Russell Jones

Editor’s note: The writer was the reporter/assistant news editor of The Reporter newspaper in Brandon, and a Bristol resident, until this past October. As a former Vermont resident who now resides in Texas, I often look back on my time in Vermont with fondness. Especially when I look at the growing coronavirus numbers in my current state or when I’m reminded of how Vermonters will go out of their way to help each other. I finally made it to the DMV to get my Texas driver license last month (the earliest appointment I could get back in April). After jumping through all the hoops to prove my...
BRANDON — The Otter Valley Unified Union school board held the first reading of a new classroom viability policy at its meeting on Oct. 16. The board approved the policy unanimously, but it will still need to be approved at the second reading next month before it is ratified. The policy sets guidelines on what size classes can be throughout the district, which will go a long way in determining the future of some of the district schools. The guidelines set class minimums in K-3 at 12 students and in 4-6 grades at 16. Adding all the minimum class sizes together means a K-6 elementary school...

CLAUDETTE LAWTON PATS her Morgan horse, UVM Finnegan, at the Salisbury stable where she boards him. The duo, ages 80 and 22, are members of The Dressage Foundation’s Century Club, which recognizes a horse and rider whose combined age is at least 100. Independent photo/Russell Jones
GOSHEN — “Dressage” is a French term most commonly translated as “training.” It is a highly skilled form of horse riding where the rider shows their mastery by having the horse perform a series of movements with very subtle cues. Dressage competitions vary in the levels from amateur all the way to the Olympic games. Each level involves more pressure for horse and rider to perform as a team. During competitions, the horse performs an intricate routine that involves trots, canters and walks. “It’s very similar to a dance,” said Goshen resident Claudette Lawton. “You have to be in sync with each...

PATTY CANDON, WHO won 347 games and four state titles over 33 years as head coach of the Otter Valley varsity softball program, accepts a plaque showing her induction into the Otter Valley Hall of Fame this past Saturday during halftime of the OV football game. Brandon Reporter photo/Russell Jones
BRANDON — The Otter Valley Hall of Fame introduced 12 new members during halftime of Saturday’s Otter Valley Union High School homecoming football game. The newbies included eight athletes, a coach, two teachers and an administrator. Honorees were selected because they demonstrated exemplary scholarship and citizenship, demonstrated character by conducting themself as an exemplary role model, and demonstrated superior commitment and successful accomplishments in their role toward students, staff and the OV community. The new members of the Otter Valley Hall of Fame are: Nancy Robinson —...

FRED HANSEN, CENTER, bought the Smoke Rise campground on the north edge of Brandon four years ago because of his love of camping and desire to keep working. Hansen is pictured here with his wife, Barbara, on the right and campground manager Anita LaRocque. Brandon Reporter photo/ Russell Jones
BRANDON — Fred Hansen spends his winters in Florida, but he doesn’t enjoy his time there as much as the summers in Vermont. In fact, he hates it. “I hate going to Florida,” Hansen said. “There’s nothing to do there. You just sit around or go out to eat, and that’s not good for you.” Hansen is a self-proclaimed workaholic. He likes to keep busy and likes to keep everything neat and organized. “I love waking up in the morning and getting out and working,” the 82-year-old said. “This morning I was out in the ditch weed whacking. Every winter I can’t wait to come back here and get to work.” And...

FRED PUTNAM JR., owner of Busy Bee Honey in Brandon, examines a frame from one of the 27 bee colonies he runs across three locations in the area. He says having three locations adds different characteristics to the honey and reduces the chance of catastrophic disaster if something goes wrong in one colony. Brandon Reporter photo/Russell Jones
BRANDON — Bees must visit 2 million flowers to produce a single pound of honey. So when beekeeper Fred Putnam Jr. says he expects to collect nearly a ton of honey this year, he’s talking about almost 4 billion flower visits. But the bees aren’t doing all of the work. Just as dairy cows rely on farmers to help them produce milk, bees rely on apiarists to help them keep producing honey. “It’s just like other farms,” said Putnam, who owns Busy Bee Honey in Brandon. “These are living organisms and you have to take care of them. There is a challenge to keeping them alive and healthy.” Because...

MORE THAN A half-dozen poets read from their work in the Ruth Stone Foundation Poetry Workshop Showcase this past April at the Book and Leaf Bookstore in Brandon. Shown, from left, are Aaron Lovett, Kirsten K. Connelly, Leanne Prescott Ruell, Nora Swan Croll, Francis Mcgill, Meg Reynolds, Ben Pease, Burgess Needle and Bianca Stone.
GOSHEN — Many historic movements in poetry have begun with one or two poets coming together and drawing in other poets with the gravity of their words. They bounce ideas off one another and work together to develop and shape their art to perfection. The Beat generation of poets met in New York in the 1940s this way, as Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg drew in William S. Borroughs and Gregory Corso. A group of poets in the area in and around Goshen, Vt., have gathered in much this same fashion around two poets with historic ties to the area. One focus of this community-building has been the...

TOM AND RHONDA GADUE of Lincoln recently purchased and began renovating the New England Maple Museum in Pittsford. The couple has operated the Solar Sweet Maple Farm sugarhouse in Lincoln since 2012. Brandon Reporter photo/Russell Jones
PITTSFORD — The New England Maple Museum, on Route 7 in Pittsford, has been open for four decades, but until recently the future of the museum was in jeopardy. New owners Tom and Rhonda Gadhue said they are not only trying to keep the museum alive, but are expanding its offerings. “We want to bring the museum up-to-date while keeping it as original as possible,” Tom Gadhue told The Brandon Reporter this week. “We also have several ideas planned to add to what the museum has to offer.” Started by Tom and Donna Olson in 1977, the New England Maple Museum is a snapshot of the history of the...
BRANDON — The town of Brandon has a new solid waste transfer station operator. After months of negotiating with the current operators of the town’s garbage and recycling transfer station — Earth, Waste and Metal, or EWM — the two sides could not agree on contract terms. Recently the town signed on Wyman Timber to run the station starting this past weekend. Selectman Tim Guiles has been negotiating with the previous company’s executives, Stephanie and Kevin Elnicki, over what responsibilities the town has regarding the infrastructure at the transfer station. Guiles said the company was feeling...

Image of Heritage Family Credit Union robber from surveillance camera.
BRANDON — The lone man robbed the Heritage Family Credit Union in Brandon on Monday afternoon. Brandon police are asking merchants in the area to examine $100 bills they receive in case they find one from the robbery. One of the bills was a $100 bill that was torn and taped as a repair. Police asked that If someone gives you taped bill please try to remember anything about their appearance and any identifying info that may be of assistance, including the license number and make of car they may get into. Please call the Brandon Police Department at 247-5723 A man wearing a dark, two-toned...


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Addison County Independent

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Middlebury, VT 05753

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