Cavendish Update 2/8/19: GMUHS Threats/Tech Cafe/News

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2/8/19 Cavendish Update

1. GMUHS Threats-Twice in One Week

2. Cavendish Related News

3. What date for the Tech Cafe?

4. Events


1. GMUHS THREATS-TWICE IN ONE WEEK: Please be advised that this story continues to evolve and as information becomes available, it will be posted immediately to the Cavendish VT Facebook. Both Two Rivers Supervisory Union (TRSU) and Green Mountain Union High School (GMUHS) are posting press releases/tweets related to the incidents. Information will change as more is learned so it is important not to jump to hasty conclusions

On Monday, February 4th, press/news releases came from various principals as well as Two Rivers Supervisory Union (TRSU) This afternoon, February 4th, Chief Cloud of the Chester Police informed the Green Mountain Union High School (GMUHS) administration of a threat that is directed at the school. Chief Cloud is working with the State Police to investigate this situation. The GMUHS administration and staff are collaborating with the Chester police to maintain the safety of the school. The school will be in session tomorrow with a police presence. Meg Alison Powden, Superintendent of Schools, Two Rivers Supervisory Union

As the story would unfold, a student at GMUHS received a threat of gun violence that extended to the school via a social media site.  The Chester police were immediately engaged and ultimately were able to identify the person making the threat as someone in the Midwest.

 With no credible threat to the school, GMUHS opened as normal on Feb. 5 (Tuesday) with parents being made aware that if they preferred they could keep their students home. Those students who did go to school (close to 50% of the student body stayed home) were met by Associate Principal Mike Ripley and the police.

 Three days later, on Thursday, February 7, another press/news release came from Meg Powden. Dear Green Mountain Families, We have received another threat at Green Mountain. An individual claiming to be the brother of the person who threatened our school earlier this week, told our administration late this morning that he had a bomb in one of our bathrooms at Green Mountain. Also, he said if the school was evacuated, people would be shot.

 The police made sure there were no bombs in our school and then the school was evacuated to the Legion Hall under police protection. Students are being dismissed at this time, you can pick up your child at the Legion Hall and we will provide transportation home for the students who are not picked up.

 We will keep you updated with any new developments.

 Last evening, the GMUHS Administration posted the following, Good Evening Everyone, First we would like to take this chance to thank everyone (teachers, staff, students) for their cooperation today in what was, at best, a trying situation. Students did as we have practiced doing, and the process ran well.

 The local and state police have finished the sweep of the building and given the okay to have school open tomorrow. We are confident it is safe for everyone to return to the building. You should be aware that there will be both local and State police on campus tomorrow. They will have their dogs with them. The State police have let us know that this is routine procedure for them on the day after an incident. We are glad to have them here to help the school day go smoothly.

This type of incident can be upsetting, and we want everyone to feel supported. The GM Counseling office will be available all day for students and staff. If you would like someone to specifically check in with your child, please let the guidance staff know at 875-4155. state police have finished the sweep of the building and given the okay to have school open tomorrow. We are confident it is safe for everyone to return to the building. You should be aware that there will be both local and State police on campus

Sincerely, Lauren Fierman, GMUHS Principal, Michael Ripley, GMUHS Associate Principal and Pam O’Neil, GMUHS Guidance Director

On Thursday evening Chester Police Chief Rick Cloud confirmed that the bomb threat is related to the incident earlier in the week, with one correction, the caller did not claim to be the brother of the person who threatened the school earlier in the week. While no arrests have been made, the police are interviewing “persons of interest,” some of whom are from the area. Cloud said neither threat originated locally. The Chester Telegraph has been providing good coverage of the events as they are unfolding. Check their website for past articles.

 According to the National School Boards Association,  “Although nearly all bomb threats are a false alarm, such incidents exact a price.” Not only is there the lost of instructional time, the cost of police protection and intervention but also the general level of community panic. These threats have become so commonplace, many of the Vermont news outlets are barely covering this story. Yet they are far from our everyday norm.

Our thanks to GMUHS, TRSU and law enforcement for their speedy actions in protecting our students and community.



No Mr. Hickernell is Not Buried in the Basement: The Cavendish Historical Society (CHS) has put to rest the rumor that Mr. Hickernell is buried in the basement of the Gothic stone (entrance is on High Street but faces 131 with a sweeping lawn) where he and his wife lived for many years. The “haunted house” story emerged after Mrs. Hickernell had a concrete floor poured in the basement shortly after Mr. Hickernell went “missing.” As it turns out, Theresa Hickernell was quite a fascinating character but since his death was attended by Dr. Gene Bont, we are assured he is properly buried in Pennsylvania. Learn more about Theresa Ruth Swetitch Hickernell-Smith at the CHS Blog.

