The Mountain Times

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News briefs from the Lakes Region 3.1

New eatery serves Thai cuisine

BOMMOSEEN-A new eatery is dishing up Thai food to go at lunch time, Monday through Friday on Route 30, Lake Bomoseen. The proprietor, a Thai lady named Kae, also teaches Thai cooking. Classes are by appointment.


BYWAY RECEIVING INFO PANELS

Route 30 from Manchester to Castleton is to receive a series of seven informational panels that touch on each location's background. Funded by a Federal Highway Administration grant, the panels include information from local historical societies and residents, and were designed by Heidi Humphrey of Dot Four in Shaftsbury.

Locations: Green Mountain Plaza in Manchester, the Fish and Wildlife pull-off at Rupert, the Williams Store in Dorset, the post office  in Pawlet, the town green in Wells, the Visitor Center in Poultney, and near Crystal Beach in Castleton.

The panels, mounted on donated marble and slate slabs, delineate the Stone Valley Byway. The byway has its own website where travelers will be able to download 21 podcasts about the byway and the region. Another grant may pay for a feasibility study that would add bike paths and picnic tables along the byway plus a mobile application.


CASTLETON OPENS POLL CENTER

CASTLETON-Richard Clark, new Castleton political science associate prof, has opened the one-man Castleton Polling Institute. A compilation of answers taken in his first poll are due out before Town Meeting Day. Vermonters have given him their opinions on a variety of topics.

The increasing number of households that have forsaken landline telephone service forces pollsters to use alternative methods to gather information, not only a 16-station phone center but also the web, mail, and other forms of data collection to develop reliable results, Clark notes. A well-designed poll minimizes error. Voters may use poorly gathered information as they decide what positions to take; professional pollsters using well-designed collecting tools can provide highly representative answers. Obtaining accurate assessments of public opinion is invaluable to policy makers and media, as well as the voting public.

Clark plans to seek private clients as well as conduct political polls. Private work will pay for itself, but the political polls will function more to enhance the college's image in the eyes of the general public than as a money-maker for the school. A good poll makes headlines across the nation, Clark explains.


Poultney High news

POULTNEY-Poultney High School is planning its fifth annual Earth Day celebration, on Tuesday, April 24, 2:30-5 p.m. in collaboration with Green Mountain College. This year's theme is "The Faces of Our Community," looking at the variety of sustainable activities that locals take part in which are not often recognized as supporting the environment, for example, gardening, forestry, fishing, hunting, recycling and composting. To reserve a free display space, participate in planning the event, or create a project for it, call Jose Galvez, 287-9628.

Student Kim Rupe has been selling purple carnations to benefit the Rutland Women's Shelter and is working on their campaigns as an intern. She has also sold beads to save puppies.

Catch up to parents of this year's seniors. They are selling 50/50 raffle tickets to benefit Project Graduation.

Congratulations on the success of this year's Coffee House. Students told stories on drums, put on a magic show, presented videos, read poetry, played other musical instruments, performed skits, and danced for their pleased audience.


CRITTER CARE AWARD

WEST PAWLET-Animal Welfare Approved recently gave Consider Bardwell Farm of West Pawlet a $5,000 Good Husbandry grant. The grant focus this year was mobile livestock housing; the farm intends to use its award in its plan for mobile housing for pastured baby goats.

The farm produces award-winning artisan cheeses from both goats' and cows' milk. It maintains a herd of 100 Oberhasli dairy goats.


LOW SNOW A MIXED BLESSING ON THE FARM

Local farmers report that it feels good not having to shovel tons of snow this winter, and they have been able to get outdoor work done that couldn't be completed during normal growing season. Not having the white blanket lying over the ground means the frost penetrates the ground deeper than normal, killing many insect pests and diseases that might overwinter otherwise.

But crops that usually survive the winter well have been exposed to wind and cold. This dries them out and can be fatal. Some crops won't be ready at the farm markets as early as they might otherwise.


Carruthers to retire

CASTLETON-Castleton's director of Career Development Judith Carruthers retires in July. She plans to continue illustrating children's books, teach English as a second langue (she recently received her ESL credential ) and spend time with her grandchildren.


NEW FOOD SERVICE

CASTLETON-Castleton State College is changing food service vendors with the start of summer courses. Sodexo takes over in a contract that also includes Johnson, Lyndon and Vermont Technical College. Scott Dikeman, dean of Administration, said the choice came from both financial and qualitative reasons; other factors were a commitment to sourcing local products, using sustainable practices, and furnishing complete nutritional information.

In addition to changing vendors, Castleton is making $1.2 million improvements at Huden Dining Hall over the next year and a half, and also upgrading Fireside Café and Coffee Cottage.

The college anticipates that most former Aramark employees at the school will smoothly transfer over to the Sodexo team.


GMC GRANT FOR COMMERCIAL KITCHEN

The Windham Foundation recently gave Green Mountain College a $10,000 grant to buy new food processing equipment for the Solar Harvest Center's commercial kitchen. The newly purchased small appliances and tools enable use by farmers, producers and community groups, previously unavailable elsewhere in Rutland County.
The grant provides for commercial-quality pots and pans, sheet trays, high quality knives, cutting boards, bowls, mixers, food processing equipment, scales and a cryovac machine. Before the kitchen at Green Mountain was complete, the nearest commercial kitchen available for rent was over state lines in Salem, NY.

New York state laws are more restrictive, and, after all, items processed across the state line lose some of their Vermont cachet, let alone the ability to claim unique Vermont product status.

Using a commercial kitchen allows small-scale producers to exceed the $10,000 gross annual income limit on food products processed outside a commercially-certified kitchen, regulated by the Vermont Department of Health.


TOWN MEETING/ELECTIONS vary

The communities of the Lakes Region each have developed their own local activities that accompany their annual town meetings. Tinmouth holds an old-fashioned town meeting at noon on Saturday, March 3, with a pot luck lunch, and a performance by the Tinmouth Bell Ringers. The Tinmouth Community Fund holds its annual meeting and presents 2012 grant awards before what might be considered the "real" business begins. The select board holds its annual informational meeting at 2:30 p.m. to talk about the articles on which residents will vote the following Tuesday.

A significant number hold one or two informational meetings, one for the school district, and another for the discussion of town issues, before the day in which residents vote.

Benson is using electronic technology to facilitate its town meeting. Voters are encouraged to email their questions to the select board, and board members will try to answer them before the town informational meeting.

Poultney's town manager government places it a little outside the fray of town meetings. Its town meeting is the first Monday and Tuesday of May; voters question candidates and discuss budget and ballot proposals on the Monday, followed by voting the succeeding day.


LANI'S PICKS

Sunday, March 4-Dr. Alan Betts speaks on Climate Change and Vermont as a segment of the Science Pub series at Lakehouse Pub & Grill. 4-6 p.m. Call 273-3000.

Thursday, March 8-Castleton State College presents Taking Root: The Vision of Wangari Maatthai with filmmaker Lisa Merton, 6:30 p.m., 1787 Room. Call 468-1119 for your free (required) tickets.

Tagged: lakes region, Lakes Region News