Lamoille in the News
by Andrew Martin
Athletes competing at Lamoille Union will now be safer during extreme weather. A new lightning protection system was recently installed on and around the concession stand at the upper athletic fields at the school. The work to complete the project was a joint effort between Lamoille Union, the electrical tech class at the Green Mountain Technology and Career Center, and Smokestack Lightning, Inc. The work to the building took place on Thursday, May 14.
The goal of the project was to make the concession stand at the upper fields at Lamoille Union a safe shelter for athletes during lightning storms. The project got its start when Phil Rogers, who coaches the varsity boys’ soccer team at LU, was working with Smokestack Lightning Inc. to help better protect buildings at the Smugglers’ Notch Resort where he is the director of maintenance. Knowing that better shelter was needed at the Lamoille athletic fields during storms, Rogers decided to contact officials at the school to see if some sort of joint project could take place.
“The purpose of the project is to have cover for our athletes when a storm is blowing through,” Rogers stated, “Without some cover up here we have to usher everyone down the hill.”
An agreement was reached between the school and Smokestack Lightning Inc., which provided the materials for the project. It was decided that Bill Simpson, the president of Smokestack, would supervise the project along with one of his employees while students from the electrical tech class at GMTCC would perform the majority of the work.
“We have been trying to do more outdoor projects in order for our students to get more experience working outside,” explained GMTCC electrical tech instructor Dana Jourdan, who has 11 students in his class.
“Having the students complete much of the work allowed us to do the project for simply the costs of the parts,” Smokestack’s Simpson added.
As part of the project, the students from GMTCC dug a trench around the entire concession stand using an excavator donated for the project by Johnson Hardware and Rental. A grounding system was installed in the trench, complete with copper wiring and four grounding rods. Using safety ropes and harnesses the students also installed lightning rods on the roof and an aluminum cable that connects to the copper wiring and the grounding system below.
“It’s a simple system for a simple building, but it’s a safe place to be now in a lightning storm,” Simpson commented. He also praised the quick, efficient work done by the students from the electrical tech class. What was supposed to have been an all day project was wrapping up by late morning, thanks to the efficient work done by the students under Simpson’s supervision.
“Working with the students has been great,” he added, “Working with a crew of 11 like this would make my life a lot easier, I wish I could have them working for me every day.”
According to instructor Dana Jourdan, as part of his program he is attempting to create an atmosphere of what he calls ‘turn key work’, meaning his students complete all jobs associated with a project. As part of that philosophy with this project his students dug the trench, installed the system, filled in the trench, and took care of all landscaping work necessary after the work was done.
“I want them to be comfortable doing all the jobs associated with a project,” Jourdan explained.
“If I could find electricians who thought like that all the time, I would hire them in a heartbeat at Smugglers’ Notch,” Phil Rodgers added, “They would make for great employees.”
“This is the best way for these students to learn; real hands on experience,” he added, “And everybody benefits from a project like this; the athletes, the students, the school, the community.”
Lamoille Union Athletic Director Tim Messier also had nothing but praise for the project.
“This is an example of collaboration at its best,” he stated, “I want to extend a huge thank you to all involved from the Lamoille community.”
“We want to thank Smokestack Lightning, Phil Rogers, Dana Jourdan, and the students in the electrical technology program,” Messier continued, “This was a great team project.”
After a pre-sentence investigation, Jeanette Maxfield, 24, was formally sentenced for the 2014 death of Chris Cafferky.
In January, Maxfield agreed to plead no contest to second degree murder. As part of the plea agreement she accepted a 20 year to life sentence, with six years to serve. Ben Luna, who was serving as Deputy State's Attorney at the time said the agreement includes open ended conditions that she must abide with, or face the threat of serving out the remainder of the sentence. He said this was designed to give her incentive to comply with the conditions. He said she likely would be on probation for the rest of her life.
Maxfield's conditions include: mental health and substance abuse screening, and any necessary counseling and treatment; the potential of electronic monitoring through a wrist or ankle bracelet that could include both GPS and alcohol monitoring; no alcohol; no firearms; restrictions on friends and housing; no contact with Cafferky's family and must pay restitution.
Luna said Cafferky's family was kept apprised of the plea negotiations and agreed to the terms as well. He said they felt Chris would not like to see her rot in jail.
Maxfield was arrested in February of 2014 after she reported to police she awoke after heavy drinking to find her boyfriend dead in the living room. Cafferky had been stabbed in the stomach, Maxfield could not remember if she did it or not.
By pleading no contest she neither admits to crime nor denies it, but accepts responsibility for it and it is considered a guilty plea.
by Mickey Smith
Morristown Police Senior Patrolman Jason Luneau and his canine partner Viper will be honored alongside five other canine units from around New England at Fenway Park this summer.
