Archive - May 22, 2008
By JOHN FLOWERS
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury residents on Tuesday voted 305 to 102 in favor of implementing a 1-percent local option tax on local sales, meals, rooms, and alcohol in order to raise revenue for a new in-town bridge.
Tuesday’s vote was the final public endorsement needed by selectmen for the $16 million project, the centerpiece of which will be a new bridge that will span the Otter Creek at Cross Street.
Town officials and bridge backers were ecstatic with the results of Tuesday’s vote.
“It’s certainly a very strong show of support by Middlebury voters and a reasonable turnout for an off-time election,” said Middlebury selectboard Chairman John Tenny. “We are grateful to Middlebury voters for their display of confidence and support here.”
Barring a reconsideration petition seeking to change Tuesday’s outcome, the local option taxes would take effect on Oct. 1 and would remain in effect for the next 30 years.
Middlebury officials are banking on the local option taxes to finance $7 million of the bridge project, with Middlebury College already having pledged to donate the remaining $9 million. The college’s donation will come in annual increments of $600,000 during the 30-year bonding period.
“We are very thankful to the college,” Tenny said. “The college made this effort possible.”
Officials are confident the local option taxes, coupled with the college donation, will be more than adequate to pay down the bridge bond.
By ANDY KIRKALDY
VERGENNES — Longtime Addison County farmer and Vergennes American Legion Post 14 member J. Francis Angier and his wife of 61 years, Madeleine, are looking forward to Monday.
All five of their sons will be at the Panton home of one of those sons, Philip Angier, along with their eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild, for a Memorial Day picnic.
Of course, Francis and Madeleine will have to leave their Williston home a little early to make that lunch date. Angier, 84, a U.S. Army Air Corps veteran who piloted a B-17 bomber for 33 missions over Europe in World War II, first has a chore to perform: He is the marshal of the Vergennes Memorial Day parade, Vermont’s largest, which will begin at 11 a.m.
Post 14 information officer Henry Broughton said the Legion’s parade committee chose Angier because of his sterling record in World War II, which included a seven-month stint in two Nazi prison camps after Angier’s B-17 was shot down; his post-war service in the Vermont Air and Army National Guards; and his dedication to aviation, a passion that led him to write a 2004 book about his experience as a B-17 pilot: “Ready or Not: Into the Wild Blue.”
Angier wasn’t sure he deserved the recognition, but said he is happy to fulfill his duty.
“It was quite an honor. I’m just a hayseed farmer, you know,” Angier said. “I think he has to choose someone, and I’m glad he chose me, or the group with him did.”
It was back on the North Street, New Haven, farm on which Angier grew up that his interest in aviation was first sparked — all it took was one look upward.
“I saw my first airplane a few days before (Charles) Lindbergh made his flight … and I was hooked,” he said.
By MEGAN JAMES
CHENGDU, CHINA — Meg Young had just handed her passport and bankcard to a teller on the second floor of the China Construction Bank in Chengdu a week ago Monday when the building began to shake.
“I made eye contact with the teller and we both started running,” she wrote in an e-mail from China late last week.
Young, the teller and everyone else in the room dashed to a freestanding, stone spiral staircase, which swayed under their feet as they hurried to escape, pieces of the building dropping down around them.
“Once (we) got outside we ran toward the parking lot, where cars were rolling and bouncing as the earth continued to shake,” she wrote. “It shook for two minutes and 58 seconds.”
Young, who has been working in China with Ecologia, a Whiting-based sustainable development organization, since graduating from Middlebury College a year ago, was about 50 miles southeast of the earthquake’s epicenter in Sichuan Province.
With a magnitude of 7.9, the earthquake tore through the south-central region of China around 2:25 p.m. on Monday, May 12, killing more than 40,000 people and injuring many more.
Though the destruction in Chengdu was relatively mild, the mountainous region to the west, in which Ecologia has been working to establish micro-financing programs, was one of the hardest hit.
“The sad thing is that this hit in an area where people are still locked into poverty,” said Ecologia director Randy Kritkausky.