Governor Scott visits Albany

Featured

copyright the Chronicle June 14, 201

 

by Joseph Gresser

 

ALBANY — Governor Phil Scott breezed into Albany Monday to sign a pair of bills that he said will help revitalize aspects of the state’s rural economy. One, a bill to increase the number of chickens a farmer may raise, kill, and sell from 1,000 birds to 5,000, was proposed and seen through to passage by South Albany’s own Billy Pearce.

The other, which aids forestry workers in a number of ways, was welcomed by Colleen Goodridge, who hosted the signing ceremony. Ms. Goodridge, the matriarch of Goodridge Lumber, a family business that specializes in white cedar, is also vice-president of the Vermont Forest Products Association.

Governor Scott was welcomed by a crowd of around 70 people that included legislators from around the Northeast Kingdom and state officials, including Secretary Julie Moore of the Agency of Natural Resources.

H.495, the new forestry law, includes a provision exempting logging equipment and the fuel used to run it from state sales taxes. The state will also loan or help loggers purchase pre-made skidder bridges to help them meet clean water requirements.

Governor Scott said the state hopes to have 25 of the bridges available for loan or lease this summer.

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

Coventry water district working towards arsenic fix

Featured

copyright the Chronicle June 14, 201

 

by Elizabeth Trail

 

COVENTRY — Last fall, water customers in Coventry Village and some surrounding areas were warned not to drink their tap water because arsenic levels had gone over 10 parts per billion.

On Tuesday night, 16 people came to the annual meeting of the Coventry Fire District #1 to find out what’s happened since then.

The fire district — which has nothing to do with putting out fires — operates the town’s public water supply. It serves about 60 homes, public buildings, and the Coventry Village School.

“I think what’s on everybody’s mind is the arsenic situation and what we’re doing,” Jeanne Desrochers said.

Ms. Desrochers is a member of the fire district’s Prudential Committee, which is roughly the same as a board of directors.

She’s been the point person through the fire district’s arsenic troubles, working directly with state officials.

“In September we got a notice that we had exceeded our arsenic levels,” she said.

Arsenic is a naturally occurring substance, town residents learned at a public information meeting last November. Water flowing underground picks up arsenic from surrounding rocks.

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

Study examines how maple trees fare tapping

Featured

copyright the Chronicle June 14, 2017

 

by Tena Starr

 

The Proctor Maple Research Center in Underhill has launched a first-of-its kind study. It’s looking at the long-term effects of tapping a maple tree.

Like others, Derby sugarmaker Steve Wheeler said he was astonished that concrete information about how drilling holes into a tree and sucking its sap out year after year hasn’t previously been collected.

Mr. Wheeler, who is an organic sugarmaker, said he was among those who called for the study. Organic sugarmakers as well as those whose land is in the Current Use program, are required to follow best practices for sugaring. Among other things, they want scientific, rather than anecdotal, data to support those best practices, Mr. Wheeler said.

“I’m one of the guys who has said, hey, we really need this study. The whole thing about organic is it’s about the long-term sustainability of the sugarbush.”

Research assistant professor Abby van den Berg at the Proctor Center said the study will last ten years. The goal is to collect empirical data on what effect tapping and collecting sap has on the health and growth of maples.

The fact that no one has ever studied that rather big subject is, in part, because “we have been doing this for a hundred plus years over and over again, and the trees are still healthy and thriving,” said Ms. van den Berg about sugaring. “That, anecdotally, gives us the answer to that question. We know we are not detrimentally impacting trees when we’re following good practices.”

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

In Coventry, Diaz is out, Barlow is in — at least for now

Featured

copyright the Chronicle June 14, 201

by Elizabeth Trail

 

COVENTRY — After a week of dramatic twists and turns, David Barlow has been appointed to serve as what Coventry Select Board members called a “temporary interim” town clerk and treasurer.

He will serve until the select board can review applications and appoint someone to do the jobs until March, when Town Meeting voters will fill the jobs for the two years remaining in former Town Clerk and Treasurer Cynthia Diaz’ term.

