Newport City throws Ward a farewell party

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John Ward and a double stand at a party honoring Newport’s City Manager, who officially retired on July 15.  The 50 or so guests had a hard time telling which was the real John Ward, especially since both candidates were dressed in his clothing.  Perhaps Mr. Ward’s administrative assistant, Laurel Wilson, could have resolved the question, but she was unaccountably absent when the second Mr. Ward strolled into the room.  Photo by Joseph Gresser

John Ward and a double stand at a party honoring Newport’s City Manager, who officially retired on July 15. The 50 or so guests had a hard time telling which was the real John Ward, especially since both candidates were dressed in his clothing. Perhaps Mr. Ward’s administrative assistant, Laurel Wilson, could have resolved the question, but she was unaccountably absent when the second Mr. Ward strolled into the room. Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle July 15, 2015

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT — Wednesday, July 15, is the last day on the job for Newport City Manager John Ward Jr., who is winding up his 16-year run and preparing for retirement.

“I’m grateful for the job, otherwise I probably would have had to leave Newport,” he said in an interview at the Newport Municipal Building July 9.

For a lifetime resident of a city that he clearly loves, that would have been a tough burden to bear, but after the city council’s original choice for the job decided not to accept it, Mr. Ward was tapped. Paul Monette and Richard Baraw, two of the aldermen who voted to make him city manager in March 1999, continued to serve on the council for most of Mr. Ward’s service.

Mr. Monette is now mayor, and Mr. Baraw….To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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At the Newport Penguin Plunge: The brave leave luau for freezing waters

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Scott Whitehouse of Newport took the Penguin Plunge Sunday. Though he's new to the area, he raised $300 for Special Olympics Vermont.  Photos by David Dudley

Scott Whitehouse of Newport took the Penguin Plunge Sunday. Though he’s new to the area, he raised $300 for Special Olympics Vermont. Photos by David Dudley

copyright the Chronicle February 4, 2015

by David Dudley

NEWPORT — Before the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge took the Internet by storm, there was the Penguin Plunge. Now in its thirteenth year, the Penguin Plunge drew participants from all over the Northeast Kingdom to raise money and awareness about the Special Olympics by taking a dip in the frigid waters of Lake Memphremagog.

Liza Reed, special events manager at Special Olympics Vermont, has organized the event for the past three years. At Sunday’s Plunge, she said they were hoping to match last year’s mark of $30,000.

“We have teams from all over the Northeast Kingdom,” Ms. Reed said. “We have 130 participants this year, so we’re confident that we will at least match last year’s number. That is, if we don’t surpass it.”

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The homeless — out of sight, out of mind?

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The area’s homeless don’t tend to be street-dwellers, as in more urban places.  In the Northeast Kingdom, they live on the beaches, in the woods, in their cars, or they “couch surf,” sleeping at the homes of friends or family who have enough room to take them in for a while.  The county’s homeless population exists, it’s just hard to find.   Photo by David Dudley

The area’s homeless don’t tend to be street-dwellers, as in more urban places. In the Northeast Kingdom, they live on the beaches, in the woods, in their cars, or they “couch surf,” sleeping at the homes of friends or family who have enough room to take them in for a while. The county’s homeless population exists, it’s just hard to find. Photo by David Dudley

copyright the Chronicle November 19, 2014

by David Dudley

NEWPORT — Victoria Kuhn, a thin woman in her twenties, moved to Newport a little over a year ago with her fiancé. Since their arrival, they have lived on Prouty Beach, in their car, and during the cold months, with the man’s mother. Ms. Kuhn’s fiancé suffered a traumatic brain injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder while in the military.  Since his return, he has developed severe stomach ulcers, and doctors have given him six months to live, Ms. Kuhn said.

“We came to Newport from Dover, Delaware,” she said. “We wanted to be near his mother, but we couldn’t find our own place to live.

“We’ve been here a little over a year now, and still haven’t found our own home. I don’t know how to explain it. ”

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Minimum wage hike will have ripple effect

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min wage webcopyright the Chronicle June 11, 2014

by Joseph Gresser

Local employers say a rise in pay for those at the bottom of the ladder is sure to increase salaries for those on the higher rungs.

That will be good news for many workers, they say, but could come at the cost of increased prices for goods and services.

Vermont’s minimum wage will rise on New Year’s Day 2015 and on each January 1 until 2018. The Vermont Legislature voted to increase it from the present level of $8.73 an hour to $10.50 in four annual jumps.

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In Newport City: Morrissette elected as alderman

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Neil Morrissette.  Photo by Joseph Gresser

Neil Morrissette. Photo by Joseph Gresser

by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle 3-5-2014

NEWPORT—Newport has a new alderman.  Voters went to the polls Tuesday and elected Neil Morrissette to replace former council member Tim de la Bruere who decided not to stand for re-election.

They also returned incumbent Alderman John Wilson for another two-year term, his seventh.  Mr. Wilson led all candidates with 369 votes, Mr. Morrissette had 286 and Corey Therrien finished out of the money with 225 votes.

Mr. Therrien did not go home empty handed, though.  Running unopposed, he won election to an open seat on the North Country Union High School board with 388 votes.

No candidates submitted petitions for a vacant seat on the Newport City School Board, but two citizens ran write-in campaigns.  With 31 votes Mary Ellen Prairie squeaked in ahead of Jacques Roberge, who garnered 19 votes.

Newport voters exhibited their usual generosity, approving all appropriation requests by wide margins.

The city budget request of $3-million was granted by a vote of 354 to 125.  The Newport City Elementary School’s budget had a narrower margin of victory, but it still passed, 279 to 214.

City voters also approved the North Country Union High School and North Country Union Junior High School budgets.

contact Joseph Gresser at joseph@bartonchronicle.com

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