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Police: Homeless man stole tools from Washington Apartments

BARRE — A homeless man is accused of stealing tools from the Washington Apartments.

Benjamin J. Gaughan, 37, pleaded not guilty Monday in Washington County criminal court in Barre to felony counts of burglary and grand larceny. If convicted, Gaughan faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. He was ordered held at Northeast Correctional Complex in St. Johnsbury on $1,500 bail.

Officer Brittany Lewis, of the Barre City police, said in her affidavit a burglary was reported by the Barre Housing Authority on Nov. 14. Employees at the housing authority told Lewis a male entered the locked Washington Apartments building on Washington Street on Nov. 13. Lewis said the employees reported the burglar got in by following a resident inside after the resident gained entry by using a key card.

Lewis said the burglar, later identified as Gaughan, then went to the building’s boiler room and stole multiple items.

Lewis said police later learned the items stolen were tools belonging to ENS Electric out of Williamstown, a company that had been working on the building. One of the company’s employees had arrived at the building and found about $900 worth of tools were missing as well as 1,000 feet of wire. The tools included screwdrivers, a driver set and a saw.

A witness who lives in the building told police she had seen Gaughan come into the building and he told her he was there to visit someone. Lewis said police obtained a photo of Gaughan from the building’s surveillance footage. She said police spoke with the person Gaughan claimed he was there to see and she identified Gaughan as the man in the photo.

Lewis said the surveillance footage showed Gaughan rifling through people’s belongings in the building’s laundry room. She said he also went through items of food on a table before prying open the door to the boiler room and taking the tools.

Gaughan then put the tools on a wheeled cart and moved the cart out of view of the camera, according to court records.

eric.blaisdell

@timesargus.com


jebcas / Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / Staff Photo  

On Stage

The cast of “Once on This Island, The Musical” rehearses Wednesday night at Montpelier High School. MHS Masque will present the story of love, persistence, desire and class divisions tonight through Saturday at 7 p.m. with an additional matinee on Saturday at 2 p.m.


Local
Montpelier Police Log
Montpelier Police Log: Man acting suspiciously reported

The following was provided to The Times Argus as a sampling of calls to city police in recent days:

Nov. 26

There was a suspicious vehicle on Elm Street.

Burglaries were reported on State Street and Country Club Road.

Property was lost downtown.

Property was found at Hubbard Park.

Items were stolen from a backpack on Barre Street.

Nov. 27

A tree limb fell on the power lines on East State Street.

Property was lost on State Street.

A vehicle failed to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk on Main Street.

Nov. 28

A vehicle broke down on Main Street.

Property was lost on State Street.

Someone was trespassing on Main Street.

Nov. 29

There was a roadway hazard on Bailey Avenue.

A juvenile problem was reported on High School Drive.

Property was found on Main Street.

There was a juvenile problem on Bliss Road.

Nov. 30

An injured deer was reported on Loomis Street.

On Main Street, a dog was left in a vehicle.

Property was lost or found on State Street.

Dec. 1

Property was lost or found on River Street.

Items were stolen off of a porch on Barre Street.

There was a suspicious vehicle on River Street.

Dec. 2

A male was acting aggressively on Main Street.

On Elm Street, a mental health issue was reported.

Someone put trash in trash cans without permission on Vine Street.

eric.blaisdell@timesargus.com


Local
Talk of the Town

Ceres rising

MONTPELIER — For those of you who missed the ceremony and celebration of the 3.0 return of Agriculture, the statue atop the golden dome in the Capital City last week, there’s a good opportunity to still get a bird’s eye view of the proceedings.

Thanks to a drone video shot by the Agency of Agriculture (who else, right, given the statue’s original name, although the colloquially became known as Ceres, after the Roman goddess of agriculture, seeds and fertility?) there are spectacular aerial views of the statue being hoisted into place by crane.

The video can be viewed at www.facebook.com/vtagencyofag/videos/vb.122396850343/2163059037078684/?type=2&theater

Treading the boards

MONTPELIER — Montpelier High School’s Masque fall theater production, “Once On This Island,” a beautiful story of love, persistence and desire that makes bold statements about class divisions, will be held in the school’s Smile Auditorium, Dec. 6, 7 and 8, at 7 p.m., with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday. Tickets are $14 for adults, $10 for seniors and students.

Capital band seeks director

MONTPELIER — The Capital City Band is looking for a new director.

CCB is a traditional town band with a 150-year history, playing free outdoor concerts on the State House lawn every Wednesday evening, 7 to 8 p.m., throughout the summer.

The band also plays during Montpelier’s Independence Day celebration and at other special events, including an annual service concert at a local residential care facility.

