LOCAL WOMEN WANTED IN CONNECTION WITH VIRGINIA BANK ROBBERIES

Amber Fusco, 29 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’s parking lot. She allegedly had her infant child in the vehicle with her at the time.

Federal Agents say, Amber Fusco, 29, of Richford and Jennifer Bessette, 33, are wanted in connection with a pair of bank robberies in Virginia.

According to court records, Bessette and Fusco met a Virginian, Andrew Welton in Burlington and cooked up a scheme to travel to the Commonwealth to rob banks.

The first bank robbed was BB&T bank in Henrico, Va, according to court records. That is where agents say Fusco entered the bank with a note, scrawled “I need $10,000 No Dye Packs Make It Fast No Alarms or Else.”

The clerk that Fesco allegedly gave the note to, told Fusco that she did not have that much cash.

According to police, that is when Fusco removed a silver revolver from her right front pocket and told the clerk to “hurry up.”

The clerk handed over more than $1,000 in cash and fled on foot.

That robbery occurred on December 20th. Three days later, Fusco is accused of entering a Wells Fargo Bank in Richmond, VA, where she handed the teller a note that read “I need all large bills, I have a gun and will use it. You have 30 seconds.”

That teller allegedly handed over more than $4,400 in currency, which included a GPS tracker.

As police responded to the scene, they received information on the whereabouts of the GPS transmitter and noted that it was traveling away from the bank.

Police shut down a toll plaza and began making contact with each driver.

One of the vehicles that police stopped, was a silver Ford Fusion, driven by Andrew Welton, according to police. Inside the vehicle was a man, woman, and infant.

Because police did not believe that a family would be involved in the bank heist, the vehicle was waived through the checkpoint.

Soon afterward police received word that the GPS tracker was on the move again, and had been allowed to travel through the roadblock.

A short time later, police were able to stop the vehicle, but by that time the woman and infant had fled to an unknown location, according to records.

Police searched the vehicle and found $4,000, the GPS tracker, two pieces of jewelry with their price tags still on them, and a ski mask, and a cell phone.

According to Welton, he met Bassette and Fusco in Burlington, Vermont where the two women brainstormed the idea of bank robberies in Virginia.

Last week, Fusco was interviewed by law enforcement officers, where she admitted to being a part of the bank robberies, according to court records.

“Fusco identified herself in the surveillance photo as the subject of the BB&T bank robbery,” Robert Sayegh, Special Agent for the FBI wrote in a description of the admission obtained by the County Courier.

According to that admission, Bessette was the getaway driver for Fusco, initially, at least until they could get to Welton who was parked a few blocks away.

The two women are being charged with two counts of bank robbery, aiding and abetting a bank robbery, and one count of brandishing a firearm during the commission of a felony.

Fusco has a previous criminal history in Vermont and is currently on probation for cruelty to children, assault on a police officer, and simple assault, according to public records.

Bessette was arrested and is currently being held at Chittenden County Correctional Center in South Burlington, according to public records. Fusco has yet to be located.

Welton is currently being held at the Richmond (VA) county jail.

LAKE CARMI STARS IN WATER QUALITY LEGISLATION

NEW REPORT RECOMMENDS REMEDIES

By Gregory J. Lamoureux
County Courier

MONTPELIER: David Deen, a Democrat from Westminster and chair of the House Committee on Natural Resources, Fish, and Wildlife has submitted a bill into the House that could drastically improve the water quality in Lake Carmi.

The bill, which was introduced at the end of last month would shift all the responsibilities for water quality to the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR), but only if ANR designates the lake in question ‘in crisis.’

The bill, as introduced, would also let ANR establish an emergency order to cease, in the watershed of the lake, all agricultural practices that contribute phosphorus to the lake.

Although the funding sources have yet to be ironed out, the legislation would require the State of Vermont to compensate farmers for any losses that are directly contributable to an emergency order.

