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December 6th

Aldi drops plans for Middlebury discount food store

December 6, 2007

By JOHN FLOWERS

MIDDLEBURY — Aldi will not proceed with a plan to locate a 17,000-square-foot discount food store in the Middlebury South Village (MSV) housing and retail development off Court Street.

Jeffry Glassberg, one of the developers of MSV, confirmed the news on Tuesday — two weeks after the Middlebury Development Review Board convened its first formal review of the Aldi store plan. Some board members at that meeting voiced concerns about the scale and design of the proposed store, as did several community members.

Glassberg stressed, however, Aldi’s decision to reconsider a Middlebury store was not based on negative feedback at the November hearing. Rather, it relates to a shift in the company’s business plan for Vermont.

“Our understanding from a broker involved is that Aldi is retrenching from Vermont and has terminated its pursuit of four or five other sites in the state as well,” Glassberg said. “This is primarily a staffing decision for Aldi.”

Founded in Germany during the 1940s, Aldi in an international retailer offering a “no-frills” shopping experience at 3,500 stores worldwide, including one location in Bennington.

Aldi officials last year expressed interest in establishing a store at MSV, a planned unit development that has already received approval for 56 single-family homes, 30 townhouse apartments, a new Chittenden Bank, and a total of 34,000 square feet of office and retail space, including a bank and sit-down restaurant.

MSV developers had hoped to recruit several small retailers and firms to occupy the commercial/office space, but that strategy did not yield the results they were hoping for. They shifted gears, hoping to make Aldi MSV’s anchor retailer.

full story

Transportation secretary praises Middlebury bridge effort

December 6, 2007

By JOHN FLOWERS

MIDDLEBURY  — Vermont Transportation Secretary Neale Lunderville on Monday credited the town of Middlebury and Middlebury College for joining forces in trying to finance a new in-town bridge, adding that such collaborations will be key if the state is to whittle away at the many construction projects that are languishing on the drawing board due to a lack of funds.

“I commend both the town and the college for their willingness to look at creative and innovative ways to finance transportation projects,” Lunderville said during a telephone interview.

“The college and town were able to combine their resources to solve a mobility and safety issue that is important to them both,” he added. “I applaud their collaboration.”

The collaboration to which Lunderville is referring involves a pledge by the college to give $9 million toward a new in-town bridge that would link Main Street with Court Street via Cross Street, across the Otter Creek. The college’s commitment to back a $9 million bond the town would float, actually would add up to total payments from the college of $18 million ($600,000 annually over 30 years) to cover the interest and principal on the bonds. The college’s payments would kick in when and if the bridge is completed, perhaps as soon as 2011.

Officials are estimating a total project cost of $16 million, when one includes related road and intersection work, as well as the expense of acquiring four properties within the proposed bridge right-of-way. Middlebury officials will seek federal funds, donations, property tax dollars and “creative financing” to gather the remaining $7 million for the project.

full story

Efforts stepped up to fill holiday gift wishes

December 6, 2007

By MEGAN JAMES and CYRUS LEVESQUE

ADDISON COUNTY — The Christmas season is a time of buying and giving gifts to friends and family, but there are a large number of people who have difficulty finding the money for even the meanest gifts for family members, not to mention bare necessities.

There are many local efforts that go beyond just helping provide bare necessities to offer a little something extra during the holidays to people who are struggling financially.

“There are people that find themselves all of a sudden in a difficult financial situation, and we try to be there (for them),” said Helen Haerle, who coordinates a Christmas shop at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Middlebury, which will welcome those in need from around the county this Saturday and on Dec. 15.

Children are often the focus of the holiday season, especially when it comes to giving gifts. But in addition this year, a group of area agencies are collaborating with corporate sponsors to make sure isolated seniors also have something special to unwrap. 

“I’m often struck by the number of seniors in our community who don’t have family,” said Deborah Foster, development coordinator for Addison County Home Health and Hospice, one of the partner agencies. “They often have no one to provide them with a little happiness.”

Foster’s agency has teamed up with Home Instead Senior Care in South Burlington and the Rite Aid store in Middlebury for the “Be a Santa to a Senior” program, which coordinates the collecting, wrapping and delivering of holiday gifts to “elder orphans,” seniors without family nearby, or at all.

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December 3rd

Counting Bristol's headstones takes detective work

A MONUMENT WATCHES over Larry Gile and Donald Lathrop as they work to create an accurate record of those buried in Greenwood Cemetery in Bristol. Gile and Lathrop are working together to catalogue everybody buried in Bristol cemeteries.
Independent photo/Trent Campbell


December 3, 2007

By CYRUS LEVESQUE

BRISTOL — Taking a census of the dead may seem pretty straightforward, but two Bristol residents tallying up everyone buried in Bristol’s five cemeteries say the task involves quite a bit of detective work.

Larry Gile and Donald Lathrop know a certain person was buried in Varney Cemetery in the 1970s but they can’t find the headstone, so what’s the next step?

“Connecting all the dots there is pushing it a little bit,” Gile said.

