Land trust helps farmers find farms

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Neal Perry, pictured here, and his wife, Rebekah, are the owners of a 134-acre farm in Brownington.  He sits on his porch as he discusses plans to sell the property to the Vermont Land Trust.  That organization, in turn, plans to sell the land to a new farmer at a price that will allow him or her to keep it in agriculture.  Photos by Joseph Gresser

Neal Perry, pictured here, and his wife, Rebekah, are the owners of a 134-acre farm in Brownington. He sits on his porch as he discusses plans to sell the property to the Vermont Land Trust. That organization, in turn, plans to sell the land to a new farmer at a price that will allow him or her to keep it in agriculture. Photos by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle September 23, 2015

by Joseph Gresser

BROWNINGTON — Neal Perry has lived all of his 48 years on the 134-acre farm that was in his family 43 years before he was born. But sometime soon another farmer will be cultivating the land.

Mr. Perry isn’t being pushed off his property; rather he is following a calling and moving to Island Pond to be closer to the Green Mountain Bible Church where he has been pastor for two years.

Sitting on the porch of his house on Thursday, September 17, and looking across the long vista to Willoughby Gap, Mr. Perry spoke about the person who will succeed him as steward of the farm.

“I want someone to love it like I loved it,” he said.

Mr. Perry doesn’t know who that… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Youngsters get a look at Abenaki culture

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Summer reading program participants gathered around the fire they made to cook bannock bread on sticks.  Pictured here, from left to right, are Kayleigh Cole, Isabella Cole, Cienna Bishop, Owen Sheltra, Brielle Rancourt, and Trevor Sanville.  Directly behind Owen are Chase Sheltra who is looking at his dough-covered stick, and Dale Guisinger, who is digging into a Tupperware for more dough to hand out.  Photo by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

Summer reading program participants gathered around the fire they made to cook bannock bread on sticks. Pictured here, from left to right, are Kayleigh Cole, Isabella Cole, Cienna Bishop, Owen Sheltra, Brielle Rancourt, and Trevor Sanville. Directly behind Owen are Chase Sheltra who is looking at his dough-covered stick, and Dale Guisinger, who is digging into a Tupperware for more dough to hand out. Photo by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

copyright the Chronicle August 5, 2015

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

ISLAND POND — Archery, kayaking, circus arts, and bread-making are just a few of the activities organized by the Island Pond Public Library as part of its summer reading program.

The books the kids read are associated with an activity so they can experience the book hands-on, Library Director John Zuppa said.

On Friday, about 15 kids discovered a book about bears then joined their counselor on the shore of Island Pond to learn how to make a fire and cook bannock bread the way Abenakis did.

“That really gets through to them in a real way,” Mr. Zuppa said about linking a book to an activity.

The idea is to get the kids excited about reading, he said.

And it worked. During Friday’s activity, the children’s attention span was…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Island Pond swamped with visitors for July 4

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copyright the Chronicle July 1, 2015

Pictured is one of the flag-twirling majorettes in Les Éclairs, a marching band from Quebec that provided a highly polished performance during the Fourth of July celebration Saturday in Island Pond. Photo by Paul Lefebvre

copyright the Chronicle July 8, 2015

by Paul Lefebvre

ISLAND POND — More than fireworks sizzled and popped in this small town at the weekend’s celebration of the Fourth of July

The size of the crowd that turned out over the three days of festivities prompted one observer to remark that he didn’t realize that so many people knew where Island Pond was.

Beginning with Friday night’s fireworks and extending into Saturday’s parade with a Canadian marching band accompanied by a fleet of floats, decorated to celebrate America’s two-hundred thirty-ninth birthday, Island Pond sparkled day and night.

