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Route 5A in Westmore to close in October to stabilize rock ledge

in Newport/News/Westmore

WESTMORE — The Vermont Agency of Transportation says they will close Vermont Route 5A in Westmore for up to two weeks in mid-October to stabilize a rock ledge along the road next to Lake Willoughby.

The rock stabilization project will involve scaling loose material from the ledge face and pinning blocks in place to prevent future failures.

This site has a history of rockfall failures, including one that occurred in March affecting travel on Route 5A until large rocks that fell into the road could be removed.

It is anticipated additional failures will occur this winter if remediation is not completed.

VTrans will make a public presentation to the Westmore Selectboard on September 16 at 6:00 p.m., at the Town Clerk’s Office, located at 54 Hinton Hill Road.

Town of Westmore to install cigarette “buttlers” on North End Beach

in News/Westmore

WESTMORE — The Town of Westmore’s Select Board voted to install three Sidewalk Buttlers at the North End Beach of Lake Willoughby.

The decision came after a presentation from Westmore Association President Daniel Ian Smith and Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital Prevention Specialist Tennyson Marceau.

Sidewalk Buttler, the company that builds the “smart receptacle” to remove toxic cigarette waste from the environment, are designed to be touch-free, collect cigarette butts and will aid in keeping the beach and water clean. 

“Cigarette butts contain many known cancer-causing chemicals and are still number one when it comes to litter and are highly toxic to our ecosystems,” said Marceau. “Sidewalk Buttler has given us a chance to reduce this waste and keep the natural beauty we all love in Vermont.”

The mission of the Westmore Association is to serve as a steward for the health and safety of Westmore’s lakes, mountains, and trails.

“We are faced with a significant increase in traffic at the north and south beaches of Willoughby Lake, which of course results in increased litter on the beaches,” said Smith. “We are committed to this mission and hope that these Buttlers will be one of many steps in keeping our lake access clean for all who come to visit.

125 years at the Westmore Community Church celebration

in Vermont/Westmore

WESTMORE — The Westmore Community Church is inviting the community to join in for the 125-year anniversary celebration of the construction of the church building.

The event will take place on Sunday, August 4, with the church service beginning at 9:00 a.m., followed by a reception.

The church theme will be 1890s music, including attire and fellowship.

Ladies are encouraged to wear attire from the 19th century.

If men don’t have a top hat, one will be provided as you enter the church. The hat can be placed under the seat in the church, specifically designed during the 1894 construction to store top hats during the service.

Rev. Jay Sprout will lead the special church service.

Mark Violette and a group of talented musicians will perform favorite hymns and song of yesteryear.

The Westmore church was built in 1894.

The church lot was purchased for $25.

Orleans man pleads guilty in moose poaching case

in Newport/News/Westmore

NEWPORT — An Orleans man who dragged a cow moose eight miles behind his truck after shooting it in a Westmore hay field, has pleaded guilty to multiple charges.

Authorities say 22-year-old Gerin Fortin was in Orleans Superior Court on June 26 where he pled guilty to taking a moose in closed season and taking a moose by illegal means.

Several other related charges were dismissed.

Fortin admitted shooting a cow moose in September of 2017 in a remote Westmore hay field using the headlights of his truck.

Using his truck, he dragged the moose 8 miles over pavement to the outskirts of Orleans before abandoning the moose to rot.

Fortin was sentenced to serve 60 days on state work crew, plus probation, ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution, ordered to attend alcohol counseling, and he was ordered to forfeit the firearm he used.

Fortin also lost his privilege to hunt, fish and trap for three years in Vermont and all member states of the Interstate Wildlife Violators Compact.

The truck used to drag the moose was repossessed by a lienholder.

Chief Warden Col. Jason Batchelder credits the public’s help in bringing this case to a close.

“Many of the fish and wildlife violation cases investigated by Vermont State Game Wardens come from members of the public who care enough to provide information,” Batchelder said. “You can help by reporting a violation with a phone call to a State Police radio dispatcher, or anonymously by calling the Operation Game Thief phone.”

The toll-free Operation Game Thief line is 1-800-752-5378.

Orleans County residents named to Vermont Agricultural Hall of Fame

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom/Westfield/Westmore

NEWPORT — The Vermont Agricultural Hall of Fame recently announced the 2019 inductees. Now in its 17th year, the Hall has inducted 80 Vermonters to date.

Joanna Samuelson Lidback, of The Farm at Wheeler Mountain in Westmore, was inducted as a merging leader, and Jack and Anne Lazor, of Butterworks Farm in Westfield, were inducted for lifetime achievement.

