Archive - Jun 19, 2008
By JOHN FLOWERS
RIPTON — Road crews on Wednesday were still stabilizing roads, culverts and small bridges decimated by a powerful June 14 rainstorm that stranded dozens of residents in Ripton and East Middlebury.
“All we can do right now is fill in the ruts and get people moving,” said Ripton Road Commissioner Ron Wimett, who with other state and local workers has spent untold hours since Saturday’s rainstorm at the controls of heavy equipment, filling massive craters and gullies carved into the North Branch Road and other rural lanes that could not stand up to the torrential downpour that forced the Middlebury River and its tributaries to hop their respective banks. One estimate indicated more than six inches of rain fell in Ripton during just a few hours Saturday night.
“We’re hoping people are safe and that the federal government and someone can help us,” Wimett added. “We can’t incur costs like this.”
Vermont Emergency Management (VEM) officials on Tuesday were unsure whether the storm damage in Addison and Rutland counties would amount to the $1 million necessary to trigger a federal declaration of emergency, which would result in the release of government aid.
To qualify for Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) assistance, the state must sustain approximately $1 million in damage to public infrastructure like roads, bridges, public buildings, or any other municipal property. There are also county thresholds that need to be met. If local estimates are correct, Addison and Rutland counties may meet the criteria.
Wimett, on Tuesday evening, said he was confident the repair bill will reach seven figures.
“With the cost of materials and fuel prices, we’ll reach $1 million, no problem,” he said.
By ANDY KIRKALDY
FERRISBURGH — Ferrisburgh Central School officials have decided not to try to shoehorn the recently approved $1.5 million upgrades to the school into this summer, instead opting to plan the work for next summer.
FCS board chairwoman Adela Langrock said board members had initially hoped the project — including replacing the school’s failing heating system, installing a new ventilation system and windows, replacing stained ceiling tiles and rotting eaves, and upgrading its electrical system — could be done without interfering with education this fall.
But as they learned more about the bidding process, its projected timetable and the needs of workers during the job, Langrock said, they realized that goal could not be met.
“Given the level of engineering, and the coordination of all of it, it’s not feasible for it to be completed this summer ... It would be better to do it next year, to move in the first day of (next) summer and complete it with everyone off site,” she said. “We just felt like it would be very disruptive for the next academic year if we started this summer.”
By the time bids could be sent out, sorted out and accepted, and then work begun, it would be August, Langrock said. Students would have to be shielded from construction debris and dust, noise would be an issue, and workers would need the equivalent of four empty classrooms to work on at any given time — space the school does not have.
“The amount of disruption for our program would be astronomical ... We just have nowhere to put these kids,” Langrock said.
By CYRUS LEVESQUE
ADDISON COUNTY — A proposed increase in the number of muzzle-loading permits issued for antlerless deer will affect some parts of the state a lot more than others. In Bennington County, the number of permits issued may increase by more than six times if the current proposal remains unchanged, but the impact will probably be much smaller in Addison County.
Richard Phillips, owner of Vermont Field Sports in Middlebury, said that the proposed change hasn’t earned much attention in the Addison County area. “I haven’t heard anybody hollering about it yet in the store,” Phillips said. “I don’t think it’ll do much in Addison County, really.”
The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department Board is considering issuing almost twice as many antlerless deer permits for the coming hunting season as were issued in 2007. The 14-member board of the department gave preliminary approval to issue 22,050 permits in an April vote. Last year, the department issued only 11,050 permits for antlerless deer during the nine-day muzzleloader season.
The board met again yesterday, and the final decision on any increase will probably not be made until August, according to Claude Rainville of Lincoln, Addison County’s representative to the board. Rainville emphasized that the decision wasn’t final and there would be chances for public input. “It’s a lengthy process,” he said.
Public hearings in Lyndonville and Rutland are planned on the issue. The Rutland hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Tuesday, July 1, at the cafeteria of the Rutland Middle School at 67 Library Ave.
The board is considering the increase to control the size of the state’s deer herd, which has apparently grown quickly in recent years. “We can’t let the deer destroy their own habitat because of overpopulation,” Rainville said.