Author: Ian Lord

STORM AFTERMATH: Holiday helpers ease icy grip

ST. ALBANS — While many area residents enjoyed presents, holiday treats and the company of family around the Christmas tree, not everyone had Wednesday off from work. Many of those out and about on Christmas Day were utility crewmembers, working as diligently as possible to restore power to the hundreds and hundreds of residences whose holiday season and electric service had been hampered by the recent ice storm. As of 11 a.m. on Tuesday, 6,000 Vermont households and businesses in the Franklin County, Chittenden County, and the Northeast Kingdom had lost power. It appeared today, however, that further complications...

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14th Star making moves

ST. ALBANS — For the past year, 14th Star Brewing Company, LLC has been growing: in production, staff, and most importantly, popularity. Today, the local brewery’s founder and owner, Steve Gagner, announced the latest growth spurt. While already anticipated in chatter on social media, Gagner said he and Pomerleau Real Estate have entered an agreement to move the brewery to the St. Albans Shopping Plaza. It is to be located in the vacant bowling alley building. Gagner said he expects the 16,000-square-foot space will be up and running by the end of next summer. The announcement comes about a...

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MAHA thanks Sticks & Stuff

HIGHGATE — A local business was thanked Wednesday night for its donation of $400,000 of equipment to the Missisquoi Amateur Hockey Association (MAHA). The donation will go to improve the Highgate Arena. Sticks & Stuff recently purchased the Indoor Recreation of Orleans County (IROC) facility in Derby, gutted the interior and transported ice rink boards, a scoreboard, locker room, weight room and gymnastics equipment and other valuable furnishings to Highgate. “It’s a great boost to what we’ve been working on for so long,” said Kim Gates, MAHA’s facility board director and chair of the Highgate Arena Renovation Team (HART)....

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Voters favor SAPD

ST. ALBANS — The St. Albans Town Selectboard asked voters for their input in deciding the next police services contract, and on Tuesday residents overwhelmingly rejected a board backed plan to switch law enforcement agencies. In a special election, 742 voters cast ballots on the question of whether Franklin County Sheriff’s Office patrols should replace those provided by the St. Albans Police Department (SAPD). More than 60 percent of those going to the polls voted against a contract with the sheriff’s office, which had for years provided those services prior to the 2011, three-year agreement with the city. The vote was 461 no to 281 yes, said Town Clerk Anna Bourdon. Ballots were cast yesterday by 16.8 percent of eligible voters. Bourdon this morning said, “I thought it was a high turnout for a special election.” The town has had three special elections since 2000, all related to schools. Turnout ranged from 23 voters in 2004 to 443 for a school budget revote in 2001. While the vote is purely advisory and the final decision rests with the selectboard, a few board members stated this fall that they planned on making their decision whatever way the town voted. The selectboard has until the end of the year to notify St. Albans City regarding a one year contract extension costing $565,021. The sheriff’s proposal came in at $684,0658 for the...

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ST. ALBANS TOWN: Board resolute on police

ST. ALBANS — The town selectboard members Monday reiterated their positions regarding the police services contract, an issue that is up for an advisory vote in two weeks. Selectboard member Steve Coon began the discussion saying information coming out of a Wednesday, Nov. 13, special meeting — largely attended by the public interested in the policing issue — was misinterpreted in the local press. Beyond Northwest Access TV, which solely records public meetings, the Messenger was the only press present at that meeting. “There has been some information I’ve seen out there, in the local press in particular, that I didn’t think was accurate,” Coon said Monday. Coon said his stance on the issue — which on Wednesday, Nov. 13, was clearly in favor of hiring the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) instead of extending the current contract with St. Albans City — wasn’t about dissatisfaction with individual officers, but with the agreement as a whole. “It’s not that we don’t value what the St. Albans Police Department does in our community,” Coon said Monday. “We definitely value what they’re doing. The question has been more about how thinly they’re spread.” The difference between the two contracts in terms of manpower was again raised later in the meeting. However, during the previous meeting, a major focus of the selectboard’s dissatisfaction with the current police contract with the city is...

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