Balloonists land in Brighton woods

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copyright the Chronicle October 18, 2017

 

by Brad Usatch

 

BRIGHTON — When Barbara Fricke and Peter Cuneo launched from Albuquerque, New Mexico, on October 7 in their gas balloon Foxtrot Charlie, they knew they were going to land somewhere.

By the time their personal best journey of over 60 hours and 1,900 miles was done, the winds had deposited them in our own backyard, specifically in one of the less inhabited neighborhoods of Brighton, north of McConnell Pond and not far from the Lewis town line.

How they got there is a fascinating story for the vast majority of people unfamiliar with the rarified world of gas balloon competition. It’s what happened after the team landed safely that left the pilots and their chase team forever indebted to the people of Island Pond for their resourcefulness and their hospitality.

Having departed at 6:45 p.m. Mountain Daylight Time (8:45 p.m. locally) on a Saturday, by the time Tuesday morning rolled around the married co-pilots and four-time winners of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta America’s Challenge were just about out of ballast and out of options.

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Easter fire ruins Brighton home

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copyright the Chronicle April 19, 2017

 

by Sharon (Campbell) Biron

 

Editor’s note: the following is Ms. Biron’s account of the fire that ruined their Island Pond home Sunday night. She and her husband, Mark Biron, lost everything in the fire.

Mark and I had just returned on Easter Sunday from a three-day research trip to French Azilum in Pennsylvania. We got back to the house at East Brighton Road in Island Pond at 6 p.m. on Sunday. We started a log fire in the furnace to warm the house up. An hour or so later we noticed from the garden that the chimney was alight, with sparks and fire coming out of it. We ran down to the basement to put out our furnace/log fire and used a garden hose to put out the fire on the chimney and roof. The fire was completely out, or so we thought.

At 9.30 p.m. we were in bed. I heard strange sounds on my bedroom ceiling of what sounded like the pit pat of raindrops. I walked out into the living room and looked up at the ceiling. I couldn’t see anything, but something made me reach out and open the furnace pipe closet door. When I opened it I looked up it and was shocked to see flames up in the attic. I ran in and woke Mark up, and he raced out. We used three fire extinguishers, to no avail.

We ran out and dragged garden hose into the house and sprayed it up the furnace pipe through the closet. I ran outside into the garden to see the green metal roof was on fire — eight-foot-long fire with two-foot high flames. Smoke was billowing out from under the rafters. I ran back in and told Mark to call the fire service. I told him it was no good trying to fight the blaze anymore; the whole roof was ablaze. I dragged the dogs out of the house and locked them in the car and reversed up to the sand dunes in my garden so the petrol tank would not explode in the massive heat. I ran back in to try and get Mark out; he was still trying to fight the fire. I grabbed my phone and handbag plus the urn containing my brother Paul’s ashes and ran back to the car. Within minutes fire crews arrived, and took control of situation.

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An old railroad town is at a junction, again

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copyright the Chronicle October 5, 2016

by Brad Usatch

BRIGHTON — The reports from Island Pond were universally grim: The lights are out. The sidewalks have been rolled up. Jennifer’s, Common Sense and the Yellow Deli, Clyde River Outfitters, Ted’s Market, The Buck and Doe — all closed.

But as Brighton gathers to renew its town plan and refocus its efforts through another round of community forums, a core of business owners stands ready to reinvigorate Cross Street.

Seemingly anyone who knows anything about Island Pond offers the same assessment of its trajectory through history: Island Pond is a railroad town, and that was a good thing when the U.S. was a railroad country.

Brighton Town Administrator Joel Cope said that, at one point, 16 sets of tracks passed through the rail yard. Now there are two. He was one of many people to point out that Island Pond sits halfway between Montreal, Quebec, and Portland, Maine.

“Tough times are a way of life around here,” he said. “It’s not like we’ve been thriving and going down easy street.

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Book review: Writer exhumes surprising stories from Brighton

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WEB IP bookcopyright the Chronicle May 27, 2015

Island Pond Reflections, by S.J. Campbell. Paperback. 130 pages. Self-published. $19.99.

Reviewed by Tena Starr  

Island Pond Reflections isn’t a scholarly history of Brighton, which has also been known rather charmingly as Gilead, Random, and the less romantic Lot 31.

Instead, Sharon Campbell says in the book’s introduction that she’s written a collection of “true stories and tales long forgotten.”

The stories come from books and newspaper articles and date back centuries.

