The Vermont House on Thursday approved a $95 million COVID-19 aid package that includes funding for housing assistance and broadband expansion.
The approved package includes $43 million that would be used for internet expansion, financial assistance for utilities and other initiatives.
The remaining $52 million would go toward aid for landlords, tenants, and those experiencing homelessness as well as expanding affordable housing.
The bill, H.966, also contains $11 million to help pay for telecom providers to build broadband out to underserved areas.
The Department of Public Service will...
AFTER AN EXPLOSION of grower registrations last year, Vermont’s hemp industry has gotten off to a rocky start in 2020. Agency of Agriculture officials are hoping that new Hemp Rules will provide much-needed clarity for growers and processors, but some industry stakeholders worry that proposed federal guidelines, which impose greater restrictions, could spell doom for industrial hemp in the Northeast.
Photo courtesy of the Vermont Agency of Agriculture
VERMONT — After the great promise hemp held out for Vermont farmers last year was dashed by poor planting weather, questionable plant genetics, limited drying and processing capacity, and the occasional dodgy contract, state officials are reporting a significant drop in grower registrations this year.
As the 2020 planting season gets under way, the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets (VAAFM) recently said it has received only 399 grower registrations for 1,177 acres — far short of last year’s 986 registrations for 9,100 acres, though agency officials said that growers are still...
Editor's note: This story was updated on Thursday, June 25, to add in the GoFundMe campaign and other more up-to-date details.
NEW HAVEN — A fire early this past Friday morning destroyed the kitchen and caused extensive smoke damage to Tourterelle, a prominent restaurant on Route 7 in New Haven. The building was empty and no one was hurt.
On the scene as firefighters checked for hotspots that morning, Tourterelle owners Bill and Christine Snell said they would put their restaurant and three-room hotel back together. Their assurance hadn’t waivered nearly a week after the blaze.
“We are going...
Middlebury town pool. Photo by Logan Hall-Potvin
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury’s town pool will not be open to the general public this summer due to COVID-19 safety concerns, according to Middlebury Parks and Recreation Superintendent Dustin Hunt.
Hunt said in an email on Thursday that pool use will be limited to use by town recreation and Mary Johnson Children’s Center day camp groups, to some swim lessons, and to small-group practices by the Middlebury Swim Team.
“Because each of these groups will fill the 25-person limit currently ordered by the state we cannot open to the general public,” Hunt wrote. “It was certainly a difficult decision but...
VERGENNES RESIDENT Rose Archer spoke Saturday to a gathering of 150 people on the city green about overcoming racism. Then she sang "Lift Every Voice and Sing” to the appreciative crowd. Archer and fellow Vergennes resident Alicia Grangent shared examples of daily challenges they face as Black Americans. Waltham resident Liz Ryan organized the event.
Independent photo/Andy Kirkaldy
VERGENNES — Vergennes resident Alicia Grangent gets a pat-down search from TSA guards at the Burlington International Airport every time she travels.
She receives remarks about how she “might be more comfortable” if she lived in Burlington.
She said she is constantly being followed by store security when she shops.
And sometimes, the former Northlands Job Corps Center director, who is African American, is told she “sounds white” over the phone.
“People don’t see that, people don’t hear that, and people wonder why people are upset and angry,” Grangent told around 150 Vergennes-area residents...
Photo by David Devine
MIDDLEBURY — Early Wednesday morning parts of downtown Middlebury got closed off to traffic and Kubricky Construction conducted a trial run of the precast tunnel pieces from the Fifield Farm marshaling yard to the intersection of Merchants Row and Main Street.
To do this safely, Main Street was temporarily closed to through traffic between the Cross Street roundabout and Seymour Street starting at 6:30 a.m.
A flatbed truck carried a representative precast piece with a five-foot passenger-side overhang. That overhang meant that they had to cordon off all parking on South Main Street between...
MIDDLEURY — While the 2019–2020 academic year ended for most Vermont students just last week, Addison Central School District officials are already busy studying how in-person classes could be reconvened in ACSD buildings this fall.
Gov. Phil Scott ordered public schools shuttered in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This forced districts to quickly develop distance-learning curricula to carry students through the balance of the spring 2020 semester. Scott announced on June 10 that the state’s public schools should be able to open this fall under guidelines that his administration was...
DAVE SILBERMAN IS running for high bailiff.
MIDDLEBURY — The office of high bailiff has drawn little attention through the years.
And why should it?
The high bailiff’s limited responsibilities are to serve papers the sheriff is legally incapable of serving, arresting the sheriff if necessary, and acting as sheriff if that person’s office is vacant.
More often than not, the high bailiff goes through an entire term without having to perform any of his or her statutory duties. Most of the county’s past high bailiffs have been sheriff’s deputies. Some have worn the title simply to signal a future run for sheriff.
Those are not Dave...
SALISBURY’S OLD TOWN dump recently was capped with calcium carbonate tailings, compost and a mix of conservation plants. One selectboard member said it looks “like a big white half-moon.”
SALISBURY — The town landfill in Salisbury has finally been capped, marking the end of unlined landfills in Vermont.
To protect the environment, Vermonters over the past few decades have been closing their old-fashioned town dumps and sending their trash to lined landfills. After Bristol closed its town dump in 2015, Salisbury’s was the only one left.
After two or three years of lobbying to follow suit, Salisbury residents voted to close and cap their town landfill at town meeting last year.
The “town dump” on Upper Plains Road stopped taking trash this past Sept. 1 and town officials set up...
VUHS SENIOR REBECCA Kachmar, an Addison resident, has published her first novel, a work of fantasy called “A Queen’s Vow,” that is available through amazon.com. Kachmar credits the VUHS Project Workshop course with helping her finish the book and get through the publishing process.
VERGENNES — High school seniors are just now earning their diplomas, most of them having completed required course loads.
Others chose different paths to earn some of their academic credits.
Vergennes Union High School senior Rebecca Kachmar published her debut fantasy novel, “A Queen’s Vow,” on amazon.com.
Her classmate Matt DeMatties built an electric lap guitar.
They were among the growing numbers of students who have demonstrated proficiency and thus met state educational standards through personalized learning plans or innovative courses.
Kachmar and DeMatties were among the half-dozen...