Archive - Jul 28, 2008
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — Developers will be able to build a proposed Staples store in The Centre shopping plaza in Middlebury if they adhere to a series of town-mandated conditions, including that they provide access between The Centre parking lot and two adjoining properties, and finance a re-timing of traffic signals to minimize additional gridlock on Route 7.
Those were some of the conditions included in a 24-page “notice of decision” sent to developers Middlebury Associates LLC last week by the Middlebury Development Review Board (DRB). It was the second such conditional decision sent to the developers, who are seeking to build a 14,737-square-foot Staples next to the Hannaford Supermarket.
The proposal has come under fire from various residents and citizens’ groups who believe Staples would hurt some smaller, locally owned stores that also sell office supplies. Opponents have also voiced concerns that Staples would add more traffic to Route 7 and to a Centre parking lot that is already dangerous to negotiate, according to some shoppers who have testified at DRB hearings.
Key elements of the DRB decision call for Middlebury Associates LLC to meet the following conditions:
• Negotiate access connections between The Centre parking lot and the adjoining Middlebury Short Stop and former bowling alley properties.
• Pay for an adjustment to The Centre/Route 7 intersection traffic signal that would lengthen the light from the current 60 seconds to an 80-second cycle.
• Complete, with input from the Middlebury Design Advisory Committee, a series of pedestrian safety, traffic circulation and aesthetic improvements to The Centre property.
By KATHRYN FLAGG
ADDISON — Unsurprisingly, dairy farmer Mike Eastman is a big milk drinker.
“I drink three quarts, three and a half quarts a day,” he said, grinning. “I drink a lot.”
But Eastman’s smile — and that telltale milk moustache — aren’t splashed across the iconic “Got Milk?” posters made famous over the last 15 years by a national advertising campaign. Instead, he’s at the forefront of a fight closer to home.
From his Addison farm — and from his seat as co-chairman of the board of directors for Rural Vermont, a nonprofit farm advocacy group — Eastman is at work putting “raw” milk — milk that has not been pasteurized or processed to kill potential bacteria — into the hands of Vermonters.
Legislation passed last winter doubled the amount of unpasteurized milk that farmers can sell from their farms — but raw milk sales remain a contentious issue among consumers, farmers and health officials.
“I think that a lot of people really feel, including myself, that drinking fresh, raw milk is healthier,” said Eastman.
But with the Vermont Department of Health strongly warning of potential perils, consumers are left to negotiate the murky territory between the opposing camp, choosing between gallons of pasteurized milk in grocery stores and the increasingly popular farm-fresh milk peddled by farmers like Eastman.
AT THE EASTMAN FARM
Eastman’s farm is small by Addison County standards — he has 40 Holsteins under his careful watch. But his organic certification — and the unusual fact that his cows are purely grass-fed — attracts milk enthusiasts from Middlebury, Vergennes and as far away as near Burlington.
When a customer arrives at the 300-acre farm, Eastman directs them to a small, dark, cool room off the main barn. A large silver bulk tank takes up the majority of the small space.
By JOHN FLOWERS
LEICESTER — Leicester Republican John “Ike” Hughes believes the state Legislature has strayed off course.
That said, Hughes said he is running for the Addison-2 House seat to help bring lawmakers’ focus back home and away from issues over which Hughes believes the state has little or no control: The War in Iraq, global warming and impeachment of President George W. Bush.
“I just don’t think the state is spending proper time on state issues,” Hughes said, citing energy policy, school spending and smaller government as among priority topics.
Hughes, 63, is a retired United States Navy master chief petty officer who most recently ran his own instrumentation business. A Pittsford native who has lived in Leicester for the past 25 years, Hughes is challenging incumbent Rep. Willem Jewett, D-Ripton, in the district that includes Salisbury, Cornwall, Ripton, Leicester, Hancock and Goshen.
Hughes has been an active volunteer in statewide GOP politics since 1983. He became involved in Addison County Republican causes around 10 years ago. When the July 21 candidates’ filing deadline was fast approaching and no Republicans had declared an interest in Addison-2, Hughes stepped forward.
“I think the voters should have a choice,” Hughes said. “I think if you feel strongly about the issues, you should get out there.”
Hughes has developed strong opinions about health care, government spending and energy during a life that has included a 21-year stint in the United States Navy. He served three tours in Vietnam and visited more than 100 countries during a military career that saw him in charge of repairs to 26 nuclear submarines. That experience has given him a respect and appreciation for nuclear power at a time when the state is approaching a crossroads in determining whether to re-license Vermont Yankee.