2018: The Year in Review

The Herald revisits the biggest (and some of our favorite) stories from the past year!

School mergers put into action; principals in court; businesses sold, opened, and closed; fires and murder; people trying to make their communities better places. There was quite a lot going on in 2018.

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It’s a surprise each year to look back and study the goings-on of the past 12 months. There’s always a lot more than one might expect, but 2018 seemed packed more tightly than normal with all kinds of news, personalities, and events.

Here are some of the highlights of the year, straight from the pages of The Herald.

January

January Sam Hooper, left, and Kurt Haupt steam gloves together. The leather gloves are pulled onto heated hand forms in order to soften the material. Hooper purchased the storied Green Mountain Glove Factory from the Haupt family. (Herald / Bob Eddy)

January Sam Hooper, left, and Kurt Haupt steam gloves together. The leather gloves are pulled onto heated hand forms in order to soften the material. Hooper purchased the storied Green Mountain Glove Factory from the Haupt family. (Herald / Bob Eddy)

• The Tatro Hill home of an 84-year-old Randolph woman was leveled by fire, in bitterly cold conditions.

• It was revealed that Dave Barnett, one of two co-principals at RUHS at the time, had been placed on administrative leave amid allegations of misconduct.

Barnett was later cited for sexual exploitation of a minor for alleged inappropriate behavior with a former student.

• Randolph Town Manager Adolfo Bailon, concerned that the town would be required to drill new wells, decried the state’s regulations regarding the mineral manganese, which is abundant in the Randolph water supply.

• After a contentious re-vote, Chelsea re-affirmed its decision to go ahead with a school merger with neighboring Tunbridge, in the process closing its high school.

• In his January 4 State of the State address, Gov. Phil Scott put the focus on the Vermont economy.

February Chelsea junior Ronald Johnson celebrates his last victory on the basketball court as a Red Devil. (Herald / Dylan Kelley)

February Chelsea junior Ronald Johnson celebrates his last victory on the basketball court as a Red Devil. (Herald / Dylan Kelley)

• Construction continued through the winter on the new Randolph Village firehouse, replacing a station that had been destroyed by fire in September 2015. In January, the wrap came off the building, to show off the new HQ’s facade to the public.

• In celebration of Martin Luther King Day, both Vermont Law School and the Sharon Academy welcomed special guests to focus on diversity and perseverance.

• Barnard submitted a proposal to the State Board of Education for an “alternative structure” under Act 46 that the town hoped would prevent its school from having to merge with the nearby Windsor Central Modified Unified Union School District.

• Meanwhile, newly-sworn-in merged boards in the new White River Valley Unified District, the Granville-Hancock Unified District, and the Rochester-Stockbridge Unified District rushed to create schedules and budgets for the coming year.

• South Royalton High School hired Joanne Melanson as interim principal to replace Dean Stearns who had been arrested the prior December for secretly recording teenage girls in his home.

January Actors from the Vermont Pride Theater production of “Trans Scripts” rehearse on the Chandler stage. (Herald / Tim Calabro)

January Actors from the Vermont Pride Theater production of “Trans Scripts” rehearse on the Chandler stage. (Herald / Tim Calabro)

• A suspected electrical fire destroyed the Creek House Diner at the corner of Routes 12 and 107 in Bethel.

• Tunbridge middle schoolers got a taste of culinary arts as the school hosted a Top Chef-style cooking competition for its students.

February

• Sam Hooper of Brookfield purchased the Green Mountain Glove Factory, a Randolph maker of leather products, from Kurt Haupt.

• A ceremonial groundbreaking was held for a new Vermont government laboratory building adjacent to VTC’s Randolph Center Campus.

• With great fanfare, Royalton Community Radio hosted an 80th birthday party for musical legend and RCR supporter Jim Rooney, which featured a star-studded night of song and dance.

• Gifford Medical Center convened a meeting of area legislators to communicate to them the difficulties of providing 21st century health care in rural Vermont.

March Lukina Andreyev addresses a crowd of students with Elissa Doering, Branden Ryan, and Amanda Rosalbo at a Randolph Union High School walkout in response to a school shooting in Florida. (Herald / Ethan Johnson)

March Lukina Andreyev addresses a crowd of students with Elissa Doering, Branden Ryan, and Amanda Rosalbo at a Randolph Union High School walkout in response to a school shooting in Florida. (Herald / Ethan Johnson)

• Dairy farmers throughout the state suffered through a winter of falling milk prices. Prices had fallen more than $4 per hundredweight from the previous year, prompting AgriMark to include contact information for mental health resources with its monthly milk checks.

