Launch of Black River Innovation Campus In Springfield VT

L-R Congressman Peter Welch, Governor Phil Scott with Matt Dunne and Bob Flint.

Springfield, VT: Governor Phil Scott and Congressman Peter Welch joined Springfield Regional Development Corporation (SRDC) and the Center on Rural Innovation (CORI) to announce $1M raised for a new economy initiative in Springfield.  The Black River Innovation Campus (BRIC) will bring together digital job training, computer science education and an entrepreneurship center to create innovation jobs.

“Springfield was once the center of technology in the region,” said Bob Flint, Executive Director of SRDC. “Today marks the start of our journey to bring that innovative spirit back to this valley and create the new companies and jobs for generations to come.”

Built on exceptionally fast gigabit broadband infrastructure in this historic downtown, BRIC will use proven strategies for encouraging entrepreneurship, but with a new long-term residency approach that will provide selected teams free live/work space for a year along with direct investment capital. The startups will receive training, connections to other innovation resources from around the country, including those at Dartmouth College, and mentorship and support from LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman of Greylock Partners.

 “Today we celebrate a robust collaboration of businesses, individuals, non-profits, and government groups working together to revitalize the Springfield region,” said Congressman Welch. “I applaud participants for their leadership and am excited about the enormous potential of this vital project.”

The initiative is not waiting for the startups to take off in order to have an impact. PurposeLab, a California-based software product development studio, is collaborating with CORI to train and hire up to 24 software developers over the next year. The entry level programmers will participate in an intensive online training program and, once selected, will work out of a live/work space based in Springfield. The application process for the program will begin by the end of this year.

“This initiative is about providing high paying jobs for the next generation of Vermonters, which is so important for our work to expand our workforce and bring more families and businesses to Vermont,” said Governor Scott. “We’re pleased to support this initiative through the Vermont Training Program, which provides for digital skills training that will lead to new job opportunities today and a trained workforce as these startups start to grow in Springfield.”

The unique approach of this initiative and the focus on rural communities caught the attention of national foundations and regional organizations. The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Siegel Family Endowment joined forces with the Vermont Community Foundation and other members of the VT innovation community to fund this effort. BRIC has also applied for a grant from the federal Economic Development Administration.

 “Digital economy jobs are a critical piece of any healthy economy and yet we have not seen this sector effectively engage rural communities,” said Katy Knight of the Siegel Family Endowment, which funded the creation of the computer science education platform Scratch and committed the first $250,000 to the BRIC initiative. “We are excited about this inclusive approach that addresses both entrepreneurship and building the future workforce.”

 BRIC announced the launch of a search for an Executive Director that will be led by the newly formed board of directors. This first hire will craft the strategy for the residential entrepreneurship center, solidify partnerships and onboard the first entrepreneurs.

“The Center on Rural Innovation is committed to bringing digital economy jobs to rural communities across the country,” said Matt Dunne, Executive Director of the Vermont-based Center on Rural Innovation, which led the fundraising and partnership building efforts. “There was no better place to start than right here in Springfield, VT. We believe this can become a model for hundreds of small towns.”

While BRIC will initially locate activities in buildings along the Park Street corridor, the organization is actively working with partners on the potential redevelopment of the former Park Street School building into a state-of-the-art live/work/community facility that would eventually serve as BRIC’s permanent home. The organization and project leaders are currently seeking additional pre-development funding with hopes of moving forward with the redevelopment project in early 2019.

 

Newport Man Arrested on Six Counts of Felonious Sexual Assault

Chief of Police Mark T. Chase announces that, following an approximate six-month investigation, the Claremont Police Department has arrested the following subject on a warrant for six counts of Aggravated Felonious Sexual Assault, one count of Attempted Aggravated Felonious Sexual Assault, and three counts of Felonious Sexual Assault:

Alan WIRKKALA

51 years old

Newport, NH

The complaints allege that between the years 1987 and 1991, WIRKKALA engaged in sexual penetration, attempted sexual penetration, and sexual contact with a child under the age of 13.The criminal investigation remains ongoing at this time, and further charges are anticipated. Anyone with information about this investigation is encouraged to contact Claremont Police Detective Colby D. Casey at (603)542-7010 or ccasey@claremontnh.com.

