News Briefs
April 6, 2016

News Briefs: Lakes Region

Departing president gives building to college

POULTNEY—Exiting Green Mountain College President Paul Fonteyn and his wife Marsha are donating the Stone Valley Community Market building, 216 Main St., Poultney, to the college. The couple had purchased the building to aid in the Market’s start-up. Fonteyn is the school’s seventh president. Though retiring at the end of the school year, the Fonteyns will not be lost to the community. They intend to split their time between Ojai, Calif., and their Lake Bomoseen home.

Fair Haven town plan progress

FAIR HAVEN—Fair Haven selectmen took part in a March 22 joint work session on the town plan along with the Planning Commission and Zoning Administrator Phil Adams. Among the changes under consideration are creating a recreation district that includes the town park, currently designated as commercial. Also planned are numerous changes in goals and/or action items that affect housing, natural resources, utility and facility categories, parks and recreation, historic sites and features, energy, transportation, and flood resiliency.

Castleton U. science students map rock units

CASTLETON—Senior geology students Graeme Pike and Sam Nunnikhoven recently presented the results of a year of research and mapping at the Northeast Geological Society of America Conference in Albany, N.Y. All last summer they had hiked through the Adirondacks, collecting GPS data and bedrock samples before mapping all the underlying rock units in the area.

Professor Tim Grover, environmental science major Montana Lofthouse, chemistry major Catie Wielgasz, and geology major Kim French also represented Castleton University at the conference. Grover and fellow science department geologist Helen Mango cochaired the event, which attracted more than 1,000 attendees.

Village School students win the gold

CASTLETON—One of two teams from Castleton Village School took top honors in the middle school category at the 3-D Vermont Architecture and History Olympiad March 25 at Vermont Technical College in Randolph. The winning team won recreated the Old Chapel, once the medical school facility at Castleton University, in digital 3D using the modeling software Sketchup. Students gained a variety of useful skills as they researched local history, applied geometry, and learned to use the modeling program. The winning presentation used a stop-motion animation video to show the building’s several relocations, and a “talking head” seeming to float in space as it told the story of how medical students stole a body from Hubbardton graveyard from which they hoped to learn anatomy. The students were competing against students from 30 other Vermont schools.

Consolidation vote date set

Addison-Rutland Supervisory Union residents will vote April 12 on whether to consolidate their separate school districts into a single Slate Valley Unified Union School district. It would be led by a single, 18-member school board, rather than each school having its own school board.

If the Act 46-prompted unification vote fails, the ARSU Act 46 study committee will reconvene to develop an alternative plan and conjure a positive vote by July 1, 2017. Failure would cede control of the schools in the supervisory union to the state, which could then assign redistricting.

If the April balloting approves the district, all students will funnel into Fair Haven Union High. It will be up to the new unified board to determine school choice among the various elementary schools.

Affected taxpayers remain uncertain of consolidation’s value. The cost savings thought to result from combining districts appear to be nearly nonexistent, only $300,000 over time, not much in relation to an overall budget of $25 million. Tax incentives are only temporary and perhaps give only illusory savings because their value relies on the formula the state applies.

The ballot also includes election of school board officials. Voters in any town can vote only on their town’s representatives to the unified board. In Orwell, Amy Roy and Glen Cousineau vie for a single two-year seat; in West Haven, Angela Sharon and Michael “Trevor” Ezzo are similarly contending for a sole two-year seat. There is only one candidate per seat in both Benson and Hubbardton, but one one-year seat in Fair Haven and three one-year seats in Castleton have no candidates signed up.

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