Archive - Aug 25, 2008
By KATHRYN FLAGG
STARKSBORO — As the last session of “Camp Common Ground” drew to a close last week, multigenerational campers piled into cars, boarded airplanes and took off for home. With the family camp attracting visitors from 40 states and several different countries, that trips home can, at times, be arduous.
For East Middlebury residents Bryan Carson, Holly Stark and their seven-year-old son Max, the end-of-vacation trek was, instead, a scant 21-mile jaunt down Route 116.
The family’s decision to vacation close to home — to “staycation,” as Carson quipped — is a trend many Vermonters have embraced to reduce vacation stress, take advantage of their own backyards and, in many cases, save time, resources and money.
Though the “staycation” is by no means a new phenomenon, according to Steve Cook, Vermont’s deputy commissioner of tourism and marketing, it has, he said, “been the word of the summer.” The Department of Tourism and Marketing has promoted in-state vacations to Vermonters for the last four years, and now, Cook said, other states are launching similar campaigns. Both New York and Connecticut kicked off their first-ever marketing campaigns for in-state tourism this year.
It’s a trend that seems to be catching on. At Kampersville in Salisbury, owner Jean Wisnowski said she’s never seen so many Vermonters flock to the Lake Dunmore campground.
“It’s unbelievable,” Wisnowski said. “I’ve never in my life seen a summer like it.”
When she asks new campers about where they’re from, she said, she’s increasingly hearing from residents of Burlington, Winooski, and White Hall, N.Y. It’s a notable change of pace for a business that usually attracts visitors from New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire.
By JOHN FLOWERS
ADDISON COUNTY — State officials on Thursday restored two-way traffic on Route 125 from East Middlebury to Hancock, which had been reduced to one lane in spots for more than two weeks, and plan to repave damaged portions of the flood-ravaged road before the end of September.
While work is proceeding smoothly on that stretch of state highway, repairs to other Addison County roads and bridges damaged during the Aug. 6 storm and flooding — notably the Lower Plains Road Bridge in East Middlebury and portions of Route 53 near Lake Dunmore in Salisbury — are in somewhat of a holding pattern. Officials are waiting for word of whether federal disaster repair funds will be available and say time is needed to marshal other resources for these major projects.
Middlebury Director of Operations Dan Werner said it will likely be next summer before workers are able to replace the Lower Plains Road Bridge, a small span that was shifted by the swollen waters of the Middlebury River.
“Both (bridge) abutments were damaged,” Werner said. “That bridge will have to be replaced.”
Residents dependant on that bridge will therefore have to continue to make detours for the better part of a year. As the Addison Independent went to press, federal authorities had still not decided on whether to make an emergency declaration that would provide up to 75 percent of the money needed for flood-related damage repairs in portions of East Middlebury, Hancock, Ripton, Goshen, Salisbury, Leicester, Bridport and Forestdale.
By KATHRYN FLAGG
MIDDLEBURY — When it comes to being green, Middlebury College takes the eco-cake, according to “Sierra,” the magazine of the Sierra Club.
The September/October issue of the magazine, which ships out to 1.2 million readers, recognized the college as the number one school on a list of 10 “schools that get it,” applauding the institution for its continued work as an environmental leader in higher education.
“Sierra” singled out a partnership that makes it easy for Middlebury students to offset carbon dioxide emissions associated with travel, and gave a nod of appreciation to grants for students to investigate environmental solutions like geothermal power while studying abroad. The feature also highlighted the college’s waste management facilities, which recycle 60 percent of campus waste, and the new biomass generator, slated to kick into gear this winter.
The news proved exciting for the staff at the college, though the college’s high standing among eco-friendly universities has often been pointed out by other rankings. Middlebury was one of six schools nationwide recognized this year by the Sustainable Endowments Institute as a sustainability leader, earning the institute’s highest recognition.
But the high-profile “Sierra” feature is nonetheless a welcome pat on the back for the college.
“It’s a nice acknowledgement of all the great things that we’ve been doing here,” said Director of Sustainability Integration Jack Byrne.
“I’m so proud of what Middlebury’s doing,” said Dean of Environmental Affairs Nan Jenks-Jay. “It’s about champions all throughout the system,” she said, pointing to the staff members, faculty and administrators across the college spectrum who have worked to make the school more green.