On December 14, 2016

Lakes Region – News Briefs

County students demonstrate community spirit
Ella Patterson, PJ Cummings, and Sophia Rampone are representing Fair Haven Union H.S. in the inaugural Castleton University High School Art Festival. Each student has three works of art in the show, on display now through Dec. 19 at the Christine Price Gallery, located in the lobby of the Fine Arts Center, 45 Alumni Drive, Castleton. The building is open Monday through Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
A Fair Haven Union H.S. rock climbing group is looking for members. Organizers are teachers Joel Beste and Keith Williams.
Fair Haven Union H.S. horticulture students are selling handcrafted holiday wreaths, available in a variety of sizes, color schemes. and décor options. Available wreaths are on display at the school and on line at the FHUHS horticulture holiday wreath sale event page on Facebook. All proceeds support the horticulture program.
LiHigh alternative school students in Poultney are piloting a new course in outdoor leadership and survival skills. They are learning about sustainability, resource management, and how to understand and use the ecosystem in healthy ways, as they identify which plants, flowers, trees, and animals can be used for food, medicine, and tools.
Benson Village School second- and third-graders have finished a unit on habitats and are beginning to learn about landforms and maps. In English Language Arts, students will venture into learning about the Great Plains as they study the westward expansion and pioneer and cowboy life. Benson students are also discussing the differences between fables, fairy tales, and tall tales. As they write, students are learning to think of paragraph components as a “hamburger.” The top bun is the topic sentence; the lettuce, cheese, tomatoes, and meat are details that support the topic; the bottom bun is their conclusion.
Pawlet discusses changing bylaws
PAWLET—As Zoning Administrator and Planning Commission Chairman Eric Mach officiated at a public hearing Nov. 28 on proposed zoning bylaw changes, his audience was full of questions. They wanted to know if taxes would increase as a result, whether there would be an effect on property values, and whether a junkyard would be an acceptable use. Mach assured the attendees that zoning changes should have no effect on taxes (based on his conversation with the listers) and that he doubts the changes would affect property values.
The area drawing the greatest concern is a long, narrow strip of land along the Granville/West Pawlet border that may change zoning from agricultural/rural residential to industrial. In designating the area under discussion as industrial, the commission is trying to free up land to promote growth, and the properties already include a quarry, Baierlein observed. One audience member objected, describing the hollow as a pond, not a quarry. Melissa LaCount moved that zoning on the land on Pawlet’s western edge remain unchanged. Harry Van Meter seconded the motion, which carried unanimously.
Regulations regarding flood hazard areas and river corridors are now combined in one section; they previously were separate. Pawlet Development Review Board member John Weiss admitted that some of the language sounds obscure (e.g., “fluvial geomorphic equilibrium”), particularly from the perspective of a landowner who wants to make changes along the river. He also commented that the expense to a homeowner of doing a formal study of the flood hazard area would be prohibitive.
Weiss said he needs guidance on how the DRB should interpret the rules in Section B on variances, asking whether the language mandates that the DRB has to interpret the ANR’s rulings. Barbara Noyes-Pulling explained the ANR’s role as that of presenting a second opinion, with decisions ultimately left up to DRB. Weiss pointed out that Section B prohibits any variance from increasing flood heights and he questioned how that may be determined. He asked whether the language may be changed to allow the DRB some discretion in the decision-making process. Very few variances will be allowed in the flood hazard area, Noyes-Pulling remarked, but the DRB can contact the state flood plain manager in Rutland for guidance on specific issues.
LaCount moved to send the recommendations for the new unified bylaws to the Select Board; Van Meter seconded. The motion passed unanimously.
Town Manager Durfee projects early budget costs
FAIR HAVEN—The town of Fair Haven must have the underground fuel tank at the Highway Department dug up by September of 2017, Town Manager Herb Durfee told the Select Board at its Nov. 29 meeting. He projects the town will need to include about $3,000 for the removal in the budget it asks voters to approve in March. Another budget inclusion is that of $100 requested by the Vermont Fire Protection Task Force (which covers dry hydrants). It could be either an appropriation requiring a petition or be included as part of the Fair Haven Fire department budget. Durfee anticipated that Rutland County will require a level fund amount of $12,303, based on the current Equalized Education Grand List of $1,545,600 and an expected county tax rate of $0.00796.
Community involvement provides food
POULTNEY—Green Mountain College students, faculty, and staff worked with the community of Poultney in the highly successful Stuff-A-Bus campaign. This is the second year for the Food Shelf campaign in Poultney, organized by Green Mountain’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and its president, Cameron Book. The bus that was stuffed is Book’s own blue vintage 1972 Volkswagen bus, which was parked outside Shaw’s supermarket in Poultney. In two days, contributors packed more than 300 non-perishable food items and 320 pounds of food into the bus. The Food Shelf recently served 74 families a complete Thanksgiving dinner that included a turkey. Donations from the community are replenishing the Food Shelf’s supplies in time for Christmas.

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