By MIKE DONOGHUE
ISLANDER STAFF WRITER
GRAND ISLE -- The new communications cell tower at the Grand Isle County Sheriff’s Department is expected to be in operation by early January.
Sheriff Ray Allen said the 180-foot tower is in place and now AT&T needs to add the generator and the antennas to the cell tower.
“We are moving ahead. By the beginning of the year, we should be in operation,” Allen told The Islander on Monday.
The overall plan calls to expand and improve wireless broadband service for residents and travelers in the area, while also providing a major service upgrade for the sheriff’s department. The deputy sheriffs were looking for better phone service while patrolling the county in their cruisers, but also needed help with their mobile computers, Allen said.
AT&T is using the top tier of the 4-tier tower, Allen said. There is no word yet on possible rental of space for the other three tiers, he said.
A Caledonia County company teamed up with a New York contractor to help get the tower in place last Tuesday.
Workers from Classen’s Crane Service of Waterford used an enormous crane to lift sections of the tower. Project Manager Nick Spaziano of Schumaker Construction of New York took to the air to help guide them into place.
The Vermont Public Utility Commission granted approval this spring for New Cingular Wireless, doing business as AT&T Mobility, to install the communications tower at 10 Island Circle in Grand Isle.
Allen offered to host the cell tower after two earlier proposals by the utility last year for a 140-foot tower for separate lots on Lovers Lane in Grand Isle were not well received by local residents because of neighborhood concerns.
The new 180-foot monopole tower will have a 50-foot-by-50 foot fenced compound. The project includes an equipment cabinet, underground and overhead utilities and a backup generator. The pole will have 6 mounted panel antennas.
Allen said the cell tower also will be important for the region because the sheriff’s office is now serving as the new Emergency Operations Center should a disaster hit Grand Isle County.
Staff Photojournalist Rob Swanson contributed to this news report.
By MIKE DONOGHUE
Islander Staff Writer
NORTH HERO – One of the all-time gems of Grand Isle County -- Shore Acres Inn and Restaurant – will be in new hands by Jan. 15.
Mike and Susan Tranby are selling the 46-acre site with 1,800 feet of waterfront to Neil and Kelly Gillespie, who have been part-time residents of South Hero since 2009.
“It is totally in good hands,” Susan Tranby told The Islander.
“Things moved really quickly,” said Neil Gillespie, who estimated he would eat at the business about once a week. “We don’t want to change the DNA of the place.”
The couple was dining earlier this summer at Shore Acres and learned the -inn and restaurant were for sale, Gillespie said.
Gillespie said he stepped about 15 feet away from their dining table and called an old friend with a long career in the hospitality business to get his thoughts on the property and maybe running the show if the sale went through.
Jason Hanny said he was surprised by the call, but began his research by Googling the inn’s website and The Islander newspaper. It included a news story with a color photograph of the Tranbys by the front door and saying they were putting the iconic business on the market.
Hanny said he arrived in Vermont four days later from Virginia with his yellow lab, Sawyer. After 30 seconds at Shore Acres he realized that would be his next big career adventure. The inn has 23 rooms with 19 on Lake Champlain.
A purchase and sales agreement was negotiated for the property this summer. The proposed purchase price is $2.95 million, Gillespie said.
For the Tranbys, who own 50 percent of the business, they won’t be going far. They are moving into a home on Station Road that they own, Susan Tranby said. She and her husband will be available to help the new owners, she said.
Shore Acres was purchased in 1981 by Doug Tudhope and his wife Billie, along with friends Jack and Shirley White. Tudhope, a former high school social studies teacher and state legislator, wanted to ensure the lakefront property in his home county was not converted into condos. The Tranbys, who became managers, were eventually allowed to buy half with the Tudhope and White families splitting the other half.
The Gillespies will have full ownership as the Tudhopes and Mrs. White divest, Susan Tranby said.
Into the future
“We are looking forward to it,” Neil Gillespie said in a phone call from the couples South Hero home earlier this summer.
They were married at the historic Old Round Chuch in Richmond in 2005 and later built a home in South Hero. The couple also lives in Virginia, but Gillespie says summers and skiing remain strong magnets for Vermont.
Hanny said much will remain the same because of the long-term success of Shore Acres, but some new treats will be offered down the road.
Neil and Kelly Gillespie plan to provide for 60 socially-distant seats inside the main restaurant -- down from the 80 seats pre-COVID-19. They also will add an outside bar near the water at the north end of the property with picnic tables, umbrellas and more for another 50-to-60 patrons.
