POLICE: MAN HELD GUN TO STEPSON’S HEAD

By Gregory J. Lamoureux
County Courier

Cesar Rodriguez, 49, of Alburgh was arrested by the Vermont State Police late last week after the report of a domestic abuse situation was conducted by VSP and DCF.

According to police, Rodriguez assaulted his 14-year-old stepson, then pointed what was believed to be a loaded handgun at him.

According to the boy, Rodriguez whipped him in retaliation for an argument the boy had with Rodriguez’s biological son.

“(Rodriguez) put a Glock against my forehead,” the boy told police, “If you ever touch my son or daughter again I will kill you.”

Rodriguez and his wife moved from New York to Vermont in 2015. Before the move, according to police, New York State’s equivalent of DCF investigated severe allegations of assault and corporal punishment, leading to charges in New York.

According to the case worker’s testimony, this was not the first time DCF had investigated the Rodriguez family either.

The incident with the gun, according to the 14-year-old victim stemmed from Rodriguez’s biological son continually harassing the 14-year-old, saying “you’re going to be my b**ch,” according to court filings. When the 14-year old refused and pushed Rodriguez biological son, that’s when the punishment began.

The boy went on to tell police that he feared for his life on a regular basis, and refuses to go back to the home with Rodriguez.

Rodriguez went to jail in New York State, according to court filings, for a manslaughter charge. That charge dated back to 1991, but originated as a murder charge, according to police.

Because of the felony convictions on Rodriguez’s record, he was not legally allowed to possess a firearm. According to his court file, that didn’t stop him. When police served a search warrant at the home of Rodriguez, they found a Glock 43 (9mm), a Springfield XD (9mm), a Ruger LC9s (9mm), and two assault-style rifles along with a tactile vest with extra magazines.

Police took Rodriguez into custody, only to find another handgun concealed on him. That was a Glock 23 (.40 caliber). He had a diaper bag, which also contained two loaded magazines to that Glock, according to police.

Rodriguez told police he had the guns because of recent burglaries in the area. His 14-year-old daughter also told the DCF worker that her parents had recently told her to stay up all night to protect the house from intruders. They armed the young girl with a gun that night to fend off any would-be intruders. At least part of that account was corroborated by Rodriguez when police interviewed him.

Rodriguez’s stepson told police that this was one of the most severe beatings and assaults that had taken place. He said that the abuse was an ongoing issue in the household, even telling officers that he had missed dozens of days of school last year because his mother and stepfather were concerned that his injuries would send up red flags with school officials.

Rodriguez’ criminal history led to him being charged with illegal possession of a firearm as a felon. In addition, Rodriguez is being charged with First degree aggravated domestic assault, reckless endangerment, cruelty to children, criminal threatening, and domestic assault.

He was initially held on $25,000 bail, which was struck by Judge Gregory Rainville, but he was ordered to be released into the custody of a responsible adult. As of press time on Wednesday Rodriguez had not found a responsable adult approved by the courst for release and was still being held by corrections at Northwest Correctional Center in St. Albans.

FEDS CHARGE REPEAT SEX OFFENDER WITH POSSESSION OF CHILD PORN

Carrying a bible, Shane Allen Edgerly, 42, of Fairfield is lead into the courtroom by Public Defender Paul Gross in October of 2017.                                             Gregory J. Lamoureux, County Courier file

By Gregory J. Lamoureux
County Courier

MILTON: It’s been almost a year to the day after Shane Edgerly, 42 years old, was lead into a St. Albans courtroom to face charges that he sexually assaulted a family member. Now, Federal agents have charged him with possession of child pornography on his cell phone.

Agent Michael McCullagh from the Department of Homeland Security was tasked with following up on a tip from a website Edgerly was using to host the child porn. Continue reading “FEDS CHARGE REPEAT SEX OFFENDER WITH POSSESSION OF CHILD PORN”

REMEMBERING ADA

By Ruthie Laroche
For the County Courier

This spring and summer a transformation has taken place on a portion of the BFA Fairfax cross-country trail. Students and community members have set their sights on creating a beautiful space to remember a wonderful person they lost too soon.

Ada’s Garden, named after Ada Sorensen who lost her life in an accident last year, has begun to take shape thanks to the loving and generous help of the Fairfax community.

Kathleen Shedd has been instrumental in helping to keep Ada’s memory alive in the town that she called home during her young life.

When the memorial garden concept began to take shape, Shedd and others reached out to BFA Fairfax principal John Tague for his help.

“The school has made it possible to build a memory garden in Ada’s name. They have given us a big area to use, and we’ve been working to fill it. We found a spot off to the side of the cross country trail in the woods. There’s a stream, a little bridge; when we found it we knew that was the spot,” said Shedd.

The garden currently measures about 100 feet square and has been steadily receiving plants to fill the space thanks to many generous donations from community members.

“The town has also helped us so much; we’ve had over one hundred plants donated, as well as fifty bags of compost, and labor to see to the removal of trees. This process has really brought out the best in people,” said Shedd.

