5 things that happened this week: Holiday House set to close | News

There was big news locally this week as the owner of Holiday House Residential Care in St. Albans City confirmed the facility would be closing. The news followed a busy weekend, in which city residents reported numerous black bear sightings, and Swanton hosted its first big in-person event since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the topic of COVID-19, the state again expanded vaccine eligibility this week, as well as announcing more clinics across the state. Also at the state level, the legislature sent a bill to the governor’s desk that would make universal mail-in ballots — a measure adopted for the 2020 general elections during the pandemic — mandatory for future general elections.

Here are five big stories that happened this past week:

Holiday House

Holiday House Residential Care in St. Albans City is seen on Monday. The owner of the facility has told The Messenger it will be closing.

1. Holiday House closing

Holiday House Residential Care Center will be closing its doors, according to the owner of the facility.

Coleen Kohaut, the owner of the longterm care facility that houses 19 residents, wouldn’t specify an exact timeframe for the closing on Tuesday, but sources say the issue came to light at a meeting of the Board of Franklin Homestead and Carriage House several weeks ago. At that meeting, the timeframe was reportedly mentioned as “sudden and unexpected.”

Kohaut says that all staff and members of the facility have already been taken care of and will go to other facilities in the area.

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Back Inn Time Bed & Breakfast Black Bear Damage

A two-year-old black bear damaged a fence at the Back Inn Time Bed & Breakfast in St. Albans this weekend. This is the second visit from the bear to the location.

2. Bear sightings in city

Multiple accounts of a bear sighting in St. Albans over the weekend has left some residents startled.

The bear, thought to be a 2-year-old black bear, was first spotted on Diamond Street ten days ago. But it’s most recent appearance happened this weekend.

Karen Marie Peltier, owner of the Back Inn Time Bed & Breakfast on Fairfield Street, says the animal entered their yard sometime on Saturday night, destroying their custom built gate and bird feeder.

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Fajita Hut Cindy1.jpg

Cindy Critchlow of The Fajita Hut sells tacos and fajitas at the Swanton Farmer’s Market.

3. Food Truck Sunday a hit

Swanton’s first festival of the year was a hit.

Billed as “Food Truck Sundays,” the event brought out children and adults, as well as vendors from as far as Vergennes. It also marks the return of the Swanton Farmer’s Market.

Darci Laroche Benoit, co-chair of the Swanton Economic Development Committee, says that the idea of including food trucks originated from a successful pop-up event last summer.

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State House

4. Mail-in voting bill approved

The Vermont Senate concurred in a voice vote Tuesday with House changes to S.15, a bill that will require ballots to be mailed to all Vermont voters in general elections moving forward. The policy was put in place as a one-time emergency measure in 2020 during the early days of the pandemic.

The bill will now go to Gov. Phil Scott, who suggested in his regularly scheduled press briefing Tuesday that he was likely to sign it into law.

In addition to making universally mailed ballots a permanent feature of all future general elections, the bill will allow voters to fix or “cure” a ballot if it has been deemed defective by a clerk after being submitted. A common defect is when a voter fails to sign the inner security envelope when returning a ballot.

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Mike Smith

Mike Smith, secretary of the Agency of Human Services, speaks during Tuesday’s press conference updating the public on the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

5. Residency requirement lifted

As Vermont continues its nation-leading vaccination rate, state officials on Tuesday announced that the residency requirement for vaccination would be removed this week.

The announcement came during Tuesday’s press conference updating the public on the state’s response to the…

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