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January 22nd

Tax cases in Addison continue in court

January 22, 2007

By ANDY KIRKALDY

ADDISON — The town of Addison on Dec. 8 again won in court against farmers Mark and Paul Boivin, who for more than a decade have battled with Addison unsuccessfully — at one point all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court — about the town’s property tax assessments on their 467-acre No-Mon-Ne dairy farm.

In addition to winning the 2003 tax case in last month’s ruling, the town of Addison also prevailed in two earlier court cases in which the Boivins challenged the 1996 and 2000 valuations of their Goodrich Corners Road farm.

And the Boivins aren’t done in court yet. Before the Dec. 8 rule, they appealed the town’s 2006 assessment on the largest of the three parts of their farm despite their past losses in court; that latest Addison Superior Court tax case is now in the discovery phase, Mark Boivin said on Thursday. The Boivins are not appealing the value of one 80-acre part of their farm, and last year successfully had the town reduce the value on another 98-acre portion of their farm.

full story

January 18th

Middlebury candidates nearing petition deadline

January 18, 2007

By JOHN FLOWERS

MIDDLEBURY — Three incumbent Middlebury selectmen confirmed on Monday they intend to seek re-election to new terms in office, while there remains a decided lack of takers for other municipal and school offices that will be up for grabs on Town Meeting Day.

Candidates for local office have until the end of the day on Monday, Jan. 29, to submit signed petitions to get on the election ballot.

Middlebury Selectmen Janelle Ashley, Don Keeler and Bill Perkins announced they will all seek another three years on the board. None of the three faces any competition at this point.

Ashley is finishing out her first term on the board. She has been a quick learner, and believes she can make even more of an impact with the experience she now has under her belt.

full story

Bristol business icon passes away

January 18, 2007

By CYRUS LEVESQUE AND JOHN S. McCRIGHT

BRISTOL — Bristol lost a well-loved local businessman, public servant and community member last Friday when Armand Compagna, 64, died after a brief struggle with cancer and other maladies.

About 350 people paid their final respects to Compagna during visiting hours at Brown-McClay Funeral Home on Monday, recalling a man recognized as a selectman, barber, outdoorsman, policeman and in his many volunteer roles.

“He’ll be remembered for his caring attitude. He’d do anything for anybody,” said Brian Fox, president of the Bristol Rescue Squad. “He’s done so many different things, he’s known by just about everybody.”

full story

January 15th

Specialty Filaments declares bankruptcy

January 15, 2007

By JOHN FLOWERS and JOHN McCRIGHT

MIDDLEBURY — Specialty Filaments Inc. formally announced on Thursday that it will be filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, thereby sending the company’s 175 workers into the market in search for new jobs.

“The board of directors and senior management of Specialty Filaments Inc. were in discussions over the weekend and the last few business days with the company’s senior lender (Wells Fargo) regarding the lender’s demand that the company turn over its assets pursuant to its secured loan agreements with the lender,” reads a Jan. 11 press release from Specialty Filaments spokesman Bill Haynes. “In light of the bank’s actions, and after reviewing all of the alternatives, the company determined that a filing of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition is in the best interests of the company and its various constituents. We regret this action and appreciate the hard work and support the employees and community have historically given to the company.”

full story

Wood boilers becoming heated debate in Salisbury

January 15, 2007

By JOHN FLOWERS

SALISBURY — Outdoor wood-fueled boilers (OWBs) have suddenly become an incendiary topic in the town of Salisbury, where the planning commission has proposed a temporary ban on the smoke-producing heating devices.

The suggested moratorium ­

one in a series of draft interim zoning regulations now being reviewed by town selectmen — is being praised by some residents as a means of promoting better air quality in town, but is being panned by other citizens who argue they should be able to install whatever heating units they want on their own property.

Salisbury selectmen hosted an informational meeting on the subject on Jan. 10, a gathering attended by around 40 people, including two air quality experts from the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).

full story

January 11th

Specialty Filaments closure leaves workers without answers

January 11, 2007

By JOHN FLOWERS

MIDDLEBURY — Almost a week after seeing their employer close up shop, Specialty Filaments workers are still looking for answers on the future of the company and what, if any, benefits they will take with them into their search for new jobs.

Specialty Filaments closed its doors suddenly last Friday, Jan. 5, putting 175 people out of work. Company brass have offered few details, except to say Specialty Filaments was “suspending operations.”

The lack of details has left employees concerned about the status of their health care benefits and whether they will ever be returning to their jobs, according to Barry Whitney, president of Local 2624, the union that represents 150 Specialty Filaments workers.

full story

New town bridge still faces battle

January 11, 2007

By JOHN FLOWERS

MONTPELIER — Middlebury’s full-court press to secure more state support for a new in-town bridge is likely to face another uphill battle this year, according to recent pronouncements by Neale Lunderville, the new leader of the Vermont Agency of Transportation (AOT).

Lunderville, who succeeded former AOT Secretary Dawn Terrill last August, has served notice that he wants to see the state’s existing roads, culverts and bridges repaired before the AOT takes on any substantial new projects — like a new bridge across the Otter Creek in Middlebury.

That comes as bad news to Middlebury officials, who have launched a major lobbying offensive to get a new in-town bridge on the AOT drawing board.

full story

January 8th

Middlebury plant employing 175 stops operations

January 8, 2007

By JOHN FLOWERS AND JOHN S. McCRIGHT

MIDDLEBURY — Employees at the Specialty Filaments Inc. manufacturing plant in Middlebury tried to make sense over the weekend of the announcement by company management on Friday that they were suspending operations and looking to sell the business. The move idled about 175 workers in Middlebury; no one is sure if they will ever be able to go back to work for Specialty Filaments.

“We were told on Friday morning that the company was going into Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which means they were restructuring, so we were all hoping for a quick sale,” said one Specialty Filaments employee who asked not to have his name publicized. “Then later in the day we heard it was a ‘seizure of operations,’ so I don’t know what is going to happen.”

full story

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