Morristown Police Senior Partrolman Jason Luneau and Viper.The Boston Red Sox have invited a canine unit from each state to take part in pre-game ceremonies at the July 27 game against the Chicago White Sox.
Luneau and his German Shepherd, Viper, received the honor for their efforts in helping to find a woman and child who became lost off Town Hill in Wolcott on Christmas Eve.
by Mickey Smith
The Lamoille County Sheriff's Department has concluded their investigation into the May 3 Route 15 crash between a milk truck, driven by Michelle Pike, 32, of Cabot, and a vehicle being driven by Kelsi Sharron, 22, of Stowe.
Sharron, who had to be extricated from her vehicle and was not wearing a seatbelt, was listed as in stable condition at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington.
According to the updated press release, it was discovered Sharron was allegedly texting on her cell phone and crossed the centerline because of this action. The press release states, Sharron “did not take any corrective actions until just before collision with the tractor trailer unit.” The press release goes on to state, Pike “had been vigilant and took corrective actions.
Sharron has been cited into Lamoille County Superior Court – Criminal Division on Wednesday, June 17, to answer the charge of negligent operation. She was also ticketed for texting and driving, as well as failing to drive to the right and no seatbelt.
A burglary was reported at a camp on the Mines Road in Lowell on May 15, 2015 and police are requesting information from anyone who may know or have seen something about the crime.
Virginia resident Lawrence Trahan stated that several items had been taken from his camp, and windows had been broken. It has been determined that the burglary occurred between May 13 and May 15. If anyone has any information regarding this burglary, please call State Trooper Erika Lavallee at the Vermont State Police Derby Barracks at 802-334-8881.
Along with the work that will be occurring on Bridge Street there are also several other projects planned for town roads in Morristown. Work has already been done to replace a number of culverts on Cadys Falls Road in preparation for a major paving project on that road.
“We are going to be paving the whole road,” Morristown Administrator Dan Lindley stated, “We normally replace any problem culverts on a road before we pave it.”
Lindley went on to explain that along with money set aside in the paving budget the town has received a $175,000 paving grant from the state to help fund the paving work on Cadys Falls Road. In total, the paving project for the road will run from the intersection with Morristown Corners Road all the way to the Hyde Park town line.
Paving work will also occur on one mile at the south end (near Stowe) of the Stagecoach Road. Lindley expects that the repaving of that section of the Stagecoach Road will occur sometime in the near future. Work to finish the Maple Street project will also be occurring over the course of the year.
Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center in Stowe will be hosting Nashville songwriter Joe Doyle, along with The Mann Sisters and Kris Gruen in concert on June 6, 2015 at 7:30p.m. to benefit Lamoille Home Health & Hospice. A reception will kick off the event at 6:00 p.m. with the concert to follow.
In his 26 years writing songs in Nashville, TN, Joe Doyle’s songs have been included on numerous multi-platinum, platinum and gold albums exceeding more than 15 million in sales, including the number one country music single, “In Pictures” recorded by Alabama and made popular again by The Voice Season Seven winner Craig Wayne Boyd. Doyle penned “She Said Yes”, a hit for Rhett Akins; “Forever Seventeen” recorded by Tim McGraw, and Kenny Rogers’ hit, “Someone Is Me”.
Other artists who have recorded Doyle’s songs include Reba McEntire, Dan Seals, Joe Diffie, Daryle Singletary, Linda Davis, Tracy Byrd and many more.
Joining Doyle are 21-year-old twin sisters Lauren and Alexandra Mann. With influences ranging from the Everly Brothers to Simon and Garfunkel and Fleetwood Mac, The Mann Sisters pride themselves as up-and-coming artists, songwriters, and musicians.
“My sister and I have been playing music since we were probably about six or seven years old,” said Alexandra Mann, “and when we were in high school, we formed an all-girl band with another friend of ours. We did that in Miami for a time, and when that fell through we said, ‘you know what, we’re twins. We sing together. We both play instruments. So, why don’t we try a duo?’”
After high school, The Mann Sisters moved to Nashville to continue to pursue music. They write all their own songs or co-write with different artists, and just sing about life and their experiences. They got involved with the benefit concert through their good friend Doyle, who has been producing them in Nashville, and helping them develop their craft.
“When [Joe Doyle] joined on board with the benefit, he asked us if we wanted to join also,” said Alexandra, “and we said ‘absolutely’. When we found out what the cause was, that was something we had recently gone through with a family member having been in hospice. Then we read their mission statement about how end-of-life care really is important, and people need to feel comfortable. So, it was a cause that, without even having to think about, we felt we needed to be a part of.”
