SHOREHAM — Shoreham Democrat Ruth Shattuck Bernstein always knew she’d eventually run for the Vermont House. But the timing never seemed right. Three young children to raise, bills to pay. She filed her political quest under “some day.” Well, “some day” is here, and it arrived based on several unanticipated events, according to Bernstein. They include the potential closure of Shoreham Elementary School, ongoing erosion of the state’s farming industry, and, most recently, a decision by fellow Shoreham Democrat Barb Wilson to withdraw from the race to represent the Addison-Rutland district,...
SHOREHAM — After closing down more than a week ago to manage an outbreak of COVID-19 among its staff, Champlain Orchards is open again for pick-your-own apples. "It’s been quite a week here at Champlain Orchards, but we’ve all persevered thanks to the love and support we’ve received from you," wrote orchard officials in an email to their customers Saturday morning. "Our staff has completed our third round of testing and we are relieved to report that no additional positive tests have occurred." The Shoreham orchard, which is owned and operated by Bill Suhr and Andrea Scott, closed abruptly on...
This story, originally published on Monday, October 5, was updated on Wednesday, October 7. The total count of cases among seasonal apple pickers is now up to 28, according to an email from the orchard. SHOREHAM — Champlain Orchards closed temporarily, after 27 seasonal apple pickers tested positive for COVID-19. The Vermont Department of Health (VDH) reported Monday morning that there were 26 positive cases at the Shoreham orchard, and at a Tuesday morning press conference Commissioner of Health Mark Levine announced that a late-arriving batch of test results revealed one additional case....
On July 26 I sent a note to each ACSD board member asking each to find a way to receive input from constituents more successfully than the present and to respond to me. It’s a lengthy note, but the gist is important and in essence it is similar to the publisher of this paper’s editorial of a year ago, Aug. 30, 2019, which says, “the district benefits greatly from having seven vibrant, small towns with thriving schools. The ACSD needs to make sure it weaves that consideration into its discussion — and provide ample room and attention for individual towns to express their desires.” None of...

ANNIKA SALENJUS, A viticulture intern, prunes grapevines recently introduced at the former Rich Farm off North Orwell Road in Shoreham. It’s part of Bhakta Farms, the brainchild of WhistlePig Rye Whiskey co-founder Raj Bhakta. The vineyard, and a former Shoreham orchard, will produce fruit for premium brandies. Independent photo/John Flowers
SHOREHAM — It’s one of those stunning, late-August afternoons to which Vermonters subconsciously transport themselves when the mercury dives below zero in early February. The sun is grudgingly obeying its celestial mandate as it ebbs on the western horizon of the Champlain Valley, all the while gently kissing a network of verdant tendrils that together form a new vineyard off North Orwell Road in Shoreham. Soaking up this panoramic tableau is Raj Peter Bhakta, who’s looking forward to the day the vineyard surrenders its fruit for his vision of a thriving business that will produce a world-...

Raj Peter Bhakta gives a tour at the WhistlePig farm in Shoreham in 2014. Independent file photo/Trent Campbell
SHOREHAM — One of the founders of WhistlePig Rye Whiskey in Shoreham this week was announced as the winning bidder for the former Green Mountain College property in Poultney, an asset he plans to maintain and operate for educational purposes. Raj Peter Bhakta on Aug. 18 submitted a winning bid of $4.55 million for the college property, which ceased operations in 2019. The 185-year-old college succumbed to declining enrollment. The campus featured 22 buildings and 447,000 square feet of office, dormitory and other indoor space. The property was appraised for $20 million in 2016. Bhakta set up...

SHOREHAM — Shoreham residents are joining a chorus of Ripton and Weybridge voices expressing concern their local elementary school could become a casualty of consolidations plans being explored by the Addison Central School District (ACSD) Board. The board is working on a facilities master plan to guide it in future decisions about which school buildings to improve, and which to vacate, as the district confronts declining enrollment and rising education expenses. The financial picture figures to get worse due to a COVID-19 pandemic that has stemmed revenues to Vermont’s Education Fund. ACSD...

SHOREHAM — Barbara Wilson of Shoreham last week withdrew from the race for the Vermont House seat that represents her town plus Orwell, Whiting and Benson. “It is with great regret and sadness that I have had to make the difficult decision to suspend my candidacy for Addison-Rutland House Representative,” Wilson said in a July 28 press release. “This is due to recently being diagnosed and starting treatment for prolonged exposure to Lyme Disease.” Wilson said the chronic neurological symptoms and joint pain resulting from the disease make it difficult for her to effectively run for office at...
SHOREHAM — Two popular Shoreham orchards have come together under one owner. On July 8 Bill Suhr and Andrea Scott of Champlain Orchards announced that they had purchased Douglas Orchards and Cider Mill from Bob and Scott Douglas. “For the past 21 years I have been emulating our neighbors ... as they care for their family farm and orchards,” Suhr wrote in announcing the deal. “After years of discussions, we were able to officially purchase the 180-acre farm, allowing Bob & Terry, and Scott & Sue Douglas to officially begin a well-earned retirement.” Bob and Scott Douglas are the fourth...
Editor’s note: On June 24, the Shoreham selectboard sent a letter to the directors of the Addison Central School District, that followed up on an Aug. 29, 2019, letter to the school board committee that would ultimately make recommendations that could result in closing Shoreham Elementary School. Here are the two letters: 24 June 2020 This is an open letter to the School Directors of the Addison Central School District. At the end of August 2019, the selectboard of the town of Shoreham sent the enclosed letter to the Addison Central School District Facilities Master Plan Steering Committee....


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Addison County Independent

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Middlebury, VT 05753

Phone: 802.388.4944
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