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ORWELL RESIDENTS BOB Bogdan, left, Tim Short and Jean Audet were among more than 20 people who made a show of support in front of their town hall on Wednesday. Slate Valley Unified Union School District officials are considering razing the building as one option to make way for an addition to the village school. Independent photo/Steve James
02/20/2020
ORWELL — Jean Audet has always been enamored of the historical significance and visual beauty of the Orwell Town Hall, a stately, Greek Revival edifice that has stood vigil over the village green during the past 179 years. But when she passes by the Main Street building these days, she hears the echo of a verse from Joni Mitchell’s 1970 tune, “Big Yellow Taxi.” “They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” Audet is among a group of Orwell residents concerned their town hall might soon be razed and removed as part of a plan to fix and-expand the adjacent town school (see story). Around $6...
02/20/2020
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury residents on Town Meeting Day will be asked to bond for up to $5.35 million to bankroll three projects: replacing aging water mains in the Court Square area, fortifying the banks of the Middlebury River to prevent future flooding in East Middlebury, and renovating former sewer plant buildings into storage space for the town police department. The three separate requests add up to $5.35 million, but Middlebury residents won’t be on the hook for nearly that much because the selectboard has put together a financing plan that includes a large federal grant and surplus...

TOM BUZZELL
02/20/2020
BRISTOL — Bristol Elementary School Interim Principal Thomas Buzzell has been selected as the school’s next permanent principal, Mount Abraham Unified School District Superintendent Patrick Reen confirmed this week. Reen said the search committee’s weeks-long process concluded on Friday, Feb. 14, the day after Buzzell and the other finalist, Addison Central School principal and BES alum Kathleen Kilbourne, spent the day visiting the school and meeting with parents and community members in the evening. Reen said the news that Buzzell had accepted a contract was welcomed at a school-wide...

THE BROTHER-SISTER TEAM ON Caroline and David Larocque of East Middlebury won the mixed-grade prize at the Bixby Library on Monday in the Lego Contest and Exhibit for “The Doctor’s House.” The Bixby and the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Vergennes sponsored the event. Independent photo/Steve James
02/20/2020
VERGENNES — From “Planet Earth” to “Star Wars: The Last Star Fire,” the main floor of the Bixby Library contained a universe of imagination on Monday evening, not to mention dozens of Lego sculptors and many more of the artists’ family members. What filled the space under the library’s stained-glass dome was the awards reception for the second annual Vergennes Lego Contest and Exhibit, jointly sponsored by the library and the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Vergennes. After the contest got off to a good start in 2019, with 28 entrants, the count this year rose to 60 participants. They...
02/20/2020
ORWELL — Residents in Orwell and the other five towns in the Slate Valley Unified Union School District (SVUUSD) will vote on a $59.5 million bond referendum on March 3. The money would pay for a new, 8,200-square-foot addition for the Orwell Village School, as well as construction of a new district middle school and major upgrades to Fair Haven Union High School. The proposal is the culmination of almost two years of research by an SVUUSD committee charged with researching ways to expand educational opportunities for students and pitch ways to address the costs of deferred maintenance to...
02/20/2020
MIDDLEBURY — An Addison Central School District search committee has picked two finalists to contend for the impending principal vacancy at Middlebury Union High School, and those two individuals will be visiting the campus next week for tours and interviews. ACSD Superintendent Peter Burrows on Tuesday identified the finalists as Justin Campbell, now in his eighth year as principal of Hanover High School in Hanover, N.H., and Rebecca Tatistcheff, a district leader and administrative coach in New York City who has previous experience as a building principal and co-principal. Of Campbell,...
02/20/2020
BRISTOL — To get a sense of why the Electoral College is criticized so heavily these days, one need only consider that Republican Donald Trump was elected president in 2016 despite losing the popular vote by 2,868,686 ballots. One way to look at that fact? The Electoral College system had the equivalent effect of erasing every vote cast for Democrat Hillary Clinton in Vermont — and in 12 other small states, plus one congressional district of a 13th, plus the District of Columbia. And it’s not unthinkable that this November’s presidential election will produce a similar result. “Much more...
02/20/2020
You can look for another familiar face on national TV this coming Monday evening, Feb. 24, when Bristol native Willoughby Morse is scheduled to appear on the NBC show “Late Night with Seth Meyers.” A 2012 graduate of Mount Abraham Union High School, Morse has been playing drums in various bands since middle school, including the quintet Madaila. Now he’s setting the beat for singer-songwriter Caroline Rose, whose namesake band — including Morse — is scheduled to perform on “Late Night,” which begins at 12:35 p.m. The WinterFest events planned for Middlebury on Sunday were cancelled because of...
02/20/2020
BRANDON — The Dunmore Hose Company is currently without a fire chief. Brandon Fire Chief Roman Wdowiak has resigned citing internal policy disputes and philosophical differences with the fire department membership. Wdowiak submitted a letter of resignation to Brandon Fire District No. 1 Superintendent Ray Counter following the annual district meeting on Jan. 13 and asked Counter to submit copies to the district’s prudential board. Reached for comment Tuesday morning, Wdowiak said the decision was clear to him. “It’s quite simple,” he said. “It came down to philosophical differences about what...
02/20/2020
BRANDON — A group of all-terrain vehicle enthusiasts is working to create a better trail system in Brandon and legitimize ATV riding in the area. The goal is to engage private landowners and the town and use land and small sections of public road to form an ATV trail system in and around Brandon. Organizer Stacey Mohan said the idea stemmed from a petition she and her fellow ATV enthusiasts circulated in an attempt to get an article on the Brandon Town Meeting ballot. But that effort led to misinformation and rumor, she said. The town of Newport in the Northeast Kingdom approved a measure...

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