John Flowers


MAYOR CHRIS LOURAS (right) is among the characters in a documentary that explores the tumultuous arrival of Syrian refugees in Rutland, Vt. “For the Love of Rutland,” created by Jennifer Maytorena Taylor, is among the motion pictures featured in the sixth annual Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival when it goes online at the end of August.
MIDDLEBURY — The first-ever online version of Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival (MNFF) is taking shape. Organizers of the sixth annual event — usually a spotlight happening that sends hundreds of people buzzing around downtown Middlebury just before Labor Day — have selected more than 20 features to headline this year’s festival. And while the coronavirus pandemic is responsible for substantially shortening the film menu compared to years past, MNFF officials are working to infuse the virtual festival with some of the personal touches that have made it a consistent success. MNFF6:ONLINE will...

“We’re aware people are being inundated with on-screen opportunities, because that’s how we exist right now. We want to come into that environment and do something honest and successful and we think enjoyable.” — MNFF Artistic Director Jay Craven
The first-ever online version of Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival (MNFF) is taking shape. Organizers of the sixth annual event — usually a spotlight happening that sends hundreds of people buzzing around downtown Middlebury just before Labor Day — have selected more than 20 features to headline this year’s festival. And while the coronavirus pandemic is responsible for substantially shortening the film menu compared to years past, MNFF officials are working to infuse the virtual festival with some of the personal touches that have made it a consistent success. MNFF6:ONLINE will take place...

President Jimmy Carter plays harmonica with the great Willie Nelson in the documentary “Jimmy Carter: Rock and Roll President,” which will screen at MNFF6:Online at the end of August.
Middlebury New Film Festival leaders have released a list of films that will highlight the lineup at the sixth annual gala. Among the best are: • “Jimmy Carter: Rock and Roll President,” a documentary that charts the mostly forgotten story of how former President Jimmy Carter, a lover of all types of music, forged a tight bond with musicians Willie Nelson, the Allman Brothers, Bob Dylan and others that helped him to the White House. It illuminates the significant role that music has played in President Carter’s life and work. Directed by Mary Wharton. • “The Accused: Damned or Devoted?”...
MIDDLEBURY — Ten candidates are running for lieutenant governor this year. The following is a brief introduction to the names you will see on ballots in the Aug. 11 Primary Election.  Information was culled from the candidates’ websites, and/or other online media sources. Candidates are profiled here in alphabetical order. Since Vermonters can vote in only one party’s Primary, we separated the candidates by party. DEMOCRATIC PARTY Tim Ashe, Burlington Democrat. Ashe reached out to the Independent for a sit-down interview, and a story about his candidacy can be found at addisonindependent....

Local school superintendents, clockwise from top left, ANWSD's Sheila Soule, Mount Abe's Patrick Reen, RNESU's Jeanne Collins and ACSD's Peter Burrows
UPDATED to include the new opening date for Vermont schools. ADDISON COUNTY & BRANDON — It will be “back to school” in the truest sense of the phrase in Addison County this fall, albeit with a few twists. The Addison Central, Addison Northwest and Mount Abraham unified school districts confirmed on July 22 that they’ll use a “hybrid instruction model” this fall that will see students return to their respective campuses for two days of in-classroom instruction each week, while learning remotely the other three days of the week. All three will also offer all-online learning options for...

LT. GOV. DAVID ZUCKERMAN, who is running for governor in the Democratic Primary, has a long history in state government representing both the Democratic and Progressive parties. In his campaign he is pushing the idea that incumbent Gov. Scott is not proactive enough. Independent photos/John S. McCright
MIDDLEBURY — Vermont Lt. Gov. David Zuckerman was still an undergraduate student at the University of Vermont in 1995 when he made his first bid for a seat in the Chittenden 3-4 Vermont House district. He fell around 60 votes short at the time, but broke through two years later. And now he hopes to continue his political ascent, to the governor’s office. Zuckerman, a 48-year-old Hinesburg Democrat, has long been involved in state politics. Inspired by then-U.S. Rep. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., Zuckerman joined the House in 1997, serving six terms (until 2010). He then won election to the state...
ORWELL — The Slate Valley Unified Union School District (SVUUSD) on Tuesday announced students would return to Orwell Village School this fall.  It is part of a school re-entry plan in which students in kindergarten through 8th grade will attend classes on their respective campuses, and students in grades 9-12 will see a combination of virtual classes and in-person classes at Fair Haven Union High School. The SVUUSD board voted 11-4 in favor of the re-entry plan, with the caveat that it could change during the coming weeks depending on state and federal guidelines pertaining to the COVID-19...

Independent photo/Alexa Lapiner
Work is in full swing on the $72 million downtown Middlebury rail bridges project. We’re officially in “week two” of a 10-week closure of Main Street and Merchants Row to culminate in a new, 360-foot tunnel that will supplant two 1920s-era rail bridges that were rapidly deteriorating. As the Independent went to press on Wednesday, huge cranes were installing the first of the 422 precast-concrete sections that will form the new rail tunnel. The work really has to be seen firsthand. (See our video coverage here.) But here are some facts and figures about the project thus far, courtesy of Jim...
ORWELL — Orwell voters on Tuesday, Aug. 11, will cast ballots on a revised 2020-2021 K-12 spending plan of $26,402,586 for Slate Valley Unified Union District Schools (SVUUSD). The budget is $220,455 less than a budget proposal district residents have defeated twice during the past five months. If approved by SVUUSD voters in Orwell, Castleton, Benson, Hubbardton, West Haven and Fair Haven, the budget will result in education spending of $16,393.68 per equalized pupil, an amount that’s 1.99% higher than spending for the year that just ended. The spending proposal to be fielded Aug. 11...

FRANCIS DUPOISE OF New Haven will celebrate his 100th birthday this coming Monday, July 13. Dupoise worked for 38 years at the former Polymers Inc. plant in Middlebury. He’s been an avid carpenter, square dancer and is a big fan of cars. Independent photo/Alexa Lapiner
NEW HAVEN — To speak with Francis Dupoise for any length of time is to get a history lesson — not only about Addison County, but about how to live a long, productive life. Next week, he will join the county’s impressive list of centenarians. Dupoise was born on July 13, 1920. Two days later, New York Yankees slugger Babe Ruth would smack his 29th home run en route to a record 54 for the season. Sixteen days later, the first transcontinental airmail flight, from New York to San Francisco, took place. Woodrow Wilson was the U.S. president. Dupoise’s grandfather worked for the legendary Joseph...

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