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Fire Blazes in Derby Line – Firefighter Injured, But Okay

in Derby Line/News
All that is left of the home which was destroyed by fire Tuesday night in Derby Line.

Derby Line Fire 1DERBY LINE — The fire which destroyed a vacant house on Highland Avenue in Derby Line Tuesday evening, left one firefighter injured.

Derby Line firefighter Tanner Jacobs was taken from the home on a stretcher and rushed to North Country Hospital.

“The building collapsed on one side, and trapped him inside. It pinned his legs down,” a fire investigator said on site Wednesday morning.

“He’s fine. He went to the hospital but was released. It was just a bumps and bruises type of thing,” he went on to say.

Derby Line Fire 2At about 8 p.m. Derby Line firefighters arrived on the scene. While flames blasted out of the roof, back up came from across the boarder, with members from the Stanstead, Quebec, department helping to contain the blaze.

The house belonged to Dale Bennett, who was having the house renovated for sale. However, as of Tuesday night when the fire started, it was still vacant. A few residents of Highland Avenue described the house as extremely old, perhaps one of the oldest in the village.

Neighbors gathered around to watch the fire, and a few talked about the possibility of arson, based on witnessing the way the fire so quickly engulfed the home.

IMG_9104Wednesday morning, when asked, one of the fire investigators confirmed that it was being investigated, but that arson is not always suspected based on how quickly a fire spreads.

“Right now we’re waiting on an excavator to get a good look at things, but when you run into a fire that has a lot of ventilation, it can seem as though it’s an accelerated fire, but that’s not always the case,” the fire investigator said.

As of noon Wednesday, Boarder Patrol was on site, along with the fire investigators, keeping watch on the destroyed home.

Dancing in the Aisles at Derby Line Village Hall

in Arts and Entertainment/Derby Line

DERBY LINE — Over 80 people filled the Derby Line Village Hall for a night of old-timey music and dancing. The 4th Friday Music Jam is an ongoing event which has been taking place in Derby Line for 11 years now.

Jimmy Edwards kept the room thumping with his electric bass throughout the night. He later sang Willie Nelson’s, “Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain.” As many as five acoustic guitars strummed along throughout the night as the band of musicians entertained those in attendance.Derby Line Village Hall Music

The jam is more about the camaraderie of everyone involved, than showcasing anyone in particular, or the musical ability they possess. With so many different musicians on hand, each calling out a new tune to play, sometimes it can take a whole song before the group finds the groove.

“Well, we figured it out by that last note,” one guitar picker said jokingly to the other players behind Mr. Edwards on lead vocal.

Besides bringing people in the community together for a night of fun and music, the event is also run for charity. Each year, the group raises money to provide music and auto tech scholarships to students from Lake Region Union High School and North Country Union High School.

On a sad note, Pauline Marsden, 63, of Island Pond, who was recently killed in a car accident in Morgan on Wednesday, was a regular at the event. A sympathy card was organized as a way for people who knew Ms. Marsden to offer their condolences to her family.

“We’re passing around a card for people to sign for her family because Pauline and her three sisters used to love coming out to the jam,” Kitty McIntyre said.

Kitty and her husband Jim have been organizing the event for the past six years.

Demonstrators gather outside U.S. Port Of Entry in Derby Line to stand with Mi’kmaq Nation

in Derby Line/News

Derby Line—It’s not often that you pass through a port of entry into the United States, and you’re greeted with the sounds of Native American drumming, chanting, and the smell of burning sage. If you entered the U.S. at Derby Line on Route 5 Saturday afternoon between 12-4 p.m., that was exactly how you were welcomed in.

Ten people came out Saturday afternoon to Derby Line to voice their opposition of the practice of hydraulic fracturing.

Hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” is the process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground at a high pressure in order to fracture shale rocks to release natural gas inside.Derby Line Vermont.jpg

The demonstrators were particularly opposed to the practice when done on lands belonging to Native Americans. They stood in solidarity with a wave of protests that have broken out in New Brunswick, where members of the Mi’kmaq Nation have been taking a stand against a company conducting seismic testing, which many believe is a prelude to fracking operations.

The protests in New Brunswick have recently escalated, with Elsipogtog First Nation Chief Arren Sock, who had issued the company an eviction notice on October 1, and the band’s council, being arrested on Friday.

The demonstration in Derby Line was also part of a larger, worldwide movement scheduled for Saturday, known as “Frackdown Day.”

On U.S. Route 5, demonstrators, mostly Native Americans from the United States, gathered across the street from the port of entry, playing drums, chanting, and holding up signs in the direction of motorists entering the country.20131020-150846.jpg

“Our hearts and prayers are with the Mi’kmaq Nation in New Brunswick, being forced to have fracking done on their land. The Canadian government is not respecting the native treaties,” Melody Nunn of St. Johnsbury said while taking a break from drumming.

Ms. Nunn went on to express her motivation for organizing the event coming after seeing images of clashes between Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and protesters in New Brunswick.

“The image of the siege that will stay in my heart is a Mi’kmaq woman on her knees, holding an eagle feather as her only defense from several hundred RCMP with loaded rifles. It’s their land, and we’re here to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters across that boarder.”

The decision to stage Saturday’s demonstration so close to the port of entry was made late Friday night. Although they did not foresee any problems, they were aware of the possibility of running into opposition from authorities.

“The message today outweighs the outcome of any trouble we might face,” Kevin Carney stated when asked about the legality of demonstrating in the location. Mr. Carney traveled from New Hampshire with his wife to attend.

Like most of the cars that passed by after entering the U.S., Boarder Patrol agents waved to the group to greet them as they drove past during routine patrols of the area. It was a peaceful scene.

Members of the group were quick to point out that for them, the gathering was not a protest.

“We are not here as a protest. We are here with good in our hearts, not anger, to show our support for the people of the Mi’kmaq Nation,” Ms. Nunn said.

When asked what people could do to help if they wanted to support the cause, the group agreed that informing oneself and others is the best thing anyone can do.

“Spread the word, and go out and tell people to find out what’s happening to Native people,” Mr. Carney said.

“It’s about government and business, power and greed working together to take what they want, when they want. It’s not right, and most people when they know what’s going on would agree with that,” Neil Chaske said.

Mr. Chaske, originally from Manitoba, is part of the Sioux Valley Dakota Nation. He has lived in Orleans, Vermont for the past two years.

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