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BRANDON/MIDDLEBURY — The first cases of COVID-19 have been reported in two Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union schools and at Middlebury Union Middle School. RNeSU Superintendent Jeanne Collins, herself recovering from the coronavirus at home in quarantine, confirmed those cases on Dec. 18 and sent out an email and a Facebook post to parents and staff. Separately, MUMS Interim Principal Andrew Conforti on Dec. 24 sent out an email to Addison Central School District families telling them that a member of the school community has tested positive. In RNeSU, the positive cases came just two days...
BRISTOL — The Mount Abraham Unified School District is seeking legal advice to determine if Superintendent Patrick Reen’s long-range facilities plan is allowed by the district’s articles of agreement. Phase One of the plan, which Reen unveiled on Dec. 7, includes “repurposing” elementary schools in three of the district’s five towns — Lincoln, New Haven and Starksboro. The students from those towns would attend school in Bristol or Monkton. Critics of the plan have questioned Reen’s assertion that the board has the authority to consolidate schools. So have some school board members. “I was...
Most folks can’t wait to put 2020 into the rearview mirror, and you’ll be able to do it in style in Middlebury — thanks to the generosity of Middlebury American Legion Post 27. The Legion is again underwriting the costs of a New Year’s Eve fireworks display that can be viewed from the town’s recreation park at 277 Mary Hogan Drive. The splendid pyrotechnics display is expected to begin at around 6:30 p.m. Organizers ask that you stay in your car for the show, or remain near your car with immediate household members only. Mask use is required for anyone outside their cars. The Vergennes Lions...

JESSE WULFMAN, LEFT, and Brynn Kent are part of the creative team helping to promote the “FlossOFur” neck warmer, a product designed by fellow Emily Kiernan and the folks at Bee the Change. For every neck warmer they sell, Bee the Change will create 180 square feet of pollinator habitat. Photo courtesy of Bee the Change
WEYBRIDGE — This fall, after Vermont’s monarch butterflies began their dangerous migration to Mexico and Florida, leaving behind hundreds of acres of fields bursting with seed, Emily Kiernan and her family ventured forth seeking milkweed pods. Carefully harvesting one or two at a time, here and there, they amassed a total of about 4,000 pods, and brought them home. “Home” for the Kiernans also happens to be the headquarters for Bee the Change, which plants habitats for pollinators, like the monarch butterfly, in the unused spaces in solar fields. Setting up shop in their backyard they began...

NAOMI CUTLER, AN ECO AmeriCorps volunteer serving the Middlebury Area Land Trust, is coordinating a year-long effort to create a 2022 calendar for MALT that will include photos of six scenic locations. Participating photographers are being encouraged to shoot the same spots at different times throughout 2021.
MIDDLEBURY — Everyone is eager to turn the page from a politically divisive, pandemic-laden 2020 — including folks at the Middlebury Area Land Trust (MALT). And MALT — the nonprofit steward of a variety of conserved properties and the much-loved, 18-mile-long Trail Around Middlebury (TAM) — can’t wait to retire the 2020 calendar and spend all of 2021 crafting a stunning calendar for 2022 that will feature photos of cherished local scenes. The resulting 2022 calendar will be sold to raise money for MALT, for such things as TAM trail maintenance and the scholarship fund for the organization’s...
MIDDLEBURY — Porter Medical Center continues to dispense COVID-19 vaccines to its frontline health care workers at a brisk pace. By the end of Monday, 307 Porter workers had received their first of two shots. That figure includes 61 Middlebury EMS staff, along with residents and 50 staff at Helen Porter Rehabilitation & Nursing, according to Porter spokesman Ron Hallman. “We continue to plan vaccination clinics for frontline caregivers and are reaching out and collecting necessary information from community-based providers of a variety of health care services regarding the number of staff...
VERGENNES — The Addison Northwest School Board last week adopted a statement for “Safe, Civil and Anti-Racist Schools” that board members said makes a stand for acceptance for all and could eventually lead to a larger “District Equity Policy.” “I hope it leads us to broader measures,” said Board Chairperson John Stroup. The policy paints with a broader brush, touching on discrimination on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, religion, income, political affiliation and more in an effort to be comprehensive. According to Stroup, the writing process was informed by “a lot of feedback” and...

AN ABUNDANCE OF TOYS were donated to this year’s Toys for Kids Drive, held by the Vergennes Lions. Photo courtesy of Larry Simino
VERGENNES — This year the Vergennes Lions Toys for Kids Drive was an enormous success, with over 190 children in the Vergennes area receiving toys or gift cards at Christmas, as well as stocking stuffers. This would not have been possible if it had not been for the many generous people dropping toys and money in the red barrels at One Credit Union, Dollar General, Jackman Fuels, Kinney Drugs, Long Trail Physical Therapy, Shear Cuts, Ferrisburgh Bake Shop, and Porky’s BBQ. One woman from Weston, Mass., whose brother-in-law is a Lions Club member, made a sizeable donation. Another woman whose...

THE GUILLIMETTE FAMILY was one of the Monkton Scouts families to help deliver baskets to community members this year. Photo courtesy of Liz Pecor
MONKTON — Despite restrictions, the Monkton Scouts, Troops 525 and 802 and Pack 525, were still able to make their yearly delivery of baskets. This time deliveries were done by families instead of groups. Thanks to many donations from businesses and families the gift baskets were overflowing! A big thanks to Sylvia Twenge for her work in gathering donations. Also, thanks to the Parker family for assembling the baskets and to all the families for picking up and delivering a little Christmas spirit. Troop 525 sends a big “Thank You” to the community for supporting their annual Christmas tree...
LINCOLN — There will be an open seat on the MAUSD School Board as a Lincoln Representative on the ballot in March 2021. Lincoln holds two seats on the district school board. With the superintendent’s proposal on the table, now is a crucial time to make sure that both of these seats are filled. If you are interested in becoming a Lincoln School Board Representative, please pick up a consent form at the town clerk’s office so that you can get your name printed on the ballot. The deadline to get on the ballot is Monday, Jan. 25. No petition is required to get on the ballot this year, due to the...

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