Members of the St. Albans Co-op meet at the American Legion on Monday morning just before shutting the doors to the public to discuss and vote on a merger with DFA. Gregory J. Lamoureux, County Courier

Gregory J. Lamoureux
County Courier

ST. ALBANS: About two hundred people attended the St. Albans Co-operative meeting this morning, held at the American Legion in St. Albans. Top on the agenda and at the forefront of most farmers’ minds was the proposed merger with Dairy Farmers of America (DFA).

The members in attendance were asked to approve the merger but had to vote in a 2/3 majority in order for the merger to go through.

The County Courier confirmed with farmers leaving the vote that the merger had indeed gone through, although specifics had yet to be released publicly. A press conference is scheduled for 4 pm this afternoon.

According to a farmer we spoke with, the vote was overwhelmingly in support of the merger. With 99 farms approving of the merger and nine voting against it, the vote passed with 92% backing the Board’s merger plan.

The vote took place behind closed doors, barring the County Courier and numerous other media outlets from access to the meeting, discussion, and vote.

The results were announced to members at the meeting at around 1 pm Monday.

Check back here as well as our weekly print edition for more coverage of the vote.

The County Courier was the first news agency to publish the news on Monday afternoon.

The proposed merger was announced early last month after the St. Albans Co-op Board voted unanimously to advance the proposal to their entire membership.


Editor’s note: This news brief originally ran in the July 19th edition of the County Courier. Subscribe to our print edition to keep up with all our news, even the news that doesn’t make our website. Visit

Zachariah Parker, 41, of St. Albans was held without bail after yet another domestic assault situation, according to court documents.

Parker, who reported to court on his own free will on Tuesday morning was charged in connection with an incident in which the victim reported Parker had forced his way into a locked bedroom she was in, ultimately causing her injury.

The victim, which Parker had been convicted of assaulting a number of times in the past, told police that Parker had stolen many of her belongings while she was making an initial statement to the St. Albans Police. Included in what Parker allegedly stole was the victim’s medication, which she needed on a daily basis.

Police and the man’s Probation Officer were unable to find Parker for several days while he continued to harass the victim via text and telephone calls.

One text allegedly told the victim that Parker had left one day’s worth of medication in her mailbox for her.

During his arraignment on Tuesday for violating his probation, State’s Attorney Deb Celus painted Parker as a man who has consistently assaulted the victim over the years, most recently being convicted and sentenced to 6 years and 3 months in prison, all suspended, for unlawful restraint in the first degree. He was sentenced on January 8th, 2019 for that conviction.

Part of Parker’s conditions of release include not having abusing or harassing the victim.

Much of what happened was in front of the victim’s 14-year-old son, who also made a statement to police about the incident.

He is facing charges of criminal threatening and larceny, and also has a relief from abuse order that was granted to protect the woman and her son.


Editor’s note: This news brief originally ran in the July 18th edition of the County Courier. Subscribe to our print edition to keep up with all our news, even the news that doesn’t make our website. Visit

ENOSBURG FALLS: As a way to promote their brand, Harbor Freight Tools, is running a grant for high school skilled trades programs, and Baxter Weed, the Automotive Technology teacher at Cold Hollow Career Center in Enosburg is among the 50 finalists for the award.

There were almost 750 contestants in the initial round, according to the organizers of the grant, which include automotive as well as construction, welding, manufacturing, and agriculture mechanics.

The $1 million will be split between the winners, with the top place finisher picking up $70,000 for their school, and $30,000 for themselves to help continue their work. Second place winners will receive $35,000 for their school and $15,000 for themselves.

Weed is among 50 finalists who have advanced to the next round of judging where they will be asked to respond to online expert led video learning modules designed to solicit their insights and creative ideas about teaching practices. The contenders will be asked how ideas from the modules might be used to inspire students to achieve excellence in the skilled trades.

Now in its third year, past winners of the competition have dedicated their winnings to modernizing their shops, investing in specialized tools, promoting their programs to families and purchasing equipment to prepare students for higher level accreditations. Semifinalists whose school, district or state policy prohibits receipt of the individual portion of prize earnings were eligible to apply on behalf of their school’s skilled trades program. If they win, the entire prize will be awarded to the school, according to organizers.


