Barton’s Hall of Fame farmers

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copyright the Chronicle August 16, 2017

 

by Paul Lefebvre

 

BARTON — Rupert Chamberlin stands next to the railing on his deck, which affords a magnificent view of the countryside and the Jay mountain range in the distance. It’s not the view, though, that holds his interest. Although retired, he’s a farmer first and always. And today he’s got his eye on a piece of land just below the house that needs to brush hogged.

As someone who has farmed for most of his 83 years, he says there is a technique to brush hogging. His approach is to first brush hog the land counter-clockwise, and then to do it again clockwise. That way, he says, you get the grass that was only bent over on the first pass. As a finishing touch, he brush hogs the land once more, going back and forth, as if he were mowing his lawn.

His observations about brush, or bush, hogging are likely characteristic of someone who has been working the land as a dairy farmer since graduating from the Vermont Agricultural and Technical Institute in Randolph in 1953. Or someone who has stuck it out through thick and thin.

“I’ve moved five times and haven’t gone a mile,” he says, speaking about a farming life that began when he became a partner on his father’s farm out of college, and eventually took it over in 1958, the same year he started breeding registered Jerseys.

A few years later, in 1960, he took on a life partner when he married Muriel Rochelu, who has been with him through the lean years as well as the ones more robust.

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Barton fair turns 150

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copyright the Chronicle August 9, 2017

 

by Joseph Gresser

 

BARTON — The Orleans County Fair, which is 150 years old this year, has marked the end, or at least the beginning of the end, of summer for generations of Northeast Kingdom residents. Since 1868, the second year of the fair, people have streamed through the gates of Roaring Brook Park to show off their cattle, watch contests that pit beasts and machines against gravity, and to enjoy gravity defying rides.

From the start, the fair has been a place where serious agricultural pursuits contend for public attention with other activities that, through the years have been considered frivolous, if not downright sinful.

While the fair’s origins may seem lost in the mists of time, the connection between past and present is closer than one may imagine.

On August 31, 1867, a group of men met in Irasburg, then the shire town of Orleans County, and voted to create a society for the “improvement of agricultural productions, useful domestic manufactures, and the mechanic arts.” The Orleans County Agricultural Society moved quickly and the Irasburgh Independent Standard of October 11, 1867, offered a report on the fair, which was held several days earlier in Orleans, then known as Barton Landing.

In his account, A. A. Earle, the editor of the Standard lists the exhibitors who were rewarded with premiums. Among them was one H.C. Cleveland of Coventry, who came away with a total of $6.50 in recognition of the high quality of his Durham cows.

“That was my grandfather,” said Harvey Cleveland, himself a past president of the fair.

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Barton Olympians share past, present, and future

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copyright the Chronicle July 26, 2017

 

by Elizabeth Trail

 

BARTON — “I hate the cold,” Barton native and Olympic biathlete Susan Dunklee said.

The thing she likes least about skiing is not the hours of training, or the five months of the year she spends on the road far away from friends and family.

It’s being cold — especially when she flops down on her belly in the snow clad only in thin spandex to sight her gun before each race, Ms. Dunklee said.

“In cross-country, we could wear mittens,” she said. “In biathlon, I have to wear gloves so I can shoot.”

It’s a cold sport, agreed fellow Oympian Ida Sargent, a cross-country skier.

“Skiing in spandex is cold, even with mittens,” she said.

Ms. Dunklee and Ms. Sargent were speaking to about 30 people who came to the Crystal Lake Historical Association museum on Sunday to meet Barton’s three Olympic skiers.

Alongside them was Ms. Dunklee’s father, Stan Dunklee, who competed in the Olympics as a cross-country skier in 1976 and 1980.

Mr. Dunklee grew up in Brattleboro. Despite the fact that his older brother Everett competed in the 1972 winter Olympics in Sapporo, Japan, Mr. Dunklee never tried cross-country, or Nordic, skiing until he was in high school.

“I immediately fell in love with the sport,” he said. …To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe to the online edition below:

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Sicard to replace Greenwood on Barton Select Board

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copyright the Chronicle July 19, 2017

by Elizabeth Trail

 

BARTON — Jim Greenwood just may have the dubious distinction of being the most often appointed official in town history, at least according to Barton Select Board Chair Bob Croteau.

But his long history of service to the town — both elected and appointed — is coming to an end. On Monday night, the select board accepted what Mr. Greenwood expects to be his final letter of resignation.

Paul Sicard was appointed to serve until Town Meeting in his place.

This week, Mr. Greenwood hopes to finalize the sale of the Orleans Village Store, a building that he said he bought about 40 years ago. The sale is set to close on Wednesday, Mr. Greenwood said.

The buyer is Josh Olney, the golf pro at the Orleans Country Club.

After the sale, the Greenwoods will move to Newport Center, which disqualifies Mr. Greenwood from sitting on the Barton board.

And they have bought a place in Florida, so he doesn’t expect to be living year-round in Vermont starting this winter.

“But, as you know, a closing isn’t done until you have the check in your hands,” he said. “And I don’t have the check yet.”

Mr. Greenwood and his wife ran the Orleans Village Store for about 20 years.

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Barton solar project could raise rates

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copyright the Chronicle June 28, 201

by Elizabeth Trail

 

BARTON — If Will and Victor Veve’s planned solar farm is built here on Aldrich Lane north of town, it could push up the Barton Electric Department’s rates by as much as 2.6 percent.

