By Lani Duke
Residents’ cooperative to buy mobile home park
CASTLETON— The Windy Hollow Mobile Home Park on River Street in Castleton is about to become the Windy Hollow Mobile Home Cooperative. With the guidance of the Cooperative Development Institute (CDI), the park’s inhabitants have joined together to purchase the park from owner Joe Howard, using a Community Development Block Grant from the state Department of Housing and Community Development to resolve septic, water, and drainage concerns.
The CDI advises cooperatively owned communities, consultant Sarah Martin told the Rutland Herald. Vermont already has seven cooperative housing communities, she said, all with the goal of keeping rents down while maintaining infrastructure and safety standards.
Resident and board chair Robin Crowningshield describes it as a quiet neighborhood, containing 44 families and with no intention to grow larger.
Estimates of the purchase price seem to be about $1 million, but the cooperative won’t have to put any money down because the CDI sets up financing. Currently, the sale awaits environmental review, necessary because the park is considered to be in a wetland.
Towns grapple with post-elementary choices
A plan to merge the school districts in Pawlet and Rupert and designate New York schools for post-elementary students is not sitting well with some parents in the two communities. They would prefer their children attend school in Vermont.
Parents with school-age children, however, are in the minority. Chuck Armentrout of Rupert claims nearly 100 percent of parents support an alternative to their children attending school in New York state, but parents are outnumbered by non-parents. In Rupert, the average age is 56.
The two towns plan a meeting Aug. 10 to air their concerns.
New York schools are less expensive and the difference in tuition handicaps Vermonters who receive vouchers for only the amount it would cost to send their children to New York rely on voucher payment, far less than they would have to pay for tuition at any Vermont school within range. Making up that financial difference may be prohibitively expensive for some households. The curriculum offered at the two schools in New York is also a matter of concern for some parents. Salem and Granville offer only Spanish as a foreign language, in contrast to schools in Vermont, some of which offer as many as seven.
Non-parental taxpayers in Pawlet and Rupert fear that taxing residents to cover tuition for higher-priced schools would drive up their taxes. But lack of school choice may have negative effects too, keeping potential buyers from considering a home purchase in either town.
Lakes Region youth in statewide shooting sports competition
Five Rutland County 4-H youths competed in the University of Vermont Extension 2017 4-H Shooting Sports Jamboree, held July 21-23 at the Caledonia Forest and Stream Club in St. Johnsbury. Both girls and boys from Vermont, New Hampshire and New York competed.
Certified instructors worked with the 4-Hers to hone their skills before competing in archery, pistol, rifle, Seneca Run (muzzleloader, tomahawk and knife throw, instinctive bow, fire-starting), shotgun, and a hunting/wildlife contest that encompassed hunter safety, a timed compass course and wildlife tracking and identification.
The youths competed in three divisions: Senior (14-18), Junior (11-13) and Novice (8-10).
The Rutland County competitors were: Joseph Connor, Orwell; Gabriel St. Martin, Wells; Noah Bruttomesso, Middletown Springs; Adam Browe, Pawlet; and Austin Schneider, Poultney.
Overall high scorers were St. Martin and Bruttomesso in the Novice division.
Bruttomesso ranked first in Novice Shotgun, second in Novice Seneca Run and third in Novice Archery.
St. Martin came in first in Novice Pistol, second in Novice Rifle and Novice Shotgun, and third in Novice Hunting/Wildlife.
Connor placed third in the Junior Shotgun division.
Browe received honorable mention in Senior Hunting/Wildlife.
Schneider tied with two others for honorable mention in Novice Pistol.