Locals from the area traveled to Montpelier on Thursday to testify on the bill, including the Vice President of the Lake Carmi Campers Association, Rob Evans.

“While blue-green algae is not a new phenomenon at Lake Carmi, this summer was the worst we had ever seen,” Evans testified, “Many articles have been written, public hearings were held, network news stations filmed from our shores and property owners, town residents and all those who visit and recreate at Lake Carmi were left wondering what does the future hold for our lake.”

Evans told the committee that he has owned a camp on Lake Carmi for a dozen years, but that may not continue if something isn’t done.

“Much like the conversations that Governor Scott has been having about keeping our youth and seniors in the state, many of us who have looked forward to retiring on the lake are having second thoughts and are wondering if Lake Carmi is a safe place to bring our future grandchildren.” Evans testified.

Evans pushed much of the blame onto the agricultural community that sits within the watershed of the lake.

“While we recognize that lakeshores need to be improved, roads surrounding the lake need to be enhanced, continual improvements on camp septic systems need to be completed and creative land management practices need to be explored that slow down and filter out the phosphorous coming into our lake… the problem and the solution– always comes back to agriculture,” said Evans.

The effect of land value and taxes may impact the remainder of the Town. Information that was submitted to the Legislative Committee on Thursday by Peter Magnant indicates that about 23% of the Town’s $2.8 million in total tax revenue comes from lakeside properties. Of those, about 80% paid their most recent taxes in protest to the condition of the lake.

Andrea Engelhardt and Diane Larose, two local camp owners presented the committee with photos of the lake late in 2017, including photos showing fish die-offs, muscle die-offs and areas of water completely blanketed with algae.

Perry Thomas, a representative of the State’s Watershed Management Division of the Department of Environmental Conservation, also testified to the bill’s impact, this time a detrimental impact, according to Thomas.

“While the Agency appreciates the attention brought to Lake Carmi’s water quality needs by H.730, we are concerned that some of the bill’s language would affect our ability to accelerate work toward meeting phosphorus reduction goals, by undermining working relationships among partner(s).” Thomas wrote.

According to Thomas, 2017 was the “perfect storm” for algae blooms in the lake, “unusually high levels of rainfall in late spring 2017 caused erosion of phosphorus-laden sediments that triggered early summer algae blooms. Typical stratification during early summer led to a lack of mixing in the lowest layer and depletion of oxygen by biological activity there. Under these conditions, phosphorus was released from the sediment and builds up in the lowest layer. Cool temperatures for a short period in August caused mixing of the lake column, and the phosphorus in the lowest layer mixed up through the water column. This extra injection of phosphorus caused the intense algae blooms we witnessed in late August and early September. An extended period of unusually warm weather from late September through November caused extension of the cyanobacteria bloom.”

Thomas indicated the hundreds of acres that the State is working with farmers on in order to reduce the impact of agriculture on the lake. A graph provided by Thomas showed a 35 fold increase of the number of acres that was being utilized for best practice from 2009 to 2016.

The lake’s watershed covers 7,710 acres, mostly used for agriculture, according to a newly released report on the lake, authored by an environmental management consulting agency based in Tennessee.

In the short term, it was recommended that the state could install devices to artificially circulate the water up or down in the lake, aerate the lake, or use a process known as alum treatments, which binds the phosphorous to aluminum.

According to the report, mixing the water by circulating it up or downward in the lake would limit the amount of light to which algae could access.

The mixing would also subject the algae to turbulent water, which reduces its growth potential.

The longest term option may come from the alum treatments, according to the report. The average application of alum to a waterbody lasted for about 21 years, and there are no ongoing management or operating expenses attributed to the alum treatment, but the initial expense is expected to be about $660,000 for a full dose on the lake.

There is also an option for a partial dose of alum in the lake with costs starting at about $150,000.

It is estimated that the lake would need 83 tons of aluminum to fully treat the lake.

Steve Beyor who represents Franklin and is the ranking member on the committee receiving testimony over this bill was not available for comment as of press time.

