Test To Stay In Vermont Schools

VERMONT - Earlier this month the Scott administration suggested Vermont school districts adopt the so-called "Test to Stay" program to minimize classroom disruption due to Covid-19. Although the program was put out at the beginning of the month, schools in Caledonia County have still not figured out a way to implement this strategy.

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Kingdom East Proposes Employee Vaccine Mandate

Article Written in Collaboration by Nick Fish, Quinlan Peer, Kaitlin Flannigan, and Alexandra Huff.

AROUND THE NEK - Aftering hearing feedback on a previous draft policy requiring all Kingdom East School District employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, a committee voted to bring a new draft before the school board.

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NEK Prepares for Halloween

AROUND THE NEK - As the sun sets earlier each day, a looming sense of spookiness is starting to sweep over the Northeast Kingdom. Skeletons, ghosts, and witches are all coming together to plan community events for families.

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Green Mountain Adventure Racing Comes To NEK

WESTMORE - Some come to the Northeast Kingdom to observe nature's beauty during the fall season. This past weekend some people came down to use nature to measure their inner strength surrounded by the fall colors. In the "Test Your Nettle," three hour race hosted by Green Mountain Adventure Racing.

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Kingdom Corn

SUTTON - While there are many fun activities here in the Northeast Kingdom, there seems to be no shortage of corn mazes. Since The Great Vermont Corn Maze is all sold out for the season, It's been bringing visitors to a new location in Sutton Vermont. 

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Around the NEK – The Vermont State College System Board of Trustees met on Monday to discuss the future of three of its schools.



The board met up early this morning at the Lake Morey Resortto continue to discussthe intial process of merging Northern Vermont University, Castleton, and Vermont Technical College into one college. Representative Eileen Dickinson spoke of the meeting as well as the process to merge the schools and states “It involved both the student experience, the academic experience we hired another consultant (RPK) to work with our faculty and across the system. They came out and gave us a really good presentation and then of course the finances which is the really important piece because we really do have to find a way that we’re financially stable and to make it more affordable for students.”

The merge won’t officially start until the 2023-24 Academic year.

Peacham Bread Oven

Peacham - Peacham Elementary had all hands on deck this summer by creating a bread oven that helped strengthen their community bond.

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Brew Trail For NEK Beer Lovers

Around the NEK -This summer the Vermont Brewers Association created the Northeast Kingdom brew trail for responsible beer lovers to get out and experience different breweries in the Northeast Kingdom.

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2021 School Graduations

The end of the school year is upon us, and many local high schools are gearing up for their end of the year celebrations.

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"I didn't want her to come in, I didn't want the cookies."

AROUND THE NEK-A Newbury woman went to go visit her father with the intent of bringing him some cookies, but instead, she was shot.

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The Importance of Farmstands and Farmers' Markets

AROUND THE NEK - With the warm weather, farmers' markets and farmstands are blooming once again in the Northeast Kingdom. The work of farmers and artisans did not stop for COVID-19, and many are excited to get back into the community as restrictions lift.

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COVIDs Impact On Vermont Youth

Around the NEK - This past year Vermont has seen an increase in mental health care due in part to COVID-19.

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Peacham Elementary Bread Oven Project

AROUND THE NEK - Peacham Elementary will begin the process of creating a bread oven for their school and their community. The project will begin May 22nd.

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Spring Sports Handling COVID-19

AROUND THE NEK – With the return of spring sports this year, the Vermont Principals Association made it clear that teams will have to follow strict guidelines in order for everyone to have successful season.

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Kingdom East School District Merge

GILMAN - One local middle school is facing a new future. The kingdom East School Board proposed a plan to divide up the Gilman school with other schools in the district.

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Afterschool Program Offers Community Science Talks

AROUND THE NEK - Have you wanted to know what all the fuss is about black holes, or why butterflies are so important to the environment? The Kingdom East Afterschool Program (KEAP) is opening its Visiting Scientist Talks series to the community.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Will Coworking Spaces Be Relevant Post-Pandemic?

AROUND THE NEK - The COVID-19 virus has forced Vermonters to find creative ways to work socially distanced or remote, and that has raised questions about how coworking spaces may function in the future.

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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.

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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.

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