CHS Annual Meeting will Screen Alone in the Wilderness: This year’s Cavendish Historical Society’s Annual meeting will be on March 31 (Sunday) starting at 4 pm at the Cavendish Baptist Church Parish Hall. To help gain insight into what life was like for the “pioneering families” of Cavendish, CHS will be screening “Alone in the Wilderness.” Dick Proenneke, in the late 1960s, built his own cabin in the wilderness at the base of the Aleutian Peninsula, in what is now Lake Clark National Park. Filming himself, Proenneke traces how he came to this remote area, selected a homestead site and built his log cabin completely by himself. The documentary covers his first year in-country, showing his day-to-day activities and the passing of the seasons as he sought to scratch out a living alone in the wilderness. FMI: 802-226-7807 or

Cavendish Student Named Candidate in US Presidential Scholarship Program: Dmitri Solzhenitsyn, a graduating student at St. Paul’s School, has been named one of more than 4,500 candidates in the 2019 U.S. Presidential Scholarship Program. The candidates were selected from nearly 3.6 million students expected to graduate from U.S. high schools in the year 2019. Dmitri is the son of Carolyn and Ignat Solzhenitsyn of Cavendish. He will be attending Harvard in the fall. Inclusion in the U.S. Presidential Scholars Program, now in its 54th year, is one of the highest honors bestowed upon graduating high school seniors. Scholars are selected on the basis of superior academic and artistic achievements, leadership qualities, strong character, and involvement in the community and school activities. VT Journal

VT Journal & Springfield Shopper-New Partnership: Without any heirs to take over the Vermont Journal, publisher and owner, Bill Miller at 73 is looking to retire. In recent months, Miller has joined forces with the Rutland Herald, outlining a partnership that will protect The Vermont Journal & The Shopper and allow it to continue publishing, essentially untouched, once he completes the process of turning over day-to-day management to newly named Assistant Publisher, Shawntae Stillwell. Stillwell has been working at the paper as the graphic designer for close to four years, and according to Miller was responsible for the paper’s redesign, resurgence in readership, and successfully revamping of the website and Facebook page. Now, naming her as assistant publisher, Miller’s heir apparent is set and will continue to take on more responsibilities over the next two years, with Miller’s departure date set for January of 2021. At that point, she will officially be named the publisher. According to Stillwell, she’s excited to have the opportunity to take on more responsibility and eventually lead The Vermont Journal & The Shopper team. “I already have a good working relationship with many of our clients, and am looking forward to growing in my role, helping to make Bob’s retirement a smooth transition.” One thing that will be changing for The Vermont Journal & The Shopper immediately, however, is the size of the paper. The recent postage increases, as well as printing increases, have brought about the size change. “Dropping from 26 inches to 24 inches in width, the savings of postage and printing will offset those costs,” said Miller. VT Journal

Springfield Fires Longtime Police Chief But Decline to Cite a Reason: Springfield has fired its longtime police chief — but won’t say why. Meanwhile, the attorney for the terminated chief says a lawsuit is coming to hold “the town financially accountable for his wrongful termination.”Douglas Johnston has served as the Springfield police chief for nearly two decades before his firing Monday, and has been a member of the department for about 40 years. VT Digger

VTel in Dispute Over Concerns About Chinese Firm Huawei: FirstLight, the Albany telecommunications company that acquired Vermont’s Sovernet in 2017, is seeking to connect with the network of Vermont Telephone Co. Inc., or VTel, the private Springfield-based company that provides landline service to 14 Vermont villages and 4G LTE wireless internet to many areas of the state. Under the federal Telecommunications Act, carriers like VTel are required to let competitors interconnect in order to share traffic. FirstLight is seeking portability for phone numbers that it requires in order to serve customers in VTel’s territory. But VTel is refusing, saying it needs assurance first that FirstLight isn’t using any equipment made by Huawei, one of two Chinese companies that have come under scrutiny lately by national security agencies as possible security threats. VT Digger


3. WHAT DATE FOR THE TECH CAFE?: Due to the over whelming interest in a Cavendish Connections Tech Cafe, Cavendish Connects is co-sponsoring the first cafe with the Cavendish Fletcher Community Library in Proctorsville. You will be able to bring your smart phone, laptop, tablet (iPad) to learn how to use them as well as how to use Facebook, Instagram and other social media sites. This will be free and open to the Cavendish community.

The Cafe will be held at the Cavendish Library so we can take full advantage of their computers and Internet access.

We need to hear from you about what dates would work best for you:

Tuesdays May 7, 14, 21 or 28 from 6-8 pm

Saturdays May 4, 11, or 18 from 2-4 pm

Please e-mail with the dates that work best for you to attend or to volunteer to help with the “tech desk.”



FEBRUARY 11 (MONDAY): Cavendish Select Board Meeting, 6:30 pm Cavendish Town Office.

FEBRUARY 12 (TUESDAY):  Cavendish Fire District #2 Annual Meeting; 7:30 Pm Cavendish Town Office. Warning information is available at the Cavendish Connects Calendar.

FEBRUARY 18 (MONDAY): President’s Day. Legal Holiday. Town Office Closed. Note schools will be open.

FEBRUARY 24 (SUNDAY):  Paint and Munch fundraiser to benefit Cavendish Library. Tickets are $40 per person and include a painting lesson and delicious meal. The event will be from 1-4 at the library. FMI & Reservation: Kata at 802-226-7503

FEBRUARY 27 (WEDNESDAY): Annual School District Meeting and Informational Meeting will take place at Green Mountain Union High School Auditorium on Wed. Feb. 27, at 7 pm. 

MARCH 4 (MONDAY): Town Meeting

MARCH 5 (TUESDAY): VOTING! Proctorsville Fire Department from 10-7.

MARCH 31 (SUNDAY): Cavendish Historical Society Annual Meeting, 4pm at the Cavendish Baptist Church. As part of the this event, the film “Alone in the Wilderness” will be shown. This is free and open to the public. FMI: 802-226-7807 or

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