Youngsters get a look at Abenaki culture

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Summer reading program participants gathered around the fire they made to cook bannock bread on sticks.  Pictured here, from left to right, are Kayleigh Cole, Isabella Cole, Cienna Bishop, Owen Sheltra, Brielle Rancourt, and Trevor Sanville.  Directly behind Owen are Chase Sheltra who is looking at his dough-covered stick, and Dale Guisinger, who is digging into a Tupperware for more dough to hand out.  Photo by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

Summer reading program participants gathered around the fire they made to cook bannock bread on sticks. Pictured here, from left to right, are Kayleigh Cole, Isabella Cole, Cienna Bishop, Owen Sheltra, Brielle Rancourt, and Trevor Sanville. Directly behind Owen are Chase Sheltra who is looking at his dough-covered stick, and Dale Guisinger, who is digging into a Tupperware for more dough to hand out. Photo by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

copyright the Chronicle August 5, 2015

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

ISLAND POND — Archery, kayaking, circus arts, and bread-making are just a few of the activities organized by the Island Pond Public Library as part of its summer reading program.

The books the kids read are associated with an activity so they can experience the book hands-on, Library Director John Zuppa said.

On Friday, about 15 kids discovered a book about bears then joined their counselor on the shore of Island Pond to learn how to make a fire and cook bannock bread the way Abenakis did.

“That really gets through to them in a real way,” Mr. Zuppa said about linking a book to an activity.

The idea is to get the kids excited about reading, he said.

And it worked. During Friday’s activity, the children’s attention span was…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Stenger lays out ambitious plans for airport

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Bill Stenger, standing, lays out his plans for the future of the airport in Coventry.  Listening, from left to right, are Guy Rouelle of VTrans, Scott Wheeler, and Ary Quiros, who heads Flight Design Americas, a company that plans to manufacture light airplanes at the airport.  The meeting was held in an aircraft hangar because Parker Pie Wings has permanently closed its doors.  Photo by Joseph Gresser

Bill Stenger, standing, lays out his plans for the future of the airport in Coventry. Listening, from left to right, are Guy Rouelle of VTrans, Scott Wheeler, and Ary Quiros, who heads Flight Design Americas, a company that plans to manufacture light airplanes at the airport. The meeting was held in an aircraft hangar because Parker Pie Wings has permanently closed its doors. Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle August 5, 2015

by Joseph Gresser

COVENTRY — A crowd of about 30 pilots legislators, reporters, and the curious found their way to a hangar at what will soon be the Northeast Kingdom International Airport on Thursday afternoon, July 30. The attraction was Bill Stenger, who arrived with a drawing of a new 10,000-square-foot terminal building that he said will be built starting in the spring of 2016.

In addition to the terminal, Mr. Stenger outlined plans that include a bonded warehouse and a building for the manufacture of Flight Design light aircraft.

A bonded warehouse allows goods that Customs duties are ordinarily paid on to be stored without the need to pay duties. Orleans, Lamoille, and Caledonia counties are…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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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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Lake Willoughby is deeper than previously thought

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Arthur Brooks at his home on Lake Willoughby.  Mr. Brooks has spent three or four summers measuring the lake and discovered that it’s at least 337 feet deep, although the state map says it’s 308 feet at its deepest point.  Photos by Tena Starr

Arthur Brooks at his home on Lake Willoughby. Mr. Brooks has spent three or four summers measuring the lake and discovered that it’s at least 337 feet deep, although the state map says it’s 308 feet at its deepest point. Photos by Tena Starr

copyright the Chronicle July 29, 2015

by Tena Starr  

WESTMORE — Lake Willoughby is deep, but until recently just how deep it is has been questionable. State watershed maps say it’s 308 feet at its deepest point.

Arthur Brooks differs. For three or four summers, Mr. Brooks has been traversing Willoughby in his boat taking depth measurements, and has found its deepest point to be 337 feet, making it the deepest lake entirely in Vermont. Lake Champlain is deeper, but part of it is in New York.

Mr. Brooks and his wife, Ann, spend their summers on Lake Willoughby, and he is currently president of the Westmore Association. He’s retired now, but for about 40 years the couple lived…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Hill Farmstead expands, adds tasting room

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The view from the Hill Farmstead tasting room shows the brewing floor, with Mr. Hill at his post in the center of the operation. At left are the four tanks in which malt, water, and hops are cooked together. At right are rows of fermenting and conditioning tanks. At the far end of the building is the station at which kegs are filled. The entire operation is tied together with an elaborate system of pipes that run across the room’s ceiling.

copyright the Chronicle July 22, 2015

by Joseph Gresser

GREENSBORO — When the Chronicle first visited Shaun Hill in 2010, he was brewing beer in a converted garage. It would be a few months before he released his first offerings, but Mr. Hill already had serious ambition.

