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Archive - Feb 2008 - Page

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  • 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.
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Date
Type

February 11th

Bridport seeks OK for $1.25 million school bond

By JOHN FLOWERS

BRIDPORT — Bridport voters on Town Meeting Day will be asked to approve a 20-year, $1.25 million bond issue to finance some major repairs to their elementary school, including installation of a new roof.

The repair plan is not only dependant on a “yes” vote from the public on March 4, but also action by the Legislature this session.

The legislative action is needed because as the state’s education funding laws are written, any time a town exceeds the statewide average for per-pupil spending by a specific percentage then the education tax rate on the town’s property is increased by a factor of two as a penalty. Since the state isn’t providing any aid for school building projects, the entire $1.25 million cost of the Bridport project would be counted in the per-pupil spending of the town, pushing it over the statewide average and resulting in the penalty being assessed in the town’s education property tax.

full story

Middlebury College grads return for musical encore

By MEGAN JAMES

MIDDLEBURY — The first time Laura Thomas performed in a New York City club, only two people showed up to hear her play. One of them was a friend of hers.

“It was humiliating in a way, but strengthening in a way,” the singer-songwriter and guitarist said.

Seven years and plenty of grunt work later, the Middlebury College graduate is making a name for herself, and her five-member band, in the Big Apple and beyond.

On Friday, Feb. 29, the Laura Thomas Band will return to the hometown of their alma mater of three of its members — Thomas graduated from Middlebury College in 1996, lead guitarist Chris Farrell graduated in ’98 and violinist Ben Lively graduated in ’99 — to perform at Middlebury’s Two Brothers Tavern.

full story

February 7th

UD-3 religious club suit dropped pending settlement

By JOHN FLOWERS

MIDDLEBURY — A Shoreham teen has agreed to withdraw her lawsuit against UD-3 in wake of a pending settlement with the school district that will give her on-campus “Youth Alive” religious club essentially the same recognition and benefits enjoyed by other co-curricular student organizations.

The settlement, nearly finalized, would avert a potentially long and expensive legal proceeding that the plaintiff and her legal backers had vowed to take all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court as a test of the federal doctrines relating to the separation of church and state.

“We have concluded that the Youth Alive organization should be afforded more access than what we are providing,” Addison Central Supervisory Union Superintendent Lee Sease said on Monday.

full story

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

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