Voters pass on pond purchase
TINMOUTH—Given a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” to acquire the two-acre Nelson Parker estate property on Tinmouth Pond, voters declined. More than a third of Tinmouth’s 393 registered voters turned out for the special election, defeating the proposal 95 to 47. Select Board Chair Matthew Patry said he believed the rejection arose over concern that property taxes would go up. Had the measure passed, the property would have been acquired for no more than $465,000, financed over no more than 20 years. There seem to be two remaining possibilities. With a petition, concerned citizens could bring the matter back for another round of balloting, or landowners could put the property on the market, seemingly the more likely outcome.
GMC seeks new college leader
POULTNEY—Current Green Mountain College President Dr. Paul Fonteyn plans to retire at the end of the academic year, June 2016. A search committee has begun looking for a potential successor, with the help of a recruiting firm. Plans call for interviews to begin this winter, with the search completed by the end of spring semester.
Pennies earned, pennies lost
BENSON—The town of Benson has signed up to take part in the consumer battery recycling program. The agreement enables the town to receive 25 cents per pound for batteries recycled at the transfer station, compared to the 4 cents per pound it would otherwise have received. However, the town receives no more payment for electronics it collects, though continuing to participate in the electronics recycling program.
Castleton Soundings program to bring in diverse acts
CASTLETON—Castleton U students have a diverse assortment of activities in spring semester’s Soundings programs. They include musician Bobby Gosh’s “Confessions of a Marijuana Eater,” a visit by Planned Parenthood’s vice president of public policy, a Bobby Kennedy impersonator, and an improvisational comedic Broadway show.
They can thank Jessica Cowden, hired by Castleton as manager of Arts Reach, Soundings and arts communications in October. Cowden believes there is more positive than negative in having students be exposed to Gosh’s perspective. She said her goal is for students to attend with the thought, “I don’t know if I’m going to hate it or love it, but I’ll know something I didn’t before.” She sees the mission of Soundings as meeting “the vision of a liberal arts education,” exposing students to events and experiences they had not known before.
Castleton plans to issue a disclaimer stating that views expressed in do not reflect the school’s views.
Soundings is a general education requirement for Castleton freshmen, created in 1985, which earns one credit for attending a limited number of programs each of their first two semesters. Soundings events may be open to the broader Castleton community.
ARSU flies Act 46 option
Addison-Rutland Supervisory Union officials have endorsed the plan to become the Slate Valley Unified Union District under the provisions of Act 46. The new district would have a single budget and a single tax rate. It would have a single 18-member board with a minimum of one board member representing each town. All ARSU students would funnel into Fair Haven Union High. The transition would be complete July 1, 2017.
But a major obstacle may lie in the path of these plans. That obstacle is gaining approval from a majority of voters in each member town. A negative vote from any one of the communities of Benson, Castleton, Hubbardton, Fair Haven, or West Haven would nix the entire plan. Through the winter, the supervisory union plans a series of public information forums at which individuals may bring their concerns, praises, and questions to the community table.