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Westmore Mountain Challenge returns, 1 day 5 mountains

in Charleston/Newport/News/Northeast Kingdom/Wheelock

EAST CHARLESTON — This coming fall the NorthWoods Stewardship Center is gearing up for their second annual Westmore Mountain Challenge on Saturday, October 13, 2018.

The 5-mountain marathon hike highlights some of the best natural features of the Northeast Kingdom during peak fall foliage, attracting local hikers and participants from throughout New England.

Hikers circle around the south end of Lake Willoughby to summit the mountains of Moose, Hor, Pisgah, Haystack and Bald, then either catch a shuttle or continue down the road for the full marathon distance back to NorthWoods Stewardship Center in East Charleston to celebrate.

“Last year’s event was a great success. We very quickly filled our 120-person limit and had a dozen more clamoring to sign up after registration closed,” said event organizer and NorthWoods Education & Outreach Director, Maria Young.

This year, the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks & Recreation, which owns the land and sponsors the event, has agreed to increase the limit to 150 participants, to allow more people the chance to participate, while continuing to maintain a responsible and conscientious use of the trail system.

“There are many ways to participate, at all levels,” Young said. “Some people are trying for a best personal time, or first to finish. Last year we had a group from Sterling College who ran it as a relay, arranging their own pickup and drop-offs.”

All of the trails in the Westmore Mountain Challenge have been work projects of the NorthWoods Conservation Corps, which employs local youth crews to build and maintain miles of trails to public lands across the NEK and New England.

The proceeds from this event help support NorthWoods’ conservation, forestry, and education programming, including the youth crews who maintain the trails.

This year is looking even more popular than the 2017 inaugural hike, with over half the registration slots filled within the first few weeks.

Hikers interested in participating should move fast, with only 20 or so spots left.

To register, visit the NorthWoods Stewardship Center website at northwoodscenter.org.

Photo by Ryan Jenot with the Vermont Center for Community Journalism at Lyndon State College.

Wheelock man severely burned in fire, police search for man wanted for questioning

in News/Wheelock
Photo by Ryan Jenot with the Vermont Center for Community Journalism at Lyndon State College.
Photo by Ryan Jenot with the Vermont Center for Community Journalism at Lyndon State College.

WHEELOCK — A fire in Wheelock Saturday evening left a man seriously injured and rushed to a hospital in Boston to be treated for severe burns.

The incident took place at 68 Sutton Road, at around 9:45 p.m. When the Wheelock Fire Department arrived they discovered the back portion of the residence was fully involved, and the homeowner, Larry Clark, severely burned.

The fire department made their initial attack of the fire to the rear of the residence where most of the fire was showing. A second crew was dispatched to fight the fire from an adjacent apartment, which stopped the fire from spreading into that portion of the structure.

Firefighters battled the fire for several hours. They remained on scene well into the morning hours.

Chief Brown contacted the State Police to request an origin and cause investigation, based on the nature and extent of the injuries to Clark, and conflicting stories as to cause of the fire by witnesses.

While conducting a walkthrough of the area as part of the investigation, a man by the name of Jason Henderson was located hiding in the attic of the adjacent garage. While speaking with Henderson concerning the fire, he fled the area on foot and was not located.

The building was a total loss. Preliminary findings point to an issue with a portable generator that was being used at the time of the fire, however, authorities say that more interviews will be required to determine the exact cause of the fire.

The whereabouts of Henderson are still unknown and he is wanted for questioning concerning the fire.

Police are asking that if anyone has information on his location, or concerning the fire, to contact the state police St. Johnsbury barracks.

This case is still under investigation at this time. 

Fatal snowmobile accident in Wheelock

in Lyndonville/News/Vermont/Wheelock

WHEELOCK — A snowmobile crash on a VAST trail near Fall Brook Road in the town of Wheelock Saturday evening left a 47-year-old Connecticut man dead.

Police are reporting that Keith Whitney, of East Haven, was operating a snowmobile on VAST Corridor 52, when he went off trail and collided with a metal cable that was across two trees in a driveway leading to posted property.

Whitney was thrown from the snowmobile. Someone riding with him contacted 911.

Whitney was transported to the Northeastern Vermont Regional Hospital but did not survive the crash.

Members from the Sheffield-Wheelock Fire Department, Lyndon Rescue, and CALEX responded to the crash. Police say the investigation into the crash is still ongoing at this time.

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