Amtrak train derails just south of Norwich, 7 hurt; Passengers brought to Plumley Armory

At 10:30 a.m. on Monday, an Amtrack train derailed in Northfield, Vt., after hitting ledge that had tumbled onto the tracks. Gov. Peter Shumlin spoke to media at a hastily called press conference at 1:30 p.m. in front of Plumley Armory, which is where many of the passengers on the daily Vermonter were transported following the derailment just south of the university.

The governor described it as a “brutal derailment caused by ledge on the tracks.” Of the 98 passengers on board,seven people were transported for medical care, one by helicopter to Dartmouth Hospital, according to Gov. Shumlin. “Everyone else walked out,” he said.

“We call it an act of God,” said Col. Matthew Birmingham, director of the Vermont State Police. No foul play is suspected at this time, but a full investigation is under way. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will be involved, according to Shumlin.

“My heart goes out to the passengers and the crew,” Shumlin said, adding that there is no reason to believe that there was any negligence on anyone’s part.

Gov. Shumlin expressed relief that no one died in the accident. He recalled a train derailment in 1984 that was deadly for Vermonters. In that disaster, five were killed and 150 were injured.

Two rail cars went off the tracks, including the engine and one passenger car. They ended up in a tributary of the Dog River, and salvaging will start as soon as possible, as well as the removal of some diesel fuel that also got into the river, Shumlin said.

The governor thanked first responders for being on scene almost immediately, as well as the Amtrack team for their handling of the situation. He said he was hopeful for a speedy recovery for all those injured in the derailment.

A Vermont railroad official stated it would have been unlikely that any operator assistance would have helped stop the derailment, there was simply nothing the conductor could have done.

When a train is traveling at above 50 miles per hour, there’s very little that can be done to stop it, Shumlin said.

Passengers were bused to Plumley Armory, which is an evacuation center in Vermont, and will be bused south by Amtrack or put up in hotels by the rail company, the governor said. Sodexo was mobilized to provide food and liquids for the passengers while they waited for arrangements to be made.

The railroad tracks are owned by New England Central Railroad and they are responsible for its maintenance. According to a Vermont railroad official, they conduct sweeps of the tracks “a couple times a week.”

Gov. Shumlin stated that a freight train running on the same set of tracks had passed through last night with no issue, indicating the rocks must have fallen since that time.

The Army reverses course on its restrictions on tattoos. It’s a wise decision.

tattoo story 2What words come to mind when you think of a soldier? Courageous most likely. Patriotic. Brave. Strong, both mentally and physically. Heroic. A list of adjectives that piece themselves together to create an image of the ideal warrior.

As an institution, the army has grown to accept differences in race, gender, and now sexual orientation of its members, differences which, in the past, did not conform to the standard. Yet despite this, army leadership still deemed it right to deny enlistment and promotion for tattoos that did not meet strict criteria, because tattoos do not conform to the image of those in uniform.

It is wrong that the army would deny someone’s abilities, courage, patriotism, and willingness to serve because of ink that has been embedded in their skin. The Army has wisely decided to reverse some of its policies on tattoos after considerable outcry from the troops.
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Marine general, Norwich alum, to speak at commissioning

Editor’s Note: The following is an announcement from the Norwich Office of Communications that includes a biography of Brig. Gen. Raymond Descheneaux, the 2015 commissioning speaker.

DescheneuxNorwich University’s graduating future officers will hear remarks from a fellow alum at this spring’s joint services commissioning ceremony.  Brigadier General Raymond R. Descheneaux ’87, United States Marine Corps Reserve, Assistant Deputy Commandant for Aviation (Mobilization), returns to the Norwich campus to speak to ROTC commissioning officers during a formal ceremony to mark the occasion on Sunday, May 10 at 9 a.m.

Descheneaux will speak about the value of Norwich leadership in its unique setting, which embraces all four ROTC branches plus civilian students.

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Colby Symposium message: You can affect history

“One person changed history,” explained the 2015 William E. Colby Military Writers’ Symposium (Colby) award winner.

Biographer Col. Douglas V. Mastriano, Ph.D., was referring to the man in his book “Alvin York: A New Biography of the Hero of the Argonne,” for which he was unanimously awarded the 2015 William E. Colby Award.  

Mastriano spent two days at Norwich University during the 20th Anniversary Colby Symposium, speaking with students and taking part in an open forum along with other authors as they discussed not only their books but also concerns of national security as part of the event.

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Men’s ice hockey end-of-year banquet a last shot at remembering a great year

The men's 2015 hockey squad poses after a tournament win during their 25-win season. Coach Mike McShane also enjoyed his 600th win in 2015.

The men’s 2015 hockey squad poses after a tournament win during their 25-win season. Coach Mike McShane also enjoyed his 600th win in 2015.