The first wave of revelers appeared at the weekly Friday Night Live, an open air dance at the Pavilion Park, that includes… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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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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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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Memorial Day weekend

Hannah Roberts, 13, of Newport Center opened Sunday's tractor pull at Roaring Brook Park in Barton on her 1950 Allis-Chalmers C tractor.  Hannah, who is a seventh-grader at North Country Union Junior High School, is pictured here in a pull-off for the 2,750-pound stock class, in which she took second place with 312 feet, 3.24 inches.  Photo by Natalie Hormilla

Hannah Roberts, 13, of Newport Center opened Sunday’s tractor pull at Roaring Brook Park in Barton on her 1950 Allis-Chalmers C tractor. Hannah, who is a seventh-grader at North Country Union Junior High School, is pictured here in a pull-off for the 2,750-pound stock class, in which she took second place with 312 feet, 3.24 inches. Photo by Natalie Hormilla

Tyler Young of Irasburg smacks the ball in the Cal Ripken League at the Lake Region Youth Baseball five-team tournament held at Roaring Brook Park in Barton on Sunday.  The Irasburg Angels played the Brownington Indians in the co-ed league for eight- to ten-year-olds.  Photo by Natalie Hormilla

Tyler Young of Irasburg smacks the ball in the Cal Ripken League at the Lake Region Youth Baseball five-team tournament held at Roaring Brook Park in Barton on Sunday. The Irasburg Angels played the Brownington Indians in the co-ed league for eight- to ten-year-olds. Photo by Natalie Hormilla

Memorial Day ceremonies in downtown Island Pond Monday included a speech from Representative Vicki Strong of Albany.  Two students from Brighton Elementary School, who won second place in a recent contest sponsored by the Vermont Historical Society, took turns reading the names of 42 Vermonters who were killed from 2003-2011 in either Afghanistan or Iraq.  Cooper Densmore is pictured behind the podium, while classmate Joshua Rivers is standing to his right.   Photo by Paul Lefebvre

Memorial Day ceremonies in downtown Island Pond Monday included a speech from Representative Vicki Strong of Albany. Two students from Brighton Elementary School, who won second place in a recent contest sponsored by the Vermont Historical Society, took turns reading the names of 42 Vermonters who were killed from 2003-2011 in either Afghanistan or Iraq. Cooper Densmore is pictured behind the podium, while classmate Joshua Rivers is standing to his right. Photo by Paul Lefebvre

An enthusiastic group of musicians from Newport City Elementary School marches down Main Street on Memorial Day.  Pictured is Victoria Young playing a cowbell.  Photo by Joseph Gresser

An enthusiastic group of musicians from Newport City Elementary School marches down Main Street on Memorial Day. Pictured is Victoria Young playing a cowbell. Photo by Joseph Gresser

Gage (in yellow) and Joey Prue atop a van in the Memorial Day parade in North Troy Monday.  Pam Prue and Pat Pyne of Paddie’s Snack Bar were their chauffeurs.   Photo by Tena Starr

Gage (in yellow) and Joey Prue atop a van in the Memorial Day parade in North Troy Monday. Pam Prue and Pat Pyne of Paddie’s Snack Bar were their chauffeurs. Photo by Tena Starr

Suki wears this patriotic outfit every Memorial Day and Fourth of July, said her owner, Linda Lyons.  Ms. Lyons and Suki were among those who didn’t mind getting a little wet in order to watch the Memorial Day parade in North Troy on Monday.  Photo by Tena Starr

Suki wears this patriotic outfit every Memorial Day and Fourth of July, said her owner, Linda Lyons. Ms. Lyons and Suki were among those who didn’t mind getting a little wet in order to watch the Memorial Day parade in North Troy on Monday. Photo by Tena Starr

This bell from the Orleans Volunteer Fire Department's 1938 International was chimed in memory of the Vermont soldiers who have given their lives in service to their country in the War on Terror.  Fire department member Justin Peart rang the bell after each name was read aloud by members of American Legion Orleans Post #23 at Monday's Memorial Day observances.  Photo by Richard Creaser

This bell from the Orleans Volunteer Fire Department’s 1938 International was chimed in memory of the Vermont soldiers who have given their lives in service to their country in the War on Terror. Fire department member Justin Peart rang the bell after each name was read aloud by members of American Legion Orleans Post #23 at Monday’s Memorial Day observances. Photo by Richard Creaser