A dock also will be added to help accommodate boaters interested in making a stop for a delicious meal or some drinks, Hanny said. Shore Acres also plans to add some Adirondack chairs with a fire pit near the water to handle another 30-to-40 patrons.
The new watering hole will be known as Bravo Zulu Lakeside bar, Gillespie said. It means “Well Done,” he said.
After striking the purchase and sales agreement earlier, the new owners have been going through the steps to get square with the state by securing tax permits, opening bank accounts and other steps for a new business. They are using local contractors whenever possible for any repairs or upgrades.
The Gillespies and Hanny also are reaching out to local and state officials to see what might be needed. At some point they will appear before the North Hero Selectboard to get a new liquor license for the business.
Hanny and Gillespie said the business plans to offer some nights to local non-profits, including fire departments and rescue squads to host fundraisers.
The Gillespies also plan to continue the many positive stars that have made Shore Acres a huge success in Vermont, according to Hanny, who will live on the property and serve as general manager.
“We’re super excited and absolutely love this place,” Hanny told The Islander.
The key is to be good neighbors, Hanny said, and Shore Acres will continue to be a welcoming spot.
Gillespie said the business currently employs about 45 people. The plan is to hire another 20-25 part-time employees – with first chances going to local residents, he said. If there are not enough applicants from the Champlain Islands, the business will look outside the county, Gillespie said.
They also will be looking to offer various jobs on the premises to military veterans. Gillespie is a 1977 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy. After finishing at Annapolis, he did six years of active duty and eventually ending his career as a retired commander in the naval reserve.
He went on to work for a private defense contractor, Booz, Allen and Hamilton, and retired 9 years ago.
His wife operates Kelly Green Energy, an efficiency consulting firm.
Shore Acres also will be looking to work with colleges that offer internships for those in the hospitality industry. Interns will be able to learn about the operation of an inn, a top-notch restaurant, a lakefront bar and a scenic wedding site, Gillespie said.
Reports of the sale of the business had been circulating in late summer, but Susan Tranby wanted to wait for some final steps, including inspections to be completed before going public. Those have all been completed, she said this week. It is full speed ahead.
By MIKE DONOGHUE
ISLANDER STAFF WRITER
NORTH HERO -- Rep. Leland J. Morgan and his nephew Michael R. Morgan will serve as the two state legislators for the Grand Isle-West Milton district in Montpelier for the next two years.
The state's only recount from the General Election showed a few numbers adjusted across the six towns, but not enough to change the winners announced on Nov. 3.
The outcome ends -- for the time being -- the 18-year legislative career for House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, D-South Hero. Michael Morgan appeared to win the second of the two seats in the district on election night by 20 votes and Johnson requested the recount.
Morgan's lead grew to 21 votes after the recount when Johnson lost 1 vote.
The final recount totals showed:
Rep. Morgan, a Republican from West Milton, remained the top vote getter with 2,778 votes on Friday, picking up two votes above the election night total certified by Secretary of State Jim Condos.
Michael Morgan, also a Republican from West Milton, remained at the 2,627 votes announced on election night.
Johnson finished the recount with 2,606 votes. She had finished with 2,607 votes on election night.
Democrat Andy Julow remained in fourth place with 2,405 -- up one vote from Nov. 3.
The recount at the North Hero Community Hall began at 9 a.m. and was over by 4:30 p.m.
Grand Isle County Clerk Susan Bohannon told The Islander she will file a written report with the results early next week with Vermont Superior Court Judge Robert Mello in North Hero, who will be asked to certify the outcome.
The recount went somewhat smoothly throughout the day. The counters did have to run the ballots from Grand Isle a second time because there was a discrepancy of about 30 votes. However the second time with a different machine, the Grand Isle numbers matched the election results from Nov. 3.
Bohannon said the recount required masks for all counters, candidates, media, officials and anybody wanting to attend. Hand sanitizers and gloves also were available.
The Islander will have more details in the print edition next week.
By MIKE DONOGHUE
ISLANDER STAFF WRITER
NORTH HERO -- The recount for the Grand Isle-West Milton legislative race is set for Friday at the North Hero Community Hall.
Democratic House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, D-South Hero requested the recount when it appeared she fell short of re-election to Republican Michael R. Morgan of West Milton by 20 votes.
