Irasburg fire leaves six without a home

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copyright the Chronicle December 7, 2016

by Paul Lefebvre and Tena Starr

IRASBURG — A fire late Sunday afternoon destroyed a camp off the Gage Road here and left two adults and four children homeless.

“They lost everything,” said Robin Beaton, chief of the Irasburg Volunteer Fire Department, speaking Tuesday in an interview.

The two adults, Michael Josey and Kate Shatney, and the children are presently living with James Bromley of Irasburg. The children range in age from seven to 14.

Ms. Shatney said Tuesday that the family lost pretty much everything, but she put a positive spin on the situation. “We didn’t lose anyone.”

The children took it hard to begin with, but the six of them are staying with family, which the kids are enjoying, she said.

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Spark from torch started round barn fire

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copyright the Chronicle August 31, 2016

by Tena Starr

IRASBURG — A spark started the fire that destroyed the Robillard family’s historic round barn here, Denise Robillard said this week.

“They were fixing stalls that morning in the barn that was hooked to the round barn,” she said. “They used a torch to cut one bolt, and I guess there must have been a spark they didn’t see.”

What with the wind, and people having lunch, the fire quickly took hold in the very old lumber of the round barn. It was unsalvageable in no time, Ms. Robillard said.

“Within 20 minutes from the start, it was gone,” she said.

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Fire destroys historic round barn in Irasburg

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copyright the Chronicle August 24, 2016

by Paul Lefebvre

IRASBURG — A fire Tuesday destroyed the round barn here on Robillard Flats that had become a cultural landmark for those who live or travel through Orleans County.

Originally built in 1908, the barn had been in the Robillard family since 1960. Two generations of dairy farmers had turned the land, as well as the barn, into a showpiece that attracted natives and tourists alike.

A fast burning fire that started early in the afternoon completely destroyed the wooden round barn and left the remaining metal barns, where the livestock were kept, scorched and crumpled.

It’s a disaster,” said Bernard Robillard, who bought the farm from his father, Guy.

It’s still uncertain what caused the fire.

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Irasburg Select Board: Fecher resigns from board

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copyright the Chronicle April 20, 2016

by Elizabeth Trail 

IRASBURG — Brian Fecher, the chair of the Irasburg Select Board, submitted a letter of resignation from the board at a special meeting called for Thursday night.  But he’s still on the board for now.

“Recently I accepted a position that takes me over an hour away at least four days a week,” Mr. Fecher’s letter says.

“I’m away 40-50 hours a week,” he said at the meeting. “I don’t know that I can keep up with the responsibilities of being on the select board.”

“Yesterday we received word that a buyer is seriously interested in the purchase of our house,” the letter says. “As a result, our plans have changed and a timetable moved up.”

Mr. Fecher said his new job responsibilities and the time he spends commuting is eating into time he previously spent working on town business.

However, he was worried about the effect that his resignation would have on the board and its workload…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Irasburg farmer challenges state

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copyright the Chronicle March 23, 2016

by Tena Starr

An Irasburg farmer has invited the Vermont Agency of Agriculture to prosecute him for violating the state’s slaughtering rules.

His crime?  He advertised half of a grass fed beef that had not been “properly” slaughtered for sale.

John Klar has been raising and selling organic beef and sheep for more than 15 years.  Last summer, he received a surprise visit from Agency of Agriculture compliance investigator Eric Holgrem, who had seen a Craigslist ad that Mr. Klar had placed for beef.

“He didn’t call; he just showed up,” Mr. Klar said.

That’s something else he objects to, but his main problem is with the regulations themselves, which he said make no sense.

Vermont’s most recent version of the slaughter rules passed in 2013, and the House last week voted…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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30 years in the air took this man everywhere

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copyright the Chronicle February 17, 2016

by Tena Starr

Armand Brasseur grew up on a dairy farm in Irasburg, but he didn’t want to milk cows, he wanted to fly.  He knew that when he was a small boy, four or five years old, and watched planes head south from the airport in Newport.

“I cherished my military soldier with a parachute and balsa wood plane with a rubber band as its source of power,” he said.

