Archive - Apr 28, 2008
By MEGAN JAMES
NEW HAVEN — As Dave Winborn prepared for his first full winter living in a tent in the New Haven woods last fall, he had no doubt his home — a Cabela’s Deluxe Alaknak II — would survive to see the spring.
“I was supremely confident that no weather, no natural things would do my tent in,” he said.
The tent collapsed in early February, while the 55-year-old emergency medical technician was working the overnight shift and 17 inches of snow was pummeling the area.
“I came home, saw that it had collapsed and early that evening I thought, ‘Camp Titanic.’ That will teach me,” he said, chuckling.
But Winborn didn’t let the collapse get him down, and unless he was on duty for Valley Rescue Squad in Hancock or New Haven First Response, he never missed a night in that tent. In fact, his camp did make it through the winter, and he plans to do it all again next year.
On a recent morning he was getting ready for spring-cleaning: taking down some branches dangling threateningly over his roof, clearing out the roots protruding from his floor and taking out the insulation he packed against the walls and covered with sheets so he wouldn’t breathe in particles of the insulation.
Winborn’s motto since moving into his tent last summer has been, “Try something. If it works, stick with it, if it doesn’t work, try something else,” he said.
He moved into the tent, which he pitched on a friend’s land, in part because he couldn’t afford an apartment, he said. But also, he did it just to see if he could.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — Developers who want to install a water turbine at the Otter Creek falls in downtown Middlebury are hoping to sign up the town of Middlebury and Middlebury College as their two exclusive clients for electricity, a move they believe will make the project more financially viable and less encumbered by permitting hurdles.
Anders Holm and his family — owners of the Main Street building that borders the south side of the falls — are proposing the water turbine, which would harness electricity from the water that flows through a flume under the Holm building. The electricity would be processed in a powerhouse erected on town-owned land near the base of the footbridge that links Frog Hollow with the Marble Works complex across the Otter Creek.
The Holms have spent the past two years refining their project while seeking financing and the necessary permits. The Holms have experienced setbacks on both counts, driving up the costs and lengthening the timeline of their proposal.
They now believe that a partnership with the town and college could expedite the process. The Holms are hoping to make the two entities the only wholesale consumers of their water turbine’s power. Such an arrangement, Holm said, could instantly give the project firm standing and credibility among permitting and financing organizations.
College and town officials last week acknowledged interest in the Holm project, though they stressed the need for more study.
“We are still exploring the economic feasibility of this project, but we’re excited by the idea of developing a green energy source that would provide power to the college and town,” said Middlebury College President Ronald D. Liebowitz.
By MEGAN JAMES
LEICESTER/WHITING/SUDBURY — If voters in Leicester, Whiting and Sudbury approve, a new consolidated elementary school could be the first built in Vermont in the 21st Century.
A newly formed tri-town school committee met last Wednesday to lay the groundwork for the consolidation plans, including the construction of a new, centrally located school, tentatively called the Community School.
In all three towns enthusiasm for the project has mounted since Town Meeting Day, when Leicester expressed a renewed interest in joining a merger of Sudbury and Whiting schools proposed last year. In November Whiting voters rejected the merger, 47-26, and Sudbury approved it, 53-39.
But the proposal Leicester school board member Hannah Sessions floated before Sudbury and Whiting residents at their respective town meetings in March differs from the original plan in one striking way: The three towns would construct a brand new school building in a central location, rather than splitting grades between existing buildings.
An added bonus, Sessions stressed, is that joint schools are exempt from Vermont’s moratorium on school construction funding, so 50 percent of construction costs would be covered by the state.
The committee has yet to determine an estimated cost of building the school, but it wouldn’t be much more than other area schools are paying just for renovations and improvements, Sessions said.
At Wednesday’s meeting the 20 committee members, most of whom do not serve on a school board, discussed other benefits of consolidating schools. With more than 100 students — Leicester currently has 57, Whiting, 36, and Sudbury, 31 — the biggest perk is that the Community School would have no multi-grade classrooms.