JENNIFER KENNETT, LEFT, and AnnaJo Smith have partnered to open the Vermont Food Collaborative at the corner of Route 7 and Campground Road in New Haven. In addition to offering local food and other products in their retail space, the pair hopes to strengthen relationships among local food producers, processors and buyers. Independent photo/Christopher Ross
NEW HAVEN — About a year and a half ago a pair of self-described “farmHERs,” Jennifer Kennett and AnnaJo Smith, were worrying about their future as food producers in Addison County. Now they’re doing something about it. On Nov. 30 Kennett and Smith opened the Vermont Food Collaborative at 16 Campground Road, just off Route 7, in New Haven — the former home of Green Pasture Meats. Their mission is to market Vermont-raised livestock, foods and goods; educate the community; and work with producers, butchers and educators to provide a full-circle program of farm-to-plate training for the next...

SCHOOL OFFICIALS ARE sometimes forced to make tough calls on whether a juvenile offender and his or her victim(s) can coexist on campus, and if so, how to make sure they are kept at a distance from one another and still receive equal access to school services.
Editor’s note: This story involves juvenile court cases, the details of which are sealed by the courts. The parents of victims in the case have agreed to speak on the condition of anonymity for themselves and their children. The juvenile victims in this case have been assigned pseudonyms selected by their parents. MIDDLEBURY — Addison County State’s Attorney Dennis Wygmans is preparing a notice to all local high schools advising officials about their obligations to not only provide equal access to public education, but also to ensure that sexual assault victims and their perpetrators are not...

THIS GRAPHIC SHOWS the proposed layout of a 5-megawatt solar array that would be developed by Encore Renewable Energy on land in Middlebury owned by Middlebury College. The solar panels would occupy approximately 30 acres to the south and west of South Street Extension; the Eddy Horse Farm is just to the east of the array. Graphic courtesy of Encore Renewable Energy
MIDDLEBURY — The Middlebury selectboard on Dec. 17 will decide whether to endorse the proposed location of a 5-megawatt solar farm off South Street Extension, a plan that has generated considerable opposition from neighbors and those who routinely walk the scenic stretch near the Eddy Farm for Horse & Rider. Around a dozen people showed up at the selectboard meeting this past Tuesday evening to give the panel food for thought in coming to a decision on the solar farm, which would be developed by Encore Renewable Energy on land owned by Middlebury College. The board listened intently to...

CHEDDAR, A BIG orange cat that hangs out at the Middlebury Animal Hospital, is one of several felines that “work” at businesses around Addison County. Homeward Bound, Addison County’s Humane Society, has created a program called “Paws on the Job,” which places hard-to-adopt cats in places where they can be useful. Independent photo/Megan James
MIDDLEBURY — Jackie was a feral stray cat when she arrived at Homeward Bound, Addison County’s Humane Society, two years ago. Severe flea dermatitis made her back almost completely furless. “It took about four months before anybody could even touch her,” recalls feline coordinator Michelle Shubert. Shubert, who is soft-spoken and gentle with the shelter cats, started spending her lunch break with Jackie every day, “slowly befriending her with treats,” she says. Gradually, the cat began warming up. Two years later, she is still at Homeward Bound — she’s been there longer than any other...

MONKTON — Vermont State Police on Tuesday afternoon arrested Angela Auclair, 47, of Monkton in connection with the murder of her late husband, David Auclair, who was shot to death in Hinesburg near their Monkton home on July 11. On Wednesday morning, Angela Auclair pleaded innocent in Chittenden Superior Court, Criminal Division, to charges of aiding in the commission of a felony (that felony being first-degree murder) and obstruction of justice arising from the July 11 slaying. “The investigation revealed a pre-planned and coordinated effort to burglarize a Colchester residence where a...
VERGENNES — Faced with rising costs that would result in a tax penalty imposed by the state if nothing is done, the Addison Northwest School District board on Monday discussed three budget options for next year. One would make no substantial changes in the configuration of the three elementary and one high school (“Do Nothing”), one would repurpose Addison Central School and send Addison kids to another building, and one would make cuts to the “Do Nothing” budget. At the Dec. 9 meeting the board ended by asking if a fourth path might be possible — a hybrid of two existing proposals. The...
Attention: Open enrollment for the Vermont Health Connect program ends Dec. 15. “Open enrollment” is the time each year when any Vermonter can enroll in a Qualified Health Plan through Vermont Health Connect. If you’re already enrolled in coverage through Vermont Health Connect, open enrollment is the time when you can change plans. The Office of the Health Care Advocate is a free resource for you. They can help all Vermonters with Open Enrollment questions or with problems related to health care. Call 1-800-917-7787 or email to speak with a Health Care Advocate. Learn more...

ABOUT 40 VOLUNTEERS from the five Mount Abraham Unified School District towns gathered on Dec. 5 in Starksboro to write letters to district residents seeking support for the MAUSD mentoring program. The program currently matches 94 district students with long-term, trained adult mentors from local communities.
STARKSBORO — Around 40 volunteers from Mount Abraham Unified School District towns gathered on Dec. 5 at Starksboro’s Common Ground Center to write 1,000 fundraising letters to residents of Bristol, New Haven, Starksboro and Monkton on behalf of the school district’s mentoring program. Six Lincoln residents attended to help process the donation letters, but that town’s volunteers opted to approach the Friends of Lincoln organization for a gift rather than send letters, according to organizers. Other funds come from foundations and town budgets. Starksboro has regularly donated $2,000, and...

MATT SCHLEIN, SECOND from right, and students in the Walden Program at Vergennes Union High School fielded a large sleep out team for this past Saturday’s fundraiser. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Ready
MIDDLEBURY — John Graham Housing & Services’ 6th annual vigil and sleep out at the Otter Creek Falls in Middlebury on Dec. 7 was the largest and most successful version of the event in the organization’s history, with participants raising a combined total of more than $53,000 in pledges to help the homeless. The event saw around 100 people attend a candlelit vigil at the town green to show solidarity with the homeless, and around 80 people attended a related community supper sponsored by St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. Sleep out participants braved frigid temperatures sharing around 30...
BRANDON/MIDDLEBURY — Steven Eastman, an ASE Certified collision repair and refinish technician who lives in Brandon and works at Foster Motors Inc. in Middlebury, was recently honored with a national achievement award as the FCA/ASE Master Collision Repair and Refinish Technician of the Year. Fifty-three automotive professionals were recognized on Nov. 13 at the Fall Board of Governors Meeting of the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) held at the Arizona Grand Resort and Spa in Phoenix, Ariz. The ASE annual awards spotlight top scorers on the ASE Certification tests...


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Addison County Independent

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