February 18th, 2010
BURLINGTON — In the first visit from the head of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to Vermont in 20 years, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack last weekend told Vermont’s struggling dairy farmers that changes in their industry are overdue, but that any reforms will need to come from farmers, not Washington.
The visit came at the end of what has been the hardest year in recent memory for Vermont farmers, who have been selling milk below the cost of production and taking out enormous loans to keep their farms in business.
MIDDLEBURY — WomenSafe is applying for a combined total of $750,000 in two federal grants to further boost the local fight against sexual abuse and domestic violence.
WomenSafe is partnering with the Addison County State’s attorney’s office in applying for the major grants, the first of which is for up to $350,000 over two years through a U.S. Department Office Justice’s (DOJ) Office on Violence Against Women.
LEICESTER — Leicester and Salisbury voters on Town Meeting Day will be asked to substantially boost their financial commitment to removing Eurasian milfoil weeds from Lake Dunmore and Fern Lake.
Residents of both towns will be asked to earmark $7,225 toward milfoil eradication efforts in 2010, up from the $2,322 level the communities supported last year. The beefed-up financial requests come in the wake of reduced state funding for milfoil eradication, coupled with a recent spike in the spread of the nuisance aquatic weed in both lakes.
WEYBRIDGE — Some day in the future, Addison County residents may be able to hop on a trail in their hometown and walk on it all the way to North Dakota.
That’s the vision put on the table by the Middlebury Area Land Trust last week at two open houses that gathered public opinion about extending the North Country National Scenic Trail, which is planned to run from North Dakota to Crown Point, N.Y., into Vermont.
ADDISON — Addison selectmen have proposed a budget for the 2010-2011 fiscal year that has a higher face value, but the major spending increase within it will be supported by a capital fund in the highway budget into which residents have contributed in past years.
Addison selectmen are requesting combined highway and general fund spending of $872,503, up about $21,300 from 2009-2010.
ORWELL — Orwell residents are gearing up to decide a number of contested races come Town Meeting Day. Two candidates have come forward for each of four races, including one seat on the selectboard, two seats on the school board and one lister position.
Town meeting will begin at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 2, at Orwell Town Hall to be followed by the Orwell School District Meeting. Polls will be open from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., and town officer elections and the proposed changes to land use regulations will both be decided by Australian ballot.
BRANDON — The Public Service Board (PSB) has approved a Brandon couple’s application to install a solar array on their Mount Pleasant neighborhood property.
Jim and Karen Emerson received a Certificate of Public Good on Jan. 28 to install a 10-foot-by-12-foot solar array at their home on Prospect Street, but an appeal is not out of the question.
VERGENNES — For the first time since 2002, the trustees of the Bixby Memorial Free Library have decided to raise the Vergennes library’s funding requests from the five communities it serves.
In 2002 the Bixby — at that time funded far less by its service area than other Vermont libraries — asked for and received a significant increase in the towns’ support, to a total of $53,604 a year.
Since then, the Bixby’s board has not sought more even though its operating expenses rose about 3 percent a year, according to treasurer Donna Corcoran.