John Flowers

MIDDLEBURY — Two years ago, educator Fawnda Buttolph’s favorite place to substitute teach was Middlebury Union Middle School. Now she won’t go back. During a heartfelt speech before the Addison Central School District Board on Monday, Buttolph tearfully shared some of her personal stories about recent subbing stints at MUMS. Her concerns ran the gamut from undisciplined children to stressed teachers who are hard-pressed to maintain classroom presence and decorum while fulfilling added responsibilities associated with the new International Baccalaureate program. Buttolph specifically told the...

MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE PRESIDENT Laurie Patton shakes hands with Lieutenant Governor Molly Gray at the groundbreaking ceremony for the college's solar farm project, to be built in partnership with Encore Renewable Energy and Green Mountain Power. Independent photo/John S. McCright
MIDDLEBURY — Some of the state’s brightest political, academic and entrepreneurial stars converged on a picturesque pasture in Middlebury on Tuesday morning, but it was the sun that stole the show. Aside from being out in full force on what was a warm fall morning, the sun will be the lifeblood of a 5-megawatt solar farm to be sited on 30 acres of Middlebury College-owned land off South Street Extension. Once completed next year, the farm’s 29,000 panels will provide the college with about 30 percent of its total electricity use. That will help the college reach its Energy2028 initiative goal...

ALMOST TWO YEARS after floating their original request to fly the Black Lives Matter flag at Middlebury Union High School, students there will now be able to raise that banner.
MIDDLEBURY — Almost two years after floating their original request to fly the Black Lives Matter flag at Middlebury Union High School, students there will now be able to raise that banner. After many months of impassioned debate interrupted at times by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Addison Central School District board on Monday approved a policy that will allow the flying — for a limited time — of banners other than just the U.S. and Vermont flags on the primary flagpole at the entrance of any ACSD school. And the board made quick use of their new policy at the same meeting, unanimously...
MIDDLEBURY — A reckless social media challenge has culminated in damage to bathrooms at three Addison County schools, and area officials are hoping students don’t participate in the latest, so-called “Devious Licks” exhortation to students for October: “Smack a staff member.” The Devious Licks trend began nationwide on the TikTok social media platform as students returned to school in September. In essence, students were encouraged to steal or vandalize school property throughout the month and then post their misdeeds on the platform with the Devious Licks hashtag. TikTok has moved to...
MIDDLEBURY — Advocates for the low-income population stressed, during a coronavirus-related surge in Addison County’s homeless population this past winter and spring, that simply leveraging hotel beds in times of crisis wouldn’t compensate for the area’s lack of affordable housing. And it’s not only the lowest rung of the economic ladder that the current housing market is failing to serve. Many workers with jobs can also have difficulty finding a home or apartment within their price range. Observers warn towns that charitable efforts to house people need to be buttressed with concrete efforts...

THE MIDDLEBURY SELECTBOARD is looking to rekindle an effort to build an economic development project on town-owned land behind the Ilsley Library. Independent photo/John Flowers
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury selectboard wants to rekindle efforts to develop a key, community-owned downtown parcel of land, but officials aren’t yet sure whether the town has the staffing or resources to push forward with planning for an economic development project at the site. At issue is the so-called Economic Development Initiative (EDI) property, a 1.42-acre parcel off Bakery Lane, behind the Ilsley Public Library. Around 15 years ago town and Middlebury College officials began exploring the concept of engaging a developer to erect a mixed-use building on the EDI site as a way to...

BONNIE SWAN
RIPTON — The Ripton selectboard has appointed resident Bonnie Swan to succeed Ron Wimett — her late cousin — on the board until next March, when she and other local residents have the option of running for the remaining two years on Wimett’s term. “I’m amazed,” Swan said on Tuesday or her reaction to the appointment. She was one of three people who had submitted letters of interest in the vacancy, created when Wimett — who also served as the town’s road commissioner — died suddenly on Sept. 5. Ripton selectboard member Laurie Cox credited Swan’s status as a lifelong Ripton resident and her...

BETH DOW HAS been a familiar face in Middlebury town government for most of the last five decades. She will soon retire from her current job as secretary to the town manager. Independent photo/John Flowers
MIDDLEBURY — Beth Caul Dow has more hats than can fit in the average closet. She’s worn a half-dozen of them during a career with the town of Middlebury that began during the Nixon Administration. Dow has served stints in the town clerk, recreation, planning/zoning, assessing, town manager and listers’ offices. But she’s going to pack up most of those hats later this fall as she phases out a lengthy term of service to a community she’s called home for her entire life — 70 years. “I think I’ve put this decision off so long because this job is who I am,” Dow said of her career during a recent...

FORMER WEYBRIDGE SELECTMAN Don Mason has been spearheading an effort to exhume human remains from the deteriorating Stow Cemetery and reinter them in the Old Weybridge Hill Cemetery off Route 23. Stow Cemetery, located off Gooseneck Bend Road, is losing remains to the adjacent Otter Creek. Independent photo/John Flowers
MIDDLEBURY — The Weybridge selectboard is proving attentive to all of its residents — even those who haven’t paid taxes nor drawn breath for more than 150 years. At issue are the roughly 20 residents of the old Stow Cemetery at the end of Gooseneck Bend Road. The cemetery has been giving up its dead to the at-times ferocious and unforgiving Otter Creek, with which the disheveled burial ground shares a border. “This problem has existed for many years,” noted former Weybridge Selectman Don Mason, who has become one of Stow Cemetery’s most active angels. “We’re sitting here at what was the...

NURSE KELLEY LANDWEHR, who heads up efforts to stop COVID-19 transmission in Addison Central School District schools, stands in front of a tent erected outside Middlebury Union High School where educators can teach classes outdoors this fall and students can take a break from wearing a mask for awhile. Independent photo/John Flowers
ADDISON COUNTY — The start of the school year always sees a mixture of trepidation and excitement. For primary and secondary school students in Addison County, that jumble of fear and exhilaration was intensified this year as both pupils and educators were coming off the pandemic year when COVID-19 forced profound changes in schools. So with a year of lessons on how to teach and learn in a pandemic, many people returned to schools this fall with hopeful optimism, despite the rise of the Delta variant of COVID-19 and despite the fact that children under age 12 could not get vaccinated against...

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Addison County Independent