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Police: Missing Stanstead man’s death not considered suspicious

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STANSTEAD, QC — A body that was discovered in a field in Stanstead on Sunday has been identified as 70-year-old Garry Ellis, police say.

According to SQ Information officer Aurélie Guindon, an autopsy was performed on Monday, and at this time his death is not being considered suspicious.

Ellis was a resident of Stanstead and was last seen at around 6:00 a.m. on August 6, at a bank in town.

He was found dead in a field off Rue Dufferin on Sunday, August 11, at around 1:00 p.m.

Guindon says that police have spoken with several individuals regarding the case, and the investigation is still ongoing.

During a phone interview on Tuesday, Guindon said that police are still investigating the circumstances that led up to his death in that particular location.

Red Cross blood drive at Elk’s Lodge in Derby tomorrow

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DERBY — An American Red Cross blood drive will take place tomorrow, Tuesday, August 13, from 11:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Newport Elks Lodge.

The Lodge is located at 3736 US Route 5, in Derby.

The drive is being hosted by the Newport Elks, with the meal sponsored by Fred’s Energy. 

To encourage participation, all donors are eligible to enter to win a $100 gift certificate, a pair of ceramic mugs, or a T-shirt from Fred’s Energy.

The gift certificate is good for products or services from Fred’s Energy, not redeemable for cash. 

Fred’s Energy is connected to the community, providing top-quality heating and plumbing services for over 45 years. 

They continue to give back, actively supporting community organizations and events that have a positive and lasting impact on our local communities. 

Fatal shooting in St. Johnsbury

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ST. JOHNSBURY — Police are investigating a fatal shooting that took place in St. Johnsbury on Wednesday.

Yesterday at 9:48 p.m. police responded to 170 Pearl Street for a report of a shooting.

Police located a deceased man inside an apartment at that address.

Investigators with the Vermont State Police were called to assist with the investigation. Authorities say this case is being investigated as a homicide.

According to witnesses, at least two vehicles were seen fleeing the area after the shooting.

A clear description of the vehicles is not available.

Police have not yet identified the victim.

According to a statement issued by police, this incident appears to be isolated and not a threat to the public.

Extreme heat and humidity expected across Vermont Friday and Saturday

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NEWPORT — The hottest air of the 2019 summer season so far is expected to impact Vermont starting Friday and into the weekend.

Temperatures are forecast to be in the upper 80s to low-mid 90s with high humidity, making it feel like 100 degrees or more.

These conditions create a serious risk for dangerous and sometimes deadly heat-related illnesses, such as heat stroke.

During last summer’s six-day heatwave, four Vermont deaths were associated with the heat, and there were 15 times more heat-related emergency department visits than normal.

The National Weather Service and Vermont health and emergency management officials want people to know how to stay safe as the thermometer climbs.

During hot weather, your body’s temperature control systems can have a hard time keeping up, and your temperature can get dangerously high.

It’s important to drink more fluids than usual and to take extra breaks in the shade or cool indoor locations.

Certain people are at a higher risk of heat-related illness. People who work or exercise outdoors, as well as older adults, infants, and young children, should take extra precautions.

People who are overweight, have a chronic medical condition, are taking certain medications, or are using drugs or alcohol are also at special risk.

Watch for symptoms of heat illness, including muscle cramps, heavy sweating, nausea, headache or light-headedness.

Most heat illnesses can be treated with fluids and by resting in a cooler place.

If symptoms persist or get worse, or someone you are with seems confused or loses consciousness, dial 9-1-1 and get immediate medical help.

Newport police investigating counterfeit $100 bills

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NEWPORT — The Newport Police Department says they are actively investigating incidents involving counterfeit money, and are encouraging business owners to take care to ensure cash they receive is authentic.

The department, along with the United States Secret Service is actively investigating several cases in which counterfeit $100 bills were provided to area businesses.

Community National Back posted a warning on Facebook last week that the counterfeit money detector pens are not working on these bills.

