Towns

A colorful figure in Vermont history has passed away. Anthony Doria’s legacy includes founding the Vermont Law School and renovating several of the buildings around town.

But he was also a controversial public figure. Dick Drysdale, editor of the Herald of Randolph has written about Doria’s passing and spoke with VPR’s Mitch Wertlieb.  

Doria arrived in Vermont from Philadelphia in the 1960s. He was born in Italy with some noble lineage, which Drysdale says Doria, “always made the most of.”

VPR/Charlotte Albright

A few years ago, the Upper Valley town of Hartford was criticized for what some saw as overly aggressive law enforcement. The new Public Safety Director is trying to restore respect, so the police department is offering a nine-week academy for citizens who want to learn about how police do their jobs.

Students will not get real badges or guns at the end—just certificates. But town officials hope this laypersons’ academy will at least forge closer ties between residents and local law enforcers.

Public Domain

During the Vietnam War, protests and marches against the draft sprang up on many college campuses. 

But even bloodier draft revolts erupted a century earlier during The Civil War. 

150 years ago Federal Troops had to be called to West Rutland in when anger over the draft boiled over there.

Rutland Civil War author and historian Don Wickman says by 1863, Americans were getting tired of the Civil War, which had begun two years earlier.

Two Vermont communities have reached an agreement that clears the way for a railroad company to build a propane facility along Route 5.

The agreement between the town of Rockingham and village of Bellows Falls and Green Mountain Railroad this week permits installation of three 60,000-gallon propane tanks alongside the tracks in Rockingham.

In exchange, the area gets improvements to local roads and water mains.

The Rockingham selectmen and Bellows Falls village trustees approved the contract and agreed to issue the fire permits the company needed to proceed.

Charlotte Albright/ VPR

The elm tree may be making a comeback in Vermont. 

The majestic shade canopy has been disappearing from American streets since the 1930’s, when a tiny beetle began feasting on its bark and spreading a killer fungus.  Dutch elm disease has taken a heavy toll.

But some arborists are trying to cross-breed more tolerant varieties.

That’s especially important for colleges where big elms remain campus landmarks.

The mayor of the Vermont city of Newport has pleaded guilty to a second offense of driving while intoxicated.

Fifty-three-year-old Paul Monette was sentenced on Tuesday to do 200 hours of community service.

The Caledonian Record reports that the sentence includes a suspended six-to-18-month term, with two years of probation, a $750 fine, substance abuse screening and possible counseling and treatment.

Monette suffered minor injuries when his vehicle rolled over on Interstate 91 in Barton on July 21.

Vermont State Police troopers are going to be participating in what's being described as a large training exercise in downtown Rutland and they don't want people to be alarmed.

The Friday exercise will be held from about 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Rutland in the area of Merchants Row and Evelyn Street.

These exercises will primarily take place inside the building located next to the Chamber of Commerce, as well as old Community College of Vermont building on Evelyn Street.

The town of Bethel, hit hard by Tropical Storm Irene two years ago, wants to be ready the next time disaster strikes.

So people are stepping up their emergency preparedness on several fronts, including public education, local self-help and strengthening the town's emergency management program.

The public education front includes visits by a town emergency management team to every home in Bethel to provide families with information and guidance regarding risk mitigation, personal preparation and the basic elements of Bethel's emergency management plan and structure.

Three 18-year-old men are facing arson charges in connection with a fire that destroyed most of a Hardwick log yard.

Police in Hardwick charged Randall Sayers of Woodbury, Hezekiah McCullough of Hardwick and Riley Reagan of Eden with arson, burglary and larceny for the July 29 fire at Buffalo Mountain Wood Storage and Transfer.

Police say Sayers, McCullough and a third young man from Hardwick also face petit larceny and burglary charged in connection with a July 5 burglary at the same business.

Vermont State Police say a routine traffic stop turned into a heroin bust after one of the passengers gave them false information about his identity.

Police say they stopped a Nissan Maxima on Interstate 91 in Hartland Monday for a lane violation. One of the six occupants of the car — Tyrone Cromer of Newark, N.J. — gave police a fictitious name and was arrested for providing false information to a police officer.

