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BRANDON — Brandon-area residents are encouraged to step up to the microphone and wow the crowd with their dulcet tones for a chance to win $1,000 as the first annual Brandon Idol singing competition gets underway at the start of the new year. Until then, the Brandon Recreation Department is expecting dozens, if not up to a 100 (wouldn’t that be grand), of contestants to get ready for the big audition. On Jan. 12, 2019, seven finalists will be chosen from all those who willing to strut their stuff on the stage. Those seven will then be challenged to perform each month for the following six...
BRANDON — The school board for the Rutland Northeast Supervisory Union looks to keep a lid on spending in its upcoming budget. At their Nov. 29 meeting board members approved a 2019-2020 school year draft budget that would raise spending by half a percent. The proposed $9.3 million spending plan is $50,588 more than the previous year, as very few staffing or equipment changes were needed from last year. About $7.5 million, or 81 percent, of that spending goes to staffing and benefits. The district also plans to replace three buses, but that will be a budget neutral replacement as three buses...
VERGENNES — The Vergennes City Council last Tuesday heard from Addison County Community Trust Executive Director Elise Shanbacker that the planned 24-unit affordable housing project on Armory Lane is advancing. The project is intended to be built across the road from the existing senior housing project, not far from American Legion Post 14. Shanbacker said her agency and its partner, Housing Vermont, have already raised $1.8 million for the $7 million, roughly 25,000-square-foot project. She told the council she expects the bulk of the funding, the sale of tax credits, to come through by...
VERGENNES — Every year as the holidays approach, the staff at WowToyz in Vergennes takes a break from packing toy orders for their customers to preparing toy donations for needy families within the community. Thousands of toys and custom gift bag assortments are organized and assembled to donate to families in need through local charitable organizations like the HOPE Holiday Shop and the Charter House Coalition, both in Middlebury, Chances for Christmas in Essex Junction, the Vergennes Lions Club, the Rotary Club of Colchester-Milton and Vermont CARES in Burlington. In addition, WowToyz...

CLAY SCULPTURES BY Marcia Parker are on display at the Middlebury Studio School. There will be a closing reception for the artists this Thursday, Dec. 13, at 4 p.m.
MIDDLEBURY — Marcia Parker and Marshall Eddy are showing their pottery at Middlebury Studio School at 2377 Route 7 South. The school will host a closing reception for the artists this Thursday, Dec. 13, from 4 to 6 p. m. Refreshments will be served. Parker has been a potter and sculptor for many years. Using terracotta, low-fire clay, she pinches and coils the clay into native inspired vessels. Her whimsical wheeled toy animals and masks recall the work of ancient cultures. Eddy, a former art teacher at Middlebury Union High School, has a broad range of artistic interests. He is a painter,...
MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury Union High School has announced its honor roll students for the first quarter of the 2018-2019 school year. The list includes: NINTH GRADE High Honors: Camilla Adelman, Megan Balparda, Viviana Hammond, Anya Hardy-Mittell, Sophie Larocque, Camille Maglienti, Clare Molineaux, Zoe Noble, Astrid Olsen, Holly Staats, Alex Tolgyesi, Alexa Whelan, Brian Whitley and Kaya Wright. Honors: Thomas Ash, Julia Bartlett, Noah Berg, Natasha Berno, Skylar Broughton, Caroline Browdy, Carlisle Brush, Zachariah Burrows, Ainsley Busby, Talia Cotroneo, Megan Daly, Jocelyn Deering, Ivy Doran...

“MR. CYPRESS” ELI JENSEN performs a musical number during the “Talent” portion of last year’s Mr. Christmas Tree Pageant. The annual pageant returns to the Mount Abraham auditorium this Saturday night.
BRISTOL — It’s almost time for a Christmas celebration that is quite different from what most people experience. Back for the sixth year, the Addison County Young Life Mr. Christmas Tree Pageant will be held this Saturday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m. at the Mount Abraham Union High School Auditorium. Each year around 300 people from the community are treated to a unique, hilarious and free evening of entertainment. In traditional pageant style, seven senior boys will compete for the crown of “Mr. Christmas Tree” through formal wear, interviews, a bathing suit competition, and talent portions, followed...

JAMES ROBIDEAU, SHOWN here accepting the Emergency Maintenance Technician/Truck Captain Award at last January’s Addison County Firefighters’ Association, was recently named Bristol co-apparatus maintenance officer along with Jarrett Kimball.
BRISTOL — Bristol Fire Chief Brett LaRose and Deputy Fire Chief Eric Forand will lead the Bristol Fire Department for three more years. The Bristol selectboard at its Dec. 3 meeting reappointed LaRose and Forand to new terms that will expire at the end of 2021. After advertising for the positions, the town of Bristol received exactly one application for each position. LaRose and Forand have served together in their respective positions since 2014. Other department leaders, which were chosen at its Dec. 5 department staff meeting, include Assistant Chief Kevin LaRose, Captains Matthew Lathrop...
BRISTOL – Orion Lazo has joined The Real Estate Company of Vermont as a Realtor specializing in buying and selling residential property and land parcels in Addison County, Chittenden County and beyond. “We are excited to have Orion join our growing agency. He brings experience, knowledge of the local markets, enthusiasm, and a positive energy that will serve our clients well,” said Jill Fraga, broker/owner. Lazo said, “I’m thrilled to join this creative and dynamic team. Having worked with Jill and Danelle (Birong) in the past, we have always been on the same page when tackling difficult...

VERMONT LEADS THE nation in residents who participate in bird watching.  Feeding birds in winter is a great way to enjoy seeing wildlife from your home.  Photo by Tom Rogers
MONTPELIER — With winter weather now taking hold, Vermonters are readying their bird feeders. “Birds of all species have very interesting behaviors, shapes, and plumage and have captured the human imagination for millennia. Winter feeding is an opportunity to witness first-hand the fascinating array of bird life, often near our homes,” said John Buck, Vermont Fish & Wildlife’s migratory bird biologist. First, make sure your feeders are free of potentially harmful germs by cleaning them with a very dilute (10%) chlorine solution and rinsing with water. This will greatly reduce the...

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