ALTERCATION IN MOVING CAR LEADS TO DOMESTIC ASSAULT CHARGE

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in the June 13th edition of the County Courier. Subscribe to the print edition to stay up to date with what’s going on in your community.

St. Albans Police investigated an incident last Saturday in which a Milton man was accused of assaulting his ex-girlfriend and holding her in his vehicle without her consent.

According to court filings, Joshua Billado, 25, of Milton was driving with his ex-girlfriend in his 2013 Dodge Dart when they began arguing. 

The woman tried to exit the moving vehicle, but Billado stopped her, escalating the fight even more. The incident progressed and at one point the woman punched the center console of the vehicle, breaking a display for the radio, according to testimony given to police.

The woman told police that Billado choked her, and stopped her breathing for at least five seconds during the fight.

Billado left marks on the woman’s neck and shoulder area, insinuating that her allegations of Billado choking her could be true. 

The man, who listed his employer as the Boys & Girls Club of Burlington, was arrested and held on $10,000 bail, which he posted later Sunday afternoon.

Billado was arraigned Monday afternoon, where he was charged with aggravated domestic assault as well as unlawful restraint in the first degree. Both charges are felonies and could land the man in prison for up to 30 years and fines totaling $75,000.

RICHFORD MAN PICKS UP 4TH DUI

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in the June 13th edition of the County Courier. Subscribe to the print edition to stay up to date with what’s going on in your community.

A Border Patrol Agent was patrolling the area of the East Richford Slide Road around noon time on April 29th when he came across Larry Minor, who had stopped on the side of the road after noticing the border patrol agent behind him.

The two began chatting, and the man provided the agent with a non-driver’s photo ID.

The Agent also noticed that he had slurred speech, stumbled a little when he tried to walk, and smelled of alcohol, so he contacted the Vermont State Police.

Troopers responded and questioned Minor, who told police he had taken his wife’s vehicle just up the road to a cemetery.

According to court filings obtained by the County Courier after Minor’s arraignment on Monday, when the Trooper ultimately was able to test the man’s breath for alcohol, it registered 0.091%, which is just over the legal limit for driving in Vermont of 0.08%. That reading was also more than four and a half hours after the border patrol agent first began talking with Minor.

ST. ALBANS MAN FORGED 15 CHECKS

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in the June 13th edition of the County Courier. Subscribe to the print edition to stay up to date with what’s going on in your community.

Vermont State Police arrested Logan Pratt, 30, of St. Albans and charged him with three felony counts of forgery after his grandmother contacted police suspecting him of stealing checks from her home.

When police contacted the elderly woman, she told them that she suspected he stole 8-10 checks from her while he was staying with her at her Georgia home.

The investigation led police to discover 15 checks, ranging from $60 to $200, written to himself or two other family members- Julie and Jacob Pratt.

Police obtained video footage from the bank where the checks were cashed, linking them to Logan Pratt.

In all, the 15 checks totaled $1,690, which was credited back to the grandmother’s account by the bank, according to police.

Pratt, who was out of jail on parole was held on a furlough violation after his arraignment on Monday. It is unclear if Julie or Jacob Pratt will face criminal charges for their involvement in the check fraud.

Pratt has previously been convicted of burglary, grand larceny, and possession of narcotics. The sentences for those convictions max out in March of 2020.

Each felony count of forgery could land Pratt in jail for up to 10 years and a fine of up to $1,000.

MAN LEADS POLICE DOWN RAIL TRAIL, PICKS UP DUI #2 CHARGE

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in the June 13th edition of the County Courier. Subscribe to the print edition to stay up to date with what’s going on in your community.

Vermont State Police say that a Richford man led them down the Rail Trail as they attempted to pull him over Tuesday morning in Enosburgh.

Richford’s Dale Peddle, 54, was behind the wheel of his silver sedan on Tuesday morning when they tried to stop him.