That’s according to some number crunching by the Vermont Public Power Supply Authority (VPPSA).

Under Vermont’s net-metering law, when privately owned solar panels feed power into the grid, the utility pays the panel owners the full retail electric price plus a bonus to encourage solar development.

Barton Electric pays solar panel owners 19.3 cents per kilowatt hour for the power their solar panels feed into the grid.

The payments are made in the form of credits against the customer’s bill. If a customer has enough solar panels, credits can completely offset the bill.

Another part of the net-metering law allows solar developers to sell power to customers at a discount and keep the difference between what they charge and the higher net-metering rate.

The power can be produced anywhere within the utility’s service area, so the nonprofit doesn’t have to host the solar field or buy land to put it on.

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Former Candlepin has new owners

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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.

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Dave’s Rubbish is back in Barton

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copyright the Chronicle May 3, 2017

 

 by Elizabeth Trail

 

BARTON — Dave’s Rubbish is back on track to pick up trash in the town of Barton.

Over the past two weeks, owner Dave Giroux has turned in all of the paperwork the select board had been asking for since last fall.

The board voted to revoke his right to pick up trash in the Barton Solid Waste Management District at a hearing on April 3.

Mr. Giroux appealed the decision on April 17, the day the ban was to take effect. On Monday night, he and his wife, Marcie, came to the select board meeting to hear the decision.

“You guys got the numbers to us,” Chair Bob Croteau said. “You guys did good. You seem to have done everything we asked.”

Selectman Jim Greenwood attended the meeting by speakerphone.

“I talked to the SWIP administrator and they’ve done everything they were supposed to,” he said.

SWIP is the solid waste implementation plan.

The select board revoked Mr. Giroux’ right to operate after finding that he had failed to comply with town rules about required recordkeeping for trash services.

The decision was to take effect in two weeks to give Barton residents time to make new arrangements to get their trash picked up.

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Facebook popup leads to scam

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copyright the Chronicle April 26, 2017

 

by Elizabeth Trail

 

BARTON — Sharon Bickford of Barton was on Facebook one evening last week when her computer screen suddenly froze. A window popped up, flashing an ominous warning — her computer was under a virus attack, and had been frozen to protect her files.

That’s the first step in a scam that’s been happening to a lot of people lately. It happened to me twice in the week before Ms. Bickford called the Chronicle with her story.

In fact, it’s happened so often lately that the State Police put out a bulletin last week warning people about tech support scams.

The popup message on Ms. Bickford’s computer told her to call a toll-free number immediately so that a technician could remove the infected files and restore her computer.

“It was completely frozen,” Ms. Bickford said. “I had to use control-alt-delete to get out of my browser. And then when I reopened the browser, it was back.”

Ms. Bickford called the number.

The man on the other end of the line said he needed remote access to her computer to fix the problem.

He told her it would cost $300 to remove the virus and install three years’ worth of anti-virus protection.

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Effort underway to bring ball fields back to fairgrounds

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copyright the Chronicle April 26, 2017

 

 

by Tena Starr

 

BARTON — Some may not remember when there were fierce competitions at the ball fields at the Orleans County Fairgrounds, or knew there were ball fields there at all. But years ago, they were busy places. In fact, according to old Orleans County Monitors, ballgames were a regular feature of the fair, as well as a lively summertime occupation between organized teams.

Now there’s an effort to revive and recondition those fields, which are more than 100 years old, adding backstops, dugouts, plus lights on one of them for night games.

Dan Perron is a fair director; he’s also vice-president of the Orleans County Cal Ripkin chapter, a man who is deeply immersed in youth baseball, as well as softball. He’s spearheading the effort to rejuvenate the fields and has helped to start a fund-raising drive to pay for upcoming improvements.

Over the next weeks, expect to see “baseball cards” in local stores. They can be bought for a dollar each, and the money will go to finishing the fields.

Mr. Perron has done considerable research on the history of the ball fields and baseball in Barton in general. Among other things, he ran across the story of Heimie Stafford of Orleans, who made it to the bigs, the majors, for a single game in October of 1916.

Mr. Perron said the goal is to raise between $20,000 and $25,000 to finish refurbishing the fields. These days, teams want a good field to play on, and they don’t want to play on just grass, he said.

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ATVs — pest or new economic driver?

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copyright the Chronicle March 22, 2017

 

by Tena Starr

 

When a group of ATV enthusiasts went before the Westmore Select board recently to ask that some town roads be opened to them, they touted the usual arguments, the main one being that allowing people who love to ride on the versatile machines to get to stores and restaurants would be good for the economy.

And they received the usual arguments for the select board’s hesitation, the main ones being the town is worried about rogue riders and liability if something happens.

“They’re hoping to get some roads open so they can connect to Brownington roads, which are all open,” said Selectman Bill Perkins. They would also like to have access to amenities, he added.

As of Sunday, the board hadn’t made a decision, though Mr. Perkins, at least, wasn’t inclined to offer much resistance.

“Our main concerns are the same as with snowmobiling,” he said. “We just want to make sure the town isn’t going to be held liable for anything if there’s ever an accident. We don’t want the town responsible in any way. Other than that we don’t see a big problem with them.”

The Westmore request is only one of the latest in a growing debate about whether ATVs — which some think may replace snowmobiles as a major economic engine driving Vermont’s outdoor economy — should be provided more access to town and village roads.

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