News Briefs
October 22, 2015

News Briefs: Lakes Region

By Lani Duke

Construction notes

The Belden Company, Inc., received a $24,235 contract from the town of Castleton to build up the bank of Creek Road in Castleton just south of the Edward F. Kehoe Fishing Access; Lafayette Highway Specialities won a $4,232 contract to install 141.5 feet of guardrail along that same stretch of road. The road has been narrowed to a single lane since authorities noticed cracking in late May. Good to get it taken care of before winter sets in.

Athlete’s dismissal questioned

The local NAACP chapter has asked Castleton U. to investigate Hezekiah Williamson’s dismissal from the school’s football team, saying he may have been discriminated against and treated unfairly. The 21-year-old said he had no notice before being called to head coach Tony Valpone’s office Sept. 27 and told that as he seemed “unhappy” at the school, the school believed he was planning to transfer out and would not continue to invest effort in him.

Williamson is a new student at Castleton, recruited from Marshall University in West Virginia. The junior English major said he has been working hard to stay at Castleton and had been on the school’s football team a bit more than a month.

There has been no public response from either head football coach Anthony Volpone or athletics and recreation associate dean Deanna Tyson.

Bike tour route

A 228-mile bicycle trail along the Route 30 corridor and the Delaware and Hudson Rail Trail is the first U.S. Bicycle Route in the state so designated by the Adventure Cycling Association and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Entering Vermont in Pownal, it parallels Route 7 most of the way to Canada, with plans to eventually connect New York City to Montreal.

Bike enthusiasts are touting the beauty of the route, its historic sites and scenic views, substantial food offerings, covered bridges, and B&Bs.

Judge to decide vote validity

Absentee voters could not participate in the May 12 re-vote on whether to build Castleton a new police station as an addition to the town’s new fire station, Sandy Mayo Jackson has argued. She believes that mistakes by town clerks should not disenfranchise absentee voters, especially in close races.

Voters defeated an appropriation of $300,402 to build the police station in March; absentee voters had received, marked and returned their ballots so were counted at that time. That same March election approved a new town clerk.

Because the vote was so close, voters asked for a revote. This time, the newly installed town clerk did not send out absentee ballots, and the police station construction was approved, 362-345 on May 12. The town Select Board then voted for the town manager to engage an architect, obtain permits, and take other steps toward building the new police station addition.

The project went to bid June 22. The board considered eight bids at its August 17 meeting but all were over budget. A request to  the two lowest bidders for cuts to keep the project within budget; McClure Construction resulted in lowering project cost from $289,481 to $265,181, prompting the Select board to offer the project to McClure on Sept. 14.

Jackson filed suit, asking for another revote that would include absentee ballots. Town attorney Paul Gillies argued for dismissal of the suit with prejudice, barring its return to  court. A judge will decide the outcome.

Congrats

to the Benson VFD on raising $9,873 with its annual Haunted Hayride. After covering expenses, it shares profits with the West Haven F.D.  and Venture Scouts.

to Pawlet lister Charles Mason, recently awarded the Vermont Assessor & Lister Association’s Michael P. Cyprian award, a recognition for listers and assessors who embody fairness, dedication, helpfulness, work to improve the listing process, and pursuit of better education for the assessment community. He also received the inaugural award of the Steven Jeffrey Lister of the Year Education Grant of $250.

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