Emerging Leader: Stepping Up to Become the Next Generation of Leaders (age 40 and under) Joanna Samuelson Lidback, Westmore

Lidback is a farmer, agricultural business consultant, 4-H volunteer, and family farm advocate.

Together with her husband Adam, she owns The Farm at Wheeler Mountain, a family dairy farm located in Westmore.

Lidback earned a BS in Applied Economics and Business Management from Cornell, and an MBA from Babson F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business. She is currently employed as Business Consultant for Yankee Farm Credit.

In this role, she helps dairy farmers with the challenges of developing business, estate, and succession plans.

Her love of farming extends well beyond the boundaries of Vermont. She is a Board Member with the Global Farmer Network – a non-profit advocacy group led by farmers from around the world.

She has also testified on behalf of Vermont farmers before the US House and Agriculture Committee and Senate Agriculture Committee in Washington, D.C.

Lidback was honored by the American Jersey Cattle Association with the Young Jersey Breeder Award in 2016. S

She was an active member of the Agri-Mark Young Cooperators Program and served as a YC Representative from 2012-2015.

She is also active in the Vermont Farm Bureau and currently serves as First Vice President of the Orleans County Farm Bureau.

She and Adam are raising three young children together on the family farm.

Lifetime Achievement: 30+ Years of Outstanding Service to Vermont Agriculture, Jack and Anne Lazor, Westfield

Jack and Anne Lazor began farming in 1976. For more than forty years, they have built a reputation for producing outstanding organic yogurt, stewarding the land, and advocating for organic agriculture.

Their Butterworks Farm grass-fed yogurt is sold in nearly 80 groceries and coops across Vermont and in neighboring states.

Together with a dedicated team, they produce some of the finest organic yogurt available.

Anne and Jack have been a steadfast team in farming, family, and life.

Jack is a teacher and a member of the “Agrarian Elders,” a group of twenty-four pioneers considered to be the founders of organic agriculture in the U.S.

Over the years, both he and Anne have devoted themselves to teaching the next generation of farmers how to raise animals, steward the land, and produce products ethically and sustainably.

Farming is a family affair for the Lazors, who raised their daughter, Christine, together at Butterworks.

Today, the Lazors enjoy sharing their love of agriculture, and Butterworks Farm, with their grandchildren.

Police: Underage drinking party busted in Westmore

in Newport/News/Westmore

WESTMORE — Police say that for two weekends in a row, they’ve responded to complaints of underage drinking at a house in Westmore.

At around 11:20 p.m. on Friday, police say they received a report of an underage drinking party at a home located on Hinton Hill.

Police say when they arrived the home had a large number of vehicles parked in the driveway and in the roadway.

According to the report, individuals were seen fleeing from the residence into the woods.

Troopers say they also responded to the same residence the weekend prior for a similar complaint.

A total of 10 minors were issued diversion paperwork for the consumption of alcohol under the age of 21 between the two separate responses.

Police say the homeowner was cited into court for enabling alcohol consumption by minors.

Spring steelhead run up Willoughby Falls guided walk April 27

in Northeast Kingdom/Outdoors/Westmore

WESTMORE — Fisheries biologist Pete Emerson will be available for a guided walk at the Willoughby Falls on April 27.

The goal of the walk will be to observe the steelhead spawning migration and to answer questions from the public about the fish, the river, and the state-owned lands that border the river much of the way to Lake Memphremagog.

The walk will take place at 10:00 a.m. at the Willoughby Falls Wildlife Management Area, in Orleans.

Steelhead are a strain of rainbow trout that migrate from their natal rivers as juvenile fish when they are around six inches long.

They leave the relative safety of the river, moving downstream towards the ocean where abundant food helps them grow considerably larger than their stream-dwelling cousins.

The Orleans steelhead are content to stop their migration at Lake Memphremagog where they feed for a year before returning as adults to spawn.

Steelhead can return to spawn many years, drawing anglers who prize their strength and size. They can get as large as 24 inches and up to 6 or 7 pounds.

There is no need to sign up for this guided walk, just show up.

Police: Derby man arrested after high-speed chase

in Derby/Newport/News/Westmore

DERBY — Police say a 30-year-old man from Derby is facing numerous charges after a high-speed chase early this morning.

According to the report, Jonathan Hinton is being charged with attempting to elude, DUI, grossly negligent operation, leaving the scene of an accident, and excessive speed.

At around 1:00 a.m. on Sunday, a state trooper says he attempted to conduct a traffic stop on a motor vehicle for speeding on Vermont Route 191.

The driver, later identified as Hinton, then struck a road sign and left the scene at a high rate of speed.