To anyone who has not seen The Mann Sisters in concert, they describe their music as having an acoustic-rock sound with heartfelt lyrics and strong twin-sister harmonies. Alexandra plays the guitar and Lauren plays the piano.
“We are trying to portray kind of an older sound, with a temporary twist on it,” they said.
Kris Gruen will conclude the evening with his American-influenced new folk, grounded in the tradition of narrative songwriters like Cat Stevens and Paul Simon. A New York City native who has put down roots in Vermont, Gruen has garnered comparisons to contemporaries like The Avett Brothers, Ryan Adams, and Andrew Bird. Building off the success of his critically acclaimed albums “Lullaby School” and “Part Of It All”, Gruen released “New Comics From The Wooded World” in 2013 featuring contributions from drummer Butch Norton, Anais Mitchell, Sean Hayes, Shiben Bhattacharya, The Bowmans, Nashville's Jason Goforth, and more.
This concert will be the first in a series of Nashville Songwriter Showcases to benefit the Lamoille Home Health and Hospice, and will help provide home health services to all Lamoille County citizens, regardless of their ability to pay. The agency believes that the highest standards of health and end-of-life care are fundamental rights.
This event is brought to you by Community Health Services of the Lamoille Valley, H.A. Manosh Corporation, Community National Bank, Hickok and Boardman Insurance Co., WLVB FM, Lamoille Region Chamber of Commerce, Jack F. Corse Fuels, Inc., Front Porch Forum, The Manor, Demars Properties, Monty & Monty Financial Services, CCS Constructors, Donald P. Blake Jr., Inc., Stowe Home Care Maintenance, Inc., Fiddlers Green Inn, High Mowing Organic Seeds, Boyden Valley Winery, G.W. Tatro, Inc. Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center, and these musicians and songwriters.
Tickets are available. To purchase tickets and for more information about the event, call the Spruce Peak Performing Arts Center Box Office at (802) 760-4634, or purchase online at www.sprucepeakarts.org/events.
For more information about Lamoille Home Health & Hospice, call the agency at (802) 888-4651, or visit us online at: www.lhha.org.
Memorial Day observance will begin at 9:00 a.m., with a parade beginning at the elementary school parking lot.
Memorial Day observance will begin at 10:00 a.m., with a parade from school street down Pearl Street to Main Street, turning on to Railroad Street, and Clark Street, finishing at the top of the hill at Lamoille View Cemetery.
Memorial Day observance will begin at 11 a.m., with a parade from Peoples Academy down Copley Avenue and Main Street, turning onto Congress Street then Union Street, and back to Main Street. It will finish at the memorial monuments in front of the library in Academy Park.
The Morristown Police Department is currently investigating two suspicious fires and are looking for people who may have seen anything suspicious.
The first occurred during the evening hours on Thursday, May 7 at the new Fred’s Propane located on Bridge Street and Vermont Route 100. The second fire occurred on Saturday, May 9, at around 9:30 p.m., at the ReSource building on Portland Street. Morristown Police said there were similarities in the two fires.
Anyone who saw people in the area or suspicious activity are encouraged to call the Morristown Police at (802) 888-4211.
by Andrew Martin
The committee studying the possible merger of the Morristown and Elmore school districts met again on Tuesday, May 5, at Morristown Elementary School. During that meeting the committee, which is composed of members of the Morristown and Elmore School Boards, began examining the different articles of agreement that would govern the merged district if it is created.
The members of the committee studying the possible merged school district between Morristown and Elmore sit in the Dorothy Sargent Library at Morristown Elementary School during their meeting on Tuesday, May 5. The committee, which is composed of members of the Morristown and Elmore School Boards, is meeting on the first and third Tuesdays of each month as they consider the articles of agreement and other aspects of the study of the merger. - Martin photo
According to Lamoille South Supervisory Union Tracy Wrend the meeting began with an update by her to the boards on the progress since the last meeting of the committee in April. The Secretary of Education has now been notified that a merger study is taking place in Morristown, which is a required step. An application for a grant to cover any expenses associated with the study has also been applied for and Wrend expects the grant to be awarded once the new financial year begins in July.
“That way there is no local financial exposure,” Wrend explained on why the grant was applied for. Funding from the grant will cover any costs, such as legal advice, information, or studies that the committee seeks as part of its work.
One other step that has occurred since the meeting of the committee in April is the fact that it has been communicated to the State Board of Education that the merger committee would like to be on the board’s agenda for its meeting in September of 2015. The anticipated community vote on the merger in November of this year would require that the plan for the merged district be presented to the Board of Education for approval by September.
