January 21st, 2010
MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Gov. Jim Douglas on Tuesday laid out an austere budget for the next fiscal year, saying the state must close a $150 million money gap by taking such steps as: more than quadrupling deductibles paid by some public healthcare beneficiaries, trimming payments to human services providers, and reducing subsidies to help middle-income Vermonters pay school property taxes.
BRIDPORT — When Annette Franklin heard about last week’s devastating earthquake in Haiti, her first thoughts flew to the orphanage in the hills above Petionville and the little girl, just 2 years old, she held in her arms last summer.
The girl’s name is Gedeleine, and the 2-year-old is one of 160 orphans at God’s Littlest Angels, an independent, nondenominational orphanage in poverty-stricken Haiti. Since December of 2008, Annette and Tim Franklin, and their four children, have been looking forward to welcoming the child into their Bridport home.
MONTPELIER — The victim in a 2007 voyeurism case at Middlebury College urged the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday to strengthen state laws in cases where someone records images of a person’s private areas or sexual conduct without having first secured that person’s permission.
At issue is bill S.218, sponsored by state Sen. Claire Ayer, D-Weybridge, on behalf of a Middlebury College graduate of the class of 2007.
BRISTOL — Board members at Mount Abraham Union High School on Tuesday gave their OK to a brewing plan that would let students from Mount Abe and Vergennes Union High School suit up next fall for a cooperative football team.
If the agreement wins approval from the Vermont Principals’ Association, the body that governs cooperative sports agreements, students from the two schools could suit up on a single team.
If that comes to pass, the plan would be reviewed annually by both high schools, and either school could choose each year to opt out of the agreement.
That the thrust of Gov. James Douglas’ final budget address was to cut spending was no surprise. But that he chose to raise property taxes on middle-income Vermonters while seeking tax reductions for the richest Vermonters seems out-of-sync with the state and the times. Add that he continues to throw money at roads and bridges and put a greater burden on the property tax and you have ample cause for a difference of opinion on how to make up for the projected $154 million shortfall in next year’s spending plan.
MIDDLEBURY — The hard work put in by the young Middlebury Union High School gymnastics team paid off on Monday with the Tigers’ first win in at least two years and probably longer. The score was 115.40-101.675 over U-32 at the Middlebury Union Middle School gym.
Junior Rosalie Wright-Lapin sparked the Tigers’ victory by winning all four events and the all-around title, while classmate Bronwyn Worrick was second twice, third twice and a close third in the all-around race.
VERGENNES — Although the face value of the Vergennes Union Elementary School budget will look bigger, residents of Vergennes, Panton on Waltham will be asked on Town Meeting Day this year to approve a little less elementary school spending than in 2009.
That’s because the 2010-2011 VUES budget will include money previously voted on separately in the three union towns’ ID board (essentially elementary school board) budgets.
If you have being waiting for me to weigh in on the paper versus plastic debate (and who hasn’t) I am finally prepared to provide some guidance. Anyone over 40 remembers a time when there was no choice when you got to the end of the grocery store checkout line. Paper was the only option until 1977 when plastic bags first appeared. They quickly became the bag of choice because they didn’t destroy trees, plus they had handy little loops for carrying. But plastic bags are made of polyethylene, which is made from natural gas. And plastic doesn’t decompose for a long, long time.