News


PETER CONLON
04/30/2020
MIDDLEBURY — There are less than two months left in the 2019–2020 academic year, which will go down in history for having featured much of a semester of empty classrooms. And Addison Central School District learned on Monday that this academic year will also stand out for having delivered some of the worst financial news, ever. Barring a miracle — or at least a federal decision that would allow federal stimulus money to replace education-related revenues lost to the coronavirus pandemic — fiscal year 2020 could culminate in large amounts of red ink being splashed onto school district ledgers...

CATHARINE HAYS
04/30/2020
VERGENNES — The new director of the Bixby Free Memorial Library studied in Switzerland and Washington, D.C; worked high-powered government and corporate jobs in D.C. and New Jersey; and then held influential positions in the nonprofit and academic worlds in New York City and Philadelphia. Catharine Findiesin Hays also spent her early years on an Addison family orchard, Yankee Kingdom, on the shores of Lake Champlain, and the 1980 graduate of Georgetown University had always wanted to return to Vermont. “I’ve been thinking about it for a while now and actually went back up there in the dead of...

WEYBRIDGE NATIVE MOLLY SMITH has been spending most of her waking hours making face masks for donation and for sale during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo courtesy of Molly Smith
04/30/2020
WEYBRIDGE — Molly Smith has learned firsthand that if you give, you can receive a lot in return. The talented clothing designer and maker decided to produce and donate face masks around a month ago, when the COVID-19 pandemic took the starch out of her family’s online clothing business, Mary Lynn O’Shea Studio, named for her mom. Smith is still making free masks for the health care industry, but has also seen her own line of snazzier masks take off and provide her with a much-needed income during the pandemic. Smith, now 30, was just a child when she began accompanying her mom to craft and...

Renee Davis (left), Valerie Smith-Hastings and Ashley Paquette are staying home and staying safe while Smith-Hastings's Middlebury salon, the Hair Network, remains shuttered because of the coronavirus pandemic. Smith-Hastings hopes to reopen the shop sometime in May, but that will depend on Gov. Scott's timeline for gradually restarting the state economy. Photo courtesy of Ashley Paquette
04/30/2020
VERMONT — Collectively, Vermont residents have grown more than 7 miles of hair since mid-March, when Gov. Scott ordered the shutdown of hair salons and barbershops in order to help slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. We have grown shaggy and our roots are showing. For the do-it-yourselfers among us there is plenty of advice online about how to cut or color or otherwise alter our own hair — or fix the mistakes we made the first time around — or marvel or laugh at others. One particularly well done YouTube video by “The Holderness Family” parodies the song “True Colors” by ’80s pop...
04/30/2020
We got a bit of news from Mike Kiernan, the emergency department doctor who runs a side business planting flower gardens around solar arrays to support bees, butterflies and other pollinators. He gave a little thumbnail update of the business, called Bee the Change, pointing out that the acreage of pollinator-friendly plantings his outfit has coming online in the next year will mean they have created pollinator habitat equal to each Vermont household planting a 6-foot-by-8-foot pollinator garden. That’s pretty cool, but Dr. Kiernan reminds us all that each household should also plant its own...

JEB SPAULDING
04/30/2020
MONTPELIER — Vermont State Colleges System (VSCS) Chancellor Jeb Spaulding, who was embroiled in controversy last week over plans to close some colleges, on Tuesday announced his intention to resign from the post after more than five years leading the organization. Spaulding was set to formally submit his resignation to the Board of Trustees at a meeting on Wednesday evening. Spaulding has led the organization through a time of significant challenges and disruption in higher education. These challenges have been intensified by the global COVID-19 pandemic, a VSC press releasesaid,...
04/30/2020
VERGENNES — The Vergennes City Council on Tuesday adopted a plan to upgrade the city’s aging sewer treatment plant that was recommended by plant operator Rick Chaput — and lowers the overall cost estimate of the city’s global sewer system fix to about $17 million.  Two weeks earlier the estimate had assumed a different, more expensive upgrade to the Canal Street plant that had pegged the total cost of an upgrade to the plant and the city’s collection system at about $18.2 million. Vergennes residents might in November be asked to support a major bond — now more likely to have a $17 million...
04/30/2020
MIDDLEBURY — In an effort to save money during the public health crisis, which continues to negatively affect its finances, Middlebury College announced late last week that it has reduced the salaries of President Laurie Patton and the members of her Senior Leadership Group (SLG), effective immediately. “The goal here, among other cost-saving measures ... is to put Middlebury in the strongest position to handle the unknowns and to help bring spending in line with our reduced revenue streams,” wrote Patton and Executive Vice President for Finance and Administration David Provost in the April...
04/30/2020
BRISTOL — In a recent letter to the community, organizers of the Three Day Stampede toward the cure for Cystic Fibrosis announced that the event will be cancelled this year. “As the organizers of The Stampede, our first priority above all is the safety of all the people who volunteer, attend, and participate in any way in our beloved event,” the letter states. “We have been looking long and hard at all the information we can find about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in our state, our country and our world. The recurring theme through all of the work that is being done by scientists, doctors...

LIVIA BERNHARDT
04/30/2020
LEICESTER — Livia Bernhardt has been named the Good Citizen Scholarship Contest Second Place winner for Vermont, the local chapter of the DAR announced.  The Leicester resident received this award based on letters of reference, school activities, service to community, school transcript, her responses to contest questions, and her future plans.  She was required to write an essay without prior knowledge of the subject within a two-hour time limit and without reference material. This year’s essay title was “Our American Heritage and Our Responsibility for Preserving It” with a focus question “...

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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100