Category Archives: Middlebury Town

Dean Shirley Collado: People You Haven’t Really Met Yet

Dean Shirley Collado has a new post up on her blog about creating more organic connections between students, faculty, and staff members.  Read and comment below.

When I go to 51 Main, I feel as though I am close to a little piece of home (Brooklyn, New York) because I run into all types of people there. Not just students. Not just townspeople. But everyone imaginable. They are enjoying a shared interest, mingling, being together in the same place. Worlds collide there in a way that feels comfortable. But on campus, this sort of mingling does not occur as much as I would like, and I feel we are worse off for it.

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XC Team Wins Big in Donny’s Honor

applesOn March 8, the Middlebury Cross Country team was the first student group to win the Vermont Chili Festival. The team, led by Jake Fox ’15 went home with $100 in prize money from their first place award in the “Kitchen Sink” category and another $1000 for their overall win. Here’s a few words from Jake about the whole process:

We wanted to make a vibrant and warm chili: we had apples, multicolored bell, anaheim, jalapeno, and habanero peppers, three kinds of beans, and lots of tomatoes and onions. We were in the kitchen sink category due to our inclusion of beef and chicken sausage. I had about 35 people (Chem dept friends, a professor, and XC folk) show up on game day to help prepare, cook, and serve the 24ish gallons of chili we made.

WOW. Chili is great, but it’s important to keep in mind the inspiration for this whole endeavor, according to Jake:

Jake, the mastermind

Jake, the mastermind

Certainly, it was exciting to win an event so popular to the town and college, but a win was not really on our radar when we committed to participate in the Fest. Rather, our goal was to commemorate our teammate Donny Dickson ’11, and we accomplished this by promoting the Rumpus Run (a 5k fundraiser in his name the day after Chili Fest) and by sharing a fun-loving energy–one reflective of Donny’s spirit–with the town, with the college, and with each other. Those two accomplishments alone would have been enough, so the $1100 of prize money that we donated to his scholarship fund was icing on the cake (or an equivalent chili idiom).

It was a weekend full of accomplishments and memories for the XC team who went on the organize and compete in the Rumpus Run in Donny’s honor the following day, raising around $18,000 for his scholarship fund and bringing together hundreds of friends and family. Here’s Nighthawk’s recollection of gameday:

As sun crept over the luscious Green Mountains and into Gifford 411 on the morning of March 8th, the vibrations of a white iphone 5c rang through the once tranquil room. The clock said 5:30 AM, but to the weathered culinary crusader, it was time to cook some fucking chili. After spending years from his passion of creating oral pleasure, it was the one they called Foxxx that was able convinced Nighthawk to step out of retirement. And only after confronting the demons of his past, Nighthawk and the Spice Brothers began to prepare.

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Midd High School Students Meet Gandalf

Ian McKellen speaks to MUHS students after a show in NYC

Ian McKellen speaks to MUHS students after a show in NYC

We’re not the only students around these parts doing amazing things.  A couple weeks ago, a Middlebury Union High School class took quite a field trip to New York City to see a play.  Here’s a word or two from their teacher, Tim O’Leary:

Students from Middlebury Union High School’s AP English class attended one of the final performances of Samuel Beckett’s Waiting for Godot at the Cort Theatre in NYC starring Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Shuler Hensley, and Billy Crudup. I was able to arrange a 15 minute discussion about the play with Sir Ian after the curtain. The production has been running in reperatory with Harold Pinters’ No Man’s Land. Both productions close at the end of March.

Sounds like an incredible learning experience!  Kudos to O’Leary for putting the trip together.  Click to see a video of McKellen discussing Samuel Beckett’s “Waiting for Godot” with the students. 

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Brother to Brother Information Session

Brother to Brother 2

CALLING ALL MEN (and women interested in discussing masculinity).  As part of a new initiative to promote the idea of positive masculinity, The College has enlisted students’ help to create some new programming.  There has a lot of talk about women’s issues lately, which is fantastic. Tonight is an opportunity to have an often overlooked conversation about what it means to be a man here at Middlebury, a conversation that can surely take many forms. Student organizer Mzwakithi “Prestige” Shongwe ’16 writes in about tonight’s event:

As part of Middlebury College’s initiative to foster a dialogue
about positive masculinity on campus and beyond, we are setting up a
Brother to Brother mentorship program for middle school boys.
Brother-to-Brother college participants will organize a boy’s summit
at the end of the spring semester to explore, acknowledge and
challenge expectations about what it means to be a “man” in today’s
world. We are looking for male-identified students who enjoy
interacting with young boys and engaging them in entertaining and
enriching activities.

