Melissa Mount and Steffie head to the Nationals

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In mid-July, Steffie took reserve champion in Open Training Level Dressage at the Arabian Horse Association Regional Horse Show in Springfield, Massachusetts.  She also placed in the top five in the amateur division.   Photo courtesy of Melissa Mount

In mid-July, Steffie took reserve champion in Open Training Level Dressage at the Arabian Horse Association Regional Horse Show in Springfield, Massachusetts. She also placed in the top five in the amateur division. Photo courtesy of Melissa Mount

copyright the Chronicle July 29, 2015

by Tena Starr  

NEWPORT — Melissa Mount of Westfield got her first pony when she was three years old. It was a Shetland, a small pony, which is the reason parents tend to buy them for children — despite the fact that they have anything but a cooperative nature.

The romance with horses ends for many kids as they become adolescent, but not for Melissa Mount. Somewhere in her youth, she got hooked on dressage, and now she and her eight-year-old Arabian mare are headed for the national championships in North Carolina, to be held in September.

The pair has qualified, which puts them among a small number of Vermonters who have done well enough at that demanding sport to get to the nationals.

On July 11, Ms. Mount and Steffie (registered name Profit’s Sweet Steps) took reserve champion in…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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A mobile home hits the road

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This house trailer was abandoned in Irasburg at the intersection of the West Glover Road and Burton Hill sometime early Monday morning.  On its journey from Glover it lost its tires, but ventured on, tearing up the gravel road.  Photo by Joseph Gresser

This house trailer was abandoned in Irasburg at the intersection of the West Glover Road and Burton Hill sometime early Monday morning. On its journey from Glover it lost its tires, but ventured on, tearing up the gravel road. Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle June 3, 2015

by Tena Starr 

IRASBURG — Town officials here were flummoxed Monday morning by the appearance of a house trailer at the intersection of the West Glover Road and Burton Hill. Not beside the road — in the road.

Someone had hauled the big yellow trailer there overnight and left it leaning against a telephone pole. That someone had also left quite a mess behind him. The trailer had been dragged for several miles without tires and had badly damaged the gravel road.

The house trailer started its journey in Glover Sunday night, and with tires. It came north on Route 16….To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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contact Tena Starr at tenas@bartonchronicle.com

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Newport Jewelers has first burglary in 34 years

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Newport Jewelers in Newport was burglarized early Monday morning, the first time that’s happened in the 34 years that Lincoln and Jo-Ann Brooks have owned the store.    Photo by Joseph Gresser

Newport Jewelers in Newport was burglarized early Monday morning, the first time that’s happened in the 34 years that Lincoln and Jo-Ann Brooks have owned the store. Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle June 3, 2015

by Tena Starr

NEWPORT — For the first time in the 34 years that Newport Jewelers has been in business, it’s been burglarized, said Lincoln Brooks, who owns the store with his wife, Jo-Ann.

At 4 a.m. on Monday, someone broke into the store, broke two jewelry cases, and “snatched and ran,” Mr. Brooks said.

He said that, as of Tuesday, they had not yet done an inventory so were not sure exactly what was missing, though he believes it could have been considerably worse.

A press release from the Newport Police Department says police responded to the alarm at 4:08 a.m. When they arrived, they found a broken window, and two display cases were broken “and items strewn about.”

The Main Street burglary was certainly brazen, Mr. Brooks said….To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Ray charged with first-degree murder

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Orleans County Deputy Sheriff Phil Brooks with Jeffrey M. Ray of Brownington, who pled innocent in Superior Court Monday to first degree murder.  Mr. Ray, who is being held without bail, is accused of shooting another Brownington man, Rick Vreeland, Monday morning.  Photo by Joseph Gresser

Orleans County Deputy Sheriff Phil Brooks with Jeffrey M. Ray of Brownington, who pled innocent in Superior Court Monday to first degree murder. Mr. Ray, who is being held without bail, is accused of shooting another Brownington man, Rick Vreeland, Monday morning. Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle May 27, 2015

by Tena Starr  

NEWPORT — Jeffrey M. Ray, 51, of Brownington pled innocent here Tuesday to first degree murder and was held without bail.

Mr. Ray is accused of shooting and killing Rick Vreeland, 53, his former wife’s husband, on Monday.

