July 12th, 2010
Dan Freeman began hand-making custom leather shoes in the 1970s, and opened his Middlebury shop about ten years later. To learn the trade, he tracked down an old leather-worker in New Orleans, and spent days on Grey Hound buses traveling to Louisiana. After some persistence from Freeman, the New Orleans man agreed to teach Freeman his trade. Freeman estimates that there are around ten people left in the country that make the his type of custom boots and shoes.
MIDDLEBURY — To say that Steve Howard entered politics at an early age would be an understatement.
The 38-year-old Rutland City Democrat was 13 years old in 1984 when he covertly campaigned for then-gubernatorial candidate Madeleine Kunin. He recalled that he had to stump slyly so as not to incur the wrath of his politically conservative dad in Rutland County — which remains one of the reddest regions in a primarily blue state.
MIDDLEBURY — “Just speak up if we can help you,” Dan Freeman called to the customers who’d ambled into the Middlebury shoemaker’s shop.
Just as quickly as he’d looked up, he was back to work. Behind his worktable, Freeman’s hands were in constant motion — stretching the leather in one shoe, and boxing up another pair to ship off to a customer. He pulled lasts, the foot-shaped models used for designing shoes, from the crowded shelves around his workbench.
MIDDLEBURY — Bits of Russian, French, and other languages could be heard in downtown Middlebury and at local swimming holes on Thursday afternoon rather than on the Middlebury College campus, as students in the college Language Schools were freed from their classrooms and air conditioned-less rooms and allowed to frolic in cooler spaces.
BRIDPORT — When Debbie Ploof attends community events in Addison County, whether it’s a town festival in Shoreham or a school event in Weybridge, she is instantly recognized by local kids as “the dictionary lady.”
BRANDON — The Brandon Development Review Board has denied an application for a 56,000-square-foot shopping market plaza roughly a mile south of downtown, but has approved a scaled-down version of the project.
The board voted unanimously in its decision to deny the Act 250 application filed by developer Bill McCabe to build a 36,000-square-foot Hannaford supermarket, a 12,000-square-foot line of smaller stores, and a 5,000-square-foot standalone outbuilding, plus a 295-space parking lot.
What to be more involved in your local community, but don’t have a lot of time to volunteer — and, in fact, you can really only put in time during the week after work. And even better, could that volunteer work include carousing with friends and neighbors, enjoying dinner downtown first, and maybe include listening to stimulating music?
Get real, you say! Well, such volunteer work is not only possible, it is the call to action right now and through the rest of the week.
LINCOLN — Weighing looming repairs and the costs associated with them, the Lincoln Community School board will sketch out three options for the ailing school building at a hearing Tuesday night.