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Series: Looking Back on the Lebanon Fire of 1964

On June 19, 1964, at about 4 in the afternoon, downtown Lebanon erupted in flames. The blaze — deliberately set in an old blacksmith shop on what was then Mill Street — took two lives, destroyed more than 20 businesses and changed the downtown forever. Beginning Wednesday, the Valley News will publish a three-part series marking the 50th anniversary of the Lebanon fire, an event that proved to be a significant turning point for the city as it evolved from old mill town into the

Video: Sweet Time; Sugaring at Killam Farm in Barnard

Steve Killam, of Barnard, has been sugaring on his farm with friends and family for decades, and the Vermont tradition provides a once-a-year setting for everyone to get together. View Valley News staff photographer Will Parson's video of the sugaring process above. ∎ Will Parson can be reached at photo@vnews.com. Follow the Valley News on Twitter @VNewsUV.

Audio Slideshow: The Magic of Music; North Branch Bluegrass Festival Founders Keep the Faith

Bridgewater — Heather Kennedy leaned over to examine the grass. Then she straightened up, shaking her head. “Thought I saw a four-leaf clover,” she said. “There’s been about, I don’t know, 40 found this weekend so far. It’s just a magical place.” Kennedy stood in the middle of a newly hayed field on her farm. Nearby, on a small stage, a local bluegrass band called the Crunchy Western Boys crooned about mountains and love. On the other end of the field, folks sat in groups

Audio Slideshow: Drawn From All Over; The Center for Cartoon Studies in White River Junction Attracts Eclectic Students

White River Junction — In the old post office building that houses The Center for Cartoon Studies, Amal Alshaikh sat in front of a sketchpad, laughing at her own comic strip. Her protagonist is a housefly with a human head — Manfly — who is killed by his archenemy, Flyman — a man with a fly head. Alshaikh is new to cartooning, and officially hooked. She traveled halfway around the world, from her home country of Bahrain, to be here. “I’m in the period when

Audio Slideshow: The Show Must Go On at the Fairlee Drive-In

Fairlee — Shortly before sundown on a Saturday evening at the Fairlee Motel and Drive-in Theater, cars dot the large, open field and country music plays softly through a few of the speakers. Kris Sexton, of Lebanon, backs his orange 1978 VW camper van into a space so his kids can sit in the back and watch tonight’s double feature. Sexton said he’s spent many a summer evening at a drive-in. “I grew up with them,” he said. “I love it.” As the sun sets,

Audio Slideshow: ‘It’s Not Just Karaoke’

Claremont — When Pierre Bourque’s wife died two years ago, he struggled with depression. “I was alone a lot,” he said. “I had the two cats at home and that was it.” Then a friend invited him to karaoke at the Imperial Lounge in Claremont. Before long he took the stage, where he found that singing Coldplay’s Viva la Vida and Lady Gaga’s Poker Face to a cheering crowd was therapeutic. “My new life is karaoke,” he said. “It gives me life. It truly does.”

Audio Slideshow: Tradition of Minstrelsy Colors Tunbridge Civic Show

Tunbridge — By the end of the 61st annual Tunbridge Civic Club Show, everyone was singing along — even the chickens. “I think that’s a first for animals onstage,” at least recently, said Henry Swayze, the evening’s master of ceremonies. “I think there might have been pigs onstage quite a lot of years ago.” Between the yodeling, clogging and joke telling, audience members got a glimpse of a piece of American history: the old-fashioned minstrel show. These programs of music, dance and comedy began in

Slideshow: Tropical Storm Irene, Then and Now

Locations damaged by Tropical Storm Irene’s Aug. 2011 flooding are shown a year after the event.

Audio Slideshow: Rebels With a Cause

Ten years is a long time to wait for a big break. Dan O’Day, 32, and Brandon Rainer, 30, know this perhaps better than most. The two Lebanon residents have seen their band, the River City Rebels, ride a wave of success to the tip of national renown, only to lose momentum through personnel changes and music industry red tape. It was a price they paid partly for insisting on doing things their way. And regrets, they have a few. They started as rebellious anti-authority

Audio Slideshow: Songs for a Sacred Place

A recent rehearsal of the Veterans Affairs Hospice Chorus Singers, director Mary Lewis Webb held up a small, lime green bowl. She removed the top, revealing an azure blue lining. “Who wants to fill our bowl tonight?” Webb asked the singers, who were seated in a circle in the chapel of the White River Junction hospital, music folders on their laps. Lin Wermager, a dark-haired alto wearing a red sweater, raised her hand. “I’ll fill the bowl tonight with this amazing energy that is in