John Flowers


PAUL RALSTON HAS decided to sell Vermont Coffee Company to Maine-based Stonewall Kitchen, a move that the company’s officials said will keep — and grow — local jobs and lead to a new coffee shop in downtown Middlebury. Independent photo/Steve James
MIDDLEBURY — Vermont Coffee Company has been sold to Maine-based specialty food producer Stonewall Kitchen in a deal that will keep VCC in Middlebury, retain (and possibly grow) the firm’s local workforce, and expand the market for its popular coffee products. The transaction will also result in Vermont Coffee absorbing more space within the Carrara complex at 1197 Exchange St., and lead to creation of a new downtown Middlebury café as soon as this fall. “As a purpose-driven company, finding the right home for our brand and the friends I’ve made was of the utmost importance to me,” said...

CANOES WILL AGAIN launch — albeit with socially distance paddlers — at Camp Songadeewin this summer. Songadeewin for girls, Keewaydin for boys and Point CounterPoint for young musicians will all be back in session on the shores of Lake Dunmore following a year lost to the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo courtesy of Ellen Flight
SALISBURY — The familiar sounds of laughing, shouting, splashing and playing — both the youthful abandon and instrumental varieties — will once again tickle the ears of those living near Lake Dunmore this summer. That’s because three popular camps — Keewaydin, Songadeewin and Point CounterPoint — will reopen to children this summer after a one-year hiatus forced by the COVID-19 pandemic. “Demand has been high and is coming steadily at this point,” said Camp Songadeewin Director Ellen Flight, who reported the first month at both Songadeewin and Keewaydin is already booked solid, with waiting...

UNITED WAY OF Addison County officials are working on multiple fronts to get resources to people in need — including those directly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Also, three anonymous donors have pledged to match, dollar for dollar, contributions made to the UWAC by April 15. Pictured, from left, are Lee Bilson, Tim O’Toole, Helena Van Voorst, Steve Wilson, Alex Larrow and Erin Reed (missing are Jesse Brooks and Jessica Hellyer).
MIDDLEBURY — Addison County residents and businesses are demonstrating their trademark generosity at a time when it’s most needed, according to managers of the United Way of Addison County’s (UWAC), whose latest annual fund drive continues to face the formidable headwind of a pandemic. Still, even with an unprecedented demand for services by neighbors whose incomes have been decimated by COVID-19’s economic fallout, UWAC is just $77,000 short of reaching its 2020-2021 campaign goal of $635,000. A majority of these funds will be used to support two-dozen local nonprofits that deliver food,...
MIDDLEBURY — The sale of Vermont Coffee Company to Maine-based Stonewall Kitchen should pay dividends to Addison County for years to come. Not only will the transaction preserve and grow local jobs (see related story), it will result in the creation of a what Vermont Coffee founder Paul Ralston called a “new social venture” called Little Village Enterprises that will tackle food insecurity in the county. Staffed by former Addison County Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sue Hoxie, Little Village Enterprises, according to Ralston, will do “research and planning to try to address food...

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...

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Addison County Independent