• The Herald chronicled the story of Bob and Hope Krenick, who after years of financial troubles, were awaiting foreclosure on their Brookfield home, which had become a sort of sanctuary for elderly horses.

• VTC celebrated Black History Month with a presentation on the nation’s first African-American legislator, Alexander Twilight, who attended college in Randolph Center.

• In an effort to cut costs, the Randolph town manager floated the idea of leaving the White River Valley Ambulance and forming a Randolph-only ambulance service.

• The Attorney General’s office confirmed that domestic assault charges against Randolph police chief Dan Brunelle, which had been dismissed by Washington County State’s Attorney Scott Williams before he left his post, would remain dismissed.

March The Phoenix boys tackle coach Blake Fabricant in celebration as the Sharon Academy won the first state championship in the school’s history, outdoing number-one-ranked Danville at the Barre Aud to take the D-IV boys basketball title. (Herald / Tim Calabro)

March The Phoenix boys tackle coach Blake Fabrikant in celebration as the Sharon Academy won the first state championship in the school’s history, outdoing number-one-ranked Danville at the Barre Aud to take the D-IV boys basketball title. (Herald / Tim Calabro)

• Whitcomb High School celebrated its boys’ basketball team as they pushed past visiting Mid- Vermont Christian School in the Hornet’s final game.

March

• The Herald, partnered with Chandler Music Hall, hosted a candidates’ forum where an audience heard from candidates for OSSD school board and for Randolph’s selectboard.

• Exit 4 was again in the news as Randolph’s town manager claimed the town had been misled by those involved in conservation efforts. He publicly voiced concerns that public access to the site—a potential walking trail—might not meet accessibility guidelines.

• Melanie Considine, a Randolph fine art photographer, filed suit against two conservative media websites that had published her photographs without permission.

April After a several-year hiatus, Chandler hosted the revival of the storied Mud Season Talent Show, bringing a variety of fascinating—and quite funny— acts to the music hall’s main stage. Shown above, a troupe performs a surreal dance piece called “If in this Valley.” (Herald / Tim Calabro)

April After a several-year hiatus, Chandler hosted the revival of the storied Mud Season Talent Show, bringing a variety of fascinating—and quite funny— acts to the music hall’s main stage. Shown above, a troupe performs a surreal dance piece called “If in this Valley.” (Herald / Tim Calabro)

• Royalton’s Leanna Lyman appeared on the History Channel competition series “Truck Night in America.”

• With big turnover among the town’s officials, Bethel administrators discovered a pattern of inaccurate budgeting that had left a sizable debt to be paid off.

• Chelsea’s Red Devils said goodbye to their home court as the team won its last game in the Chelsea gymnasium.

• Wanda Sanville of Royalton was shot and killed, allegedly by her estranged husband, Frank Sanville, who was on furlough from prison, part of his plea agreement on domestic assault charges.

Frank Sanville was charged with first degree murder and ordered held without bail. He entered an innocent plea in Windsor Criminal Court.

• On Town Meeting Day, Randolph elected new members to the selectboard and school board; Braintree voted to move its town meeting to Saturday; Bethel honored Jean Burnham, the longtime town clerk who had announced her retirement; and Rochester chose to keep a three-person selectboard.

May Former Randolph Chief of Police Daniel Brunelle monitors the morning arrival period at Randolph Union High School the day after a shooting threat closed Randolph area schools. (Herald / Dylan Kelley)

May Former Randolph Chief of Police Daniel Brunelle monitors the morning arrival period at Randolph Union High School the day after a shooting threat closed Randolph area schools. (Herald / Dylan Kelley)

• Prompted by a close call in Fair Haven, RUHS students staged a walkout to call attention to student safety in an era of school shootings.

• The invasive emerald ash borer was discovered in Orange County.

• John Breault, a former Royalton police officer, pled guilty in federal court for taking drugs from the department’s evidence closet and giving them to a friend.

• Bob Wright, the former foreman of the Vermont Castings foundry in Randolph, in retirement started his own small foundry, specializing in fine art casting.

• Randolph and Royalton were named “Opportunity Zones,” a program which aims to draw economic development investment by leveraging federal tax incentives.

• The Braintree home of Ted and Rose Olmstead was destroyed by a fire. The human members of the family escaped harm, but three pets died in the fire.

