January 6th, 2014
The United States Postal Service’s woes began when Congress mandated prefunding retiree health care benefits for 75 years in the future — for workers not even born yet — at a rate of $5.6 billion annually for 15 years. This prefunding coupled with the overpayment of retirement accounts up to $75 billion, of which $11 billion is not disputed, and a cavernous recession rivaled only by the Great Depression in U.S. history makes a recipe for disaster.
Being vindictive has consequences. When a small cadre of Middlebury residents set out to discredit selectman Victor Nuovo for allegedly violating the town’s conflict of interest policies they did so in a relentless fashion — organizing a mean-spirited letter-writing campaign that attacked personal character as well as process. It has been beyond the pale.
SHOREHAM — A New Year’s Day fire at a Shoreham animal preserve claimed more than a hundred pheasants, though no people were hurt.
Glenn and Judy Symon own and run the ringneck pheasant preserve, known as the Peaceable Hill Preserve, where a fire broke out in two buildings at around 11 a.m. on Wednesday.
FERRISBURGH — A two-vehicle, head-on collision on Route 7 sent two drivers to the hospital early Thursday morning.
Vermont State Police closed a stretch of Route 7 in Ferrisburgh for about 40 minutes after the traffic collision at around 6:45 a.m. The driver of a car traveling on Route 7 fell asleep and crossed into the other lane; then collided with an oncoming truck, a trooper at the Vermont State Police barracks in New Haven said.
ADDISON COUNTY — State and local lawmakers are preparing for a 2014 legislative session that they said will include the familiar task of dealing with a sizeable general fund budget shortfall, as well as ironing out the kinks in the state’s transition to universal access health care, exploring education finance reform, helping citizens deal with drug addiction, and confronting pollution and nuisance aquatic weeds in Vermont’s waterways.
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury selectboard on Jan. 7 will attempt to further reduce a proposed 2014-2015 municipal budget of $9,223,799 that would require $6,605,869 in property tax revenue, reflecting a $240,924 increase (3 percent) compared to this year’s spending plan.
ADDISON COUNTY — As a new year dawns across the bleak Vermont landscape, dairy farmers have yet another worry to contend with.
BRISTOL — A Sunday afternoon blaze destroyed a home on Lower Notch Road in Bristol and required dozens of firefighters to extinguish. No one was injured, and firefighters were able to recover two family dogs from the blaze — one of which survived intense heat and flames by hiding underneath the porch.
Homeowner Greg West said he and his family were out of town at a Christmas gathering when the fire started.