by Andrew Martin
HYDE PARK – Students from the Green Mountain Technology and Career Center are doing their school proud again. A total of 47 students from GMTCC participated in the annual SkillsUSA competition that was held on Thursday and Friday, April 3 and 4. The competitions, which take place between students from Vermont’s 16 career centers, were mainly held at the Sheraton in Burlington. The HVAC competition was held at GMTCC, and a few other competitions were also held at Camp Johnson in Essex. The competitors from GMTCC brought home a number of medals, including five gold medals.
The SkillsUSA competitions are based on what students learn in their courses at their respective schools. Over 600 students participated in the event this year, and the 47 that GMTCC sent to the competition was a high for the school. The twenty medals brought home by the GMTCC students was also a high, and the five individuals who earned gold medals will move on to compete in the national SkillsUSA competition in Kansas City in June. Lamoille student Jason Machia, who earned gold in Electrical Construction, is actually making a return trip to Kansas City this year after winning the same discipline last year for Vermont and finishing 14th nationally.
The list of GMTCC students who earned a medal in a particular discipline are found below:
Avery Boyea-Traber: Silver in Promotional Bulletin Board, Thomas Brousseau: Gold in Photography, Nate Chauvin: Bronze in HVACR, Sable Chauvin: Silver in Restaurant Service, Ryan Cote: Silver in Computer Maintenance Technology, Zachary Dezotelle: Silver in HVACR, Becca Harris: Gold in Medical Terminology, John Hoadley: Bronze in Carpentry, Tiffany Howick: Bronze in Customer Service, Huxley Lawson: Gold in Advertising Design, Sam LeBlanc: Gold in HVACR, Jason Machia: Gold in Electrical Construction, Mike Maxfield: Bronze in Automotive Service Technology, Miles May: Bronze in Culinary Arts, Sadie Peak: Silver in Customer Service, Maleighna Perkins: Bronze in Promotional Bulletin Board, Morgan Putvain: Bronze in Electrical Construction, Alex Rivera: Silver in Nurse Assisting, Post Secondary, Melinda Werner: Bronze in Promotional Bulletin Board, and Takoda Whitcomb: Bronze in Job Interview.
The full list of GMTCC students who participated in the SkillsUSA competition in Vermont can be found below:
Jonny Beauregard, Adam Blaisdell, Avery Boyea-Traber, Thomas Brousseau, Chelsea Bushnell, Sable Chauvin, Nathaniel Chauvin, Ian Clark, Sherri Collins, Ryan Cote, Blakely Curran, Thomas Dailey, Cody Day, Devin Delisle, Isaac Dezotelle, Zachary Dezotelle, Levi Dolan, Teaona Dresser, Liam Droney, Devin Fadden, Rebecca Harris, Eli Hess, John Hoadley, Tiffany Howick, Jessica Johnson, Nick Kellner, Sean Krusch, Dakota Lanpher, Huxley Lawson, Sam Leblanc, Jason Machia, Holden Manning, Megan Mason, Michael Maxfield, Miles May, Robert McGee, Bonnie Mullaney, Sadie Peake, Maleighna Perkins, Dylan Powers, Morgan Putvain, Alexander Rivera, Slayde Stanton, Harlie Tallman, Allysha Taylor, Melinda Werner, Takoda Whitcomb.
by Andrew Martin
Lamoille Union is home to a snowboarding national champion.
Freshman Olivia Shively won the gold medal in the first ever Banked
Slalom event for the Women’s 14+ division at the United States of
America Snowboard Association (USASA) National Championships at Copper
Mountain in Colorado. The week-long event took place from May 31 through
“This young lady just continues to amaze,” commented
Lamoille Union Athletic Director Tim Messier on Shively’s
accomplishments, adding that her victory is even more impressive given
the fact that she is often competing against other snowboarders who
train and board year round.
“She exemplifies what we look for
in a true student athlete and role model,” Messier continued, “The whole
Lamoille community is proud of her.”
