Bright Shining Neighbors

We look forward to bringing bright, shining neighbors to you every month on our site and in the Newport Daily Express.

To suggest highlights for our column please email or visit and send us a message. Till next time!

Ilene Elliott

May 2019

ilene holding an alligator on a well deserved vacation taken on the Bayou of Louisiana in 2018

“I’m already getting ready for next year…as this is my favorite weekend of the year!” ilene elliott exclaimed as she settled into the fourth annual self-produced “Transformational Journal Writing Weekend Retreat for Women” at Jackson’s Lodge on Lake Wallace in Canaan, Vermont, always the weekend before Memorial Day.

In addition to hosting the retreat every year, ilene facilitates writing workshops across the state in libraries, wellness centers, and co-working spaces. Ilene is also a private writing coach and holds group writing sessions for memoir writers. She has a passion for sharing both her own story and helping others access their stories and is willing and happy to share with the Kingdom and beyond.

Local professional editor Cameron Chapman who has attended several of Ilene’s workshops explained, ‘As a professional writer it is always interesting to find new techniques. Ilene’s workshops have given me a variety of new ways to think about journaling and writing in general.’

From seasoned writers to newbies, ilene knows how to tap into a creative channel many struggle to get to on their own. At her workshops she provides a table full of rainbow pens to inspire participants to put their thoughts and emotions on paper. She also uses inspiration from poems, Angel Cards, and items from nature as well as everyday life.

It’s no surprise that Ilene knows how to connect with those in the Kingdom. Having been born and raised in East Charleston, ilene is known to many in the Charleston, Newport, Island Pond, and Canaan area, having worked in education and human services for many years. Retiring from full time work in 2016, ilene moved to central Vermont to be closer to her son and his family.

When she isn’t watching her grandchildren play sports or working on her own memoir, she can be found dog sitting, tramping through nature trails with her camera, leading exercise programs for seniors, and sending her friends quotes and articles of encouragement.

ilene is a treasure in the Northeast Kingdom and is happy to share her passion with anyone interested in learning more. ilene knows when it’s time to get down to business as she quiets a room full of writers with a triangle bell and gleam in her eye. ‘Time to get writing…’ she says as participants pick up their pens to embark on their next adventure with ilene.

Webbah The Weatha Man –

Josh Webber April 2019


Anyone who is lucky enough to be on Josh Webber’s email list over this past long, drawn out winter is eternally grateful for his weather reports. ‘Webbah The Weathaman’ kindly takes time out of his day to research the weather reports and update friends and family when a storm is brewing allowing them to get the information they need from a friend they trust.

Josh, a self-described flatlander from Massachusetts who relocated to the Northeast Kingdom for college at Lyndon State, majored in Meteorology and now works in Human Services at Economic Services in Newport. Josh’s wife, Rose, whom he met at college, also works in Human Services as the director for Probation and Parole and together they have two daughters. Josh is an all around family man not only to his wife and daughters but also he is a solid friend to his coworkers and those that he interacts with daily.

Josh’s coworker Melissa Herman shared ‘Josh is a very outgoing, animated, and personable guy in the workplace and in the community. He took the lead on creating and hosting fundraisers for our staff morale committee and brings laughter into the office. Whether it is the latest one liner or sharing his personal stories like getting stuck in a snowbank with his loafers on, his sense of humor is appreciated.”

Josh can often be found fishing during his lunch break, taking much needed time to recharge considering all he is involved in and helps others with.

Herman went on to say ‘Our daughters happen to be in the same class and are best friends, so I also know Josh outside of work. He is active in the community, volunteering his time at the PTCA and attending events with his family. If you know Josh, you know he is a family guy and loves his wife, children (and prime rib roasts) very much.”

If you are in downtown Newport and you need a helping hand, Josh Webber is your go to guy. Josh is the epitome of a bright, shining neighbor – always willing to help and make sure the roads are clear before you take a ride!

Jennifer Kipp Young – March 2019

‘Left phone at home – best way to get in touch is through Facebook’ is a message you might find Jennifer Kipp Young post to her social media on a random Thursday when she hustled quickly out of the house to her office at the Church of God in Derby, Vermont where she runs the administrative show and has for many years.

While others would welcome the break from their technology, Jennifer is a rock to many in the community and wants to be as available as possible when people are in need. Whether it be a ride to a clinic, dropping off essential oils or a meal for supper, Jennifer is excellent at knowing her friends, family and communities needs and always making them feel at home.