May Sculptor Jim Sardonis considers his latest commission in his studio. With funding from the Preservation Trust of Vermont and the Vermont Community Foundation, Sardonis was commissioned to create a new whales tails sculpture near Exit 4. (Herald / Bob Eddy)

May Sculptor Jim Sardonis considers his latest commission in his studio. With funding from the Preservation Trust of Vermont and the Vermont Community Foundation, Sardonis was commissioned to create a new whales tails sculpture near Exit 4. (Herald / Bob Eddy)

• The Sharon Academy capped off a perfect boys’ basketball season with the school’s first-ever state championship title, as the Phoenix flew passed number-one ranked Danville at the Barre Aud.

• Chef’s Market moved to its new home in the Randolph Depot building, filling a space in Randolph’s downtown that had been empty since June 2016.

• The Three Bean Cafe closed its doors after 13 years in Randolph. In its place, a taco and bagel shop called Cafe Salud opened, but that effort lasted only several months.

• Randolph Union High School students joined the national march on Washington in response to school shootings.

April

• The Herald interviewed June Tierney, the second consecutive Public Service Department leader to call Randolph home. Tierney shared her thoughts on the state’s energy policies and plans for the future.

June New Rochester HS graduate Daniel Labejsza stops to do the traditional tolling of the old school bell following the high school’s final graduation on the park in Rochester. (Herald / Jerry LeBlond)

June New Rochester HS graduate Daniel Labejsza stops to do the traditional tolling of the old school bell following the high school’s final graduation on the park in Rochester. (Herald / Jerry LeBlond)

• Popular Tunbridge Central School principal Scott Farnsworth announced that he would leave the school to take a job as assistant director of the Hartford Area Career & Technology Center, closer to his home.

• Plans stirred to revive a Ranger Solar proposal to build a 100-acre solar field in Randolph Center.

• Hundreds met throughout Randolph for the initial gathering of the Randolph Region Re-Energized project, which joins economic development and green energy programs under one roof to form strategies to benefit the area.

• Bethel University, an innovative pop-up community learning project, celebrated its fifth anniversary at the conclusion of the 2018 series of courses.

• A Bethel couple purchased the Bethel Depot, renovating and reopening it as Babe’s Bar, which has proven a popular hangout.

• After a multi-year hiatus, the Mud Season Talent Show returned to the Chandler stage with an impressive array of talented and funny performers.

June Willie Franklin, right, of Royalton empties a fire hose while cleaning up the scene after seven area fire departments responded to an industrial fire at the DCI Corporation sawmill in Royalton. (Herald / Seth Butler)

June Willie Franklin, right, of Royalton empties a fire hose while cleaning up the scene after seven area fire departments responded to an industrial fire at the DCI Corporation sawmill in Royalton. (Herald / Seth Butler)

• A woman was killed when a fire broke out at her North Road home in Royalton. Investigators indicated that the likely cause of the fire was an accidentally dropped cigarette.

• Students in South Royalton and Bethel cast their votes for the logo of the soon-to-be-opened White River Valley High School. A large gold and green ‘W’ was selected for the merged school district’s Wildcat mascot.

• After initial bids came in higher than expected, progress on a major library expansion and renovation in Royalton was put on pause by that town’s selectboard, much to the dismay of the library’s board of directors.

• According to reports from the state, more than half of Vermont’s schools, including a number in the White River Valley, had not yet met Enhanced-911 standards, which, among other things, requires that a 911 operator be able to tell exactly from where an emergency call was placed.

• After 40 years on Bethel’s Main Street, the Lady Bug Beauty Salon closed its doors.

June Showing off the recently completed firehouse, the Randolph Village Fire Department hosted an open house. ( Herald / Tim Calabro)

June Showing off the recently completed firehouse, the Randolph Village Fire Department hosted an open house. ( Herald / Tim Calabro)

• Randolph announced that it was looking for a purchaser for the former Singer Eye Center building that it had bought to house the Randolph Police Department before determining that it was unsuitable for that use.

• Former RUHS co-principal Dave Barnett appeared in Orange County Court and entered a “not guilty” plea to a charge of sexual exploitation of a minor.

May

• The towns of the White River Valley take a lot of pride in their schools. As major changes loomed for many area high schools, The Herald spent the month of May highlighting the proud history and accomplishments of the Rochester, Whitcomb, Chelsea, and South Royalton High Schools.

• A rookie team in the FIRST Robotics Challenge won enough points in regional competition to travel to Detroit for an international championship.

• An invention by a Granville resident took aim at keeping pollution from microfibers in clothing out of the water table. That idea took shape in the Cora Ball, which can be thrown into the wash to absorb stray fibers.

