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ADDISON COUNTY — The Vermont Department of Health (DOH) today, Tuesday, Jan. 19, is reporting five new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Addison County for a total of 527 confirmed cases here since the pandemic began last March. Today's increase continues a trend of busy pandemic activity in a county that has seen 196 new cases during the past two weeks. Vermont Department of Health officials on Friday said approaching 150 of the county’s recent surge in cases can be linked to a Christmas service at the Victory Baptist Church in Vergennes. The DOH provides limited data on town-by-town...
ADDISON COUNTY — Addison County lawmakers will wield influence over issues ranging from COVID-19 relief to education financing, thanks to committee assignments recently handed down by House and Senate leaders. Four of the county’s legislators secured leadership positions. They include Rep. Diane Lanpher, D-Vergennes, who was named chair of the House Transportation Committee; Sen. Chris Bray, who will continue to lead the Senate Natural Resources & Energy Committee; Rep. Amy Sheldon, D-Middlebury, who will again chair the House Natural Resources, Fish & Wildlife Committee; and Sen....
VERGENNES — The Addison Northwest School District board on Monday, Jan. 11, looked at a $21.6 million final 2021-2022 budget draft that comes in at about $238,400 less than the spending level ANWSD residents approved for the district this past March. ANWSD Director of Finance of Operations Elizabeth Jennings also confirmed for board members at that meeting the Vergennes-area district has an audited surplus from the 2019-2020 fiscal year of roughly $1.585 million. This Wednesday, Jan. 20, beginning at 6 p.m., the ANWSD board will make final decisions on both the budget for the 2021-2022 (FY22...

RIPTON RESIDENT ANZA Armstrong was accompanied to the polls on Tuesday by her dog, Bailey. She and scores of other Ripton residents were asked if their town should withdraw from the Addison Central School District. The referendum passed, 163-107. Now residents in the six other ACSD communities will decide whether to affirm Ripton’s vote. Independent photo/Steve James
RIPTON — Ripton residents on Tuesday voted, 163-107, in favor of withdrawing from the Addison Central School District, while Weybridge residents opted against doing so by a 190-119 margin. The six other ACSD member towns must now vote in favor of Ripton’s bid to leave the district if the proposed exodus is to proceed to the Vermont Board of Education. The state board would then decide whether the town could become its own independent school district. Both the Ripton and Weybridge votes were triggered by citizens’ petitions seeking to prevent closure of their elementary schools. The ACSD board...

THE FRONT PAGE of the New York Times on January 7.
MIDDLEBURY — As darkness fell on the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday, Jan. 6, and a hastily imposed curfew went into effect across Washington, D.C., Middlebury resident David Laferriere-Hall posted a message to one of his Facebook accounts: “Hey everyone, I’m safe.” The former chef-owner of Coriander in Middlebury had spent part of that afternoon standing on the steps of the Capitol, wearing the insignia of a far-right militia group, while a violent mob of Trump supporters who falsely believe the 2020 presidential election was “stolen” stormed the building in an effort to prevent Congress from...

VERMONT HEALTH COMMISSIONER Dr. Mark Levine singled out Victory Baptist Church in Vergennes last Friday as the source of 80 recent COVID-19 cases linked to Christmas services. On Tuesday he said the number was approaching 100 cases.
ADDISON COUNTY  — Along with the rest of Vermont, Addison County is caught up in a surge of COVID-19 cases stemming from an increase in a spread of the disease related to people getting together over the Christmas holidays. The Vermont Department of Health reported double-digit daily increases in the number of Addison County cases over the last two weeks, with 218 new cases here since Dec. 30 — nearly half of the 474 confirmed county cases since the pandemic began last March. Statewide the numbers were equally alarming, with the 118 new cases on Wednesday alone, and more than 9,000 since mid-...
VERMONT — In the wake of Tuesday’s announcement by Middlebury College that it would revoke Rudy Giuliani’s 2005 honorary degree, the Middlebury Police Department and the college public safety officials are on alert and “keeping the lines of communication open” in case there is a backlash against the campus community, said MPD Chief Tom Hanley Tuesday afternoon. Middlebury revoked Giuliani’s degree for his role in inciting the violence that occurred last Wednesday, Jan. 6, when supporters of President Trump and right-wing extremists who refuse to accept that Trump lost the 2020 election...

LYNN DONNELLY
VERGENNES — The debate on whether Mayor Lynn Donnelly should be allowed to return to the Vergennes City Council in March and serve out the final year of her two-year term — to which she was elected in March 2020 — came to an abrupt and emotional end at Tuesday’s council meeting. In tearful remarks that followed suggestions that she should instead run for office, Donnelly said she would forego what she thought was her right to finish her term. She added she did not plan to run again, and criticized some of her council colleagues. Donnelly, a longtime city real estate broker and Vergennes...

ADDISON COUNTY SHERIFF Peter Newton, left, and CJ Campbell, the department’s program director, have launched a fundraising campaign for $1.5 million to enable the ACSD to put two deputies on the road, around-the-clock, to help with county law enforcement. Independent photo/John Flowers
MIDDLEBURY — Addison County Sheriff Peter Newton is seeking community support in raising $1.5 million to transform his organization into a one-stop shop for law enforcement and community services ranging from jump-starting stranded cars to connecting people with mental health and addiction counseling. He’s calling it the Addison County Community Support program. It’s primary feature calls for two deputies on the road throughout the county, around-the-clock, seven days per week. “We will be forging a series of new partnerships that will allow us to offer both traditional and non-traditional...
As you may have read, the COVID-19 pandemic situation is particularly bad right now in California — particularly Los Angeles. Hospitals are full and families crammed into small apartments are losing their breadwinners. In Santa Ana, Latino Health Access (LHA) uses “Promotores” — trained community workers — to educate, provide mutual aid, and network with families at risk. Here’s a way you can help: If you sew masks, Lise Anderson is collecting cloth masks sewn by Vermonters (all sizes and all styles) so that the Promotores can take them on their visits. Sewn masks add smiles to faces, reduce...

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Addison County Independent