On June 8, 2017

Lakes Region News Briefs

Rupert selling town forest

RUPERT—The Town of Rupert is selling its 72-acre town forest, a property bordering New York state at the end of Ike Wright Trail/Road. Voters approved the sale at the 2017 Town Meeting.

Select Board Chair Mark Lourie said the town has owned the parcel since the 1950s and logged it about a year ago. Timber sales, however, brought in less than the expected tax revenues the town would have received if the property were back on the tax rolls. Sale of the land for the expected $100,000 would provide funds to put a new roof on the town hall and have some restoration work done.

It is very seldom used for any purpose other than hunting, he observed. People who want to hike can easily access the 3,100-acre non-profit Merck Forest and Farm Center at no charge, Lourie noted. The town also encompasses 468 acres of the Green Mountain National Forest and the 332-acre Rupert State Forest.

New firehouse yields more firefighters

CASTLETON—The number of firefighters in Castleton has increased with the completion of the new firehouse, Richard Combs told James Leamy during the Select Board’s May 22 meeting. Membership is about 31. The department is now underbudgeted, and the Select Board is searching for funds.

The Rotary Club has given Castleton $2,000 for the new town office clock, Town Manager Mark Shea told the Select Board. The town has approval for numerous grants that will improve its roads. Among them are an $8,000 grant for a townwide erosion and culvert inventory; $40,000 for work on Cedar Mountain Road; $40,000 for Barker Hill Road; and $18,000 in a town highway structures grant to finalize engineering on the west side of the float bridge. The town has also received extra funds to complete a FEMA-required culvert on Pond Hill Road.

Fair Haven considers water issues, Village Center

FAIR HAVEN—The Poultney-Mettowee Natural Resources Conservation District is working with the Rutland Regional Planning Commission, Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation, and other partners to study how storm water affects the Lake Bomoseen watershed, Hilary Solomon and Beth Miller told the Fair Haven Select Board May 23. With funding from the High Meadows Fund, the partnership would design a language guide and checklist to help towns develop water quality and flood resiliency action plans. They asked the Select Board for a letter of support if Fair Haven will commit to taking part.

Fair Haven Town Manager Jonas Rosenthal and waste water treatment plant Chief Operator Peter Laramie are planning to meet with the Green Mountain Water Environmental Association’s directors to ask that the organization work with Stafford Technical Center on developing curricula for water and waste water certification programming.

The town is also working on a revised application for Village Center designation. Several businesses have benefitted from tax credits as a result of the designation. In addition to business benefits, the program may cover benches, lights, crosswalks and other amenities. The community needs a downtown revitalization committee. A municipal planning grant could finance a downtown plan to cover sidewalks, transportation, lighting, and signage.

Food donations via mail

FAIR HAVEN—Fair Haven Concerned is one of the organizations benefitting from the 25th annual U.S. Postal Service letter carriers’ food drive held May 13. The food shelf in Poultney also received some of these donations. In all, local food shelves and distributors across Rutland County received more than 24,000 pounds of food from the drive.

Four-year, full ride scholarship at GMC

CASTLETON—Green Mountain College has awarded its First in Sustainability Scholarship award, an all-expenses-paid four-year scholarship, to Jessica Casey of St. Albans, in response to her essay on phosphorus contamination in St. Albans Bay of Lake Champlain. The essay discusses the effects of pollution on people, animals, and marine life, and how she can use a Green Mountain education to develop solutions.

The scholarship contest was created by public relations firm Warner Communications of Manchester-by-the-Sea, Mass., a company that began working with GMC last fall to spotlight the combination of inspiration and practical education that the college gives its students.

Sentence announced in 2014 accident

CASTLETON—Rutland Criminal Court Judge Cortland Corsones sentenced John G. Fairbanks III on May 30 to five years of probation for his role in the November 2014 vehicular accident that killed Stephanie Briggs, 23. Fairbanks said that he was sorry for his girlfriend’s death, but has not admitted whether he was driving the vehicle that crashed on Route 30 in Castleton, as reported in VTDigger.

Having pled no contest to the felony gross negligence in operating a motor vehicle resulting in a death, Fairbanks may yet receive 15 years in jail, the maximum penalty for the offense, if he violates the terms of his probation. Among the terms with which he must comply are staying out of any business primarily dependent on its alcohol-serving beverage trade, having his urine tested, taking part in substance abuse treatment if screening indicates it is necessary, and completing 50 hours of community service. If Fairbanks successfully completes probation, the charge is removed from his record.

Fairbanks also received a six-month to one-year sentence on the misdemeanor charge resulting from the same accident, to be served in home confinement.

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