At midnight on Friday, the clock ran out on Ms. Diaz’ chance to line up the bond she needed in order to keep her job. Under state law, the positions were automatically vacated.

It seemed like the end of the road for the embattled town clerk and treasurer, who has been re-elected again and again despite years of questionable audits and complaints about her bookkeeping.

But just hours before Friday’s special select board meeting, the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department served select board Chair Mike Marcotte with a complaint alleging that the May 24 special meeting hadn’t been properly warned.

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

Rabid bat found in Newport Center

Featured

copyright the Chronicle June 7, 2017

by Elizabeth Trail

 

NEWPORT CENTER — A week ago, veterinarian Selena Hunter went back to her office for an evening emergency. When she pulled into the driveway, she saw a bat fluttering on the ground.

The bat came toward Ms. Hunter when she approached it, so she scooped it into a container with a shovel. The next day Game Warden Jenna Reed took it to the state Health Department for testing.

On Monday, word came back from the lab that the bat had rabies.

No one knows how long the little animal had been fluttering around the neighborhood.

“It was right in the village, three feet from the clinic steps,” Dr. Hunter said.

Her clients with their sick pet had been watching the grounded bat while they waited for her to arrive.

“It could have gone into a yard with a child,” Dr. Hunter said.

And the big unknown is where did this bat originate from? she wondered.

“How far did it travel? Where was it infected?”

People in and around Newport Center need to be sure that their pets — especially cats — are up to date on their shots, she 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

Former Candlepin has new owners

Featured

copyright the Chronicle June 7, 2017

 

by Tena Starr

 

BARTON — The former Candlepin restaurant, long empty, has been sold to Matthew Wright and Cassy Moulton of Derby.

The couple does not currently plan to turn the property back into the full-service restaurant it was throughout most of its life.

The purchase happened rather quickly, Ms. Moulton said, and ideas are still swirling around in the new owners’ heads. For the moment, however, they know for sure that Ms. Moulton’s catering business will operate out of the former restaurant, and it’s almost guaranteed there will be an ice cream shop there, as well.

It’s a long-term project, Ms. Moulton said. The property needs maintenance, and the first stage will be to fix it up. Besides the restaurant, there’s a big house, and the barn, which, at one time, housed a popular bowling alley. That building has problems with both mold and its roof.

Ms. Moulton is operating manager at Louis Garneau, Inc., in Derby. She’s a busy woman, who also runs a catering business called For the Love of Food on weekends. She said she caters weddings, showers, and other events, including some for the Army National Guard.

But she hasn’t had a home base. For some time, she’s thought about having a place where customers might come to her for functions, as well.

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

Newport hopes to improve its image

Featured

copyright the Chronicle June 7, 2017

 

by Joseph Gresser

 

NEWPORT — In a marathon meeting Monday night, the city council considered ways of improving Newport’s image, the future of its downtown program, a new music series on the waterfront, and a possible extension of the city’s recreation path to the Canadian border.

Newport has been looking for a new web master in the months since Mayor Paul Monette told the council that he will no longer be the volunteer custodian of the site. City Manager Laura Dolgin suggested making up for his loss by hiring a firm that will do public relations for Newport in addition to managing its web presence.

Ms. Dolgin argued for hiring John Gilfoil Public Relations, a Massachusetts company. City officials have been fielding an increasing number of complaints from city residents, and it would be a good idea to have someone putting out positive stories about Newport, she said.

Mr. Gilfoil, a former Boston Globe reporter who served as deputy press secretary for former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, spoke to the council by speaker phone. He said his company would build a new website for Newport and train employees to post information to it for $10,000 if the city also hires the firm at a cost of just under $1,000 a month to handle the city’s press relations.

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

LRUHS — A very good school has a very good year

Featured

copyright the Chronicle June 7, 2017

 

by Tena Starr

 

Lake Region Union High School Principal Andre Messier had nothing but good to say about this year’s graduating class at the school’s annual awards night last Thursday. Awards night recognizes students in all grades, but Mr. Messier focused on the seniors and the school itself, which U.S. News and World Report has once again ranked in the top ten high schools in Vermont. This year it’s eighth.