Josie Spears appears in criminal court in St. Albans with her defense attorney Jessica Burke in this February 2017 County Courier file photo.

Editor’s note: This news brief was originally published in the July 18th edition of the County Courier. Subscribe to our print edition to keep up with all our news, even the news that doesn’t make our website. Visit

ST. ALBANS: A former school employee was back in court on Monday after accusation arose that she violated her conditions of parole.

According to court documents, Josie Spears violated her parole conditions by having unsupervised contact with her son. 

The court documents also say she had supervised contact with her son, but that those people were not approved by her probation officer.

Spears is serving a term of probation that would supervise her until 2025, and also has an underlying sentence on several sex-crime convictions, adding up to 18 years, all of which are suspended sentences.

Spears allegedly had sexual contact with a third-grade boy she was tasked with helping to educate at the Highgate Elementary School. She was arrested in February of 2017,  pleading guilty to the charges in December of 2018.

According to Spears’ parole officer, the allegations came after an unannounced inspection of Spears’ home by the probation department.

“Spears advised me that she has had unsupervised contact with her son, as well as contact with her son that was not supervised by an approved supervisor,” wrote Department of Probation and Parole Officer Cori Farnham.

The violation of probation affidavit also outlines one instance when Spears’ son did not want to stay the night with his father, so Spears took him in for the night, alone, without anyone else in the house,

stated in the same affidavit, Spears allegedly told her probation officer. 

The violation comes just days after Spears filed for a modification of her probation conditions to allow her to have contact with female minors under the age of 16. Currently, Spears is barred from having contact with any children regardless of gender.

Spears’ attorney cites the initial allegations that her victim was a young boy as a reason to allow female contact.

No ruling has been made on that motion at the time of her arraignment.


Lisa Lavallee appears with her public defender in Franklin County District Court in St. Albans recently.

Editor’s note: This news brief originally ran in the July 18th edition of the County Courier. Subscribe to our print edition to keep up with all our news, even the news that doesn’t make our website. Visit

ST. ALBANS: Lisa Lavallee, 47, of Enosburgh was arrested recently for failing to comply with the State’s sex offender registry.

If what police say is true, Lavallee did not keep her address up to date with the registry, which is a violation of the State’s law.

According to court records, officers were combing the county, checking in with sex offenders to make sure they were holding up their end of the bargain this spring when they came upon Lavallee’s name.

When police responded to the address on file for Lavallee, they found an empty lot without any home on it. Double-checking with the registry, police learned that Lavallee had not updated her address recently. In fact, according to police, she was out of compliance with the registry a year ago, too.

In May, police were still unable to locate Lavallee; they asked for an arrest warrant for her once they did.

Lavallee was convicted in Franklin County Court in 2010 for Lewd and Lascivious Conduct with a child, according to police, leading her to be required to file for the rest of her life with the registry.

Lavallee told the County Courier that police were mistaken, noting her plea agreement with the court allows her to be removed from the sex offender registry in the fall.

Police recently located her at her home on West Enosburg Road in Enosburgh, issuing her a citation to appear in Criminal Court to answer to the charge of failing to comply with the sex offender registry.

Ryan Ivan Charbonneau

February 17, 1987 – July 17, 2019

Saint Albans – Ryan, Ry, Pooper Scooper, The Golden Child, The Weather Man, Trump Jr., our beloved son, brother, fiancé, uncle, friend and role model, best known for his generous heart and his love to be with family and friends was taken from us far, far too soon on Wednesday, July 17, 2019.

Born the only son to Ivan and Marie Charbonneau, his legacy was already written. However, being the youngest of three by several years he was catered to like a king, not only by his sisters, Jessica and Crystal, but by all who cared for him. He was hugged, kissed, and coddled constantly and I can tell you right now he didn’t mind one bit.

Through his short lifetime he had many obsessions – from vacuum cleaners to the stock market. He knew a Hoover from an Electrolux and would push them around for hours, but don’t you dare plug one in! His obsession with real-estate and investing started in his teen years and continued into adulthood. He and a friend even created a board game, The Brilliant Investor, which has a patent pending – Ryan would never let an opportunity to make money pass him by.

