Archive - Dec 2006
December 14, 2006
By ANDY KIRKALDY
VERGENNES — Vergennes aldermen on Tuesday agreed to study a possible new home for the city’s police department, which now occupies three rooms with an entrance shared with city hall and the Vergennes Opera House.
Mayor April Jin, City Manager Renny Perry, Police Chief Mike Lowe and Alderman David Austin will evaluate options that Jin said could include a former doctor’s office off Monkton Road, the current home of the Vergennes-Panton Water District on Canal Street, the basement of the Bixby Library, and possibly downtown homes or apartment buildings.
Thereâ€™s good news in Vermontâ€™s ski industry, and then thereâ€™s the weather.
The good news is that Vermontâ€™s 18 ski resorts invested more than $25 million in upgrades and new facilities in 2006, and another $150 million was invested in real estate projects and recreational amenities. That substantial investment, however, runs headlong into another bit of news: November 2006 was one of the warmest on record and tied the record for having the least amount of snowfall.
Such enormous investments and such fickle weather remind ski diehards that ski resorts in Vermont, much like the farming community, ride a fine edge on the profitability slope. The ski industry, in fact, has much in common with Vermontâ€™s farm community. An area ski area resort president even noted that ski resorts could be viewed as â€œsnow farmers.â€?
By CYRUS LEVESQUE
VERGENNES â€” After more than a year of negotiations, the Addison Northwest Supervisory Union and the teachersâ€™ union in the district have come to an agreement. A four-year contract was ratified at the ANwSU board meeting last week, which will provide about 4.25 percent new money each year for professional staff, retroactive to when the previous contract expired in the summer, and a normalized salary scale.
â€œItâ€™s never an easy process, but it was done and both sides ratified the outcome fairly easily,â€? said school board Chair Samantha Kayhart. â€œWeâ€™re pleased with the outcome.â€?
The contract covers teachers at all four schools in the district: Addison Central School, Ferrisburgh Central School, Vergennes Union Elementary School and Vergennes Union High School. The teacherâ€™s union, the Addison Northwest Teachers Association (ANTA), ratified the contract on Nov. 30, and then the ANwSU board ratified it on Dec. 6.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY â€” Voters in the Addison Central Supervisory Union on Jan. 9 will be asked once again to approve funding for a new elevator project and hot water storage system at Middlebury Union High School, only this new request also calls for extensive roof work at the MUHS building. The additional work will push the price tag to $935,5000.
School district voters on Feb. 28 agreed to spend $486,000 to replace the elevator and hot water storage system at MUHS. The current freight-style elevator at the school doesnâ€™t meet the stateâ€™s fire safety laws, while the buildingâ€™s hot water system is 50 years old.
District officials had hoped to see the projects completed this past summer. But all three bids for the work came in at figures that exceeded â€” by at least $60,000 â€” the $486,000 available for the projects.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MONTPELIER — While lawmakers wait to see whom Gov. James Douglas will appoint as the Vermont’s new secretary of agriculture, an Addison County state senator promises to file legislation that would require future agriculture secretaries to be elected by the general public.
“Historically, the governor has appointed someone and said, ‘You take care of agriculture,’” said Sen. Harold Giard, D-Bridport. “They’ve had no direction; they’ve had no vision; they didn’t know where to go, because no one told them where to go. So we went through a lot of dead years.”
Giard reasoned that if subject to an election, candidates for agriculture secretary would have to lay out their policies on farming during campaigns. They would therefore have to accumulate a record of accomplishment every two years.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — The UD-3 school board on Tuesday endorsed a proposed 2007-2008 budget of $14,341,552, a spending plan that preserves two staff positions and approximately $57,000 in school furnishings and new computer equipment that had been eliminated under a previous budget draft the panel considered on Nov. 28.
The UD-3 budget includes the anticipated costs of running Middlebury Union High School and Middlebury Union Middle School. Those schools serve secondary school-age children in the Addison Central Supervisory Union (ACSU) towns of Bridport, Cornwall, Middlebury, Ripton, Salisbury, Shoreham and Weybridge.
Preliminary estimates indicate that ACSU-member towns would see their UD-3 assessments increase by a low of 0.83 percent in Shoreham, to a high of 12.1 percent in Weybridge, if voters approve the proposed spending plan on Town Meeting Day next March. Assessments are based on enrollment counts at MUHS and MUMS.
By MEGAN JAMES
VERGENNES — Musician Anais Mitchell couldn’t shake these lyrics from her mind: “Wait for me, I’m coming, in my garters and pearls/ With what melody did you barter me from the wicked underworld?” The lines, which she composed while driving, refer to the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice, the story of a man whose music was so beautiful it swayed Hades, king of the underworld, to make an exception to the rules of life and death.
The myth has captured artists’ imaginations for centuries, as it is the story of the power of art itself. Fascinated by this, Mitchell, a New Haven native now a popular musician living in Montpelier, worked for more than two years to make sense out of that original lyric.
BRISTOL — The board of the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union last week approved a 6.2 percent increase in spending for the 2007-2008 school over the current year. But thanks to a projected budget surplus and additional state and federal funds, the portion of the budget coming from the five towns in the school district — Bristol, Starksboro, Monkton, New Haven and Lincoln — will rise by less than 1 percent.