Archive - Oct 23, 2006
Ferrisburghâ€™s on the right path; Midd should follow
Ferrisburgh town selectmen are thinking ahead. Earlier last month the board appointed a committee to study whether the town should buy a key parcel of land that abuts the town elementary school and the planned site of a new town office building and meeting center. The 34-acre parcel, town leaders believe, is so important to the future of the village that the opportunity to buy it â€” rather than allow a developer to build a handful of houses on it â€” should not be passed by.
Such a proposal is not inexpensive. The asking price for the farmland owned by the Hinsdale family of Charlotte has been $750,000, and the appraised price is around $650,000.
Benefits to the town include providing extra room for the school to expand; parking for school or town offices; safer access to the school; a new site for a larger post office; playing fields; a town green and other options. Importantly, town officials note, the area is the last large open parcel in the village with good septic soils.
Policy issues aside, Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor Matt Dunne has a singular issue that strikes a bipartisan chord: He believes the lieutenant governorâ€™s salary of $61,000 per year is significant enough to warrant a full-time effort from the elected candidate. He notes Lt. Gov. Dubie is gone almost two-thirds of the year working as an airline pilot.
He doesnâ€™t begrudge Dubie his job as a pilot, and he freely admits that prior public servants in the lieutenant governorâ€™s post also worked part-time at other jobs (Howard Dean was a doctor while being lieutenant governor and Doug Racine helped with his familyâ€™s South Burlington auto dealership, to name two). But he makes two valid points: the positionâ€™s salary has been raised significantly since Dubie became Lt. Gov., and, more importantly, he wants to serve the state full-time because he believes there is more than enough work to do to help Vermont and Vermonters grow and prosper in the new economy.
By MEGAN JAMES
VERGENNES — When Elizabeth Ready, executive director of the John Graham Emergency Shelter in Vergennes, asked Middlebury College student Alex Hall what surprised him the most about homelessness in Vermont, he answered, “That there was any.”
Since last spring, Hall and about 20 Middlebury students, in groups of three or four at a time, have visited the Vergennes shelter once a week where they cook dinner and socialize. The residents, in turn, have begun to shatter the students’ stereotypes of homelessness.
“You think it only exists in urban areas. You think they’ve chosen not to work, that they’re lazy,” said student volunteer Andrew Haile. “But really they’re great people who’ve just had some bad breaks.”
By JOHN FLOWERS
ADDISON COUNTY — Addison County human services providers are putting the finishing touches on a new DVD, brochure and other material aimed at helping local homeless people find — and keep — affordable housing.
The providers, working under the banner of the Addison County Housing Coalition, have also enlisted the help of Northlands Job Corps students in making a series of wooden human silhouettes that will soon be placed throughout the county to increase public awareness of the plight of the homeless.
Cheryl Mitchell, director of People of Addison County Together (PACT), is spearheading creation of the new brochure titled, “Almost Home: Finding an Affordable Place to Live in Addison County.” The 11-page brochure, in its final draft, will let homeless people know how their incomes play into qualifying for affordable housing; how to overcome bad credit; how to apply for rental housing; and what their rights are as tenants.
By MEGAN JAMES
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury College hopes to stimulate the local forest products economy when it begins buying woodchips instead of oil for a new $11 million, biomass-fueled power plant. In addition, the plant, which college trustees signed off on at a meeting late last month, will cut the college’s greenhouse gas emissions by 12,500 metric tons a year — a step that will be welcomed by a student-led effort to zero-out Middlebury College’s impact on global warming.
By relying on woodchips, a by-product of the lumbering business already established in Addison County, the college will support local industry while weaning itself off the global oil supply, officials said.
“The biomass plant exemplifies the college’s longstanding commitment to the environment not only as an academic subject, but also as an integral part of the institution’s operations,” said Middlebury College President Ronald D. Liebowitz. “It reflects the significance we place on the local economy as well.”