Musicians include adults, teens and pre-teens with a wide range of experience, brought together by the enthusiasm to share music with neighbors, friends, family and the public.

The band is seeking a director for the 2019 concert season. In addition to conducting summer concerts from June through August, the director will also select programs and hold one or two rehearsals a month, January to June.

Applicants should email band manager Erika Mitchell at em63@cornell.edu.

Film appreciation series

The fifth season of Rick Winston’s Film Appreciation Seminar series starts Saturday.

The monthly series will be held on the second Saturday of the month in December, January and February, from 2 to 4 p.m., at the home of Barbara Weedon at 262 Adamant Road in Adamant. Her home is the first home on the right, north of the Adamant Co-op.

The cost for the series in Adamant is $40 per session or $100 for all three sessions.

The series will also be presented at the Montpelier Senior Activity Center on Barre Street on the second Monday of month in December, January and February, from 7 to 9 p.m.

The cost for the series in Montpelier is also $40 per session or $100 for all three, and half-price for senior center members.

The first session will explore the older Hollywood classics with teams such as George Cukor and Katherine Hepburn. The session will also include Federico Fellini’s work with Marcello Mastroianni, Akira Kurosawa’s films with Toshiro Mifune, and others.

The February session will focus on contemporary American films, such as several collaborations between Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro.

“Thanks to many film clips and excerpts of interviews with many of these actors and directors, we’ll get insights into what makes a harmonious working relationship, how a director builds trust, how an actor can become an alter ego or muse for a director, and how creative disagreements have led to memorable performances,” Winston said.

To reserve a space or for more information, call Winston at 454-7103 or email winsrick@sover.net.

Century man

PLAINFIELD — Cabot resident Charlie Bothfeld turns 100 on December 13 and the Twinfield Valley Senior Center in Plainfield is throwing a birthday bash for him with cake and ice cream on Dec. 14, at 1 p.m.

Rita Copeland, the center’s executive director tells us Charlie is still as fit as a fiddle, remains mobile and still drives. He also continues to farm in Cabot and brings vegetables, fruits and berries to the senior center to be served at lunches for seniors.

The current issue of the Cabot Chronicle has a brief mention that the Bothfelds held their annual family reunion in August. The entry included a photograph of family members that shows Charlie is in good company. Pictured with him were his sister, Mary, 95, and brothers, Walter, 92, and Clark, 89.

A World War II U.S. Army veteran, Bothfelds recently traveled to the nation’s capital to be honored, tour war memorials on The Mall and visit Arlington Cemetery.

People who attend the birthday celebration at TVSC are asked to bring a card for his mailbox or mail it to TVSC, P.O. Box 152, East Montpelier, VT 05651 or his home address, 364 Coits Pond Road, Cabot, VT 05647.

For those who wish to have lunch as well at TVSC before the birthday celebration, the center asks for a donation of $6 per person, $5 for seniors 60 and older. If you plan to have lunch, please call 223-3322 so the center can plan accordingly.

PoemCity 2019

MONTPELIER — A call for submissions for PoemCity 2019 has come from the Kellogg-Hubbard Library in the Capital City.

Submissions will be accepted through February 4.

Selected poems will be displayed in shop windows throughout downtown Montpelier during the month of April.

In addition to the text display, PoemCity features poetry and art installations, poetry-related workshops and readings.

For full details of the application process and for students of Vermont College of Fine Arts, visit www.poem-city.org or contact Rachel Senechal, KHL program and development coordinator at 223-3338.

On the rise

BARRE — We wanted to give you early warning of the upcoming grand celebration of the reopening of the Rise Up Bakery next to the Old Labor Hall in Barre on December 15.

The opening will mark, to the day, the 105th anniversary of the Barre Historical Society’s Union Cooperative Bakery which featured a brick oven. The bakery operated for 30 years before industrialized bread baking closed its doors. The brick oven was taken out and the building used for storage by nearby granite companies.

In 2004 the Barre Historical Society bought the building and in 2012 a campaign was started to revive the bakery.

The renovation of the bakery had a focus of including teens in the project. Students through YouthBuild, the Central Vermont Career Center in Barre and the U-32 technology class have helped repair the building and constructed furniture for the bakery. The bakery will become a baking and historical educational center and will house a small commercial bakery with opportunities for youth apprentices.

The celebrations will begin at 4 p.m. and include a ribbon-cutting, slide show, special recognitions, tours of the bakery, finger food and fresh bread from the oven, and live music and dancing with Colin McCaffrey, Doug Reid and Don Schabner.


Local
Second Mass. man admits to trafficking heroin

BARRE — The second of three Massachusetts men involved in an incident in which police say an informant for the Northern Vermont Drug Task Force was beaten up during a drug deal has admitted to trafficking heroin.