Read the entire story in this week’s County Courier,
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OLDEST CHURCH IN ENOSBURGH MAY BE RAZED

By Gregory J. Lamoureux
County Courier

ENOSBURGH: The Enosburgh Center Church has been a landmark in the community for more than two centuries. That may change if three church members have their way.

According to an email obtained by the County Courier through a records request, three of the four last surviving members of the church have voted to demolish the church and liquidate the assets.

Because the church is a not for profit organization, the funds from the sale and any funds the church has accumulated to date would have to be donated to another, not for profit organization. That’s according to the church’s own meeting minutes after a proposal was offered during a meeting in 2001.

In that same legal opinion offered to the church, the attorney suggests that the remaining assets legally become assets of the Town of Enosburgh once the church stops holding at least one service a year there.

The last service on record was held in 2001.

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

SENATE HOPEFUL CALLED OUT FOR “SEXUAL ASSAULT JOKE”

A photo of Dustin Tanner’s campaign website.

By Gregory J. Lamoureux
County Courier

Editor’s Note: This story contains content that is not suitable for all readers.

Dustin Tanner announced his bid for the Vermont Senate in June, three years after posting a video on his YouTube channel that joked about sexual assault, buying marijuana from high school students, and being a CCV dropout.

Tanner, a Progressive/Democrat running to fill one of two Senate seats took a stand-up comedy class in 2015, ultimately leading to the 2015 set, according to an interview with Seven Days newspaper, who broke the story last Thursday.

The joke that gained the most attention Thursday was likely the one about not committing sexual assault on his dentist.

“My dentist, I swear to God has the biggest tits ever,” Tanner said as he acts out a person leaning over a dental chair, “She’s like this, right over me. At this point, I can’t feel my face.”

Tanner continues acting his part of sitting in the dental chair with a numbed mouth, mimicking the sounds of a dental patient trying to talk with someone’s hands in their mouth, “I’m sitting there with my tongue hanging out of my mouth, literally an inch from her breasts.”

The joke continues as Tanner describes the female dentist as she tries to pull his tooth, “She’s going at it like she’s trying to win a prize at the State Fair,” he said.

The room of 21 years and over comedy goers gives an uncomfortable laugh, and that’s when he delivers the punch line, “I went to the dentist that day, but I was lucky I didn’t commit sexual assault.”The video was made public by Shayne Spence, an employee who works part-time for the Don Turner for Lieutenant Governor’s campaign. Turner is running against David Zuckerman, who employed Tanner in a similar position as Spence during his last campaign.

Spence said he thought the video, which has since been deleted by Tanner, shows his true colors, and, in a time when the country is divided from the Kavanaugh hearings in Washington, voters should have the ability to know as much about a candidate as they can.

The timing of the sexual assault joke video corresponded with Tanner’s announcement that he was endorsed by Planned Parenthood, an endorsement that Spence pointed out was hypocritical when a candidate makes jokes of such a serious nature. Tanner’s Twitter post about the endorsement was later deleted. Often times campaign donations come with such endorsements, but Tanner failed to file an October 1st campaign finance report so that it could not be verified one way or another.

According to Tanner, an unknown person emailed him in May to complain about the video, soon after he announced his intentions to run for the Senate.

“I was hoping that if somebody had a concern, they could have reached out to me privately,” Tanner told the County Courier in a telephone interview, “I want to make this a learning experience and move the conversation forward.”

Read the full story in this week’s County Courier.

RICHFORD WOMAN ADMITS TO FIVE BANK ROBBERIES

The image, taken by security cameras at a Virginia bank is allegedly to be Amber Fusco. Courtesy of the FBI

By Gregory J. Lamoureux
County Courier

Newly filed court documents show a guilty plea that Amber Fusco, 30, of Richford entered on charges connected to five bank robberies in December of 2017 and January of 2018.

Fusco had been wanted by Federal Authorities in February for the bank robberies, she was eventually taken into custody a week later on February 23rd, according to records.

On Thursday, September 20th, Fusco took responsibility for the bank robberies during a hearing in open court, reducing her 15-year sentence by one year.  Fusco could have been sentenced to a maximum of life in jail.

The plea agreement meant Fusco would admit to the robberies, but would only be convicted on two of the five bank robbery charges. She would also be convicted on a charge brandishing a firearm in the furtherance of a violent crime.

In addition to the time Fusco would have to serve in prison, Fusco has also been ordered to parole of five years after her release.

SEE RELATED: LOCAL WOMAN WANTED IN CONNECTION WITH VIRGINIA BANK ROBBERIES

Federal Court in Virginia took the role of prosecuting Fusco. She is being held at the Northern Neck Regional Jail in Warsaw, Virginia pending her transfer to a Federal Prison.

Fusco admitted to robbing two Virginia banks before returning to Vermont for three more bank robberies.

