News Briefs

News Briefs: Lakes Region

By Lani Duke

Sweet potato farm receives grant

PAWLET—Laughing Child Farm of Pawlet is the recent recipient of a $20,000 Working Lands Enterprise Initiative grant. Owners Tim and Brooke Hughes-Muse plan to apply the grant to the building of a new $107,000 barn for the largest sweet potato farm in the state. The couple hopes to see the barn finished in time to store this year’s crop. Last year, the farm grew more than 40 tons of organic sweet potatoes, which they stored and cured in a century-old dairy barn. Locally the potatoes are sold at the Rutland Area Food Co-op; nationally, they reach markets as far south as New York City and as far north as Burlington, Vt.

New town office?

MIDDLETOWN SPRINGS—The town of Middletown Springs is considering whether to procure the former Friends In Adoption building for conversion to town offices and library; the asking price is $595,000. The 3,664-square-foot structure sits on one acre with a parking lot on the Poultney River.

Michael Beattie was the architect for its renovation in 2008-2009. Its old cast iron radiators have been modified for thermostat-controlled, forced hot water; radiant heat warms the new addition. A ramp to the deck and in the back door yields handicapped accessibility. It already has its own 12’x12’x8’ vault with a 3-hour fire-rated door. There are three offices downstairs and five upstairs.

For refitting as town offices, the vault should be enlarged to 16’x22’. An elevator is a necessary addition to conform with new federal regulations calling for handicapped accessibility on all levels of public buildings.

There are numerous issues yet to be settled if the town were to choose to buy the FIA building. Among other things, using this building for town business takes another property from the tax rolls.

Still not happy?

CASTLETON—A 90-foot broadband telecommunications tower is in place, but not yet functional pending testing, next to Beverage King, on Route 4A. VTel had moved the bulky, complex equipment twice before settling on its current location. Engineers must analyze the site itself, how changing pathways impacts microwave and fiber engineering layouts, and numerous other components. Beverage King owner Joe Sessock signed an agreement with VTel three years ago.


to Joe DeBonis Jr., who takes a major step up from assistant principal to principal at Poultney High, replacing interim principal Jim Frail, as head of the school he himself attended years ago.

to Andrea Wallach, filling DeBonis’ shoes as assistant principal at Poultney High.

to Lisa Yates, who becomes principal at Wells Village School, taking the reins from retiring principal Linda O’Leary.

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