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Act 46 and Greensboro: An Update on our Progress

It’s been several months since the Greensboro and Lakeview Union Districts held a public forum to discuss Act 46. In that time, several developments have taken place.

Greensboro members from the Greensboro School District Board, the Lakeview Union Board, and the Hazen Union Board are active participants in the OSSU Act 46 Study Group, now formally called an Exploratory Committee. Meetings are facilitated by consultant Steve Sanborn, whose work is funded by a $5000 study grant from the state. The committee is currently discussing options including an option for school choice within the supervisory union and transportation issues.

Separate from these meetings Greensboro and Lakeview school board members were also contacted by school board members from Peacham to explore possible ways for our districts, including Stannard, to work together.   Peacham operates a K-6 school like Lakeview, but they offer full choice for grades 7-12. They do not operate a middle or high school. Peacham currently educates approximately 45 students and is deeply committed to retaining its small, community elementary school.

Board members are just as committed to retaining Lakeview for our elementary students and community.

At a June 7 meeting it was very clear that no one present was in favor of placing children on buses for long distances for any grades. Cost, quality of education, retaining control of our budget, and providing equity to all students are important parts of the ongoing discussion.

Board members are continuing their work to find the best options for Greensboro and Stannard students and families. There are several options on the table that they will explore that could satisfy Act 46’s requirements. Actual financial implications for any of these ideas are not available at this time. It is the work of the exploratory committee in conjunction with the consultant to work out those details and then provide that information to the community for feedback.

No decision or change to our current education structure will be made without the approval of the voters of Greensboro.

If you are interested in the Act 46 process, the next OSSU Exploratory Committee meeting is on June 16 at 6:00 PM at the OSSU Central Office in the Daniels Building in Hardwick. Greensboro will host another meeting in the coming weeks to update the community on the committee’s progress and next steps. Minutes of past OSSU exploratory group meetings as well as other information about Act 46 are available at https://www.ossu.org/ossuannouncements/h361.

 

 

Barr Hill Access Road Closed until mid June

Planning on taking your first hike up Barr Hill for the season in the coming weeks? The road to the nature trail has been in need of repair for several years, and now, with help from the Nature Conservancy and the Town, it will be repaired in the coming weeks.

The access road to the natural area will therefore be CLOSED to vehicles from now until early June. Hikers are still welcome at their own risk.

We’ll keep you posted on when the road re-opens.

Important Information About Shorefront Ice Damage Repair

Did your shoreline sustain damage from this winter’s ice? John Schweizer and other GA board members are working with the Agency of Natural Resources (ANR) to clarify requirements for repairs done to shorelines.

Several lakeshores in the Northeast Kingdom sustained ice damage this winter due to the warm winter and repeated expansion and contraction of ice. ANR has already begun visiting sites at other lakes in our region to review Lake Encroachment Permit Applications for properties on Maidstone Lake and Seymour Lake, both of which had severe ice push on shorelines. Damage was most severe where lawns run all the way to the lake.

ANR would like to visit sites on Caspian as well. Lakeshore Encroachment Permitting covers any work done in the water. They have clarified the requirements for seeking a permit for shoreline work in the information below:

“Any work that is to be done above the current mean water level (area jurisdictional under the Shoreland Protection Act) that does not involve creating new cleared area or impervious surface may take place at any time. Maintaining an existing beach above mean water level would be an exempt activity provided no new cleared area or impervious surface is involved with completing the project.

However, any work that proposes to add or remove fill at or below the current mean water level would require a Lake Encroachment permit. If you are looking to stabilize your existing shoreline through the use of adding any type of fill at or below mean water level, one may not reclaim lost land through placement of new fill beyond the location of the existing shoreline or create new land lakeward of the existing shoreline.

Review time for a Lake Encroachment permit applications take between 45 and 90 days. Any Lake Encroachment activities may not commence until after July 1 of a calendar year as a spring fish spawning protective measure.”

Keep our lakes beautiful. If you have questions about whether your shoreline project falls under the permitting guidelines, visit the ANR’s website at https://dec.vermont.gov/watershed/lakes-ponds.

 

 

Green-up Day!

It’s been a Vermont tradition for 45 years. On the first Saturday in May, Vermonters take to our highways and byways, green garbage bags in hand, and pick up roadside litter. It’s just one of the ways we work to keep our state beautiful for all of us.

This year, Green-up Day is on Saturday, May 7. The town will provide green bags and gloves for trash collection. Come to the Town Clerk’s office to mark your route on the town map so everyone knows which areas have been covered. This year, Greensboro’s Walking ladies will provide snacks and the Vermont Coffee Company is also supplying coffee for volunteers. Full green-up bags can be brought to the designated dumpster behind the Town Hall. In addition, the metal dumpster will be available, as well as a tire dumpster for tires found along roadsides. If you have tires to dispose other than those found along roadsides, the town has a suggested fee of $3.00 per tire, delivered to the town clerk’s office.

