By Gregory J. Lamoureux
County Courier

FRANKLIN: Dozens of concerned citizens came out to a meeting in Franklin Thursday evening,  hoping to begin the process of cleaning up Lake Carmi once and for all but Emily Boedecker, Commissioner for the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, could offer little more than an ear to listen and a commitment to action in the coming months. Continue reading “TEMPERS FLARE AT LAKE CARMI WATERSHED MEETING”


RICHFORD: Federal Agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives stormed a home located at 49 Troy Street in Richford on Tuesday as they executed a search warrant, looking for drugs and drug paraphernalia.

According to the government, St. Albans Police stopped Larnell Cunningham, 39, of New York City for a warrant check, on May 23rd, which ultimately lead police to the Richford home. Inside were two men, Michael "Bigs" Leslie, 40, of Philadelphia and Pamela Yandow.

Inside Cunningham's vehicle in May, police discovered a "Tang" drink mix container with approximately 130 grams of cocaine as well as a digital scale, several small plastic baggies and other items commonly used to distribute narcotics.

The following day a criminal informant conducted a controlled purchase of cocaine from Marvin Tyrone Crawford, 40, of Philidelphia. During that interaction, Crawford allegedly told the buyer that Cunningham was supposed to have more cocaine for him, but was stopped by police instead. That drug buy allegedly took place in the EconoLodge parking lot in St. Albans.

Court documents revealed the criminal informant was helping police in exchange for assistance in a prior arrest where the State of Vermont levied charged against the CI.

That purchase, along with other police investigations lead to Pamela Yandow, 45, of St. Albans along with her son, Tannar Yandow, 20, also of St. Albans.

According to a Border Patrol Agent's affidavit, the CI could only communicate with the Yandow's through Facebook Messenger.

A later purchase from the Yandow's to the CI was conducted with the CI wearing a wire and being video recorded, according to court records. That transaction happened just down the road from the EconoLodge in a newly built apartment building, located at 306 South Main Street.

The same CI allegedly helped federal agents when he made a drug purchase from Leslie on June 20th at a home on 228 Sheldon Road in St. Albans.

During that buy, Leslie allegedly came outside from the home with the predetermined amount of cocaine that the CI was to purchase from Leslie. When the transaction was finished, the CI then asked Leslie if he could purchase more cocaine- that is when Leslie went back into the apartment and came back a second time with cocaine for the buyer.

According to court records, this transaction was video recorded to preserve the integrity of the evidence.

During Monday's raid in Richford, agents found Leslie to be in possession of $8,378 in cash. They also discovered drug paraphernalia including small plastic baggies, a digital scale and kitchen utensils that had small amounts of cocaine on them.

The Federal Government is also prosecuting Donna Larose, 56, of St. Albans after she was pulled over in Fort Ann, New York with a criminal possession of cocaine that police allege was intended for the Franklin County, Vermont area.

Tannar Yandow, Pamela Yandow, Marvin Tyrone Crawford Donna Larose, and Michael Leslie were all arrested and held on the drug charges, pending a detention hearing this afternoon.



Former Senator Norm McAllister listens to the jury selection process, in St. Albans, on Tuesday afternoon.                  Gregory J. Lamoureux photo

ST. ALBANS: There have been almost two hundred prospective jurors mulling around the courthouse in St. Albans this week as they are filtered down to a group of fourteen that will hear the evidence against Franklin County’s former Senator, Norm McAllister. Continue reading “JURY SELECTION CONTINUES INTO THIRD DAY IN McALLISTER CASE”


Photos and Story by Ruthie Laroche

There was a time in Vermont’s history when the number of cows outweighed the number of people in the state and family owned dairy farms dotted the fields and hills.

Falling milk prices have taken a toll on the family owned dairy farms, but while the future for many small farms may seem uncertain, there are still options out there for those who choose to explore them.

“I don’t think it’s a bad occupation; I think there’s a lot of future for the next generation. I do feel that the dairy part is becoming saturated, but there are still some niche markets, which we are a part of. We are certified organic, grass milk, so that’s a niche over a niche, and that’s paying off well,” said Guy Choiniere.

“Vermont has always been suited well for small farms. I think if the kids or the young farmers can realize that bigger isn’t always better and that they can concentrate on producing good quality products there is a chance for growth,” said Guy.

“There’s a lot of interest in our communities to move some of those products. We’re blessed here in Vermont to have very nutrient dense soil, and that means that our food follows the same pattern.” He feels that those who can capitalize on that have the opportunity to succeed.”

Guy’s father’s family came across the Canadian Border in the 1930’s. His grandfather purchased a farm in Highgate and settled there to raise his family. The land in Highgate was very sandy, which proved to be a challenge for the farmers, but it also meant that land was cheap.

Guy’s grandfather and his father worked diligently to increase the fertility of the soil on the farm.

Eventually, the Choiniere family started buying milking equipment, and in 1945 Guy’s grandfather bought the farm Guy and his family call home. “It’s been a great thing. We’ve turned a poor farm into something very respectable, and now it’s just a maintenance piece. We found out how to manage sand,” Guy said, holding up a fist full of freshly mowed hay, the stems thick and green.

In 1965 Guy’s father decided to buy another farm, the 150-acre LeBombard farm on the Tarte Road. The purchase of that farm came at a time when farming trends were moving away from the all-grass herd to growing more row crops that would help the cows produce more milk.

His father’s generation saw the introduction of genetics as a tool to increase milk production through feed intake. “My grandfather knew how to keep a cow around forever. He paid the bills, but he didn’t make a lot of milk. When my father’s generation came around the goal was to make more milk per cow to pay for bills as the taxes and expenses of farming increased,” said Guy.

This method of farming kept the cows in the barn as much as possible so they exerted the least amount of energy and could concentrate on making milk.

After Guy graduated from school and got closer to the time he would take over the farm, he knew he would have to find a way to keep the small farm viable. He began to investigate the option of switching from the conventional farming methods he knew and switching to the organic market. In 2005, after meeting the regulation requirements, the farm shipped its first load of organic milk.

Read the full story in this week’s County Courier available on newsstands now.



Photo and Story by Ruthie Laroche

Donald and Ruth Wright are remembered by many in Enosburgh as a hard working couple who carried on the long tradition of Wright family farming. They have special significance in the month of June and on Dairy Day, especially. Ruth, together with her husband Donald, and a County Agent named Walter Rockwood, put the pieces together for the celebration of the first June Dairy Day in Enosburgh. Continue reading “WRIGHT FAMILY FARM: CARRYING ON THE FAMILY TRADITION”


Rear Admiral Warren Hamm and hospital CEO Jill Berry Bowen, christening the electric vehicle that will be used in the new valet and shuttle service.

ST. ALBANSs: On Wednesday, April 5, Northwestern Medical Center and local veterans kicked off the new Veterans Sponsored Valet Service at the hospital in naval fashion, pouring a bottle of bubbly beverage onto the brand new six-passenger electric vehicle that will be used to transport patients and visitors around the hospital campus. Continue reading “NMC/VETERANS KICK OFF VALET SERVICE”