Archive - Jul 2006
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury College on Friday took center stage when the institution pledged to contribute $125,000 toward the $4 million project to renovate the Town Hall Theater.
The pledge, which will be paid over five years, will be used specifically for interior repairs to the 122-year-old building on Middlebury’s Merchants Row, according to THT Executive Director Doug Anderson.
College officials and THT boosters hailed the contribution as an affirmation of the many town-gown artistic collaborations that have occurred throughout the years.
“The college has long contributed to the vitality and well-being of the town, just as the town has always been an important part of the college’s 206-year history,” said Middlebury College President Ronald Liebowitz. “But supporting a cause like the town theater is especially important and rewarding today because we live in a time when it has become increasingly rare for members of a small town to come together and share experiences that inevitably and importantly strengthen the bonds within a community. We believe supporting the Town Hall Theater, with its visionary leadership, will inspire Middlebury residents to come together, share artistic performances, and strengthen the civic culture of our town.”
By HARRIETTE BRAINARD
ADDISON COUNTY — “The real pleasure is not just the delicious food one gets to eat, but the abundance of new relationships that are formed, the growing knowledge of where I live — the people and the geography of where I live,” says Ripton resident Bill McKibben of his stint as a “localvore.”
Localvore refers to people who eat only locally grown food, and is a national movement that is growing quickly in the state of Vermont, as many people become educated on the multitude of benefits of eating foods grown close to home. McKibben, and author and Middlebury College visiting scholar, went seven months eating all Vermont fare and wrote about the experience last year for Gourmet magazine.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury selectmen on Tuesday served notice they are far from sold on the state’s latest plans to replace the deteriorating railroad overpass on Merchants Row.
Board members this week got their first glimpse of the Vermont Agency of Transportation’s (AOT) draft plans to replace next summer the portion of the road that passes over the railroad. Plans submitted by AOT Project Manager Roger Whitcomb call for:
• Removal of the existing pier columns at the bottom of the new deck, which would be around eight inches thicker than the current deck.
• A rise in street level of around 13 inches at the project site, which would require installation of a grade-separated, split sidewalk near the main entrance of the Battell Block.
By JOHN FLOWERS
ADDISON COUNTY — A spirited, six-candidate race for Addison-3’s two House seats figures to provide the most excitement in what is otherwise shaping up as one of the least-contested Vermont House and Senate election slates that Addison County has seen in at least two decades.
Information provided by Addison County Superior Court and local town clerks shows that incumbent Democrats are unopposed in their re-election bids for Addison County and Brandon’s two state Senate seats, as well as in two of the area’s six House districts.
Candidates had until Monday, July 17, to file their nomination papers to get on the November ballot.
Paul Forlenza, chairman of the Addison County Democratic Committee, said the lack of competition could be construed as an endorsement of the job the incumbents have been doing in Montpelier.
By JOHN FLOWERS
WEYBRIDGE — The town of Weybridge will spend $40,000 to form its own “insect control district,” an organization that should be in place in time to give citizens some relief from mosquitoes beginning next spring.
The move earned approval from a decisive majority of the approximately 70 voters who showed up at a special town meeting on Tuesday to discuss the issue. A local resident had requested the meeting and vote through a citizens’ petition filed this spring.
Weybridge residents had rejected an insect control program last March at town meeting. But an onslaught of mosquitoes spawned by this spring’s wet weather prompted some citizens to bring the issue back to the fore.
By CYRUS LEVESQUE
NEW HAVEN — The Champlain Valley Greenbelt Alliance (CVGA) considers the Charron family farm in New Haven “one of the most striking settings” on the stretch of Route 7 between Middlebury and Shelburne. Thanks to the Vermont Land Trust’s recent purchase of development rights on a large acreage along that strip, the land will continue to be farmed for a long time.
With partial funding from the CVGA, the Vermont Land Trust in May bought a conservation easement on 198.5 acres of the Charron farm.
“It is important to have some open land and I hate to see good farmland growing houses,” said Lee Charron, who has farmed the New Haven property with his wife, Brenda, since 1977.
By ANDY KIRKALDY
FERRISBURGH — Most of the 40 residents at a July 18 forum devoted to whether Ferrisburgh should accept a new sewer line were skeptical. But the developer who signed a deal with Vergennes for a possible sewer extension insisted that Ferrisburgh could benefit from the line and that the town would help determine how the line would be used.
At what was the second of three planning commission forums at Ferrisburgh Central School on the topic, Infill Group head Bill Niquette, who has a $1 million option to buy 100,000 gallons of daily sewer capacity from Vergennes, said he would not dictate how sewer capacity would be used, although he would like it to serve an intensive development on a key 32-acre parcel near the school and town offices.
By HARRIETTE BRAINARD
MIDDLEBURY — Two local residents who were recently asked to help create a report on how well state-run programs for the disabled and elderly are working, bring a lot of relevant background to the task. They are a founding member and advisor of Speak Up! Addison County, a Middlebury-based organization that helps people with developmental disabilities become more independent and better advocates for their own needs.
Randy Lizotte, 26, president of Speak Up! Addison County, and Lindsey Hescock, the group’s founder, last week filed their contribution to a report being created for the Vermont Department of Health to judge outcomes of programs that serve the elderly and the developmentally disabled.
The pair has first-hand experience in helping such a program succeed. In the two and a half years Speak Up! Addison County has been in existence the group has tallied a long list of accomplishments. Most notably, they have presented a series workshops at local, state and national conferences, built connections to similar organizations around the state and created a working organization that helps local people help themselves.