June 2016 chronology
As June began, Porter Medical Center presented a fiscal year 2017 spending plan of close to $90 million. Among highlights, the budget freed up $4.3 million for Porter to invest in capital improvements. In another important step, PMC formed a 25-member Community Advisory Committee to look into affiliating with larger medical institutions, such as Rutland Regional, UVM Medical Center or Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.
The race for state legislature continued, and the Independent tallied up the local slate. Running for Vermont House were: in Addison-1, Democrats Amy Sheldon and Robin Scheu and Democrat/Progressive Jill Charbonneau; in Addison-2, Democrat Peter Conlon; in Addison-3, Democrats Fritz Langrock and Diane Lanpher and Republicans Warren Van Wyck and Monique Thurston; in Addison-4, Democrats Mari Cordes (also a Progressive), Stephen Pilcher and Dave Sharpe and Republicans Fred Baser and Valerie Mullin; in Addison-5 Harvey Smith; in Addison-Rutland, Independent Alyson Eastman. Running for Senate were Democrats Claire Ayer and Chris Bray and Republicans Peter Briggs and Lynn Dike.
In June the Independent also profiled gubernatorial candidates Sue Minter (D) and Phil Scott (R). Other gubernatorial candidates profiled throughout the spring and summer included Republican Bruce Lismsan and Democrats Matt Dunne and Peter Galbraith.
Bristol Police Officer Josh Otey was named Vermont Law Enforcement Officer of the Year by the American Legion.
Meanwhile Middlebury officials and firefighters debated whether to repair or replace a malfunctioning ladder truck. Repairs for the 23-year-old vehicle could run $450,000-$500,000, replacing the truck could run as high as $850,000.
New Haven, home to one of the state’s largest concentrations of solar arrays, took the Public Service Board to the Supreme Court, contending that the PSB had acted “in violation of its own rules” in a recent decision granting a Certificate of Public Good to a 500-kilowatt array on the Russell Farm property west of Route 7.
The award-winning Shacksbury Cider of Shoreham began work to expand into the Kennedy Brothers Marketplace in Vergennes.
June found Bristol resident Tammy Shackett recovering from double lung transplant surgery at Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Supporters held two fundraisers for Shackett, a dance and a breakfast.
On June 8, Rising Tide activist Sam Jessup scaled a tree in Monkton to stop progress on the controversial Addison Natural Gas Project pipeline. Later in the month, Middlebury Energy Committee Chair Jason Kaye apprised the selectboard that he would be engaging in acts of civil disobedience against the pipeline.
Area high schools named the top students of 2016. MUHS had three valedictorians — Claire Armstrong, Marcelo Hanta-Davis and James Whitley — and two salutatorians — Harriet Milligan and Sophie Saunders. Mount Abe named Hannah Funk as valedictorian and Mahli Knutson as salutatorian. OVUHS valedictorian was Emma Cijka, and salutatorian was Jonna Keith. VUHS recognized valedictorian Joshua Newton and salutatorian Xavier Provencher.
On June 11, 431 area high school students graduated: 146 from MUHS, 110 from Mount Abe, 80 from VUHS, and 95 from OVUHS.
Organizers behind a proposed dog park in Middlebury began raising $15,000 for a fence and other infrastructure.
A solar siting bill authored by New Haven Sen. Chris Bray continued to work its way through the Legislature and was finally passed in a special meeting in June. The bill is designed to give more say to local towns over the siting of renewable energy projects, while still keeping the state on track for its goal of 90 percent renewable energy by 2050.
In Monkton, $100,000 in town conservation funds were met with an award of $504,000 from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board to purchase development rights on 2,018 acres of the Cota Brothers Farm. The land will be preserved in perpetuity through the Vermont Land Trust.
The Northeast Resource Recovery Association named Middlebury’s Good Point Recycling as the Business of the Year. Good Point specializes in e-waste recycling.
In mid-June Starksboro and area residents got a first look at the new, $1.65 million town garage in Starksboro.
On June 21, Orwell again nixed the proposed Slate Valley Unified Union School District, with a vote of 204 against and 166 in favor.
The Independent profiled Vergennes resident Matt Birong, one of Vermont’s 26 delegates elected to attend the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia. Vermont Republicans sent 16 delegates to the Republican Convention.
As the school year came to a close, Addison County said goodbye to a number of retiring longtime educators including Mary Hogan Elementary School music teacher Chuck Miller, kindergarten teacher Marian Leonard, and PE instructors Jaque McNamara and Mike Quinn; ACSU PE instructor Fran Paquette; ANwSU preschool educator Deborah Angier; Mount Abe husband and wife co-athletic directors Jeff and Mary Stetson; Bristol Elementary’s Sandy Haddock and Monkton Central School’s Suzy Way, both of whom taught first and second grade. PE teacher Pattie Candon retired from OVUHS. Thank you to all teachers throughout Addison County.
Vermont Gas announced that the price tag on its Addison Natural Gas Project had jumped $12 million to an estimated $166 million. When the company first proposed the project in 2011, the estimated price tag was $87 million.
At month’s end Brandon landowners Lyn and Jim Des Marais and the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service announced the state’s largest wetlands easement to date. The agreement will protect 500 acres along Otter Creek in perpetuity from development.
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