Chronology 2014: June
In June, Middlebury learned a project that will disrupt downtown life and traffic will be delayed until this coming spring: Replacement of the two railway overpasses under Main Street and Merchants Row. Officials said design changes and logistical issues were behind the postponement. A concrete tunnel will eventually supplant the two overpasses and taller passenger trains will be able to use the tracks.
Also this month, longtime National Bank of Middlebury President Ken Perine announced he would step down, effective at the end of 2014. Executive Vice President Caroline Carpenter will replace him.
The strong year for local high school athletes continued in the spring. Two Tigers won D-II track titles, senior Max Moulton at 800 meters and sophomore Hannah Buttolph in the high jump. And the Otter Valley softball team edged VUHS, 2-1, in the D-II final, with Cortney Poljacik singling home winning pitcher Taylor Aines in the seventh inning with the decisive run. Commodore losing pitcher Dani Brown allowed an earned run in a game for only the second time all spring.
The first ever “Vermont Gran Fondo” bicycling event went well, organizers said, drawing 181 riders to Addison County. Gran Fondo — loosely translated from Italian as “big ride” — describes a cycling event where participants ride not for the sake of a podium finish, but for a personal challenge. Starting and finishing at the Middlebury College Snow Bowl, the inaugural event was organized into three rides of increasing difficulty that ran from 46 miles and 3,100 feet of elevation encompassing the Brandon and Middlebury gaps to 104 miles and 10,700 feet of elevation, and covering all four local gaps.
Cornwall’s Bingham Memorial School found a familiar face to take over as its new principal, longtime town resident and former Salisbury Community School Principal Abi Sessions.
The proposed Vermont Gas pipelines through Addison County continued to stir debate in June, when Monkton landowners told the Public Service Board in Montpelier the company’s bargaining tactics during land purchase discussions were flawed and negotiations had ground to a halt.
Vergennes aldermen in late June, as they do every year, adopted a city budget and set the municipal tax rate. After years of little or no increases, the rate rose by 9 cents, largely due to payments on the new Vergennes police station.
In Brandon, where voters decide the budget, in June they said no for a third time in 2014, nixing a selectboard proposal for a revote on the same budget that was defeated in May. This time the margin of defeat increased to 671-376.
A solar company announced that an array of around 500 solar panels would be erected in New Haven off Town Road this summer. It’s a project whose funding has an interesting twist. The 150-kilowatt project solar photovoltaic project was facilitated by the Acorn Renewable Energy Co-op in collaboration with Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op, Misty Knoll Farm of New Haven, and Encore Redevelopment of Burlington.
June 19 saw the first Vergennes Arts Walk — the first of what organizers hope will become a monthly city promotional mainstay. The event was put together by the Vergennes Partnership and city art galleries Creative Space Gallery and Studio V, and backed by more than a dozen businesses and nonprofits; it offered a variety of visual arts and musical performances.
Bee’s Wrap, the maker of an environmentally sensitive and reusable food wrap started in New Haven by Sarah Kaeck, in the spring expanded at a building on Rocky Dale Road in Bristol. Kaeck in June in June employed two full-time and three part-time employees and she said the business was growing fast.
As the month closed, two Middlebury nonprofits made different announcements. Middlebury Regional EMS said it would return to asking for Town Meeting Day contributions from the towns it serves, a move agency officials said was necessary to create capital funds to buy equipment in the future. And the Middlebury Area Land Trust announced it had raised $490,000 to buy 110 acres of Weybridge land owned by Middlebury College on Route 23 and preserve it as wildlife habitat.
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