As part of the study of a merged district, the committee must examine a total of 14 articles of agreement that lay out how the proposed district would operate and be governed.
“The articles of agreement basically become the contract and charter for the formation of the new entity,” Wrend explained. She added that oftentimes the specific language of the articles doesn’t really explain the reasons that particular option was chosen and just how the article in question helps to govern the new district. As part of its work the committee studying the merger is seeking to not only decide on each article, but to develop language that explains the reason why the option chosen for each article was selected. That language and explanation could include relevant data, community input, and the rationale used by the two boards in making the decision.
At their meeting last Tuesday the committee was able to approve several draft articles that may not need further study or consideration.
“They were not controversial options and had extremely limited options,” Wrend stated regarding the draft articles that were approved.
One such draft article that was approved was the working name of the merged district. Based upon the recommendation of a community member present, Sharon Fortune, the boards adopted the working name ‘Elmore Morristown Unified Union District’.
“That may not end up being the official title later, but for the purposes of the study that’s what we are calling it,” Wrend stated.
The committee also approved the articles that detail which districts will be parties of the study by confirming that only Elmore and Morristown will be taking part in the study with no other towns serving as necessary or advisory districts. The board also ratified the article dealing with transportation, curriculum, education programs, and student services since those items are already handled at the supervisory union level.
One final preliminary article that the committee approved dealt with the potential date of formation for the unified district. Wrend explained that at this point the committee has ratified an article that calls for a vote on November 3 of this year and, if approved at that time, the merged district would officially begin operations on July 1 of 2016.
During their discussion on Tuesday the committee decided that more community input needed to be sought regarding the article that pertains to the grades to be operated in a merged district. There was a consensus that the unified union would be a pre-K through 12 district. However, it was decided that more clarification was needed regarding the grades that will be served at the Elmore School in the merged district. A discussion of how best to handle those students from Elmore who currently have school choice and how long they can be grandfathered in also took place. The committee will be seeking legal counsel on that matter before making any further decisions. Wrend explained that the committee members wish to know how long it is legally acceptable to grandfather certain students in the district, allowing them to continue utilizing school choice, while other students in the district are unable to do so.
The committee will reconsider this particular article, along with the one pertaining to school facilities, as its next meeting on May 19. The school facilities article, which mainly deals with whether or not renovations will be needed for the unified district to operate, also pertains to the continued operation of the Elmore School in the new district. The committee will be seeking legal counsel on this article as well, as it seeks to understand how long the powers of a future merged school board and voting electorate can be limited by the articles of agreement regarding the future of the Elmore School.
“While many unions have been formed in the past, most notably in the 1960s and ‘70s, and while many studies have taken place recently each situation is still unique,” Wrend explained, “We have the opportunity to figure out what is reasonable and responsible for our district while developing a plan for the community.”
“That is why we are seeking these legal clarifications… no past study can tell us exactly what the options are for our situation,” she added.
Other articles that the board will be considering at future meetings include the ownership of the various school properties in the two districts currently, and also the article dealing with board composition. Superintendent Wrend explained there are three main options that could be chosen for the composition of the unified school board. Board composition can be based upon the size of the actual electorate in each town, by a weighted figure of the total electorate in each town, or by an at-large election. Like the other draft articles that have not been ratified yet the committee will likely frame out the options and make a recommendation regarding the board composition article while still seeking more community input before actually ratifying the article. A few more meetings will likely take place before the committee decides how best to seek that community input. That formalized community input will likely not be occurring before the end of school in June.
“We… reviewed a number of articles that we feel need input/feedback from the public, including, grades of be operated and tuition options, composition of a Unified Union District board, and a cost-benefit analysis for both towns,” committee and Elmore School Board member Stuart Weppler explained, “These issues will be discussed during future meetings and the Committee is actively soliciting public input and comments.”
Superintendent Wrend emphasized that no articles, even those draft articles that were approved last week, are final at this point. The committee can go back and change those articles if it feels that is necessary or required. The timing of a potential vote, which the committee would like to see occur in November, could even be changed if necessary.
“Nothing is final at this point, we can change any ratified articles if we need to in the future,” Wrend emphasized.
Community members from both Morristown and Elmore are invited to continue attending the committee’s meetings, which occur on the first and third Tuesday of each month at the Morristown Elementary School Library from 5 to 7 p.m. The schedule, minutes, and agendas for the meetings can be found on the Lamoille South Supervisory Union website under the ‘Elmore Morristown Merger Study’ tab on the menu bar. As information becomes finalized it will also be posted on that site.
This Week's Photos
- Martin photo
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