Albany students meet a musher and his dogs

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Pictured, from left to right, are Austin Smith, 12, Allison Powell, 13, and their science teacher Cheryl Ecklund.   Photos by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

Pictured, from left to right, are Austin Smith, 12, Allison Powell, 13, and their science teacher Cheryl Ecklund. Photos by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

copyright the Chronicle March 18, 2015

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

ALBANY — Albany Community School teachers had a stroke of genius when they decided on a dog-based teaching unit this winter.

“It really energizes the students, even my students that are the most difficult to get to want to read and write are focused and are interested and have questions and have stories,” said teacher Jennifer Schoen.

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Keep small schools, school directors say

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Bobby Starr.  Photo by Micaela Bedell

Bobby Starr. Photo by Micaela Bedell

copyright the Chronicle March 18, 2015 

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT — Legislators from the Northeast Kingdom were told in no uncertain terms to oppose Montpelier’s efforts to shut down small schools and consolidate districts.

That stern warning came from school board members from around Orleans County and was delivered Monday night at a gathering held at the North Country Career Center. About 20 legislators and school board members sat around a big table while another 30 or 40 people sat nearby.

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Lake Region Junior Hoops Championship: Irasburg and Orleans emerge as champs

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The Irasburg boys team is pictured.  In the front row, from left, are Donovan Barton, Cy Boomer, Logan Ingalls, Owen Brochu, Christian Poutre, and Landyn Leach.  In the back row:  Tyler Jewer, Josh Cole, Isaiah Brochu, Wyatt Gile, Ryan Moulton, and Tyler Goodridge.  At back center stands Coach Phil Brochu.  Photos by David Dudley

The Irasburg boys team is pictured. In the front row, from left, are Donovan Barton, Cy Boomer, Logan Ingalls, Owen Brochu, Christian Poutre, and Landyn Leach. In the back row: Tyler Jewer, Josh Cole, Isaiah Brochu, Wyatt Gile, Ryan Moulton, and Tyler Goodridge. At back center stands Coach Phil Brochu. Photos by David Dudley

copyright the Chronicle March 18, 2015

by David Dudley

LRUHS — The Lake Region Junior Hoops season came to an end Saturday at Lake Region Union High School.  Irasburg defeated Glover 32-12 to win the boys division championship.  Orleans squeaked past Irasburg to pull off a thrilling overtime win to take the girls championship.

Before squaring off with Irasburg for the boys title, Glover had to first get past Barton, which had defeated Glover three times in the previous three meetings this season.

Despite the trend, Glover center Kaleb Thaler, who led all scorers with 18 points, felt confident going into the game.

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Obituaries March 18, 2015

obit AllenWolcott “Wookie” Charles Allen

Wolcott “Wookie” Charles Allen, 82, of Brownington died peacefully on March 8, 2015, at his home.

Mr. Allen was born on September 28, 1932, in Westfield, Massachusetts, to Charles Allen and Edith (Correll) Allen. He lived his first 21 years in Grandby, Connecticut, on the Allen homestead. He was the oldest of four children and the family raised tobacco.

In 1953 the family moved to Bradford, where he worked for his father on the Stonecliff Dairy Farm.

He married Doris McClintock in 1968 and had a daughter, Heather Elaine, and a son, Gregory Lorin. He was very proud of Gregory’s daughter Abigail.

After his father’s death he took over running the dairy farm.

In 1981, he married Catherine Nelson and had a son, Charles Edward. He was very proud of Charles’ daughter Rebecca.

In 1983, he and his mother sold the farm and they moved to Sheffield. They lived on a sugarbush and made the best maple syrup around. Mr. Allen also did some logging and sprayed dairy farms. In 2004, they moved to Brownington, where they took life easy and enjoyed their neighbors.

He is survived by his wife, Cathy Allen, of Brownington; his sons: Greg Allen of Newbury and Charlie Allen and his fiancée, April Kelly, and her kids, Lucian and Kian of Sheffield; by his brothers: David and his wife, Ellie, of Somers, Montana, and Danny Allen and his friend, Shirley, of Kalispell, Montana; and by all his nieces and nephews and their children.

He was predeceased by his father and mother; by his niece Kathy Gardiner; his sister-in-law Roseann Allen; and by a sister, Marilyn Brown.

Services will be held at the convenience of the family.

Online condolences at curtis-britch.com.

OBIT CotaDorann G. Cota

 

Dorann G. Cota, 61, of Jay died on March 10, 2015, in Burlington.

She was born on May 1, 1953, in Newport to Vernon and Dorothy (Buck) Prue.

She was employed by Slalom and Bogner of America for over 15 years.  She enjoyed sewing, crocheting, arts and crafts, and doing puzzles.  She loved all her cats and dogs over the years.

She is survived by Terry Cota of Jay; by her mother, Dorothy Prue, of Derby; by her siblings: Vernon Prue Jr., Ronald Prue and his wife, Grace, Donald Prue and his wife, Sue, Steven Prue, Marlene Marcotte and her husband, Roger, Anita Prue, Sandra Breeding, and Patricia Carter and her husband, Jimmy; and by several nieces, nephews, and great-nieces and -nephews.

She was predeceased by her father, Vernon Prue; by her son Robert Cota; by her brother Robert Prue; by her sister-in-law Shirlene Prue; and by her brother-in-law Tom.

Funeral services were held on March 16, in Newport. Spring interment will be at the Jay Cemetery.

Should friends desire, contributions in her memory may be made to the Ronald Holland M.D. Dialysis Center, 189 Prouty Drive, Newport, Vermont 05855.

Online condolences at curtis-britch.com.

obit HouleLaurette Marguerite Houle

Laurette Marguerite Houle, 89, of Irasburg died peacefully at Maple Lane Nursing Home in Barton on March 9, 2015, after a year of failing health.

