February 4th, 2010
Today’s column is brought to you by the number 5. Here are 5 things to do outdoors in 2010, and 5 ways you can do them.
ONE: Hike one of Vermont’s 4,000-foot peaks. There are five of them.
In increasing order of height, and starting closest to home, Mt. Abraham is 4,006 feet in elevation at the summit. It is not only the lowest 4,000-footer, but also the shortest to climb, with the Lincoln Gap trailhead starting already at 2,424 feet, leaving a vertical climb of 1,600 feet (counting the ups and downs) over 5.2 miles.
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After my last post on the Blueberry Hill ski touring area, I had to follow up with a post describing a favorite loop at my home in the mountains, the Rikert Ski touring center on the Breadloaf Campus. I have purchased a season’s pass here pretty much every winter since I moved to Vt, and I can’t say enough good things about the place and the people who run it, so I won’t!
NEW HAVEN — Rep. Christopher Bray, D-New Haven, confirmed this week that he will run for lieutenant governor this November, entering a field of candidates that already includes another Addison County resident, Republican Mark Snelling of Starksboro.
Bray, 54, said he is running primarily to give farm issues a more prominent forum in Montpelier. Bray, a two-term incumbent legislator representing the Addison-5 district on the House Agriculture Committee, is excited about the new challenge he has decided to take on.
ADDISON COUNTY — Budget woes could spell major changes for the state’s Use Value Appraisal Program, better known as “Current Use,” which is credited with preserving millions of acres of Vermont forestland and farmland from development.
Right now, the 32-year-old program is facing a one-year moratorium on new enrollments, higher penalties for landowners who withdraw land from Current Use to be developed, and a new property transfer tax that would be more in line with the rates applied to other property sales in the state.
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury voters on April 14 will consider a proposed Mary Hogan Elementary School budget of $5,771,990, representing a 1.52-percent increase in spending compared to this year.
The budget reflects no new programs, nor additional teaching staff. It actually represents a decrease of $87 in spending per pupil (from $13,539 to $13,452). That’s in large part because the school anticipates welcoming eight additional students next year, for a potential total of 395, according to Mary Hogan Elementary School Associate Principal Tom Buzzell.
BRANDON — A snapshot can tell a short story, but a photo album can weave a longer, more enriching tale.
That is the philosophy behind the Otter Valley Union High School Moosalamoo Center’s concept of narrative report cards versus traditional letter or number grades.
BRIDPORT — Three weeks ago, Gedeleine Franklin was bundled out of the orphanage she knew as home after a slip in an underwater fault plunged Haiti into chaos.
Ten days ago, the two-year-old little girl was hustled onto an airplane with 80 other children bound for Miami. Aid workers, airline employees and orphanage volunteers cradled the children as they made the halting, unfamiliar trek out of Haiti.
MIDDLEBURY — It’s been no secret that the Middlebury municipal gym has been leaking thousands of dollars in heat each year. Selectmen on Tuesday ordered an energy audit to determine exactly where the heat is escaping and how the building could be tightened up to keep energy in and the cold out.