John Flowers

MIDDLEBURY — The small town of Middlebury will have a big impact in shaping the Northeast’s economic recovery from COVID-19. Fred Kenney, executive director of the Addison County Economic Development Corp., said Middlebury has been selected as one of only three Vermont communities that will participate in a federally funded survey, through which local business leaders and municipal officials will be asked their most pressing needs in order to rebound from the financial devastation wrought by COVID-19. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) District 1 has hired the Global Resilience...
ADDISON COUNTY — The Addison County Recovery Team is going over the results of its own survey of the local economy. The online survey garnered an impressive 275 responses from a diverse array of area business sectors, according to Fred Kenney, executive director of the Addison County Economic Development Corp. Retail respondents topped the list at 13%, followed closely by construction and home services (11%) and food & beverage businesses (11%). Of the 275 respondents, 97 (36%) indicated they’re temporarily closed (26% forced, and 9% voluntarily). The remaining 177 (64%) respondents...

BISHOP CHRISTOPHER COYNE has decided that St. Genevieve Catholic Church in Shoreham should close, ending its 143-year run as a place of worship. A group of congregants had hoped to save the church through a myriad of spiritual and philanthropic events held during the past six months at the majestic building. Independent photo/John Flowers
SHOREHAM — Christopher Coyne, bishop of the Burlington Catholic Diocese, has decided to close St. Genevieve Church in Shoreham village. It has served as a place of worship for 143 years. Coyne last year identified St. Genevieve for possible closure in light of a decline in worshippers and the need for substantial renovations to the majestic church building at 3167 Route 22A. A core group of St. Genevieve parishioners has spent the past several months trying to fortify the building as a hub for worship, philanthropy and outreach, but diocese leaders decided earlier this month that it should no...

This photo taken last month shows how quiet downtown Vergennes was at the height of the pandemic. Today some businesses are opening up. Independent photo/John S. McCright
ADDISON COUNTY — Vermont retailers, closed for seven weeks to halt the spread of coronavirus, on Monday began a gradual reopening, after Gov. Phil Scott loosened his “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order.  Nevertheless, many retailers in Addison County did not rush to open their stores as they sought ways to keep customers and employees safe during the ongoing public health emergency. Under state guidelines all employees at retail outlets must wear face covering and maintain a distance of 6 feet. Stores will also be required to stay under 25% of their maximum legal capacity, and conduct health and...

WHITING RESIDENT KEITH Mattison is back home after a more than month-long battle with the coronavirus. Mattison spent several weeks at University of Vermont Medical Center and continues to receive dialysis during his recovery. Photo courtesy Heather Mattison
WHITING — April 2 had begun like most days before it for Keith Mattison. Rise early, grab a bite to eat and get his tools together for a full day of plumbing, something the 67-year-old Whiting resident has been doing for around 40 years. But on this day, at around lunchtime, his health descended into a deep valley from which he feared he would never emerge. “I was working and it was around noontime that I got a funny taste in my mouth,” Mattison recalled during a Tuesday phone interview. “It was kind of a metallic taste. I didn’t think a whole lot about it, but as the day went on I felt worse...
MIDDLEBURY — State officials on Friday, May 15, gave permission to Kubricky Construction to assemble a full crew for work on the downtown Middlebury rail bridges project, which until recently had stalled due to coronavirus-related workforce restrictions. As reported by the Independent, New York project contractor Kubricky had been limited to a maximum of 10 onsite workers only last week, all subject to social distancing and other protocols. Kubricky Vice President of Construction Mark Alexander told the Middlebury selectboard last week that Vermont’s COVID-19 rules (at that time) triggered...
MIDDLEBURY — The coronavirus has succeeded in canceling and delaying many special events and celebrations, but it doesn’t look like the pandemic will affect Middlebury-area kids’ ability to get free food and have access to limited recreation programs this summer. That was the word late last week from local childcare advocates, Middlebury Parks & Recreation Superintendent Dustin Hunt and Vermont Department of Health leaders, who met May 14. At this point, offerings are slated to include Middlebury Rec’s Camp Kookamunga and Mary John Children’s Center’s summer program. Free food through the...

GREG’S MEAT MARKET manager Gail Daha, right, and Tae DeGray, who is in charge of store deliveries, are part of a legion of local supermarket workers who have been ensuring that Addison County residents have access to food and other essentials during the COVID-19 pandemic. Independent photo/John Flowers
MIDDLEBURY — Two months ago, supermarket clerks, truckers, housekeepers and other blue-collar workers joined the nation’s growing ranks of “unsung heroes.” Their contributions — keeping grocery shelves stocked, rooms sanitized and goods on the move — have become invaluable during the COVID-19 pandemic. More than a dozen of those heroes work at Greg’s Meat Market, an independently owned grocery store off Middlebury’s Elm Street. Store Manager Gail Daha is proud of her crew, which has not only maintained services within the store, they’re delivering food to customers who can’t venture out. And...

WEYBRIDGE — Doug Wilhelm, 67, has often had to deal with the frustration and discomfort that comes with respiratory ailments. So when the Vermont Department of Health began telling folks in mid-March they should take precautions to avoid contracting COVID-19, he took it very seriously. As a freelance writer, Wilhelm works from his home. So he was largely able to limit his outside trips to the grocery store and the drug store during the early phase of the pandemic. “When I did (go out), I had my hand sanitizer in the car,” he said during a Monday phone interview. “At that point, I wasn’t...

KEN SCHOEN, ELDERLY Services activities coordinator, has worked with his team to create a virtual Project Independence that takes place over the video-conferencing platform Zoom.
MIDDLEBURY — For most people, the extreme isolation imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic is something new. But for stay-at-home seniors in Addison County, loneliness can be an almost constant companion.  That’s why Elderly Services Inc.’s Project Independence senior daycare service has been so important to older citizens starving for stimulating discussion, mental exercise and simply the presence of other people. So when the coronavirus forced Project Independence (PI) to close its doors on March 17, it also shuttered many seniors’ view of the outside world. Until recently. Thanks to dedicated...


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Addison County Independent

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Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
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