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Local
After driving fatality
Woman to serve house arrest for 2015 crash death

A Clarendon woman who told police she fell asleep while driving in Pawlet in 2015, left her lane and hit and killed a New York veterinarian, was sentenced on Tuesday to serve six months on home confinement.

Kathleen E. King, 25, pleaded guilty in January in Rutland criminal court to a misdemeanor charge of negligent driving.

King was driving in Pawlet, near the border of Vermont and New York, around 3:40 p.m. Sept. 7, 2015. When she left her lane, King’s vehicle hit a bicycle ridden by Robert Andrew Agne, 54, of Granville, New York.

Agne was pronounced dead at the scene.

King was treated for minor injuries at Rutland Regional Medical Center after the crash.

On Tuesday, Naomi Ross, a victims’ rights advocate in the Rutland County State’s Attorney’s office, read letters from Agne’s wife and sister, sharing the impact of losing Agne, whose specialty was equine podiatry.

Carrie Agne, Robert’s wife, wrote of his skill with horses, which she said resulted in consulting jobs across the United States and in countries such Dubai and Japan.

But she also talked about what Agne was like as a person.

“In his quiet way, Bob managed to touch so many lives as to warrant a global impact with his passing. He was the embodiment of all things right and good and true. Never have I met a person who encompassed such tolerance, thoughtfulness, resolve, kindness, compassion, selflessness, honesty, integrity and gentleness as my husband. His deep love for horses and their welfare is unsurpassed. He always did what was right for the horse and the client,” she wrote.

His sister, Anne Agne, said Robert Agne was a creative person who made art, including watercolor paintings and treatments in his practice.

“He had developed techniques of saving horses’ hooves that would in the past have been untreatable, requiring the horse to be put down,” Anne Agne wrote.

Robert’s sister also wrote about her family’s loss.

“Robert was only 54 when he was killed. He was the healthiest member of the family into which he was born, with all the good safety and lifestyle practices so encouraged by our doctors. He should still have had a long, healthy, productive and creative life before him,” Anne Agne wrote.

When King changed her plea in January, she entered an agreement that contemplated the sentence she got on Tuesday. She was sentenced to 7 to 12 months but all the time was suspended except for 6 months on home confinement.

Rutland County Deputy State’s Attorney Ian Sullivan said King will spend two years on probation as well.

According to an obituary posted on the website of the American Veterinary Medical Foundation, Agne practiced at the Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital in Saratoga Springs, New York, at the time of his death.

Anne Agne said her brother worked for 12 years at the Rood & Riddle’s location in Lexington, Kentucky, “building up clientele in the Ohio Valley area and in New England for the practice.”

According to the Rood & Riddle Facebook page, Agne had only moved to the Saratoga Springs area in the summer of 2015 but had been a seasonal visitor to New York for about two years.

patrick.mcardle

@rutlandherald.com


rlayman / Robert Layman / Staff Photo  

Path to Civility

Dennis Sweat, of Lowell Landscaping, lays brick around the Civil War monument in Brandon on Tuesday afternoon.


News
Brandon, operator at odds
Town, transfer station operator at odds

BRANDON — The company that manages the town’s transfer station says a conversation needs to happen regarding who pays for what at the facility.

Stephanie Elnicki, spokeswoman and administrator for Earth Waste and Metal, the company that leases and operates the town transfer station at 61 Corona St., said Tuesday the main issue at the station is that the scales don’t work.

“This year, I said I’m starting to see a loss of income,” she said. “I have customers who are turned away or who elect to go elsewhere because they have large loads of (construction and demolition debris), and we don’t have a scale that can accommodate it, so we have to do a measure of yardage.”

Many prefer their waste be weighed, not measured, she said.

Elnicki said her company pays monthly rent to the town to operate the transfer station, while the town retains ownership over the land, buildings and equipment. The lease is renewed every five years, Elnicki said. When it came time to renew in 2017, Elnicki said, she notified the town that the scales had reached the end of their useful life and needed to be replaced.

