Mock crash makes powerful point

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copyright the Chronicle May 24, 2017

 

by Joseph Gresser

 

When the Lake Region Union High School student body poured into the bright sunshine on the morning of May 17, they saw a horrific sight. Two wrecked cars stood in the drop-off area, one with a young woman lying on the hood in a pool of blood.

As gruesome as the scene was, it was not a surprise. The entire school had just watched a student-created video depicting the events leading to the tragic scene laid out before them.

A young man, texting as he drove his blue car down the road, was seen just before he plowed head-on into a red car filled with happy teens.   The screen went black as the cars collided, although the audience could hear the Sheriff’s Department dispatcher taking a report of the smash-up.

The student actors were in place as their classmates gathered around. Student videographers were positioned in the area, as they shot footage for another cautionary film.

Members of the Orleans Fire Department, Orleans Ambulance, and the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department were also in position, and at the signal from Sheriff’s Department Captain Phil Brooks, they went into action.

Captain Brooks narrated as the firefighters checked the two cars, evaluated the potential for immediate danger, and looked to see what kind of assistance they could render.

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FBI investigating Orleans man

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copyright the Chronicle May 17, 2017

 

by Joseph Gresser

 

ORLEANS — FBI agents went calling at the Orleans home of a man suspected of stealing from the Cabot Cooperative Creamery, and left with a trove of financial records, according to federal court documents.

Agents executed a search warrant at the home of Randy Swartz, the former maintenance manager at Cabot, and seized equipment and computers as well.

FBI Special Agent Patrick Hanna filed a request for the warrant in U.S. District Court in Burlington on March 9. In it, he laid out what he said were facts justifying the search of Mr. Swartz’s home, workshops, and computer files.

Mr. Swartz has not been charged with a crime, but the affidavit says he is under investigation for allegedly ordering equipment and parts for his personal business and charging them to Cabot.

According to the affidavit, one of Mr. Swartz’s subordinates went to creamery officials on January 25 and told them Mr. Swartz had been having parts Cabot paid for delivered to his home. He did not reimburse the company for the parts and had Cabot employees perform work for his private business on company time, Special Agent Hanna said.

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In Orleans: Former drugstore demolished

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copyright the Chronicle April 6, 2016

Demolition of the former Austin’s Drugstore in Orleans started on Sunday.  Owner Larry Thibault, who also owns neighboring Thibault’s Market, said he expects the hole will be filled in within the next few days.  His plan is to improve parking for his store.  Currently…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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In Orleans: Fenton, 94, gets new medals

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Robert Fenton of Orleans shows off a row of medals reissued to him by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Mr. Fenton earned the medals over his years of service in World War II and the Korean War.  American Legion Post 23 presented him with the replacement medals to Mr. Fenton at Monday’s Memorial Day service in Orleans.   Photo by Elizabeth Trail

Robert Fenton of Orleans shows off a row of medals reissued to him by the Department of Veterans Affairs. Mr. Fenton earned the medals over his years of service in World War II and the Korean War. American Legion Post 23 presented him with the replacement medals to Mr. Fenton at Monday’s Memorial Day service in Orleans. Photo by Elizabeth Trail

copyright the Chronicle May 27, 2015

by Elizabeth Trail

ORLEANS — Thirty years ago, Robert Fenton’s military medals went missing. The 94-year-old Mr. Fenton, who is from Orleans, is a veteran of both World War II and the Korean War.

On Monday, at a Memorial Day ceremony in Orleans, American Legion Post #23 presented Mr. Fenton with a duplicate set of medals, reissued by the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“I’m going to put ’em in the bank vault this time,” Mr. Fenton said happily a few minutes after the row of medals was pinned to his chest.

The medals were a U.S. Army Good Conduct Medal, a….To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Les Misérables comes to Orleans

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Katie Kelly, playing the young Cosette, sings “Castle on a Cloud” in the first act of Les Misérables.  The show was put together as part of the Vermont Family Theatre.  Photos by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

Katie Kelly, playing the young Cosette, sings “Castle on a Cloud” in the first act of Les Misérables. The show was put together as part of the Vermont Family Theatre. Photos by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

copyright the Chronicle May 6, 2015

by Nathalie Gagnon-Joseph

ORLEANS — The cast of Vermont Family Theatre’s Les Misérables nailed the opening night of their show on Friday, remembering every line and singing every note.