Ryan has always loved building things out of anything he could find, testing the strength of his buildings and tearing them down. Growing up he would erect the most magnificent structures and meticulously tear them down with his toy excavator. And yes, there were some days he’d just smash them with his hands. We all want to join him in that now. 

After his father’s passing in 2013, he immediately took over the family business. Not many can do that at 50 let alone the young age of 26. He overcame the odds and we have never been more proud. With the help of several close confidants and friends, he continued to run two successful businesses, I. H. Charbonneau and Son and Northeast Aggregate Corp.

He was a member of the Restorative Justice Panel for over a decade and has been a great supporter of Kamp Ta-Kum-Ta for just as long. He was always looking to help others with his knowledge and hoping to bring a better life to children anyway he could. 

Ryan absolutely loved the finer things in life. He could put on a Rolex, but could never tie a tie. He loved watching The Weather Channel and chasing storms, singing well known songs and Ryan Originals, endlessly watching The Golden Girls, playing cards, bling, collecting coins, floating in the pool, and to absolutely no one’s surprise, he loved to eat. He loved his “kids” Naples and Jack, his nieces and nephews, Alex, Emma, Olivia and Vinny, spending hours shooting the bull with his brothers-in-law, Stephen and Jesse, and most of all he loved his fiancée, Ellen.

Ryan had big dreams and an even bigger heart. His greatest desire was to live the life of luxury on a beach somewhere surrounded by his family and friends, telling jokes, walking the beach and watching the sunset while dining on shrimp cocktail, lobster tail, filet mignon and sipping fruity umbrella drinks. There’s absolutely no way dessert would be forgotten from key lime pie to peanut butter fudge he’d have his fingers in it all.

He was blessed with so many people in his life including two special young friends, Timmy and Shelly. There are so many more to mention and it would be no small feat to list you all. Please know he was always grateful to have you in his life.

Ryan would always want us to remember if life gets too busy to “push in your clutch” and if that doesn’t work “just choke on it”.

Relatives and friends are invited to attend calling hours on Tuesday, July 23, 2019, from 4:00 to 8:00 PM at the Heald Funeral Home, 87 South Main Street, St. Albans. 

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Wednesday, July 24th at 11:00 AM at Holy Angels Catholic Church, 245 Lake Street, St. Albans with Monsignor Peter Routhier as celebrant.  Interment will follow at the St. Albans Bay Cemetery. 

Ryan’s family asks that memorials be made to Camp Ta-Kum-Ta, P.O. Box 459, South Hero, Vermont 05486 or the ALS foundation, Northern New England Chapter, 10 Ferry Street – Suite 309, Concord, New Hampshire 03301.

To send the Charbonneau family a message of condolence or share a memory, kindly go to Ryan’s online guest book at


Courtesy photo

By Ruthie Laroche 
For the County Courier

ST. ALBANS: The Kingman Street Klassic began in 2009, thanks to the inspiration of Jim Letourneau and the dedication of Kate Manahan. This year, the event will celebrate its tenth anniversary, marking a decade of classic cars rolling into downtown St. Albans for the public to admire.

“Jim was a fellow car friend of mine. He came to tell me he had a brain tumor and as we spoke, he said he had always wanted to see a car show made up of his friends on Kingman Street,” Kate Manahan explained.

Kate took the idea and ran with it, confident that she’d find help in fulfilling her friend’s wish. 

“Sometimes you just know that all you have to do is ask,” said Kate. “So, I went to the mayor, Marty Manahan.”

Marty didn’t hesitate. He told Kate he’d oversee the closing of Kingman Street for the car show.  

In classic Franklin County style, others jumped in to help. 

“The Peoples Trust Company threw in their parking lots, and we were on our way,” said Kate.

The event was scheduled to take place in July, leaving just six weeks to put the plan into motion. 

The first year they only gave out four trophies, but the details weren’t as important as granting Jim his wish.

“Jim was able to attend that first show, and it was great! We lost Jim shortly after the show, and we lost Rick Manahan from the bank the same year. But we knew it had to continue.”