She was born on October 19, 1925 in Farnham, Quebec, to Osias and Rose (Amande) Paquette. She and her family moved to St. Albans in 1928, and then her parents bought a dairy farm in Orleans in 1934.

On October 11, 1947, she married the love of her life, Adrien D. Houle, at St. Theresa’s Church in Orleans. She and her husband operated the family dairy farm and produced maple syrup in Irasburg until they sold both operations to their son Ronald and his spouse, Colette, in 1994.

She attended St. John Vianney Catholic Church in Irasburg and was a member of the Ladies Guild. She was an excellent baker who made thousands of doughnuts, cakes and pies over her lifetime. She took pride in her flower beds and huge vegetable garden. Canning and freezing vegetables and fruits filled hundreds of pints and quarts each year. She loved to embroider, sew, quilt, knit and crochet, which she lovingly taught to each of her daughters. Many happy hours were spent playing cards with family and friends. In later years she treasured the time she spent babysitting her grandchildren.

She is survived by Adrien, her husband of 67 years, and their children: Elaine Baxter and her spouse, Thomas, of Geneva, Illinois, Diane Yunggebauer and her spouse, Fred, of Hartland, Lorraine Brasseur and her spouse, Bernie, of Cornish, New Hampshire, Ronald and his spouse, Colette (Gaboriault) Houle, of Irasburg, and Denis and his spouse, Laura (Boomer) Houle, of Irasburg. She was a loving grandmother and great-grandmother to Matthew Brasseur and his children, Noah and Keera, to Johnathon Brasseur and his spouse, Heather, and their children, Hailey and Tanner, Brian Baxter and his spouse, EmilyWren, Steven Baxter, Emily and Kaytlyn Houle, and Brandon Houle. She is also survived by two of her ten siblings: Rudolph Paquette and his spouse, Rena, of Florida, and Theresa Brunelle of Newport; her sisters-in-law: Claire (Houle) Roy of Spencer, Massachusetts, Terry (Houle) Poirier Johnson of Auburn, Massachusetts, Beverly Paquette of Essex Junction, and Theresa Paquette of Springfield, Massachusetts; her brothers-in-law: Donat Houle and his spouse, Gisele, of Orleans, and Daniel Robinson of Omaha, Nebraska; and by numerous nieces and nephews.

She was predeceased by her eldest son, the Reverend Wilfred Andre Houle; by four of her brothers: Origine, Paul, Andre, and Claude; and by four of her sisters: Rose Angel Faust, Yvette Lamarre, Bertha Turgeon, and Gervaise Lesperance.

A funeral Mass was held on March 12, in Orleans. Burial will be at St. John Vianney’s Cemetery in Irasburg in the spring.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the St. John Vianney Building Fund, or the Vermont Alzheimer’s Association.

Online condolences at curtis-britch.com.

obit HunterJohn G. Hunter

John G. Hunter, 74, of Holland died on March 12, 2015, in Newport.

He was born on March 26, 1940, in Melrose, Massachusetts, to Graydon and Edith (Lomas) Hunter.

He was veteran with the U.S. Marines. He was owner of the former Gantries Bar in Newport and he was a self-employed tile layer for many years.

He enjoyed playing checkers, sailing, and riding motorcycles.

He is survived by his son Daniel Webster and his wife, Megan, of Coventry; two grandchildren: Noah and Addie Webster; his brother David Hunter and his wife, Linda, of Newport Center; and by his caregivers: David and Cathy Godfrey of Holland, where he lived for five years.

A graveside service will be held in the spring with full military honors at the West Village Cemetery in West Charleston.

Should friends desire, contributions in his memory may be made to the American Heart Association, Vermont Affiliate, Inc., 434 Hurricane Lane, Williston, Vermont 05495.

Online condolences at curtis-britch.com.

obit peckJunnie Harry Peck

Junnie Harry Peck, 81, of Glover died on March 4, 2015 at his home.

He was born on May 14, 1933, in Newport to Harry and Earla (Corkins) Peck. On August 18, 1990, he married Nellie Irish, who survives him. His first wife, Frances Fay Duff, predeceased him in 1967, and his second wife, Beverly Wright, predeceased him in 1985.

He was a veteran of the Korean War.  He was a plumber and owned J.P.’s Home Maintenance. For 20 years he was a lineman for Seaward Construction in Kittery, Maine.

His hobbies included fishing, hunting, and wood crafts. He was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #798 of Newport.

He is survived by his wife, Nellie Peck, of Glover; by his daughter Linda Christine Potter and her husband, Jim, of Kentucky; by five grandchildren: Jacob, Joshua, Jessica, Justin and Jeremy; by his siblings: Terrance Peck and his wife, Esther, of Massachusetts, Bonnie Benway of Glover, and Dixie Vigario and her fiancé, Ben Moreau, of Newport; by his stepchildren: Wendy Graves and her friend, Steve Daggett, of Orange, Donald Boule and his wife, Bonnie, of Connecticut, Richard Bowley Jr. and his friend, Jennifer, of White River Junction, Raymond Bowley and his wife, Penny, of Greensboro, Scott Graves of St. Johnsbury, John Woods, and Dale Woods, both of Florida, and Peter Woods of Newport; and by many step-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren.

He was predeceased by a stepson, Kevin Greenwood; by his sister Mary Ida Morin; by his brother Lyman Peck; and by his brother-in-law Cecil Benway.

A graveside service with full military honors will be held on May 15 at 11 a.m. at the Westlook Cemetery in Glover, with the Reverend Evelyn Coup officiating.

Online condolences at curtis-britch.com.

obit PrueDorothy E. Prue

Dorothy E. Prue, 92, of Derby died peacefully on March 13, 2015, in Derby.

She was born on June 15, 1922, to Herman and Aurilla Buck.

