Sunday, December 12, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Friday, December 3, 2010
The Ripton school has both power and electricity, as of this morning. So no more dark classrooms.
According to CVPS, only 7 households are offline, as of this writing. 3 problems remain - remember, a "problem" means a tree down, or a crackling line. Either way, it also means hard-working CVPS crews on the job.
Here's the map:
Tell us about your experience, in comments!
Previous posts on this storm: day one, day two.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
Here's a glimpse of the CVPS outage map:
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
One CVPS report offers this alarming picture:
"The winds really started howling around noon, and then the outages started
ramping up, especially along the western side of the Green Mountains," said
spokeswoman Christine Rivers. "There are wires down everywhere, and we urge people to use extreme caution. This is the most serious wind event we've seen in since this past summer. Crews have repeatedly had to take refuge in their vehicles as trees were coming down all around them as they were attempting to make repairs today."
Be safe, friends and neighbors!
Thursday, November 25, 2010
Shumlin on Monday named Ripton resident and Otter Creek Brewing founder Lawrence Miller to serve as his secretary of commerce and community development at the forefront of what he called his “job creation team.” That came a week after Shumlin selected Ferrisburgh resident Beth Robinson to serve as his general counsel.
Shumlin told the Associated Press that in choosing the top leadership for his administration he is looking for “competence, vision and the ability to get tough things done.
“The decisions we’re making in the next two weeks will determine how successful we are over the next two years,” he added.
Miller, 44, currently CEO for Middlebury-based Danforth Pewter, said he is looking forward to his new job.
“Wrestling through it was tough, but as I thought my way through it, it became easy,” he said during an interview with the Addison Independent. “There are very few opportunities to ‘return the favor’ that come along in this way. I have benefited from the support of a great many people in developing Otter Creek and in the other businesses I have worked on … and when I thought about where that has brought me, I could not refuse.”
Friday, November 19, 2010
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
It’s a leadership role in which Jewett, 47, would be charged with two main tasks: Gathering key information from House committee rooms and communicating it to other lawmakers and citizens; and counting votes likely to be cast by party faithful prior to major referenda being decided on the House floor.
In his own words,
“When it comes down to it (lawmaking) is about people; it’s about relationships,” said Jewett, who would have to limit his work on the House Judiciary Committee in order to fulfill his majority whip assignments. “Those relationships are what make us successful, not the specifics of any particular policy, but how we communicate with each other.”
(image from this Vermont elections site)
Monday, November 1, 2010
(This post describes a long discussion about recent events in the school, concerning the decision not to have Halloween celebrations, and a student petition about that holiday. Several corrections have been added.)
Asked to describe "the full story", principal Marta Beede described a petition for having holiday celebrations, concerning multiple holidays wrapped together. A meeting was held, discussing Christmas and Hanukah holidays, not around Halloween.
An all-school meeting was held, discussing laws around holidays. Celebrations had to include an educational purpose, and had to include more than one holiday. Overall, this issue can become a teachable moment, exploring multiple traditions.
Marta expressed excitement that students were adding their ideas, through all-school meetings and other venues. It's a continuing process. She doesn't want to get rid of holidays, but to broaden students' horizons. Students can even create their own traditions.
Re: opinions of Halloween, Marta heard several sides: some students were (too) scared, while others valued it.
Discussion: parents reported that two students started a petition, but were told to tear it up. The principal denied having ordered this, and expressed surprise.
A former student read from the Bill of Rights, arguing that "saying the petition is wrong goes against the Constitution".
The ACSU superintendant (administrator) supported the principal.
One parent wanted the students to be involved.
In answer to a question, the principal explained the Halloween celebrations were banned for several reasons, including:
- an unspeficied law
- problems in integrating the holiday with educational missions
- following the drift of other schools, which apparently have toned down or canceled their own celebrations
- the logistical issues of integrating celebrations into the flow of the school day
- equity problems of children without costumes.
A former student challenges the religious challenge to the holiday. Principal responded that there were different issues involved.
A parent challenges the timing issue, saying that festivities are scheduled in activity time.
Another parent mentions the importance of respect, and letting people not participate if they choose not to.
One parent saw the petition as central to the story, and needed to be researched.
Another thought her children were worried that the petition would get them in trouble.
Communication w/parents was asked about: the mechanism was teachers talking to students.
Another parent mentioned that this broke down, leading to misinformation.
One parent mentioned that her child had a great experience. Principal reminded us of the diversity of opinions involved.
A general discussion explored the different ways Ripton celebrated Halloween over time.
Solutions aired and discussed:
- A petition night, involving students.
- A Board member proposed a collaborating writing exercise, involving the principle, the 5/6 teacher and students.
