John S. McCright


A COTERIE OF activists, politicians and thinkers joined Sen. Bernie Sanders at the gazebo on the Middlebury Town Green on Labor Day to address a crowd of around 650 who came to hear the progressive icon talk about world-changing legislation he is working on. Independent photo/Steve James
MIDDLEBURY — Vermont’s junior U.S. senator is the senior legislator on the U.S. Senate’s Budget Committee, which makes him a very powerful man in Washington, D.C., these days. On Monday Sen. Bernie Sanders came to Middlebury — with a band of notables including Vermont Congressman Peter Welch, environmental luminary and writer Bill McKibben and several other local activists. Sanders told a crowd of more than 600 that Vermont’s Congressional delegation is working hard to improve the lives of people in the Green Mountain State, as well as in all of the United States. Through his leadership of...

ART CULLEN IS the shaggy-headed editor who plays a central role in the documentary film “Storm Lake,” which opened the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival last week. Cullen is working on an idea to save community journalism. Independent photo/Steve James
A 64-year-old man from a small town in rural Iowa may represent the best hope for community journalism in America. Art Cullen has more than four decades of newspapering behind him but he is developing a concept that could save news outfits like his, the Storm Lake Times, and save the small towns they serve for many more decades to come. Art came to town last week for the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival, which opened with a screening of “Storm Lake,” a documentary about his newspaper, his small town on the edge of the Great Plains and the symbiotic, if sometimes uncomfortable, relationship...

TEN-YEAR-OLD Annika Smits swims the butterfly leg on the Vergennes 100-yard Medley Relay team. Photo by Josh Romond
ST. ALBANS — The Vergennes Swim Team on Saturday led the field in the St. Albans Invitational during the morning session of races, which featured the younger swimmers, but finished up second to powerhouse Burlington Tennis Club by the end of the meet. The Middlebury Marlins, which has a smaller team this year, finished sixth in the eight-team invitational, which sprung up this year as a replacement for the Champlain Valley Swim League Championship. League officials called off the championship meet in the spring when the coronavirus pandemic was still in full swing. VST vice president Jess...

MIDDLEBURY UNION HIGH School’s Class of 2021 will enjoy in-person graduation, prom and other events to cap their academic careers in June. MUHS Principal Justin Campbell, left, and lead Nurse Kelly Landwehr are playing major roles in organizing year-end activities. Independent photo/Steve James
ADDISON COUNTY — After enduring nearly 15 months of COVID-19 restrictions, from masks and social distancing to remote and hybrid classes, local high schools are on the verge of having an almost “normal” graduation season. According to new guidelines released by the Vermont Agency of Education on April 23, schools may host indoor proms, in-person commencement ceremonies and other end-of-the-year activities, as long as they follow certain public health protocols. Officials at Mount Abraham, Vergennes and Middlebury union high schools will all be offering in-person, career-closing events for...

RAMSAY MELLISH AND his wife, Caroline, maintain and cultivate a diverse ecosystem on their Cutting Hill Beef Company farm in Cornwall. Photo by Oliver Parini
When Ramsay and Caroline Mellish moved their farming business from Newport Center to 380 acres of rolling pasture and fields off South Bingham Street in Cornwall five years ago they started to diversify from organic dairy into raising beef cattle under the name Cutting Hill Beef Company.  They said they wanted to ensure two things: That they follow regenerative agriculture methods and that they refrain from using pesticides. They defined “regenerative agriculture” as a system of farming principles and practices that increases biodiversity, enriches soils, improves water quality and in overall...

PAUL WAGNER OF Bridport has had a long love affair with old cars. But he has driven enough of them to know how temperamental they can be and fixed enough to know how expensive repairs can be. So last year he bought a Shay Model A — a replica of the classic 1928/29 Ford Model A Roadster. Independent photo/John S. McCright
BRIDPORT — Paul Wagner likes old vehicles. He owns a 1957 Dodge D200 pickup and a d’57 John Deere 520 tractor, and is a member of the Vermont Automotive Enthusiasts Classic and Antique Car Club. A retired farmer, Wagner occasionally organizes informal antique tractor parades, including through Middlebury last June and around the Helen Porter nursing home and EastView retirement community in October. “Maybe we’ll do another one this June,” he said. After owning the Dodge truck for more than 40 years, it wouldn’t pass inspection. So he overhauled the whole thing, with fixes including, among...
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury distributor of John Deere and other brand farm equipment has been sold to a larger chain of stores that sells new and used equipment to farmers, commercial landscapers, builders, and homeowners. United Ag & Turf of East Windsor, Conn., announced this week that it had purchased Mountain View Equipment, which has showrooms in Middlebury and three other locations. The buy declined to divulge the terms of the deal. Mountain View Equipment was formed Jan. 1, 2012, when Hendy Brothers, founded more than 60 years ago in Middlebury, merged with Giroux Brothers...

ON TUESDAY A couple dozen neighbors came to the site of the tornado off Painter Road and helped homeowners clean up their property and recover what could be salvaged. Independent photo/Megan James
MIDDLEBURY — After a tornado tore across a mile of the Painter Road neighborhood in Middlebury this past Friday afternoon, one youngster went to the hospital with minor injuries and another young woman was shaken up after the twister roughed her up a bit, but no serious injuries were reported. The same can’t be said for the damage to a few structures and the landscape. But overall, the incident seemed to be about a some measure of physical damage and another measure of fear. “What I’m thankful for is that I have a roof over my head,” said Cheryl Werner, whose home was in the path of the...
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury police and firefighters, along with the Middlebury Regional EMS ambulance, were called to a Painter Road home on Friday afternoon after an apparent tornado toppled a tree onto a house, injuring a teenage boy. The youngster was taken to Porter Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. An adult at a nearby home also reported minor injuries but declined to be transported to the hospital. Middlebury authorities received a 911 call at about 1:54 p.m. on March 26. A Painter Road resident reported that her house had been damaged by a windstorm and her child injured as a...

Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine at Friday's press conference stressed that Vermonters need to keep up their efforts to prevent transmission of the coronavirus despite the fact that all Vermonters will be able to sign up for COVID-19 vaccination by April 19.
VERMONT — Gov. Phil Scott on Friday announce that all Vermonters will be eligible to sign up for COVID-19 vaccinations by April 19. At his semi-weekly press conference, Scott released the order in which the rest of the Green Mountain State residents will be allowed to get in line for a vaccine. The order is based on age. Here is when Vermonters will be allowed to begin signing up for COVID-19 vaccinations: Age 60+ …... March 25 Age 50+ …... March 29 Age 40+ …... April 5 Age 30+ …... April 12 Age 16+ …... April 19 Human Services Secretary Mike Smith urged Vermonters to create an account online...

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Addison County Independent