On June 14, 1941, she married Vernon Prue Sr., who predeceased her.

She was a member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #798 Auxiliary.

She enjoyed playing cards, reading, attending family events, and playing bingo.

She is survived by her children: Vernon Prue Jr. of Phoenix, Arizona, Donald Prue and his wife, Sue, of New Milford, Connecticut, Ronald Prue and his wife, Grace, of Arcadia, Florida, Steven Prue of Tennessee, Marlene Marcotte and her husband, Roger, of New Mexico, Anita Prue of Phoenix, Sandra Breeding of Crossville, Tennessee, and Patricia Carter and her husband, James, of Newport; and by her numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren, and nieces and nephews.

She was predeceased by two children: Robert Prue and Dorann Cota; and by her siblings: Olin, Henry, Stella, Gladys, and Helen.

Funeral services will be held on Wednesday, March 18, at 11 a.m. at St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Newport, where a Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated. Friends may call at the Curtis-Britch-Converse-Rushford Funeral Home, at 4670 Darling Hill Road in Newport, on March 18, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Spring interment will be in St. Mary’s Cemetery.

Online condolences at curtis-britch.com.

obit RowleyAlma H. Rowley

Alma Harris Rowley, 95, a resident of the Craftsbury Community Care Center, died peacefully on March 13, 2015, with family at her bedside.

She was born on January 3, 1920, in Greenville, North Carolina, daughter of the late Marion Richard Harris and Mary Belle (Dudley) Harris. She graduated from Greenville High School in 1937 and continued her education at Kings Business School in Raleigh, North Carolina, graduating in 1938. After graduation, she was employed at S.G. Wilkerson & Sons Funeral Home in Greenville.

On July 4, 1943, she married Charles Erwin Rowley of Burlington, in El Paso, Texas. When Mr. Rowley shipped out for England with the Army Air Corps, she moved to Burlington to meet and live with her in-laws and worked for the Draft Board. After the war, she and her husband moved to Massachusetts, where they eventually resided in Northampton.

After Mr. Rowley’s death on October 22, 1966, she went to work in the theater department at Smith College, where she used her expert sewing skills to produce costumes. She returned to Vermont in 1967 and began working at the Bridal Shop in Burlington, where she found a good fit for her sewing skills and love of fabric.

In 1971, she returned to North Carolina, where she opened The Bridal Boutique in Rocky Mount, which she operated for four years. She later worked for an insurance company in Raleigh until retiring.

She retired to Vermont in 1982 and made her home in Greensboro at the Lauradon Apartments. She was a member of the Greensboro United Church of Christ. With her daughter Bobbie, she founded the Senior Trotters in 1999, which continues to this day. In 2011, she moved to the Craftsbury Community Care Center, where she spent her remaining years.

The love of her life were her children and grandchildren and she will be remembered for her love of baking sweets for her children and friends, her excellent southern cooking, her beautiful hand needlework, her accomplished sewing skills, and her wonderful sense of humor.

Survivors include a son, William H. Rowley, and his wife, Sue, of Pembroke, Maine; three daughters: Pamela West of Orlando, Florida, Barbara Nisbet and her husband, Tim, of Greensboro, and Mary Beth Hall and her husband, Wayne, of Hardwick; three grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

In addition to her husband, she was predeceased by five siblings: Lillian Hart, Richard Harris, Carlton Harris, Claude Harris, and William Harris.

To honor her request, there will be no visiting hours. A celebration of her life will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday, March 20, at the Greensboro United Church of Christ in Greensboro, with the Reverend Anthony Acheson officiating. Burial will be at a later date in the family lot at the Lakeview Cemetery in Burlington.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the Craftsbury Community Care Center.

obit TaylorJack R. Taylor

Jack R. Taylor, 81, of Charleston died suddenly on March 5, 2015, in Newport.

He was born on January 14, 1934, in Charleston to Herbert and Erema (Foster) Taylor. On July 8, 1972, he married Janice Sheltra, who survives him.

Mr. Taylor was a dairy farmer in Charleston for many years. He farmed and maple sugared all his life with his father. He attended the one-room Center School in Charleston. He enjoyed listening to country music, dancing, playing the guitar, going out to eat with his wife, riding on back country roads, and going to the local fairs.  He and Mrs. Taylor enjoyed watching horse pulling and attending the Charleston school jam sessions.

He is survived by his wife, Janice, of Charleston; by his brothers: Donald and his wife, Hazel, of Lyndonville, and Ira and his wife, Chris, of Idaho; by his sisters: Evelyn Bowen of Charleston, and Gladys Brome and her husband, Theodore, of St. Johnsbury; by numerous nieces, nephews and cousins; and by half brothers: Paul Sawyer and his wife, Jeanne, of Connecticut, and Richard Sawyer and his wife, Jan, of Newark.

A graveside service will be held in the spring at Hillside Cemetery in East Charleston.

Should friends desire, contributions in his memory may be made to the Charleston Fire Department, P.O. Box 106, East Charleston, Vermont 05833.

Online condolences at curtis-britch.com.

obit WilsonBryce Wilson

Bryce Wilson of Craftsbury died on March 9, 2015, after living a long life of quiet dignity.

It is said that one cannot choose how to die, but one can choose how to live.

Mr. Wilson was born on August 4, 1934. He was a lifelong educator. His career in education spanned almost 40 years. After stops in Derby and Hardwick, he ultimately planted his roots in New Jersey, where he was employed by the Waldwick Board of Education for 34 years. As a guidance counselor, teacher and coach, he touched the lives of countless children. His calming manner will be remembered by all who came in contact with him. His subtle wit and wry sense of humor were his hallmarks.

