Fire destroys historic round barn in Irasburg

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copyright the Chronicle August 24, 2016

by Paul Lefebvre

IRASBURG — A fire Tuesday destroyed the round barn here on Robillard Flats that had become a cultural landmark for those who live or travel through Orleans County.

Originally built in 1908, the barn had been in the Robillard family since 1960. Two generations of dairy farmers had turned the land, as well as the barn, into a showpiece that attracted natives and tourists alike.

A fast burning fire that started early in the afternoon completely destroyed the wooden round barn and left the remaining metal barns, where the livestock were kept, scorched and crumpled.

It’s a disaster,” said Bernard Robillard, who bought the farm from his father, Guy.

It’s still uncertain what caused the fire.

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Bill Stenger still on the payroll at Jay Peak — for now

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copyright the Chronicle August 24, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

JAY — For more than 30 years visitors to Jay Peak Resort had a hard time avoiding the ski area’s general manager, later president, Bill Stenger. They might find him parking cars, selling lift tickets, or clearing tables in one of the area’s restaurants.

One might think that would have changed since he and Jay Peak’s owner Ariel Quiros were accused of investment fraud in civil complaints filed by the federal Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the state’s Department of Financial Regulation (DFR).

That would be a mistake.

Mr. Stenger is as visible as ever. He’s still working for Jay Peak, albeit in a very different role, that of assisting court-appointed receiver Michael Goldberg as he tries to keep Jay Peak and Burke Mountain resorts running while legal proceedings are underway.

He has the same office that he occupied when he was president of the resort, the same e-mail addresses, and phone numbers. He even drives the same Audi he has driven for the past six years, complete with a Jay Peak vanity plate.

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Officials offer Newport economic hope

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copyright the Chronicle August 24, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT — Although it’s had some reverses in the past year, Newport has friends. That message was clearly delivered Monday night when representatives from a wide variety of government agencies and nonprofits gathered for a city council meeting.

The roll of distinguished guests included Ted Brady, who heads the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Rural Development program; newly appointed Secretary of Commerce and Community Development, Lucy Leriche; David Snedeker, the director of the Northeastern Vermont Development Association (NVDA); and Jon Freeman, president of Northern Communities Investment Corporation (NCIC).

Representatives of the Vermont Land Trust and Vermont Council for Rural Development helped round out the panel.

City Manager Laura Dolgin introduced the assembled dignitaries and suggested the city might see changes in the coming months. State judicial officials are looking over their properties around Vermont.

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Citizens hope to keep NCUHS school resource officer

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copyright the Chronicle August 24, 2016

 

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT — SRO stands for school resource officer, but it could have meant standing room only at Monday’s Newport City Council meeting. More than 50 people, including a large number of teachers, staff members, parents, and students from North Country Union High School showed up to express their displeasure at Newport Police Chief Seth DiSanto’s decision to pull one of his officer from permanent duty at the high school.

They were heard by Chief DiSanto and the council, but the decision remained unchanged at the end of the evening. The chief apologized for making his decision so close to the opening of school, but promised not to leave North Country in the lurch.

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Charges still pending in prison hostage case

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copyright the Chronicle August 17, 2016

NEWPORT — Charges are still pending against the two inmates who are accused of seizing a guard and holding him hostage for roughly two hours last Thursday at Northern State Correctional Facility.

Inmates Mehmed Devac, 22, and Leroy Hughes, 32, were transferred to a facility elsewhere in the state after a prison negotiator succeeded in bringing the crisis to an end.

The prison guard, Malcolm Brown of Morgan, returned to work Friday, a decision that earned high praise from Mike Touchette of the Department of Corrections.

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Roadside needles are evidence of a larger problem

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copyright the Chronicle August 17, 2016

by Elizabeth Trail

 Newport City Police are handing out a brochure that they hope will stop the littering of used hypodermic needles around town.

The brochure tells drug users how to exchange old needles for clean ones without being in contact with the police. The program, worked out in partnership with the St. Johnsbury-based nonprofit Vermont Safe, is free and anonymous.

Vermont Safe also offers mobile needle exchange by appointment in Barton and Orleans.

For the last couple of years, the Newport Police Department has seen a major increase in the number of needles found in parks, parking areas, and on the streets, Sergeant Travis Bingham said.

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Derby Select Board Committee to study law enforcement

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copyright the Chronicle August 17, 2016

 

 by Joseph Gresser

DERBY — The Derby Select Board is far from convinced that the town needs more law enforcement, but members gave former State Representative, State Police trooper, and Game Warden Bob Lewis the go ahead when he offered to head up a fact-finding committee.

The issue of how the town ought to provide police protection has been discussed over the years, but it was brought to a head by State Police Lieutenant Walter Smith, who commands the Derby barracks, and Captain Mike Henry, who heads the St. Johnsbury outpost.

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Randi Calderwood killed in farm accident

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copyright the Chronicle August 17, 2016

CRAFTSBURY — A large funeral is expected here Wednesday for a 58-year-old farmer and fireman who was killed Saturday evening in a farm accident.

Randi Calderwood was killed on August 13 when the tractor he was driving rolled over.

Besides serving on the town’s volunteer fire department, Mr. Calderwood’s roots in the community run deep.

“I’ve known four generations of Calderwoods,” said Craftsbury Fire Chief Walter Gutzman. “They’re one of the stalwarts of Vermont farm families in this town.”

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2016 Primary results – Starr, Rodgers fend off challenge

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copyright the Chronicle August 10, 2016

Incumbent Democrats Bobby Starr and John Rodgers easily fended off a Primary challenge from Ron Horton of Jay for the two Essex-Orleans state Senate seats Tuesday.

Mr. Rodgers, from Glover, was the top vote getter with 1,651. Mr. Starr, from North Troy, had 1,633, and Mr. Horton’s total in the huge district, which stretches from Richford to Norton, was 712.

Overall, turnout was low, despite Secretary of State Jim Condos’ predictions to the contrary. In this area, there was just the one local Primary race, although there will be several races come the General Election in November…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Thousands turn out for historic schoolhouse journey

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copyright the Chronicle August 10, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

BROWNINGTON — The1823 Orleans County Grammar School traveled a third of a mile Monday with the help of 23 yoke of oxen and a pair of powerful hydrostatic motors. Peggy Day Gibson, director of the Old Stone House Museum, which owns the building and arranged for the move, estimated the crowd of onlookers at around 2,500 people.

On Sunday, organizers of the move were pleasantly surprised when more oxen than expected showed up for the move. The teams arrived from around the state, the largest contingent being members of the Hooves and Horns Club from the Randolph area…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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