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  • strict warning: Declaration of image_attach_views_handler_field_attached_images::pre_render() should be compatible with views_handler_field::pre_render($values) in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/image/contrib/image_attach/image_attach_views_handler_field_attached_images.inc on line 112.
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Date
Type

January 7th

First baby of 2008 was born at home

AMELIA GARDNER AND Nate Gusakov welcomed the first baby born in Addison County in 2008 at their Lincoln home on New Year's Day. Abigail Lucile Gusakov weighed in at 7 pounds, 12 ounces.
Independent photo/Trent Campbell


January 7, 2008

By CYRUS LEVESQUE

full story

Otter Valley eyes 2 percent spending hike, $2 million renovation bond

January 7, 2008

By MEGAN JAMES

BRANDON — The Otter Valley Union High School board on Thursday approved a $10,995,304 spending plan for the 2008-2009 academic year, which it will present to voters on Town Meeting Day. The plan represents a 2.12 percent increase in spending over the current year’s $10,766,837 budget, but it also represents a 5 percent hike in the amount the school will ask from taxpayers.

“Last year we had a couple of failed budgets so the assessment was really quite low,” board chair Jim Rademacher said. The 2007-08 budget approved after three district-wide votes featured a 0.32 percent increase in the tax levy from the previous year.

“So yes the assessment is up 5 percent, but if you look at our total budget we’ve kept it quite low,” Rademacher said.

The school board last week also decided to ask voters to float a $1,998,500 bond to repair the 46-year-old OVUHS school building. In addition to twice rejecting proposed school spending plans in 2007, Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union voters also rejected a proposed $10.3 million bond, which would have been used for updating facilities.

With a relatively low increase in health insurance costs for employees — it is budgeted at about 5 percent — the main drivers responsible for the increased spending in the 2008-09 budget are maintenance, fuel costs and changes in the experiential high school program.

The board made $224,690 in proposed spending cuts last year after voters twice rejected the school’s spending plan. Some of those expenses, like maintenance costs, are woven back into the 2008-09 proposal. Last year, the board reduced the maintenance budget by $75,000, leaving that area under-funded this year. So next year’s plan includes a $126,793 increase in maintenance costs.

full story

Career Center, Porter Hospital partner to train more nurses

January 7, 2008

By JOHN FLOWERS

MIDDLEBURY — The Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center (PHCC) is partnering with Porter Medical Center on new course that will offer area students a prime entrée into the health care industry.

Now in its first year, PHCC’s “Allied Health Program” is giving students access to classroom training and hands-on experience in a hospital setting, with the potential of earning Licensed Nurse Assistant (LNA) certification. That LNA status will permit students to graduate directly to jobs at Helen Porter Healthcare and Rehabilitation Center, among other places, or continue their studies in the medical field.

Career Center officials have been discussing establishing a health care curriculum for at least the past six years, according to PHCC Director Lynn Coale. But those six years have also seen a decline in district enrollment in the regional vocational/technical high school, meaning the center has had to be more careful than ever about maintaining existing programs — let alone starting new ones. The PHCC’s proposed 2008-2009 budget envisions 1.5 fewer teachers in response to dwindling student numbers.

Still, PHCC board members agreed that launching an Allied Health Program was a safe bet.

“This is based on an incredible need in the health career field and the lack of a highly skilled workforce,” Coale said. “At the same time, we are confronted with decreasing enrollment at the high school and the need to revise, and in reality decrease, the programs we are offering.”

The PHCC board hired Janice Whitaker, a registered nurse and local resident with a background in health education, to develop and implement the new curriculum this year.

full story

January 3rd

Happy New Year!

FIREWORKS EXPLODE OVER the heads of spectators assembled near the athletic fields on Creek Road in Middlebury for part of the town’s New Year’s Eve celebration.
Independent photo/Trent Campbell

full story

Area legislators expect 2008 session to look a lot like 2007

January 3, 2008

By JOHN FLOWERS

MONTPELIER — While the state has turned the page on 2007, the Vermont Legislature’s 2008 agenda will have a decidedly familiar look when legislators return to the Statehouse next week.

full story

Middlebury police have difficulty finding qualified cops

January 3, 2008

By JOHN FLOWERS

MIDDLEBURY — Only a decade ago, Middlebury Police Chief Tom Hanley didn’t have to worry a lot about filling unexpected vacancies on his force. He would just reach into his filing cabinet and pull out a folder with more than 50 qualified candidates, and start recruiting.

It’s not that easy anymore.

Middlebury is currently struggling to fill two longstanding vacancies on its police force, a chore made especially difficult by a shallow pool of applicants, many of whom can’t measure up to even basic entry requirements.

“It’s been a rough road to hoe this past year,” Hanley said on Friday.

“The candidate pool is very thin,” he added. “The trend seems to be that people are not entering this type of public service anymore.”

It was back in February that the town began advertising its two police officer vacancies, thus far with limited success.

Hanley now has around 30 résumés in his file of candidates, but none have completely worked out. The department has offered multiple rounds of candidate testing during the past 10 months, but the smattering of hopefuls have either failed to make the grade; have moved on to other opportunities; or couldn’t pass the requisite background check.

Middlebury has decided to continue its search rather than make some potentially bad hires.

“We are not going to lower our standards to get people in the door,” Hanley said. “You can’t let a cancer in the door.”

The town of Middlebury is far from alone in having a hard time attracting and retaining qualified police officers. It is a problem that has been plaguing local, county and state law enforcement operations not only throughout Vermont, but the Northeast, officials said.

full story

Vermont leads the nation in insurance niche

January 3, 2008

By MEGAN JAMES

ADDISON COUNTY — When former state Rep. Mark Young of Orwell got his first crash course in Vermont’s captive insurance industry 15 years ago, the rest of the country was suspicious of what the Green Mountain State was up to.

At the time, only a handful of states had laws to license captive insurance companies, which a business may form if it wishes to insure its own risks, rather than get coverage from an outside insurance company.

Once known as “offshore” insurance companies, captives have traditionally operated out of places like Bermuda and the Cayman Islands. But back in 1992, Vermont’s captive industry was already on its way to becoming the largest in any state in the country.

Today, it is the second largest in the world, and the economic benefits for Vermont are undeniable. Besides creating employment opportunities for young Vermonters with a college degree — there are nearly 1,500 related jobs — the industry brought in $24.3 million last year in tax revenue.

“And think about it, there’s no smoke, there’s no pollution, no trailer trucks coming in and out,” Young said. “It’s a huge thing for Vermont.”

In 2003, the last time the state released a comprehensive evaluation of the captive industry’s economic impact, 1,429 Vermonters worked in the industry. The average salary for those jobs was $55,179, about 60 percent above the average private, non-farming job in Vermont, according to Dan Towle, Director of Financial Services at the Vermont Department of Economic Development.

This year 814 businesses have captive insurance licensed in Vermont, and $11.5 billion has flowed through the state in premium payments.

“Vermont started from humble beginnings, and now we’re the second largest in the world (behind Bermuda),” Towle said.

full story

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