In 1959, he and his wife, Audrey, moved to New Jersey settling in the picturesque Cupsaw Lake section of Ringwood. They raised four children, and upon retirement the couple returned to the family farm in Craftsbury and opened the Whetstone Brook B&B. Mr. Wilson’s wife could often be found in her kitchen telling the guests about her cherished AGA stove. Mr. Wilson would regale the guests with tales of his nine grandchildren, or the town history of Craftsbury, or pretty much anything else. He could converse with people from all walks of life.

Before his illness, he was an avid golfer. He played two or three times a week…and never got better at it. He had a love-hate relationship with the game. Several years ago, his clubs were, shall we say, mercifully liberated from the bed of his truck in the wee hours of the morning. He was quoted as saying, “I hope those clubs cause whoever took them as much trouble as they caused me!” Anyone who has ever played with him knows that would be pretty tough to do.

He is survived by his wife of nearly 57 years, Audrey; his daughter Lisa Sedore and her husband, Tom, of Craftsbury; his son Terry and his wife, Ginger, of Palmer, Massachusetts; his daughter Karen Starr and her husband, David, of Highland Lakes, New Jersey; his son Jim of Pompton Plains, New Jersey; his grandchildren: Katie and her husband, Nick Meyer, Jessie and her husband, David Upson, Megan and her husband, Jon Amell, Lindsay Sedore, Shannon Wilson, Joseph Starr, Connor Starr, Jonathan Wilson, and Julie Anne Wilson; his great-grandchildren: Madison Amell and Henry Upson; his nephew Ian McMurray; and by his sister Ann Wilson and her husband, Warren Williams.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 21, at the United Church of Craftsbury Common, with the Reverend Alan Parker officiating.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in his name to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, 1359 Broadway, Suite 1509, New York, New York 10018; or to the Greensboro Nursing Home, 47 Maggie’s Pond Road, Greensboro, Vermont 05841.

Online condolences at curtis-britch.com.

obit rivardTheresa N. Rivard

Theresa N. Rivard, 87, of Newport died peacefully on March 10, 2015, in Newport.

She was born on September 27, 1927, in Glover to Lucien and Yvonne (Coté) Nicole. On June 18, 1955, she married Norman Rivard, who survives her.

Mrs. Rivard was a Daughter of Isabella for over 60 years and accepted offices over the years. She was a Brownie leader for a few years, and she was a volunteer at Bel-Aire Nursing Home for over ten years. She also did prayer services for the people there.

She was treasurer for St. Mary’s Cemetery Association for 30 years, and at one time she was treasurer for the Catholic Order of Foresters in Newport.

She was also a member of St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Catholic Church and sang in the choir for over 50 years and also sang at funerals.  When AARP had meetings in Newport she was secretary.

After graduating from Sacred Heart High School, she was a bank teller for quite a few years.  She enjoyed playing cards with friends and knitting and crocheting.  She also enjoyed serving the public.

Mrs. Rivard is survived by her husband, Norman, of 60 years; her sister Simone Carreau of St. Johnsbury; her brothers-in-law: the Right Reverend Monsignor Roland Rivard of Burlington, and Maurice Rivard of Albany; her sister-in-law Sister Irene Rivard of Littleton, New Hampshire; and by several nieces, nephews, and cousins.

She was predeceased by her parents and by siblings: Jacques, Fernande, and Adelard.

A funeral Mass was held at St Mary’s Star of the Sea Catholic Church in Newport on March 13 with the Right Reverend Monsignor Roland Rivard.

Should friend desire, contributions in her memory may be made to St. Mary’s Star of the Sea Catholic Church, 191 Clermont Circle, Newport, Vermont 05855; or to Daughter’s of Charity of the Sacred Heart, 226 Grove Street, Littleton, New Hampshire 03561.

Online condolences at curtis-britch.com.

Death notice

James C. Guyette

James C. Guyette, 61, of Derby Line died peacefully on March 16, 2015, at his home.

Funeral services will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, March 20, at the Curtis-Britch-Converse-Rushford Funeral Home, at 4670 Darling Hill Road in Newport. Friends may call at the funeral home on March 20, from 1 p.m. until the hour of the funeral.

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In Brownington: March Madness tourney raises over $2,000

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Troy's McKenna Marsh takes the ball to the hoop against St. Paul's in the girls division championship.  Photos by David Dudley

Troy’s McKenna Marsh takes the ball to the hoop against St. Paul’s in the girls division championship. Photos by David Dudley

copyright the Chronicle March 11, 2015

by David Dudley

BROWNINGTON — The Brownington Parent Teacher Club raised more than $2,000 at the second annual March Madness Basketball Tournament at Brownington Central School (BCS) over the weekend.   Boys and girls from schools all around Orleans County took to the courts to show their skills. Of the teams that participated — Brownington, Brighton, Lowell, St. Paul’s, Orleans, NEK Hoops, and Troy — Troy took top honors in both boys and girls divisions.

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Wanted: foster homes

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Deb Richards (left) and Suzanne Shibley at the Newport District Office of Family Services.  The area is badly in need of foster homes.   Photo by Tena Starr

Deb Richards (left) and Suzanne Shibley at the Newport District Office of Family Services. The area is badly in need of foster homes. Photo by Tena Starr

copyright the Chronicle March 11, 2015

by Tena Starr  

NEWPORT — Erica Page always thought she was meant to be a foster parent. After years of unsuccessfully trying to have children of their own, she finally told her husband, Shaun Sykes, “Enough is enough. Let’s become parents in a different way.”

In May, Ms. Page and Mr. Sykes got their first placement, a boy, who is now four. They also have a four-month-old girl in their home.

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How to bring Town Meeting back to life

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WEB town meeting bookcopyright the Chronicle March 11, 2015

All Those In Favor, Rediscovering the Secrets of Town Meeting and Community, by Susan Clark and Frank Bryan. Paperback. 87 pages. Published by Ravenmark, Montpelier, Vermont.

