Community Broadband Upcoming Five Year Plan

Northeast Kingdom-Community Broadband is made up of 35 local towns. While other Broadband efforts are being made across the state of vermont, NEK Community Broadband is working on expanding their telecommunication lines into Albany, Craftsbury, Greensboro, Hardwick, and Irasburg. The ultimate goal is to connect as many people in the region to high speed internet as the organization can, but NEK Community Broadband is focusing on smaller projects first to be able to get there.

Read more: Community Broadband Upcoming Five Year Plan

Spring Sports Are Back

Around the NEK - It's been almost a year since Vermont has seen a baseball hit, a softball thrown, or track and field competetors competing in their respective events throughout highschool due to COVID-19.

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Its On The State To Make It Up

VERMONT'S-Democratic Party is trying to tackle a long time problem that has been stretching out for years due to under funding. "We cannot ignore this situation any longer, we must act," Democratic House speaker Jill Krowinski said on April 2nd.

Read more: Its On The State To Make It Up

Caledonia County Fair Is Back

NEK - The Caledonia County Fair will be celebrating a belated 175th anniversary after the fair had to take a year off due to COVID-19.


     The oldest fair in Vermont is making it's comeback this summer, due to COVID the county fair directors had to put a hault to last years festivities. The officials are hoping with vacinations that are being distributed and the fact that they have put a plan in place to handle mass crowds that the fair will be as normal as possible. The plan will include one way pedestrian traffic throught the fair ground, the wearing of masks, and social distanced events. 

     Richard Lawrence, Caledonia County Fair President spoke how the restricitons that are currently put in place may look a bit different come time for the fair, "We'll see what the restricitons are at the time, at the present time restrictions say we can have a group of up to 150 people in a limited area. If we have to go with that, then that will be fine but there are several areas up there we can work with if that restriction is still in place." The govenor has indicated that by July 4th all restrictions with the exception of wearing a face mask will be lifted. Lawrence has been president of the Caledonia County Fasir since 1986 and is excited to get back into the swing of things. The fair has a tentative date in place for August 25th until August 29th.

Schools Across NEK Suspend Bus Services

NEK - Schools across the North East Kingdom, cancelled their bus services after the Vermont Department of Health informed them that they are investigating a possible COVID outbreak amoung staff at Butler Bus Company.


     With short notice, parents or care givers with children going to school in Lyndon, Danville, St. Johnsbury, and the Kingdom East School District found out on Saturday, that they would have to figure out different means to drop off and pick up their children throughout the week. It wasn't just parents and care givers who had to prepare for the sudden change, the principals and school officials had to prep for the sudden influx of cars that would be arriving for the week.

 

     Amy Gale, Principal at Lyndon Town School stated "We put together a notice and a plan explaining to the parents the changes that we were going to have to put into place to help things go smoothley." Those plans that were put into place were by spliting up the students last names and having different pick up and drop off times for the two groups. With the sudden change during the week Principal Gale expected some students wouldn't be able to attend class in person, and they planned ahead for that situation, "that's definitley an issue for some parents and we are very aware of that, we are very sorry that this situation came upon us all. What we are very interested in is that our students are actively doing some schoolwork." 

     The final decision on when the bus service returns, and when parents or caregivers wont need to make two daily trips to the school, will depend on the results of the state health department and their investigation. 

 

 

COVIDs Effect on HS Playoffs

NEK - COVID-19 had a tremoundous impact on the landscape of the playoffs for many highschool basketball and hockey teams in the North East Kingdom


     The Danville girls basketball team faced off against a depleted 1 seeded West Rutland team in the semi-finals where West Rutland was without their starting five due to potential exposure in their previous playoff game. Danville went on to beat West Rutland 44 to 22, in the semi-finals to advance to their first appearance in the championship game since 2008. Danville was slated to face off against the Proctor Phantoms on March 27th, at Barre Auditorium but had to forfeit due to COVID-19 protocols, which in turn, Proctor claimed the championship.

