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Monday, August 16, 2021

Business Leaders Press the White House to Let Canadians Cross the Border

Posted By on Mon, Aug 16, 2021 at 11:59 PM

Vehicles in Québec approaching the crossing at Highgate Springs - FILE: MOLLY WALSH ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • File: Molly Walsh ©️ Seven Days
  • Vehicles in Québec approaching the crossing at Highgate Springs
Vince Illuzzi III, 19, has been crossing the Canadian border almost every day since he was an eighth-grader at Stanstead College, 10 minutes north of his home in Newport. He’s now a student at Concordia University in Montréal.

Though the line is a lot shorter these days than it was a few years ago, Illuzzi said, the crossing goes much more slowly. And what used to take 30 seconds, he said, now eats up five minutes.

“I have to have my vaccination card, and I have to present a negative COVID test I took within three days," said Illuzzi. "They seem to be a bit more strict.”

As a student, Illuzzi has been able to cross the border throughout the pandemic. He’s exempt from the rules that have halted vacationers and many others whose travel is considered nonessential.

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Monday, July 19, 2021

Canada to Open Border to Vaccinated Americans on August 9

Posted By on Mon, Jul 19, 2021 at 4:38 PM

Canadian Customs station in Canaan - ANNE WALLACE ALLEN ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • Anne Wallace Allen ©️ Seven Days
  • Canadian Customs station in Canaan
The Derby Cow Palace, a restaurant that raises its own buffalo to serve to diners, was expecting its highest tour bus traffic ever in 2020 — 32 buses bound to Québec from the U.S.

Hundreds more travelers were expected to make the journey by car, stopping to eat at the popular 160-seat restaurant in Derby and to hand-feed the friendly elk pastured next to the parking lot.

COVID-19 put the kibosh on those trips, and the extended closure of the Canadian border has deterred travelers from plying the busy route through Derby to Québec. Manager Melissa Nelson said Monday she hopes that Canada’s decision, announced Monday, to start letting American citizens and residents into Canada will get that traffic flowing again.

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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Burlington Airport Readies for Direct Flights to Boston, Dallas

Posted By on Wed, Apr 14, 2021 at 3:48 PM

Burlington International Airport - FILE: MATTHEW THORSEN ©️ SEVEN DAYS
  • File: Matthew Thorsen ©️ Seven Days
  • Burlington International Airport
Gov. Phil Scott has all but promised Vermonters that by July 4, life will be much as it was before the pandemic — at least when it comes to crossing state borders.

Burlington International Airport is ready. On Wednesday, the airfield announced its first direct connection with Dallas, starting on July 3. And on April 7, the airport announced a direct connection with Boston, starting April 29. It will be the first time BTV has provided direct service to and from Boston since 2008.

“There seems to be a lot of pent-up demand,” said Gene Richards, the airport’s director of aviation.

BTV has seen a massive dip in passengers during the pandemic, particularly before the state started vaccinating residents in mid-December. Before COVID-19 came along, about 10,000 passengers came through the airport each week, a number that rose to 15,000 in the summers, said Richards. During the darkest days of 2020, that dwindled to as few as 800 a week, he said.

These days, with direct connections between Burlington and 10 cities, the airport is seeing about 5,000 passengers each week, according to Richards.

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

BTV Loses Its Only International Commercial Flight

Posted By on Wed, Nov 28, 2018 at 5:46 PM

Burlington International Airport - MATTHEW THORSEN
  • Matthew Thorsen
  • Burlington International Airport
The only international commercial flight at Burlington International Airport won't be offered this year due to low boardings and logistical challenges.

Porter Airlines will not run its skier-friendly seasonal service into Burlington from Toronto, BTV aviation director Gene Richards told Seven Days Wednesday.

The flights typically start in mid-December and run for eight to 10 weeks. Richards characterized the suspension as a one-year break and said he hoped Porter would be back next winter.

So is the "International" in the airport's name still legit given the suspension of the flight service to Canada?

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Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Montréal Man Gets Four Years for Smuggling Guns Through Library

Posted By on Tue, Sep 4, 2018 at 12:55 PM

Haskell Free Library and Opera House in Derby Line - MARK DAVIS
  • Mark Davis
  • Haskell Free Library and Opera House in Derby Line
A federal judge on Tuesday sentenced a Montréal man to more than four years in prison for smuggling 100 firearms through a bathroom in the Haskell Free Library and Opera House, which straddles the international border in Derby Line.

