By Lani Duke
Castleton students take a different kind of final exam
CASTLETON—Students in Castleton College’s community health and women’s health issues classes took their final grade exam outside the classroom, collecting DNA from people who registered to be on the international bone marrow donor list. Instructor Deb Choma believes this final exam is “much more beneficial” than taking a traditional test sitting at a desk, because it has life-saving possibilities. The students gathered basic personal information before using swabs to collect four DNA samples, from upper and lower parts of the insides of both cheeks, a bit like brushing their teeth with a cotton swab rather than a toothbrush. The gathered DNA is filed in a worldwide data base, ready to be matched to the DNA of someone with leukemia, sickle-cell anemia, or another blood-borne disease. Registrants up to age 61 are accepted.
Town voter survey looks for feedback
CASTLETON— Castleton town manager Mark Shea is polling his town’s voters to find out what they need to know. Hired by the town in October, Shea intends the anonymous survey results as a guide to which issues to put on the town ballot and in determining the importance of other initiatives and projects.
It asks respondents how many pre-town meeting open forums they attended, whether they chose to attend informational forums and/or gathered information from other sources, including Shea himself, newspaper articles, or other sources. Rating the importance of various town government services and of the various sections of the town report are also on the survey, as is whether they attended the March floor meeting and whether they voted on this year’s ballot questions. Posted on the town website, www.castletonvermont.gov, it also asks residents to contribute what information they would like to have to make town government issue decisions.
Bomoseen State Park gets a makeover
BOMOSEEN—The beach house at Bomoseen State Park is about to receive its first major renovation since its 1960s construction. Northern Architects of Burlington’s project architect Robie Stoner said the building’s external appearance, recognized by the Vermont Department of Historic Preservation as historically significant, will be retained. Among the improvements are: a new foundation; energy efficient low-flow plumbing fixtures, heat pump-warmed hot water, replaced electrical system, and LED lighting; and accessible restrooms. In addition, a new walkway will thread through the beach area, and a new boardwalk will connect docks to the campground. Other improvements include a boat rental space, new playground and picnic areas, and volleyball court renovations.
Contractors for the project are Naylor & Breen Builders of Brandon. Park users at the beach or campgrounds should be unaffected during construction, scheduled for completion by November 30.
Elms regaining ground
WEST HAVEN—In celebration of Earth Day, volunteers from Green Mountain College, AmeriCorps, Stafford Technical Center and the community planted trees on the Nature Conservancy-owned Hubbardton River Clayplain Forest off Route 22A in West Haven. Aligned with the largest elm tree restoration project in the Northeast, the group planted 35 elm trees as well as 250 pines and 200 pussywillows at the site. In the next three years, the Nature Conservancy plans to plant 7,000 more elm trees and restore more than 50 acres of floodplain forest. The elms being planted are resistant to the Dutch elm disease that killed some 77 million elms in the first half of the twentieth century. Restoring elms to the American landscape as well as adding other native plants in floodplain forests improves water quality, reestablishes fish and bird habitat, and results in a landscape that is more resilient to extreme weather events.