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On the Border, Residents See Another Vote Looming

October 31, 1995

DERBY LINE, Vt. (AP) _ Unease lingers along the road that serves as the main street of this town _ and as an international border.

The votes cast and counted, Canusa Avenue will continue to mark the frontier between the United States and Canada, instead of an independent Quebec.

How long that will last, nobody knows.

``I’m pleased to see it,″ said Phyllis Moreau, who runs a bed-and-breakfast in Derby Line, a town of about 850. ``But I think they’ll keep on fighting, unfortunately, because there are a lot of people who really want to split.″

A split would be keenly felt here on both sides of the street _ Derby Line, Vt., and Rock Island, Quebec.

The two communities share just about everything but a common citizenship _ the border reduced at one point to a narrow black line painted on the floor of the local library. On a shelf, tiny American and Canadian flags sit on a bookshelf. The stars and stripes are angled toward the U.S. side of the building, the maple leaf toward Canada.

Georgette Roberge, co-owner of a small store near from the border crossing, said today that as she watched news of Quebec’s vote, her main worry was the economic costs had the separatists prevailed.

``Number one, I think it would have hurt the business,″ she said.

``We’re just concerned about the Canadian dollar. That’s all we care about,″ Al Hauver, who owns Alberghini’s General Store in Derby Line, said today. ``We don’t care about how many billions of dollars of trade we have with Canada. We’re just trying to stay alive.″

Donna Webb, who lives in Quebec but works across the border at Alberghini’s store, said she had worried about the fate of those with dual citizenship.

``For the dual citizens it would be kind of tough because we’re Canadians, we’re not Quebeckers,″ she said. ``We would have to move or something.″

Some locals say the photo-finish vote _ the separatists lost by 1 percent _ will fuel another independence campaign. Separatists vowed Monday night to continue the fight.

``The next time they vote on it, the `yes’ vote is going to win,″ said Ed Barber, as he watched the results on Canadian television at a bar. ``It’s a matter of time.″

Despite official customs and immigrations offices, the distinction in Derby Line between Canada and the United States is blurred.

There is a different newspaper on each side of the border, but the columnist for the Vermont one lives in Quebec.

``It’s a very friendly border,″ Moreau said.

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