Lakes Region

By: Lani Duke

Applause and commendations are due
Fair Haven Fitness Powerlifting Team competed at Cummington Fair in Cummington, Mass.
Jamie and Meghan Matta were honored with the Richard Gould Memorial Sportsmanship Award after he won first place in the men’s underhand chop, she came in third in the women’s chop, and together they placed fourth in Jack & Jill. Jamie and Brad Stevens placed third in the log roll competition.
Green Mountain College was recently ranked third in the nation among the most environmentally responsible “green “ colleges by the Princeton Review. GMC is one of 21 colleges and universities in the country to receive a score of 99, the highest possible total green rating.
The Castleton Community Seniors recently welcomed Sue DeCarolis to the CCSI board of directors. A retired educator, she is on the steering committee of Friends of the Castleton Free Library and active in the Castleton Woman’s Club and numerous activities at the Castleton Community Center.
Another nonnative species invades Vermont waters
CASTLETON—Boaters have found a new invasive, nonnative species in an isolated portion of southwestern Lake Bomoseen. The Asian clam (Corbicula fluminea) is also known as Asiatic clam, golden clam, and good luck clam. It is a small, light-colored bivalve, which may appear straw yellow, yellow-green to light brown on its outer surface (periostracum); its inner surface (nacre) varies from white to light blue or light purple. Its size is less than 2 inches (50 mm) across.
Although it seems small, once it starts growing in a new environment, the Asian clam can deplete native species resources. Its dense populations may clog water intake pipes, too. Officials are concerned that it may spread to other bodies of water on boats or fishing gear. Research indicates it has  spread throughout most of the U.S. in bait buckets, hidden among imported aquaculture species accidentally, and intentional introduction by people who use them as a commercial food item. It may also spread passively through water currents.
Authorities blame it for biofouling complex plant and industrial water systems, as well as irrigation canals and pipes and drinking water supplies. It’s caused nuclear reactors to be closed down so it can be removed from the cooling systems.
To avoid spreading it, boats, trailers, motors, and other equipment should be rinsed clean when moving between water bodies. Mud, plants, and animals should be discarded where they will not be washed into any water body. All water should be drained from boats, engines, and other equipment where the drainage doesn’t go into water. Anything that has been in contact with the water should be dried thoroughly.
Act 46 impacts Poultney, Middletown Springs, Wells, and Ira
Geography does not determine destiny, not when you talk about school districts and Vermont’s Act 46. Districts that consolidate under that piece of 2015 legislation must merge only with districts that have the same configuration, offering the same path through their respective school classes. In other words, schools operating under a pre-k through grade 12 structure may merge only with schools that also operate under a pre-k through grade 12 framework, explained Joan Paustian, superintendent of the Rutland Southwest Supervisory Union, an organization that seemingly had no trouble overseeing these four “different” schools and Tinmouth. Paustian said that Tinmouth Elementary had already voted to merge with Clarendon, Shrewsbury, and Wallingford. The remaining RSWSU school districts—Poultney, Middletown Springs, Wells, and Ira—each have a structure dissimilar from their former district mates. Paustian explained their dilemmas. All four combined have a total of 713 school-age children. Each school’s study committee is part of a different study group in the attempt to form new consolidated districts.
The Poultney study committee is working with the West Rutland and Proctor school districts with plans for a new district in which the schools would all be pre-k through grade 12, tentatively to be named the Quarry Valley School District. Community forums in all three towns are scheduled to meet soon so that residents may receive information, answer questions, and take input.
The Wells study committee is working with Pawlet and Rupert to create a regional educational district that would include Mettawee Community School. Pawlet and Rupert currently offer a pre-k through grade 6 curriculum, with students attending a designated high school in New York state.
Not all Wells residents find that a satisfactory model. Many Wells students attend high school in Poultney. A number of parents want choice of where their students attend. The three school districts cap what they pay for students attending other schools at different rates. The Wells, Rupert, Pawlet study committee planned a Sept. 1 community forum to discuss the possibilities open to them, including choice versus designation.
Middletown Springs is also pre-k through grade 6 with secondary school choice. It has attempted to merge with seven other pre-k through grade 6 districts that, similarly, have secondary school choice. But each of the seven is in a formal Act 46 study with other schools and therefore precluded from considering a merger with Middletown Springs at this time. There are financial consequences if Middletown Springs fails to merge.
Middletown Springs has entered, informally, a study group with Rutland Town. But their structures are dissimilar. Middletown Springs is pre-k through grade 6 with choice for grades 7 through 12 but Rutland Town is pre-k through grade 8 with choice for grades 9 through 12. Rutland Town is a formal member of the study committee that includes Poultney, West Rutland, and Proctor; Middletown Springs is currently an informal member of that group.
Middletown Springs has also entered into an informal study with Wells, but cannot take any action while Wells is a formal member of another group with Pawlet and Rupert. The Middletown Springs School Board must decide something soon because Act 46 deadlines are rapidly bulldozing away remaining options. The Middletown Springs board plans a community forum on Sept. 8 to discuss the possibilities that still remain open for the school and to gather residents’ input, especially about what may work best for students and what the tax implications are.
The Ira board is writing a self-study, asking for approval that the town continue the way it has been. It has no school of its own; its school board meets only once every other month. All of its 50 students, pre-k through grade 12, are “tuitioned” to other school districts. One of the options suggested to the Ira district is that it merge with Sandgate, a town with 46 students, which is also pre-K through grade 12 choice. Anyone traveling between the towns of Ira and Sandgate must cross at least four other towns to do so.

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