January 5th, 2015
This past year in Bristol and the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union, residents debated two major projects that would require taxpayer-approved bonds: a new Bristol firehouse and a renovated Mount Abraham Union High School.
The Bristol Fire Department inched closer to getting a new firehouse this year, a process that firefighters have discussed for more than two decades.
VERGENNES — In July, new Addison Northwest Supervisory Union Superintendent JoAn Canning discovered — and immediately made public — that the Vermont Agency of Education had sanctioned ANwSU by starting to withhold about $1 million in state and federal grant funds.
After Gov. Peter Shumlin made opiate addiction the focus of his State of the State address in January, Addison County and neighboring areas saw multiple large drug busts and drug-related arrests as well as expansions in services to people seeking recovery or assistance.
As 2014 opened, Porter Medical Center and the Counseling Service of Addison County were in discussions to collaborate on a clinic to provide Suboxone, a drug designed to help a growing number of Addison County addicts break their dependence on opiates.
For some it seemed that 2014 was the year that the predominant crop springing up in Addison County fields was solar arrays. The year saw the approval and development of numerous solar energy projects in Addison County, including Certificates of Public Good awarded to 26 projects by the Public Service Board, the largest number of projects of any county in the state.
The General Election of 2014 saw one local veteran lawmaker go down to defeat, and Addison County voters also added to some tense moments for incumbent Gov. Peter Shumlin as the ballots were counted on Nov. 4.
Bristol Republican Fred Baser had failed in 2010 to break through in his bid for one of the two seats representing Addison-4, the House district that includes the towns of Bristol, Lincoln, Monkton and Starksboro. But he made up for it in a big way this past November, finishing as the top vote-getter in a four-way race for the pair of seats.
As in many past years, 2014 saw many Vermonters complain about their property taxes, and that portion of the tax that pays for education in particular. But as in most years, proposals for reform of school funding were put forward but not acted upon.
Still, residents in seven local towns indicated that they had had enough, and they rejected some proposed school spending plans on Town Meeting Day.
Middlebury College has been called “the town’s college,” and many things the college did in 2014 did indeed effect the town and surrounding communities. And some of the things that happened up on the hill were simply important in and of themselves.
The most momentous occurrence this year, of course, was the selection in November of Laurie L. Patton, a dean at Duke University, to succeed current President Ron Liebowitz when he steps down next summer.
ADDISON COUNTY — In recent years, young Addison County athletes have won more than their fair share of state championships — and 2014 was no exception.
Teams or individual athletes from each of the four local high schools — Middlebury, Mount Abraham, Otter Valley and Vergennes — earned banners.