Category Archives: Castleton

They won the title in Vermont, now they’re in the college game


You may have heard about the four young men from the Bronx who were key to the Mt. Saint Joseph Academy high school basketball state title earlier this year. They were written up in the New York Times, in an article that wasn’t always so flattering to Rutland or to Vermont, as it portrayed the resentment of local parents who thought their kids should get the playing time over the transplants. Sportswriter Tom Haley caught up with three of them, who have gone on to the same college and are on the varsity team there. The experience in Vermont was not only a positive one overall, it made them stronger, they say:

HENNIKER, N.H. — Shannon Murray, Rob Cassell and Jaskin Melendez reached the apex of the Vermont high school basketball world in March, celebrating a state championship with their Mount St. Joseph Academy teammates on the floor of the Barre Auditorium.

That was a special time for these players who came from the Bronx to attend MSJ. They thought, at the time, it was the last time they would play the game together. It was a grand exit.

But the story goes on. Murray, Cassell and Melendez are teammates again. They wear the uniform of the New England College Pilgrims and if anything can equal that state championship game triumph over Vergennes, it just might be a victory over Castleton State College on Jan. 10, 2013 before a packed house in Castleton that figures to include friends and fans from MSJ.
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Two CSC football players cited in drinking bust

CASTLETON — Four people, including two Castleton State College football players, face charges after police raided two underage drinking parties over the weekend.
Officers from local and state police and Vermont Liquor Control focused their efforts on Castleton as part of Stop Teen Alcohol Risk Team campaign.
At one party, citations were issued to three students accusing them of enabling minors to drink alcohol. Police said two of the men — 21-year-old Cameron Mitchell Laundry of Hartford and 22-year-old Cleveland Burwell of Amherst, N.H. — are members of the school’s football team and were hosting a party following their game that day.
Police said minors who had consumed alcohol also were issued civil violations.
Jeff Weld, a spokesman for the college, said Monday the football players would sit on the sidelines Saturday.

Firefighters put down forest fire in Castleton

Firefighters from three towns spent three hours putting out a forest fire in an area known as the Green Dump in Castleton.
The fire burned about 1 1/2 acres of forest in state land near a boat launch on Lake Bomoseen, according to Castleton Fire Chief Heath Goyette.
The fire was reported around 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, and extinguished by 6:30 p.m.
About 30 firefighters from Castleton, Poultney and Fair Haven helped put out the fire. The site was inaccessible by vehicle, forcing firefighters to hike to the scene with small water tanks on their backs.
The fire is not considered suspicious.
Goyette said the fire may have been burning since a lightning strike last week.
No injuries were reported and no structures were damaged.

Police: Woman accused of DUI with child

SHOREHAM — A Castleton woman was charged Monday with allegedly endangering her 22-month-old grandson by driving drunk on Route 22A.
Police stopped Tisa V. Farrow, 61, for alleged erratic operation, driving with a suspended license, and driving an uninspected vehicle.
During the stop, Trooper Peter Dempsey said he determined that Farrow’s blood-alcohol content was over the legal limit of .08 percent for operating a motor vehicle in the state. Dempsey said Monday he couldn’t release the results of Farrow’s breathalyzer test.
Farrow also had her grandson strapped into a child safety seat in the car, Dempsey said, leading police to bring charges of endangering a child under the age of 2, drunken driving third offense, and violating conditions of release on a pending charge of drunken driving.
Farrow was issued a citation to appear in Middlebury criminal court next month.

Recreation may be prohibited on certain lands

WATERBURY, Vt. (AP) Vermont residents will get a chance to weigh in a new proposed rule to regulate public activities on land owned by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.

The proposal would allow hunting and fishing on more than 133,000 acres but prohibits snowmobiling, mountain biking and horseback riding except in designated corridors. 

 Officials say the proposal will give game wardens the authority to enforce the rule.

The Fish and Wildlife Board has given preliminary approval to the proposal in the first of three votes.

A public hearing will be held on Tuesday in Montpelier at the Pavilion Building. The second hearing will take place Wednesday at Kehoe Conservation Camp in Castleton. Both hearings start at 6 p.m.

Town considering vote on wind project

CASTLETON — Town officials in Castleton are considering a public vote on a commercial wind power project.
The project would run from Grandpa’s Knob north through Castleton, West Rutland, Pittsford and Hubbardton. It has drawn fire from many residents.
Vermont Public Radio reports Selectboard Chairman John Hale has suggested a simple yes-or-no, non-binding vote on Election Day on the project.

Beatles tribute band tonight

CASTLETON — Across the Pond, a Beatles tribute band will transport Castleton to the ’60s with the music of the Fab Four tonight at Castleton State College.
The sounds of John, Paul, George and Ringo will come alive when this Albany-based tribute band takes the stage at 7 p.m.
The concert is free and open to the public.
The rain site is the Casella Theater in the college’s Fine Arts Center. For more information, call 273-2911.