July Craig Greene of Hopkinton, N.H. shares a smile with his dog Rhys during the Vermont Scenic Dog Show at the Tunbridge Fairground. (Herald / Emily Ballou)

July Craig Greene of Hopkinton, N.H. shares a smile with his dog Rhys during the Vermont Scenic Dog Show at the Tunbridge Fairground. (Herald / Emily Ballou)

• Loretta Stalnaker, a longtime Randolph police officer, was hired as chief of the Royalton Police Department.

• Talk around town in Randolph was filled with the idea that the town really needs a hotel. The Herald examined a few of the potential locations.

• Sharon’s longstanding Green Up Day tradition has cultivated a new generation of environmentally conscious hands to pitch into the effort.

• Randolph Police Chief Dan Brunelle announced his resignation after less than a year on the job. Brunelle returned to his former department in South Burlington and a commission in Randolph was formed to consider the future of the RPD.

• Randolph Center sculptor and former VTC professor Paul Calter added one of his sculptures to the collection at the Vermont State House garden.

August Robert Finkle show some of the many sculptural compositions he has created on his property in Rochester. (Herald / Tim Calabro)

August Robert Finkle show some of the many sculptural compositions he has created on his property in Rochester. (Herald / Tim Calabro)

• With mid-term elections on the horizon, Vt. Secretary of State Jim Condos made an appearance in Randolph to discuss security of the ballot box with concerned citizens.

• Vermont Law School’s new dean, Tom McHenry, celebrated his first commencement with the school, at which alumna and U.S. Senate parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough delivered the keynote address, encouraging students to use their education to make a difference.

• Schools in Randolph, Braintree, and Brookfield were closed for a day after a threat to “shoot up the school” was reported to Randolph police. The threat stemmed from an altercation between two middleschoolers.

• Bethel held a Mini Better Block celebration to mark the progress that the town had made in its revitalization efforts.

• Area legislators prepared to return to Montpelier for a special session after Gov. Scott vetoed the state budget.

• After an extensive search, the body of Austin Colson, a Royalton 19-year-old who had gone missing in January, was found on Beaver Meadow Road in Sharon. Colson had been shot and killed. Police did not release the name of a suspect in Colson’s death, but federal court documents in connection with another case listed Richard Whitcomb of Hartford as a person of interest in the Colson case.

September Joshua Saxe of Montpelier raises his fists in triumph after placing first in the Men’s Category 2 race of the Green Mountain Stage Race in Randolph. (Herald / Dylan Kelley)

September Joshua Saxe of Montpelier raises his fists in triumph after placing first in the Men’s Category 2 race of the Green Mountain Stage Race in Randolph. (Herald / Dylan Kelley)

• The Preservation Trust of Vermont and the Vermont Community

Foundation commissioned Randolph sculptor Jim Sardonis to create a new version of the famed Whales Tails sculpture for the land adjacent to Exit 4.

• WallGoldfinger, a maker of high-end office furniture that had relocated to Randolph from Northfield following Tropical Storm Irene, closed its doors in the midst of financial strain. The company ultimately filed for bankruptcy.

June

• The State Board of Education approved Act 46 plans from schools in Strafford and Sharon that allowed the schools to continue to operate independently since there were no appropriate local partners with whom they might be paired.

October First Branch Ambulance EMT Ryan Malone checks the blood pressure of Tunbridge resident Hazel Welch during their weekly house call. (Herald / Dylan Kelley)

October First Branch Ambulance EMT Ryan Malone checks the blood pressure of Tunbridge resident Hazel Welch during their weekly house call. (Herald / Dylan Kelley)

• After more than half a century caring for others, Effie Farnham retired from Gifford Medical Center, where she had been a nurse for most of her career.

• A Comcast outage that spread across the East Coast caused many in the White River Valley to lose phone and Internet service and caused a day-long interruption for many businesses.

• Sharon Elementary students spent “a week in the woods” as their classes moved outdoors so that kids could learn an ecological spin on their day-to-day lessons.

• A rupture in a hose caused thousands of gallons of effluent from the anaerobic digester at VTC to flow into the Penny Brook, killing much of the brook’s biota.

• With dairy prices in a downward spiral, Braintree farmer Bob Simpson found Circle Saw Farm’s next big product: meal worms.

Novermber Dave Peirce, a U.S. Navy veteran, tells his story of service during the Vietnam War at a rehearsal for “The Telling Project” at Chandler. (Herald / Tim Calabro)

Novermber Dave Peirce, a U.S. Navy veteran, tells his story of service during the Vietnam War at a rehearsal for “The Telling Project” at Chandler. (Herald / Tim Calabro)

• Sen. Bernie Sanders headlined a day-long energy efficiency fair at VTC, which drew hundreds to the Randolph Center campus to mingle with green energy vendors.

