Amount budgeted for policing in Derby nearly doubled

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copyright the Chronicle January 18, 2017

 

 by Joseph Gresser

 

DERBY — The Derby Select Board voted at its meeting Monday night for a municipal budget that would nearly double the amount set aside for policing — from $47,000 to $90,000. However, select board members said they would prefer not to have to spend the full amount. Their discussion came after former state Representative Bob Lewis presented a report on how the new Walmart might affect the town’s law enforcement needs.

Mr. Lewis, who served both as a State Police trooper and game warden before his retirement, said he spoke with the security manager at Walmart, Newport City Police Chief Seth DiSanto, and Orleans County Sheriff Kirk Martin in preparing his presentation.

He pointedly omitted Lieutenant Walt Smith, the commander of the Derby State Police barracks, from his conversations with law enforcement, saying that the lieutenant made his attitude about responding to the town’s needs clear in statements to the select board last March.

“I think it’s just political,” Mr. Lewis said of Lieutenant Smith’s refusal to commit to responding to low level crime at the new big box store. He suggested that Tom Anderson, the newly appointed Commissioner of Public Safety, might reverse that policy if pressed by local representatives.

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Downtown business is slow this season

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copyright the Chronicle December 14, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

 

NEWPORT — Retailers are always anxious as the Christmas season, which can be make or break for a business, approaches. This year Newport’s merchants have had the arrival of Walmart in the area added to their normal concerns.

For some, business is somewhat slower, others say they are seeing a more drastic affect. No one is saying business is booming.

One business that appeared to be directly in Walmart’s crosshairs is the Vista Supermarket at Waterfront Plaza. The store’s landlord, Ernie Pomerleau, was in town in October working on plans to allow the supermarket to stay in town.

Tim Merrill, the general manager of markets owned by Associated Grocers of New England, a category that includes Vista, said Mr. Pomerleau’s ideas are important to the future of the store. But, he said his company is “pleasantly surprised” at how well Vista has done in the face of competition from the retail giant’s food department.

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The NEK’s got jobs — a lot of them

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copyright the Chronicle November 30, 2016

by Tena Starr

Neil Morrissette of Creative Work Solutions is an unabashed cheerleader for the Northeast Kingdom. It has everything, he said in a recent interview.

Including jobs. A lot of jobs. In fact, some employers are near desperate for workers, Mr. Morrissette said.

“There’s so much work out there.”

The economic picture he paints is far from the traditional one, which is that the Northeast Kingdom — generally called the most economically depressed part of the state — is one tough place to get a job.

But Mr. Morrissette’s assessment is backed up by a low unemployment rate in the Derby labor market area. The area’s October rate was the second highest in Vermont, but at 3.7 percent it’s very low nationally and can’t be considered high anywhere.

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Walmart opens amidst policing concerns

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copyright the Chronicle November 16, 2016

 

 by Joseph Gresser

DERBY — The Derby Walmart Supercenter will open its doors for the first time early on November 16, but according to State Police Lieutenant Walt Smith, commander of the Derby barracks, issues of public safety remain to be addressed.

Lieutenant Smith, along with Captain Mike Henry, who heads the St. Johnsbury State Police outpost, visited the Derby Select Board back in March. He said his troopers would not be able to handle what he expects will be a large number of calls from the new store.

Lieutenant Smith explained that he’s responsible for ensuring the safety of 30 communities in the Northeast Kingdom, and his forces are stretched too thin to allow him to focus on minor offenses committed at Walmart.

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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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Derby Select Board Committee to study law enforcement

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copyright the Chronicle August 17, 2016

 

 by Joseph Gresser

DERBY — The Derby Select Board is far from convinced that the town needs more law enforcement, but members gave former State Representative, State Police trooper, and Game Warden Bob Lewis the go ahead when he offered to head up a fact-finding committee.

The issue of how the town ought to provide police protection has been discussed over the years, but it was brought to a head by State Police Lieutenant Walter Smith, who commands the Derby barracks, and Captain Mike Henry, who heads the St. Johnsbury outpost.

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Derby Select Board: Walmart will create need for more policing

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copyright the Chronicle March 30, 2016

by Joseph Gresser

DERBY — Representatives from the State Police and the Orleans County Sheriff’s Department told the select board here Monday that the soon-to-open Walmart will mean additional police calls.  

Both departments recommended that the town put more resources toward what it said would be a problem.  

Board members were unconvinced.

Lieutenant Walter Smith, who commands the Derby State Police barracks, and Captain Mike Henry, who heads the St. Johnsbury outpost, warned the select board at their meeting Monday evening that other towns that host Walmarts have seen increased reports of shoplifting and fender benders.

Troopers will not be responding to those calls, Lieutenant Smith said.

The Derby State Police contingent is made up of 11 troopers who are responsible for policing 31 towns in Orleans and Essex counties, Lieutenant Smith said.

“Some people call us the Derby State Police,” he said.  “We’re not the Derby State Police.  We’re the State Police.  We just happen to be based in Derby.”…To read the rest of this article, and all the Chronicle‘s stories, subscribe:

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Walmart hearings: Residents worried about increased traffic

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walmart giselle web

Giselle Seymour, who spent almost a decade gathering signatures to encourage Walmart to come to Derby, celebrates with developer Jeff Davis at Tuesday night’s Act 250 hearing. Photo by Joseph Gresser

copyright the Chronicle June 18, 2014

by Joseph Gresser

DERBY — As determined by the ballot and by anecdotal evidence, a large percentage of Derby residents favor the new Walmart Super Center slated for construction on Route 5.  But that doesn’t mean some don’t have serious reservations about the project.

Those reservations, particularly ones concerning how the 160,000-square-foot store will affect traffic and the economy of the town were well aired in a pair of hearings held at the Derby Municipal Building Monday and Tuesday.

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Minimum wage hike will have ripple effect

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min wage webcopyright the Chronicle June 11, 2014

by Joseph Gresser

Local employers say a rise in pay for those at the bottom of the ladder is sure to increase salaries for those on the higher rungs.

That will be good news for many workers, they say, but could come at the cost of increased prices for goods and services.

Vermont’s minimum wage will rise on New Year’s Day 2015 and on each January 1 until 2018. The Vermont Legislature voted to increase it from the present level of $8.73 an hour to $10.50 in four annual jumps.

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In Derby: New Walmart could add 218 jobs

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An architect’s rendering of the front of Derby’s new Walmart gives an idea of the range of merchandise the new store will offer.

An architect’s rendering of the front of Derby’s new Walmart gives an idea of the range of merchandise the new store will offer.

copyright the Chronicle May 28, 2014

by Joseph Gresser

DERBY — A new Walmart Supercenter could add 218 jobs and $4.7-million to area payrolls, according to an economic analysis submitted with permit applications on May 22. If the permitting process hits no snags, the new store could open by late fall of 2015.

The project will increase traffic on Route 5 by more than a third and could require at least two sets of new traffic signals on the Newport-Derby Road.

According to the permit documents submitted to the Derby Zoning Administrator and the District #7 Environmental Commission, the Walmart will likely include a grocery store, pharmacy, and auto center. It’s to be built between Route 5 and Shattuck Hill Road by Shattuck Hill Investments, LLC, a company owned by Burlington developer J.L. Davis.

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