Normally Kreitzberg Arena is filled with thousands of screaming fans and bright white ice. But on Sunday April 19, instead of ice and fans, the arena was warm and round tables were set on a concrete surface of the rink.

The maroon and gold balloons tied to the tables, along with the raised-up stage in front of the home team bench, meant only one thing: It was a sign of the end-of-the- year banquet.

For some people, it was their first banquet, and for others, like senior captain Alec Thieda, it was their last.
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Norwich football team will join NEWMAC Conference, renew some old rivalries

FOOTBALLLLLNorwich University Football has competed in the Eastern Collegiate Football Conference (ECFC) as a founding member since 2009. In those years it has squared off with Castleton State College, Mount Ida College, Gallaudet University, SUNY Maritime, Becker College, Anna Maria College, and Husson University, winning the conference in the inaugural year in 2009, and in 2011.

Although Norwich has not hoisted a conference title trophy in the last three seasons, the Cadets have had their share of success including six-straight appearances in the post-season.

However a big change is in the works. On April 8, it was announced that Norwich has plans to join the NEWMAC (New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference), which is now sponsoring football. Norwich will join Maine Maritime, MIT, Coast Guard, Springfield, WPI, and the Merchant Marine Academy, with the latter five being former rivals in the Freedom Football Conference that existed from 1992-2003. [Read more…]

English department creates new writing minor at Norwich

The English department has set in motion plans for a new program at Norwich.

Professors Sean Prentiss and Daelyn Luedtke have created a new set of standards to incorporate a writing minor within the English department.

No matter where they might be applied, communication and writing are valuable skills. At Norwich, with the implementation of this new minor, future engineers, law enforcement personnel, writers and many other majors will be able to gain skills to make them more well-rounded students.

Prentiss and Luedtke of the English department are the co-creators of this new minor. “Prof. Prentiss and I both really believe in the importance of writing, especially in the 21st century where we really live our lives in writing,” Luedtke said. “We write more than we ever have before, our social lives are online and our professional lives are online.”

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Norwich Student Government elects new leadership

Every year, the Student Government Association (SGA) elections are held for the student body for them to choose who their respective representatives are. Elections were held from March 30 through April 2 this year for the positions of president, vice-president and treasurer, as well as the senators who will represent each class.

The election for president was a three-way race between incumbent Vice-President Liam Carroll, Edward Jacome, and Christian Woo, with Carroll coming out on top, garnering 60 percent of the vote.

The election for vice-president was much closer, as rising junior Daniel Lupacchino narrowly won the position over rising sophomore Jacob Cardinal. Lupacchino earned the honor to serve as VP by a vote count of 311 to 232.

The race for SGA Treasurer was not nearly as tight, as junior Noah Clemmer ran unopposed and received 100 percent of all 643 votes cast.

The class of 2018 senators are John Robert Harrison, Anne Peternel, Eugene Ryan, Dominic DeSoto, Tyler Jones, and Abigail Finley, with Finley getting the most votes.

The class of 2017 senators are Damon Alvarez, who was the top vote-getter, as well as Annelies Heni, Steven Thomas, Derek Lotito, and George Slawski.

The class of 2016 elections were postponed due to a lack of candidates. Carroll and his cabinet are being tasked to fill the positions.


Norwich joins 5K run aiming at a record-breaking celebration of ROTC

042615_ROTC_Record Run (68 of 71)Skip Davison sat in his office, explaining with enthusiasm how Norwich University came to join a 5k run on April 25 that aimed to try and break a Guinness World Record.

ROTC units and Junior ROTC (JROTC) units from all around the U.S. and the world conducted the first annual ROTC and JROTC 5k (3.1 mile) walk/run event in celebration of the founding of the program, right here at Norwich University 99 years ago.

Davison, the Director of Recruitment at Norwich University, said the event was “in celebration of the 99th anniversary of (Army) ROTC and JROTC” and it was run at high schools, colleges, universities, communities, military bases and units and included students, staff, faculty, family and alumni of Norwich worldwide. [Read more…]

Mt. bikers can find fun, and pain, on Northfield’s Paine Mountain

Daniel Lupacchino finds a lot to fill his time in the winter here at Norwich. He enjoys going to the gym, hanging out with friends and sometimes going skiing.

Lupacchino does not mind the cold Vermont winters but “it is not my favorite season here,” said Lupacchino, 20, a political science major who hails from Maloney, Conn.

Lupacchino has a passion for mountain biking and waits all winter for the snow to melt so he can fly down Paine Mountain.

“It is just something about going as fast as you can down a hill with the spring air keeping you cool,” said Lupacchino, of his delight at the sport. [Read more…]