• The combined Rochester- Whitcomb (affectionately called Whitchester) softball team took home the D-IV championship in an 8-7 walk-off victory over Proctor.

• South Royalton, Chelsea, Whitcomb, and Rochester high schools celebrated the final graduating classes from their schools.

• Champlain Valley Equipment announced that it would close its East Randolph location, the tractor repair shop it had purchased from the Greenwoods in 2015. Operations moved to the company’s Berlin location.

• A fire, likely started by a piece of machinery, wrought havoc on one building at the Royalton-based DCI Corporation sawmill. Seven fire departments responded to the fire and no one was injured in the blaze.

• The final classes of Hornets, Red Devils, Rockets, and Royals graduated from area high schools, which have since closed or been renamed under changes from Act 46.

December A service was held at the Vermont Veterans Cemetery in Randolph Center for two unclaimed Navy veterans who served during the Vietnam War. (Herald / Tim Calabro)

December A service was held at the Vermont Veterans Cemetery in Randolph Center for two unclaimed Navy veterans who served during the Vietnam War. (Herald / Tim Calabro)

• An annual tractor pull put on by Randolph Center’s Williams family found a new home at the Tunbridge Fairgrounds.

• NewVistas founder David Hall, amid pressure from area and statewide organizations, decided to scrap plans for a planned utopian community in the hills of Royalton, Sharon, Strafford, and Tunbridge.

• Vermont Law School announced that, due to lower-than-expected revenues, the South Royalton college would restructure in many ways, including stripping many professors of tenure.

• Spring in the White River Valley was filled with bear sightings as the furry creatures made their way in greater-than-normal numbers into town to scavenge for food on porches and in garbage cans.

• A gas station opened in Chelsea village, offering local drivers a spot to fill up their vehicles after years of driving to other towns.

• The Herald profiled Braintree’s Doug Bent as he shared his outdoors skills with local families.

July

• Possession of small amounts of recreational marijuana became legal in Vermont, though it remains a federal crime.

• An 87-year-old woman from Tunbridge was fatally struck by an unknown projectile, likely a stray bullet, outside of her home on Spring Road. Police said they believed the incident to be accidental, but added that a full investigation was underway.

• Strafford resident Stephen Marx announced that he would run for Vermont governor as an independent, focusing his platform on the rights of nature.

• With its production of “White Christmas,” Chandler Music Hall marked 20 years of youth musicals in Randolph.

• Joanne Melanson, who had served as interim principal in South Royalton, took the position as principal of Tunbridge Central School.

• At the same time, Reed McCracken began his tenure as principal of the South Royalton Elementary and White River Valley High schools.

• Some swimmers and tubers complained of chemical burns as they rode the White River in Royalton Village. The bridge there, it was discovered, was dripping a chemical— possibly creosote—into the river due to the summer heat. A warning sign was put in place, but no mitigating action was taken at the time.

• Gifford Medical Center settled a lawsuit with a former employee who alleged that she had been subject to retaliation for reporting sexual harassment from a supervisor.

• The Upper Valley Habitat for Humanity chapter broke ground in Sharon on its first home in more than a decade. Meanwhile, in Randolph, the Central Vermont chapter was also hard at work on a new home.

• The federal Environmental Protection Agency announced that after being listed as a superfund site in 2001, the Elizabeth Mine cleanup in Strafford would be complete by August of 2019.

• Vershire took advantage of the Fourth of July weekend, for a day of community fanfare, playfully called Vershire Day.

• Having pled guilty to distributing drugs from the Royalton evidence lock-up, former police officer John Breault was sentenced to six months in prison.

• The Herald profiled Roz Burgess and her dedication to Randolph’s flowers, particularly at the town’s mural garden.

• With its leadership gone and nearly every officer departed, Randolph contracted with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department to police the village.

• Gifford’s Dr. Josh White shared his experiences volunteering medical care in Haiti.

• Summer interns at The Herald answered the most pressing question in the White River Valley: where can I get the best creemee?

• A 28-year-old, newly married Randolph man died after an evening dive into a shallow brook.

August

• Photography educator Curran Broderick came to the White River Craft Center, sharing knowledge of traditional film photography.

• A new book, “Red Scare in the Green Mountains,” by Rick Winston chronicled Vermont’s (and The Herald’s) role in Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s communist witch hunt.

• Gifford Medical Center’s annual Last Mile Ride was dedicated to longtime Gifford daycare director Susan Mascola.

• While restoration work began on the Handy Memorial in South Royalton, a 1915 time capsule was discovered in the arch’s base, offering a glimpse into SoRo life more than a century ago.