Police say Hinton led them on a pursuit on Hinman Settler road where he continued to travel at high rates of speed.

The pursuit ended on VT Route 5A in the town of Westmore, where he was eventually taken into custody.

“While taking Hinton into custody, multiple indicators of impairment were detected,” Trooper Mark Pohlman said in a statement. “Hinton willingly completed standardized field sobriety exercises and was ultimately found to be operating under the influence of alcohol.”

Structure fire in Westmore

in News/Westmore

WESTMORE — Authorities say they are unsure what caused a structure fire at a farm in Westmore on Friday.

The fire broke out at a dairy farm on LaCross Road at around 12:45 p.m.

Heavy smoke and fire could be seen coming out of a large garage and feed barn located behind the main barn for the cattle.

Firefighters managed to prevent the fire from spreading to nearby buildings.

One cow was lost to the fire.

According to the report, the owner/occupant of the property is listed as Roger and Judy LaCross.

Police say one of the owners said they had been utilizing a piece of heavy machinery 15 minutes before the fire and had parked it inside the structure before closing the garage and going back to the house.

Authorities say nobody was injured and the fire is not considered to be suspicious at this time.

The building is considered to be a total loss with an estimated value of approximately $100,000.

Photo from Facebook by Danielle Lucas.

Truck through the ice on Willoughby

in Newport/News/Westmore

WESTMORE — A truck partially went through the ice on Willoughby this afternoon.

At around 3:00 p.m. Orleans Ambulance and Westmore Fire Department responded to the scene. All occupants of the truck were out and safe by the time they arrived.

The truck was approximately 50 feet from the Willoughby fishing access, partially submerged.

The driver was identified as Travis Cady, 30, of Wheelock.

Cady told police after driving on the ice, he was returning to shore when the truck hit a large bump in front of the access.

When the truck struck the ice after the bump, the front end sunk through the ice and became lodged.

Police say Cady’s ability to operate a motor vehicle in the State of Vermont was under criminal suspension.

He was issued a citation for the charge of criminal DLS.

Wrights towing responded and removed the vehicle from the ice.

Anyone accessing Lake Willoughby from the Willoughby access area is cautioned about the large hole in the ice approximately 50 feet from the access area.

Westmore Fire department marked the location where the truck fell through, however, caution in the area is stressed.

Rescue crews locate missing skier near Jay Peak

in Jay/Jay Peak/Westmore

JAY — Search and rescue crews were able to locate a 69-year-old man from Newport this evening after he got lost skiing earlier in the day.

Peter Harris, 66, of Derby, alerted authorities at around 2:45 p.m. that he and a group of three others were skiing the backwoods near the top of Vermont Route 242, by the Long Trail in Jay, when his party lost contact with Robert Staniforth.

A search was carried out on foot and via tracked vehicles by members of Jay Peak Ski Patrol, the Jay and Troy Fire Departments, along with State Police Search & Rescue.

Police say phone contact with Staniforth was intermittent, however, enough contact was made to obtain a GPS coordinate that aided rescuers from Jay Peak Ski Patrol to locate him at approximately 6:30 p.m.

He was located in the deep woods between Jay Peak and Westfield Village.

Once out of the woods, Staniforth was evaluated by medical personnel from Mississquoi EMS and found to be in good health.

The other members of his skiing party were Michael Kiser, 66, of Derby, and Leigh Mallory, 67, of Colchester.

Step into the new year with a First Day Hike in Westmore

in Northeast Kingdom/Outdoors/Westmore

WESTMORE — While many are planning to burn the midnight oil to ring in 2019, others are aiming to get out of bed and into nature on the first day of the New Year.

State parks around the nation will host free, guided hikes as a part of First Day Hikes, and Jean Haigh with The Green Mountain Club will be leading a tour of Long Pond in Westmore.

Hikers will meet at 10:00 a.m. at the Long Pond Trail Head.

The hike has beautiful views of Long Pond, Lake Willoughby, and Bald Mountain.

It is considered a moderate trail with a few tricky areas.

Snowshoes or microspikes will be needed for this 4-mile round trip.

The hike is in memory of Dave Hardy, who devoted decades of work to the stewardship of the Long Trail.

All ages are welcome.

For more information, contact Jean at jhaightvt@gmail.com, or call 802-586-9637.

Pam Ladds of Newport, and Julie Zeitlinger of Sutton, Quebec, ready to swim at Lake Willoughby, on December 15.

Training for the winter swim at Willoughby

in News/Northeast Kingdom/Westmore

WESTMORE — Winter swimmers around North America are hard at it training and qualifying for the Fifth Annual Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival coming up on February 23-24, 2019 in Newport.