Whatever the decision by the legislature, it’s clearly a bad time, to say the least, for farmers to see higher expenses through greater regulation. Milk prices are still about $2 below the cost of production, per hundredweight, and have been for well over three years. January’s milk check was recently delivered to farmers, with a stark message inside- the number to the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

THE ABBEY & MVU TEAM UP TO EAT LOCALLY

By Ruthie Laroche
For the County Courier

The Abbey Group and the MVU Animal Science Department have joined forces to bring locally raised, farm-fresh beef to the MVU student body.

“The Abbey Group has purchased fifty pounds of local beef from the Animal Science Department at MVU. We are pleased to be part of their program, and we are very excited to offer local beef to the MVU students,” said Tina Bushey, Foodservice Director for The Abbey.

Students from MVU made colorful signs that were placed around the school to let students know about the local beef.

“The students are very big on local here at MVU. The kids take pride in being able to have local products served to them at lunchtime,” said Bushey.

The Abbey Group hopes to continue to buy beef from the Animal Science Department on a monthly basis, purchasing fifty pounds a month and featuring the beef in different recipes each month.

“I would love to do a burger day with a homemade, fresh patty,” said Bushey.

Last week students at MVU had ‘Taco Tuesday,’ and the beef in the tacos was sourced directly from MVU’s campus.

Animal Science teacher Jim Messier and his students put a lot of time and effort into raising their beautiful, healthy steers each year.

“The students are a part of the process from start to finish,” Bushey said, “Mr. Messier has set it up so that his students not only raise the beef, but they will also interact with The Abbey doing the invoicing for the product they sell. This is what he is teaching them, and it’s great. It’s real-life experience.”

Bushey and The Abbey Group also hope to use eggs raised by the Animal Science Department in the future.

“Anything we can do to support our local farms and the school, we are very excited to do,” said Bushey.

The students in the Animal Science Program raise the animals themselves, taking part in every aspect of their care. Special attention is given to ensure that the animals are not only well fed but that they are also friendly with people.

“We’ve cared for these animals, and we know what they’ve eaten and how they’ve been treated. They are really loved while they are here,” said Luten.

Pick up a copy of this week’s County Courier for the remainder of this article.

FAIRFAX CRASH LEAVES ONE IN CRITICAL CONDITION

FAIRFAX: Vermont State Police say that an afternoon crash left a St. Albans man in critical, life-threatening condition Thursday.

According to Trooper Nathan Quealy of the Vermont State Police, Michael Farrington, a 65-year-old St. Albans man was driving his 2008 Toyota Carolla north on Route 104 in Fairfax Thursday afternoon, around 4:42, when he crossed over the center line and collided head-on with a Ford F-250 driven by Leon Kinsley, 68, of Jeffersonville. Continue reading “FAIRFAX CRASH LEAVES ONE IN CRITICAL CONDITION”

McALLISTER SENTENCED TO PROBATION, WORK CREW

Norm McAllister listens to the victim read her statement to the court Tuesday morning during sentencing on a misdemeanor sex charge.                                         Gregory J. Lamoureux, County Courier

ST. ALBANS: Former State Senator Norm McAllister of Highgate was sentenced on Tuesday morning to one year of probation and 25 days of work crew after his conviction on a prostitution charge in July.

The prosecutors had asked for the maximum of one year to serve in prison, which is also the maximum sentence that the legislature has set for offenses like McAllister’s. Continue reading “McALLISTER SENTENCED TO PROBATION, WORK CREW”

FAIRFIELD SEX OFFENDER BAILS OUT OF PRISON

ST. ALBANS: Less than 24 hours after his arrest, a Fairfield sex offender is allowed to walk free from prison on Tuesday afternoon.

In a continuation of Monday’s arraignment for Shane Edgerly yesterday, Judge Martin A. Maley set bail at $50,000 for a registered sex offender that allegedly took advantage of a 10-year-old girl just months after he was released from prison.

