By Lani Duke
Ancient road offers history lesson
MIDDLETOWN SPRINGS—Middletown Springs town attorney Gary Kupferer led a public hearing in the Middletown Springs town office March 26 to consider discontinuing sections of the historic Garron Road (Town Highway No. 21). Neither a road laid out in 1799 nor a “pent road” laid out in the 1850s, both leading to Wells, has been maintained for public use in decades.
The road issue came to public attention when Allan and Doris Riedinger requested to work within the town’s right-of-way, a proposal contested by Rich and Kim Ventrella. The two families and the town reached a settlement in 2013; their agreement called for the unused sections of Garron Road to be discontinued.
As the hearing went on, listeners learned that most maps show the 1850s road to be a “pent road,” meaning a public road able to be barred by a gate. The 1799 part of the road may not have received any travel and therefore may be already voided, but the recording of its surrender by the town as well as the surrender of the 1850s road assures that the town retains no roadway rights.
There are no historic deeds that sell or give roadbed ownership from property owners to the town. The roadbeds are only a right of way over private property. The town therefore is not a party to continuing land use or property ownership.
Other property owners in the area are concerned about noise, mud and dust, and pedestrian safety while the driveway to the Riedinger property is being constructed. There are concerns also about construction scheduling as well as the role the state plays in water quality and wetlands construction as the driveway or access road is being built.
At an April 14 meeting, the Select Board was to consider discontinuing portions of Garron Road and the 1799 surveyed-but-never-constructed road.
Historical societies keep the past relevant
TINMOUTH—The Tinmouth Historical and Genealogical Society represents the work of these volunteer organizations that research, document and preserve their individual community histories. A list of its ongoing projects typifies what they do. Grant Reynolds edits the quarterly The Tinmouth Channel, containing articles on Tinmouth and Vermont history plus Tinmouth-related genealogy. Other THGS projects include maintaining the numerous other cemeteries beyond the main community cemetery on Route 140, identifying and preserving old Tinmouth photos in acid-free folders, identifying and entering into a database Tinmouth’s Civil War soldiers and the houses where they lived when they enlisted, working on archaeology of the town’s history sites, and encouraging storytelling and writing about town history. Tinmouth’s group meets once a month on the fourth Sunday afternoon. It anticipates holding work days on the Old Creamery (next to the town office on Mountain View Road) but hasn’t yet set up those dates.
Act 46 impacts Tinmouth
TINMOUTH—As the school merger takes place July 1, the Tinmouth School District disappears. The voters need to dissolve the interlocal contract approved in 2001 between the town and the district that covers the community center. It will be replaced by a new contract between the town (now owner of the school and community center) and the TSD as it merges into the new union district. Both town and school voters must approve the dissolution.
In a March 31 discussion, the Select Board, School Board, and Community Center Board mulled over the use of an endowed building maintenance fund. A December special town meeting had authorized the transfer of 75 percent of the town’s tax stabilization to the town for building maintenance if the school were not being used for education, with the remaining 25 percent to the Tinmouth community scholarship fund.
Both select and school boards voted to add additional articles to the warning, asking that the December votes on the tax stabilization fund be rescinded, with the funds redistributed 75 percent to the capital building and repair fund and 25 percent to the Tinmouth community scholarship fund.
The boards discussed a new draft agreement regarding the Community Center’s use, an agreement that does not require voter approval. A legal opinion is now required. Does the school need to be added to the agreement as it becomes a town building? Or is the deeding over of the school to the town sufficient?
Assessor’s office sees turnover
CASTLETON—Lisa J. Wright Garcia is Castleton’s new assessor. She already has many years of local experience as well as state certification. She also has a BA in political science from UVM and an M Ed. from Harvard University. The town has also been interviewing for the position of assessor clerk.
Equipment failure causes effluent release
CASTLETON—In early April, the Castleton River received about 100,000 gallons of “treated and undisinfected effluent,” the result of a pump failure. The pump had lost power after operators left April 7 and was discovered to be not working early the next morning. It was working by 7 a.m. April 8.
Chief Operator Pete Laramie said the fix came from replacing a failed power inverter, at a cost of $100, and a spare is now being kept handy in case of another failure. The leak was not nearly as damaging as it has been labeled, he commented. The released water had been through the entire treatment regimen other than the final disinfectant and was “most likely as clean or cleaner than the river that was going by.”
Award begets charity
POULTNEY—Poultney High senior Joseph Brown is Vermont’s state finalist in the Wendy’s High School Heisman program, recognizing high school athletes who also excel academically. He received a $1,000 check as an award and donated part of the money to Poultney’s math program.