News


This photo taken last month shows how quiet downtown Vergennes was at the height of the pandemic. Today some businesses are opening up. Independent photo/John S. McCright
05/21/2020
ADDISON COUNTY — Vermont retailers, closed for seven weeks to halt the spread of coronavirus, on Monday began a gradual reopening, after Gov. Phil Scott loosened his “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order.  Nevertheless, many retailers in Addison County did not rush to open their stores as they sought ways to keep customers and employees safe during the ongoing public health emergency. Under state guidelines all employees at retail outlets must wear face covering and maintain a distance of 6 feet. Stores will also be required to stay under 25% of their maximum legal capacity, and conduct health and...

WHITING RESIDENT KEITH Mattison is back home after a more than month-long battle with the coronavirus. Mattison spent several weeks at University of Vermont Medical Center and continues to receive dialysis during his recovery. Photo courtesy Heather Mattison
05/21/2020
WHITING — April 2 had begun like most days before it for Keith Mattison. Rise early, grab a bite to eat and get his tools together for a full day of plumbing, something the 67-year-old Whiting resident has been doing for around 40 years. But on this day, at around lunchtime, his health descended into a deep valley from which he feared he would never emerge. “I was working and it was around noontime that I got a funny taste in my mouth,” Mattison recalled during a Tuesday phone interview. “It was kind of a metallic taste. I didn’t think a whole lot about it, but as the day went on I felt worse...

CREWS AND HEAVY equipment have taken over downtown Bristol as the long-awaited Paving and Sidewalk/Lighting Replacement projects get started. The projects, which have merged under the supervision of the Vermont Department of Transportation, were supposed to be completed Oct. 9, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the end date is now up in the air. Independent photo/John Flowers
05/21/2020
BRISTOL / VERGENNES — After a couple of slow and quiet months, downtown Bristol is suddenly abuzz with activity — great yellow machines, masked workers with helmets, excavation, grading, upgrading. The Bristol paving and sidewalk/lighting replacement projects, which were delayed for a month because of the pandemic, are finally under way. The same contractor has also begun work on a paving project in Vergennes — milling a portion of Route 22A/Main Street this week. Workers are closing one lane at a time, with flaggers onsite to direct alternating traffic on the one open lane.  The project will...
05/21/2020
MIDDLEBURY — State officials on Friday, May 15, gave permission to Kubricky Construction to assemble a full crew for work on the downtown Middlebury rail bridges project, which until recently had stalled due to coronavirus-related workforce restrictions. As reported by the Independent, New York project contractor Kubricky had been limited to a maximum of 10 onsite workers only last week, all subject to social distancing and other protocols. Kubricky Vice President of Construction Mark Alexander told the Middlebury selectboard last week that Vermont’s COVID-19 rules (at that time) triggered...
05/21/2020
MIDDLEBURY — The coronavirus has succeeded in canceling and delaying many special events and celebrations, but it doesn’t look like the pandemic will affect Middlebury-area kids’ ability to get free food and have access to limited recreation programs this summer. That was the word late last week from local childcare advocates, Middlebury Parks & Recreation Superintendent Dustin Hunt and Vermont Department of Health leaders, who met May 14. At this point, offerings are slated to include Middlebury Rec’s Camp Kookamunga and Mary John Children’s Center’s summer program. Free food through the...
05/21/2020
MIDDLEBURY — Thanks to online publishing and social media’s ready-made audiences, the COVID-19 pandemic will likely be the most written about phenomenon in human history. Most of us are writing publicly, in the moment and for the moment, with little regard for the “historical record.” Some of us are writing in private. And then there are those, like Middlebury College sophomore Christine Nabung, who are writing privately now for a future public record — which is where it gets kind of complicated. Nabung and 35 of her classmates are participating in the Twilight COVID-19 Diary Project, which...

Cookie Steponaitis
05/21/2020
VERGENNES — Boys & Girls Club of Greater Vergennes Executive Director Jill Strube on May 8 parted ways with the organization after a tenure that began in late 2016. Strube and club board chairman Jeff Fritz both pointed to a disagreement between Strube and the board over the direction of the organization this summer and beyond as the reason for her departure. In the meantime, on Monday the board brought aboard retired Vergennes Union High School teacher Roberta “Cookie” Steponaitis, who helped found the club 20 years ago and served on its first board, as a part-time interim administrator...

JUST AS WE support those in the armed services who protect us in times of danger, signs like this one in Middlebury have popped up all over the place thanking those battling the coronavirus. Independent photo/John S. McCright
05/21/2020
We have a long tradition of remembering our war dead on Memorial Day and celebrating all of those people who have risked life and limb to protect the greater community. This is entirely appropriate, and we continue to offer our thanks and gratitude to those members of the armed services who have given so much to this country — even made the ultimate sacrifice. And this year, as the coronavirus has changed so much in our society, it has also changed our treasured traditions of Memorial Day. Due to the necessary social distancing directives, we will not have big parades for the first time in...

GREG’S MEAT MARKET manager Gail Daha, right, and Tae DeGray, who is in charge of store deliveries, are part of a legion of local supermarket workers who have been ensuring that Addison County residents have access to food and other essentials during the COVID-19 pandemic. Independent photo/John Flowers
05/21/2020
MIDDLEBURY — Two months ago, supermarket clerks, truckers, housekeepers and other blue-collar workers joined the nation’s growing ranks of “unsung heroes.” Their contributions — keeping grocery shelves stocked, rooms sanitized and goods on the move — have become invaluable during the COVID-19 pandemic. More than a dozen of those heroes work at Greg’s Meat Market, an independently owned grocery store off Middlebury’s Elm Street. Store Manager Gail Daha is proud of her crew, which has not only maintained services within the store, they’re delivering food to customers who can’t venture out. And...

AS THEY DO every year for Memorial Day, volunteers for the Vergennes American Legion Post 14 have been erecting 1,100 American flags at cemeteries and other spots throughout Addison County. This year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, they’re wearing facemasks. Photo courtesy of Cookie Steponaitis
05/21/2020
ADDISON COUNTY — Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, volunteer organizations in Addison County are making sure that veterans will be remembered with honor and dignity for Memorial Day. Vergennes American Legion Post 14 is still planning to erect 1,100 American flags throughout the county in tribute to members of the U.S. armed services. And they’re getting plenty of help. “This year, in terms of volunteers, we’ve actually seen more interest from community members,” said American Legion volunteer Cookie Steponaitis. Earlier this month 18 volunteers put up 400 flags at one county cemetery.  “They...

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Addison County Independent

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Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100