Reviewed by Tena Starr

Frank Bryan is likely Vermont’s staunchest champion of Town Meeting. He studied it for 30 years, and in this book, a tenth-anniversary update of the 2005 original, he and co-author Susan Clark add analysis of another 12 years.

Their research indicates that Town Meeting is in some trouble — no surprise — but they’re by no means announcing its demise. Instead, they suggest a number of ways to shoot a bit of adrenalin into Vermont’s system of direct democracy.

Primarily, they are opposed to moving toward Australian ballot, which they argue, is, indeed, a death sentence for Town Meetings. And they provide evidence that fiddling with the time, or the day, does not necessarily increase attendance. In many cases, moving from a Tuesday daytime meeting to a weekend or evening meeting has decreased participation because, as the authors point out, while many people don’t want to lose a workday to attend Town Meeting, even more don’t want to give up leisure time.

The primary reasons for decreased attendance are the size of a town and the issues on the Warning, the authors say. The bigger a town gets, the smaller the percentage of attendance. And if a Town Meeting Warning has little of consequence on it — few issues that affect or captivate voters — they’re more likely to stay away.

“While it is doubtful that there was ever a golden era of Town Meeting when nearly everyone turned out every year, attendance was much higher in the early days than today,” the book says. “Even well into the twentieth century it was much higher than it is now. Given the difficulties of life (from hugely longer workdays and work weeks, to much poorer transportation systems, to remarkably greater potential for sickness and poor health generally) one is struck by how complete Town Meeting democracy was in the past.

“Those who believe that people are much busier today than they were in the past (and that includes most commentators on modern life) have an incomplete understanding of history. What we really mean when we say we are busier today is that we have different priorities.

“Consider the little town of Craftsbury in the Northeast Kingdom as it was in 1840. So difficult was transportation over and through its rocky hillsides, it took 12 separate school districts to educate the children. The majority of the people farmed. They kept 333 horses, 1,718 cattle, 3,166 sheep, and 658 swine. They produced 47,906 pounds of potatoes and 14,398 bushels of oats along with 5,705 bushels of other crops, 3,171 tons of hay and 35,412 pounds of sugar. Meanwhile, they ran two gristmills, a hulling mill, two carding machine operations, ten sawmills, two fulling mills, three carriage makers, and one oil mill.

“Fewer than 1,200 women, men, and children accomplished all this. If you’ve ever worked on a small farm, or in the woods, you know that these people not only worked hard, they worked smart. Their lives were fully as complex and demanding, perhaps even more complex and demanding as ours today.

“If they can do it, we can do it, too.”

The Northeast Kingdom isn’t much plagued by the biggest hindrance to Town Meeting attendance — population. Only Newport and St. Johnsbury are big enough to reach the tipping point where attendance, or lack of, can be attributed to size, according to the authors’ formula.

But Town Meeting is affected everywhere by loss of local control. Issues, and whether voters have control over them or not, are at the heart of attendance in small towns, the authors assert. And Vermonters have had increasingly little say in much of what matters to them most.

For instance, under the current school funding system, cutting a local school budget does not necessarily translate into a tax decrease.

“The most reliable predictor of Town Meeting attendance, besides population size, is what’s on the Warning,” the book says. “Examples abound, but let’s visit one meeting in the Northeast Kingdom town of Holland after a particularly bad winter had deteriorated the town’s roads. Imagine this meeting’s discussion about whether to switch from an appointed road commissioner to an elected one. Combine this discussion with the fact that a challenger was running against a key select board member on this issue. The result: The attendance normally predicted for a town this size was exceeded by 100 percent.”

This book goes so far as to say that an item should be included on the Warning each year specifically to grab people’s attention. It suggests something like an item saying alcohol be banned within town limits. While that’s a bit of a stretch, the point is made.

Town Meetings are important not just because they give people a chance to practice hands-on governance, but also because of the community they provide, the authors say. And in neither case does moving toward Australian ballot help, they argue.

“In a well intentioned effort to include more people in decision making, an increasing number of Vermont towns are destroying their town meetings in the process.

“The Australian ballot is quick, easy, private, unaccountable, and most important, simple. It is also deadly.

“In a way, the Australian ballot is worse than deadly because it doesn’t kill Town Meeting quickly. And the execution is dishonest. We are told it will save Town Meeting, while the reality is that it poisons it and lets it die slowly….

“It leaves a town with neither a legislature nor a Town Meeting. In doing so it compromises the actions of the select board or school board, which must anticipate how the community will react to an issue and then submit this best guess to a winner-take-all decision.”

Also, the authors say, flexibility is forfeited because the ability to make amendments is lost. School boards may watch an entire budget go down because a compromise on one issue isn’t possible. Projects that could have been saved with a bit of tinkering are rejected because tinkering wasn’t an option.

“Using the Australian ballot instead of a Town Meeting is like creating an ice sculpture by taking one great swing at a block of ice with a sledgehammer instead of carefully applying a chisel with care over time,” the book says.

And informational meetings don’t fill the void because Vermonters don’t just want to talk about things, they want to do something about them, the authors say.

“The golden key to participation is to give citizens real power and real decisions to make,” the book says.

“Unlike the polling booth, Town Meetings can be exciting, interesting, and fun. They bring politics to life. Here laughter is often heard. Here we meet neighbors we haven’t seen for ages. Here we learn that Bill Stone over on the North Road is having trouble in mud season, too. Here we discover that the town library is offering a new program for our kids. Here, most of all, we get to see ourselves in the full light of real democracy.”

To improve Town Meeting, the authors suggest the following:

Highlight the issues. Select boards should creatively publicize certain items so people are aware of what’s happening. Develop a relationship with the local newspaper editor, they say, and ask for help getting the word out about major issues.

