News


IN OUR OCTOBER 10, 2019, issue we reported on the hemp harvest.
Vermont agriculture’s new big thing — industrial hemp — suffered from some growing pains in 2019, though hope remained by year’s end that the abundantly useful plant could still make important contributions to the state’s farming economy. Many hemp enthusiasts had been looking forward to this year since 2013, when the state legislature legalized limited hemp production in Vermont. At the time, lawmakers were hoping to give future Vermont planters a leg up when the federal government finally got around to legalizing the crop nationwide. For that, they waited another five years. In July 2018 —...

THIS WAS OUR front page on January 24, 2019.
In addition to the turnover at the top at Porter Medical Center (see story No. 5), a number of important county institutions saw leadership changes in 2019. After leading the Counseling Service of Addison County for 40 years, Bob Thorn at the end of March retired as the head of the county’s largest mental health agency. He was succeeded as executive director of CSAC by Rachel Lee Cummings, a former chief operating officer at Age Well. Cummings demonstrated her entrepreneurial spirit while an undergraduate at the University of Vermont when she founded Armistead Senior Care, which provides non-...

THIS WAS THE front page of our sports section on June 10, 2019, after VUHS girls' lacrosse and Eagle softball both won championship titles.
To be clear, we at the Independent are just happy to see athletes out there running, jumping, skating, dancing, tumbling, throwing, swinging, skiing, kicking, cheering, saving, blocking, swimming, wrestling, shooting, passing and defending. Participating is succeeding. But there is also joy in seeing athletes’ preparation, teamwork and talent — and the plans of their coaches — all come together in those moments when they hoist trophies. And there was a lot of that going around in 2019. It started in February, when the Vergennes Union High School won four Division II golds at the state indoor...

FOLKS SKATE ON the ice at the newly renovated Bristol skate rink late last month. Independent photo/Christopher Ross
BRISTOL — Thanks to a collaboration between the Mount Abraham Unified School District, the Bristol Recreation Department and the Bristol Recreation Club, the Bristol skating rink on Airport Drive has been renovated and reopened for public ice skating. “I grew up here and I haven’t seen the rink like this since I was little,” said Mandy Chesley-Park, director of the Mount Abraham Unified School District’s Expanded Learning Program (ELP), during an evening test run of the rink in late December. As she spoke, dozens of helmeted 5-Town ELP students, along with parents, educators and community...

LAURA ASERMILY IS pleased with what she has accomplished as a member of the Middlebury selectboard, but is happy to pass the baton to a new leader.
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury Selectwoman Laura Asermily has confirmed she won’t seek a third, three-year term on the board in March, saying it’s time for someone else to bring new energy and ideas to the community’s top governing panel. “Rotation of service is healthy and it’s time for others to seek office,” Asermily wrote in a recent email exchange with the Independent. “I encourage many to run. We are healthier for it.” As previously reported by the Independent, Swift House Inn co-owner Dan Brown has confirmed he will run for one of the two three-year terms that are up for grabs on the...
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury selectboard Chairman Brian Carpenter will run for a third consecutive term this March, saying he’d like another three years to whittle away at a municipal to-do list that includes completion of the downtown rail bridges project and flood mitigation improvements to portions of the Middlebury River. Carpenter and Swift House Inn co-owner Dan Brown are the only two confirmed candidates so far for two selectboard spots that will be up for grabs on Town Meeting Day. Incumbent Selectwoman Laura Asermily has announced she won’t seek re-election. Candidates for municipal and...

BRIAN CARPENTER IS running for three more years on the Middlebury Selectboard, while Laura Asermily will not seek a new term.
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury selectboard Chairman Brian Carpenter will run for a third consecutive term this March, saying he’d like another three years to whittle away at a municipal to-do list that includes completion of the downtown rail bridges project and flood mitigation improvements to portions of the Middlebury River.  Click here to read more about Carpenter's campaign. Meanwhile, Middlebury Selectwoman Laura Asermily has confirmed she won’t seek a third, three-year term on the board in March, saying it’s time for someone else to bring new energy and ideas to the community’s top governing...
MIDDLEBURY/VERGENNES — As part of the Addison County Solid Waste Management District’s Merry Mulch Program, volunteers from the Middlebury Rotary Club and the Vergennes Lions Club will be picking up old Christmas trees in their respective towns this Saturday, Jan. 4. The holiday greenery will be repurposed into garden mulch, which members of the public can collect for free in the spring. If you would like your tree to be picked for free up in Middlebury and Vergennes, the solid waste management district asks that you leave your tree, stripped of garlands, ornaments, tinsel and wire, on the...
BRANDON — Brandon-area schools are taking “See something, say something” to the next level in handling student threats to schools and classmates. That’s good news for parents concerned about procedure and Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union school officials who can’t share specific information due to privacy policies. In January, schools across the district are rolling out a new threat assessment preparedness program called PREPaRE. It is a national, team-based risk and threat assessment program that RNeSU Superintendent Jeanne Collins said allows school officials to be more preemptive in...

FOOTPRINTS IN THE snow suggest that hikers are using the Bristol Trail Network year round. Photo courtesy of Bristol Trail Network
BRISTOL — Winter weather may have hit pause on Bristol Trail Network (BTN) construction, but evidence suggests that the existing trails are getting plenty of use. “We’re seeing footprints in the snow on all of the sections,” said Porter Knight, who for more than two years has overseen the building and maintenance of the BTN, a project of the Bristol Recreation Club. The BTN is a developing network of trails around Bristol that promote access to and appreciation for natural, historical, and cultural resources and support the recreation and education of residents and visitors alike. Seeing the...

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