DINERS ENJOY A meal from Two Brothers restaurant in a properly spaced, outdoor seating area in front of Otter Creek Bakery. Two Brothers on the roundabout in downtown Middlebury has almost no outdoor seating, but the neighbors at Otter Creek Bakery came up with a generous solution. Independent photo/John S. McCright
ADDISON COUNTY — Whether you are an avid restaurant goer, or prefer to cook at home, it is hard to not feel concern for the restaurants and lodging services that have taken a serious financial hit during the COVID-19 pandemic. While some restaurants were able to shift their services to takeout and have remained flexible as regulations have lifted, others had closed completely and have just recently reopened under limited circumstances. Those circumstances were updated this past Friday, June 5, by Gov. Phil Scott, as he announced restaurants were allowed to open 25% of their indoor seating in...

Many states are reopening their businesses and providing outdoor seating at eateries as the pandemic curve has slowly started to flatten across the country. Regardless, COVID-19 is still a very real concern, and the lasting effects of this public heath emergency go further than just the physical.  The impact of this pandemic on the psyche is far reaching and everyone is having their own experience with it. Although globally the world is experiencing this pandemic together it does not mean that every individual is experiencing it in the same way.  It is no secret that the COVID-19 pandemic has...
MIDDLEBURY — The state of Vermont is offering COVID-19 testing to members of the public at an ongoing series of events. Several of these pop-up testing events are scheduled for Middlebury. They are for asymptomatic people to sign up for a COVID-19 test to tell if they currently have a COVID-19 infection. This is not a serology/antibody test, and will not tell you if you were sick with COVID-19 in the past. To sign up for a free test, head online to and follow the steps to register in advance. The information will be used by the Vermont Department of Health...
Education can be a great equalizer for many of our youth. Missing three-plus months of school this spring is a setback. This is especially true for the young students who are challenged doing schoolwork. School closing exacerbates an already bad situation for these youth. We can possibly loose a generation in secondary school education if schools do not open on its regular schedule this August. We can also use the break the pandemic has brought to initiate changes in education to better serve all. My concerns surrounding remote learning and challenged students have come from conversations...
Deb Rickner
For 27 years Bristol Elementary art teacher Deb Rickner has helped each of her sixth-grade students paint one cinderblock of the school's walls. This spring, because of the pandemic, she found a way for students to participate in the project from home. Independent photo/Christopher Ross.
BRISTOL — For nearly three decades, under the guidance of art teacher Deb Rickner, each graduating sixth-grader at Bristol Elementary School (BES) has created a personal design and painted it onto one cinderblock of the building’s interior. “The project must be about the kids, personally, like putting their stamp on the school,” Rickner told the Independent in a recent interview. Rickner’s students’ first canvas was the school cafeteria, where over the years successive classes of sixth-graders filled up every block that was safe to paint. In 2002 the project shifted to the hallways of the 5/6...
VERGENNES — The Bixby Library is returning to lending out its collection of books on a contactless curbside basis that will require patrons to make their requests 48 hours in advance. In an email Bixby Library Director Catharine Hays said the library is happy to be able to offer books again in an effort coordinated by Assistant Director Maddy Willwerth. “From what I’ve heard from other libraries in our county, there’s real pent-up demand that we are excited to be able to serve,” Hays said. Books will be available for pick-up in the parking lot behind the library on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 5...

By Mark Peluso, Middlebury College Director of Health Services, and Laurie Patton, Middlebury College President Will college students return to Middlebury in the fall? If so, how will we ensure their safety and the safety of the wider Middlebury community? These are the questions that have driven us at Middlebury College since we sent the great majority of students home last spring and effectively evacuated the campus. As we approach the end of June, the deadline we set for announcing our plans for the fall semester, we wanted to give our neighbors in the town and county more information and...
BRISTOL — The Bristol Town Band has canceled its June and July concerts because of COVID-19 concerns. At this time it’s still possible that performances could resume in August, but a decision about that will be made at a later date. “We will really miss playing on the green on Wednesday nights, and we appreciate all the support that the Town and Rec and Police Departments have shown for our band and larger community,” wrote band representative and Bristol Recreation Department staffer Alex Mihavics in Front Porch Forum post announcing the cancellation last weekend. Officials made the decision...

Gov. Phil Scott answers questions on the state’s COVID-19 response at a press briefing on May 29, 2020. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger
Despite an outbreak of COVID-19 in Winooski that now numbers 34 cases, Gov. Phil Scott and other state officials outlined a series of orders on Friday that open the door to indoor restaurant dining, increased travel and more lodging opportunities including short-term rentals. The Winooski outbreak has been identified and “boxed in,” Scott said at his regular COVID-19 press conference, and won’t affect plans announced earlier this week to increase business activity. Effective June 8, inns, hotels and other lodging can book 50% of their rooms for guests or have 25 guests and staff on the...
The leaders of Vermont’s House and Senate say they plan on fast-tracking grant money for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and may send an initial economic relief package to the governor’s desk by the end of next week. Last month, Gov. Phil Scott pitched a $400 million economic relief package that included a first round of $250 million in direct grants and loans to businesses, funded by dollars the state received from the federal CARES Act in April. House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, D-South Hero, and Senate President Pro Tem Tim Ashe, D/P-Chittenden, said Thursday that they are working...


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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100