March 19th, 2012
FERRISBURGH — More than a decade after Rokeby Museum officials first envisioned the concept, workers have broken ground there on a visitors’ center that will house an exhibit on the Ferrisburgh historic site’s pivotal roles in the Underground Railroad and anti-slavery movement.
If the weather continues to cooperate with general contractor Naylor & Breen Builders if Brandon, the roughly $1.4 million Rokeby Museum Underground Railroad Education Center will be finished by August.
COLCHESTER — Last Wednesday afternoon, 34 students from across the state gathered at St. Michael’s College to compete for a chance to represent Vermont at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. And although 34 students — ages 7-15 — were present at the state bee, only 33 schools were represented.
Two of this year’s spellers came from the same school: Middlebury Union Middle School (MUMS).
MONKTON — With four pressure-treated benches, some recycling bins and a creative scoring system on Bristol’s tennis courts, 16-year-old Justin Kimball recently earned the rank of Eagle Scout and fulfilled a family tradition.
Only about 5 percent of Boy Scouts receive the highest rank, but Justin follows three older brothers in the achievement. Justin’s cousin and grandfather are also Eagle Scouts.
VERMONT — Run by student volunteers, the nonprofit Vermont Sustainable Heating Initiative, or VSHI, since 2008 has helped install more than 20 pellet stoves in low-income homes across Addison and Washington counties. And the organization’s work has not gone unnoticed.
Richard Moffi, fuel assistance chief for the state of Vermont, earlier this month allocated $25,000 to the organization, which was founded by Tom Tailer, a physics teacher at Mount Abraham Union High School. This will be enough money to provide 10-20 low-income households with pellet stoves.
MIDDLEBURY — A Bridport man at a Monday hearing in Addison District Court was sentenced by Judge Helen Toor to six months of house arrest for lewd and lascivious conduct with a child in May 2009.
That six-month sentence given to Jason Ethier, 29, was part of a three-to-15-year suspended sentence agreed to in a plea deal between Ethier’s attorney and state prosecutors for an offense involving a Bristol girl who was 14 at the time.
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).