Thursday, December 27, 2012

Another week, another storm

Ripton is enjoying the second snowstorm in a week.

Today snow is falling.  We should expect one or two feet.  There's a winter storm warning.

Last weekend we were covered in snow, after being clobbered by high winds.  Many last power and/or trees.

Got any storm stories to share, before 2012 runs out?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Police looking for tips on Lincoln Road robbery

Police are asking for information in a robbery which occured on Lincoln Road.
In Ripton, police were called to a home on Lincoln Road where the owner reported about $1,400 worth of scrap metal and automotive batteries had been stolen at some point during the last month.

Here's contact info:
Anyone with information about the crimes is asked contact Trooper Andrew Leise at 388-4919.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Riptonite becomes state house majority leader

Ripton's state representative, Willem Jewett, became the state House Majority Leader this week.
Congratulations, Willem!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Thanksgiving Eve service this Wednesday

The Friends of Ripton Community Church report that a Thanksgiving Eve Service will be held there this Wednesday, November 21st at 7:00 pm.

All are welcome.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Vermont in state of emergency

Governor Shumlin declared a state of emergency, as Sandy draws closer.
“I want to stress — this is not another Irene,” Shumlin said in the Emergency Management report. “The main concern we have here is the wind. The wind will be strong enough to easily take down trees and power lines with them; so Vermonters should prepare for power outages over the next couple of days.”
There's more:
The Vermont Emergency Operations Center will be fully staffed on Monday morning and will remain open as long as necessary. State preparedness activities include:
•  Chainsaw crews from the Agency of Natural Resources are on standby to help with clearing of debris.
•  Swiftwater and technical rescue crews will be staged as necessary.
•  State police mobile command posts are on standby for quick deployment when needed.
•  State utilities have brought in extra line crews from out of state to help with restoration efforts.
•  The National Guard is prepared to assist with tree clearing, swiftwater rescues, or any other missions deemed necessary.
•  The Red Cross is prepared to open shelters should homes lose power for extended periods.
“Vermonters should continue to prepare for every contingency,” the governor said. “Clear storm drains, gutters, and culverts so water can drain properly — and make sure there’s nothing in the yard that can be blown around in high winds.”
I'll keep blogging while connectivity and batteries last.

Follow Sandy through Google

Google has a good resource for tracking Sandy's onslaught:

High winds tonight

Get ready for high winds tonight, friends:

This is from the National Weather Service Facebook page.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Getting ready for Sandy

A storm is working its destructive way up the east coast, and might strike Vermont.  So Ripton is getting ready for what to happen if hurricane Sandy appears.  
Sandy could hit us, or maybe not.  One model has the storm turning left from the Atlantic, then invading Pennsylvania and New York, possibly hitting Vermont on the way:

How are you preparing?

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Thank you in Advance


I'm so happy that this little internet watering hole has found a place in your lives. I'm grateful that Bryan has taken on regular posting, and that through the Daily Riptonite I can continue to feel connected to what goes on in our mountain town.

I set up the blog several years ago, and until now I've covered the expenses of maintaining it. It's not much - basically the domain name fee which lets it be accessed at the elegant But I'm hoping that some of you who find this a useful resource might be able to help with a small donation to the cause. Should we go over what I've invested (about $150) I'll put it toward our next renewal in 2017, and remove the donation link.

Thanks very much!
Win Colwell

Donations can be made through the newly improved button on the left, or using this link.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Photography show coming up

The 2012 Addison County Fall Photography Show is coming up fast!

From the flyer:

Date: Monday, October 8, 2012 through Sunday, October 14, 2012
Place: Ripton Community Church, 1329 Rte 125, Ripton, Vermont (in the Village)
Works: All photographs must have been taken in Addison County, Vermont.
Eligible: ALL photographs MUST BE framed and/or matted, and must be equipped with wire suitable for display hanging.  Each photograph MUST have a label affixed with the following information:
Where Photo Taken:
Artistʼs Name:
Artistʼs Address:
Artistʼs Phone Number:
Purchase Price: (if for sale. If sold 15% goes to the Ripton Community Church) 