There will be an information session in Hillcrest 103 (the Orchard) tonight at 5:30 for those interested.

What: Brother to Brother Information session
When: Tonight, 5:30 PM
Where: Hillcrest 103 (The Orchard)

Voters Approve Town Construction Plan

Look forward to this.

Look forward to this.

After extensive debate at last week’s School District meeting and last night’s Town Meeting, the voters of Middlebury have decided to move forward with a plan to demolish the Town Office Building and Municipal Gym to be rebuilt in new locations.  The election results were released after a day of open polls and hours of counting ballots.  The tally for Article 6, the main point of discussion, was 915 for and 798 against.  For those like me who need a calculator for basic math, that’s 1,713 total votes and a difference of 117.  Pretty darn close.

Regardless of your feelings about the outcome, we can all appreciate the impressive amount of community involvement in this major decision for the Town. Many concerns were expressed during this process about the divisive nature of this issue and the potential for lack of consensus to create a rift in the community.  Let’s hope that such an outcome can be avoided.  After hearing many impassioned speeches at last night’s town meeting, I certainly hope that concerns about space for teen and senior programming and accessibility issues can be appropriately addressed, a hope shared by at least 798 people in this community.

Residents of both the Town and Campus can look forward to some new additions to the landscape in the coming months: a beautiful park connecting the Town and College, a welcoming new Town Office building located on the rotary downtown, and a multi-purpose gymnasium available for public use on the new Creek Road site. Extensive details of the plan are available online, as well as lot’s of cool pictures from the future.

An early design for the park.  The College will own this land and be responsible for demolition, landscaping, and maintenance.

An early design for the park. The College will own this land and be responsible for demolition, landscaping, and maintenance.

Thanks for following Middbeat’s coverage of this process, our first foray into local politics.  As always, please submit anything and everything, town-related or otherwise to middbeat[at]gmail[dot]com. Read after the jump for the full election report, including results for the Selectboard, Schoolboard, and Articles 6-9.

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TODAY: Vote on Proposed Project to Rebuild Town Offices and Municipal Gym

Polls are now open in the Municipal Gym located downtown between Main Street and College Street

Polls are now open in the Municipal Gym located downtown between Main Street and College Street

The polls will be open today from 7:00 am – 7:00 pm in the Municipal Gym for Middlebury Town residents to vote on Articles 6 – 10 of the 2014 Annual Budget Proposal.  These articles include a controversial building plan as detailed below in addition to other proposed expenses. Middbeat will often tell you what we think, but the goal of this blog post is simply to present the facts to help inform your decision at the polls today. Anyone registered to vote in Middlebury may participate, including students!

An image of the proposed Town Office building from the perspective of Two Brothers Tavern.  Designed by Breadloaf Architecture, the building features a spacious lobby, flexible meeting room, and public restrooms.

An image of the proposed Town Office building from the perspective of Two Brothers Tavern. Designed by Breadloaf Architecture, the building features a spacious lobby, flexible meeting room, and public restrooms.

Last night’s Town Meeting voted to approve Articles 1-5 and spent the remainder of the time discussing Articles 6-10.  It was a remarkable show of Middlebury residents’ involvement in their community and local politics. The meeting took place in the Municipal Gym, the same building whose fate will be determined by tomorrow’s vote. Out of 4,607 registered voters in Middlebury, 280 were officially in attendance in addition to an estimated 50 attendees who did not check in or came from other Towns. Many College Faculty were there representing both sides of the issue. The meeting lasted more than four hours, with over an hour and a half spent on discussion of Article 6:

Shall general obligation bonds of the Town of Middlebury in an amount not to exceed Six Millin Five Hundred Thousand Dollars, subject to reduction from available alternate sources of funding, be issued for the purpose of financing construction of (1) a town office building on the so-called Osborne House site, and (2) public recreation and athletic facilities on Creek Road, the total estimated cost of such improvements being Six Million Five Hundred Thousand Dollars, with the Town’s portion of the construction cost estimated at Two Million Dollars.

