By Lani Duke
Castleton College partners with Paramount Theatre
CASTLETON — Castleton College recently announced a growing partnership with Rutland’s Paramount Theatre, aimed at expanding arts and cultural offerings for students and the community. Two Soundings events showcased in the Paramount this fall mark the first-ever collaborative programming events, a partnership more than seven years in the making.
The first, The Hungry Heart, drew more than 600 attendees, with more than 200 of them coming from the college. The second was Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo. The high level of support coming from the student body has encouraged new Castleton Fine Arts Center director Rich Cowden to plan at least one Soundings event each semester at the Rutland theatre.
Cowden and Paramount Theatre executive director Bruce Bouchard are also planning an eight-month initiative around the 2016 election, that will include performances, lectures, concerts, and debates. Cowden describes “Project 240: The American Experiment” as having “a particular eye towards exploring the 240 years of the political history of the United States.” This project is only one of a number of new Castleton initiatives that are part of the school’s ten-year strategic plan Castleton on the Move.
Ban violates rights
BENSON — Federal judge J. Garvan Murtha ruled recently that school officials violated Marcel Cyr’s rights when they banned him from attending meetings or entering schools in the Addison Rutland Supervisory Union. Murtha’s decision spanned 30 pages, saying that it is in the interest of government to protect school staff but that banning an individual from open school board meetings does not allow sufficient alternative communication methods.
Cyr first began attending school board meetings early in 2011, saying he was concerned about the education his son was receiving at Benson Village School. By the time the following school year was beginning, Cyr’s concerns seemed to grow broader. Both he and his wife had protested outside with school building and handed out fliers bearing their grievances. he first no-trespass order was issued in September 2011.
That first no-trespass warning was lifted with part of the agreement that Burlington psychologist Dr. Nancy Cotton would evaluate Cyr; oddly enough, Cotton’s specialty field is delayed development including autism, which seems to be the diagnosis for Cyr’s son. Although Cyr apparently uttered no verbal threats against the school staff or board and the psychologist hired to assess Cyr did not interview him, Cotton told the school she was concerned that the man showed “escalating patterns of behavior.”
The supervisory union issued another no-trespass order after Cotton’s report, but the notice he received failed to tell Cyr why. Nor did it until a Rutland civil court judge ordered a public release of Cotton’s letter.
Judge Murtha has yet to set monetary damages.
New fire station breaks ground
CASTLETON — The ground is finally broken for the new fire station in Castleton, next to the Castleton Family Health Center on Route 30. Voters approved a $1.5 million budget for the project in a July town meeting.
Response time will be three to five minutes less for 95 percent of the town, according to official estimates. The new station will be about one and one half times the square footage of the current station on Castleton’s Elm Street with more room for trucks to get in and out with bays that are 14 feet wide, firefighters can change to answer a call in a separate equipment and gear room. The town’s first response team will also have a separate office in the building. The team has no office at all now.
Other pluses abound: Most of the work is being performed by local contractors. The new station is one-story, so it’s handicapped accessible.
GMC’s “quilt trail”
POULTNEY — Poultney now boasts a “quilt trail,” composed of 2’x2’ or 4’x4’ squares of plywood painted like quilt blocks and mounted on homes and businesses between Poultney and East Poultney. Thank local artists, GMC summer artist-in-residence Jason Jansen, property owners, and the Hills and Hollows Fund of the Vermont Community Foundation, which provided the $5000 grant for the project. Also thanks to students in the GMC Renewable Energy and Ecological Design program and Bill Ballard, the college’s facilities director for DTZ services, who worked together to install the artwork. Plans call for the quilt blocks to be up for at least a year.
Pink hair raises awareness
Fair Haven Union High freshmen began the month of October by streaking students’ (and maybe teachers’) hair with pink to raise money for the Making Strides against Breast Cancer effort and for the Class of 2018. Each $5 donation was split with $2 for the breast cancer fund and $3 to the class fund.
Lani’s weekly picks:
Saturday, Oct. 11 – Poultney holds a town wide yard sale. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine.
Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 11 and 12 – Benson Volunteer Fire Department hosts its annual Haunted Hayride. The department’s largest single fundraiser attracts more than 1,500 people for the hour-long rides. Depart from the Benson Town Offices, 7-10 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 14 — Castleton Free Library offers the second in a six-session discussion series on sustainable food systems called Menu for the Future. 7 p.m.