According to Shively, who is the daughter of Danielle and Andy Shively of Jeffersonville, she was extremely nervous at the national championships.
“It was really different,” she explained, “I wasn’t at nationals last year, and going this year was really intimidating.”
Shively may have been more nervous but for some extra effort by her coach, Kiah Ellis. On their flight to the event Ellis lost his luggage and equipment, meaning that he would have none to go on practice runs with Olivia. However, he used his contacts and friends in the athletic village to scrap together enough equipment to accompany Shively on her practice runs.
Despite her initial nervousness Shively competed in a number of events at the national championships and performed well in a number of them. She placed sixth in the Youth Women’s (ages 14-15) Snowboard Boardercross, eighth in the Youth Women’s Snowboard Giant Slalom, and ninth in the Youth Women’s Snowboard Slalom. The Youth Women’s Banked Slalom was her last event, and according to Shively she decided to throw caution to the wind in her final competition.
“It was all or nothing,” she commented.
That attitude won her the gold in the inaugural version of the event.
“It was awesome to win gold,” Shively stated, adding that she has been on the podium at USASA events before but never won gold, “It was really cool for it to happen at the national championships, especially competing against girls who were older than me.”
The Banked Slalom event featured girls from ages 14-18.
Along with her gold medal Shively also brought back a number of other fond memories from the USASA National Championships. She was able to meet and even compete with Olympic snowboarder Lindsey Jacobellis in an open snowboarding event.
Her national championship was not the only honor Olivia earned this year. On March 6 she also took the gold medal in the Giant Slalom event of the Vermont Principals Association (VPA) High School Snowboard State Championships. The VPA championships were held at Killington, and according to Shively she felt she actually could have done better at the event.
“Slopestyle didn’t go well,” she explained, “Giant Slalom went really well though.”
Shively remains thankful to all those who have helped her achieve the honors that she garnered this winter.
“I want to thank the Northern Vermont Series, the Manning family [who taught her to snowboard], my parents, and the Smugglers Notch Ski and Snowboard Club,” she stated, adding one final name as well, “And Mike Loucy for teaching me how to run gates.”
by Andrew Martin
CAMBRIDGE – Local history is an important subject students learn in school, and at Cambridge Elementary the third grade class is learning it in style. On Thursday, April 10 the class held their annual Cambridge History Night, during which they gave presentations on various local historical topics that they have been studying since January. The event was held at the Cambridge Elementary School gymnasium.
Friends and family of the 52 third graders packed the gym for the performance. The students learned about the multiple topics in their performance through a series of local speakers who came and presented to them on each topic. The students then wrote their own books on a specific topic before preparing for the play that they put on.
The performance began with two children playing the part of grandparents telling a group of eight-year olds, played by their classmates, stories about the history of Cambridge to keep the kids entertained. As the narrator explained, each individual story helped to further explain how Cambridge became the town it is today.
As the two grandparents would begin each separate story they would then pause, and a separate group of students would stand up on a different part of the stage and take over, reporting on the history of that particular event or place. One student would hold up a large booklet with facts about the topic while several others read off more information. The students covered a number of historical topics as part of their presentations. Included in those topics were Pumpkin Harbor Road, early settlers in Cambridge, Smuggler’s Notch, Memorial Rock, local creameries, the circus that came to town, the bowling alley, the gym fire of 1966, the old school playground, Hanley’s Store, the Bryan Memorial Gallery, and the former Windridge Tennis Camp. As part of their presentations the students often threw in their own opinions or asked the audience a question. During the presentation on the old school playground the students also talked about the building of the new playground before letting the audience know that ‘We love our playground’.
When the last of the students had presented on their topic all of the different performers were recognized and then all the students gathered on a set of high risers for the singing of the song that recapped all of the topics. The song, which is known as “This Town is Your Town, This Town is My Town”, changes every year as each third grade class studies different aspects of Cambridge history.
