Archive - Aug 21, 2008
By KATHRYN FLAGG
BRISTOL — Despite Mount Abraham Union High School’s decision two years ago to install a wood chip heating system — a move that cut the school’s fuel oil usage by almost 90 percent — the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union (ANeSU) is scrambling to cope with the rising cost of heating oil.
“I’ve got to believe that my schools will be 25 to 40 percent short” in their budgets for fuel oil, said ANeSU Business Manager Greg Burdick said.
“We’ll spend what we need to keep the schools heated,” he said, but the district may have to “rob Peter to pay Paul. The schools will stay warm, but it’s liable to come at the expense of, and I’m oversimplifying here, pens and pencils.”
The district’s executive committee will decide late this week whether or not to accept the single bid they received last week for the fuel oil contract. Jay Jipner, the proprietor of Bristol-based All Star Fuels, put in a bid to sell the district its oil at an eight-cent mark up per gallon over the rack price.
If awarded the bid, Jipner will provide between 60,000 and 67,000 gallons to heat MAUHS and the district’s five elementary schools.
This will be the second year that ANeSU has not locked into a “pre-buy” fixed price — meaning that predicting the total cost for heating the district’s six schools is all but impossible.
“Nobody knows where this is going,” Burdick said — but ANeSU officials and school board members across the district do know that the effects will be widespread.
“It’s a death knell for the schools,” said Burdick. “It doesn’t just impact fuel oil. Anything that comes by truck or rail, we’ve paid shipping fees.”
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — New Vermont Rail Program Manager Robert Ide confirmed on Monday that the state Agency of Transportation (VTRANS) will wait until Middlebury has finished building its new in-town bridge before launching major repairs to two downtown train underpasses.
Ide also emphasized his commitment to track replacement leading in and out of downtown Middlebury to minimize the chances for derailments and to make the line stronger for double-stack cars and passenger service, two upgrades he said he wants to see in place before he leaves his job.
Ide, a former Republican state senator who lives in Peacham, was named the AOT’s rail program manager back in June. He has spent the past few months getting up to speed on train activities while surveying the condition of rail infrastructure in Vermont.
“I have been on what I would describe as the ‘rocket ship learning curve,’” Ide said with a chuckle. “You learn about the people; you learn about what it is that you just signed up for; you learn the questions you should have asked at the interview but didn’t know enough to ask.”
Tuesday saw Ide in Middlebury, where he got an eyeful and an earful from local officials who during the past year have seen a major train derailment while nervously anticipating reconstruction of two major railroad underpasses at Main Street and Merchants Row.
“Walking up the tracks in Middlebury is an eye opening experience looking up at those bridges,” Ide said of downtown Middlebury’s railway underpasses on Main Street and Merchants Row. “I don’t think a person of good conscience could go home and say, ‘Well that’s going to last for another 30 years.’ I’m not an engineer, but they appear to have some spots that need some repair and replacement.”
By JOHN S. McCRIGHT
LEICESTER — Four Connecticut men are in jail, a Leicester man has been shot and a police dog is dead in the wake of a shooting and carjacking incident that began on Lake Dunmore Road in Leicester late Tuesday night and ended after a police chase in Fair Haven.
Vermont State Police responded to a call from a Lake Dunmore Road resident at around 11 p.m. on Aug. 19 where they found Richard Carroll, 45, had been shot once in the leg. Carroll told police that he went to check on arguing he heard on the road in front of his house and that someone in a white Escalade SUV with Connecticut plates had shot him.
Alerted that the car was traveling south on Route 7 in Pittsford, a Rutland police officer attempted to deploy tire deflation spikes. A Rutland police K-9 named King Luther jumped out of the officer’s cruiser and was struck and killed by a state police cruiser that was involved in the pursuit of the Escalade.
Shortly after that, VSP received a report that several black men in a white Escalade had stopped to talk to three people parked on Wheelerville Road in Mendon and one of the men asked them for a ride. After the three people, who were driving a Chevy Cavalier, said no, the Escalade drove off but parked in a pull-off a short way ahead and ambushed the Cavalier, according to an affidavit filed in Rutland District Court by VSP Det. Sgt. Albert E. Abdelnour.
Police said the men in the Escalade blocked the road with their vehicle, brandished a knife, pulled the trio out of the Cavalier, punched and kicked them and stole a cell phone before driving off in the car. The victims walked to Route 4, where they flagged down a passerby, who called the VSP. Later they were treated at Rutland Regional Medical Center for minor injuries.