“Our officers are working in close partnership with the Secret Service and other law enforcement agencies to identify whoever is responsible for these counterfeit notes so that they may be held accountable,” Newport Police Chief Seth DiSanto said.

Community National Back says that although the counterfeit bills that are circulating in our area are $100.00 bill denominations, any bill, regardless of denomination, could be fake.

Police: East Charleston man facing attempting to elude and negligent operation charges

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DERBY — State police say a 65-year-old man from East Charleston is facing charges of attempting to elude after an incident in Derby on Tuesday.

According to the report, Alan Crowe was traveling east on Vermont Route 111.

Police say his blue Chrysler sedan was seen traveling at speeds estimated in excess of 65 miles per hour, passing vehicle and pedestrian traffic.

The speed limit in that area is 35 miles per hour.

Trooper Daniel Lynch says he turned around to pull Crowe over with lights and sirens activated and that he continued west at a high rate of speed.

“The vehicle failed to stop or signal at the stop sign at the Main Street intersection by the Derby Village Store, turning north and continuing without stopping at a high rate of speed, passing residences and North Country Union Junior High,” trooper Lynch said in a statement.

Upon reaching traffic at the intersection of Route 5 and Main Street, Crowe was stopped.

He is being charged with negligent operation, attempting to elude police, as well as civil violations.

Celebrate the Arts in March at First Universalist Parish of Derby Line

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DERBY LINE — First Universalist Parish of Derby Line’s March line up of speakers and events focus on celebrating what the arts bring to the human experience.

Each Sunday service begins at 10:00 a.m.

On Sunday, March 3, Andrew Bouchard, the producer/promoter of Borderline Entertainment will explore the importance DIY music has on creating community, supporting people in finding meaning and direction in life, and at times inciting the next musical revolution.

On Friday, March 8, at 6:00 p.m., the film Reinventing Power will be shown in the Fellowship Hall.

The film takes viewers across the country to hear directly from the people making our clean energy future achievable.

The Sierra Club and Lt. Gov. Mark Zuckerman will be in attendance to facilitate the discussion and answer questions following the 50-minute film.

Dinner will begin at 6:00 p.m.

On Sunday, March 10, service will be a celebration of the artists within the community, whether that is writing, song, poetry, baking, pottery, photography, or carving.

Many different artists will share their work and inspirations in a gallery setting.

Sunday, March 17, guest speaker Ceilidh Galloway-Kane from WonderArts in Greensboro, will speak about how WonderArts works to provide access to arts and culture and how these enable community members to connect, reflect, inspire, and thrive.

Finally, on Sunday, March 24, there will be two special events.

First, at 10:00 a.m. there will be a children’s service.

This service will have the youngest members of First Universalist Parish taking the lead in song, story, movement, crafts, and cooking.

Second, on the 24, at 4:00 p.m., Mark Violette will be showcasing some of his music intertwined with his musical musings as a pianist.

This concert is open to the public and admission is by donation.

Donations are going to support the ongoing efforts of concerts in the NEK as well as support the introduction of a new concert worthy piano in the hall.

Everyone is invited to come join in the dialogue, soak up high-quality music, and celebrate the arts all month long.

Programming for youth occurs during each Sunday service.

For more information, visit www.derbylineuu.org.

Newport police looking for man charged with armed robbery

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NEWPORT — Police in Newport say they are charging a man in connection with an assault and robbery that occurred on Thursday.

Lucas Putvain, 31, of Newport is charged with assault and robbery, unlawful restraint in the first degree, armed with a deadly weapon while committing a crime, and operating on a criminally suspended license

Putvain also has three active warrants and has been wanted since June.

Police say at around 4:00 a.m. on Thursday, they received a report that a man was robbed at gunpoint while at his residence on Eastern Avenue.

The victim told police that Putvain and another suspect, both of whom were known to him, had approached him in his driveway, ordered him to get into their vehicle, and then held him at gunpoint.

