By: Lani Duke
Farewell, Jonas Rosenthal
POULTNEY—Poultney town and village manager Jonas Rosenthal has announced his plans to retire in September, after 31 years of serving the 1,579 residents of the rural community. In addition to filling the town manager post since 1985 and the village manager role since 1996, Rosenthal has also acted as zoning administrator, recreation director, traffic director, and more.
Those who work with him are grateful for his seemingly endless string of accomplishments, including the grant-funded projects that have improved the town on Vermont’s western border. Among his credits are the reclamation and conversion of the Stonebridge Inn, new sidewalks, pedestrian lighting, water treatment, and Main Street enhancement.
Although retirement is on the horizon, Rosenthal hasn’t slowed his constant effort on behalf of the town. He currently is applying for grants and planning projects that will give his successor a strong head of steam to work with. Rosenthal is also running for the state legislature, hoping to represent the Rutland-Bennington district from his home in Wells.
Resident creates “Champ” to mark stuck log
BENSON—The proverb says, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” When Lake Champlain produced a stuck log at Benson Landing, Mike Andronaco made a “Champ” buoy, with red eyes and tail lights to keep boats from hitting the log after dark. Andronaco expects the marker will continue warning boaters to beware of itself throughout the summer unless the forces of nature move it away.
Obstructions that present potential boating hazards in the lake may exist for a long time in a legal no-man’s land. There is no clear delineation on which agency is responsible for removing a potential obstruction. It could be the Coast Guard, which apparently bases its intervention on whether an obstruction is natural or man-made, whether it is moving or stationary, and whether it is in a navigable channel. The log right now is staying put but changing position a little depending on the wind.
Local history is afoot in Castleton
CASTLETON—Thanks to the efforts of 18-year-old Charlie Cacciatore, a historical marker will commemorate the 35 years that Castleton sported its own slate pencil manufacturing industry. At the intersection of North and Pencil Mill roads, the marker is the result of about 18 months of preparation and applying with the Vermont Division of Historic Preservation while also readying himself for college.
The new sign outlines the story of Castleton’s slate pencil manufacture, 1843 to 1878. The slate pencils produced here were shipped across the U.S. and even around the world. Cacciatore compares the pencil mill’s history to that of America: immigration, industrialization, success and failure.
The marker is the sixth roadside sign erected in Castleton by the Division. Others name Castleton as the site of the state’s first college; the boyhood home of Edwin Drake, who drilled the first oil well in the U.S.; Revolutionary War Fort Warren; portrait and landscape painter James Hope; and Castleton Medical College’s “Old Chapel.”
Castleton Historical Society trustees Bill Woods and Tom Hughes represented Castleton at the recent History Expo in Tunbridge. The theme of Expo this year was water or water-related. Woods built the exhibit illustrating water-powered industries in Castleton through time; Hughes greeted and oriented exhibit visitors throughout the weekend.
Summer construction news
CASTLETON—The Town of Castleton issued an Invitation to Bid June 22, asking for sealed bids on the new town office to be built on Route 30 North in Castleton. Bids are due July 8 and are to cover both new building construction and associated sitework.
PAWLET–Tadmer Road in Pawlet is scheduled to be closed to through traffic July 3 through July 15. The town highway crew will be working on the road during that time.
Cones Point General Store reopened, expanding
POULTNEY—Rosie and Christopher Beckmann recently opened a refurbished and expanded Cones Point General Store in Poultney. They purchased the store at 3816 Route 30 South, about four miles from Poultney’s Main Street, in 2015 and hired Don Smith of Don Smith Custom Builder to turn their vision of what it could be into a reality.
In addition to hearty breakfast sandwiches and pastries, burgers, “dogs,” salads, and other lunch specialties, the store sells souvenir T-shrts and hoodies, plus “general store” items, many of them Vermont products like hand-painted birdhouses, maple syrup, honey, and ice cream. Visitors may watch their food being prepared in the full-sized kitchen.
Neither of the entrepreneurs has a restaurant background, but rely on store general manager Nancy Liberatore and chef Paula Wax and Brian Rodenbeck. Although the menu appears set, it will continue to adapt to please clientele, and there are plans for developing specialized picnic baskets and take-away side orders.
Next year, the Beckmanns plan to renovate the 16-hole miniature golf course. Store hours are 6 a.m. to 10 p.m., seven days a week. The telephone number is 287-9925. The grand opening on the weekend of July 1-4 includes music and specials.
Community spirit shines
GRANVILLE, N.Y.—Telescope Casual Furniture of Granville hosted a tent sale to help a young local woman pay for her deceased mother’s funeral costs and inherited expenses. Kontessa Siliski, a 17-year-old high school junior, lost her 44-year-old mother to diabetes and kidney disease two years ago and is being raised by her grandparents. She had set up a GoFundMe account to raise funds to pay $6,000 in funeral expenses and another $5,000 in car payments.
Telescope CEO Kathy Juckett decided to set up a tent sale and raffle, using items that were stored at the company’s warehouse but not sold because they were damaged in transport or had other flaws. The company also contributed other items it had on hand such as pallets and fabric. Individuals contributed items for a bake sale. Community response to the sale was overwhelming. It sold out in three hours and surpassed its goal.
A note on boating
Anyone operating a motorized vessel or PWC (personal watercraft, like a jet ski) and born after January 1974 (under 42 years old) must have taken a boater education course and carry a Boater Education Card when on board. You need take the course only once; the card does not require renewal, so it is not called a boating license.