News Briefs
March 29, 2017

Lakes Region News Briefs

School children are learning
Castleton fifth-graders will attend StarBase in Rutland for five sessions. The curriculum is designed to excite young people to the possibilities that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) offer.
Seventh-graders in Castleton science class recently studied the physical and chemical properties of molecules as evidenced in basic chemical reactions. In their humanities classes, these young folks studied world religions.
Operation LifeSaver showed Castleton Village School students how to behave responsibly near railroad tracks. Train tracks are a part of everyday life for Castleton students.
Benson eighth-graders have been working to prepare for their transition to high school next fall. They’ve been reviewing the Fair Haven Union High course of studies with Benson principal Jim Doty and have met with their high school counselor. On April 6 they will spend the morning at FHUHS, attending two classes, touring the building, and eating lunch. The staff will talk to them about a 10-day high school preparation course offered this summer in which incoming ninth graders will meet their classmates, learn their way around the school and meet their high school teachers. A daily bus picks up students at Benson Village School July 10-14 and 17-21.
Seventh graders have the opportunity for a college and career readiness day at Castleton University, April 4. They will not only tour the campus but learn about paths to success and how to be a leader.
After sifting through 15 applicants and two rounds of interviews, Addison-Rutland Supervisory Union’s superintendent search committee has selected one finalist candidate, Brooke Olsen-Farrell.

Honors and accomplishments
CASTLETON—Participants in Castleton University’s first annual Psychological Science Shindig presented the results of research they’ve been conducting, much of it the result of a required course for psychology majors titled Research II. More than half the studies used Castleton students as subjects. Among the questions the students sought answers for were how alcohol affects flies, how caffeine affects student academic performance, how toddlers learn language, and whether seeing uniformed police on campus causes students to trust police more. Nearly a dozen students took part.
Held March 16, the event capped Brain Awareness Week. It included a poster session, demonstrations of psychological phenomena, civic engagement projects, and an awards dinner. Senior Samantha Marszalkowski said students appreciated being able to show others that their discipline was “showing how easily you can take what you learn in a classroom and apply it to the real world while reaching out to the community.”

Sad story of death and drugs
POULTNEY—Authorities believe Alexandra Rooker, 26,whose body was found wrapped in a tarp and left in a shed on Morse Hollow Road in Poultney, probably died of a drug overdose. The owner of the property, Wayne Oddo, 53, is being held without bail. He is charged with a felony, a heroin addict in possession of a firearm. He had both an AK-47 and a .22-caliber Ruger rifle.
When Oddo received the search warrant, he took investigators to the shed where Rooker’s body was, saying she had overdosed. Himself an addict, Oddo allowed known dealers to stay in his house, knowing them only by their street names; in turn, they gave him drugs or compensated him in food or utility payments.

RSSU interim superintendent announced
Judith Pullinen has agreed to become interim superintendent of the Rutland Southwest Supervisory Union. Superintendent of the Battenkill Valley Supervisory Union since 2014, Pullinen will move into the office being vacated by Joan Paustian, who plans to retire.
The RSSU comprises Ira, Middletown Springs, Poultney, Tinmouth, and Wells schools. Of the candidates seeking the position, Pullinen seemed like a good fit, according to RSSU board member Chris Smid, because she is a superintendent and has been a teacher in Vermont, and is familiar with the Act 46 transition process and the state’s educational policies.
The fate of the supervisory union remains undetermined, resting on the results of an anticipated – but not yet scheduled – merger revote in Wells.

Community activities ahead
Devil’s Bowl Speedway in West Haven will host a pair of truck and tractor pulls this summer, one May 13, the other July 8.
The Friends of Haystack, a non-profit group that includes the property encompassing the summit of Haystack Mountain in Pawlet, plans to improve recreational access as well as helping neighbors and protecting water and soil resources along the trail.
Working with the town of Pawlet and some neighbors, the group will improve the parking area and trailhead with an eye toward increasing user friendliness and reducing overflow parking that affects neighbors.
For more information, contact Alan Calfee, board of directors chair, via thier website: friendsofhaystack.org.

How to succeed and have fun: 4-H
Students who take part in 4-H are more likely than average to go to college, a University of Vermont study indicates. Comparing the 2015 and 2016 Vermont high school graduates, 66 percent attended college, compared to 53 percent of all Vermont graduates, reported the New England Secondary School Consortium.
Betsy Coburn of Castleton placed fourth among the highest overall scores in the Senior Division of the annual Horse Quiz Bowl held at Green Mountain Union High School in Chester. She and Olivia Suker, Shrewsbury; Hailee Blades, Jeffersonville; and Dyani Jones, Jericho will represent Vermont at the Eastern National 4-H Horse Roundup in Louisville, Ky., in November.

Learn new outdoor skills in your own backyard
The state Fish & Wildlife Department offers two fishing clinics easily accessible to Lakes Region residents. The April 1 course is an introduction to target trout and salmon with lead-core line, held at Camp Kehoe in Castleton. The April 29 instruction is an introduction to bass fishing, held at Half Moon State Park in Hubbardton.

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