March 18th, 2012
ORWELL — Contract negotiations in the Addison-Rutland Supervisory Union are coming down to the wire, as teachers in that district announced on Friday that they would strike if school boards do not return to the table and reach a settlement by Wednesday.
Teachers in ARSU, which includes Orwell, Benson, Castleton and Fair Haven, have been working without a contract since July 2011 and are in the 15th month of negotiations on a new contract, having so far failed to reach a compromise. The supervisory union has imposed a pay freeze.
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A very unusual March heat wave is sweeping across the northern part of the country, and Vermont is next on its list.
MIDDLEBURY — The Vermont Chili Festival last Saturday afternoon generated the largest turnout in the annual event's four-year history, drawing a crowd that organizers estimate to be as large as 5,000 to downtown Middlebury (click here to read the story).
Advertisements from the Campaign for Vermont and from Vermonters for Health Care Freedom are running in Vermont newspapers, on radio stations and on news-oriented Web sites. These organizations, which are not subject to the campaign finance laws and regulations that apply to political action committees and political parties, will be major players in this year’s elections.
There are about 626,000 Vermonters — a number smaller than the population of Memphis, Tenn. Compared to the single government of that medium-sized city, Vermont has 237 towns, nine cities, five unincorporated areas and four gores.
“We confront the 21st-century challenges of delivering good government with a 19th-century governance structure,” says Bruce Hiland, who chairs the Cornwall selectboard. He featured the contrast between Vermont and Memphis governance in his remarks at the recent Cornwall town meeting.
Here’s a joke circulating on the Internet that prompts a laugh, rings true to some Americans, but is also disconcerting.
It goes like this:
“A cowboy named Bud was overseeing his herd in a remote mountainous pasture in Montana when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced toward him out of a cloud of dust. The driver, a young man in a Brioni suit, Gucci shoes, RayBan sunglasses and YSL tie, leaned out the window and asked the cowboy, ‘If I tell you exactly how many cows and calves you have in your herd, will you give me a calf?’
I was standing atop Middlebury College’s Snow Bowl this past weekend, in several inches of fresh powdery snow, gazing out with appreciation and even a little awe at the tremendous western view that opens up from the summit. In the foreground were the lower hilltops and ridges of Ripton. Further down, patchwork swaths of the Champlain Valley were visible. And beyond, the higher peaks of the Adirondacks silhouetted against a clear blue sky.