A new time capsule was set in the renovated monument for future generations to discover.

• The Herald kicked off a series of profiles called “Our Neighbors,” beginning with an interview of Zac and Shannon Freeman of Braintree.

• Young fiddlers came together for a week of music at the Cape Breton Fiddle and Dance camp in Pond Village, Brookfield.

• A Braintree man was arrested for allegedly poisoning a co-worker’s coffee with a cleaning product at Gifford Medical Center.

• Chelsea rallied around neighbors, staging a benefit for outdoorsman Sam Magoon to cover his medical expenses.

• Randolph farmers Jenn Colby and Chris Sargent shared the story of their efforts to restore the soils on an old Randolph Village farm.

• John Limbert, a former ambassador, discussed U.S.-Iran relations to an audience at the Rochester Library.

• The Herald profiled artist Rajat Esbat of Chelsea, whose detailed porcelain work draws inspiration from another era.

• Hunters, outdoors groups, and state officials debated policy regarding Vermont’s deer population.

• Despite delays, ECFiber set the goal of completing setup of its high-speed, fiber-optic network in six area towns.

• Health professionals sounded alarms over students’ use of e-cigarettes— popularly known as “vaping”— in area schools.

• White River Valley High School students spent the summer working on a forest trail near the school with the aim of creating outdoor classroom space.

• In its efforts to remove area dams and restore river ways, the White River Partnership worked with Camp Killooleet in Hancock to remove an old dam from the Hancock Branch of the White River.

• The return of the Central Vermont Chamber Music Festival to Chandler Music Hall marked a quarter century of that group’s classical music festival.

• Two area photographers staged major exhibitions of their work. Herald photog Bob Eddy opened his show, “A Second Look” at Chandler’s gallery. Renowned portraitist Jack Rowell put on a show titled “Jack Rowell, Cultural Documentarian” at the White River Craft Center.

• Two OSSD school board members abruptly resigned, one noting her displeasure with changes in procedure.

• As the school year started up, former Whitcomb and South Royalton high school students came back to become White River Valley Wildcats.

• Volunteers with the Rochester/ Randolph Area Sports Trail Alliance (RASTA), spent the summer working on an ambitious slate of projects, including at the Ellis Lot in Randolph.

• After 27 years in office, Pittsfield town clerk Patricia Haskins retired and handed over the reins to Trish Fryer.

• South Royalton hosted a successful food truck rally on the green, drawing crowds to sample foods from one of the country’s growing culinary trends.

• The Herald profiled a Tunbridge family that created a gnome home, which proved popular with Tunbridge Central School students.

September

• Orange County Sheriff’s deputies and Vermont State Police responded to reports of gunshots fired in Randolph Village. Execution of a search warrant produced several firearms, a man was taken away from the scene by medical personnel, and a young man was escorted from the Maple Street home in handcuffs. Sheriff Bill Bohnyak said that no one was injured in the incident and refused to release names of any parties involved.

• Gifford Medical Center announced that it would take part in a Vermont program to provide the overdose reversal drug naloxone. The same week, Attorney General T.J. Donovan signed on to a lawsuit against the makers of OxyContin for their alleged part in the country’s heroin epidemic.

• Professional cyclists participating in the Green Mountain Stage Race whizzed through the White River Valley, beginning and finishing one of its four legs in Randolph and cycling through several area towns.

• Braintree’s Abel Mountain Campground was, for the second consecutive year, host to the Green Mountain BBQ Championship, an officially sanctioned event of the Kansas City Barbecue Society.

• The Randolph Selectboard began discussion of funding a town-level economic development coordinator.

• The White River Valley Players’ annual Harvest Fair celebrated its 30th birthday.

• Another fine weekend graced the Tunbridge Fair. More than 32,000 people passed through the fairground’s gates and major party candidates for governor, Republican incumbent Phil Scott and Democratic challenger Christine Hallquist, met for their first debate at the fair.

• Randolph artist Phil Godenschwager installed a large metal villagescape on Waterbury’s village train trestle.

• Vermont Castings’ Randolph foundry faced complaints and an investigation from state environmental protection officials after Randolph residents reported a fine discharge from the plant left behind damage to nearby vehicles’ paint.

• Gifford Medical Center was approved for a lower billing rate than requested from the Green Mountain Care Board, causing the Randolph hospital to begin searching for further cost-cutting measures.

