Enosburg Falls heralds rebirth of block
Humane Society back from burglary
Enosburg Falls heralds rebirth of blockEnosburg Falls heralds rebirth of block (previously published, Burlington Free Press) Lisa M. Boucher ENOSBURG FALLS—It would seem a miracle to some, the speed at which the new Falls Building on Main Street rose like a phoenix from the ashes out of the old Depatie-Abbott block about 2 ½ years after fire destroyed the century-old wooden structure. But it was no miracle to the people of this little town—they knew it would be completed because it had to be. Thunder cracked overhead, occasionally drowning out the guest speakers, but it wasn't enough to derail the much anticipated ribbon cutting ceremony in Lincoln Park. "It's a thunderous occasion," came an anonymous voice from the crowd of about 150 people. The ribbon-cutting marks the beginning of a new era for Enosburg Falls, with the return of businesses and 22 affordable rental units in the 32,250 square-foot building. There is a 30 space parking garage below, with 14 additional spaces located behind the structure. "I have witnessed and partaken in the trials this community has gone through and I am proud and esteemed," said Village Manager, Jonathan Elwell, in his opening comments. Although the 28 month period, might have seemed three times as long to those who were waiting, the group effort that brought this construction to completion — Housing Vermont, a non-profit developer of affordable housing, along with community leaders and numerous funding sources at the local, state, and federal levels—were able to make it happen. Local contractors and building materials were used in the process. Champlain Housing Trust, a partner to Housing Vermont, in the development of the $7.1 million project, will manage the apartments. As part of the housing trust, the apartments will remain affordable. "When you look at the timeline, it took everyone jumping in to move this project forward," said Brenda Torpy, executive director of Champlain Housing Trust. Merchants Bank sold the trust the top floors at its 371 Main Street branch, where six more apartments will be made available, bringing the total to 28. "The real leadership and commitment has be home-grown," said John Hall of the Department of Housing and Community Affairs. "The people of Enosburg Falls made his happen." Margaret Jacobs, 86, is slated to move-in July 1 and has been looking forward to it for the past 10 months, since she signed on. While she admits to leaving the area for a little while, she's happy to be back. "I'm sort of like the old farmer who is asked if he's lived here all his life and he answers 'not yet'," said Jacobs with a laugh. "I haven't lived it all yet."
Humane Society back from burglaryHumane Society back from burglary (previously published, Burlington Free Press) Lisa M. Boucher ST. ALBANS—Pam Eaton Siers, executive director of the Franklin County Humane Society, gets a pained expression when she says the dogs are under quarantine, because one has parvovirus. She gets the same expression when someone comes in wanting to drop off a mother cat with kittens. "I believe there is someone out there for every animal," she said, explaining the shelter's no-kill policy. "The difference is how hard you work to find them." Following a break-in in late March that cost the shelter over $2000 in lost revenue, plus damages to the facility, the non-profit organization that shelters and cares for unwanted pets, is slowly regaining ground. "The impact on the staff is significant," Siers said. "In that we all find it difficult to comprehend why anyone would steal money, which would buy food and medical care for helpless animals." According to Siers, pet adoptions have remained high—however, the shelter doesn't realize any profit from the adoption process. All the proceeds go toward the cost of vaccinations, testing, spaying, or neutering. Although the burglary may have changed some of the practices at FCHC—there are now more secure door locks, as well as an alarm system that rings at the police station. It hasn't affected services provided to the animals. "While the financial loss is devastating, it doesn't deter us from our responsibility to the animals in our care," Siers said. "In the non-profit community, challenges are inherent and ongoing." The FCHS is a no kill shelter (animals aren't put down for lack of space), that provides treatment and adoption services to more than 1000 animals annually and the numbers continue to increase. "The shelter has one of the highest adoption rates in the state," said Siers. Funded entirely by donations, fund raising, and memberships, a loss of this magnitude is significant. Insurance doesn't cover the cash loss and according to Siers, it was decided that the cost of replacing the doors damaged in the break-in, wasn't worth risking an insurance premium increase, so a claim wasn't filed. Siers believes the culprit(s) might have been looking for drugs and got lucky by finding the money instead. "Our pharmaceutical cabinet was ransacked, "she said. "Fortunately, we don't keep any narcotics on the premises. As far as Siers is aware, no suspects have been questioned or arrests made in the case. No one from the St. Albans City police department was available for comment. The shelter has about eight paid employees; five are full time, with about 30 regular volunteers, who fill in the gaps and about 100 who help out with special events. "The universal love of animals makes this an incredible job," said Siers.