Christopher Ross


MONICA PRZYPERHART, ADDISON County River Watch Collaborative Technical Coordinator, takes a water sample at a site in the Barnes Brook watershed just off Buttolph Drive in Middlebury on May 4. The citizen science group opened its water sampling season this year by experimenting with various low-cost testing tools. Independent photo/William Haig
MIDDLEBURY — Addison County River Watch Collaborative has begun its 2021 sampling season with a special project in Middlebury, in a watershed that includes Mary Hogan Elementary and Middlebury Union High School. The small stream, which empties into Otter Creek and eventually into Lake Champlain, doesn’t usually appear on maps, but it’s known around these parts, at least unofficially, as “Barnes Brook.” River Watch has been testing for water quality at eight sites in the Barnes Brook watershed, but its overall goal is more far-reaching. “The main purpose of this project is to test new sampling...

THE GOODRICH FARM in Salisbury, in partnership with Middlebury College, Vanguard Renewables and Vermont Gas Systems, has built an anaerobic digester system that will convert cow manure and food waste into renewable natural gas, which the college will use to heat its buildings. The project will help Middlebury College achieve its goal of using 100% renewable energy by 2028. Photo courtesy Vanguard Renewables
Part 1 of 2 MIDDLEBURY — Two years after announcing its Energy2028 strategy, Middlebury College has already made significant progress toward reaching the plan’s ambitious sustainability goals, according to new information released by the college last month during Earth Week. When announced in 2019, Energy2028 rested on four “pillars”: transitioning to 100% renewable energy sources, cutting energy consumption by 25%, divesting the college’s endowment of fossil fuel investments, and integrating Energy2028 within the college’s educational mission. Since then, Middlebury has added a fifth pillar...

THE NEW HAVEN selectboard has chosen a new home for the train depot. Photo by Scott Reiss
NEW HAVEN — After months of community conversations and wrangling with state officials it looks like the New Haven Junction Train Depot will no longer be located at a junction. At an emergency meeting last week the town selectboard, needing to choose a new home for the depot in order to apply for a $350,000 grant, chose a site on North Street, just north of the town office and library. “This isn’t a choice, as far as I’m concerned,” said selectboard member Steve Dupoise. “It’s either we do this or we have the very strong possibility of losing the train station and that is not an option.” The...
VERMONT — More than 20,000 Vermont homes and businesses have taken advantage of Efficiency Vermont’s heat pump programs since Jake Marin launched the first one in 2013, and more than 15,000 have installed heat pump hot water heaters. “There are lot of reasons to install a heat pump,” said Marin, who is Efficiency Vermont’s HVAC and Refrigeration Program Manager. “Reducing your carbon footprint, saving energy, saving money.” Heat pumps are also a great fit for solar electricity systems, and in new buildings they’re a great way to get heating and air conditioning at a very low cost and not have...
BRISTOL — By Kevin Harper’s reckoning, Bristol has lost a lot of good jobs because there’s nowhere in town for businesses to grow beyond a certain size. In 2019, Harper reached out to a number of companies that had started out in Bristol — some in the Bristol Works business complex he co-owns — but then outgrew the town and moved on: Aqua Vitea, Autumn Harp, Bee’s Wrap, Danforth Pewter, NRG, Silver Maple Construction, Vermont Coffee Company. Collectively, Harper determined at the time, they employed more than 500 people with good paying jobs and benefits — and all had grown after they left...

Developers are hoping to break ground for Bristol’s Firehouse Apartments by the end of this year. The 20-unit neighborhood of mostly affordable housing will be located just east of the fire station on land that Evernorth (formerly Housing Vermont) and the Addison County Community Trust are purchasing from Bristol-based Stoney Hill Properties LLC. Image courtesy Evernorth
BRISTOL — Someday in the not-too-distant future, a few dozen Bristol residents will likely include some version of the following phrase when directing people to their homes: “Turn at the firehouse.” The Firehouse Apartments project, formerly known as the Stoney Hill residential development, is gradually making its way through the design and permitting process. The plan calls for 20 housing units in three buildings off West Street, just east of the Bristol Firehouse. Much of the development will be designated as affordable housing. “Several of the 20 units will be available to middle-income...

DAVID BLITTERSDORF Photo by Shem Roose
BRISTOL — He’s been away for nearly 40 years, but the “Albert Einstein of job creation” is about to return to Bristol. Renewable energy entrepreneur and crusader David Blittersdorf will bring his company AllEarth Renewables to the Stoney Hill business park upon completion of its first building, sometime next summer. (See story on Page 1A.) “For me, Bristol is where I started my career in renewables, and it’s why we’re back,” Blittersdorf told the Independent. Blittersdorf moved to Bristol after graduating from the University of Vermont with a degree in mechanical engineering in 1981. At the...
VERMONT — Over the past year, as nearly 30,000 people have left the Vermont workforce, Mat Barewicz has found the want ads fascinating. “Large, franchise-type chain restaurants are offering incredible starting pay, plus tuition reimbursement, plus sign-on bonuses of $3,000 or $4,000,” said Barewicz, who is the Economic & Labor Market Information Chief for the Vermont Department of Labor (DOL). Even as they advertise $17 or $18 per hour jobs, the leisure, hospitality and food service industries are struggling to find employees, he said. Vermont’s construction industry is struggling, too. “...

CATHERINE WILLSON LEAVES a couple loves of bread she baked on a bench in front of her home in Bristol for anyone to take. She has baked and given away more than 200 loaves of bread over the past 13 months. Sometimes she gives them to friends and neighbors, sometimes to local businesses and organizations, and sometimes bakes for strangers. Independent photo/William Haig
BRISTOL — Catherine Willson knows she gave away 225 loaves of homemade bread between March 20, 2020, and March 20, 2021, because she’s been keeping track in a notebook. She started off just giving bread away to friends. “Around loaf 30, I’d sort of run out of my friends, so I gave it to people on my street,” she told the Independent. “I was on a board, so I brought it to board members. And it just sort of went like that.” Kimball’s Office Supply. The Bristol Post Office. The folks at Bristol Electronics and the ski patrol at Mad River Glen. If the Bristol Food Shelf planned to be open on a...

TED LYLIS RECENTLY restored the carriage and frame that support this 19th-century Clinton Meneely bell, which has occupied the Holley Hall bell tower for 130 years. Next month, the bell and its frame will be displayed on the Holley Hall lawn, while the bell tower undergoes repairs. Independent photo/Christopher Ross
BRISTOL — For the last couple of weeks Ted Lylis has had Holley Hall’s 130-year-old bronze bell sitting on some timbers in his yard. Attached to its cast-iron yoke the bell weighs 500 to 800 pounds, Lylis estimates. Add in the wooden frame, standards and wheel, which are currently sitting in Lylis’s shop, and the whole thing’s probably pushing a half-ton. It was quite the production getting it there, Lylis told the Independent. First, Lylis had to climb up into the Holley Hall bell tower and attach turnbuckles, cable and steel angles to the bell frame because one of the standards (the capital...

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Addison County Independent