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Of snow, snowshoes,
beginnings and endings
It was Christmas Eve. The end of the year was approaching determinedly, unavoidably, quickly. But the day was lovely. The sun was up, and the temperature rose to the mid-20s — comfortable weather for snowshoes. Fresh powdery snow blanketed the woods.
For couples with conflicting spending habits, the end of the Christmas shopping season always comes as a relief.
With these couples, one partner dislikes shopping and hates to waste money on overpriced gifts. This person declares solemnly, “Christmas isn’t about presents; it’s about family spending time together.”
That’s a lie, of course. But for people like me, who get chest pains at the thought of paying $119.95 for a set of Legos that will fit in a shoebox, it’s all we have.
VERGENNES — Christmas will be an even warmer occasion than usual in the Genau household in Vergennes, and indeed throughout Addison County this year.
Vermont National Guard Staff Sgt. Eric Genau and around 40 of his colleagues from the Vergennes armory are finally back, safe and sound, from an almost year-long deployment to Afghanistan.
ADDISON COUNTY — Addison County residents who waited until the week before Christmas to buy a tree found it a hard task this year.
Most area vendors reached the end of their Christmas tree supply last weekend, and by Sunday many had closed their doors for the season.
“It was a very early, very fast season,” said Cheryl Werner, who with her family runs Werner Tree Farm in Middlebury.
Editor’s note: A year ago this week, a New Jersey family was traveling through Addison County when car problems forced an unexpected stopover. It may be unsurprising to locals how the “flatlanders” were treated here, but it is interesting and enlightening to see ourselves in the eyes of our visitors. This is their story in the words of the New Jersey man who found himself stranded on Christmas Eve.
MIDDLEBURY — Ask Gov.-elect Peter Shumlin what’s on his mind as he prepares to take over the reins of state government on Jan. 6, and he’ll tell you about tackling the biggest battles: getting broadband to every last mile in Vermont; getting health care costs under control; figuring out how to pay for the early education and corrections initiatives he proposed during the campaign; and reducing a projected $150 million deficit so he can balance the next state budget.
He’ll also tell you that none of it will be easy.
BRISTOL — Representatives of the six Addison Northeast Supervisory Union school boards and of the teachers who work in those schools met into the wee hours last Thursday negotiating a contract for the current school year. By the end of the night the two sides had come to an impasse.
The school boards will meet next month to decide whether to restart negotiations or impose a contract. If they opt for the latter, the teachers will have to agree to take what the boards offer or strike.
VERGENNES — The John Graham Shelter and the city of Vergennes on Tuesday received a $327,000 Community Development Block Grant that will fund more than half of a $627,000 renovation to the Monkton Road homeless shelter, the first major project in its 30-year history.
Shelter Executive Director Elizabeth Ready said the organization already had in hand a $197,000 grant from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, and that other private donations will fund the balance of a project that she hopes will begin in June.