Following the song the adult speakers who participated in the program and taught the students about Cambridge history were each recognized. Then the Crescendo Club gave each third grade student a book on the history of Cambridge. The Crescendo Club operates the Varnum Memorial Library in Jeffersonville. The evening concluded with the students asking the speakers to autograph each of their books.
The conclusion of the play does not mark the end of the students’ study of their town history. The Cambridge Historical Society also funds a bus tour around Cambridge for the students, during which they learn even more about local history and get the chance to see where much of it happened first hand. The historical society often helps to fund other measures associated with the yearly tradition of students learning about local history.
“It is a very fun way for the students to learn history and connect with their elders,” stated Cambridge Elementary School Principal Mary Anderson.
by Mickey Smith
The Morristown based Bourne's Energy, Inc. was one of two companies that recently settled issues regarding the pricing of their propane services.
A complaint had been filed with the Attorney General's Consumer Assistance Program (CAP) regarding customers being billed at a higher amount after ordering propane online. In a press release issued by the office of Attorney General William Sorrell, it states Bourne's charged some consumers a higher price for propane delivered after the consumer had pre-paid via the online ordering system.
Bourne's settlement includes agreeing to “charge consumers only the price that is clearly disclosed and paid in advance” and to “refund all consumers who were charged a higher amount after delivery.”
Bourne's Energy released a statement explaining how the issue arose. According to the release, “when the online delivery tickets are filled it is generally 24-48 hours later and fuel prices can change daily. Some customers were charged delivery day prices, not ordering day prices.”
As an example, they explained the quoted online price may be $3.00 per gallon, but when the propane is delivered a day or two later that price could have changed to $3.04 or $2.96.
The release went on to explain customers who were undercharged were not billed for the difference.
Peter Bourne, president of Bourne's Energy, said about 50 customers were charged higher amounts than the online quoted pricing and they were reimbursed, he said the average overcharge was about $11.
The other issue involved Cota & Cota, Inc of Bellows Falls. That case involved Cota & Cota illegally requiring an up-front payment plan that was not listed in their fee disclosure forms. After the original settlement, it was learned the company canceled propane services at the complainant's property in retaliation. They were ordered to pay $10,000 in penalties, including $2,500 to to affected consumers plus fees neccesary for them to establish new propane services with another company.
Consumers who have questions about these settlements or wish to file a complaint can contact the Consumer Assistance Program by phone at 1-800-649-2424 or by email at email@example.com
Johnson, VT - Vermont Electric Cooperative (VEC) has received eight applications from candidates seeking one of three positions on the Board of Directors. As a part of VEC’s annual meeting, an election of the membership is held each year to elect directors for open positions on the Board and to address other key issues.
Below are the seats that are up for election, including the slate of director candidates vying for open seats, which each carry a four-year term.
District 3 Director Candidates, representing Albany, Craftsbury, Glover, Greensboro, Irasburg, Jay, Lowell, Newport Town, Troy, Westfield: Chuck Farrar – Troy; John Klar – Irasburg; Carol Maroni – Craftsbury.
District 4 Director Candidates, representing: Bakersfield, Belvidere, Cambridge, Eden, Fairfax, Fairfield, Fletcher, Hyde Park, Johnson, Morristown, Stowe, Waterville: Mark Woodward – Johnson.
District 5 Director Candidates, representing Bolton, Essex, Hinesburg, Huntington, Jericho, Milton, Richmond, Shelburne, Starksboro, St George, Underhill, Westford, Williston: Michelle DaVia – Westford; Andrew Doe – Essex Junction; Caleb Elder – Starksboro; Leslie Nulty – Jericho Center.
VEC’s annual director election provides members with an opportunity to exercise their voices as member-owners. Because VEC is a cooperative, members democratically elect local representatives to serve on VEC’s twelve-member board. These directors participate in setting policies and making decisions and are expected to represent the interests of members.
