LEADERS OF ST. STEPHEN’S Episcopal Church on the green will likely soon install a fence and perimeter lighting to deter people from relieving themselves in the building alcove that fronts the town park. Independent photo/John S. McCright
MIDDLEBURY — Increasing numbers of homeless folks seeking services in Middlebury are putting a strain on local police, who said they’re spending many hours responding to trespassing, assaults, disturbances and a variety of behavioral problems associated with some of those availing themselves of shelter and food in Addison County’s shire town. Time spent sorting out complaints with transients — many of whom are from out-of-state and who are dealing with myriad mental health and substance addiction problems — is precluding police from devoting adequate time to regular patrol activities,...

WORKERS IN DOWNTOWN Middlebury on Wednesday continue to prepare the rail bed and surrounding property for a tunnel that will make the track suitable for passenger rail service, which is slated to start in 2021 if all goes well with the tunnel project. Independent photo/ John S. McCright
MIDDLEBURY — The chief of Vermont’s rail and aviation division said passenger train service to Burlington — with stops in Vergennes and Middlebury — is likely to commence in 2021, barring any unforeseen delays in construction of the downtown Middlebury rail tunnel. That’s the word from Dan Delabruere of the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans). During a recent phone interview with the Independent, Delabruere discussed current planning for the expansion of the Ethan Allen Express from its current terminus in Rutland, all the way to the Queen City. The Ethan Allen currently runs from New...

LIZ HURLBURT OF Second Chance Farm gets a hug from Stan and Dorothy Zbornak, two mini donkeys named after characters from the TV show “Golden Girls.” Since launching Second Chance Farm in Addison this summer, Liz and her husband, Noah, have acquired more than 100 animals, many of which are considered endangered. Every animal on the farm has a name and a story. Photo courtesy of Second Chance Farm
ADDISON — A lot has happened in the six months since Liz and Noah Hurlburt first entertained the idea of having a farm. They got married, purchased 34 acres near Lake Champlain in Addison, moved their family down from Williston, built fences and stalls, opened a catering business and acquired more than 100 animals. “We were merging our families — six kids and five dogs — and so we thought ... space,” said Noah, a science teacher who grew up in rural Vermont. “And a sense of place. There’s a quality of life that comes with that, which is really important.” The Hurlburts call their new home...

MIDDLEBURY RESIDENT ANDY Dosmann has founded, a nonprofit travel website. Dosmann said it functions like other well-known travel-booking websites and trips can be arranged at a low cost, with the added bonus that local charities will be kicked back funds every time a customer uses the site. Photo courtesy of Elisabeth Waller Photography
MIDDLEBURY — One Middlebury resident has figured out a way to make flying the skies friendly to charities. Andy Dosmann, an evolutionary biology professor who teaches online college courses through San Francisco’s The Minerva Schools, has created a travel website that when used to book flights or hotels kicks back money to local nonprofits. Dosmann has been working for a couple years to create and work out the bugs for his site,, which he is now taking public in partnership with the international booking site According to Dosmann, the process is not complicated....
BRISTOL — Bristol’s Town Wide Police District Committee wants to know what town residents think about the idea of expanding the current police district to encompass the entire town. To that end the committee has created a brief survey, which it hopes town residents will fill out and return by Oct. 21. A link to the survey can be found on the Bristol town website,, along with a map of the current police district. The Bristol selectboard decided in August that it was time to revisit the idea of expanding the Bristol Police Department’s coverage area to include the entire town....
If you’re thinking of taking a shortcut through Halpin Road next Monday, think again. The road at the 200 address will be closed to through traffic on Oct. 21 from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. in order to replace utilities in the road. Motorists are asked to please seek an alternate route. Call the Middlebury Department of Public Works at 388-4045 with questions or for more information. Hay bales, festive games and creative costumes galore will be on display at the 12th Annual Middlebury Spooktacular on Sunday, Oct. 27, on the town green in Middlebury. Come at 1 p.m. for games, music, dancing and...
VERGENNES — The Addison Northwest School District will host two voter information meetings on Monday, Nov. 4 — the night before elementary school-closure votes in Addison and Ferrisburgh. The first meeting will be held at 5 p.m. at the Addison Central School and the second at 7 p.m. at the Ferrisburgh Central School. The next day, Tuesday, Nov. 5, ANWSD will ask Addison and Ferrisburgh voters to approve its plan to close those two schools on June 30, 2020. The district has suggested that because of declining enrollment and increased costs, keeping the two schools open would require program...
MIDDLEBURY — A 14-member committee has begun the search for a new Middlebury Union High School principal whom they hope to appoint this coming January. The new administrative leader will succeed longtime MUHS Principal Bill Lawson. Lawson, who took the helm of MUHS in 1995, announced his retirement plans this past August in order to give Addison Central School District officials ample time to recruit his replacement. MUHS, and indeed all schools in the Addison Central School District, are transitioning to the International Baccalaureate program. That switchover is slated to be done by next...

THIS IMAGE FROM the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service shows zebra mussels clinging to a native mussel.
LEICESTER — The Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Lakes and Ponds Program has confirmed the presence of adult zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha), an aquatic invasive species, in Lake Dunmore. A member of the Lake Dunmore Public Access Greeter Program submitted an inquiry, and, in quick response, Lake Dunmore Fern Lake Association contracted divers to remove the estimated 100-200 adult specimens. Zebra mussels are a small freshwater mollusk that can reproduce rapidly and cause serious harm to the ecological systems. They also cause an economic burden, requiring long-term...

MARIE AUDET OF Bridport’s Blue Spruce Farm is a founding member of the Champlain Valley Farmer Coalition.
PANTON — The U.S. Department of Agriculture last week launched a multi-year study to examine how much conservation projects are improving water quality in two Addison County watersheds. The project, funded at $2 million through the Natural Resources Conservation Service’s (NRCS) Conservation Effects Easement Project (CEAP), will examine the Dead Creek Watershed and the Headwaters of Little Otter Creek. NRCS will, in partnership with the University of Vermont Extension, temporarily accelerate and enhance on-farm conservation practices in the Dead Creek Basin but not in the Headwaters of the...


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Addison County Independent

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Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100