Archive - 2007
MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE CENTER for the Arts events and programs coordinator Andrea Solomon helps Joey, right, and Noah Viner strip leaves off saplings and add them to a growing pile that will be used for an art installation being created this month in front of the museum by sculptor Patrick Dougherty. Noah’s class from St. Mary’s School had visited with the artist Tuesday morning and Noah came back after school with his mother and siblings to volunteer with the sapling preparation.
Independent photo/Trent Campbell
September 13, 2007
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — Addison County’s efforts in battling domestic violence got a huge boost on Tuesday with news that Middlebury-based WomenSafe had landed a $495,509 federal grant to hire new staff to educate the community about crimes against women and to investigate those suspected of committing such offenses.
U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., announced that three Vermont organizations had been picked to share $1.55 million in U.S. Department of Justice grants for programs aimed at combating domestic violence. Among them was WomenSafe, an organization that helps abuse victims in Addison County and Rochester. WomenSafe’s nearly half-million-dollar grant will provide for:
• A full-time coordinator for the Addison County Council Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. The council’s members include a variety of crime-fighting and human services organizations — such as the Vermont State Police, the Parent-Child Center of Addison County and the Vermont Department of Probation and Parole — that all work with people who have been touched by domestic violence.
September 13, 2007
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — The Counseling Service of Addison County (CSAC) has put the finishing touches on a $650,000 fund-raising campaign and is now seeking permission from the town of Middlebury to proceed with two major building projects to accommodate its ever growing list of clients and services.
The most ambitious of the projects is a proposed 19,000-square-foot building in Catamount Park off Exchange Street that would house CSAC’s administrative offices and its “Community Associates” program that provides services to people with developmental disabilities in Addison County. That program has outgrown its current headquarters at 61 Court St.
CSAC is also advancing a plan to build a 2,528-square-foot addition on its office building at 89 Main St. That structure currently houses CSAC’s adult mental health, psychiatry, out-patient and emergency services departments. The addition would accommodate four new offices; a large “group area”; a clinical records storage space; and sprinkler/fire alarm systems for the entire building.
September 13, 2007
By ANDY KIRKALDY
VERGENNES — The Vergennes Development Review Board on Monday held a public hearing but made no ruling on a topic that has intrigued city officials: a proposal by the Champlain Valley Christian School (CVSC) to put four wind turbines on top of the new high school it is building off Church Street on the Waltham town line.
CVSC representative Ted Boelens said on Tuesday that school officials estimate that the four turbines, which he said at the Monday hearing looked like larger versions of “55-gallon drums,” would save the school about $6,000 a year in its power bills.
The purchase and installation of the four wind turbines, plus smaller power-generating solar panels and needed electronic equipment, will cost about $36,000, Boelens said. Efficiency Vermont is granting the school $18,000 toward the project.
Gov. James Douglas and Natural Resources Sec. George Crombie announced an important initiative late last week to consider ways to restore and revitalize the state park system. The first step in that hoped-for outcome is to create a 20-member commission to craft a game plan.
Win Smith, president of Sugarbush Resort in Warren, and Tom Hark, founding president of the Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, are the chairman and vice-chairman respectively. Their recommendations to the governor are to be delivered by Jan. 31, 2008. One of the interesting early suggestions made by the governor and Human Resources Sec. Cynthia LaWare is to offer employment of some of the state’s young and underemployed residents.
“The governor and I recognize that every Vermonter has unique talents and deserves the chance for meaningful employment,” LaWare said. “Just as the Vermont economy will require every qualified job seeker to meet the needs of the business community, Vermont State Parks will need to utilize every available individual to help in this rebuilding effort.”
From the nation’s military point of view, according to one military intelligence official who spoke anonymously to the press corps, even a veto-proof congressional majority elected in 2008 is unlikely to demand a full, immediate military withdrawal from Iraq. Instead, any withdrawal will be staggered to preserve the most stable situation possible in the hopes of preventing internal chaos. The military’s best possible scenario, as this official forecast, is to “get (Iraq) as stable as we can, with the troops we have, and in the time available. And then, we’ll back out as carefully as we can.”
In a slick move, the Bush administration has usurped Congress’ ability to write into law regulations to protect the public. The move came this week via an executive order that directed all federal agencies to brief the White House before any agency directive went into effect if the regulations had an economic impact of more than $100 million annually. The directive also puts a White House appointee as the gatekeeper over agencies that regulate domestic laws pertaining to public health, safety, the environment, civil rights and privacy.
“The executive order allows the political staff at the White House to dictate decisions on health and safety issues, even if the government’s own impartial experts disagree,” said Rep. Henry Waxman, D-Calif., chairman of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. “This is a terrible way to govern, but great news for special interests.”
This past Tuesday the federal minimum wage was raised for the first time in a decade. Workers who had been earning just $5.15 per hour will see their pay jump 70 cents to $5.85. That’s meager progress, but the law enacted for this year’s wage increase also stipulated jumps of 70 cents per hour for the next two summers to follow — meaning the wage will go to $6.55 in 2008 and $7.25 in 2009. But is it enough?
A little math helps put the numbers in perspective: Someone earning $5.15 per hour and working a 40-hour week pulls in $10,712 per year; at $5.85 per hour, they’ll earn $12,168 annually; at $6.55, they’ll earn $13,624; and at $7.25, they’ll make $15,080. The net effect of the legislation, therefore, is an effective increase for minimum wage earners of $4,368 annually — a significant amount of money and huge percentage increase.