Christopher Ross

MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE STUDENTS study outside with masks in front of Mead Chapel earlier this fall. The college’s plan to loosen up COVID-19 restrictions this month hit a snag when the state kept some mass gathering restrictions in place longer than anticipated. Photo courtesy of Sarah Ray/Middlebury College
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury College officials had hoped the campus community could transition to the third and final phase of the fall reopening plan this month, but that is not going to happen. “Given current conditions and state of Vermont limits on gathering sizes and physical distancing requirements, we cannot move to Phase 3 as we conceptualized it,” wrote President Laurie Patton, Provost Jeff Cason and Acting Dean of Students A.J. Place in a campus-wide announcement Tuesday. “When we formulated our plans for the phased opening of the Vermont campus, in July and August, we imagined that we...
MIDDLEBURY — Analyzing consumer shopping habits. Live road-mapping for vehicles. Online streaming. Pandemic tracking. All of these things are possible because of “big data.” Most of us understand on some level that our lives are increasingly interwoven with big data, but very few of us understand how it shapes us and the way we think. Even fewer understand how to shape the data itself. Middlebury College is hoping to change that with a new initiative called MiddData, which aims to provide its students access to powerful tools, empirical research analysis and critical digital scholarship —...

BY THE TIME Christopher Shaw retired from teaching at Middlebury College in 2018, he had written three books about the Adirondacks, a region he has forged deep, lifelong connections with. This fall he published one of those books, a novel called “The Power Line,” which explores the region’s characters and landscape as it tries to get to the bottom of an alleged shootout between bootleggers in 1929. Photo by Jennifer Kiewit
BRISTOL — When Christopher Shaw moved to the Adirondacks in 1969, he was looking for something that had been unavailable to him growing up in the suburbs of Schenectady, N.Y. — the kind of intellectual life that arises from, and in turn influences, a region’s sense of “place.” In a 2007 New York Times article about hiking the same Adirondack mountain the American philosopher William James had hiked in 1898, Shaw put it another way:  “My own experience in nature had made me curious as to how places as much as cultures could produce distinctive expressions of thought and art.” That particular...

SOME MEMBERS AND friends of the Monkton Community Dog Park Committee and their hopeful canine companions take a photo break in the proposed dog park area this past August. Permission and funds have been gathered for fencing of the dog area in Morse Park next month. Pictured from left are Bob Radler and Peak, Cathie Buscaglia and Charlee, Paul Lowe, Deb Gaynor and Flynn, Corine Farewell and Caro, and Callie Brynn and Cora. Photo by Buzz Kuhns
MONKTON — A few weeks from now, when the first canine residents of northern Addison County and surrounding areas suddenly find themselves unleashed in Monkton’s brand-new dog park, their snuffling, howling, wagging, zoomy pleasures will be quite a sight to see. No doubt their owners will also be pleased, especially those who over the years have spent countless hours transporting dogs-going-bonkers to parks in Middlebury or Shelburne or even Burlington. Once complete, the Monkton Community Dog Park will occupy just under one acre of Morse Park south of the Rec Field parking lot off Pond Road....

ONE OF 20 recently installed, student-made artworks on the Bristol Trail Network. Independent photo/Christopher Ross
BRISTOL — Last week, on a segment of the Bristol Trail Network that starts behind the Firehouse, Mount Abraham Union Middle School seventh-graders Isabella Shackett and Nathan Lester made a work of art from vines, twigs, bark and leaves, then suspended it from a trio of young trees. Teaching artist Claire Tebbs watched their work develop. “What’s remarkable about this installation is that they had completely different visions for it but were at peace with the same work,” Tebbs said. Lester calls the work “Nature’s Pizza,” alluding to its triangular shape and drawing parallels between the “...
LINCOLN — Back in the day — this would have been the early 1900s — there was a kid in Lincoln named Roger Sargent who had his own special cup hanging on a nail in the Lincoln Creamery down the road, so that whenever he came to visit he could have a drink of buttermilk. The cup was a gift from the fellow who ran the creamery, John Chapman. Many decades later, long after the creamery had closed, kids growing up in Lincoln enjoyed different delights, like bumping into retiree Val Webber, who used to go around town with a pocketful of nickels, handing them out to every child he met. These and...
ADDISON COUNTY — Migrant dairy worker Lenin Ventura spent his first four years in Vermont laboring and living under poor conditions. On one dairy farm, “we used to live in a small home where there was only one bathroom for six people, and there were problems with the heat,” he said in a phone interview Tuesday.  Ventura, 42, spoke in Spanish, which was translated by Marita Canedo of the group Migrant Justice. “We were not paid by the hour but by a set amount, so extra hours were not paid and there were many hours worked without pay,” he said. Workers found it difficult to obtain the...

ENSLEY CALLUM PICKS apples at Happy Valley Orchard in Middlebury this week. Callum, from Jamaica, is spending his sixth year working on the harvest at Happy Valley, which employs several Jamaicans on seasonal work permits each year. Independent photo/Steve James
ADDISON COUNTY — The story of this year’s apple season has four chapters, so far: a dry summer, August rain, gorgeous pick-your-own weather, and COVID-19. A minor summer drought contributed to more concentrated flavors, but enough moisture got into the ground by the start of harvest season to allow the fruit to “size up.” And September’s pleasant weekends provided extra encouragement for people to visit their local orchards for some outdoor pick-your-own fun. At the same time, orchards are having to adapt their businesses to the ongoing presence of the pandemic. “Mother nature has once again...
This story, originally published on Monday, October 5, was updated on Wednesday, October 7. The total count of cases among seasonal apple pickers is now up to 28, according to an email from the orchard. SHOREHAM — Champlain Orchards closed temporarily, after 27 seasonal apple pickers tested positive for COVID-19. The Vermont Department of Health (VDH) reported Monday morning that there were 26 positive cases at the Shoreham orchard, and at a Tuesday morning press conference Commissioner of Health Mark Levine announced that a late-arriving batch of test results revealed one additional case....
BRISTOL — Mount Abraham Unified School District officials want to talk with 5-Town residents about a financial future that may require closing some of their schools. “It is not without a great deal of concern and anxiety that the MAUSD Board is undertaking conversations that include the possible closure of schools,” wrote board chair Dawn Griswold in an open letter to the community last month. “I believe I can speak for all members when I say that especially at this uncertain moment in time, this is not something we want to be bringing to the community to consider.” But with steadily...


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Addison County Independent

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