Andy Kirkaldy

WALTHAM — The Waltham selectboard has appointed its first non-elected clerk/treasurer. It picked Panton’s assistant clerk and treasurer, Linda Devino, out of a field of about a half-dozen applicants. Selectboard Chair Andrew Martin said Devino, who has been an assistant clerk/treasurer for a number of years in Waltham’s neighboring town, had the experience to make her stand out among the applicants. Devino will start on April 27. Former Vergennes Union High School teacher Roberta “Cookie” Steponaitis has been filling in, and Martin said he and fellow Selectman Timothy Ryan have also been...

ONE OF THE hotter segments in Addison County’s real estate sector is new construction, such as this in-progress home on Commodore Drive in Vergennes. That For Sale sign is rare right now, as inventory is tight in a market that favors sellers. Independent photo/Andy Kirkaldy
ADDISON COUNTY — When veteran real estate appraiser Bill Benton left his Vergennes office one recent morning, one of his stops was to appraise a Weybridge home that had been placed on the market for $435,000. It was under contract for $475,000, without a financing clause that would make the sale depend on Benton’s appraised value matching the agreed-upon price. Benton recalled the seller asking him if it was anything he had seen before in his four decades of evaluating Addison County real estate. “I said, no, it isn’t,” he recalled. “COVID has made a big difference.” What Benton described is...
WALTHAM — As Waltham still mourns the deaths of its two main elected officials, former longtime Vergennes Union High School teacher Roberta “Cookie” Steponaitis is subbing in temporarily for both jobs in the Waltham Town Clerk’s Office. Selectboard Chair Andrew Martin said he and fellow board member Timothy Ryan have also helped out around the office, which has maintained its regular hours of Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., but Martin credited Steponaitis for stepping in to fill the breach. “She’s absolutely wonderful,” Martin said. Town Clerk and Assistant Town Treasurer Mary Ann Castimore...

THE FORMER DENECKER Chevrolet property in Ferrisburgh at the junction of Route 7 and Monkton Road is now overflow vehicle storage for Chittenden County’s The Heritage Group Inc., which paid almost a half-million dollars for it on Dec. 30. Independent photo/Andy Kirkaldy
FERRISBURGH — South Burlington’s Heritage Automotive Group Inc. has purchased the former Denecker Chevrolet dealership at the junction of Route 7 and Monkton Road, but according to a company executive the company does not plan to sell cars at the 2.2-acre site. According to Heritage Sales Manager Ryan Denecker — son of former Denecker Chevrolet owner Tom Denecker — Heritage needed space to store an overflow of vehicles after losing options in Chittenden County. “We had had a couple storage lots up in Chittenden County, and those were unavailable to us. So we were kind of scrambling to find...

MUHS BOYS’ HOCKEY forward Owen Lawton challenges a defender behind the Northfield net during the Tigers’ 9-0 first-round playoff victory. The Tigers won two playoff games before falling in a semifinal to the top seed. Independent file photo/Steve James
ADDISON COUNTY — This winter’s high school sports mirrored the fall season. It began with uncertainty. Would the pandemic allow the athletes to play? A post-holiday surge of infections threatened athletes’ hopes, just as a late-summer peak in 2020 challenged the fall season. But state officials finally approved a shortened season, as they had in the fall. And again athletes were largely just happy to be back in action, regardless of the results. Along the way teams produced high drama, comebacks and overtime lead changes. Some teams maybe failed to meet expectations, while others took steps...

NORDIC SKIERS AT Blueberry Hill’s Outdoor Center make their way across abundant snow on a flat stretch on a trail. Inn co-owner Shari Brown said good conditions was one of several reasons more than twice as many visitors used the outdoor center this winter than the previous season. Photo by Daniel Schechner
RIPTON/GOSHEN — There has been at least one arguably positive side effect of the COVID-19 pandemic: Operators of Addison County’s two Nordic skiing centers report a surge of interest in cross-country skiing during the past winter. They cite factors that included the desire of housebound residents to be active outdoors and good conditions for the sport. “I saw lots of new faces, a big increase in numbers,” said Blueberry Hill Inn co-owner Shari Brown, who is also the director of the Goshen inn’s Outdoor Center, which in the winter focuses on Nordic skiing and snowshoeing. Barney Hodges,...
BARNET — On April 4, 1967, Martin Luther King Jr. stood in the pulpit of the Riverside Church in Manhattan’s Upper West Side and delivered one of the most important and powerful speeches of his life. Despite counsel from many of his allies, King condemned in no uncertain terms the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War, linking the ultimately ill-fated military effort to racism and poverty. On April 4, 1968, assassin James Earl Ray took King’s life on the balcony of a Memphis, Tenn., motel, one day after another momentous speech, his “I’ve been to the mountaintop” address. On April 4, 2021, the...
VERGENNES — Like other school districts in the county, state and nation, the Addison Northwest School District has received and will continue to receive federal funding to help the district — and its students and staff — recover from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. But according to ANWSD Superintendent Sheila Soule it remains unclear exactly how the strings attached to the funding will allow the district and other districts to spend the money, which in ANWSD’s case will total about $1.76 million over the next couple years. Soule responded in emails to questions about the latest and...
FERRISBURGH — The town of Ferrisburgh and the owners of Vorsteveld Farms LLC have reached a settlement in the legal dispute over their 2017 cutting of more than 2,000 trees in the town’s right of way on Arnold Bay Road. The agreement required the farm’s owners, brothers Gerard, Hans and Rudolf Vorsteveld, to pay a $30,000 settlement to the town of Ferrisburgh. It does not require them to perform any restorative work along the 0.75-mile stretch of road running north from the Panton town line. The deal became official last week when Addison County Superior Court Judge Mary Miles Teachout signed...

Congressman Peter Welch
VERGENNES — Vergennes will soon receive the first half of $756,383 in federal COVID-19 aid from the American Rescue Plan Act, Rep. Peter Welch, D-Vt., told the Vergennes City Council on Tuesday. The Addison Northwest School District will also receive $1.76 million, Welch told the council.  There are strings attached on how that money can be spent, Vermont’s Congressman added. Spending has to be related to the impact on the community related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Welch said, and there are components related to helping nonprofits and supporting water, sewer and broadband projects. “You are...

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Addison County Independent