Accused murderer questions lawyer

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copyright the Chronicle March 16, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT – A breach between an accused murderer and his lawyer was apparently healed by a talk from Judge Robert Bent.

Jeffrey M. Ray, 52, of Brownington sent a handwritten note to the clerk in the Criminal Division of Orleans Superior Court on February 26 to say he and St. Johnsbury attorney David Sleigh met that day and had “a breakdown with our communication.”

He asked that he be allowed to find a new lawyer.

On May 26, 2015, Mr. Ray pled innocent to first degree murder in the shooting death of Rick Vreeland, 53, also of Brownington, and his former wife’s husband.  Judge Timothy Tomasi ordered Mr. Ray held without bail.

Mr. Ray was in court with Mr. Sleigh Monday morning…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Rodgers considers a run for lieutenant governor

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copyright the Chronicle March 16, 2016

by Tena Starr

GLOVER – State Senator John Rodgers of Glover is considering a bid for lieutenant governor.  If he decides to run, Senator Rodgers will face fellow Democrats Kesha Ram, David Zuckerman, both of Chittenden County, and Brandon RIker of Marlboro in the August Primary Election.  Republican Randy Brock is also running.

Mr. Rodgers was a four-term incumbent when he lost his House seat in 2010 to Sam Young of West Glover by one vote.  He was elected to the state Senate in 2012 and 2014, representing the sprawling Essex-Orleans district with fellow Democrat Bobby Starr from North Troy.  Mr. Rodgers is up for re-election again this year.

He said Monday that he can run for lieutenant governor in the Primary Election without relinquishing his Senate seat.

A main reason for pondering a run is that “I don’t really care for any of the other candidates…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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In Holland: Meeting set to discuss failed school budget

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copyright the Chronicle March 9, 2016

by Tena Starr

HOLLAND – The school board here plans to hold a public meeting on Monday, March 14, at 6 p.m.  Board members hope that Holland’s voters will tell them how to move forward in the wake of last week’s budget defeat, or at least why they voted the way they did.

The budget, which is voted on by Australian ballot, was rejected 94-79 despite the fact that it had been cut by about $80,000 from the previous year.

At the same time, Holland voters approved their share of the North Country Union High School and junior high school budgets.

The town school budget was down for the second year in a row, but because of…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Barton Village annual meeting: Village gets bigger, new trustee elected

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copyright the Chronicle March 9, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

BARTON – Barton Village is a little big bigger than it was before its annual meeting Tuesday night.  By a vote of 23 to 1 residents voted to incorporate a small piece of land near the intersection of Route 16 and the Roaring Brook Road into the village.

The adjustment to the village charter was decided by Australian ballot and must still be ratified by the Legislature before it becomes final, but it is one of the final steps before the old Roaring Brook Road bridge is replaced with a new span.

Voters also elected Cathy Swain, a new resident to the village, to fill the seat vacated by Trustee Ryan Longe.  Mr. Longe, who…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Newport City Council: Wilson passed over for council president

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copyright the Chronicle March 9, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT – The first council meeting after Newport’s annual meeting usually begins with a drowsy run of reappointments to a wide variety of city offices.  That pattern was broken Monday when Alderman Steven Vincent passed over the incumbent, Alderman John Wilson, to nominate Alderman Neil Morrissette as president of the council.

Alderman Jacques Roberge seconded the nomination, and Mr. Wilson was effectively removed from the position, which he’s held since Paul Monette was elected Mayor in 2009.

City council president is largely an honorary title except when the mayor is absent…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Coventry Town Meeting: Diaz keeps clerk and treasurer jobs

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copyright the Chronicle March 2, 2016

by Randi Morse

COVENTRY – Town Clerk and Treasurer Cynthia Diaz retained both jobs at Town Meeting here Tuesday, despite a caution about her bookkeeping that the select board had put in the Warning for Town Meeting.

Auditors have consistently returned negative comments about her record keeping, and many of the same problems have persisted for years.

When the 2016 Town Report was released, residents were unsure what would happen as Ms. Diaz’s bookkeeping, as the treasurer, had not fared well in the reports from Graham & Graham, and from Gene Besaw and Associates.  Both audits recommended that numerous changes be made by Ms. Diaz, most of which she had, at the time of Town Meeting, yet to implement.

The second article of the Warning Tuesday asked to change the treasurer’s three-year term to a one-year term.

Board member Scott Morley… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Lowell Town Meeting: Road commissioner loses close race

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copyright the Chronicle March 2, 2016

by Sam Thurston

LOWELL – The first order of business at Town Meeting Tuesday was the schools.  After re-electing the school directors whose terms had expired, the budget was looked at.  Last year the budget was $1,754,498, and this year it is $1,880310 (which is a spending of $11,676 per equalized pupil).

A motion from the floor was presented to level fund it – to only appropriate the amount given last year.  School Director Steven Mason, with the other two directors standing behind him, defended the figure asked for.

In past years, he noted, the increase was smaller… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Brownington Town Meeting: Board returns to three members

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copyright the Chronicle March 2, 2016

by Eileen Wolfe

BROWNINGTON – Were voters at a mudslinging match?  Or a law school class?  How about a comedy of errors?

Town Meeting on Tuesday seemed to incorporate a bit of all those as people lurched and fought and eventually zipped their way through town and school affairs.

The meeting got off to an inauspicious start  By lunchtime, eight votes had been taken to decide five articles (or sub-articles), and it turned out that only three of the five final decisions would stand.  In addition, a less than congenial tone had been set that would continue… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Troy Town Meeting: Voters opt to buy property for preschool

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copyright the Chronicle March 2, 2016

by Tena Starr

NORTH TROY – Following a fairly long and typically feisty discussion, voters at Town Meeting here Tuesday agreed to spend $76,000 to buy the so-called Allen property, a lot and house adjacent to the school.

The short-term plan is to use the property for a preschool.

An attempt to cut how much the town pays for… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Forestry bills go after the bad guys

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copyright the Chronicle February 24, 2016

by Tena Starr

MONTPELIER — Legislation aimed at pinching the bad guys in the forestry business, while protecting the good guys from nuisance suits and dust-ups with zoning laws, is winding its way through the Vermont House at the moment.

In its current form, it would affect not only loggers, but also landowners who use loggers, and the mills that buy from loggers.

Orleans County loggers are leery of the legislation, but Commissioner of Forests, Parks and Recreation Michael Snyder views it as a tool aimed at protecting loggers’ right to do business.

H.584, which has an identical counterpart in the Senate, started out as one big bill, but has since been broken into pieces in the House so it can more easily pass through committees. And it’s rapidly changing as it proceeds.… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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