Cavendish Update: 1/19/18 School/Act 250/Film


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1/19/18 Cavendish Update


1. Cavendish Related News

2. Act 250 Hearing on Murdock’s

3. Look & See to be screened at Cavendish Baptist Church

4. Events

CORRECTION: Since the Select Board Meeting of Jan. 8, the Town clerk, Diane McNamara has spoken to the state regarding the need for an informational meeting for the school. The annual meeting will be needed to "Hear and act on the reports of the Cavendish Town Elementary School District Directors for the school year ending June 30, 2017.


Combined CTES and CAES Meeting: Moving the 6th grade to Chester: The overwhelming sentiment of those attending Tuesday night's combined meeting of the CTES and Chester/Andover school boards was not to relocate CTES's 6th graders to Chester. This meeting was called by Chester and it was quickly apparent that members of both boards had little idea if a middle school 6-8 grade was even in the best interest of students. Because of CTES’s small size (currently about 93 students) and the state’s push to do away with small schools, many were concerned that if the 6th grade was relocated to GMUHS, the school would have such a low enrollment it was at high risk of being closed. The Dish

GMUDS’s Budget: Did it Deliver on its Act 46 Promises?: At the Jan. 17 Finance Committee and Green Mountain Unified School District (GMUSD) board meetings, the Finance Committee was tied in approving the budget. Throughout the budget meeting, Cavendish representative Doug McBride pointed out issue after issue on the budget showing how it didn’t conform to the Act 46 promise and asking the hard questions. When the GMUSD board met, they ignored the Finance Committee’s deadlock and went ahead and voted in the budget, minus $30,000. The only dissenting vote was McBride’s. When asked why he voted no, McBride stated that the budget is not what we promised the voters. It does not conform to Act 46’s promise of enhancing the education of students and there is no economic savings. The Dish

Cavendish Resident Jim Hasson Super Senior: From a 42-year career as a Navy Seabee, to raising a family, to volunteering at Plymouth Notch State Park, Super Senior Jim Hasson's life has been one adventure after another. WCAX

Mack Molding Sued by Fired Worker in Multi-Part Complaint: A woman who was fired in 2016 from her job at Mack Molding is suing the Arlington-based manufacturer for what she says were violations of the Vermont Fair Employment Practices Act and Vermont Parental and Family Leave Act. In the suit, which was filed in the Bennington County Superior Court Civil Division, former longtime Mack Molding employee Angela Gates, of Mount Holly, accused the company, which employs 2,000 in six locations, including Cavendish, along the East Coast, of a “pattern of discrimination and retaliation” spanning a number of years, against her and other employees. VT Digger

Flu Arrives Early in Area, Strikes Hard This Season: This is not an ordinary flu season in the area, according to officials. “We are seeing widespread activity,” says Blythe Kersula, infection prevention nurse for Springfield Medical Care Systems. Springfield Medical facilities began seeing it in December. Adding to the concern of health officials is the strain. H3N2, the flu virus driving this outbreak, most affects people with low immune systems, particular children and adults over 65. Eagle Times If you need one of the flu Cavendish Cares Packages being prepared by our home school community, please e-mail There are fun items for kids.

Phone Scam Targets GMP Customers: A warning from Green Mountain Power about a phone scam making the rounds. Officials say scammers are going after businesses and threatening customers with disconnection if they do not pay immediately. They give the business a fake toll-free number to call which leads to a recording claiming to be GMP.  The utility says if you get a call like this -- hang up.

 GMP Customers to Benefit From Tax Cut: The state’s largest utility will pass along savings from a reduction in the federal corporate tax rate. In December, the Trump administration and Congress reduced the rate from 35 percent to 21 percent as part of an overhaul of the federal tax code. The new rate went into effect on Jan. 1. Mary Powell, CEO of Green Mountain Power, says the Vermont utility will pass along “100 percent” of the savings along to customers. In December the VT Public Utilities Commission approved a 5.34 percent rate increase. The utility will not announce how much the percentage savings for Vermont ratepayers will be until Green Mountain Power files a rate case with state regulators in April.

2018 USPS Postage Rate Increase: Effective Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018, U.S. Postal Service (USPS) postage rates for several mailing and shipping products will increase . Stamps will now be 50 cents, while other rates will increase an average of 4 percent.

