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Archive - 2008

  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 1118.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field::query() should be compatible with views_handler::query($group_by = false) in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_field.inc on line 1148.
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  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 599.
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  • strict warning: Non-static method views_many_to_one_helper::option_definition() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_many_to_one.inc on line 25.
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  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_query::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_query.inc on line 181.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 136.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 1118.
  • strict warning: Declaration of image_attach_views_handler_field_attached_images::pre_render() should be compatible with views_handler_field::pre_render($values) in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/image/contrib/image_attach/image_attach_views_handler_field_attached_images.inc on line 112.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_area::query() should be compatible with views_handler::query($group_by = false) in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_area.inc on line 81.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_area_text::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_area_text.inc on line 121.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 1118.
  • strict warning: Non-static method views_many_to_one_helper::option_definition() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_many_to_one.inc on line 25.
  • strict warning: Non-static method views_many_to_one_helper::option_definition() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_many_to_one.inc on line 25.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 24.

February 7th

Two candidates vie for open Mt. Abe school board seat

By CYRUS LEVESQUE

BRISTOL — Voters in Bristol will have to choose between two candidates for an open seat on the Mount Abraham Union High School board on March 4. Bristol residents Gary Farnsworth and R.E. “Dick” Merrill are both running for the three-year seat now held by Wendy Puls, who has said she will not be running again.

MERRILL

Dick Merrill is a familiar face to the current school board; he said he has attended meetings regularly for three years. “I think if I do get elected, I can hit the ground running,” Merrill said.

Merrill, 69, has lived in Bristol for the past 11 years, after more than three decades in Connecticut, where he worked for Pratt & Whitney Aircraft, manufacturing jet engines. He had a management position for several years there, so he has supervisory experience, he pointed out.

full story

Ballet lives on through teaching others

By MEGAN JAMES

ADDISON COUNTY — For ballerina Patty Smith, who at 57 still dances with her Leap of Faith Dance Company, teaching and choreographing add up to more than a coda to her life’s performance; they are the resolution to a tune she’s been humming for more than 50 years.

The same seems true of veteran ballerina Barbara Elias, who after a glamorous career performing with companies like the Boston Ballet is passing the torch to the next generation at the Middlebury Dance Center.

“Every dancer eventually has to teach,” Smith, who lives in Whiting, said. “Not just for finances, but to carry on the legacy. You have to.”

Some professional ballerinas perform well into their 40s and 50s, but many shift their focus around age 35 to teaching younger dancers.

“A lot of it is the body God gives you,” said Elias, who took part in her last professional performance in the 1990s. “You never know what things in life will make you stumble. Injury will take you out. You just have to move on and do other things. Sometimes people just plain get worn out.”

full story

February 4th

Middlebury roadwork looks to be less disruptive this summer

By JOHN FLOWERS

MIDDLEBURY — It’s early February and Middlebury is blanketed by snow, but spring thaw will usher in a variety of road, water and sewer-related improvements in Addison County’s shire town.

Chief among them a major rehab of the sewer force main that runs from the Rogers Road pump station under Route 7, north to Charles Street, Water Street and then to Cross Street.

Middlebury Director of Operations Dan Werner explained that corrosive soils have caused several failures in the force main during the past few years. Those failures have prompted the state to order Middlebury to repair the force main by this August.

Since replacing the line would require a lot of digging — and therefore substantial disruption to traffic — town officials are hoping contractors can simply slide a cured pipe-liner inside the force main. Werner explained this “slip-line” tactic would require less excavation and fewer headaches for travelers.

Unfortunately, the two firms that have bid on the job have submitted proposals that exceed the town’s project estimate of $775,000.

full story

Feedback mixed on Middlebury local option tax proposal

By JOHN FLOWERS

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury selectmen on Thursday made the first of what will be several pitches to the community for local option taxes to partially fund a new in-town bridge, and they learned that not everyone is sold on the idea.

“My concern is that once a tax like this is added, it never goes away,” said Scott Jacobs, owner of the Agway Farm & Garden Store, who said he would prefer selectmen find another funding mechanism for what he said was a worthwhile in-town bridge project.

“An extra sales tax isn’t going to bring in more business,” he added.

