News

ADDISON COUNTY — The Vermont Department of Health (DOH) today, Wednesday, March 3, is reporting six new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Addison County for a total of 770 confirmed cases here since the pandemic began last March. The county has seen 94 new cases during the past two weeks. The DOH provides limited data on town-by-town coronavirus cases. According to that data, most recently updated on Feb. 24, Middlebury has reported 116 cases, up four cases since the last DOH town-by-town update on Feb. 17; Vergennes 96 (up two); Bristol 80 (up four); Shoreham 57 (level); Brandon 73 (level);...
With the Johnson & Johnson vaccine coming online and the federal pharmacy program ramping up, Gov. Phil Scott announced Tuesday that school staff, child care workers and more Vermonters with high-risk conditions would become eligible to receive the Covid-19 vaccine starting next week. Phase 5 of the state’s vaccination program will open March 8, Scott said, which will include high-risk Vermonters aged 55 and over. Starting March 15, those with the same high-risk conditions aged 16 and over will become eligible.  School staff and child care workers will also become eligible March 8, and...
MONTPELIER — The Vermont Department of Taxes has created an education property tax estimator tool for the 2021-2022 property tax year (FY22). The tool was created to help taxpayers understand the impact of their budget vote on Town Meeting Day and to help school board members and district officials understand the impact of proposed budgets on taxpayers based on their combination of property value and household income, officials announced in a press release on Monday. Figures produced by the tool are estimates only and final tax amounts will depend on the “Yield” amount enacted at the end of...
BRISTOL — After figuring in new data from the state, it looks like the proposed 2021-22 spending plan for the Mount Abraham Unified School District — if approved by 5-Town voters on Tuesday — will result in a lower tax burden for district property owners than was projected in January. The amount of spending has not changed: Residents of Bristol, Lincoln, Monkton, New Haven and Starksboro are still being asked to approve $31,753,310 in educational spending for next year — a $354,128, or 1.13%, increase in spending over the current year. But the estimated tax rates have gone down in the past...

AFTER MANY YEARS holding the Addison town meeting in the nearby elementary school, municipal officials decided to hold this year’s annual gathering in the Addison Town Hall building off Route 22A at the four corners next to the Baptist church. Selectboard members believe the historic building has enough room for meeting participants to safely social distance. Independent photo/Andy Kirkaldy
ADDISON COUNTY — Here's what's on the docket for each of Addison County's town meetings.  ADDISON Most Vermont towns will hold their annual town meetings online with voting on all issues and candidates via Australian ballot. Addison is the exception to remote meetings. The selectboard set its town informational meeting for Addison Town Hall on Route 22A at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 1. Board members believe the historic building provides enough room for safe social distancing. Like other towns, all Addison town offices and spending measures will be decided by Australian ballot. Voting will be...

IN THE FACE of a global pandemic and postpartum depression, Weybrige mom Laksamee P Cave cherishes watching her son grow and learn new things. Photo by Katie Figura
“I always think of the postpartum period as a period of isolation,” said Alison Underwood. Parents are adjusting. They’re not sleeping much, not gathering with friends the way they used to. They’re staying home to protect their baby’s fragile immune system. But the pandemic has complicated things, said Underwood, a licensed independent clinical social worker for Porter Women’s Health. “The level of isolation people are dealing with has increased tenfold.” They say it takes a village to raise a child. But what if the whole village is stuck at home? Underwood has been running a weekly virtual...
RIPTON — You’ll forgive Ripton residents this year for being more preoccupied by their neighbors’ town meeting results than their own. That’s because residents in Bridport, Cornwall, Middlebury, Salisbury, Shoreham and Weybridge on March 2 will decide whether to endorse Ripton’s bid to withdraw from the Addison Central School District. Ripton residents — in an effort to preserve their local school, which has been targeted for closure due to low enrollment — voted 163-107 on Jan. 12 to leave the ACSD and become an independent school district. But Ripton’s road to independence still faces two...

BEGINNING NEXT MONTH, someone other than Cheryl Estey will be picking up the phone when it rings at the Starksboro town office. Estey, who served as Town Clerk for more than 30 years, will retire on Town Meeting Day, March 2. Independent photo/Steve James
STARKSBORO — Starksboro Town Clerk Cheryl Estey loves her job because of the people. “Every day is different,” Estey said. “You never know who is going to call or stop by. I enjoy interacting with people.” Estey, who will retire on Town Meeting Day, March 2, has interacted with a lot of people over the past 38 years — sometimes in rather awkward circumstances. On one occasion in the mid-1980s, when Estey was assistant town clerk, an irate fellow marched up the walkway to the office. When Estey’s boss, Town Clerk Thelma Bedard, saw him coming, she hid under her desk and told Estey to deal with...

THE FIVE CANDIDATES for Vergennes City Council.
VERGENNES — Vergennes residents are seeing another crowded ballot for the city council, with three incumbents facing two challengers for two-year terms. The top three vote-getters in the five-way race will win seats. Former councilor Matt Chabot is alone on the ballot in the mayoral race. The incumbents in the council race are multi-term Councilor Lowell Bertrand and two who joined the panel after winning in September special elections: former city manager Mel Hawley, now the deputy mayor, and restaurateur Ian Huizenga. Challenging for seats are civil engineer Raymond Paul, who ran...
ADDISON COUNTY — School taxes are going to be lower across the board than initially projected back in January, according to lawmakers and local school district officials. Several factors have combined during a winter that made the state tax rate, upon which local rates are based, difficult to project, according to experts recently interviewed by the Independent. Rep. Peter Conlon, D-Cornwall, a House Education Committee member, described the bottom line in a Feb. 4 piece in the Independent. In it, Conlon shared the good news about what is known as the “Yield Bill,” upon which statewide...

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