Gordon Alexander is is a Vermont-based freelance writer-photographer. You can reach him at g.alexander@bell.net



NEWPORT, VERMONT | During Winter's last gasp at the end of February, some 75 avid winter swimmers -- all members of the Memphremagog Winter Swimming Society -- hung out, wetly, in a two-lane 25-meter pool chainsawed out of the ice just offshore from the Eastside Restaurant hereon Lake Memphremagog.



NEWPORT, VERMONT | Some 150 adrenalin-pumped bathers of all ages and sizes dashed on February 9 into the frigid waters of Lake Memphremagog at the Gateway pier here through a hole in the ice provided with the City Fire Department. On the sidelines, dozens of spectators struggled against the bone-chilling 12 degree winds blowing off the ice-covered lake.

Howard and "Al" ~ Still crossing the US-Canadian border (625 words)


DERBY LINE, VERMONT | Howard Langdon, 74, of Tomifobia, Quebec, says he " has no trouble getting through either US or Canadian border check points with my old fashioned rig -- Al and I get plenty of smiles."

Tiny Vermont town fondly remembers its pond that left for good (625 words)


GLOVER, VERMONT | It happened more than 200 years ago, but the memory of Runaway Pond is strong in the hearts and minds of local Vermonters here in the Northeast Kingdom.

'Penguins' plunge into icy lake water to support challenged athletes (290 words)
NEWPORT, VT | One of the most outstanding spectator events during the annual Winter Carnival here was the Penguin Plunge on February 12. Some two hundred spectators gathered around a swimming-pool size hole in the ice provided by the Newport Fire Department to cheer on hardy and wildly cheerful plungers who, for a good cause, braved the 34-degree water temperature in 30-degree air temperature of Lake Memphremagog.

BROWNINGTON, VERMONT | The event featured techniques in precision tree felling, cutting logs to mill specifications, and safely removing logs from the wood lot using single horses and teams.

EVANSVILLE, VERMONT | "No bumper stickers? No flags? What kind of a pow wow is this?"

Karen Redfeather of Chelsea, Vermont, was laughing when she met her friends on the tribal reservation of the Abenaki Clan of the Hawk's 19th annual 2-day Inter-tribal/International Pow Wow here on Saturday, a few kilometers from the Canadian border Saturday. Redfeather used come to pow wows with her tent that featured inter- tribal bumper stickers and flags, but took a year off to travel.

Still pedaling together after 70 years (500 words)
RICHMOND, QUEBEC | Wilfred Lancaster's vintage CCM bicycle won't give up on him and he won't give up on it. They have been road-mates for more than 70 years.

Cap'n blood sails again (180 words)
Bringing to memory his legendary swashbuckling namesake from a 1935 Buccaneer movie Captain Blood, Captain Brian Blood of Ryegate, Vermont, is back on Lake Memphremagog this sailing season.

Canada's longest covered bridge beats out New England's landmark (425 words)
The 1,282 foot Hartland Covered Bridge in Hartland, New Brunswick, Canada, is the longest covered bridge in the world, way longer than the 450 foot Cornish-Windsor Bridge spanning the Connecticut River in New Hampshire/Vermont, reputed to be the longest covered bridge in the United States.

Getting Wet & Icy Cold for the Special Olympics (500 words)
NEWPORT, VT | Some 300 heavily clad spectators watched nearly 200 Penguin plungers from all over New England and Canada dive into the frigid waters of Lake Memphremagog in mid-February during the 8th annual Penguin Plunge here.

Hong Kong POW Eddie Cambelton turns 90 (1000 words)
RICHMOND, QC | Edward "Eddie" Campbelton never thought he would get to be 90 -- or even much older than 24 when he was taken prisoner by the Japanese army in Hong Kong on Christmas Day, 1941.

Radiation 'threat' sets off US Border alarms (1400 words)
Orleans County freelance photographer Gordon Alexander recently found out what happens when someone who underwent a cardiac nuclear medicine scan crosses the border before the radioisotope has completely decayed.
By Robin Smith/Caledonian Record

The Ice Fisherman Cometh (2900 words)
Ice fishing may bring back thoughts of an old movie "Grumpy Old Men" where senior citizen ice fishermen Walter Matthau and Jack Lemon duel beside their ice fishing shacks -- over a lady -- using frozen fish instead of swords.

Who remembers what in Quebec? And when? (1360 words)
Read any good license plates lately? A lot Quebec motorists you ask have no idea what is on the license plate they just spent a small fortune to renew, other than their number (perhaps ) and the year and the rest don't know and don 't really care.

Toxic lake algae blooming again on Quebec-Vermont border (830 words)
STANSTEAD, QC | Toxic blue-green algae is again blooming in the Canadian end of Lake Memphremagog and Quebec health officials have warned two lakeshore towns not to drink and cook with the water. The question on their Vermont neighbors' minds: Is it moving south across the border.

Gilles Bouchard, MD of Stanstead, Quebec
For four decades, there when you needed him
(1500 words)
STANSTEAD, QC | Earlier this year, the Vermont Senate and House of honored Dr. Gilles Bouchard for his role as a caring, compassionate physician who has treated patients in southern Quebec and northern Vermont for the past forty-three years.

Vermonter Doug Nelson: Dairy farmer, Restauranteur, and Controlled-Hunting Entrepreneur (1300 words)
These buffalo from another place and era are on Doug Nelson's 700 acre wild game compound that is also home for elk, white-tailed deer, European Fallow deer, and several moose. But all is not rosy here in Paradise - the state wants to kill part of his herd.

Trucker Jeffrey Thompson in Coma 2 Years (770 words)
It has been two years since trucker Jeffrey Thompson lapsed into a coma after a work-related accident but his wife Cynthia is still by his side, guardedly optimistic that he will come out of it -- in time.