 State of VT to See $30M Trump Bump in FY 2019: Federal tax reforms will boost state coffers by $30 million in fiscal year 2019, state economists predict. And will go up another $38.3 million for fiscal year 2020. While the Republican plan was supposed to cut taxes, many Vermonters will actually pay more to the federal — and state — governments. Married couples filing jointly in Vermont who earn between $125,000 and $500,000 will be hit the hardest by the increase, according to the state’s economists. Meanwhile, corporations will see a 14 percent reduction in federal tax rates. While experts are unsure exactly how the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act will impact the state’s economy over the long haul, in the short term it looks like a boon for government revenues. VT Digger

2. ACT 250 HEARING ON MURDOCK’S: When Murdock’s Restaurant submitted their original Act 250 permit application for a restaurant on the Proctorsville Green, it was approved without a hearing. However, when they applied recently to increase their seating from 50 to 80, without any additional construction, the Act 250 board called for a hearing, which was held on January 16. The reason given was to ensure there was sufficient parking, particularly in view of the fact that Outer Limit Brewery, which has not filed, let alone been approved for an Act 250 permit, is planning to open a brewery and tasting room in an adjacent building.

Following a site visit to the restaurant’s location, testimony was given by the Cavendish Town Manager, Brendan McNamara, who stated that the Select Board and Planning Commission approved the project, as it fit with the town plan and there was no parking issues. The Regional Planning Council provided similar comments.

An under current of frustration with the Act 250 Commission for creating an issue where none existed, was best expressed by Tim Calabresse of the Cavendish Planning Commission. He noted that there was no need for the hearing and that it could have been handled by a few phone calls and e-mails. The fact that three governing groups-the Cavendish Planning Commission, the board of Selectmen and the Regional Planning Commission- all agreed the expansion was fine and did not pose a parking problem should have been sufficient.

While the chairman of the hearing kept on saying that Act 250’s purpose was to facilitate appropriate development, this was not necessarily the viewpoint of those in attendance. Calabresse stated what many were thinking-the hearing was not needed; it created unnecessary expenses to say nothing of the stress placed on Murdock’s; and ultimately, if it was still “boom” times, they wouldn’t have given a second thought to this request for modification.

Doug McBride, a Proctorsville business owner, also commented that the message the Act 250 Commission was sending to future business owners was a very negative one. If a resident is willing to invest their own funds to refurbish and create a thriving business in what was once a derelict building, it is punitive to create roadblocks over a possible 10-20 parking spaces.

3. LOOK & SEE TO BE SCREENED AT CAVENDISH BAPTIST CHURCH: Cavendish Baptist Church is hosting a screening of the award-winning Sundance documentary LOOK & SEE, a powerful cinematic portrait of Wendell Berry—farmer, activist, and writer. The film will be screened on February 9 at 7:00pm at Cavendish Baptist Church, 2258 Main Street in Cavendish. 

In 1965, Wendell Berry returned home to Henry County, where he bought a small farmhouse and began a life of farming, writing and teaching.  This lifelong relationship with the land and community would come to form the core of his prolific writings. A half century later Henry County, like many rural communities across America, has become a place of quiet ideological struggle. In the span of a generation, the agrarian virtues of simplicity, land stewardship, sustainable farming, local economies and rootedness to place have been replaced by a capital-intensive model of industrial agriculture characterized by machine labor, chemical fertilizers, soil erosion and debt - all of which have frayed the fabric of rural communities. Writing from a long wooden desk beneath a forty-paned window, Berry has watched this struggle unfold, becoming one its most passionate and eloquent voices in defense of agrarian life.

Often called “a prophet for rural America,” Berry has long been a voice for the communities that are so often overlooked by the media. Filmmaker Laura Dunn skillfully weaves Berry’s poetic and prescient words with gorgeous cinematography and the testimonies of his family and neighbors, all of whom are being deeply affected by the industrial and economic changes to their agrarian way of life. “It’s a conversation that is more urgent now than ever, as we find ourselves in a deeply divided nation where urban consumers remain so completely disconnected from the rural producers whose work sustains their very lives,” says director Laura Dunn. “Wendell shows us with extraordinary sensitivity, just what fidelity to a place and to one's own community can truly mean.”

Admission is free thanks to a grant from the Cavendish Community Fund, but donations for refreshments will be accepted for the Cavendish Fire Dept. Emergency Shelter Initiative.  For more information and to view the trailer, visit:


JANUARY 23 (TUESDAY): Home Weatherization Workshop, 6 pm Cavendish Town Office. Free.

 JANUARY 28 (SUNDAY): Dinner and a Movie at the Cavendish Library (Proctorsville) featuring the film Dunkirk. 1 pm. Free donations welcome.

For information on upcoming events, go to the Cavendish Connects Calendar. For area events, check the Okemo Valley Chamber of Commerce calendar.