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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Two Democrats Join Contest for Open Burlington City Council Seat

Posted By on Wed, Apr 26, 2017 at 9:12 PM

  • Courtesy of Lorraine Carter-Lovejoy
  • Lorraine Carter-Lovejoy
Two more New North End residents have stepped up to run for Burlington's open city council seat. Chris Trombly and Lorraine Carter-Lovejoy will vie for the Democratic nomination to fill the Ward 7 seat that will be vacated in June by Tom Ayres.

Trombly and Carter-Lovejoy join Ali Dieng and Republican Vince Dober as candidates in the special election scheduled for June 27.

A Democratic caucus is scheduled for May 4. Dieng, an independent, has said he'll try to win the Dem's endorsement.

Trombly declared his candidacy Wednesday in a press release. The 37-year-old serves on the steering committee of the Wards 4 and 7 Neighborhood Planning Assembly and works as vice president of loan operations at People's United Bank.

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Monday, April 24, 2017

Secure Lockers for the Homeless Proposed in Burlington

Posted By on Mon, Apr 24, 2017 at 8:11 PM

The Salvation Army - KATIE JICKLING
  • Katie Jickling
  • The Salvation Army
From his popcorn stand on Church Street in Burlington, Paul Buschner has seen people walk by with all their belongings on their backs.

Three times, Buschner has paid for new birth certificates or IDs for homeless people whose belongings were stolen. In the 15 years that Buschner has operated his A-Maize-ing Kettle Korn cart, he's spoken with people who have lost prescription medication, important documents and other personal items.

Now, the New North End resident is spearheading a project to construct 40 secure lockers where the homeless could safely store their belongings for free. Buschner's still finalizing the cost estimates, but figures the total will come in between $5,000 and $10,000 for building materials, locks and possibly a security camera.

Buschner hopes to have the lockers completed in downtown Burlington by midsummer.

"I see people burdened by their stuff," Buschner said. "They can't go to the doctor's, can't go grocery shopping, can't get into the store with a big backpack." Lockers would help "give them some dignity and security."

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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Independent Ali Dieng to Run for Open Burlington City Council Seat

Posted By on Wed, Apr 19, 2017 at 1:45 PM

  • Courtesy of Stephanie Seguino
  • Ali Dieng
A West Africa native has announced his bid for an open Burlington City Council seat that represents the New North End.

Ali Dieng, 35, will run as an independent. He's seeking to replace Democrat Tom Ayres, who plans to resign from his Ward 7 seat in June. Dieng, who said he'll seek endorsements from the Progressive and Democratic parties, will face Vince Dober, a Republican who announced earlier this month.

City officials said Tuesday that a special election to fill the vacancy will be held on June 27, the day after Ayres steps down.

If elected, Dieng would be the only New American — and the only nonwhite member — of the city council. He said he wants to engage more diverse voices in city politics. "We need representation from the communities the city serves," he said.

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Monday, April 17, 2017

Burlington City Council to Consider Biking and Walking Master Plan

Posted By on Mon, Apr 17, 2017 at 5:04 PM

Oakledge Park - CALEB KENNA
  • Caleb Kenna
  • Oakledge Park
The Burlington City Council is scheduled Monday to discuss, and vote on, a long-awaited blueprint for the future of city streets, sidewalks, paths and intersections.

Lead sponsor Max Tracy (P-Ward 2) called the 200-page document "a world class vision for walking and biking." At the Wards 2 and 3 Neighborhood Planning Assembly last Thursday, he urged residents to come to Monday's meeting to voice their support. "I'm really, really excited about this," he said.

PlanBTV Walk Bike is part of a Queen City effort to achieve a "Gold Level" designation as a bike-friendly municipality, which requires that 65 percent of its roads have bike lanes. Currently, 12 percent of Burlington streets — 11.9 miles — have bike lanes.

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

BTV Ignite Hires New Executive Director

Posted By on Wed, Apr 12, 2017 at 2:03 PM

Dennis Moynihan - KATIE JICKLING
  • Katie Jickling
  • Dennis Moynihan
Burlington tech nonprofit BTV Ignite has hired a new executive director from across the pond.

Dennis Moynihan will relocate from London to take the helm of the three-year-old organization, the city announced at a news conference Wednesday. He'll replace Mike Schirling, a former Burlington police chief whom Gov. Phil Scott chose in December to serve as Vermont's commerce secretary.

"We live in an ever more rapidly changing world that's not only benefiting from technology, but being really disrupted by it," Moynihan said. "My job ... is to help Burlington, Chittenden County and Vermont thrive in this 21st century digital world."

