November 5th, 2012
FERRISBURGH — The Environmental Court has ruled in favor of South Burlington firm Champlain Oil Co. (COCO) in COCO’s lengthy effort to build a gas station, a convenience store and fast-food restaurant on Route 7 in Ferrisburgh.
Environmental Court Judge Thomas Durkin’s Oct. 10 ruling not only granted COCO a permit for its project, but also overturned conditions that the Ferrisburgh Zoning Board of Adjustment (ZBA) had placed on the business, notably by allowing COCO to sell diesel fuel and to open earlier and close later.
MIDDLEBURY — Officials at the organization Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects (HOPE) are bracing for what they believe will be a substantial spike in requests for assistance from area residents unable to pay their fuel and utility bills.
As of the end of September, HOPE was more than 50-percent shy of meeting its $128,000 donation goal to help people facing electricity shut-offs and/or at risk of seeing their fuel oil tanks go dry. This is assistance accorded to people who have exhausted their own resources and governmental assistance programs.
LINCOLN — The number of Five Town Area elementary schools that can boast of being powered by solar energy has just doubled — to two.
Twelve solar trackers on Kim Smith’s property in Lincoln began generating 50 kilowatt hours of electricity last week. The solar panels will generate close to 100 percent of the electricity that the recently renovated Lincoln Community School needs.
MIDDLEBURY — Local restaurateur and chef Michel Mahe on Oct. 31 confirmed his plans to open an as-yet-unnamed, new tavern in the former Jackson’s on the River space at 7 Bakery Lane in Middlebury.
Pending the signing of a lease and the construction of a 309-square-foot addition to accommodate a handicap-accessible restroom, the new restaurant would become the fourth in Mahe’s growing culinary empire. He already owns the very successful Black Sheep Bistro in Vergennes, the Bobcat Café in Bristol and the Bearded Frog in Shelburne.
ADDISON COUNTY — They stood in silence, focusing on breath. Slowly, their arms rose in a smooth synchronized movement and then drifted back down by their sides. From this starting point, a group of 16 men and women from as far north as Alburgh, as far south as Brandon and Orwell and many towns between, spent two days intensively studying adaptations of the first 12 forms of the Sun practice of Tai Chi.
This week’s writer is Bethany Hallock of Ferrisburgh. She offered this as a first-hand account from someone involved in a high-profile news event, and we were happy to publish it because it speaks to how people in our community respond when a member of the community is involved in a life-changing catastrophe.
MIDDLEBURY — Dana Auditorium at Middlebury College overflowed last Thursday, as the college held its first judicial board hearing open to the broader college community in more than five years.
Five students defended their actions last month when they posed as the college’s communications office and distributed a mock press release under the guise of the “Dalai Lama Welcoming Committee.” The fake press release stated that the college would divest from weapons and fossil fuels in honor of the Dalai Lama’s October visit.
On the whole, the proposed Bristol town plan is one town residents should pass. We congratulate the Planning Commission and the Bristol selectboard for working through a litany of issues and, after eight years and a rejection of the previous town plan, proposing a plan the public can finally support.