January 5th, 2015
For some it seemed that 2014 was the year that the predominant crop springing up in Addison County fields was solar arrays. The year saw the approval and development of numerous solar energy projects in Addison County, including Certificates of Public Good awarded to 26 projects by the Public Service Board, the largest number of projects of any county in the state.
The General Election of 2014 saw one local veteran lawmaker go down to defeat, and Addison County voters also added to some tense moments for incumbent Gov. Peter Shumlin as the ballots were counted on Nov. 4.
Bristol Republican Fred Baser had failed in 2010 to break through in his bid for one of the two seats representing Addison-4, the House district that includes the towns of Bristol, Lincoln, Monkton and Starksboro. But he made up for it in a big way this past November, finishing as the top vote-getter in a four-way race for the pair of seats.
As in many past years, 2014 saw many Vermonters complain about their property taxes, and that portion of the tax that pays for education in particular. But as in most years, proposals for reform of school funding were put forward but not acted upon.
Still, residents in seven local towns indicated that they had had enough, and they rejected some proposed school spending plans on Town Meeting Day.
Middlebury College has been called “the town’s college,” and many things the college did in 2014 did indeed effect the town and surrounding communities. And some of the things that happened up on the hill were simply important in and of themselves.
The most momentous occurrence this year, of course, was the selection in November of Laurie L. Patton, a dean at Duke University, to succeed current President Ron Liebowitz when he steps down next summer.
ADDISON COUNTY — In recent years, young Addison County athletes have won more than their fair share of state championships — and 2014 was no exception.
Teams or individual athletes from each of the four local high schools — Middlebury, Mount Abraham, Otter Valley and Vergennes — earned banners.
Picking only 10 top stories in 2014 proved to be a challenge. Addison County saw many important, interesting, touching and fun stories last year that the Independent staff kept going after compiling the first 10. Here are some of the other stories of 2014 that caught our eyes.
BRISTOL — If the clue was “The Mount Abraham Union High School graduate who appeared on Jeopardy! last week,” the answer would be “Who is Daniel Eling?”
Eling, 36, earned a spot on the popular quiz show after three years of trying. He said it was a lifelong dream of his.
“I wanted to be on the show for a long time, for 25 years,” he said.
MIDDLEBURY — Spas are one barometer of a community’s mental and physical health, and last winter the staff at Waterfalls Day Spa, on the lower level of the Middlebury Inn, saw that their clients were suffering.
“Last winter was brutal,” says Sara Daly, one of the spa owners. “It was so icy; we noticed an increase in fractures. People didn’t want to be in Vermont.”
So Daly, along with Waterfalls aesthetician and co-owner Laurie Webb, and massage therapist Sarah Kuhl, got to work.