June 2017 Year in Review

The Addison Central School District (ACSD) board decided against moving 6th grade instruction into Middlebury Union Middle School, beginning in the fall. A majority of the panel agreed with Superintendent Peter Burrows’ opinion that such a move would be imprudent at a time when the school district is still adjusting to the major changes of consolidated governance and the transition to an International Baccalaureate Program.
ACSD directors and teachers brought in a mediator to help settle an ongoing disagreement over terms of a new, two-year contract. Veteran arbitrator Ira Lobel stepped into the role. The move worked, as just a few weeks later teachers ratified a new pact that included a 3-percent annual increase in new money for salaries and a requirement that educators pick up a greater share of their health insurance premiums.
Longtime Woodstock Union Middle School Principal Dana Peterson agreed to a two-year contract to serve as interim superintendent of the Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center, which provides vocational and technical education to students in three of the county’s four supervisory unions. But career center officials were hopeful Peterson’s interim status could evolve into a permanent gig. Peterson was picked from among three candidates vying for the position that Lynn Coale held for the previous 15 years
The Addison-Rutland Supervisory Union, which includes the town of Orwell, named a new superintendent to succeed Ron Ryan. Brooke Farrell arrived after having served a stint as assistant superintendent of the Mill River Unified Union School District. Farrell knew she would need to hit the ground running in her new job, as the ARSU continued to sort out a plan to unify school governance in the 6-town district. Orwell was still on the record as rejecting an offer to join the newly proposed Slate Valley Modified Unified Union School District.
June brought many school graduations — not only for students, but for some veteran teachers as well. New Haven’s Beeman Elementary School bade goodbye to its 6th-grade class and three teachers with a combined 117 years of classroom experience. Linda Kulhowvick, Margaret Benn and Arnell Paquette all retired together when the final bell rang on graduation day, and they will be missed.
The Vergennes Union Elementary School community said “goodbye” to social studies teacher Joe Samaritoni, who capped a 48-year career serving Vergennes, Waltham and Panton students. Along with teaching, he coached and refereed countless youth soccer and basketball games during his tenure.
It was also the end of an era at the United Church of Lincoln. The Rev. Dave Wood announced his retirement after 38 years of shepherding the vibrant, popular church in the picturesque mountain town.
Porter Medical Center opened its new “Express Care” clinic, serving people requiring immediate medical attention, but not necessarily treatment in an emergency room. The 1,600-square-foot clinic was built within Porter’s Collins Building.
Middlebury police in June put a little bite into its long-dormant K-9 program. Thanks to Town Meeting Day support from local residents, the department welcomed new police dog Neila, a Belgian Malinois. At 12 weeks old, Neila was only equipped to disarm crooks with her cuteness. But she would quickly grow and team up with her handler, Officer Bill Austin, for a 16-week course at the Vermont State Police Academy in Pittsford.
Middlebury Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 7823 members were counting their blessings after some shaky times for the nonprofit organization. Only three years ago, Post 7823 was facing a $30,000 budget shortfall and members were considering selling their meeting hall and property at 530 Exchange St. But thanks to new leadership, including Quartermaster Bub Crosby, Post 7823 mopped up its red ink and emerged in good health.
The very popular Meals on Wheels food program experienced a setback when its Addison County coordinator position, held for years by the popular Tracy Corbett, was eliminated as part of a cost cutting move. The cutback left area seniors concerned about ongoing home delivery of meals through the program.
More than 110 people donated to a GoFundMe campaign in support of Juan De La Cruz, a Panton resident of Mexican birth, farm owner and father of six, who had been told he would be deported on July 6. The approximately $8,000 in donations were to be used to help pay his family’s legal fees.
Work on an estimated 5-month, $1.1 million project to improve Bristol’s water system infrastructure got going in June. Scheduled work included replacing the aging water line on West Street, from Airport Drive to Maple Street.

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