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Archive - Aug 2008

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August 28th

New gravel pit proposed for Route 116 in Middlebury


MIDDLEBURY — A New Hampshire family is seeking permission from the town of Middlebury to establish a 16-acre gravel pit on land off Route 116 near its intersection with Quarry Road.

The Middlebury Development Review Board (DRB) is tentatively scheduled to hold its first hearing on the project on Sept. 22. Middlebury Town Planner Fred Dunnington said the DRB will consider, among other things, the proposed gravel pit’s proximity to the nearby Lindale Mobile Home Park; its potential impact on the town’s underground water supply; and the increase in truck traffic, excavation dust and noise the project would generate.

Ronald and Susan Fenn of Danville, N.H., are proposing the project. They own the 70-acre parcel on which the new pit would be located. Ronald Fenn was born and raised in Middlebury.

Susan Fenn said her husband’s family has owned the 70 acres off Route 116 for more than a century. They have now decided to develop a portion of it.

“We know there is gravel in there,” Fenn said of recent engineering studies at the site.

The Fenns have submitted a project narrative indicating the gravel pit site contains approximately 660,000 cubic yards of material. Plans call for an average of 35,000 cubic yards to be removed annually during the next 30 years. The Fenns said there are no plans to do any blasting or crushing at the proposed pit. The couple plans to lease or sell the pit property to an entity that would operate the business.

Excavation of the 16-acre pit would occur in four phases. Topsoil from each new phase would be set aside to reclaim the site of the preceding phase, according to the project narrative.

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UD-3 board mulls policy for student newspaper


MIDDLEBURY — The UD-3 school board will spend the next few weeks crafting a policy for the Middlebury Union High School Tigers’ Print newspaper that could range from continuing to allow the administration to pre-screen the content of the publication, to simply ensuring that students’ names are withheld from articles that could get them in trouble.

Board members on Tuesday decided to take that course after two hours of at-times impassioned debate, focusing on the balance of protecting students while allowing them the freedom to produce a newspaper with an unfiltered voice.

School leaders have been considering a policy since last spring, after a Tigers’ Print scribe printed the name of a student who confessed to having attended classes while under the influence of marijuana. That student was retroactively suspended from classes for three days. The UD-3 board’s policy committee met during the summer to gather a series of legal opinions and public testimony on potential ground rules for the student newspaper.

The policy committee on Tuesday unveiled two potential newspaper policies.

The first proposed policy calls for the journalism course teacher to be responsible for reviewing all material prior to publication. The superintendent or his designee, however, would have final approval over the material to be published. The policy also stipulates that the superintendent will not permit censorship “of any article because of administrative disagreement with the article’s viewpoint or opinions of the author, or merely because of any controversial nature of an article or its subject matter.” At the same time, the superintendent won’t allow into print any information that “could violate the rights of students, constitute discrimination of any portion of the student body, or advocate behavior that exposes all or a portion of the student body to harm.”

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Eat Local Challenge to kick off with harvest festival


MIDDLEBURY — Local foods aficionados will kick off this year’s third annual Eat Local Challenge in a manner befitting a movement dedicated to celebrating locally produced food: they’re breaking out their forks and casserole dishes and turning out for a picnic.

But the Addison County Localvores, as the individuals behind the Eat Local Challenge are dubbed, have more up their sleeves than a simple potluck. This year, for the first time, the month-long challenge to eat locally grown and produced foods will include a harvest festival that should prove educational, entertaining and, of course, appetizing.

Slated to take place on the Middlebury town green — or, in the case of rain, in St. Stephen’s on the Green Episcopal Church — the Sept. 6 festival represents what Monkton resident Jonathan Corcoran called the localvores’ efforts to reach beyond their core of dedicated supporters to the “next concentric circles” in the community.

“This year we thought, wouldn’t it be great to try to draw more people in, and wouldn’t it be great to try to educate people about how to actually do more eating locally?” said Cornwall resident Kristin Bolton, one of the localvores organizing the kick-off event.

Definitions for what constitutes locally produced food vary — do foods baked or processed locally from ingredients produced from afar count? — but a general rule of thumb is that anything grown within 100 miles of one’s home is local.

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August 27th

U.S. Rep. Jim Leach's DNC Speech

Speech at Democratic convention by former U.S. Rep. Jim Leach, R-Iowa

As a Republican, I stand before you with deep respect for the history and traditions of my political party. But it is clear to all Americans that something is out of kilter in our great republic. In less than a decade America’s political and economic standing in the world has been diminished. Our nation’s extraordinary leadership in so many areas is simply not reflected in the partisan bickering and ideological politics of Washington. Seldom has the case for an inspiring new political ethic been more compelling. And seldom has an emerging leader so matched the needs of the moment.

The platform of this transformative figure is a call for change. The change Barack Obama is advocating is far more than a break with today’s politics. It is a clarion call for renewal rooted in time-tested American values that tap Republican, as well as Democratic traditions.

Perspective is difficult to bring to events of the day, but in sweeping terms, there have been four great debates in our history to which both parties have contributed. The first debate, led by Thomas Jefferson, the first Democrat to be elected president, centered on the question of whether a country could be established, based on The Rights of Man.

The second debate, led by Abraham Lincoln, the first Republican to be elected president, was about definitions—whether The Rights of Man applied to individuals who were neither pale nor male. It took almost two centuries of struggle, hallmarked by a civil war, the suffrage and abolitionist movements, the Harlem renaissance and a courageous civil rights leadership to bring meaning to the values embedded in the Declaration of Independence.

