On July 2, the Public Service Board experienced a bout of sticker shock when Vermont Gas Systems announced a $36 million cost increase for its Phase I pipeline project. The company said the 40 percent hike was due to increased oversight and a nationwide surge in demand for pipeline construction. State regulators were not amused, and fined the company $35,000 for failing to draft an updated budget for more than a year.
In June, Middlebury learned a project that will disrupt downtown life and traffic will be delayed until this coming spring: Replacement of the two railway overpasses under Main Street and Merchants Row. Officials said design changes and logistical issues were behind the postponement. A concrete tunnel will eventually supplant the two overpasses and taller passenger trains will be able to use the tracks.
Tears flowed as May arrived. Popular longtime Middlebury Union High School physics teacher and football coach Carl Ciemniewski — better known as Mr. C, Coach Z or just Z to his students, athletes and friends, respectively — collapsed and died while attending a Tiger boys’ lacrosse game. He was just 55, but had a history of heart issues.
April began with longtime Porter Medical Center CEO Jim Daily announcing he would step down after 32 years. But not anytime soon: Porter officials will have plenty of time to find a replacement — Daily’s retirement will be effective in 2016.
Other local officials also announced they were leaving: Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union Superintendent John Castle said he would step down in July to take a similar post in Newport, and Middlebury Regional EMS head Bill Edson said he would accept a job leading a veterans’ outreach center in Massachusetts.
March is synonymous with Town Meeting Day, and Addison County residents made some major decisions at their respective annual gatherings.