Who’s who in local races for state reps
Wells resident Jonas Rosenthal, a registered Republican, is running for the Rutland-Bennington District of the state legislature, trying to replace Rep. Robin Chesnut-Tangerman, D-Middletown Springs. The district encompasses Rupert, Pawlet, and Tinmouth as well as Wells and Middletown Springs. Rosenthal has considerable experience in local government as town manager of Poultney. Chesnut-Tangerman was elected to the statehouse two years ago as a Democrat and also running as a Progressive. Rep. Patricia McCoy, R-Poultney, is unopposed for her Rutland-1 seat. The district includes the town of Ira as well as Poultney. Republican incumbents Robert Helm and William Canfield are both running unopposed for their seats in Rutland-3. Their two-seat district encompasses Castleton, Fair Haven, Hubbardton, and West Haven.
Farmer admits to homicide in plea deal
CASTLETON—Local farmer Stephen Pelletier pled no contest to an amended charge of second degree murder in Rutland criminal court June 9. The plea calls for a sentence of 20 years to life with all suspended but 10 years in jail and a lifetime on probation, without the right to request probation modification. Judge Thomas A. Zonay has accepted the 61-year-old Pelletier’s plea, but not its terms. That awaits completion of the pre-sentencing investigation and witness testimony. Wisell’s family opposes the agreement, saying it is too lenient.
Pelletier admitted killing his daughter’s live-in boyfriend Michael Wisell in May 2014, claiming the 25-year-old was physically abusing his daughter Jessica Pelletier and verbally abusing the family, with whom the couple lived. Pelletier then buried the body in a manure compost pile on the 140-acre farm. Assistant Attorney General Matthew Levine has said that Pelletier felt at the time that he had no choice.
Food ministry opens
FAIR HAVEN—Gabriel’s Children has opened its soup pots behind Contemplating Life Cafe, Route 4A, Fair Haven. Initiating its campaign against childhood hunger with an open kitchen June 12, the non-profit plans to make and deliver soup to families in the vicinity of Fair Haven and Poultney. Soup has the advantage of being easily transported and nutritious.
The initiative began with an epiphany in the mind of Barry Meehan while enjoying a Thanksgiving meal, realizing many people don’t have the privilege of having enough to eat. He has since been lining up volunteers, acquiring a stove and fuel, and inviting food donations from local farmers. Volunteers began soup preparation and freezing June 10, with plans to offer three varieties: vegetarian, meat, and cream-based. A state health inspector suggested freezing the group’s output.
Among the participant volunteers is Karen Gutmann of Orchard View Farm in Middletown Springs. She had been trying to independently identify people in need of food help and aligned herself with Poultney Food Partners.
Volunteers are invited to help with cooking and delivering, donations and referrals to those who might benefit from the soup delivery. To help, call 683-9904 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Archaeological dig planned at pre-contact site
WEST HAVEN—The Vermont Archaeological Society, Castleton University, The Nature Conservancy, and the Vermont Division for Historic Preservation are collaborating in the excavation of a pre-contact archaeological site in West Haven. Previously reported as VT-RU-71, the site is now being referenced as the Galick site, near the historical Galick Farm at the south end of Lake Champlain.
This field season, workers will excavate Phase I test pits, identifying site boundaries, dating occupation, and identifying potential activity areas. Students have already recovered numerous chert flakes and several flake tools from the site, collected as part of the South Champlain Historical Ecology Project, funded by Vermont Community Foundation, Castleton University, and VAS grants, with the intent of examining long-term patterns of human-environment interaction of the southern Lake Champlain Basin.
Teams will be working in the Nature Conservancy’s Helen W. Buckner Preserve at Bald Mountain through mid-July. In addition to its archaeological importance, the preserve is home to Vermont’s only native lizard, the five-lined skink, and the Eastern timber rattlesnake, as well as the seldom seen whippoorwill and peregrine falcon.
Local history on display at History Expo
FAIR HAVEN—Fair Haven Historical Society plans an exhibit of Fair Haven’s “History of Hydroelectricity,” with much thanks to local teacher Mike Stannard, during the Vermont History EXPO at Tunbridge World Fairgrounds, Route 110, Tunbridge, the weekend of June 18-19. This year’s Expo theme is how water has shaped the Vermont story.
Some water events have been destructive, such as the 1927 flood and Tropical Storm Irene in 2011. But water-powered mills and factories brought on economic development and improved the state’s overall standard of living. So have snow and ice, with winter sports and the entire ski industry. Rivers and lakes offered the most efficient transportation into the area during the days of colonization, and provide both income and recreation now.
Local historians from not only Fair Haven but also Castleton, Middletown Springs, Orwell, and Tinmouth present the story of the Lakes Region in their exhibits at this much loved biennial event sponsored by the Vermont Historical Society.