How hard is it to buy a gun?

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copyright the Chronicle January 13, 2016

by Tena Starr  

A couple of months ago I became the owner of a World War II issue Yugoslavian Mauser.

The story behind that unlikely purchase is complicated, but part of it had to do with the San Bernardino shootings.

Aware that the gun control debate was about to start up again, I wondered just how hard, or easy, it actually is to buy a gun.

One way to find out was to buy one.

Even though I grew up in Vermont in a family with a gun cabinet, went hunting with my father as a kid, and made sure both my children knew how to shoot, I had never owned, or bought, a gun.

So I asked about the Mauser, got a break on the price, and bought it.

This is what it entailed: I filled out the paperwork, which isn’t lengthy, and basically asks… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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The Donald does Vermont

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Trump-protestors-cmykcopyright the Chronicle January 13, 2016

by Tena Starr  

BURLINGTON — Not surprisingly, given the candidate’s career, Donald Trump’s rally here last week resembled a reality TV show as much as a political rally.

Mr. Trump bragged about the 20,000 people who had lined up to see him.

Actually, according to Burlington Police, that number was closer to 2,000.

His campaign had issued 20,000 free tickets, and many ticket holders believed that a ticket translated into entrance to the venue.

It did not. Hundreds of people stood in line outside for hours and many were denied entrance because the 1,400-seat venue was full.

It filled slowly, since everyone who made it to the doors had to go through airport level security, including body scans and bag searches.

“I love my people,” Mr. Trump said shortly after we walked in. “They are the most loyal people.”

Anyone who did not exhibit that loyalty, however, was ushered, bodily if necessary… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Small Town Hobbies is a haven for both big kids and little

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Chris and Kristin Poginy of Poginy’s European Auto Works in Coventry opened a new store, Small town Hobbies, on Saturday.  Photos by Tena Starr

Chris and Kristin Poginy of Poginy’s European Auto Works in Coventry opened a new store, Small town Hobbies, on Saturday. Photos by Tena Starr

copyright the Chronicle October 14, 2015

by Tena Starr

COVENTRY — It was a chilly Saturday morning, but already a collection of enthralled boys had gathered around both the inside and outside tracks that Chris and Kristin Poginy have built for their new business, Small Town Hobbies.

Saturday was open house for the business, which is much more than a retail store. The Poginys hope it will become a gathering place for hobby car enthusiasts, who will use the tracks they’ve built to compete with each other, or just have fun.

The store, and the tracks, are the fruition of her husband’s lifelong dream, Ms. Poginy said. He’s still a boy at heart — and probably has a lot of company in that.

The hobby shop sells remote cars, robotics kits, model cars, trucks, mini-tanks and planes, paint-by-number sets, and much more. The models are motorized, and computer… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Where have all the blackberries gone?

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There are fewer blackberries this year than last.

There are fewer blackberries this year than last.

copyright the Chronicle October 7, 2015

by Tena Starr

Both of my children have signature birthday cakes. My son’s is a black forest cake, dark chocolate with chocolate frosting and cherry pie filling in the middle with individual cherries on top.

My daughter’s is seasonal. Starting around when she was four, I began making a blackberry cake for her birthday, which is in early September. That was a long time ago, and I don’t remember what the original inspiration was, just that I made a white cake and decided to put fresh blackberries in it.

It comes out exceptionally moist and is tasty. I did this for nearly 30 years. It was tradition.

In one of those memorable episodes that says as much about me and the fact that I keep the doors and windows open as late… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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An exploration of complex relationships

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Hidden View by Brett Ann Stanciu

Hidden View by Brett Ann Stanciu

copyright the Chronicle October 7, 2015

Hidden View, by Brett Ann Stanciu. Paperback. 278 pages. Published by Green Writers Press. $19.95.

Reviewed by Tena Starr  

Hidden View is the name of a hardscrabble dairy farm that the main character in this book, Fern, finds herself married to just as much as she’s married to Hal, the charming fellow she met as a young woman interning at a place called Growing Seed Farm.

She’d grown up a town person, a well sheltered one at that. Rebelling, she embraced this burly man, his farm, and the daughter they so quickly had. She dropped out of college, much to her mother’s dismay, and looked forward to what she considered living, as opposed to the box her overprotective mother had sheltered her in.

The story is, ostensibly, about how tough it is to make it on a Vermont farm. But that’s not what it’s really about. It’s about relationships and just how complicated they can be.

Not surprisingly, when Hal appears with a bottle, early in this story, we figure… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Better a writer than a robber: Howard Mosher reflects on the Kingdom and its characters

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Irasburg author Howard Mosher said he had two aspirations as a younger man: To be a writer and/or a bank robber. With more than a dozen books behind him, he’s been successful enough at the first, fortunately, that he hasn’t had to resort to the second. But there’s always wishful thinking. Here, he poses with a couple of guns in front of the former Howard Bank in Orleans, which was the victim of a robbery.

Irasburg author Howard Mosher said he had two aspirations as a younger man: To be a writer and/or a bank robber. With more than a dozen books behind him, he’s been successful enough at the first, fortunately, that he hasn’t had to resort to the second. But there’s always wishful thinking. Here, he poses with a couple of guns in front of the former Howard Bank in Orleans, which was the victim of a robbery.

copyright the Chronicle September 30, 2015

by Tena Starr  

Writer Howard Mosher landed in Orleans County in 1964. He and his wife, Phillis, were in their twenties, schoolteachers looking for work, and they both ended up with jobs at what was then Orleans High School.