Entry Fee: $10.00 for one or two photographs in black and white and/or color.  FEES ARE NOT REFUNDABLE.  Please make checks payable to Friends of the Ripton Community Church. 
Entry forms with entry fee may be dropped off when photos are dropped off or mailed to:
Addison County Fall Photography Show 2012
P.O. Box 107
Ripton, VT 05766-0107.
Drop Off: Photographs may be dropped off at the Ripton Community Church
Schedule: Thursday, October 4th Noon-3:30pm / 6:30-8:00pm or Friday, October 5th Noon-3:30pm.  Friends of the Ripton Community Church are not responsible for any damage or loss to any work entered.
Reception:   A Reception and Open House will be held on Monday, October 8th from 6:30-8:30pm with refreshments.  Award presentations will be at 7:30pm.
Awards:        Prizes will be awarded for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places in both color and black and white photography.  There will also be awards for Honorable Mentions and Popular Vote (chosen by visitors) for each category respectively.

Pick-Up        ALL photographs must be picked up on Monday, October 15th between
Schedule:    Noon-3:00pm or 6:30-7:30pm.  Please have proper ID available.
Gallery         Monday through Friday Noon-3:00pm and 6:30-8:30pm and
Hours:          Saturday and Sunday Noon-4:30pm.
More Info:    Please contact Lisa Whitman at 388-0147,

Presented by the Friends of the Ripton Community Church

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Reichert talk this Sunday

This Sunday is another Reichert talk, "History of the King James Bible," given by Middlebury professor Ellie Bagley

From the flyer:

Ellie Bagley’s talk will be the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible, which was celebrated in 2011. Her work is specifically on the Catholic reception of the KJB, drawing attention to the criticisms posed by Catholics from 1611 through 1911 and the effect that those attacks had in polarizing Protestant communities in England, Ireland, the United States, either to defend the authority and literary excellence of the version or to campaign for a large-scale revision that eventually resulted in the Revised Version of 1882-85.

Ellie Bagley is Assistant Professor of Religion at Middlebury College.

About the series:
Rabbi Reichert was a long time summer resident of Ripton who took great pride and interest in the historic Methodist Church, where he was named “rabbi in residence.” He began the tradition of gathering his friends and the public and giving a “little talk” on one of the books of the Bible. Since his death in 1990, his memory has been honored by continuing the talks in his name.

That's this Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012, at 4:00 PM.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Riptonite in Outside

Outside magazine ran a great profile of Ripton local Bill McKibben.
"AS WE DROVE INTO the mountains around Ripton, McKibben peered into the night. 'It can get pretty moosey through here.'”

(thanks to Ceredwyn Alexander)

Who will run back country search and rescue?

The state continues to debate our search and rescue plans.  This article is very detailed, and needs to be read all the way through.
Thanks to Willem for his representation.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Ripton author on pickling

The Burlingon Free Press has an article on Ripton author Andrea Chesman, concentrating on her pickling book.

“Recently a perfect storm of food safety scares plus an economy downturn has led many people to reconsider gardening and preserving,” she continues in her new book’s introduction. “A desire to eat local foods in season and reduce the carbon footprint of the food we eat has made pickle making particularly attractive.”

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Jewett on health insurance woes

Ripton's state representative Willem Jewett reflects on bad experiences with medical insurance.

"It turns out that your health insurance carrier may not be working to promote your health. As we build a new system this must change."

Friday, August 10, 2012

Sand Hill bridge set for spring 2014

Replacing the Sand Hill bridge (East Middlebury) is now scheduled for spring 2014.  This has implications for Ripton, as route 125 runs through the bridge.

For example, here's the latest on how the bridge construction will be handled:

Drivers can expect Route 125 to be closed for 40 days, noted VTrans Project Manager Jennifer Fitch, though the contractor will have a financial incentive to finish more quickly. Travelers will have to resort to some detours. Out-of-town traffic, including trucks, will need to take Route 7 south into Brandon to pick up Route 73 to get over to Route 100, adding about 18 miles to the driver’s trip.

For area residents and emergency vehicles, the detour will mean using Upper Plains Road and Beaver Pond Road in Salisbury to get from Route 7 to Ripton.

“We will only sign regional detours,” Fitch said. “The town can choose to sign the local detour.”