The final tally, according to Secretary of State Jim Condos, for the two-seat district showed:
Rep. Leland J. Morgan, R-West Milton, the top vote getter at 2,776 and his nephew, Michael Morgan with 2,627 as the apparent winners.
Johnson, who has served for 18 years in the legislature, trailed with 2607 votes. Democratic Andy Julow, who lost in the primary four years ago, finished with 2,404.
There was the potential for 11,570 votes for state legislators by 5,785 people voting. There were 1,146 blank votes, or about 10 percent of the potential total turnout between early voting and in-person balloting.
Michael Morgan carried his home precinct of West Milton with 495 votes, while Johnson took her hometown of South Hero with 759. Julow was first in his town of North Hero with 365.
That left Rep. Morgan as the top individual vote-getter for each of the three remaining towns: Grand Isle (670), Alburgh (602) and Isle La Motte (184).
Johnson, who has been the Speaker of the 150-member House for 4 years, remains busy trying to get the upcoming sessions ready, even if she is not there.
The Grand Isle/West Milton race is the lone recount from all the statewide and local contests in the Vermont General Election, Condos said.
The recount begins at 9 a.m. and is open to the public, but with COVID-19 concerns officials are asking people as to whether they need to attend.
“I want this to be as safe as possible,” Grand Isle County Clerk Susan Bohannon told The Islander.
Bohannon said the plan is to require masks for all counters, candidates, media, officials and anybody wanting to attend. She said hand sanitizers and gloves will be available and physical distancing will be in place.
“We are having the recount at the Community Hall. It is a much larger space,” Bohannon said.
Two years ago a legislative recount in the general election was held in the upstairs courtroom at the Grand Isle County Courthouse in North Hero. Four years ago a legislative recount in the primary election was conducted at the Chamber of Commerce Office in North Hero.
Five of the six towns used voting machines this year. Isle La Motte used hand counting.
Towns with 1,000 registered voters or more are required to use machines, Condos said. He said about a half dozen towns were able to obtain voting machines this year when COVID-19 relief funds were made available for free to Vermont towns.
Bohannon said vote tabulating machines from Alburgh, Grand Isle and Milton will be brought in to help process all the ballots as each town count is conducted. One local election official from each of those three towns will help monitor their tabulator, she said.
Bohannon said the three machines should help speed the process. Two years ago the recount used only one tabulator.
The ballots were due to be delivered to the county courthouse by the six towns on Tuesday. Teams of one Democrat and one Republican from each town were directed to make the delivery, Bohannon said. The ballots will be stored in the vault until Friday.
The Grand Isle County Sheriff’s Department will provide a deputy sheriff on Friday to deliver the ballots from the courthouse down the street to the community hall for the recount and will remain on duty until the work is complete, Bohannon said.
She said she plans to work with Grand Isle County Assistant Judges Joanne Batchelder and Sherri Potvin on Thursday setting up the Community Hall so the counting areas are spread out.
The four candidates were asked to submit possible names to be part of the recount. As of last week Judge Robert Mello had appointed the following:
Democrats Bob Ayres, Diane Bahrenburg, Leisa Fearing, Susan Davis, Jeff Potvin, Michael Inners, Tim Bourne, Claire LaVoie, Jenn Wood and Harry Parker.
Republicans Rose-Marie Cheeseman, Mary Louise Lombard, Robert Lombard, Robert Griswold, John Larabee, Jeffrey Parizo, Yancy Martell, John LaBarge, Roland Latimer and Wendell Noble.
Bohannon said she believed the judge would whittle the list to six for each party with the remaining members serving as alternates as needed.
The past two recounts had some theatrics and in one case the vote was overturned. Four years ago retired State Judge Ben Joseph of North Hero was able to overtake Andy Julow of North Hero in the Democratic primary when South Hero made mistakes recording vote totals.
Two years ago there was some question about whether a ballot bag in South Hero had been compromised, but eventually was cleared, officials said.
By TONYA L. POUTRY, Islander Editor
NORTH HERO – It is quite disappointing to announce the cancellation of the 4th annual Champlain Islands Christmas Parade on Dec. 5th.
Our wish for a community celebration needs to be deferred due to the latest sharp uptick in positive tests for COVID-19 for safety reasons.
The Christmas Parade committee initially decided in late September to go forward with the parade after many considerations of safety for the community and participants of the parade and following the statistics provided by the State, showing a downward slide of the rate of infection.
