Archive - Aug 2006
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — Mary Hogan Elementary School teachers returned to classes this week to find familiar surroundings, new students and a new labor contract.
Middlebury Elementary Teachers Association (META) representatives and ID-4 school district officials confirmed on Monday that both sides have ratified a new, three-year pact that will dictate teachers’ compensation through the 2008-2009 academic years.
Addison Central Supervisory Union (ACSU) Superintendent Lee Sease said he may soon have some more good news to announce on the subject of teachers’ contracts at other schools within his district. It appears as though teachers at the other ACSU elementary schools in Cornwall, Weybridge, Bridport, Ripton, Salisbury and Shoreham have “come to a tentative agreement on a new, multi-year deal,” according to Sease.
By ANDY KIRKALDY
FERRISBURGH — Ferrisburgh selectmen have followed the recommendation of the town’s planning commission and voted, 4-0, to end discussions with The Infill Group about a proposed extension of Vergennes sewer service into the town.
The decision, made at an Aug. 24 meeting, appears to close some options for the future development of a 32-acre parcel near the Ferrisburgh village.
Infill head Bill Niquette has a deal with Vergennes aldermen to pay $1 million for a two-mile sewer extension that could have served the Ferrisburgh village area near the intersection of Route 7 and Little Chicago Road, including the town’s school and existing and proposed town office buildings. The proposed extension had a capacity of 100,000 gallons a day, enough to handle more than 400 homes and businesses.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — As a recovering addict, there were few places Michael Emilio could go in the evening where he wasn’t surrounded by temptation. Bars and concert venues produced strong whiffs of alcohol and drugs — the very substances he was seeking to avoid.
“One of the things they teach you in rehab is you have to change people, places and things,” Emilio said.
Those changes soon will be easier for Emilio and other recovering substance abusers to make thanks to a new gathering place for recovering addicts called the Turningpoint Center of Addison County, which will be established in the Marble Works shopping complex this fall.
The center will rent space formerly occupied by Vermont Magazine in what the Marble Works Partnership refers to as the “stone building” that faces Printer’s Alley.
Political movements that catch the publicâ€™s imagination can spread like a prairie fire across the nation. From town to town, state to state, the movementâ€™s idealism is spread by word of mouth â€” fanned by media coverage and todayâ€™s internet â€” and fueled by millions of people wanting to be part of the solution, not part of the problem.
The political movement that most fits this description today is global warming. Al Goreâ€™s book â€œAn Inconvenient Truth,â€? and the subsequent movie have done much to popularize the issue in recent months, taking off from previous works on environmental issues, including Bill McKibbenâ€™s landmark book, â€œThe End of Nature.â€?
In an attempt to harness the eagerness of people to embrace this issue and make it the number one cause on Americaâ€™s agenda, a well-publicized five-day walk is scheduled for Labor Day weekend starting in Ripton and ending in Burlington. That the walk starts in Ripton has much to do with the fact that McKibben lives there, that Robert Frostâ€™s writing cabin is there, and that Middlebury College student Will Bates and a few others who helped organize the walk, could imagine no better place to reflect on Earthâ€™s beauty and the reasons why it is so important to protect what is within our ability.
Last week, Gov. James Douglas identified another election-year issue that will stir the publicâ€™s interest and, he hopes, earn him a few sure-fire votes. The issue is property taxes; or, more specifically, high property taxes. He against them, of course.
The governorâ€™s plan is not to lower property taxes (heâ€™s honest in admitting the state needs the money and itâ€™d be reckless to cut taxes), but to keep the rate of the tax increases closer to the rate of inflation. For the past seven years, property taxes have increased an average of 7.4 percent annually, or double inflation, and the governor says thatâ€™s not sustainable.
Most Vermonters would agree. Just like itâ€™s not sustainable for health care insurance to go up by two or three times inflation each year, neither can Vermonters afford such steep increases in our property taxes.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — Addison County’s student mechanics will step into a bona fide 21st century classroom this week when they begin courses at the Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center’s (PHCC) new, 20,000-square-foot “North Campus” building off Mainelli Road in Middlebury.
The $3.7 million facility features two cavernous garages, one each for the PHCC’s automotive and diesel technology programs. Voters in the Addison Central, Addison Northeast and Addison Northwest supervisory union communities in 2005 endorsed a bond issue to finance the building, which was undergoing some final construction tweaks last Thursday.
“I think we have an incredibly functional building,” said PHCC Director Lynn Coale, during a tour of the steel-framed structure erected by Bread Loaf Corp. “We have the most beautiful classrooms I’ve been in, in my life.”
By CYRUS LEVESQUE
BRISTOL — Students at Mount Abraham Union High School will see a new face in the front office when school starts this week. Lincoln resident Nancy Yannett was hired as a part-time dean of students, a position that puts her in charge of discipline for students in grades 11 and 12.
Norm Reuss, who was hired as the Bristol school’s first dean of students last year, will continue on as dean for grades seven through 10. Yannett and Reuss will each be responsible for day-to-day disciplinary issues for their grades.
Yannett, 44, last worked in South Burlington High School, where she managed the independent diploma program for youths who had dropped out and wanted another chance to complete their education. She said she is looking forward to join the MAUHS administration.
By HARRIETTE BRAINARD
BRANDON — Residents in the Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union likely will decide through a November vote whether to approve a $10 million renovation of the Otter Valley Union High School.
The OVUHS board on Tuesday night reviewed plans for a major renovation and construction project that would help the 46-year-old school meet current educational requirements and fix some ongoing issues.
“The renovation has really nothing to do with the increase or decrease of student population, it all has to do with quality of the school,” said board chair Connie Carroll. “The issues we are facing would be apparent regardless of the population.”
After discussing plans presented by FNB Architects of Rutland and asking for some additional information, the school board will vote on Oct. 12 on whether to put the plan out for a district-wide vote on Nov. 7.