- Bring back Halloween in 2011.
- Request for an apology.
Conclusion: a process is beginning, involving students and parents.
These notes are a best attempt at summarizing a rich, fast, and intense discussion. Please add corrections and amendments in comments!
What do you think, Riptonites and friends? As a community, have we decided as a whole to separate the public school from the Halloween holiday?
-Bryan Alexander, one of the Riptonites team, and a parent
Sunday, October 24, 2010
Forecasting 2010 Midterms”
a talk by Matt Dickinson,
Professor of Political Science, Middlebury College
Saturday, October 30th at 4 P.M.
@ The Ripton Community Church
Everyone is invited to hear Matt Dickinson’s non-partisan discussion of the political climate leading up to Tuesday, November 2, 2010. Please bring your ideas, questions and civility to this discussion. Everyone should go away with a little better understanding of the politcal times in which we live, and what the outcome will tell us about this election and our nation.
Professor Dickinson previously taught at Harvard University, where he also received his Ph.D., working under the supervision of presidential scholar Richard Neustadt, and was a Fellow in the Governmental Studies Program at the Brookings Institution. Matthew Dickinson is the author of Bitter Harvest: FDR, Presidential Power,
and the Growth of the Presidential Branch (Cambridge University Press) and co-editor of Guardian of the Presidency: The Legacy of Richard E. Neustadt (The Brookings Institution). He has also published numerous articles on the presidency, Congress, presidential decision making, and presidential advisers. His current book
project, titled The President and the White House Staff: People, Positions and Processes, 1945-2008, examines the growth of presidential staff in the post-World War II era.
Sponsored by Friends of The Ripton Community Church
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Concert No. 1
First Annual October Concert
@ Ripton Community Church
2:00 pm on October 17, 2010
All are invited!
Sponsored by Friends of Ripton Community Church
Concert Coordination by Lisa Durante
Thursday, October 7, 2010
The K and 10K begin at 12:30, followed by the kids race at 12:35.
Volunteers may still be needed for servers, clean up, and baking.
For memories of Ridge Runs past, here are photos of the 2008 children's race, along with an overall report on that year's race.
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Here's the text:
KEEP ROUTE 125 OPEN
During construction of the
Sand Hill Bridge
We are concerned about the impacts of closing Vermont Route 125 (and detouring traffic over the Brandon Gap) during construction of the Sand Hill Bridge in East Middlebury.
We ask VTrans to consider the following impacts of any significant period of closure:
1) Emergency response (both Fire and Ambulance) times to Ripton would be increased considerably.
2) Something approaching 2,000 trips per day would be added to traffic on the Upper and Lower Plains Roads and the North Branch Road.
3) Businesses in Hancock, Goshen, Ripton and East Middlebury that that depend on Route 125 would be severely impacted.
Please make every effort to maintain this vital east-west transportation corridor
either through the installation of a temporary bridge or through phased
Links: to the online petition; to the latest meeting
(thanks to Willem Jewett!)
We, the undersigned, are concerned about the impact of closing Vermont
Route 125 and creating traffic detours across the Brandon Gap and Upper Plains
Road, during the prolonged reconstruction of the Sand Hill Bridge in East
We insist that VTrans consider the impacts of closure:
1. Emergency Services: Fire, Ambulance, Police times to Ripton would be increased considerably;
2. As many as 2000 trips per day would be added to traffic on both Upper Plains Road, the North Branch Road and Notch Road;
3. Businesses in Hancock, Goshen, Ripton and East Middlebury that depend on Route 125 would be severely impacted and unable to serve the community effectively.
Please maintain this vital east-west transport corridor through phased construction, or by installing one of Vermont's many temporary bridges.
Friday, September 24, 2010
(NB: these notes are partial and incomplete, since I had to leave 90 minutes in)
Meeting occured in the East Middlebury Methodist Church. Two Vtrans engineers led the meeting; most of the pews were filled with East Middlebury and Ripton folk. Some stood.
Quick overview of Sand Hill bridge: it handles about 2000+ vehicles/day. It's an "arch bridge", and was built 1924. That 1924 date means mystery, at least in terms of what we know about the bridge's interiors. No plans survived, so engineers are not certain what lurks inside the arch.
Although Sand Hill has stood and served for decades, no one can determine its future safety with confidence, given the uncertainly surrounding its materials. A recent survey deemed its future "poor", adding urgency to plans for refurbishing or replacing it.
The two VTrans engineers presented their new plan. It involves maintaining the current bridge as an ornamental arch. New abutments will be added, on either side of the current bridge's ends; a new span will ride above the current bridge.
