MUSICIAN MATTHEW EVAN Taylor, shown in his Middlebury College office, responded to the unrest over racial inequality by recording a series of jazz improvisations, distributing the work on Bandcamp.com, and contributing the proceeds to Black Lives Matters charities. Independent file photo/Steve James
MIDDLEBURY — In addition to attending some small-scale rallies around the state, Middlebury College Assistant Professor of Music Matthew Evan Taylor felt like he needed to respond in his own way to the Black Lives Matter protests that have sprung up over the past month. So Taylor released the seven-track digital album “Say Their Names” to the online music site Bandcamp on June 6.  “‘Say Their Names’ is a collection of improvisations that I did using wind instruments and a loop station (a device with guitar pedals that help you record and playback a sound or a snippet of music),” Taylor said...

ALEX APFEL HAS devised around 10 recipes thus far for Golden Rule Mead in Middlebury. Mead is essentially a honey wine, to which Apfel adds a variety of ingredients — including teas, fruit and herbs — to infuse unique, pleasing flavors. Independent photo/Alexa Lapiner
MIDDLEBURY — Alex Apfel wants to add a new flavor to Addison County’s growing assortment of adult beverages that includes beer, wine, whiskey and hard cider. Mead — also known as “honey wine.” Apfel recently earned permission from the town of Middlebury to make 8 Elm St. the headquarters of Golden Rule Mead. His plan calls for using the building — which most recently hosted the Parlour salon — as a tasting room with small retail outlet for his product and a place to conduct “small-scale experimental brewing” of his mead. He stressed, however, that the bulk of Golden Rule Mead will continue to...

BASHIRU ABDULAZIZ RECENTLY shared his concerns about being the focus of a June 22 police investigation in Middlebury. The Brandon resident believes the color of his skin might have played a role in how the case was reported and investigated. Photo courtesy of Bashiru Abdulaziz
BRANDON — A Black man who was ordered by Middlebury police to “raise his hands” after an erroneous report that he had been detaining a woman at gunpoint off Mary Hogan Drive is now talking about the incident. Bashiru Abdulaziz, a 38-year-old man who lives in Brandon, believes witnesses and authorities in the case last week failed to give him the benefit of the doubt because he is Black. As reported in the June 25 edition of the Independent, Abdulaziz was approached by two Middlebury police officers and a police dog at the Middlebury Recreation Park at around 8:45 p.m. on June 22, after a 13-...
(Tor Teen) To amplify Black voices, it is important to read beyond the (still very important) contextual Black history and anti-racism books; it is important to read great stories that are written by Black authors with captivating Black characters, like this one. The secretly magical teens at the heart of this story engage with and comment on some of the same social issues we are grappling with today: racism, prejudice and oppression. In Tavia and Effie’s world, not all teens are treated equally. Sirens are forced to hide themselves, or wear silencing collars, to avoid persecution. Tavia, a...
It would be a serious mistake if Middlebury residents jumped on the bandwagon to defund police in our community. We should instead be holding up our community’s policing as a model for others to follow.  Chief Tom Hanley’s passionate statements in this newspaper denouncing militarized and racist police activity are a breath of fresh air coming from the top. Equally important is the routine work of our police in answering calls to assist endangered individuals: victims of domestic violence, those suffering from drug and alcohol excess, and homeless individuals in need of immediate support.  I...

JUSTIN COMES OF Middlebury dominated the Pepsi Sportsman Modified main event at Devil's Bowl Speedway. His brother, Austin Comes of Middlebury, made it a sibling sweep by winning the Limited Sportsman feature. Photo by Bill McGaffin
WEST HAVEN — Brothers and Middlebury residents Justin and Austin Comes cruised to big wins in the top two featured races at Devil’s Bowl Speedway on Sunday, June 28, in front of the first grandstand crowd of the season.  The Comes’ sweep was the first at Devil’s Bowl for a pair of siblings since September 2001, when Joe and Vince Santoro turned the trick; the Santoros also doubled up on August of that year. The only other brothers to win on the same night at Devil’s Bowl were Bobby and Beaver Dragon in July 1973. Justin Comes struck first in the 30-lap Pepsi Sportsman Modified feature. Comes...
MIDDLEBURY — More than a dozen people have asked officials here to redirect the Middlebury Police Department’s voter-approved $46,234 budget increase for fiscal year 2021, and to begin looking at ways to “defund” the MPD. A national call for defunding police agencies has gained momentum since the May 25 killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. Still, some Middlebury officials were surprised to see MPD targeted by the movement.  Police Chief Tom Hanley, who has led the department for almost three decades, has established rigorous standards for new hires. And MPD was the first...

IN ANTICIPATION OF reopening this fall, Middlebury College has contracted with a telehealth company to help provide counseling, psychiatric, nutritional and medical services to students, no matter where they are physically. Health Services is also working with other departments to ensure that all students receive regular information about mental health and medical self-care. Independent photo/Alexa Lapiner
This story, which was first published online on Monday, June 22, was updated on Thursday, June 25. MIDDLEBURY — Encouraged by modeling reports projecting low levels of COVID-19 in Vermont this autumn, Middlebury College officials say that they will reopen the campus to residential students for the fall 2020 semester. “While this fall will look much different than at any time in our history, I am grateful that we will be able to come together again in a way that upholds educational opportunity while maximizing the health and safety of the entire Middlebury community,” wrote President Laurie...
MIDDLEBURY — An erroneous report alleging that a Black man had pulled a woman out of a car at gunpoint near Mary Hogan Elementary School on Monday, June 22, led Middlebury police to order the man to raise his hands and submit to a pat-down. The man at the time was escorting a special-needs client around the town’s recreation field. The man, whom police identified as Bashiru Abdulaziz, 39, of Brandon, told authorities he believed he had been investigated because he was Black. The Independent’s attempt to reach Abdulaziz was unsuccessful by press time. Chief Tom Hanley, during an email exchange...
ADDISON COUNTY — Coaches and organizers for the Vergennes Champs and Middlebury Marlins are now planning to keep many of their young swimmers active this summer even though the Champlain Valley Swim League season was called off in mid-May. All were pleased pools in Middlebury and Vergennes opened, even on a limited basis, enough to allow young swimmers to hit the water this summer.  “I am very happy to say that the Vergennes pool will open and we will have a 2020 VST (Vergennes Swim Team) swim season,” said Champs President Amanda Crocker. By Sunday the Vergennes team had passed a minimum 50-...


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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
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