Archive - Jul 2006
By JOHN S. McCRIGHT
ADDISON COUNTY/BRANDON — Eleven area schools have been tapped to receive about $450,000 to pay for computer hardware and software as the result of the settlement of a consumer fraud suit against Microsoft Corp.
Superintendents in all four of the local supervisory unions this week received letters from the Vermont Department of Education telling them that some of their schools would be among the 135 Vermont schools that will share in $4.7 million Microsoft agreed to pay in order to settle a 2001 court case. The payouts will come in the form of vouchers that could be used to purchase certain computer software and hardware products, and related services, which need not be from Microsoft.
“It’s like manna from heaven,” said William Mathis, superintendent of the Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union.
By CYRUS LEVESQUE
MONTPELIER — Vermont dairy farmers by the end of next week are expected to receive their first checks under an emergency price support program implemented by the state in late June.
Officials at the Vermont Agency of Agriculture explained this week that under the Vermont Target Price Program (VTPP) they will pay dairy farmers 99 cents per hundredweight for milk they sold in June. The $8.6 million VTPP fund was created by Gov. James Douglas and the Vermont Legislature in late June to help dairy farms handle the losses caused by the combination of bad weather, high fuel prices and low milk prices.
“It’s definitely going to help,” said Ferrisburgh dairy farmer Ray Brands. “Right now, the prices are at their lowest point.”
By CYRUS LEVESQUE
NEW HAVEN — After 28 years on the New Haven selectboard, Amos Roleau III resigned his position at the body’s July 11 meeting, saying he was discouraged by changes in the town in recent years.
Looking back on his time in office, Roleau was concerned about the direction he thought things were going. “The (town) government is going to have to change,” he said. “You’re getting more municipal services that everyone wants, and that has to come from somewhere.”
He said that if current trends continued, New Haven would need a larger town government, including offices like a town manager or a town planner, which he opposed.
Roleau said one of his biggest reasons for leaving was the voters’ decision, made at a special town meeting May 25, to decide future town government issues by Australian ballot. “That, to me, means we don’t even need a town meeting any more,” Roleau explained.
By CYRUS LEVESQUE
BRISTOL — In response to concerns about availability of dental care in Addison County, two groups are trying to start a dental clinic that could serve area residents who now lack adequate care.
The need for a dental center in the county is likely to grow, according to Moira Cook, district director of the Middlebury office of the Vermont Department of Health. “We are concerned about the access to dental care in this county, so anything to make dental care more readily available would be a good thing.”
The area might not have a shortage of dental care providers right now, Cook said, but as dentists retire or leave the area, some fear that a problem will arise. “There’s pretty decent coverage in this county, but we’re more concerned about the future,” she said.
By HARRIETTE BRAINARD
BRIDPORT — When the Rev. James Slowey came home to what was supposed to be his surprise 40th birthday party in Picayune, Miss., on Aug. 27, 2005, there was no way he could have predicted the terrifying events of the next few days, let alone the next year.
There was no way he could have known that the following summer he and his family would be sitting down at the dining room table of Tim Franklin, pastor of the Bridport Congregational Church in Addison County, Vermont. Up until the spring of 2006, Slowey and his family knew very little of Vermont and never dreamed that they would take their first airplane trip there.
But then Hurricane Katrina struck his coastal community, some 55 miles northeast of New Orleans, and the world changed.
By JOHN FLOWERS
ADDISON COUNTY — Some lawmakers are learning about dairy farmers’ financial problems during debates and meetings in the Vermont Statehouse and in the nation’s capital.
But Sen. Harold Giard, D-Bridport, said one doesn’t need to go beyond the local supermarket to get a vivid picture of the issues plaguing farmers and what is needed to get them back on their feet.
While walking in the dairy section in one of Middlebury’s chain supermarkets last week, Giard — a former dairy farmer and member of the Senate Agriculture Committee — gestured to gallons of milk lined up in a long cooler.
He noted a price of $3.13 per gallon for the milk, of which only $1.03 is ending up in farmer’s pocket, due to the many deductions and price adjustments that take place as the product makes its way from the farm to the supermarket.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — Town officials in Middlebury have abandoned the notion of establishing a local mosquito control program this year and will instead survey residents next Town Meeting Day to determine whether there is enough interest to pursue the idea in 2007.
Selectmen made that decision on Tuesday after learning it could cost the town $50,000 to $100,000 to run an effective mosquito control program this year — and that’s with the summer well under way, and with the prime insect hatching period just about over.
“I would not expect we would be able to do this, this year,” Middlebury Town Manager Bill Finger said.
An increasing number of residents in town have asked selectmen to look into ways of putting a dent in the mosquito population, which they say has soared with recent wet weather. The county already includes two insect control districts — the Brandon-Leicester-Salisbury-Goshen district and the Lemon Fair district (covering Bridport and Cornwall). Weybridge voters on July 25 will decide whether they want to contract for mosquito control services.