Christopher Ross

BRISTOL — Bristol officials have decided it’s time to take another look at expanding the Bristol Police Department’s coverage area to include the entire town. “We have to make a decision in four years about our building,” Bristol Police Chief Bruce Nason told the town selectboard on Monday, referring to the lease on the BPD’s current headquarters in the Bristol Works Complex, which expires in 2023. “If we are thinking about (expanding) town-wide and we are able to do that, that should (happen) first.” Currently the BPD polices roughly one square mile of Bristol Village. The expansion would...
BRISTOL — What began as nostalgia for the former Bristol Farmers Market has evolved into a concerted effort to launch a new monthly summer event in town — part market, part community gathering and part to-be-determined. “I loved the old Bristol Farmers Market on the green on Saturday mornings years ago,” wrote Bristol resident Amy Elkins on Front Porch Forum last month. “I would love to see it return.” Terri Mayer Thomsen agreed. “I also wish we had a Farmers Market,” Thomsen wrote in the same forum. “Is there anyone out there that feels the same way?” The answer, in short, is “yes.” And last...

COW WHISPERER SAMUEL Wilbur, 11, of Whiting gets an earful from his Brown Swiss cow, Destiny, waiting for the 4-H dairy conformation class during the 2019 Addison County Fair and Field Days in New Haven. Independent photo/Steve James
NEW HAVEN — With a wink and a nod, anyone who’s lived around these parts for a while will acknowledge that our beloved Addison County Fair & Field Days is engaged in an epic annual struggle with the weather gods. On one hand — the positive one — heavy rains might scatter crowds into nearby tents and buildings, where perhaps they’ll get to experience magical moments they hadn’t known to look for. Less helpful is when such weather prompts, among other things, the deployment of tractors to help visitors extract their cars from the muddy parking lot. But as they say in show biz, “The show...

PROPOSED CHANGES IN how the U.S. Forest Service defines the way it approaches compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act would reduce the ability of the public to give feedback before changes are made in the Green Mountain National Forest and other national forests.
ADDISON COUNTY — If a proposed change in federal land use rules goes through, the 90,000 acres of Green Mountain National Forest that fall within Addison County could see a lot more commercial logging, road building and utility corridors — all without environmental review or public input. “Basically, the rules would take the ‘public’ out of public land management,” said Jamey Fidel, Forest and Wildlife Program Director for the Vermont Natural Resources Council (VNRC). At issue is a proposal by the United States Forest Service (USFS) to revise the way it interprets the National Environmental...

PATTY HEATHER-LEA TRIMS the thread on a tote-bag-in-progress last Thursday evening. In anticipation of a state law banning single-use plastic bags, which will go into effect next July, Heather-Lea and other community members have volunteered to produce and give away reusable shopping bags. Independent photo/Christopher Ross
BRISTOL — Last Thursday evening in the basement of St. Ambrose Church in Bristol, the hum of a powerful oscillating floor fan masked other sounds. A small group of volunteers with Sewing for Change–Bristol unpacked sewing machines and bags of fabric, threaded their needles and got to work. “Sewing for Change–Bristol, a group of people concerned about the effects single-use plastic bags are having on our environment and the health of all living things, has been sewing reusable bags to give to residents, with the idea that they will be used instead of single-use plastic bags,” said organizers...
LINCOLN — The Lincoln tax bills that just went out have increased for fiscal year 2020, but not by much. The town selectboard on Aug. 6 set the coming year’s municipal tax rate at $0.6501 per $100 of assessed property value, an increase of 1.15 cents, or 1.8 percent. Lincoln’s residential education tax rate for FY 2020 increased by less than a cent (or 0.6 percent) to $1.493, in part because this year the Mount Abraham Unified School District is not receiving the one-time tax discount of $0.08 it received last year as part of Act 46 school consolidation incentives. The nonresidential...

NEW HAVEN RESIDENT Linda Sweeney, shown this past December with stuffed animals she made out of her late husband’s clothing, recently suffered injuries in a bike accident. She said the helmet she was wearing saved her life. Independent file photo/John S. McCright
NEW HAVEN — Two weeks ago a bicycle helmet saved Linda Sweeney’s life. “I am here to BEG anyone that rides a bike to wear a helmet,” she said in a Facebook post last week, which she shared with the Independent. “It matters!!!” On July 29, the New Haven resident crashed on her bicycle somewhere near Twin Mountain in Carroll, N.H. “I’m not sure what happened,” said the post, which Sweeney had dictated to a friend. “I apparently hit railroad tracks traveling fast and went down. I was out for at least 20 minutes and a kind passerby called 911.” Sweeney was transported to Littleton Regional...

BUZZ IS BUILDING for Lincoln musicologist Dale Cockrell’s new book, “Everybody’s Doin’ It,” which will be published Aug. 13. The cultural study brings to life the decades of American music that led to the birth of ragtime and jazz. Photo courtesy of Dale Cockrell
LINCOLN — In the acknowledgments section of his new book, “Everybody’s Doin’ It,” Lincoln author Dale Cockrell muses on how strange it is to put the words “sex” and “musicology” in the same sentence. “Many seem not to think at first that the two can coexist in a mutual frame of scholarly mind,” he writes. “But after the initial shock and an additional explanatory sentence or two, everyone seems to brighten with something to say about music or (sotto voce) about sex or both.” Cockrell, who taught music history at Middlebury College from 1979 to 1985, does more than just rub a couple of...

MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE STUDENTS Luna Gizzi, left, and Olivia O’Brien worked as Privilege & Poverty interns at WomenSafe this summer. The internship program, funded by the college, provides experiential learning for students and much-needed help for local social service organizations. Photo by Jason Duquette-Hoffman/Middlebury College
MIDDLEBURY — “When I feed the poor, they call me a saint, but when I ask why the poor are hungry, they call me a communist.” This quote, attributed to Brazilian Catholic archbishop Dom Hélder Câmara, came up last week during a meeting of Privilege & Poverty interns at Middlebury College. In addition to working for social service organizations in Addison County this summer those interns have been navigating the vast gulf between helping people in need and addressing the underlying causes of those needs. “How do you create a society that doesn’t need WomenSafe?” asked Olivia O’Brien, who...
BRISTOL — After seeing a decrease in their tax bills last year, Bristol residents will see an increase for fiscal year 2020, due in large part to decreasing Act 46 school consolidation incentives. The Bristol selectboard at its Monday, Aug. 5, meeting set the FY2020 municipal tax rate at $0.7057 per $100 of assessed property value, an increase of less than a penny, or about 0.9 percent. At the same time, it set the police district rate — which is assessed only to owners of property mostly in the village area — at $0.3135, a decrease of less than a penny, or about 1.5 percent. As a result,...


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