New Barton senior center in the works

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copyright the Chronicle October 25, 2017

 

by Elizabeth Trail

 

BARTON — A new senior center is in the works in Barton. Called Barton Area Senior Services, Inc., (BASSI), the new group incorporated with the state as a nonprofit last week. Its organizers plan to resume a regular schedule of meals and senior activities as soon as the IRS grants it nonprofit status.

“If everything goes right, they could be up and running around the first of December,” said Lallie Mambourg at the Council on Aging in St. Johnsbury. That agency provides oversight of senior meal sites in the area and reimburses them for part of the cost of the meals they serve.

In the meantime, local volunteers hope to offer coffee, cards, and lunch on Thursdays at the Barton Memorial Building.

It’s not certain that lunch will be offered every week. But this week and last week, people have stepped up to donate food. And former Barton Senior Center cook Giselle Chevallay has offered to cook without pay for a few Thursdays.

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Fire destroys landmark barn in Barton

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copyright the Chronicle October 11, 2017

 

by Tena Starr

 

BARTON — State Police are looking for information about the Monday afternoon fire that burned the landmark barn known as The Pines to the ground. Firefighters poured a steady stream of water on the farmhouse, which suffered only minor damage, but the barn burned in a hurry.

In a press release issued shortly before midnight on Monday, Detective Sergeant Michael LaCourse said the cause of the fire is undetermined, but remains under investigation.

“Investigators are aware that numerous people took photographs of the fire in its incipient stage and would like to speak with anyone that may have witnessed the fire,” the release says.

A young woman at the neighbor’s house called in the fire after noticing flames shooting out the upper story where hay was stored.

Michael and Kim Riendeau of Brownington own the Kinsey Road property. They said there were no animals in the barn at the time; they were still out to pasture because of the good weather.

The Riendeaus have owned the place for about a year and a half. Before that, Jim Young and Raymond Leblanc owned it, and it was frequently used for livestock and equipment auctions under the name of Northeast Kingdom Sales.

Mr. Riendeau said on Tuesday that he was on his way home from Poulin Grain in Newport Monday afternoon when he ran into his son John in Orleans, who stopped him and told him the barn was on fire.

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Barton Senior Center closes abruptly

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copyright the Chronicle October 4, 2017

 

by Elizabeth Trail

 

BARTON — The Barton Senior Center served its last meal on September 27.

On Tuesday night, about 30 people, including two Barton Village Trustees and two representatives from the Northeast Kingdom Council on Aging, met in the Barton Municipal Building to talk about starting up a new program to provide meals and activities to seniors in the area.

“This is too important to shut down,” said 82-year-old Beverley Winslow before the meeting started. “I have a lot of my life ahead of me, and I really enjoy going somewhere, playing cards, being around other people. I need this place.”

When the new senior center opens its doors, she will be the first one through them, she said.

By the end of the evening, the trustees had collected a pile of surveys that they hope will point a new senior center in the right direction. And six or seven people had volunteered to sit on a new board, which the trustees hope will eventually number at least 11.

But many questions remain unanswered.

Former senior center Director Brenda Lowther gave the village only about a week’s notice of the closing, said Trustee Cathy Swain.

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State seeks ways to boost rural economy

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copyright the Chronicle October 4, 2017

 

by Tena Starr

 

BARTON — Bleak as the picture for dairy so often is in Vermont, it’s the decline of the state’s forestry industry that people wanted to talk about Tuesday at a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing on farming, forestry, and the rural economy. The Barton meeting drew about a dozen people.

The commissioners of agriculture and forests, parks, and recreation were present, as was the deputy commissioner of forests, parks and recreation.

Senate Agriculture Committee Chair Bobby Starr of North Troy said the committee is traveling around Vermont listening to ideas about how to improve the rural economy.

“It’s important for us to hear what you folks would like us to do,” he said. “Believe it or not, we work for you.”

“We are going to take all the comments and ideas and try to come up with a few pieces of legislation that will help rural Vermont and outlying areas,” Mr. Starr said.

The meeting also provided information about what is already being done.

Agriculture Commissioner Anson Tebbetts said he actually had some good news to report.

Many Vermonters who work in agriculture attend the annual Big E fair in Massachusetts in the hope of acquiring new and bigger markets, Ms. Tebbetts said.

Visitors to exhibits on Vermont Day were at an all time high, he said. He said there were 171,897 visitors on just the one day. Put that in perspective, he said, and that’s like one-fifth of Vermont was there.

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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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