Author: Colin Flanders

Essex picks Hallquist, Scott

Democratic voters hit the polls in Essex on Tuesday to help Christine Hallquist win the Democratic primary and become the first transgender candidate to earn a major party’s nomination for governor, according to unofficial results. Essex’s three districts – Chittenden 8-1, 8-2 and 8-3, which is shared with Westford – awarded Hallquist the most votes of any candidate for governor at 813. James Ehlers placed a distant second with 466, followed by Brenda Sigel’s 306 and 14-year-old Ethan Sonneborn’s 148. Republican voters here also strongly supported Gov. Phil Scott over his lone challenger, handing the incumbent 731 votes to...

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Town sets tax rate

The selectboard set the fiscal year 2019 tax rate last week, and for the second-straight year, not everyone was in favor of the final number. Passing the rate with a 4-1 vote, members concurred with staff recommendations to set municipal rates at $.5151 and $.5261 for village and town-outside-the-village residents, respectively. Andy Watts said he dissented due to the so-called “highway tax,” a separate toll on Essex Town residents that effectively offsets some of what village residents pay in town taxes. Finance director Lauren Morrisseau said the tax has been on the books for at least six decades and...

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Selectboard nears decision on firearms ordinance

A report summarizing how residents feel about changing the shooting ordinance has concluded there’s no real consensus in town, forcing the selectboard to confront the issue without a clear directive. Facilitator Jennifer Knauer, who authored the report, noted most residents who participated in the months-long public engagement process believed the proposed ordinance changes unfairly targets hunting and doesn’t make anyone safer. “A few voices,” meanwhile, have been strongly in favor of the expansion, she wrote. Despite that, Knauer said the selectboard can’t consider the input a town-wide directive due to the low participation: About 1 percent of the town’s...

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Police: Essex man pointed gun at store clerk, used racial slurs

An Essex man who prosecutors say directed racial slurs at a convenience store clerk before aiming a gun at her denied the charges in court today. Sheldon G. Rheaume, 23, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, reckless endangerment and disorderly conduct stemming from an incident early Tuesday morning. The third charge carries an additional penalty because prosecutors allege Rheaume’s actions were motivated by hate. “His victims were random and only targeted, apparently, because of their race,” deputy Chittenden County state’s attorney Kelton Olney said. Prosecutors asked Rheaume be held without bail pending...

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Judge rules on subpoenas in hockey hazing lawsuit

A recent ruling in the negligence lawsuit against Essex High School says it must provide copies of all discipline records on the boys hockey team over a four-year period. But the judge in the case will allow school officials to redact student names and ordered the two parties to keep the documents confidential. The ruling gives the plaintiffs access to previously-confidential documents that their attorney, Jerome O’Neill, said were vital to proving their case. But Judge Robert A. Mello’s decision to allow redactions is a compromise from the initial request, and his order to effectively seal the records from...

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