Lee J. Kahrs

RECENT UVM GRADUATE Alexa Herrera Condry, Will and Jennifer’s daughter, is a videographer and photographer who often serves as a model for her parents’ murals, including this one at American Flatbread restaurant in Middlebury. The mural is titled, “Nourishment.” Photo by Jennifer Herrera Condry
BRANDON — Sometimes, if they’re lucky, when two people come together the gifts they each bring complement and strengthen the bond they form. At a time when race and activism are socio-cultural touchstones in the United States, Jennifer Herrera Condry and Will Kasso Condry are working to spread understanding and community through public art. The husband and wife art duo moved to Brandon two years ago and formed their business, Juniper Creative, which paints large, public murals. During the recent years’ social unrest, they have been traveling throughout the region working on murals...
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. “...

MORT PIERPONT WITH his three beloved dogs — Darby (left), Emma and Jack. Darby, a two-year-old black Lab, went missing for 25 days before showing up in Pierpont’s yard last Saturday.
LEICESTER — Having a runaway dog is a heartbreaking experience for any pet owner. The first few days of frantic searching, the Facebook posts asking for help, the constant vigilance scanning the fields and walking, calling your dog’s name. If you’re lucky, those efforts pay off and you find your dog, but so often, days turn into weeks and hope fades. That’s where Mort Pierpont was on Aug. 29. His two-year-old black Labrador retriever, Darby, ran away from the pet sitter on Aug. 3 while Pierpont and his family were in Maine sending their oldest son off to college. The family home is just a...

MOUNT ABRAHAM UNION High School students Abby Johnson, left, Anna Doucet, Olivia Campbell and Evalin Pachman were among several dozen people outside the Bristol Post Office on Saturday protesting changes at the United States Postal Service that have resulted in slower mail. Photo courtesy of Mary Adams-Smith
ADDISON COUNTY AND BRANDON — Anger over the precipitous decline in the quality of mail delivery from the U.S. Postal Service showed itself this past Saturday when protests popped up in front of at least three local post offices. Slogans on placards and posters were varied, but the message was the same: USPS must restore its previous level of service to enable businesses to serve their customers, empower citizens to communicate unfettered and ensure that votes are delivered in a timely fashion for the November election. “It is unbelievable that America could sink so low that the president is...

THE BRANDON INN is up for sale and owners Sarah and Louis Pattis have announced their plans to formally retire when a buyer can be found. The inn had provided the backdrop for many a Brandon parade, whether it’s July 4, the Memorial Day Flower Girls or Veterans Day.
BRANDON — The fact that the Brandon Inn is for sale is not news. The venerable and historic Park Street Inn, the anchor of downtown Brandon since it was built in 1786, has been for sale for several years.  What is news is that owners Sarah and Louis Pattis really mean it this time. They have announced their plans to retire. A Facebook link to Vermont Country Inns for Sale contained the announcement created last month. “While running this unique country Inn, we raised our four children and saw them through college and military service,” the Pattises wrote. “In an early interview, Louis called...
BRANDON — Brandon has become the first town in Rutland County to form a communications district in an effort to improve its internet service. Thanks to an initiative from the Department of Public Service, the Rutland Regional Planning Commission has been awarded a Broadband Innovation Grant to support the improvement of stronger, more reliable broadband internet service. The grant will be used to fund a feasibility study that will assess the most cost-effective way to bring better fiber optic internet service to the area. Brandon is among 15 Rutland County towns that have been identified as...

My favorite teacher died last week. William Yachymiak was 73, and when I read his obituary, I never realized that when I was a 17-year-old junior in his creative writing class, he was just 36. Prematurely balding, Mr. Yach wore his straight brown hair in almost a Prince Valiant style with a part on the side and a long comb over, his tie slung over his right shoulder. But he was timeless to me, ageless in that it was what he represented that made me respect him as though he were 60 years old. It was 1983. I was as untarnished and unrealistic as my mother’s silver in a brown paper bag. I was...
It’s been decades since Brandon had its own movie theater, but that’s about to change. The Paramount Theatre has partnered with the town of Brandon and the McKernon Group to build a drive-in movie theater screen in Estabrook Field on the north end of town. The Jack McKernon Drive-In at Estabrook Park could be the beginning of a permanent outdoor entertainment space in Brandon. Since the COVID-19 pandemic has shuttered theaters, concert venues, amusement parks and other public entertainment spaces, the Paramount had to literally think outside the box. Interim Executive Director Eric Mallette...
Brandon Town Hall has not given up on its 2020 season just yet, but more volunteers could help pull it off despite the coronavirus. Trying to schedule public performances during a pandemic has been challenging to say the least, but Friends of the Brandon Town Hall President Dennis Marden said he is planning the first shows for September. His other challenge is how to bring in the public for performances and keep them safe per Gov. Phil Scott’s latest re-opening directive. Up to 75 people are now allowed at public gatherings — that’s good. But with nine volunteers, some of whom have health...

THE GUTEL FAMILY owns and operates the Kinder Way Sanctuary in Benson. From left, daughter Sara, 15, mom Erika, son Noah, 3 (hiding his face), dad Mark, and son Mason, 12. The family has been struggling financially since taking in most of the animals seized from a Kimball Road farm in Brandon in January. Independent photo/Lee J. Kahrs
BENSON/BRANDON — It’s been exactly five months since police seized more than 400 animals at a farm on Kimball Road in Brandon. So, what happened to them?  The answer lies at Kinder Way Sanctuary in Benson, where the animals are thriving, but the cost of their care is taking a toll. While several goats, pigs and sheep taken on Jan. 31 from the Kimball Road farm were given to local foster families immediately following the seizure, most of the animals, including hundreds of birds, were taken in by Kinder Way. In an agreement with the state’s attorney’s office, Kinder Way owners Erika and Mark...


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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100