The following year Kate spoke with another person who she knew would help her keep the ‘show on the road.’ 

“Tim Smith, a fellow classmate of 1978, told me he wanted one major event in St. Albans each month, and he wanted the car show to be July’s major event.”

The news that the Kingman Street Klassic would be made a staple in the yearly calendar of events in St. Albans was more than Kate had hoped for. 

“What a great honor to be able to throw a party in my hometown to raise money for local charities!” said Kate with a smile. “And to be able to bring together some of the best cars in St. Albans and the surrounding areas was great.”

The Kingman Street Klassic got an upgrade for the 2019 year. With proposed renovations on Kingman Street, the show venue was changed. 

“This is year 10, and what a great ride it has been!” said Kate.

“This year the show will take place on Main Street.”

The Kingman Street Klassic crew teamed up with the Northwest Farmers’ Market to plan a day of fun activities to accompany the car show. 

“What an honor to see the show move to Main Street! We will be showcasing antique and classic cars on Main Street and in Taylor Park this year,” explained Kate. “I am very excited to have the Farmers’ Market share their space with us. It has been a great partnership.”

With the change of venue came a change of name. This year the show has been renamed The Klassic. 

Kate extended thanks to those who have been part of making the show a success for so many years.

“Tim Smith and Tim Hawkins from the City have been huge supporters of the show. I can’t thank them enough for all they do,” said Kate. “I get the ideas, and they help me make them come true.”

Kate also thanked Liz Gamache and Alan Robtoy for their help and support. 

The show wouldn’t be possible without the help of many supporters and volunteers, and Kate recognized the Franklin County area for their help. 

“It is a community event; we need people to enter their vehicles in the show, and we need people to come to enjoy it. We appreciate that businesses in our community want to sponsor us so we can provide a day of fun for our community.”

Kate noted that local businesses have stepped up each year to give raffle prizes and donations that help raise money for the charity chosen to be supported by the show. 

“I would love to thank the businesses that have been supporting The Klassic; your kindness has not gone unnoticed, and without you, we wouldn’t be able to do this.”

An event the size of The Klassic needs plenty of volunteers, and thanks to the generous members of The Klassic staff, there are always enough hands to get the job done. 

“The volunteers who give up a Saturday to work in the hot sun do the hard work. I can plan the show, but without the volunteers to pull it off, it would never get accomplished.”

Kate, who’s on her tenth year with the show, knows she’s always got someone who will lend a hand. 

“I love how I can come up with ideas, hand my volunteers the stuff, let them improvise, and they make it work. This show has some of the best volunteers, and many of them have been with us for years; they are the backbone of the event. I could not do it without the help of many of my friends, old and new.”

Watching The Klassic grow each year has meant a lot to Kate. As a lover of classic cars and one who knows the value of a close community, the show brings the best of both worlds together in the heart of the summer. 

“I am very excited to see all the great cars lining Main Street in my hometown, and the Ladies can’t wait to see the cars and give their award.”

The Klassic will take place on Saturday, July 20th from 10am-2pm. All ages are welcome to come and enjoy the day’s activities. 

The festivities will begin with Kathleen Hoffman singing the National Anthem, raffle drawings (10-1), a visit from Rail City Spidey (11:30), a performance by Electric Youth Dance (11:30), and a Time Capsule Dedication with ice cream (noon). DJ Brian Fredette and artists from Artist in Residence will also be present. 

There will be t-shirts for sale, plenty of food, games, and 43 awards to give to show entries. 

Those wishing to register a car can do so for $20. Anyone who registers a car and brings a canned food item for the Food Shelf will receive $5 off the registration fee. 

Proceeds from The Klassic will go to the St.Albans Fire Association.

“Our first responders are always here for their community. I believe that in today’s world we can always make our first responders safer. Why not provide funds that are designed for just that?” said Kate. 

After a decade of shows, Kate’s vision hasn’t changed. 

“In the end, it’s about having a community event that is exciting and fun and brings people into downtown St. Albans to view the cars, visit The Ladies, shop, eat, and see all we have to offer as a community that works together to make memories.”

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