News Briefs
February 17, 2016

Lakes Region

Poultney budget contains minor increase

POULTNEY—Poultney voters will be asked to approve a slightly increased budget over that of the previous year, up by only a bit over 2 percent, $1,139,189 for the 2016-17 fiscal year, compared to the current year’s $1,115,271.

The largest increases are in the library budget and the health and welfare area. Driving the library budget growth is a new library addition and renovation loan payment of $21,390, plus a $7,042 for operating expenses that corrects for not enough having been budgeted for employee insurance and retirement in the 2015-16 fiscal year. Other increases were for construction electricity and increases in the minimum wage.

The Young at Heart Senior Center shows an increase of $10,000, for a total of $50,023. Operating and food costs are up, but donations and thrift shop revenue are lower than they have been.

Fire truck replacement also figures into the budget increase, as the town strives to bring its vehicle replacement fund up to $290,000. Currently, the fund contains $230,000; the new truck will cost more than $400,000. Equipment funding also increases from $50,000 to $65,000.

New office renderings presented

CASTLETON—Castleton voters are being asked March 1 to authorize the Select Board to allocate current reserve funds, appropriate proceeds from the sale of town-owned property, and borrow up to $650,000 for the purchase of land and construction of a new town office. Town coffers also would supply about $100,000 to purchase the site.

More than 30 individuals attended the Castleton Select Board meeting Feb. 8 to get a look at initial drawings for the new town office, planned to be erected next to the fire department and police station on Route 30N. They saw a 3,127-square foot building, sited on 3.3 acres, with a tax collector’s office in the front and town clerk’s office and vault in the rear.

GMC students raft the Grand Canyon

POULTNEY—Over this year’s holiday break 11 Green Mountain College students, led by profs Andrew G. Bentley and John Van Hoesen, floated down 225 miles of the Colorado River in Grand Canyon National Park. Bentley described their travels as “completely self-sufficient.” During their 21-day excursion, they learned oar-powered whitewater rafting techniques as they passed between canyon walls showing the effects of plate tectonics, deposition, and fluvial erosion. They visited several archaeology sites accessible only by river. In addition to science and rafting skills, students also explored outdoor culinary preparation as they cooked fresh food they brought with them.

The students were Anya Beale, Chloe Bertera, Katie Bode, Maddie Brown, Emily Coleman, Shannon Currie, Alex Howard, Kyle Kolesnikoff, Cullen MacAndrew, Zach Peterson, and Cecile Walsh. They were also accompanied by three professional colleagues invited by Prof. Bentley: Chris Moon, William Pearson, and Zach Thomason.

Students join Honduras “medical brigade”

CASTLETON—Sierra Galusha and 16 other RN senior classmates in the Castleton nursing program plan to spend a week in Honduras on a “medical brigade.” Joining up with other volunteers and health care pros in the NY-VT Nurses Unite chapter of Global Brigades, they will provide free medical care and supplies, with each volunteer meeting the needs of 55 patients. Each patient will receive a physician consultation, teeth cleaning, and fluoride treatment. They will have access to pap smears, prostate exams and restorative dental care.

Sewage spill fouls Castleton River

FAIR HAVEN—Electrical failure may have resulted in the release of 1,100 to 11,000 gallons of raw sewage into the Castleton River from the Fair Haven wastewater treatment plant on Feb. 4 and Feb. 11, with the first spill occurring about 7 p.m. Contractors had thought they had found the problem when they replaced a relay in the Adams Street Pump Station, at the bottom of the Adams Street Hill. However, the measure seemed to not solve the problem, according to the plant’s chief operator Peter Laramie. The plant has suffered “a number of issues” since and his department “stopped probably a half a dozen or more potential overflows.” The day before the problems at the sewage plant began, there had also been an electrical problem at the town office. Laramie said that a mere coincidence seems unlikely and perhaps cause of the release may be an undiscovered glitch arising with Green Mountain Power.

Middletown Springs explores creative economy potential

MIDDLETOWN SPRINGS—The Middletown Springs Historical Society recently hosted a group of 35 individuals organizing a creative economy initiative for Middletown Springs. The mission statement they discussed reads: “To build the economic vitality of Middletown Springs as a great place to live, work and visit, our community-based group fosters linkages between individuals, businesses and community groups, creating a platform for community cohesion and strength.”

A core group will meet quarterly with the Planning Commission. A marketing plan focuses on drawing potential customers to the community, bringing consumers to local businesses, and attracting potential residents and businesses to the 745-resident town.

Attendees from outside the town itself included Rutland Regional Planning Commission Executive Director Ed Bove; Rutland Region Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Tom Donahue, and Executive Director of the Rutland Economic Development Corporation & Dean of Entrepreneurial Programs at Castleton University Lyle Jepsen.

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