Putvain allegedly drove the vehicle south on Coventry Street and then onto Pleasant Street where he demanded the victim to give him money before he was pushed out of the vehicle.

The vehicle then took off in the direction of Conventry.

According to police, a warrant for his arrest will be requested.

Police also say that Putvain should be considered dangerous and should not be approached.

Anyone with knowledge of his whereabouts is asked to contact Newport Police at 802-334-6733.

North Country only hospital in Vermont to receive healthcare IT recognition

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NEWPORT — Hospitals and healthcare systems across the U.S. are using information technology (IT) to improve the delivery of care to patients.

The College of Healthcare Information Executives, known as CHIME, recently named North Country Hospital as one of Healthcare’s Most Wired.

The honor, which is given to hospitals that are at the forefront of using healthcare IT to improve the delivery of care, was announced at the Fall 2018 forum in San Diego.

This makes the third consecutive year that North Country Hospital has received this recognition.

This is the first year that CHIME oversaw the Most Wired program.

The group revised and streamlined the survey to make sure questions reflect leading practices and successful, innovative uses of technology.

Other changes include creating a new scoring methodology, setting a higher threshold to become a recipient.

As a result of these more rigorous standards, North Country Hospital was the only hospital in Vermont that was recognized as Most Wired 2018.

“The evaluation and scoring changes speak volumes to North Country Hospital receiving this recognition for the third time,” said Chief Operating Officer, Tom Frank. “We have a fantastic team of skilled experts in information technology here, and with every project, they take the time and detailed analysis essential for the best outcomes.”

IT has changed dramatically over the past 15 to 20 years, as has the role of the managers who oversee the technology and support staff at their respective healthcare organizations.

In this new age, they must be strategic and visionary leaders, who with their teams, can transform healthcare and continue to improve patient outcomes.

One of the additional benefits of being a recipient of this honor is that each awarded healthcare organization receives a benchmark report with their overall score and a breakdown in each section of the survey, which can be used as a strength and gap analysis tool.

“Most Wired is a great way for us to see how North Country Hospital compares to organizations across the country, and to identify ways that we can further use IT to improve patient services,” noted Kate Pierce, Executive Director of IT/Informatics.

In the summer of 2018, North Country replaced three main medical record systems with a single integrated system, called athenahealth.

This move was instrumental in ensuring that North Country Hospital can continue to meet technological advances in the healthcare industry for 2019 and beyond.

“Our patients deserve the best care possible, and we are excited to partner with Athena to take our organization to the next level,” Pierce said.

Lyster recognized for outstanding community service

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WESTFIELD — Community National Bank’s Troy Office Supervisor Julie Marquis and Marketing Assistant Anne Quirion recently presented Denny Lyster with the bank’s Community Service Award.

The award was created to recognize remarkable people who give back to our communities making them better places to live, work and grow.

Lyster is an active member of the Troy and Area Lions Club. He joined the club in 2001 and has served as the club’s Secretary and Treasurer for several years. As a club member, he plays an instrumental role at the meal site in Westfield.

He coordinates the staff schedule, puts together the menu and orders supplies. The meal site serves around 40 meals each week to area seniors and residents.

Lyster has also coordinated Lions Vision Screenings at Jay/Westfield, Troy, Newport Center and Lowell schools.

Over the years hundreds of screenings have been provided and several potential vision problems identified.

Lyster helps area youth by participating in the Grateful Treads Mountain Bike Club and has been instrumental in raising hundreds of dollars through the Lions Club Texas Hold’em Tournament fundraising initiatives which directly benefit area youth.

He is always ready to help with special celebrations hosted by the club and is often found cooking or helping to organize events.

His good nature, warm smile and willingness to roll up his sleeves to help those around him have certainly made our community a better place.

Community National Bank says they are proud to present Denny Lyster with the bank’s Community Service Award for the second quarter of 2018.

