Getting ready for universal preschool

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Pictured here is the Central Orleans Family Education Center, which is run by the Orleans Central Supervisory Union. About 100 children attend preschool there.

Pictured here is the Barton location of the Central Orleans Family Education Center, which is run by the Orleans Central Supervisory Union. About 100 children attend preschool there.

copyright the Chronicle October 7, 2015

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

ALBANY — Kelly Peters of Albany has two young children. One is in preschool after a year-long wait, and the other is on the waiting list to get in.

According to Ms. Peters, there aren’t many preschool options, whether they’re private or public, and daycare is also in short supply.

The universal preschool law that goes into effect on July 1 next year, Act 166, says that school districts are required to provide access to ten hours of preschool per week for all children aged three to five. Children don’t have to go to preschool, but the service must be available. How the districts choose to implement that is different throughout the state.

It’s an onion type issue, said Diane Nichols-Fleming, the North Country Supervisory Union (NCSU) early childhood program coordinator. Keep peeling back layers and you’ll definitely be crying by the end, she said.

NCSU, which used to operate… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Brighton woman accused of embezzlement

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Janet Katalina.  Photo courtesy of the State Police

Janet Katalina. Photo courtesy of the State Police

copyright the Chronicle September 30, 2015

by Tena Starr

A Brighton woman has been accused of embezzling about $29,000 from the Passumpsic Bank. Janet Katalina, 52, worked at the St. Johnsbury Center branch of the bank as accounting analyst and payroll specialist.

On August 20, Passumpsic Bank officials reported to the State Police that Ms. Katalina had embezzled money from the bank’s accounts — not customer accounts, Detective Sergeant Jason Letourneau said in a press release.

He said Ms. Katalina was fired on August 19.

“Bank officials determined, and the investigation confirmed, that Katalina first embezzled $734 on December 19, 2014, by cashing in her annual leave without actually adjusting her annual leave balance,” Detective Sergeant Letourneau’s statement says.

It was Ms. Katalina’s job, as payroll specialist, to be responsible for recording that type of information. She took steps to hide… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Abundant apple crop causes damage to trees

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Branches on a young tree at Burtt’s Orchard in Cabot sag under the weight of this year’s apple crop.  Photo courtesy of Burtt’s Orchard

Branches on a young tree at Burtt’s Orchard in Cabot sag under the weight of this year’s apple crop. Photo courtesy of Burtt’s Orchard

copyright the Chronicle September 30, 2015

by Tena Starr

In the apple growing business, they call this an “on” year, but “on” doesn’t come close to describing this year’s harvest.

It’s a banner year for fruit in general, but the apple crop is beyond abundant.

It’s so good, in fact, that Kate Butler at Labour of Love landscaping in Glover finds she has an unusual amount of work pruning apples trees with branches that have simply broken off from the weight of the fruit they’re bearing.

“We do apple tree work as a matter of course anyway,” Ms. Butler said. “But there are people whose trees have not been worked on in some years, and they’re having a lot of trouble with breakage. It’s a confluence of events.”

Wild trees and trees planted domestically by home gardeners are having the most trouble, she said.

“It’s not so important for commercial… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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1,000 pounds of onions stolen from Albany farmer

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Andy Paonessa at one of his farm fields.  Last week someone stole about 1,000 pounds of onions and shallots from him and his soon-to-be wife, Meghan Stotko.  Photo by Tena Starr

Andy Paonessa at one of his farm fields. Last week someone stole about 1,000 pounds of onions and shallots from him and his soon-to-be wife, Meghan Stotko. Photo by Tena Starr

copyright the Chronicle September 23, 2015

by Tena Starr

ALBANY — A puzzled Albany farmer is wondering why anyone would want to steal nearly 1,000 pounds of onions.

Andy Paonessa arrived at one of his farm fields last week to top and crate onions and discovered that he had been robbed of about $2,000 worth of onions and shallots.

“I looked around and thought there’s a lot missing. I looked down at my feet, and I was looking down at tire tracks.”

It turned out that about 1,000 pounds of onions that had been pulled, topped, and crated up for further drying had vanished. There were, and still are, clear tracks indicating that someone with a truck drove in and simply took 20 crates of onions and shallots from the field.

