News Briefs

Obama taps St. Mike’s alum as chairman of Joint Chiefs

President Barack Obama on Tuesday named Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr. — a 1977 graduate of Saint Michael’s College who now serves as commandant of the Marine Corps — to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, pending confirmation by the U.S. Senate.

Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, another prominent alumnus of Saint Michael’s College, released a statement about the choice.

“The president already is being credited with making a wise choice,” Leahy said. “General Dunford is a skilled leader, admired by the men and women who served under him, and known for his respect and care for the civilians caught in the middle of conflict.

“I have spoken with General Dunford about pressing security issues, about meeting the needs of those who serve, and about the sacrifices of families who support our men and women in uniform,” the senator continued. “We have also talked about Vermont and our alma mater, Saint Michael’s College. I look forward to the Senate considering his nomination.”

Gen. Dunford has returned to the St. Mike’s campus over the years for alumni events. He graduated as a political science major in 1977.

“Our prayers are with General Dunford as he leads our country’s defense,” Saint Michael’s President Jack Neuhauser said. “This educated, sophisticated individual will serve us all well.”


U.S. Marshals arrest convicted sex offender in Essex

The U.S. Marshals Vermont Violent Offender Task Force arrested Jeremy S. Jennings, a fugitive wanted on a federal supervised release violation, in Essex last Thursday.

According to a press release from the U.S. Marshals Service, Jennings, 37, had a federal warrant dated March 10 from the U.S. District Court for the District of Vermont for violating the terms of his federal probation. With his whereabouts unknown, he was in violation of sex offender registry requirements from prior convictions, the U.S. Marshals Service said.

Jennings’ was reportedly apprehended outside the Amtrak station in Essex. Marshals report that Jennings became combative when first contacted, allegedly assaulting two federal agents, which resulted in injuries to both the agents and also to Jennings. Both agents and Jennings were treated and released.

Jennings was to have an initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Burlington on Friday. The arrest was a result of investigative efforts by the U.S. Marshals, the Vermont State Police, ICE Enforcement and Removal Operations, Homeland Security Investigations, Customs and Border Protection – Air Division, and the Essex Police Department.


Vermont anglers and boaters reminded of cold water awareness

With ice going out on bodies of water across the state and various fishing seasons opening up, the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department urges anglers and recreational boaters to be aware of the cold water conditions that come with the start of spring.

The lower water temperatures found during the spring season can increase the risk of hypothermia in the case of an on-the-water accident. Sudden immersion in cold water can also lead to loss of swimming ability and strength, gasping and the inhalation of water, and rapid unconsciousness.

“The use of a Personal Flotation Device is paramount at this time of year, given that it can significantly increase the odds of survival in cold-water situations,” said Col. Jason Batchelder, warden with Vermont Fish & Wildlife. “Often the first few warm, sunny days of spring can be misleading as water temperatures remain in the high 30s and 40s throughout Vermont.”


Red Cross seeks blood donors in weeks leading up to summer

The American Red Cross asks eligible donors to help ensure blood is available for patients in need by giving blood in May before the busy summer season kicks in.

Blood and platelet donations often decrease when regular donors are vacationing and school is out of session, but the need for blood is constant. Donors are needed in the weeks leading up to summer to help alleviate this seasonal decline.

To make an appointment to give blood, download the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767).

Upcoming blood donation opportunities in Chittenden County include:

May 17, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Essex Cinema, 21 Essex Way, Essex

May 16, 9:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Midas, 60 Midas Drive, South Burlington

May 19, 12 p.m. – 6 p.m., Milton Fire Station, 43 Bombardier Road, Milton

May 21, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., Essex High School, 2 Educational Drive, Essex

May 22, 9 a.m. – 2:30 p.m., South Burlington High School, 550 Dorset Street, South Burlington

May 26, 12 p.m. – 5 p.m., Doubletree Hotel, 1117 Williston Road, South Burlington

May 28, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., The University of Vermont Medical Center, 111 Colchester Avenue, Burlington

May 30, 11 a.m. – 4 p.m., Essex Cinema, 21 Essex Way, Essex