Mr. Ray appeared in the Criminal Division of Orleans Superior Court looking the worse for wear. He was hospitalized on Monday as a result of a struggle with his son, who said he tried to take the gun away from Mr. Ray, his father, after Mr. Ray shot Mr. Vreeland, the boy’s stepfather, a police affidavit says.

The shooting apparently wasn’t a big surprise to those who knew the two men. Police affidavits indicate they had been at odds for years. Mr. Ray had repeatedly….To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Peters still holds CDL at 95

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Bill Peters' children recently gave him a plaque, honoring him for possibly being the oldest man in Vermont who still holds a CDL.  He's 95, and was a longtime road commissioner in Albany.   Photo by Tena Starr

Bill Peters’ children recently gave him a plaque, honoring him for possibly being the oldest man in Vermont who still holds a CDL. He’s 95, and was a longtime road commissioner in Albany. Photo by Tena Starr

copyright the Chronicle May 27, 2015

by Tena Starr  

NORTH HYDE PARK — Former Albany Road Commissioner Bill Peters could well be the oldest man in Vermont who still holds a CDL. That’s a commercial driver’s license, which, among other things, allows a person to drive the big trucks that maintain town roads.

Mr. Peters’ children recently presented their father with a plaque that says: “Congratulations on being the oldest person we could find that still has a CDL and medical card in the state of Vermont. Turned 95 on March 31, 2015. We are proud of you.”

The plaque was the idea of Mr. Peters’ son Donald.

He said he was out shoveling snow in March and thought, what do you get a man who’s 95?….To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Book review: Writer exhumes surprising stories from Brighton

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WEB IP bookcopyright the Chronicle May 27, 2015

Island Pond Reflections, by S.J. Campbell. Paperback. 130 pages. Self-published. $19.99.

Reviewed by Tena Starr  

Island Pond Reflections isn’t a scholarly history of Brighton, which has also been known rather charmingly as Gilead, Random, and the less romantic Lot 31.

Instead, Sharon Campbell says in the book’s introduction that she’s written a collection of “true stories and tales long forgotten.”

The stories come from books and newspaper articles and date back centuries.

“They provide a tantalizing glimpse into the lives of the people who lived here and describe the developments that shaped their environment,” Ms. Campbell writes. “Through the centuries Island Pond grew big enough to accommodate a whole host of characters. Their trials and tribulations were deemed worthy of being reported by newspapers in cities as far away as Boston, Seattle, London, and Montreal.”

Ms. Campbell says that Brighton, and Island Pond, the village within the town, was, at one time, quite a diverse place, populated by Italian stonemasons, Syrian storekeepers, and Lebanese Christians escaping religious or political persecution….To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Barton Motors to be sold at auction

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The former Barton Motor Company property.  Photo by Tena Starr

The former Barton Motor Company property. Photo by Tena Starr

copyright the Chronicle May 13, 2015

by Tena Starr

BARTON — The Barton Motor Company, for many years a thriving Ford dealership, will go up for foreclosure auction on June 15.

Court papers say that Winston Harper, who once owned the company with his brother Woody Harper, is owed $434,802 in principle and interest. They also say that there are six federal tax liens on the property, amounting to a little over $103,000.

Woody Harper died in February, 15 years after he and his brother parted ways as co-owners of the company.

Winston Harper said their father bought the dealership and garage in 1958….To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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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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When a rock festival takes over a small town…

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WEB shape of the skycopyright the Chronicle April 1, 2015

Shape of the Sky, by Shelagh Connor Shapiro. 242 pages. Paperback. Published by Wind Ridge Books. $15.95.

Reviewed by Tena Starr  

The Northeast Kingdom and rock festivals have a historic relationship, so Shelagh Connor Shapiro’s lovely novel, Shape of the Sky, is not as far-fetched as one might think.

In this book, Resolute, Vermont, population 613, decides to host a big rock and roll concert in order to raise money. Although a fictional town, Resolute is obviously set in Orleans County. It’s small, rural, poor, and populated by characters.

At Town Meeting, the local music teacher mentions that he’s asked Vermont’s most famous native rock band if they’re interested in holding a concert in town.

Predictably, some favor the idea, and some don’t. Yes, thousands of fans would boost the economy, if only for a weekend. And, yes, it’s likely to be messy. Yes, farmers could rent out campsites, and local businesses would benefit from the traffic.

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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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