A Newport native, Jennifer is married to Gary Young, a lineman, has two children and in the last year welcomed two grandchildren in addition to many nieces, nephews, siblings and family friends that refer to her as ‘Auntie’. Auntie is always up for a good time whether that be an adventure to nearby New Hampshire attractions, checking out a tag sale in town or an hosting afternoon of tea and crafts.

Jennifer is selfless when it comes to serving her local community and the community beyond. During the December holidays she can be found behind stacks and stacks of shoeboxes being filled to ship to children, she regularly organizes food trains for those that are in need after surgery or the like, and this past Thanksgiving, through the snow and storms, she helped Tim Ingalls organize over 500 meals to be hand delivered to those in the Northeast Kingdom in order for them to have a warm holiday meal.

Jennifer has also been instrumental along with Pastor Wall and Kelly Deslauriers to opening their place of worship to those struggling with substance abuses. The Church of God holds many meetings for those in need, and have signed on with many local initiatives including the Health Department’s 3.4.50 campaign to help their faith community live their best lives.

Jennifer is an avid Disney fan and travels to the resort at least once a year. For someone who is mostly always available to help, it is heartwarming to know she also takes time to celebrate the fun parts of life as well with Mickey and Minnie, no less.

We look forward to bringing bright, shining neighbors to you every month!

To suggest highlights for our column please email or visit and send us a message. Till next time!

Connie Daigle – February 2019


(Connie enjoying meat pie in Canada on New Years Day 2019)

“Was it the pink cat?” Connie Daigle asked when she heard there were little cat prints on her walkway in the snow. The ‘pink cat’ is one of the neighborhood cats that come to visit Connie and her two indoor cats, in addition to lots of human friends that stop by to visits to and from work and errands around town.

Connie is a longtime Newport resident with a natural affinity for helping those around her, animals and people. A former Court Clerk, Connie has 3 grown children, 7 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren to keep her busy, in addition to lots of friends of the family that love a chance to sit down on Connie’s couch to hear the daily news, have a warm bowl of soup, or leave with a newspaper clipping she saved for them.

‘I read all the area newspapers every day’ Connie shared. In addition to supporting the local media, Connie is friends with her newspaper carrier who bounds in the house to say hi and give her a hug almost every day.

Connie has always supported those with different abilities whether they be physical or intellectual, and has worked with the Orleans County Citizens Advocacy (OCCA) over the years. Connie has served as a volunteer, patron of activities, and has assisted members with rides, as someone’s guest to an event, or whatever they might need.

“Connie’s contribution to OCCA is immeasurable, her generous spirit and compassion for others knows no bounds. Last year, we honored Connie at our Annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon for her decades of service to this organization” shared Ally Howell, OCCA Program Coordinator.

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Many in the community may also know Connie’s daughter, Lisa Daigle Farney, as a mainstay the Human Services community who goes above and beyond to ensure services are available to anyone who needs them. Lisa learned what she knows from her mom.

“My mom is an incredibly kind person. Everyone benefits from kindness” said Farney.

Connie is a member of St. Mary’s Church and loves local restaurants like The Eastside, as well as going to listen to music around the community. Her grandson Ben Farney has a new popular band – the Yoosh.

As much as Connie loves to help people, she tells it like it is. ‘Jack isn’t so friendly’ she says of another neighborhood cat – ‘keep an eye out for him’ Connie shared, with a gleam in her eye.

We look forward to bringing bright, shining neighbors to you every month!

To suggest highlights for our column please email or visit and send us a message. Till next time!

Bright Shining Neighbors in the Newport Daily Express

Bright, Shining Neighbors is a new column in the Newport Daily Express. At the end of each month, Sunshine Silver Lining Consulting Creative Director Sunny Naughton will highlight a community member, organization and/or location activity that strives to make the world brighter and happier. Too often the news is steeped in negativity. We want to take the time to shine the spotlight on those that are making the world brighter in their own unique ways.

The New Year often brings resolutions and promises to ourselves to do better, be more disciplined and try harder. Sunshine Silver Lining has always had the belief that we as a community should work to be the best we can be for ourselves and others all year, and treat others with the kindness and respect that comes out during the holiday season throughout the entire calendar year. In addition to vision consulting, we work to connect the dots and bring people together to help one another in many ways.

If you know of a teacher, a neighbor, a student, a coworker, a friend or a family member that you feel does their small part to bring sunshine into the world send us an email and we will highlight them in the column.

We look forward to bringing some bright, shining neighbors you way in the new year.

To suggest highlights for our column please email or visit and send us a message. Till next time!


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