VERGENNES — As the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Vergennes enters the home stretch of its three-year community-wide effort to address substance abuse among teens and young adults, club and local officials are convinced their work and partnerships with schools, state and local health providers, and police have paid off.
The effort began in January 2008, when the Vermont Department of Health awarded the club a three-year, $360,000 Strategic Prevention Framework grant from a pot of federal funds.
RIPTON — More than 1,000 cross-country skiing enthusiasts from throughout New England will converge on Ripton this coming February as part of the 2011 TD Bank Bill Koch Festival.
The two-day event (Feb. 25-26), featuring a variety of activities for young cross-country skiers and their families, is expected to provide a very welcome spark to the winter economy in Addison County. Organizers anticipate filling every hotel room in the Middlebury area while providing a stream of potential shoppers and diners.
BRANDON — Against steep odds and with a few windfalls, the Otter Valley Union High School board this month passed a proposed 2011-2012 budget that far exceeds spending reductions suggested by state education officials in the Challenges for Change law and that raises the local education tax rate by a mere cent while retaining the school resource officer.
On Dec. 15, the board unanimously decided to put before voters a $10,221,037 spending plan for 2011-2012, cutting $454,853, or 4.26 percent, in spending from the current budget.
BRANDON — Some taxpayers in Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union towns — including Brandon, Goshen, Leicester and Whiting — will be very pleased come Town Meeting Day. Most area school budgets will translate into significant reductions in the local tax rate thanks to lower proposed spending and the state per pupil spending formula.
VERMONT — In an action that surprised many observers, the U.S. Senate on Sunday passed the Food Safety and Modernization Act.
The bill, which had appeared dead after it encountered a number of technical issues close to the end of this year’s congressional session, passed the Senate unanimously by voice vote late on Sunday. From there, the bill headed to the U.S. House, where it was approved on Tuesday and sent to the President’s desk.
ADDISON COUNTY — Orwell Republican Mark Young raised and spent the most of any of the Addison County candidates running for Vermont House or Senate seats in 2010.
Candidates had until Dec. 15 to file their final campaign finance reports closing out the 2010 elections.
FERRISBURGH — Ferrisburgh selectmen took no action at their Dec. 21 meeting to move the town toward becoming a Property Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) district, an action that could — but only after a positive vote by residents — make Ferrisburgh property owners eligible for town-backed, low-cost loans for energy efficiency upgrades.
The selectboard heard a presentation about PACE from Vermont Energy Investment Corp. official Peter Adamczyk and town energy coordinator Bob McNary.
MIDDLEBURY — The town of Middlebury and a former storeowner have settled a longstanding legal dispute relating to local sales of the herb salvia divinorum.
Middlebury has agreed to withdraw a 2007 emergency health order barring the now-defunct Emporium Tobacco and Gift Shop from selling salvia. At the same time, former Emporium storeowner James Stone has agreed to drop his Vermont Supreme Court action against the town in connection with that 2007 order.