Mock crash makes powerful point

Featured

copyright the Chronicle May 24, 2017

 

by Joseph Gresser

 

When the Lake Region Union High School student body poured into the bright sunshine on the morning of May 17, they saw a horrific sight. Two wrecked cars stood in the drop-off area, one with a young woman lying on the hood in a pool of blood.

As gruesome as the scene was, it was not a surprise. The entire school had just watched a student-created video depicting the events leading to the tragic scene laid out before them.

A young man, texting as he drove his blue car down the road, was seen just before he plowed head-on into a red car filled with happy teens.   The screen went black as the cars collided, although the audience could hear the Sheriff’s Department dispatcher taking a report of the smash-up.

The student actors were in place as their classmates gathered around. Student videographers were positioned in the area, as they shot footage for another cautionary film.

Members of the Orleans Fire Department, Orleans Ambulance, and the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department were also in position, and at the signal from Sheriff’s Department Captain Phil Brooks, they went into action.

Captain Brooks narrated as the firefighters checked the two cars, evaluated the potential for immediate danger, and looked to see what kind of assistance they could render.

To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe to the online edition below:

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

Print subscription

(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper)

Share

FBI investigating Orleans man

Featured

copyright the Chronicle May 17, 2017

 

by Joseph Gresser

 

ORLEANS — FBI agents went calling at the Orleans home of a man suspected of stealing from the Cabot Cooperative Creamery, and left with a trove of financial records, according to federal court documents.

Agents executed a search warrant at the home of Randy Swartz, the former maintenance manager at Cabot, and seized equipment and computers as well.

FBI Special Agent Patrick Hanna filed a request for the warrant in U.S. District Court in Burlington on March 9. In it, he laid out what he said were facts justifying the search of Mr. Swartz’s home, workshops, and computer files.

Mr. Swartz has not been charged with a crime, but the affidavit says he is under investigation for allegedly ordering equipment and parts for his personal business and charging them to Cabot.

According to the affidavit, one of Mr. Swartz’s subordinates went to creamery officials on January 25 and told them Mr. Swartz had been having parts Cabot paid for delivered to his home. He did not reimburse the company for the parts and had Cabot employees perform work for his private business on company time, Special Agent Hanna said.

To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe to the online edition below:

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

Print subscription

(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper)

Share

New law could speed Newport’s development

Featured

copyright the Chronicle May 17, 2017

 

 

by Joseph Gresser

 

NEWPORT — The Vermont House and Senate have come to an agreement on an economic development bill that, among other things, will permit the creation of six new tax increment finance zones.

“We shook on it, but haven’t signed it,” said Representative Mike Marcotte of Coventry, who was a member of the conference committee charged with ironing out differences between House and Senate versions of the bill, S.135.

The zones, also known as TIF districts, are designed to help communities attract development without raising taxes on its existing Grand List. A town that needs to upgrade some of its infrastructure in order to attract new development issues bonds for the cost of the work.

It can then use additional tax revenue generated by the new development to pay off the bond.

That includes municipal taxes and, in the past, 75 percent of the state education tax collected on the new development. Under the new bill that percentage would fall slightly to 70 percent, leaving the education fund with another 5 percent.

Some legislators are concerned the TIF program takes too much money out of the state education fund, Mr. Marcotte said Tuesday. S.135 calls for the Legislature’s economist, fiscal office, and the state auditor to see what effect the districts have on a community’s economy.

To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe to the online edition below:

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

Print subscription

(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper)

Share

Body on cliff awaits recovery

Featured

copyright the Chronicle May 17, 2017

 

The body found Monday on a cliff at the south end of Lake Willoughby in Westmore may not be recovered until Thursday, State Police said.

Other agencies will have to help because of the extreme nature of the terrain and the equipment and expertise needed to access the area, a State Police press release says.

It says the body is about 300 feet down a precipice and 200 feet up from the bottom of the drop-off, resting on a rock shelf.

Police have asked officials with the Vermont National Guard, as well as other technical experts, for advice on the best way to recover the body.

