News

The Vermont Department of Health today, Thursday, Oct. 21, is reporting three new cases of COVID-19 in Addison County since yesterday, for a total of 1,438 cases since the pandemic began in March of 2020. Addison County has logged 52 positive COVID-19 tests during the past two weeks, underscoring the continuing surge in virus activity since the Delta variant surfaced this summer. Officials with the DOH and CDC are urging the unvaccinated to get a shot, as the Delta variant has shown itself to be more contagious than the regular strain of the disease and, in many cases, less lethal when it...

DANE VANNOSDELN CONFIDENTLY paddles a pumpkin through the Otter Creek Gorge north of Belden Falls on the New Haven/Weybridge town line. What’s that — a pumpkin? Yes, indeed. Photo Credit: Josh Hummel/AdventureWithJosh.com
ADDISON COUNTY — Middlebury photographer Josh Hummel teamed up with pumpkin grower Ethan Nelson of Brandon and giant pumpkin-growing support specialist Jenna Baird from Baird Farm in Chittenden to create an unusual nautical opportunity for Dane VanNosdeln, a Charlotte resident who teaches fifth grade at Bristol Elementary School. On Sept. 26 they hollowed out the 600-pound winter squash, set it in the Otter Creek just a little ways north of Belden Falls, VanNosdeln stepped in, and they launched the floating pumpkin. He skillfully piloted the craft for three-quarters of a mile before landing...

BRISTOL RESIDENT KELLY Hedley, left, speaks about an experience her son had at Bristol Elementary School during the Oct. 12 meeting of the Mount Abraham Unified School District. Superintendent Patrick Reen and board chair Dawn Griswold look on. Image courtesy of Northeast Addison Television
BRISTOL — When Kelly Hedley, a parent in the Mount Abraham Unified School District, spoke at last week’s school board meeting in the high school cafeteria, she stood alone. The staff at Bristol Elementary School had just presented statements to the board detailing safety and policy concerns after incidents the previous week had led, among other things, to the destruction of a classroom there. First on the staff’s list of requests to the district was “Provide for the safe removal of students who endanger the safety of themselves, other students or staff to an alternative and safe workplace...

KAY DESJADON CHECKS some of the many toys recently donated to the HOPE resale shop in Middlebury. HOPE sells the toys to raise money for poverty fighting programs. Photo courtesy of Jeanne Montross
MIDDLEBURY — Addison County’s two largest nonprofit resale shops are swimming in donated clothing, accessories, furniture and other items  — so much so that they’ve had to limit intake due to swelling inventory. Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects (HOPE) runs the area’s largest resale shop, offering major quantities of gently used clothing, textiles, housewares, electronics, furniture, crafts, records, CDs, DVDs, puzzles, baby equipment, camping gear, tools, collectibles and other items. “You’ll never know what you’ll find,” said HOPE Executive Director Jeanne Montross. And HOPE in turn has...

THE VERMONT LEGISLATIVE Apportionment Board is proposing a realignment of House districts that would result in major changes here in Addison County, with single-person distracts that sometimes cross town boundaries.
MIDDLEBURY — A proposed realignment of Vermont House districts based on new census numbers would have a substantial impact on Addison County, with the latest map showing the current two-seat Middlebury district fractured into three-one person seats. “It’s astonishing the way they divided up Middlebury,” said Rep. Robin Scheu, D-Middlebury. “I can’t see in any way how this is good for the Middlebury community.” Other local surprises contained in the new House districts map that the Vermont Legislative Apportionment Board (LAB) endorsed by a narrow 4-3 vote last Friday include: •  The creation...
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury Union High School has been contending with a spike in COVID-19 cases — a total of 10, all involving students — since Oct. 14, according to the Addison Central School District’s coronavirus reporting dashboard. See the online dashboard at tinyurl.com/enpr9pyb. Five of the MUHS cases were reported on Oct. 15, according to the district’s dashboard. On Monday, school administrators said the COVID spike had not required any changes to school schedules, nor any suspension of classes. “Most of these cases (likely all but one) are connected, and it is most likely the spread...

SEVENTH-GRADER MADELINE Diop of Bristol was excited to see her Bristol-themed design get printed on T-shirts this past summer. Diop was one of two winners of a design contest sponsored by Vermont Marketplace in downtown Bristol. Photo courtesy of Vermont Marketplace
BRISTOL — If you could express your feelings and thoughts about Bristol for a T-shirt design, what would you come up with? The folks at Vermont Marketplace, who sponsored the “Bristol T-Shirt Design Contest,” asked just such a question this past summer — and community members responded with impressive results. The downtown Bristol business offered a $100 cash prize for the best design, as long as it followed a few simple rules: It needed to include the word “Bristol,” fit into 32-square-inch space and use no more than two colors. And the winner was ... well, Vermont Marketplace actually chose...

STATE SEN. KESHA Ram Hinsdale, a Shelburne Democrat, is hoping for success in her second bid to pass an environmental justice police for the state of Vermont. Independent photo/John Flowers
MIDDLEBURY — Kesha Ram Hinsdale was a senior at the University of Vermont in 2007 when she pitched a first-ever environmental justice policy for the state. While she found a dedicated group of sponsors for the legislation, H.463, a majority of lawmakers back then weren’t convinced of a pressing need for Vermont to pass such a measure. Almost 15 years later, Ram Hinsdale is again championing an environmental justice bill — this time as a state senator representing Chittenden County. “We’re building a movement,” the Shelburne Democrat told members of the Middlebury College community, who on Oct...
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury College community is grieving the death of a college junior who apparently took her own life Wednesday. Officers from the town of Middlebury Police Department were called to a dormitory at the college on Wednesday, Oct. 20, at around 4:30 p.m. to look into a report of a deceased student. The identified her as 20-year-old Yan Zhou of Beijing, China. Middlebury Police Chief Tom Hanley said in a press release that officers’ initial investigation indicated there was no foul play and there is no danger to the campus community. The police investigation is continuing. The...
Halloween Is ON. Even before Dr. Fauci gave it the green light, Halloween 2021 was shaping up to be excellent. Middlebury’s Spooktacular is back on the 31st — this time with drive-through and walkthrough options. The folks responsible for that fantastic, little-kid-appropriate haunted forest in Bristol last year — the Brendon P. Cousino Med47 Foundation — are going “bigger and better” this year. The Ilsley Library is doing a ghost hunt the whole Halloween week, and the Addison County Sheriff’s office is offering three days of jail tours of the actual 1864 county jail — which Sheriff Peter...

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Addison County Independent