The new bridge includes a wider road, increasing the current width from 20 to 36 feet. This includes broadening the lanes, adding shoulders, and also adding on a sidewalk. Each lane will be 11 feet lane, and the shoulders stretch 3 feet from lane to edge.
Timeline: about one construction season, 3-4 months. VTrans thinks early construction incentives (cash) would help speed things along. May or June are likely starting months. Construction isn't likely to start anytime soon, as the VTrans engineers stated that they were back at square one for the project.
Many things need to be done for this to happen:
- relocating utilities (electricity, maybe water)
- stabilizing the East Middlebury side's slope. This could involve piling up rocks and dirt, or covering the slope with "geotextile", or even "soil nailing" (driving down longdowels).
- adding extended retaining walls (maybe)
After these possible tasks were outlined, another then soaked up much discussion. This was the question of how to take care of traffic during contruction. Two options were presented.
- Setting up offsite detours was the VTrans preferred method. This means shunting heavy traffic (trucks) south to route 73. Lighter traffic (cares, buses, commuters) would have the choice of either taking North Branch Road, or the southern route through Lower and Upper Plains Roads. These offsite detours have the advantage of saving time.
- Building a temporary bridge, on either side of Sand hill. This would probably add a second season to the construction process, but have the advantage of allowing continued traffic without diversions.
Discussion followed with great intensity. To begin with, one speaker mentioned an emergency services problem, namely that the delay experienced by Middlebury EMS ascending the mountain along an alternate route could mean the difference between life or death. Fire support would probably never arrive in time to help.
Another speaker noted increasing safety problems likely to appear on an increasingly trafficked, even overcrowded North Branch Road (a very tricky, narrow road, compared with the Plains roads).
Others spoke in favor of diversions. One noted that the extra time required by the detours would probably not be that great, except for heavy traffic, and that Ripton was already used to the hardships of mountain life. VTrans argued that the extra time, expense, and effort involved in building a second bridge would be unduly burdensome.
At this point your humble notetaker had to leave the meeting, in order to put children to bed. He drove over the Sand Hill Bridge along the way.
Previous post about the meeting.
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Monday, September 20, 2010
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Sunday, September 12, 2010
“The Taunting Whirlwind” is the Annual Rabbi Victor E. Reichert Bible Talk .
From the flyer:
Sunday, September 12th
@ The Ripton Community Church
All are invited
Ripton’s own Bill McKibben, a Middlebury College scholar in residence, will give a talk entitled “The Taunting Whirlwind”. Per tradition, this title and the content of the lecture will serve as clues pointing to the text from the Hebrew Bible/Tanakh that McKibben will engage.
McKibben’s reputation precedes him. He is an author, educator, and environmentalist of international renown. He is also a United Methodist.
Rabbi Victor Reichert began the tradition of gathering his friends and the public and giving a “little talk” on one of the books of the Bible at the end of each summer. Rabbi Reichert was affectionately known as “the Methodist rabbi” and “the rabbi in residence”. Since his death in 1990, Havurah, the Jewish congregation in Addison County, and the United Methodist Church in Ripton have honored his memory by continuing the talks in his name.
Sponsored by Friends of The Ripton Community Church
Saturday, September 11, 2010
After the meeting, Mr. McKibben, speaking by cellphone from the
sidewalk outside the Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White
House, said: “They refused to take the Carter-era panel that we brought with us
and said they would continue their deliberative process to figure out what is
appropriate for the White House someday. I told them it would be nice to
deliberate as fast as possible, since that is the rate at which the planet’s
climate is deteriorating.”
Friday, September 10, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Art Show & Sales
plus Gourmet Refreshments
August 29th, 2010 @ 5:00 pm
Ripton Community Church
& Ripton Community House
Enjoy an evening viewing the works of some of Ripton’s
many artists in the Ripton Community Church and socializing in the Community House while sampling some of Ripton’s summer bounty
and other delicious foods prepared by Lisa and Joe Durante. Some of the artwork is for sale. Admission is by ticket at a minimum suggested donation of $20 per
adult and $5 per child under 13. Proﬁts will beneﬁt the restoration and improve-
ment of the church building.
Ripton Artists and Exhibited Works
Sara Wesson—Cards & Paintings
Jean Cherouny—Roller Rugs
Sponsored by Friends of Ripton Community Church
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Andrea Chesman, of Ripton, is a longtime canner, a cookbook editor and
author. She has noticed a resurgence in home preserving during the last few
years. Her first book, “Pickles and Relishes, 150 Recipes from Apple to
Zucchini,” was published in 1983; she is working on a revised edition, expected
out in 2011. Chesman moved to Vermont from upstate New York in the 1970s during
the “whole back to the land thing.” She said her interest in canning and
preservation was greeted with great amusement by neighboring farmers’ wives:
“They got a big kick out of us.”
