John Flowers


JEANNE MONTROSS, EXECUTIVE director of Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects, believes local, state and federal officials need to take a multi-faceted approach to solving the affordable housing problem. A new national report indicates it’s virtually impossible for low- to moderate-income households to find an apartment rent that will absorb 30% or less of their income.
MIDDLEBURY — Addison County remains one of the most expensive areas for rental housing in a state that a recent national report has ranked as having the 16th most expensive housing wage in the nation. It’s one of those lists where a high ranking isn’t good news. But it’s the cold, hard facts revealed in a national report titled “Out of Reach,” released early this month by the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Vermont Affordable Housing Coalition. The national coalition is a research and advocacy organization dedicated to the goal of achieving good, affordable homes for the lowest-...

DR. PACO CORBALAN, a physician with Middlebury Pediatrics, believes the best defense against the Delta variant of COVID-19 is to get as many eligible people vaccinated as possible. Independent photo/John Flowers
MIDDLEBURY — State and local health officials urged unvaccinated Vermonters to consider the emergence of the Delta variant of the coronavirus as a wake-up call to finally get a COVID-19 vaccination. Delta is a highly contagious SARS-CoV-2 virus strain, first identified in India back in December. The first Delta case in the United States was diagnosed in March and it is now the dominant strain in the U.S., according to the CDC. Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine told the Independent that the Delta variant is 60% more transmissible than the prior incarnation of COVID-19. Consequently,...

VERMONT LT. GOV. Molly Gray listens to and speaks with folks concerned about the erosion of community schools during a July 21 stop at Ripton Elementary School. Gray, shown sitting next to Sarah Wesson, in particular heard from Ripton and Lincoln residents who are in different stages of withdrawing from their respective school districts. Independent photo/John Flowers
RIPTON — Lt. Gov. Molly Gray wasn’t even in office six years ago when Act 46 — Vermont’s school governance consolidation law — took effect. But she’s starting to learn during her first year on the job that Act 46 is becoming increasingly unpopular — particularly in Addison County, where four towns have mounted efforts to withdraw from their respective school districts in an effort to maintain control over their local elementary schools. Gray got an earful from Act 46 opponents last Wednesday during a visit to Ripton Elementary School, where she invited people to share their views on rural...
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury residents on Aug. 31 will be asked to support bonding up to $323,000 to buy into the 500-kilowatt Bristol Community Solar Project (BCS), an investment that could save the municipality up to $180,000 in electricity costs during the 25-year term of the bond. And Middlebury voters will have a second reason to turn out at the polls on Aug. 31: The ballot will feature a second question, asking residents to support a financial separation agreement between the Addison Central School District and the town of Ripton. That agreement must pass muster in all seven ACSD communities...

LOCAL ADVOCATES ARE developing plans for a new child care facility on the Otter Creek Child Center property off Weybridge Street that would accommodate as many as 139 kids — more than double the number currently accommodated by the OCCC and the College Street Children’s Center.
MIDDLEBURY — The Otter Creek Child Center (OCCC) is seeking support for a new, 15,000-square-foot facility on its 150 Weybridge St. property that would allow the nonprofit to more than double the combined 61 children currently served at the OCCC and the nearby College Street Children’s Center. The project, preliminarily placed at around $8 million, will require buy-in from Middlebury College, loans, donations and grants, organizers said. The OCCC recently submitted a request through the office of Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., for a federal appropriation of $3 million. “I am confident that we...
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury selectboard recently approved a fiscal year 2022 municipal tax rate of 79.69 cents per $100 of property value, representing a 0.0065-cent decrease compared to FY’21. The new tax rate is intended to cover municipal expenses from July 1, 2021, to June 30, 2022. It is based on the general fund operating budget of $11,510,928 that Middlebury voters approved this past March, of which $7,571,924 will be raised through local taxes. Middlebury selectboard members softened the tax impact of this year’s tax rate when they agreed to allocate $622,706 from the Cross Street...

ANTHONY AND MAGGIE Gerakos will soon open Little Seed Coffee Roasters in the 24 Merchants Row space that once housed Carol’s Hungry Mind Café. The Battell Block is also welcoming Juice Amour and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Vermont Realty. Independent photo/John Flowers
MIDDLEBURY — Downtown Middlebury’s Battell Block will boast three new businesses along Merchants Row that will offer premium coffee, healthy juices, and real estate services. The new businesses, according to Battell Block Partners LLC Director of Operations Grace Amao Ciffo, include Juice Amour, Little Seed Coffee Roasters and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Vermont Realty, which will lay down roots at 16, 24 and 32 Merchants Row, respectively. All three enterprises were among the approximately 40 businesses that sought start-up grants through the Middlebury Kick Start program. While neither...
MIDDLEBURY — The state of Vermont is extending the “Everyone Eats” free food program through September, a decision that will allow food-insecure folks in the Middlebury area to continue receiving a much-needed meal each Friday as they continue to wrestle with the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the program — originally due to sunset on June 30 — will continue in Middlebury, the same can’t be said for Vergennes and Bristol. The local restaurants that prepared the charitable meals for those two communities, along with Starksboro and Monkton, are getting busier and thus don’t...
MIDDLEBURY — Art supplies, refurbished furniture, an old-fashioned ice cream parlor experience, home-and-lifestyle products, arts education and physical fitness are among the goods and services that will be offered by a half-dozen new enterprises setting up shop in Middlebury. All plan to open before the end of this year, thanks to an economic development incentive program spearheaded by the Better Middlebury Partnership (BMP). The six new businesses will each be awarded a grant of $15,000-$20,000 — along with a wide range of support services — to occupy some of the Middlebury storefront...

DICK AND THELMA Buxton will celebrate their 75th wedding anniversary on July 20. Husband and wife, both 93, ran Buxton’s Store for four decades. Their grandson Andy and his wife Mary now run it. Independent photo/John Flowers
ORWELL — It all began with a casual wave shared by two teenagers on a sunny day back in 1944 in picturesque Shoreham. A moment of tenderness and innocence that was permitted to blossom far away from the din and carnage of the World War II battlefields in Europe and Asia. Dick Buxton and Thelma Brisson never thought back then their chance encounter would lead to a rock-solid marriage that’s lasted 75 years — and counting. It’s been such a fun ride that the Buxtons, now both 93, will return to the altar at St. Paul’s Church in Orwell later this month to have their marriage blessed. And they can...

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Addison County Independent