Motorists traveling north from Montpelier on Interstate 89 are going to have to find another way onto the highway during the blasting phase of Vermont's latest ledge removal project.

The northbound on-ramp is scheduled to close on Oct. 3 and it could remain closed for up to a month while crews blast some of the ledge that geologists worry could fall into the roadway.

Crews are already working on the ledge removal project on other parts of the Montpelier interstate exchange, but the work will be done without explosives.

Weybridge voters decided Wednesday night what the town will do with a sudden influx of cash.

The money comes in the form of a $475,980 insurance payout, reimbursement for roughly the same amount of money embezzled by former town clerk Karen Brisson. She is currently serving a two-year term in federal prison.

Town voters decided to split the money up for a variety of projects and funds.

The largest amount – $210,980 – went into a reserve fund, select board member Gail Hurd said.

Hinesburg Joins Lawsuit Over Well Contamination

Jul 8, 2013

A drinking water well used by the town of Hinesburg is contaminated with low levels of the gasoline additive, MTBE.

Although the levels are below the threshold considered dangerous for drinking, town officials are eager to clean up the pollution problem. 

Hinesburg now plans to join a lawsuit against major oil companies to recover costs for the clean-up.

Methyl tertiary butyl ether (MTBE) was added to gasoline to boost octane performance and to make the fuel burn cleaner.

VPR/Nancy Eve Cohen

While the town select board is the most identifiable form of local government in Vermont, 56 towns in the state also have a town manager. The role of these chief administrators is often overlooked and few of us understand what these individuals actually do on a daily basis.

Steve Jeffery, the executive director of the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, told Vermont Edition that town managers play a key role both on a day-to-day, and in times of crisis. 

VPR/Melody Bodette

Workers from the Federal Emergency Management Agency are in Vermont this week, estimating damage from last week’s flooding.

FEMA teams will be in Chittenden and Lamoille counties.

They’ll work with the Vermont Agency of Transportation and town officials to determine if the state has met the threshold of $1 million in damage to qualify for a Public Assistance disaster declaration.

Counties must also reach a total amount of damage based on population, in order to receive assistance.  In Chittenden County that amount is a minimum of $550,000.

VPR/Steve Zind

There were Memorial Day events around the state Monday to honor members of the military who died while serving the country. One annual event in Randolph takes place near the spot where a World War II bomber crashed 70 years ago.

On June 27, 1943 a B-17 Flying Fortress fell from the sky and crashed on a Randolph hillside.  The plane was flying to Bangor, Maine, before heading on to the war in Europe.  Seven crew members managed to parachute to safety, but three others died.  

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Last year, nearly a quarter of Vermont’s middle school students, and a higher percentage of secondary school students, were labeled “substantially below proficient” in a standardized science test given throughout the United States. 

School districts are adjusting lesson plans to bring up those scores. And in the Northeast Kingdom, there’s an unusual hands-on approach to learning about astronomy.

Charlotte Albright / VPR

Until this year, the children who play in the field behind Reading Elementary School have been getting itchy—literally.

The playground borders a huge patch of poison ivy. But the weed has met its match.

Three goats are dining on it.

The goat project at tiny Reading Elementary grew from research conducted in Patricia Collins’s class of fifth-graders. There are only six students, but over the past year they filled a binder with information about how to solve the school’s poison ivy problem. 

Ten-year old Kit Oney says recess could be hazardous.

Patrick McArdle

Some banks used to give away a toaster to those who opened a new account, but on Monday, Merchants Bank took the idea a step further by giving away the almost 150-year-old bank.

Officials at Merchants Bank had already announced in February that plans had been made to close branches in Bennington and North Bennington and replace them with a new site in Bennington. But while Merchants rented its space on Main Street in Bennington, it owned the building on Bank Street in North Bennington, leaving residents of the village wondering what would become of it.

Susan Keese / VPR

Tempers have erupted in the town of Rockingham over a decision to close the public library during renovations this summer.

The plan has sparked opposition from residents who say that closing the much-loved library is unnecessary.

The Rockingham Public library is finishing up a $3 million, voter-approved renovation.

The project came to a halt last fall when workers walked off the job because they hadn’t been paid. The president of Baybutt Construction, the general contractor, later filed for bankruptcy.

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