Burlington

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Mayor, New Moran Terminate Agreement to Redevelop Coal Plant

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 12:52 PM

Mayor Miro Weinberger holds a press conference outside the Moran Plant on Thursday. - ALICIA FREESE
  • Alicia Freese
  • Mayor Miro Weinberger holds a press conference outside the Moran Plant on Thursday.
Mayor Miro Weinberger confirmed Thursday that his administration and the group trying to redevelop Burlington's waterfront coal plant have terminated the memorandum of understanding they signed in 2014. 

At a press conference held behind the derelict brick building, Weinberger told reporters he is giving the New Moran team until November 11 to prove to the city that they have an updated, financially viable proposal.

What, exactly, that entails, Weinberger couldn't say. But he reiterated his ongoing concerns — that the team lacks people with significant development experience and that they've failed to secure firm commitments from longterm tenants for the building. 

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Tenants Must Vacate Memorial Auditorium by Year’s End

Posted By on Thu, Jul 21, 2016 at 11:37 AM

242 Main at Memorial Auditorium - MOLLY WALSH
  • Molly Walsh
  • 242 Main at Memorial Auditorium
Memorial Auditorium tenants must leave by the end of the year because structural problems threaten to make the building unsafe.

Burlington’s 242 Main youth center and concert venue, the Burlington City Arts clay and print studios and the Generator maker space all must move. Burlington city engineer Norm Baldwin has concluded that the 1927 red brick auditorium on Main Street needs major work. 

“The city engineer is not comfortable with the building remaining in use beyond the end of the year,” Mayor Miro Weinberger told Seven Days

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Friday, July 15, 2016

Why Are Burlington Residents Sending Tax Payments to New York?

Posted By on Fri, Jul 15, 2016 at 3:20 PM

Burlington City Hall - ALICIA FREESE
  • Alicia Freese
  • Burlington City Hall
Burlington residents have been noticing something peculiar on their tax bills this year. The notices instruct them to send their money to New York — specifically, to a post office box in Albany. 

Lest conspiracy theories start to percolate, the clerk/treasurer's office has posted an explanation on its website. 

Until this year, Burlington has processed its tax payments in-house. But according to the announcement, city staff struggled to deposit the sudden influx of checks in a timely manner. 

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Thursday, July 14, 2016

'Incoherent' Rifle-Wielding Man Posed Dilemma for Police

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 6:25 PM

A cyclist identified as Malcolm Tanner at North Winooski and Riverside Avenues in May. - COURTESY: DAN BARNES
  • Courtesy: Dan Barnes
  • A cyclist identified as Malcolm Tanner at North Winooski and Riverside Avenues in May.
Burlington residents flooded police with phone calls in recent weeks to report a man was bicycling with a rifle slung over his shoulder. Officers who tried to talk to him found him to be "incoherent," and he insisted that laws do not apply to him, according to court documents.

"A man with mental health issues riding around the city on a bike with an unconcealed rifle and ammunition makes people nervous, because it should," Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo said.

For weeks, Burlington police say, they were forced to leave Malcolm Tanner, 52, alone, because he did not seem to be breaking any laws. Wednesday, with the help of federal authorities, he was finally arrested.

Police had repeatedly approached Tanner, who was living in a homeless encampment in woods in the Old North End but does not appear to have any significant local ties.

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Monday, July 11, 2016

National Police Violence Spurs Protest in Burlington

Posted By on Mon, Jul 11, 2016 at 2:21 PM

More than 100 people turned out on Saturday for a protest and vigil against police shootings. - JAMES BUCK
  • James Buck
  • More than 100 people turned out on Saturday for a protest and vigil against police shootings.
More than 100 people gathered Saturday night at the top of Church Street in Burlington to remember Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, two African American men shot and killed by police last week.

Sterling, 37, was killed early Tuesday morning in Baton Rouge, La. Castile, 32, was fatally shot after being pulled over for a broken taillight outside of St. Paul, Minn. Castile's girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, narrated the aftermath of his shooting via Facebook Live, with her 4-year-old daughter sitting in the car's back seat. 

The Champlain Area NAACP, a local chapter of the civil rights organization founded in 1909, organized the event. The Vermont chapter was established in July 2015 under the leadership of president Mary Brown-Guillory. The vigil was also a call to action. Many who turned out on a rainy evening held Black Lives Matter signs.

At a Dallas demonstration against the shootings on Thursday, an African American army veteran shot and killed five police officers. In response, Burlington Police Chief Brandon del Pozo suspended Burlington officer's solo patrols

Brown-Guillory spoke to the Burlington crowd, as did others, including Pastor Mark Demers of Burlington's First United Methodist Church. One young man recited his poem, "For Trayvon," which included a call-and-response recitation of names of African Americans killed by police.
Slideshow
Photos: A Burlington Vigil and Protest for Alton Sterling and Philando Castile
Photos: A Burlington Vigil and Protest for Alton Sterling and Philando Castile Photos: A Burlington Vigil and Protest for Alton Sterling and Philando Castile Photos: A Burlington Vigil and Protest for Alton Sterling and Philando Castile Photos: A Burlington Vigil and Protest for Alton Sterling and Philando Castile Photos: A Burlington Vigil and Protest for Alton Sterling and Philando Castile Photos: A Burlington Vigil and Protest for Alton Sterling and Philando Castile Photos: A Burlington Vigil and Protest for Alton Sterling and Philando Castile Photos: A Burlington Vigil and Protest for Alton Sterling and Philando Castile

Photos: A Burlington Vigil and Protest for Alton Sterling and Philando Castile


By James Buck

Click to View 24 slides


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Friday, July 8, 2016

After Dallas Ambush, Burlington Cops Curtail Solo Patrols

Posted By on Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 9:17 AM

FILE: OLIVER PARINI
  • File: Oliver parini
Updated July 8, 2016, at 10:27 a.m. with comments from the Vermont State Police.

