The Mountain Times

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News briefs from the Lakes Region 1.19

Build new or redo?

CASTLETON-Castleton's select board has proposed building a new town hall west of the historic downtown and close to the Four Corners, where Routes 4 and 30 intersect. Some community members question whether that is the best solution to housing town governmental offices. They want to slow the decision making long enough to see whether the historic building that in Castleton village may be renovated to meet safety standards and made ADA compliant with less expenditure than a new structure would require.

One point of contention is the rising estimated cost of a new building, initially discussed at $750,000, but now estimated at $1.4 million. Renovating the old building, a key feature in the town's historic district, has been estimated at $900,000. Renovation may qualify for historic preservation and ADA compliance grants.

The other side of the argument is that the new site would have room to add a fire station in about three years or so, with an estimated cost of an additional $1 million. The town select board is discussing raising the bond level it previously approved, of $750,000 for 20 years with 3.4 percent interest. Other funding possibilities include selling property the town owns or using $200,000+ from surplus funds.

As it is, town voters have yet to approve the bond at this spring's town meeting.

If Castleton voters approve the bond vote in March, the new building could be finished by mid- to late-summer 2013. Watch for upcoming public meeting to discuss the project and alternatives.

Serve your town

BENSON-The town of Benson reminds that, to run for town offices, candidates need to turn in a petition, signed by at least eight registered Benson voters, at the Town Office by 5 p.m. Monday, Jan. 30. Similar conditions apply no matter where you live in Vermont. Some positions call for lots of commitment; others, very little. Many last only a year, although some may be three- or five-year terms.

Wells dairy farm goes solar

WELLS-Dairy farmers Richard and Cynthia Larson recently installed a new 40-kilowatt photovoltaic system that has already begun sending extra energy into the grid. They estimate that the new system will supply 95 percent of the farm's electricity needs.
The new system is part of a new hay barn, boasting some 160 solar panels. Building contractor for the project was Positive Energy of Granville, NY; Catamount Solar of East Montpelier designed and installed the system.

Congratulations, FHUHS

FAIR HAVEN-Fair Haven Union High School students' high scores on the latest New England Common Assessment Program to put Fair Haven Union at the top of all Division II schools. Student scores in reading, writing, mathematics and science enabled FHUHS to meet the latest (and most difficult) standards of Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) as indentified under No Child Left Behind; only four out of the sixty-one high schools can claim such status.

Extracurricular programs are also high ranking. This fall the Slaters won the DII state football championship. Fair Haven is also the defending DII golf champion and will compete for the state title in boys' basketball. Band students earned Lake Placid Regional first positions, as well as all-New England and all-state honors. The Scholars' Bowl team has successfully competed against Vermont and New Hampshire schools.

Students enter National Geographic Geo Bee

WELLS-Fourth, fifth and sixth grade classes at Wells Village School will take part in the National Geographic Geo Bee. Students Allison Arnado, Isaac Bell, Chase Blanchard, Harley Combs, Tyler Dunbar, Logan Haskins, Zac Haskins, Eli McDermott, Olivia Reynolds and Angelina Scarlotta have planned to take a geography bee at the school.

Fundraisers planned for Castleton Elementary

CASTLETON-The Castleton Community School Organization urges supporters to save two upcoming days, Saturday, Feb. 4, and Saturday, March 31. The February event is a day (or half day) of scrapbooking at the school, complete with breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner, as appropriate. Contact for the event is Lisa Thayer, 265-4426.

The March date is a basket party to benefit Castleton Elementary's Kids Castle. Gretchen Bischoff and Lisa Thayer are looking for donations of finished baskets or the materials required to put one together.


Saturday, Jan. 21 - St. Luke's Episcopal Church (at the corner of North Main and Allen streets in Fair Haven) hosts a community breakfast at 8 a.m. Call Catherine McCauley, 265-4010, for info.

Tagged: lakes region, Lakes Region News, Castleton, benson, Wells, Richard Larson, solar, FHUHS