“While positive ID has not yet occurred, the family of Tyler Robinson has been advised of the process underway to recover the individual,” the press release says.

Mr. Robinson, who is 23 years old and from Orleans, was last seen at his home on Water Street on Friday. Police and search and rescue teams had been scouring the county looking for him.

To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe to the online edition below:

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

Print subscription

(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper)

Share

ASPIRE! awards boost female entrepreneurs

Featured

copyright the Chronicle May 17, 2017

 

by Tena Starr

 

Several years ago, Hanna Broer, who has loved sewing since she was a young teenager, decided to make herself some underwear. She liked how it turned out, as did others, and that was the start of Hanna Broer Design.

What’s different about Ms. Broer’s lingerie is that it’s made from eco-friendly materials, mostly organic cotton, but also hemp, bamboo, and even a fabric partially made from the waste products from the soy industry.

“It’s very soft and comfortable,” she said about the soy fabric. “And it’s quite nice to use a discarded material.”

Her lingerie isn’t of the Victoria Secret type. No underwires, no frills. It’s meant to be comfortable, but it’s also attractive, both in design and in choice of fabric.

Business has grown steadily, but slowly, said Ms. Broer, who comes from Montreal but now lives in Craftsbury with her husband. She’s a one-woman show at this point, with several sewing machines for different tasks, but she’d like to grow and hire people.

So when she heard about ASPIRE!, a local program to help female businesswomen, she applied. Winners receive a $2,000 award and what’s called a circle of support — women business owners who provide practical advice and support about how to make a promising business grow and prosper.

To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe to the online edition below:

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

Print subscription

(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper)

Share

2017 Legislature has a new fan

Featured

copyright the Chronicle May 10, 2017

 

by Joseph Gresser

 

EAST ALBANY — Many people complain about state regulations, but few are willing to take the time and trouble to go about changing them. Bill Pearce, the proprietor of Pearce’s Pastured Poultry has been raising, slaughtering, and selling chickens from his farm in East Albany for the past seven years.

State law allows growers to sell up to 1,000 birds to end users from their farm, without state inspection. Mr. Pearce recently sold part of his business to Hannah Pearce, one of his daughters, and realized that the two could not make ends meet if they could only sell 1,000 chickens.

“You can’t support yourself on that few birds,” he said.

Mr. Pearce said he has no problem with regulations about how birds are slaughtered, but having to pay for state inspectors would raise the price of his birds a dollar or more a pound.

He said he takes great pride in producing a clean bird, and sends a sample chicken from each batch he processes to the same lab the state uses to test poultry for e coli bacteria.

“We’ve really learned a lot by doing that,” Mr. Pearce said. The state has three categories for processed chicken, based on the amount of bacteria discovered by the lab. Acceptable means there is a minimal amount of e coli on the chicken, a somewhat higher amount garners a rating of marginal, unacceptable is the label for contaminated chickens.

“We were all over the place

To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe to the online edition below:

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

Print subscription

(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper)

Share

OCSU RIFs reflect uncertainty about Washington

Featured

copyright the Chronicle May 10, 2017

by Elizabeth Trail

 

The Orleans Central Supervisory Union (OCSU) is not renewing contracts for about 20 teachers and support staff for the 2017-2018 school year.

The higher than usual number of reduction in force (RIF) notices that went out in April is in large part due to the uncertainty coming out of Washington, D.C., OCSU Superintendent Donald Van Nostrand said.

Some of the cuts are at the supervisory union level, and some are within individual school districts.

And not all of the RIFs can be blamed on the feds.

“Some reductions are occurring due to budgetary considerations for next year,” Mr. Van Nostrand said.

There are also some schools that are reducing the hours for certain programs.

Glover Community School, for example, will have an art teacher one day a week next year instead of a day and a half.

Those cuts count as RIFs but weren’t included in Mr. Van Nostrand’s figure of 20 people who aren’t getting contracts to sign this spring.

A few others were told they were going to be part of the reduction in force, he said, and then got the happy news that their jobs were safe after all, when other teachers or support staff in their districts announced retirements or other plans for leaving.

