Jim Kenyon

Jim Kenyon: School Pictures in Bethel

After three break-ins in 12 months, it made a certain amount of sense to try to tighten security at the K-12 school in Bethel. A burglar alarm, perhaps? School officials weren’t keen on the idea. “By the time the alarm goes off and police respond, the perpetrators are long gone,” said School Board Chairman Dave Eddy. The board and Superintendent Meg Powden preferred Principal Owen Bradley’s plan: surveillance cameras. At a School Board meeting on Sept. 21, Bradley made it seem like no big deal.

Jim Kenyon: Area Farmers Give Back With Pumpkins

Thirty-five years ago, Janet and Tim Taylor started selling the fruits (or I should say, vegetables) of their labor on a card table at the end of their driveway in Post Mills. Over the years, Crossroad Farm has grown from 15 acres to 50, and, I think it’s fair to say, is now among the Upper Valley’s leading produce farms. (I’m particularly partial to Crossroad’s sweet corn and melons.) The Taylors’ wholesale customers include the Hanover Co-op foods, restaurants and summer camps. They’re also regulars

Jim Kenyon: Building Opportunities

Steve Davis will be the first to tell you that he “raised a little hell” in his younger days, and it was something of a miracle that his hard living didn’t lead to doing jail time. I’m guessing that’s a big part of what motivates Davis to help guys who have. That, and a strong belief that the way to help someone needing a break is not with a handout but with a paycheck. Davis, 56, owns Vermod, a Wilder company that builds energy-efficient modular

Jim Kenyon: Town an Afterthought in Windsor Solar Plans

On Aug. 28, 2014, state officials met behind closed doors in Montpelier to talk about the “potential for a large scale solar installation at the Southeast Correctional Facility in Windsor.” For the next 10 months, the proposed public-private partnership with Green Mountain Power, the state’s largest utility, remained one of Montpelier’s better kept secrets. Town officials in Windsor didn’t hear about the proposal until this summer. State Rep. Donna Sweaney, D-Windsor, wasn’t privy to the behind-the-scenes discussions, either, even though she is chairwoman of the

Jim Kenyon: On Thetford Hill, No Signs of the Times

If you wanted to know what was happening in Thetford, the Thetford Hill Common was always a good place to look. Community organizations placed temporary signs on the big triangular green at the top of the hill on Route 113 to get the word out about upcoming church suppers, craft bazaars, school geography bees and similar events. Until this summer. Following a vote of its members in July, the Thetford Hill Village Improvement Society announced that it was banning all temporary signs from the common

Jim Kenyon: Locked Out of Out-of-State Prison

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

Jim Kenyon: A Fine State of Affairs

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.

Jim Kenyon: Wheels of Justice Turn for Burwell

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.

Jim Kenyon: A Falsely Accused Windsor Grandfather’s 5-Year Fight for Justice

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

Jim Kenyon: Quechee Teen Makes the Grade

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