Although Gile worked as a funeral home director all his adult life until he retired this year, he himself didn’t handle the Varney Cemetery burial in question. So, as in many situations, he and Lathrop have to rely on records.

In some cases the two Bristol men can find those records at the town offices, but they also work from half a dozen record books. Many of the records from Bristol’s history they use come from a yellowed, handwritten volume from 1895, held together mostly with Scotch tape.

Lathrop is president of the Bristol Cemetery Association, which manages Greenwood Cemetery, and Gile is the treasurer. But this census is a private project not for the cemetery association but for personal reasons.

“It’s interesting to me just because I’m running into my own ancestors down there and finding out where they were buried,” Lathrop said.

full story

Whiting, Sudbury weigh next step after school merger fails

December 3, 2007

By MEGAN JAMES

WHITING/SUDBURY — Since voters in Whiting rejected the proposal to create a joint school district with Sudbury last month, the two school boards, still keen on the idea, have been wrestling with what to do next.

One thing they know for sure, they will take a break from each other and meet separately this month.

“We agreed to get together in January, to reassess where we want to go from here,” said Sudbury school board Chair Steve Roberts. “We didn’t want to have any kind of knee jerk reaction to the vote, so we decided to cool it for a bit.”

The merger proposal was defeated on Nov. 6 in a split decision, with Sudbury approving the plan, 53-39, and Whiting rejecting it, 47-26. Both towns had to approve the merger for it to pass.

The two boards, which have held their meetings together for more than a year, will spend this month’s meetings working on their individual spending plans for the coming academic year. They will convene again in January.

Whether or not they decide to resurrect the merger proposal is unclear, though Sudbury’s board has already begun to explore other options.

“There are very few alternatives,” Roberts said. Sudbury could close its school and tuition children either to Neshobe Elementary School in Brandon or to Whiting. The board has considered the possibility of creating a cross-tuitioning plan, in which an equal number of Whiting and Sudbury students would be tuitioned out to the other school.

“But that would be a political nightmare,” Roberts said.

Earlier in the planning process, Leicester Central School officials had voiced an interest in joining in a three-way merger with Whiting and Sudbury, but Roberts said the driving distance between Leicester and Sudbury was a real concern.

full story

Drug wholesale company buying Porter pharmacies

December 3, 2007

By CYRUS LEVESQUE

MIDDLEBURY — Porter Medical Center plans to sell its for-profit pharmaceutical division, Porter Health Systems, to Cobble Hill Holdings, Inc., the parent company of Burlington Drug Company and Dowling Grocery, both of which are pharmaceutical wholesalers.

Porter president James Daily said the agreement ensures that few changes are in store for customers and employees of the pharmacies, which include the Marble Works pharmacies in Middlebury and Vergennes, and the Vermont Mail Order Pharmacy and the New England Mail Order Pharmacy, which sell pharmaceuticals on a retail business by mail order around the region out of the Middlebury office. Porter Health Systems also includes the Medicine Chest medical equipment company next to the Marble Works Pharmacy.

“We are confident that the customers and employees will benefit from this transaction, and that these pharmacies will have access to significant new operational and financial resources,” Daily said.

According to Porter Medical Center spokesman Ron Hallman, day-to-day business of the stores will stay the same for the near future. “The entities will continue to operate as they are,” Hallman said.

The boards of directors of both Porter Medical Center and Cobble Hill Holdings, Inc. have voted to approve the deal, but according to Hallman an appraisal of the value of the businesses is not finished. Mike Mitiguy, president of Cobble Hill Holdings, said they hope to have the deal finalized by the end of the year.

full story

November 30th

Related Bridge Articles

Posted on November 30, 2007 |
By John Flowers



MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury College’s decision to donate $9 million toward an in-town bridge project at Cross Street represents the third substantial town-gown partnership to have come to the fore this year.

full story

College pledges $9 million for new town bridge

November 30, 2007

By JOHN FLOWERS

MIDDLEBURY — For more than a half-century, Middlebury’s quest for a second in-town crossing of the Otter Creek has moved slower than rush-hour traffic along the town’s Main Street.

But that figurative and literal gridlock may soon be lifted thanks to a pledge by Middlebury College to donate $9 million toward a new in-town bridge project that would link Main Street to Court Street over the Otter Creek via Cross Street.

College and municipal officials on Monday confirmed to the Addison Independent the donation pledge — made at the request of the town — which will take the form of annual payments of $600,000 over 30 years to cover the interest and principal payments on the bonds that Middlebury will float for construction of the span.

Total cost of the in-town bridge project is being placed at $16 million, with $7 million of that amount associated with related intersection upgrades, road improvements and acquisition of four properties within the project right-of-way. Selectmen will look to other funding sources — including the federal government and local taxpayers — to cover that remaining $7 million.

“What I hope is that this is a step in the evolutionary process in the relationship between the town and college, that both feel more comfortable working with each other collaboratively, to the benefit of both… ” Middlebury College President Ronald Liebowitz said of the financial pledge for the bridge, a structure he believes could serve not only as a vital traffic conduit, but also as a metaphor for a new era of town-gown collaborations in tackling common challenges.

full story

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