Moynihan comes to Vermont after 11 years working across the Atlantic, most recently as the London node director of EIT Digital, a branch of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology. He led an "innovation accelerator" that invested in digital technologies to integrate education, research and businesses.

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Mall Company Pledges Financing for Burlington Town Center Project

Posted By on Tue, Apr 11, 2017 at 9:19 PM

Don Sinex speaks at a press conference in December 2016. - KATIE JICKLING
  • Katie Jickling
  • Don Sinex speaks at a press conference in December 2016.
Burlington Town Center owner Don Sinex has locked down a partnership and secured the funding needed to move forward on the $225 million mixed-use development, he announced Tuesday.

Sinex's company Devonwood Investors, LLC is set to enter into a joint venture agreement with Rouse Properties, a New York City-based company that owns and operates malls around the country.

The newly announced partnership means the project is on track to break ground in "June or July," Sinex told Seven Days on Tuesday.

"The important thing to announce to the community is the funds are in hand," Sinex said.

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Monday, April 10, 2017

Republican Vince Dober to Run for Burlington City Council

Posted By on Mon, Apr 10, 2017 at 6:44 PM

  • Courtesy photo
  • Vince Dober
Republican Vince Dober is hoping to return to the Burlington City Council. Dober declared his candidacy for a seat on Friday, just after Democrat Tom Ayres said that he will step down from the council in June. That will force a special election for the Ward 7 seat in the New North End.

Dober, 53, served as a councilor from 2009 to 2013. Dober, who was formerly with the Vermont Air National Guard, decided not to run for reelection so he could spend more time building up his business, Backstage Pub and Restaurant in Essex Junction. "This was sort of just a little break," Dober said. "I bought a business and that business has stabilized."

Burlington will hold a special election in June, Ayres told Seven Days last week. The winning candidate would need to run again next Town Meeting Day to keep the seat; Ayres' term expires in March 2018.

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

Tom Ayres Plans to Move, Resign From Burlington City Council

Posted By on Thu, Apr 6, 2017 at 6:21 PM

  • File: Matthew Thorsen
  • Tom Ayres
Burlington City Councilor Tom Ayres said he plans to resign from the council after accepting a new job in Randolph.

The Ward 7 Democrat likely won't step down until June, at which time the city will hold a special election to fill his seat, he said.

Ayres has accepted a position as executive director of the Chandler Center for the Arts and plans to move to Randolph, some 60 miles south of Burlington. He left a job as executive director of First Night Burlington.

Ayres had not formally announced his resignation, but said he planned to submit a letter on Thursday evening to the Bob Rusten, the city's chief administrative officer.

The announcement comes a month after Town Meeting Day, when three Democrats won election to give the party six of the council's 12 seats. The city must hold a special election within 90 days to fill his seat, according to Ayres.

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Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Burlington Incumbent Wins Inspector of Elections Runoff

Posted By on Tue, Apr 4, 2017 at 8:55 PM

  • File photo
Andrew Champagne spent 12 hours in Burlington's Old North End campaigning in the rain Tuesday — and his persistence paid off.

The incumbent Ward 2 inspector of elections kept his seat by edging challenger Adrian Burnett in a special election. The two men tied in a Town Meeting Day vote, but on Tuesday, Champagne won in a runaway: 150-50.

When the poll workers at the Integrated Arts Academy at H.O. Wheeler finished counting the ballots around 7:15 p.m. and announced the unofficial results, Champagne let out a whoop.

The 53-year-old incumbent praised the "pride people have in the Old North End, and the amount of respect people have for voting."

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Monday, April 3, 2017

Weinberger Discusses Refugees and Plans in State of the City Address

Posted By on Mon, Apr 3, 2017 at 11:40 PM

Miro Weinberger - KATIE JICKLING
  • Katie Jickling
  • Miro Weinberger
Mayor Miro Weinberger said a reduced number of refugees will be moving to Burlington in the coming months, and that the change isn't good for the city.

During his State of the City address Monday, he said Burlington will welcome just 15 refugees by September. "For more than 30 years, Burlington has welcomed approximately 300 New Americans each year — immigration that has made us much more diverse and culturally rich, and has been part of Chittenden County's economic success," Weinberger told the city council and about 100 residents who filled the seats at Burlington City Hall Auditorium.

He blamed the policies of President Donald Trump for the change. But Weinberger vowed to keep Burlington advancing forward. He introduced a young Sudanese couple, Samya and Salah, who were reunited in February when Samya was able to come to America and join Salah, after Trump's travel ban was lifted.

"At a time when the federal government is trying to close doors and turn its back on our most pressing challenges, we here in Burlington must continue to work harder than ever to keep our doors open, and to keep advancing," he said.

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