“My goal is to make the best beer in the world,” he said.

He looked forward to expanding his production facility to the size of the barn that once stood on the property where he makes his beer, land that has been in his family for well over 200 years.

Three years later Hill Farmstead Brewery was recognized as…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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the Chronicle changes hands

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A solid reminder of how we used to operate — an old manual typewriter — sits in a corner of the Chronicle office.  The hat belonged to Anna Baker, the artist responsible for the Chronicle cows, and on the wall behind it is a copy of the original flyer announcing the start of a new newspaper, the Chronicle.  Photo by Bethany M. Dunbar

A solid reminder of how we used to operate — an old manual typewriter — sits in a corner of the Chronicle office. The hat belonged to Anna Baker, the artist responsible for the Chronicle cows, and on the wall behind it is a copy of the original flyer announcing the start of a new newspaper, the Chronicle. Photo by Bethany M. Dunbar

copyright the Chronicle February 4, 2015

by Chris Braithwaite

To me the Chronicle will always be a novelty — a shot in the dark, a crazy gamble undertaken with almost no money but all the energy a 30-year-old immigrant could summon in himself, his wife, and a handful of friends.

But more than half the people living in Orleans County today had a Chronicle to read when they were old enough to read anything. And when my mind wanders up and down the streets of Barton Village, I can’t find a business that has been around, under continuous ownership, any longer than the Chronicle.

Those are hardly the trappings of a novelty. And at 70, I am a long way from the youngster who set out to see if small-town weekly journalism could be as complex, as challenging, as rewarding as the big-city journalism he’d left behind four years before.

After four decades I can report the result of that experiment. The stories I’ve encountered have been every bit as complex, and just as “good” — in the hard-eyed way that reporters evaluate their raw material — as the stories any reporter covers, anywhere.

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Employees to buy the Chronicle

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Drawing by Anna P. Baker

Drawing by Anna P. Baker

copyright the Chronicle September 17, 2014

Eleven long-time employees of the Chronicle have agreed in principle to buy the weekly newspaper from its founding publishers, Chris and Ellen Braithwaite.

 

While some details remain to be worked out, the basic elements of the deal have been agreed to, and the purchase should be complete by early 2015.

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In Barton: Chronicle reporter watches car get stolen

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by Bethany M. Dunbar

BARTON — A veteran reporter for the Chronicle had his car stolen from the office as he was working inside on Tuesday.  But about three hours later, the vehicle was found in Orleans, and the person who took it was caught.

About 3:30 p.m., Assistant Editor Natalie Hormilla Gordon arrived for her evening shift job and noticed a young man in a hooded sweatshirt sitting in Paul Lefebvre’s car, holding the steering wheel.

She did not recognize him, thought it was odd, and when she went inside, she told Mr. Lefebvre, who went outside to take a look.  By then the car was being driven from the scene, badly.  It’s a Honda CRV with standard shift, and the driver was stalling as he made his getaway, down Water Street and north on Route 5, as Mr. Lefebvre watched.

Thinking he might be able to head it off on foot, Mr. Lefebvre cut through the schoolyard at a run to try to get his car back.

The attempt proved unfruitful, so he came back to the office where he called the State Police to report the theft.  Chronicle staffers also decided to post the car’s theft on Facebook.  Trooper Erika Liss came to the Chronicle office and interviewed Mr. Lefebvre and Ms. Gordon, who had got a good look at the robber.  She described him as a white male in his twenties, average size, with blue eyes, wearing a Navy blue hoodie.

“He had his hands on the wheel, looking kind of intense,” she said.  “He was just sitting there, and I thought, maybe he knows Paul.”

Mr. Lefebvre said his first thought was, “How am I going to get home tonight?”

His car had been in an accident about a week and a half before, and the back window was smashed out and covered with a green tarp and duct tape.  It also had problems with the door, created in the accident.

Mr. Lefebvre said it has not been a very lucky car for him, as he has had to put in a new motor, water pump, and clutch.

“I think that car has a hex on it,” he said.

But Mr. Lefebvre’s luck was apparently turning a few hours later, when people started calling the office to say they had seen the car in Orleans Village.  They were aware of the theft due to the Facebook post.  Mr. Lefebvre called the police back to say the car had been spotted in Orleans, and Lieutenant Kirk Cooper went to the village, spotted the car and found out the driver was in the bathroom at the Sunoco station.  The driver, who said he is from Enosburg and had no wallet with him, was cited after he came out of the bathroom.

Mr. Lefebvre had his car back, and nothing seemed to be missing from the vehicle.

contact Bethany M. Dunbar at bethany@bartonchronicle.com

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Anna Baker was a brilliant artist with a comic touch

copyright the Chronicle, August 8, 2012

World of Fantasy, The Life and Art of Anna P. Baker, by Beryl Hutchinson and Roz Hermant.  Self-published.  185 pages in paperback.  $59.95.