Michael Krasin, 21, of Springfield, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty Tuesday in Washington County criminal court to felony counts of assault and robbery and heroin trafficking. Krasin was sentenced to three to 15 years, all suspended except for three years to serve. He is being housed at Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, Vermont.

In October, Victor Hernandez-Guzman, 31, of Indian Orchard, Massachusetts, pleaded guilty to felony counts of cocaine possession and heroin trafficking. He is scheduled to be sentenced in January, when the state will argue for a sentence of five to 15 years to serve and Colin Seaman, Victor Hernandez-Guzman’s attorney, will argue for no prison time. The state dropped a felony count of heroin possession per the plea agreement.

Augustin N. Mendoza, 26, also of Springfield, Massachusetts, faces felony counts of assault and robbery with injuries, heroin possession, cocaine possession and heroin trafficking. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of 75 years in prison. He is being held at Southern State Correctional Facility on $75,000 bail.

According to an affidavit by the task force, Mendoza was the focus of an investigation. Investigators were using a cooperating individual identified as “Red” who was to buy drugs from Mendoza. Red had bought drugs from him in the past on multiple occasions, according to the task force, and indicated the purchases took place at the Hilltop Inn in Berlin.

The task force said a controlled buy was set up in May 2017, and Red was to buy 10 bags of heroin for $100 from Mendoza at the Econo Lodge in Montpelier.

After arriving at that location, a gray Jeep Grand Cherokee registered to Mendoza pulled up to Red. Two men, later identified as Mendoza and Krasin, got out. The three spoke briefly before Mendoza hit Red in the face, knocking the informant down. The task force said Krasin then kicked Red in the face. The pair continued to assault Red, who fell unconscious, before they got back into the Jeep and drove away on Route 12. The task force said Hernandez-Guzman was driving the Jeep and the trio were taken into custody in Williamstown after getting caught in traffic due to a crash.

A search warrant was issued for the room Mendoza had rented at the Hilltop, and investigators found 650 bags of heroin, 26.5 grams of crack cocaine and 26.4 grams of cocaine, according to court records.

eric.blaisdell

@timesargus.com


AP
Lawmakers re-elect guardian of New Hampshire primary

CONCORD, N.H. — With loud cheers and applause, New Hampshire lawmakers on Wednesday re-elected their veteran secretary of state and guardian of the first-in-the-nation presidential primary after two rounds of close votes.

Legislators voted to keep Bill Gardner, the nation’s longest-serving secretary of state. He has held the job for 42 years.

“I’m very, very grateful to those of you who let this happen,” Gardner told them afterward. “That office is so unique and so special.”

Legislators voted twice; neither candidate won a majority the first time. The final vote was 209-205 for Gardner over challenger Colin Van Ostern, a 2016 gubernatorial candidate who wasn’t even born when Gardner first took office.

Gardner was criticized for serving on President Donald Trump’s election fraud commission. But his supporters argued that replacing him with fellow Democrat Van Ostern would politicize the office and could weaken the state’s argument for staying first.

Van Ostern countered that primary tradition is about more than any one person and that Gardner already politicized the office by backing GOP-led voter legislation to tighten voter registration rules.

Democrats won control of both the 400-member House and 24-member Senate last month, and they overwhelmingly backed Van Ostern in a nonbinding caucus vote Nov. 15.

“Obviously, I’m disappointed in the outcome,” Van Ostern said. “But what an incredible exercise in democracy this has been. And I’m really proud that we put a spotlight on issues around protecting voting rights and local control and modernizing an office. I think healthy competition is good for democracy.”

He highlighted that he was “proud to get within one vote of Bill Gardner. No one’s beat him in 42 years. He’s a legend in our politics and in our state.”

Gardner, whose terms have all been two years, said the trust he earned by pledging not to use the office as a stepping stone for higher office has helped him negotiate the often-fraught scenario of protecting the primary.

Van Ostern raised and spent more than $200,000 to defeat him, but Gardner said he viewed this challenge as he did others in the past.

Republican Gov. Chris Sununu backed Gardner’s re-election, as did most of New Hampshire’s living former governors. Gardner, he said, has acted with “absolute independence and incorruptible motive,” calling the effort to replace him a “strategic political operation.” Democratic former Govs. Jeanne Shaheen and Maggie Hassan didn’t take sides.

Gardner was long credited with protecting the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary status. Some worried that with him gone, that would be threatened in the future.

Van Ostern had promised to fiercely defend New Hampshire’s position in the presidential nominating calendar.

The New Hampshire primary is a time-honored tradition in politics. In 1916, Indiana held its primary a week before New Hampshire, and Minnesota voted on the same day. But New Hampshire has gone first ever since.