Category Archives: Manchester

Manchester shopping center expansion plan shelved

MANCHESTER — The Development Review Board will not be hearing a proposal tonight for redeveloping a shopping plaza on Depot Street.
The board had received an application for a design review of a proposal that would have expanded the size of Price Chopper at Manchester Shopping Center Plaza but Lee Krohn, planning director and zoning administrator for the town of Manchester, said the engineering firm that submitted the plan asked that the hearing be continued.
It was not clear Tuesday whether the proposal was being withdrawn or if the applicant needs more time to work on the proposal.
The plan has attracted some interest because Price Chopper officials said the plan was not submitted on their behalf. A company spokeswoman said there are no current plans to expand the Manchester store.
Speath Engineering of Manchester submitted the proposal but company staff would not say on whose behalf the plan was created. They said that information would be revealed at tonight’s Development Review Board meeting but that was before the request for a hearing was postponed.
Shelley Gibson, who owns Manchester’s only movie theater, the Village Picture Shows, said last week that she hadn’t heard anything about the proposal, although it would have involved demolishing the space where the movie theater is located.
Gibson said she didn’t believe other tenants of the plaza had heard anything about the proposal either before being contacted by the media.

Manchester hosts party for bridge

MANCHESTER — The town is hosting a free concert and party on Friday, from 5 to 8 p.m., to celebrate the centennial of Center Bridge.
The free festival marks the 100-year anniversary of the dry-laid marble arch bridge at the intersection of Routes 11/30 and 7A, one of the state’s last surviving stone bridges.
Starting Tuesday, construction crews shut the bridge down for 10 days to repair and reconstruct the bridge, which town officials said was the impetus for the festival.
The Don’t Leave Band, a local band which plays classic rock songs, will provide live music at the festival at the Town Green on Depot Street.
The festival kicks off with an auction of Malfunction Junction’s infamous flashing yellow lights to benefit a local charity which will be named on Friday. With a roundabout being built at the intersection, which the town is now calling “Function Junction,” the lights are no longer needed.
Festival-goers can enjoy food provided by NAN-Zs and cider donuts by Equinox Valley Nursery. Those older than 21 can toast the progress of the roundabout construction with a beverage from the beer tent provided by the Gourmet Deli.
Face-painting and a bounce-house with a pirate theme will also be available.
Should rain or other conditions warrant, the festival will be moved to Riley Rink on Route 7A.
Additional details are on Manchester’s Facebook page. Also, for more information, call 362-0207.

Horse pitches in to build Manchester roundabout

MANCHESTER - While doing work on the roundabout project, construction crews came up against a step that would have been difficult to get through using modern equipment so they took the advice shouted to many who have had vehicle troubles: They got a horse.

Fred, a Belgian draft horse, towed a 600 pair cable, about two inches in diameter, down a slope, across the West Branch of the Batten Kill and up the opposite slope on Wednesday. A FairPoint employee said the cable was named because of the number of fiber-optic lines it contains.

Claude Desmarais, of Barton, led Fred on his trip across the stream. Desmairas said Fred was one of four Belgians he owns that have been performing industrial work for about 30 years.

The roundabout project will replace the intersection known locally as “Malfunction Junction,” where Routes 11/30 and Route 7A meet, with a roundabout intended to reduce congestion.

For the full story, see Thursday’s Rutland Herald.

Police say teen assaulted fellow student

MANCHESTER - A Burr and Burton Academy student was arraigned on a felony charge on Monday after police said he choked a fellow student on May 10 while inside a Depot Street restaurant.

Dylan R. Durnham, 17, of East Dorset, pleaded innocent in Bennington criminal court to aggravated assault. He was released without bail.

Police said they were called to the restaurant around 4:30 p.m. on May 10 by another student who said he had seen Durnham grab his friend by the throat after a verbal argument. Police noted the third student’s neck was “slightly red and blotchy.” Continue reading

Northshire wins ‘green’ award

MANCHESTER — The Northshire Bookstore, in partnership with Alan Benoit, has been awarded the 2012 Governor’s Award for Environmental Excellence in the small business category.
According to a press release from the Northshire, they were chosen because they have “implemented renewable energy projects, installed a solar interactive education kiosk and partnered with local architect Alan Benoit, who has provided over 30 workshops on various sustainable living topics at the bookstore for the general public.”
Chris Morrow, bookstore co-owner, has long had a commitment to environmental issues.
“I have strong passion for working on the myriad issues facing our species and planet. ‘Environment’ is not separate from business or society - we live in a complex, interconnected world,” Morrow said in a statement.
Benoit, owner of Sustainable Design, has made a series of presentations, called “Sustainable Living,” at the bookstore, covering topics like energy, architecture, efficiency, gardening and sustainability.
The 2012 recipients will be recognized by Gov. Peter Shumlin and Agency of Natural Resources Secretary Deb Markowitz on May 15 at the Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility’s annual spring conference at the University of Vermont.