“Since we’re a cooperative, every member has the opportunity to get involved in decisions about our energy future. Engaging in the democratic process and casting a vote is a great way to do that,” said CEO Dave Hallquist.
VEC's Election will take place from April 22 – May 16 by mail and online, and then in person at VEC’s 76th Annual Meeting of the Membership at Smugglers Notch Resort on Saturday, May 17 where the results will be tabulated and announced.
by Andrew Martin
Two Lamoille County residents will appear in court to answer three counts of Petit Larceny after their involvement in the theft of returnable bottles from the Jeffersonville Cub Scout Bottle Drop. The accused are 21-year old Dereck Bouchard of Jeffersonville and 22-year old Matthew Tilton of Waterville.
The Vermont State Police began investigating the case on March 19 after the repeated theft of a large amount of bottles from the drop off. Their investigation eventually led troopers to Bouchard and Tilton, who were interviewed on April 7. During the interviews police obtained incriminating evidence from the two individuals regarding their involvement in the thefts. Police believe that the pair removed the bottles from bottle drop sites for the Jeffersonville Cub Scouts on three separate occasions and then later returned the bottles for cash.
Bouchard and Tilton are scheduled to appear in Lamoille Superior Court – Criminal Division on May 28 at 12:30 to answer the three charges of Petit Larceny.
by Andrew Martin
The town of Wolcott is seeking state aid for several projects on town roads. Town officials are currently applying to the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) for a Town Highway Structures Grant as well as a Town Highway Class 2 Roadway Grant. The applications for the grants were submitted last week and the grants should be awarded by VTrans around the last week in May.
According to Wolcott Selectboard chair Belinda Clegg the paving grant that the town is applying for would pay to repave one mile of the North Wolcott Road. The town has applied for and received several similar grants in the past few years, and this year would mark the completion of the repaving work on that road if the town is awarded the grant. The town would be responsible for a small portion of the paving project if it does receive the grant.
The second project planned in Wolcott that the town is seeking state aid for involves the Elmore Pond Road. According to Clegg the deck of the bridge on the Elmore Pond Road is deteriorating. The deck must be repaired before a new membrane is put over the concrete. Three inches of pavement would then be put in place over the membrane. Estimates on the cost of this project are roughly $60,000. The structures grant that the town is applying for would help to cover the majority of this cost. As part of the project roughly .4 miles of the Elmore Pond Road would also be repaved.
Along with the plans to repave the North Wolcott Road and fix the deck of the bridge on the Elmore Pond Road officials in Wolcott also have several other projects in the works. The town nearly applied for a Town Highway Structures Grant to help remedy a problem with a major culvert on East Hill Road but decided to apply for the Elmore Pond Road project instead. A grant for the East Hill Road culvert will likely be applied for next year. The town must also consider how to fund the repaving of a portion of East Hill Road since it is a Class 3 road not a Class 2 and for that reason cannot be funded by the VTrans paving grants.
Town officials will also likely be applying for a paving grant for School Street next year as well. Until that time any repairs on School Street will likely consist of patches. The town will also be working with the Lamoille County Planning Commission to examine what potential town projects would qualify for the Better Backroads Grant program.
by Andrew Martin and Mickey Smith
It doesn't take much more than a peek out the window to know Spring has
been slow in coming this year. While it has meant good news for
skiers, sugarmakers are not looking at it with as much glee.
Cambridge resident Kenneth Desroches expects a short season, especially
for his own operation and those nearby. Desroches has a small operation
and still uses buckets to collect his sap. He is also the local
representative for the Lamoille County Maple Sugar Makers Association.
trees are already budding between Jericho and Underhill,” Desroches
stated in a phone interview on Thursday, April 3, “Usually when the
trees are budding in those towns Cambridge has a week, maybe a week and a
Desroches added that he boiled once on February 20,
once on March 20, and then kicked off April by boiling on April 2. As of
April 3 he had made 32 gallons thus far this year, a figure that is
down substantially from the 160 gallons he produced last year. Desroches
did explain that his production is down in part due to the fact that he
lost 100 taps between last year and this year. Thus far he has been
producing A Medium on the new grading scale for Vermont maple syrup.
