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July 19th, 2007

Check please ....

SERVERS RUN INTO spilling trouble at the start of the waiters' race during French Heritage Day in Vergennes on Saturday afternoon. Waiters and waitresses run in a one-kilometer race through the Little City and must cross the finish line with most of the water still in their bottles.
Independent photo/Trent Campbell

full story

New energy bill on the horizon in Montpelier

July 19, 2007

By JOHN FLOWERS

MONTPELIER — Vermont House and Senate leaders this week vowed to hit the ground running in January with a new energy bill that could be even more comprehensive than the one vetoed by Gov. James Douglas.

The Vermont House on July 11 narrowly sustained Douglas’s veto of H.520, an energy bill that would have, among other things:

• Expanded the state’s electric efficiency utility (Efficiency Vermont) to an “all fuels” utility. Efficiency Vermont is currently limited to helping Vermonters improve their homes and businesses in ways to save on electricity, not on fossil fuels.

H.520 called for the Efficiency Vermont’s expanded services to be paid through a four-year tax on Vermont Yankee that would’ve raised roughly $25 million. Douglas was among those who did not support the Vermont Yankee tax, figuring that it would simply be passed on to consumers.

• Encouraged development of more renewable energy projects on Vermont farms.

full story

Bristol tax rate

July 19, 2007

By CYRUS LEVESQUE

BRISTOL — For most Bristol property owners, tax bills that will be mailed next month will contain a pleasant surprise: tax rates will go down by more than 4 percent for homeowners, and up by less than 2 percent for non-residential properties.

An average homeowner who didn’t make any big changes to his or her property in the past year can expect to see a smaller tax bill, town clerk Theresa Kirby said.

The good news on tax rates was possible partly because Bristol’s grand list has increased, Kirby said. The municipal grand list has increased by 2.1 percent since last year, from $2,620,374 to $2,675,407, because of new construction or the change in use of properties. The police district grand list increased by 1.52 percent, from $1,075,362.

The biggest reason for the drop, though, was a drop in the state education tax rate for homesteads. The education tax rate for homesteads dropped by 7.19 percent and, for non-residential properties, increased by only 1.19 percent.

full story

Gallery explores the abstract

July 19, 2007 

By MEGAN JAMES
MIDDLEBURY — In a near silent gallery at the Middlebury College Museum of Art, Rebecca Purdum took a step closer to see the intricate overlay of colors in paintings she completed recently. She knows a painting is good, she said, when it surprises her, when she no longer thinks of herself as the one who created it.

The three abstract oil paintings, which went up late last month, hang one to a wall — two horizontal diptychs each stretching more than 10 feet across and one massive vertical piece — filling the space between with a kind of visual noise. All three are made up of what the artist calls “non-colors,” layers of blues, grays and browns, which come together to create something akin to water.

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July 18th

Quilts for Troops

FISK AND the Addison County Milk and Honey Quilters Guild has completed
six red, white and blue quilts that they are donating to wounded
soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The quilts are on display
at the Ilsley Library in Middlebury through July.
Independent photo/Trent Campbell


July 16, 2007

By MEGAN JAMES

MIDDLEBURY — Setting aside politics for a moment to pick up needle and
thread, quilters in Addison County found a non-partisan way to support
wounded troops back from Iraq: They collaborated on six homemade
quilts, which they plan to send to soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical
Center in Washington, D.C.

At the suggestion of Charlotte Fisk, the Middlebury Milk and Honey
Quilters’ Guild about a year ago joined a nationwide effort called
Quilts of Valor, which seeks to comfort wounded soldiers with homemade
blankets.

full story

July 16th

No worries at 100

July 16, 2007

By JOHN FLOWERS

BRISTOL — While his body doesn’t work as well as it once did, Sam Svrcek’s mind — and his sense of humor, in particular — remain very sharp as he joins the country’s exclusive club of centenarians.

Asked on Thursday — the eve of his 100th birthday — how he has managed to live so long, Svrcek grinned, looked off into the sky, and replied matter-of-factly, “I gave up my pipe three years ago. Maybe that’s what’s helped me live longer.”

full story

Vergennes church gets face lift

July 16, 2007

By WILL RYAN

VERGENNES — Paul Vachon’s footsteps echo through the bare worship space of the Congregational Church in Vergennes, which is currently undergoing significant interior renovations.

“Everything that you can see in the interior is going to have a new facelift,” said Vachon, chairman of the church’s building committee. The empty space is devoid of pews and the aging cork floor is out of place beneath the myriad colors thrown by the expansive stain glass windows.

There are no structural changes being made, but the result of the project will be significant, Vachon said. Renovations started in the middle of June, but the project has been five or six years in the making. It’s been more than 30 years since the last renovation.

full story

July 13th

Governor's veto kills climate control bill

By JOHN FLOWERS

MONTPELIER — Local House Democrats voiced disappointment on Tuesday at not being able to muster enough votes to override Gov. James Douglas’s veto of H.520, the so-called climate control bill.

The Legislature convened in special session on July 11 to consider overrides of Douglas’s vetoes of H.520 and a campaign finance reform measure.

With 147 House members present, H.520 supporters needed 98 votes to override Douglas’s veto. But in the end, only 86 House members backed the override in a vote split largely along party lines.

As the Addison Independent went to press, the Senate was working on a new version of the bill that would have taken out one of its more controversial components — a proposed $25 million tax on Vermont Yankee that would have helped pay for energy efficiency improvements to Vermonters’ homes. Douglas said he was not in favor of that new tax, which would have expired in four years.

Douglas instead suggested a host of other programs — including energy credits for businesses — as alternatives, programs that critics have charged are too weak to make any measurable difference.

full story

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