News Briefs
November 4, 2015

News Brief: Lakes Region

By Lani Duke

Lake House Pub & Grille sold at auction

At an auction held Friday morning, Oct. 30, The Lake House Pub & Grille on Lake Bomoseen successfully changed hands. Although the buyer was not identified, it is said that the new owner plans to revitalize the restaurant.

A turnkey operation, it includes 39-car parking area, two vacant lots, and 430 feet of lakefront property. Owner Susan Field decided to retire after owning the restaurant for 10 years. Eric Nathan of Nathan Auction & Real Estate, Inc. was named as the auctioneer.

Offering the only dockside dining in the area, the Lake House has been an active participant in community life, hosting the annual dog dock diving championships that benefit the Rutland County Humane Society and other events. Built in 1933, it received its present name when David Rogers purchased it in 1996. Since Field bought the property in 2005, she has managed it along with her husband Fred Field, their son Fred Field, Jr., and daughter and son-in-law Dena and Brad Burns.

Act 46 school consolidation law meets with resistance

Irritated residents vary from anger to disgust as their school administrations try to work through the tangles of legislation rushed through late last spring while legislators were trying to leave town. Among the non-accolades Act 46 has picked up is “the VT-NEA lifetime job security act” along with a proposal for “no new legislation for about 10 years, unless it entails dismantling the Vermont Agency of Education and banning politicians from the education of our children.”

The Tinmouth School Board responded to the report from the Rutland South Supervisory Union’s Act 46 Study Committee with skepticism on Oct. 19, saying, “We are not enthusiastic about consolidating school boards,” doubting that doing so will save money or be more efficient. However, “Since the state commands consolidation, on the threat of assigning us to whatever district they choose in 2019, we prefer to stay with our friends in RSSU.” The Board agrees that one of the most important aspects of the consolidation is retaining their 53-student school, in which 18 percent of students receive NECAP scores at Level 4 (proficient with distinction), and 65 percent at Level 3 (proficient). They also agree that it is important to retain that school’s connection to Mill River Union High. They want to grandfather all students who are currently being tuitioned at public or private schools, and regret losing that ability as a part of the consolidation.

On the subject of school choice, in an Oct. 22 press release, Rep. Don Turner said that “the State Board of Education’s interpretation of Act 46 and the underlying school choice statutes” make some school districts unable to comply with the act while retaining school choice, although theLegislature intended the opposite, noting that many districts with choice have held it for more than a century and a half. Pawlet and Rupert students may have the option of attending school in New York state—or maybe not.

Legislators intended the act to provide tax relief while allowing schools to retain school choice as well as be able to combine with towns that lack school choice. Turner proposes that the legislature work to clarify the issue when it reconvenes in January. He proposes that the grandfather provision in the act make clear that school choice continues only for another four years rather than that choice continue indefinitely.

Firehouse sale for new offices

In pursuit of a new town office, during its Oct. 26 meeting Castleton’s Select Board voted to offer the former firehouse on Elm Street for sale, on condition that any or all bids may be rejected. Funds raised are to be used to pay for a new town office. Selectman John Hale cast the sole vote against the sale, saying that doing so reduced the town’s choices for a new town office before the public could put an opinion in on use for the structure.

Congratulations…

to Cynthia and Richard Larson, of Larson Farm in Wells, on being awarded a $49,999 USDA Rural Development Value Added Producer grant. The money will help the farm expand into cream-lined bottled milk, yogurt, and gelato. They hope to have the creamer built over the winter and be ready to bring its products to the Rutland farmers’ market by spring.

to Peter Stone’s Stonewood Farm in Orwell, which received $245,895 to expand natural turkey production. The money will be used primarily for product bags and labels that will grow market interest in the farm’s ground turkey, sausages, and boneless breasts.

Four other Vermont farmers also received grants through the program, intended to help agricultural producers turn raw crops and commodities into new, more profitable products. Ten of the nation’s 442 applicants were from Vermont.

to McKenzie Ezzo of Poultney, recovering from a gun accident that cost her one kidney and injured the other one. Thanks to the neighbors who brought meals for the family and contributed to a GoFundMe campaign that raised more than $2,700.

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