John S. McCright


VERMONT HEALTH COMMISSIONER Dr. Mark Levine singled out Victory Baptist Church in Vergennes last Friday as the source of 80 recent COVID-19 cases linked to Christmas services. On Tuesday he said the number was approaching 100 cases.
ADDISON COUNTY  — Along with the rest of Vermont, Addison County is caught up in a surge of COVID-19 cases stemming from an increase in a spread of the disease related to people getting together over the Christmas holidays. The Vermont Department of Health reported double-digit daily increases in the number of Addison County cases over the last two weeks, with 218 new cases here since Dec. 30 — nearly half of the 474 confirmed county cases since the pandemic began last March. Statewide the numbers were equally alarming, with the 118 new cases on Wednesday alone, and more than 9,000 since mid-...

VICTORY BAPTIST CHURCH in Vergennes has seen 80 COVID cases since Christmas. Independent photo/Steve James
VERGENNES  — After Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine singled out a Vergennes church as the source of 80 recent COVID-19 cases, the pastor of Victory Baptist Church on Route 7 says that his parishioners were following federal safety guidelines during the spread of the disease that apparently occurred at Christmas services. “Our congregations want to do live services, so we follow CDC guidelines,” the Rev. Tim Taylor told the Independent. During the start of the pandemic Victory Baptist held services only online in March, April and May, in accordance with state mandates, Taylor said....
ADDISON-5 — Longtime incumbent Rep. Harvey Smith said he was surprised that his margin of victory in the Addison-5 House race wasn’t closer. Smith, a New Haven Republican, defeated Bridport Democrat and first-time candidate Jubilee McGill, 1,331-1,127, for the seat that represents New Haven, Bridport and Weybridge. Smith, who first won this House seat in 1998, garnered 52% of the vote and McGill received 44%. On Wednesday morning Smith said the coronavirus pandemic cut down on face-to-face contact with voters. “I campaigned in a very different way,” he said, noting that he sent out a lot of...
ADDISON-2 — Incumbent Rep. Peter Conlon, D-Cornwall on Tuesday easily won reelection to a third term representing the Addison-2 Vermont House seat that represents Cornwall, Salisbury, Leicester, Ripton, Goshen and Hancock. Conlon, the only candidate on the ballot, tallied 1,984 votes. Millard “Mac” Cox of Ripton ran a write-in campaign that garnered 180 votes. Conlon is looking forward to helping the state get back on its feet from the COVID-19 pandemic.  “It is somewhat overwhelming,” Conlon said. “That is certainly true in education, where the pandemic has delayed needed reforms in special...
MIDDLEBURY — Community promoters know that Halloween is a BIG deal for kids and they didn’t want to let the coronavirus ruin the holiday. So the folks at the Better Middlebury Partnership, in association with Addison County Home Health and Hospice, planned a Drive-Through Trick-or-Treat in Middlebury. Business members of the Partnership sponsored 19 stops at local businesses and prominent locations. Then kids dressed in their costumes, climbed into their cars and minivans and parents drove them to each of the stops where volunteers doled out individually bagged selections of candy. All those...
ADDISON COUNTY — In a normal election year dozens — sometimes scores — of absentee ballots come into town clerks’ offices around Addison County before the main event, Election Day — when voters stream into the polls to make their voices heard in person. 2020, the year of the coronavirus pandemic, the year when every registered voter in Vermont received a ballot in the mail, the year when one of the most divisive presidents in the past century is on the ballot, is not a normal election year. No surprise that town clerks planned for a huge number of early ballots arriving at their offices, and...

RETIRED FARMER DAVID Miskell, 72, of Charlotte welcomed the chance to stay politically active and socially distant by taking part in a get-out-the-vote campaign via postcards.
Anyone who has been to a polling place in Vermont on Election Day knows that many of the volunteers who help their fellow citizens cast votes are senior citizens. Well, that was until coronavirus came and public health officials urged everyone — especially seniors — to social distance. “I could understand the reluctance of poll workers to stay away from crowds; that’s a big issue,” said Middlebury resident David Rosenberg, who is nearly 80.  But seniors like David and his wife Jean, 77, still want to be engaged with the election process. “We think things are great in Vermont in terms of safe...

Musician John Daly dressed as 18th century Vermont rabble-rouser Matthew Lyon when he sung some Lyon-inspired songs at the Vermont Statehouse.
The nation is torn apart by factions haranguing their fellow citizens for wrong-headed thinking and transgressions both real and fabricated. The president, emboldened by sycophants, abuses his power, denigrates immigrants and takes on the trappings of a king, even to the point of threatening to throw his critics in jail. “Fake news” ricochets around the landscape. Sound familiar?  This is not the United States of America in 2020, it’s the United States in the late 1790s. When Federalists (behind President John Adams) and Democratic-Republicans (behind Thomas Jefferson) excoriated one another...
RUTLAND TOWN — After more than 100 years in the milk business, Thomas Dairy is closing its doors.  The venerable dairy on Route 7 in Rutland town had begun scaling back production in July, saying that such tweaks were just part of doing business, particularly as the pandemic had significantly slowed demand. But on Thursday, Sept. 10, the Thomas Dairy announced was going out of business. While the news was sad for Thomas and its devoted customers, another family-owned Vermont dairy business — Monument Farms Dairy in Weybridge — says it was in a slightly different position than Thomas Dairy. “...

MONICA ELLIS, WHO plays bassoon with the award-winning Imani Winds, is looking forward to connecting with an audience in whatever way she can when her quintet performs as the first act in the all-virtual Middlebury Performing Arts Series on Sept. 25.
If she is being completely honest, bassoonist Monica Ellis has reservations about performing online. “I miss terribly the palpable energy that comes only from live performances with my chamber music mates and from the audiences we serve,” Ellis, a founding member of the chamber music quintet Imani Winds, told the Independent. “However, do I want to stay connected to our fans, supporters, audiences, students and lovers of our music? Absolutely.” And so Ellis is excited to be coming to Middlebury — virtually — with the rest of the Imani Winds this month for a concert and digital residency with...

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Addison County Independent