February 18th, 2010
WEYBRIDGE — Some day in the future, Addison County residents may be able to hop on a trail in their hometown and walk on it all the way to North Dakota.
That’s the vision put on the table by the Middlebury Area Land Trust last week at two open houses that gathered public opinion about extending the North Country National Scenic Trail, which is planned to run from North Dakota to Crown Point, N.Y., into Vermont.
ADDISON — Addison selectmen have proposed a budget for the 2010-2011 fiscal year that has a higher face value, but the major spending increase within it will be supported by a capital fund in the highway budget into which residents have contributed in past years.
Addison selectmen are requesting combined highway and general fund spending of $872,503, up about $21,300 from 2009-2010.
ORWELL — Orwell residents are gearing up to decide a number of contested races come Town Meeting Day. Two candidates have come forward for each of four races, including one seat on the selectboard, two seats on the school board and one lister position.
Town meeting will begin at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 2, at Orwell Town Hall to be followed by the Orwell School District Meeting. Polls will be open from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., and town officer elections and the proposed changes to land use regulations will both be decided by Australian ballot.
BRANDON — The Public Service Board (PSB) has approved a Brandon couple’s application to install a solar array on their Mount Pleasant neighborhood property.
Jim and Karen Emerson received a Certificate of Public Good on Jan. 28 to install a 10-foot-by-12-foot solar array at their home on Prospect Street, but an appeal is not out of the question.
VERGENNES — For the first time since 2002, the trustees of the Bixby Memorial Free Library have decided to raise the Vergennes library’s funding requests from the five communities it serves.
In 2002 the Bixby — at that time funded far less by its service area than other Vermont libraries — asked for and received a significant increase in the towns’ support, to a total of $53,604 a year.
Since then, the Bixby’s board has not sought more even though its operating expenses rose about 3 percent a year, according to treasurer Donna Corcoran.
MIDDLEBURY — Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects (HOPE) has scheduled its first-ever “February Food Fest,” a three-day event through which needy residents will be able to stock up on groceries.
The major food distribution event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Feb. 23, 24 and 25 at HOPE’s Middlebury headquarters at 282 Boardman St. The Food Fest will also feature the sharing of healthful recipes and provide an opportunity for HOPE clients to give their views on how charitable services could be provided more efficiently.
Part of the role of a town selectman is to advocate on the behalf of town residents. So when a Middlebury woman approached selectman Craig Bingham and complained that smokers at a public event at a Middlebury park had caused her kids to breathe smoke from their cigarettes or move, Bingham dutifully took the problem to the selectboard with a proposed solution: ban smoking in all town parks.
One of the roles of the selectboard is to reign in suggestions that are likely to cause friction without effectively solving the perceived problem. This is one of those times.
What was an encouraging, hopeful and humanitarian response to Haiti’s desperate plight in the aftermath of its major earthquake ended abruptly this week in what we suspect was a heap of bureaucratic red tape.
Middlebury Union High School officials confirmed on Wednesday that plans to accept six Haitian students at the school for a year of study were cancelled when an U.S. Department of State official told MUHS Principal Bill Lawson that complications in obtaining visas for the students presented hurdles too large to surmount.