Chronology 2014: May

Tears flowed as May arrived. Popular longtime Middlebury Union High School physics teacher and football coach Carl Ciemniewski — better known as Mr. C, Coach Z or just Z to his students, athletes and friends, respectively — collapsed and died while attending a Tiger boys’ lacrosse game. He was just 55, but had a history of heart issues.
Brandon voters dealt a proposed town budget a second defeat early in May. The plan would have increased spending by 12.2 percent and lost, 498-318. It took four votes in 2013 to get a Brandon municipal budget approved. So far in 2014, voters had defeated two budget plans.
About 200 people crowded into the Shoreham Elementary School gym for a May 7 Public Service Board hearing on the proposed Vermont Natural Gas pipeline through Cornwall and Shoreham and on to the International Paper plant in Ticonderoga, N.Y. Almost all of the five dozen people who spoke panned the plan.
May 12 brought votes on three items that were reconsidered: the $6.5 million plan for a new Middlebury town office building and recreation center and reduced Vergennes Union High and Ferrisburgh Central school budgets.
All were approved. The Middlebury plan, estimated to cost taxpayers $2 million after contributions from and a land trade with Middlebury College, won by 880-714. A $9.42 million VUHS budget that called for significant staff reductions and was $300,000 lower than the plan defeated on Town Meeting Day this time won support, 687-584. The $3.5 million FCS budget, which originally added a teacher and a modular classroom, passed without those additions, 246-217.
Soon afterward, VUHS Co-principal Ed Webbley announced he was leaving to take a similar post at The Danville School. The VUHS board later named Co-principal Stephanie Taylor as the school’s full principal.
Debate churned in the Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union, where the last candidate standing for its impending superintendent vacancy was Jeanne Collins after a second finalist bowed out at the last minute. Collins had just agreed to resign under fire from the troubled Burlington school district. The RNeSU board, however, decided not to reopen the search and hired Collins.
Middlebury’ Turning Point Center began offering Narcan kits to local medical providers and anyone else who said they could be in the presence of someone who was overdosing. The drug Narcan can counteract opiate overdoses and save lives.
Four-term Vermont House of Representatives member Will Stevens, an Independent from Shoreham, announced he would step down, saying it was time to “recharge his batteries” and devote more time to his farm.
In Bristol, Town Clerk Therese Kirby earned a promotion after eight years on the job — she was hired as the new town administrator.
After seeing a decline in membership and facing the prospect of their meeting space in the Middlebury municipal building soon being demolished, the remaining eight Russ Sholes Senior Center members said in May that they had voted unanimously to dissolve the club and donate its remaining $15,000 in assets to the Champlain Valley Agency on Aging.
An institution that helps seniors find affordable housing in Lincoln continues. The annual Town Wide Yard Sale to raise funds for the Weathervane United organization marked its 25th anniversary this month.
Addison Democrat John Spencer, who has long been involved in agriculture, announced he would run for the Vermont House seat (Addison-3) representing his town and four others in the Vergennes area.
In Middlebury, Democrat Amy Sheldon launched her campaign for a House seat, as well — this one representing the two-seat Addison-1 district, which represents Middlebury.
Mary Hogan Elementary School directors in May appointed Middlebury resident Victoria Jette to a board vacancy created by the resignation of incumbent Jim Callahan. He was elected to the board on March 4, then stormed out of a meeting in April offering his resignation. Currently a stay-at-home mother of three, Jette’s resume? includes stints as a business consultant and she is the co-founder of a venture philanthropy fund called New Profit Inc., whose partners included Teach for America and other educational organizations.
In Brandon, softball pitcher Taylor Aines tossed her second no-hitter of the season as her Otter Valley team won for the ninth time in 10 games and improved to 9-3. Hey, maybe the Otters could go all the way.
The White House this month release a report that says Vermont is getting warmer and wetter. The National Climate Assessment predicts that without significant global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, that trend will continue. The report was issued days before U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Monitz came to Middlebury College to discuss global warming on a panel with Vermont’s entire Congressional delegation.
About 800 runners participated in the sixth annual Middlebury Maple Run – The Sweetest Half, a popular half-marathon that was held on roads in Middlebury and Weybridge in cool and showery conditions. Montpelier’s Sue Hackney, 57, provided one of the highlights, setting a new masters women’s (over 40) course record at 1:31.58 over the 13.1-mile race.
As the first of Middlebury’s summer Arts Walks drew near, five supporters of the Town Hall Theater who were handy with a saw and paint found themselves creating oversized chairs that would be set up around downtown Middlebury. The idea is that people taking the Arts Walk or downtown for any other reason would see the huge chairs and draw some attention to the nonprofit theater organization’s annual membership drive. The chairs would be on display through mid-July, after which four of them will be put up for auction to raise money for THT.

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