Arrange for childcare. “Happily one of the most important methods proven to increase Town Meeting attendance is also relatively simple: provide childcare during the meeting. Statistics show that this can improve attendance measurably, especially among women.” Generally, a local organization such as the Girl Scouts or the parent teacher association provides the childcare and benefits from any donations parents might like to offer.

If possible, skip microphones since they increase people’s anxiety about speaking in public.

Eat. The best-attended Town Meetings include food.

Build the agenda carefully. If a meeting drags on, people will leave, particularly after a meal, so if the most important items are voted on at the end of the meeting, fewer people will vote.

Include elements of celebration.

Susan Clark is a community facilitator and Frank Bryan is a University of Vermont political science professor emeritus.

The book is available at local bookstores or from www.vtinstituteforgovt.org for $9.95 plus $2.50 for shipping. To inquire about municipal or nonprofit pricing, or bulk orders, contact the Vermont Institute for Government at (802) 223-5824, or sclark@sover.net.

contact Tena Starr at tenas@bartonchronicle.com

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Xavier gets his wish to be a wrestler

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Xavier Gilbert, 6, grins as he practices a wrestling hold called the half nelson on his partner, Lake Region Union High School wrestler John Stafford.  Photos by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

Xavier Gilbert, 6, grins as he practices a wrestling hold called the half nelson on his partner, Lake Region Union High School wrestler John Stafford. Photos by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

copyright the Chronicle March 11, 2015 

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

Xavier Gilbert, six, was all smiles Monday evening when the NEK Python and Lake Region Union High School wrestlers invited him to join their practice in the Lake Region cafeteria.

He was diagnosed with leukemia March 13, 2014. Shortly thereafter his doctor recommended Xavier for the Make a Wish program.

He met his wish-granters, or fairy godparents, Christine Joyce and Jeannie Chase, during the summer.

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Obituaries March 11, 2015

Lucy S. Bousquet

Lucy S. Bousquet, 81, of Irasburg died peacefully on March 1, 2015, in Newport.

She was born on February 16, 1934, in Newport Center, to Claude and Ruth (Edmunds) Smith.

She was a bookkeeper for Desmarais Equipment for many years. She enjoyed knitting, quilting, and traveling. She was a big country music fan and loved jam sessions. In her retirement, she greatly enjoyed her work with the local Senior Companion Program.

She is survived by her children: Robin Orne and his wife, Karen, of Coventry, Kathleen Jaquish and her husband, Charles, of Irasburg, and Chad Orne and his wife, Kelly, of St. Johnsbury; her stepchildren: Gail Hurlbut and her husband, Don, of Albany, Wayne Marckres of Orleans, Lyle Marckres and his wife, Peggy, of Lyndonville, Marie Bolduc and her husband, Phil, of Bristol, and Rick Marckres of Orleans; her grandchildren: Kristopher Jaquish and his wife, Virginia, Jessica Jaquish, David Guay and his wife, Amy, Dennis Guay and his wife, Tina, Bob Ladouceur and his wife, Andrea, and Andrew Ladouceur; many step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren; her sisters: Esther Watson of Maine, and Margaret Sheltra of Florida; many nieces and nephews including one special niece, Mary Trembly; and by one special step-grandson, Dana Lesperance.

She was predeceased by her three husbands: Karlton Orne, Winifred Marckres, and Omer Bousquet; her brother Wallace Smith; her sisters: Charlotte Bousquet and Helen Bessett; her children: Debra Guay and Kevin Orne; and by her stepchildren: Arlene Lesperance and Randy Marckres.

A private graveside service will be held in the spring at Newport Center Cemetery.

Should friends desire, contributions may be made to the Irasburg United Church, care of Bev Johnson, P.O. Box 9, Irasburg, Vermont 05845.

Online condolences at curtis-britch.com.

obit CookAlice W. Cook

Alice W. Cook, 96, of Coventry died on February 27, 2015, in Newport.

She was born at the Webster Home in Coventry on December 17, 1918, to Percy and Hazel (Jackman) Webster. She graduated from Orleans High School in 1937.

In 1939 she went to Forest Hills off Long Island, New York, where she was a housekeeper and waiter for a family named Briggs. There in New York she was also a hand model for the Chevrolet Company and a photo of her hand was in a Saturday Evening Post commercial. But that lasted for one time because she was homesick and came back to Coventry.

In May of 1940 she married Kenneth Cook. They had three daughters: Mona, Patty, and Priscilla. At the time, they lived on a farm in Irasburg in the 1940s, but their little girl of 18 months, Priscilla, died and financial hardship discouraged them, and so Mr. Cook landed a job at the Electric Boat in Groton, Connecticut, and he worked on the Nautilaus, the first atomic submarine.

Mr. Cook died in 1959 and Mrs. Cook moved back to Coventry where she brought up her two young sons, Everett and Kevin. She never remarried. In 1969, she became the head cook at the North Country Union High School cafeteria, from where she retired in 1979.

She loved the outdoors, and enjoyed walking in the woods where she enjoyed being one with nature, and she would pick wild berries. All of her family remembers her wild strawberry shortcake and wild raspberry sauce over homemade vanilla cake. She loved gardening and tending to her flowers. She enjoyed going to area restaurants for dinner until her health declined. When she could no longer go outside because of Parkinson’s disease she enjoyed word puzzles, embroidering, and knitting. She was a very giving mother right up to the very end.

She is survived by her children: Patty Davis of Barton, Mona Bouler of Sweet Water, Alabama, Everett Cook of Isle Lamont, and Kevin Cook of Coventry; her grandchildren: Gabriel Davis, Becky Baker, Tom Bouler, and Stephanie Highland; five great-grandchildren; and by her brother Frederick Webster of Coventry.

She was predeceased by her husband, Kenneth; her daughter Priscilla; her son-in-law Harold Davis; her brothers: Richard and Charles; and by her sister Bernice Moulton.

