On April 13, 2016

Lakes Region News Briefs

by Lani Dukes

Castleton police in new digs

The Castleton Police Department is delighted to be moving into its new offices next door to the town fire station on Route 30. Police Chief Peter Mantello said the new station gives officers a sense of worth, setting a professional public safety atmosphere.

Officers will have a better place to store evidence, an entire room instead of a filing cabinet in the chief’s office. It has a more private space in which to conduct police interviews, a holding cell, and a processing area.

Select Board Chair Joseph Bruno described the project as “on time, on budget and no surprises.” He believes the community will be well surprised at what has been added to the community for less than $300,000.

Numerous components of the community have had a hand in the project. Camara Slate Products donated slate tiles. Furniture came from Green Mountain Power. Castleton University supplied refurbished computers and security cameras.

Fair Haven bomb threat

Authorities evacuated Fair Haven Grade School April 7 after receiving a telephoned-in bomb threat. Police Chief William Humphries said the students were moved to predesignated areas outside the school while police and school officials searched the building thoroughly room by room and locker by locker.

Vermont State Trooper Steven Gelder and K-9 Nacoma, trained in explosives detection, conducted a second search.

Officials planned to open for regular classes the following day but using extra security measures. The incident remains under investigation. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 265-4531.

Castleton classes, CCV rates

This fall, Community College of Vermont graduates may attend Castleton University while paying the same tuition as they would at CCV. CCV graduates enrolling full time in fall or spring semester automatically qualify for the reduced tuition, but must maintain continuous enrollment at Castleton and a minimum 2.5 GPA to keep the renewable scholarship.

Forty-eight percent of CCV students continue education beyond an associate degree, CV President Joyce Judy noted. The Transfer Success Scholarship program makes a four-year degree far more affordable.

CCV’s tuition rate for the 2016-2017 academic year is $253 per credit; a full-time student with a 24-credit course load would incur a $6,072 total tuition bill, or $4,176 less than the Castleton standard price.

Proposing Castleton dance hall

The Bridge Initiative formed last summer to build bonds of good will among Castleton residents and the university’s students, faculty, and staff using “innovative joint ventures—such as a common dance hall,” Martha Molnar said as she explained that pulling together a “dance hall where the Castleton and Castleton University communities could get together for some rousing fun during the winter.”

The Bridge Initiative already has some success, she observes. Many more local residents are attending events on the campus and have helped to organize host families for Chinese students who spent last semester on the campus. She urges others who want to become involved with the group to e-mail her at marthalmolnar@gmail.com to receive an invitation to the next monthly meeting.

Summer work to stop lake invaders

The State of Vermont Watershed Management Division of Lakes and Ponds Program has funded greeter manager and greeters positions for the summer at Lake Bomoseen. Greeters teach lake recreationists to understand and identify the invasive species that may enter and harm the lake.

Bob Franzoni of the Lake Bomoseen Association is accepting letters of interest; interviews are April 30 at the Hubbardton Town Hall, 9:30-11 a.m. A mandatory training workshop for all greeters and manager is May 7 at Castleton Community center, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Those interested in applying may e-mail Franzoni at bobf@lakebomoseenassociation.org.

Pawlet notes

The Historic Preservation Trust suggested that Pawlet Town Hall restoration be reconfigured so that ceiling work took place before other aspects of the project. Elizabeth Gibson will apply for a grant in October to patch the ceiling and restore its stenciling, and a second grant in spring 2017 for light fixtures and window treatments. Both grants are a 1:1 match.

Mild weather this past winter enabled Pawlet to be extremely frugal with its road salt use. The town used only about one-third of its average three tons per winter.

Ed Cleveland, Eric Mach and Keith Mason represented Pawlet for a River Conservancy meeting with Danby individuals, in an effort to develop cooperation to reduce Flower Brook flooding. The Poultney Mettowee Natural Resources Conservation District, has helped the town identify multiple projects in the town center that may decrease overland storm water flow into Flower Brook. Stone Engineering is helping the village to rank the identified projects for implementation. Public meetings will enable area residents to review potential project ideas.