Two locals, Pam Ladds of Newport, and Julie Zeitlinger of Sutton, Quebec, took advantage of the open waters at Lake Willoughby on Saturday.

Water temperature was about 35 degrees.

Willoughby stays open later than most lakes in the region because it is so deep under the cliffs, making it a perfect venue for winter swimming, late into December and even early January.

So far, almost 80 swimmers have signed on to the Festival in February, with room for about 20 more.

For more information and to register for the Memphremagog Winter Swim Festival visit http://kingdomgames.co/memphremagog-winter-swimming-society/

Backcountry ski and ride project in Willoughby State Forest expands

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom/Outdoors/Westmore

WESTMORE — The Northeast Kingdom Backcountry Coalition, also known as NEKBC for short, is updating its pilot backcountry ski and ride project in the Willoughby State Forest.

The coalition began working with the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks, and Recreation in the fall of 2016 to design and develop winter backcountry recreation opportunities that supplement the existing ski and snowshoe trail network in the Willoughby State Forest.

The project is the first of its kind on state lands to provide access and manage vegetation to provide backcountry snow sports for the public.

NEKBC says they are committed to creating legitimate and sustainable backcountry routes and hopes to stop rogue and illegal cutting on state and private lands.

Most recently, the coalition has been working closely with specialist Luke O’Brien, who is one of several such professionals across the state recently hired to work closely with partners, volunteers, and contractors on outdoor recreation projects on state lands, including sustainable trail development and maintenance, assessment and monitoring of recreation sites, and promoting sustainable outdoor recreation activities.

The collaborative project has resulted in the design of backcountry zones that include ski lines on Mt. Hor, and Bartlett Mountain.

Also developed is a network of uphill tracks to connect to the parking lot on Route 5A and the various backcountry zones.

These improvements complement the existing 12k network of groomed Nordic ski trails offered in the Willoughby State Forest.

The group says they continue to work to identify, mark, clear, and monitor trails to create a sustainable backcountry trail system in the forest.

Police seek help in Westmore burglary investigation

in Newport/News/Westmore

WESTMORE — Police recently released photos of a man they are trying to identify following a burglary that took place in Westmore back in July.

The incident took place on Peene Hill Road, when someone unlawfully entered a residence and stole several firearms.

The victim was able to provide police with a detailed description of the firearms, which include five semi-automatic pistols and one semi-automatic rifle.

Police say they now have surveillance footage from the property, which captured several still photographs of a white male in a baseball cap.

Anyone with information as to the identity of this person is being asked to contact troopers at the Vermont State Police Derby barracks.

Police looking for burglary suspect seen in Westmore

in News/Westmore

WESTMORE — Police are looking for a suspect seen leaving the scene of a burglary in Westmore on Saturday.

At around 3:00 p.m., troopers were dispatched to a possible burglary in progress on Westside Lane.

Police say the caller, who was out for a walk, encountered a suspicious man walking near the back of an abandoned house.

He initially fled into the woods.

The caller waited by his vehicle which was parked on the road, and the same man allegedly came back from the woods denying he was the person who had been seen by the house.

The concerned citizen confronted the man with her vehicle parked in the roadway and told him she was calling the police.

Police say he accelerated away at an unsafe speed, briefly leaving the roadway and nearly striking the caller.

According to the report, the residence was cleared and found to be ransacked and a back window was ajar.

The suspect was described as a white male, approximately 5’11 and thin in build, with dirty blond hair and a thin mustache, wearing dirty work pants tucked into boots, a dirty blue hoodie.

The vehicle was described as an old, likely 70s, 4-door Buick, gold in color, bearing Vermont registration EWA123.

The vehicle was believed to have had an assortment of items in the back seat.

Police are asking anyone who may have witnessed this incident, or who can identify the vehicle or suspect, to call (802) 334-8881.

Boat stolen in Westmore

in News/Westmore

WESTMORE — A boat was reported stolen in Westmore.

Police were notified last week that the boat had been taken from a residence on Vermont Route 5A, near North Beach of Lake Willoughby.

It was reported that the residence was unoccupied between September 24 and 27.

The property owner returned and discovered his Trophy 18-foot fiberglass boat with green exterior and white interior was missing.

The trailer, a 2004 Karavan was stolen as well.

The registration on the boat at the time of the theft was 7046P.

The trailer registration was AGN810.

Anyone with information regarding the stolen property, or who may have witnessed a boat being trailered from the area during that time frame, is being asked to contact State Police in Derby at (802) 334-8881.

