By MEGAN JAMES
MIDDLEBURY — With heavy snow expected later this week, the search team that since Monday has been prodding the snow-covered Middlebury College campus for signs of a missing first-year student has postponed its search until skies clear up this weekend.
But the investigation into the whereabouts of Nicholas Garza, a 19-year-old from Albuquerque, N.M., who disappeared more than a week ago, will continue unabated, according to Middlebury Police Chief Tom Hanley.
“The physical search is just a recovery operation, in the event that something befell the student,” Hanley said. “The other piece is the missing person investigation. We’re going to be interviewing a ton of people, primarily students and people who knew him over the next few days.”
The physical search has turned up nothing since it began, and if there are any clues out there, the snow, more than a foot of which has fallen since the morning after Garza went missing, continues to cover them up.
Garza was last seen at a social gathering in Stewart Hall, a first-year dormitory on the Middlebury College campus, around 11:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 5, according to the Middlebury police. The campus was relatively empty that night since most students, including Garza’s roommate and many of his friends, were gone for February break, the week between J-term and the start of the spring semester.
Garza left the party alone, presumably to return to his dorm room in Allen Hall, about a third of a mile across campus, according to reports authorities got from students who attended the gathering. But a friend grew suspicious the next day when he could not reach Garza. He alerted his Commons Residential Advisor (CRA), who then reported the matter to the college’s department of public safety.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — Local voters here on April 9 will be asked to approve a 2008-2009 Mary Hogan Elementary School budget of $5,624,785 that reflects a 2.59-percent increase in spending and restoration of an education technology position that had been cut a few years ago. If approved, the spending plan would result in an 8.4 percent property tax increase for Middlebury homeowners.
“We are excited about being able to bring this position back,” Mary Hogan Elementary Principal Bonnie Bourne said of the education technologist, a person she said will work with teachers to help students access information through computers and other equipment. The person will also advise school officials on computer infrastructure and Internet access.
Bourne explained the position was squeezed out of the budget in recent years as the school board looked for ways to cut expenses in the face of declining enrollment. The school currently serves 385 students. It was only eight years ago that 540 students attended the Mary Hogan school.
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — Sixteen of the more than two dozen suspects implicated in a Dec. 28, 2007, underage drinking party that caused an estimated $10,600 in damage to the former summer home of Robert Frost in Ripton have agreed to go through a court diversion program rather than have their cases adjudicated in Addison County District Court.
Those suspects — most of them teens, many of them Middlebury Union High School students — were among two dozen people that were arraigned in Addison County District Court on Monday. Seven youths pleaded innocent to charges.
The 16 who were offered, and accepted, diversion were primarily first-time offenders cited for criminal counts of unlawful trespassing at the Homer Noble Farm in Ripton.