Losses, some gains for Newport businesses

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copyright the Chronicle January 11, 2017

 

by Joseph Gresser

 

NEWPORT — Newport is reportedly gaining a new business, but is losing two others.

A vacant Main Street building may be slated for redevelopment, but up the street, a toy store is closing. In addition, the manufacturing company that took over the former Vermont Teddy Bear factory has shuttered its doors.

Its buildings and equipment have been foreclosed on and are be auctioned off later this month.

Burlington developer Ernie Pomerleau told the Newport City Council recently that his company has found a buyer for the old J.J. Newbury building on Main Street.

At the council’s December 19 meeting, Mr. Pomerleau said, “We just sold the Fishman Building, and I think you’ll see something moving forward that will prove advantageous.”

Mayor Paul Monette pointed out that Mr. Pomerleau meant the Newbury building, which most recently housed a bedding showroom.

Mr. Pomerleau’s father, Tony Pomerleau, bought the building in 2011 and sold it in November of 2011 to TML Commercial, LLC, a St. Albans company owned by Vincent Paradis, according to state records.

City Clerk and Treasurer James Johnson said he does not know when or how Mr. Pomerleau regained possession of the building.

Mr. Pomerleau told council members that the new owner of the property plans to develop “workforce housing and additional retail space” on the site of the Main Street building.

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Newport City Council urges deep budget cuts

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copyright the Chronicle December 21, 2016

 

by Joseph Gresser

 

NEWPORT — For years the Newport City Council has set budgets that cut city spending to the bone. Based on the discussion at Monday’s meeting, the 2017-2018 budget may cut even deeper.

By the end of the meeting, Mayor Paul Monette was suggesting the council might have to consider eliminating personnel and services.

He said it might be necessary to close down the Department of Parks and Recreation and zero out the entire capital budget for the year in order to get budget numbers to the level aldermen hoped to hit.

No action was taken on either suggestion, and it was unclear whether the mayor was advocating for the changes or pointing out the consequences of cutting the budget too deeply.

Mr. Monette drew the line on proposed cuts to the road repaving budget, arguing that strategy was tried in the past. Its result, he said, was the need to float a million dollar bond to get city streets back into shape.

The aldermen overruled the mayor’s objections.

Over the past several years, council members have gone to great lengths to keep municipal taxes from rising. Last year the city’s tax rate even saw a small decrease.

Their decisions were made with the implicit understanding that development projects promoted by Jay Peak would provide eventual relief by adding to the city’s tax base.

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Newport Mayor goes to work for Walmart

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copyright the Chronicle September 7, 2016

 by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT — Mayor Paul Monette has been unemployed since June, except for some part-time bookkeeping work. He was the head of information technology at Newport City Elementary School, but the school board decided to cut its budget by eliminating the position and contracting with the North Country Supervisory Union for computer services.

On Tuesday the mayor said he sent out a lot of resumés but got no responses. Then a friend suggested he apply for a job at Walmart.

Mr. Monette said he went online and filled out an application and was called for an interview the next day. He was hired on the spot to head the wireless department at the new Derby Walmart.

Wireless is what the retailer calls cell phones, the mayor explained. His job will be to sell them.

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Viens is back in the race; Monette, Klar withdraw

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copyright the Chronicle May 11, 2016

by Tena Starr

Gary Viens of Newport has reconsidered his earlier decision not to seek re-election to the Orleans-2 House seat.

Mr. Viens, who has served one term, said on Monday that both constituents and fellow legislators urged him to run again.

Irasburg farmer and lawyer John Klar and Newport Mayor Paul Monette have withdrawn from the race in the wake of Mr. Viens’ decision to seek re-election.

Mr. Viens said he called to tell them about his decision, making it clear that he was not asking them to withdraw. He said he was humbled by their decision to withdraw anyway.

In the past legislative session, Mr. Viens, who spent more than 30 years in law enforcement, served on the House Judiciary Committee, as well as the Joint Committee on Judicial Retention.

“For the last two weeks, I’ve been inundated with people asking me to change my decision…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Viens won’t seek re-election, Monette, Klar will run

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copyright the Chronicle April 13, 2016

by Tena Starr

The Orleans County political playing field shuffled around this week.

State Senator John Rodgers of Glover won’t run for lieutenant governor after all.  Representative Gary Viens of Newport won’t run for a state Senate seat, and his wife, Carol, won’t run for his House seat.  Instead, the Viens won’t run for anything.

Irasburg farmer John Klar and Newport Mayor Paul Monette will run for House, both as Republicans, setting up a Primary Election race between those two and.…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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Newport City throws Ward a farewell party

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John Ward and a double stand at a party honoring Newport’s City Manager, who officially retired on July 15.  The 50 or so guests had a hard time telling which was the real John Ward, especially since both candidates were dressed in his clothing.  Perhaps Mr. Ward’s administrative assistant, Laurel Wilson, could have resolved the question, but she was unaccountably absent when the second Mr. Ward strolled into the room.  Photo by Joseph Gresser

John Ward and a double stand at a party honoring Newport’s City Manager, who officially retired on July 15. The 50 or so guests had a hard time telling which was the real John Ward, especially since both candidates were dressed in his clothing. Perhaps Mr. Ward’s administrative assistant, Laurel Wilson, could have resolved the question, but she was unaccountably absent when the second Mr. Ward strolled into the room. Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle July 15, 2015

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT — Wednesday, July 15, is the last day on the job for Newport City Manager John Ward Jr., who is winding up his 16-year run and preparing for retirement.

