The Mountain Times

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News briefs from the Lakes Region

POULTNEY-The Shaw's grocery store in Poultney has a new owner. A group of private investors, led by Cerberus Capital Management, recently purchased a number of national grocery chains, including the 19 Shaw's stores in Vermont. There are no immediate plans to close any of the Vermont stores or lay off any workers.

CASTLETON-The rules on building use may change in Castleton, adding to approved uses in the residential zone on the north and south sides of the college. Currently, the zoning code only permits one- and two-family homes, day cares, and temporary lodging. Proposed changes would let Castleton State College use the Reinfort house, north of the Science Center on South Street, for office space under a conditional use stipulation; the college would like to put its admissions office in the building. The structure is adjacent to the college zone boundary.

Should the college be confined within its designated zone? Some people may think so. Some may object to the town losing tax income for college-used properties. The Planning Commission plans to hold a public hearing on the proposal.

CASTLETON-The Castleton-Hubbardton school board may combine Castleton Elementary and Castleton Village schools into one building for greater efficiency. Currently, the sixth through eighth graders from both Castleton and Hubbardton attend the Village school while younger students stay in their respective towns. But a petition presented by Castleton resident Frank Taggert calls for merging the two schools at the Castleton Elementary site; Taggert is also pushing for the Village school to be used to hold the Castleton town offices, a change that might calm community tensions related to the offices' relocation.

However, Hubbardton must be part of whatever decision is made because Hubbardton has a "vested interest" in the Village School; if the school were sold to the town, Hubbardton must receive part of the payment.

PAWLET-Northeast Community Solar is considering expanding its planned solar initiative in Pale to more than three times its initial project size. As proposed, the property just north of Pawlet was to generate 150 kilowatts; an upgrade would increase production to 500.

Banks were uninterested in a 150 kilowatt project, according to Northeast Community Solar president Gene Bertsche. The estimated project cost rises from $750,000 to $1.3 million. The enlarged project places about 2,000 solar panels on 4.5 acres of a 9-acre property on Route 30, barely south of the Wells town line.

MIDDLETOWN SPRINGS-The school board trimmed about $4,000 from the proposed school budget and is ready to submit the revised budget to voters. ­The re-worked budget is 3 percent above the current budget of $1,936,623, or $1,994,899, for fiscal year 2013-14. That may not be enough. At the March town meeting, Middletown Springs voters turned down a budget that was only 3.4 percent above this year's... The initial budget failed by only four votes.

The town school educates 77 pupils from preschool through sixth grade; its health insurance costs were expected to rise 14 percent, although it now appears they will be up only 10 percent.

Voters will vote on the new budget on Tuesday, April 30, at the town Fire House following an April 29 informational meeting at the town elementary school.

MIDDLETOWN SPRINGS-The federal government has officially given non-profit (501[c]3) status to the Friends of the Middletown Springs Public Library. As a charitable organization, it can now accept tax deductible financial contributions, donations or endowments. The town library benefits from all contributions to the Friends.

CASTLETON- Elementary teacher Martha Clifford's class has been participating in the Big Change Round Up, raising money for Vermont Children's Hospital from Feb. 15 to March 5. The group exceeded its $700 goal, raising $844. Congratulations!

FAIR HAVEN-Fair Haven High has a new drama coach, Ms. Michele Perry. Students met for the first time on March 20.
FHGS band students recently joined their district peers to put together an evening concert at Fair Haven Union High School.

David Gringeri of West Haven recently finished number five in the teen division of the state 4-H Horse Quiz Bowl, earning the right to compete at the New England Regional 4-H Horse Contests in New Hampshire in October. Other local 4-Hers who made high scores include Catherine Thrasher of Rupert, in the 12- and 13-year-old division.

Tagged: News Briefs, Lakes Region