Friday was the first of a three-day run of the show, put together by Artistic Director Karen Perry.

It was obvious that all the actors loved the show and gave it their all. The choruses were excellent and very effective, moving the story forward and making hearts race.

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Lake Region’s Pippin — a lively performance with a groovy feel

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A despondent Pippin (Nate Chambers) gets schooled by his well-preserved grandmother (Karamae Hayman-Jones).  Also listening, as Ms. Hayman-Jones rocked the house during a Halloween matinee, are her fellow players (left to right, Kayla Poginy and Mariah Moore).   Photo by Joseph Gresser

A despondent Pippin (Nate Chambers) gets schooled by his well-preserved grandmother (Karamae Hayman-Jones). Also listening, as Ms. Hayman-Jones rocked the house during a Halloween matinee, are her fellow players (left to right, Kayla Poginy and Mariah Moore). Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle November 5, 2014

by Joseph Gresser

ORLEANS — Lake Region Union High School’s production of Pippin could be taking place anywhere, at any time.

That, of course, is only true of what happens on stage. In our world the shows will be performed at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 6, Friday, November 7, and Saturday, November 8. Audiences can be confident the shows will go on at the Opera House at the Orleans Municipal Building.

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In boys AAU basketball: Orleans County Challengers go to the nationals

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Pictured are the Orleans County Challengers.  In the back row, from left to right, are: Shelly Lanou, Priscilla Stebenne, Isaiah Braithwaite, Ajay Warner, Drew Drageset, Dalton Gentley, Evan Inkel, and Albert Stebenne.  In the front are:  Matthew Menard, Braydon Leach, Landyn Leach, Dillon Stebbins, and Connor Lanou.  Photo courtesy of Martha Braithwaite

Pictured are the Orleans County Challengers. In the back row, from left to right, are: Shelly Lanou, Priscilla Stebenne, Isaiah Braithwaite, Ajay Warner, Drew Drageset, Dalton Gentley, Evan Inkel, and Albert Stebenne. In the front are: Matthew Menard, Braydon Leach, Landyn Leach, Dillon Stebbins, and Connor Lanou. Photo courtesy of Martha Braithwaite

copyright the Chronicle July 23, 2014

by Isaiah Braithwaite

MEMPHIS, Tennessee — We are the Orleans County Challengers. Players from Glover, Irasburg, Albany, Orleans and Derby compete for us. We got together for our first practice in March after our junior high basketball season ended. Despite being competitors just days before, we all immediately got along. Not only playing basketball but off the court, too, we were all friends before teammates.

It was obvious in our first game, that in Vermont, we would be a force to be reckoned with, scoring 79 points in our first game together. After four tournaments, with four games in each one, we were champions — we hadn’t lost a single game.

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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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Barton woman given deferred sentence for arson

copyright the Chronicle January 29, 2014

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT — A Barton woman pled guilty to first degree arson Tuesday in the Orleans Criminal Division of Superior Court.

Rebecca R. Ray, 21, apparently settled the score with an informant who helped police arrest her boyfriend for heroin trafficking — by burning down the informant’s house.

Judge Howard VanBenthuysen deferred sentencing in the case for three years.

Ms. Ray is the girlfriend of Matthew R. Prue, 34, of Barton who, with his brother Louis A. Prue II, 40, of Newport was arrested on July 10 for selling heroin, said Morrisville Detective Jason Luneau.  The brothers were charged with selling 26 grams of heroin in a controlled buy carried out at the Subway in Orleans, he said.

