Archive - 2006
By ANDY KIRKALDY
NEW HAVEN — The tally of visitors to Addison County Fair and Field Days last week didn’t just break the old record, set in 2005.
No, the attendance for the Tuesday-Saturday event handled the old record like a Hummer would treat a demo derby beater: About 78,000 people paid their way into the annual county fair, almost doubling the old mark of 40,000 achieved just a year ago.
First-time fair director Cara Mullin and other fair officials were, unsurprisingly, ecstatic with the results.
“Every day was just amazing, the amount of people that came through,” Mullin said.
Also happy were Field Days vendors, who moved plenty of t-shirts, maple products and fried dough.
By HARRIETTE BRAINARD
STARKSBORO — Although most of Vermont may not realize it yet, there is a large underground statewide hip-hop movement that is about to burst forth in Starksboro this weekend.
The extent of the influence of that the urban music and cultural phenomenon has had in the Green Mountain State will become apparent on Saturday when Bristol-based Nine37 Productions and Para Bellum Media Group stage a 14-hour hip-hop jam on a farm in Starksboro.
“We’re creating a kind of summit where people can display their skills and make connections with others,” said Josef Shafer, one of the promoters of the Hip Hop in the Hills event. “This is a positive thing for Vermont, we all want to show that it is not just for city and urban areas, this can give everyone a voice — this gives young people a positive voice.”
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — During a typical August, Addison County Community Action Group’s (ACCAG) food shelf is usually as bare as Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard.
But this is no typical August.
Thanks to a dream deal through which ACCAG was able to buy the inventory of two area discount food stores, many needy families in Addison County won’t have to worry about going hungry — at least through next spring.
“This means that when people come to us, we will have the confidence that we’ll be able to feed them,” ACCAG Executive Director Jeanne Montross said, as she gestured to some of the dozens of grocery-laden shopping carts that are still waiting to be unloaded in the agency’s Community Services Building on Boardman Street.
By ANDY KIRKALDY
VERGENNES — Vergennes Day, which lures thousands of visitors to the Little City every August, will celebrate its 25th anniversary next week with an expanded menu of activities, especially at Vergennes Union High School.
There, a U.S. Army Black Hawk helicopter is set to land at 10 a.m., after which that aircraft and National Guard equipment will be on display at VUHS most of Saturday, Aug. 26 — Vergennes Day. Guard personnel will also set up an inflatable obstacle course behind the high school.
Organizer Marguerite Senecal said the obstacle course is weather-dependent, as are two hot-air balloon launches (one at 6 a.m. and another at 6 p.m.) scheduled for VUHS. There also remains a chance the helicopter won’t show up if there is a military emergency.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — State entomologist Jon Turmel warned lawmakers on Monday that Vermont will need to hatch a larger revenue stream to fund its annual battle against mosquitoes, or risk seeing the pesky insects multiply dramatically and bring life threatening diseases into the Green Mountain State in the years to come.
Turmel made the comments during a meeting in Middlebury that saw local legislators, insect-control district officials and municipal leaders discuss this year’s hefty mosquito population and the lack of funds available to battle the insects.
“It’s no longer just a nuisance; it’s now a way of life,” Turmel said of the annual mosquito problem.
Currently, 10 percent of the money the state collects in motorboat registration fees is used to pay for larvicide to drop in communities that are a part of state-approved insect control districts. Motorboat registration fees have been generating between $45,000 and $85,00 per year for mosquito larvicide, according to Turmel.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — Middle-bury’s new junk ordinance officially took effect Tuesday night, in the wake of a referendum that saw residents vote 272 to 95 against repealing the new law.
The repeal question failed to carry on two fronts. Not only did junk law opponents fail to win a majority of the tallies, the referendum failed to attract the minimum 15 percent (around 670) of registered Middlebury voters required by the town charter for an ordinance change. In all, only 367 votes were cast in the election.
Tuesday’s vote was forced by a citizens’ petition effort organized by resident Peggy Kimball. Kimball, who filed the petition back on June 16, said she wanted to give all registered voters in town a chance to weigh in on the issue, as opposed to just municipal leaders. Selectmen had voted 5-2 in May to approve the ordinance.
By MEGAN GAMBINO
NEW HAVEN — The Addison County Fair and Field Days has been a tradition since 1948. But, for as much as the exhibition showcases the current agricultural life of the county, it also pays tribute to the days gone by.
Throughout the five days of festivities, which began Tuesday and continue through Saturday, a group of tinkerers leads demonstrations of functioning antique farm equipment.
A large crowd gathered at one of Tuesday’s shows. Many veteran fair-goers said they are always sure to include the Antique Equipment Building on their circuit through horse shows, sheep shearing demos, dairy confirmation classes and, of course, the midway.
“I come here ever year to watch,” said Bristol’s Todd Lossman, who brought his son, Wyatt, to the Tuesday demonstration. “It’s awesome.”
By CYRUS LEVESQUE
ADDISON COUNTY — A number of Addison County elementary schools were included on a watch list released by the Vermont Department of Education late last week.
While most schools in the county and in the state did not make the list, which flags schools that did not make Adequate Yearly Progress as required by the No Child Left Behind Act, a Department of Education official said the list will likely grow in coming years as NCLB standards get tougher.
Five Addison County schools were tagged as not having made Adequate Yearly Progress for the first time and two area schools entered year two of being targeted for school improvement. Vergennes Union High School was taken off the “needs improvement” list.