Funeral services were held on March 5, in Newport. Spring interment will be in Irasburg Cemetery.

Should friends desire, contributions in her memory may be made to the Kurn Hattin Homes, P.O. Box 127, Westminster, Vermont 05158.

Online condolences at curtis-britch.com.

Ruby (Gray) Davies

Ruby (Gray) Davies died on January 11, 2015, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

She was born in Holland to Glenn and Effie (Wheeler) Gray on June 30, 1918.

She was very proud to have graduated from Derby Academy in Derby in 1938, and she loved Vermont.

She leaves four children, many grandchildren, and great-grandchildren in the West. She is survived by three sisters: Gertrude Cross, Phyllis Derick, and Gerry Barber and her husband, Louis; many nieces, nephews, and cousins; and by one aunt, Vivian Geoffroy, in the United States.

She was predeceased by her husband; one grandson; two sisters: Vera and Velma and her husband, Roland Curtis.

obit MeredithScott Norman Meredith

Scott Norman Meredith, 64, of Island Pond died on March 1, 2015, at his home.

He was born on November 11, 1950, in Newport to Roland and Norma (Christie) Meredith.

On October 20, 2002, he married Katherine Kontoes, who survives him.

He attended North Country Union High School. He was a self-employed carpenter. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, target practicing, and the outdoors.

He is survived by his wife, Katherine Meredith, of Island Pond; his children: Eli Meredith and his son Tyler of Twin Falls, Idaho, Emily Meredith and her finance, Chris Milam, and their three children, Aubrey, Sam, and Ryker, of Twin Falls; Ian Meredith of Boise, Idaho; and David Meredith and his wife, Amanda, and their two children, Aiden and Brandon, of New Bern, North Carolina; and by his siblings: Barbara Hodsden and her husband, Wayne, of Michigan City, Indiana, Sandra Nadeau of Fitchburg, Massachusetts, Wayne Meredith of Island Pond, and Brenda Johnson and her husband, Paul, of Ashburnham, Massachusetts.

Services will be held at the American Legion in Island Pond on May 2, 2015, at 1 p.m.

Online condolences at curtis-britch.com.

obit PatenaudeJoseph A. “Joe” Patenaude

Joseph A. “Joe” Patenaude, 87, of Derby died peacefully on March 3, 2015, in Newport.

He was surrounded by his loving family and is now gone to his heavenly father.

He was born on March 8, 1927, in Holland, to Rufus and Dorillda (Lussier) Patenaude.

On August 21, 1948, he married Lucille Fontaine, the love of his life, who survives him.

He was a successful farmer in Holland until 1985. After selling his farm, he and his wife started Joe’s Laundromat in Newport and moved to Coventry.

In 2000, they moved to Derby and have enjoyed many happy times with family at their home on Main Street. He had a passion for composing songs and singing them. He truly enjoyed working with his workhorses in his earlier days on the farm and continued after with his daughter’s horses. He also loved his cows and enjoyed bird watching.

He had a strong faith and loved being with his family as well as traveling. He enjoyed dancing and family gatherings and enjoyed his French Canadian heritage.

He was a member of Agri-Mark, United Farmers, Yankee Milk, and Community Circle at Community National Bank.

He is survived by his wife, Lucille Patenaude; his children: George Patenaude and his wife, Gale Hansen, of Richmond, Diane Forcier and her husband, John, of Colchester, Susan Letourneau and her husband, Bert, of Holland, Marcel Patenaude and his wife, Gaetane, of Holland, Joanne Aulis and her husband, Mike, of Franklin, New Hampshire, Christine Sykes and her husband, Gary, of Norton, Alan Patenaude of Rutland and Anna Hutchins and her husband, Jeff, of Westford; his 21 grandchildren: Aaron, Celestiane, Hannah Rose, Christian, Kim, Chad, Jill, Troy, Patrick, Jennifer, Bobbi-Jo, Andrew, Natalie, Matthew, Steven, Pamela, Stephanie, Rachel, Nicole, Jordan, Joanna, and their spouses; his 25 great-grandchildren; his siblings: Raymond Patenaude, Leo Patenaude, Jeannine Lague, Cecile Wheeler, Rita Gobeil, Anita Lafleur, and Rose LaChance, plus their spouses; and by numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.

He was predeceased by his brothers: Larry, Peter, and Homer; his sister Marielle Morin; and by his son Adrien Patenaude on May 13, 2014. He also has many surviving and deceased family members of his wife’s (Fontaine) family.

Funeral services were held on March 7, in Derby Line. Spring interment will be in St. Edward’s Cemetery.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to St. Edward’s Church, 191 Claremont Terrace, Newport, Vermont 05855.

Online condolences at curtis-britch.com.

obit PetitZillah “Jiggs” Petit

Zillah “Jiggs” Petit, 83, of Coventry died peacefully in Newport, with her family at her side, on March 5, 2015.

She was born on March 10, 1931, in Mille Run, Maine, to Everett and Zillah (Newman) Rockwell.

On June 26, 1949, she married Robert Petit, who predeceased her on September 19, 2011.

From the time they were married, she and Mr. Petit owned and operated a large dairy farm until they retired. She was a lay pastor in several area churches and was very involved in many different areas of ministering, such as speaking to church groups, children’s camps, and performing weddings, etc. She and her husband also served in Haiti as ministers with both physical and financial support. They also served as foster parents for many years involving 56 children.

Beyond all else, their farm, family, and faith were the most important in their lives. She helped a lot of people in a variety of ways over her lifetime.

