Gang presence has been felt in Vermont, says DOC

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The Newport courthouse.  Drawing by Lori Halsey

The Newport courthouse. Drawing by Lori Halsey

Clarification, added December 11, 2014:  

In the article on Vermont gang activity, we quoted Brian Mclaughlin as saying the Latin Kings have a presence in Barton. Mr. Mclaughlin has contacted the Chronicle to say the quote was accurate, but he only used Barton as an example of a small community where a gang might turn up. The Latin Kings do not have a house in Barton, Mr. Mclaughlin now says.


 

copyright the Chronicle December 10, 2014

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT — Gangs don’t appreciate Vermont’s scenery Brian Mclaughlin of the Department of Corrections told an audience of about 25 social service agency and law enforcement representatives Tuesday. They do like something that most state residents cherish, a sense of safety, but mostly “they’re here strictly for the money,” Mr. Mclaughlin said.

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Navigating the complexities of the simple life

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WEB Hewitt bookcopyright the Chronicle December 3, 2014

The Nourishing Homestead: One Back-to-the-Land Family’s Plan for Cultivating Soil, Skills, and Spirit, by Ben Hewitt with Penny Hewitt. Published by Chelsea Green Publishing, White River Junction, 2015; Paperbound, 352 pages; $29.95.

Reviewed by Joseph Gresser

Some books need to be written again as each new generation comes of age. Walden, by Henry David Thoreau, may have set the template for one of these books, the exhortation to the reader to give up conventional expectations and live a radically simplified life.

Living the Good Life, by Helen and Scott Nearing, set forth a version of that message adapted for a very different world. To give them full credit, the Nearings lived according to their principles far longer than the year or two Mr. Thoreau spent in the woods.

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U.S., Quebec police practice cooperating in emergencies

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State Police Lieutenant Walter Smith, who commands the Derby barracks, offers his thoughts at the fourth annual Quebec-Vermont Cross Border Workshop at Jay Peak Tuesday.  Photos by Joseph Gresser

State Police Lieutenant Walter Smith, who commands the Derby barracks, offers his thoughts at the fourth annual Quebec-Vermont Cross Border Workshop at Jay Peak Tuesday. Photos by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle December 3, 2014

by Joseph Gresser

JAY — A bus taking U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin to a meeting in Quebec is rammed by a man who committed a robbery in Vermont and escaped by speeding through Canadian customs.

Governor Shumlin is severely injured, the robber and Vermont State Police troopers, acting as security for the Governor, exchange gunfire. One trooper is wounded, and the robber is killed. The incident ends as the Governor is airlifted to the University of Vermont Medical Center.

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Miller speeds readers down American roads

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WEB miller bookcopyright the Chronicle November 12, 2014

Reviewed by Joseph Gresser

Museum of the Americas, by Gary Lee Miller. Published by Fomite Press, Burlington, 2014. Paperbound, 169 pages, $14.95.

Roads run through the 11 stories in Gary Lee Miller’s collection. Characters travel, or are passed by as they watch others speed out of sight.

This, I suppose, makes him an American writer. The choice between going and staying is one that is central to fiction in a country where it is not unusual for a person to slip his moorings and make another life in another state.

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Election wrap: Barrett, Viens, Hardy win elections

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Important correction to the November 5, 2014, election results:

House - Orleans-Caledonia.xlsx

These are the full results to the Orleans-Caledonia House race, as it should have appeared in the Chronicle. A cropped version of the chart, with only Chris Braithwaite and Devin Small, was printed in the paper, in error.

Complete election results for each race available in the Chronicle.

copyright the Chronicle November 5, 2014

by Joseph Gresser

Jennifer Barrett was the big winner of Tuesday’s election, scoring a convincing victory to secure the office of Orleans County State’s Attorney. The Republican candidate garnered more votes than the combined totals of her two rivals.

When all votes were counted Ms. Barrett had 3,882, to 2,337 for Democrat James Lillicrap, and 1,486 for independent Ben Luna. The three candidates were all but unavoidable over the course of a long campaign that began this summer as Ms. Barrett faced incumbent State’s Attorney Alan Franklin in the Republican primary and defeated him.

