the uproarious Neil Simon farce, “Rumors.”

The show features a stellar cast from both sides of the border.

Mike Desjardins, Alan Franklin, Kim Gannon, Phil Gosselin, Mary Hoadley, Sue Kuzma, Audrey Langlois, Rhonda Lucas, Ross Murray, and Chris Planetta make up the ensemble cast that kept audiences laughing at every turn.

The show is Directed by Jenny Dunne.

If you missed opening weekend, be sure to catch one of the upcoming shows taking place this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Friday and Saturday shows start at 7:30 p.m. Sunday will be the final performance at 2 p.m.

Tickets are available by calling the QNEK Box Office at 802-334-2216, reserving by email at, by advance purchase online or by phone at and the Catamount Arts Box Office at 888-757-5559, and by advanced purchase at the MAC Center for the Arts in downtown Newport.

Please note that this play contains adult language.

Cabaret Sans Frontières brings weekend comedy and live music to Stanstead

in Arts and Entertainment/Stanstead

STANSTEAD — For a few years now, businesswoman Erin Garand had been thinking about opening a cafe or bar where people could come together at the end of the week from both sides of the border, and unwind. The opportunity presented itself when Sans Frontières Café in Stanstead temporarily closed its doors in June.

Since then, Erin and her husband Jason Hartley have taken over the landmark bar on Rue Dufferin, spending months decorating the club, and working to bring new activity to the border town. The bar reopenend as Cabaret Sans Frontières in November.

Erin’s vision was a place that combined comedy and music.

“I wanted this to be a place that brought people together for good times and laughter, and where people would say ‘wow’ when they come in.” Garand said.

Cabaret Sans Frontières is just that. The club is beautifully decorated and provides a classy, romantic atmosphere for patrons. They offer a full bar, and serve light fare throughout the weekend shows.

Every Friday the club features stand-up comedy, which, through, has already featured some of the best comedians in the country. Shows generally have 3-4 comedians per night.

Saturdays at the club is always live music. Shows are booked well into 2016, and are usually tribute bands, paying homage to such legends as Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Heart.

Cabaret Sans Frontières is just another example of the revitalization that has been taking place on Rue Dufferin over the last few years. Angel in the Heart of Your Kitchen at Restaurant la Vieille Douane, which sits in the old customs building and just next door to the new Cabaret, reopened its doors this summer, and there are a few more projects in the works.

This Friday’s comedy show will feature Paul Baluyot and friends. Paul Baluyot is a Montreal based stand-up comedian. His charming, clever and laid back style has allowed him to work on many stages, touring throughout Canada, the United States, and the Philippines. He will be performing alongside a carload of hilarious comedians.

Music this Saturday will feature Priscillia Quirion, from La Voix TV Show.

The bar opens at 5, with shows starting at 8 p.m.

Cabaret Sans Frontières is located at 240 Dufferin Street, in Stanstead. For more information, visit them online at: or on Facebook at:ères-892562864160072/timeline

Border Curling Club opens season, free “learn to curl” clinics coming up

in News/Stanstead

BEEBE, QC — The Border Curling Club in Beebe opened their season with the annual Emerson Humphrey Funspiel.  Twelve teams vied for the championships in the A and B divisions. 

The opening Funspiel is a season warm-up for members and an introductory tournament for new members. 

Each team was composed of experienced players and new or less experienced players. Games were played Thursday and Friday evening and Saturday morning and afternoon.

A season opening banquet was held following the championship games on Saturday evening.

The club will be holding clinics for those interested in learning to curl on Sunday, October 25 from 1-3 p.m., and Wednesday, October 28 from 7-9 p.m. 

The clinics are free and equipment is provided.  Participants should wear warm loose fitting clothing and bring clean running shoes. Gloves are also recommended.

The Border Curling Club is located at 26 rue Principale, Stanstead (Beebe) QC, the 6th building on the right after passing through Canada customs. 

If you have any questions, contact Bruce Amsden at 802-334-2808.

QNEK to present Steel Magnolias at the Haskell starting this Friday

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line/Eastern Townships/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — ​QNEK Productions is proud to present its final mainstage performance of the year with the lively and touching Steel Magnolias by Robert Harling. Equal parts heart and hilarity, the show is set to be the perfect addition to the Fall Foliage season.

