News Briefs

News Briefs: Lakes Region

by Lani Duke

Paul’s Pizza down, not out

A Valentine’s Day evening fire severely damaged the community icon Paul’s Pizza on Route 4A in Hydeville, flaring up about 10 p.m., just after workers had left after closing. In addition to Castleton’s fire department, other responders at the scene included Fair Haven and Poultney fire crews, Castleton Police, VTrans, Regional Ambulance Service, and Green Mountain Power. The blaze took about three hours to extinguish.

What the fire didn’t destroy may well have been ruined by the weather and water combined. Water from the fire hoses turned to ice in -10 temperatures, frosting the walls and ground.

Paul Wiskoski opened the restaurant in 1991. Family members have continued to run it since that time.

On Feb. 17, Alaina Wiskoski promised the community the family’s view is that Paul’s Pizza is still standing even though the building is gone. They plan to rebuild, whether in that location or not.

Hopes for a speedy insurance response, however, were dampened by today’s electronic world. On the weekend the claims were supposed to be handled by a Philippine call center, which sent the fire report to the wrong insurance company. An insurance examiner was delayed by bad weather.

The family and community are determined that these small glitches will not get in their way of restoring the business.

Local leaders await vote

TINMOUTH —Tinmouth voters will choose one of three candidates for a single Select Board seat on March 1. Amanda Buffum Gill and Fran Sears both hope to replace incumbent Gregg Casey.

The 67-year-0ld Casey is completing his first term on the Board. He and his wife Tina own the Tinmouth Snack Bar. His Casey Environmental Consulting specializes in water and wastewater environmental issues. Casey promotes a cost management approach for the town to keep taxes as level as possible and worries about the changes that may face the town as a result of Hollis Squier’s retirement.

Gill has considered running for Select Board for years, following in the footsteps of her grandfather Cecil, who served on the board for 17 years. The 36-year-old is a draftsman at Vermont Store Fixture as well as a programmer.

Frank Sears, 60, returned to Vermont a year ago after 40 years working for the Air Force and oil industry in Alaska. On his return, he acquired Phil’s Mill sawmill in Wells.

Sears and Gill agree that they approve of the direction the current select board has been taking.

FAIR HAVEN—Fair Haven select board incumbents Sean Galvin and Dick Frazier face former Board chair Chris Cole in the March 1 balloting. Assistant chief of the state Department of Military 158 Fire Wing and part-time Fair Haven Police patrol officer Sean Galvin, 51, has proposed tax stabilization adjustment for property taxes if residents have made home improvements and intend to continue them in the upcoming year but found that Act 60 prohibits such tax amelioration.

If elected, he hopes to work with local state representative Robert Helm (R-Castleton) to introduce a bill for this kind of tax relief; he also intends to advocate working with surrounding towns in bulk purchasing common needs like salt and sand for lower prices.

Tax accountant Richard Frazier, 69, wants to find a way to reduce taxes and help Fair Haven control expenses. He has been donating his time on various Fair Haven boards and committees for more than 30 years: town auditor, lister, library trustee, justice of the peace, and member of the Board of Civil Authority.

Frazier is proud of the alternative water rate plan he submitted to help residents save money while encouraging repairs. He wants to help bring more business to town and dispel the image of Fair Haven as a bedroom community.

Chris Cole, 37, has previously served four years on the Select Board; for three of those years, he chaired the group. Technology coordinator for the Addison-Rutland Supervisory Union, Cole foresees the next few years as being full of town improvements: updated town plan, water and sewer upgrades, hydroelectric dam, sidewalk upgrades, and New England Clean Power Link that was recently permitted.

If elected, he also wants to look at making working partnerships with organizations that help bring needed job opportunities to Fair Haven. He also wants to revitalize the recreation committee to program activities for the town’s children.

Sean Galvin is also running for re-election as second constable, opposed by Shane Carvey.

MIDDLETOWN SPRINGS —Two Select Board seats — one for a three-year seat, the other for a two-year position—are open in Middletown Springs. Neither Michael Lawson nor Shirley Moyer filed to run for a return to their seat.

Contesting for the three-year seat are Patty Kenyon and Carl Haynes. Currently a member of the town Building Committee, Kenyon has served for six years on the School Board and was a member of the Historical Society Board. The 55-year-old supports the town’s building a new town office, especially one with a town library and meeting space. If elected, she hopes to increase and improve the information flow between residents and the town.

Haynes, a former board chair and current president of the town’s First Response team, says his most pressing concern is the town’s taxes. Building a new town office requires an agreed-on design, the 54-year-old says. Concern is also beginning to grow in the community about the reliability of its septic system, Haynes said.

Raymond Lamberton, 52, and Chris Fenton, 54, are vying for the two-year seat. Lamberton is a current town and school moderator as well as a formerSelectman. He said no specific issue or campaign drove him to run. His last SelectBoard service was more than ten years ago, but he still knows what is needed to fulfill the job’s requirements.

Fenton also has community board experience, having previously served on the Poultney School Board.

After spending his childhood in Middletown Springs, he moved away, returning eight years ago. He enthusiastically supports the building of a new town office, citing the need for larger secure record storage space.

Voting times and locations

There is quite a bit of variability in voting practices from one town to the next, although all will conduct their actual voting on the first Tuesday in March 1.

In Castleton, voters gather in the science center at Castleton University at 7 p.m. to act on articles 1 through 5. They vote on articles 6 through 55 the following day by Australian ballot from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. at American Legion Crippen Fellows Post 50, on Route 4A in Bomoseen.

Fair Haven voters meet informally to learn about the budget, special articles, and candidates for town officers at American Legion Post 49 , 79 Main St., on Monday, February 29, at 7 p.m. Voting by  Australian ballot for town officers, budget, and special articles takes place the following day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

In Middletown Springs, voters gather for their informational meeting on school and town issues at 7:30 in the town’s elementary school. Polling opens at the Firehouse at 7 a.m. the following morning, closing at 7 p.m.

Pawlet residents gather for their informational meeting at Mettawee Community School, 5788 Vt. 153, at 7:30 p.m. Australian balloting takes place in the conference room at the Town Hall from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Poultney residents meet for a Monday informational session at Poultney High, 154 E. Main Street, at 7 p.m. Voting is 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday at the Poultney Fire Department.

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