Homeopathy reflects a gentler model of parenting


Local homeopathic practitioner Judy Jarvis spoke at the Greensboro Public Library on April 16 on the subject of using homeopathic remedies and essential oils for children's health. Photo by Elizabeth Trail

Local homeopathic practitioner Judy Jarvis spoke at the Greensboro Public Library on April 16 on the subject of using homeopathic remedies and essential oils for children’s health. Photo by Elizabeth Trail

copyright the Chronicle April 22, 2015

by Elizabeth Trail

GREENSBORO — Most of the five women who came to the Greensboro library on Thursday evening knew one another well, giving the gathering an intimate feeling. The occasion was a talk by Judy Jarvis, a homeopathic practitioner, about using homeopathic remedies and essential oils on children. Each of the mothers arrived with questions, mostly about specific issues they were experiencing in their families — a baby with a cold, a growing child with leg cramps, a preteen having trouble falling asleep, a teenager under stress.

However, the first question, asked by Virginia LaPierre, a mother of five children ranging in age from four to 13, was more basic.

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Small border businesses say greenbacks only


copyright the Chronicle April 22, 2015

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

The Canadian dollar, or the loonie, has dropped in value in the past year, which has made it hard for border businesses in the Northeast Kingdom to continue to accept Canadian currency at par.  Photo by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

The Canadian dollar, or the loonie, has dropped in value in the past year, which has made it hard for border businesses in the Northeast Kingdom to continue to accept Canadian currency at par. Photo by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

The value of the Canadian dollar has declined sharply in the past year, giving businesses on the border a choice to make. As of Tuesday, a Canadian dollar was worth 81 U.S. cents, according to Google Finance.

For a long time, many local businesses accommodated Canadian visitors by accepting their dollar at par. But they’re finding that’s no longer an option.

“We operate on a very small margin,” said Steve Breault, owner of Newport Natural Market and Café. “If we take it, and we lose 30 percent on the dollar, it just becomes impossible.”

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Obituaries April 22, 2015

Douglas Wayne Breault

obit BreaultDouglas Wayne Breault, 73, of Bushnell, Florida, died Friday, April 10, 2015.

He was born October 26, 1941, in Richford.

He was a member of the Moose Lodge in Lake Panasoffkee, Florida, and was retired from Metal Industries in Bushnell. He was a good husband, a good father, and a hard worker.

He is survived by his wife of 44 years, Murielle Harbec Breault of Bushnell; his son Jason Breault of Castine, Maine; his daughter Victoria Breault of Summerfield, Florida; three grandchildren; and his brothers: Charles Breault, Bruce Breault, Clinton Breault, and Mitchell Breault, all of New York.

To see more, visit http://purcell.beyersfuneralhomeandcrematory.com/tribute/details/5778/Douglas_Wayne_Breault/obituary.html#tribute-start.


obit ChatleyFrederick “Rick” Sinclair Chatley

Frederick Sinclair Chatley, 76, died on April 6, 2015, after a courageous battle with cancer, at North Country Hospital in Newport.

He was born on October 16, 1938, in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania, to John Jr. and Ruth Sinclair Chatley. He spent the majority of his life in West Chester, Pennsylvania, graduating from West Chester Junior-Senior High School, in the Class of 1956. He earned a degree in secondary education from West Chester State Teachers College (now West Chester University) and went on to receive his master of psychology degree at Villanova University. He briefly taught elementary school before starting his 39-year career with the Chester County Intermediate Unit.

During his retirement he enjoyed traveling, joining the wine harvest in France and serving as a guest ranger for the Vermont Park Service. He managed a shop on East Gay Street in West Chester, which he enthusiastically filled with antiques and uniques. In addition, he restored and lovingly tended to the gardens where he lived in Marshallton, Pennsylvania, on the grounds of the Bradford Friends Meeting. Mr. Chatley was a devoted member of the meeting for 40 years. He also served on the board of the Friends of Springton Manor in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania, and volunteered in various capacities for the Chester County Parks and Recreation Department.

Vermont was a lifelong favorite locale. Mr. Chatley was fond of spending the summer and foliage seasons there, exploring the natural beauty of the state. With the help of family and friends, he built a home away from home outside of Island Pond, near his beloved Lake Willoughby. He returned to Chester and Lancaster counties in Pennsylvania as the weather turned cooler, and for the past six years ventured to Florida in late winter to bask in the sunshine and explore the region with family. In addition to his work and travels, he was an avid birder, nature enthusiast, environmentalist, artist, photographer, and collector. He enjoyed meeting new friends with varied interests in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and wherever else he wandered around the world.