What do you think?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

REAP in the news

The Addison Independent updates readers on our Ripton Energy Assistance Program (REAP).
One key news item:
Once cut and split, the wood at this point is taken by truck to a field owned by one of the steering committee members. Around a dozen cords are kept there at any one time. But that will change soon, thanks to $1,000 in local donations and a $2,500 grant received from the Middlebury-based Vermont Community Foundation. Those combined funds — with another few thousand dollars left to raise — will be used to construct a wood shed that will soon be built on municipal land behind the Ripton firehouse. The new structure will be stick-built using volunteer labor and will be approximately 16 feet by 24 feet, according to King.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Ripton community yard sale coming up

The 3rd annual Ripton community yard sale will occur on Saturday, July 14th.
It runs from 8 am to noon at the town church.  There will be music playing and food for sale.
Ripton folks can reserve space by contacting Roger Barking by phone (388-7442) or email (  Reservations cost $5.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New discussions at the Ripton church

The Ripton Community Church is modifying its Sunday services. Starting this past Sunday, June 17th, discussion format changed. From here on, there will a different discussion topic each month
Services are held the third Sunday of the month, March through December.

(thanks to Charles Billings)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

This Sunday, Birds of Ripton

"Birds of Ripton" is the subject of this Sunday's Ripton Community Church presentation.

Warren King will present “Birds of Ripton” on Sunday, June 10th at 4:00 pm at Ripton Community Church. He will use 83 PowerPoint slides to illustrate more than 60 bird species, from robins to red-tailed hawks, that make Ripton’s forest their home. The presentation will be a virtual tour of Ripton’s roads and trails, following the same route used for the annual birdathon walks.

More on the presenter:

Warren is a conservation biologist with a background in ornithology. He worked as an ornithologist for the Smithsonian Institution, which published his book “The ICBP Bird Red Data Book: The Endangered Birds of the World” in 1980. He was an environmental educator for the Keewaydin Environmental Education Center in Salisbury, Vermont, for 13 years. He serves on the board of Audubon Vermont and the board of the Otter Creek Audubon Society. He also serves on the board of the Vermont chapter of The Nature Conservancy and was chair from 1998 to 2000. He received the 2002 Vermont State Award of the New England Wildflower Society. He and his wife Barry live in Ripton, where he is chair of the Ripton Planning Commission and the Ripton Conservation Commission. His interests include botanizing, bird watching, animal tracking and canoeing. He has received awards and recognition from Audubon and the Nature Conservancy.

That's this Sunday, June 10, 2012, at 4:00 pm.
The event is sponsored by Friends of The Ripton Community Church

Friday, June 1, 2012

Ripton school considers solar power

Ripton's elementary school is thinking about using solar power in the fear future, according to the Addison Independent.  Four county schools (Cornwall, Salisbury, and Weybridge, in addition to Ripton) are exploring a partnership with All Earth Renewables and Green Lantern Development.  AER and GLD could provide legal frameworks, technical knowledge, and investment.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Vermont Strong license plates

"I am Vermont Strong" license plates, which celebrate our Irene experience, can be purchased online.
You can also buy them from DMV offices.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Sunday's talk at the Ripton Community Church

This Sunday the Ripton Community Church is hosting a presentation on:
“Religion, Politics and Civility: Can These Three Things Really Go Together?”
Here's more information:
James Calvin Davis teaches ethics and American religious history at Middlebury College, where he has been a member of the Religion Department since the fall of 2001.  He is the author of In Defense of Civility: How Religion Can Unite America on Seven Moral Issues that Divide Us (WJK, 2010).  In his writing and teaching, Davis studies the interplay of religion and American public life with historical perspective and contemporary concern.  Chief among the questions he asks is this one: “What is the real story of religion’s past influence on the American moral and political traditions, and what might that tell us about the proper role for religion in today’s contentious debates?”  He gets at that question by combining the insight of history with the disciplines of theology, philosophy, and cultural studies.  Ultimately, Davis believes that a deep and accurate understanding of “public religion” in the American past can help us take advantage of the wisdom religious communities can offer to our current debates over issues as varied as capital punishment, biotechnology, war, and economic justice.

That's this Sunday, May 13, at 4:00 PM.  All are invited.
Sponsored by Friends of The Ripton Community Church.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Ripton volunteers planning emergency response

Ripton's volunteer squad is rethinking emergency response plans, a year after hurricane Irene. According to VPR:

Ripton's Select Board has decided to create an inventory and database of the Addison County town's resources - something that town officials hope will be updated often.
At a select board meeting earlier this month, town and rescue officials identified those areas of town most vulnerable to floods as well as other natural disasters.
The group looked at how Irene cut off nearby Rochester from the rest of the state for more than three days as it considered what resources would be available if Ripton were cut off for a similar amount of time. The town also discussed establishing neighborhood communication hubs with two-way radios, the importance of social media and the likelihood that the town would be without power.
Now, Ripton is charting alternative ways in and out of town in the event of another storm like Irene.