Reviewed by Chris Braithwaite

I need to begin this review by confessing my bias.  Anna P. Baker, the subject of this richly illustrated work, was both a close friend and an important contributor in the Chronicle’s early years, when it remained to be seen whether it would sink or swim as a community newspaper.

That it swam, I believe, was due in large measure to one of the most unlikely duos to ever put ink to paper.  Loudon Young was a dairy farmer all his life, and his role in my life as friend, neighbor and mentor in the ways of rural Vermont predated the first Chronicle by four years.  When I asked him if he thought a weekly newspaper in Barton would have a chance of survival he said he didn’t think so.  Given his preference for color in language, he more likely said that such an enterprise would have a snowball’s chance in hell.

So it was a considerable surprise when he volunteered a column for the first issue, and a greater surprise to discover that this highly accomplished talker could also write, and that his writing was very funny, indeed.  His back-page column immediately became a weekly feature in the paper.

We didn’t make Anna Baker’s acquaintance until we were moving the office from a farmhouse in East Albany to an old barbershop on Barton’s Upper Main Street, and she wandered in to find out what the devil her new next-door neighbors were up to.

She found us amusing.  But then Anna found most things in life amusing.  That knack, along with the most exquisite good manners I have encountered in another human being, were pretty much what got Anna through an otherwise challenging life.

Anna told us she was an artist.  But I don’t think she mentioned that she was also a cartoonist.  She was a good enough cartoonist that, as a 16-year-old art student at a London, Ontario, technical school, she was interviewed for a possible career in animation with the Disney Studios.

I didn’t know that last detail until I read this book.  At any rate, it wasn’t long before Anna brought in a cartoon she thought we might like to publish.  Her chosen subject?  None other than the above-mentioned Loudon Young.  Loudon’s profile — a sharp chin often decorated with a bit of a beard, a sharp and substantial nose — was a cartoonist’s dream.  But it was Loudon’s humor that captured Anna, because his ear for what was funny about the most ordinary, everyday situations so exactly matched her eye.

Both of them thought there was something fundamentally funny about the common cow.  Loudon wrote about them constantly.  In her book, Beryl Hutchinson reproduces the first Baker painting she acquired.  Called Pent House Farm, it was executed at that same technical school, which Anna attended in 1944-45.  It’s a whimsical, wonderfully busy urban landscape with people farming on the rooftops of a couple of apartment buildings.  Ms. Hutchinson is careful to point out that it includes, atop one roof, Anna Baker’s first cow, a Holstein.

Anna’s renderings of Loudon and his cows appeared in many Chronicles over the years that followed.  They accompanied the best of Loudon’s columns in the Chronicle’s first book, Off Main Street, West Glover, Vermont, and the dairyman and his Holsteins were featured in a series of calendars she drew for the paper.

A generous selection of these cartoons is included in World of Fantasy.  But there are also many of her “serious” works — whimsical, intensely detailed, richly colored paintings that will delight the fans who have an Anna Baker hanging on the living room wall, and surprise those who know her work only through the Chronicle.

As we grew to know Anna, it became obvious that we were in the presence of an artist of great talent and considerable reputation.  Her works caught the eye of critics and connoisseurs wherever they were displayed.  That her reputation didn’t reach further was to some degree her own fault.  She volunteered once that a friend, a sophisticate in the business of art, had told her she couldn’t find success as an artist if she insisted on living in a backwater like Barton, Vermont.  She needed to be in New York City.  Anna acknowledged the advice as sound, and chose not to take it.  Whatever glue held her to the Northeast Kingdom, we are all the richer for it.

Beryl Hutchinson enjoyed a friendship with Anna Baker that went back to high school.  Her book includes a photo of a schoolgirl softball team named the Eagles with Anna in the front row, Beryl in the back.

Thus Ms. Hutchinson was the ideal person to stitch together this fully illustrated biography of the artist.  She opens with a surprising revelation about Anna’s origins — a surprise best left to her readers — and takes us through the artist’s school days, her formal education at the Art Institute of Chicago, which she entered in 1951, and the early teaching career that led to her friendship with Bunny Hastings, daughter of a prominent Barton physician.  That friendship brought Anna to Barton, and lasted the rest of Bunny’s life.

Anna beat cancer once, but lost the second round and died in 1985, at just 56.

To all of those who still miss her kindness, her wit, and her great talent, this book will serve as long-awaited consolation.

To buy World of Fantasy, go to “contacts” at  www.annabaker.net, or see www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/3334768.

contact Chris Braithwaite at chris@bartonchronicle.com

For more free articles from the Chronicle like this one, see our Reviews pages. For all the Chronicle‘s stories, pick up a print copy or subscribe, either for print or digital  editions.

 

 

 

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