Archive - May 29, 2008 - Page
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — For four long months, hundreds of volunteers and investigators wielding state-of-the-art equipment had combed through Middlebury in an effort to find missing Middlebury College student Nicholas Garza.
That search came to a cathartic end in the Otter Creek in downtown Middlebury on Tuesday with the chance discovery of Garza’s body by the very man who had coordinated the massive search since the college freshman disappeared on campus during the evening of Feb. 5.
“There’s no feeling of exhilaration,” said Middlebury Police Chief Tom Hanley, who spotted Garza’s remains submerged within a mound of floating wood and other debris that had gathered on the Marble Works side of the Otter Creek, near the base of the falls.
“There’s no celebration here. This is a tragic story with a tragic ending.”
An autopsy performed at the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office in Burlington on Wednesday tentatively established that the remains were Garza’s, though a final determination could not be made until a comparison of dental records was completed. Police expected that to happen late Wednesday or early Thursday.
But a wallet found within clothing on the remains yielded Garza’s ID, leaving authorities little doubt that the long search for Nick had ended with the anticipated but dreaded results.
The discovery ended a longsuffering vigil for the Garza family, including Nick’s mother, Natalie, and his younger brother, Damon, who had relocated to Middlebury from their native Albuquerque, N.M., to monitor, and participate in, the search.
By ANDY KIRKALDY
FERRISBURGH — Late last week painters were coloring the walls on the lower level of the new Grange Hall that will soon serve as Ferrisburgh’s town office building and a community meeting center, while upstairs workers sanded new maple flooring in preparation for finish coating.
Their efforts were sure signs that the roughly $2.8 million project — a historically accurate replica of the 137-year-old Grange Hall that burned in 2005, plus a one-story addition — is nearing completion.
And not only that, said Ferrisburgh resident Silas Towler, who has worked with general contractor Bread Loaf Corp. on the town’s behalf during the project’s planning and construction stages, the long-awaited effort will almost certainly come in on time and on budget.
Towler said there are always things that can go wrong, even at this late date, and construction of the building’s bell tower still lagged behind other elements. But he fully expects residents to view a finished product on June 21, when an open house has been scheduled from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
“I’m going to equivocate only because it ain’t over until it’s over,” Towler said.
About a month after that town-wide preview, Town Clerk Chet Hawkins and Assistant Town Clerk Pam Cousino will pack and head up the quarter-mile north along Route 7 from the existing clerk’s office — a roughly 800-square-foot former one-room schoolhouse — to their new digs, which will offer about 5,900 square feet above ground plus a 2,900-square-foot basement.
The ground-floor clerk’s office will also feature a meeting room adequate for about 50 people, as well as a much larger vault and two smaller separate offices, as well as one large work space roughly the size of the existing office building.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — For two centuries, worshippers have climbed the stone steps at the southern, main entrance of the Congregational Church of Middlebury to attend services and meetings in one of the town’s most majestic and prominent buildings.
Worshippers are still climbing those steps today, albeit more gingerly. Some tough winters of aggressive freezes and thaws have conspired to erode the stone steps and the mortar that has held them together.
As a result, church leaders have cordoned off the most damaged section of the steps as they research a temporary fix. That will buy the church enough time to plan, and raise money for, replacement of the steps to ensure safe access to future generations of parishioners.
“We’re working to see what is the most economical, temporary thing we can do,” said Ron Rucker, chairman of the church’s board of trustees.
“We need to end up with something that water is not going to go into.”
Water — and salt — have been enemies to the Congregational Church’s steps through the years. Rucker noted the current steps were probably installed during the 1880s or 1890s when the church went through an architectural “Victorianization.”
While the building has admirably weathered Vermont winters, the steps haven’t. Rucker noted the steps are fashioned from two types of stone — a sturdy “Panton stone,” and a less durable variety referred to as “pudding stone.” Church officials during the 1950s covered the steps with a thin layer of slate so that worshipers would have a smooth surface on which to walk.
Alas, years of rain, salt applications and fluctuating temperatures have permeated the slate surface and eaten away at the stone and mortar.