The bank honors and recognizes recipients by making a $500.00 contribution to a local non-profit organization of the recipient’s choice.

Lyster has requested that his donation is made to the Troy and Area Lions Club.

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

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    All photos by Phil White.
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Young runners shine at Dandy 2018

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DERBY — This year’s Dandy saw beautiful weather, fields halfway to peak, some powerful running, and a lot of great buddy running and walking groups out on the courses.

Dandy lovers came from all over Vermont, Florida, California, Texas, Illinois, Georgia, Massachusetts, Rhode Island. New Hampshire, Quebec, and Ontario to run and walk on dirt roads and celebrate high spring in the world famous dandelion fields of Derby, Morgan, and Holland.

Jennifer Johnson, 39, of Bethlehem, NH crushed the half marathon with a time of 1:33;04.

But, just a minute behind her was 14-year-old, James Cilwik, of Derby, with an equally staggering time of 1:34:42, edging out seasoned runners like Scott Gilman, 25, of Cambridge, MA, Jess Monago, 32, of Burlington, and John Raser, 39, of St. Johnsbury.

Cilwik’s running was fearless, using Johnson to pace himself and staying with her the entire way for the overall win among the males.

There were three other youngsters running the half marathon.

Chase Brainard, 14, of Derby Line, (3:15:41) and Arlo Moses, 14, of Newport, (3:15;42) finished just ahead of Michael Wooton, Jr. 13, of Waterville, (3:22:58).

Aleksei Bingham, 18, of Derby, three-peated the 10k course with another blistering time of 0:35:55, just a few seconds slower than the course record which he set last year.

Hillary DeLabruere, 31, of Colchester won among the females with a time of 0:50:26.

Also taking on the 10k, were Alan Esposito, Jr., 11, of West Charleston, finishing `14th among the males with a time or 1:03:28, Riley Frasier, 10, of Newport, with a time of 1:11:35, and Allison LaPierre, 12, of Newport with a time of 1:03:16.

Youth from Newport and Orleans were a strong presence and placed high in the four-mile and two-mile runs.

The youngest being Ryan Shaffer and Anthony Collins, both age 7, and from Newport.

Finn LaGray, 11, of Newport came in 3rd among the “men” and 4th overall among the men and women.

And special mention went Dottie Brainard, 76, of Derby, winner of the award for the “most mature” participant of the day.

Chet Greenwood, 73, of Derby, took up running only a couple of years ago and came in 6th among the males in the 4-mile run.

Community National Bank was an underwriter at the Dandelion Run again this year, and also organized a hearty team of volunteers on the course,

The town of Derby and Siskin Coutts were hosts again this year.

The Dandelion Run is held in honor and in memory of Terri Weed. This year raised $1,090 for Umbrella and its support and advocacy for victims of violence and $400 to support Siskin Coutts.

Beware of IRS phone scams, Orleans County sheriff warns

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NEWPORT — The Orleans County Sheriff’s Department is warning residents about a continuing fraud scheme involving calls reportedly from the Department of the Treasury, informing callers that they owe money to the IRS and giving them a return phone number to call back.

Police say the phone numbers commonly used have a California area code.

The Sheriff’s Department business phone lines have been the subject of several of these calls over the past few days.

Deputy Brooks called the number given and said a nearly thirteen-minute dialogue with a “reported” IRS agent ensued.

The agent used fear and intimidation tactics to try and get the victim to forward money discretely and privately, and even says that a warrant will be issued by the Sheriff and the person will be arrested if they don’t comply.

The Orleans County Sheriff’s Department does not issue arrest warrants and does not enforce federal IRS tax laws.

If you receive one of these calls, hang up and do not return a call to the phone number they provide.

If you think that you do owe money to the IRS, call them directly at 1-800-829-1040.

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    The author holds a cast of the hand that belonged to a now-extinct hominid species.