Less than two hours later, Edgerly had posted at least 10%, allowing him to walk free while he awaits his trial. Continue reading “FAIRFIELD SEX OFFENDER BAILS OUT OF PRISON”

POLICE ARREST FAIRFIELD SEX OFFENDER, AGAIN

Carrying a bible, Shane Allen Edgerly, 41, of Fairfield is lead into the courtroom by Public Defender Paul Gross on Monday afternoon.      Gregory J. Lamoureux, photo

EDITOR’S NOTE: This news article may not be appropriate for all audiences. Reader discretion is advised.

FAIRFIELD: Vermont State Police have arrested a sex offender for allegedly taking advantage, sexually, of a young female family member about seven years ago.

The abuse began just months after Edgerly was released from probation on a previous, lewd and lascivious conduct with a child, conviction. That charge, along with four other sex crimes has landed Edgerly on the state’s sex offender registry for life. He was listed on the state’s sex offender registry as a “non-high risk offender.”

According to court documents obtained exclusively by the County Courier on Monday, Edgerly told the then 10-year-old female he wanted to show her how to use a vibrator so that she would stay away from boys.

Leaving out the lewd details, the female eventually pushed Edgerly off her and hid in a bathroom until another adult family member was home with whom she could confide with.

Edgerly’s wife, Sonja, allegedly swept the incident under the rug, convincing those who knew about the incident that it would be handled  “within the family,” according to testimony given to police.

The victim told police that the family dealt with the incident by confiding in church elders from the Jehovah Witness Kingdom Hall. That didn’t stop the abuse, however. According to the victim, Edgerly would sneak into her room and put vibrators inside her dresser and then tell her later where to find them.

The victim told police that she told Edgerly on a regular basis to stop, that she didn’t need him to do that. She also told police that on at least one occasion, Edgerly stopped at Good Stuff in St. Albans (with the victim in the car) to purchase a vibrator for her.

According to police, the victim also told police Edgerly is a nudist and likes to walk around his home naked, even when the victim and the victim’s siblings are there. She also told police that Edgerly “wrestles” with them while he is naked, and on at least one occasion he has groped her while doing so.

Edgerly hired a private attorney, which was not able to be at his arraignment on Monday afternoon, so, on Edgerly’s behalf, Public Defender Paul Gross took advantage of the 24-hour rule, a process that delays the arraignment proceedings until the following business day.

Assistant State’s Attorney Diane Wheeler asked Judge Martin A. Maley to hold Edgerly without bail, citing his previous sexual assault convictions as well as a previous conviction for leaving the scene of an accident as evidence that he would not hold up his end of a bargain to return to court for full arraignment.

Wheeler also cited a paragraph in the court affidavit, where the victim told police Edgerly made it clear to her as well as the rest of the family, that if he ever went back to prison, he would either commit suicide or escape to Alaska.

Edgerly’s criminal history includes six sex charges, five of which he was convicted for, as well as a gross negligent operation of a motor vehicle, leaving the scene of an accident, failure to comply with the sex offender registry, and violation of conditions of release.

Edgerly is the owner of SOS construction, a residential remodeling company based in Fairfield, according to public records. When police first contacted him, he told them he couldn’t talk to them for several days since he was working on a construction site in Middlebury, Vermont.

Public Defender Gross argued that Edgerly knew the police were looking for him and came to the police barracks to turn himself in, showing that he will be faithful to return to court.

Judge Maley ultimately ordered that Edgerly is be held on $50,000 bail, and not to have any contact with the victim, the victim’s siblings, or Edgerly’s wife. He also ordered that if Edgerly meets bail, he will be barred from possessing any sex toys or pornography.

As of 8:15 pm on Monday evening Edgerly had not posted bail and was being held at the Northwest Correctional Center in St. Albans. He is scheduled to be arraigned Tuesday afternoon at 1 p.m. on the two felony counts, which if convicted, could land him in prison for 5 years to life as well as a fine of up to $25,000 on each count.