The hills were alive with the sound of ... bongos? (770 words)
COVENTRY, VT | Reggae is about as native to New England as the Ballet is to Nashville but the Vermont Roots Reggae Festival is now in it's 20th season with no signs of dying out.

Vermont Powwow (300 words)
EVANSVILLE, VT | At the Clan of the Hawk Abenaki (pronounced Ah-ben-ah-key ) Tribal Grounds on Route 58 here, the fifteenth annual Inter-tribal Powwow recently represented two days of fun and fellowship with other tribes, in addition to spiritual and cultural reinforcement.

Heading for Maine the hard way (300 words)
NEWPORT, VT | Billy dePersis and Bill Yarosh of Windsor, New York. portage their 17-ft aluminum canoe along the hilly Route 100 outside of town here on their way to the Clyde River. Their destination -- Fort Kent, Maine, some 740 miles from where they started 147 miles ago in Old Forge, New York.

Negro? Niger? Nigger? What's in a name? (400 words)
STANSTEAD EAST, QUEBEC | Two new signs at the busy intersection of Routes 141 and 143 here in the Eastern Townships, only eleven miles from the US-Canadian border are raising the eyebrows of some northbound motorists. Marcus Dent, a black American who travels into Canada with his wife and children several times a year has raised the issue with a local newspaper.
Gordon Alexander is a Vermont-based photojournalist.

La Puparazzi ~ not a shaggy dog story (1450 words)
Brigitte Nadeau of Troy, Vermont, hardly follows celebrity dogs around hoping to catch them in compromising situations but she does have fun in her business called LaPuparazzi as she takes liberties with the tabloid name of her infamous photographic counterparts.

The Fountain of Youth: Feels Great, Smells Bad, Come On In (1350 words)
PORT CHARLOTTE, FL | " Don't even think of Leaving Florida without going to the Fountain of Youth, Warm Mineral Springs," Luda the Russian lady at the mobile home park advised in a thick accent.

Time stands still in Northern Vermont (390 words)
It's a rough year for Vermont's tower clocks in both Newport and Derby as three tower clocks stand frozen in time awaiting repairs, if anyone can ever find a clock smith.

Which witch is which (730 words)
The modern day witch or "Wiccan," as they choose to be called, could be your next door neighbor and as lovable as your Aunt Tilly. Hey, it Could be Uncle Ned, -- some guys are into this too.

Comatose Vermont trucker on the comback haul (760 words)
It has been a long haul for trucker Jeffrey,"Willie" Thompson and his wife Cynthia as he remains in a coma eleven months after his accident last year.

Eulogy for a fallen Vermont Marine (900 words)
ORLEANS, VT | Rev. Nate Strong, pastor at Albany Methodist Church, stumbled awkwardly as he walked up the stairs to the stage at his son Jesse's funeral. From the congregation there were gasps, and then laughter as they realized that he was imitating his son who purposefully fell at his graduation -- just for laughs.

Comatose Vermont trucker comes home (670 words)
Jeffrey Thompson, an independent trucker, went into a coma in November, 2004, while making a delivery in Lubbock, Texas. It was the result of an earlier accident in Vermont during the same month.

Fixing the ice, painting the lines (360 words)
STANSTEAD, QC, | Danny Bonneville, manager of the Stanstead college Arena has repainted the Blue Line for the next Wednesday night game. It's an ongoing ice maintenance problem created by an erratic rental Zamboni made worse by ice under the arena heaving the skating surface.
Gordon Alexander is a Vermont-based freelance photographer and veteran journalist.

Sorry, says Canadian doc: No flu shots for Yanks here (450 words)
STANSTEAD, QC | Normally a mild-mannered, good-natured man, Dr. Bouchard was angry last week as he drew attention from the Canadian media in droves when it was learned that Americans were converging on him seeking flu vaccine shots because of the dire shortage in the United States.
Gordon Alexander is a Vermont-based freelance photographer and veteran journalist.
Gordon Alexander is a Vermont-based writer-photographer.

When they shut it down, they'll come through town (1000 words)
STANSTEAD, QC | Residents, shop owners, and motorists coming in and out of Canada via the Canadian-US Customs and Immigration border check points here were crying the blues last week. It happened during a nightmarish two-day traffic gridlock in town created by detours on Route 55 where new bridges are being built over the Tomifobia River to replace the existing structures.
Gordon Alexander is a Vermont-based freelance photographer and veteran journalist.

The Last Great Outdoor Waltz Festival (1220 words)
"If there are going to be 70,000 waltzers, at least half of them got to be men so ah's bet that Floyd the barber is getting ready for at least 35,000 haircuts," Sheriff Andy said.
Gordon Alexander is a Vermont-based freelance photographer and veteran journalist.

There's gold in them thar hills (1000 words)
DERBY, VT | "Us Vermont prospectors are as rare as the gold we're trying to find" says Gerard "Goldfinger" Fontaine, 51, of Greensboro Bend, Vermont.
Gordon Alexander is a Vermont-based freelance photographer and veteran journalist.

Reporter Ivy Hatch: looking back over 50 years of reporting the news and being paid by the inch (1300 words)
LENNOXVILLE, QC | "One night I was called out in the wee hours of the morning to cover an accident near Dufferin Heights. I wrote the story, took a few pictures, and wound up being asked to direct traffic."
Gordon Alexander is a Vermont-based freelance photographer and veteran journalist.

Go Phishing while the Phish are biting (1000 words)
COVENTRY, VT | Here's one way to make hay while the sun shines without haying: John Mead of Newport intends to offer 20 acres of his brothers farmland next to the Phish-sanctioned camping area, to 200 ticket-less fans at a charge of $200 per person for the two day weekend.

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