I’ve always assumed the hard part about prison was finding a way out. I had no idea that getting into prison would be so hard. I’ll start at the beginning: In June, the Vermont Department of Corrections moved 300 inmates to a for-profit prison in northern Michigan. The prison is operated by GEO Group Inc., a Florida-based equity real estate investment trust. Whatever that is. Why the state of Vermont would leave the rehabilitation of hundreds of its prisoners to a company listed on the
I happened to be at the Lebanon courthouse one morning earlier this year when Second Circuit Judge Thomas Bamberger issued an ultimatum to two defendants: Pay the $500 or so that they each owed in unpaid fines and court fees, or the state would provide them with a free ride to the Grafton County Jail in North Haverhill. One-way only. Bamberger gave them a couple of hours to come up with the money. He suggested they might want to call around to family and friends.
Three years after filing a federal civil rights lawsuit against Hartford police alleging that officers used excessive force when they mistook him for a burglar in his own home in 2010, Wayne Burwell is on the verge of having his day in court. That is, if a settlement isn’t reached before trial. The chances of that happening seemed to have improved dramatically when U.S. District Court Judge Christina Reiss ruled last week that key parts of Burwell’s case deserved to be heard by a jury.
Windsor — In October 2010, Ernie Simuro was arrested on charges of sexually abusing his 7-year-old learning disabled grandson, who lived with him in Windsor. A Vietnam War veteran with no criminal record, Simuro was placed on the state’s child protection registry, forced to move out of his home, and eventually required to wear an electronic ankle bracelet that tracked his whereabouts — all before ever getting his day in court. His case made front-page news in the Valley News and elsewhere. And just when
Much has been written about the American dream being more fantasy than reality these days. Upward mobility now is often about who you know and where you’re from. Working hard is no longer enough, or so I thought. But then I came across Tyler Searles, a 2015 Hartford High School graduate who — as corny as it sounds — makes me think that the American dream still is achievable. On a recent Saturday morning, I watched Tyler, 18, alongside his parents and younger brother, sling
The Lebanon City Council claims that hearing what residents have to say on civic matters is a top priority. For instance, in a list of “guiding principles” on the city’s website, “community access and engagement” ranks No. 1. “Good government requires that we welcome the public’s participation and honor the public trust,” reads the website. “Improving public access to information and processes can make city government more accountable, transparent, fair and responsive to community needs.” I couldn’t agree more. Now, if the council only practiced
As houses go in Lebanon, the two-story dwelling on Route 10 is about as run-down as they get. Windows not already boarded up are either broken or missing. Most of the clapboards have been ripped off. The roof has more moss than shingles. Anyone who drives the stretch of Route 10 between West Lebanon and Hanover probably knows the house I’m talking about. It’s across the road and a bit south of Campion Rink. In recent years, the trees and underbrush have grown enough so
Ben Leduc has only been the city of Lebanon’s police prosecutor for a little over a month, and already he’s facing a defining moment. Why is that? In April, Lebanon cops busted a disabled Navy veteran for smoking marijuana in his home. Shortly after Tom Orkney’s arrest, I heard from his wife, Kari, and wrote about the ordeal. And what an ordeal it was. From the police report, I learned that Lebanon cops were investigating a domestic dispute in the apartment next door to the
Thirty-two days and counting. That’s how long Lyme’s village post office has been closed due to a purported invasion by rats. Last week, I made a couple of trips to the 03768 ZIP code, where the U.S. Postal Service announced the July 16 shutdown “in the interest of public and employee safety.” I didn’t find any rats. But I did smell one. The post office is located in the same building on Main Street as a restaurant, bank and hardware store. All three are open
The bicycle pump that hangs next to the manager’s office inside the completely refurbished Hartford Dismas House could be mistaken for an artsy wall decoration. But it’s not about looks. For the 10 residents of Dismas House, the bicycle pump is a vital tool. You might even say their jobs depend on it. The men and women who live at 1673 Maple St. are fresh out of prison in Vermont. Either they can’t afford a car, don’t have a license or a condition of their