Archive - 2006
By CYRUS LEVESQUE
BRISTOL — As the Mount Abraham Union High School community reels from the death of junior Ryan Wendel, who was killed in a car crash only hours after graduation last Saturday, faculty and staff are working to accommodate the needs of students who have been affected by the loss.
Principal Paulette Bogan sent a letter home with students on Monday explaining the details of the accident, in which the car Wendel was driving plummeted 50-feet down an embankment into the Beaver Meadow Brook in Lincoln. Two other MAUHS students who were passengers in the car and two others who were following in a second car struggled courageously to right the overturned 1992 Saab and save the life of the 16-year-old Bristol resident.
In the Republican primary race for Vermontâ€™s lone U.S. Congressional seat, state Sen. Mark Shepard, R-Bennington, is happy to be tilting against windmills as the underdog candidate and the anti-establishment candidate.
â€œBeing the non-establishment candidate is not a bad place to be,â€? Shepard said in a Monday interview with the Addison Independent. â€œEstablishment candidates donâ€™t stir the pot and they donâ€™t ruffle feathers. Iâ€™m not doing this to be part of a club.â€?
That style of populist bravado potentially has appeal in a region enamored with the independent ethos that has long characterized the Green Mountain State. And Shepardâ€™s background fits his rhetoric. Heâ€™s a fifth or sixth generation Vermonter, born and raised on a small dairy farm, learned his hard-work ethic from his growing up a farmerâ€™s son, and his moral values were home grown as well. He graduated from Hartford High School in 1978 with little interest in a college education, but having learned how to wire a house with his dad at a young age, he had an affinity for electrical sciences and got his journeyman electricianâ€™s license in 1982. He stumbled into higher electronics, then took an interest in computers and ended up graduating from the University of Florida in 1986 with a electrical engineering degree and received a Master of Engineering degree following work at MIT and RPI. (See story, Page 1A.) In short, Shepard has a populist pedigree, but has leveraged his natural talent and home education into a lucrative electrical engineering business, which he formed several years ago and runs as an independent business. Heâ€™s married with four kids.
In his radio address to the nation this past Saturday, Vermont Sen. Peter Welch laid out the Democrats response in this election year on the war in Iraq: In short, President Bush, his administration and this Republican Congress have been irresponsible and accountability can only be restored by electing a Democratic House and/or Senate in November.
Unless we have a change in power in Congress in 2006, Welch said at the Addison Independent offices last Friday afternoon, none of the big questions facing the nation really matter because the Republican-led Congress has not exercised its role to oversee the executive branch and has instead rubber-stamped most of what the White House has dished out â€” including cover-ups and gross mismanagement of the war effort.
Welch, who was chosen to deliver the response to the presidentâ€™s weekly radio address, couldnâ€™t be more on target.
By ANDY KIRKALDY
VERGENNES — After three years at Vergennes Union High School, VUHS co-principal Manya Bouteneff will leave this summer to take over the principalship at Fox Meadow Elementary School in her hometown of Scarsdale, N.Y.
Bouteneff, who will sign her new contract on Wednesday, attended the school from kindergarten through sixth grade, and her son went to Fox Meadow for two years before she moved away.
Bouteneff said the facts that she still has family in the Scarsdale area and that she will be heading her old school played roles in her decision to apply to be the Fox Meadow principal.
“It has the sentimental attraction to me,” said Bouteneff, who added that while writing her application for the post she had the sense of “being transported to those hallways … There’s a definite full-sensory memory of all of that.”
By HARRIETTE BRAINARD
MIDDLEBURY — Commence-ment exercises to be held at the Kirk Alumni Center on the Middlebury College campus this Wednesday will feature a slightly older class of degree recipients than most of the high school graduations going on in the area this month.
They also are, in some ways, more diverse than the typical high school graduating class, even though there will only be 40 dressed in blue caps and gowns.
The event, which kicks off at 6 p.m., is Vermont Adult Learning’s General Educational Development (GED) certificate and Vermont Adult Diploma Program graduation. Those who will take part had left high school for a number of years while others missed only a semester or a single year. All have returned to school to finish their education.
By JOHN FLOWERS
VERGENNES — Vergennes Mayor April Jin is hoping her third campaign proves to be the charm in her quest to win one of the two Vermont House seats representing the Addison-3 district.
Jin, in her second year as mayor of the Little City, first ran for the House in 1994, as a Democrat. She made a second unsuccessful bid in 2000, as a member of the Vermont Progressive Party. Undaunted and with more political experience under her belt, she is again throwing her hat into the ring this year, again under the Progressive Party banner.
“I feel the people of Addison County, and the people of this district in particular, need someone who will stand up and speak out,” Jin said during a recent telephone interview
By HARRIETTE BRAINARD
This is the final installment in a three-part series on the recovery of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. Harriette Brainard, a reporter for the Addison Independent and former New Orleans resident, visited thee Crescent City during the Jazz Fest and provides this personal status report on the city.
NEW ORLEANS — As I sat down at a table outside one of the only New Orleans bars still open at this late hour, I was full of mixed emotions.
By ANDY KIRKALDY
VERGENNES — Although there remains a major contingency, Vergennes aldermen reached a deal on Tuesday that could net the city $1 million plus more in ongoing user fees in exchange for extending a city sewer line two miles north into neighboring Ferrisburgh.
That line, under the terms of a memorandum of understanding with Infill Ferrisburgh Partners LLC, would be capable of handling 100,000 gallons of wastewater a day, an amount that could meet the needs of about 200 homes and businesses. The city would not have to pay any of the cost of building the new line.