Not in Greensboro, or even in Vermont, for Green-up Day? Consider taking a few minutes of your day to green-up in your town. For more information about Green-up Day, including safety tips, visit https://www.greenupvermont.org.

Caspian Challenge Scheduled for Sunday, July 24

Greensboro’s Select Board approved the Association’s plans for hosting the 5th Annual Caspian Challenge on the morning of Sunday, July 24. This family-friendly event has grown over the years, and it will continue to include the 6.8 mile run around Caspian, a 5K run, and a 5K walk. Proceeds from past runs have supported lake protection and, most recently, the Lakeview Union School’s Farm-to-School program. Look for race details and a link to online registration on the Greensboro Association website by mid-May.

The Challenge relies heavily on volunteers for its success. Interested in getting involved to keep this event running into the future? Contact [email protected].

Caspian Lake Milfoil Attendants

Summer is approaching, and so is our need to be vigilant about aquatic invasive species, including Eurasian milfoil, coming to Caspian Lake. The Town of Greensboro is currently looking for high school or college-aged individuals to serve as boat inspectors and milfoil educators at the Caspian Lake Beach this summer.   Avid boaters are often early-risers, so the position will require early morning shifts and will run from Memorial Day to Labor Day, although applicants need not be available the entire period. New hires will be required to attend a training on Saturday, June 4th, in Fairlee, Vermont. Interested candidates should contact Andy Dales, Greensboro’s Milfoil Program Supervisor at [email protected], or Valdine Hall, Greensboro’s Town Clerk, at [email protected].

Tent for Greensboro Arts Alliance and Residency Approved for Town Hall Green, Summer 2016

At Greensboro’s Town Meeting in March, voters conducted a non-binding straw poll regarding the GAAR tent on the Town Hall Green. Through a show of hands, those in attendance indicated strong support for the Select Board to allow GAAR to erect its tent on the Town Hall Green for the 2016 summer season. The new theater under construction at Tolman Corner is currently scheduled for completion in 2017. At its March 23 meeting, the Select Board approved the tent for the 2016 summer season with the following conditions:

  • It will go up on June 15 and will be taken down by Labor Day.
  • GAAR will ensure the lawn is properly reseeded at the end of the season.
  • No balloons will be used.
  • Signage will be minimized.
  • GAAR may use the Collier Room in Town Hall, but it must be cleaned and ready for the conduct of any town business.
  • The Town Hall gym must be emptied at the end of the season.
  • Garbage and debris around the tent must be removed promptly.
  • The parking situation will be addressed with assistance from Hardwick Police Chief Aaron Cochran.
  • Props from completed shows will be removed from Town Hall as the season winds down to make it easier to prepare the building for the new school year.

Lake Levels and the Caspian Lake Beach Dam

 

Several properties on Caspian this year have sustained significant ice and water damage from high lake levels. According to Vermont’s Agency of Natural Resources (ANR), Hardwick Electric Department (HED) is not responsible for managing water levels on Caspian by adjusting the dam at the beach despite their ownership of the beach and the dam. In a recent Hardwick Gazette article, Jeff Crocker, ANR’s stream flow protection coordinator, explained that in the 1990s, the dam was under the jurisdiction of the Public Service Board, and HED adjusted lake levels to “spur its hydro production downstream in Wolcott.” He added that the Caspian dam is not designed for flood control, nor would ANR approve of HED managing the water level of Caspian in response to rain, snow, and ice.

If you are interested in learning more about Vermont’s water laws and how they may impact your property, here is an informative reference:

https://www.uvm.edu/crs/resources/citizens/water.pdf

Greensboro Historical Society: The Power of Water

The GHS held its winter meeting this past March. The meeting included a panel discussion entitled The Power of Water, which explored the history of water in Greensboro and Greensboro Bend as well as recent upgrades and changes to the town’s water system. The discussion can be viewed here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tCUrjCPKcM0&feature=youtu.be

A special thank you to Kyle Gray and the GHS for continuing to make these videos available for all of us to enjoy.

Proposed Town Policy Regarding Temporary Signage

The Greensboro Select Board is reviewing a proposed policy for temporary signage on municipal property. Should it be approved, the policy will define what constitutes a temporary sign and sets out procedures for posting signs on municipal property, specifically that signs posted on town property must be approved by the Select Board. Signs on private property, including those within the town road right-of-way, would not be regulated under the proposed policy.

