At NCUHS: Board won’t hire a principal

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copyright the Chronicle May 25, 2016 

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT — North Country Union High School will do without a principal next year. The board decided not to hire its most recent candidate, Chris Smith, after a lengthy meeting held in executive session Monday evening.

According to North Country Supervisory Union Superintendent John Castle, the board had come up with an option it could put in place if a new principal could not be found by the end of the current school year.

It calls for assistant principals Anita Mayhew and Bob Davis and Director of Special Programs Jessica Puckett to share responsibility for the day-to-day management of the school during the 2016-2017 school year, Mr. Castle said. They will assume their new roles on July 1.

Mr. Castle said he and the board members will work together before the board’s June meeting to define each administrator’s job.

Before making their decision, the board and several parents met Chris Smith, a finalist…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Meth lab discovered in Barton

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copyright the Chronicle May 25, 2016

by Tena Starr

BARTON — Police were taking no chances Saturday at a meth lab found at a Barton home on Cottage Lane between the Crystal Lake state beach and St. Paul’s school. A hazardous materials unit, as well as a clandestine lab team, were at the scene, with both Barton Ambulance and the Barton Fire Department standing by in case of an accident. For much of the afternoon, workers in bulky hazmat suits cleared the building of the volatile chemicals used in making methamphetamine.

On Monday, Terry A. Parson Jr., 33, was charged with both possession and sale of meth, the latter a felony. He pled innocent in the Criminal Division of Orleans County Superior Court and is being held on $100,000 bail.

The Northern Vermont Drug Task Force started an investigation into the distribution of meth in Orleans County late this month. The target was Mr. Parson, court records say. The investigation involved what police call a “source of information” and a “cooperating individual,”…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Fletcher sentenced to 15 months for ambulance embezzlement

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copyright the Chronicle May 25, 2016 

by Joseph Gresser

In June of last year, Amy C. Fletcher, 45, of Derby Line admitted to embezzling almost $290,000 from the Derby Line Ambulance (DLA). The former secretary, treasurer, and bookkeeper of the emergency squad pled guilty to wire fraud and tax evasion in U.S. District Court in Burlington.

On May 19 of this year federal Judge Garvan Murtha sentenced Ms. Fletcher to serve a 15-month prison term and pay $289,864 in restitution to the ambulance corps.

David Sleigh, Ms. Fletcher’s lawyer, tried to persuade Judge Murtha to impose a sentence that did not include time behind bars, a press release…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Barton Village Trustees: Water rates come up again

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copyright the Chronicle May 25, 2016

by Elizabeth Trail

BARTON — Water rates at the nonprofit Barton Chambers Apartments have gone up an average of 48 percent, said Gary Marcotte, the manager of the four apartment buildings.

Mr. Marcotte paid a visit to the Barton Village Trustees at their Monday night meeting to show them a chart he had prepared comparing water usage and water costs for the apartments between last year and this year.

“The rate concept is flawed,” Mr. Marcotte said.

The Barton Chambers Apartments are for low-income and senior citizens. Rents are set by Rural Development, based on income, and utilities are paid by Rural Development rather than by individual residents.

Rural Development set its rates last fall before Barton Village raised its water and electric rates, Mr. Marcotte said.

Between water and electricity, which also went up by 18 percent in December, Mr. Marcotte expects it to cost about $15,000 extra…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Is there too much syrup?

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copyright the Chronicle May 18, 2016

by Tena Starr

It’s been a banner year for maple syrup – by many accounts the best in the history of the business.

For many sugarmakers that means it’s also a profitable year.  Although the price of bulk syrup is down somewhat, nearly everyone has more syrup to sell than they did last year.

But others, particularly those who are new to the industry, may be struggling to find a buyer for their bulk syrup.  What some have called a glut of syrup also raises the question of whether maple production is outpacing its market, even though that market is growing.

“A lot of syrup has been produced this year, and a lot of the big packers have got what they need,” said Denise Marshall at D&D Sugarwoods Farm in Glover last week.  “Therefore, lots of sugarmakers don’t have a place to sell their syrup this year because there’s so much of it.”

Ms. Marshall buys a couple hundred drums of syrup each year for use at her own business.  She buys more from local customers to resell to Butternut Mountain Farm in Morrisville, a much bigger packer than she is, and a couple others.

