March 4th, 2010
MIDDLEBURY — Early on Saturday morning, the second large earthquake to rock the Western Hemisphere in as many months hit just off the coast of Chile.
Here in Middlebury, the time was 1:34 a.m. For some, the remainder of the night became sleepless.
“I got a phone call on Saturday morning at 4 a.m.,” said Jeff Cason, the Dean of International Studies at Middlebury College.
Planning commission members in Bristol drew a line in the sand with their revised town plan, and voters boldly stepped over it.
By rejecting the town plan and the gravel extraction zoning ordinance by almost a 2-1 margin, town residents finally got their say on an issue that has dominated discussion for the past four years. The vote totals tell the story: Bristol residents voted 598-364 against the proposed town plan, and 627-349 against the gravel extraction zoning ordinance. That is overwhelming.
MIDDLEBURY — Voters in the UD-3 school district on Feb. 23 agreed to spend $400,000 in a budget fund balance on various capital improvements to the Middlebury Union high school and middle school campuses, including replacing the Doc Collins football field lights.
Could there be an easier job right now than writing for the “Daily Show with John Stewart”? The actual words spoken by the players and pundits in Washington need no embellishing to reach the level of satire. I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I listen to them. If you are of a certain age you will remember the great 1976 film “Network,” in which the main character, a newscaster, implores his viewers to open their windows, stick out their heads and yell, “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!”
MIDDLEBURY — A local businessman is seeking permission to acquire the soon-to-be-former Middlebury Volunteer Ambulance Association (MVAA) headquarters at 19 Elm St. and convert it into a floor covering store and carpet-cleaning business.
The Middlebury Development Review Board on March 8 will formally hear David Babcock’s business plan for the property, which includes a 2,100-square-foot main building and a cupola-adorned carriage barn.
One of Sen. Patrick Leahy’s principal responsibilities as chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee is to shepherd President Obama’s nominees to the federal judiciary through the committee and on to favorable confirmation votes by the full Senate.
VERGENNES — Residents in four of the communities that Bixby Free Memorial Library serves agreed on Tuesday to make substantial increases in their towns’ yearly contributions to the Vergennes library, the first time towns have upped their annual ante since 2002.
In all, Addison, Ferrisburgh, Panton and Waltham will add about $17,600 to their annual contributions during their upcoming fiscal year, to a total of about $51,200.
You gotta love Town Meeting.
Even if 90 percent of the discussion is about budget numbers that are as dry as a speech by Gov. James Douglas, there’s a certain Kabuki-like quality to the charmingly ornate process of gathering to discuss the town’s business.
And speaking of Gov. Douglas, he was again absent from his role as moderator, out of Vermont on state business. He’s now missed one-third of the town meetings going back to 2005, but Douglas ran again this year for the town moderator spot. It’s apparently the one office to which he knows he can still get re-elected.