They were in the village searching for the school, their new place of employment, on a day when the streets were all but deserted. They noticed two men engaged in a fistfight on the railroad tracks. Mr. Mosher, astonished today at his audacity, interrupted the fight by rolling down his car window and asking if the gentlemen could tell him where the school was.

They could do better than that, they said. They could show him. Blind drunk, Mr. Mosher said, the pair piled into the back seat of the car and proceeded to take them on a meandering tour of Orleans, eventually finding the school.

Mission accomplished, the two men got out and wandered off, arms around… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Abundant apple crop causes damage to trees

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Branches on a young tree at Burtt’s Orchard in Cabot sag under the weight of this year’s apple crop.  Photo courtesy of Burtt’s Orchard

Branches on a young tree at Burtt’s Orchard in Cabot sag under the weight of this year’s apple crop. Photo courtesy of Burtt’s Orchard

copyright the Chronicle September 30, 2015

by Tena Starr

In the apple growing business, they call this an “on” year, but “on” doesn’t come close to describing this year’s harvest.

It’s a banner year for fruit in general, but the apple crop is beyond abundant.

It’s so good, in fact, that Kate Butler at Labour of Love landscaping in Glover finds she has an unusual amount of work pruning apples trees with branches that have simply broken off from the weight of the fruit they’re bearing.

“We do apple tree work as a matter of course anyway,” Ms. Butler said. “But there are people whose trees have not been worked on in some years, and they’re having a lot of trouble with breakage. It’s a confluence of events.”

Wild trees and trees planted domestically by home gardeners are having the most trouble, she said.

“It’s not so important for commercial… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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1,000 pounds of onions stolen from Albany farmer

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Andy Paonessa at one of his farm fields.  Last week someone stole about 1,000 pounds of onions and shallots from him and his soon-to-be wife, Meghan Stotko.  Photo by Tena Starr

Andy Paonessa at one of his farm fields. Last week someone stole about 1,000 pounds of onions and shallots from him and his soon-to-be wife, Meghan Stotko. Photo by Tena Starr

copyright the Chronicle September 23, 2015

by Tena Starr

ALBANY — A puzzled Albany farmer is wondering why anyone would want to steal nearly 1,000 pounds of onions.

Andy Paonessa arrived at one of his farm fields last week to top and crate onions and discovered that he had been robbed of about $2,000 worth of onions and shallots.

“I looked around and thought there’s a lot missing. I looked down at my feet, and I was looking down at tire tracks.”

It turned out that about 1,000 pounds of onions that had been pulled, topped, and crated up for further drying had vanished. There were, and still are, clear tracks indicating that someone with a truck drove in and simply took 20 crates of onions and shallots from the field.

“I said, oh my God, we got robbed out of the field,” Mr. Paonessa said.

He said his workers scratched their heads.

Even the State Police were a… To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Irasburg wind opponents plan petition drive

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Irasburg Ridgeline Alliance (IRA) volunteer Becky Boulanger of Irasburg hands a Vermont state flag to Gary Bennett, also of Irasburg.  The flag is the final decoration for a hay wagon located near the south end of Irasburg Common.  It’s one of six  positioned throughout Irasburg in preparation for IRA’s “neighbor-to-neighbor” campaign kickoff meeting to be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 9, at the Irasburg Town Hall.  Photo by Cathy Bennett

Irasburg Ridgeline Alliance (IRA) volunteer Becky Boulanger of Irasburg hands a Vermont state flag to Gary Bennett, also of Irasburg. The flag is the final decoration for a hay wagon located near the south end of Irasburg Common. It’s one of six positioned throughout Irasburg in preparation for IRA’s “neighbor-to-neighbor” campaign kickoff meeting to be held at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, September 9, at the Irasburg Town Hall. Photo by Cathy Bennett

copyright the Chronicle September 9, 2015

by Tena Starr  

IRASBURG — A loose coalition called the Irasburg Ridge Alliance (IRA) has formed here to oppose David Blittersdorf’s plans for a two-tower commercial wind project on Kidder Hill.

The group will hold a meeting on Wednesday evening, September 9.

“The advice we got from our legislators is that the best chance we have to preserve Kidder Hill from industrial wind development is to present a unified and strong opposition from the town,” said Judith Jackson, an organizer.

With that in mind, she said, the group will start a petition drive to see how many Irasburg voters are opposed to Mr. Blittersdorf’s project.

“What we hope to ascertain is whether there is widespread opposition to it, and to launch a campaign to get as many signatures of Irasburg voters as possible for a petition to the select board to oppose the Kidder Hill project and to develop…  To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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A risky deal, or a path to home ownership?

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The Barton home occupied by Mr. McCausland and Ms. Stenta for nearly two years.  Photo by Tena Starr

The Barton home occupied by Mr. McCausland and Ms. Stenta for nearly two years. Photo by Tena Starr

copyright the Chronicle September 2, 2015

by Tena Starr  

BARTON — Dave McCausland, Sue Stenta, and Ms. Stenta’s three children — the youngest being 17 — are living in tents at Pageant Park campground here on Crystal Lake this summer.

They say it’s not by choice.

“Welcome to crazy land,” Mr. McCausland said on a particularly windy afternoon that threatened to tear their tents apart.

He and Ms. Stenta said they ended up being campers because they had to leave their Barton house after an assistant state fire marshal inspected it and found it was unsafe. The house had no running water, except in the basement, the plumbing wasn’t hooked up, there were exposed wires, and the only heat was an improperly installed woodstove, which they put in themselves.

Also, there are questions about what appeared to be an open sewer line in the backyard.

Because a minor occupied…  To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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