Viens is back in the race; Monette, Klar withdraw

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copyright the Chronicle May 11, 2016

by Tena Starr

Gary Viens of Newport has reconsidered his earlier decision not to seek re-election to the Orleans-2 House seat.

Mr. Viens, who has served one term, said on Monday that both constituents and fellow legislators urged him to run again.

Irasburg farmer and lawyer John Klar and Newport Mayor Paul Monette have withdrawn from the race in the wake of Mr. Viens’ decision to seek re-election.

Mr. Viens said he called to tell them about his decision, making it clear that he was not asking them to withdraw. He said he was humbled by their decision to withdraw anyway.

In the past legislative session, Mr. Viens, who spent more than 30 years in law enforcement, served on the House Judiciary Committee, as well as the Joint Committee on Judicial Retention.

“For the last two weeks, I’ve been inundated with people asking me to change my decision…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Barton Village Trustees: Trustees hire new electric department manager

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copyright the Chronicle May 11, 2016

by Elizabeth Trail

BARTON — The Barton Village Trustees have unanimously voted to hire Evan Riordan of Sutton as the small utility electric system engineer and manager for the Barton Electric Department.

Mr. Riordan has a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in business administration from Carnegie Mellon University.

He combines his college degrees with experience in the power generation industry. Among other jobs on his resumé , he worked for an affiliate of General Electric as a technical advisor.

Mr. Riordan has also worked as a project manager and as a military jet engine exhaust systems performance analyst for companies such as Pratt and Whitney and Rolls Royce.

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Citibank has interest in Quiros funds

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copyright the Chronicle May 4, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

After only a couple of weeks on the job, the receiver for Jay Peak, Burke Mountain, and other businesses owned by Ariel Quiros seems to have things well under control.

In a news conference on Wednesday, April 27, Michael Goldberg said he now has enough money to keep Jay Peak operating and to get the new hotel at Q Burke open.

“All we need is snow,” the Florida lawyer said, sounding exactly like the ski area owner he suddenly became when federal Judge Darrin Gayles of U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida appointed him.

In doing so he gave Mr. Goldberg control of assets belonging to Mr. Quiros and his companies, including his bank accounts.

Since his appointment, he has asked for further authority, including control of Burke Mountain and its associated companies, and Judge Gayles agreed.

Mr. Quiros disputes the charges against him, and will first argue his case in a hearing scheduled for…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Brownington votes to keep the three-person select board

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copyright the Chronicle May 4, 2016

by Elizabeth Trail 

BROWNINGTON — Voters here have once again decided that they want a three-member select board. They voted 39-37 at a special meeting Saturday in favor of the smaller board.

At Town Meeting in early March, Brownington voters decided to go back to having a three-person select board. At the previous year’s Town Meeting, they had voted to increase the number of select board members from three to five.

The problem with the vote at Town Meeting this year was that some spoiled and blank ballots may have made it invalid, Moderator Pat Davis said.

So on Saturday Brownington residents poured into the school gym to vote on the question one more time.

The warning was in two parts: Should the town reconsider the Town Meeting decision, which in effect meant going back to a five-person select board, and if so, to elect two new members for the board?

Before the vote, there seemed to be some confusion in the room…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Newport City Council: Water committee recommendations adopted

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copyright the Chronicle May 4, 2016 

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT — At their meeting Monday city council members heard and adopted the recommendations of the water committee they appointed last year.

Last year in May the council set up a study group to investigate ways to get all homes in the city fitted with water meters. Proponents of the idea had long argued for charging city residents for the actual amount of water they use, rather than charging a set quarterly fee regardless of usage.

Doing so would encourage conservation, they said, and make sure that everyone on the city system pays a fair share of its cost.

The issue has long been contentious, and in a citywide advisory vote in 2011 Newport residents turned a metering proposal down by a two-to-one margin.