American Legion Orleans Post #23 veteran Maurice "Joe" Blair, accompanied by Mark Wright, takes a place of honor during Monday's Memorial Day observances in Orleans.  Ann Parenteau (second row from left), Mary Ellen Orcutt, Donna Smith, and Dawn Wilcox of the Orleans American Legion Women's Auxiliary follow close behind.  Photo by Richard Creaser

American Legion Orleans Post #23 veteran Maurice “Joe” Blair, accompanied by Mark Wright, takes a place of honor during Monday’s Memorial Day observances in Orleans. Ann Parenteau (second row from left), Mary Ellen Orcutt, Donna Smith, and Dawn Wilcox of the Orleans American Legion Women’s Auxiliary follow close behind. Photo by Richard Creaser

Girl Scout Daisies Eva Thompson (left) and Bianca Davis of Barton Troop #30813 lent a festive air to Barton's annual Memorial Day parade on Monday.  Like their namesake flowers, the Daisies provided a welcome burst of color amidst the rain showers.  The Daisies marched alongside their fellow Girl Scouts from Barton Troop #30053.    Photo by Richard Creaser

Girl Scout Daisies Eva Thompson (left) and Bianca Davis of Barton Troop #30813 lent a festive air to Barton’s annual Memorial Day parade on Monday. Like their namesake flowers, the Daisies provided a welcome burst of color amidst the rain showers. The Daisies marched alongside their fellow Girl Scouts from Barton Troop #30053. Photo by Richard Creaser

For more photos, pick up a copy of our May 28, 2014 edition, or subscribe to our online edition.

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Brighton receives award for Town Hall renovations

Joel Cope offers thanks on behalf of the people of Brighton to the Preservation Trust of Vermont.  The town’s administrative assistant accepted recognition for one of ten outstanding contributions in the field of historic preservation at the 2014 Vermont Preservation and Downtown Conference, on May 2.  The conference was held in Island Pond, at the newly restored Town Hall.  Mr. Cope was praised for raising $600,000 in grant funds to make the restoration possible.  Watching him as he speaks were Melinda Gervais-Lamoureux, chairman of the Brighton Selectmen, Paul Bruhn, who heads the Preservation Trust of Vermont, and Jay Ancel of Black River Design, the architects for the project.  Photo by Joseph Gresser

Joel Cope offers thanks on behalf of the people of Brighton to the Preservation Trust of Vermont. The town’s administrative assistant accepted recognition for one of ten outstanding contributions in the field of historic preservation at the 2014 Vermont Preservation and Downtown Conference, on May 2. The conference was held in Island Pond, at the newly restored Town Hall. Mr. Cope was praised for raising $600,000 in grant funds to make the restoration possible. Watching him as he speaks were Melinda Gervais-Lamoureux, chairman of the Brighton Selectmen, Paul Bruhn, who heads the Preservation Trust of Vermont, and Jay Ancel of Black River Design, the architects for the project. Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle May 7, 2014

by Joseph Gresser

ISLAND POND — The renovation of the Brighton Town Hall was among ten projects recognized for outstanding contributions in the field of historic preservation at the 2014 Vermont Preservation and Downtown Conference Friday.

A sizeable contingent of Vermont’s historical preservation community gathered in the Town Hall in the center of Island Pond on May 1 to discuss shared interests and plan for further projects.

The annual event is presented in a different community each year. In odd numbered years it is hosted by the state Department of Housing and Community Development, in even numbered ones, by the Preservation Trust of Vermont (PTV).

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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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Passenger train might come to Island Pond

Kato's Railroad

copyright the Chronicle, October 9, 2013

by Paul Lefebvre

ISLAND POND — For two private developers who would like to start a nighttime rail passenger service between Montreal and Portland, slow is beautiful.

The working name for the project is train-hotel, and in a special meeting here Tuesday with Brighton Selectmen, Francois Rebello of Montreal and Richard Bennett of Biddeford, Maine, laid out a business proposal that would warm the heart of nearly everyone in a town that the railroad put on the map.

Essentially, the pair want to put evening passenger trains on three different routes, all linking Montreal to New York.  Initially, the trains would run for three months, starting in the summer.

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