Thursday’s hearing drew around 30 local residents, retailers and public officials, some of whom weighed in on the notion of levying the local sales, meals, rooms and alcohol taxes by 1 percent each, to raise upwards of $725,000 annually. That money — along with a commitment of $600,000 per year from Middlebury College — would be applied to debt service on a 30-year, $16 million bond issue to fund a new in-town bridge. The bridge would link Main Street with Court Street across the Otter Creek, via Cross Street.

full story

New uses in works for Hancock plant

By MEGAN JAMES

HANCOCK — Developments have been slow coming in Hancock since Thomas Fabbioli purchased the former Vermont Plywood plant at an auction last November. Still, the new owner is working with town officials to ensure his vision — transforming the building into a marble processing plant and business cultivation center — becomes a reality.

Fabbioli, who owns Vermont Verde Quarry in Rochester, hopes to use a small portion of the 118,000-square-foot building for cutting and polishing Vermont Verde’s serpentine marble, a process that will require six to 10 employees, and rent out the rest of the plant to start-up businesses.

“This thing is very fluid right now,” Fabbioli said. “I’m trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together to create something successful.”

full story

January 31st

Parent-run day care center sells to Mary Johnson Children's Center

By JOHN FLOWERS

EAST MIDDLEBURY — Serena Eddy Moulton has fond memories of frolicking with other children in the huge yard at the Middlebury Cooperative Nursery School (MCNS) off East Main Street.

She would return to the MCNS in East Middlebury a few decades later as an adult to make some new memories, tending to the yard in which she once played while watching her own children learn and recreate there.

“One of the things that I loved most is you could invest time in the school in exchange for a reduction in tuition,” said Eddy Moulton, who served a stint as “director of maintenance” at the parent-run MCNS. “It was a completely worthwhile investment.”

Parents made such investments in the MCNS for more than 75 years, making it one of the longest running cooperative nursery schools in the state.

full story

Porter fears state funding shortfall

January 31, 2008

By CYRUS LEVESQUE

MIDDLEBURY — A change in a tax on Vermont hospitals included in Gov. James Douglas’ fiscal year 2009 budget proposal could result in a $550,000 hit to Porter Hospital.

As a result of the tax change in the Douglas budget released last week Vermont hospitals fear they will have to raise fees and they won’t be able to fund care for low-income Vermonters or a statewide effort to use electronic medical records more widely.

The health care provider tax is collected by the state of Vermont, which in recent years paid an equivalent amount back to hospitals in federal Medicaid money. That repayment was based the need of the community that the hospital served. But there is a limit to the Medicaid match, and in 2009 the health care provider tax would exceed that limit by $16 million.

For a number of years, the state of Vermont has set the health care provider tax rate no higher than the amount that could be paid back to hospitals in Medicaid, according to Mike Del Trecco, vice president of finances for the Vermont Association of Hospital and Health Systems (VAHHS).

“If (hospitals around the state) have $70 million in taxes, the state has always promised to pay back at least $70 million,” he said.

However, the Douglas administration’s proposed budget for the 2009 fiscal year sets the provider tax at the maximum level of 5.5 percent of total revenue, Del Trecco said, which is projected to raise $71,176,974. With the maximum allowed reimbursement of $55,176,974, that leaves hospitals left making up $16 million.

The VAHHS is requesting that the rate be reduced to 3 percent.

full story

Rep. Fisher's Bill would recall Vt. Guard from Iraq

January 31, 2008

By JOHN FLOWERS

MONTPELIER — State Rep. Michael Fisher, D-Lincoln, on Tuesday filed legislation challenging the federal government’s ongoing authority to call up National Guard troops to serve in Iraq, while urging Gov. James Douglas to bring home Vermont Guard soldiers now serving in that part of the Middle East.

Fisher discussed his bill with the Addison Independent on Monday and reiterated his plans at a news conference in Montpelier on Tuesday. Surrounded by Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin, D-Putney, and a dozen other lawmakers, Fisher argued that the 2002 federal authorization to call up the state National Guard had expired.

He added he believes the authority granted by the Congress to use military force was based on two specific purposes: to defend the national security based on a perceived threat from Iraq; and to enforce relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions against Iraq.

Fisher argued that Iraq no longer poses a direct threat to the U.S., given the fact that Saddam Hussein is now out of the picture and a new government has been elected. He added the changed conditions in Iraq mean that enforcing U.N. Security Council resolutions has now become a moot point.

“Congress gave the authority in 2002 for a specific mission in Iraq,” Fisher said. “That mission does not exist today.”

All of this means that Congress must authorize a new mission in order to legally keep National Guard troops in Iraq, or control of those Guard troops must revert back to state control, according to Fisher.

Since Fisher believes control has legally reverted back to the state, he is calling upon Douglas, in his role as chief of the Vermont National Guard, to “take all necessary steps” to bring Vermont Guard troops back from Iraq.

full story

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