“It has good flavor and color when you can make it,” he commented.
also explained that along with the trees budding in the nearby
Chittenden County towns the long-term forecast does not give him high
hopes for a good season. He expects to collect sap four or five more
times before the season is finished.
“It’s going to get too warm
during the day and stay too warm at night,” he explained, adding that
even the deep snow still present in the woods will not prevent the trees
from budding eventually.
“The weather forecast for the Cambridge area does not sound good,” he concluded.
The latest Desroches was willing to guess that the season could go in his area was April 17.
the other side of the mountain, Selina Rooney does the boiling at the
Rooney Family Farm in Mud City. They typically run about a week later
than the lower elevation sugar bushes, but so far they have boiled
everyday in April. She said they have not made any fancy this year, and
it would be the first year ever that they don’t if that trend
continues. To date their syrup has been A-Medium (amber rich in the new
terminology). She joked they may have to go tap some more trees in
search of some fancy.
Gathering has been a bit of a challenge,
said Rooney. She said about half their collection is still done with
buckets, and with three feet of snow in the woods it has been an aerobic
workout even with snowshoes.
Emma Marvin, of Butternut
Mountain, said the season is off to a pretty unusual start, but she was
“glad to see Mother Nature is finally starting to cooperate.” Though
it's still early in the season, she said they have seen a lot of lighter
She was reticent, though, to predict how long it could last, noting it is entirely up to the weather.
“We'll know what the season brings, once it's over,” she said.
The long range forecast calls for temperatures in the 50s for much of
the next week and only a few nights where the temperatures will dip
Peter Shumlin samples a doughnut at Trapp Family Lodge in Stowe,
celebrating the official opening of maple season on Thursday, April
3. Smith photo
year veteran of the Morrisville Fire Department Jeff Limoge was feted
on Saturday, March 29, honoring his retirement from the department as
First Assistant Chief. Asst. Chief Limoge was presented with this
plaque celebrating his many years of service to Morristown and the
Laura Limoge photo
by Andrew Martin
A DRB hearing was held in Hyde Park on Tuesday, April 1 regarding the application by McMahon Chevrolet Buick to possibly relocate to the site of the former Tatro Brothers Concrete on Route 15.
Seen above is a picture of what representatives from McMahons would like the new dealership
to look like. Photo courtesy of the Town of Hyde Park
Another step in the possible move of McMahon Chevrolet Buick from Morristown to Hyde Park occurred on Tuesday, April 1 when the Hyde Park Development Review Board (DRB) held a public hearing regarding the application submitted by McMahons for a conditional use permit. The hearing was held at 7 p.m. at the Hyde Park Municipal Offices.
The DRB hearing for the application submitted by McMahons began with the board reviewing the project with representatives from McMahon Chevy-Buick who were present at the meeting. The application, which was submitted by Dan Keene of McMahon Brothers LLC, is for a conditional use and site plan review to ‘operate an auto sales, repair and body shop in current buildings with a proposed 13,000 square foot new facility for McMahon Chevy to be built within 36 months.” The property where the new dealership would be located is at 868 Vermont Route 15 East in Hyde Park (the former Tatro Bros. Concrete location).
During the DRB hearing the representatives from McMahons, Roy Ward and Steve Sayce, reviewed in more detail the proposed site plan for the dealership. A new sales and repair facility would go into the same location as three existing buildings on the lot. It was also made clear that the proposed site is located on what are currently two parcels that would need to be combined at the time of the sale of the lots from Hyde Park Office, LLC to McMahons. The site plan currently shows roughly six acres but the town assessment shows a total of 7 acres.
