April 15th, 2010
MONTPELIER — Businesses, farms and nonprofits that suffered financial losses following the emergency closure of the Champlain Bridge will be able to apply for low- or no-interest loans from a pot of $800,000 in funds earmarked by the Legislature this week.
MIDDLEBURY — “This chair is leaning slightly to the left,” said state Sen. Peter Shumlin (D), waiting for a replacement on the stage of Middlebury College's Dana Auditorium last Sunday. “But so do I.”
His statement garnered a laugh from the audience gathered for a debate between the five democratic gubernatorial candidates for August’s primary elections. Though it was a sunny, warm afternoon, the candidates spoke to a full auditorium — more than 200 townspeople, college students and local politicians filled the space.
ADDISON COUNTY — Changes are afoot for Vermont’s so-called “Current Use” program in an effort to trim $1.6 million from the popular tax abatement program.
A committee bill that would charge every landowner in the program a $128 fee passed the Senate finance committee last week, and was on notice for a second reading early this week. As the Addison Independent went to press on Wednesday, the schedule tentatively called for the bill to be discussed on the Senate floor on Wednesday or Thursday.
MIDDLEBURY — A good theatrical performance, local playwright Dana Yeaton believes, should massage audience members.
“If the touch is too light, when they go home, they don’t feel any different, and it’s not that nice,” Yeaton said. “The good massage is the one that gets into those spots and it takes you right to your threshold… The fun of it is being effective.”
VERGENNES — The current workforce at Goodrich Corp.’s Vergennes plant stands at 780, about 20 fewer than a year ago. But if the company’s local hiring plans work out, more workers will soon punch in and out on Panton Road than did in mid-2009, and the workforce could return to where it stood before layoffs began early last year.
Sol Mirelez, marketing communications manager of Goodrich’s Sensors and Integrated Systems division — which includes the Vergennes plant — said the company is now advertising for more help there.
MIDDLEBURY — The former bookkeeper for the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union in Bristol pleaded guilty in Addison District Court on Monday to one count of felony embezzlement and one count of misdemeanor petty larceny after stealing more than $40,000 from the school district.
ADDISON COUNTY — On a brisk mid-April morning, Jeremy Gildrien worked alone in the large greenhouse beside his Middlebury home, fashioning from a mound of earth the “soil blocks” that would someday soon nurture small, green seedlings.
The breeze cut through the greenhouse as Gildrien worked among the rows of spinach and radishes and pea shoots, each sending up sprouts. He and his wife, Caitlin, are beginning farmers, and they’re learning that much of the work on their vegetable farm is solitary.
WEYBRIDGE — Local lawmakers served notice on Monday they are not enamored with a proposal to save around $20 million annually by consolidating Vermont’s 280 school districts into fewer than 50 and trimming public education personnel.
That public education consolidation plan, endorsed by Vermont Education Commissioner Armando Vilaseca, is part of a “Challenges for Change” cost cutting plan aimed at producing $38 million in savings for state government. Lawmakers are currently trying to shore up a $154 million shortfall in the fiscal year 2011 state budget.