John Flowers


Former longtime Addison Independent photographer Trent Campbell has pulled out some of his best images of Addison County people and will show the work at the Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History beginning on April 2 in an exhibit titled, “The Faces of Addison County.” Independent photo/Steve James
MIDDLEBURY — Trent Campbell’s legions of fans will soon be able to get a gander at some of his particularly prized pictures taken during his two-decade career as the Addison Independent’s photographer. The 24 photos will be part of a show titled “The Faces of Addison County” that will be on exhibit at Middlebury’s Henry Sheldon Museum of Vermont History beginning Friday, April 2. The show includes Campbell’s favorite photos showing area residents of all ages at work, play, parades, Addison County Fair and Field Days and other familiar places. Trent Campbell amassed a mountain of awards and...

WORKERS EARLY NEXT month will begin the final phase of construction on the downtown Middlebury tunnel project. The work, to conclude Aug. 17, will include expansion of Triangle Park between Merchants Row and St. Stephen’s Church. Independent photo/John S. McCright
MIDDLEBURY — After more than five years of planning and construction, Middlebury residents can finally see a light at the end of the downtown tunnel project. Construction workers early next month will kick off the final phase of work on the $72 million plan to replace the Main Street and Merchants Row rail bridges. The centerpiece of the project —a 360-foot-long concrete tunnel — was painstakingly assembled last summer during a 10-week sprint. The marathon portion of the undertaking will resume during the week of April 5 and conclude Aug. 17. Specific chores will include further landscaping...

CLINT BIERMAN, LEFT, and Craig Maravich performed “Doc Lyle Sol’s Medicine Show” on a mobile stage in Middlebury last spring. Created by Town Hall Theater’s Courageous Stage, THT officials said the show helped the theater see how it could expand its offerings. Independent photo/Steve James
MIDDLEBURY — The prospect of a COVID-resistant population by July is inspiring leaders of the county’s two entertainment hubs to start planning for a return to in-person entertainment later this year. Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater will begin offering outdoor events in the sprint and plans to resume its traditional theater education programs this summer and restart in-person performance late summer and in the fall. For its part, the Vergennes Opera House is planning its typical fall lineup of shows and prepping for the easing of COVID-19 restrictions so it can again offer the Main Street...
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury selectboard is kicking the tires on a couple of potential real estate purchases, including a 45-acre tract of forested property adjacent to Means Woods, and the former Bourdon Insurance building at 48 Merchants Row. The two-story Bourdon building contains around 3,300 square feet of space and is currently assessed at $458,400, according to the Middlebury listers’ office. The Vermont Agency of Transportation acquired the property more than a year ago to facilitate construction of the Middlebury rail tunnel project, and has been using the structure as a field office...

SUSAN EVANS MCCLURE
MIDDLEBURY — The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM) on May 22 will emerge from its year-long, COVID-induced hibernation with a cornucopia of outdoor exhibits, self-guided tours and a new admission fee that features nothing but zeros. Yes, Maritime Museum officials are banking on the free-admission to provide a powerful inducement for locals and tourists to rediscover — or see for the first time — the museum’s many treasures that evoke the rich maritime history of one of the nation’s most storied lakes. The bargain 2021 season, which will run until Oct. 17, will also extend to its summer...

APPALACHIAN GAP DISTILLERY co-founder Lars Hubbard stands in front of solar panels his company erected in front of its Middlebury facility in order to move toward being carbon neutral. The company also is moving toward using “renewable natural gas” — also known as methane produced from rotting manure and other organic matter. Independent photo/Steve James
MIDDLEBURY — Devotees of the Appalachian Gap Distillery like the taste and quality of the company’s gins and whiskeys. Now customers — at least those with an environmental ethos — have an additional reason to imbibe. The Middlebury company is on the cusp of making its operations “climate neutral,” a coveted NetZero certification for consumer brands. App Gap took a sizable step toward that goal last week with the announcement it would offset half its natural gas use with renewable natural gas, through Vermont Gas Systems. Renewable natural gas, or RNG, is a moniker for the gaseous fuel...

ACSD SUPERINTENDENT PETER Burrows
RIPTON — Ripton’s request to withdraw from the Addison Central School District could be heard by the Vermont State Board of Education as soon as next month, and the leader of that panel said Ripton’s independence is all but assured if it can demonstrate its students will have viable preK-12 education options at their disposal. John Carroll, chairman of the State Board of Education, provided a preview of the next steps Ripton will need to take in order to leave the ACSD as an avenue to maintaining its local school, while tuitioning its older students to the district it’s proposing to divorce....

PORTER MEDICAL CENTER President Tom Thompson
MIDDLEBURY — Porter Medical Center President Tom Thompson is asking his managers to be frugal during the coming months in an effort to reduce a budget deficit produced in part by the COVID-19 pandemic. In a recent email to the PMC community Thompson noted the organization has seen a $93,000 loss during the first four months of its fiscal year 2021, which began in October. Porter officials had been counting on a $413,000 gain at this point He attributed the red ink to the fact that some patients continue to postpone medical care out of concern over the coronavirus. As was the case with...

MIDDLEBURY UNION HIGH School senior Paige Williamson is the only Vermont student to win a Horatio Alger Association scholarship this year. It’s a reward for her academic persistence in the face of hardship. During her junior year at MUHS, Williamson, 17, lost her mom to cancer. Independent photo/John Flowers
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury Union High School senior Paige Williamson was thrilled to learn she’d won a $25,000 college scholarship through the Horatio Alger Association (HAA). The only thing missing was the ability to share the moment of euphoria with her chief motivator and best friend — her mom, Cheryl Rose Kirby, who died in December of 2019 following a lengthy battle with ovarian cancer. “I know she would be ecstatic to hear I won this award; she would probably be screaming if she heard about it and would be talking about it all the time,” Paige, a diminutive dynamo, said tenderly as a late-...

MICHAEL DUDEK WILL soon take the reins of Middlebury Union Middle School next school year. He’s spent the better part of nine years as the principal of Blackstone Millville Regional High School in Blackstone, Mass.
MIDDLEBURY — Michael Dudek knew he and his spouse, Sarah, would move from their native Massachusetts to Vermont some day. It was either going to be sooner, as a career move, or later, as part of a retirement plan. Sooner won out over later, thanks to an ad for the Middlebury Union Middle School principal vacancy. Dudek — currently the principal of Blackstone Millville Regional High School in Blackstone, Mass. — was among 27 who applied for the MUMS post. Addison Central School District Superintendent Peter Burrows last week confirmed that Dudek, 41, had won the job. Dudek succeeds former MUMS...

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Addison County Independent