Archive - Oct 2006 - Page
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — The District 9 Environmental Commission has awarded Act 250 permits to two separate retirement communities that together will bring almost 300 units of elderly housing to the Middlebury area within the next year and a half.
Environmental commission officials confirmed on Thursday that they had issued permits:
• On Oct. 6 to Eastview at Middlebury, a 101-unit development to be built on 30 acres south of the Porter Medical Center campus off South Street.
• On Oct. 16, to the Lodge at Otter Creek, which will feature 180 units of senior housing on 36 acres off Middle Road.
State statutes allow for appeals of Act 250 permits within 30 days of when they are issued. Only those who have been accorded “party status” during the review period are allowed to file appeals.
By CYRUS LEVESQUE
MIDDLEBURY — The Foster Brothers Farm in Middlebury has used anaerobic digester technology to turn cow manure into electricity for more than two decades. Now the owners of the farm are helping to create a new company that will act as a broker selling electricity produced on farms around the country to businesses seeking to buy power produced from renewable resources.
“If someone wants to be ‘green,’ this is a good way to be green,” said Robert Foster of Foster Bros. “I encouraged our group to jump on it, because it’s something I wanted to champion.”
The new company, called AgRefresh and based in Burlington, began when Jeff Frost approached Foster about three years ago with questions about anaerobic digestion systems, like the manure digester Foster Bros. uses. Seeing a potential business opportunity, they took the first steps toward starting a company that would make “green” energy more widespread.
By CYRUS LEVESQUE
BRISTOL — After a heated public discussion at a meeting Tuesday evening, the Bristol Planning Commission decided to readopt the existing town plan, which expires in December, rather than try to complete an update that has rekindled debate over gravel pits in town.
“It’s clear now that we can’t get done by Dec. 27,” planning commission member Tom Wells said. He added that the commission will continue to work on the update and try to have a new town plan ready by next summer. “We should commit ourselves to a deadline on this,” he said.
The commission’s vote to readopt came after a 15-minute public comment section at which seven citizens were each given two minutes to speak. Some opposed the language in a draft of the land use section of the town plan revision the commission is working on, some spoke in favor of it.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. was squarely in the spotlight at Middlebury College’s Mead Chapel on Tuesday night, but it was Roberts’ predecessor, the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, who stole most of the headlines.
Speaking in front of an overflow crowd, Roberts credited Rehnquist — a part-time Greensboro resident for whom he clerked — for leading an exceptional life and for bringing more focused legal discourse to the land’s highest court.
Middlebury College President Ronald D. Liebowitz paid further homage to the late justice by announcing the establishment of an endowed “William H. Rehnquist Professorship of American History and Culture.” Rehnquist had delivered a speech at the college in 1998.
By ANDY KIRKALDY
FERRISBURGH — Ferrisburgh officials say the town has reached a $700,000 deal to buy a 34-acre Route 7 parcel if residents approve the purchase in a vote tentatively set for Dec. 12.
Selectman John DeVos said he — on behalf of a selectboard-appointed task force that also included board chairman Larry Simino — and landowner Clark Hinsdale Jr. of Charlotte both signed a letter of intent last week and that attorneys on both sides have begun preparing a formal purchase-and-sale agreement.
The deal is contingent on selectmen’s formal approval as well as voter support. DeVos said the rest of the five-member selectboard believe residents should have the opportunity to weigh in on the land purchase, which will close early next year if backed in December.
By MEGAN JAMES
VERGENNES — When Elizabeth Ready, executive director of the John Graham Emergency Shelter in Vergennes, asked Middlebury College student Alex Hall what surprised him the most about homelessness in Vermont, he answered, “That there was any.”
Since last spring, Hall and about 20 Middlebury students, in groups of three or four at a time, have visited the Vergennes shelter once a week where they cook dinner and socialize. The residents, in turn, have begun to shatter the students’ stereotypes of homelessness.
“You think it only exists in urban areas. You think they’ve chosen not to work, that they’re lazy,” said student volunteer Andrew Haile. “But really they’re great people who’ve just had some bad breaks.”
By JOHN FLOWERS
ADDISON COUNTY — Addison County human services providers are putting the finishing touches on a new DVD, brochure and other material aimed at helping local homeless people find — and keep — affordable housing.
The providers, working under the banner of the Addison County Housing Coalition, have also enlisted the help of Northlands Job Corps students in making a series of wooden human silhouettes that will soon be placed throughout the county to increase public awareness of the plight of the homeless.
Cheryl Mitchell, director of People of Addison County Together (PACT), is spearheading creation of the new brochure titled, “Almost Home: Finding an Affordable Place to Live in Addison County.” The 11-page brochure, in its final draft, will let homeless people know how their incomes play into qualifying for affordable housing; how to overcome bad credit; how to apply for rental housing; and what their rights are as tenants.
By MEGAN JAMES
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury College hopes to stimulate the local forest products economy when it begins buying woodchips instead of oil for a new $11 million, biomass-fueled power plant. In addition, the plant, which college trustees signed off on at a meeting late last month, will cut the college’s greenhouse gas emissions by 12,500 metric tons a year — a step that will be welcomed by a student-led effort to zero-out Middlebury College’s impact on global warming.
By relying on woodchips, a by-product of the lumbering business already established in Addison County, the college will support local industry while weaning itself off the global oil supply, officials said.
“The biomass plant exemplifies the college’s longstanding commitment to the environment not only as an academic subject, but also as an integral part of the institution’s operations,” said Middlebury College President Ronald D. Liebowitz. “It reflects the significance we place on the local economy as well.”