He is survived by his daughters: Megan Chatley McCrery and her husband, Albert McCrery IV, and Erin Sinclair Chatley Duffy; his granddaughter Avery Sinclair McCrery; his brother John Chatley III; and by his sister Marcia Chatley Gregory. In addition, he was a loving uncle to many nieces and nephews, as well as a dear friend to an extensive network of cousins and acquaintances.

There will be a service to celebrate his life and spirit at the Bradford Friends Meeting in Marshallton on Sunday, May 31, at noon.

In lieu of flowers or donations, the family wishes to honor his memory by asking others to recognize the beauty of nature that Mr. Chatley so enjoyed. He delighted in the simple gestures of placing a birdhouse or chime in a nearby tree and planting something special in the garden, and following his example would be a fitting tribute to his life.



obit DeslandesCamille Harold Ernest Deslandes

Camille Harold Ernest Deslandes, 57, of Island Pond died peacefully at his home on April 18, 2015, with his family and friends by his side.  He was born on May 13, 1957, in Newport.  He battled lung cancer for a year before dying.

Mr. Deslandes was a loving, helpful man who enjoyed traveling.  He would travel to Maine and New York almost every weekend to watch his nephew race horses.  He traveled to simulcast parlors in Scarsborough, Maine and Saratogoa, New York where he met many friends whom he enjoyed spending time with.  He loved taking care of his mother for 16 years after his father died.

He is survived by his mother, Marion Deslandes; his sisters: Nancy Roby and her husband, Norman, and Linda Bones and her husband, James; by his brother Clair Delsandes; his sister-in-law Linda Deslandes, all of Island Pond; by his brother Donald Deslandes and his wife, Candy, of Newport; by his brother Jeffrey Deslandes and his wife, Kinda, along with his horse racing idol Daniel and his little buddy Caden Deslandes of Sarco, Maine; and by his sister Gloria Collins and her husband, Doug, of Brownington; by several nieces and nephews; and by many friends and family.

He was predeceased by his father, Harold Deslandes, and brother Gary Scott of Island Pond.

Friends may call from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. on Wednesday, April 22, at the Curtis-Britch-Converse-Rushford Funeral Home at 1199 Railroad Street in Island Pond.  Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday April 23, at the First Congregational Church in Island Pond with the Reverend Jacob Kosis officiating. There is a fund set up on line to help pay for funeral expenses on gofundme.com, and also a memorial is set up at the Passumpsic Savings Bank in memory of Mr. Deslandes.  Spring interment will be in Lakeside Cemetery in Island Pond.

Online condolences at curtis-britch.com.



obit Leonard bwWilliam “Bill” A. Leonard Jr.

William “Bill” A. Leonard Jr, of Jay died peacefully on April 14, 2015, in Newport.

He was born on December 20, 1943, in Manchester, Connecticut, to William and Helen Leonard.

He was a machinist and carpenter.  He worked many years in Connecticut, and at Butterfields and Ethan Allen as a machinist. For ten years he was a carpenter building many homes in the area, including homes for both his daughters.

In retirement, he drove for Fisher Auto Parts and Green Mountain Electric.

He loved being with his family, and he enjoyed coin collecting, motorcycling, camping, NASCAR and being outside.

He was a founding member and firefighter of the Jay Fire Department.  He was a captain and lieutenant for 25 years.  He was also proud of his wife being the first woman firefighter in the area.  He was a member of Mutual Aid, a Jay forest warden for 25 years, and a member of the Gold Wing Road Riders Association for ten years.

He is survived by his wife of 50 years, Sandra Leonard of Jay; by his daughters: Kathy Murphy and her husband, Dave, of Jay and Cindy Vincent Goodyear and her husband, Matt, of Jay; by his son William B. Leonard and his wife, Betty, of Newport Center; by his grandchildren: Dawn Waters and her husband, Lenny, of Glens Falls, New York, Steven Murphy and his friend, Kassy, of Jay, Seth Vincent and his fiancé, Mel Ryea, of North Troy, Brittany and Paige Leonard of Newport Center, and Jenna Vincent of Jay. He was awaiting the arrival of his first great-granddaughter in July.  He is also survived by his siblings: Edward Leonard and his wife, Vern, of New York, Clifford Leonard and his wife, Jackie, of Connecticut, Sandy Jones and her husband, Roger, of Connecticut, and Patty Archambo of Massachusetts; by his brother-in-law John Wilson and his wife, Rhonda, of Connecticut; and by several nieces and nephews.  He will be really missed by his best friend, his dog Ginger.