Trooper Charlotte Hartman said she was dispatched for a welfare check; the caller was concerned for Peddle’s safety after he saw the man inhaling exhaust fumes from his car’s tailpipe.

When Hartman later located Peddle driving his vehicle, she attempted to pull him over. He lead police down the Rail Trail in Enosburg before traveling back onto the roadway, ultimately ending up in Richford.

According to Hartman, the pursuit ended in Richford after 16 miles.

“Peddle showed signs of alcohol and drug impairment,” Hartman said, “but he refused to provide a breath test.”

He was issued a citation for criminal court dated for July 1, including the charges of DUI #2, attempting to elude, and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. Police transported Peddle to Northwestern Medical Center for an evaluation after his processing. 

TEMPORARY PRINCIPAL HIRED FOR BAKERSFIELD ELEMENTARY

The Bakersfield Board of School Directors moved to hire Rhoda McLure as the interim principal of Bakersfield Elementary School.  McLure will be replacing current Principal Anissa Seguin who has served as the Bakersfield Elementary and Middle School principal for the past four years.  

McLure has been an educator and leader in the Orleans Southwest Supervisory for many years.  Her most recent work as a curriculum leader will serve her well in her new role in Bakersfield.

According to Lynn Cota, Superintendent of the Franklin Northeast Supervisory Union the school board made the decision to go with an interim principal because of the timing- a full search will begin in January.

Cota touted McLure, “I am confident McLure’s leadership experience, beliefs, and commitment to providing a high-quality education for all students will serve the Bakersfield school community well.”

Vice Chair of the Bakersfield School Board, and Chair of the new Northern Mountain Valley Unified Union School District Board, Jean-Marie Clark, stated, “The board is excited to welcome Rhoda to the Bakersfield team. We believe that her experience in and out of the classroom make her a great fit for our school. We are grateful to the school faculty & staff, students and community that took the time to meet Rhoda and share their feedback with us.”

REPEAT OFFENDER ON PAROLE CHARGED WITH VIOLATING ABUSE PREVENTION ORDER

Joshua T. Rocheleau, 28, of St. Albans appears in Franklin County Criminal Court with Public Defender Steve Dunham on Friday afternoon in St. Albans.

 By Gregory J. Lamoureux
County Courier

 ST. ALBANS: Joshua T. Rocheleau, 28, of St. Albans was arrested early Friday morning on charges that he violated an abuse prevention order earlier in the month.

 According to court records, Rocheleau confronted his ex-girlfriend who had an abuse prevention order filed against him more than a year ago.

 That order came about from a previous domestic assault in which Rocheleau was convicted and is currently a sentence that could keep him behind bars until 2024.

Because Rocheleau had reached his minimum, he had been released on Parole, giving him the opportunity to stalk his ex-partner.

 The victim in the case, who the County Courier has decided not to identify, told police that Rocheleau approached her at the Family Dollar in downtown St. Albans, wanting to talk to her.

 The victim was inside her vehicle as Rochleau allegedly rode his bicycle around her vehicle several times as he tried to convince the female to talk with him.

 Police responded to the area, and took a statement from the female who said in part, “I was super scared of how unpredictable and violent he can be.”

 Late Thursday evening, a St. Albans Police Officer knowledgeable with the case saw Rocheleau and knew him to be wanted in questioning with the incident. As that officer tried to confront Rocheleau, he retreated into his parents’ home on Walnut Street.

 Police tried to coax Rochleau out but were not successful, so they sought a search warrant for the home. Once inside, the officers were unable to locate Rocheleau “due to the mass clutter of the residence,” according to court records.

 St. Albans police then contacted Vermont State Police for a K9 unit to respond. Once that K9 began searching the home, Rocheleau came out from a garbage can just outside the back door of the residence, one officer said in a written statement.

 “Joshua stated that he gave up from hiding in order to avoid being bitten by the K9,” wrote Officer Ferguson’s written affidavit filed on Friday.

