Archive - Sep 2006
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — The developers of a proposed water turbine at the Otter Creek Falls will soon seek permission from the Vermont Public Service Board and the town of Middlebury to put their plans into motion.
Anders Holm, whose family owns property adjacent to the falls where the turbine would be sited, explained on Thursday that high water levels in the Otter Creek this past spring and summer prevented consultants from completing a needed feasibility study for the project. But those waters have receded in recent weeks to a point where officials from the New Hampshire-based firm of Gomez and Sullivan were able to complete their review of the project site.
“They were able to get all the information they needed for the feasibility study,” said Holm, a Middlebury physician. “We hope to have (the study) within a week.”
By ANDY KIRKALDY
FERRISBURGH — Ferrisburgh selectmen on Sept. 5 appointed a committee to study for the second time whether the town should buy a key parcel that abuts both the Ferrisburgh Central School and the planned site of a new town office building and meeting center.
The land, owned by the Hinsdale family of Charlotte, was until recently optioned by a company that wanted to extend sewer service into the area, a plan rejected last month by selectmen at the recommendation of town planners.
The parcel includes 32 acres on which the town already owns a septic easement for the school and planned town hall, plus a smaller lot with a home on it. Now that it is back on the market, selectmen have decided to take another look at buying it. The town first discussed the idea a year ago and another committee looked at the proposal, but officials never acted on it.
By JOHN FLOWERS
VERGENNES — Incumbent Rep. Greg Clark, R-Vergennes, and former Little City mayor Kitty Oxholm emerged victorious on Tuesday in a three-way Republican primary that determined who will move on in the race for the Addison-3 district’s two Vermont House seats.
Addison-3 featured the only local contested race on the Sept. 12 primary ballot, but two successful write-in campaigns will add some additional names to the Nov. 7 ballot.
Bristol Republican Nathan Fitzgerald earned 42 write-in tallies to qualify as a late entry into the Addison-4 House race. Fitzgerald ran unsuccessfully in 2004 for one of the two seats in the district, which includes the towns of Bristol, Lincoln, Starksboro and Monkton. Fitzgerald now joins a field of candidates that includes fellow Republican Barb Rainville of Lincoln; incumbent Rep. Mike Fisher, D-Lincoln; and incumbent Rep. Dave Sharpe, D-Bristol.
By JOHN FLOWERS
ADDISON COUNTY — At the same time that Vermont politicians are preparing to take legal action to thwart International Paper Co.’s plans for a two-week trial burn of tire-derived fuel at its Ticonderoga, N.Y., mill, an Addison County-based citizens’ group is recruiting the leaders of major “green” corporations to urge IPC brass not to proceed with the test.
Rich Carpenter, the leader of People for Less Pollution, confirmed his group has reached out to environmentally conscious companies such as Starbucks, Seventh Generation Inc. and Newman’s Own Inc. to put pressure on IPC to cancel the proposed tire burn — or at least postpone it until International Paper updates its pollution control equipment.
By HARRIETTE BRAINARD
BRANDON — The Brandon Chamber of Commerce and the Lake Dunmore Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution have joined forces to try to raise money to restore the birthplace of 19th century American statesman Stephen A. Douglas and turn it into a visitors’ center as well as a historic exhibit.
The chamber recently received a $25,000 grant from the Walter Cerf Community Fund — the first step toward funding the project. The plans include a public restroom and needed meeting space for Brandon-area residents.
Blaine Cliver, a local architect who has worked on historic buildings, toured the home and informed the owners that it is likely one of the oldest houses in Brandon. Douglas’s mother was from the well-known Arnold family, some of whom built the original house.
By MEGAN JAMES
ADDISON COUNTY — Many local businesses will play a compassionate role in the community when they release their employees this Thursday and Saturday to build fences, paint walls, and clear trails for nonprofit agencies across the county.
The 11th annual Days of Caring, sponsored by the United Way of Addison County, will link 63 agencies dealing with health issues, poverty, childcare, and aging, to hundreds of local volunteers. Together they will work to keep the area’s human service organizations running smoothly.
“It is extremely important not only for individuals, but for businesses to learn about the nonprofits in their community, to gain insight into the services they provide,” said UWAC Co-director Helen Freismuth. “We want to create a more well-informed community.”
By CYRUS LEVESQUE
MIDDLEBURY — How good a hospital is Porter Medical Center?
Hospital officials on Sept. 26 will discuss the findings of a state-mandated “report card” that shows how well Porter, along with 12 other Vermont hospitals, performs on a variety of quality, safety and financial measures.
This is the second annual report compiled to meet the requirements of Act 53, a law passed by the Vermont Legislature in 2003 to create greater accountability for hospitals and health care providers.
Porter’s rating was average in most specific areas — it scored a little lower than average for its food but higher than average for safety. Its overall rating for patient satisfaction was close to the national average for hospitals of its size.
By JOHN FLOWERS
SHOREHAM — Opponents of International Paper Co.’s (IPC) proposal to conduct a two-week trial burn of tire chips at its Ticonderoga, N.Y., mill are busy planning the next steps in their fight should the federal Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) give its green light to the IPC plan. A decision that could be released as early as next week.
The EPA is in the midst of a 45-day review of the IPC proposal to burn up to 72 tons of tire-derived fuel per day in one of its boilers during the two-week test period. Company officials hope the trial burn will pave the way for IPC to eventually replace 5 to 10 percent of its traditional fuel source annually with the tire material, a cheaper alternative to oil.
Vermont officials and environmental groups have argued that IPC should not be allowed to conduct its test burn until it installs an electrostatic precipitator on its smokestack to capture the smallest, toxic particles they believe will otherwise waft over Lake Champlain and into the lungs of Addison County residents.