“Anything that goes on there, we’ve taken care of things,” she said. “A window gets broken, we fix the window. I don’t think these things were clearly identified or spelled out in the agreement. It was more or less an operational agreement. We’d operate the transfer station, they’d retain ownership of the equipment, but the equipment is no longer functioning.”

Elnicki said she’s raised the issue with the town several times since 2017. She sent the board a letter Jan. 8 asking for the transfer station to be considered in the town’s budget. In a letter sent on March 20, she requested the town waive the rent for 2019.

“It is our assertion that the rent that we have paid to the Town of Brandon is in exchange for the infrastructure that has been provided for years to us,” reads part of her March 20 letter. “The last couple of years, that infrastructure has been diminished significantly. We have no fair way to offset the losses and costs and respectfully request that you waive rent for the year 2019. If you folks budget a new scale and office for us in 2020, we would consider reinstating the rental portion of the agreement.”

She said Tuesday her company didn’t pay rent in January, February and March, but those payments were made up in April’s rent check, so it will be caught up once the town receives it.

Elnicki said her company wants to continue managing the transfer station, and the letter was meant to start a needed conversation.

“I just thought it was something we should discuss,” she said. “I’m paying for a facility and everything around this facility, and there are certain things that are not functioning well in the facility, and it’s affecting the bottom line.”

Besides the scales, there are issues with heating and the safety of the station’s buildings. One, Elnicki said, was heated with a wood stove, but because of ventilation problems, it’s no longer used, and the electric heater being employed is expensive to operate.

She said the town has agreed to sand, salt and plow the area during winter, which helps. In the March 20 letter, she said plowing had cost the company $2,200 that season.

According to minutes from an April 8 Select Board meeting, some town officials were offended about the non-payment of rent, and the request to waive it in 2019 was voted down. The board also voted to send Earth Waste and Metals a letter telling it that it was in violation of the contract by withholding rent.

Board Chairman Seth Hopkins said Monday the board has appointed Selectman Tim Guiles to act as a liaison between the board and Earth Waste and Metals. The intention is to arrange a meeting between town officials and the waste company to work out a solution. He said Tuesday he doesn’t believe that meeting has been scheduled yet. Elnicki said she hadn’t heard from the town, as of yet, about a meeting.

The transfer station is on what used to be a town-owned landfill, Hopkins said. He said there’s little appetite for the town taking it over and managing it on its own.

According to part of the 2012 contract, which Hopkins shared with the Herald, Earth Waste and Metals paid $500 in monthly rent between 2013 and 2018. For the first renewal period, it’s $600 per month, $700 in the second period, and $800 in the third.

According to minutes from the April 8 meeting, Town Manager David Atherton told the board there are gray areas in the lease agreement, and it’s vague about what elements the town is responsible for. He said the town is being asked to spend a great deal of money on a facility it doesn’t run.

Guiles, in the minutes, said recycling is important and its benefits aren’t easily measurable. He said it’s important to keep the recycling option available for residents and wants to see the board study the matter and find some way to keep the service available locally.

keith.whitcomb

@rutlandherald.com


Local
Diamond Run Mall to see a new tenant

The Diamond Run Mall will have a new tenant come June 1.

Gregory Knapp, co-owner of Upstate Discount Warehouse, said a lease agreement with the mall was signed in February, and he’ll review job applications this week. He said the store is going into the space formerly occupied by LaFlamme’s Furniture and, before that, JCPenney.

Upstate Discount Warehouse got its start seven years ago in Whitehall, New York, said Knapp, a Fair Haven native. He said his business partner, Mohammad Bilal, is from Castleton.

He plans to hire between 10 and 12 people at the Rutland location, he said. Originally, the site was only going to be a sorting warehouse for the Whitehall store, but Knapp and Bilal realized they’d be able to sell items out of Diamond Run as well.

It’s a big upgrade for the company, Knapp said. The store in Whitehall is 10,000 square feet, while the Rutland store covers 50,000 square feet.