Castleton police outpost closure talk scheduled

The public is invited to the Castleton Community Center  Aug. 14 at 6:30 p.m. to talk about the possible closure of the Castleton outpost of the Vermont State Police.
The forum is called an “information sharing” one and the police will be there to answer questions and take input from the public. All are invited to attend.

Saving Loft 89

A couple of evenings each month over the last three years I have left my comfortable household in Castleton and driven seven miles to Fair Haven to spend a few hours in a storefront with some of the most remarkable and inspirational people I have ever met.

These are the men and women who form the board of directors of Loft 89. You may have read some fleeting news coverage of Loft 89. Its generic description would be “teen center,” a label at once so familiar and so nondescriptive that it practically swallows itself in front of your eyes. Teen center. Ping-Pong and dances and video games. “Drop-ins.” Good intentions. Teen centers come and teen centers go.

Loft 89 — you just have to trust me on this, and please do — has aimed to be more than that. Its founding mandate was to provide recreation and a safe haven for young people with nothing much to do, and also to help stem the appalling tide of mind-crippling drugs that surges from cartel to smuggler through a chain of dealers and finally into the bloodstreams of our children.

But Loft 89 has strived to soar beyond even these worthy goals, which are, in the end, defensive; reactive; designed for damage control. Loft 89’s founders, and its present board, have embraced a vision that is at once noble (I don’t use this word lightly; I can’t think of one that better fits) and maddeningly elusive. This vision has been to awaken the idealism, the energies, the wish to be of use, that reside in nearly every adolescent. And to accomplish this by getting Loft 89 teens involved in work that sharpens their best instincts and leaves a lasting positive imprint on the community: building reclamation. Volunteering to help seniors and children. Working with mentors in dairy farming, small business, wildlife conservation. Discovering musical, writing, dramatic skills.

These goals can be achieved. They have been achieved: Appalshop in Whitesburg, Kentucky; the Neutral Zone in Ann Arbor, Mich. Others. Closer to home, the Vermont Coalition of Teen Centers has proved a valuable resource for initiatives around the state.

But my focus here is Loft 89, and its prospects, and the tremendous possibilities for our region that its goals contain.

And the obstacles between the board and its goals.

The obstacles have been on my mind as I have sat with the board in its Fair Haven storefront and listened to its deliberations. And occasionally joined in. Rueful admission: I am out of my depth amidst these people — business owners, teachers, mental health practitioners, legal secretaries, parents of local kids. So-called “ordinary people,” who are anything but ordinary, volunteering their time. Their grasp of municipal regulations, building codes, insurance requirements, grant-writing, ethical standards, budgets, the thousand-and-one nuances of forging positive bonds with young people wrapped up in the manifold challenges of adolescence — these are just a few of their qualities that constantly leave me humbled and filled with awe. And that are enacted completely out of the public eye.

I have seen them persevere with quiet dignity to answer the anxieties of parents and town officials who were, at the outset at least, understandably skeptical of their aims and qualifications. I have seen them deeply absorbed in planning something as seemingly trivial (and, in fact, deeply profound) as a movie night in the park across the street or the wording of permission slips for a trip to the Shelburne Museum or the guidelines for supervising the young visitors to the Loft.

I have seen them cut deeply into their evenings at home after a full day’s work at their regular jobs, time after time. I have seen them regather themselves from thwarted hopes and the limits of a constantly threadbare budget. I have seen them laugh together at setbacks, the laughter of good companions. I have yet to see one of them cry. But I have seen two of the best of them resign, with apologies, confessing that they were finally “burned out.”

Yet they are not martyrs, these men and women. They are simply extraordinary ordinary people, fortified, enlarged, by their shared conviction that — like the young people for whom they so passionately care — they have a chance to be of use.

I haven’t mentioned to any of these colleagues of mine on the Loft 89 board of directors — these role models, these friends — that I intended to write this piece. Vermonters in good standing every one of them (save our bright new director, who hails from just across the New York border), they are not comfortable in the limelight.

Well, call me an outlaw. (But not late for dinner.) I’m writing because I thought it was about time to give them some applause. And because their project — their vision, their program of hope into which they have poured their time, some of their money, and their souls — that noble cause is fighting, in these hard economic times, for its existence.

They could use some help in being of use. It would be money well spent. Trust me on this.

Ron Powers is a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer whose latest work is a two-act play, “Sam and Laura.” He is writer in residence at Castleton State College.


Satin and Steel performs tonight in Castleton

Satin and Steel brings its energetic and exciting show to the Castleton College concerts tonight at 7 p.m.

The high energy, nine-piece act with two trumpets, two saxophones and a trombone, together with a smoking four-piece rhythm section, creates the
unique signature of the band. Continue reading