By parking the parade floats at Knight Point State Park -- instead of the traditional moving event -- and allowing people to view the lights from their slow-moving vehicles, the committee believed this would ensure the safety of attendees and participants.
Now, just weeks later, we are faced with a surge of cases that cannot be ignored and the sad reality that COVID will not permit the parade to go on.
The parade committee reached out to the Agency of Commerce and Community Development (ACCD) for guidance as to the best way to proceed given the rising case numbers and where we stand today. The ACCD permits drive thru events, however the guidelines for gatherings does not permit members of multi-households to gather. There is not a way to enforce adherence to these guidelines from the standpoint of participants or attendees of the parade.
There is speculation that following the Thanksgiving holiday and school break for students, the numbers Vermont is currently seeing will continue in an upward tread with a forecasted 153% increase in cases in the next six weeks Commissioner of Financial Regulation Mike Pieciak said on Tuesday.
At his bi-weekly press conference Tuesday, Gov. Phil Scott said “from Oct. 1 to the time of Friday’s announcement, 71% of outbreaks were linked to social events.”
Scott also said, “In the environment we are in, we’ve got to prioritize need over want.”
“The number of people in hospitals is growing across the country, because some care more about what they want to do over rather than what they need to do to help protect others – keep kids in school, keep people working…”
Grand Isle county has the second lowest number of COVID infections in the state. The parade committee would like that trend to continue by prioritizing need over want.
“Our hope was to bring some much-needed joy to the community for the holidays.” Jeff Parizo of the Parade Committee said.
“It was the hope of the committee that we could make this event happen in a safe and enjoyable way without increasing the risk of a COVID spread within our community. With guidance from the State, we cannot guarantee the guidelines set forth will be adhered to,” Parizo said.
Some ideas that we have discussed is to start planning now for a fantastic event next year – perhaps the same concept of a parked parade at Knight Point State Park with food vendors, music, activities, and more.
For this year, wouldn’t it be great to decorate a little brighter? Perhaps, still create a float and park it in front of your home or business.
The Grand Isle Sheriff’s Department plans to have their boat glowing with lights in front of their office in Grand Isle soon after the Thanksgiving holiday.
If you are decorating your home or creating a float – send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to be included in our Holiday Light Tour listing to be published beginning in the Dec. 2 issue of The Islander and feel free to email a photo of your decoration to the above email address to be share in the newspaper and online.
By MIKE DONOGHUE, Islander Staff Writer
Gov. Phil Scott announced on Friday a series of new temporary restrictions designed to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic in Vermont in the wake of a major upturn in positive tests throughout the Green Mountain STate and the northeast.
“We’re moving in the wrong direction,” Scott said at his twice-weekly news conference.
Vermont set a daily record on Wednesday with 72 cases, but busted that mark the following day when 109 positive tests were announced. The report on Friday showed 84 more cases.
Grand Isle County trickled along in single digits for several months, is now at 33 cases as of Friday. The breakdown by towns shows North Hero reported 9 cases and Grand Isle with 8. Alburgh, South Hero and Isle La Motte all have at least 5 each, the state said.
“We’re in a new phase of this pandemic. The days of very low risk are over,” Scott said.
Under questioning from The Islander, the Governor said he did plan to extend his Executive Order giving him full control of the COVID-19 situation in Vermont. By late Friday afternoon Scott had signed an order extending his authority until Dec. 15.
Dr. Mark Levine, Vermont health commissioner, said the state continues to be hit by many COVID outbreaks.
Under questioning Levine tried to defend the state's action of not releasing any public information on a major outbreak at a large Rutland nursing facility until asked by the final reporter at the end of a two-hour news conference on Tuesday. Seven patient and one staff had tested positive and those numbers have since grown, officials said Friday.
Levine said he did not think it was an intentional coverup by the state nor was it due to COVID fatigue -- the numbing of disease-related issues.
Scott meanwhile said he was sorry that he was going to have to ask more from Vermonters.
“We’ve had tremendous success thanks to the hard work of Vermonters, but we are at a pivotal moment,” said Scott, who was elected to a third term overwhelmingly last week.
“We have an opportunity right now to get our arms around this record growth and return to the case stability we’ve grown accustomed to, but we all have to step up and recommit to following all current health guidance and to limit our contacts as much as possible," he said.
"At the same time, the State is actively expanding testing and contact tracing protocols, so we are even better positioned to hunt this virus down and stop it in its tracks,” Scott said.
