John Flowers

LLOYD KOMESAR, LEFT, MNFF founder and producer, and Jay Craven, MNFF artistic director, say this year's virtual festival was a success.
MIDDLEBURY — Organizers of this year’s Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival (MNFF) didn’t know what to expect for viewership, after having had to quickly pivot to a first-ever online format after the COVID-19 pandemic made the usual in-person event impossible in Middlebury. But early returns show the sixth annual festival more than held its own, with this year’s crop of 26 feature films and 33 shorts garnering a combined total of more than 5,000 hits through the CinseSend platform. Instead of viewing the films at a handful of Middlebury venues during the usual multi-day event, this year,...
MIDDLEBURY — COVID-19 will try to impersonate the Grinch during the upcoming holiday season, but the nonprofit organization Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects (HOPE) is committed to providing free Christmas treats to children in low-income households even though the pandemic is forcing it to suspend its seasonal gift shop. HOPE has historically hosted the holiday gift shop at its headquarters at 282 Boardman St. in Middlebury. Coordinated by Kate Selby and staffed by several tireless volunteers, the shop has received, sorted and displayed a myriad of gift options for children up to age 18 who...

ORWELL VILLAGE SCHOOL kindergarten teacher Josh Martin leads story time for his students in a rustic outdoor learning space. The Orwell community partnered with its school to create the outdoor classrooms as a way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Independent photo/John Flowers
ORWELL — Teachers have been busy these past few months ordering classroom supplies for the first in-school classes since mid-March. A lot of chalk, erasers, desks, chairs and photocopier paper, right? Nope. The Orwell Village School’s supply list has included wood chips, large stones, tree stumps and tarps — the new “normal” classroom décor during this era of COVID-19. Orwell parents, educators and business leaders have joined forces to create an outdoor learning environment until a vaccine, or Mother Nature, sends students and teachers back into the school building. “It’s just another...
MIDDLEBURY — Brandon resident Bashiru Abdulaziz on Sept. 3 met up with the two Middlebury police officers who had ordered him to “raise your hands” during their investigation of a false report they’d received about an armed Black man detaining a woman at gunpoint off Mary Hogan Drive on June 22. This was an opportunity for the officers and Abdulaziz to metaphorically shake hands and chart a new path for community policing. As previously reported by the Independent, Abdulaziz was approached by Middlebury Police Officers Bill Austin and Jared Harrington and a police dog at the town recreation...

MIDDLEBURY — Champlain Valley Head Start (CVHS) has for years offered free early education programs for low-income families with children ages birth to 5-years-old. It’s been able to do that largely through childcare centers and home visits, where Head Start staff impart knowledge about preparing kids for school; overall health care, including prenatal, infant and toddler care; and accessing services for children with special needs. But when the COVID-19 pandemic took root last March, childcare centers suspended operations. Group and home visits — especially with expectant moms and young...

AMERICORPS VISTA MEMBER Mikayla Humiston, left, and Cicilia Robison, executive director of the Addison Central Teens center in Middlebury are among the staff at local teen centers that are welcoming back students now that schools are open. Independent photo/John Flowers
MIDDLEBURY — Slowly but surely, parts of Addison County are seeing a return to the “old normal,” aka pre-COVID-19 conditions. Some restaurants are starting to offer limited indoor seating. Lodgers are taking reservations. And school is back in session. And here’s another sign of normalcy: Area teen centers are again offering afterschool drop-in hours for students looking to study or have some fun at a safe location until dinnertime. The Independent spoke with representatives of Addison Central Teens (ACT) in Middlebury and the Hub Teen Center in Bristol to see how they’ve adapted their...

ROBIN INGENTHRON, CEO of Good Point Recycling, is looking for investors to help his Middlebury company prepare for a veritable tidal wave of new e-recycling business it will secure through a new, five-year contract with the state of Massachusetts. Independent photo/John Flowers
MIDDLEBURY — Good Point Recycling recently signed a major, five-year e-waste contract with the state of Massachusetts that is prompting its ownership to recruit investors to help the 20-year-old company keep pace with an expected doubling of the amount of discarded electronics it will soon be processing. The new pact — covering the Massachusetts cities of Boston, Brockton, Brookline, Cambridge, Quincy, Weymouth and Revere — is triggering Good Point CEO and founder Robin Ingenthron to consider a major increase in his workforce of around 40. Those workers are currently split between the company...

THE UNITED WAY of Addison County recently moved from its previous office on Court Street in Middlebury to a newly opened space on the first level of the Wilson Street home of Middlebury Fitness. Among the amenities of the new space is the John Dale Memorial Conference Room.
MIDDLEBURY — The COVID-19 pandemic has temporarily changed the way companies and individuals interact and do business. But the United Way of Addison County (UWAC) officials hope the worldwide virus doesn’t change people’s longstanding generosity when it comes to helping those less fortunate. Still, UWAC leaders aren’t taking any chances: They’re unfurling their fiscal year 2021 fund drive with an emphasis on making it as convenient as possible for people to financially support, and physically help, the Addison County nonprofits that deliver food, clothing, shelter, mental health counseling,...

AFTER TWO YEARS building up the Turning Point Center of Addison County and its substance abuse recovery offerings, Stacy Jones has stepped aside as executive director.
MIDDLEBURY — The Turning Point Center of Addison County (TPC) at 54 Creek Road in Middlebury is searching for a new executive director to coordinate programming for people recovering from addiction. The new hire will succeed Stacy Jones, who in two short years did a lot for TPC, a nonprofit that provides a safe, friendly and substance-use-free environment for those in recovery — and their family members — to meet for peer-to-peer support, social activities, workshops, coaching, education and advocacy. She served the organization as a volunteer for five years prior to taking on the top...
MIDDLEBURY — Porter Hospital officials are thanking the Addison County community for helping the region deal with an initial wave of COVID-19 cases this past spring, but they’re asking residents to not let up on mask wearing and social distancing — especially since cooler weather is pushing people indoors, where the chance for coronavirus transmissions increase. Porter officials recently shared information on the current state of COVID-19 in the county, how the hospital’s operations have evolved to meet current pandemic conditions, and how/when individuals should seek testing. After more than...


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Addison County Independent

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Middlebury, VT 05753

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