Author: Amanda Brooks

‘Two steps forward, one step back’ with new busing plan

The big question on parents’ minds as summer comes to a close is “Will my child be able to take the bus to school this year?” At last week’s school board meeting, chief operating officer Brian Donahue said, “The answer is: yes – but.” In the first board meeting since the middle of June, Donahue presented the next series of transportation updates for the Essex Westford School District, which left some board members with questions and concerns. Donahue explained on the first day of school, students who have had transportation in the past will continue to receive it, with...

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Lang Farm diversifies with hemp operation

Tucked away in a small, three-acre field behind his barns, Jon Lang’s hemp crop is flourishing. Lang has always been in the horticulture business, previously operating a garden shop on the property, as well as a tree nursery with over 21,000 trees. The two restored barns at Lang Farm are also known as a gorgeous backdrop for local weddings. This spring, with his already-established agricultural knowledge and research done in Colorado and at national conferences, Lang entered the hemp business with his son. Together they planted three acres of hemp, which, in just five weeks, have matured into plants...

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Road pitch roars back into Essex

Over 50 motorcycle riders pulled up to the Green Mountain Harley Davidson in Essex Jct. on Monday morning, but they weren’t there for a tuneup or a new bike. Instead, they were visiting their first stop of the fourth annual Road Pitch project organized by Cairn Cross with FreshTracks Capital. For four days, motorcycle riders will drive to eight towns in Vermont and listen to business pitches by local entrepreneurs. The riders all have investing and business startup experience and provide advice, and sometimes money, to business owners. Riders rate each pitch, provide feedback and declare a “rider’s choice”...

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Exchange program bridges cultural gaps

Gathered around the Pratt family kitchen eating homemade deli meat sandwiches and grapes, Max and Yang WenTong tried bread and butter pickles for the first time at the suggestion of their host father. Their eyes lit up as they ate the salty, foreign food, and the boys even tried stuffing the pickles into their half-eaten sandwiches, to their delight. This was just one of many new experiences the two 16-year-old students had during their first trip to the United States on their two-week cultural immersion program through SPIRAL International in Burlington. Since 2010, SPIRAL has hosted Chinese exchange students...

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Invasive plant species sparks community dialogue

After an Essex woman was treated for burns from contact with wild parsnip, residents raised concerns about the invasive plant growing along roadsides. The Vermont Department of Health warns sap from the plant, when it comes into contact with the skin, can cause burns after exposure to sunlight, and advises to stay away. If one does find themselves with sap on their skin, experts say to wash it off right away and stay out of the sun. Wild parsnip flowers from late May to early July and can grow up to five feet tall, according to the New York...

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