News Briefs

Lakes Region News Briefs

Hissss for rattlesnake studies

FAIR HAVEN—The Timber Rattlesnake Conservation Council has asked the Vermont Department of Fish and Wildlife for a moratorium on “invasive” studies of rattlesnakes. VF&W’s official figures show a population of only a few hundred living in western Rutland County, thought to live primarily in the Rattlesnake Ridge area of Fair Haven, with some enjoying the sun in nearby slate slag heaps.

Catch-and-release studies that track snake movements with radio frequency identification tags should stop, the group said, in a letter written by Skidmore College biology professor emeritus William Brown. However, the study was completed and all RFID tags have been removed, VF&W wildlife biologist Doug Blodgett countered, who also noted that the state is now only engaged in “routine monitoring” by visiting key sites, observing the animals, and documenting their behavior.

Green Mountain College research studies ticks and Lyme disease

POULTNEY—Green Mountain College biology prof Bill Landesman is in the third year of a $75,000 grant for tick research, funded by the Vermont Genetics Network. The study is an attempt to understand how the risk of acquiring Lyme disease varies from place to place, Landesman explained in an interview aired on WCAX. Last summer, his students collected ticks near the campus, tracked population size, and used DNA analysis to find the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi, the cause of the debilitating disease.

Castleton U proxy search committee named

CASTLETON—Castleton University trustees have named a 13-member presidential search committee, hoping to find a successor to President David Wolk by Oct. 1. After leading the school for 16 years, Wolk intends to retire in December.

Search committee members are Chair Tim Jerman, J. Churchill Hindes, Martha O’Connor, Aly Richards, Helen Mango, Andre Fleche, Kim Carey, Billie Langlois, Gayle Malinowski, Scott Dikeman, Mariah O’Hara, Cecelia Hunt, and Vermont State Colleges Chancellor Jeb Spaulding.

The committee plans the search to be national in scope.

Spaulding said the committee is looking for someone with “a compelling vision, strong leadership and management skills, and an appreciation of the Castleton Way.”

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