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-...

Middlebury town pool. Photo by Logan Hall-Potvin
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury’s town pool will not be open to the general public this summer due to COVID-19 safety concerns, according to Middlebury Parks and Recreation Superintendent Dustin Hunt. Hunt said in an email on Thursday that pool use will be limited to use by town recreation and Mary Johnson Children’s Center day camp groups, to some swim lessons, and to small-group practices by the Middlebury Swim Team. “Because each of these groups will fill the 25-person limit currently ordered by the state we cannot open to the general public,” Hunt wrote. “It was certainly a difficult decision but...

Photo by David Devine
MIDDLEBURY — Early Wednesday morning parts of downtown Middlebury got closed off to traffic and Kubricky Construction conducted a trial run of the precast tunnel pieces from the Fifield Farm marshaling yard to the intersection of Merchants Row and Main Street. To do this safely, Main Street was temporarily closed to through traffic between the Cross Street roundabout and Seymour Street starting at 6:30 a.m. A flatbed truck carried a representative precast piece with a five-foot passenger-side overhang. That overhang meant that they had to cordon off all parking on South Main Street between...

DAVE SILBERMAN IS running for high bailiff.
MIDDLEBURY — The office of high bailiff has drawn little attention through the years. And why should it? The high bailiff’s limited responsibilities are to serve papers the sheriff is legally incapable of serving, arresting the sheriff if necessary, and acting as sheriff if that person’s office is vacant.  More often than not, the high bailiff goes through an entire term without having to perform any of his or her statutory duties. Most of the county’s past high bailiffs have been sheriff’s deputies. Some have worn the title simply to signal a future run for sheriff. Those are not Dave...
MIDDLEBURY — Managers of the downtown Middlebury rail bridges project have tentatively picked July 13 as the starting date for a 10-week closure of both Main Street and Merchants Row, during which a 360-foot-long concrete tunnel will be installed in place of what were two 1920s-era rail spans. Jon Griffin, project manager for the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans), disclosed the date at a recent Middlebury selectboard meeting. The 10-week closure will also result in the temporary detouring of Vermont Rail freight traffic. “There’s some possibility (the start date) could flex a little...
MIDDLEBURY — After half a decade closed to most motorized vehicles, Middlebury’s Creek Road could reopen to cars and trucks by the end of this week. The Middlebury selectboard this past week gave its final approval to a Creek Road reopening plan that’s contingent on installation of guardrail at nine key locations.  Creek Road runs from Court Street on its north end to Three Mile Bridge Road on the south end. The road has been closed to through traffic for the past five years, due to flood-related damage. It’s currently gated at two locations, with access granted to farmers and the few...

SOCIAL DISTANCING REQUIREMENTS for the COVID-19 pandemic forced a new kind of graduation ceremony at Middlebury Union High School and other secondary schools throughout the land. Students on Saturday rolled up in decorated vehicles to pick up their diplomas from a makeshift stage in front of the MUHS building. Independent photo/John S. McCright
MIDDLEBURY — Four fruitful years at Middlebury Union High School this past Saturday came down to one last meander down the horseshoe driveway fronting a building that had become home away from home for the more than 127 members of the class of 2020. It was a chance to drive off into the sunset, and each student took full advantage this past Saturday. One-by-one, they rolled up to a makeshift stage in sleek coupes, revving Jeeps, powerful trucks and classic autos, most of them decorated with the black-and-orange colors of MUHS and bearing bright signs announcing each matriculating senior....


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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100