The committee’s recommendations gave those who choose to have meters installed in their homes some economic incentive to do so, but stopped well short of taking any concrete measures to cut into the 1,100 or so homes that pay a flat rate for water.

Instead, the group proposed basing rates on what it called an equivalent unit. That unit…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Judge drops murder charge against Baird

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copyright the Chronicle May 4, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

ST. JOHNSBURY — Judge Michael Kupersmith has decided that the third man charged in the 2010 killing of Mary Pat O’Hagan of Sheffield will not be tried for first-degree murder. Keith Baird, 35, of Sheffield will still be tried for burglary and kidnapping, but not in Caledonia County.

Mr. Baird, who pled innocent to the charges in March of 2014, has also filed notice that he intends to argue he has an alibi showing he was not present when the 78-year-old Mrs. O’Hagan was shot during a break-in at her Sheffield home.

Although two other men who have already pled guilty to involvement in Mrs. O’Hagan’s death have said Mr. Baird was with them at her house, he denies it. Mr. Baird said through Robert Katims, his lawyer, that he was wearing a GPS tracker at the time of crime.

The tracking device, he said, shows he was not present at Mrs. O’Hagan’s house on September 10, when she was shot during an attempted burglary.

At the hearing…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Jay Peak is alarmingly short of money

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copyright the Chronicle April 27, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

Jay Peak may not have enough money to keep going through the summer, said Michael Goldberg, the Florida lawyer put in charge of overseeing the collection of EB-5 projects centered around the ski resort.

“I have learned that the Receivership Entities are in dire financial position and in danger of not having sufficient funds to continue operating beyond the very immediate future,” he wrote in a declaration directed to the U.S. District Court for Southern Florida.

Mr. Goldberg was given control of Jay Peak and the other assets of its owner, Ariel Quiros, by federal judge Darrin Gayles on April 13.  As the court-appointed receiver he has been investigation the finances of a network of companies connected with Jay Peak’s EB-5 project as well as those of the ski resort itself.

The SEC has alleged that Bill Stenger and Mr. Quiros misused about $200-million of…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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EB-5: Suspicions arose in 2010

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copyright the Chronicle April 27, 2016

by Tena Starr

A suspicious Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) started questioning Bill Stenger and Ariel Quiros, owner of Jay Peak and Q Burke, back in May of 2014.  But they weren’t the only ones who were suspicious, and they certainly were not the first.

Four years earlier, in 2010, John Carpenter, who was then controller at the ski area, told Mr. Stenger he believed something was awry, according to SEC documents.  For one thing, he could not get access to the accounts at financial services company Raymond James, held by Mr. Quiros, which he’d repeatedly asked for, he told the SEC in a so-called “declaration.”

Mr. Carpenter’s quotes here come from that document.

The SEC is alleging that the Northeast Kingdom EB-5 projects were actually a giant Ponzi-like scheme, in which $200-million of…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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DUI formula too simplistic

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copyright the Chronicle April 27, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT – State forensic experts will have to rewrite their manuals if the Vermont Supreme Court upholds a decision issued by Judge Howard VanBenthuysen Monday.

The judge, sitting in the Criminal Division of Orleans County Superior Court, said in a written opinion that state experts do not take enough individual factors into consideration when calculating what a person’s blood alcohol level was more than two hours earlier.

The decision concerns what the judge calls “relation-back testimony,” meaning calculations intended to show how quickly a person’s system rids itself of alcohol, and hence what that person’s blood alcohol level was at some time before…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Barton Village Trustees: Proposed solar project would benefit village

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copyright the Chronicle April 27, 2016

by Elizabeth Trail

BARTON VILLAGE – A pair of young solar developers appeared before the Barton Village Trustees at their meeting Monday with a proposal to make the village a beneficiary of a 335-kilowatt solar project.

The village would be able to use about 10 percent of the net metered power produced by the project to offset electric bills for the school and municipal buildings.

Although final numbers will replace the computer model as time goes on, the arrangement could potentially save the village as much as …To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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