This season in the Ripton community church

Here's what's going on in the Ripton community church over the next few months:
Sunday, May 13th @ 4:00PM. Middlebury College Professor James Calvin Davis will talk on “Politics, and Civility: Can These Three Things Really Go Together?” The talk will explore incivility in American Politics and ask whether religion is a cause or a solution to the problem. Included in the talk will be some examples of religious communities trying to chart a different course for our political debates.

Sunday, May 20th @ 4:00PM. Traditional service open to all faiths with Pastor, Rev. Dr. Mary Kay Cavazos. The topic to be announced.

June 1st @ 7:00PM. Frost & Fire presents traditional Celtic & New England music, plus their own tunes. The line-up includes Addison residents Viveka Fox (fiddle & percussion) and Peter Macfarlane (fiddle, low whistle & vocals) of the well-known local band Atlantic Crossing. They are joined by Aaron Marcus from Montpelier (piano, concertina, banjo, vocals & feet) of The Turning Stile and Giant Robot Dance, and Hollis Easter from Potsdam, NY (flute, whistles, bagpipes, guitar & vocals), formerly of the National Youth Pipe Band of Scotland. All four musicians are inspired by the joy of sharing the music which they love.

Sunday, June 10th @ 4 pm. Warren King will use slides to present “Birds of Ripton”. Warren is a conservation biologist with a background in ornithology. He worked as an ornithologist for the Smithsonian Institution, which published his book The ICBP Bird Red Data Book: The Endangered Birds of the World in 1980. He serves on the board of Audubon Vermont and the board of the Otter Creek Audubon Society. He also serves on the board of the Vermont chapter of The Nature Conservancy and was chair from 1998 to 2000. His interests include botanizing, bird watching, animal tracking and canoeing. He has received numerous awards and recognition from Audubon, Nature Conservancy and the State of VT.

Sunday, June 17th @ 4:00PM. Traditional service open to all faiths with Pastor, Rev. Dr. Mary Kay Cavazos. The topic to be announced.

(thanks to Charles Billings)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Long Trail education site launched

A new Web resource on the Long Trail just launched. offers information for students, teachers, and hikers in general.

One local educator's opinion:

Ripton teacher Susan Ogilvie, an educator who has utilized the Long Trail Bound activities, said, “I find the Long Trail Bound guide to be extremely useful in teaching my third and fourth grade students about the Long Trail. The lessons give each hike a focus making them a powerful learning experience.”

Here's one video introducing the project:

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Community school discussion

Don't forget to come to the Ripton school tonight.  We're having a community discussion of the school's future!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Our Green Mountain forests

A good article in the Burlington Free Press highlights how the Forest Service cares for Vermont's protected forests.  It also focuses on Ripton's lands.

A visit to just one corner of the Green Mountain National Forest, along a dirt road called Natural Turnpike in Ripton, reveals the complex dance the National Forest Service does with the landscape’s ecology, the changing, fragile state of the wildlife and plants in the forests, and the often-conflicting goals of the people who love the forest so much there’s a danger they could love it to death.

The road originally was built in the 1960s for timbering, but now has vacation houses and a few year-round homes tucked into small yards at the edges of the forest. Logging trucks occasionally rumble by. Usually, in the winter, people come up the road to access snowmobile trails and smaller, separate trails for snowshoing and cross country skiing.

The snow cover was oddly thin in the forest in mid-February. Much of the Green Mountain National Forest is a working landscape, almost as much as a farm might be. The forest around Natural Turnpike Road shows wide-ranging signs of human activity. Despite the lack of snow, there was evidence of half-hearted attempts at snowmobiling and skiing. Footprints in the mud alongside the road, some leading off into the forest, meant hikers have been around. A low rumble off the far end of the road came from a logging operation....

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Riptonite in TIME

Ripton resident Bill McKibben receives a glowing profile from TIME magazine.

