Top 10 online stories from 2018, and more

The Top 10 catalogs what the news staff of the Addison Independent chose as the most important stories of 2018, but readers have their own opinions about what interested them most last year. To get one indication of that, look at the top 10 stories on our website. Here are the headlines for the most-read stories of 2018 on addisonindependent.com, as measured by the number of page views according to Google Analytics.
1.  Police, school officials avert Middlebury middle school shooting
2.  Editorial: Deane Rubright was loved
3.  Driver killed in crash with Cornwall fire truck on Rt. 125
4.  Homeless man found dead not far from Middlebury shelter
5.  Middlebury College making plans for staff reductions
6.  Greg’s Market slated for February opening
7.  VUHS coach, leader Peter Quinn dies unexpectedly
8.  Local woman needs new kidney
9.  Shawn Newell gets maximum sentence for crash that killed Ripton man
10.  Middlebury Antique Center and Ben Franklin to close soon
Picking only 10 top stories in 2018 leaves most of the stories we saw and reported on the cutting room floor. Addison County saw many important, interesting, touching and fun stories last year. Here are some of the other stories of 2018 that caught our eyes.
•  Lincoln’s Jim Apgar has been turning massive pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns and driving them around the county each October for years. This year, sick with a terminal illness, Apgar created his last huge jack-o-lantern. He died Nov. 16.
•  Somehow there still seems to be a battle over climate change. A massive report released in November definitively showed that human beings are causing the earth’s climate to warm and change — and not for the better. For reasons of avarice or stupidity some human beings not only failed to act against the problem, they acted to make it worse.
•  Founding executive director of the Town Hall Theater Doug Anderson stepped away from day-to-day management of the creatively very successful institution he built; he is now directing his energies as artistic director. The THT brought in a highly qualified new executive director (and quite a nice guy), Mark Bradley.
•  Recycling costs quietly inched upward in 2018, in part due to the fact that China stopped accepting some of our recyclables. The county solid waste district was busy for part of the year considering whether to buy some land just north of Vergennes to put up a garbage transfer station. Vergennes residents (and some in surrounding towns) grappled with what to do with the city trash-drop off and recycling center after the trash hauler raised prices. It’s still open for now, but it costs more.
•  The Legislature considered ways to pay for the federally mandated clean up of Lake Champlain … but they couldn’t decide and, with Gov. Scott’s implied blessing, kicked the can down the road.
•  Acknowledging some bad decisions that left the institution running a deficit, Middlebury College said it needed to tighten its fiscal belt. It said it would evaluate all faculty and staff positions and by the end of this academic year and probably end up with fewer people working there. The goal was to cut staff compensation costs by 10 percent, or $8 million. It was unknown if anyone would be laid off or whether the savings would come through attrition.
•  Furnace Brook Wesleyan Church came up with an idea to encourage visitors to come to downtown Brandon. In September the church began to hold services in an innovative new location: the public dining space next to the Center Street Bar. It planned to do so on the second Sunday of each month. Construction on Route 7 tore up downtown Brandon all summer, and Furnace Brook Wesleyan pastor Joel Tate said he hopes the regular services would attract people back to the heart of the community.
•  And, of course, there were the bears in Buttolph Acres. The Middlebury neighborhood, as well as Chipman Hill and the Means Woods area, saw a family of three bear cubs and their mother making regular visits to bird feeders, trash cans and other hot points of human habitation. Several times police were called when the bears just hung out in a tree. By curbing the food attractants and keeping a judicious eye on small pets, Middlebury’s human residents managed to get through the summer, after which the bears moved on.

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