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In Orleans: Rare magnolia tree succumbs to wind and bugs

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This rare magnolia tree, which has been thriving in Orleans for about 60 years, was damaged by last week’s heavy winds and rain.  The tree, which has been studied for years by UVM horticulturists, has been infested by parasites and will have to be taken down, said current owner Kimberly Campbell.  Photo courtesy of Kimberly Campbell

This rare magnolia tree, which has been thriving in Orleans for about 60 years, was damaged by last week’s heavy winds and rain. The tree, which has been studied for years by UVM horticulturists, has been infested by parasites and will have to be taken down, said current owner Kimberly Campbell. Photo courtesy of Kimberly Campbell

by Tena Starr

ORLEANS — The heavy rain and wind that hit northern Vermont last week had an unusual victim:  the magnolia tree that has, for some reason, been thriving in Orleans for nearly 60 years.

Magnolias don’t generally overwinter in far northern Vermont — they barely manage in southern Vermont.  But apparently someone forgot to tell this particular tree it was not supposed to survive an Orleans County winter.

Kimberly Campbell said the storm took down a section of the tree, the part her family called the rope swing branch.

“I heard this big cracking sound and turned just in time to see the tree go down,” Ms. Campbell said.  “It had ripped the power box from the side of the house.”

She’d initially hoped the rest of the tree would survive, but the crew who cut up the felled section noticed it was infected with parasites, weakening the whole thing.

Sadly, the rest of it will have to be cut as well, Ms. Campbell said.  If it fell, it would take out the power lines for the neighborhood, she said.

Ms. Campbell, who bought the house where the magnolia is in 2007, said she’s learned more about it in the past week than she ever knew before.  People have dropped by to tell her stories about the tree, which UVM’s horticulture department has been following for years.   “They’re going to try as hard as they can to grow one,” she said.

The species is Magnolia acuminata, or in common language, a cucumber tree magnolia.

It’s quite rare, especially this far north, said Mark Starrett, an associate professor at the University of Vermont.  It’s one of the parents of several modern types of yellow-flowered magnolias that have been hybridized and are now widely available, he said.

Its rarity is due to the fact that when it was planted in Orleans the climate was colder, with more severe winters, and it was thus less likely to survive, Mr. Starrett said.  Also, it’s not a particularly showy tree, and he suspects that 60 years ago Vermonters weren’t all that prone to trying to grow exotic plants.

He said he’ll try to propagate plants from seeds from the Orleans tree.  Any seedlings that result will be distributed around Vermont, he said.   Some will stay on the UVM campus and others will be distributed through the Vermont Hardy Plant Club.

Norman Pellett came to UVM in 1967 as Extension ornamental horticulturist, and made frequent trips around the state advising nurseries and greenhouse operators, landscape architects and technical school program teachers.  Through that work, he ran across a variety of uncommon plants in Vermont, he said.

The only other big cucumber magnolia he’s seen is in Rutland, although others might exist, he said.

Irene Lanoue, who still lives in Orleans, said her late husband, Rouville, planted the tree two or three years after they got married in 1953.

“He sent away to the Michigan Bulb Company for it,” she said.  “I don’t know how he picked it out.  I can’t remember how he came to order that tree.”

In any event, once it started growing, he was curious about what it was, Mrs. Lanoue said.  “He planted it and it started growing.  It wasn’t supposed to.”

But the Lanoues didn’t learn that until later, when her husband contacted UVM to ask about what he had.  “He wrote to the Extension Service at UVM and they sent up a man to look at it.”

Steve Matthews was a paperboy for the Lanoues at the time the tree was planted.  “I knew it was a magnolia tree, and it wasn’t supposed to be growing here,” he said.

He’s kept up with the tree throughout its lifetime and on Sunday picked up some of its pods from the brush that remained on the ground, and sent them to Mr. Starrett.

“We’ll see if we can get some seeds from it that might be able to germinate,” he said.

He said he doesn’t think that’s likely with the seeds he picked up, but he hopes something will work out so a species of the exceptionally cold hardy Orleans magnolia can be propagated.

Ms. Campbell said the tree wasn’t showy like the magnolias in the South.  It had huge leaves, she said.

“They looked like great big elephant ears.  They’re huge and sprouted at the end of the leaf you see kind of these longish pink things.”

It had a lemon peppery smell, Ms. Campbell said.  “It’s been a great shade tree,” she said.

Mrs. Lanoue said she regularly walks by her old home and checks on the magnolia.  It will be sad when it’s gone, she said.

contact Tena Starr at [email protected]

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