“They provide a tantalizing glimpse into the lives of the people who lived here and describe the developments that shaped their environment,” Ms. Campbell writes. “Through the centuries Island Pond grew big enough to accommodate a whole host of characters. Their trials and tribulations were deemed worthy of being reported by newspapers in cities as far away as Boston, Seattle, London, and Montreal.”

Ms. Campbell says that Brighton, and Island Pond, the village within the town, was, at one time, quite a diverse place, populated by Italian stonemasons, Syrian storekeepers, and Lebanese Christians escaping religious or political persecution….To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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contact Tena Starr at [email protected]

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Industrial sugaring comes to Brighton

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Art by Brianne Nichols

Art by Brianne Nichols

copyright the Chronicle March 4, 2015

by Joseph Gresser

BRIGHTON — The days of making maple syrup to raise a little cash for property taxes have been gone for quite a while now. But an Island Pond sugaring operation getting ready for its first season could usher in a whole new era of industrial sugaring.

Sweet Tree, LLC, started and owned by a Connecticut-based investment firm, just finished tapping trees on 3,600 acres in Warren’s Gore and will be ready to fire up the steam-powered evaporators at the old Ethan Allen furniture plant in Brighton as soon as the weather breaks.

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Brighton couple finds their family cemetery plot occupied

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Charles Roth stands in front of the grave that was dug in his family’s plot over the winter.  When he and his wife, Linda, visited the grave this spring they discovered that someone had apparently been buried   there without their knowledge.  For a story, please see page twenty-two.   Photo by Tena Starr

Charles Roth stands in front of the grave that was dug in his family’s plot over the winter. When he and his wife, Linda, visited the grave this spring they discovered that someone had apparently been buried there without their knowledge. For a story, please see page twenty-two. Photo by Tena Starr

copyright the Chronicle July 30, 2014 

by Tena Starr

BRIGHTON — Charles and Linda Roth visited their family cemetery plot here in late April and were astonished to find that someone had been buried in it over the winter.

“We visited the cemetery to pay our respects, and we saw there was an apparent burial there,” Mr. Roth said. “I don’t know who’s in there, or if anyone is in there.”

But it sure looks like someone is, he said.

“I really was shocked when I came down to remove the wreath,” Mrs. Roth said. “I thought what is that?”

First, Mr. Roth went to the State Police. “They chose to do little or nothing,” he said.

Then he went to the Brighton Selectmen.

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Island Pond’s island is up for sale

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Robert Hall has owned the island in Island Pond for the past 57 years.  Now he wants to sell it, hopefully to the town of Brighton, which would preserve it.  Photo by Tena Starr

Robert Hall has owned the island in Island Pond for the past 57 years. Now he wants to sell it, hopefully to the town of Brighton, which would preserve it. Photo by Tena Starr

copyright the Chronicle June 4, 2014 

by Tena Starr

ISLAND POND — For the last 57 years, Robert Hall of been a member of a small, elite group that includes the likes of actors Mel Gibson, Johnny Depp, and singer Celine Dion. Like those celebrities, Mr. Hall owns a private island.

Johnny Depp’s island is in the Caribbean; Mr. Hall’s island is in Island Pond. He’s reached the point in life, however, where he wants to sell it, ideally to the town of Brighton, which he considers the logical next owner. He’s been in a wheelchair since he broke his back cutting firewood in 1977 and hasn’t set foot on the property for more than 30 years.

It’s hard to navigate a wheelchair through a sandy beach, he wryly noted in an interview Friday. “I can’t use it, but I could use the money.”

Mr. Hall is asking $1.975-million for the island he and his mother bought when he was 18 years old. He’s now 76.

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First annual March Madness Basketball Tournament held at Brownington school

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The Brownington girls team came in first place in the girls division for the Brownington Graded School’s first annual March Madness Basketball Tournament, held from March 14 to 16.  The team, pictured from left to right, starting in the front row, included:  Alaina Zenonos, Olivia Lacoss, Molly Horton, and Tia Martinez.  In the back row, from left, are:  Faith Kempton, Katie Willard, Kennedy Falconer, Bria Lacoss, and Coach Mike Lacoss.  Photos courtesy of Mike and Barb Lacoss

The Brownington girls team came in first place in the girls division for the Brownington Graded School’s first annual March Madness Basketball Tournament, held from March 14 to 16. The team, pictured from left to right, starting in the front row, included: Alaina Zenonos, Olivia Lacoss, Molly Horton, and Tia Martinez. In the back row, from left, are: Faith Kempton, Katie Willard, Kennedy Falconer, Bria Lacoss, and Coach Mike Lacoss. Photos courtesy of Mike and Barb Lacoss

copyright the Chronicle March 26, 2014

The Brownington girls team came in first place in the girls division for the Brownington Graded School’s first annual March Madness Basketball Tournament, held from March 14 to 16.  The Troy girls were runners up.

