Albany Neighbors opposed to gravel pit

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copyright the Chronicle May 3, 2017

 

by Elizabeth Trail

 

ALBANY — Father and son Christian and Clark Katzenbach are hoping to earn a living from a vein of gravel on their 203-acre property on Grigg Road. Christian Katzenbach has spent most of his life as a logger, and it’s time for a change, he said. And 18-year-old Clark just bought a truck and is keen to go into business with his dad.

That puts them at odds with their neighbors, some who fear for their own livelihoods, and others who worry about living near a gravel pit — about the noise, the traffic, the dust, or just the look of the thing.

Albany has no zoning, Selectman Chris Jacobs said at an Act 250 hearing held at the Albany Community School in April to consider the Katzenbachs’ application for a permit to open a three-acre gravel pit on the land that Christian Katzenbach has owned since 1994.

Rebecca Beidler and Jeffrey Ellis’ organic vegetable farm lies right along the edge of what’s now a dead-end dirt road.

Chris Katzenbach’s plan is to reopen a long-unused segment of the road, and he’s agreed to build and maintain it. It’s the most efficient way to get gravel trucks down to Route 14, he says.

Ms. Beidler and Mr. Ellis aren’t happy about having heavy gravel trucks rumbling past their fields many times a day, kicking up dust and spreading diesel fumes.

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Dave’s Rubbish is back in Barton

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copyright the Chronicle May 3, 2017

 

 by Elizabeth Trail

 

BARTON — Dave’s Rubbish is back on track to pick up trash in the town of Barton.

Over the past two weeks, owner Dave Giroux has turned in all of the paperwork the select board had been asking for since last fall.

The board voted to revoke his right to pick up trash in the Barton Solid Waste Management District at a hearing on April 3.

Mr. Giroux appealed the decision on April 17, the day the ban was to take effect. On Monday night, he and his wife, Marcie, came to the select board meeting to hear the decision.

“You guys got the numbers to us,” Chair Bob Croteau said. “You guys did good. You seem to have done everything we asked.”

Selectman Jim Greenwood attended the meeting by speakerphone.

“I talked to the SWIP administrator and they’ve done everything they were supposed to,” he said.

SWIP is the solid waste implementation plan.

The select board revoked Mr. Giroux’ right to operate after finding that he had failed to comply with town rules about required recordkeeping for trash services.

The decision was to take effect in two weeks to give Barton residents time to make new arrangements to get their trash picked up.

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If you can see grass, tick season is here

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copyright the Chronicle May 3, 2017

 

by Brad Usatch

 

This week’s weather notwithstanding, summer is on its way, and with it, another year of tick vigilance for people and their pets.

Lyme disease, the most prevalent pathogen spread by ticks, used to be a fringe issue for a handful of unlucky souls in southern New England and maybe southern Vermont counties. But in the past ten or so years, ticks have spread north, and biologists and doctors warn that no place in Vermont is safe from the parasites and the host of diseases they are able to transmit.

Based on information on the Department of Health website, up until about the year 2000, Vermont averaged roughly ten to 20 confirmed cases of Lyme disease per year. That number grew steadily to reach 50 by 2004, 105 by 2008, and 330 by 2010. In 2013, the state recorded 675 cases of Lyme disease, or better than one infection for every 1,000 people.

That same 2015 data ranked Vermont as the state with the highest incidence of Lyme disease in the country. That year, the Center for Disease Control reported that 78.4 out of every 100,000 Vermonters was infected at some point. That number was well above most other states, including Connecticut, which reported an infection rate of 52.2 per 100,000.

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Trade case could lead to jobs at Columbia Forest Products

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copyright the Chronicle April 26, 2017

 

by Joseph Gresser

 

NEWPORT — Columbia Forest Products, along with several other manufactures of hardwood plywood, scored a preliminary victory in an international trade case that could mean as many as 70 new jobs at the company’s Newport veneer mill.

The Coalition for Fair Trade in Hardwood Plywood, which includes Columbia and five other producers, filed complaints with the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) and the Department of Commerce Enforcement and Compliance arm, in November.

The group complained that Chinese manufacturers have been dumping their products in the U.S. and get unfair support from the Chinese government.

The coalition tried to get the commerce department to slap penalties on Chinese plywood in 2012. That effort ended in failure when the ITC ruled against the domestic producers.

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Facebook popup leads to scam

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copyright the Chronicle April 26, 2017

 

by Elizabeth Trail

 

BARTON — Sharon Bickford of Barton was on Facebook one evening last week when her computer screen suddenly froze. A window popped up, flashing an ominous warning — her computer was under a virus attack, and had been frozen to protect her files.

That’s the first step in a scam that’s been happening to a lot of people lately. It happened to me twice in the week before Ms. Bickford called the Chronicle with her story.

In fact, it’s happened so often lately that the State Police put out a bulletin last week warning people about tech support scams.

The popup message on Ms. Bickford’s computer told her to call a toll-free number immediately so that a technician could remove the infected files and restore her computer.

“It was completely frozen,” Ms. Bickford said. “I had to use control-alt-delete to get out of my browser. And then when I reopened the browser, it was back.”

Ms. Bickford called the number.

The man on the other end of the line said he needed remote access to her computer to fix the problem.