 

NH’s Pheasant Seasons Starts Oct. 1st

CONCORD, NH — New Hampshire’s hunting season for pheasant gets underway on October 1 and continues through December 31. This fall, 11,535 adult ring-necked pheasants will be stocked in all 10 counties with an average of 140 pheasants per site.

New Hampshire pheasant hunters should be aware of a rule that is now in effect: due to safety concerns for Fish and Game staff, hunters, and the integrity of the pheasant program, the pheasant season will be closed statewide until noon on in-season stocking days.  In-season stocking will be done on the first three Thursdays and Fridays in October: October 4-5, 11-12, and 18-19, 2018. All stocking will be completed by October 19.

The former pheasant sites on West Unity Road (Unity, NH) and the East Milan Road (Milan, NH) will no longer be stocked.

The pheasant program relies heavily upon cooperative relationships with landowners.  Please remember to respect the land and property owner’s rights to privacy and safety on all lands open to pheasant hunting and stocking.

The full list of towns to be stocked (including road names) can be seen on the Fish and Game website at www.huntnh.com/hunting/pheasant.html; printed lists are also available at Fish and Game headquarters and regional offices.

“Please keep safety foremost in mind,” said Karen Bordeau, Fish and Game’s Small Game and Pheasant Project Leader. “Take the time to thank landowners. Your hunting ethics on their lands and your thoughtfulness will help keep these lands open.”

Fish and Game asks hunters to refrain from training dogs at release sites during the two days prior to October 1. Dog training flushes pheasants from release sites, often onto posted property or other areas not suitable for hunting.

Pheasant hunters must purchase a $31 pheasant license, in addition to the regular New Hampshire hunting license or non-resident New Hampshire small game license. Licenses can be purchased at www.huntnh.com or from any Fish and Game license agent. Pheasants are purchased exclusively with revenues from the sale of pheasant licenses.

All pheasant hunters are urged to follow these basic safety guidelines:
• Wear hunter orange on your head, back and chest.
• Control your firearm muzzle at all times.
• Always wear safety glasses.
• Know where your hunting partners are at all times.
• Shoot only within your zone of fire.
• Be sure of your target and what is beyond.
• Always keep your hunting dog under control.

For more information on hunting pheasants in New Hampshire, visit www.huntnh.com/hunting/pheasant.html.

Vermont State Police announces voluntary, anonymous collection program for bump-fire stocks

WATERBURY, VT — Vermont State Police barracks across Vermont will begin accepting “bump-fire stocks” from the public effective immediately following passage of new firearms-related laws earlier this year.

Act 94 amends Vermont state law to prohibit the possession of bump-fire stocks. State statute defines the devices as “a butt stock designed to be attached to a semiautomatic firearm and intended to increase the rate of fire achievable with the firearm to that of a fully automatic firearm by using the energy from the recoil of the firearm to generate a reciprocating action that facilitates the repeated activation of the trigger.”

The law directs the Department of Public Safety to collect bump-fire stocks from persons who want to voluntarily and anonymously relinquish bump-fire stocks.

In compliance with that law, the Vermont State Police will allow members of the public to voluntarily surrender their bump-fire stocks anonymously at any of the 10 VSP barracks in the state. People may turn in the devices during regular business hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. To find a list of barracks, visit http://vsp.vermont.gov/stations.

Bump-fire stocks must not be attached to a firearm when brought to a barracks for disposal. People must remove the bump-fire stocks from their weapons before entering the barracks.

Barracks staff will take no information about the identity of the person surrendering the bump-fire stock. The voluntarily surrendered devices will be held in a secure area in the barracks pending destruction.

Under the new law, possession of a bump-fire stock is punishable by up to one year in prison and $1,000 in fines.