DeSilva presents facts, fun and hope in Newport

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NEWPORT — Although the advertisement for Dartmouth Professor Jeremy DeSilva’s free presentation last Friday promised information on two recently discovered hominids, it offered much more than straight scientific fact.

Fifty-two people of varying ages filled the state building conference room in Newport and were treated to laughter, yarns of adventure, and perhaps the new idea for some that scientific discovery isn’t only for the official scientists.

DeSilva became connected with the NEK when North Country Union High School’s “Vermont Students to Africa” (VSTA) program was planning their 2016 program.

Active community member and businessman Gerry Hunt was passionate about the program, and after his passing in 2015, his wife, Elaine Lockwood, wanted and needed to continue his legacy. She emailed DeSilva, paleoanthropologist and professor at Dartmouth, who happens to be a lead researcher on the team studying two recently discovered hominid species.

“I never expected to get a response,” Lockwood said. “Twelve students from North Country Union High School participated in the Vermont Students to Africa-NCUHS program for 2016, which involved each of them doing a substantial research project, followed by a sixteen day trip to South Africa.”

Last spring, Professor DeSilva was kind enough to spend half a day at NCUHS with the VSTA students and also gave a presentation to 65 STEM students. He also set it up for the group to visit the secure, open-only-to-scientists, hominin lab at the University of Witwatersrand, and a two-hour private tour with the curator, Dr. Bernhard Zipfel.

The students saw the original, highly guarded fossils of the two species, Australopithecus sediba (fossils dating from close to two million years ago) and Homo naledi (fossils dating from 200,000 -300,000 years ago when our own species, Homo Sapiens, were already roaming the lands). 

On Friday, DeSilva returned to the NEK and offered a free presentation sponsored by Northeast Kingdom Homecare on behalf of VSTA.

He spoke with animation of how the first Australopithecus sediba fossil was discovered by a 9-year-old boy, about how satellite imaging showed scientists where 500 previously unknown and well-hidden caves exist in the South African expanses, and how two amateur cave spelunkers entered one of those caves and discovered a treasure trove of bones, alerted scientists, and ended up having discovered a potential burial chamber of species Home naledi.

He even spoke about how Facebook was the tool science needed to find the perfect team to excavate that cave system, and how a team of small women that came to be known as the “Underground Astronauts” responded to the Facebook post and made history by squeezing through small and often dangerous areas in the name of discovery and knowledge.

The room was silent as DeSilva showed slides of that particular cave system which required sliding through one channel only seven inches wide, and then some animated video of the results of his own research on the feet and locomotion of Homo naledi.

Attendees watched the shape of the skeleton walk along as it may have beside our Homo sapiens ancestors.

“This is just what we’re finding in two caves,” he told the audience. “Remember, there are 500 in all, so there are 498 more that no one has looked at.”

He reminded everyone in the room that the people who made the first grand discoveries at these sites were a child and two amateur spelunkers, young men who weren’t scientists at all.

The work that VSTA started with the 2016 student group isn’t over, in a way. VSTA student participants Laura Masi and Loren Searles will be working with Dr. DeSilva at Dartmouth in his lab for a week in July and attending the classes he teaches. Lockwood explained that the students need to learn human skeletal anatomy before they go because they’ll be working to identify the large number of unclassified fossils he’s brought back from the cave in South Africa.

They’ll help scan and probably print replicas of the fossils on a 3D printer.

This dispatch submitted by Tanya Sousa

Letter to the Editor: Hal Newman, Haskell Opera House Director

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My name is Hal Newman.

Officially, I am the Haskell Opera House Director, however the title I like the most is Chief Dreamer. I am leading a band of dreamers who volunteer their time, wisdom and passion to ensure The Haskell can fulfill its role as a cultural and performing arts gateway between two communities, two regions, and two great nations.

