On busy Route 100 in Pittsfield, there's a business that has no sign, and none's needed. The reputation of the owner speaks for itself -- his word is his word.
"I like to be busy and I don't like to wait," said Mel Colton, the owner of Mel Colton Excavating. The business is a family affair -- both son's, Dave and Chuck, work with their dad.
He's built a business by knowing his customers, and they know him. Except for a three year stint in the Army, he's never been anywhere else. The machinery has changed through the years, but his work ethic hasn't. He gets up at 5 a.m. every day and walks across the road to the garage. He rarely takes a day off.
"I was born in the house across the road in 1928," Colton pointed out.
On this day, his 84th birthday, it's just today another day -- no presents, no cake.
"Well, we're going to have a blueberry pie, that's his favorite," said his wife, Barbara. "I don't bake as much as I did cause he doesn't need it!"
"Fed me pretty good I guess," Colton added.
Barbara and Mel have been married for a long time. They met roller skating in Rochester.
"She was always a good person. It wasn't my money all those years," Colton said.
The Colton's have been happily married for 60 years, but in late August another woman came into Mel's life, and her name was Irene. Tropical Storm Irene caused havoc in much of the Route 100 corridor -- Pittsfield wasn't spared. The town was shut off. Both ends of the town lost sections of the road. Mel had never seen anything like it before. The Colton family got to work.
"I spent a lot of time alone here after Irene," Barbara said.
They worked all fall, either fixing town roads or private driveways. Mel put in over 50 hours a week just on the roads. "I worried about him a little, because you know, the type of work he does," Barbara said.
Mel said they are finally caught up with pre-Irene projects. The corporate office is the kitchen table. No computers here, just a hand written ledger.
A lot has changed in Pittsfield since he was a kid. Farms dotted the landscape and Route 100 was dirt. Now, it's a challenge to cross the road.
To Barbara, the idea of Mel quitting is almost unheard of. "He would be very cross if he quit. He's always worked," she said.
A working Vermonter, who loves his job and his short commute.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-22 23:16:19 GMT
Jeremy Dodge doesn't want to leave his childhood home in East Montpelier. But his days on Foster Road are numbered. "It's my homestead," he said. "You know, I planned on dying here." That plan changedMore >>
A Vt. man about to lose his property at a tax sale sold it to Gov. Peter Shumlin, but now claims the state's leader took advantage of him. The governor says the allegations are misleading and he offered his neighbor a fair price.More >>
Wednesday, May 22 2013 12:21 PM EDT2013-05-22 16:21:11 GMT
The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear a Vermont case about limiting search warrants in an attempt to protect privacy. The Chittenden County prosecutor's office and the Vermont attorney general appealedMore >>
The U.S. Supreme Court will not hear a Vermont case about limiting search warrants in an attempt to protect privacy.More >>
Wednesday, May 22 2013 7:21 PM EDT2013-05-22 23:21:29 GMT
At this shop in the picturesque town of Woodstock, and for those who work in 140 pharmacies scattered throughout Vermont, the workload is about to increase. New requirements are set to take effect, mostMore >>
Lawmakers prescribed a host of changes to combat Vermont's growing problem with hard drugs. The safety measures will now mean longer wait times at the pharmacy.More >>
Wednesday, May 22 2013 9:45 AM EDT2013-05-22 13:45:46 GMT
Sheriffs say a body found floating in the waters off the Florida Keys is that of a Vermonter. The Monroe County Sheriff's office says early Sunday morning, two people fishing off a bridge reported seeingMore >>
Sheriffs say a body found floating in the waters off the Florida Keys is that of a Vermonter.More >>
Wednesday, May 22 2013 7:24 PM EDT2013-05-22 23:24:48 GMT
Vermont denied a license for a new health insurance company. The Vermont Health Co-op opened for business last fall. The nonprofit company was created to take part in the new health care exchange underMore >>
Vermont has denied a license for a new health insurance company.More >>