The Select Board is inviting comment from the public on this proposed policy. Comments must be submitted in writing by Monday, April 11 by email to [email protected], in person at the Town Clerk’s office, or by mail to PO Box 119, Greensboro, VT 05841. The Select Board will take up the policy and hear public comments at its April 13 meeting. If the Board makes no further changes to the proposed policy, it will go into effect on June 1, 2016.

The proposed policy can be viewed here:

https://www.greensborovt.org

911 Signs For Your Home or Cottage

The Fire Department is selling reflective signs for 911 house numbers. These signs are critically important for rescue and fire services to help them locate your home or cottage.

They will be available for sale at the Fire Station on Saturday, March 19 from 9-12 and Thursday, April 7 from 7-8 PM.

The Fire Department will also host two dates this summer for accepting sign applications: Saturday, July 2 from 11 AM to 2 PM and Thursday, August 18 from 7-9 PM, with possible additional dates. Signs are $15 each.

We can’t emphasize enough how important these signs could be in saving a home or a life.

Town Meeting 2016 on YouTube

Were you unable to attend Town Meeting this year? Kyle Gray, who graciously recorded the great interview with Larry Lumsden, also recorded the proceedings of Greensboro Town Meeting 2016. The audio is clear and the whole video provides a great opportunity for what a Vermont Town Meeting is truly like.

For your viewing reference, seated at the table from left are Select Board members Marsha Gadoury, Sean Thomson, Ernest Machia, Peter Romans, Moderator Tim Nisbet (standing), and Town Clerk Valdine Hall. Susan Wood was unable to attend.

Thank you, Kyle, for providing this to our community!

Town Meeting 2016



IMG_0037It was sunny on Town Meeting day in Greensboro this year, which usually means we have a great turnout for this annual gathering.

Tim Nisbet, our Town Moderator since 1980, got things underway with his welcome dry wit, solid knowledge of parliamentary procedure, and keen ability to keep the meeting running while still recognizing the needs of those seeking further discussion on a topic.

We enjoyed visits from three of our legislators, including Senator John Rodgers (D-Essex/Orleans), Representative Sam Young (D-Orleans/Caledonia), and Representative Vicki Strong (R-Orleans/Caledonia). All spoke to issues currently facing the legislature, including alternative energy projects (both commercial and private), Act 46, medical marijuana, and more.

The town’s amended budget of $1,749,221, passed on a voice vote after some discussion about driveway plowing, highway equipment maintenance, and roadwork plans.IMG_0035

We also re-elected Ernest Machia to a 3-year term on the Select Board and Judy Carpenter to a 2-year term.

Andy and Judy Dales were recognized for their many contributions to life in Greensboro as this year’s recipients of the Greensboro Award.IMG_0038

The final article of the warning, which allowed for the transaction of other business legally coming before the meeting, brought about the request by several attendees to hold a straw poll regarding the presence of the Greensboro Arts Alliance tent on the Town Green this summer. The Select Board tabled the decision at its last meeting and GAAR also withdrew its request. Straw polls are non-binding and all taxpayers, not just registered voters of Greensboro, can participate. Voting by a show of hands, the majority in attendance indicated they wanted the GAAR tent to be allowed to return to the Town Green for one summer.

Other issues discussed during the final article included the combat of invasive Japanese knotweed, cell phone coverage, and the name of the Caspian Lake Beach (vs. calling it Hardwick Beach).

IMG_0041Last but not least, voters agreed to hold the town’s annual Funky Fourth Celebrations on Saturday, July 2nd. Mark your calendars!

The meeting adjourned and we shared a delicious lunch provided by the Four Seasons of Early Learning. This is always a highlight of the day.   It’s a chance to visit with neighbors and friends, some of whom we may not have seen all winter.

After lunch, Tim called the annual meeting of the Greensboro Town School District to order. We elected Jerilyn Virden and MacNeil as directors to the town school board. We also elected Amy Skelton and Robbie Hurst to the Lakeview Union School District board, and Jefferson Tolman to the Hazen Union board. We enjoyed a lively and civil discussion about the future of our school and our community. Several townspeople expressed concerns about the attractiveness of Greensboro as a place to settle for a family. Some felt that high property prices can be prohibitive for many families, and without families and children in town, the viability of our school could be in jeopardy in the future. Others expressed concern about the recent divisiveness over development projects in town being off-putting for prospective families considering moving to Greensboro. Planning Commission members in attendance reminded us all that their work for the next few years will provide important opportunities to bring our whole community together to design Greensboro’s future.

As always, Town Meeting brought civil and engaged discussion. If you weren’t able to attend, consider joining us next year. If you were there yesterday, share your comments and observations below.

