Archive - Dec 17, 2007
MARY HOGAN ELEMENTARY School first-grader Ayana Mason drums along with her classmates during a presentation with artist-in-residence Rob Zollman last Thursday afternoon.
Independent photo/Trent Campbell
December 17, 2007
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — Local environmental groups and business leaders are planning the first in a series of annual events they hope will give Addison County a reputation for being the state’s hub for “green” technology and conservation.
The event, tentatively scheduled for March 1 in Middlebury, is being called the first annual “Green Energy Expo,” a day-long event that will offer visitors workshops on how to make their homes and businesses more fuel-efficient; examples of new technology that can power homes without relying on fossil fuels; and samples of locally grown food.
“It will be a free day for people to come down, participate, learn from workshops and see local vendors,” said Netaka White, an organizer of the event, which will be held in Middlebury College’s McCardell Bicentennial Hall.
White explained that the seeds for the expo were planted during a series of “creative economy” forums held this past summer in Middlebury. Those forums were designed to help the community devise, and follow through, on projects to spice up the local economy.
Creative economy participants came up with three main ideas for Middlebury to pursue, including making better use of the Otter Creek as an economic calling card; founding a creative economy association; and “establishing the Middlebury area as a pioneer in renewable energy production and management.” The first annual Green Energy Expo is a direct response to that third mandate, White noted.
December 17, 2007
By CYRUS LEVESQUE
BRISTOL — Last Thursday’s performance of “Night Fires” drew an enthusiastic crowd to Holley Hall in Bristol for two hours of music, dance and evocative costumes, but it may be the beginning of the end for the annual winter solstice celebration. After 26 years of organizing the festivity, founder and director Marianne Lust plans to step down.
“I’m 60 years old, and it seems time to think about what I should do next,” said Lust, a Lincoln resident.
“Night Fires” is a mix of carnival and opera that recalls centuries of festivities around the shortest day of the year — the winter solstice, which is Dec. 22 this year — and the climb back up to light. It features songs, dances and costumes inspired by cultures around the world in a passionate performance.
Each year the production tells a different story. Previous years have focused on St. Francis of Assisi, a Dutch Jew who died in Auschwitz and the diaries of a young girl whose family settled in Oregon in the late 19th century, among other themes.
“It’s a really unique production,” said Solveig Overby, publicity director for the Night Fires Theater Group Ltd.
Whatever the storyline, every production shares the common theme of a journey, sometimes a struggle, from darkness into light.
“The winter solstice is about going from the darkness into the light, and that’s what we’re trying to do,” Lust said. This year’s “Night Fires” is focused on the walls around the world — from Berlin to Israel to the Texas-Mexican border — that separate people from each other and from the natural world, the harm those walls do, and how to break them down.
December 17, 2007
By ANDY KIRKALDY
ADDISON — Addison’s multi-year effort to put new zoning laws into place came to an end on Nov. 27, when selectmen adopted the planning commission’s latest version of updated regulations. Planners had forwarded that version to the selectboard earlier this year.
Selectmen acted immediately after a Nov. 27 public hearing that, unlike earlier hearings on proposed zoning, was sparsely attended. In the spring of 2006 about 200 residents came to a hearing on planners’ initial proposal, and not to heap praise on it — most said proposed zoning laws were too restrictive.
After that meeting planners went back to the drawing board for about a dozen-and-a-half meetings, most of which were also attended by former Addison selectboard chairman Tim Buskey. They worked to create the laws that 30 residents at a May 2007 public hearing generally found acceptable, and that selectmen approved on Nov. 27 after a few more changes.
Current selectboard Chairman Jeff Kauffman said selectmen saw declining attendance at the public hearings as a sign that residents had accepted the new laws, which ended up not making too many dramatic changes to former regulations.
“Our thinking was the questions must have been answered, and the (new) regs are pretty similar to what we have,” Kauffman said.
Planning commission Chairwoman Sally Conway, who plans to step down from the planning board after 12 years when her term expires in March, said planners don’t believe the new laws are ideal, but a key new element will make adapting the laws to the town’s needs easier in the future.
The laws created a separate development review board (DRB) to handle all zoning applications. Planners think that move will free them to focus on the town’s future and on fine-tuning zoning if necessary.