Jim Kenyon

Jim Kenyon: Detecting an Odor in Lebanon Pot Busts

Shortly before 1 a.m. on a recent Saturday, Tom and Kari Orkney were awakened by a knock on the door to their second-floor apartment in Lebanon. Standing on the other side were two or three Lebanon police officers. While responding to a “domestic issue” in another apartment, police “detected the strong odor of freshly burnt marijuana in the common hallway,” officer Adam Fisher wrote in his report of the April 25 incident. Tom Orkney, a 58-year-old disabled Navy vet, acknowledged to police that a few

Jim Kenyon: Hartford’s New Top Cop

I met Hartford’s new police chief at a community forum on substance abuse at the Wilder Center last Tuesday evening. I liked what I heard and what I saw — literally. Phil Kasten wasn’t projecting the image of a tough-guy, I’m-in-charge cop. No black boots or oversized Smokey Bear hat. No Taser, baton or can of pepper spray strapped to his utility belt. With all that we’ve seen and read about the militarization of police forces around the country, Kasten couldn’t help but stand out.

Jim Kenyon: Overdue Records from Vermont DCF

Last October, Sam Ramsey asked the Vermont Department for Children and Families (DCF) for his medical records and other important information that the state agency had compiled while he was a juvenile in its custody. Six months after making the written request, Ramsey has yet to receive the records that he’s entitled to. These are records that could help him better understand his mental illness and explain what role DCF might have played in his life going off the tracks at a young age. “We

Jim Kenyon: A Dam Shame in Norwich

In late August 2011, Tropical Storm Irene devastated towns across Vermont. Six lives were lost and hundreds of homes were damaged or destroyed. Norwich was among the more fortunate communities. Its biggest casualty was the Norwich Pool Dam. Flood waters washed out the concrete dam on Charles Brown Brook, leaving residents without a public swimming pool. To call it a pool is being generous. I saw it more as large frog pond that Norwich kids outgrew once they hit middle school and discovered Storrs Pond

Jim Kenyon: Co-op Election Failure

Only five days remain for the Hanover Co-op’s 21,000 or so members to cast their ballots in the monthlong governing board election. Is there still time to call in U.N. election observers? This election has smelled fishy from the start. And I’m not talking about $30-a-pound Chilean sea bass in the Co-op’s seafood department. The seven candidates vying for four seats have not done or said anything unseemly that I can tell. But the election process itself has a hanging-chad feel. It started with a

Jim Kenyon: Home Sweet Hostel

Stephen Gibbons was actually looking forward to three weeks of intensive physical therapy at Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s spine center in Lebanon. Anything to avoid more surgery. Anything that might alleviate the chronic pain in his back and right leg, the nagging residue of injuries suffered at sea during his 20-year U.S. Coast Guard career. There was just one problem. Gibbons, 44, lives in southern Maine, a three-hour drive from the Upper Valley. Insurance would cover his eight hours a day, five days a week of treatment at

Jim Kenyon: A Broker’s Payback

In May 2009, Rob Fenyk, a stockbroker who ran a small branch office in Woodstock for investment banking giant Raymond James Financial Services, was abruptly fired. Over a couple of emails. But before delving into that part of the story, here’s some background: Fenyk moved to Barnard with his domestic partner in 2004, two years after going to work for Raymond James, a publicly traded company with roughly $480 billion in client assets, in New York. Fenyk, who had worked in the financial industry since

Jim Kenyon: Hiring a Police Prosecutor Is Just the First Step

I think it’s safe to presume that trust in law enforcement, nationally, isn’t extremely high at the moment. After the cellphone video of the police shooting in North Charleston, S.C., surfaced last week, how could it be? But from a thousand miles away, in the idyllic Upper Valley, it’s easy to believe the abuse of police power is not something we need to worry about. Still, when a community is given the chance to build safeguards that could protect the public from potential police wrongdoing,

Jim Kenyon: Hospital Monitors

Like most empires, Dartmouth-Hitchcock goes to great lengths to protect its territory. That means enlisting a small army of communications/marketing/media relations specialists to make sure employees don’t say anything that could prove potentially damaging or embarrassing to what Dartmouth-Hitchcock unabashedly refers to as its “brand.” With 9,000 employees to keep tabs on, Dartmouth-Hitchcock’s flacks, as they’re known in the journalism world, are busier than your average high school hall monitor, but they seem to relish the task. A couple of recent examples: My colleague Rick

Jim Kenyon: Uniform Improvements at Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility

Forget about orange being the new black. Three years ago, Vermont’s sole prison for women was in such sorry shape that inmates weren’t even issued uniforms, orange or otherwise. Inmates at the Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility in South Burlington had to supply their own clothing, which could be problematic if they didn’t have family or friends on the outside to outfit them. Or if they were trying to get by on the $1.50 a day they got paid for working on the inside. As it