John Flowers


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...

PORTER HOSPITAL Oliver Parini photo, courtesy of Vermont Integrated Architecture
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 fiscal year 2021. By contrast, Porter officials had been counting on a $413,000 gain at this point He attributed the red ink to the fact that some potential patients continue to postpone medical care out of concern over the coronavirus. As was the case with hospitals...

ANNA BENVENUTO
MIDDLEBURY — Porter Medical Center is adopting a new leadership structure that will invite more physicians input into management of the county’s hospital, nursing home and a dozen affiliated provider practices. It’s a move that Porter administrators believe will lead to smoother operations and better services for patients. And PMC’s switch from a hierarchical management system to a team-based model will be closely watched by University of Vermont Health Network officials, who could choose to replicate the new system if it pays dividends for Porter. PMC is an affiliate of UVM Health Network....

MARY JANE NOTTONSON
MIDDLEBURY — There’s never been a better time for some people to enter the health care field if they live in Addison County. Helen Porter Rehabilitation & Nursing and the Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center are collaborating on a new course offering aspiring Licensed Nursing Assistants (or LNAs) not only free tuition, but also a paycheck while they’re studying and a guaranteed job after they graduate. It’s called the Licensed Nursing Assistant Training Program, and enrollment is open through April 1 for the six-week course, which begins April 7. Classes are 3 to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays,...

HOLMES JACOB OF Two Brothers Tavern on Main Street was happy to get the unexpected infusion of cash from Table 21.
MIDDLEBURY — Congregational Church of Middlebury pastor Andy Nagy-Benson knows what it’s like to lead a donation drive. Asking folks to give money, even for super-worthy causes, can be challenging — particularly during a pandemic. But Pastor Andy recently got a chance to give away some money himself — through a new nonprofit cause called Table 21. In all, 19 ailing restaurants and farms in the Middlebury area received grants ranging from $10,000 to $25,000. They’ll use those resources to eat into shortfalls they’ve experienced during COVID-19 restrictions that have hammered restaurants and...

PHILANTHROPIST WILL JACKSON is donating this beautiful, 130-acre parcel of land to the town of Lincoln. The property, located off River Road near the Lincoln Community School, will be accessible to the public for hiking, cross country skiing and other passive recreation. The Middlebury Area Land Trust is facilitating the donation and future care of the property. Photo by Josh Hummel
LINCOLN — People traveling up Lincoln’s River Road have undoubtedly seen a nondescript dirt pull-off that fronts a gated dirt road. It’s right before you get to the Lincoln Community School. Unbeknownst to many, that dirt road leads to 130-acre jewel of a property strewn with trails, meadows, forestland and what Middlebury Area Land Trust Executive Director Jamie Brookside calls “an incredible, sweeping view” of Mount Abraham. “It’s breathtaking,” she said during a recent interview. “I’ve been to a lot of incredible places in Vermont, and this is up there.” Owned by Cornwall resident Will...
MIDDLEBURY — Hundreds of Addison Central School District educators will get access to COVID-19 vaccinations at a special clinic to be offered at Middlebury Union High School on Tuesday, March 16. The Vermont National Guard will coordinate the event, which will be the only vaccination site for the ACSD, according to district Superintendent Peter Burrows. “They will be administering the first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and we will have a follow-up clinic for the second dose three weeks later,” Burrows told the Independent. “At this time, eligible staff include all full-time staff, part-time...

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Addison County Independent