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Museum annex project delayed by pandemic-related costs

June 28, 2021 GMT

ST. JOHNSBURY, Vt. (AP) — A major construction plan at the Fairbanks Museum in St. Johnsbury has been postponed due to pandemic-related pricing and labor and subcontractor shortages, museum officials said.

The museum bid out the Science Annex project this spring and planned to start construction in July until the project came in at $2 million or 68% above construction estimates, the Caledonian Record reported.

“We were just honestly stunned to see the costs come out where they did,” Adam Kane, the museum’s executive director, wrote in an email to project donors and supporters on Friday. The museum has decided to postpone construction to early spring of 2022, hoping to drive down costs and do additional fundraising, he said. Kane is also hopeful that the Science Annex will be supported by additional federal funding.

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The project is designed as a 6,000-square-foot, three-story annex on the rear of the museum that will house hands-on exhibits for astronomy and meteorology. Plans are for it to also provide a future home for Community College of Vermont operations in St. Johnsbury.

“This is a short-term disappointment for us, but we are thoroughly engaged and 100% committed to building the Science Annex,” Kane said.

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CATHOLIC MASS REQUIREMENT

Vermont’s Roman Catholic bishop is once again requiring most church members to attend Mass on Sundays.

On Sunday, Bishop Christopher Coyne, of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Burlington, which covers the entire state, announced the return of the “Sunday obligation,” beginning July 4.

Children who have not been vaccinated, people whose health has been compromised and their caregivers are not required to attend Sunday Mass.

“My hope is that all of us who are Catholics see participation in the Sunday Mass as something we want to do, not something we have to do. It is a sacred obligation we choose in freedom. We should make every effort to attend Sunday Mass,” Coyne said in a statement distributed on Monday. “However, as has been the case from the very beginning of the Church, there are times and circumstances when one cannot be present for Sunday Mass: injury, ill-health, mobility issues, age, and now personal safety issues that are still present due to COVID-19.”

Coyne said that most parishes that have been livestreaming Mass will continue to do so.

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NUMBERS

On Monday the Vermont Department of Health reported four new cases of the virus that causes COVID-19, bringing the statewide total since the pandemic began to just over 24,400.

There were six people hospitalized, including two in intensive care.

The number of deaths has remained at 256 for almost a month.

The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Vermont did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 9.71 new cases per day on June 12 to 4.57 new cases per day on June 26.