Chronology 2014: July

On July 2, the Public Service Board experienced a bout of sticker shock when Vermont Gas Systems announced a $36 million cost increase for its Phase I pipeline project. The company said the 40 percent hike was due to increased oversight and a nationwide surge in demand for pipeline construction. State regulators were not amused, and fined the company $35,000 for failing to draft an updated budget for more than a year.
A few days later, Bullrock Corp., the owner of the Lodge at Otter Creek announced it was selling the Middlebury senior living community to a Massachusetts company in a nine-figure deal, considered one of the largest private transactions in state history. Lodge officials said the facility would continue to operate much as it had in the past.
An upset was in the making at the 36th-annual Bristol Outhouse Race when the Village Creemee Stand team knocked five-year champion Snap’s Restaurant off their porcelain throne July 4.
Frustration boiled over in Brandon July 22 when voters rejected a proposed town budget for the fourth time. Residents spent the remainder of the summer haggling over how else to trim the budget, which voters vowed to pass next month.
Irate over the cost hike for the Vermont Gas pipeline, opponents of the project on July 21 asked the Public Service Board to reexamine its approval of the Addison Rutland Natural Gas Project. The board did take the case back from the Supreme Court, but ultimately decided to not alter its findings.
Also in July, the Monkton Central School hired an interim principal, Betsy Knox of Hinesburg. Knox has more than 30 years of teaching experience in New York and Vermont.
In July, we wrote about a remarkable story in Salisbury. The surviving relatives of Airman 1st Class Bobby Dyer, whose flight vanished in an Alaskan snowstorm in 1952, learned that his remains were found with the wreckage of the crash on a remote glacier. Sixty-two years after his death, Dyer was buried with full military honors at his family’s plot in the West Salisbury Cemetery.
Weybridge poet and Middlebury College writer-in-residence Julia Alvarez was honored July 28 by President Barack Obama with the National Medal of Arts. Obama said Alvarez’ prose seeks to “enrich our lives and reveal something about ourselves and about our country.” Her works include the novels “How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents,” published in 1991, and “In the Time of the Butterflies” published in 1994.
The Middlebury selectboard lost a member July 29 when Travis Forbes unexpectedly resigned during a meeting. Forbes cited mounting personal and professional commitments for his departure, as well as his inability to influence operations at the town Department of Public Works.
The assistant chief of the Middlebury Fire Department was named the Vermont Fire Chief of the Year. David Shaw, who has served with the department for 34 years, was bestowed with the honor by the Vermont State Firefighters Association. Shaw would make more news at the end of the year.
The annual Three Day Stampede in Bristol, a benefit to raise money to find a cure for cystic fibrosis, set a record for donations. The event raised $133,000, up from the previous mark of $125,000, set in 2013.
Also, the Stampede made it into the Bristol police log after a woman accidentally donated her husband’s handgun to the charity lawn sale. Police returned the gun to the man and told him to store it in a more secure place than a box of clothing.
Thanks to $49.9 million in contributions from 19,000 donors in the 2013 fiscal year, Middlebury College announced in July that its endowment eclipsed $1 billion. That makes Middlebury’s endowment the fifth largest among schools in the New England Small College Athletic Conference. It’s also more than twice the size of the University of Vermont’s $422 million, which enrolls four times as many undergraduates.
A Middlebury second-grader in July was honored for a story he penned. Joshua Kafumbe, 7, was recognized by the Public Broadcasting System’s KIDS Writers Contest for a story about how he associates different colors with different emotions.  He said he feels yellow like a dandelion when he is happy, red like molten lava when he’s mad and blue like a surgeon’s gown when he’s sad. We’re guessing he was feeling orange — like a tangerine, he said — when he found out he won!

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