     The Kingdom Blades were asked to conduct contact tracing procedures, after a game they played against MVU. The Kingdom Blades were then notified that each player had to take a COVID test, which then ruled out the cooperative team out of the playoffs. They were scheduled to to face Rice on March 16th in the D-1 quarter finals. Teams knew going into the playoffs that the protocols and restrictions were going to be firmly set in place because of COVID-19. Vermont Principal Associtation Executive Director, Bob Johnson, stated "We made it very clear at the very beginning when we entered the tournament to all schools that our procedure is going to be that if a team had to withdraw than we were going to have that team forfeit..." 

     Johnson continued "You know this is going to be two years in a row that D1 or D4 didn't have a championship game, but we didn't really have a lot of choices because we have to move onto our next season." The next season that Johnson is referring to is the spring sports season, last year at this time Johnson and the VPA had to make the difficult decision to cancel the entirity of the spring season. This year though with Spring in full swing, brings great news the spring season officially begins Saturday, April 17th.

March Is For Meals

NORTHEAST KINGDOM-The month of March is a nationwide meals on wheels awareness campaign. This nation wide event was originally created in 1972 when Richard Nixon signed a law that recognizes the older Americans Act of 1965. Establishing a nutritional program for people over the age of 60.

Read more: March Is For Meals

Weatherizing Low Income Homes

NORTHEAST KINGDOMS-Vermont's Department For Children and Families has been trying to get the word out about their Weatherization Assistance Program, especially since the pandemic has started.

Read more: Weatherizing Low Income Homes

Sleigh Rides In the Kingdom

NORTHEAST KINGDOM-"This is something that they are looking to get outside and do. It's tough right now to find any kind of activity you can go out and do with your family. So it's nice to come outside, get some fresh air, let the kids run around," family friend Josh Webber said. Visiting The Kingdom's Horse Drawn Wagon and Sleigh Rides in Brownington Vermont.

Read more: Sleigh Rides In the Kingdom

Vermont's Sweet Treat

NEK - Spring is just right around the corner and that means warmer weather, mud and pothole season, longer days, and of course maple syrup season. Farms all across Vermont are gearing up to begin tapping those trees and making maple syrup. But, how exactly is maple syrup made?

Read more: Vermont's Sweet Treat

Washington COVID Impacts on Vermont

VERMONT - It has been a year since the first known COVID-19 case was confirmed in Vermont.

Since then, we have seen businesses close either temporarily or for good. This is due to restrictions that caused people to limit their time out in public and change their habits.  Everything was forced to be shut down but restrictions have allowed things to start to reopen.

Read more: Washington COVID Impacts on Vermont

Un-Harvested Food Is Not Waste

NORTHEAST KINGDOM-"Gleaning is the practice that people go onto farms and harvest foods that for whatever reason is not harvested by the farmer," Outreach Coordinator, Shannon Choquette explained. As Northeast Kingdom Waste Management District Partners up with Salvation Farms to start developing the NEK Gleaning Program.

Read more: Un-Harvested Food Is Not Waste

93 Miles Of Bikes & Bridges

NORTHEAST KINGDOM-Vermont's 93-Mile Lamoille Valley Rail Trail is part of many Northern Vermont's biggest attractions! Although many people enjoy the trails all year round, not everything on the trail is completed and ready for the uptick in tourism. The project, which started in 2005-2006, was initially funded by Washington. 

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10 Years To Improve Food Systems

NORTHEAST KINGDOMS-Vermont Agency of Agriculture has now released a solid plan to promote agriculture businesses, and local food production by Vermonters. The state intends to use this plan for the next ten years.

Read more: 10 Years To Improve Food Systems

Hospitals Make Effort to Deliver Vaccines

ST. JOHSBURY - "Northern Counties and Vermont Regional Hospital work closely together. We have always realized that collaboration gets us more than competition." Laura Newell, of Northern Vermont Regional Hospital (NVRH) says in an interview. Along with her colleague Christopher Towne, of Northern Counties Health Care.