Amber Fusco, 30 in an August 2017 mug shot provided by the South Burlington Police Department after police discovered Fusco slumped over the steering wheel of her vehicle in the Hannaford parking lot. She allegedly had her infant child in the vehicle with her at the time.

Fusco was also ordered to pay $6,901.00 in restitution, at a rate of $100 per month, or 25% of her gross wages, whichever is greater.

Court records indicate that Fusco entered a BB&T Bank in Henrico, Virginia on December 20th, handed the teller a note, indicating she had a firearm, then brandished that firearm to make the bank teller comply with her demands.

Three days later, police say Fusco went to a Wells Fargo Bank, handed a teller a note, but did not brandish a firearm at that time.

That note read, “I need large bills. I have a gun and will use it. You have 30 seconds.”

Fusco fled in a vehicle driven by Jennifer Bessette, according to police, unknowingly carrying a GPS tracker with the cash inside the vehicle.

Fusco at an alleged bank robbery in Virginia.

Law Enforcement tracked that vehicle down, but Fusco had already fled in another direction.

The Bonnie and Clyde wannabes then came back to Vermont where Fusco robbed a North Country Federal Credit Union, TD Bank, and a National Bank of Middlebury.

According to court records, Fusco made a stop in New York on her way back to Vermont, where she allegedly stole a $35,000 Rolex watch from a jewelry store.

Fusco’s extensive criminal history was a factor in the sentence. Her criminal record is as follows:
• Driving on a suspended license (July 2011)
• Disorderly Conduct (July 2011)
• Driving on a suspended license (February 2012)
• Disorderly Conduct (August 2012)
• Retail Theft, 2 counts (October 2012)
• Disorderly Conduct (May 2015)
• Theft of Services (June 2015)
• Driving under the influence (November 2016)
• Assault (June 2017)
• Cruelty to a child less than 10 (August 2017)
• Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer (December 2017)

“These convictions show a pattern of continuous assaultive behavior, a complete disregard for the well being of others (including her minor child, and a pattern of defying orders of the court,” said Andela Mastandrea-Miller, the assistant United States Attorney assigned to the case, adding that the sentence was needed to “protect the public from the Defendant’s future criminal conduct.”

Fusco’s accomplice, Jennifer Bessette took a plea deal for 92 months to serve with three years of supervised release thereafter. Bessette was also ordered to repay money to the banks, her share of restitution is $1,251.00.

Police identified a third co-conspirator in the Virginia robberies as Andrew Welton Jr. A warrant for his arrest was issued on July 10th and he has yet to be found, according to court records.

KANES REFLECT ON LIFE OF LOVE

By Ruthie Laroche
For the County Courier

George and Rolande Kane have lived in the brick house on VT Route 105 since May of 1954. Today, their family continues to operate the farm, and the legacy that they built in Franklin County continues to grow as four generations spread their roots.

“We bought the house from Ben Wilder’s widow Hazel, no money down, just a shake of the hand,” said George.

George had fond memories of visiting the Wilder farm in his youth, and the opportunity to own it was too good to pass up.

“I came down to the Wilder farm with my father Roscoe when I was eight years old. Ben Wilder had an office in what is now our bedroom,” explained George.

“Hazel Wilder said this house was built for children,” said Rolande, remembering a chat with Hazel.

The Kanes didn’t disappoint. They had six children when they moved into the home and went on to have nine children in all: Maureen, Margaret, Paula, Michael, James and Janet, Celeste, Brenda, and Marc.

The spring that George and Rolande moved their family from East Sheldon posed some challenges, one of which was moving the animals.

“I remember seeing George walking down the road with the herd led by a police escort,” said Rolande with a chuckle.

George drove his 40 cows along the East Sheldon Road, down the Kane Road, across the bridge in North Sheldon and down VT Rte. 105 toward Enosburgh, joining them with the Wilder’s 20. The family rolled up their sleeves and got to work immediately.

“You better believe I worked!” said George with a smile, “I cut logs and everything else to make those payments.”

George supplemented the farm income with sugaring and renovating old houses, and Rolande, who had been a teacher before she married George, eventually returned to teach in Enosburgh.

George first saw Rolande in 1944, shortly after she moved to town to teach; she was going to a movie in Enosburgh.

“We were both in the lobby waiting for the second show,” Rolande explained.

Rolande was born and raised in Swanton and went to St. Anne’s High School. During the war years, she attended Trinity College in Burlington where she spent time working in a mill during the summer folding bandages for soldiers.

The Kanes’ daughters laughed as they recounted a favorite story told by their mother. At Trinity, in Rolande’s day, the incoming students had to purchase a black, woolen graduation gown which they were required to wear to Chapel, daily.

Rolande recalled many mornings dashing out with her pajamas under her graduation gown because she was worried she would be late to Chapel.

That same gown was worn by most of George and Rolande’s children and even some of their grandchildren when they graduated from college.

After graduation Rolande taught in Enosburgh for three years; during that time her relationship with George blossomed.

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Barrette Ford