To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe to the online edition below:

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

Print subscription

(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper)

Share

The Luring haunts the Northeast Kingdom

Featured

copyright the Chronicle May 10, 2017

 

by Brad Usatch

 

LOWELL — Evil cast its shadow over Missisquoi Lanes on Saturday as The Luring, a horror film being shot in the Northeast Kingdom, borrowed the location for what is said to be a revealing scene in the movie.

The Luring is written and directed by Christopher Wells, a Long Island native with strong local ties. His father, Roderick Wells, is a well known landscape painter who still lives in the St. Johnsbury area.

Christopher’s 2016 release about his father’s work, Roderick Wells: The Art of Romantic Realism, took home best documentary prizes at both the New York Short Film and Screenplay competition and the New York Film and TV Festival.

Some of his father’s work is also being used in The Luring.

Taken straight from the film’s website (www.theluring.com) The Luring tells the story of a man who returns to the vacation home where a murder took place on his tenth birthday, hoping to resolve a memory gap that has been plaguing him for years. It is a feature length horror film, but Mr. Wells said not to expect a lot of blood and gore. Instead, he said, he aims to produce a psychological thriller with fully developed characters, intelligent dialogue, and subtle foreshadowing.

To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe to the online edition below:

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

Print subscription

(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper)

Share

VEC holds annual meeting

Featured

copyright the Chronicle May 10, 2017

 

by Elizabeth Trail

 

JAY — The word on a lot of peoples’ lips at Saturday’s Vermont Electric Cooperative (VEC) annual meeting was “curtailment.” That means cutting back on renewable energy production when local transmission lines and substations reach their limits.

In Lowell these days, the turbines are off more than they’re on, at least according to one VEC member who spoke from the floor during the question and answer period at the end of the meeting.

“Vermont is full of renewables but we only have four substations,” said electric cooperative CEO Christine Hallquist.   Transmission lines also need to be upgraded so they can carry more power.

The transmission problem was fixed in 2013 with major upgrades to increase the capacity of Vermont’s electrical system, she said, but as the amount of in-state power generation has increased, the area is finding itself up against the limits again.

“And we could have to fix it again in another four years,” she said.

In the meantime there are physical limitations to how much electricity can be moved around the state and out into the wider New England grid.

“Any new generation cannibalizes other generation,” Ms. Hallquist said.

She was explaining some of the stumbling blocks built into Vermont’s ambitious renewable energy program to a group of about 200 people — 120 members and 85 guests — who came to the co-op’s annual meeting at the Jay Peak Hotel and Conference Center.

To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe to the online edition below:

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

Print subscription

(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper)

Share

Community weighs in on Trump presidency

Featured

copyright the Chronicle May 3, 2017

 

Editor’s note: Our staff interviewed people throughout Orleans County over the past week about their views on President Trump’s first 100 days in office.

For the most part, Republicans, while not always unconditional in their support, give the new President the benefit of the doubt. Not surprisingly, Democrats are less generous. We heard some unexpected, and unexpectedly thoughtful, views on the new President’s early days in office.  

 

John Wilson, president of the Newport City Council: “He’s doing pretty well considering that half the country doesn’t support him. This country is so polarized.”

Charlotte Bernarde, Newport: “If I talk about him, I end up mad. Or depressed. Luckily, he isn’t really getting all that much done. He mostly just talks about what he’s going to do. Or rather, Tweets.

“I mean really, what do people who voted for him think? He wants to take away health care that we finally got. And his tax reform is cutting the corporate tax rate? Sorry, but people got conned by a con artist. And we all have to live with it.

“I guess what I focus on is that people are fighting back. I think it’s going to make us stronger in the end.

“I’m taking bets on him resigning before the end of his term because, first, he really didn’t want to be president and didn’t get how hard it was going to be, and two, the heat will get too hot for him on taxes and Russia as long as pressure stays on. Or he’ll get impeached.

To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe to the online edition below:

Annual online subscription

Short-term online subscription

Print subscription

(To find a particular article, search for the corresponding edition of the newspaper)

Share