• A tractor-trailer truck crashed into several parked vehicles and a Bethel home very early in the morning, displacing two families who had lived there. The driver was taken into custody by Vermont State Police, who said that neither alcohol nor speed had played a role in the crash. The driver, Steven Driscoll of West Danville, told Bethel Constable Mark Belisle that he had swerved to avoid an animal. It was later found that Driscoll had an outstanding warrant for his arrest.

October

• The Herald hosted a local candidates’ forum at Brookfield’s Old Town Hall, giving voters a chance to hear from the two candidates for the single Orange County senate seat and the five candidates for two Orange-Washington-Addison house seats.

• East Granville saw a small resurgence in activity as the Stickneys renovated, re-opened, and began hosting events at a barn that had once been a popular area dance spot.

• RUHS students pitched in to sign up voters ahead of the midterm elections.

• The Herald published interviews with all seven candidates on the ballot for Vermont governor.

• Jennifer Rushlow took the helm of the renowned Vermont Law School Environmental Law Center.

• The Vermont Sheep and Wool Festival celebrated 30 years with its annual event at the Tunbridge Fairgrounds.

• The Rochester Public Library hosted a debate between the two candidates for the sole Windsor- Rutland house seat, moderated by The Herald.

• The Two Rivers-Ottauqueechee Regional Commission voted not to approve Randolph’s recently implemented town plan, while it worked with the town to iron out specific goals that state law requires of a town plan.

• With the aid of high-speed internet access, The Medicine Shoppe in Barre was able to open a satellite office in Chelsea, bringing a fullservice pharmacy back to town.

• A committee was hard at work exploring the future of the Randolph Police Department, holding a series of public fora.

• In Barnard, a weatherization effort was kicked off, offering support to residents who need assistance in getting their homes warm for winter.

• WRVHS students shared a first-person account of attending the Women Can Do Conference at VTC, where they got to try out all manner of high-tech and hands-on trades.

• Lt. Barbara Kessler was named barracks commander of the Vermont State Police based in Royalton, while her predecessor, Capt. Roger Farmer, was promoted to command of the entirety of Troop B.

• Braintree sculptor Karen Petersen teamed with local foundry operator Bob Wright to bring to life a commission for the Vermont Veterans Cemetery.

• World-class cellist Matt Haimovitz came to Randolph to perform at Chandler and spent the weekend executing a number of free workshops and small shows throughout town, including at Kimball Library and at the new village fire station.

• A Peth Road home dating to 1835 was destroyed by a fire that started in a connected barn. The family and pets that lived in the house escaped safely, but the home was a complete loss.

• The Vermont Board of Education voted to enforce mergers on school districts that did not merge under Act 46.

• In a preventative health care program, the First Branch Ambulance service began making house visits to area seniors.

• RACDC helped highlight area ingenuity with its annual Makers Fest in Randolph.

• Candidates for lieutenant governor came to Bethel for a sparsely attended debate focusing on issues related to emergency responders.

• A New Hampshire jury found a Sharon woman innocent of charges stemming from a 2017 crash in Croydon, N.H.

November

• A new advanced manufacturing program at the Randolph Technical Career Center focused kids on changing technologies in the manufacturing arena.

• At Vermont Law School, a professor was approached for dirt on Special Counsel Robert Mueller by a partisan group who made national headlines for offering others money to fabricate stories of misconduct on the part of Mueller.

• Randolph Elementary School students worked together to create ornaments for the national Christmas tree in Washington, D.C.

• Midterm elections came and went. For the most part, incumbents did very well, but a handful of seats saw some changes, including the Windsor-Orange-1 house seat, where Democrat John O’Brien beat incumbent Republican David Ains­worth and Democrat Carl Demrow took a vacant seat in the Orange-1 district.

• A group at Bethany Church in Randolph held a candlelight vigil to memorialize victims of a mass shooting at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburg.

• “The Telling Project,” an ambitious stage performance recounting area veterans’ experiences in the armed forces, came to the Chandler stage.

Playwright Max Rayeard interviewed several local veterans and from their stories wove together a narrative, which those same veterans presented on stage to a rapt audience.

• The opening of a North Common art gallery brought a welcome artistic touch to Chelsea Village.

• Randolph residents offered vociferous feedback to the selectboard, which considered changing the classification of some town roads in order to avoid plowing certain remote and difficult-to-navigate roads.

• Kevin Dunwoody, the co-founder and music director of the New World Festival, took over the reins of the Playhouse Theater.

• A 25-year-old woman from White River Junction died in a car crash on I-89 in Sharon. The woman was a passenger in a car that collided with a box truck during stormy conditions on the Interstate.