“I said, oh my God, we got robbed out of the field,” Mr. Paonessa said.

He said his workers scratched their heads.

Even the State Police were a… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Land trust helps farmers find farms

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Neal Perry, pictured here, and his wife, Rebekah, are the owners of a 134-acre farm in Brownington.  He sits on his porch as he discusses plans to sell the property to the Vermont Land Trust.  That organization, in turn, plans to sell the land to a new farmer at a price that will allow him or her to keep it in agriculture.  Photos by Joseph Gresser

Neal Perry, pictured here, and his wife, Rebekah, are the owners of a 134-acre farm in Brownington. He sits on his porch as he discusses plans to sell the property to the Vermont Land Trust. That organization, in turn, plans to sell the land to a new farmer at a price that will allow him or her to keep it in agriculture. Photos by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle September 23, 2015

by Joseph Gresser

BROWNINGTON — Neal Perry has lived all of his 48 years on the 134-acre farm that was in his family 43 years before he was born. But sometime soon another farmer will be cultivating the land.

Mr. Perry isn’t being pushed off his property; rather he is following a calling and moving to Island Pond to be closer to the Green Mountain Bible Church where he has been pastor for two years.

Sitting on the porch of his house on Thursday, September 17, and looking across the long vista to Willoughby Gap, Mr. Perry spoke about the person who will succeed him as steward of the farm.

“I want someone to love it like I loved it,” he said.

Mr. Perry doesn’t know who that… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Drilling underway on new well for Lake Region

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Drilling began on Friday for a new water well at Lake Region Union High School.  As of Tuesday morning, H.A. Manosh was still drilling.  A big pile of dirt shows that progress is being made.  Photo by Elizabeth Trail

Drilling began on Friday for a new water well at Lake Region Union High School. As of Tuesday morning, H.A. Manosh was still drilling. A big pile of dirt shows that progress is being made. Photo by Elizabeth Trail

copyright the Chronicle September 23, 2015

by Elizabeth Trail

Drilling began Friday on Lake Region Union High School’s new well.

About two weeks into the new school year, Lake Region maintenance personnel discovered that there was no water in the building.  The well refilled a little overnight, and the school limped carefully through the remainder of the week. But it soon became clear that the school was going to need a new well.

“I know just enough about this to be dangerous,” Principal Andre Messier said at the Lake Region school board meeting on Thursday night.

Normally, the school draws about 3,000 to 3,500 gallons of water a day, Mr. Messier said.  At the time that the well failed, the draw was about 6,000 gallons a day, and a leak was discovered… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Matt Dunne talks about challenges and opportunities

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Matt Dunne, a Democratic candidate for governor, held a community forum at Parker Pie in West Glover on Sunday afternoon.  The lists of challenges and opportunities generated at the brainstorming session will become part of Mr. Dunne’s campaign platform.  Jill Michaels, left, is the volunteer coordinator for the Dunne campaign.   Photo by Elizabeth Trail

Matt Dunne, a Democratic candidate for governor, held a community forum at Parker Pie in West Glover on Sunday afternoon. The lists of challenges and opportunities generated at the brainstorming session will become part of Mr. Dunne’s campaign platform. Jill Michaels, left, is the volunteer coordinator for the Dunne campaign. Photo by Elizabeth Trail

copyright the Chronicle September 16, 2015

by Elizabeth Trail

WEST GLOVER — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Matt Dunne came to the Parker Pie restaurant here Sunday to listen to what people think are the biggest challenges — and opportunities — facing Vermont.  Mr. Dunne wants to hold at least one community forum in every county in Vermont to help plan his campaign platform.

Over slices of what Mr. Dunne called “the best pizza in Vermont,” 13 people from Orleans County brainstormed ideas for the state’s future. Mr. Dunne plans to e-mail a copy of the lists the group generated back to everyone who came to the meeting. He will also compare his notes from all over the state, looking for common threads that will become the core of his platform. He hopes to become aware of issues that are unique to one area or another, he said, so that he can serve those constituents better.