Drunk driver picked up for third offense at Lake Willoughby

in News/Westmore

WESTMORE — A 33-year-old man from Concord was arrested for his third DUI after leaving Lake Willoughby on Sunday.

At around 12:30 p.m. police received a complaint of an intoxicated man in Westmore.

A trooper responded to the north beach parking lot when a second caller reported the man appeared to be nodding off and depressing his accelerator.

The trooper alleges he saw the man exiting the parking lot onto Route 16 in a red Ford Focus.

The driver was identified as Bruce Broome, 33, of Concord.

Police say indicators of impairment were observed, and Broome was screened for impairment.

He was placed under arrest for suspicion of DUI.

According to the report, numerous open containers were found during a search of the vehicle.

Broome was transported to Derby, where a check of criminal records revealed two prior DUI convictions in the state of Vermont.

A third DUI offense is a felony punishable by no less than 96 hours and no more than 5 years imprisonment, or a fine of $2,500, or both.

A lifetime suspension of his license may also be imposed.

Westmore summer events calendar released

in News/Westmore

The West­more As­so­ci­a­tion recently released their summer calendar. The summer events for 2018 will be as fol­lows:

Wednes­day, July 4, at 3 p.m. they will host the an­nual boat pa­rade.

Sat­ur­day, July 7, in as­so­ci­a­tion with the Ladies Aid So­ci­ety and the town of West­more, there will be a town-wide yard sale. For more in­for­ma­tion con­tact el­liema­j46@gmail.com

Wednes­day, July 11, at 6:30 p.m., there will be a pre­sen­ta­tion on the CCC Camp in Willoughby State For­est called “Wednes­days at West­more — His­tory in the Woods.”

Thurs­day, July 26, the West­more As­so­ci­a­tion will hold its an­nual meet­ing and potluck.

Wednes­day, Au­gust 1, at 6:30 p.m., the Wednse­days at West­more se­ries will host Mod­ern Times The­atre.

Sat­ur­day and Sun­day, Au­gust 4 and 5, the as­so­ci­a­tion will host the Fourth An­nual Plein Air at Willoughby. Artists reg­is­ter and re­turn art­work on Au­gust 4. A re­cep­tion for the pub­lic and award of prizes will take place on Au­gust 5. For more in­for­ma­tion con­tact clerk@west­more­as­so­ci­a­tion.org; and

Wednes­day, Au­gust 15, Wednes­days at West­more will host a dance in the town park 6 p.m.

Other events may be added dur­ing the sum­mer sea­son.

Be sure to check the web­site, west­more­as­so­ci­a­tion.org or the West­more As­so­ci­a­tion Face­book page for more in­for­ma­tion.

*Photo by Tina Deck Yarrington

Charleston woman seriously injured in head-on crash

in Charleston/Lowell/Newport/News/Westmore

LOWELL — A 36-year-old woman from Charleston was seriously injured in a two-vehicle crash near Lowell last night.

On Friday, at around 5:45 p.m., police and emergency responders were dispatched to a report of a crash on Vermont Route 100 in Westfield, near the Lowell town line.

According to police, Windy Bowman, 36, of Charleston, was headed north, and Victoria Mason, 28, of Johnson, was headed south when both vehicles collided head-on.

Bowman was transported by helicopter to Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital for what police describe as “life-threatening injuries.”

She was the only occupant in her vehicle.

Victoria Mason and passenger Troy Mason were both transported to North Country Hospital for “serious injuries,” police say.

Two juvenile passengers in Mason’s vehicle arrived at North Country Hospital by a family member and only sustained minor injuries.

Ce­cilia Za­bala to per­form in West­more next Wednesday

in Arts and Entertainment/News/Westmore

WESTMORE — Argentinian musician Cecilia Zabala will play a concert at the Westmore Community Church on Wednesday, March 28, at 7 p.m. There will be a reception after the show.

This is a wonderful opportunity to hear music from an accomplished world music artist. A $10 suggested donation is asked.

Zabala, born in Buenos Aires, is a guitarist, singer, and songwriter. She expresses her musical creativity using her guitar and voice, creating original compositions that blend sen­si­tiv­ity, emo­tion, and in­tu­ition with her vir­tu­os­ity on the gui­tar.

Her mu­sic draws on a rich mix­ture of in­flu­ences, from Ar­gen­tin­ian folk­lore, jazz, tango, and Brazil­ian mu­sic.

Over the course of a 20-year ca­reer, she has re­leased nine al­bums with her own com­po­si­tions and arrange­ments in var­i­ous mu­si­cal styles. She will be record­ing her tenth later this year, a live al­bum in Buenos Aries.