The store deals in unwanted inventory from other retailers, said Knapp. Items are screened for quality, and name-brands are sold. He said every kind of retail item can be found there except food. Also, electronic items are rarely sold at Upstate Discount Warehouse, he said, since it’s hard to find those items at a discount price.

The store, right now, is gearing up to move grills, patio furniture and items people tend to buy during summer. Toys, Knapp said, are one of Upstate Discount Warehouse’s best-selling items. He said they focus on selling name-brand products.

“It’s good to see new retail growth moving into Rutland Town,” said Joshua Terenzini, chairman of the Select Board. “In the internet era, there is still great value in the brick-and-mortar shopping locations throughout Rutland Town. We welcome them with open arms.”

The economic health of Diamond Run Mall has been a concern in recent years, as “brick-and-mortar” retailers struggle with changing shopping trends spurred by the internet.

Terenzini said in a past interview that communications between the town and the Diamond Run Mall’s owner, Zamias Services Inc. have improved.

Calls to Zamias on Tuesday weren’t returned.

keith.whitcomb

@rutlandherald.com


Local
wrong-way crash case
Foreclosure starts on Bourgoin condo

BURLINGTON — A mortgage company has begun foreclosure proceedings against a Williston man, who is going on criminal trial next week on five counts of second-degree murder for a fiery car crash that killed five central Vermont teens.

PHH Mortgage Corporation filed a foreclosure complaint against Steven D. Bourgoin, Anila M. Lawrence and the Hamlet Homeowners Association for the condominium at 103 Madison Drive in Williston, Vermont Superior Court records show.

Bourgoin, who grew up in Rutland, has pleaded not guilty to the five homicide charges. Jury selection is scheduled to begin on Monday in Vermont Superior Court in Burlington. The trial could last four weeks.

The state maintains Bourgoin, 38, was speeding, driving the wrong on Interstate 89 in Williston and had high levels of THC in his blood when he crashed his vehicle into a Volkswagen killing the five Mad River Valley teens about 11:55 p.m. Oct. 8, 2016.

PHH said the couple had an unpaid principal balance of $153,013 as of Feb. 25, court records show.

Bourgoin, in a handwritten note to the civil court last month, said “unfortunately at this time” he is being held without bail at the Northwest State Correctional Facility pending his trial. He said he was unable to contest some claims or file a counterclaim because he is behind bars.

He wrote the home is being used as the primary residence for his daughter and her mother, the co-owner, Lawrence.

“It was my understanding that since the recovery of the property from foreclosure proceedings in the Spring of 2017, (Lawrence) had agreed to pay the mortgage until such date as I could be released,” Bourgoin wrote.

He did ask PHH for time to consult with Lawrence before any legal action proceeds.

The property was purchased by Bourgoin and Lawrence on June 30, 2010, according to the deed filed with the town of Williston. They executed a note for $202,514, records show.

Superior Court Judge Helen Toor directed the parties earlier this month to attempt mediation to resolve the case.

Meanwhile in criminal court if convicted, Bourgoin would face five potential sentences of 20-years-to-life on the homicide cases.


ap file photo  

Boy Scouts salute as they recite the Pledge of Allegiance during the 2005 Boy Scout Jamboree in Bowling Green, Va.


Spotlight

“If their defense costs and settlement costs are greater than their membership fees, it could be a death spiral.”

Jeffrey Schwartz, a New York-based bankruptcy expert, commenting on a new wave of sex-abuse accusations against Boy Scouts of America. — B8

Sanctuary city

Montpelier’s mayor, Anne Watson, says the Capital City would rise to accept immigrants sent there should President Trump’s tweeted threat come to pass. A3


RHD Hotspot

Today

A Write Now!

Series brings together writers and artists of various genres to discuss their creative process. Guest speakers: author Yvonne Daley and columnist Jim Sabataso. 6:30-8:30 p.m., $15, Sparkle Barn, 1509 Route 7, Wallingford.