Archive - Jan 28, 2008
DAVE HEATH FLOODS the ice rink on Middlebury College’s academic quad Thursday afternoon. Heath, who has worked on the rink for 28 years, was planning to return at midnight for a final coat. The rink is used by students for skating, hockey and an annual broomball tournament.
Independent photo/Trent Campbell
January 28, 2008
BY JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — Starbucks will not proceed with plans for a new store off Route 7 South in Middlebury. The proposed coffee shop has apparently become a casualty of a recent shift in Starbucks’ business plan calling for development of fewer stores in the U.S. this year.
“As you are no doubt aware, the Starbucks Corporation has entered a period of reorganization in the wake of its disappointing financial performance this past year,” reads a recent letter to the Middlebury planning office from Christopher Hunt, a partner with Buffalo, N.Y.-based company Myron Hunt Inc. that was seeking to build the coffee shop on land adjacent to The Centre shopping plaza.
“Unfortunately for us, and for the town of Middlebury, as part of their process (Starbucks) has decided to halt development of many planned, yet un-built stores,” the letter reads. “Accordingly, we are hereby withdrawing our application to amend the Hannaford shopping center P.U.D. (planned unit development) to include Starbucks.”
Newly named Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz has said his agenda will include refocusing on the “customer experience” in current stores and new products, while slowing the pace of new U.S. store openings. Starbucks also plans to close an as-yet undetermined number of underperforming locations.
Starbucks becomes the second major retailer to pull the plug on plans for a Middlebury store during the past three months. In early December, Aldi announced it would not proceed with a plan to locate a 17,000-square-foot discount food operation in the Middlebury South Village (MSV) development off Court Street. Aldi also cancelled plans to develop stores on a handful of sites in other parts of the state.
January 28, 2008
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury selectmen on Thursday, Jan. 31, will seek public feedback on the concept of boosting the town’s sales, rooms, meals and alcohol taxes by 1 percent to generate revenues for a new in-town bridge at Cross Street.
Thursday’s hearing, set for 7 p.m. in the municipal gym, will be the first in a series of meetings and votes selectmen will need to convene if the town is to implement a series of “local option taxes.” Board members are hoping to have those taxes at the town’s disposal to pay down a portion of the estimated $16 million price tag of a proposed Cross Street bridge project.
Middlebury College has already promised to donate $9 million toward the project, which would link Main Street with Court Street across the Otter Creek, via Cross Street. Selectmen are hoping to cover the balance of the project costs through local option taxes and federal highway money, thereby eliminating the need to raise local property taxes.
At this point, selectmen are looking for the ability to implement all the available local option taxes — sales, rooms, meals and alcohol.
“The board is looking at all four, thinking it is the fairest way to distribute the burden,” said Middlebury Town Manager Bill Finger. “It is also the most direct was to spread the (tax) base out.”
Figures provided by the Vermont Tax Department show that a 1-percent local sales, meals, rooms and alcohol taxes would have netted Middlebury $725,319 in 2007. That, combined with the college’s commitment of $600,000 annually over the life of a 30-year bond for the project, should more than cover yearly debt service payments, officials said. Finger said the town is still crunching numbers on the exact annual payments Middlebury will need to make a 30-year bond.
January 28, 2008
By CYRUS LEVESQUE
BRISTOL — After nearly two decades leading the Bristol Fire Department, Mark Bouvier has passed the mantle of authority to a younger generation. Second Assistant Chief John “Peeker” Heffernan took over as chief earlier this month from Bouvier.
“It was a combination of feeling that I’ve done what I set out to do, and sometimes there’s the loss of the, if you’ll pardon the pun, the fire in the belly,” said Bouvier, 59. “It was a good time, I felt, to hand over the reins.”
Two other senior officers — Fire Truck Captain Peter Bouvier (Mark’s brother), and First Assistant Chief Peter Coffey — also stepped away from those posts on Jan. 5 because of other demands on their time.
Mark Bouvier has spent a total of 34 years in the fire department, with the last 18 years as chief and seven years before that as an assistant chief. Peter Bouvier was assistant fire truck captain for the past 19 years, and was assistant truck captain for one year before that. Coffey was first assistant chief for 19 years, and was the second assistant chief for one year before that.
All told, Peter and Mark Bouvier and Peter Coffey have spent 65 years as officers of the Bristol Fire Department.
Peter Bouvier and Coffey could not be reached for comment, but Heffernan said that they also were stepping aside partly due to other demands on their time.
Mark Bouvier stressed that he, along with the others, will still be around as members of the department, just not in leadership positions.
“I’m just stepping aside, not out,” he said.
Heffernan said he was glad to know that the former officers will still be around to offer guidance here and there. “They said they were willing to help, and that’s why I agreed to take the spot,” Heffernan said.