Sunday, August 8, 2010
a series of Ripton school board-sponsored forums... began on May 18 and
most recently convened on July 19. Residents have been invited to offer any
short- and long-term ideas to keep the small community school viable in wake of
shrinking student numbers, a trend that is affecting most schools in the Addison
Central Supervisory Union (ACSU) and indeed throughout Vermont.
Lee Sease, ACSU superintendent, said Ripton’s K-6 enrollment was 61 children in 2003, a number that shrank to 45 this year and is projected to descend to 27 by 2013.
Friday, August 6, 2010
Topics include Bill's love of nature, world travel, and, of course, his new book.
Bill had another fine podcast interview earlier this summer.
You can play the audio from that link directly, or download the file to your desktop for listening later on.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
a talk by Professor John Elder
Sunday, July 25th Starting at 4 pm at The Ripton Community Church
Professor Elder will look at some of the ways in which Robert Frost’s poetry both explores and is illuminated by the forests of Vermont. Frost was an excellent naturalist, whose ability to perceive seasonal change in the landscapes around him also brought a measure of stability to his intense inner life. Those of us who are privileged to live in the same place where one of the century’s greatest poets once worked are truly blessed.
(via Charles Billings)
Thursday, July 15, 2010
The board has discussed the ideas generated at our May 18th meeting. We feel that the process should move toward identification of a range of realistic short and longer term options or action items. In an effort to move in that direction, we have discussed the following alternatives;
- Do nothing or status quo. Under this scenario we would make virtually no change to our program or staffing.
- Program adjustments in reaction to declining enrollment that allow the board to achieve cost containment and “customer satisfaction.”
- Consolidation of governance and/or school to include exploration of tuitioning and school choice.
As we move toward a study of options available to the board we feel strongly that any action must support our school’s mission. Accordingly, we have asked Marta and the staff to review our existing mission statement and to propose any adjustments they see as beneficial.
We have also asked Lee Sease to provide us with historical information on our cost per equalized pupil (the most direct reflection of education property tax rates) along with our enrollment and staffing history.
Your input is critical to our success in this important work. The outline of options we have identified is meant to guide and advance our community discussions. Please feel free to bring your thoughts on these issues as well as any perspectives that you feel we may have overlooked. We look forward to your continued participation and attendance at our July 19th meeting.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Monday, July 5, 2010
Monday, June 21, 2010
[T]he widow of interest was one Lucinda (Billings) Chatfield, 1818-1897. While Lucinda was born in Tunbridge, she married Alonzo Chatfield in Middlebury in 1838. They moved up to his home in Ripton, and in 1859 they started farming the plot of land which we now call the Widow’s Clearing. Local records indicate that their farm was rather poor, even by Ripton hill farm standards.
There's more in that article, plus a description of a run around the area.
Monday, June 14, 2010
Kevra sells her salad greens and herbs to the Middlebury Natural Foods Co-op and to restaurants under the name “Nola’s Secret Garden.” She doesn’t do farmers’ markets, though, because she is short-staffed — she is the sole employee of her business.
“If Greta and Orion could sell for me, that would be great,” she said of her dogs. “But I’m it.”
Sunday, May 30, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
The Ripton School Board will be hosting a meeting on Tuesday night, May 18th, at 7:00 PM in the Ripton Elementary School to begin our community discussions about the long range plan for the school.
As you know, there is considerable political pressure from the state level to close or consolidate small schools. Those of us on the board are fully committed to maintaining our school in town, and we believe that most people in town feel the same way. However, we must acknowledge the pressure of declining enrollment and the need to provide the best education we can for our students, while recognizing the financial burden that a small school puts on our residents. We are willing to consider any and all ideas that may be proposed.
Our hope is that we can identify actions that the board may take with regards to the school, and explore them through inquiry and discussion. This will probably be the first of a number of meetings; we will let our next steps proceed from the first.
We look forward to meeting with you on Tuesday the 18th. Please feel free to share this letter with anyone else you believe may be interested in joining us.
The Ripton School Board
Carol Ford (email@example.com)
Michael Hussey (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Willem Jewett (email@example.com)
Amy McGlashan (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Connie Trudeau (email@example.com)
Friday, May 7, 2010
Resurfacing Route 125 in Ripton and Hancock, beginning at the
Middlebury-Ripton town line and extending east 6.536 miles. Estimated cost:
Monday, May 3, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Sunday, April 25, 2010
I wrote the preface to my new book EAARTH on a gorgeous spring afternoon inBill McKibben then returns to some recent Ripton history:
2009, perched on the bank of a brook high along the spine of the Green Mountains, a mile or so from my home in the Vermont mountain town of Ripton. The creek burbles along, the picture of a placid mountain stream...