Mr. Dunne, who lives in Hartland, is… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Sidelined train cars have neighbours worried

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One of the hundreds of propane tank cars stored on a railroad siding south of Barton.  Although railroad officials said the cars are secure, this car has been spray-painted by local graffiti artists.  The sign in the foreground marks the location of the Portland crude oil pipeline.  Photo by Elizabeth Trail

One of the hundreds of propane tank cars stored on a railroad siding south of Barton. Although railroad officials said the cars are secure, this car has been spray-painted by local graffiti artists. The sign in the foreground marks the location of the Portland crude oil pipeline. Photo by Elizabeth Trail

copyright the Chronicle September 9, 2015

by Elizabeth Trail

BARTON — Five miles south of Barton, a long line of train cars built to carry propane gas sit idle on the railroad siding that runs along Route 5. In places, the siding is surrounded by woods. In other places it runs through wetlands, or past modest houses and trailers. Hundreds of tank cars, stretching in a line over a mile long, appeared in late July or early August, and people are worried.

“I noticed the line of cars when I was driving to Lyndonville with my son to buy some paint,” said Ellen Mass, who owns a summer home in West Glover.

With thoughts of the Lac-Megantic disaster in Quebec a few years ago, Ms. Mass called or e-mailed everyone she could think of who might know why a mile of tank cars suddenly appeared…  To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Irasburg wind opponents plan petition drive

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Irasburg Ridgeline Alliance (IRA) volunteer Becky Boulanger of Irasburg hands a Vermont state flag to Gary Bennett, also of Irasburg.  The flag is the final decoration for a hay wagon located near the south end of Irasburg Common.  It’s one of six  positioned throughout Irasburg in preparation for IRA’s “neighbor-to-neighbor” campaign kickoff meeting to be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 9, at the Irasburg Town Hall.  Photo by Cathy Bennett

Irasburg Ridgeline Alliance (IRA) volunteer Becky Boulanger of Irasburg hands a Vermont state flag to Gary Bennett, also of Irasburg. The flag is the final decoration for a hay wagon located near the south end of Irasburg Common. It’s one of six positioned throughout Irasburg in preparation for IRA’s “neighbor-to-neighbor” campaign kickoff meeting to be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 9, at the Irasburg Town Hall. Photo by Cathy Bennett

copyright the Chronicle September 9, 2015

by Tena Starr  

IRASBURG — A loose coalition called the Irasburg Ridge Alliance (IRA) has formed here to oppose David Blittersdorf’s plans for a two-tower commercial wind project on Kidder Hill.

The group will hold a meeting on Wednesday evening, September 9.

“The advice we got from our legislators is that the best chance we have to preserve Kidder Hill from industrial wind development is to present a unified and strong opposition from the town,” said Judith Jackson, an organizer.

With that in mind, she said, the group will start a petition drive to see how many Irasburg voters are opposed to Mr. Blittersdorf’s project.

“What we hope to ascertain is whether there is widespread opposition to it, and to launch a campaign to get as many signatures of Irasburg voters as possible for a petition to the select board to oppose the Kidder Hill project and to develop…  To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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A risky deal, or a path to home ownership?

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The Barton home occupied by Mr. McCausland and Ms. Stenta for nearly two years.  Photo by Tena Starr

The Barton home occupied by Mr. McCausland and Ms. Stenta for nearly two years. Photo by Tena Starr

copyright the Chronicle September 2, 2015

by Tena Starr  

BARTON — Dave McCausland, Sue Stenta, and Ms. Stenta’s three children — the youngest being 17 — are living in tents at Pageant Park campground here on Crystal Lake this summer.

They say it’s not by choice.

“Welcome to crazy land,” Mr. McCausland said on a particularly windy afternoon that threatened to tear their tents apart.

He and Ms. Stenta said they ended up being campers because they had to leave their Barton house after an assistant state fire marshal inspected it and found it was unsafe. The house had no running water, except in the basement, the plumbing wasn’t hooked up, there were exposed wires, and the only heat was an improperly installed woodstove, which they put in themselves.

Also, there are questions about what appeared to be an open sewer line in the backyard.

Because a minor occupied…  To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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