Pawlet is applying for Village Center designation, with an early May submission and likely approval in late May. Designated villages receive funds for grants and facade improvements.

Fair Haven concert series

Onion River Jazz Band delivers Dixieland in the opening Fair Haven Concerts in the Park series June 16. The 7 p.m. Thursday concerts continue for 10 weeks through Aug. 18.

Organizers encourage bringing a supper to eat at the picnic tables. Included in the planning are five ice cream nights. Sponsor locations will have full schedules in May.

Water wiggles

Last August, the Poultney Mettowee Natural Resources Conservation District contracted with the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation to complete stormwater planning activities. Of concern are the large quantities of sediment at the mouth of Sucker Brook in Lake Bomoseen. The Lake Bomoseen Water Quality Committee is working to identify and mitigate sources of the sediment.

Middletown Springs is applying for funds to design a green stormwater project for the town green, working with the Historical Society, Volunteer Fire Department, and Community Church. Each building contributes to run off, as does a town storage area, which creates flooding and “other issues” for historic building foundations. One proposed solution is an infiltration garden in the green. Public meetings are gathering local input.
A pre-bid meeting at the Castleton Float Bridge Road causeway at 10 a.m. April 25 will cover improvements to the eastern part of the causeway. The project includes the installation of 24- to 36-inch blast rock slopes adjacent to the gabion walls supporting the causeway. Electronic copies of bid documents, plans and technical specifications are available online at www.castletonvermont.org.  Bids are due on or before 3:30 p.m. May 6 at Town of Castleton – Mark S. Shea, Town Manager – P.O. Box 727,  Castleton, VT 05735 on or before 3:30 p.m. on May 6, 2016, or by e-mail at manager@castletonvt.org.

Spring Break for Humanity

Eighteen Castleton Habitat Club students spend their spring break in Winston-Salem, N.C., on a number of service projects. They worked in a Salvation Army and a Samaritan Mission soup kitchen, before building a new front porch for a retired firefighter and Navy veteran, and revitalizing the Forsyth County Habitat Volunteer Lodge.

Fair Haven Rite Aid

Steven and Tammy Howard of Castleton and Acquisition Holdings of Hartford, Conn., have filed an Act 250 application to build an 11,115-square-foot Rite Aid to replace the one at the Shaw’s shopping center. With parking planned for 55 cars, it would build on a site approved for a slightly smaller Rite Aid in 2000.

The 70 Washington Street site was then owned by Robert and Joan VanGuilder. The application was for an 11,060-square-foot structure.

The new permit application is expected to be approved on or before April 19, with no hearing scheduled. The land is already zoned commercial, Select Board Chairman Bob Richards said. Approved already by the Zoning Board of Adjustment in January for two driveways, the project bears the ZBA condition that pharmacy deliveries not use the Airport Road access.

A traffic impact study anticipates the new pharmacy would generate 550 new vehicle trips a day, 60 of them during peak hours.

Rite Aid is expected to be enfolded into Walgreens in the second half of 2016. Shareholders approved the sale in February, and federal regulators are reviewing the transfer.

There are 37 Rite Aid stores in Vermont, three of which are in Rutland County.

Library fund raising

Poultney Public Library is raffling a 7-speed 18” Jamis Commuter 1 bicycle, donated by Johnson & Son Bikeworks of Hampton, N.Y. The winner will also receive a year of free maintenance on the bike. Ticket sales continue through April 30.

Maple Promo

Poultney-area sugarmakers were among the 60+ Vermont sugarhouses taking part in Maple Open House Weekend. Local participants included  Green’s Sugarhouse on Finnel Hollow Road, Poultney; Cuttin’ It Sweet in Hubbardton; Wood Family Sugarhouse in Poultney;  Mahar Maple Farm in Middletown Springs; and K & S Ruane Maple Sugar Farm in Tinmouth.

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