A new kind of prescription — local veggies

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copyright the Chronicle August 2, 2017

 

by Elizabeth Trail

 

NEWPORT — Sometimes food is the best medicine.

And North Country Hospital has found a way to provide healthy food to at least a few of the people who need it most here in the Kingdom.

Last Thursday, the hospital launched a program called Health Care Share, that will put a weekly bag of locally grown fruits and vegetables into the kitchens of people suffering from chronic conditions like obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, said Community Relations Director Wendy Franklin.

Doctors “prescribe” the fresh produce for their patients who meet health and eligibility guidelines, she said.

The program, which is by pre-registration only, is already filled for the year.

All told, it will serve about 80 families.

The majority of the people signed up for the Health Care Shares program pick up their bags at the hospital in Newport. But a small group will be served at the Barton clinic.

When participants come to pick up their vegetables, they get a chance to taste samples of the week’s featured foods. Last week, that meant sticks of raw vegetables and a cilantro-lime dressing to dip them in.

Everyone got a newsletter with recipes and cooking tips, and a manual full of nutrition information and ideas for healthy eating.

“Some of these foods are new to people,” Ms. Franklin said.

 

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Moose population drops well below target level

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copyright the Chronicle August 2, 2017

 

by Joseph Gresser

 

CRAFTSBURY — The number of moose in Vermont has dropped well below the target set by wildlife biologists, and the road to recovery is unclear. That was the grim news offered to the 50 people who showed up at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center on July 27 for the most recent in a series of lectures about the northern forest.

Biologist Cedric Alexander, who leads the moose project for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife, retold the recent history of the largest member of the cervid family, a group that includes deer, elk, and reindeer.

Unlike their more familiar and numerous cousins, the white tail deer, moose are creatures of the forest, Mr. Alexander said. While deer can thrive on a landscape that is as much as 50 percent open land, a moose needs trees to survive.

When European settlers arrived in Vermont they quickly cleared the state’s forests for lumber and to create fields in which to graze sheep. The moose retreated north where conditions were more to their liking.

They find their food in the woods, dining on young trees in the summer and such food as they can find in winter.

Moose are hearty eaters consuming about 3 percent of their body weight each day.

A 1,000-pound cow can consume up to 100 pounds of green food each day, about equivalent to 30 pounds of dry weight, Mr. Alexander said.

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Barton Olympians share past, present, and future

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copyright the Chronicle July 26, 2017

 

by Elizabeth Trail

 

BARTON — “I hate the cold,” Barton native and Olympic biathlete Susan Dunklee said.

The thing she likes least about skiing is not the hours of training, or the five months of the year she spends on the road far away from friends and family.

It’s being cold — especially when she flops down on her belly in the snow clad only in thin spandex to sight her gun before each race, Ms. Dunklee said.

“In cross-country, we could wear mittens,” she said. “In biathlon, I have to wear gloves so I can shoot.”

It’s a cold sport, agreed fellow Oympian Ida Sargent, a cross-country skier.

“Skiing in spandex is cold, even with mittens,” she said.

Ms. Dunklee and Ms. Sargent were speaking to about 30 people who came to the Crystal Lake Historical Association museum on Sunday to meet Barton’s three Olympic skiers.

Alongside them was Ms. Dunklee’s father, Stan Dunklee, who competed in the Olympics as a cross-country skier in 1976 and 1980.

Mr. Dunklee grew up in Brattleboro. Despite the fact that his older brother Everett competed in the 1972 winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan, Mr. Dunklee never tried cross-country, or Nordic, skiing until he was in high school.

“I immediately fell in love with the sport,” he said. …To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe to the online edition below:

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Defendants can have long jail wait before trial

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copyright the Chronicle July 26, 2017

 

by Joseph Gresser

 

NEWPORT — According to the U.S. and Vermont constitutions, anyone charged with a crime is entitled to a speedy trial by a jury of his or her peers. But that basic promise can’t be kept in Orleans County because of a lack of money for lawyers, judges, and other court employees, say those who know the system best.

