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PETER BURNS SHARES picture books with young children and models techniques for reading stories aloud during Dads’ Night at a Burlington nonprofit called “The Family Room.” Photo courtesy of Vermont Humanities Council
VERMONT — “Dads’ Night is about helping dads be comfortable as a parent,” says Josh Miller, executive director of the Janet S. Munt Family Room in Burlington’s Old North End. “Dads may do things differently from how a mother does them, but fathers can provide nurturing and support and affection.” The drop-in evening program has been offered for over 25 years and is open to any father with children under eight years old. Every Dads’ Night includes a free dinner and activities, such as story time with Peter Burns. “Guys really look forward to when Peter comes,” Miller says. “He increases their...

ERIC HANSON, LOON biologist with Vermont Center for Ecostudies, places signs warning boaters about loon nests. Hanson will be doing a talk on loons at the Dead Creek WMA Headquarters in Addison on Aug. 20. Photo courtesy Colleen Bloom
ADDISON — Vermonters may have noticed more common loons while paddling Vermont lakes and ponds in recent years and wondered why their numbers have increased. They may also want to know how fast loons fly or how long they hold their breath underwater. These and many other questions about loons will be answered by Eric Hanson, leader of the Vermont Loon Conservation Project, a joint venture by Vermont Center for Ecostudies and Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department, during a talk on Tuesday, Aug. 20, at 7 p.m., at the conference room of the Dead Creek Wildlife Management Area’s headquarters....
Dear Homeward Bound, Lately it seems like a lot of people I know are worrying about what might happen to their pet if something happens to them. What is a good way to make sure your pet will be taken care of if you get sick or in an accident? Curious Dear Curious, Thanks for asking this important question. It’s hard to think about but it is important that people make sure someone is aware that they have a pet that needs to be taken care of if they pass. There are different ways to do this but a good place to start is to check with friends or family to see if they are willing to assume...

LOW GARDEN TUNNELS such as this one can not only get your gardens started early, but can also help you extend your season well into the fall and early winter. Photo courtesy UVM Extension
Low tunnels are the contemporary version of the “cold boxes,” made out of windows and wood frames, which older generation gardeners used to start plants early in the season. They are also every bit as good for extending your season well into the fall and early winter — even in Vermont. These tunnels provide other forms of protection for your garden throughout the year. Think of them as the home and community gardener equivalent of the high tunnels we see on many farms. The simplest low tunnel can be created with wire hoops that can be purchased at any garden supply store. Place the wire hoops...
SALISBURY —A Philadelphia, Pa., man is being treated for what Vermont State Police described as “serious injuries” after he drove off Lake Dunmore Road and into a tree at around 8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 3. Police believe 23-year-old Marcus Mamourian was speeding when his vehicle left the road. State police cited Mamourian for negligent operation of a vehicle in connection with the accident. He was taken to Porter Hospital for treatment of his undisclosed injuries. Police were assisted at the scene by the Salisbury and Middlebury fire and rescue squads.  
ADDISON COUNTY — We, two Middlebury College students, set off on a mission: 16 country stores, 408 miles, one week. Our wild, cross-county expedition was motivated by a slew of questions: Why have multiple Vermont country stores closed across the state in recent years? What is the future of country stores? What makes a store, a country store? We interviewed the owners at each store to uncover their challenges, triumphs and everything in between. These traditional mainstays of Vermont life come in all different shapes, sizes and colors, with personalities as unique as the enthusiastic and...

A SHOPPER AT the 29th annual Three Day Stampede stands among piles of donated baskets and storage containers at the Bristol Rec Fields on Saturday considering a multitude of options. The fundraiser brought in more than $125,000 for research into curing cystic fibrosis. Independent photo/John S. McCright
BRISTOL — The 29th annual Three Day Stampede Toward a Cure for Cystic Fibrosis, which finished up on Sunday, had raised more than $125,000 as of Monday. It will all be donated to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. “What happens here (during) Stampede week is nothing short of miraculous,” said event founder and co-organizer Bonita Bedard in the organization’s press release. The Stampede was founded in 1989 when David and Bonita Bedard’s granddaughter Kayla was born with cystic fibrosis, a chronic disease that affects the lungs and/or digestive system of more than 30,000 people in the United...
MIDDLEBURY — Construction will resume on the downtown Middlebury rail bridges project on Monday, Aug. 5, with work to largely take place within a 1,700-foot stretch of rail bed that Kubricky Construction will deepen and fortify. Next summer the deeper bed will be the centerpiece of the $72.5 million, three-year undertaking: A 360-foot-long concrete tunnel. This latest phase of construction will extend into December. Since work will primarily take place below street level, officials aren’t forecasting a lot of detours or other substantial inconveniences for downtown merchants, residents and...

IN 2018 VERMONT became the 33rd state infested with emerald ash borers. This map shows the areas in Vermont where infestations have been identified.
BRISTOL — Addison County communities need to be making plans — right now — to manage the emerald ash borer, which was detected in Bristol on June 5. The towns of Bristol, Lincoln, Monkton, New Haven and Starksboro fall within the “confirmed infested area” (a five-mile radius from the detection), according to the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources. Another nine communities that are within a 10-mile radius of the detection have been designated as “high risk”: Addison, Cornwall, Ferrisburgh, Middlebury, Panton, Ripton, Vergennes, Waltham and Weybridge. “I cannot emphasize enough that it is...

THIS IS ONE of three poles with multiple bat boxes that were erected near the old covered bridge on Swamp Road between Salisbury and Cornwall after the bridge burned. The number of bats living in the area has risen since the boxes went up. Independent photo/Helen Anderson
SALISBURY — After a tremendous fire destroyed the Swamp Road covered bridge over Otter Creek on the Salisbury-Cornwall line on Sept. 10, 2016, naturalists feared that the large colony of little brown bats that made their home in the structure would disperse to the four points of the compass. But recent reports from the scene say that quite the opposite is the case. “When the bridge burned down, everyone thought the bats in the area were just ‘gonzo,’” said Dylan O’Leary, an AmeriCorps land steward and outreach coordinator for the Nature Conservancy. Now O’Leary and his fellow volunteers’ work...

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Addison County Independent