Archive - Mar 3, 2008
By ANDY KIRKALDY
VERGENNES — For its 14th annual Community Service Award, officials of Vergennes American Legion Post 14 chose a man they said has played a vital role in the rebirth of the city’s downtown — real estate appraiser Bill Benton.
Legion communications officer Henry Broughton noted that Benton served many years as the president of the Vergennes Partnership, the organization that oversaw the progress of downtown revitalization and helped obtain the grants that made many Main Street improvements possible.
Broughton said there were many strong candidates, but that Post 14’s Community Service Award committee felt strongly about Benton.
“Bill’s been the cog in the wheel that’s kept it going over the years,” he said. “That was the main thing when we sat down with a bunch of candidates and looked at them all. Bill just stood out. We thought he definitely deserved the recognition.”
Benton, a 51-year-old Vergennes native and graduate of Vergennes Union High School and the University of Vermont, joins a list of recipients that includes former city managers and mayors, key members of the city’s fire department and the Vergennes Area Rescue Squad, sparkplugs in the effort to bring life back to the Vergennes Opera House, and volunteers for many good causes. (See related story.)
In an interview Benton said dozens of local residents and officials sparked the revitalization effort.
Off the top of his head he named former Vergennes Area Chamber of Commerce co-presidents Liz Markowski and Patty Paul, Friends of the Vergennes Opera House head Gerianne Smart, partnership director Paul Vachon, and fellow ground-floor partnership members like Terry Weihs, Tim Cowan, Norman Leboeuf and Jeffry Glassberg.
By JOHN S. McCRIGHT
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury College has long brought an infusion of art and culture to people living in Addison County, but this week the college arts community has pulled out all the stops to bring a panoply of music, dance, theater and visual arts unrivalled in recent memory.
“There probably hasn’t been as much going on since we dedicated the (Center for the Arts) 15 years ago,” said Middlebury College Director of the Arts Glenn Andres.
From Thursday through Sunday the college will host a dedication of the Kevin P. Mahaney ’84 Center for the Arts and celebration of the center’s 15-year anniversary. More than 20 events are open to the public — most are free — including lectures, exhibitions, performances, films and a symposium the history of art and architecture.
The centerpiece will be the formal dedication of the Center for the Arts in honor of Mahaney on Saturday at 7 p.m. Luminaria will line the walks to the center and the building will be lit inside and out by search lights. In addition to being open to the public, the college sent out 1,700 invitations to people who have shown an interest in the arts at Middlebury.
Following the dedication at 8 p.m. the center will host three performances: the Dick Forman Jazz Group in the Concert Hall; the Middlebury College Theater Program’s cast of alumni and students in “Curtain Up” in the Seeler Studio Theatre; and Leyya Tawil and Dance Elixir contemporary dance in the Dance Theater, for which tickets are $15 for general admission and $12 for seniors. The Dance Elixir performance will be repeated at 8 p.m. on Sunday.
By MEGAN JAMES
MIDDLEBURY — Less than a week since the Middlebury Police Department invited the Texas search and rescue squad EquuSearch to join the ground search for missing Middlebury College freshman Nicholas Garza, the effort was called off until the snow pack melts.
In the meantime, Middlebury authorities have expanded the missing person investigation, according to police Chief Tom Hanley, and an outside group is offering a reward for information leading to Garza’s discovery.
In an effort to better understand the 19-year-old’s frame of mind on Feb. 5 — the night he went missing — the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Behavioral Analysis Unit has joined the investigation. Using information Middlebury investigators gathered from people who knew Garza, the unit will build a psychological profile that could shed light on decisions the student might have made that night.
“With the FBI, we try to get inside Nicholas’ head,” Hanley said.
Behavioral analyses like this one are usually employed to locate criminals, Hanley said. When investigators understand how a criminal’s brain works, they can determine what he might have done or where he might have gone.
Hanley said the FBI showed considerable interest in the Garza case and they believe the process could shed some light on Garza’s whereabouts.
The behavioral analysis will come at no cost to the Middlebury Police Department, since the unit uses these cases to validate their data, Hanley said. But the Garza investigation is taking a toll on the department’s resources in other ways.
Currently, three Middlebury officers are working on the case, while another is on a Vermont Air Guard deployment.
“That leaves us a grand total of six officers left (to handle other matters),” Hanley said.