April 15th, 2010
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.
MIDDLEBURY – Where can you find solar houses, glass blowing, analyses of the Chilean health care system and old wooden trapping boats?
Students will be doing presentations on all of these — and more — this Friday at the Middlebury College Spring Student Symposium.
To be fair, the solar house won’t be on display, since it isn’t built yet. But building plans for the house will be on display all day at the symposium, an event that gives students a chance to present projects they have been doing to the wider community.
To have a serious discussion about the financial benefits of school consolidation, we all first have to agree that unifying governance, alone, solves very little. What is uniformly recognized is that significant savings come by combining schools — including eliminating building expenses; reducing staff, teachers and administrators; and getting the teacher-pupil ratio higher. Reducing the number of school boards and the number of meetings all of those volunteers attend saves little and serves as the smoke screen to the more serious conversation.