Category Archives: St. Johnsbury

Leahy to promote tax credit for fire prevention

ST. JOHNSBURY — U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy is going to be in St. Johnsbury to talk about a plan to help prevent fires that have devastated a number of Vermont communities.
Leahy is proposing the creation of a tax credit for building owners who install fire suppression equipment.
He’s making the announcement Friday at 2:30 p.m. in downtown St. Johnsbury, which has suffered three major downtown fires since 2000 that killed three people and caused millions of dollars in damages.
Since the turn of the century there have been a series of fires in older buildings in Vermont downtowns.

Huneck gallery re-opens after owners’ death

ST. JOHNSBURY (AP) — A folk art gallery and park devoted to colorful depictions of dogs has reopened in St. Johnsbury more than two weeks after the suicide of owner Gwen Huneck.
Huneck’s husband, Dog Mountain founder Stephen Huneck, committed suicide in January 2010.
Despite those losses, other staff members at Dog Mountain say they’ll try to keep the business going. The 150-acre site includes an art gallery displaying Stephen Huneck’s dog-themed furniture, prints, jewelry and other items, hiking trails, a swimming pond and the famous Dog Chapel.
Dog Mountain has become a popular tourist attraction in St. Johnsbury, and has been featured on national television programs including Oprah and Good Morning America.

Five teens arrested in ballfield theft

ST. JOHNSBURY — Five teenagers have been accused of taking bats, balls, and other items from a Vermont baseball concession stand.
The five, ranging in age from 16 to 18, were arrested last week in connection with burglary and theft charges at the Legion Baseball concession stand in St. Johnsbury.  The teens are from St. Johnsbury, Lyndonville, and Bethlehem, N.H.
Police said the group also is accused of taking hats, first aid kits, office supplies, and a money box.

St. Johnsbury names new interim town manager

ST. JOHNSBURY — The Vermont town of St. Johnsbury has a new interim manager.
Merelise O’Connor of Plymouth, N.H., started this week.
She tells the Caledonian-Record ( her most pressing priority is building a municipal budget before the end of the month.
O’Connor was town administrator in Plymouth. She also was deputy director of the Governor’s Office of Energy and Community Services under former New Hampshire Gov. Jeanne Shaheen.
O’Connor most recently served as assistant executive director of the New Hampshire Municipal Association.
She was provided to St. Johnsbury through Municipal Resources Inc., which selectmen voted to hire last week.
The community was without a full-time one since former manager Ralph Nelson was fired in April. No reason was given publicly.

State police asked to investigate alleged misconduct in St. J police

ST. JOHNSBURY — The police department in St. Johnsbury, Vt., is facing allegations of misconduct that could result in a state police investigation.
The St. Johnsbury Board of Selectmen voted 3-2 recently to request Vermont State Police Commander Tom L’Esperance to consider investigating the department. It followed a complaint by resident Brian Christman that police engaged in misconduct, including filing police reports containing inaccurate information.
The Caledonian-Record reports ( Christman said it is related to a 2011 disorderly-conduct complaint involving Christman as the accused, and town employee Aaron Rodger.
St. Johnsbury Police Chief Houde said if state police decide to investigate, his department would be more than happy to cooperate.

Request for venue change denied in Jenkins murder case

ST. JOHNSBURY — A judge has denied a request by a woman charged with killing a popular Vermont prep school teacher to have her trial moved.
Allen Prue and his wife, Patricia, are accused of strangling and beating Melissa Jenkins after luring her out of her home with a ruse about a broken-down car in March.
Allen Prue is charged with first-degree murder. Patricia Prue is charged with aggravated murder, accused of killing Jenkins during a sexual assault or attempted sexual assault. Both have pleaded not guilty. They face separate trials.
Patricia Prue’s lawyer had asked that her trial be moved out of Caledonia County, saying she won’t get a fair trial because of widespread media coverage of the case.  The Burlington Free Press reports ( a judge denied the request.

Police cancel public forum due to storm threat

MONTPELIER — Vermont State Police officials are postponing a public forum in St. Johnsbury because of the threat posed by Hurricane Sandy, which is churning up the East Coast.
The forum scheduled for Oct. 29 has been rescheduled for Wednesday Nov. 7.
The meeting is being held to collect feedback as part of a comprehensive review of state police facilities statewide.
The goal is to come up with a long-term plan to determine the best way for the state to support the state police in providing services to Vermonters.
The rescheduled Nov. 7 meeting will be held at the state police barracks on Route 5 in St. Johnsbury at 6 p.m.

Mass. man charged after highway incident

A Massachusetts man has been charged with domestic assault and cruelty to children after an incident on I-91 in Wheelock Saturday evening. Police said that Joseph A. Hanechak, 70, of Westfield, Mass., was riding in the car with his family on the way from Canada to Massachusetts. Hanechak and the driver were in a dispute, police said: he wanted to pull and find a place to stay over for the night, while the driver wanted to continue on. Finally Hanechak grabbed the keys, turned the car off and pulled the keys from the ignition while the car was moving, and once the car was stopped he tried to pull the driver from the driver’s seat. Police found the occupants of the vehicle - one of them a  5-year-old - outside the car in the breakdown lane. Hanechak was lodged at the Northeast Regional Correctional Facility in St. Johnsbury.

Men face methamphetamine charge

ST. JOHNSBURY — Two men from the St. Johnsbury-area have been charged with conspiracy to manufacture the drug methamphetamine.
Thaddeus Gordon and Shawn Greenwood made their initial appearance in federal court in Burlington on Thursday.
Court papers say Gordon and Greenwood would buy and or ask their associates to buy pseudoephedrine for the purpose of making methamphetamine. Prosecutors say during an investigation, Vermont State Police found containers, chemicals and other items in a wooded area near a cemetery that they believe was a methamphetamine lab where the two men would make the drug.
Gordon and Greenwood were being held until their full detention hearings.

Couple to face separate trials in teacher death

ST. JOHNSBURY — Lawyers in the case of a Vermont couple charged with killing a prep school teacher and dumping her body in the Connecticut River are planning for separate trials next year.
Allen Prue and his wife, Patricia Prue, are accused of strangling and beating 33-year-old Melissa Jenkins after luring her out of her house with a ruse about a broken down car in March.
Police say the Waterford couple planned the crime.
Lawyers in a St. Johnsbury courtroom on Friday scheduled Allen Prue’s trial for July. He is charged with first-degree murder.
Patricia Prue’s trial has been scheduled for May. She is charged with aggravated murder.
Both have pleaded not guilty.