It was also made clear during the hearing that the dealership will use the existing driveway that is located on the southwest corner of the parcel and is shared by a single family home. The driveway gives access to Route 15. A total of 27 visitor parking spaces are planned for the business, with two of those spots being handicap accessible. Plans to pave the rest of the area in front of the building as well as a total of 436 spaces on the lot are also in the works, but no definite timeline for that work has yet been set. The immediate development for the project calls for the area around the new building to be paved as well as some display parking to the west of the current fire pond. DeWolfe Engineering Associates will be conducting the stormwater design and state permitting for the project, and the final wastewater plan will be prepared and submitted to the state after all site analysis and engineering has been completed.
There will be a number of signs for the new dealership and those signs were discussed during the meeting. Plans call for a sign measuring 40 square feet that reads CHEVROLET on the dealership building. Several other smaller signs will also be located on the building. The other major sign for the dealership will be the entrance sign, which is planned to be 28 feet tall and measure 100 square feet. Both of the large signs exceed the 25 square foot maximum allowed in the Hyde Park zoning bylaws, but the Hyde Park Village Trustees are currently in the process of amending that zoning limitation to 150 square feet for signs along Route 15. The public hearing for that change is scheduled for April 16.
One concern raised during the DRB hearing was the possibility of traffic issues and vehicle stacking as cars wait to enter the dealership from the westbound lane. Steve Sayce addressed this concern, explaining that the driveway for the property is very long and will remain open, allowing cars leaving Route 15 easy access to the facility.
A VTrans right-of-way permit will be needed for the facility in order for the planned access improvements at the intersection of Route 15 and the driveway for the dealership. The DRB did not request that a traffic study be done to evaluate the impacts of the dealership on Route 15 traffic but did acknowledge that such a review will likely be conducted by VTrans.
During the hearing Steve Sayce also advised the DRB that there will likely be 35 full-time employees working at the new dealership and that the business would likely be open five or six days a week.
As soon as all the necessary permits are acquired for the project McMahons hopes to start construction.
Following their discussion of the project with the representatives from McMahons the Hyde Park DRB closed their hearing on the application. According to Hyde Park Town Administrator Ron Rodjenski the DRB has up to 45 days from the close of a hearing to issue a decision. However, the board has indicated that they would like to make a decision regarding the application within a week of the close of the hearing. At press time no word of a final decision had yet been received.
by Andrew Martin
The annual meeting for the Village of Johnson was held on Tuesday, April 1, at 7 p.m. at the Johnson Municipal Offices. Along with votes to fill several elected positions in the village residents also approved the proposed budget and several other items presented to them.
“From my perspective the meeting went very well,” commented Johnson Municipal Manager Duncan Hastings. According to Hastings, approximately 24 voters attended the meeting.
One of the first tasks presented to those in attendance was voting to fill two vacancies on the Johnson Board of Trustees. Incumbent Gordon Smith was re-elected to a two-year term on the board, but former board member George Pearlman decided not to seek re-election. David Goddette ran for Pearlman’s vacant seat and was elected to a three-year term.
“George was on the board for over 20 years,” Hastings commented, adding that Pearlman was recognized at the meeting on Tuesday for his long and dedicated service.
“We are sad to see him go, but we appreciate his efforts,” Hastings added.
After the elections, residents at the meeting voted on several other items and articles. One such item was Article 9, which asked the voters to approve the budget that will meet the expenses and the liabilities of the village. The proposed total budget for the village was $420,921, but the total that will need to be raised by taxes is estimated at only $116,999. Voters approved this budget as presented after a brief discussion.
Articles 10 and 11 were also passed unanimously by the voters after brief discussions. Article 10 asked the voters to authorize the Trustees to borrow a sum of money not to exceed $216,000 for the purpose of purchasing a tanker truck for the Johnson Fire Department. Article 11 asked voters to approve the Trustees borrowing a sum not to exceed $270,128 to be used to purchase a 15 percent ownership in the Morrisville Water and Light Department 34.5kV Transmission System.
The entire meeting for the Village of Johnson lasted roughly one hour.