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October 15th

Architecture viewed with an artist's eye

October 15, 2007

By MEGAN JAMES

BRANDON — When Anthony Albarello was in junior high school in Harlem, he took a picture of a single typewriter key for his first photography assignment. It was an awful photo, he said. But for some reason, he couldn’t stop tinkering with it.

“I thought, I can make that better,” he said. “I can make that stupid typewriter key a work of art.”

The answer, he soon found, was in the lighting: With the right light, he could make anything beautiful.  

Albarello is 62 now, living in Brandon and a seasoned photographer, having spent the last 40 years shooting high-end fashion, commercial and finally, his passion, architecture photography around the world. Through it all, his keen sense of light — and his patience to wait for it — has almost singularly defined his work.

A selection of Albarello’s architecture and interior photographs is on display through Oct. 22 at the Watershed Tavern in Brandon. The photos, chosen primarily from his work in New York City, create an architectural landscape with the lines and details “that make a room a piece of art,” he said.

full story

October 11th

Towns restoring iconic buildings

Starksboro Meeting Hall has been removed to allow work to be done as part of an ongoing restoration project. Several area towns are working to bring iconic local structures up to date.
Independent photo/Trent Campbell


By CYRUS LEVESQUE

MONKTON — The East Monkton Church is one of the fine old buildings in the area that are relics of an earlier era. The white, wooden building, constructed in the classic New England style, predates phones and electricity, and, for that matter, cars. But it is still used each summer as a place of worship.

And like a few other local pieces of the past — notably public buildings in Starksboro and Bristol — the community group that manages this church is hoping to restore it.

Candace Polzella, who helped found the East Monkton Church Association Inc. three years ago, said her group plans to keep the church in use as a valuable part of the town.

“It’s a historic building, and it’s been a part of our community since 1867,” Polzella said.

Some work has already been done on the building on Church Road. The association raised enough money to re-roof the building in the summer of 2006. But Polzella said they would eventually like to do a lot more work, including replacing some windows and rotted wood, repainting the exterior, and repairing the front entrance and foundation of the 140-year-old building.

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New building discussed for downtown Middlebury

By JOHN FLOWERS

MIDDLEBURY — While Middlebury’s Cross Street has been squarely in the headlines for its potential to host a new in-town bridge over the Otter Creek, an ad hoc committee has been quietly mapping out a new retail-office hub that could be located mere yards from the proposed new span.

Representatives of the Middlebury Economic Development Initiative Committee (EDIC) on Tuesday unveiled some conceptual drawings of a 40,000-square-foot commercial building that could be erected on land located behind the Ilsley Library. The roughly 77,000 square feet of land in question is primarily used now as a municipal parking lot and is owned by Middlebury College and the town of Middlebury.

College and municipal officials recently joined forces to take a closer look at the downtown property and its potential in hosting a project that could improve the economic vitality of downtown while boosting Middlebury’s grand list.

Middlebury Town Planner and EDIC member Fred Dunnington on Tuesday presented selectmen some conceptual drawings showing a 40,000-square-foot building bordering Cross Street between the current Steele’s Service Center property and the rim of the Otter Creek off Bakery Lane (see map).

While the plans are still very much in flux, Dunnington said the building could boast as many as three stories, built above as many as three levels of parking. There could be around 100 spaces for each level of parking, according to Dunnington.

full story

Farm Bill could offer Vt. farms a safety net

October 11, 2007

By CYRUS LEVESQUE

MIDDLEBURY — Congressman Peter Welch this week in Middlebury voiced concerns about some parts of the 2007 Farm Bill, but he said that the parts most important to Vermont’s agricultural community, such as the Milk Income Loss Contract, were preserved in the version of the bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives.

“The first job was to keep that safety net part of the Farm Bill,” the Vermont Democrat said at the annual Addison County Farm Bureau meeting on Monday.

The Farm Bill recently passed by the House and now awaits discussion by the Senate agricultural committee. The 2002 Farm Bill was set to expire last month, but was extended until November.

Details of the bill will have a significant effect on the agricultural community, and Welch said the bill could affect the rest of the state nearly as much. “A lot of the benefit is that those of us who live in Vermont … get the collateral benefit of this local, cultivated land,” Welch said, referring to side benefits like tourism dollars. “The more there is local agriculture, the better.”

However, there were some portions of the House’s version of the bill that Welch disapproved of, such as a price support program for commodities like wheat, corn, rice and other staples. He argued that too often the program wound up funding farms that didn’t need any extra help.

full story

October 8th

Barbed bird

A SPARROW  PICKS a potentially painful perch on a barbed wire fence in Addison.
Independent photo/Trent Campbell

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Parents ask questions about new new VUHS grading system

October 8, 2007

By ANDY KIRKALDY

VERGENNES — A change in the way Vergennes Union High School teachers assign letter grades has sparked concerns, mostly among parents of high-achieving students, that it may be more difficult for their children to earn top grades, get onto the school’s honor roll, and get into colleges.

Four dozen parents met with VUHS Co-principal Ed Webbley last Wednesday to discuss the grading changes, the most significant of which is actually at the other end of the spectrum: Essentially, 70 is the new 60 — students now must earn at least a grade of 70 to pass a course and stay eligible for sports. At the same time, students will also have to earn a 93 to get an A, and an 85 to get a B.

VUHS administrators made that change, Webbley said, in tandem with a scheduling tweak: Students now have two 25-minute periods free daily in which they can meet with teachers to get help learning material and improving grades.

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Humane society welcomes new director, Tucker moves to statewide program

October 8, 2007

By JOHN FLOWERS

MIDDLEBURY — The Addison County Humane Society (ACHS) will soon get a new executive director to replace its former leader, Jill Tucker, who recently left to help authorities take a bite out of crime against pets.

Jackie Rose, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based attorney, will officially take the helm of the ACHS on Oct. 22 after a move to Vermont. Rose recently completed a 25-year stint as executive vice president of Spectrum Programs, a nonprofit provider of substance abuse programs and mental health services in Florida.

Rose originally earned a degree in psychology and had seriously considered using that knowledge in a career caring for animals. She ended up going into law and nonprofit administration, but jumped at the opportunity to revisit her original career path when she heard about the ACHS vacancy.

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Business pros give college students a peek at the real world

October 8, 2007

By MEGAN JAMES

MIDDLEBURY — The steadily increasing number of economics majors at Middlebury College unnerves Michael Claudon. There’s nothing wrong with economics as a discipline — Claudon himself is a professor of the subject, which claims 11.9 percent of all majors — but he gets the feeling that many students choose that path because they believe it is the only way into the business world, the only way they might land a well-paying job after graduation.

This is simply not true, Claudon said. And he’s prepared to prove it with his new winter term program, MIDD CORE (Creativity, Organization, Risk and Entrepreneurship), which aims to expose Middlebury students to professionals from both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors in an effort to deepen their understanding of the post-college world.

“The big picture is to help our students understand that there are all kinds of paths that you can follow to great careers and great personal lives,” Claudon said. “So whatever their passion is at the college — philosophy, Spanish, dance — they can pursue it.”

full story

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