Author: Jessie Forand

Priest takes witness stand

Another full day of testimony again led to no resolution last Wednesday in the ongoing case for the Rev. Daniel Lokanga. Lokanga, a Catholic priest, who for years served Holy Angels and Ascension parishes in St. Albans and Georgia, has sued current and former owners of a storage facility for allegedly selling and damaging items he collected for donation to his native Democratic Republic of Congo. Paul Barrenger, owner of Red Barn Storage and Warehouse LLC in Georgia, his wife, Jane Barrenger, and Red Barn’s former owner, Albert Belval, are codefendants. Luke Richter and Richard McCormick represent the priest....

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Local writer pens an ‘Epidemic’

In 2007, local writer J.P. Choquette attended a pandemic flu training session at the Northwestern Medical Center. While listening to a doctor speak, she had that moment that occurs to anyone with a writer’s brain – what if? She began to imagine what might happen if an epidemic broke out in Franklin County, where she lives with her family. Then she started to write. That tiny spark of imagination has now become “Epidemic,” a Green Mountain thriller. Choquette, petite and cheerful with perfectly kempt blonde curls and a wide, warm smile, doesn’t seem like the average mystery writer, but...

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Hearing held in priest’s case

The civil court proceedings regarding the Rev. Daniel Lokanga, a Catholic priest suing current and former owners of a Georgia storage business, continued in Franklin County Superior Court this week. Testimony last Wednesday, May 1, included the businessmen denying any fraud and the priest’s attorneys describing the case’s negative impact on his life. Lokanga claims the owners of Red Barn Storage and Warehouse on Route 7 sold items donated to his charitable case, those intended for needy families in Lokanga’s native Democratic Republic of Congo. As was first reported in December 2011, Lokanga collected enough donations to fill an...

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Donated items finally arrive in Congo village

A storage container of donated goods sent from this area three years ago has finally reached its destination in Africa. Ann Gagne, one of many friends of the Rev. Daniel Lokanga, got confirmation from the former Georgia priest after he returned from a trip to his native Democratic Republic of Congo. Lokanga wrote that during a vacation in his homeland, “I did my best to free the container from the custom duty services. “ It then reached its destination, a parish in Kinshasa, the St. Damian Parish. The container’s donated items were safe and sound, Lokanga noted, though a...

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Legislative breakfast: Education funding in flux

Most of the talk at the March 11 Franklin County legislative breakfast in St. Albans focused on education and gasoline taxes. Every school budget in the county passed on Town Meeting Day, but many involved significant increases, in large part due to insurance hikes for school staff. Gov. Peter Shumlin has encouraged residents and lawmakers to support his public education reform proposals, but at least one local senator is skeptical anything will happen. Shumlin’s plans focus particularly on youths from low-income families and call for more intensive mathematics study. The governor also has called for dual enrollment, giving high...

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