At present, more than 40 people who have pled innocent to crimes in Orleans County Superior Court are behind bars waiting for their trial because they cannot make bail. Some have been waiting for years, and with a court that can manage only a few trials a month they may be waiting for quite a while longer.

The judge in Orleans County Superior Court, the Orleans County State’s Attorney, and the county’s public defender have different views of the situation, but all agree that the judicial system needs more resources if it hopes to break the logjam.

While a vast majority of criminal cases are settled through negotiations resulting in a plea agreement, the bail system was never intended as a means to pressure people to give up their right to a trial.

In fact, the Vermont Constitution gives a substantial amount of attention to the matter of bail. It specifically bans “excessive bail” and sets strict limits on the ability of a judge to hold a person without bail.

The two circumstances in which that is permitted are cases where the penalty is death or life imprisonment, or in acts of violence against another person. In either case, the judge has to determine that the evidence of guilt is strong.

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Lake Region considers hiring police officer

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copyright the Chronicle July 26, 2017

by Elizabeth Trail

 

A proposal to bring a deputy from the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department into the school as a resource officer met with questions at the Lake Region Union High School’s board meeting on July 20.

The board invites the public to attend its next meeting in August in hopes of getting feedback from parents.

North Country Union High School has had a resource officer for several years, first a Newport City police officer, and then a sheriff’s deputy.

The move was controversial at first, Lake Region Principal Andre Messier said. But when it looked as though North Country might lose its resource officer Mr. Messier said, the community actively came out in support of the program.

“We’ve touched base with a number of schools,” Lake Region vice-principal Sharon Gonyaw said. “They all started out with the same reservations.”

Deputy Kyle Ingalls, the current resource officer at North Country, came to the Lake Region meeting to talk about how the program works.

A 2006 graduate of Lake Region, Deputy Ingalls said he provides onsite law enforcement services along with counseling and mentoring students as needed.

He also teaches drug awareness and driver safety classes on campus.

“We have counseling support already,” Mr. Messier said.

But he went on to add that there are social pressures affecting students these days — things happening in the school and in the parking lot that go beyond what traditional counselors can deal with.

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Coventry gets its checks back

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copyright the Chronicle July 26, 2017

 

by Elizabeth Trail

 

NEWPORT — In a ten-minute hearing on Monday, Orleans Superior Court Judge Robert Bent ordered a local bank to return about $5,100 in town money that former Coventry Town Clerk and Treasurer Cynthia Diaz deposited in an account she opened on June 14.

“We have our money back,” Coventry Select Board Chair Mike Marcotte said by phone on Tuesday.

Community National Bank, which is also where the town of Coventry keeps its money, froze the funds as soon as they were deposited and notified the select board.

But bank officials couldn’t return the money to the town without a court order.

On July 7, attorney Paul Gillies, who is representing the town in its ongoing civil suit against Ms. Diaz, filed a motion with the Orleans Superior Court’s Civil Division.

In the motion, Mr. Gillies says that Ms. Diaz opened an account called the “Cynthia Diaz tax escrow account” on June 14. She deposited three checks.

The checks were written by former town attorney Bill Davies from the town’s tax escrow account, which he maintained until earlier this year.

They were payable to “Cynthia Diaz, Treasurer.”

“Ms. Diaz’ actions were unauthorized, as she was no longer holding town office at the time she deposited the checks,” the town’s motion says. “Her creation of a new fund was in violation of the statute that requires agreement with the select board for any investments.”

The motion goes on to explain that Ms. Diaz’ positions as town clerk and treasurer were vacated under state statute on June 9, after she was unable to raise the bond required of all public officials.

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Non-stop rain taking its toll on farmers

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copyright the Chronicle July 19, 201

 

by Tena Starr

 

Farmers, who have been accused of complaining about the weather even more than most Vermonters, have good reason this year.

It’s rained, and it’s rained some more, making it nearly impossible to get in dry hay. Plus it’s often been on the chilly side. And in few places did corn reach the hoped for knee high by the Fourth of July stage.