The Charleston boys, who called themselves the Mustangs, were the champions of the boys division.  The Brighton boys were runners up.

Nine teams from six schools played in the tournament, which was a fund-raiser for the eighth-grade field trip and the new Brownington Athletic Fund.  — submitted by Mike and Barb Lacoss

The Troy girls were runners up.  In the front row, from left to right, are:  Makayla Ban, Alicia Farrell, Brook Gentry, Sammy Barcomb, Katie Lacasse, Ally Santaw, and Mckenna Marsh.  In the back row, from left, are:  Darcy Mayhew, Abby Baraw, Rebecca McDonald, Abbie Desjarlais, Fayth Columbia, Jessica Carr, and Coach Shannon Bowman.

The Troy girls were runners up. In the front row, from left to right, are: Makayla Ban, Alicia Farrell, Brook Gentry, Sammy Barcomb, Katie Lacasse, Ally Santaw, and Mckenna Marsh. In the back row, from left, are: Darcy Mayhew, Abby Baraw, Rebecca McDonald, Abbie Desjarlais, Fayth Columbia, Jessica Carr, and Coach Shannon Bowman.

The Brighton boys were runners up.  In the front row, from left, are:  Jacob Kocis, Troy Sanville, Alex Barnes, and Josh Rivers.  In the back row, from left, are:  Asstistamt Coach Cooper Densmore, Nicholas Bingham, Zach Letourneau, Aaron Verge, Kyle Hackett, and Coach Bill Burns.

The Brighton boys were runners up. In the front row, from left, are: Jacob Kocis, Troy Sanville, Alex Barnes, and Josh Rivers. In the back row, from left, are: Asstistamt Coach Cooper Densmore, Nicholas Bingham, Zach Letourneau, Aaron Verge, Kyle Hackett, and Coach Bill Burns.

The Charleston boys, who called themselves the Mustangs, were the champions of the boys division.  In the front row, from left, are:  Noah Rivard, Alex Fearino, Zachary Vill’neuve, and Michael Martin.  In the back row, from left, are:  Coach Tony Lamoureux, Cody Bingham, Austin Oleskiewicz, Curtis Bowen, Garrette Blake, and Coach Bob Bowen.

The Charleston boys, who called themselves the Mustangs, were the champions of the boys division. In the front row, from left, are: Noah Rivard, Alex Fearino, Zachary Vill’neuve, and Michael Martin. In the back row, from left, are: Coach Tony Lamoureux, Cody Bingham, Austin Oleskiewicz, Curtis Bowen, Garrette Blake, and Coach Bob Bowen.

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UTG reject Seneca Wind

copyright the Chronicle January 15, 2014

by Paul Lefebvre

FERDINAND — Community opposition in three of the most remote northern towns of the Northeast Kingdom have shut the door on hosting what would have been the third industrial wind project planned for the region’s ridgelines.

On Monday, the Unified Towns and Gores (UTG) joined Brighton and Newark in rejecting a proposal to build a ridgeline wind project on Seneca Mountain.

The decision came on the strength of a referendum mailed to property owners, whose ballots were counted in the UTG office in Ferdinand Monday night.

By a margin of 171 to 107, voters rejected the project and left little choice but for the UTG five-member board of governors to follow suit.

“The board has agreed to support the vote, and that’s what we intend to do,” said Chairman Barbara Nolan, after the results of the vote were announced.

There was also little room to maneuver for Eolian Renewable Energy, the company that had been spearheading a project that came to be known as Seneca Mountain Wind (SMW).  The company had repeatedly vowed that the project would rise or fall on the results of the vote.

“We are committed to abide by the local vote,” said a disappointed John Soininen, a company vice-president who was present during the counting of the ballots.

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In the UTGs: Has industrial wind worn out its welcome?

UTG webby Paul Lefebvre

copyright the Chronicle 11-13-2013

ISLAND POND — Seneca Mountain wind developers stuck their head in the lion’s den here Monday night, and the lion roared back.

Eolian Renewable Energy is proposing a 20-turbine project for Seneca Mountain that would be sited exclusively in the town of Ferdinand, a small, sprawling community and a member of the Unified Towns and Gores (UTG). Continue reading

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