Since 2006, Zabala has toured ex­ten­sively through­out Eu­rope, North Amer­ica, and Latin Amer­ica.

Search continues for missing Westmore man

in Newport/News/Westmore

NEWPORT — Authorities say there is no new evidence in the search for the Westmore man who went missing last week.

So far this week, search and rescue workers have used K-9 teams to search the wooded areas around 47-year-old Christopher McCarthy’s residence in Westmore.

Officials say the search did not yield any new evidence or tips as to McCarthy’s whereabouts.

“Based on the circumstances of the case and the ongoing missing persons investigation, foul play is not suspected at this time,” a statement issued by police reads.

The Vermont State Police is urging the public to report any tips regarding the whereabouts of McCarthy.

With the start of hunting season in the next few days, officials are also asking hunters to report any suspicious items or circumstances that might assist in locating McCarthy.

The search will continue and police say resources will be distributed as necessary, based on the nature of tips that are received.

Search underway for missing Westmore man

in Newport/News/Westmore

WESTMORE — Authorities say they have been looking for a missing Westmore man this weekend.

On Saturday evening police were advised by family members that 47-year-old Christopher McCarthy had not made contact with friends or family since Thursday.

Police responded to his residence and searched the immediate area and were unable to locate him.

Today, members of the Vermont State Police Search and Rescue team, Westmore Fire Department, Orleans Fire Department, Newark Fire Department, Sutton Fire Department, as well as family and friends searched for McCarthy in several locations where he was known to frequent. He was still not located.

“Search efforts will continue, though at this time all resources that will be utilized have been identified,” a statement issued by police reads.

Anyone with any information regarding McCarthy’s whereabouts should contact the Vermont State Police, Derby Barracks, at (802) 334-8881.

Irasburg man arrested in Westmore moose poaching case

in Irasburg/Newport/News/Westmore

IRASBURG — Vermont State Game Wardens arrested a suspect in a high-profile moose poaching case this weekend.

Gerin Fortin, 20, of Irasburg, was arrested on Sunday and charged with six counts of big game violations, including taking game by illegal means and in a closed season, and two counts of shooting from a motor vehicle.

Fortin allegedly shot a cow moose from his pickup truck on Saturday, September 23 in Westmore.

According to a witness, Fortin then struck it with his truck and shot it again in the head.

The moose was killed out of season and at night.

Fortin allegedly chained the moose up to his truck and dragged it more than 11 miles to the town of Orleans, where it was left to rot by the side of the road.

The moose was lactating, indicating that she likely had a calf with her.

Vermont’s regulated moose hunting seasons are in October, and are limited to a small number of hunting permits that are allocated through a lottery system.

Authorities say Fortin did not possess a moose hunting permit.

Fortin’s Ford F150 pickup truck was seized as evidence, along with his rifle, ammunition and truck chains. These items stand to be forfeited upon conviction.

Fortin is due in Orleans County Superior Court on December 26, 2017.

He faces fines and restitution of up to $8,000 and up to one year in jail.

Community raises reward money to help solve Westmore moose poaching case

in Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom/Westmore

WESTMORE — A Go Fund Me campaign has been started to raise reward money for an unsolved moose poaching case that took place in Westmore.

The campaign was started by Craftsbury Common resident Cindi Bollettieri.

Bollettieri has personally donated $2,000 to the effort, both through the Go Fund Me campaign and to Operation Game Thief, a program that pays rewards to citizens who identify poachers by calling a toll-free number or submitting information online.

A cow moose was shot from the road out of season at night on Saturday, September 23. Vermont’s regulated moose hunting seasons are in October, and are limited to a small number of hunting permits that are allocated through a lottery system.

After the moose was shot, it was attached to a vehicle and dragged on the road more than 11 miles to the town of Orleans. The animal was left by the side of Hollow Road off Route 58 in Orleans.

Officials say the cow moose was lactating, indicating that she likely had a calf with her.

“This action was particularly heinous, so I can understand why people are outraged,” said Col. Jason Batchelder, Vermont’s chief game warden. “The fact that people are giving to this campaign shows that Vermonters will not stand for poaching in our state.”

The fundraising campaign is available at www.gofundme.com/moose-poacher-reward.

“These poachers demonstrated tremendous disrespect for the law and for this moose,” said Col. Batchelder. “We’re asking for anyone with information about this incident to come forward so that we can hold the people who did this accountable.”

