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FERRISBURGH CENTRAL SCHOOL teacher Judy Elson, who was recently nominated for the 2018 LifeChanger award, gets students out of the classroom and learning in places like the school garden. Photo courtesy of Ferrisburgh Central School
FERRISBURGH — Judy Elson, a fifth- and sixth-grade teacher at Ferrisburgh Central School, has always taken her science and environmental education efforts there outside of the classroom. From harvesting vegetables from the school garden in the fall to tapping maple trees in the late winter, Elson provides her students with tangible, hands-on science lessons. Elson said that her teaching is centered on what she sees as the value of getting students outside. “A lot of it is getting kids out of the four walls,” Elson said. “They might be learning about rocks or plants, and instead of sitting at...

FOOD ACTIVIST AMANI Olugbala, left, of Soul Fire Farm, and Abenaki Chief Don Stevens spoke about changes in agriculture and culture at a Dec. 7 panel.
MIDDLEBURY — How do we nourish change in agriculture and culture? Five experts approached the question with a blend of philosophy and science at a recent panel discussion that culminated a Middlebury College class that also interrogated that issue. Aubrey Streit Krug, director of EcoSphere studies at The Land Institute in Salina, Kan., moderated a wide-ranging discussion that dovetailed with students’ classroom investigations into the “Perennial Turn,” a shift toward sustainable practices and thinking. Central to the Dec. 7 discussion, which took place on the Middlebury College campus, was...

ELAINE OROZCO HAMMOND, left, Ellen Whelan-Wuest, and Chelsea Colby have recently been elected to WomenSafe’s Board of Directors. Photo courtesy WomenSafe
MIDDLEBURY — WomenSafe recently announced the election of three new members to its board of directors. New board members are Chelsea Colby, Elaine Orozco Hammond and Ellen Whelan-Wuest. In welcoming the three new board members WomenSafe Executive Director Kerri Duquette-Hoffman said “They each have unique skills, and diverse experiences that will enrich our board and the entire organization.” Chelsea Colby is a Middlebury resident and teacher of first- and second-grade at Cornwall Elementary School. A February 2018 graduate of Middlebury College, Colby was an advocate for MiddSafe for several...
VERGENNES — The Vergennes Lions Club is collecting Toys for Kids to be distributed to needy families in the Vergennes and Bristol area. Collection barrels are located at A & D Automotive, Dollar General, Jackman Fuels-Vergennes, Kinney Drugs-Vergennes, Long Trail on the Falls Physical Therapy, One Credit Union and Sheer Cuts. Cash donations will be used to purchase gift cards for teenagers. Distribution will be made through the Vergennes Community Food Shelf at the Congregational Church in Vergennes on Tuesday, Dec. 18, Thursday, Dec. 20, and Saturday, Dec. 22. If anyone knows of needy...

“NIGHT FIRES” RETURNS to Town Hall Theater at 68 S. Pleasant Street in Middlebury for their annual Winter Solstice celebration, Dec. 21-23.
Note: Since there will not be a Monday edition of the Addison Independent on Monday, Dec. 24, some of the events in this week’s column are being published one week early. Night Fires will be lit once more at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 21, at Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater. There will be additional performances on Saturday, Dec. 22, at 3 and 7:30 p.m., and at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 23. Night Fires, Theatre Group, Ltd.’s annual winter solstice pageant or mystery play for our times, as in many performances past, will be a song of celebration for the earth and all who live upon it. With a winding...

PETERSON QUALITY MALT has purchased Nordic Farms, the iconic dairy farm off Route 7 in Charlotte that sold its cows and equipment at auction last March. Independent file photo/Angelo Lynn
MONKTON — Peterson Quality Malt, which opened Vermont’s first malt house in Monkton five years ago, has purchased Nordic Farms, whose big, red-roofed barn stands at a high-profile location off Route 7 in Charlotte, and will move operations there early next year. Peterson and its new equity partner, Hotel Vermont in Burlington, purchased the 583-acre former dairy for $2.4 million. “One of the hardest things was crossing the county line,” malter Andrew Peterson acknowledged. “It’s hard moving from Addison County, where the towns and the county itself have been so supportive, and where we have...
BRANDON — Brandon-area residents are encouraged to step up to the microphone and wow the crowd with their dulcet tones for a chance to win $1,000 as the first annual Brandon Idol singing competition gets underway at the start of the new year. Until then, the Brandon Recreation Department is expecting dozens, if not up to a 100 (wouldn’t that be grand), of contestants to get ready for the big audition. On Jan. 12, 2019, seven finalists will be chosen from all those who willing to strut their stuff on the stage. Those seven will then be challenged to perform each month for the following six...
BRANDON — The school board for the Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union looks to keep a lid on spending in its upcoming budget. At their Nov. 29 meeting board members approved a 2019-2020 school year draft budget that would raise spending by half a percent. The proposed $9.3 million spending plan is $50,588 more than the previous year, as very few staffing or equipment changes were needed from last year. About $7.5 million, or 81 percent, of that spending goes to staffing and benefits. The district also plans to replace three buses, but that will be a budget neutral replacement as three buses...
VERGENNES — The Vergennes City Council last Tuesday heard from Addison County Community Trust Executive Director Elise Shanbacker that the planned 24-unit affordable housing project on Armory Lane is advancing. The project is intended to be built across the road from the existing senior housing project, not far from American Legion Post 14. Shanbacker said her agency and its partner, Housing Vermont, have already raised $1.8 million for the $7 million, roughly 25,000-square-foot project. She told the council she expects the bulk of the funding, the sale of tax credits, to come through by...
VERGENNES — Every year as the holidays approach, the staff at WowToyz in Vergennes takes a break from packing toy orders for their customers to preparing toy donations for needy families within the community. Thousands of toys and custom gift bag assortments are organized and assembled to donate to families in need through local charitable organizations like the HOPE Holiday Shop and the Charter House Coalition, both in Middlebury, Chances for Christmas in Essex Junction, the Vergennes Lions Club, the Rotary Club of Colchester-Milton and Vermont CARES in Burlington. In addition, WowToyz...

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Addison County Independent