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WHAT A YEAR! (PART 2)

December 30, 2012

Roger Pion is released from jail after serving a previous sentence and making bail. He is charged with driving a huge tractor over vehicles belonging to the Orleans County Sheriff's Department. File photo

NEWPORT - Inmates at the Vermont Correctional Print Shop altered the seal emblem placed on police cruisers to include an imbedded pig on one of the cow spots. The emblem was put on about 30 cruisers before anyone detected the alteration.
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Construction crews dove into work on the Long Bridge in Newport City at the same time the state was busy paving in the area, which caused numerous traffic jams. Work on the bridge has been efficient and, despite one worker falling into the water, has proceeded on or ahead of schedule.
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State lawmakers dealt with senate and house reapportionment issues. Reapportionment is necessary in order to maintain the constitutional balance of one man one vote. For a few scary months, Northeast Kingdom residents thought they might lose one of their two Vermont Senate seats, but that didn't happen. Among other changes, the Troy district lost Montgomery and gained Eden.
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Gilman Housing Trust began construction of a new affordable housing block at the former Sleeper Place in downtown Newport City. Later on in the year, Gilman officially opened the much needed project. At the opening, Gilman officials formally announced a new name for the organization – Rural Edge.
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Local and state officials met with real estate developers at the Cow Palace to try to obtain backing for a Walmart from Gov. Peter Shumlin. The battle over Walmart continued throughout the year and included a proposal by Paul Bruhn, executive director for the Vermont Preservation Trust, that a superstore be constructed in downtown Newport.
Other developers suggested building the store in Gardner Park. Those ideas were demolished. If Walmart were to ever come to the area, it would most likely be on the Derby Road. An announcement about the project is expected to come in January 2013.
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Crews demolished LB Snack Bar, a local icon since the 1950s, to make room for a new North Country Federal Credit Union. The branch opened in late 2012.
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President Barack Obama spoke to hundreds of supporters at the University of Vermont in Burlington. He later went on to win his second term as President.
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Spring flood waters damaged homes, camps and businesses in the Northeast Kingdom. In some cases, crews brought in sandbags. Roads were washed out, bridges were damaged, and propane gas tanks were seen floating in Seymour Lake.
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Roger Pion used a big, red farm tractor to crush seven Orleans County Sheriff Department vehicles. Supporters from both sides held fundraisers. Supporters of the sheriff's department wanted to help pay for items not covered by insurance. Pion’s backers wanted to help with his legal fees. The case is still pending.
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Country star Josh Gracin entertained a cheering crowd at the Orleans County Fair Grounds.
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Village Pizza and Substation relocated from Derby to Orleans. Crews in Derby razed the building to make room for another restaurant and two retail shops. Village Pizza owner Eric Lawson has plans to relocate back to Derby and still keep the Orleans restaurant. Family Dollar will occupy some of the Derby site.
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Officials from Pete’s Greens started plans to expand to Coventry.
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The state auditor’s office found no wrong-doing regarding finances in the Coventry Town Clerk and Treasurer’s office.
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Bruce James, president of Vermont Broadcast Associates, purchased WMOO-FM and WIKE-AM. The agreement will be final in January 2013.
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Clint Black performed to a grateful crowd at Fuller Hall in St. Johnsbury.
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Dollar General built and opened a new story in North Troy. The store carries affordable personal, household and children items.
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Brighton Hall in Island Pond is in the middle of a major facelift while the town tackles its own issues regarding the possibility of an industrial wind farm in the neighborhood. That project is currently on hold.
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The QNEK theater group had its usual busy season but it went the extra mile by doing extra performances of "Nunsense" in order to raise money for victims of Hurricane Sandy in New Jersey, where QNEK founder and director Lynn Flint is from.
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North Country Union High School board members argued over who would pay for the school's new track. The project cost $190,808. Project officials were supposed to get the money through fundraisers and donations. However, they raised only $88,000. The remaining money came from the sale of school buses, which upset some board members.
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Seth DiSanto took over as Newport City Police Chief when J. Paul Duquette retired.

 

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