March 18th, 2010
BRIDPORT — Faced with the need to trim $1.6 million from Vermont’s so-called “Current Use” program, local legislators told farmers on Monday that changes are almost certainly in store for the popular tax abatement program that preserves Vermont farm- and forestland from development.
ADDISON COUNTY — Federal Census Bureau officials are working to clarify a glitch they said may give some people the impression that their true town of residency has been misrepresented on their decennial census forms.
Addison County residents began receiving their census forms this week. Homeowners here and throughout the country are being asked to promptly complete the 10-question form and send it back. The federal government uses the new information each decade to track demographic trends that have a direct bearing on federal funding and reapportionment in the U.S. Congress.
MIDDLEBURY — An Addison District Court sentencing hearing scheduled for Monday for former Vergennes police chief Mike Lowe was postponed to allow a Vermont Department of Corrections probation officer time to prepare a report that will be used in the proceeding.
Lowe on Jan. 11 accepted a deal with state prosecutors in which he pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of prescription drugs, a felony, and to one count of obtaining prescription drugs by fraud. Lowe also agreed not to contest a charge of neglect of duty.
In the wake of the economic downturn, educational systems in the 50 states have been facing dramatic cuts or reform, or both. In Kansas City last week, the school board there narrowly approved a measure (5-4) to close nearly half of that district’s schools in an effort to consolidate and reduce a projected $50 million shortfall. The approved plan calls for closing 29 of the district’s 61 schools. About 700 of the district’s 3,000 jobs, including 285 teachers, are expected to be cut.
MIDDLEBURY — As part of the recent “De-Romanticizing India” 2010 Spring Symposium at Middlebury College, a panel on “Domestic Issues and Challenges in Contemporary India” focused on three themes: environmental degradation, party politics and the Hindu-Muslim conflict.
Environmentalist Saleem Ali from UVM, Walther Anderson from John Hopkins University and Safa Mohsin Khan, a sophomore at Middlebury College, were part of the panel that gave a multi-dimensional view of those domestic challenges.
I don’t know if it is because I have reached a certain age and look back over a longer sweep of time, or because my children have reached a certain age and I see things differently through their eyes, but I’ve really begun to notice how much things change. I’m only 45 years old, but more and more when I tell my 6- and 8-year-olds about scenes from my childhood I find myself having to explain how things were back then.
VERGENNES — At last Tuesday’s city council meeting, aldermen dealt with a petition asking that they deny Bar Antidote permission to serve alcohol on its patio, which has five tables with 20 chairs. The business is at the corner of School and Green streets.
Area residents Cindy Paquette and Val Kittredge presented the petition, signed by about 20 residents, asking aldermen to deny the permit.
“It is incredibly noisy every single night the bar is open,” Paquette said, adding that she felt “the light (from the patio) and the noise is beyond intrusive.”
By April 15, more than two-thirds of Vermont households will have filed an application for an income sensitivity adjustment to their property taxes. The income sensitivity program is one of the fastest growing parts of the state budget, and probably cannot be sustained in its current form much longer.