The Mountain Times

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Towns compete for energy efficency

A contest in Rutland County is aimed at helping homeowners make their properties more energy efficient. Towns aim to introduce 24 homes in their community to the HeatSquad program.

Sponsored by NeighborWorks of Western Vermont, the campaign helps people make their homes more energy efficient, providing up to $2,500 in incentives, regardless of homeowner income. Financing options are also available. Plus, there's an added incentive for towns; for every house completed, they receive $250.

Closest to its goal in the countywide race is Shrewsbury, with 65 percent complete. Mount Holly and Middletown Springs are also fairly close, at 42 and 40 percent respectively. Pawlet is currently in fourth position; with 29 percent of this goal completed.

The target number for each town is set at 5 percent of the total houses. The competition continues through May 31, 2012. Each town that reaches its target is eligible to win a bonus $10,000 award. There will be cash prizes given to the town that completes the highest percentage of home energy improvements and the town with the highest average energy savings per home. Financial awards must be used for improving energy efficiency, perhaps in a town building, increasing community knowledge with a school energy curriculum, or helping individuals and businesses improve efficiency.

Declining out-of-state enrollment at CSC
Castleton State College (CSC) expects to lose a significant number of out-of-state students in the near future. This year Castleton has about 50 fewer returning students from outside Vermont. This is partly because of increased tuition for non-residents, and partly because of general economic trends.

Vermont resident students pay $8,568 in tuition; out-of-state students pay $20,112, more than twice Vermont residents. Nursing school costs $11,184 for residents and $20,880 for non-residents, and graduate students pay $10,728 and 16,058, respectively. Room and board, not including summer school or first-year orientation, adds about $8,446 to this cost per student. Student health insurance tacks another $1,407 to the bill.

School officials expect additional changes not related to expense also play a role in decreasing out-of-state enrollment. One of them being that fewer students are graduating from high school, both locally and nationally; fewer high school graduates presumably indicate fewer traditional students entering college. CSC has gradually increased the size of its student body during the previous decade, now admitting 2,215 students for the 2010-2011 academic year. Now the school may have to work harder to attract and hold these students.

Not to worry, says Ennis Duling, Castleton's communication director. Enrollment for the current academic year has been at record levels and continues to be strong. "We are currently building a new 162-bed dormitory, which we will have no trouble filling next fall."

Re-zoning in Benson

Benson's Planning Commission has presented the town Select Board with several proposed amendments to its zoning and subdivision code. The changes would clarify the permitting process for properties currently in the "lakeshore district," in effect "moving" them to the agricultural and rural residential district. Included in the re-zoning proposal are Beaver Meadow, Bullhead Pond, Doughty Pond, Mud Pond, Parsons Mill Pond, and Root Pond.

Poultney mourns local firefighter

The Poultney area mourns the loss of local firefighter Mark Camara, president of the town rescue squad. He had been a member of the rescue group since 1987 and also served in the U.S. Army Reserve.

Local stage productions

Local young people are working on a variety of productions with which to entertain their families and friends. Poultney High's drama club is working on the comedy "30 Reasons Not To Be in a Play". Fair Haven Grade School students will present "Charlotte's Web".

Events: Lani's picks

Thursday, October 20, 7:30 p.m. -- See the Susan B. Anthony program from the Vermont Humanities Council at Pawlet Community Church (Rt. 133). Call 645-9529 for details.

Monday, October 24, 7 p.m. --.St. Mary's School, hosts an stunning video on Catholicism around the world. 19 Washington St., Fair Haven. Call 265-3135 for details.

If you're a little restless and don't know what to do, stop in the Castleton Community Center. Daytime programming, Monday through Friday, includes a variety of exercise regimens, Monday afternoon bridge, Wednesday bingo, a Friday morning coffee hour, ballroom dancing, and lots more fun stimulation for body and brain.

Tagged: lakes region