Alexis Vlachos, a career criminal who pronounced himself a reformed man during a U.S. District Court hearing, will likely be released from prison in the coming weeks after receiving credit for time served and good behavior. He plans to work at his father's restaurant, lawyers said.

Vlachos, 41, led a three-man operation that bought 100 handguns from licensed dealers in Florida. In March 2011, the coconspirators traveled to Vermont and left several firearms in the library, which is famously bisected by the international border.

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Friday, November 24, 2017

Cannabis
Québec Unveils Marijuana Legalization Plan

Posted By on Fri, Nov 24, 2017 at 12:02 PM

A hemp field in Middlebury - TERRI HALLENBECK
  • TERRI HALLENBECK
  • A hemp field in Middlebury
Facing a July 1 national deadline to legalize marijuana, Québec lawmakers recently unveiled a set of proposed rules that are generally seen as restrictive.

While the federal Canadian legislation would allow people to grow small amounts of marijuana at home, Québec wouldn't allow it, under draft legislation written by the province's ruling Liberal Party.
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Instead, the Québec government would retain total control of recreational marijuana sales, much like it controls alcohol sales in its ubiquitous SAQ stores. The province aims to have 15 marijuana stores open by July and as many as 150 within two years. It will also sell marijuana online. The province has not set a price.

The federal government has mandated nationwide marijuana legalization by July 1, while leaving details to the country's provinces. Like Vermont, Québec already has legal medical marijuana and is struggling to develop a framework for broader legalization.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Feds: Canadian Man Smuggled Guns Through Haskell Free Library

Posted By on Tue, Jun 20, 2017 at 5:48 PM

Haskell Free Library and Opera House - FILE: MARK DAVIS
  • File: mark davis
  • Haskell Free Library and Opera House
A Montréal man has been indicted on charges that he led a firearms smuggling operation that involved concealing handguns in the bathroom of Derby Line's Haskell Free Library, which straddles the U.S.-Canada border.

Authorities recently extradited Alexis Vlachos, 40, from Québec to Vermont, where earlier this month he pleaded not guilty to five firearms charges, the U.S. Attorney's Office announced Tuesday. He is being held in prison pending trial and faces a maximum of 20 years in prison.

Vlachos imported 100 handguns into Québec without a permit from the U.S. State Department, prosecutors said.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Vermont-to-Montréal Train Proposal Chugging Slowly Along

Posted By on Tue, Mar 29, 2016 at 12:21 PM

NICKKHAMOV/DREAMSTIME
Gov. Peter Shumlin’s point person on the restoration of train service between Vermont and Montréal reported to lawmakers Tuesday that the project is still on track.

Brian Searles, former secretary of transportation, noted two promising developments in recent weeks — the introduction of a bill in Congress that would enable negotiations to begin, and a promise from new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during his U.S. visit that Parliament would pass similar authorization this spring.

Amtrak’s Vermonter, which now runs between St. Albans and Washington, D.C., used to go to Montréal, until 1995, Searles said. But requirements for crew changes and a border stop created lengthy delays “that basically rendered it noncompetitive with the auto,” he said.

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Thursday, February 6, 2014

This Week's Issue: A Neighborly Noise Feud in Burlington, 'Border' Security and Maple Saplings

Posted on Thu, Feb 6, 2014 at 11:44 AM

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Find these news and politics stories in this week's Seven Days...

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Green Mountain Police State? Vermont's Spy Guy to Speak at ACLU Event

Posted By on Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 9:54 AM

South Pomfret resident Bill Arkin isn't shocked by recent revelations about the worldwide and domestic spying operations of U.S. intelligence agencies.

That's because he and colleague Dana Priest reported extensively on privacy invasions by U.S. espionage agencies in an investigative series, "Top Secret America," published in the Washington Post more than three years ago.

Arkin and Priest showed how the national-security state had expanded exponentially in the years following the 2001 attacks on New York and Washington, D.C. They reported, for example, that more than 3000 government organizations and private companies are engaged in "homeland security" activities in 10,000 locations around the United States, six of them in Vermont.

Arkin will update and analyze his findings as they relate to Vermonters and millions of other Americans at a conference on Wednesday in Montpelier. He's the featured speaker at the free, day-long event in the Pavilion Auditorium sponsored by the Vermont chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Arkin's talk will focus on "the big national picture and how Vermont fits into it," he said in a telephone interview on Monday. He'll also be touting his newly published book, American Coup: How a Terrified Government Is Destroying the Constitution.

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