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Lake Region’s Pippin — a lively performance with a groovy feel

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A despondent Pippin (Nate Chambers) gets schooled by his well-preserved grandmother (Karamae Hayman-Jones).  Also listening, as Ms. Hayman-Jones rocked the house during a Halloween matinee, are her fellow players (left to right, Kayla Poginy and Mariah Moore).   Photo by Joseph Gresser

A despondent Pippin (Nate Chambers) gets schooled by his well-preserved grandmother (Karamae Hayman-Jones). Also listening, as Ms. Hayman-Jones rocked the house during a Halloween matinee, are her fellow players (left to right, Kayla Poginy and Mariah Moore). Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle November 5, 2014

by Joseph Gresser

ORLEANS — Lake Region Union High School’s production of Pippin could be taking place anywhere, at any time.

That, of course, is only true of what happens on stage. In our world the shows will be performed at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 6, Friday, November 7, and Saturday, November 8. Audiences can be confident the shows will go on at the Opera House at the Orleans Municipal Building.

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Phil White nominated for WOWSA Man of the Year

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Phil White photographs swimmers at the 2012 Aquafest parade on Newport’s Main Street.   Photo by Joseph Gresser

Phil White photographs swimmers at the 2012 Aquafest parade on Newport’s Main Street. Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle November 5, 2014

by Aaron Dentel-Post

Phil White, former IROC director who now runs Kingdom Games, is one of 12 people worldwide who have been nominated for the World Open Water Swimming Association (WOWSA) Man of the Year.

He’s among marathon swimming world champions with nicknames like “Ocean Walker” and the 73-year-old English Channel swimmer Otto Thaning, who is from South Africa.

Other nominees are from Great Britain, France, Estonia, Macedonia, and the Netherlands and have an impressive collection of accomplishments.

Mr. White has been nominated for outstanding organizer.

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Ruminations on apples: the good, the bad, the useless

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The cover of Apples of Uncommon Character.

The cover of Apples of Uncommon Character.

copyright the Chronicle October 8, 2014

by Joseph Gresser

Apples of Uncommon Character: 123 Heirlooms, Modern Classics & Little-Known Wonders, by Rowan Jacobsen. Published by Bloomsbury, New York City, 2014. 311 pages. Hardbound. $35.

At this time of year, even a short walk along any back road will reveal the remains of a long-passed way of life. At intervals, forlorn apple trees, still bearing after years of neglect, will offer their meager , or occasionally abundant, fall harvest.

With the advent of grocery stores and the availability of any fruit or vegetable we might desire regardless of the season, we have moved away from the world where apple trees were a necessary luxury.

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Barrup protests $400,000 sales tax bill

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Rod Barrup stands in the yard of his company, Green Mountain Mulch.  He said his problems with the state Department of Taxes sometimes make him want to shut down his operation.  He doesn’t, he added, because of his workers, who stuck by him when he lost everything in a fire and got the business back in operation in short order.  Photo by Joseph Gresser

Rod Barrup stands in the yard of his company, Green Mountain Mulch. He said his problems with the state Department of Taxes sometimes make him want to shut down his operation. He doesn’t, he added, because of his workers, who stuck by him when he lost everything in a fire and got the business back in operation in short order. Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle October 15, 2014

by Joseph Gresser

DERBY — Rod Barrup is not happy with the government of what he calls “the first communist state in the U.S.” In particular he is angry about a $400,000 bill from the Vermont Department of Taxes.

Mr. Barrup’s business, Green Mountain Mulch, has been operating for close to 40 years and ships five million bags of bark mulch and another 3,000 trailers full every year.

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In Derby: Kermit Smith recalls a day when apartments were $10 a week

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Kermit Smith regales a crowd at the Derby Historical Society with stories from his life.  Photos by Joseph Gresser

Kermit Smith regales a crowd at the Derby Historical Society with stories from his life. Photos by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle October 1, 2014

by Joseph Gresser

DERBY — Kermit Smith was canny enough to ensure a return engagement before the Derby Historical Society. When he addressed the group’s annual meeting Sunday afternoon, he held back some of his best material, promising to share stories of his political career in another talk.

The former state senator and the Legislature’s Sergeant at Arms for many years did come prepared with a collection of stories from his own life and the history of Derby.

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