John Flowers


BETHANIE FARRELL AT The Giving Fridge in Middlebury.
The COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying economic dislocations made the problems that some Vermonters have with food insecurity all to obvious. Thankfully, a variety of local efforts have sprung up in the past year to address food insecurity in Addison County. Central to many of the efforts has been a reliance to some degree on local foods generated by local producers, and in many cases provided by local restaurants. Spreading out the efforts has not only kept people from experiencing hunger, but also kept local food producers and purveyors in business. Food programs like Vermont Everybody...
The COVID-19 pandemic and the accompanying economic dislocations made the problems that some Vermonters have with food insecurity all too obvious. As is outlined in the accompanying story (see Page 52), some creative alternative avenues for distributing food to locals have sprung up. Up in the northeast part of Addison County, the Starksboro Food Share Program is an important effort to eradicate food insecurity. Vermont is a great example of the resurgence in local food, with farmers markets and small, diversified farms emerging across the landscape, said Pete Antos-Ketcham, coordinator of...
RIPTON — The Vermont State Board of Education (SBE) on Wednesday approved, by an 8-0 vote, Ripton’s request to withdraw from the Addison Central School District. The panel, by an identical vote, also agreed to the Addison Central School District’s request that it remain a school district and not revert to a supervisory union in wake of Ripton’s departure. The SBE’s decision means Ripton can move forward with re-forming a local school board to take on much of the heavy lifting that will be required for the community to become an independent district, serving its younger kids at Ripton...

RIPTON ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
RIPTON — Ripton’s bid to withdraw from the Addison Central School District will again take center stage before the Vermont State Board of Education (SBE) next Wednesday, May 19. Officials and attorneys representing Ripton have already delivered an initial round of testimony to the SBE, back on April 21, in an attempt to convince the panel that the community should get permission to leave the seven-town ACSD and become its own independent school district. Ripton leaders see independence as a path toward maintaining its local elementary school — tentatively targeted for closure by the ACSD —...
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival (MNFF) will return to an in-person, five-day experience in Addison County’s shire town this August, news that comes as a blessing for movie enthusiasts and the many local lodgers, restaurateurs and store-keeps eager to serve them following a pandemic-induced hiatus. Lloyd Komesar, MNFF founder and producer, confirmed on Monday the festival has already received an impressive 378 submissions, spanning several categories, from first- and second-time filmmakers. The firm deadline for submissions is May 28. “That number is clearly on the high...

NICOLE CARTER WILL step down as principal of Weybridge Elementary School to become the new Director of Student Services for the Addison Central School District.
MIDDLEBURY — The Addison Central School District has made a hire from within its own ranks to succeed Director of Student Services Vicki Wells, who recently agreed to become the new principal of Neshobe Elementary School in Brandon. Current Weybridge Elementary School Principal Nicole Carter will move into the student services director position at the end of this academic year. Carter, who’s helmed Weybridge Elementary for two years, was one of eight candidates for the student services job, according to ACSD Superintendent Peter Burrows. Carter became a classroom teacher in California 22...
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury selectboard on Tuesday endorsed a long-term care strategy for the perennially flood-damaged Creek Road that includes “regular annual maintenance,” negotiating of a private driveway for the Perrin family (where the road had been gated), and reclassifying a portion of the route from “Class 3” to a “Class 4.” The board came to its conclusion after receiving an update on Creek Road from Peter DeGraff of Otter Creek Engineering, who’s been keeping up with the route’s current condition and challenges. While Creek Road feeds the municipal recreation facility and the...
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury selectboard on Tuesday agreed to spend $2,200 for an appraisal of the former Bourdon Insurance building and property on Merchants Row. Board members are considering the acquisition of the Bourdon property as a potential economic development project in downtown Middlebury, which is rebounding from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and a tunnel project that has caused noise and traffic detours within the community’s central shopping hub. The appraisal will be performed by Luke Martin, of Montpelier-based Martin Appraisal Services. Town Manager Kathleen said the...
MIDDLEBURY — A competition for a handful of business start-up incentive packages has been whittled down from an initial 40 to 12 semifinalists, five of which will get a tremendous boost filling some of downtown Middlebury’s vacant storefronts. Kick Start Middlebury is a collaboration of the Better Middlebury Partnership (BMP), Addison County Economic Development Corp., Addison County Chamber of Commerce, Vermont Small Business Development Center and Middlebury College. Patterned after a similar program in Wilmington, Kick Start will award incentive packages to up to five stores committed to...

SEN. RUTH HARDY
MIDDLEBURY — The Otter Creek Child Center in Middlebury currently serves a young family that’s receiving a state child care subsidy and an in-house scholarship, yet is still on the hook for more than $1,100 in monthly tuition for their two children. The parents are caught in that precarious income zone where they make just enough not to qualify for more generous child care benefits, thus making their financial road more bumpy. Well, that local family and thousands of others could get a substantial boost in child care assistance through bill H.171, the so-called “Act Relating to the Governance...

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Addison County Independent