She is survived by her children: Lewis, Brenda Whitehill and her husband, Richard, Tom and his wife, Donna, Gary and his wife, Edna, Donna Heath and her husband, Bill, Everett and his wife, Laurie, Lisa Hurd, Sheldon, and Ernie; 18 grandchildren; eight great-grandchildren; her brothers: Everett, Paul, and Arthur and his wife, Donna; her brother-in-law Floyd Keniston; her sister-in-law Lois Rockwell; and by several dozen nieces and nephews.

She was predeceased by her brothers: Colby and his wife, Mary Rockwell, and John Rockwell; and by her sisters: Ida Bacon and her husband, Charlie, and Evangeline Keniston.

Funeral services were held in West Charleston on March 9. Spring interment will be in Newport Center Cemetery.

Should friends desire, contributions in her memory may be made to the Free Will Baptist Church, 1028 Vermont Route 105, West Charleston, Vermont 05872.

Online condolences at curtis-britch.com.

obit riceHester D. Rice

Hester D. Rice died in Montpelier on March 2, 2015, at the age of 95.

She was born on November 6, 1919, in Alburgh, to Herbert A. and Dorris E. (Willey) Rice.

The family moved when she was a year old to Derby Line, when her father was appointed deputy collector of customs at that port of entry to the United States from Canada.

She was educated at the Derby Line Elementary School, Derby Academy, and the University of Vermont, graduating from the latter in May of 1942, cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa.

In June of 1942, she married Forrest W. Rice of Derby in Boise, Idaho, where he was stationed at Gowen Air Field. They subsequently lived in Casper, Wyoming, and Scottsbluff, Nebraska, where Mr. Rice was stationed at Army Air Force bases, and she at the civilian personnel offices. Later she worked at the Army Welch Convalescent Hospital in Daytona Beach, Florida. They returned to Vermont in 1946 and resided in Newport from then on.

A son, William Herbert, was born in 1953. After he became of school age, Mrs. Rice worked at Radio Station WIKE in Newport, taught third and fourth grades at the Newport Elementary School, and then for 30 years at Associated Insurance Agencies, Inc. in Newport.

She was an active member of the United Church of Newport, at various times teaching in Sunday School, serving on church committees and being a faithful member of the church choir for 55 years. As a volunteer in the community, Mrs. Rice worked in recruitment of donors in Newport City and other Orleans County towns during the earliest years of the Red Cross blood drawing program, for North Country Hospital from the time of its opening in 1971 until 2007, and at Newport’s Hillside School for several years with second-grade readers.

In December of 2007, Mrs. Rice moved from Newport to Westview Meadows in Montpelier to be closer to her family. While living at Westview she enjoyed taking part in the daily activities and social gatherings. Her greatest joy and achievement there were the summer days when she would walk as much as three miles in a day around the Westview property.

She is survived by her son William H. Rice and her daughter-in-law Gloria Kelley Rice of Calais; her grandson Warren E. Rice and his significant other, Anna Carpenter, of South Burlington; her granddaughter Caroline Rice Forni and her husband, Steven Forni, of West Springfield, Massachusetts; and by her sister-in-law Dorothy Rice McHenry of Williamsburg, Virginia.

She was predeceased by her former husband, Forrest W. Rice, of Derby; and by her sister-in-law Mary Cooper Kusik of University Heights, Ohio.

Funeral services were held on March 6, in Newport.

Should friends desire, contributions in her memory, in lieu of flowers, may be made to the United Church of Newport; or to the Pope Memorial Frontier Animal Shelter, in care of Betsy Hampton, 502 Strawberry Acres, Newport, Vermont 05855.

Online condolences at curtis-britch.com.

obit reidel 2George “Jersey” Riedel

George “Jersey” Riedel, 60, of Rockaway, New Jersey, died peacefully on February 21, 2015.

He will be sadly missed by those who knew him. He loved cooking — his clam chowder and “pig roasts.”

He liked hunting, and he enjoyed his hunting trips in Vermont.

Remember him when you’re partying — his infectious laughter and generous manner. “Clink those beer bottles together” in his memory.

He was so active and will be missed.

He leaves his wife of 41 years, Nancy; his son George M.; his daughter Michelle and her husband, Andrew; and his cherished grandchildren, Liam and Elizabeth. He was a lifelong friend of Brian and Linda Hinton of Barton, and he’s had a long connection to this area.

Death notices

Marian Ruth Flanders Amadon

Marian Ruth Flanders Amadon of Orleans, wife of Kenneth E. Amadon, died unexpectedly on February 20, 2015.

A complete obituary will follow and will include information on a memorial service to be held at a later date at the convenience of the family.

Jack Taylor

Jack Taylor, 81, of Charleston, beloved husband of Janice Taylor, died suddenly on March 5, 2015, in Newport.

There will be no calling hours. A graveside service will be held in the spring at the Hillside Cemetery in East Charleston. A full obituary will follow.

Wolcott “Wookie” Charles Allen

Wolcott “Wookie” Charles Allen, 82, of Brownington died peacefully on March 8, 2015, at his home.

Services will be held at the convenience of the family.

 Laurette Houle

Laurette Houle, 89, of Irasburg died on March 9, 2015, in Barton.

Funeral services will be held at 11:30 a.m. on Thursday, March 12, at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church in Orleans with the Reverend Timothy Naples celebrating a Mass of Christian burial. Friends may call at the church on March 12, from 10 a.m. until the hour of the funeral.

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Ruminations: On the historic rise of the birthday cake

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Photo by Lara Starr

Photo by Lara Starr

copyright the Chronicle March 4, 2015

by Tena Starr

My family isn’t overly fond of cake, which got me to wondering about the history of the ritual. How is it that cake and candles are such an entrenched tradition that people who don’t even really like cake still have it at a birthday celebration?

(To be honest here, Chris at Parker Pie made this year’s birthday cake, and most of us confessed that we did, indeed, like it. So maybe it’s just the cakes we make ourselves that we’re not so fond of.)

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