Arts & Leisure

Doug Wilhelm’s novel “Street of Storytellers” won the 2020 gold medal for young adult fiction from the Independent Press Awards.
WEYBRIDGE — Honors for published books are hard-won — and it’s rarer still to win three national awards in a single day, then a fourth a few weeks later. Yet that’s what happened last month to Weybridge author Doug Wilhelm. On Tuesday, May 5, Wilhelm’s novel “Street of Storytellers” won the 2020 gold medal for young adult fiction from the Independent Press Awards, an international competition for books issued by presses outside the corporate publishing establishment. The same competition’s gold medal for autobiography went to “China in Another Time,” a memoir by the late Claire Lintilhac of...

UNDER THE DIRECTION of high school choral directors Liz LeBeau (Middlebury), Megan LaRose (Mount Abe) and Cailin O’Hara (Vergennes), dozens of student vocalists recorded themselves singing the Vermont state song. LeBeau and LaRose mixed the audio, and Kurt Broderson of Middlebury Community TV edited and produced the video. Video screenshot
Social distancing and closed schools brought on by COVID-19 meant that the 70 young Addison County singers who contributed to a new video recording of the Vermont state song this spring did not have the luxury of rehearsing together in the same room. Nor did they experience the magic of dressing up and gathering in the wings, filing onstage, climbing the risers, and taking one last breath before raising their voices in song. Still, as each singer worked alone at home to record their audio and video contributions to “These Green Mountains,” they trusted that the others would be there when the...
(Pantheon Books) There came a time in Helen Jukes' life when the natural world felt slightly “out of kilter,” and she was struck with a pervasive restlessness, so she embarked on a new pastime, an outlet to occupy her, to keep her grounded. Having spent a short but profound period of time assisting an experienced beekeeper, and now living in a small house at the outskirts of town, complete with an overgrown, brambly back garden, she blithely chose to get a beehive. She begins her quest with research, uncovering historical references to bees and honey as far back as Aristotle and Virgil, (as a...

Some people have life birds, species of birds they’ve waited their whole lives to see in the wild. I don’t have one of these, but I do have a life mole. I’ve been waiting to catch a glimpse of Condylura cristata, the star-nosed mole, ever since I learned about this animal during a small mammals course in graduate school. Can you imagine a palm-sized mole whose pink, star-shaped nose contains 22 fleshy tentacle-like appendages, living right here underfoot in New England?  I spent years searching for this mole, wandering along the margins of wetlands, looking for the raised ridges of its...

LOCAL ROCKER CLINT Bierman (right) recently wrote two humorous songs about remote learning, and shot music videos for them. Bierman’s sons, Ty (left) and Sam, sang on the chorus for “Home School,” which is told from a home-bound parent’s point of view. Video screenshot
When Clint Bierman writes a new song, he tests it out on his sons, Ty and Sam. “They’re the first people I go to,” the guitarist and vocalist for The Grift said in a recent phone interview.  Fourth-grader Ty and second-grader Sam attend the Bridge School in Middlebury, where Bierman drops them off and picks them up every day — when there’s not a pandemic. “After I write something, I’ll play (a recording of it in the car) on the way home (to Bridport) from school, and I can really tell if something’s good, based on their reaction,” Bierman said. How can he tell? “They’ll sing it. If we get out...

FIVE-YEAR-OLD Emmett and his family are prepared for bathroom emergencies when away from home by keeping essentials in their minivan.
I was on vacation with my husband Bryan, and 5-year-old son Emmett camping in Florida when the pandemic rapidly unfolded. We managed to ride out the rest of our trip, easily social distancing in the Ocala National Forest in a very low-use, primitive campground. As it got closer to the return trip home we knew that we would once again drive through the night as we did on our journey down. Although this time we definitely would not be using any public restroom facilities between Florida and Vermont. The virus was in full swing, and some states had already closed their rest areas. Signs blinked...
(Riverhead Books) From the very first page, Brit Bennett will pull you in; she is such an impressive storyteller. The story begins in the town of Mallard, a small southern black community, where everyone knows the Vignes girls, twin sisters Desiree, the restless one and Stella, the studious one. When their mother makes them quit school at sixteen to clean houses with her, Stella starts to find Desiree's ideas of running away from Mallard much more compelling. We first meet Desiree when folks in town spot her returning home, on the run from an abusive husband, and now a mother herself, to...

“KITCHEN STILL LIFE Series #15 Violet Glass” by Karen O’Neil, 20x20, $3,500
Edgewater Galleries in Middlebury have reopened to the public and are showing new exhibitions in both galleries for June and July. Gallery managers do not plan in-person opening events for the shows but visitors can see them live. For those still cautious about where they go in public due to the coronavirus, Edgewater will continue to give customers the option to view the exhibitions virtually on our website. Both of the online exhibitions will be available to view by mid-June on its website, “Reflections,” a group exhibition featuring artists Kathleen Kolb, Lori Mehta...
The Middlebury Farmers’ Market began operating its weekly Saturday markets on May 23 at the VFW parking lot, 530 Exchange St. Markets on Wednesdays return June 17. Regular hours for both days are 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Given the pandemic there are special operating instructions. Among the new guidelines are: Customers are asked to pre-order and pre-pay whenever possible; when paying with cash, bring exact change if possible. Do not touch the food, let vendors hand it to you. Prepared food should be taken away; eating and drinking on site is not allowed. No pets allowed. Follow directional arrows...

MONTKON — Greentree Real Estate recently announced Lindsay Kittell as its 10th licensed real estate agent. Kittell grew up in Bristol and currently resides in Starksboro with her husband and teenage son. Since she graduated from Champlain College in 2001, Kittell has worked in various roles including business development & marketing, project coordinator for commercial construction projects as well as contract and permitting administration in the architectural, construction management and engineering industry. Greentree officials say she is extremely organized and accustomed to keeping...


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Addison County Independent

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