Nora Peachin

ELAINE MITCHAM OF Bridport models a full-length bear skin coat her husband Ed has been holding onto for years. The couple donated the coat to the Fabulous Flea Market to be held on Sept. 14 at the Town Hall Theater in Middlebury to raise funds for the local theater. Independent photo/Steve James
Elves, of a sort, have been bustling around Town Hall Theater transforming it into a wonderland of antiques, crafts and collectibles. On Saturday, Sept. 14, they will open the stately building at the top of Middlebury’s Merchants Row to the public for the 10th annual Fabulous Flea Market — a fundraiser that helps maintain the 135-year-old structure and supports the myriad arts activities it hosts. Organizers say there will be a wide range of items including: kids toys and games, kitchen gadgets and small appliances, rugs, paintings and prints, gardening tools, lamps, small electronics… whew!...

THE DOCUMENTARY FILM “Reversing Roe,” which screened during the Middlebury New Filmmakers Festival this past weekend, presented protesters on both sides of the abortion debate. Director Ricki Stern told her Middlebury audience that she wanted to show how government has chipped away at women’s rights to abortion.
MIDDLEBURY — People in some groups opposed to abortion are targeting clinics that provide the procedure, even shooting and killing doctors and activists who promote a woman’s right to choose to continue a pregnancy. Dr. Colleen McNicholas, the sole remaining abortion provider in the state of Missouri, explained to a crowd at Middlebury’s Town Hall Theater this past Friday for a screening of the documentary film “Reversing Roe,” that every clinic that provides abortions has a domestic terrorism FBI agent assigned to it. The agent assigned to her clinic in Missouri surveys her house regularly,...

SOFIA HIRSCH HAS made the violin her life’s work. Here she is playing for the Opera Company of Middlebury’s gala in 2018. Photo by Max Kraus
A small, three-year-old girl in Ontario grinds her bow across all four strings. She coaxes out an imperfect G major scale in whole notes, her very first feat on her very first violin. These were the humble beginnings of professional violinist Sofia Hirsch. Today, with about 35 more years of practice under her belt, Hirsch continues her musical career with the Vermont Symphony Orchestra (VSO) and other ensembles across Vermont. Thankfully, the bow grinding has become graceful gliding. Some of Hirsch’s favorite memories from her 18 years with VSO include performing alongside Yo-Yo Ma (who “...
When I was applying to colleges, I spent a good amount of time poking around on different institutions’ websites. Scrolling through Middlebury College’s newsfeed, I stumbled upon a video about a student-run nonprofit — Middlebury Foods. The video opened with a student declaring: “We’re fighting an industrial food economy that doesn’t like local food to be cheap.” I was so inspired by these idealistic, hardworking students, and their commitment to bettering their local food system. They seemed to really care about the larger community, and not just the campus community. I wanted to be a part...

STUDENTS IN THE YouthWorks program this summer helped serve community supper at the Congregational Church in Middlebury. Shown, left to right, are: Arrien Gadue, David Ogrodowczyk (program instructor), Matt Rich, Ryeli Oudman-Blackwood, Kristen Andrews (program instructor), Ulysses Suazo and Cassie Stevens.
MIDDLEBURY — Higher education opportunities like apprenticeships and community college are on the rise in Vermont, a state where 92 percent of students graduate from high school but only 37 percent of people aged 25 years or older have a bachelor’s degree. It’s good news that more students who have opted not to attend a four-year school are seeking other means of higher education, but it’s still a bigger struggle for the multitude of available programs to attract those students than it should be. It all starts with getting enough information to make a well-informed choice. For some...
MIDDLEBURY — In the search for appropriate pathways to higher education, some individuals may have emotional or abuse challenges, including anxiety, substance abuse, PTSD, or learning disabilities, to name only a few. While difficult, there are options. Consider the story of Jessica Ben-Jedi, a recent graduate from Vermont Adult Learning who had left school in the 10th grade after struggling with a math learning disability. “It was embarrassing,” she recalled. “I didn’t know how to deal with it. It brought me to give up and walk away from (school).” Ben-Jedi was able to come back to her...
Emergency contraception causes infertility. You can’t get pregnant while breastfeeding. Non-hormonal intrauterine devices cause blood clots. These are only a part of the misinformation women’s health care providers have been fighting for decades — misinformation that has contributed to unintended pregnancies. In 2012, almost half of all pregnancies in Vermont were unintended, according to the Vermont Department of Health. Seeking to change that, DoH officials set a goal for 65 percent pregnancy intention by 2020. The plan, laid out by the Women’s Health Initiative, is multipronged. It focuses...

JOHN AND JUDY BAKER prepare a plate of ribs, potatoes and coleslaw for a hungry customer at their English Barbeque stand at Field Days. Independent photo/Nora Peachin
On a hot summer day at Addison County Fair and Field Days, John Baker got down on one knee on the back stoop of his barbeque stand and proposed to his partner, Judy. Fast-forward 15 years, and the (now-married) couple is still serving up barbeque out of the same stand at Field Days and other fairs around Vermont and New Hampshire. The relationship had a little bit of a rocky start. Judy quit her job managing thrift shops in her native England to move to the United States, with encouragement from John’s older brother. John was tasked with picking her up at Newark (N.J.) International Airport,...

FRIENDS TANNER BURNS, left, Avery Carl, Tucker Wright and Joseph Bergevin climb one of the vintage tractors in front of the tractor pad at Field Days. Independent photo/Nora Peachin
A gang of four middle-school-age boys climb the antique tractors sitting next to the Tac-O’ the Town truck, laughing and discussing tomorrow’s 4-H competition. It will be Avery Carl’s first year participating. The friends decide to head over to the barn, to check in on Avery’s cows. The team hitches a ride on the courtesy shuttle. “We’ll need a ride after to the ‘Are you a good person?’ stand,” Avery let the driver know, referring to a tent where people talk about religion. “I’m supposed to be picking up elderly people,” the driver replied with a laugh after dropping the boys at the barn. “We...

FIELD DAYS SUGARHOUSE manager Andrew Rainville runs the cash register while Moe Rheaume cooks up maple treats in the kitchen. Independent photo/Nora Peachin
The sweet smell of maple syrup wafting across the fairground draws people from all over to the Addison County Maple Sugarmakers’ sugarhouse, where Andrew Rainville is tempting customers with maple cotton candy, cookies, milk, doughnuts, bread, creemees, slushies and, his personal favorite, maple milkshakes. Rainville’s connection to the drink comes from his first years working the Field Days sugarhouse. Back then, Andrew’s aunt, Barbara Rainville, managed the exhibit. Andrew helped her for five or six years, scooping and preparing milkshakes. After 10 years in charge, Barbara passed her role...


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Addison County Independent

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Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
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