News Briefs
April 12, 2017

Lakes Region News Briefs

New signage for Pawlet Town Hall proposed

PAWLET—The Pawlet Historical Society intends to erect a roadside historical sign near the Pawlet Town Hall, bearing the following language:

“Third Century of Service. The Pawlet Town Hall, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is an 1881 High Victorian Italianate style structure. It was built in cooperation with Marcellus Wheeler, a local merchant, to function as the seat of town government as well as commercial space. It has continuously served Pawlet’s town government and as the Civic Center of Pawlet, as well as having provided space over the years for a store, tin shop, school, post office, apartment and library. Prominent features include a cupola and a porch that almost encircles the entire building. Today the first floor houses the offices of the Town Clerk, Treasurer, Listers, and Zoning. The second floor serves as a meeting space. Pawlet Town Hall continues to preserve and enhance its position as the center of town government and village life.”

The Pawlet Select Board approved the language during its March 28 meeting. Zoning Administrator Eric Mach has agreed to oversee the require paperwork for a zoning permit.

Tinmouth fatal hit-and-run under investigation

TINMOUTH—Vermont Attorney General T. J. Donovan and Rutland County State’s Attorney Rose Kennedy hosted a public meeting to discuss community concerns about the hit-and-run death of Tinmouth dairy farmer Leo Branchaud last year. The April 9 meeting was at the Tinmouth Community Center.

Branchaud was walking on Gulf Road in front of his house when he was hit by a car. Although police first identified Lisa Velde, 58, as the vehicle’s driver, further investigation found the other occupant, Thomas H. Velde, Jr., 41, of Middletown Springs, to be the driver. Thomas Velde was arraigned in Rutland criminal court on one felony charge each of leaving the scene of a fatal crash and impeding a police investigation, as well as one count each of negligent operation of a vehicle and driving with a suspended license, both misdemeanors. He has eight felony convictions and 33 misdemeanor convictions; the charge of impeding police is for allegedly telling police his mother was the driver during the fatal crash. Kennedy is prosecuting both Veldes. Lisa Velde has entered a guilty plea to a felony charge of impeding a law enforcement officer with sentencing scheduled June 23. She may receive no more than three years in jail. Thomas Velde’s case is still pending, with a jury scheduled to be drawn in the trial later in April. His prior convictions mandate he be charged as a habitual offender; he could receive two life sentences if convicted of all charges against him.

Tinmouth man sentenced

TINMOUTH—After a slew of burglaries and other offenses, 32-year-old Joshua R. Ruane is going to prison. On April 4, Ruane was sentenced to two to six years in prison for burglary, attempted burglary, trespassing, false pretenses, and violating conditions of release, all charges for which Ruane admitted guilt. Judge Cortland Corsones delivered the sentence in Rutland Criminal Court April 3. The judge also revoked Ruane’s probation on a one- to two-year sentence for drunken driving and leaving the scene of an accident. Ruane will serve the one- to two-year sentence on those charges concurrently with the sentence on the new charges. Nor are these dispositions the end of Ruane’s time before the bench. April 3 he also admitted to driving a vehicle without the owner’s consent, driving without a license, petty larceny, sale of stolen property and violating his conditions of release. Sentencing on those charges is pending.

School snippets

BENSON—All Benson Village School chilcren in kindergarden through eighth grade are starting a jump rope unit to maintain and increase overall cardiovascular endurance and strength. They will develop jump rope routines and create their own styles of jumping to different music. Physical education classes are currently held twice a week for 45 minutes.

Middle School science students in Benson are learning Newton’s laws of motion as they build 3D-printed, balloon- powered cars and document using the design cycle on Google.

Fourth-graders used marshmallows and toothpicks to study geometry, getting firsthand experience of the concepts of area, perimeter, volume, right angles, and parallel and perpendicular lines. They are also exploring fractions.

Donahue selected as Provider of the Year by CSJ

College of St. Joseph has selected Tom Donahue to receive this year’s Provider of the Year award at its annual Provider Scholarship Gala on April 21.

Donahue is a local business leader and community volunteer. As CEO of BROC: Community Action in Southwestern Vermont, he works to change conditions that cause poverty or that stand in the way of its elimination, while also assisting low-income Vermonters with basic needs and helping them to develop skills and resources for self-sufficiency through employment and training opportunities.

He previously served as CEO of the Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce for 21 years. Highlights of his accomplishments include creating signature annual events for the community like the Fireworks Extravaganza and reinventing Winter in August, assisting to secure upward of $25 million for the Rutland Southern Vermont Regional Airport and upward of $30 million for Amtrak and associated rail improvement, hosting national conventions, and more.

Donahue also has extensive experience in municipal government as the former director of community development for the City of Rutland and as a member of the Board of Aldermen, including as president. He currently chairs the Board of Civil Authority as a Justice of the Peace.

CU offers future teachers practical experience with the disabled

CASTLETON—Adaptive physical education as taught by Andy Weinberg at Castleton University is far more intensive than the single lecture of some years past. In the seven years since Weinberg first took over teaching the course, he has changed the course to two lecture days plus one hands-on class a week. In addition to the adaptive physical ed course, Weinberg also teaches Fitness Programming for Persons with Disabilities, covering how to make fitness plans and work with people who have disabilities. Students in both courses learn by working with participants who have a variety of developmental disabilities, including autism, cerebral palsy, and Down syndrome.

Fair Haven Grade School to start Boys & Girls Club

FAIR HAVEN—Fair Haven Grade School will start a Boys & Girls Club in the 2017-2018 school year, Freddie Cannon told the Fair Haven Select Board as he introduced Larry Bayle, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Rutland County. Bayle described his organization’s history and goals, which include Early Age Substance Abuse Prevention beginning at age 6. The board wants Bayle to meet with the rec program director.

In other news, the Fair Haven Select Board accepted the final water asset management grant report from Nate Pion of Aldrich + Elliott of Essex Junction. Pion recommended accepting Belden Company’s $1,288,664 bid on the waterline upgrade project, contingent on state approval. Fair Haven will join Benson, Shoreham, and Vergennes in putting a sign on Route 22A designating the highway as Desert Storm Veterans’ Memorial Highway.

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