Car Goes Into Connecticut River in Claremont

Claremont NH – On September 15, 2018 at approximately 1130 am Claremont Police received a call from people that were at the Claremont Boat Landing off of River Road in Claremont.  The fisherman was calling in about a car that was completely submerged in the water at the boat launch.   Claremont Police, Claremont Fire and Golden Cross Ambulance responded to the area and soon confirmed there was a sedan completely under the water.   Emergency Services tried to determine if there was anyone in the vehicle and how long the vehicle was in the water.   It was quickly established that the vehicle had been in the water for several hours by the time that Claremont Police were alerted.  We could not establish immediately due to the current if anyone was in the vehicle.  Divers were called to respond to the scene.   Claremont Police was able to get identifying information from the vehicle and soon confirmed that the owner was fine and unaware the vehicle was in the water.   Divers soon arrived and the vehicle was removed from the water and it we learned that no one was in the vehicle.  Investigators believe the vehicle was intentionally rolled into the water.   Claremont Police are investigating this incident and if anyone has any information please call Claremont Police.   The vehicle that was located in the water is a 2010 Lexus Sedan.

 

Motorcycle Crash on Mt. Washington Auto Road

Pinkham’s Grant NH On September 15, at approximately 1:25 pm Troopers from the State Police, Troop F Barracks responded to a serious, single motorcycle crash on the Mount Washington Auto Road in Pinkham’s Grant. The Mount Washington Auto Road in that area had to be closed for a period of time due to the crash.

Initial investigation by troopers revealed that a 2017 Harley Davidson, driven by: Gloria Vega, 56 of Greenville R Iexperienced a mechanical failure as it was descending the Auto Road. As a result, Vega lost control of the motorcycle, went off the roadway and dropped approximately 20 feet off the edge. Vega experienced serious, non-life threatening injuries as a result of the crash.

Vega was extricated from the crash site by members of Gorham EMS and Gorham Fire. Vega was subsequently airlifted to Central Maine Medical Center.

Troopers were assisted on scene by members of the Gorham Fire Dept., Gorham EMS, and the staff of the Mount Washington Auto Road.

Keene Man Pleads Guilty to Sexually Exploiting a Child

File Photo

Portland, Maine:  United States Attorney Halsey B. Frank announced that Benjamin Gagnon, 35, of Keene, New Hampshire, pled guilty today in U.S. District Court in Concord, New Hampshire to sexually exploiting a minor.

According to court records, in January 2017, Gagnon, who was in New Hampshire, persuaded a minor female in Texas to create still images and videos depicting the minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct. The minor transmitted the images and videos to Gagnon over the internet. Gagnon later uploaded the images to an online account, where they were found by investigators in August 2017.

Gagnon faces between 15 and 30 years in prison, a $250,000 fine and between five years and life on supervised release. He will be sentenced after the completion of a presentence investigation report by the U.S. Probation Office.

The investigation was conducted by the Derry, Hinsdale and Keene, New Hampshire Police Departments; the North Carolina Bureau of Investigation; and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations.

Goshen Man Sentenced to the New Hampshire State Prison for Possession of Controlled Drugs

Newport, NH – Frank Merrill, 36 of Goshen, New Hampshire was sentenced in Sullivan Superior Court on September 4, 2018 to serve a 1 to 3 year term of incarceration at the New Hampshire State Prison for possession of the controlled drug fentanyl.  Mr. Merrill, as part of the sentence, will be screened for drug and alcohol treatment needs.

Mr. Merrill’s conviction stems from an investigation commenced by the New Hampshire Department of Corrections and the Claremont Police Department.  On October 13, 2018, Mr. Merrill’s vehicle was searched by the New Hampshire Department of Corrections.  During the course of the search Probation and Parole Officer Frederick Boggess located a quantity packages bundled together with rubber bands.  Said evidence was turned over to the Claremont Police Department where it was subsequently sent to the New Hampshire State Forensic Laboratory for further testing.  After testing, it was determined that Mr. Merrill possessed approximately 51 wax paper packages containing the controlled drug fentanyl.

The law enforcement community of Sullivan County is resolute in the efforts to stop the influx of dangerous drugs in this community, and the impact that they have on the people of Sullivan County.  The Sullivan County Attorney’s Office is determined to prosecute these crimes in ways designed to keep the people of Sullivan County safe, meet the punitive, rehabilitative, and deterrence objectives of sentencing, while also addressing the dangerous influences of controlled drugs at all phases of the criminal prosecution.

