Armed standoff in Newport

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copyright the Chronicle November 30, 2016

by Tena Starr

NEWPORT — A standoff with a man armed with a rifle at Richard’s All Seasons Lodge, formerly the Bayview Inn, led to a heavy police presence here Tuesday afternoon and evening.

The situation was under control, but not resolved, said Dispatcher Laura Fisher at the Newport Police Department as of press time.

A Newport police officer at the scene said he suspected it could be a long night.

And there were reports that the man had barricaded himself in.

Despite rumors that hostages were involved, Dispatcher Fisher said there were no hostages.

Police closed that section of Pleasant Street off and were not allowing through traffic.

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The NEK’s got jobs — a lot of them

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copyright the Chronicle November 30, 2016

by Tena Starr

Neil Morrissette of Creative Work Solutions is an unabashed cheerleader for the Northeast Kingdom. It has everything, he said in a recent interview.

Including jobs. A lot of jobs. In fact, some employers are near desperate for workers, Mr. Morrissette said.

“There’s so much work out there.”

The economic picture he paints is far from the traditional one, which is that the Northeast Kingdom — generally called the most economically depressed part of the state — is one tough place to get a job.

But Mr. Morrissette’s assessment is backed up by a low unemployment rate in the Derby labor market area. The area’s October rate was the second highest in Vermont, but at 3.7 percent it’s very low nationally and can’t be considered high anywhere.

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Deer harvest up from last year

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copyright the Chronicle November 30, 2016

by Paul Lefebvre

The head deer biologist for the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife speculated Tuesday that the harvest from the 2016 rifle season may be up by as much as 15 percent from the 2015 season.

In an interview two days after the 16-day rifle season ended Sunday, deer biologist Nick Fortin said he expects to see the increase range from between 10 and 15 percent.

While the actual increase won’t be known until all the reporting stations around the state have checked in, Mr. Fortin credited a mild winter for this year’s improved harvest.

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State taking a hands-on approach to motor vehicle inspections

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copyright the Chronicle November 30, 2016

by Brad Usatch

A new computerized vehicle inspection system being rolled out by the state of Vermont in 2017 could make it tougher for owners of older cars to keep their rigs on the road.

Beginning in January, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will phase in an Automated Vehicle Inspection System (AVIP) that sends electronic data from a car’s computer and even photographic evidence of degraded components to a centralized processing center.

AVIP uses what the DMV calls a “ruggedized” tablet computer to record emissions testing data and diagnostic computer information obtained during the annual inspection process. Inspections will still be carried out by the state’s network of private licensed inspection stations. Even under the current system, computer codes and emissions data are supposed to be recorded on paper forms and mailed off by inspection stations to the DMV. What’s truly new is that mechanics will now be asked to take pictures of cars being inspected and send that information off as well.

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Lost hunter tells his story

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copyright the Chronicle November 23, 2016

by Paul Lefebvre

 

HOLLAND — A seasoned Brattleboro deer hunter who kept thinking positive survived four nights in the big woods here that extend across the border.

John Chapman, 72, was found early Sunday afternoon in Norton after an extensive search that began when he failed Wednesday to return to a friend’s camp on Holland Pond.

When U.S. Border Patrol Agent Matt Bovay located the missing hunter — in what a State Police press release characterized as “a very remote area of Norton” — Mr. Chapman said he was surprised to learn that he was the subject of an intensive search, involving rescue dogs, wilderness response teams, game wardens, the State Police Search and Rescue unit, and Border Patrol agents.

“I didn’t know I had created such a commotion,” he said, speaking in an interview Tuesday as he praised everyone who participated in the search. “I owe a great debt of gratitude.”

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SEC wins early victory against Quiros

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copyright the Chronicle November 23, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

 

In a ruling issued Monday, U.S. District Judge Darrin Gayles gave the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) an early victory in its suit against Ariel Quiros. The federal agency was granted its request for a preliminary injunction to keep things as they have been since it went to court in April and charged Mr. Quiros with securities fraud.

The judge’s ruling maintains the status quo until the underlying issues in the civil suit are resolved at trial. That means Mr. Quiros’ property remains under the control of Michael Goldberg, the court-appointed receiver, and Mr. Quiros is barred from any kind of involvement in businesses connected with the federal EB-5 visa program.

When the case comes to trial, Mr. Quiros faces the prospect of being forced to disgorge as much as $200-million in money the government said was improperly used. Mr. Quiros has also been charged with taking more than $50-million for his personal use.

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An appreciation of the worst Thanksgiving of my life

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copyright the Chronicle November 23, 2016

by Elizabeth Trail

 

The worst Thanksgiving of my life was probably the year when, as a young wife, it was my turn to put on the holiday meal for my husband’s family.

My own family was 3,000 miles away in California.

The other day on the radio, a commentator talking about regional holiday menus said, more or less, “Well, let’s just not talk about California.”

The implication was that California Thanksgivings are all about exotic side dishes and getting the right wine.

Maybe there was a little bit of that, especially after my grandparents were gone. We’re a food curious lot. But whatever was on the table, the holiday was definitely about good food, family, and conversation.

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A railroad runs through it

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copyright the Chronicle November 23, 2016

by Brad Usatch

 

Every rule is written in blood.

When Vermont Railway engineer Sean Harper and conductor Seth Rowell offered up this railroad maxim, they weren’t being dramatic. They were simply sharing the reality that undergirds the methodical repetition of procedures that marks every action they take.

The Chronicle was recently invited to ride along with a railroad crew from Vermont Railway to learn a little about this transportation corridor that runs through the heart of Orleans County. This reporter met with the crew on Friday at the Newport switchyard and eventually traveled south to its Lyndonville transload facility.

“I don’t like to think of it as a dangerous job,” Mr. Harper said.

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Walmart opens amidst policing concerns

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copyright the Chronicle November 16, 2016

 

 by Joseph Gresser

DERBY — The Derby Walmart Supercenter will open its doors for the first time early on November 16, but according to State Police Lieutenant Walt Smith, commander of the Derby barracks, issues of public safety remain to be addressed.

Lieutenant Smith, along with Captain Mike Henry, who heads the St. Johnsbury State Police outpost, visited the Derby Select Board back in March. He said his troopers would not be able to handle what he expects will be a large number of calls from the new store.

Lieutenant Smith explained that he’s responsible for ensuring the safety of 30 communities in the Northeast Kingdom, and his forces are stretched too thin to allow him to focus on minor offenses committed at Walmart.

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Diaz to bill town for delinquent tax collector’s fee

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copyright the Chronicle November 16, 2016

 

by Elizabeth Trail

COVENTRY — There was largely stunned silence around the room Monday night when the select board read aloud part of a note from delinquent tax collector Cynthia Diaz.

The note said that Ms. Diaz plans to bill the town next week for the 8 percent penalty charged to four taxpayers whose late property taxes she collected recently.

That would be business as usual in most towns, but it came at the same time that the select board was hearing auditor Jeff Graham, who has been scrutinizing Coventry’s books, say that at least $26,000 in cash tax payments is known to be missing from the 2013 to 2015 tax years. And he said he expects the number will be higher.

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