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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Viens is back in the race; Monette, Klar withdraw

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copyright the Chronicle May 11, 2016

by Tena Starr

Gary Viens of Newport has reconsidered his earlier decision not to seek re-election to the Orleans-2 House seat.

Mr. Viens, who has served one term, said on Monday that both constituents and fellow legislators urged him to run again.

Irasburg farmer and lawyer John Klar and Newport Mayor Paul Monette have withdrawn from the race in the wake of Mr. Viens’ decision to seek re-election.

Mr. Viens said he called to tell them about his decision, making it clear that he was not asking them to withdraw. He said he was humbled by their decision to withdraw anyway.

In the past legislative session, Mr. Viens, who spent more than 30 years in law enforcement, served on the House Judiciary Committee, as well as the Joint Committee on Judicial Retention.

“For the last two weeks, I’ve been inundated with people asking me to change my decision…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Barton Village Trustees: Trustees hire new electric department manager

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copyright the Chronicle May 11, 2016

by Elizabeth Trail

BARTON — The Barton Village Trustees have unanimously voted to hire Evan Riordan of Sutton as the small utility electric system engineer and manager for the Barton Electric Department.

Mr. Riordan has a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in business administration from Carnegie Mellon University.

He combines his college degrees with experience in the power generation industry. Among other jobs on his resumé , he worked for an affiliate of General Electric as a technical advisor.

Mr. Riordan has also worked as a project manager and as a military jet engine exhaust systems performance analyst for companies such as Pratt and Whitney and Rolls Royce.

“Evan brings…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Citibank has interest in Quiros funds

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copyright the Chronicle May 4, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

After only a couple of weeks on the job, the receiver for Jay Peak, Burke Mountain, and other businesses owned by Ariel Quiros seems to have things well under control.

In a news conference on Wednesday, April 27, Michael Goldberg said he now has enough money to keep Jay Peak operating and to get the new hotel at Q Burke open.

“All we need is snow,” the Florida lawyer said, sounding exactly like the ski area owner he suddenly became when federal Judge Darrin Gayles of U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida appointed him.

In doing so he gave Mr. Goldberg control of assets belonging to Mr. Quiros and his companies, including his bank accounts.

Since his appointment, he has asked for further authority, including control of Burke Mountain and its associated companies, and Judge Gayles agreed.

Mr. Quiros disputes the charges against him, and will first argue his case in a hearing scheduled for…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Brownington votes to keep the three-person select board

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copyright the Chronicle May 4, 2016

by Elizabeth Trail 

BROWNINGTON — Voters here have once again decided that they want a three-member select board. They voted 39-37 at a special meeting Saturday in favor of the smaller board.

At Town Meeting in early March, Brownington voters decided to go back to having a three-person select board. At the previous year’s Town Meeting, they had voted to increase the number of select board members from three to five.

The problem with the vote at Town Meeting this year was that some spoiled and blank ballots may have made it invalid, Moderator Pat Davis said.

So on Saturday Brownington residents poured into the school gym to vote on the question one more time.

The warning was in two parts: Should the town reconsider the Town Meeting decision, which in effect meant going back to a five-person select board, and if so, to elect two new members for the board?

Before the vote, there seemed to be some confusion in the room…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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