He was a Northeast Kingdom farm boy, and not many considered either the dream, or the ability to realize it, realistic.

They were wrong.  It took some doing… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Irasburg Selectmen: Board gets tutorial on public meeting law

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Irasburg town attorney Sara Davies Coe explains the fine points of the open meeting law to the Irasburg Select Board and planning commission.  At left is board Chair Brian Fecher.  At the far right is Town Clerk Danielle Ingalls.   Photo by Elizabeth Trail

Irasburg town attorney Sara Davies Coe explains the fine points of the open meeting law to the Irasburg Select Board and planning commission. At left is board Chair Brian Fecher. At the far right is Town Clerk Danielle Ingalls. Photo by Elizabeth Trail

copyright the Chronicle January 6, 2016

by Elizabeth Trail

IRASBURG — “Oftentimes boards think they are eligible to enter executive session when they are not,” Irasburg town attorney Sara Davies Coe told the selectmen and members of the newly formed Irasburg Planning Commission at Monday night’s meeting.

Ms. Davies Coe’s comment raised a few chuckles around the room, if rueful ones, from the select board. Irasburg’s select board has been accused of violating the open meeting law twice in the past several months.

So Ms. Davies Coe was asked to come to the meeting to conduct a training session.

“I’m a new chair, and I want to be sure I get it right,” Brian Fecher said. “We also have a new board member.”

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Sugar and spice at the Leach Public Library

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Olivia Peters played in the gingerbread playhouse in the Leach Public Library once she finished decorating her cookies.  Photo by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

Olivia Peters played in the gingerbread playhouse in the Leach Public Library once she finished decorating her cookies. Photo by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

copyright the Chronicle December 2, 2015

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

IRASBURG — The Leach Public Library in Irasburg held the ninth edition of its Gingerbread Open House on Saturday.

The promise of gingerbread featured on a sign outdoors lured people into the library, where the smells of Christmas — evergreens, sugar, and spice — greeted them.

From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. people could taste all kinds of cookies and cider, participate in a raffle, decorate cookies, and listen to beautiful music.

The purpose of the event was to raise money for the library, but it’s not a moneymaker, so the hope is that it will generate more traffic to the library, librarian and organizer Laurie Green said.

“We’ve never had it this early,” she said when asked about the turnout.

Normally the open house occurs… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Irasburg wind opponents plan petition drive

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Irasburg Ridgeline Alliance (IRA) volunteer Becky Boulanger of Irasburg hands a Vermont state flag to Gary Bennett, also of Irasburg.  The flag is the final decoration for a hay wagon located near the south end of Irasburg Common.  It’s one of six  positioned throughout Irasburg in preparation for IRA’s “neighbor-to-neighbor” campaign kickoff meeting to be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 9, at the Irasburg Town Hall.  Photo by Cathy Bennett

Irasburg Ridgeline Alliance (IRA) volunteer Becky Boulanger of Irasburg hands a Vermont state flag to Gary Bennett, also of Irasburg. The flag is the final decoration for a hay wagon located near the south end of Irasburg Common. It’s one of six positioned throughout Irasburg in preparation for IRA’s “neighbor-to-neighbor” campaign kickoff meeting to be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 9, at the Irasburg Town Hall. Photo by Cathy Bennett

copyright the Chronicle September 9, 2015

by Tena Starr  

IRASBURG — A loose coalition called the Irasburg Ridge Alliance (IRA) has formed here to oppose David Blittersdorf’s plans for a two-tower commercial wind project on Kidder Hill.

The group will hold a meeting on Wednesday evening, September 9.

“The advice we got from our legislators is that the best chance we have to preserve Kidder Hill from industrial wind development is to present a unified and strong opposition from the town,” said Judith Jackson, an organizer.

With that in mind, she said, the group will start a petition drive to see how many Irasburg voters are opposed to Mr. Blittersdorf’s project.

“What we hope to ascertain is whether there is widespread opposition to it, and to launch a campaign to get as many signatures of Irasburg voters as possible for a petition to the select board to oppose the Kidder Hill project and to develop…  To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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