November 30th, 2009
ADDISON COUNTY — Though the flurry of news and rumors regarding the federal government’s employment record audits in mid-November has died down, farmers and migrant workers alike are still fretting about what the immigration sweep could mean on Vermont dairy farms.
And, for some Addison County farmers and migrant workers advocates, the I-9 audit — meant to suss out employers shirking immigration laws — has spurred a renewed push for a guest workers program to legally supply dairy farmers with a source of foreign labor.
MIDDLEBURY — Traffic interruptions will take place on Middlebury’s Merchants Row beginning Monday, Nov. 30, to accommodate the ongoing transport of huge, Cross Street Bridge-related beams through town.
The massive concrete beams — ranging in length from 65 feet to 110 feet — were made at J.P. Carrara & Sons and must be trucked, with escort, through downtown Middlebury at various intervals through Friday, Dec. 4.
MIDDLEBURY — Doumina Noonan is a prime example of the adage that one doesn’t necessarily follow the career path one charts in college.
Noonan originally went to college to earn a degree in business administration. But more than two decades later, she has established herself as a leader in child care services in Addison County, a career that last week earned her statewide recognition.
“It was purely by accident,” she said of her career, which included a 15-year stint as director of the Otter Creek Child Center.
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury selectmen are considering the disposition of equipment from the Middlebury Police Department’s K-9 program. It’s a program that currently faces an uncertain future, as officer George Merkel — owner and handler of police dog Akido — is taking the animal with him to Vergennes where he will soon begin his role as police chief.
LINCOLN — After what’s been a tough year for the Lincoln Library, good news arrived at the little mountain outpost earlier this month: The Lincoln Library was one of 258 libraries nationwide lauded by Library Journal as “star” libraries.
The library earned the honor, which is based on statistics about circulation, programs, and library use, for the second year in a row. This year, just three other Vermont libraries — the Sherburne Library in Killington, the Craftsbury Public Library, and the South Hero Community Library — also earned the Library Journal recognition.
BRANDON — After years of planning, hoping, pleading and waiting, work on the long-delayed Route 7 reconstruction project in Brandon has begun with Segment 5.
Early last week, a large, electronic Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) message board was placed on the curve of Park Street and Center Street near the Congregational Church in Brandon, warning southbound motorists that work is under way.
But while everything is in place and some crews are busy on the southern end of the Brandon village, the majority of the work won’t begin until the spring construction season.
In the hubbub over the recent crackdown on employers hiring illegal migrant workers, the one statement that seems to define the situation in Vermont is that the hiring of migrant workers is not about cheap labor, it’s about hiring dependable labor in a market where no others are willing to do the work.
If Congress, the administration and the federal bureaucracy could tailor federal laws around that single premise, perhaps a workable immigration law (or amendment) that applies to dairy farms could be written and passed.
MIDDLEBURY — As a youth, Andy Nagy-Benson often visited friends in the Middlebury area.
Now, at the age of 39, Nagy-Benson has been able to relocate from Connecticut to the community he has so admired throughout the years — and he is doing so as the new pastor of one of Middlebury’s most high-profile churches.