He told her it would cost $300 to remove the virus and install three years’ worth of anti-virus protection.

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Effort underway to bring ball fields back to fairgrounds

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copyright the Chronicle April 26, 2017

 

 

by Tena Starr

 

BARTON — Some may not remember when there were fierce competitions at the ball fields at the Orleans County Fairgrounds, or knew there were ball fields there at all. But years ago, they were busy places. In fact, according to old Orleans County Monitors, ballgames were a regular feature of the fair, as well as a lively summertime occupation between organized teams.

Now there’s an effort to revive and recondition those fields, which are more than 100 years old, adding backstops, dugouts, plus lights on one of them for night games.

Dan Perron is a fair director; he’s also vice-president of the Orleans County Cal Ripkin chapter, a man who is deeply immersed in youth baseball, as well as softball. He’s spearheading the effort to rejuvenate the fields and has helped to start a fund-raising drive to pay for upcoming improvements.

Over the next weeks, expect to see “baseball cards” in local stores. They can be bought for a dollar each, and the money will go to finishing the fields.

Mr. Perron has done considerable research on the history of the ball fields and baseball in Barton in general. Among other things, he ran across the story of Heimie Stafford of Orleans, who made it to the bigs, the majors, for a single game in October of 1916.

Mr. Perron said the goal is to raise between $20,000 and $25,000 to finish refurbishing the fields. These days, teams want a good field to play on, and they don’t want to play on just grass, he said.

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Congressman swings through Northeast Kingdom

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copyright the Chronicle April 26, 2017

 

by Joseph Gresser

 

NEWPORT — U.S. Representative Peter Welch brought his spring recess tour of the state to the Northeast Kingdom on April 20 with a visit to Derby and Newport.

The state’s only Congressional member asked local leaders what they need from the federal government, but the news he offered in exchange was not particularly good.

Mr. Welch said the budget President Donald Trump proposed completely eliminates two programs that have provided a great deal of benefit to the region in past years. They are the community development block grant program and the Northern Border Regional Commission.

Both have brought millions of dollars to Vermont for infrastructure, housing, and other community projects.

Mr. Welch said both programs are especially important in rural states, noting that a number of his Republican colleagues represent such areas. The Congressman said he thinks it possible that a bipartisan coalition will keep the proposed cuts from going into effect.

He held his first meeting of the day in Derby, where officials from Derby, Newport, and Derby Center came together to tell Mr. Welch the kind of work they will need to do over the next few years to maintain basic services.

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Orleans sixth-graders learn how to make a difference

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copyright the Chronicle April 19, 2017

by Elizabeth Trail

 

ORLEANS — How do ordinary people go about trying to solve big problems, like hunger, cancer and homeless cats?

That’s the question that Andrea Gratton’s mostly sixth-grade language arts students at Orleans Elementary School set out to answer each year.

The project, called “Make a Difference,” pairs each student with a nonprofit organization. Students study the nonprofits they’ve chosen, prepare a presentation, and do a project under the supervision of a mentor.

Last week, the students put the final touches on the displays they’ve created and spent the day teaching other students, teachers, and family members what they’ve learned.

Students start by choosing a nonprofit. They can pick one from Ms. Gratton’s list, or they can choose an organization they already know about.

“I ask them what’s a problem in the world that you care a lot about?” Ms. Gratton said. “It’s a very long project, so you’d better pick something you feel passionate about.”

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Local schools vandalized

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copyright the Chronicle April 19, 2017

 Two area schools, Glover and Brighton, were vandalized in separate incidents on Sunday and Monday, according to reports from the State Police.

At 8 a.m. on Sunday, April 16, the State Police responded to reports of a burglary at Brighton Elementary School. According to a report by Trooper Calvin Burns, the building had been entered without use of force, and the offender or offenders damaged property inside the school. He did not specify what the damage was.

Evidence was found at the scene, police said. Anyone with additional information is asked to call Trooper Burns at the Derby barracks.

On Monday morning, staff at the Glover Community School reported that someone had used a handicap parking sign to break an exterior window at the school.

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Raymond James agrees to $150-million settlement

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copyright the Chronicle April 19, 2017

 

by Joseph Gresser

 

A year and a day after the federal and state governments filed civil charges connected with Jay Peak’s EB-5 projects, the receiver in the case announced a settlement intended to pay money owed to contractors and return the money invested in some failed enterprises.

Michael Goldberg, who was appointed to oversee businesses and other assets owned by Ariel Quiros, appeared at a press conference April 13 in Montpelier with Governor Phil Scott to announce an agreement with Raymond James & Associates, Inc., that could be worth as much as $150-million.

The same day, Raymond James posted the text of the settlement reached with Mr. Goldberg in a filing with the SEC. As a publically traded company, the financial services firm is required to disclose events, such as legal settlements, that may affect its business prospects.

Although it agreed to pay, Raymond James did not admit any wrongdoing.

According to the settlement documents, the company and the receiver have been discussing a settlement since last summer. Last June the Vermont branch of Raymond James reached a $5.95-million settlement with the state. That money will be subtracted from the $150-million the national firm is to pay out.

In a telephone interview Tuesday, Mr. Goldberg said he is pleased with the settlement, but said it had taken a lot of hard work to come to terms.

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