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Jim Kenyon

Jim Kenyon: A Corny Tax Issue

Adele Patch’s hilltop home in Lebanon is surrounded by a neighboring farmer’s cornfields. On the dirt road leading to her house, you’re more apt to meet a tractor than a car. It’s as though Patch, a widow who turns 82 on Saturday, is living in a giant corn maze. Which raises the question: What impact, if any, should being boxed in by cornfields have on the value of Patch’s house and three-acre lot? Patch has argued for the last few years that the city’s assessment

Jim Kenyon: Ascutney’s Self-Appointed Vice Squad

I don’t envy the members of Ascutney’s self-appointed vice squad. Navigating life with one’s own moral compass is tricky enough. But deciding the appropriate values for an entire community? No thanks. This summer, a half a dozen residents began meeting to talk about what could be done to put Ascutney back on the straight and narrow. Or, more precisely, how to prevent businesses selling what they perceive as unsavory merchandise (specifically, pot paraphernalia) from moving into town. I’m told attendance at some recent meetings has

Jim Kenyon: David Clem and City of Lebanon Have Control Issues

There’s nothing like an old-fashioned Mexican standoff to liven up the dog days of summer. With the old West Lebanon Library serving as their battleground, developer David (hell no, I won’t mow!) Clem and the powers that be at Lebanon City Hall seem determined to turn a win-win into a lose-lose. It’s hard to know which side to root for. Clem, who bought the shuttered library from the city in 2012 for $131,000, has a solid reputation for breathing new life into historically significant buildings

Jim Kenyon: A Time Bomb in His Head

Five-year-old Robyn Perkins was dressed up as a princess, playing with her 3-year-old sister, Alexandra, in the front yard of the mobile home that her parents rent in Tunbridge when I arrived last Thursday morning. Robyn, who starts kindergarten in a couple of weeks, informed me that the costume she was wearing was, well, just that, a costume. When she grows up, Robyn said, “I want to be a doctor.” And her younger sister’s career plans? “She wants to be a nurse,” said her mother,

Jim Kenyon: A Number of Problems

Last week, I got a letter at home from the Montpelier Police Department. Since I hadn’t made a donation to the police benevolent association, I figured this wasn’t going to be a thank you note. I figured right. Montpelier police were reminding me that a parking ticket issued to a car registered in my name on July 15 hadn’t been paid. The city now wanted $16 from me to cover the ticket and late fee. In bold print, the letter stated,“Unpaid tickets may result in

Jim Kenyon: A Happy Warrior; Remembering Norrie Hoyt

Norrie Hoyt was a guy I found easy to admire. He wasn’t afraid to spar with rich people, and he enjoyed throwing an occasional jab at the state of New Hampshire. That’s my idea of a one-two punch. When Hoyt died of congestive heart failure at his home in Norwich last Sunday at age 78, the Upper Valley lost a happy warrior who fought to level the playing field for average Vermonters. But I’m not sure how many people, other than political junkies and policy

Jim Kenyon: Trash Talk

Maybe it’s because I don’t get outdoors enough, but this summer I’ve noticed a change in some of the Upper Valley’s public parks. And I’m not sure it’s a change for the better. After grabbing lunch-to-go at a downtown Claremont pizza parlor on a recent sunny afternoon, I strolled up the hill to the city park across the street from Fiske Free Library. With plenty of benches and shade trees, the Broad Street park is an inviting spot. A slice of cheese pizza, a garden

Jim Kenyon: Invoice to Injury

I didn’t think the state of Vermont could sink lower than it did in 2006, when six members of the state police SWAT team were given awards for their roles in the killing of Joseph Fortunati, a 40-year-old mentally-ill man camped out in the woods of Corinth. At a ceremony attended by then-Gov. Jim Douglas, state officials even had the gall to save the most prestigious awards for the two troopers who fired the lethal shots. But apparently Bill Sorrell and his subordinates at the

Jim Kenyon: Friendship On Loan

Former car dealer Andrew Button’s $10 million personal bankruptcy, which I wrote about in Sunday’s paper, is a cautionary tale on many fronts. Here are some that come to mind: Follow the Money. In less than three years, Button went from zero to five dealerships. Money was obviously a driving force, but I suspect that ego also played a part. Button and his father, Henry, had operated a successful private plane charter service in Burlington that they sold in 2002. Andrew Button, who was still

Jim Kenyon: Fifteen Candles

There was homemade macaroni and cheese for dinner, with hot dogs mixed in. Just the way Ashley liked it. Chocolate cake smothered in vanilla frosting, Ashley’s favorite combination, and ice cream rounded out the meal. When it came time to blow out the candles on the cake, Tanya DeMond, sat alone at the dining room table. A half dozen or so other family members stood by. Tanya rubbed her eyes and took a deep breath. Her daughter would have turned 15 last Wednesday. But on