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Jim Kenyon

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

Jim Kenyon: School Spirits

I’ve been hearing for the last couple of months that Dartmouth College is contemplating banning hard liquor on campus. That could be bad for business, and I don’t mean the education business. Why? For years, the college’s Centerra Marketplace in Lebanon has been home to New Hampshire Liquor Commission store No. 11. I don’t have 80 proof, but I suspect the college’s fraternities and sororities are among the store’s best customers. If Dartmouth indeed tosses Jose Cuervo and company off campus, it stands to reason

Series Homepage: Other Side of the Valley

In 2000 and 2001 Jim Kenyon spent 10 months reporting and writing the stories of four working families living on the edge of economic uncertainty. Kenyon, who is now a columnist but was then a staff writer, kept in touch with some of the families over the intervening years, and this summer went back to the other side of the valley to see how they had fared. His report, published in three parts in the Sunday Valley News starting Nov. 9, will be linked below