Meth lab discovered in Barton

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copyright the Chronicle May 25, 2016

by Tena Starr

BARTON — Police were taking no chances Saturday at a meth lab found at a Barton home on Cottage Lane between the Crystal Lake state beach and St. Paul’s school. A hazardous materials unit, as well as a clandestine lab team, were at the scene, with both Barton Ambulance and the Barton Fire Department standing by in case of an accident. For much of the afternoon, workers in bulky hazmat suits cleared the building of the volatile chemicals used in making methamphetamine.

On Monday, Terry A. Parson Jr., 33, was charged with both possession and sale of meth, the latter a felony. He pled innocent in the Criminal Division of Orleans County Superior Court and is being held on $100,000 bail.

The Northern Vermont Drug Task Force started an investigation into the distribution of meth in Orleans County late this month. The target was Mr. Parson, court records say. The investigation involved what police call a “source of information” and a “cooperating individual,”…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Is there too much syrup?

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copyright the Chronicle May 18, 2016

by Tena Starr

It’s been a banner year for maple syrup – by many accounts the best in the history of the business.

For many sugarmakers that means it’s also a profitable year.  Although the price of bulk syrup is down somewhat, nearly everyone has more syrup to sell than they did last year.

But others, particularly those who are new to the industry, may be struggling to find a buyer for their bulk syrup.  What some have called a glut of syrup also raises the question of whether maple production is outpacing its market, even though that market is growing.

“A lot of syrup has been produced this year, and a lot of the big packers have got what they need,” said Denise Marshall at D&D Sugarwoods Farm in Glover last week.  “Therefore, lots of sugarmakers don’t have a place to sell their syrup this year because there’s so much of it.”

Ms. Marshall buys a couple hundred drums of syrup each year for use at her own business.  She buys more from local customers to resell to Butternut Mountain Farm in Morrisville, a much bigger packer than she is, and a couple others.

She said she finds herself in a tough spot because she’s had the same customers for years and wants to be loyal to them.  But this season she’s been unable to buy all their syrup, because she has no market for it, at least right now, and she’s not quite sure…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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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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EB-5: Suspicions arose in 2010

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copyright the Chronicle April 27, 2016

by Tena Starr

A suspicious Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) started questioning Bill Stenger and Ariel Quiros, owner of Jay Peak and Q Burke, back in May of 2014.  But they weren’t the only ones who were suspicious, and they certainly were not the first.

Four years earlier, in 2010, John Carpenter, who was then controller at the ski area, told Mr. Stenger he believed something was awry, according to SEC documents.  For one thing, he could not get access to the accounts at financial services company Raymond James, held by Mr. Quiros, which he’d repeatedly asked for, he told the SEC in a so-called “declaration.”

Mr. Carpenter’s quotes here come from that document.

The SEC is alleging that the Northeast Kingdom EB-5 projects were actually a giant Ponzi-like scheme, in which $200-million of…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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Strapped North Troy Legion calls for help

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copyright the Chronicle March 30, 2016

by Tena Starr

NORTH TROY — American Legion Post #28 in North Troy has launched a GoFundMe campaign, and is holding other fund-raisers in the hope of raising the $50,000 it needs to pay off old debt — including $15,000 owed to the IRS — to make improvements to the building, and to stay open.

The Legion’s financial problems weren’t helped any by two burglaries, which led to losses of about $3,500.

“When I took over it was clear there had been some past decisions, I’ll say business types of decisions, that were perhaps well meaning but in the end did not do what they should have,” said Post Commander Gaston Bathalon.

Mr. Bathalon took over as commander about a year ago. He said his predecessors had held some big raffles with expensive prizes like motorcycles and an ATV. At least one of those outright lost money, he said.

Carefully choosing his words, he said that, also, bookkeeping “had not been as tight as it might have been.”

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Irasburg farmer challenges state

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copyright the Chronicle March 23, 2016

by Tena Starr

An Irasburg farmer has invited the Vermont Agency of Agriculture to prosecute him for violating the state’s slaughtering rules.

His crime?  He advertised half of a grass fed beef that had not been “properly” slaughtered for sale.

John Klar has been raising and selling organic beef and sheep for more than 15 years.  Last summer, he received a surprise visit from Agency of Agriculture compliance investigator Eric Holgrem, who had seen a Craigslist ad that Mr. Klar had placed for beef.

“He didn’t call; he just showed up,” Mr. Klar said.

That’s something else he objects to, but his main problem is with the regulations themselves, which he said make no sense.

Vermont’s most recent version of the slaughter rules passed in 2013, and the House last week voted…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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On TV with a cake and a paint roller

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copyright the Chronicle March 16, 2016

by Tena Starr

TROY – Jennifer LeBlanc has been described as something of an overachiever.  And that, she said, likely played a role in her appearance last week on The Rachael Ray Show with a paint roller and a cake.

For the few who don’t know, Rachael Ray is a Food Network celebrity and chef with a nationally syndicated TV talk show.

By profession, Ms. LeBlanc is an auditor, one of only five people in Vermont who audits special education accounts and trains people.  It’s a rather dry job, she said, with her own rather dry humor, which is generally followed by peals of laughter.

Baking cakes, which she’s done for around 20 years, is her creative outlet, she said at her home Friday.  She makes gorgeous event cakes, destined…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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In Holland: Meeting set to discuss failed school budget

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copyright the Chronicle March 9, 2016

by Tena Starr

HOLLAND – The school board here plans to hold a public meeting on Monday, March 14, at 6 p.m.  Board members hope that Holland’s voters will tell them how to move forward in the wake of last week’s budget defeat, or at least why they voted the way they did.

The budget, which is voted on by Australian ballot, was rejected 94-79 despite the fact that it had been cut by about $80,000 from the previous year.

At the same time, Holland voters approved their share of the North Country Union High School and junior high school budgets.

The town school budget was down for the second year in a row, but because of…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Troy Town Meeting: Voters opt to buy property for preschool

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copyright the Chronicle March 2, 2016

by Tena Starr

NORTH TROY – Following a fairly long and typically feisty discussion, voters at Town Meeting here Tuesday agreed to spend $76,000 to buy the so-called Allen property, a lot and house adjacent to the school.

The short-term plan is to use the property for a preschool.

An attempt to cut how much the town pays for… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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