February 12th, 2015
MONTPELIER — The state Supreme Court on Feb. 9 gave the green light to the Public Service Board to launch a wide-ranging second investigation into Vermont Gas Systems’ budgeting practices for Phase I of its Addison Rutland Natural Gas Project.
By granting remand, a process by which a higher court sends a case back to a lower tribunal, the Supreme Court ceded jurisdiction to the Public Service Board to consider whether to alter or revoke its December 2013 approval of the project, a 41-mile pipeline through Chittenden and Addison counties.
ADDISON COUNTY — Reaction to the announcement Tuesday that Vermont Gas Systems would abandon its proposal to build a $105 million pipeline from Middlebury to Ticonderoga, N.Y., was met with a mixture of joy and relief from Addison County residents who would have been directly affected.
“I was delighted because we spent more than two years trying to defeat this project,” said Cornwall Selectman Bruce Hiland.
MIDDLEBURY — The ID-4 school board on Monday evening decided not to endorse two proposals that would change the date of the district’s annual meeting and switch the method of voting on the Mary Hogan School budget to Australian ballot.
But proponents of the changes vowed afterward to make the questions articles to be considered at the annual ID-4 meeting in April via citizens’ petitions.
MONKTON — Most Vermonters would be perplexed to see Culver City, Calif., appear on their caller ID. But when that happened to Monkton Central School teacher Kate La Riviere-Gagner this past fall, she had a hunch who might be on the line.
“I was in my classroom standing by the window and my heart jumped,” La Riviere-Gagner said.
As she suspected, it was a producer from “Jeopardy!” informing her to book a flight to Los Angeles, because she’d been selected as a contestant on the popular TV game show.
VERGENNES — Since the school’s founding in 1959, Vergennes Union High School graduations have divided its senior classes by gender, assigning white robes to girls and blue robes to boys and requiring them to enter the ceremony from different sides of the school gym.
After a January prompt from VUHS Principal Stephanie Taylor, a series of discussions on that tradition, and two votes, the members of the VUHS class of 2015 decided to change the final ritual of their high school career.
MIDDLEBURY — It’s always visually pleasing to enter the Middlebury Community House, the brick Federal-style building at the corner of Seymour and Main streets in downtown Middlebury. The foyer features a sweeping spiral staircase, crystal chandelier, and doors with blue, white and gold cloisonné enamel hardware.
On Sunday night, after an evening in the office, I drove home in the latest snowstorm. As I normally do, I swerved my car as close as possible to the mailbox at the end of the driveway so as to retrieve my mail from the comfort of my warm car. Inside the ice-encrusted mailbox was crammed a cardboard box wedged in so tightly I had to use two hands to pry it out. Inside my house, I sliced open the tape with a folding knife and peeled back the lid.
Before the whoops and hollers of relief die down in light of Vermont Gas Systems’ decision to abandon Phase II of its natural gas pipeline through Middlebury, Cornwall and Shoreham en route to the International Paper plant in Ticonderoga, let’s assess the consequence of that decision, and whether the pipeline deserves the public ire heaped upon it.