MIDDLEBURY — The Addison Central School District board will host a Jan. 27 meeting at which it will review a consultant’s recommendations for a combined total of almost $16.2 million in repairs to the ACSD’s seven elementary schools. The meeting, slated for 6-8 p.m. at Middlebury Union High School, will also see ACSD officials provide: •  A progress update on a facilities master plan that will inventory all of the ACSD’s building repair needs and guide the board in prioritizing capital investments in those structures. The board has already announced the prospect of school mergers, in light of...
BRISTOL — The Mount Abraham Unified School District Board and Superintendent Patrick Reen are working on a new deal that will keep Reen on the job for another three years. Reen first came aboard in July 2016, when area schools were still under the umbrella of the Addison Northeast Supervisory Union, before the district consolidated under the one-board governance of MAUSD. He had been working as the Middlebury Union Middle School principal when chosen to lead Bristol-area schools. MAUSD Board Chairwoman Dawn Griswold said contract details have yet to be finalized; Reen’s salary for this school...

THE CAT SHADOW, shown here with his new family, Kristian and Tyler, was the first pet to be adopted from Homeward Bound in 2020. Photo/Hannah Manley
MIDDLEBURY — Shadow, a 4-year-old domestic short hair tiger cat weighing 8 pounds, 6 ounces was the first animal adopted from Homeward Bound in 2020. She was adopted by Kristian and Tyler of Essex Junction on January 2 at 2:28 p.m. Shadow came to the shelter when her elderly owner needed to go to a nursing home; Shadow had been with her since she was a kitten. Kristian’s 24 year-old cat died last year; she had been her guardian since the first grade. Shadow’s adoption represents the first of many happy families Homeward Bound expects to create this year.  Congratulations to Shadow and her new...
MIDDLEBURY — The Hoehl Family Foundation has awarded $75,000 to Middlebury’s End of Life Services in support of their mission to provide compassionate care for those at the end of life. End of Life Services believes that every person should be able to die in comfort and with dignity. In partnership with the community, End of Life Services supports patients, families, friends, and caregivers before, during and after the dying process. End of Life Services advocates for compassionate end-of-life care by providing volunteers, bereavement support, music and other therapeutic practices, education...

GOATS AND SHEEP at Lost Woods Farm in Starksboro nibble on a discarded Christmas tree Monday morning. Holiday greenery makes a great snack for such animals because it contains vitamin C, among other nutrients. Last year Lost Woods Farm went through 10 Christmas trees. This year they’re just getting started. Independent photo/Christopher Ross
STARKSBORO — Now that the holidays are over, Addison County residents are recycling, composting or otherwise disposing of thousands of Christmas trees. Andrea Craft of Lost Woods Farm in Starksboro would love to snag a few of those, if possible. “Our goats would love to help you take care of your Christmas tree!” Craft wrote in a Jan. 3 online post. Seasonal evergreens, it turns out, make a great meal for goats, sheep and other animals — as long as tinsel, ornaments and hooks have been removed. On Monday morning, as poofy wet snow fell across the county, Craft and her 9-year-old daughter,...

FRANK SWENTON IS a Mary Hogan parent and co-author of a petition to the ACSD board in favor of merging the district's elementary schools.
MIDDLEBURY — The Addison Central School District (ACSD) board has for many months been hearing a “don’t close our small schools” message from a coalition of Ripton and Weybridge residents organized under the banner of “Save Our Schools.” Now ACSD directors are hearing from a group of Middlebury residents who are urging the board to do the opposite. They’re arguing limited education tax dollars are being funneled away from the district’s largest elementary school — Mary Hogan Elementary in Middlebury — in order to extend a lifeline to the smaller learning centers they contend are unsustainable...

MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE JUNIOR Celia Gottlieb leads several hundred students past Old Chapel in a Dec. 5 protest calling for higher wages for the college’s lowest-paid workers. This week the college said it raised hiring minimum pay by as much as 27%. File photo by Benjy Renton
MIDDLEBURY — Nearly 80 Middlebury College employees got an automatic wage increase on Dec. 30, after the college determined that compensation for their positions had “fallen behind the market.” Most of the affected employees work in Facilities Services and Dining Services. “President (Laurie) Patton remains very committed to paying our staff a competitive wage for the incredible work they do day in and day out, serving our students,” said Executive VP for Finance and Administration David Provost in an email to the Independent. “We are very glad that were able to address this now since it was...

NEW VERGENNES CITY Manager Daniel Hofman started work at city hall on Jan. 2. At the age of 29 the Poughkeepsie, N.Y., native already has an extensive résumé in municipal government, including managing two communities roughly the same size as Vergennes. Independent photo/Andy Kirkaldy
VERGENNES — It took a few years after earning his 2012 undergraduate sociology degree from the University of Albany for new Vergennes City Manager Daniel Hofman to find what he calls his true calling — government work. After putting himself through college, Hofman, a Poughkeepsie, N.Y., native, at first was not sure of his career path. With jobs for sociology majors scarce at the tail end of the recession, Hofman ended up handling paperwork for an Albany trauma center. “The helicopters would fly in and drop off these crazy traumas, and I would have to be in rooms once in a while with them,”...
MIDDLEBURY — The ongoing transition to an International Baccalaureate (IB) curriculum and the potential shuttering of one or more local school buildings are among the issues driving re-election bids by all four of the Addison Central School District board members whose terms are due to expire this March. The ACSD board members who will seek new three-year terms are Victoria Jette and Mary Gill of Middlebury, Suzanne Buck of Bridport, and Jennifer Nuceder of Salisbury. All four were elected without opposition back in 2017. ACSD includes the elementary schools in Bridport, Cornwall, Middlebury...

MIDDLEBURY— The UVM Health Network Porter Medical Center Board of Directors has hired a Wisconsin man with decades of experience running hospitals to lead Porter on an interim basis. Thomas R. Thompson is the new interim president/chief operating officer for Middlebury’s PMC, which encompasses a hospital, nursing facility and physicians’ practices. He replaces Dr. Fred Kniffin, who took over leadership of Porter on a temporary basis after Porter President and COO Seleem Choudhury abruptly resigned his position following complaints that he plagiarized parts of some Porter newsletters. Kniffin...


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