January 3rd, 2013
MONTPELIER — Local lawmakers will return to the Statehouse next week to tackle an agenda they said will include tough budgeting, further health care reforms, growing jobs, Lake Champlain cleanup, promoting renewable energy, battling drug crime and addiction, and perhaps some gun control measures.
“Money, money and money,” Rep. David Sharpe, D-Bristol, answered in response to what he believed would be the top three concerns during the 2013 session.
FERRISBURGH — The town of Ferrisburgh was presented in November an offer to lease about 3.5 acres of its 34.9-acre parcel next to Vergennes, an offer that according to the company making it could be worth about a half-million dollars over its 20-year term.
But the selectboard has yet to carefully study whether that claim is accurate or enter into serious negotiations with Encore Redevelopment, the Burlington firm proposing to lease the land and put a solar panel array on it that would produce 700,000 kilowatts a year.
BRISTOL — New Year’s Eve brought freezing temperatures and a flurry of snow, but downtown Bristol was alight and abuzz with activities, as area residents and families came out in droves to enjoy a series of performances and activities during the seventh annual Bristol Best Night celebration.
“It’s a real community event,” said Rick Ceballos, one of the small number of volunteer organizers. He described the town’s annual New Year’s Eve celebration as a labor of love.
VERGENNES — It was only a couple of months ago that Dave Huntley was jobless, homeless and living out of his car.
“I’d been working on a farm in Barton,” Huntley said during a recent interview at the John W. Graham Emergency Shelter in Vergennes, where he eventually landed. “There weren’t too many farm jobs out there.”
But thanks to the efforts of the shelter, other area nonprofits and a Vergennes landlord, Huntley is a now a rent-paying tenant at a local residence.
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury police on Christmas Day completed their second annual toy drive, which this year provided gifts to 44 children in 21 families based in Middlebury, Ripton, Vergennes, Weybridge and Brandon.
Local community members and businesses donated gifts for the toy drive, which also featured the participation of the Addison County Sheriff’s Department, Vergennes Police Department and Vermont State Police. The gifts went to children who otherwise would have not found much under the tree on Dec. 25.
MIDDLEBURY — Developers of the South Ridge neighborhood off Middle Road in Middlebury are seeking permission to install a 500-kilowatt solar farm on a 3.3-acre parcel near the Lodge at Otter Creek.
The project, if OK’d by state utility regulators, is expected to generate enough electricity to power more than 100 homes while remaining relatively inconspicuous due to the topography and surroundings of the three-acre parcel on which it would be sited.
MIDDLEBURY — No wrestler from one of the four local high school programs stood on the top of a podium when last week’s annual Hubie Wagner Invitational Tournament concluded in the Middlebury gym, but each of the four teams had something to be happy about.
The host Tigers had the best performance, tying for sixth with Champlain Valley among the 18 programs competing on Dec. 28 and trailing only one Vermont team, the combined Bellow Falls-Hartford squad.
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury officials will try to pare at least another $120,000 from a 2013-2014 municipal budget proposal in order to achieve the selectboard’s goal of limiting the spending plan’s impact on residents. The goal is an increase on the local property tax rate of no more than 5.5 cents while maintaining current services.