Irasburg farmer challenges state

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copyright the Chronicle March 23, 2016

by Tena Starr

An Irasburg farmer has invited the Vermont Agency of Agriculture to prosecute him for violating the state’s slaughtering rules.

His crime?  He advertised half of a grass fed beef that had not been “properly” slaughtered for sale.

John Klar has been raising and selling organic beef and sheep for more than 15 years.  Last summer, he received a surprise visit from Agency of Agriculture compliance investigator Eric Holgrem, who had seen a Craigslist ad that Mr. Klar had placed for beef.

“He didn’t call; he just showed up,” Mr. Klar said.

That’s something else he objects to, but his main problem is with the regulations themselves, which he said make no sense.

Vermont’s most recent version of the slaughter rules passed in 2013, and the House last week voted…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Newport City Council: Wilson tongue lashes council

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copyright the Chronicle March 23, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT – Alderman John Wilson, the former president of the Newport City Council, stepped away from the meeting table Monday evening and gave his colleagues a piece of his mind.

Mr. Wilson gained the largely ceremonial position when its former occupant, Paul Monette, was elected mayor in 2009, and held it until the council’s March 7 meeting.

The council chooses its president annually at the first meeting after Town Meeting Day.  This year, Alderman Steven Vincent surprised some members of the public by nominating Alderman Neil Morrissette for the position.  Alderman Jacques Roberge seconded the nomination.

According to Mr. Wilson’s statement, which he delivered from a front row seat in the public gallery, he knew he would be replaced when he went into the meeting.  What he did not know, he said, is why his colleagues decided to strip him of his position.

“Even when you punish a child, you tell him what he did,” Mr. Wilson said.

He said he first got wind of the impending…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Orleans County is unhealthiest in Vermont

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copyright the Chronicle March 23, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT – When Julie Raboin stood up at Monday’s city council meeting and talked about a recent study showing Orleans County at the bottom of the state’s health rankings, Newport resident Brian McNeal had a question.

He noted reports of another study that ranked the state as second healthiest in the nation, behind Hawaii, and asked about the incidence of cancer.

Ms. Raboin, who is a substance abuse prevention consultant working at the Vermont Department of Health’s Newport office, explained that the study, prepared by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation of Princeton, New Jersey, bases its rankings on a different set of factors.

On Tuesday, Ms. Raboin offered a visitor to the Department of Health a guided tour of the study’s findings, explaining how the foundation’s examination of counties across…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Baird wants murder charge dropped

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copyright the Chronicle March 23, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

ST. JOHNSBURY  – The last of the three men charged in the 2010 murder of 78-year-old Mary Pat O’Hagan of Sheffield is asking to have a charge of felony murder dismissed and to have his trial on the remaining burglary and kidnapping charges moved out of Caledonia County.

On Friday, Keith J. Baird, 35, of Sheffield, and his lawyer, Robert Katims, were in the Criminal Division of Caledonia County Superior Court.  Mr. Katims sought to persuade Judge Michael Kupersmith that publicity about the case has made it impossible to pick an unbiased jury locally.  He also argued that the state could not show that Mr. Baird intended…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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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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