Archive - Apr 2006
By JOHN FLOWERS
MONTPELIER â€” The Vermont House on Tuesday voted 77-63 in favor of a bill that would allow organic farmers to seek damages from the manufacturers of genetically modified seeds, if those products taint their crops through pollen drift or some other accidental event.
The controversial measure is far from a done deal, however. It now requires Senate approval, after which it would require the signature of Vermont Gov. James Douglas, a Middlebury Republican.
Douglas administration spokesman Jason Gibbs minced no words on Wednesday when asked whether the governor would support the House-passed measure.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY â€” Work crews soon will launch the first of what will be two of the busiest municipal construction seasons in Middleburyâ€™s history, with reconstruction of Seminary Street; replacement of water/sewer infrastructure along College Street; and installation of better signalization on Court Street highlighting this yearâ€™s projects.
â€œThe next few years will be kind of painful, but once weâ€™re done, we should be set for a couple of years,â€? Middlebury Director of Operations Dan Werner said.
Work is scheduled to get under way later this month, when Tom Vanacore & Co. of Bridport begins the last phase of masonry work on the Battell Bridge in downtown Middlebury. The company has already completed filling cracks between the large stone blocks that make up the bridgeâ€™s three massive arches. Crews this spring will perform the same kind of work on the bridge railings on both sides of Main Street.
Of all the regrettable outcomes in the election of 2004, the fact that Congress has become ever more protective of the bumbling moves of the Bush administration will turn out to be one of the gravest errors in the Bush era. With deliberate intent, Congress â€” rather than pursuing the facts important to the formulation of policy â€” continues to allow the administration to classify documents and to deny worthy investigations that might contradict this administrationâ€™s claims, assumptions and purported facts. Without good information, however, the nation continues a downward slide with serious consequences.
In the statewide political battle surrounding a tax hike on gasoline, the Republicans picked the easier side in the debate â€” affordability â€” while the House Democrats have to defend a more complex position: that the tax is a better mechanism to raise needed revenue for a host of reasons, none of which can be boiled down into a politically palatable sound bite.
But take a moment to inspect the issue. The first question is: Is the additional revenue the proposed gas tax would raise really needed?
The Vermont House approved a bill that would raise gasoline taxes by 4 cents per gallon (to 24 cents) and by 6 cents per gallon on diesel fuel (to 32 cents per gallon). The increased taxes would generate $26 million that would be used to leverage more than $100 million in federal highway funds â€” a bump in transportation funding approved by the U.S. Congress and Bush in this era of burgeoning deficits. (If you donâ€™t raise the needed state match, you lose out on the federal dole.)
By HARRIETTE BRAINARD
NEW HAVEN â€” No one who has spent any time with Andy Lott would disagree that he is good natured, likeable, caring and constantly on the move. A local veterinarian who works only with horses, Lott has been practicing in Vermont since 1998. His practice now covers an enormous area spanning much of central Vermont â€” from Chittenden County and the Stowe area to Manchester â€” and into New Hampshire. Consequently, Lott often is on the go seven days a week, day and night, partly because he finds it impossible to refuse care to any of his clienteleâ€™s stock.
For years, Lott, 36, has had his practice based in Warren, but he will soon be opening the first horse clinic of its kind in Addison County, and only the second such clinic in Vermont. Called the Valley Equine Clinic, it will be located on South Street in New Haven. The only other similar clinic in the state is in Milton.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY â€” The Gailer School will celebrate a special homecoming this year â€” in a literal sense. After an eight-year hiatus in Shelburne, the small private school this fall will return to an as-yet-undetermined location in Middlebury, where Gailer got its start some 17 years ago.
â€œWe anticipate something (initially) of a temporary nature in the town we want to make our permanent home,â€? said Christine Plunkett, director of finance and operations for the Gailer School.
Plunkett declined to discuss the temporary sites the school is currently evaluating in Middlebury.
The story of former House Majority Leader Tom DeLayâ€™s fall from power to disgraced politician who had to pull out of his own House race for fear of embarrassment is a simple story of greed and power. Whatâ€™s amazing is that DeLay was able to hide his lust and his scheming, underhanded immoral ways under the guise of promoting â€œmoral values.â€? Christians conservatives, in particular, who bought into DeLayâ€™s temple of misbegotten rhetoric need to carefully review how they were misled, lied to and taken advantage of, if they are to avoid future deceptions by politicians who have no qualms about lying to their constituents.
Gov. James Douglas created a stir late last week by suggesting he would veto the state budget if the Legislature does not include his college scholarship proposal. The governor says the 15 year, $175 million program is â€œvital to the stateâ€™s economic future.â€? Whereâ€™s the proof to back up such a claim? There isnâ€™t any.
Rather, the governor has a hunch that his program might keep a few Vermont high school graduates from moving out of state to attend college and, perhaps, they would then settle down and raise a family in Vermont. The program would pay up to 1,000 students a maximum of $5,000 a year to attend college in Vermont. What the state gets for its money is a three-year obligation from the student to work in the state after they graduate.