Read more: Hospitals Make Effort to Deliver Vaccines

Gov.Scott address Vermont After Christmas

VERMONT - Governor Phil Scott was optimistic at Monday's press conference following Christmas. Covid cases were down and continuing to decline.


"However we know it's too early to see the impact of holiday travel or larger family gathering had," Scott said.  He then added that Vermont needs to keep going and continue to abide by the state's guidelines to keep everyone safe.

Vaccines have also reached almost ten thousand Vermonters, and should reach all long term care facilities by the end of February. Secretary Mike Smith laid out the plan Vermont was taking in distributing the vaccines amongst Vermonters. Vermont vaccines will be prioritized by age.  "The older you are the more the vulnerable you are."  Smith added that underling conditions will be a priority no matter what age. The age system will start off vaccinating people seventy-five and older and then go down the list in increments of five years.

Vermont also continues to set an example for other states having the least amount of covid cases in the region. Though most everyone was optimistic during the press conference, Scott expects there to be a bump as the holiday season is not over just yet and expects people to travel and gather in groups larger than the guidelines recommend and expects there to be a spike in cases before the year ends.

Gov.Scott address Vermont after Thanksgiving

VERMONT - Governor Phil Scott praised Vermonters Friday after a survey showed that around one in three people planned to dine out with people outside their household which was lower than the national average. Scott also announced an additional three deaths due to COVID since the last press conference, bringing Vermont's total death toll up to 67.

Read more: Gov.Scott address Vermont after Thanksgiving

Deer Season During Covid

NEK-Covid cases in the state of Vermont are starting to rise as deer hunting season is just right around the corner. With the season starting soon, the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department wanted to create a safer way for hunters to register their deer at home.

Read more: Deer Season During Covid

New Sound for Catamount

ST. JOHNSBURY - The Covid-19 pandemic has caused many hardships for businesses, especially music venues. However, St. Johnsbury's Catamount Film And Arts has found ways of staying open and providing entertainment to the NEK.

Read more: New Sound for Catamount

Community Support From Kingdom Trails

NEK-Earlier in the year, in the midst of the pandemic, the Kingdom Trail Association gave out twenty five thousand dollars to essential agencies in the NEK struggling during Covid-19 Pandemic. The Association continues to surprise the state of Vermont after announcing giving another twenty five thousand dollars to their surrounding communities.

Read more: Community Support From Kingdom Trails

Agricultural Producers Second Chance To Apply

Round two of the Agency of Agriculture's Covid-19 Relief programs have now begun. The Agency has done so much for the state of Vermont's farmers this year, to top it off, the Agency has launched two new programs into the mix for Phase two.

Read more: Agricultural Producers Second Chance To Apply

Small Climate Change Efforts

NEK- For the last few years, The Council of Rural Development has been working on a special program revolving around the climate economy, and from that program, a new group was created called the Climate Catalysts. 

Read more: Small Climate Change Efforts

Election Day Prep For Vermont Voters

AROUND THE NEK - If you still have not voted for the General Election, there is still plenty of time. Jim Condos goes into great detail on how Vermonters are encouraged to vote this Year. 

Read more: Election Day Prep For Vermont Voters

Efforts To Help Farms In The NEK

AROUND THE NEK - Many farmers in the NEK were struggling to keep buisness afloat during the Pandemic, the Vemont Legislature knew this was a problem and needed a fast fix to help our farmers in the state of Vermont to keep product flowing. 

Read more: Efforts To Help Farms In The NEK

Rep. Kitty Toll Says Goodbye to the Statehouse

NORTHEAST KINGDOM-Representative Catherine Toll made the decision earlier this year to step down as Chair of the House Appropriations Committee in Vermont. She says her decision to step down has nothing to do with what has happened in the last year, but that she simply wants more time to herself.

Read more: Rep. Kitty Toll Says Goodbye to the Statehouse