He was predeceased by his son-in-law Christopher Vincent in 2007; by his parents, William and Helen Leonard; and his special grandparents, William and Rose Leonard, all of Connecticut.

Funeral services were held on April 18 at the Curtis-Britch-Converse-Rushford Funeral Home in Newport with the Reverend Rick Shover officiating.  Interment will take place at a later date.

Should friends desire, contributions in his memory may be made to the Jay Fire Department, in care of Steve Murphy, 357 Partridge Hollow Road, Jay, Vermont 05859.

Online condolences at curtis-britch.com.



obit magoonRonald Lee Magoon

Ronald Lee Magoon, 54, of Amherst, New Hampshire, husband of Arlene M. (Abrams) Magoon, died on Wednesday, April 8, 2015, at the Community Hospice House in Merrimack, New Hampshire.

A resident of Amherst for the past 30 years, Mr. Magoon was born in Boston, Massachusetts, on August 26, 1960, son of Judith (Hill) Magoon and the late Kenneth Magoon, who died August 26, 2011. Mr. Magoon lived in Newport during his youth and was a graduate of North Country Union High School, Class of 1978. He furthered his education in Ohio and was currently attending Southern New Hampshire University.

Mr. Magoon was employed as a supervisor and senior technician at Vectron International of Hudson, New Hampshire, for the past 15 years.

Members of his family include his wife, Arlene, whom he married in 1985; his mother, Judith Magoon, of Newport; three children: Chrysann Magoon of Marlborough, Massachusetts, Marcel Chabot and his wife Dorothy of Amherst, New Hampshire, and Caitlyn Folia and her husband, Eric, of Auburn, New Hampshire; four grandchildren: Alexa Rose, Travis Ronald, Ariana Matteline, and Charlotte Lee; his brother Barry Magoon and his wife, Mary, of North Carolina; a nephew and niece, Jordan Magoon and Bailey Magoon of North Carolina; his aunt Rachel Magoon of Waldorf, Maryland; and cousins Carol Moore of Vermont and Betty Nolin of Florida. In addition to his father, Ron was predeceased by an aunt, Lois Moore, of Derby Line.

A typical Saturday afternoon would find Mr. Magoon in the garage tinkering with his latest invention and sharing ideas with his stepson Marcel, who moved his family back from Michigan when Mr. Magoon was diagnosed with cancer. They live just three miles from the family home.

Mr. Magoon’s shared interest in travel with stepdaughter Caitlyn inspired travel adventures to Canada, North Carolina, California and Oregon. His youngest daughter, Chrysann, brought him great joy, especially during football season where they became the Patriots’ biggest “couch coaches.” Steaks on the grill and their humorous banter made any score a winner.

Mr. Magoon loved his motorcycle. He ventured on many trips with friends, touring New England. A motorcycle trip to Nova Scotia with his wife and friends was one of his favorite adventures.

Another of his favorite vehicles was his Kubota tractor. Several holes in the yard and many rocks have been rearranged by his maneuvering skills. On one Fourth of July, the Kubota was used to pull the family float in the Amherst parade. The float won most colorful.

Cancer was a challenge to be met. After diagnosis he brought a retriever puppy and named him Shiloh. During experimental treatments, chemo, and declining health, Shiloh was his compassionate pal, sharing the best and the worse days remaining at his side defying the odds.

Mr. Magoon’s final gift to this world came unexpectedly but is long lasting. On two occasions he was asked to speak to the medical community about palliative care from the patient’s point of view. Having never spoken in a public forum, he bravely stepped up and honestly spoke about cancer care. He made a difference.

Memorial visitation was held at the Farwell Funeral Home Nashua on April 18. Interment will take place at Pine Grove Cemetery in Newport on Saturday, July 18, at 11 a.m. Donations may be made in his memory to Pediatric Cancer Foundation. http://fastercure.org/ (Guide Star Exchange affirms that 90% of donations are used toward programs dedicated to ending childhood cancer.)

Arrangements are in the care of the Farwell Funeral Service at www.farwellfuneral.com.



obit merceri bwAndrew “Andy” Merceri

Andrew “Andy” Merceri of Albany died peacefully on April 2, 2015, at the age of 79.

