Archive - Sep 8, 2008
By JOHN FLOWERS
ADDISON COUNTY — Mosquito control officials in the state’s three insect control districts — all located in Addison County and Brandon — are getting ready to close the books on what they say was one of the buggiest summers in recent history.
Seemingly incessant rainfall throughout July and early August caused frequent flooding of area wetlands, as well as spillovers of the Otter Creek and its tributaries. The resulting water pooling created ideal conditions for mosquitoes to spawn, hatch and wreak havoc throughout the county.
“Statewide, we’ve been getting a lot of reports and calls of elevated levels of mosquitoes in areas that have never called before,” state Entomologist Jon Turmel said on Thursday. “It’s been because of the amount of rain we’ve had.
“The rain hasn’t been absorbed (into the ground) and there are all these puddles. We just can’t find them all.”
It hasn’t been for a lack of trying.
The Lemon Fair Insect Control District’s airplane conducted more than 40 larvicide dropping sorties throughout the three insect control districts, encompassing Bridport, Cornwall, Weybridge, Brandon, Leicester, Goshen and Salisbury. In all, the plane dumped larvicide — which kills mosquito larvae in their early stages of growth — on a whopping 7,288 acres this summer. By contrast, the Lemon Fair district’s plane dropped larvicide on only 608 acres last year during what was a comparatively dry summer. All of the larvicide drops last year were confined to the Brandon, Leicester, Salisbury, Goshen (BLSG) Mosquito Control District.
“We handle an area that is very large, and it got even larger,” Lemon Fair district Manager Tom Baskett said of the impact of the rainy conditions. “It shifted from day to day.”
By JOHN FLOWERS
BENSON — Nov. 4 could be called “independents day” in Addison-Rutland 1, the Vermont House District that includes Shoreham, Orwell, Benson and Whiting.
That’s because two independent candidates — and nary a Democrat or Republican — are vying for the right to represent the district for the next two years.
Benson Town Moderator John Hill confirmed on Thursday that he will run as an independent challenger to freshman incumbent Rep. Will Stevens, I-Shoreham.
Hill, 56, is an accounts auditor with the firm NEIS Inc. He inspects payroll and sales records for the insurance industry, performing 95 percent of his duties in Vermont.
A Sunderland, Vt., native, Hill and his family have lived in Benson for the past six years. He recently served his community on the Benson school board and is now enjoying his role as town moderator.
“I like fairness and I believe when you give people enough information, they’ll make good decisions,” Hill said.
He believes that same philosophy holds true for a state representative, a role in which he sees himself gathering information on issues to share with his constituents for feedback.
“I’m the people’s advocate to get information out,” said Hill, who is no stranger to political contests. Thirty years ago, he ran as a Democrat in a four-way contest for one of Bennington County’s two seats in the Vermont Senate. Hill recalls finishing a “respectable fourth,” but hadn’t launched another bid for the Statehouse until this year.
He stressed he is not running simply to unseat Stevens.
“My decision is based exclusively on a desire to give back to the community and help the district and state become better,” Hill said.
By KATHRYN FLAGG
MIDDLEBURY — Visitors to the Middlebury Farmers’ Market are well accustomed to the cheerful, small-town skyline of tents and colorful pavilions that appears twice a week during the summer and fall.
But one tent slated to crop up at this coming Saturday’s market won’t be peddling the usual assortment of local produce and fresh flowers.
Part interactive art project, part activist awareness prop, the tent is the central symbol of the Tents of Hope movement, a national art project aimed at promoting awareness and action to end genocide in the Darfur region of the African nation of Sudan.
The local incarnation of the project comes to Addison County this month care of the Middlebury College Chaplain’s Office and the Middlebury Area Clergy Association, and will travel to two more Middlebury locations, appearing for three consecutive Saturdays this month before eventually being sent to Washington, D.C., for a rally on the National Mall in November.
“Our main goal is to kind of bring the situation in Darfur to the front of peoples’ consciousness,” said Tim Franklin, the pastor at the Bridport Congregational Church and one of the project’s local organizers. “This is something that for many people is on the edges of their awareness.”
Townspeople will be invited to help paint the tent, and information and petitions will be on hand for those interested in learning more about the Darfur region of western Sudan. The region has been the focus of international attention since government troops and militia groups known as janjaweed began conducting widespread civilian killings in the area in 2004. At least 200,000 individuals are thought to have died, and more than 2.5 million others are believed to have fled their homes in the region.