• Becky Owens of South Royalton Rescue and her twin sister Jenny went to California to assist the FEMA efforts with the recovery from deadly wildfires that burned more than 200,000 acres of land.

• Scores of White River Valley volunteers pitched in for the annual effort to feed folks for several community Thanksgiving dinners.

• RACDC held its annual meeting, paying special tribute to Peter Winslow, the former owner of Belmain’s and Magee Office Products, who helped Randolph recover from a series of fires in 1991 and 1992.

• The Herald highlighted local building projects, including the new LEDdynamics headquarters on Beanville Road and a new state laboratory on Furnace Road in Randolph Center, both of which were ahead of schedule.

• RUHS alumnus David Cooch was honored by Forbes Magazine, along with his business partners, on the publication’s 30 under 30 list. Cooch co-founded the Green Gas movement, which aims to help drivers offset their carbon footprint by donations at the gas pump.

• Co-working office spaces cropped up in the White River Valley, particularly in two very different offerings in Bethel’s Arnold Block and on Randolph’s Main Street.

• Customer complaints against Consolidated Communications, which took over phone and DSL service from FairPoint in 2017, spurred a Public Utility Commission investigation into the company.

• Gifford Medical Center announced that Dr. Josh White would take over as the hospital’s chief of medicine in January as longtime medical director Dr. Lou DiNicola prepared for retirement.

• As Jim and Nell Fisher prepared for a cross-country move, they sold the Cockadoodle Pizza Café, which has become a Bethel institution, to Jen and Jeff Staff.

• Myriad green energy projects were in the works as the year wound down, including proposals for solar arrays on the site of former landfills, and research into the installation of electric vehicle charging stations by the Randolph Region Re-Energized task forces.

• The White River Valley was hit by a wintry storm that caused power and phone outages through the region. Thousands of area homes were without power for several days as utilities worked overtime to repair the damage.

• Stagecoach Transportation teamed up with the Sharon Academy to provide busing services to the private school from locales in the region whose high schools had shuttered.

December

• The Randolph Selectboard voted to charge Gifford Medical Center only a portion of fees and surcharges associated with water usage that went unbilled for eight years. Accounts differed over the circumstances, but water district officials failed to read a meter installed by hospital staff in 2010.

• Throughout the month of December, The Herald focused on telling the stories of area organizations focused on good works. Chelseabased Safeline, Sharon’s High Horses, Lukana’s Dream in Bethel, and Food For Thought at RTCC were profiled.

• Community representatives met in Barnard to discuss ideas for increased farm-to-school programming at area elementary schools.

• The Randolph Singers celebrated the group’s 50th anniversary with its annual free holiday concert on the Chandler stage.

• Randolph hosted its first-ever Winter Lights Parade, which drew a crowd to witness brightly decorated floats process down Main Street and culminated in an opportunity for kids to visit with Santa Claus at the Randolph gazebo.

• Former South Royalton Principal Dean Stearns appeared in Windsor Criminal Court, pleading guilty to reduced charges related to secretly recording an exchange student who was a guest in his home.

• The American Association of University Professors opened an investigation into administrative practices at Vermont Law School, where most professors lost their tenure as part of the school’s restructuring.

• An out-of-court settlement required that Granville Selectboard members attend training about Vermont’s public information laws after a lawsuit was brought against the board for violating public meeting rules.

• RAVEN, a therapeutic vocational program in Randolph, made plans for construction of a new building behind the RUHS and RTCC facilities, pending final funding approval from the OSSD board.

• A funeral service was held for a pair of Vietnam War-era naval veterans who died without family or friends willing to claim their remains. They each received full military honors and were interred in the Vermont Veterans Cemetery in Randolph Center.

• Chandler’s executive director, Tom Ayres, announced that he would retire from his position after just 20 months on the job. He said he would remain available as a consultant for the music hall, but wished to focus his attentions on arts direction rather than the administrative duties of the job.

• The Barnard School District evaded a forced merger after the state Board of Education voted to compel the district to merge with the neighboring Windsor Central Modified Unified Union School District. Due to the particulars of Act 46, the choice to accept Barnard rested with the WCMUUSD board, which voted unanimously to give that choice to the Barnard voters.

• New Yorker cartoonist and Brookfield resident Ed Koren released a book of decades worth of his drawings focusing on the contrast between urban and rural life.

• The Herald highlighted two young area bakers, each making a go of providing fine foods to the White River Valley.

• VTC student John Alvin and other members of the Vermont State Colleges system spoke at a Montpelier press conference in favor of greater Vermont investment in higher education.

• Larry Novins, a professor at Vermont Law School, was named executive director of the Vermont Ethics Commission.

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