Hannah Laga Abram


LISA LAPETE, LEFT, a leader of New Haven First Response, has spent a lifetime in service to people in times of need. Her daughters, including Haley Lauziere, pictured here, serve with her on the squad.
NEW HAVEN — The end of July marked 31 years as a rescue squad volunteer for Lisa LaPete, the Head of Service for New Haven First Response. “I really take pride in being an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) and serving to give back to community,” she said. LaPete, 55, served for more than 20 years in Milton, where she grew up and where her brother worked as a fire chief. She got a hint of how intense the work was right off the bat. One of her first calls was a former classmate who had gotten in a car wreck and had the steering wheel stuck in his chest. “I was holding head stabilization on him...

BOB CROSBY'S ARTWORK will be on view at the Ilsley Library in Middlebury for the month of September.
MIDDLEBURY – The first open show of 72-year-old Bob Crosby’s art went up at the Ilsley Library on Sept. 1 and will be on view through the end of the month. “I’m excited…I want to do something good for people,” Crosby said. His medium is both out of the norm and as accessible as can be. Crosby’s hands are not stained with paint, but with Crayola markers. Originally from Brattleboro, Crosby took his first art class in 1970. Now, the Salisbury artist spends a lot of his time at a desk by a window, drawing and writing. “I feel more pleasure (when drawing and writing),” he said. He starts with the...

ANTHONY MASTERGEORGE HAS always wanted to work at fairs, and he has for 65 years. He was selling French Fries at Field Days last week. Independent photo/Hannah Laga Abram
NEW HAVEN — Anthony Mastergeorge of Rockingham has been selling French fries for 65 years. Leaning out of his “AJ’s fresh cut French Fries” truck — which he built himself 26 years ago — at Addison County Fair and Field Days to talk to me last week, Mastergeorge looks like the benevolent, all-seeing wizard-in-disguise you’re bound to find in a mysterious, Ferris wheel-based rom-com. Between even-handedly pushing potatoes through a contraption that slices them into fries at breakneck speed (they are indeed hand-cut) and resetting his frying baskets, Mastergeorge reveals that one of his uncles...

THE HAND MOWING competition has been a staple of Field Days since the event began. Photo by Adam Mahady
NEW HAVEN — Quiet can be hard to find at Field Days, but around the back of the cornfields, the “hand mowing” contest draws those who appreciate a practice of listening and focus. “We’re just out here cuttin’ grass,” said Tim Williams, a competitor from Lyme, N.H. This past Thursday morning was only Williams’s second competition, and he feels like he’s improved since his first a couple weeks ago. Williams usually uses a scythe — the long-handled implement with the curved blade that has been used for mowing by hand since, supposedly, 5000 BC — just once or twice a year. But the competition is...

BREAD AND PUPPET Theater will return to the Middlebury Marble Works for its second performance this summer. On Sept. 3 the troupe will perform “Our Domestic Resurrection Circus” — a classic that’s been around for 51 years. Independent photo/Hanna Laga Abram
“Morning happens when enough birds loudly declare the sun.” These words sang from a hand-painted banner at Bread and Puppet’s July performance in Middlebury’s Marble Works. That’s precisely what the 58-year-old, Glover-based performance troupe attempts to do with their summer show “Our Domestic Resurrection Circus” — now in its 51st year — but it looks different after COVID. “This summer’s circus feels less bright, it feels heavier — which is apropos — it reflects the hard year,” Maryann Incoronata said. Incoronata would know. She has been with the circus for 15 years, living, creating and...

BILL BOWERS CONDUCTS the Bristol Band on a lovely Wednesday evening. This summer marks the 150th year the band has played on the Town Green. Photo by Sandy Rooney
BRISTOL — Donna Wood remembers when she first heard the Bristol Band play in the summer of ’79. “We went to one concert and that decided it. I was playing the next week,” she said. Wood started playing flute in 4th grade and loved (and loves) being a part of the band because, she said, “I felt like I got to be myself.” Now 72 years old, Wood still plays every Wednesday evening during the summer on the Bristol Town Green with a band that will this year celebrate its 150th year in existence. Well…151st. “We had all this stuff planned for last summer,” said Alice Weston, band tuba player and...

14-year-old Kassidy Brown races her horse, Jet, through a pattern called the “Cloverleaf Barrels” in the gymkhana competition at Addison County Fair and Field Days on Tuesday. The fair continues through Saturday. Photos by Adam Mahady
NEW HAVEN — Lori Brown may run the Field Days event with the strangest name, but she said it’s also one of the more inclusive and family-oriented competitions on the program: the gymkhana. On Tuesday gymkhana celebrated its 10th anniversary at Addison County Fair and Field Days. Pronounced “gym-,” as in where you go work out, and “-khana,” rhymes with “nirvana,” the term hails from 19th century India and denotes something along the lines of an assembly where skill-based contests are held. In the horse world, gymkhanas consist of multiple speed and precision-oriented events. Each event...

Davida Murray, shown with her husband Binjamin and their children, (bottom to top) Shayna, Chaya and Chatche, knows that she and Binjamin will have a huge impact in forming who their children will be so they try to be good examples and teach good values.
ADDISON COUNTY — Samantha Ryan always knew she wanted to be a mother. But when her son, Jamie, was three months old, the first COVID-19 cases started popping up in the U.S. “It was the most terrifying thing ever,” Ryan said. The Whiting resident had already struggled with the decision to bring a child into the world in its “current state” of ramping climate crisis and economic insecurity, but COVID topped them all. But while the show stopped on so much of life in the past year, parenting went on as it always has and always will, regardless of the circumstances…or perhaps, because of them. The...
VERGENNES — A jury has ordered the company that operates the Northlands Job Corps federally funded job training center in Vergennes to pay a former employee $3.2 million for firing him after he complained about alleged safety violations there. Two things happened to Thomas Cole, then a residential counselor at Northlands, when he went to work on Monday, July 23, 2018. First, Cole recounts in legal papers, a colleague came to work sick and was told by her supervisor to find a replacement before she went home. Unable to find a replacement, she was still at work nine hours later. Second, Cole...
MONTPELIER — Vermont students will be able to return to fully in-person instruction when the school year begins this fall, with only a few state health recommendations in place, Gov. Phil Scott announced at a Tuesday press conference. With COVID-19 cases on the rise nationwide, including in Vermont, the CDC last week recommended that everyone, regardless of vaccination status, return to wearing masks indoors. Tuesday’s conference made clear that Vermont will not further these recommendations. “We have to understand that the CDC releases guidelines for the whole country, from one extreme to...

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Addison County Independent