“This is my favorite night of the year,” Mr. Messier said. Students get recognition when they win in sports and other events, he noted. “But rarely do we get to focus on the academic side.”

Towards the end of the program when he handed out the Presidential Awards for Academic Excellence, he said: “This group of seniors has set the bar, the standard, for this school. Those of you who are younger have something to chase.” He added that he fully expects them to do that, of course.

Eighteen students received the Presidential Award: They are: Maria Brosseau, Hunter Cota, Rebecca Doucet, Hunter Duquette, Margo Foster, Emily Klar, Elizabeth Locke, Avery Marcotte, Ashley Morrill, Olivia Owens, Andrew Parkinson, Colton Porter, April Streeter, Katherine Whipple, Alexis Rodgers, Sam King, Zachary Hale, and Erin Smith.

Mr. Messier also noted that this is the sixth year in a row that U.S. News has recognized Lake Region for outstanding achievement.

“That’s something this community should be extremely proud of,” he said. “That’s six consecutive years that the students who have come through Lake Region have maintained this.”

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

Murder charge reduced to second-degree

Featured

copyright the Chronicle May 31, 2017

 

by Joseph Gresser

 

NEWPORT — Orleans County State’s Attorney Jennifer Barrett lowered the charge against the man accused of shooting Ron-Lou Schneider in 2015 from first-degree to second-degree murder Tuesday afternoon.

Ms. Barrett also added a charge of manslaughter against Ryan P. Bacon, 32, of Point Pleasant, New Jersey, during a hearing held in the Criminal Division of Orleans County Superior Court.

Both charges are based on the same set of facts, so Mr. Bacon can only be convicted of one of the charges, Ms. Barrett said after the court hearing.

Judge Howard VanBenthuysen presided over the hearing.

Ms. Barrett said she and Jon Valsangiacomo, Mr. Bacon’s lawyer, will discuss the possibility of a plea agreement and will return to court in two weeks for another status conference.

If the two sides cannot agree on a deal to settle the case, Ms. Barrett said, she will go to trial on one of the charges.

Witnesses to the shooting gave conflicting statements to police, Ms. Barrett said. As a result, it is doubtful that the state could prove the most serious charge, she said.

Under Vermont law, first-degree murder is one “committed by means of poison, or by lying in wait, or by willful, deliberate and premeditated killing, or committed in perpetrating or attempting to perpetrate arson, sexual assault, aggravated sexual assault, robbery or burglary.”

Any other homicide is considered second-degree murder. Manslaughter refers to killing someone when under sudden passion or great provocation that would mitigate, but not justify, the killing.

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

Keeping our food safe was Sutton man’s career

Featured

copyright the Chronicle May 31, 2017

 

by Tena Starr

 

This country frets about terrorism a lot. But one of its more potentially effective, if less splashy, forms — attacking the food supply — has occurred with surprising infrequency.

Hank Parker, an agroterrorism specialist who has retired to Sutton, is among those who have played a part in that.

Mr. Parker is a scientist, and one of the things he’s spent his long and unusual career thinking about is the safety of U.S. agriculture and food. He was a fellow at the National Defense University, where he wrote a treatise on what the federal government could do to protect American agriculture and the food supply. He’s been acting director for homeland security for the U.S. Department of Food and Agriculture (USDA). And in retirement he teaches a graduate level class in agroterrorism at Georgetown University.

Before September 11, 2001, he said in a recent interview, the U.S. food system was highly vulnerable — and in many ways still is. But back then agriculture wasn’t even considered a critical infrastructure, he said.

Yes, there were people in the federal government who recognized the potential threat, but it took the September 11 attacks to improve coordination of security in general. There was also a more serious effort to make sure that Americans don’t have to worry about eating, at least not because of terrorists.

Mr. Parker’s career has not run in a straight line. He started out in biological oceanography, specializing in aquaculture. Basically, that’s fish farming. The USDA hired him as coordinator of its aquaculture program in 1992, and over time, he got involved in research programs.

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