She said she finds herself in a tough spot because she’s had the same customers for years and wants to be loyal to them.  But this season she’s been unable to buy all their syrup, because she has no market for it, at least right now, and she’s not quite sure…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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SEC turns up heat on Quiros

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copyright the Chronicle May 18, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

Federal regulators turned up the heat on Ariel Quiros Tuesday when they filed an amended complaint in the civil case against the owner of Jay Peak Resort.  Mr. Quiros, along with many of his businesses, and Bill Stenger, former president of Jay Peak, were first charged with violating federal securities laws in connection with several EB-5 funded projects in a suit filed on April 12 by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

In filing an amended version of its initial complaint Tuesday, the SEC sharpened its accusations against Mr. Quiros, specifically charging that he used investor money from later phases of his eight EB-5 projects to make up shortfalls in earlier phases.

The SEC has held all along that Mr. Quiros misused, wrongly co-mingled, and stole money from foreign investors who sought permanent residency status in the U.S. by means of the EB-5 visa program.  Those investors and their families would be eligible for green cards if their $500,000 investments in a business in a hard-up area of the U.S. produced at least ten permanent jobs.

Jay Peak financed extensive developments, including three hotels, a water park, a skating area, and numerous other vacation properties, through the visa program.  Mr. Quiros also used money from the program to pay for a hotel at Burke Mountain, and planned to build a biomedical facility in Newport with EB-5 investment.

The SEC claims Mr. Quiros took $55-million for himself and could leave investors without their money or a path to residency in the U.S. if his most recent projects remain unfinished.

In the amended version of its complaint, the SEC specified which projects it claims Mr. Quiros stole from and details how he used the money he allegedly took.

The amended charges say Mr. Quiros and his associates took $6.5-million more than they were entitled to from the project that built the golf clubhouse and a number of condominiums at Jay Peak.  Mr. Quiros also failed to invest a promised $3.8-million…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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School leaders weigh in on OCSU merger plans

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copyright the Chronicle May 18, 2016

by Elizabeth Trail

Since early spring, representatives of the Orleans Central Supervisory Union (OCSU) merger study committee have been holding informational meetings in anticipation of the school district merger vote scheduled for June 7.

Although the study committee is strongly recommending that communities vote for the merger, not everyone has bought wholeheartedly into the committee members’ arguments.  “I’d love to see a public debate about this, with speakers from both sides,” said Todd Rivver, principal of Albany Community School.  “The supervisory union has done a very effective job of presenting their side, but we really haven’t heard any other point of view.”

Within the OCSU, the debate, if any, is muted.

“I have the opportunity as superintendent to see the successes and challenges each district…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Farmers favor new DFA settlement plan

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copyright the Chronicle May 18, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

BURLINGTON – A crowd of dairy farmers spent a day in federal court here last week telling U.S. Judge Christina Reiss their thoughts on the proposed settlement in a case against Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a nationwide dairy cooperative.

More than 30 farmers gave up an idea corn-planting day on Friday, May 13, to weigh in on the latest attempt at a resolution to a class action suit that first came before the court in 2009.

While the new proposed settlement, like the two proposals that preceded it, provides for $50-million in compensation, it has a number of additional provisions intended to deal with issues left unaddressed in the first version.

Unlike the first fairness hearing, held in February of 2015, farmers who spoke in favor of the agreement heavily outnumbered…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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EB-5 investor files suit against Raymond James

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copyright the Chronicle May 11, 2016 

by Joseph Gresser

Jay Peak’s EB-5 projects are keeping Miami’s federal court hopping.

A disappointed investor has launched a class action suit aimed directly at the deep pockets of Raymond James, the financial services company that acted as the bank for Jay Peak owner Ariel Quiros. Like the other civil cases aimed at Jay Peak’s foreign investor program this was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Mr. Quiros has filed a challenge to the temporary restraining order issued by federal Judge Darrin Gayles that put his assets, including Jay Peak and Burke Mountain, into the hands of a receiver.

He has also asked Judge Gayles to release almost $300,000 to pay legal costs for his defense against charges laid against him by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).

In turn, the SEC has asked Judge Gayles to deny Mr. Quiros’ request for access to enough money to pay living expenses amounting to around $100,000 a month. In its filing…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Quiros asks for “reasonable” living expenses

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copyright the Chronicle May 11, 2016 

by Joseph Gresser

Ariel Quiros, the owner of Jay Peak and Burke Mountain, has asked federal Judge Darrin Gayles to allow him access to enough money to cover what he considers reasonable living expenses.

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) strongly disagrees with Mr. Quiros’ idea of what is reasonable.

The SEC called the nearly $100,000 a month Mr. Quiros said he needs to live on an “outrageous sum” in its motion opposing the release of the money.

About $90,000 of that amount is for “luxury items, non-necessities, or for undocumented expenses,” the SEC said.

Those include car lease payments of $3,295 for one of his automobiles, and $1,761 for one driven by his wife, and storage and upkeep payments for his collection of military jeeps of about $3,000 a month.

Mr. Quiros said he pays $147 a month to a yacht club and…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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