The guidelines for outdoor gatherings are slowly easing. On Friday, state parks reopened, and event venues are now permitted to host 150 people outdoors and up to 75 indoors — good news for wedding planners and people who present cultural and entertainment events. The new guidelines cover event venues, arts, culture, and entertainment venues, and restaurants that serve the public. The operations can’t go above the stated 75- or 150-person limit, no matter what their fire safety occupancy. And the number of participants doesn’t include staff or vendors, state officials said at their regular...

A map of counties that meet Vermont’s requirements is updated weekly.
In a bid to help Vermont’s struggling tourism businesses, some of which make most of their money in the summer and fall, the state is opening the borders to travelers from as far away as Ohio, Virginia and the District of Columbia without quarantining. “There are now about 19 million people who can travel to Vermont free of a quarantine requirement,” said Mike Pieciak, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Financial Regulation, who has been handling COVID-19 modeling for the state since the crisis began earlier this year. “We anticipate seeing continued improvement over the weeks ahead,...

LYNN COALE, THE former head of the Patricia A. Hannaford Career Center, will be leaving his job as director of the Addison County Relocalization Network next week. The nonprofit that promotes local farms is suffering a cash crunch after its two biggest sources of funds were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. Independent file photo/Trent Campbell
ADDISON COUNTY — The Addison County Relocalization Network has cut its top administrator and is honing its mission after experiencing a major revenue shortfall caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The non-profit, known as ACORN, was established a dozen years ago with a mission of revitalizing “the health of our land, our local economy and our local communities so they can provide sustainable sources of food, water, energy, employment and capital while promoting conservation and a healthy environment.” To that end, the organization has become a force in the local food movement, and has created...
VERGENNES — Work on the Vergennes paving project will focus heavily on the downtown area in the week beginning on June 29, according to a Vermont Agency of Transportation press release issued late Thursday. The months-long $2.66 million project is focused on repaving of Vergennes’ main artery. Because what is Main Street in Vergennes is also Vermont Route 22A, VTrans and the federal government are picking up the tab for a 2.75-mile project that will include resurfacing New Haven Road and the stretch of Green Street between Main Street and New Haven Road. Crews affiliated with contractor J....

MEMBERS OF ONE of three anti-racism discussion groups on the Vergennes city green on Saturday listen intently as VUHS graduate Rory Patch, back center left, makes a point. Patch is one of the half-dozen members of the school’s Racial and Social Justice Alliance who organized the event. Independent photo/Andy Kirkaldy
VERGENNES — For the third straight Saturday afternoon organizers staged an anti-racism event on the Vergennes city green: This time members of the Vergennes Union High School Racial and Social Justice Alliance sought to spark conversation and education among attendees through discussion on June 20. “We are here today to do some anti-racist work,” said student organizer Rory Patch in the group’s opening statement.  The almost 50 local residents who showed up — including student organizers Una Fonte, Sophie Hatch, David Nicholls, Ryley Olsen and Emily Rooney, as well as Patch — broke into three...
MIDDLEBURY — More than a dozen people have asked officials here to redirect the Middlebury Police Department’s voter-approved $46,234 budget increase for fiscal year 2021, and to begin looking at ways to “defund” the MPD. A national call for defunding police agencies has gained momentum since the May 25 killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer. Still, some Middlebury officials were surprised to see MPD targeted by the movement.  Police Chief Tom Hanley, who has led the department for almost three decades, has established rigorous standards for new hires. And MPD was the first...
MIDDLEBURY — The Addison Central School District has resumed long-range planning for its Middlebury-area buildings, only this time officials will be focusing on how the ACSD might reduce its complement of elementary schools from the current seven, to just three or four. Victoria Jette, chair of the ACSD Facilities Committee, said her panel has asked Superintendent Peter Burrows and Business Manager Brittany Gilman to work up: •  A three-school scenario reflecting all full-time staff. •  A four-school scenario reflecting all-full-time staff. •  A four-school model reflecting shared staff. “We...
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury College’s initial plan for reopening its campus this fall, which was released on Monday (read the story here), has so far garnered mixed reviews. “It’s tricky because things are in flux and the picture is still coming into focus,” said Liza Sachelli, director of the Mahaney Arts Center (MAC). “I was grateful to read President (Laurie) Patton’s announcement, but there are many questions left unanswered.” Sachelli has been impressed with the transparency of the process that led up to the decision to reopen this fall, she said, especially when compared with the way...

IN ANTICIPATION OF reopening this fall, Middlebury College has contracted with a telehealth company to help provide counseling, psychiatric, nutritional and medical services to students, no matter where they are physically. Health Services is also working with other departments to ensure that all students receive regular information about mental health and medical self-care. Independent photo/Alexa Lapiner
This story, which was first published online on Monday, June 22, was updated on Thursday, June 25. MIDDLEBURY — Encouraged by modeling reports projecting low levels of COVID-19 in Vermont this autumn, Middlebury College officials say that they will reopen the campus to residential students for the fall 2020 semester. “While this fall will look much different than at any time in our history, I am grateful that we will be able to come together again in a way that upholds educational opportunity while maximizing the health and safety of the entire Middlebury community,” wrote President Laurie...
MIDDLEBURY — An erroneous report alleging that a Black man had pulled a woman out of a car at gunpoint near Mary Hogan Elementary School on Monday, June 22, led Middlebury police to order the man to raise his hands and submit to a pat-down. The man at the time was escorting a special-needs client around the town’s recreation field. The man, whom police identified as Bashiru Abdulaziz, 39, of Brandon, told authorities he believed he had been investigated because he was Black. The Independent’s attempt to reach Abdulaziz was unsuccessful by press time. Chief Tom Hanley, during an email exchange...


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Addison County Independent

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Middlebury, VT 05753

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