News Briefs
February 12, 2016

News Briefs: Lakes Region

By Lani Duke

The Vermont way in action

HUBBARDTON—Bob Gibbs’ home and personal possessions recently went up in flames, and his neighbors are now trying to help him recover from that loss. Few realize the good Bob Gibbs has performed for his Hubbardton area community. As his friends and neighbors look at his influence within the community, from his education at the one-room schoolhouse, now the West Side Firehouse, to the present day, they value his contributions even more. A selectman for 26 years and often that board’s chair, he has also chaired the Planning Commission, co-chared Hubbardton Days, and served as an officer in the Hubbardton Historical Society, Bomoseen Grange, Board of Civil Authority, and numerous other organizations. He volunteers every year to work on the Battle of Hubbardton reenactment, and he was a key leader in celebrating Hubbardton’s 250th birthday. The house was a post-and-beam Cape style, built c. 1790. A gofundme account has been set up; to find out more, call the Hubbardton town clerk at (802) 273-2951.

Geography complicates school consolidation plans

Coming up with a plan since the passage of Act 46 for the Rutland Southwest Supervisory Union (RSWSU) has not been easy. Although other planned districts may be larger in square miles, the RSWSU suffers from a topographical handicap: it straddles the Taconic ridge.

Looking at the possible configurations that the RSWSU and its member schools may choose in order to conform with Act 46, Superintendent Joan Paustian has outlined some of the possible structures. At the heart of the difficulty is the realization that the four member school districts each have a different operating structure: non-operating preK-12 choice (Ira), preK-6 with 7-12 choice (Middletown Springs), preK-12 (Poultney), and preK-6 with designation to Granville (Wells). Even if unification could be accomplished, the new district would be too small, only 750 students, less than the minimum required under the consolidation act.

Alternative configurations could have Poultney partnering with other preK-12 districts or changing the configuration to match whatever other districts they want to work with. If Poultney decided to align with an approved Slate Valley school district, Poultney could change its educational model to feed K-8 schools into Fair Haven Union High; a larger school would have more opportunity for students, including more Advanced Placement and club and team openings.

Another possibility would be retaining its own preK-12 configuration, merging with West Rutland and Proctor, in a district with a single school or several preK-12 schools. Students might take AP classes in virtual classrooms, or use an A-B model that might have teachers and classrooms offering certain classes like science-oriented or language courses on alternate days, taught by shared personnel.

Hero of pirate attack to address Class of ‘16

CASTLETON—Capt. Richard Phillips of the U.S. merchant marine has agreed to speak at Castleton University’s commencement ceremony in May. A resident of Underhill, Vt., Phillips was kidnapped by Somali pirates in the spring of 2009, spending five days as a prisoner at sea before being rescued by U.S. Navy SEALS. His ordeal and rescue became the plotline for the 2013 film “Captain Phillips,” starring Tom Hanks. Castleton has a unique link to both the man’s story and the movie made about him. His daughter Mariah was studying art at Castleton when he was kidnapped. The film’s opening scene shows the family van with a Castleton decal on its rear. His address is expected to focus on overcoming adverse incidents and moving on with life.

Spring semester in brief

CASTLETON—Three Castleton psych majors have inaugurated a tutoring program to help the children of Castleton students, staff, and faculty. McKenzie Bover, Kelly Mesler and Molly Perkins designed the program as a form of civic engagement, providing a safe place for children to stay while they are on campus and providing opportunities for students looking for experience tutoring and working with young children.

Identical twin sisters Morgan and Taylor Raiche received college-wide recognition as the 2016 Commuter Student of the Year during Castleton University’s spring convocation. Not only do both West Rutland young women maintain high academic averages, but they also played key roles on the women’s basketball team, which ended the season with an 11-3 record.

POULTNEY—Green Mountain College is hosting Philip Howard as visiting scholar for the school’s M.S. in Sustainable Food Systems winter residency program. The author of “Concentration and Power in the Food System: Who Controls What We Eat?” Howard is an associate professor in the Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State.

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