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May 16th, 2011
MIDDLEBURY — A severe algae problem is poisoning the nation’s sixth largest body of water.
Blooms of the toxic blue-green organism growing in Lake Champlain are essentially large, poisonous colonies of photosynthetic bacteria that are caused by high levels of phosphorus and nitrogen nutrients. According to the Vermont Department of Health, algae-contaminated water in the lake led to the deaths of two dogs in 1999 and 2000.
VERGENNES — The Vermont Principals’ Association announced last week that Vergennes Union High School Co-Principal Ed Webbley has been chosen as the organization’s Robert F. Pierce Vermont Secondary Principal of the Year.
Webbley becomes the second VUHS principal in the past decade to earn that honor: The VPA presented former VUHS school head Peter Coffey with the same award in 2002.
VPA Executive Director Ken Page noted not only that repeat recognition, but also that:
ADDISON COUNTY — As record-high water levels on Lake Champlain slowly recede, towns and low-lying areas along the lakefront are beginning to recover and evaluate damage.
Fueled by snowmelt and heavy rains, the lake hit 103.2 feet above sea level on April 29, shattering the 1869 record of 102.1 feet.
EAST MIDDLEBURY — The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) has decided to completely replace the Sand Hill Bridge on Route 125 in East Middlebury and will not pursue a temporary span to allow through-traffic during construction — slated for 2014, at the earliest.
The big five oil companies in the United States — Chevron, Shell Oil, BP America, ConocoPhillips and Exxon Mobil — made $35 billion in profit in the first three months of 2011. In his public radio address last week, President Barack Obama called for eliminating tax breaks for all oil and gas companies — a move that would eliminate about $2 billion annually in tax breaks for these five oil giants and raise $44 billion over the next decade. At $140 billion in profit per year for the big five, that’s less than 1.5 percent of their profit.
Heavy rains and snowmelt over the past two weeks have raised Lake Champlain to record-setting levels, flooding low-lying roads and wreaking havoc on county roads along the shoreline.
See below for a slideshow of the flood pictures Trent Campbell has snapped since late April, and watch for a story about flood damage in Monday's paper.
VERGENNES — Vergennes Union High School junior third baseman Kate Mulliss had a first inning to forget in Tuesday’s home softball game vs. Mount Abraham, but a seventh inning to remember.
Mulliss made three first-inning errors that helped the Eagles to five runs. But she capped a three-hit day by drilling a line drive homer over the left-field fence in the seventh to snap a tie and give the Commodores an 11-9 win over their local rivals.
Afterward, Mulliss recalled the first inning.
What seems to irk opponents the most about H.202, the much ballyhooed health-care reform bill passed by the Vermont legislature last week, is that Gov. Peter Shumlin and the Democratic-controlled Legislature are getting a lot of credit for establishing a process to move toward a new health care system without first figuring out the details. As one conservative curmudgeon noted in an attempt to dismiss the importance of the bill, who wouldn’t be for creating an improved health care system that covers all Vermonters for less money?