In addition to the brilliant performances of QNEK – the resident international theatre company at The Haskell, this season has also featured a series of live music events. We have been privileged to have artists such as The Mae Trio, Jabbour, Joel Miller & Sienna Dahlen, David Greely, Mairi Rankin & Ailie Robertson, Geoff Achison, Rhiannon Simpson, The Sky Blue Boys, Bob Amos & Catamount Crossing, Catherine Major, Gregory Douglass, Tod Pronto, and Kyle Chadburn grace our stage.

Gathering audiences at The Haskell this season has been challenging. We have had world-class artists performing to a handful of people in one of the most beautiful and improbable music venues on the planet. You can sit in the back row in Vermont and still be only 42 feet from the stage in Quebec. There are several seats which straddle the line affording you the remarkable opportunity to sit in two countries at once.

On July 5th we will welcome Juno-award winning artists Whitehorse to The Haskell. I am ever hopeful there will be an audience there to welcome them warmly and then sit back – or lean forward – and take in the music…the sweet, sweet music…on a mid-summer night when the temperatures are finally starting to simmer and we are settling into the sweetest of grooves.

I will be there and I hope you will #MeetMeAtTheHaskell. Bring a friend.

Here is the info you will need for the Whitehorse concert:

We need more dreamers to join our team. If you are interested, please drop me a line via email: newman.hal@gmail.com or you can write me an old-fashioned note and address it to: Hal Newman, The Haskell, 93 Caswell Avenue, PO Box 337, Derby Line, VT 05830. If you are on the Canadian side of the line our mailing address is: 1 Church Street, Stanstead, QC J0B 3E2

Please visit The Haskell online: http://www.haskellopera.com/

Thanks for your consideration.
Be well. Practice big medicine.


Connie Knaggs receives CNB’s Community Service Award

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DERBY — When faced with a large issue or an emergency situation Connie Knaggs often says, “We’ll figure it out.” And, she usually does.

Community National Bank Chief Executive Officer Stephen Marsh presented Knaggs with the bank’s Community Service Award.

The award was developed to recognize the “unsung heroes” that make our communities better places to live, work and play.

Knaggs has volunteered for more than 20 years at a local animal shelter. Through her volunteer work and her work as a Veterinary Technician, she saw first-hand the need to solve the over-population of cats in the Northeast Kingdom.

Her vision of working with community members to spay and neuter free-roaming cats led to the organization of the Felines and Friends Foundation (FFF).

Creating a non-profit organization such as FFF is a very large undertaking. Her strong work ethic and daily contributions have guaranteed the foundation’s success.

To celebrate her commitment and dedication, the bank presented her with CNB’s Community Service Award for the second quarter of 2016.

“Her energy and compassion are endless,” a statement issued by the bank reads.

The Community Service Award honors and recognizes recipients by making a $500.00 contribution to a local, non-profit organization of the recipient’s choice.

Knaggs has requested that her donation be made to the Felines and Friends Foundation.

The Felines and Friends Foundation was established in 2013 and is a non-profit organization that is run by volunteers.

The organization uses the Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) method to stabilize and reduce the outdoor barn and street cat population.

Through partnerships with regional animal shelters, FFF works to find homes for as many adoptable cats as possible. To learn more about FFF please visit www.fffvt.org.

For more information about CNB’s Community Service Award and to nominate a deserving recipient, visit www.communitynationalbank.com.

Community National Bank is an independent bank that has been serving Vermont communities since 1851.

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    Photo by Alain De La Bruere.

Truck causes section of I-91 closed this afternoon

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BARTON — A tractor-trailer caused a section of I-91 in Orleans County to be closed Tuesday afternoon.

The incident took place near the Barton-Glover exit, after slick road conditions this morning caused a tractor-trailer unit to slide off the road and into the median.

The Vermont State Police say they had to shut down Interstate 91 north between the Barton-Glover exit, and the Orleans-Irasburg exit, so that the rig could be removed.

Signs were put up advising that the road was closed at around 1 p.m.

Northbound traffic was re-routed off in Barton.

That section of the road was re-opened at around 3 p.m.

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