News Briefs
February 1, 2018

Lakes Region News Briefs – 1.31.18

By Lani Duke

New town managers possible with new month

Castleton has been without a town manager for two months; Jonas Rosenthal has filled in as interim town manager in Fair Haven since April. Both communities seem likely to have new town managers taking a seat in February.

Castleton Select Board Chair Joe Bruno announced that the town has offered the position to someone “pending background check and physical,” he told the Rutland Herald. Fair Haven’s select board similarly has selected a candidate whom they intended to meet the last week of January.

Bruno said Castleton began receiving town manager job applications as soon as the position was advertised two months ago. Four of the six applicants were interviewed, and one received a second interview before the board offered the position to an unnamed candidate three weeks ago. The applicant told the board he had to give notice at his current job. Bruno anticipated that the new town manager could start quickly, with a one-year probationary contract. If both the town and the newly installed town manager are satisfied at the end of the one-year contract, a three-year contract is in the offing.

Previous town manager Mark Shea left in November after leading the town for three years. Bruno credited Health Officer Jim Leamy with helping to keep the town operating smoothly during the intervening two months, having been “authorized by the court” to act when Bruno was unavailable.

Former Fair Haven town manager Herbert Durfee III had been hired in 2013. He left in May to begin a three-year contract as town manager of Norwich.

Retired Poultney town manager Jonas Rosenthal agreed to serve the community as interim town manager for Fair Haven until the town hired a replacement. The town offered the position to its choice from an 18- or 19-member pool of applicants, but the top candidate declined because of salary concerns. In a second round, the Fair Haven Select Board received 15 applications, and sent a contract outline to its top candidate Jan. 22, with plans to meet with him Jan. 30.

Rosenthal said he hopes for “new energy, new ideas,” and enthusiasm for both the town and the new job. In the meantime, Rosenthal continues to work on downtown street-scape improvement plan proposals the town received Jan. 19. He anticipates assisting the new town manager “as needed” on evaluating the proposals and recommending a company to do the work.

Local creamery wins national award

Consider Bardwell Farm of West Pawlet received the Good Food Awards’ for the Northeast Region Jan. 19. Its winning entry was the Swiss Alpine style 12-month-old Rupert.

Creamery manager Leslie Goff told the Rutland Herald that this award is one of the best the certified raw milk creamery has won. The competition considers a product’s quality and taste, and its producer’s sustainability.

Consider Bardwell Farm is no stranger to awards for its superb cheeses. It began winning awards from the American Cheese Society back in 2007 — its Manchester cheese won a silver medal; its Dorset, a bronze. Including the Good Food Awards, the creamery won 10 national-level awards this year; other prizes were from the Big E, Vermont cheesemakers festival, and the U.S. Cheese Championships.

When Angela Miller Rust Glover bought the farm in 2000, they learned it already had a history of cheese making, as the site of the first cheese-making cooperative in the state in 1863. They began with six Swiss Alpine goats; in their first year of commercial production, they were milking 25 and selling to farmers’ markets and New York City restaurants.

Today 150 Swiss Alpine, French Alpine, and Nubian goats supply the raw milk. Consider Bardwell produced 115,000 pounds of cheese in 2017 and has a staff of 15.

More than 1,000 stores across the country carry its products, as do 18 of New York City’s 66 farmers markets.

Two other cheesemakers, Spring Brook Farm Cheese in Reading and Von Trapp Farmstead in Waitsfield, were also among the 2018 cheesemaker finalists. In other categories, Eden Ciders of Newport, Fable Farm Fermentory of Barnard, and Shacksbury of Vergennes were on the cider semifinalist list; Fat Toad Farm of Randolph and Red Kite Candy of Bradford, candy makers; The Vermont Switchel Company of Glover, elixir; Runamok Maple of Cambridge, pantry; and Blake Hill Preserves of Windsor, preserves. The competition received 2,057 entrants and gave awards to 270 companies in recognition of their “vibrant, delicious, sustainable local food economies.”

Students getting skills to thrive at work

New Castleton University president Karen M. Scolforo praised Castleton’s liberal arts education as she delivered her first convocation address Jan. 18. She said employers look for the skills that Castleton students learn. The school’s most recent graduate study indicates that its graduates thrive both in workplace situations and in advanced graduate studies.

She mapped out the school’s objectives: collaborating in partnerships, exploring new program development opportunities, developing new delivery modes, and increasing the number of internship, service learning, and research community partnerships.

Her communication initiatives include campus suggestion boxes, cocoa chats, weekly newsletters, and a digital quarterly.

She spoke of the team spirit at the school, with its hope to “change the world together” and encouraged student involvement in one of the school’s 28 varsity sports, 50+ clubs and organizations, and numerous community service opportunities.

Her talk concluded with inviting students to chat with her on campus and to plan to “change the world together.”

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