Bill McKibben misses winter. the 51-year-old environmental writer turned unlikely activist is marching through a frosting of snow outside his Vermont home, dodging the jabbing branches of spruce trees. McKibben has lived in and around the Adirondack and Green mountains since leaving New York City some two decades ago, and he remembers winters sunk “with a cold so deep, the trees would snap at night.” But not this year. Scientists are already predicting that this winter could be the warmest in recorded history in the Northeastern U.S. In its place–thanks in part to man-made climate change–is something different and likely more dangerous. As McKibben walks through the woods, on land originally owned by the poet Robert Frost, he recalls the damage inflicted on Vermont by Tropical Storm Irene, one of 12 record-breaking billion-dollar disasters that hit the U.S. last year. “The climate has already warmed 1 [Celsius], and if this is what 1 produces, more warming is going to be impossible to deal with,” he says. “We can’t let this happen. We won’t let this happen.”

Friday, February 24, 2012

Following a death in Ripton

Fallout from the Duclos story continues. The Vermont House Governmental Operations Committee is holding hearings on the poor man's death, focusing on the State Police response.  Meanwhile various state politicians are requesting new procedures to improve Vermont's rescue operations.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Riptonite addresses state house

Riptonite Bill McKibben addressed our state house on Tuesday.  Bill spoke to the legislators about climate change.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

No extra school budget votes this Town Meeting

We won't have to vote three times on the school budget next town meeting, reports the Addison Independent.  It's an Act 82 thing:

Turns out Addison Central Supervisory Union (ACSU) office made an error in its initial calculations, which indicated the Ripton spending plan would trigger two votes under Vermont’s Act 82. That law requires school districts to limit budget increases to the rate of inflation, plus 1 percent. Districts that fail to do so must hold one vote on the portion of the budget that falls under inflation plus 1 percent, and then a separate vote on the portion that exceeds that amount. With that in mind, Ripton was preparing to warn two votes — one for $758,245, and another for $17,115, the amount thought to exceed the Act 82 limit.
But ACSU interim Superintendent Gail Conley reported on Thursday that the original budget number distributed by the district and reported in the story did not reflect expenses — such as special education costs — that districts are allowed to deduct from the Act 82 formula. As a result, the $775,360 budget in fact falls under the Act 82 threshold and will not require two votes, he said.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Ripton local hero

Riptonite Bill McKibben gets profiled by the Boston Globe.

The man who crushed the Keystone XL pipeline
Tall and stooped, intensely wonky and hopelessly earnest, the 51-year-old McKibben is an unlikely candidate for celebrity. Yet over the past few years he has emerged as the new superstar of the environmental movement. And to many environmentalists – like Al Gore, who in an e-mail praises McKibben for “his passion, his sincerity and his depth of knowledge” – McKibben offers the brightest hope for their future.
Bravo, Bill!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

PACE meeting at Ripton school next week

An informational meeting is coming up on an important Ripton initiative:

Why: PACE will be voted on at Town Meeting

When: informational meeting -Tues, Jan. 17, 7-8:30 pm

Where: Ripton School gym

Who: Ripton’s Selectboard and Energy Coordinator hope

everyone will attend

What’s PACE? – Property Assessed Clean Energy - a way

for individuals to pay for energy efficiency or renewable energy

improvements provided by qualified, licensed contractors with longer

repayment terms than bank loans. It’s organized through Efficiency


Why will it be voted on at Town Meeting? Although it costs

the town nothing and there is no risk, the legislation enabling PACE

requires the Town to approve becoming a PACE district at Town


How does PACE work? In a nutshell, an interested homeowner

makes a contract with the town and the town pays a licensed

contractor for the approved energy improvements. The town puts

a lien on that taxpayer’s property which is paid off over 10-20 years

(or sooner) with the tax bill. The lien stays with the property if the

property is sold.

For the full details, come to the meeting on the 17th. There’s

also fact sheets at the Town Office and on the Town’s website

www.riptonvt ---- or at Efficiency VT at

(thanks to Warren King)

A death in Ripton

A hitchhiker died in our town this week.  Quoting the Burlington Free Press,
Duclos had been reported as an overdue hiker Monday evening. He was described as an experienced hiker who had planned to embark on a 12-mile hike Monday afternoon, [Detective Sgt. Robert] Patten said.
Police began searching for Duclos shortly after daybreak Tuesday. Duclos was found dead about three miles from the trailhead.
Detective Sgt. Robert Patten said it appears Duclos may have broken his leg while hiking, immobilizing him in wintry weather.
Sympathies to his family and friends.