Directed by Jenny Dunne and Assistant Directed by Phil Gosselin, this cast features fantastic talent from both sides of the border:

Anita Morin (Holland, VT)
Rhonda Lucas (Derby Line, VT)
Sally Rivard (Jay, VT)
Mary Hoadley (Newport, VT)
Susan Bourgeois (Newport, VT)
Kim Prangley (Stanstead, QC)

The action is set in Truvy’s beauty salon in Chinquapin, Louisiana where “anyone who is anyone” comes to have their hair done. Helped by her eager and awkward assistant Annelle, the outspoken, wise-cracking Truvy dispenses shampoos and free advice to the town’s rich curmudgeon Ouiser, an eccentric millionaire Miss Clairee, and the local social leader M’Lynn, whose daughter Shelby is facing life’s highs and lows in short order.

The tech team for this QNEK production includes Tech Director Dennis Zeigler, Set Engineer Rick Gosselin, Lighting Designer David Harrison, Stage Manager Allen Cubit, Light Board Operator Sara Cubit, and Set Designer Susan-Lynn Johns.

Steel Magnolias by Robert Harling plays at the Haskell Opera House October 9 – 18, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 2 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, and

​Photo (Clockwise from top left): Susan Bourgeois, Kim Prangley, Rhonda Lucas, Sally Rivard, Anita Morin, Mary Hoadley. Featured photo: Mary Hoadley.

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QNEK presents Suds: The Rocking 60’s Musical Soap Opera

in Albany/Derby Line/Stanstead

DERBY LINE — Back by popular demand, QNEK Productions is thrilled to bring SUDS: The Rocking 60’s Musical Soap Opera by Melinda Gilb, Steve Gunderson, and Bryan Scott, to the Historic Haskell Opera House. After a fabulous run of the show last year, QNEK is bringing it back.

In the style of other jukebox musicals like Forever Plaid, Mamma Mia, and Jersey Boys, SUDS sets a comedy in the world of the greatest musical hits of the 1960’s.

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, this fantastic four-person dynamo features Jenny Dunne as the loveably impressionable Cindy, 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.

The SUDS production team also includes Set Engineer/Master Carpenter Rick Gosselin, Lighting Engineer Dennis Zeigler, and Production Assistants Benjamin Barrup and Sara Cubit.

Whether seeing it for the first time or seeing it again, you don’t want to miss this thrilling musical event.

QNEK’s SUDS: The Rocking 60’s Musical Soap Opera runs August 14 – 23, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., Sundays at 2 p.m. at the Haskell Opera House in Derby Line, VT and Stanstead, QC.

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, and

New NEXUS lane speeds up border crossing in Stanstead, Quebec

in Derby Line/News/Stanstead

STANSTEAD, QC — The Canada Border Services Agency (CBSA) announced the opening of a NEXUS lane at the Stanstead, Quebec border crossing, providing more efficient border clearance for low-risk travelers. This lane will be used to process NEXUS members during high-volume periods between the hours of 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday and will be used as a regular lane at other times.
This new lane is a first for Stanstead and the 11th lane to open as part of the NEXUS lane expansion commitment.

“The opening of this additional NEXUS lane confirms Canada’s support in implementing initiatives outlined in the Canada/U.S. Beyond the Border Action Plan, and highlights our commitment to facilitate the smooth flow of legitimate trade and travel while securing our border,” said Benoît Chiquette, Regional Director General, Quebec Region, CBSA
The NEXUS program is a bi-national program jointly administered by the CBSA and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection for low-risk, pre-approved travelers into Canada and the United States. The program provides members with access to expedited processing at designated ports of entry in the air and marine modes as well at land border crossings, through dedicated processing lanes.
The NEXUS fee is $50 (CAN or USD) and is valid for five years. Currently there are more than 1,200,000 NEXUS members who expedite their travel across the Canada-U.S border. NEXUS member enjoy expedited travel across the Canada-U.S. border at eight international airports, 20 land ports of entry and approximately 430 marine locations. The program began in 2002 in the highway mode and in 2006 expanded to air and marine modes.

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