It’s no one’s imagination that it’s been raining a lot, but since that rain has frequently come in the form of showers rather than a uniform, steady rainfall, some places have fared a little better than others.

At the Fairbanks Museum in St. Johnsbury, it rained 18 out of 31 days in May; 18 out of 30 days in June; and half of the first 16 days in July.

At meteorologist Steve Maleski’s weather station in Sutton, measurable rain was recorded 21 out of 31 days in May, including nine out of the first ten days; 20 out of 30 days in June, including six consecutive days to start the month, and 11 out of 12 days between June 19 and June 30. It rained nine out of the first 16 days of July.

The Chronicle’s recent weather records, which are from Brownington, say that between June 13 and July 17 it rained 23 out of 35 days.

Gary Lyman of West Glover said this is his forty-third year farming, and he’s “never been through anything like this year. It’s wicked tough.”

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Justice Deptartment asked to look at legality of Act 46

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copyright the Chronicle July 19, 2017

 

by Tena Starr

 

Two former school board members from Franklin County have asked the federal Department of Justice to investigate the legality of Act 46, the Vermont law that requires school districts to consolidate.

Jay Denault and James Jewitt have filed a complaint saying it’s their belief that Act 46 violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965, as well as two other sections of federal law that prohibit intimidation, threatening, or coercion of voters.

Essentially, they assert, the law contains what amounts to both bribes and threats aimed at pushing people toward voting how the state wants them to vote.

“…said legislation contains descriptions of coercion and multiple, significant financial rewards, being provided in exchange for an affirmative vote by the electorate to implement the requirements of Act 46,” the complaint says. “Further, this legislation contains specific language which details threats and intimidation of the electorate for failing to comply with the requirements of Act 46. Such threats include, but are not limited to, the authority provided by Act 46 to the Vermont State Department of Education to force compliance with the requirement of Act 46 against the will of the people.”

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Weyerhaeuser settles Current Use issue for $375,000

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copyright the Chronicle July 19, 2017

by Elizabeth Trail

 

The Weyerhaeuser corporation has agreed to pay the state of Vermont $375,000 to settle a longstanding argument over whether the company should lose tax breaks on 56,000 acres in the Northeast Kingdom because of a forest management violation seven years ago.

In 2010, the company that then owned the land, Plum Creek Maine Timberlands, allegedly violated its forest management plan when a contract logger cut too many trees on a 140-acre stand in Lemington.

The land is part of the former Champion lands in Essex County.

State and county foresters said they also found other environmental violations on the site, such as failure to install silt dams to prevent runoff into a stream.

Plum Creek immediately halted cutting on the stand and fixed the environmental problems.

But in 2011, the Vermont Department of Forests, Parks and Recreation recommended that Plum Creek lose its right to pay taxes at the Current Use rate — not just for the 140-acre parcel, or even for the 9,000 acres the company owned in Lemington, but for all of the 56,000 contiguous acres that Plum Creek owned in the Kingdom.

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Sicard to replace Greenwood on Barton Select Board

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copyright the Chronicle July 19, 2017

by Elizabeth Trail

 

BARTON — Jim Greenwood just may have the dubious distinction of being the most often appointed official in town history, at least according to Barton Select Board Chair Bob Croteau.

But his long history of service to the town — both elected and appointed — is coming to an end. On Monday night, the select board accepted what Mr. Greenwood expects to be his final letter of resignation.

Paul Sicard was appointed to serve until Town Meeting in his place.

This week, Mr. Greenwood hopes to finalize the sale of the Orleans Village Store, a building that he said he bought about 40 years ago. The sale is set to close on Wednesday, Mr. Greenwood said.

The buyer is Josh Olney, the golf pro at the Orleans Country Club.

After the sale, the Greenwoods will move to Newport Center, which disqualifies Mr. Greenwood from sitting on the Barton board.

And they have bought a place in Florida, so he doesn’t expect to be living year-round in Vermont starting this winter.

“But, as you know, a closing isn’t done until you have the check in your hands,” he said. “And I don’t have the check yet.”

Mr. Greenwood and his wife ran the Orleans Village Store for about 20 years.

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