“I’m grateful for the job, otherwise I probably would have had to leave Newport,” he said in an interview at the Newport Municipal Building July 9.

For a lifetime resident of a city that he clearly loves, that would have been a tough burden to bear, but after the city council’s original choice for the job decided not to accept it, Mr. Ward was tapped. Paul Monette and Richard Baraw, two of the aldermen who voted to make him city manager in March 1999, continued to serve on the council for most of Mr. Ward’s service.

Mr. Monette is now mayor, and Mr. Baraw….To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Ward attends his last city council meeting

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City Manager John Ward (right) offers a suggestion to Newport’s aldermen at his last city council meeting.  To his left sat Alderman Steven Vincent.  Photos by Joseph Gresser

City Manager John Ward (right) offers a suggestion to Newport’s aldermen at his last city council meeting. To his left sat Alderman Steven Vincent. Photos by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle July 8, 2015

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT — As Mayor Paul Monette listed those in attendance at Monday’s city council meeting he noted a milestone.

“For the last time John Ward is sitting as city manager,” Mr. Monette said.

Mr. Ward, who has served as city manager for 15 years, and was an alderman before that, will retire on July 15.

The council chose his replacement, Laura Dolgin, at a special meeting held Wednesday, July 1. She sat at the back of the council’s chambers Monday taking notes.

Mr. Ward’s impending departure was… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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World War II veterans gather on the anniversary of D-Day

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Joe Queenin of Derby Line holds up a Japanese flag, which was folded inside the helmet of the Japanese soldier he killed during the war.  The flag is covered with wishes for a safe return, hand-written by friends and family of the young soldier.   Photo by Elizabeth Trail

Joe Queenin of Derby Line holds up a Japanese flag, which was folded inside the helmet of the Japanese soldier he killed during the war. The flag is covered with wishes for a safe return, hand-written by friends and family of the young soldier. Photo by Elizabeth Trail

copyright the Chronicle June 10, 2015

by Elizabeth Trail

NEWPORT — They came walking upright, leaning on canes, or struggling with walkers, holding in their hands treasured memorabilia from over 70 years ago.  Seventeen World War II veterans — 16 men and one woman, ranging in age from their late eighties through mid-nineties — assembled at the Goodrich Memorial Library in Newport Saturday to mark the anniversary of the allied invasion of Normandy, France.

The event was organized and hosted by Scott Wheeler, owner and editor of Vermont’s Northland Journal, along with his wife, Penny, and daughter Emily. Over 60 people attended, including the veterans, their families, and members of the community.

“I came to mingle with the other vets and remember the occasion,” said 93-year-old Lindy Palin.  “I was reliving a few missions this morning….To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Construction of AnC Bio plant gets underway

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Many of those involved in planning AnC Bio help turn over the first shovels of dirt on May 14.  From left to right, are Vermont State Aeronautics Administrator Guy Rouelle, Jane Fortin and Cindy Robillard of the state Department of Labor, North Country Career Center Director Ilene Illuzzi, Alex Choi, former CEO of AnC Bio Korea, Jerry Davis of PEAK CM, Newport City Mayor Paul Monette, Ariel Quiros, co-owner of Jay Peak Resort and Mr. Stenger’s partner in AnC Bio, Bob Brown Petersen of NME Pharmaplan, AnC Bio Vermont CEO Ike Lee, Jake Lee, who heads development of artificial organs for AnC Bio, and Bill Stenger, president of Jay Peak Resort.  Photo by Joseph Gresser

Many of those involved in planning AnC Bio help turn over the first shovels of dirt on May 14. From left to right, are Vermont State Aeronautics Administrator Guy Rouelle, Jane Fortin and Cindy Robillard of the state Department of Labor, North Country Career Center Director Ilene Illuzzi, Alex Choi, former CEO of AnC Bio Korea, Jerry Davis of PEAK CM, Newport City Mayor Paul Monette, Ariel Quiros, co-owner of Jay Peak Resort and Mr. Stenger’s partner in AnC Bio, Bob Brown Petersen of NME Pharmaplan, AnC Bio Vermont CEO Ike Lee, Jake Lee, who heads development of artificial organs for AnC Bio, and Bill Stenger, president of Jay Peak Resort. Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle May 20, 2015

by Joseph Gresser

NEWPORT — The long-delayed groundbreaking for AnC Bio took place under fair skies Thursday morning, May 14. Speakers hailed prospects for the $100-million biomedical facility, which is expected to employ between 400 and 500 people when it’s up and running in a year and a half.

They will include people involved in manufacturing artificial organs, technicians to help run equipment in the clean room suites that will be available for rent by independent researchers, and scientists to perform research on stem cell therapies, said Bill Stenger, president of Jay Peak and one of the principals of AnC Bio Vermont. Mr. Stenger said people with education levels up to post-graduate degrees could find jobs at AnC Bio…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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