TEMPERS FLARE AT LAKE CARMI WATERSHED MEETING

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”

MACHINE OPERATORS IN HIGH DEMAND

Vermont Precision Tools (VPT), headquartered in Swanton, is on the cutting edge of a new method of finding quality machine operators. A manufacturer of high-quality precision medical bur blanks for the OEM medical industry, VTP and Vermont HITEC, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to high-quality workforce development announced recently that they will hold a fifth education and apprenticeship program that will bring Machine Operator jobs to Vermont over the next several months. A Machine Operator is responsible for the operation of various cylindrical grinding machines as well as the operation of computer numeric controlled (CNC) equipment.

Those Machine Operators are responsible for the operation of various cylindrical grinding machines as well as the operation of computer numeric controlled (CNC) equipment.

The program is a partnership between Vermont Precision Tools, the Vermont Department of Labor, and Vermont HITEC. The program provides free education and one year of on-site mentoring through an apprenticeship at the VPT Swanton, Vermont location. The program is designed for unemployed and underemployed Vermont residents. Successful completion of the program will lead directly to full-time employment as a Machine Operator at the fast-growing Vermont Precision Tools.

“Vermont HITEC is thrilled to be partnering with Vermont Precision Tools to provide employment and training opportunities to individuals in northwestern Vermont,” said Steven Lutton, Executive Director of Vermont HITEC. “Our goal is to develop programs for employers that attract and train motivated individuals with the skills necessary to enter employment ready, able, and motivated to work at exceptional Vermont employers such as Vermont Precision Tools.”

Through an extensive recruitment process, up to eight individuals will be selected for the eight-week education program. Upon graduation from the education program, participants will fill Machine Operator apprentice positions. All positions will receive full wages and benefits. Individuals selected will also participate in a one-year apprenticeship program administered by the Vermont Department of Labor and will earn a Certificate from the U.S. Department of Labor’s Apprenticeship Division upon successful completion.

“By partnering with Vermont HITEC, VPT has graduated dozens of apprentices and rapidly increased the capabilities and skills of the men and women working on our manufacturing floor,” said Monica Greene, President, and CEO of Vermont Precision Tools. This high-quality training and apprenticeship program will prepare those seeking advanced manufacturing careers and sustain our growth for many years to come.”

The pay scale for graduates of the VPT Machine Operator ITAR Program will start at $14.00 per hour. Apprentices will have the potential to earn $15.00 or more per hour after six months and $16.00 or more per hour upon the completion of a one-year apprenticeship and are based on performance. Further wage growth potential exists based on performance and overall growth within the organization. Overtime may be available, and the positions will also include a comprehensive benefits package as eligible.

“This apprenticeship program is a great opportunity for unemployed and underemployed Vermonters to gain a marketable skill set and a higher wage job,” said Vermont Department of Labor Commissioner Lindsay Kurrle. “The training, at no cost to participants who need jobs, will open up great career opportunities in the advanced manufacturing field and a better future. This program connects Vermont employers with motivated individuals who are ready to work.”

Vermont HITEC is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization with a mission to educate, train and employ Vermonters in a variety of fields. Vermont HITEC has employed over 1,400 Vermonters over the past seventeen years in the fields of healthcare, information technology, advanced manufacturing and business services partnering with over 30 Vermont businesses including University of Vermont Medical Center (formerly Fletcher Allen Health Care), Husky Injection Molding Systems, IDX Systems (now GE Healthcare), Dealer.com, Precyse Solutions, Triad Design Service and Vermont Information Processing.

The deadline for applications is September 24th, 2017. To apply, visit the Vermont HITEC website at www.vthitec.org and complete the online application. For more information or assistance, contact: Katy Bacon, ITAR Project Leader & Mentor via email: katy.bacon@vthitec.org, or at 802-872-0660.