To try to slow the spread, ensure hospitals are not overwhelmed, help schools continue to offer in-person instruction and keep as many Vermonters working as possible, the State has targeted new mitigation strategies to address the areas that appear to be driving the spread.
Since October 1, the state said 71% of the cases associated with an outbreak are associated with a private party or social gathering.
Gov. Scott's office provided an outline on the following directives as of 10 p.m. Saturday (Nov. 14), unless otherwise noted. The Agency of Commerce and Community Development will provide additional guidance as needed.
Public and Private Multi-Household Social Gatherings Prohibited
Attendance at all public and private social gatherings, indoor and outdoor, including social gatherings incidental to ceremonies, holiday gatherings, parties and celebrations, shall be limited to participation with only members of a single household. Individuals who live alone may gather with members of their immediate family residing in a different household.
Restaurant Hours and Seating Limits
Restaurants must close in-person dining at 10 p.m., but may provide curbside and delivery service after 10 p.m. For in-person dining, restaurants must seat only one household per table, in accordance with existing capacity limits and the new restriction on multi-household gatherings.
Closure of Bars and Social Clubs
Bars and social clubs will be closed for in-person service until further notice. Curbside and delivery service is allowed.
Pausing Recreational Sports
Youth and adult recreational sports activities, not related to Vermont Principals Association sanctioned school sports, are suspended until further notice. Bowling leagues are required to stop, but families can still go to the lanes.
All businesses, non-profits and government entities shall reinstitute telework policies for all employees to the maximum extent possible. In person meetings are strongly discouraged and should be held by telephone or video conference whenever possible.
Contact Tracing and Testing Requirements
All restaurants and other businesses hosting non-essential activities shall maintain a 30-day log of employee and guest names and contact information in case contact tracing is required by the Health Department. These individuals are consenting to be contacted by the Health Department Contact Tracing Team. Further, all Vermonters are directed to comply with requests made by the Contact Tracing Team. Finally, college students returning home in Vermont (from in-state and out-of-state schools) shall quarantine for 14 days or seven days with a negative COVID-19 test and testing is strongly encouraged.
By MICHAEL DONOGHUE
Islander Staff Writer
GRAND ISLE – A second Grand Isle County school has a student with a positive test for the deadly COVID-19 virus, officials said Sunday.
School Superintendent Michael J. Clark told The Islander the Grand Isle Elementary School is the second building in the county impacted by a positive COVID test in less than a week.
Officials announced on Friday a North Hero School student tested positive.
Vermont reported its 59th fatal case over the weekend in Orleans County. There are now at least 20th positive cases in Grand Isle County.
Clark said Sunday afternoon the Champlain Island Unified Union School District was notified earlier in the day about the Grand Isle case. An immediate decision was made to have the one grade impacted by the positive test to shift to remote learning until at least Nov. 19.
“It was also determined that out of abundance of caution it makes sense to shift another grade level to remote only pending the results of a test,” Clark said.
He said the families of the students in the two grades have been contacted by phone to make them aware of the situation.
Clark said the students in the second class could resume regular classes before Nov. 20 if the test is negative.
The School District continues to work with the Vermont Department of Health on trying to keep COVID from spreading among students and staff.
The names of the students with positive tests at North Hero and Grand Isle are not being released for privacy reasons.
“We ask for compassion and sensitivity for all those involved,” Clark said in a letter he is sending to parents along with Principal Lauren Thomas.
The school district and health department are urging parents to help try to restrict the spread of COVID-19 even when children may not have any outwards signs.
Among the positive steps are ensuring people wear masks, wash hands frequently, and maintain 6-feet of social distancing. Sick children should be kept at home and the primary care provider consulted if fever, chills, cough or shortness of breath are reported.
BY MIKE DONOGHUE
Islander Staff Writer
NORTH HERO -- A student at the North Hero Elementary School has tested positive for the COVID-19 virus, officials confirmed Friday.
School Superintendent Michael J. Clark said the district received the medical report about 3 p.m. Thursday and the school officials began working with the Vermont Health Department for the next steps to protect others.
He said the district reached out to faculty, staff and students to alert them in a letter Thursday evening.
The Health Department also began trying to identify people that may have had direct contact with the student. The department also is tracing others that may have had contact.
Dr. Mark Levine, Vermont's health commissioner, said he could not offer any more information Friday when asked about the case by The Islander at Governor's Phil Scott's twice weekly news conference.
He also did not have names of the other schools that had been added in recent days to the list with positive tests.