 Rocheleau was serving parole for a conviction of aggravated domestic assault, one of at least three domestic assault convictions on his record, so he was ordered back to prison pending a review by the parole board. His maximum release date is March 15th, 2024. However, he could, and is likely to be released sooner by the parole board.

WOMAN LEADS POLICE ON CHASE, CRASHES, GETS AWAY THREE TIMES

By Gregory J. Lamoureux
County Courier

ST. ALBANS: Vermont State Police say Melissa Labounty was behind the wheel Tuesday afternoon in Swanton when police tried to stop her for a moving violation. That’s when she took off at a high rate of speed, fleeing from the traffic stop.

Police tried to stop Labounty, who had a criminally suspended license, near the intersection of Woods Hill Road and Bushey Road before she fled, traveling towards St. Albans.

Continue reading “WOMAN LEADS POLICE ON CHASE, CRASHES, GETS AWAY THREE TIMES”

FNESU VOTERS TO ELECT BOARD MEMBERS TODAY, SOME WILL ALSO VOTE ON BUDGET

Voters from the Northern Mountain Valley Unified Union School District gathered at the Berkshire Elementary School Monday evening to vote on articles from the floor as well as ask questions about items to be voted on today by Australian Ballot. Gregory J. Lamoureux, County Courier

By Gregory J. Lamoureux
County Courier

Polls are open for voters in six towns today to elect board members, and for some, approve a school budget.

The towns of Berkshire, Bakersfield, Montgomery and Sheldon (the Northern Mountain Valley Unified Union School District) will be voting on a $16.3 million school budget, as well as electing eight members to their newly expanded board.

Continue reading “FNESU VOTERS TO ELECT BOARD MEMBERS TODAY, SOME WILL ALSO VOTE ON BUDGET”

SOS: SCHOOL MEETING MAY HAVE VIOLATED LAW

Enosburgh’s Suzi Hull Casavant speaks about her belief that the meeting held Thursday evening at the Enosburg High School was called illegally.

By Gregory J. Lamoureux
County Courier

ENOSBURG FALLS: Many of the voters of Enosburgh and Richford who attended last Thursday evening’s meeting to determine details of a forced school merger were confused on the legality of the meeting. So much so, that Superintendent Lynn Cota spoke to the fact before much business could be conducted.

“We were told by the Agency of Education that Suzi’s motion was not valid,” Cota explained to voters, “Because she did not specify a date specific” in a motion at the February meeting, in Richford, intended to conduct the same business.

Suzi Hull Casavant’s original motion was to delay the action of the voters until a court had decided on the legality of Act 46.

That initial motion was denied by moderator Patrick Hayes, but later overruled by voters with a 2/3 majority.

Now, Will Senning, the Secretary of State’s legal mind tasked with municipal elections states the interpretation behind the State Board of Education’s ruling on the initial motion was incorrect.

Secretary of Education Dan French speaks to the voters of Enosburgh and Richford Thursday evening, assuring them that his belief is that the meeting being held is legal.

Senning explained to the County Courier on Friday, in a phone interview, the intricacies of the ruling, and according to Isabelle, because Suzi Hull-Casavant’s motion did not have a date to reconvene, the next meeting would have to be warned again.

Senning was clear though, that is does not invalidate the original motion to await a ruling from a judge before reconvening.

The ruling implies the Secretary of Education, Dan French did not have legal authority to warn or call the meeting before the judge’s ruling, which came out Friday, almost 24 hours after the meeting at the Enosburg High School was conducted.

Judge Mello threw out three of the six charges, finding the law constitutional, but also saying he did so expecting it to be lifted to Vermont’s Supreme Court for a ruling there.

As for Thursday’s meeting, legal or not, it will stand until and unless a citizen files in Civil Court, stating that their rights as a voter were violated, according to Senning.

“The Secretary of State’s office does not have any power to enforce (election laws),” Senning said, “That is left up to citizens to file a complaint on their own.”

As of Wednesday’s press date, no complaint had been filed, however, if one is filed, it is likely the meeting will have to be conducted all over again.