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...
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
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
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
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
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...

SUSAN O’DANIEL, SHOWN directing the Vergennes Union High School marching band in the 2019 Memorial Day parade in the Little City, has been a regular presence in the parade for four decades. Next Monday would have been her 41st — and final — Vergennes Memorial Day parade had the event not be canceled. Courtesy of Dana Ambrose Photography
VERGENNES — Had it not been canceled because of COVID-19, this year’s Vergennes Memorial Day Parade would have been Susan O’Daniel’s 41st — and because the Vergennes Union High School Band Director is retiring in June — her last. “It was a hard day when they canceled the parade,” she told the Independent by phone. “I feel empty — it’s really difficult right now.” When Gov. Phil Scott closed Vermont school buildings in mid-March, O’Daniel and many others had hoped that the emergency would pass quickly. School would resume before the end of the year and the May 25 Memorial Day parade would...
Do you or does someone you know need help? Addison County Mutual Aid can help. Addison County Mutual Aid is a local network of people helping people. You do not have to be stuck at home without supplies, venture out if you are vulnerable, or feel lonely and isolated. Volunteers in our community are already available for such tasks as delivering food and supplies, emotional support and socialization, help with children and childcare, and various errands. Call (802) 377-3335 to reach the voicemail of the countywide hotline for Addison County Mutual Aid. Your call will be returned. Also, you can...
Katie Bauer, who wanted to help in the current public health crisis, drops off groceries for two Bristol residents who are at high risk of contracting COVID-19. The couple’s doctor connected Maryann and Keith Corkins with Bauer. Bauer picks up a list, drops off the groceries outside their house and refuses any money for her trouble. “Katie does a great job and has been a real hero to us,” Keith said.
MONKTON — The Monkton Town Office and Library building project is taking shape, despite the pandemic, and construction could begin ahead of schedule this summer. “Our target is Aug. 1, but we might be able to move that forward,” said Monkton selectboard chair Stephen Pilcher. “It would be nice to reach a point in the construction where the building can at least be enclosed for the winter.” Monkton voters approved a $1.7 million bond for the project on Town Meeting Day.  The two-story building will be located next to the Friends Methodist Church, which is located at 77 Monkton Ridge, and will...


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Addison County Independent

58 Maple Street
Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
Fax: 802.388.3100