January 14th, 2010
SALISBURY — An estimated 700 mourners crowded into St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Middlebury Wednesday to remember three generations of the Flynn family who died Saturday after the snowmobiles they were driving broke through the ice on Lake Dunmore. That followed a wake at the American Legion Hall in Middlebury Tuesday night that was so crowded that some initially had to wait to get into the building.
Fr. William Beaudin delivered a message of consolation and hope as many in the community were recalling the circumstance of the tragedy and trying to pull any lessons from the calamity.
MIDDLEBURY — Addison District Court Judge Cortland Corsones on Monday accepted a plea agreement between former Vergennes police chief Michael Lowe and state prosecutors in which Lowe pleaded guilty to driving under the influence of prescription drugs, a felony, and to one count of obtaining prescription drugs by fraud. Lowe also agreed not to contest a charge of neglect of duty.
NEW HAVEN — Vermont State Police Lt. Bruce Melendy on Friday will conclude a two-year stint as commander of the VSP’s Addison County barracks in New Haven in order to take the helm of the department’s Derby headquarters.
State police officials plan to fill the Addison County position by early February; in the meantime, senior staff will manage operations at the VSP’s New Haven barracks on Route 7.
BRANDON — The Otter Valley Union High School board last week approved a $10,675,889 spending plan for 2010-2011 to send to voters on Town Meeting Day, but the school’s administrative structure for next year is still unclear.
The big question is: Will there be a dean of students and if so, what will that position look like?
MONTPELIER — The report released last week by the commission that evaluated retirement benefits for Vermont teachers and state workers lays out 10 recommendations intended to decrease deficits in the state employee pension fund by, among other things, increasing employee contributions to their retirement accounts and raising the retirement age.
To Martha Allen, president of the Vermont National Education Association (VT-NEA), the report’s recommendations are disappointing.
“What the report wants is for teachers to work longer, pay more and get less,” she said.
CORNWALL — To fully appreciate the local, sometimes you have to go global. That’s what Cornwall resident Jon Isham found when he traveled to Copenhagen, Denmark, in December for the United Nations Climate Conference.
Isham, who teaches economics at Middlebury College, was in Denmark for the second of the conference’s two weeks. Running from Dec. 7-18, the conference pulled together world leaders, scholars and civilian climate activists alike.
BRIDPORT — Jill Vickers still remembers walking into the small hotel in a remote town in northern Afghanistan shoulder-to-shoulder with a handful of other young American women. Snowdrifts, she remembered, had accumulated in the halls of the hotel, and when the women made their way to their door, they realized they would be spending the night in their sleeping bags on the floor in an unheated room.
Welcome to Afghanistan in 1969.
VERGENNES — Earlier this month, Vergennes Opera House officials learned they would get a key piece of funding in their quest to install sprinklers in the City Hall theater: The Vermont Arts Council awarded the opera house a $20,000 Cultural Facilities Grant to support the project.
After adding the grant to a $32,588 Vermont Downtown Development Board tax credit the theater was granted in 2009, opera house executive director Jackson Evans said board members are confident they can raise the rest of the money for the $65,000 project, which they hope will begin next month.