By Lani Duke
New roof, old church
EAST POULTNEY—A metal roof is going atop the 1830s St. John’s Episcopal Church in East Poultney. It replaces a slate roof most likely installed during the Victorian era. Probably its initial roof was made from wooden shingles. The slate shingles installed on top of the wooden ones damaged the original wooden ones underneath too much to allow the salvage of the lower layer. The construction crew, however, was able to save many of the slate shingles.
The slate roof had been expensive to maintain, said executive committee member Ida Mae Johnson. The new roof will protect the historic building for decades in the future, she commented. Its installation was financed by the diocese.
Stepping into the 1831 structure feels like a step back in history. The pews are gated, lighting is by kerosene lamps, and the walls are stenciled. One reason to visit the church is its single-keyboard hand-pumped pipe organ, built by William Nutting before the Civil War.
Without a congregation since the 1930s, the church must offer religious services in order to remain on the diocese’s rolls. Although the church has held weekly Saturday services in the past, this year it was scheduled for three: June 11, July 2, and August 13.
Historic material ruled out for sidewalk upgrade
CASTLETON—Phase II of an ongoing civic improvement involves a section of sidewalk in Castleton. A new five-foot-wide concrete sidewalk will run west along Route 4A from Drake Road to the Hydeville Post Office. A discussion during the May 23 Select Board meeting questioned the material used in the project. Historic sidewalks were made of marble or slate, but were removed by Fire District #3. If the historic materials were to be used, they would have to be embedded into the concrete underneath, with a sizable cost increase. Another flaw in the historic material that did not appear to surface during the discussion is their relative safety. They offer treacherous footing when wet.
School year ends with exciting production
FAIR HAVEN—Fair Haven Grade School exceeded its Relay Recess fundraising goal. Much of its success is due to organizing work by Jennie Reed, Kim Alexander, Kelsey Lenney, and Jen Clement. With a goal set at $1,000, the event raised $2,173.31.
Another triumph was the exciting success of the grade school drama team’s production of “The Jungle Book,” with more than 50 students in the cast and crew. The presentation combined script, song, and acrobatics, directed by Michele Perry, with assistance from Michaela Eckler, Terry Perry and Ryan Magnan.
The last day of school for Addison-Rutland Supervisory Union students is June 14.
Select Board asked to reconsider dog attack decision
FAIR HAVEN—Eric Gross asked the Select Board to revisit its March 8 decision on the dogs that attacked him and his dog Jan. 15. After hearing a summary of his list of concerns—deadlines not met, lack of reviewer qualifications for assessment, seriousness of his and his dog’s injuries, Gross’s continued pain, health issues, and family stress, and lack of consequence for the attacking dogs’ owner—the Select Board agreed to explore his document in light of whether the problem had been resolved at their next regularly scheduled meeting.
Property classifications questioned, changed
FAIR HAVEN—The meeting also revealed some objections to the draft town plan. Tracey Adams objected to changing his property from rural to light industrial designation. After a lengthy discussion, the Board agreed to return the 48-acre parcel to rural designation.
Kellie White requested her property be designated as residential rather than light industry, saying there is a house on the property and there is a negative impact from the Spaulding solid waste operation. Sbardella Slate’s owners requested their property stay in light industry. The Board agreed to remove #25-52-41 and #25-52-42 from industrial designation, and return them to the residential category.
Rattlesnake Ridge truck repair shop was changed from “mixed river” to industrial designation, Ellen Lynch observed, asking what “mixed river” meant. Mixed river includes “a bit of everything,” George Stannard explained. The Lynch property is partially in the federally designated flood plain.
Rather than continue the discussion, the Board agreed to warn an additional public hearing to further discuss town plan changes, scheduled for Tuesday, June 28.
Benson Select Board may expand the town’s Planning Commission from five to seven seats. Interested residents should submit a letter of interest at the Town Office.
The Hubbardton Castleton Food Distribution center has changed its open hours to Wednesday afternoons from 4:00 to 5:30 in the basement of the Hubbardton Town Hall. It will will no longer be open Sundays, as previously. Residents of Hubbardton or Castleton, a family member 65 or older, food stamp recipients, a disabled household member, or those with incomes lower than $1,700 a month may use the program. Lori Barker recently resigned from volunteering with the food shelf after 10 years, eight of them as its president.