He was born in Palmer, Massachusetts, to Irene Tucker and Andrew Merceri.

He served in the Army before working for Diamond International Corporation for more than 40 years. Mr. Merceri was a lifelong resident of Palmer before retiring. Upon retirement, he moved to Vermont with his wife, Leanna to the small community of Albany where he especially enjoyed playing cards with friends.

Mr. Merceri was preceded in death by his wife, Leanna Merceri.

He is survived by his daughter Kim (Keene) Merceri; his son Darrell Merceri; his stepdaughter Marylee Foisy; his stepsons Frederick Shannon, Christopher Shannon and Steven Shannon; as well as many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A celebration of life will take place on Saturday, April 25, at 11 a.m. at New Birth Christian Church in Thorndike, Massachusettts. All are welcome to attend and celebrate Mr. Merceri’s life.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to New Birth Christian Church.



Travis J. Rhye

Travis J. Rhye, 40, of Newport died suddenly on April 7, 2015, at his home.

He was born on December 17, 1974, to Ronald and Betty Lou (Rotunda) Rhye.

He graduated from North Country Union High School in Newport. Among his hobbies, he enjoyed skate boarding.

He is survived by his parents, Ronald and Betty Lou Rhye, of Newport, and by his son Nicholas Rhye.

Services will be held at the convenience of the family.

Online condolences at curtis-britch.com.



Helen Muriel Barnes Waterhouse Sim

Helen Muriel Barnes Waterhouse Sim, born September 28, 1923, in Island Pond, daughter of Cydney and Marjorie Barnes, died April 11 at her home in Isle La Motte.

She was the mother of two daughters, Marjorie Bertram and Joyce Tuck, both of Isle La Motte. She was also grandmother of six, great-grandmother of 12, and great-great grandmother of three. She married Rodney Waterhouse in April of 1944. She was a resident of Swanton for many years with her husband, Rodney, who predeceased her. She was active in the Swanton Congregational Church and a member of the First Club.

She married James Sim and made her home in Alburg. She attended St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Alburg where she was an active member until her death.

She graduated from Lyndon Normal School and taught in many one-room schools (the last being in Highgate), and she worked as a nurse at Kerbs and St. Albans hospitals for many years. She was a licensed NRA instructor, past president of the Vermont Folklore Society, a member of the writers workshop, and a member of the Penn Woman. She was a nationally published author and an artist. She served as a representative to the regional planning commission for Isle La Motte.

In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made to the Isle La Motte Library or CIDER (Champlain Islanders Developing Essential Resources, Inc).



obit warnerAlvin W. Warner

Alvin Warner, 96, died on April 19, 2015, in Lowell with family at his bedside.

He was born on July 30, 1918, in Lowell, a son of Vernon and Selma Crawford Warner.

On October 31, 1938 he was married to Marguerite Snider, who predeceased him by 30 days, on March 20, 2015. They were married for 76 years.

For many years, he was a member of, and trustee for, the Lowell Congregational Church.

He served as a state legislator, town moderator and selectman as well as a board member for the Vermont Electric Cooprative.  He owned and operated a farm, operated heavy equipment, and was a welder for the asbestos mines and the railroad.  He designed, created and operated a hydro power plant for several years in Lowell.  He, with his family, built and operated the Missisquoi Manor (a bowling alley, dance hall, roller skating rink and banquet center).

He is survived by his six children and their partners: Albert Warner, Priscilla Matten, Delvin Warner, Lorin Warner, Arlon Warner, and Alden Warner.  He is also survived by 12 grandchildren; 29 great-grandchildren; five great-great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

He lived life to the fullest.  He enjoyed playing and listening to music, dancing, traveling, snowmobiling, four-wheeling and bowling.  He was very creative with metal and built, among other things, tractors and many four-wheeler trailers for family and friends.  His happiness was extremely evident when family or friends stopped to visit, play music, have a snack or play cards, or all of the above.

There will be visiting hours to celebrate the lives of both Alvin and Marguerite Warner at the Curtis-Britch-Converse-Rushford Funeral Home at 4670 Darling Hill Road in Newport on Wednesday, April 22, from 5 until 8 p.m. There will be a double funeral, also at the funeral home, at 1 p.m. on Thursday, April 23, with the Reverend John Genco officiating. Burial will take place on May 11 at the Mountainview Cemetery in Lowell at 1 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, contributions in his memory may be made to Orleans-Essex Visiting Nurses Association and Hospice, 46 Lakemont Road, Newport, Vermont 05855.

