Archive - Jun 16, 2008
By CYRUS LEVESQUE
NEW HAVEN — After several years of planning, and a few false starts, a new town hall may be in store for New Haven. On July 1, town residents will vote on a proposal to float a $594,000 bond for new town offices and a library. A special town meeting is scheduled for June 30 at 7 p.m. in the town hall to discuss the bond proposal with a vote by Australian ballot on the next day.
If the bond passes, the new community building would be built on the site of the Dana-King House. The historic King House, which now neighbors the town hall on North Street, was sold to New Haven resident Tim Goyette on May 6 for $500 with the condition that the house be moved off the site.
Building a new community center will be less expensive than renovating the King House to make it suitable for a modern office, according to New Haven resident Jerry Smiley, who designed previous plans for the King House and the current plans for the new offices.
“Rehabilitating the King House was a major expenditure, and a lot of people in town didn’t want to do anything with it,” Smiley said.
All told, the proposed new town office would cost about $794,000, but the bond is $200,000 less because of money available in the town’s facilities fund. According to Selectman Keith Hall, the facilities fund at the end of 2006 had $212,939.29 in it, and the town appropriated an additional $65,000 at the 2007 town meeting.
Town officials have long argued that they need to improve the conditions of the town buildings. The current town offices are in a small set of rooms under the town hall, but they have become cramped in recent years, especially as reporting and record-keeping requirements have grown.
By KATHRYN FLAGG
ALBANY, N.Y. — The first time he stepped into a cave hit by what scientists have dubbed white nose syndrome (WNS), Peter Youngbaer was startled — and horrified. Almost all of the bats in the hibernation colony had died.
“There were hundreds and hundreds of carcasses littering the floor,” Youngbaer, president of the Vermont Cavers’ Association and an avid caver himself, said. “We didn’t know if it was an isolated incident. You started seeing it in other places — and then the white noses, the fungus, became this evident sign.”
Youngbaer joined between 80 and 90 other scientists, wildlife specialists and conservationists in Albany, N.Y., last week to discuss the mysterious syndrome behind these die-offs, which have escalated from just two incidents in caves in New York a year ago to documented mortalities at caves and mines in New York, Vermont, Massachusetts and Connecticut, with suspected sites in Pennsylvania.
The syndrome is estimated to have killed hundreds of thousands of bats this year. Last week’s conference brought together individuals from two countries and over 25 organizations to identify the most urgent research questions for the scientists and management agencies struggling to unravel the causes fueling the unprecedented bat mortalities.
Scientists at the meeting identified starvation and dehydration, direct mortality from pathogens, the effects of environmental contaminants or multi-factoral causation as the most promising hypotheses driving the mortalities — but the meeting called into sharp perspective the long road that faces specialists investigating the syndrome.
“I think that we now have a focus that we can test,” said Scott Darling, a wildlife biologist for the Vermont Fish and Wildlife Department. “I can only hope that the answer lies somewhere in one of those four hypotheses.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — For the first time in 42 years, Mark Mooney had to do a thorough spring cleaning of his Middlebury Union High School office before heading out on summer vacation.
Among the items he stowed in boxes was his attendance book from 1965, the year in which he joined the school faculty. In it are the names of some the parents — and even grandparents — of the students now featured in the class of 2008, which will be his last at MUHS.
“There comes a point where you say you need to turn it over to the next generation and the next group,” said Mooney, who heads a list of several veteran teachers who are retiring from the Addison Central Supervisory Union’s faculty ranks this year.
In 1965, the district hired Mooney to fill a junior high school teaching vacancy. Mooney had just graduated from Castleton State College, and had been looking for a job in either Vermont or Connecticut, from where his wife Nancy hails.
He decided on Middlebury, mainly because of some acquaintances and family relationships in the area and Mooney’s brother had attended Middlebury College. The MUHS principal at the time, Ken Severson, happened to be the former high school principal at Pittsford, Mooney’s home town.
He began his teaching career in a building that had been built in 1958 for a cost of just over $1 million. The junior high and high school were consolidated in the single structure, the front façade of which was dominated by glass and windows. The ACSU offices at the time featured two employees and were located in what is now the Middlebury municipal building.