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January 13th, 2014
MONTPELIER — In his fourth annual state of the state address this past Wednesday, Gov. Peter Shumlin used his bully pulpit to home in on one topic: the “epidemic” of opiate addiction in Vermont.
It was an unusual strategy. Typically, governors (and as Shumlin has in the past) use the state of the state address to give Vermonters the administration’s vision for the coming year on a variety of perennial topics, such as the economy, education, health care and the environment.
MONKTON — A couple whose property the proposed Vermont Gas Systems natural gas pipeline would traverse has appealed the Public Service Board’s decision late last month to give the project a Certificate of Public Good.
MIDDLEBURY — Repairs to the ceiling in the worship hall at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on the green in Middlebury are nearing completion.
It was only a month ago on Dec. 5 when Liz Cleveland, coordinator for lectors and intercessors at the church, and St. Stephen’s organist George Matthew were in the building discussing heating when they were interrupted by a loud noise from within the sanctuary: One of the beams supporting the ceiling had fallen.
BRANDON — The Mount Abraham Union High School boys’ basketball team rode a third-quarter surge and key plays in overtime to its second win and second over Otter Valley, 61-55 in Brandon on Saturday.
The 2-5 Otters dominated the first half, especially a first quarter in which they forced nine Eagle turnovers, and led by 32-19 at the break.
BRISTOL — Around 250 people crowded into Holley Hall in Bristol on Dec. 16 to watch the first ever Young Life Mr. Christmas Tree pageant.
Six senior boys from Mount Abraham Union High School competed, in traditional pageant style, with a formal wear interview, bathing suit, and talent portions followed by a parade of “Living Christmas Trees.” Each young man was given the name of a type of Christmas tree and wore sashes with those names displayed.
BRISTOL — Addison Northeast Supervisory Union Superintendent David Adams told the ANeSU executive committee on Jan. 7 that the district’s October hire of an outside company to take over substitute staffing would save the district both time and money.
The district has hired Kelly Services, a company that specializes in temporary staffing nationwide, on Oct. 17, 2013, and the district will begin working with Kelly Services on Feb. 3.
VERGENNES — The Vergennes Union Elementary School board ended a budget workshop meeting last week eyeing a $4.26 million 2014-2015 budget that would increase spending by 4.34 percent, or $177,000.
However, almost all of that increase is driven by a state-mandated change in the way special education is accounted for within the Addison Northwest Supervisory Union schools and in higher special education costs overall, said ANwSU Superintendent Tom O’Brien and business manager Kathy Cannon.
BRISTOL — The head of the town recreation department presented a draft budget at the selectboard meeting on Jan. 6.
Recreation Director Darla Senecal proposed a budget of $176,899, a 10 percent increase from last year. Senecal explained to the selectboard that the increase was due to health care changes mandated by the Affordable Care Act.
“We tried to keep the department as level-funded as possible, and made cuts where we could,” Senecal said in an interview Tuesday. “We have a very slim budget to begin with.”