The Burlington Police Department is temporarily suspending solo officer patrols in response to the Thursday night attack on Dallas police that killed five officers and wounded seven.

Police Chief Brandon del Pozo said he is concerned about the “prospect of copycat attacks” on local police.

Dallas police said three suspects are in custody and one is dead after police were targeted by sniper fire while monitoring a nonviolent protest of police killings of black men across the country.

“America is protected by a patchwork of 18,000 police agencies, and a repeat incident in one of them is not unfathomable,” del Pozo said.

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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Burlington Planning Commissioner Resigns After Public Hearing

Posted By on Thu, Jul 7, 2016 at 6:07 PM

Burlington City Hall - ALICIA FREESE
  • Alicia Freese
  • Burlington City Hall
Burlington Planning Commissioner Lee Buffinton resigned from her position Thursday, hours after she recused herself from a hearing on a controversial zoning change that would allow 14-story buildings to be built in a section of downtown.

The six-year commissioner told Seven Days that her job at Champlain Housing Trust made a conflict of interest inevitable. At Wednesday’s commission meeting, Sarah Muyskens, the chair of CHT’s board, read a statement in favor of the zoning change, meant to enable redevelopment of Burlington Town Center.

Her recusal came after Commissioner Emily Lee read a letter, cowritten by Buffinton, that questioned the legality of Wednesday’s public hearing at City Hall and urged a slowdown in examining the proposed mixed-used residential, retail and office complex.

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Queen City Planning Commission Signs Off on Plan for Higher Buildings

Posted By on Thu, Jul 7, 2016 at 1:00 AM

Members of the Coalition for a Livable City spoke against the mall redevelopment plan. - SASHA GOLDSTEIN
  • Sasha Goldstein
  • Members of the Coalition for a Livable City spoke against the mall redevelopment plan.
A proposed ordinance that would change Burlington zoning to allow 14-story buildings to be constructed in a section of downtown is now in the hands of city councilors.

Planning Commission members voted Wednesday to send the measure on to councilors, who must ultimately decide whether to approve the ordinance and allow 160-foot-tall structures. The change is being considered to help enable redevelopment of Burlington Town Center, a project proposed by the mall's owner, New York developer Don Sinex. 

The unanimous vote of the four members in attendance came after a marathon public hearing at Burlington City Hall that went on for three hours as more than 40 people made their voices heard. Most spoke against the zoning change, which would allow for taller buildings in an area bordered by Cherry and Bank streets. 

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Vermont’s F-35 Opponents Get Their Day in Court

Posted By on Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 5:25 PM

An F-35 - FILE
  • File
  • An F-35
Opponents of the U.S. Air Force’s decision to base a squadron of next-generation F-35 fighter jets at Burlington International Airport finally got their day in federal court on Tuesday.

U.S. District Court Judge Geoffrey Crawford heard arguments in a lawsuit accusing the Air Force of failing to conduct a proper environmental review before deciding to assign 18 of the F-35s to the Vermont Air National Guard. The planes are scheduled to arrive in 2019.

Opponents of the F-35s, which are louder than the F-16s currently based at the airport, are trying to get that decision set aside and to have a new review, known as an environmental impact statement, conducted. Residents of South Burlington and Winooski, along with the Stop the F-35 Coalition and the city of Winooski, filed the suit.

James Dumont, the attorney for the plaintiffs, said the Air Force left several vital considerations out of its required environmental review. Dumont said the Air Force ignored South Burlington and Winooski land-use regulations, and failed to examine the risk of a serious accident. He said the Air Force didn’t examine either the idea of soundproofing homes in the areas that will be most affected by noise, or buying and demolishing them, which has previously been done in South Burlington.

“There was no informed public in this review,” Dumont said. “The [environmental impact statement] was a sham. It did not present the minimum information … that should be part of the evaluation.”

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Saturday, July 2, 2016

'Running Wild With Bear Grylls' to Film on Lake Champlain With Likely Guest Shaquille O'Neal

Posted By on Sat, Jul 2, 2016 at 2:41 PM

Jason Balmer, petty officer first class, at the U.S. Coast Guard Station in Burlington. - MOLLY WALSH
  • Molly Walsh
  • Jason Balmer, petty officer first class, at the U.S. Coast Guard Station in Burlington.
Stand by for a Shaq attack.

Ex-NBA great Shaquille O'Neal is expected to perform a stunt for a reality TV show filming an episode next week on Lake Champlain.

A producer for the NBC show "Running Wild With Bear Grylls" visited the Coast Guard station on the Burlington waterfront Thursday to ask them to participate in the event, said Jason Balmer, a petty officer first class who met with the producer.

The producer said the 7-foot-1 legend, who will be inducted this year into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, would likely be a guest on an episode to be shot Friday or Saturday on the New York side of the lake, according to Balmer. It would be filmed near the town of Willsboro, about 30 miles south of Plattsburgh. The episode will involve an aquatic derring-do, maybe involving a helicopter and a drone.

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