The New Hampshire Department of Corrections, Probation/Parole, along with Claremont Police Department conducted this investigation, and the case was prosecuted by Deputy Sullivan County Attorney Justin Hersh.

Charlestown Man Sentenced to the Sullivan County House of Corrections for One Year for Receiving Stolen Property

Newport, NH – Gage King, 25 of Charlestown, New Hampshire was sentenced in Sullivan Superior Court on September 13, 2018 to serve a 12 month period of incarceration at the Sullivan County House of Corrections for the misdemeanor crime of receiving stolen property.  Mr. King will be evaluated for the Sullivan County TRAILS Program, pursuant to that sentence, which is an intensive incarceration based treatment program run by the Sullivan County House of Corrections, and one based upon best practices.  Mr. King was also sentenced to serve an additional 12 month period of incarceration for the misdemeanor crime of domestic violence. That sentence was suspended, conditioned upon good behavior, for a period of 3 years.  Mr. King will also be supervised by the New Hampshire Department of Corrections for a period of 2 years.

Mr. King’s conviction arose as a result of a Charlestown Police Department investigation commenced on July 15, 2018.  On July 15, 2018, an individual reported to Officer Jeremiah Haynes that Mr. King had threatened to retrieve a firearm from his vehicle and shoot another family member the day prior.  The reporting party subsequently learned one of his firearms had been stolen from the residence, which was shared by Mr. King.  The firearm, a Smith & Wesson 9MM handgun was later found to be in in a bag in Mr. King’s vehicle.

The law enforcement community of Sullivan County is vigilant in the efforts to stop crimes of domestic violence, and property crimes.  The Sullivan County Attorney’s Office is determined to prosecute these crimes in ways designed to keep the families and people of Sullivan County safe.

The Charlestown Police Department conducted this investigation, and the case was prosecuted by Deputy Sullivan County Attorney Justin Hersh.

Plainfield NH Man Sentenced to the Sullivan County House of Corrections for One Year for Distribution of Heroin

Newport, NH – Morris Rice, 37 of Plainfield, New Hampshire was sentenced in Sullivan Superior Court on September 13, 2018 to serve a 12 month period of incarceration at the Sullivan County House of Corrections for a conspiracy to sell the controlled drug heroin.  Mr. Rice will be evaluated for the Sullivan County TRAILS Program, pursuant to that sentence, which is an intensive incarceration based treatment program run by the Sullivan County House of Corrections, and one based upon best practices.  Mr. Rice was further sentenced to serve 1-3 years at the New Hampshire State Prison for possession of the controlled drug heroin, and 60 days to serve at the Sullivan County House of Corrections for criminal contempt.  Those sentences were suspended, conditioned upon good behavior, for a period of 3 years and 1 year respectively.

Mr. Rice’s conviction originated from an investigation commenced by the New Hampshire Attorney General’s Drug Task Force.  On March 1, 2018, Mr. Rice met with Destiny Rogers in the town of Plainfield for purposes of selling Destiny Rogers a quantity of the controlled drug heroin.  Members of the New Hampshire Attorney Generals’ Drug Task Force subsequently obtained a warrant for Mr. Rice’s arrest, which was effectuated on June 26, 2018.  Mr. Rice, at the time of his arrest, was determined to have in his possession a quantity of the controlled drug heroin.

The law enforcement community of Sullivan County remains steadfast in its’ efforts to stop the influx of dangerous drugs in this community, and the impact that they have on the people of Sullivan County.  The Sullivan County Attorney’s Office is determined to prosecute these crimes in ways designed to keep the people of Sullivan County safe, meet the punitive, rehabilitative, and deterrence objectives of sentencing, while also addressing the dangerous influences of controlled drugs at all phases of the criminal prosecution.

The New Hampshire Attorney General’s Drug Task Force, along with both the Plainfield Police Department and Lebanon Police Department were involved in this investigation, and the case was prosecuted by Deputy Sullivan County Attorney Justin Hersh.