Online condolences at curtis-britch.com.



obit Whitcomb bwRichard Allen Whitcomb Sr.

obit vets flagRichard Allen Whitcomb Sr., 73, of Derby died on April 14, 2015, in Newport.

He was born on December 28, 1941, in St. Johnsbury to Myrle Davis Woodmansee and the late Urban Whitcomb.  He received his GED in June of 1988.

He married Barbara Jean (Villeneuve) Whitcomb, who predeceased him on October 7, 2007.

Mr. Whitcomb was a block guard for the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department.  He retired from the Vermont Army National Guard and obtained the rank of staff sergeant. He also was employed at one time at American Maple, Hood’s Creamery, and Moss Trucking, and he was a farmer, a truck driver and longtime bus driver.

Among his hobbies, he enjoyed hunting, fishing, and bowling where he held the league high score of 297, a near perfect game! He also enjoyed boating, working on cars, and enjoyed the company of his dog “Crystal.”  He was a practical joker, an avid bowler and a softball champion. His CB radio handle was “Candyman.” He also loved to snowmobile, play horseshoes, fish, attend his son Mark Shelton’s concerts, and go on cruise vacations with Theresa. His favorite NASCAR drivers were Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jr. He loved the many dogs he had in his life.  He especially enjoyed spending time with his grandchildren.

He is survived by his children: Richard Whitcomb Jr. of Salem, Connecticut, Karen Whitcomb and James Trent of North Carolina, and David Whitcomb and his girlfriend, Lisa Hastings, of Norwich, Connecticut; by his many grandchildren, including: Barry, Johna, Mykhaila, Brandon, Adam, Vanessa, Meagan, Miranda, David Jr., and Dyllan; and great-grandchildren; by his mother, Myrle Leithead, of Lyndonville; by his stepson Mark Shelton and his wife, Lisa, of Derby; by his fiancé, Theresa Bowen, of Derby; and by her children: John Roy and his wife, Diane, of Holland, Debbie Grow and her husband, Dan, of Enosburg, Robin Nolan and his wife, Christina, of Derby, and Angel Girard and her husband, Eric, of Derby. He is also survived by his brother Bernard Whitcomb of California; his sisters Janet Fenoff and Jean Peck, both of Florida; and his half brothers and sister: Gary Fenoff of St. Johnsbury, Billy Whitcomb of Jay, and Judy Lamont of Florida; and by numerous nieces and nephews.

He was predeceased by his baby girl Villeneuve in 1961, Baby Boy Whitcomb in 1965 and Barbara Jean Marie Whitcomb in 1978. He was also predeceased by his brother Walter Whitcomb.

Funeral services were held on April 17 at the Curtis-Britch-Converse-Rushford Funeral Home in Newport with the Reverend John Genco officiating.

Military honors were held following the service at the funeral home.

Should friends desire, contributions in his memory may be made to the Pope Memorial Frontier Memorial Animal Shelter, 502 Strawberry Acres, Newport, Vermont 05855, or to the American Cancer Society, Vermont Division, Inc., 55 Day Lane, Williston, Vermont 05495.

Online condolences at curtis-britch.com.


Editorial: Fight tar sands oil — for the right reasons

copyright the Chronicle February 26, 2014

Next week at Town Meeting four Orleans County towns will vote on a resolution that basically says they don’t want tar sands oil to be shipped through the Portland Pipeline’s Northeast Kingdom oil lines.  They are Albany, Glover, Westmore, and Charleston.

Unfortunately, none of those towns are host to the pipeline and would not be directly affected by any such plan.

For years now, Vermont environmentalists have warned about the possibility of the flow of the lines being reversed and Canadian tar sands oil being shipped south and west through them from Alberta to Maine.  For two years, 350 Vermont has attempted to show opposition by persuading towns to adopt resolutions at Town Meeting.

Although their efforts were a bit more organized this year, they still seem to be inept at best.  One of the towns that would be most severely affected by any oil spill is Barton, yet that town will not be voting this year on a tar sands resolution.

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Barton woman given deferred sentence for arson

copyright the Chronicle January 29, 2014

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT — A Barton woman pled guilty to first degree arson Tuesday in the Orleans Criminal Division of Superior Court.

