Sugaring season was short

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Alfred Carrier and his son, Alfred Carrier Jr., take a moment from sugaring to pose for a family photo.  The younger Mr. Carrier says that he has only missed one day of sugaring in the seven years since the family began making maple syrup.   Photos by Elizabeth Trail

Alfred Carrier and his son, Alfred Carrier Jr., take a moment from sugaring to pose for a family photo. The younger Mr. Carrier says that he has only missed one day of sugaring in the seven years since the family began making maple syrup. Photos by Elizabeth Trail

copyright the Chronicle April 29, 2015

by Elizabeth Trail

Alfred Carrier and his son Alfred Carrier Jr., were among the last people in Orleans County still making maple syrup this past weekend. Many local sugarmakers report that they quit boiling early last week.

Local sugarmakers say the season was nothing to brag about. While some made close to a regular crop, others said they made about half as much as normal. Sugarmakers who do not use vacuum had a particularly skimpy crop.

Asked how her season was, Janet Osborne in Island Pond said, “Horrid.”

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Small border businesses say greenbacks only

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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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The risks of renting

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Rose Warner found this pile of trash outside a trailer she and her husband, Vernon, rented in July.  They said they were paid only $300 rent over the course of several months, learned by accident that their tenant had left, and found the place a wreck.  Photo by Tena Starr

Rose Warner found this pile of trash outside a trailer she and her husband, Vernon, rented in July. They said they were paid only $300 rent over the course of several months, learned by accident that their tenant had left, and found the place a wreck. Photos by Tena Starr

copyright the Chronicle April 15, 2015

by Tena Starr

In July of 2014, Vernon and Rose Warner rented a trailer in Lowell to a man and his son. They say they received $300 at the time, and nothing since. The monthly rent was $550.

Now, the tenant is gone, which the Warners discovered by accident.

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State Police encourage women to become troopers

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Vermont State Police Trooper Callie Field is based out of the Derby barracks.

Vermont State Police Trooper Callie Field is based out of the Derby barracks.  Photos by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

copyright the Chronicle April 8, 2015

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

There’s a growing number of women in law enforcement. In fact, at the moment, six of the 21 State Police officers stationed in the Derby barracks are women. Callie Field, who was originally from Maine, has been working there since 2002. Trooper Field was in law enforcement for seven years before that.

Being a woman in the force is no different from being a man, she said in a recent interview.

“You’re a trooper first and a woman second.”

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AnC Bio is back on track

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A rendering of the proposed 85,000-square-foot AnC Bio building.  According to the permit, a portion of the eastern side of the present Bogner building will be demolished to build the new structure.  When complete the plant is expected to employee as many as 500 people.  Photo by Joseph Gresser

A rendering of the proposed 85,000-square-foot AnC Bio building. According to the permit, a portion of the eastern side of the present Bogner building will be demolished to build the new structure. When complete the plant is expected to employee as many as 500 people. Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle April 1, 2015

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT — AnC Bio, the biomedical facility being developed with money from the federal EB-5 visa program, is back on track. A press release from Jay Peak late Tuesday afternoon said the state Department of Financial Regulation (DFR) has approved a revised “private placement memorandum.”

The expiration of that document, which serves as a guide that potential investors can use to judge the potential risks and rewards of a project, led the state to ask Jay Peak to suspend its search for investors last year.

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No special scrutiny for AnC Bio

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Bill Stenger.  Photo by Richard Creaser

Bill Stenger. Photo by Richard Creaser

copyright the Chronicle March 25, 2015

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT — Despite reports to the contrary the AnC Bio biomedical project is not being given special scrutiny by the state.

State regulators are taking a closer look at all EB-5 projects in Vermont in light of stronger federal requirements and increased use of the visa program by Vermont businesses.

Last summer Governor Peter Shumlin asked the Department of Financial Regulation to get involved in overseeing EB-5 projects in the state, said Pat Moulton, commissioner of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD), on Monday.

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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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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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Industrial sugaring comes to Brighton

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Art by Brianne Nichols

Art by Brianne Nichols

copyright the Chronicle March 4, 2015

by Joseph Gresser

BRIGHTON — The days of making maple syrup to raise a little cash for property taxes have been gone for quite a while now. But an Island Pond sugaring operation getting ready for its first season could usher in a whole new era of industrial sugaring.

Sweet Tree, LLC, started and owned by a Connecticut-based investment firm, just finished tapping trees on 3,600 acres in Warren’s Gore and will be ready to fire up the steam-powered evaporators at the old Ethan Allen furniture plant in Brighton as soon as the weather breaks.

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Your GPS sent you where?

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Backroads are beautiful but can be hard to drive on.  Photo courtesy of Heidi Myers/the Dirty 40

Backroads are beautiful but can be hard to drive on. Photo courtesy of Heidi Myers/the Dirty 40

copyright the Chronicle February 25, 2015

by Natalie Hormilla

WESTFIELD — Here’s an increasingly familiar scenario: Friends, or strangers, visiting from elsewhere are stuck on a back road and need help.

Which road? you ask.

They say the name, and you can only wonder why on Earth they would choose an unplowed, class four road as the best option for getting to your house.

The GPS said so, they explain.

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