Chronology 2014: April

April began with longtime Porter Medical Center CEO Jim Daily announcing he would step down after 32 years. But not anytime soon: Porter officials will have plenty of time to find a replacement — Daily’s retirement will be effective in 2016.
Other local officials also announced they were leaving: Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union Superintendent John Castle said he would step down in July to take a similar post in Newport, and Middlebury Regional EMS head Bill Edson said he would accept a job leading a veterans’ outreach center in Massachusetts.
New folks also came aboard: The Mount Abe school board hired Vermont native Gaynell Lyman as the Bristol school’s next principal, replacing Andy Kepes, who would step down at the end of the school year. Lyman had been teaching in Virginia. And Addison Central School tabbed Vergennes Union High School French teacher and Rowland Fellow Matthew DeBlois as its new principal, replacing Wayne Howe, who was leaving to head a school elsewhere in Vermont.
In other school news, Addison Central Supervisory Union teachers agreed to a new pact that will equalize pay across all schools and level and increase pay by an average of 3.6 percent over three years. Teachers will also be required to contribute more to pay for health insurance, however, up to 15 percent at contract’s end.
Addison Northwest Supervisory Union schools also learned they had won a $767,000 grant to continue and enhance the district’s afterschool programming, and Brandon voters approved a proposed Neshobe School budget after a Town Meeting Day defeat.
In Bristol, police arrested five people in connection with two break-ins as the month opened, one at a home and one at a Route 116 convenience store in which one thief, police said, carried “a large knife.” One man was captured after he fled into the woods.
A near-fatal accident occurred on Weybridge Street in Middlebury. An SUV struck a toddler, who required extensive rehabilitation for severe injuries. The child ran into the street in front of a vehicle driven by a Middlebury College senior. The child struggled but got treatment at a Boston-area hospital. Sadly, the child’s grandmother succumbed to a heart attack later in the year.
A petition was filed in early April calling for a revote on the proposed Middlebury town office building and recreation center, a $6.5 million plan that would cost taxpayers an estimated $2 million thanks to financial support from and a land trade with Middlebury College. The plan had passed by 915-798 on Town Meeting Day. The revote was set for May 13.
Whiskey maker WhistlePig LLC received an Act 250 permit to build a distillery in Shoreham. Company officials had maintained WhistlePig should have been exempt from the process as an agricultural venture. Not all neighbors favored the permit.
The Addison County Regional Planning Commission board voted, 15-11, that the proposed Vermont Natural Gas pipeline to International Paper in Ticonderoga, N.Y., conformed with the county plan despite protests from Cornwall and Shoreham residents and town officials. Some board members were also criticized for voting for the pipeline against the wishes of their towns.
In Leicester, police said Timothy Foley, 47, broke into a home with a shotgun and shot a man and fired at a woman, and then shot two Vermont State Police officers who tried to calm him. No one was killed. Police said Foley’s motives remained unclear as attempted murder charges were filed.
As usual, a small percentage of Middlebury voters (85 out of a checklist of 4,300) turned out for the ID-4 school district annual meeting and easily approved the annual Mary Hogan School budget. The turnout was actually much larger than in most years because of a second item on the agenda: Residents also backed $225,000 for a new playground to replace Kidspace.
In Bristol, the committee charged with finding a new home for a firehouse recommended to the selectboard a site on West Street, an idea that found favor. At year’s end the town was negotiating with the landowners involved.
Construction crews in April mobilized heavy equipment in East Middlebury to work on the replacement of the Sand Hill Bridge on Route 125 in  a project that contractors said would impose some short-term pain for neighbors and travelers in order to generate a finished product in a shorter period of time. Plans called for Route 125 to be closed for 45 days, beginning on or around April 19, with a 35-mile detour for travelers who use Route 125 to get to and from Ripton, Hancock and Route 100.

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