Weak loonie cuts into Canadian travel and maple syrup prices

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copyright the Chronicle February 24, 2016

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

The increasingly weak Canadian dollar is affecting both U.S. business along the border and the price of maple syrup.

Between 2010 and 2014, the Canadian dollar’s value fluctuated right around $1 American. Since then, its value has steadily dropped, reaching a low point on January 20 of about 68 cents U.S., according to tradingeconomics.com.

Apparently, the Canadian dollar is tied to the price of oil because Canada exports a lot of it. Given that the price of oil is low, so is the loonie.

The Fédération des Producteurs Acéricoles du Québec (FPAQ) sets syrup prices in Canadian dollars, so when the loonie’s value goes down in American dollars, so does the price of syrup.

Quebec sugarmakers provide maple syrup for over 70 percent of the global market, the FPAQ website says.

Because there are so many of them, the price set for their product becomes the base price for… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Three approaches to the milk glut

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copyright the Chronicle February 17, 2016

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

All currency exchanges were calculated on Sunday, February 14, except for the retail prices, which were calculated on February 15.

The past year wasn’t great for the dairy industry.  Global demand for milk dropped significantly, cutting into exports and creating milk surpluses everywhere.

The reduced demand can largely be attributed to the Russian embargo on products from the United States and the European Union in response to sanctions for invading Ukraine.

Farmers have seen their paychecks… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Sugaring is off to a very early start

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Ted Young of West Glover has been sugaring for at least 43 years.  He has already boiled his first batch of syrup this year, the earliest he remembers doing so.  Photos by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

Ted Young of West Glover has been sugaring for at least 43 years. He has already boiled his first batch of syrup this year, the earliest he remembers doing so. Photos by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

copyright the Chronicle February 10, 2016

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

Temperatures 15 to 20 degrees higher than normal have led to an unusually early start to the sugaring season this year. Sugarmakers who tapped early enough have already made syrup and say it’s the earliest they have ever boiled.

Ted and Rebecca Young of West Glover made 50 gallons of light syrup on Friday. Ted Young has been sugaring for at least 43 years.

“I’ve only ever boiled once in February,” he said. “In the old days, we wouldn’t have had the trees tapped anyways.”

It takes warm days and below freezing nights to get the sap running in maple trees, and that’s exactly what happened during the last week of January and in early February.

“We’re seeing more temperatures indicative of late March, early April,” said meteorologist Brooke Taber of the National Weather Service. “It’s been crazy.”

On average, temperatures have been… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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No plans to consolidate at NCSU

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copyright the Chronicle February 3, 2016

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

While the Orleans Central Supervisory Union (OCSU) prepares to go ahead with consolidation under Act 46, North Country Supervisory Union (NCSU) Superintendent John Castle is against the idea.

The NCSU hasn’t moved towards consolidating at all, he said.  Instead, it will have what the law calls an alternative structure, where it will remain a supervisory union and its districts will keep their own school boards.

“I advocated strongly against the adoption of the law,” Mr. Castle said.  “I’ve had real concerns…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Community mourns Creative Minds closure

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copyright the Chronicle February 3, 2016

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

NEWPORT – Shortcomings in both early childhood education policy and funding have made it impossible for Creative Minds Children’s Center in Newport Center to stay open, founder and owner Jody Marquis told the community Monday night at a meeting at the North Country Career Center.

The Newport Center childcare provider will close its doors on February 26, following several years of struggling to make ends meet.  Nearly 50 children were attending when the decision to close was made.

“It’s a very emotional day…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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OCSU committee approves plan for consolidation

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copyright the Chronicle January 27, 2016

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

The Orleans Central Supervisory Union (OCSU) Act 46 study committee is recommending early consolidation in order to take advantage of the tax breaks it offers.

On Tuesday, the committee approved articles of agreement that spell out what a consolidated district, the Orleans Central Unified Union School District, will look like.

The draft plan will be presented to the public for its feedback in February, and district towns will vote on it by Australian ballot on May 24.

The single district will include Albany, Brownington…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Orleans Central Supervisory Union: Schools largely unaffected by spending cab fumble

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copyright the Chronicle January 20, 2016

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

Most Orleans Central Supervisory Union (OSCU) school districts won’t be affected by the mix-up in calculating Act 46 spending caps, OCSU Business Manager Heather Wright said at the supervisory union’s carousel meeting on Tuesday.

The Vermont Agency of Education sent out new per pupil spending amounts…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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In Newport Center: Doubled water rates lead to fractious meeting

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copyright the Chronicle January 13, 2016

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

NEWPORT CENTER — The 25 or so people who came to the select board meeting here on Thursday, January 7, were looking for answers as to why their water bill doubled in November.

They left the fractious meeting with a newly formed water committee and an approved $171,366 water budget for 2016, up nearly $13,450 from this year’s $157,922 budget.

Part of that increase includes a new capital reserve fund of $11,255. It’s the first time the water department will set money aside, select board Chair Steve Barrup said.

The budget also includes $44,912 for engineering fees, which are expected to be reimbursed through state grants.

Water users became concerned after the select board doubled water rates in November. The price tag for water jumped from $120 per quarter per household to $240.

That increase was needed… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Holiday food

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Haitian Independence Day soup.  Photo by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

Haitian Independence Day soup. Photo by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

copyright the Chronicle January 6, 2016

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

Eating is a huge part of the holidays. People get together to be merry around a heavily laden table.

And every year, people stuff their faces before adopting New Year’s resolutions to shed pounds.

The holidays are about traditions, too, and there are many. In my family, turkey is reserved for Thanksgiving, so we have lamb or ham at our Christmas meal.

For me, Christmas is also about lack of sleep, and running on adrenaline. I do as much cooking as I can on Christmas Eve, then drive to my cousin’s house, where my Haitian family meets to start the holiday season by celebrating my little cousin’s birthday.

I leave early to sing at church for midnight Mass, then race home to finish cooking… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Westfield residents carol on the common

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Mabel Belisle and other children met Santa. He gave the children bags of candy. Photos by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

Mabel Belisle and other children met Santa. He gave the children bags of candy. Photos by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

copyright the Chronicle December 22, 2015

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

WESTFIELD — The common here was the scene of much merry-making on Friday night. Every year the town organizes a caroling event for residents to meet up, mingle, and get to know each other better.

“It’s good to get together at Christmas,” Selectman Yves Daigle said.

He put the event together for the first time about five years ago.

“Christmas is a time to celebrate and give,” he said.

In that spirit, there were free doughnuts, spiced cider, and coffee provided by the town. People lined up to get a snack and crowded around the bonfire before the singing started.

“I’ll leave that to my daughter Marylee,” Mr. Daigle said about leading the crowd in… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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