Derby Select Board: Walmart will create need for more policing

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copyright the Chronicle March 30, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

DERBY — Representatives from the State Police and the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department told the select board here Monday that the soon-to-open Walmart will mean additional police calls.  

Both departments recommended that the town put more resources toward what it said would be a problem.  

Board members were unconvinced.

Lieutenant Walter Smith, who commands the Derby State Police barracks, and Captain Mike Henry, who heads the St. Johnsbury outpost, warned the select board at their meeting Monday evening that other towns that host Walmarts have seen increased reports of shoplifting and fender benders.

Troopers will not be responding to those calls, Lieutenant Smith said.

The Derby State Police contingent is made up of 11 troopers who are responsible for policing 31 towns in Orleans and Essex counties, Lieutenant Smith said.

“Some people call us the Derby State Police,” he said.  “We’re not the Derby State Police.  We’re the State Police.  We just happen to be based in Derby.”…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Newport City Council: Wilson tongue lashes council

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copyright the Chronicle March 23, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT – Alderman John Wilson, the former president of the Newport City Council, stepped away from the meeting table Monday evening and gave his colleagues a piece of his mind.

Mr. Wilson gained the largely ceremonial position when its former occupant, Paul Monette, was elected mayor in 2009, and held it until the council’s March 7 meeting.

The council chooses its president annually at the first meeting after Town Meeting Day.  This year, Alderman Steven Vincent surprised some members of the public by nominating Alderman Neil Morrissette for the position.  Alderman Jacques Roberge seconded the nomination.

According to Mr. Wilson’s statement, which he delivered from a front row seat in the public gallery, he knew he would be replaced when he went into the meeting.  What he did not know, he said, is why his colleagues decided to strip him of his position.

“Even when you punish a child, you tell him what he did,” Mr. Wilson said.

He said he first got wind of the impending…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Orleans County is unhealthiest in Vermont

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copyright the Chronicle March 23, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT – When Julie Raboin stood up at Monday’s city council meeting and talked about a recent study showing Orleans County at the bottom of the state’s health rankings, Newport resident Brian McNeal had a question.

He noted reports of another study that ranked the state as second healthiest in the nation, behind Hawaii, and asked about the incidence of cancer.

Ms. Raboin, who is a substance abuse prevention consultant working at the Vermont Department of Health’s Newport office, explained that the study, prepared by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation of Princeton, New Jersey, bases its rankings on a different set of factors.

On Tuesday, Ms. Raboin offered a visitor to the Department of Health a guided tour of the study’s findings, explaining how the foundation’s examination of counties across…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Baird wants murder charge dropped

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copyright the Chronicle March 23, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

ST. JOHNSBURY  – The last of the three men charged in the 2010 murder of 78-year-old Mary Pat O’Hagan of Sheffield is asking to have a charge of felony murder dismissed and to have his trial on the remaining burglary and kidnapping charges moved out of Caledonia County.

On Friday, Keith J. Baird, 35, of Sheffield, and his lawyer, Robert Katims, were in the Criminal Division of Caledonia County Superior Court.  Mr. Katims sought to persuade Judge Michael Kupersmith that publicity about the case has made it impossible to pick an unbiased jury locally.  He also argued that the state could not show that Mr. Baird intended…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Accused murderer questions lawyer

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copyright the Chronicle March 16, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT – A breach between an accused murderer and his lawyer was apparently healed by a talk from Judge Robert Bent.

Jeffrey M. Ray, 52, of Brownington sent a handwritten note to the clerk in the Criminal Division of Orleans Superior Court on February 26 to say he and St. Johnsbury attorney David Sleigh met that day and had “a breakdown with our communication.”

He asked that he be allowed to find a new lawyer.

On May 26, 2015, Mr. Ray pled innocent to first degree murder in the shooting death of Rick Vreeland, 53, also of Brownington, and his former wife’s husband.  Judge Timothy Tomasi ordered Mr. Ray held without bail.

Mr. Ray was in court with Mr. Sleigh Monday morning…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Holland school: Board hopes budget will pass on second attempt

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copyright the Chronicle March 16, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

HOLLAND – The members of the Holland School Board hope that voters armed with a better understanding of the budget they rejected on Town Meeting Day will reconsider their decision.

The school board voted Monday night to ask townspeople to go to the polls on Thursday, April 7, to reconsider spending $963,000 for the town’s elementary school.

Balloting will be preceded by a hearing on the budget scheduled for 6 p.m. on Tuesday, April 5.

Conversation between board members and the seven members of the public who attended Monday’s meeting suggested that misconceptions about how the state calculates tax rates, might have…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Barton Village annual meeting: Village gets bigger, new trustee elected

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copyright the Chronicle March 9, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

BARTON – Barton Village is a little big bigger than it was before its annual meeting Tuesday night.  By a vote of 23 to 1 residents voted to incorporate a small piece of land near the intersection of Route 16 and the Roaring Brook Road into the village.

The adjustment to the village charter was decided by Australian ballot and must still be ratified by the Legislature before it becomes final, but it is one of the final steps before the old Roaring Brook Road bridge is replaced with a new span.

Voters also elected Cathy Swain, a new resident to the village, to fill the seat vacated by Trustee Ryan Longe.  Mr. Longe, who…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Newport City Council: Wilson passed over for council president

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copyright the Chronicle March 9, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT – The first council meeting after Newport’s annual meeting usually begins with a drowsy run of reappointments to a wide variety of city offices.  That pattern was broken Monday when Alderman Steven Vincent passed over the incumbent, Alderman John Wilson, to nominate Alderman Neil Morrissette as president of the council.

Alderman Jacques Roberge seconded the nomination, and Mr. Wilson was effectively removed from the position, which he’s held since Paul Monette was elected Mayor in 2009.

City council president is largely an honorary title except when the mayor is absent…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Clerk foils armed robbery

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copyright the Chronicle February 24, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

GREENSBORO BEND — Police say Joshua L. Chase-Renault walked into Smith’s Store in Greensboro Bend on the evening of February 8 carrying a knife and intending to rob the place.

But Mr. Chase-Renault left the store in a hurry when the clerk pulled out a handgun, said Hardwick Police Detective Kevin Lehoe.

Not only was the clerk armed, but also Hardwick Sergeant Michael Glodgett was watching the store from the parking lot of a sawmill across the street. When he saw a man run out of the store and jump into a car he followed, but gave up the chase after losing him on Stannard Mountain Road.… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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In Holland: School budget is down, tax rate is up

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copyright the Chronicle February 24, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

HOLLAND — The Holland School Board has crafted a budget for the town’s elementary school that reduces spending by nearly $80,000 compared to last year. Working with a very sharp pencil, they reduced the elementary school’s budget from the $1.02-million voters approved last year to about $963,000.

As a result, the portion of the town’s education rate assigned to the elementary school will be down by a smidgen more than one cent per hundred dollars of assessed value.

Overall, though, Holland’s education tax rate is likely to rise by 17 cents per hundred dollars of assessed value. The steep increase is due to a couple of factors… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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