...but a few feet away there’s a scene of real violence a deep gash through
the woods where a flood in the summer of 2008 ripped away many cubic feet of
tree and rock and soil and drove it downstream through the center of the
village. Before the afternoon was out, the only paved road into town had been
demolished by the rushing water, a string of bridges lay in ruins, and the
governor was trying to reach the area by helicopter.
Monday, April 19, 2010
Taino will bring its School Residency Program to Ripton Elementary School this week as part of a school-wide thematic study of Central and South America. Taino is a musical group that provides a cross cultural experience on Latin America with a special focus on the endangered forest regions of the Amazon basin. Through stories, ethnic instruments, songs, and language from remote parts of the world, the program will focus on helping students understand and appreciate this culture and the impact of the rapidly disappearing rainforests.
The Ripton Elementary School has been awarded grants from Neat Repeats, Friends of Ripton School, and the Vermont Arts Council for the residency program with Taino. Lodging for the artists is being provided by Tony Clark and Blueberry Hill Inn. The entire Ripton School community wishes to express gratitude to these organizations and individuals for bringing this exciting program to our community.
The residency begins Monday April 19th and ends Friday April 23rd, including an evening performance for the community on Thursday, April 22nd at 6:30pm at Ripton Elementary School. The performance is free and open to the public.
Friday, April 16, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Date: Saturday, 10 April 2010
Time: 5:00 - 9:00 PM
Location: Ripton Community House
Route 125, Ripton, Vermont
Traditional Ripton Potluck --- I've been dyin' to put on one of these!
Come hear a style of music becoming increasingly scarce today- and
bring the whole family!
The Bayley-Hazen Boys take you on a rollicking ride from the hills of
northern Vermont down through Americana to the southern Appalachians.
Combining their fresh interpretation of time-tested traditional
material with a wealth of original songs, these two musical veterans
blend soulful ballads, tight vocal harmonies, and hard driving
instrumental work into a sound evoking the spirit of the early Stanley
Brothers and Bill and Charlie Monroe.
The Bayley-Hazen Boys feature Gary Darling on mandolin and Steve
Wright on guitar and five string banjo.
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Community members and parents are invited to come and enjoy coffee, tea, and breakfast treats in the Ripton Elementary School library. This is an opportunity to meet, socialize, and connect with Principal Marta Beede.
Questions? Call Board member Connie Trudeau 388-0860 or Administrative Assistant Wendy Leeds 388-2208
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Date: Friday, March 5, 2010 Time: 6:00pm - 10:00pm Where: Ripton Community House
A variety of musicians will be performing, including
-Engine # 5
Tickets are 5$ and can be purchased at the Vermont Bookstore and Bristol
Cliffs Music. Raffle tickets for great prizes will be available at the event,
along with homemade clay oven pizza, baked goods etc.
There's also a Facebook page.
Monday, March 1, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
The cross-country ski race I've been training for, set for today high in the Green Mountains: cancelled, lack of snow...
Here in the mountains of the Northeast, for instance, lakes freeze later than they used to, and sometimes not at all: Lake Champlain remained open in winter only three times during the 19th century, but it did so 18 times between 1970 and 2007.
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
From a general survey of Vermont school budget problems:
Ripton school directors are proposing a 3.29-percent decrease in 2010-2011
spending, with a $780,699 spending plan to serve a student body pegged at around
43 students next year. That enrollment figure would be down four students from
School officials pared a paraprofessional position from the
staff to help lower the spending plan. In spite of those efforts, Ripton’s K-12
education property tax rate is expected to rise by 5.13 percent, due largely to
a drop in the CLA and declining enrollment.
Monday, January 18, 2010
Round 2 of the Efficiency Vermont's Vermont Community Energy Mobilization Project will start in February. Ripton will be a player once again. Ripton residents who missed out on home energy visits in 2009 can take advantage of the opportunity by contacting Warren at 388-4082 or kinglet at together dot net to schedule a visit. Visits are free. They take up to two hours and involve installing free compact fluorescent bulbs and other energy saving equipment, conducting a walk-through energy assessment, and providing information about the advantages of a comprehensive energy retrofit.Bonus:
If you would like to help conduct home visits you'll need to attend the Efficiency Vermont training on Saturday, January 23rd, from 9 to noon at Middlebury's Ilsley Library downstairs meeting room.
You'll get a free breakfast if you come at 8:30.
(tip and content: Warren King)