Rebecca R. Ray, 21, apparently settled the score with an informant who helped police arrest her boyfriend for heroin trafficking — by burning down the informant’s house.

Judge Howard VanBenthuysen deferred sentencing in the case for three years.

Ms. Ray is the girlfriend of Matthew R. Prue, 34, of Barton who, with his brother Louis A. Prue II, 40, of Newport was arrested on July 10 for selling heroin, said Morrisville Detective Jason Luneau.  The brothers were charged with selling 26 grams of heroin in a controlled buy carried out at the Subway in Orleans, he said.

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Sargent joins friends in Sochi for Olympics

Ida Sargent of Barton will ski in her first Winter Olympics next month.  Photo courtesy of Dave and Lindy Sargent

Ida Sargent of Barton will ski in her first Winter Olympics next month. Photo courtesy of Dave and Lindy Sargent

copyright the Chronicle January 29, 2014

by Natalie Hormilla


On the week of her twenty-sixth birthday, Ida Sargent of Barton got some very big news — that she had officially been named to the U.S. Olympic women’s cross-country ski team.

“I think when I found out I couldn’t stop smiling,” Ms. Sargent said in a telephone interview Friday from Toblach, Italy, where she will compete in two World Cup races this weekend. 

The weekend’s events are the last for Ms. Sargent before she heads to her first Olympic games, in Sochi, Russia.

“Then on Sunday, we’ll drive to Munich, then Monday we do all the processing — fill out the forms, get the visas figured out, and get our uniforms.  Then on Tuesday, we fly to Sochi.”

Even with the Olympics around the corner, Ms. Sargent is still focused on the tasks at hand.

“Right now, I’m still kind of focusing on these next World Cup races and trying to just take each moment in stride,” she said.

Her birthday plans included hard training sessions in the morning, followed by fun with a couple of friends who just happen to be in Italy, too.

“Hannah Dreissigacker and Susan Dunklee are training about 30 minutes from here, which is really unique, because we usually don’t cross paths,” she said.  “That’ll be a really special way to celebrate my birthday.”

Ms. Dunklee and Ms. Dreissigacker are newly named Olympians themselves, having been nominated to the U.S. women’s biathlon team.

The three women have known each other most of their lives, through skiing together at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center, first as kids in the Bill Koch League, then as young women in the Craftsbury Green Racing Project.

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Editorial: Newport City Council missed the boat

The Newport City Council missed the boat last week when approached about the possibility of putting a tar sands resolution on the agenda for the annual City Meeting in March.  The council could have welcomed city residents who want to talk about an important local issue.  Instead they snubbed them.

The council told residents and an environmental organizer who wants to put a question about tar sands on the ballot that they might accept a petition from 5 percent of the city’s voters and put it on the ballot.  Or they might not.

Traditionally, the city council has turned down items that are not strictly city business, aldermen told the voters.

In this discussion, they told voters and a representative of the Sierra Club that they should not put anything “politicized” on the ballot.

Isn’t the whole idea of Town Meeting Day about local politics?  How strange for the city’s leading political figures to say they want to avoid politics at their city meeting.

Beyond that, just whose city is Newport anyway?  If 5 percent of city voters want to talk about something, what harm is that going to do?

The city council seems to be saying that tar sands is not a local issue.

City Manager John Ward called the Sierra Club, “just one more lobbying group coming here to tell us how to live.”

But tar sands is definitely a local issue.  The Portland Pipeline goes through Newport Center, which borders the city.  The pipeline goes through a number of towns further south where the rivers drain into Lake Memphremagog.

Does the council believe that an oil spill into rivers and streams leading to Lake Memphremagog would not harm the city’s economy, not to mention the environment?  If there were a spill, we wouldn’t be eating bass, walleye, trout or perch for years to come.

Newport City’s annual meeting is typically a brief, perfunctory affair where almost no one comes and almost nothing is discussed.  The city’s business is done by paper ballot.

Certainly this works well in terms of getting a good number of people to vote on municipal and school budgets and elections.  It’s more convenient for working people to choose their voting time.

But the lack of discussion is unfortunate, and here is an opportunity to allow city residents to have a debate about an issue that could affect the city drastically.  What is the problem with allowing that discussion and even a vote on a resolution?

There is such a thing as being too provincial.  The Northeast Kingdom sometimes has that reputation, and it’s time for that to change.

The city council could have taken a step to welcome discussion on an important regional topic, but instead they mostly closed the door on it.  Why?  Tradition?  Maybe it’s time for a new tradition. — B.M.D.