Fields in Manchester free to use, $10 to reserve

By Patrick McArdle

MANCHESTER — The fee for teams and organizations using the athletic fields at Dana L. Thompson Memorial Park this summer has been eliminated, but reserving the field will cost $10 under a new rate schedule approved by the Select Board on April 24.

Town Manager John O’Keefe told board members the town was not earning back expenses from its usage fee of $15.

The cost of “lining” the fields, the process by which the boundaries of the athletic fields are marked with white paint, is expensive and Liz Ambuhl, director of the parks and recreation department, spends a lot of time chasing down people who haven’t paid the usage fee.

“We get a lot of complaints about any fees that we charge for the fields down at the park. A lot of people feel that they should be free since they already pay for (the fields) with their taxes. We always have to explain that not everybody is a taxpayer who uses the park,” he said.

While it’s a small fee, O’Keefe said Ambuhl pursues it because otherwise those who pay are subsidizing those who don’t.

That will no longer be a concern with the use fee eliminated. However, the use will be “first come, first serve” unless the user pays a reservation fee of $10.

“If you’ve got a soccer tournament or a soccer game and you want to have guaranteed use of the field, you have to pay $10 for a permit and that’s for a three-hour period. This policy applies to everybody including (Burr and Burton Academy,)” O’Keefe said.

For the complete story, see Wednesday’s Rutland Herald.

Former senator to appear at bookstore

MANCHESTER — Former U.S. Sen. Russ Feingold will present his political memoir, “While America Sleeps” at 2 p.m. on Sunday at the Northshire Bookstore.
The book includes Feingold’s criticism of the Obama administration’s overconfidence in how degraded the threat from al-Qaeda has become; his lonely but inspiring account of being the only senator to vote against the Patriot Act; and a frank assessment and critique of foreign policy and the protection of civil liberties under President Barack Obama.
Feingold represented Wisconsin in the U.S. Senate from 1993 to 2011.
In February 2011, Feingold founded Progressives United, an organization devoted to challenging the dominance of corporate money over American democracy.
The event is free and open to the public and Feingold will be signing copies of the book after his presentation.
For more information on this and other events, call 362-2200 or (800) 437-3700 or visit the Northshire Bookstore at

Woman cited for DUI, had baby in car

MANCHESTER — A Vermont woman has been accused of driving drunk while her 6-month-old daughter rode with her.
Police said 23-year-old Tanya Parker of Manchester allegedly had a blood-alcohol content of .240, or three times the legal limit, when she was arrested by police Tuesday.
The Bennington Banner reports Parker also was arrested on a charge of endangering the welfare of a child. She is scheduled to be arraigned on April 23.

Roundabout meeting today

MANCHESTER — The town is hosting an open house on the roundabout construction project today at 5 p.m. in the Kilburn Meeting Room at the Manchester town offices on Main Street.
Mike Chenette, the project engineer, will be at the meeting, which is expected to last about 90 minutes, along with elected officials and town staff.
Residents and others interested in the project to build a roundabout to replace the intersection or Routes 7A and 11/30 are invited to come to the presentation to learn more or ask questions.
Bids for the project are scheduled to be opened on April 10 at 11 a.m. in the town offices.
The project is not only expected to replace the intersection nicknamed “Malfunction Junction” but also rebuild sidewalks and curbing, remove utility poles to improve the look of the streetscape and replace water and sewer mains.
Most of the construction will take place, by contract, at night.
Following the certification of the bids by federal and state officials, a groundbreaking is expected to be scheduled in early May.

McKibben to speak at event

MANCHESTER — Middlebury College professor, author and environmental activist Bill McKibben will give a talk, “Notes from the Frontline of the Climate Fight,” at the Maple Street School in Manchester on March 24, an event hosted by the Green Mountain Academy for Lifelong Learning and Transition Town Manchester.
McKibben is the author of a dozen books about the environment, beginning with “The End of Nature” in 1989, which is regarded as the first book for a general audience on climate change. He is a founder of the grass-roots climate campaign, which has coordinated 15,000 rallies in about 190 countries since 2009.
Admission to this event, which will begin at 5 p.m., is $10 for adults and $5 for students with half of the proceeds being donated to For more information and to purchase tickets, visit or call Renee Bornstein at 362-1199.
Tickets are also available at The Northshire Bookstore.