The positive test marks the 19th known reported case known in Grand Isle County.
Clark estimated about 70 of the 80 students at the school are attending in-person classes with half coming in on either Monday/Thursday and the other half on Tuesday/Friday. The rest are learning at home.
Clark said the school on U.S. 2 is cleaned thoroughly each day. The Health Department has indicated that the North Hero School campus is safe to remain open for continued classes, he said.
The Health Department is trying to locate those that were in the specific classroom for more than four hours, or if anybody had spent at least 15 minutes within 6 feet of the impacted student.
Clark said the impacted grade level will transition to strictly remote learning until at least the end of next week.
"We look forward to their return on November 16," Clark said.
Officials do not plan to identify the name of the student for privacy reasons.
The school district will continue to provide updates when available.
By MIKE DONOGHUE
ISLANDER STAFF WRITER
Democratic House Speaker Mitzi Johnson of South Hero has been apparently ousted from her 18-year legislative seat as voters in the Grand Isle-West Milton District have voted to be represented by two Republicans.
Rep. Leland J. Morgan and his nephew Michael R. Morgan both of West Milton claimed the two top seats in a four-way race in the house district, which also includes the five towns in the Champlain Islands.
Rep. Morgan scored 2,768 votes and Michael Morgan collected 2,619 votes, according to election numbers compiled by The Islander.
Johnson, who tallied 2,601 votes, told The Islander today that she plans to file Thursday a request for a recount. She said she thought it was appropriate for an 18-vote difference with about 11,000 votes cast.
It would mark the third straight recount for the House district.
Democrat Andy Julow of North Hero finished fourth with 2,402.
As a show of unity, the four candidates appeared Wednesday morning for a honk-and-sign wave on the Sand Bar causeway near the South Hero-Milton line on U.S. 2.
Rep. Morgan said he and his nephew started the sign wave shortly after 6 a.m. and were later joined by Johnson and Julow. The entire event was cordial with a few jokes back and forth, the four candidates reported.
The four wrapped up shortly after 7:30 a.m. The apparent winners said they jumped into Rep. Morgan's truck and continued north through the islands to Alburgh to reclaim the lawn signs supporting their candidacies. They made a few other stops along the way, including at the Harborside Market in North Hero to grab lunch.
During the afternoon they made a similar drive throughout Milton collecting more lawn signs, according to Michael Morgan, a retired career military officer.
The Morgans estimated they had between 450 and 500 lawn signs on display in the six towns. The signs included some from the campaign from two years ago. That also ended with a recount with Michael Morgan coming up short.
He said over the past two years he and his uncle have worked to further develop their base in the Champlain Islands. As they talked with residents, they said they got strong encouragement for another joint run.
Both Morgans said they tried to make themselves available to residents through phone, email or social media. Rep. Morgan said he also tried to stay in contact with taxpayers through the legislative columns printed in The Islander.
The Morgans said voters frequently mentioned Johnson did not respond to phone calls and emails leading to frustration.
Johnson said she has tried to respond to voters while balancing the work of House Speaker. She said some residents may not have liked the response to their questions and that they are claiming those as a non-response by Johnson.
Vermont town clerks have 48 hours after the election to forward their final ballot totals to the office of Secretary of State Jim Condos. His office next Tuesday morning will provide the official outcome for each race throughout Vermont.
The request for a recount is filed at Vermont Superior Court with the County Clerk running the recount. Each political party is asked to submit names of local residents that can work the recount.
If Johnson seeks a recount, it is unclear where it would happen in Grand Isle County due to physical distancing required under the COVID-19 pandemic. Possible locations might include the North Hero Community Hall and the Isle La Motte School, which is not being used for classes this year.
Johnson's apparent defeat would mean a loss of some legislative power for the Champlain Islands in Montpelier.
The Speaker of the House oversees how the 150-member chamber runs and often helped set the agenda for legislation to be considered, for spending and other issues. As one former House Speaker claimed, "everything comes through this office." The Speaker presides over the daily sessions of the House and assigns committees.
Johnson, 49, has served 9 terms as a state representative, including the last four as the speaker. Before being named by her colleagues as speaker, Johnson served on the Agriculture Committee 2003-07 and the Appropriations Committee from 2007 to 2017.
This was Julow's second run for the House district. Four years ago, he was declared a winner in the Democratic primary on election night, but a court-ordered recount edged retired State Judge Ben Joseph past him. Joseph and Johnson both won seats in the General Election.