Westmore Mountain Challange offers marathon-length hike

in News/Outdoors/Westmore

WESTMORE — On Saturday, October 14, the NorthWoods Stewardship Center will be hosting a marathon-length hiking event through the Northeast Kingdom.

The Westmore Mountain Challenge is a one-day hike traversing 26 miles of trail from Westmore to East Charleston.

Participants will hike Moose Mountain, Mount Hor, Mount Pisgah, Haystack Mountain and Bald Mountain, before finishing up at NorthWoods Stewardship Center.

Organizers say that participant response to the event has been huge, and with almost 120 participants taking part, the trails will be full.

Hikers can choose from a series of different hike lengths before shuttling back to NorthWoods’ East Charleston campus for a hearty dinner, prizes, and presentation by Pavel Cenkl on his recent Arctic Run.

Funds from the event will go towards NorthWoods’ conservation and education programs.

The NorthWoods Conservation Corps employs youth crews each summer to help build and maintain hiking trails in the region, including all of those traversed during the Challenge.

Moose poached in Westmore, dragged to Orleans

in Orleans/Westmore

WESTMORE — Vermont state game wardens are seeking tips to help solve a case of a moose that was poached in Westmore.

The cow moose was shot from the road out of season and at night on Saturday, September 23.

After poachers shot the moose, they dragged the animal on the road behind their truck over 11 miles to the town of Orleans.

The animal was left to rot in the 80-degree heat by the side of Hollow Road off Route 58 in Orleans.

The cow moose was lactating, indicating she likely had a calf with her.

“These poachers demonstrated tremendous disrespect for the law and for this moose,” said Col. Jason Batchelder, Vermont’s chief game warden. “We’re asking for anyone with information about this incident to come forward so that we can hold the people that did this accountable.”

Vermont’s regulated moose hunting seasons are in October, and are limited to a small number of hunting permits that are allocated through a lottery system.

Anyone with information in this case is asked to call 1-800-752-5378.

  • Willoughby-1-2.jpg
    Photo by Phil White.
  • Willoughby-2-2.jpg
    Photo by Phil White.
  • Willoughby-3-2.jpg
    Photo by Phil White.

NEK Swim Week Willoughby style

in Outdoors/Westmore

WESTMORE — The Rivard sisters continued to make a splash during NEK Swim Week, with 13-year-old Vera Rivard of Springfield, NH, finished in a tie for first place overall with Charlotte Brynn, 51, of Stowe.

Both swimmers posted times of 2:21:16 for the five-mile swim.

Younger sister, 10-year-old Margaret Rivard, finished third among the women with a time of 2:28:29, just ahead of Cindy Werhane of Portland, OR. Last year, Margaret became the youngest to swim the length of Willoughby.

Florin Rosca, 47, of Carlisle, MA finished first with a time of 2:42:00.

Bob Singer came in second with a time of 2:58:02.

In addition to woodals, beef jerky, and Couture’s Maple Syrup, the winners received a six pack of ski tickets at Burke Mountain.

The weather was cloudy, rainy and windy at the start, inviting many to don their wetsuits.

As he has done in every swim of the week, Kevin Sullivan, 56, of Chelmsford, MA finished first in the wetsuit division and first overall, with an impressive time of 2:04:50.

Winning among wetsuited women was Eileen Hee, 45 of Wooster. Her time of 2:36:19 narrowly edged out Margaret Haskins, 59, of Morrisville, whose time was 2:36:44.

Westmore Fire and Rescue provided support throughout the five-mile swim.

Other big news of the day kept patrol boats out on the lake for another few hours, as five swimmers decided to double-cross Willoughby. Charlotte Brynn, 51, of Stowe (4:59:59), Vera Rivard, 13, of Springfield, NH (5:05:32), Cindy Werhane, 48, Portland OR (5:22:12) David Tutchener, 36, Burlington, (4:56:54) and Cat Spina, 37, Hilo, HI (6:06:06).

There are only three other known double-crossings of Lake Willoughby. In 2012, Shannon House Keegan finished her five-mile swim, had a burger and visited with friends, and then swam back the extra five miles. Last year, Janet Harris of New York, NY double crossed in misty, rainy conditions on the Friday before swim week.

Vera Rivard became the youngest to double-cross, adding another gold star to her extraordinary 2017 swim season.

Willoughby wins bid for 2019 long-distance swim championship

in Outdoors/Westmore

WESTMORE — Kingdom Games and the Northeast Kingdom Open Water Swimming Association has won the bid to host the 2019 United States Masters Swimming Long Distance National Championship to be held on August 16 and 17, 2019.

Organizers anticipate 100 swimmers and 100 kayakers will be drawn to Lake Willoughby from around the United States and Canada.