Editorial: Adults should set better examples about bullying

Recently, a videotape of schoolchildren from Orleans Elementary fighting was posted on Facebook.  Upon investigation, the school’s principal concluded that it wasn’t so much a case of targeted bullying, as some had suspected, as it was an argument, mostly amongst middle school kids.

However, the incident served to highlight the role social media plays in the lives of young people these days — and how adults can exacerbate a situation.

It also illustrated the increasing complexity of a world where media so thoroughly infiltrates the lives of young people that it’s hard to draw the line between what happens in school and what happens outside of it.  An incident that occurs outside of school but is publicly posted and viewed by schoolchildren — what territory does that lie in?

The issue is so complex and troubling that it would take more than the space we have on this page to delve into every aspect of it.  But there are two things we’d particularly like to mention here.

One doesn’t have to look far these days to see plenty of uncivil behavior.  “Watch TV, listen to talk shows, talk radio…people seem to be so much less civil,” said Andre Messier, principal of Lake Region Union High School.

We agree with him.

The federal government is certainly no example of civil discourse or respectful behavior.  Political and ideological differences turn into personal, often nasty and intimidating attacks.  News programs don’t deliver information in a calm or neutral fashion; many of them are little more than shouting matches.  Scorn, condescension, and polarity are far more prevalent than empathy, compassion, and respect.

In the age of You Tube, iPhones, iPads, Facebook, and vines, nearly anyone can put anything up for public view — tasteful or not, worth watching or not.  Shock value seems to be a goal, the ultimate goal being attention, we suppose.

And we don’t need the National Security Agency’s help with violating our privacy.  We seem to be pretty good at doing it ourselves.

One would think that, in such an atmosphere — which children are heavily exposed to — adults would set out to temper matters.  Instead, as in the Orleans incident, the opposite can happen.

“Basically, all of the adults turned into bullies themselves in the comments,” said Kristin Atwood, an Orleans School Board member who saw the boy’s video after a Facebook friend passed it on to her.  “The sharing of the video was really kind of incendiary, and the adults’ comments were often promoting violence against the student who’s accused of bullying,” Ms. Atwood said.

If a questionable video involving schoolchildren appears on Facebook, it seems to us that the appropriate course would be to bring the matter to the attention of school officials and leave it there.  “Sharing” the video and posting incendiary comments (behaving, in other words, like a bully) does not strike us as an ideal method for dealing with an online video posted by a kid about kids.

Posting something online rather than talking to a teacher or administrator can inflame a situation, but it won’t remedy it.  Kids may not know better; adults should.

So grownups:  Either get off Facebook, or limit your own behavior to the best of what you would expect from children.   If you deplore uncivil discourse and disrespectful behavior in children, don’t do such a good job of showing them how it’s done. — T.S.

For the Chronicle‘s story on bullying, click here.


Editorial: No retreat

President Obama was right to stand his ground while the government was shut down by the U.S. House of Representatives, which is controlled by the Republican Party, which is controlled by its extreme right wing.

To give in would have been to turn the government over to minority rule by a group united in its hatred of government.  As Senator Bernie Sanders has said, to give up part of Obama Care to avoid the shutdown would only invite the House to use its absolute control over the budget to pick off the next program it decides to hate — Social Security, say, or Medicare.

Sensing, perhaps, that they have misjudged the public mood, the Republicans are now trying to choreograph a slow retreat.  Their leaders propose to fund the most popular federal services — the national parks were on the bargaining table Tuesday night — while leaving the programs they most dislike begging.

If the Democrats agree to play that game, the result will be the same.  The Republicans will fund just exactly as much government as they want, of exactly the sort they want.  That would seem pretty much like running the country.  In their effort to do that through the electoral process, the Republicans missed a couple of steps, like the Senate and the presidency.

The Democrats need to hang tough in this crisis.  The Republicans need to answer a question posed during a recent, unrelated argument by Barton Village Trustee David White:  “Why can’t we all put our big boy pants on?”

And as long as we’re excoriating people, we’re puzzled by the gag order that padlocked federal agencies have imposed on their idle employees.

Why shouldn’t we know about the services they are unable to provide?  Why shouldn’t we know how this has affected their lives and their families?

Fact is, they and the rest of us are being screwed by the devious, anti-democratic machinations of the right-wing rump of the Republican Party.  And everybody should have the right to say so. — C.B.