Jim Kenyon

Jim Kenyon: Closing the Windsor Prison Farm Is Shortsighted

When a new inmate arrives at the Southeast State Correctional Facility in Windsor, one of his first stops is Paul Brosseau’s office. Brosseau, the prison’s work crew supervisor, asks each inmate what he did for a job prior to being incarcerated. “I didn’t do anything,” responded a twenty-something inmate a while back. “I sold drugs.” For the inmate who went by the nickname “Retail,” a career change was clearly in order. Brosseau put him on the crew that mows lawns in area cemeteries and parks.

Jim Kenyon: It’s Super Squares Round III at Post 22

American Legion Post 22’s annual Super Bowl party in Lebanon today will feature a buffet table that includes chicken wings smothered in barbecue sauce, Swedish meatballs and roast beef sandwiches. Enough to make a cardiologist cringe, but the sort of fare that makes the game (and halftime show that never seems to end) even more fun to watch. “The only thing missing will be our source of charitable income,” said Post 22 club manager Pete St. Pierre. And for that, Post 22 has the state

Jim Kenyon: Lebanon Pot Busts Fail the Sniff Test

I get the sense that cops in Lebanon still believe that cracking down on marijuana users will somehow make for safer city streets. In 2014, Lebanon police made 205 arrests for possession of small amounts of marijuana. That’s nearly five a week. Pot busts accounted for 72 percent (205 of 283) of the arrests that Lebanon police made for drug offenses last year. How’s that for a good use of expensive resources? I’m sure other Upper Valley police departments — though certainly not all —

Jim Kenyon: Hanover Police Chief’s Emphasis

Charlie Dennis wouldn’t seem a logical choice to lead the Hanover Police Department. At least, not on paper. The biggest strike against Dennis? He doesn’t have experience working in a college town. Prior to being named Hanover’s police chief last spring, Dennis’ 30-year law enforcement career included stops in Bonners Ferry, Idaho; Page, Ariz.; and most recently, Reidsville, N.C. Call it New England snobbery, but the communities listed on Dennis’ ré sumé don’t appear to have much in common with Ivy League Hanover. (Somehow, I

Jim Kenyon: Bringing Light To Juvenile Justice

In November, two Randolph Union High School students were taken into custody by police for allegedly making threats on Facebook against other students. In a search of their homes, which was conducted with their parents’ consent, police found several hunting knives. How real was the threat and what happened to the boys? Chances are the public will never know. As in most states, juvenile court records in Vermont are not open to the public. The argument is that children (in the Randolph case, the boys

Jim Kenyon: Meriden Woman Lobbies for Access

It’s hard to beat the downtown Claremont Municipal Complex when it comes to one-stop shopping. Along with being the place to go for residents who need to pay property taxes, pick up a dog license or register a car, the complex is home to the city’s police station, welfare office and District Court. Under the same roof, people can also find the Claremont Opera House and the City Council’s meeting chambers. Each offers its own form of entertainment. It’s all quite convenient — as long

Jim Kenyon: Names That Matter

Carissa Dowd is one of the most courageous people I’ve come across during my 13 years in this job. I haven’t met Tiffany Burroughs, but I have every reason to believe that she’d rank right up there with Dowd in the fortitude department. Dowd and Burroughs are sexual assault victims who made a conscious decision to go public with their stories. By going public, I mean they were OK with their names being used in news accounts of their attackers’ criminal court proceedings. From what

Jim Kenyon: Plainfield Library Board Chairwoman Says Shhhhhh!

What in the name of Ed Brown is going on in Plainfield? A recent meeting of the trustees for the town’s two public libraries had been under way for only 10 minutes before Chairwoman Suzanne Spencer was on the phone to the cops. Spencer wanted a town resident in the audience removed — are you ready for this — for talking out of order. I wouldn’t have believed it, either, if the meeting wasn’t all on tape. Spencer, a former Valley News reporter turned yoga

Jim Kenyon: A Model Vermont Prisoner

At 19, Sam Ramsey is one of Vermont’s youngest prison inmates. Fewer than 1 in 20 are under age 21. He’s also one of the few offenders behind bars who hasn’t been convicted of a felony, the most serious crimes that carry the stiffest penalties. Nine out of 10 Vermont inmates arrived in prison by way of a “Big F” conviction. But in one respect, Ramsey is more typical of the people that Vermont locks up: He struggles with some form of mental illness. On

Jim Kenyon: Special Delivery

On the Sunday before Christmas, dozens of needy families and elderly folks living alone in five Upper Valley towns will hear a knock on their door. The people knocking — quite likely strangers — will be delivering bags of groceries that include fresh vegetables, cheddar cheese, cranberry sauce, coffee, tea and bread. A frozen turkey or ham will be included as well. “A lot of people are depending on these groceries to make their Christmas dinner,” said Fairlee Town Clerk Georgette Wolf-Ludwig. “We’re trying to