Essex police urge caution when driving
As the tranquil days of summer quickly come to a close, Essex police are urging drivers to be cautious.
“Back-to-school time is an adjustment for students, parents and the motoring public,” said Police Chief Brad LaRose. The increase of road activity — including children biking and walking to school — calls for a heightened awareness of one’s surroundings, he said.
Additionally, police wish to remind residents of the change in legislation regarding cell phone use while driving, which went into effect July 1. Prior to that, drivers were prohibited from using hand-held devices in moving vehicles, but were permitted to do so when stationary, such as in traffic, at a stoplight or stop sign.
Despite the law change, police are still seeing a significant amount of cell phone use and have issued several tickets, LaRose said.
“If you’re stopped at a stop light and you’re on a device, if the light turns green and you’re not moving, then you’re interrupting the flow of traffic,” LaRose said.
Drivers who need to use their hand-held devices — dialing, texting or checking email using your fingers — should move off of the travel portion of the road, LaRose added. Hands-free use is permitted.
These remarks are part of a continuing effort by police to raise awareness of various traffic issues in the area, highlighted by the purchase of four new speed-sentry units in July which are now in place around the community.
Mill Pond Bridge reconstruction nears completion
The Mill Pond Road bridge in Colchester is expected to be re-opened on or about Sept. 25 after a summer-long reconstruction project that detoured traffic around Mill Pond Road, according to the Colchester Department of Public Works. The Vermont Agency of Transportation primarily funded the $1.38 million project, with a local cost of $87,000 provided by the Town of Colchester, according to Public Works Director Bryan Osborne.
Dunne to speak on candidacy
Matt Dunne, a Democratic candidate for Vermont governor, will hold a community forum at the Brownell Library in Essex on Tuesday. Dunne, who also ran for governor in 2010, is holding a series of 20 such forums throughout the state. The Brownell event begins at 3 p.m.
A Vermont native and graduate of Brown University, Dunne is a former representative in the Vermont Legislature and AmeriCorps director in the Clinton Administration. He is currently head of community affairs at Google.
Winooski hotel project wins state tax incentive
Plans for a hotel in downtown Winooski were bolstered last week when the project received roughly $264,000 in state downtown tax incentives.
It is one of 27 projects throughout the state that shared $2.37 million through the downtown and village center tax incentive program.
A second project in Winooski, a plan to redevelop the former Peking Duck House restaurant building on West Canal Street into 35 housing units, won $175,000 through the program.
“It is my pleasure to announce the recipients of the 2015 Downtown and Village Center tax credits – incentives that will support significant redevelopment efforts being made by Vermonters around the state,” Gov. Peter Shumlin said in a press release. “When we put state dollars to work revitalizing our communities, we not only support local economic development but we also build a better and stronger future for Vermont.”
Pat Moulton, secretary of the Agency of Commerce and Community Development added: “This program continues to foster projects that bring more jobs, business and housing to our downtowns and villages. It supports large-scale development projects, creative public/private partnerships, and the investments of small Vermont-owned businesses — making our historic downtowns and village centers stronger and more resilient.”