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Hillary Clinton's DNC Speech

Below are the remarks of Hillary Clinton as prepared for delivery at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Colorado, August 26, 2008:

I am honored to be here tonight. A proud mother. A proud Democrat. A proud American. And a proud supporter of Barack Obama.

My friends, it is time to take back the country we love.

Whether you voted for me, or voted for Barack, the time is now to unite as a single party with a single purpose. We are on the same team, and none of us can sit on the sidelines.

This is a fight for the future. And it’s a fight we must win.

I haven’t spent the past 35 years in the trenches advocating for children, campaigning for universal health care, helping parents balance work and family, and fighting for women’s rights at home and around the world . . . to see another Republican in the White House squander the promise of our country and the hopes of our people.

And you haven’t worked so hard over the last 18 months, or endured the last eight years, to suffer through more failed leadership.

No way. No how. No McCain.

Barack Obama is my candidate. And he must be our President.

Tonight we need to remember what a Presidential election is really about. When the polls have closed, and the ads are finally off the air, it comes down to you -- the American people, your lives, and your children’s futures.

For me, it’s been a privilege to meet you in your homes, your workplaces, and your communities. Your stories reminded me everyday that America’s greatness is bound up in the lives of the American people -- your hard work, your devotion to duty, your love for your children, and your determination to keep going, often in the face of enormous obstacles.

You taught me so much, you made me laugh, and . . . you even made me cry. You allowed me to become part of your lives. And you became part of mine.

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August 25th

Vermonters 'staycation' close to home


STARKSBORO — As the last session of “Camp Common Ground” drew to a close last week, multigenerational campers piled into cars, boarded airplanes and took off for home. With the family camp attracting visitors from 40 states and several different countries, that trips home can, at times, be arduous. 

For East Middlebury residents Bryan Carson, Holly Stark and their seven-year-old son Max, the end-of-vacation trek was, instead, a scant 21-mile jaunt down Route 116.

The family’s decision to vacation close to home — to “staycation,” as Carson quipped — is a trend many Vermonters have embraced to reduce vacation stress, take advantage of their own backyards and, in many cases, save time, resources and money. 

Though the “staycation” is by no means a new phenomenon, according to Steve Cook, Vermont’s deputy commissioner of tourism and marketing, it has, he said, “been the word of the summer.” The Department of Tourism and Marketing has promoted in-state vacations to Vermonters for the last four years, and now, Cook said, other states are launching similar campaigns. Both New York and Connecticut kicked off their first-ever marketing campaigns for in-state tourism this year.

It’s a trend that seems to be catching on. At Kampersville in Salisbury, owner Jean Wisnowski said she’s never seen so many Vermonters flock to the Lake Dunmore campground.

“It’s unbelievable,” Wisnowski said. “I’ve never in my life seen a summer like it.”

When she asks new campers about where they’re from, she said, she’s increasingly hearing from residents of Burlington, Winooski, and White Hall, N.Y. It’s a notable change of pace for a business that usually attracts visitors from New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire.

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Route 125 fix proceeds; bridge work will take longer


ADDISON COUNTY — State officials on Thursday restored two-way traffic on Route 125 from East Middlebury to Hancock, which had been reduced to one lane in spots for more than two weeks, and plan to repave damaged portions of the flood-ravaged road before the end of September.

While work is proceeding smoothly on that stretch of state highway, repairs to other Addison County roads and bridges damaged during the Aug. 6 storm and flooding — notably the Lower Plains Road Bridge in East Middlebury and portions of Route 53 near Lake Dunmore in Salisbury — are in somewhat of a holding pattern. Officials are waiting for word of whether federal disaster repair funds will be available and say time is needed to marshal other resources for these major projects.

Middlebury Director of Operations Dan Werner said it will likely be next summer before workers are able to replace the Lower Plains Road Bridge, a small span that was shifted by the swollen waters of the Middlebury River.

“Both (bridge) abutments were damaged,” Werner said. “That bridge will have to be replaced.”

Residents dependant on that bridge will therefore have to continue to make detours for the better part of a year. As the Addison Independent went to press, federal authorities had still not decided on whether to make an emergency declaration that would provide up to 75 percent of the money needed for flood-related damage repairs in portions of East Middlebury, Hancock, Ripton, Goshen, Salisbury, Leicester, Bridport and Forestdale.

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College garners top honors in 'Sierra' green rankings


MIDDLEBURY — When it comes to being green, Middlebury College takes the eco-cake, according to “Sierra,” the magazine of the Sierra Club.

The September/October issue of the magazine, which ships out to 1.2 million readers, recognized the college as the number one school on a list of 10 “schools that get it,” applauding the institution for its continued work as an environmental leader in higher education.

“Sierra” singled out a partnership that makes it easy for Middlebury students to offset carbon dioxide emissions associated with travel, and gave a nod of appreciation to grants for students to investigate environmental solutions like geothermal power while studying abroad. The feature also highlighted the college’s waste management facilities, which recycle 60 percent of campus waste, and the new biomass generator, slated to kick into gear this winter.

The news proved exciting for the staff at the college, though the college’s high standing among eco-friendly universities has often been pointed out by other rankings. Middlebury was one of six schools nationwide recognized this year by the Sustainable Endowments Institute as a sustainability leader, earning the institute’s highest recognition.

But the high-profile “Sierra” feature is nonetheless a welcome pat on the back for the college. 

“It’s a nice acknowledgement of all the great things that we’ve been doing here,” said Director of Sustainability Integration Jack Byrne.

“I’m so proud of what Middlebury’s doing,” said Dean of Environmental Affairs Nan Jenks-Jay. “It’s about champions all throughout the system,” she said, pointing to the staff members, faculty and administrators across the college spectrum who have worked to make the school more green.

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