Polly Heminway


MIDDLEBURY COLLEGE GEOLOGY Professor Dave West explains how limestone is susceptible to deterioration over long periods of time, caused by acid levels in rain. With construction exposing downtown bedrock, West took the opportunity to explain what lies beneath our feet. Independent photo/Alexa Lapiner
MIDDLEBURY — The massive railroad tunnel construction project in the downtown has dug deep into Middlebury’s bedrock, exposing a deep-seated geology that most of us rarely — if ever — think about.  Turns out, these rocks that we can now see formed in a much different environment hundreds of millions of years ago and reveal an interesting story of tropical days and shifting plate tectonics.  This is an elementary review of the type of rock that underlies Middlebury, including some of what workers are blasting through to build the railroad tunnel.  The bedrock in the Middlebury area is mostly...

LARRY AND LYNN Schuyler visited St. Paul’s Episcopal church in Vergennes in the fall of 2019. Larry looked through church records and got to visit the town where his great-grandfather Stephen Bates had once been the chief police for 26 consecutive years.
History has become a controversial topic, and rightly so. Much of what children and teenagers are given in the United States details history primarily centered around white supremacy and the patriarchy. This is true at national and local levels. Recently, a story was uncovered in Vergennes that exemplified that very fact.  The key to understanding this issue is that it is local as much as it is national — something that I did not fully grasp until now. For the nation to be able to remember the history that has been omitted, the importance of researching our respective small-town communities...

A GROUP OF preschoolers from Mary Johnson Daycare Center took a walk to read the outside reading project sponsored by Middlebury’s Ilsley Library. A dozen or so pages are displayed on posts circumventing Middlebury’s Riverside Park in the Marbleworks. Independent photo/Angelo Lynn
ADDISON COUNTY — As elementary, middle and high schools are implementing plans for reopening this fall, childcare services and preschools are preparing as well — and in some cases are implementing creative outdoor classes to start off the fall. While childcare and preschool facilities are independent and each develops its own programs, we talked with three area programs to learn how they were preparing to kick off the school year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.  Each of the three programs we interviewed were eager to share their plans for the school year, offer reassurances of being...

THE FAR SIDE of the New Haven River at Bartlett Falls has a smooth bank that is good for sunbathing, but not good for social distancing. Advocates urge swimmers to keep six feet from others, to bring a mask for when you are not swimming, and to refrain from going to swimming holes if you feel sick. Independent photo/Alexa Lapiner
BRISTOL — Bartlett Falls in Bristol has been a serious hot spot for swimmers this year. The popular New Haven River locale is known for its cliff jumping and smooth rock face across the river.  A recent Saturday saw at least 50 bathers in and around the popular jumping spot, plus more sprinkled among the cooling currents and freshwater pools that dot the river as it climbs up the mountain toward Lincoln. While Vermont swimming holes are a top summer attraction and can be a great place to cool off, the popularity of Bartlett Falls (also known as Bristol Falls) comes as a mixed blessing to...
ADDISON COUNTY — Lumberyards and building contractors seem to have experienced a surge in business in Addison County since the stay-at-home mandate was loosened in June. And building supply stores can’t seem to keep up with demand for one product in particular — decking. “It’s odd, there’s almost a guilty feeling to be in an industry that is thriving during this time. I’m really just grateful,” said Jed Malcom of Salamander Construction Inc. of Middlebury. People who work with lumber retailing and construction during this summer of COVID-19 have varying observations on supply shortages and...

THE VOCAL ENSEMBLE I Fagiolini will sing a program titled “Monteverdi – The Ache of Love” on Aug. 8 as part of the online music festival Live from London.
If your heart is hungry for live music of the vocal variety, New Haven resident George Jaeger is passing on news of an opportunity to hear some. “My English son-in-law Robin Tyson,” wrote Jaeger, “a graduate of the King’s College Choir and for years a countertenor with the King’s Singers, has more recently been managing choirs, conductors and other musical performers. It all came to a screeching halt when the virus broke out.” During a drought in live entertainment, this choir member is hoping to reach audiences online during a virtual music festival. “Necessity being the mother of invention...
ADDISON COUNTY — With federal laws designed to keep people in their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic due to expire next week, a new Vermont State Housing Authority (VSHA) program looks to support people who are falling behind on rent and landlords working with struggling tenants, by covering owed rent expenses.  The Rental Housing Stabilization Program, which began accepting applications last week, has $25 million in rental assistance available.   Funds are open to anyone struggling to stay housed, or support housing during the pandemic. To see if you are eligible visit vsha.org/rental-...
SALISBURY — Members of the Salisbury selectboard were very pleased last month when the town landfill was finally capped after a multi-year effort. But now they are frustrated that the town’s expensive project is being torn to pieces. Riders of all-terrain vehicles  have been ignoring signs, roadblocks and police surveillance to ride onto the newly lined landfill, said selectboard member and Road Commissioner Pat Dunn. To protect the landfill and riders both, the Salisbury selectboard this month approved an ordinance that would prohibit all ATV riding on town property. This means that even...

ELISE BLAIR USES gardening around her Middlebury home as a way to stay busy, especially during the quarantine, which is causing many seniors to experience isolation. Blair also hosts zoom classes through Elderly Services, which she finds to be just as rewarding for herself as for her peers. Independent photo/Alexa Lapiner
MIDDLEBURY — The isolation of this pandemic can feel at times unmanageable. That can especially be the case for seniors who cannot leave their homes or visit with loved ones. Elise Blair, a friendly face in the Middlebury community (and beyond) shares some possible ways to escape that isolation. Elise is a retired psychoanalyst but still a member of the American Psychoanalytic Association. Although retired from daily practice, she still provides support by teaching classes on aging for Elderly Services participants and hosting a caregiving group at the Congregational Church of Middlebury. The...

SILAS AUDY, LEFT, and Simon Kruse practice their footwork during a long-awaited Addison United Soccer Club practice this past Thursday in Monkton. The soccer club is offering the program for free this season so that participants won’t feel compelled to attend if they feel sick. Independent photo/Alexa Lapiner
ADDISON COUNTY — Addison County youth are seeing a different look at their camps and sports this summer. There are no field trips for day camps, no fighting for draws in lacrosse, only small games in soccer, and no spitting on the baseball diamond.  But there are still opportunities for exercise and fun. “There is some understandable hesitation to get back out and interact in this way,” said Booth Hodde, who is running Middlebury Youth Lacrosse Club this summer. “So it’s obviously an optional activity and we’re going to take every precaution that’s recommended to keep everyone safe, but also...

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Addison County Independent