Archive - Jan 4, 2010
Enthusiasm for green energy burned bright in 2009 as more local groups embraced alternative means for heating their homes and businesses.
In January, Middlebury College fired up its $12 million biomass gasification boiler to convert wood chips into steam for heating. The new plant marked a huge step forward for the college toward its goal of achieving carbon neutrality by 2016: Using wood chips harvested within 75 miles of the institution, the boiler is anticipated to cut the college’s carbon dioxide emission by 40 percent while saving the school roughly $700,000 each year.
2009 was a landmark year for same-sex couples in Vermont, who won the right to marry. The bill passed easily in both chambers of the Legislature — by a margin of 26-4 in the Senate and 100-46 in the House. Both Addison County senators and all but one county representative voted for the bill. The 100-vote tally in the House on April 7 gave the bill’s proponents the super-majority they needed to override Gov. James Douglas’s veto.
The polls were tight and Middlebury Republican James Douglas didn’t have a clear read on his prospects for the governorship when voting closed on election day in November of 2002.
Douglas ultimately scored a 45 percent to 42 percent win over challenger Douglas Racine, a Richmond Democrat and sitting lieutenant governor.
There was so much going on in Addison County that it seemed absurd to limit ourselves to only 10 big stories for 2009. Here are a couple others — in no particular order — that also caught our attention.
WALTHAM — Ralph Jackman, who recently resigned after 62 years with the Vergennes Volunteer Fire Department, 55 as its chief, died at his Waltham home on Saturday morning. Jackman, who had stepped down as chief on Nov. 1 because of his declining health, was 85.
Jackman also served with distinction with the U.S. Army in World War II; was known as a tireless community volunteer in the Vergennes area, notably in the Meals on Wheels program; was believed to have been the longest-serving fire chief in the U.S.; and made statewide contributions to the fire service.
MIDDLEBURY — Documents filed in Addison District Court show that prosecutors on Dec. 18 offered a settlement to former Vergennes Police Chief Michael Lowe that could end the court cases concerning misdemeanor and felony charges against Lowe that led to his resignation in September.
The next step in the legal proceedings is a combined status conference and motion hearing scheduled for 10 a.m. on Jan. 11. At the request of Lowe’s attorney, Richard Goldsborough of South Burlington, Judge Cortland Corsones agreed to postpone a previously scheduled Dec. 21 conference until next week.
ADDISON COUNTY — Seventeen Addison County bridges will fall under increased scrutiny in coming years as the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) complies with a federal ramp-up in bridge safety efforts.
The 17 bridges are on a list of around 300 spans across the state now considered “scour critical,” or particularly vulnerable to erosion during high-water events that can eat away the footings or foundation of a bridge.
LINCOLN — The Lincoln school board last week decided to postpone a bond to fund school repairs, pushing back a possible vote on the bond until at least March 2011.
The Dec. 21 decision came after several weeks of hasty discussions regarding possible repairs to the Lincoln Community School’s aging building, which the board discussed for several hours with community members at a well-attended Dec. 16 public meeting.