“We are pleased to partner with USMS to host these national championships,” said Phil White, director of Kingdom Games.

The event will be a great opportunity to showcase this majestic, pristine lake.

Lake Willoughby will also be a venue for the upcoming NEK Swim Week on August 12 through August 20., with the Willoughby Swim on August 19.

Last year, Lake Memphremagog was the venue for the 10 Mile USMS Long Distance National Championship.

Over 100 acres of land protected in Westmore

in News/Westmore

WESTMORE — The Nature Conservancy has announced that a parcel of forested landscape has been protected in Westmore.

The 100.8-acre parcel is located in the Worcester Range to Northeast Kingdom wildlife linkage area.

The Nature Conservancy will turn over this land donation to the Vermont Department of Fish & Wildlife as an expansion of their Bald Hill Wildlife Management Area, keeping it open for recreational purposes such as hiking, hunting, and fishing.

Modern development, in the form of new roads and scattered construction, is fragmenting forests and preventing wildlife from moving freely among habitat blocks for food, mates, and to adjust to climatic changes.

This piece of land in Westmore is identified as a key “stepping stone” for terrestrial movement to maintain healthy wildlife populations.

“Forested landscapes are critical to Vermont’s wildlife populations, our water and air quality, economy, and our ability to adapt to climate change,” said Jon Binhammer, The Nature Conservancy’s director of land protection. “These recent projects embody these goals and help protect all the things that we love about Vermont while keeping the land open for sustainable forestry and or public access.”

Brownington man sought after leading police on chase

in Barton/Brownington/Charleston/Derby/Newport/News/Westmore

DERBY — Police are looking for a 37-year-old Brownington man, who they say led them on a high-speed chase through Orleans County this morning, before getting away.

At 12:00 a.m. police say they were notified of suspicious activity involving a GMC pickup parked in the woods in Derby.

Before police arrived to investigate, the vehicle had left the area heading towards Charleston. Police located the vehicle pulled off the roadway on Rte 105 near Rte 5A.

The driver, who police say was identified as Matthew Prue, was contacted and multiple indicators of heroin possession were observed within the vehicle, as well as indicators of impairment.

When the trooper directed Prue to step out of the vehicle to investigate, he slammed the door and fled down Rte 5A at a high rate of speed.

He was pursued for approximately 20 minutes through Charleston, Brownington, Barton, and Westmore, on multiple roadways as well as through fields, with speeds at times exceeding 100 miles-per-hour.

Police say he was observed throwing hypodermic needles and other small objects and bags out of the window during the pursuit. At one point, police say he drove towards a trooper who was attempting to turn around in the roadway, almost ramming the vehicle.

The pursuit continued into Westmore, briefly leaving the roadway into a field.

Due to Prue’s increasingly erratic operation, police say they slowed down and pulled back. As troopers rounded a corner in the direction he had driven, they saw the truck crashed into a tree and left disabled in the roadway.

Prue was not found at the scene of the crash.

Troopers searched the area extensively, both on foot and with a K9 unit, and were unable to locate him.

At this time, police are still looking for him.

Police identify body discovered in Westmore

in Newport/News/Orleans/Westmore

NEWPORT — The body recovered in Westmore on Friday has been identified as Tyler Robinson, 23, of Orleans.

Investigators say there is no evidence or information to suspect foul play in this incident.

Robinson was last seen at his residence on Water Street in Orleans on May 12, 2017, at approximately 10:45 a.m.

His body was located on Monday, May 15, in the southern area of Lake Willoughby, in a wooded area at the bottom of a steep drop-off.

Because of the difficult and technical nature of the terrain, rescue crews had to postpone recovery efforts throughout the week.

At approximately 4:30 p.m. on Friday, May 19, crews were able to retrieve Robinson’s body from the cliff’s edge.

Body recovered in Westmore

in Newport/News/Orleans/Westmore

WESTMORE — Authorities say that the body of a man discovered on a rock shelf on Mount Pisgah, has been recovered. At approximately 4:30 p.m. crews were able to retrieve the body from the cliff’s edge.

At this time rescue crews say they moved the body to Long Pond Road in the town of Westmore.

The family of Tyler Robinson, the 23-year-old man from Orleans who has been missing since last Friday, have been notified, and police say operations will culminate this evening.

The body will be transferred to the Medical Examiner’s office for examination and identification.

The investigation into this death continues to be handled by the Vermont State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations.

Police say there have been no reported injuries to anyone involved in the recovery, and the operation was carried out as planned.

Tomorrow, the trails on Mount Pisgah will be open to the public.

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