To hear a full recording of the discussion on this article, see the audio at the end of this post. The discussion began with an outline of the plan including details about the existing structures, the proposal, and the price (all details are available online).  This presentation was followed by extensive debate, with Town residents expressing their opinions both for and against the proposal. As was the case in last week’s School District meeting, the majority of the speakers were vocal opponents of the plan despite the large number of supporters in attendance (judging by applause).

Read after the break for an account of the debate, more pictures of the proposed buildings, and a full audio recording of discussion on Article 6 and don’t forget to vote!

Check back for results around 10 pm tonight. 

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TONIGHT: Town Meeting, Information About Tomorrow’s Big Vote

Math Professor Michael Olinick standing in opposition to the article.  Photo cred: Trent Campbell/Addison Independent

Math Professor Michael Olinick standing in opposition to the article at last week’s School District meeting. Photo cred: Trent Campbell/Addison Independent

If you haven’t been following the most recent Middlebury Town controversy, take a minute to read our coverage of last week’s School District meeting.  In a landslide vote over extended deliberation, members of Union District #3 voted to allow the School District to enter into a lease agreement with the Town of Middlebury, one step in a long process toward rebuilding the Town Offices and Gym with the help of the College.

The next step in this process comes tonight with the first part of a two-part Town Meeting that is expected to spark some serious debate.  Voters will assemble in the Municipal Auditorium tonight at 7:00 pm to vote on Articles 1-5 (mostly routine town business), followed by an informational meeting:

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Bummed that its monday? No worries, you have something look forward to. Chili Fest is this saturday!

1505350_499945963457441_764275890_nThat’s right its back.
Probably my favorite part of the year, Chili Fest is a time where we hit the streets and experience all the delicious different colors, smells, and tastes of Vermont Chili. We got beef, we got pork, we got chicken, we got venison, we got veggies, we got chocolate and chilis and cheese and crunchies and everything you need.

Hands down this is the most traffic Middlebury sees in a day. Last year over 5,000 people came through Main Street and this year we expect MORE. (Hopefully there will be enough chili!)  Live music will be playing throughout the day. You will most probably see your professors here too so do your homework.

Check out our review of last years Chili Fest with 13 Reasons Why Chili Fest is the Best Day Ever

Some advice from the Organizers: GO GREEN! Bring your own spoon and save the environment!

Some Changes this year: Due to safety, sanitary and space concerns please leave all leashed pets at home. (bummer)

Some advice from middbeat: Get your chili and enjoy. There is no need to rush. And most of all don’t skip lines and be an ass.

When: This Saturday March 8th starting at 1pm
Downtown Middlebury Main Street

School District Meeting is HUGE – Vote Approves Lease Agreement Moving Forward

Hundreds gathered for the meeting, overflowing into the cafeteria.

Hundreds gathered for the meeting, overflowing into the cafeteria. Here, a standing vote to end the debate.

Last night, over 400 people gathered in the Middlebury Union High School Auditorium for the Annual Meeting and Budget Hearing.  The meeting began nearly an hour late as there were delays checking in the abnormally high number of voters.  This alone should come as a shock – I was told the meeting usually has around a dozen attendees.  Citizens of Addison County came to express their opinions and vote on a number of issues, primarily this one:

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Old Stone Mill Applications



Applications for the Old Stone Mill are due wednesday night!

Located above the Storm Cafe in town, The OSM and Annex are spaces for student creators, entrepreneurs and artists of all kinds.

OSM organizers write in: 

Have an idea for a creative project but don’t have a physical space to
make it happen? Consider applying to be a tenant at the Old Stone
Mill, a student-run space dedicated to fostering creators,
entrepreneurs, and artists of all kinds in the Middlebury community.
Past projects have included woodworking, iPad app design, meditation,
beer brewing, and music recording; what would you add to the list?
Students of all years are encouraged to apply by this Wednesday,
February 26th. Visit go/osm for more information!

The premise is simple. We give you space, you do what you want. All we ask is that your project be non-academic and self designed.

As a member of the Fermenter’s guild The Old Stone Mill has provided us with a space to have regular workshops. Alpenglow would practice there regularly and so I know there is a huge space open now that they are gone. I’d suggest that if you are a student who feels they need a private space kind of off campus next to the river to think and brainstorm and create whatever you want you should apply.

Apply Here