News Briefs
September 21, 2016

Lakes Region

Veterans help veterans’ shelter with $10,000 check
FAIR HAVEN—American Legion Post #49 in Fair Haven recently presented Chris Morgan of The Dodge House for Veterans with a $10,000 check to help the organization’s overall financial health. Dodge House provides substance-abuse-free transitional housing for homeless men and women veterans and supports individuals transitioning into community life. Last winter was hard on Dodge House, located at 95 Crescent St. in Rutland. Frozen water pipes burst in February, with the water causing significant damage in the women’s unit. The building also needs a new roof.
Fair Haven hangar may face the wrecking ball
FAIR HAVEN—The former municipal airport hangar building in Fair Haven has become structurally hazardous and in danger of imminent collapse. Beams sag or are missing; joists are disconnected. Therefore, the town intends to demolish and dispose of the aging structure.
The airport is thought to have been in use as early as the 1920s, but was first designated as an auxiliary airfield on the August 1936 Albany Sectional Chart. A 1942 aerial photograph shows a grassy north/south runway with a single small building to the east, but the 1945 Airfield Directory depicts a single unpaved runway oriented northeast/southwest. That directory states the airport is on a 270-acre property, with a 100’ x 48’ wooden hangar, operated by private interests but owned by the town.
There were hopes to upgrade the field a decade or so ago. Science writer and teacher Louis Varricchio reported attending an air show there in 2005 but said that demands for liability insurance discouraged the organizers from holding another one the following year.
The Select Board agreed to decommission the airport for aircraft use in 2008, citing liability reasons. At the time, public recreation was its primary use, and it still is. Residents walk dogs on the property; the Rutland Count Radio Controlled Flyers group uses it to fly their planes.
The Select Board has taken no formal vote on the building’s demolition but Selectman Robert Richards said there is “kind of a consensus” that leveling the building is the best course. The Vermont Division of Historic Preservation concurs.
The town plans a public hearing for September 27 as it seeks “safe salvage of the building by a qualified person/entity.” Comments and proposals are due September 23 in the town manager’s office.
Fair Haven to vote on water/sewer rate change
FAIR HAVEN—Fair Haven’s Select Board voted September 12 to accept a petition that would have town residents voting whether to keep the current water-sewer rate structure or nullify it completely. If voters agree to void the current structure, the Board has until July 2017 to create a new rate structure. Petition circulator Neil Robinson gathered 267 certified signatures on the petition that asks for a public vote on the issue November 8. Selectman Rod Holzman cast the lone dissenting vote; he had previously proposed a residential rate structure based on an average consumption rate. Currently, the town imposes a flat fee for every water and sewer user, plus a usage rate. An ordinance established the rate structure, so the board cannot change the rate structure without public hearings.
FHUHS student among 42 to win National Merit
FAIR HAVEN—Fair Haven Union High student Noah Bonvouloir is the only Rutland County high school student to be chosen as a semifinalist in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program. Forty-two other Vermont high school students also made that list, out of 1.6 million students under consideration.
C.U. alumni enter Castleton Hall of Fame
CASTLETON—Three Castleton University alumni were scheduled to be inducted into the Castleton Hall of Fame. This year’s honorees are Casey Wedge ‘06, Albert “A.J.” Marro ‘71, and Joel Leichtnam ‘05.
Wedge represented Castleton on the women’s basketball team, taking home numerous player honors, including a record number of three-point shots (82), and led the Spartans to their first North Atlantic Conference championship. Marro studied history and English before becoming a highly regarded photographer for the Rutland Herald, retiring in 2015. Leichtnam lettered in both soccer and basketball for four years, recognized as a Most Valuable Player in both sophomore and junior years, and led the basketball team to its very first NCAA tournament appearance.
Historicity at odds with communications infrastructure
CASTLETON—Wireless infrastructure provider Mobilitie’s engineers had planned to erect a 120-foot pole in the town’s right-of-way close to the historic village center entrance on Main Street near the intersection with Sand Hill Road. Radio frequency engineers had identified the area most in need of the pole, which would support antennas for improving communication services.
Members of Castleton’s Select Board are objecting to the location. Company representative Jennille Smith said Mobilitie is willing to look at other locations outside the historic district but close to the center of greatest need. However, a position in the town right-of-way would be an advantage in being accessible to the highest number of individuals traveling through the region.
“We try as a public utility not to work with private properties,” Smith stated.
The self-described “largest privately-held wireless infrastructure provider in the United States,” Mobilitie received a certificate of public good designation in 2007,  with a second certified awarded this July.
During the Aug. 22 Select Board meeting, Selectman Bob Spaulding asked Smith how this pole differed from one installed by VTel behind Beverage King in 2014, in spite of opposition from both the Select Board and the Planning Commission.
Smith explained she is unfamiliar with the VTel pole but that her company’s pole would meet the community’s growing infrastructure needs as projected through the year 2020. But Town Manager Mark Shea said the Select Board is waiting for information demonstrating need for the service, and the conversation is not yet concluded.

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