Town Meeting 2016

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Save the date! Greensboro’s Town Meeting will be Tuesday, March 1, 2016 at 10 AM.

The official 2015 Town Report and the town audit can be viewed here: https://www.greensborovt.org/town-meeting/

The warning includes the election of some of our public officials, votes on appropriations from area organizations seeking funds, the vote on the Greensboro Town Budget for FY 2017, and more. Lunch is provided by the Four Seasons of Early Learning, the preschool located in Greensboro Bend, and its Farm-to-Preschool Initiative. There is a $5 suggested donation for the meal, which is always a great opportunity to connect with community members near the end of a long winter.

Please note that the 2015 report also includes the school reports for the Greensboro, Lakeview Union, and Hazen Union districts.

The Greensboro School District Annual Meeting will take place on March 1 at 1:00 PM. The Hazen Union School District Annual Meeting takes place on Monday, February 29 at Hazen Union in Hardwick. Lakeview Union annual meeting is on Thursday, March 10 at 7 PM at the Lakeview Union School.

 

 

Additional Summer Camp Information

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GAAR’s Musical Theater Training Day Camp dates and program have been announced. Enthusiastic singers and dancers are invited to discover an enchanted forest and a magical kingdom as this three-week program stages a production of The Sleeping Beauty. The camp will run from June 27th to July 15th and culminates in a live performance on July 16. It is open to children ages 4-15. Optional auditions for interested children will be held from February 23 to February 27 as an opportunity for the camp directors to get to know students better, but not for casting purposes. For more information, contact [email protected]

 

Wonder & Wisdom Summer Journey’s Camp information will be available the last week of February. These camps are open to children ages 6-12 and run from 9 AM to 4 PM daily. Lunch and snack are included in the camp fee. Most camps are based at the Wonder & Wisdom program space in the downstairs area of Fellowship Hall in the Greensboro United Church. Nature camps also utilize the trails and natural areas of the Highland Lodge. Limited financial assistance is available for these camps. For more details and the links to registration in the coming weeks, visit:

https://wonderwisdom.org/programs/summer-journeys/

 

Additional Summer Programs

Auditions for Greensboro Arts Alliance & Residency 2016 Productions

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Auditions for the GAAR summer season are set to take place next week, starting February 23rd. This year’s theme is “Lovers and Madmen”, and productions planned include: Annie Get Your Gun, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, and To Kill a Mockingbird. In addition, the children’s summer theater camp will be performing The Sleeping Beauty.

Actors, singers, and dancers of all experience, even those new to the stage, are encouraged to audition. All roles are open, with the exceptions of “Annie” in Annie Get Your Gun, “Titania” in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “Atticus”, “Scout”, and “Jem” in To Kill a Mockingbird, and “Princess Aurora” in The Sleeping Beauty.

Auditions will be held Tuesday, February 23rd from 4 PM to 7 PM, Wednesday, February 24th from 4 PM – 7 PM, Thursday, February 25th from 4 PM – 7 PM, and Friday, February 26th from 2 PM – 7 PM. Callbacks will be held Saturday, February 27th from 11 AM – 2 PM. To schedule an audition, email [email protected].

 

Greensboro Historical Society: Lunch with Larry Lumsden

 

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The GHS held a lunch meeting with Greensboro dairy farmer Larry Lumsden last week. Members of the Society recorded their interview with Larry and have made it available for viewing on YouTube. This is an excellent opportunity to listen to one of Greensboro’s last dairy farmers talk about dairying and life in Greensboro. Watch and listen here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zoYgIr3Txoo

Circus Smirkus Receives National Award

 

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In January, Circus Smirkus received national recognition for their work and programs at the Celebration of American Circus at Lincoln Center in New York City. The annual celebration, hosted by Circus Now and the Big Apple Circus, honors artists and organizations that have revolutionized circus arts in the United States. Circus Smirkus was the recipient of the second annual Community Impact Award, which is “given annually to a circus artist or organization that has succeeded in harnessing and demonstrating the power of the circus arts for community engagement and social good, and in bringing diverse audiences together through quality programming.

Circus Smirkus continues to engage in the Greensboro community through both its camp and programming at Lakeview Union School. This winter, grades 4-6 benefited from a unicycling program led by Circus Smirkus Camp Director Bill Merrylees during Phys Ed class.

2106 Winter Update

Our members have received the Winter Letter by email. Those who have not “opted out” of paper mailings also received the mailing delivered by the USPS. We look forward to getting your updates, suggestions and new member referrals.

We have been very busy this the fall, addressing a number of issues important to our members. Read the highlights in the Winter 2016 President’s Letter.