BENNINGTON - Officials at Southern Vermont College say that a new four-story residence hall, which had been expected to be open for the 2013-14 school year has been delayed for at least a year. Katherine Kalker, director of communications for the college, said officials would take another look at the project next year.
“This had been decided by the board (of trustees) and our bankers a few months ago. They just decided that it was best to hold for about a year,” she said.
Kalker specified that the project would be reconsidered in about a year, not that the project would necessarily be started in about a year.
The new residence hall was expected to add almost 140 beds on-campus, which James Beckwith, acting president and chief financial officer of Southern Vermont College, said in June was needed because enrollment is growing. At the time, Beckwith said the expectation was that all the beds would be needed by the time the new hall was done.
However, Kalker said there were no expectation that more students would be placed in the current dormitories. She said the college’s staff would help students who need housing find places off-campus if necessary.
When the residence hall was announced, Beckwith said it was expected to be financed by a third party, who was not named, which would then lease the space back to the college. Kalker said she couldn’t comment on whether the third party was still involved in the project.
The college’s most recent residence hall, Hunter Hall, opened in 2009 with 110 beds.
BENNINGTON — A Hoosick Falls, N.Y., teenager was arraigned on felony sex assault charges on Monday after police said he forced a 13-year-old Bennington girl into sexual conduct earlier this year.
Kaine Maloney, 18, of Hoosick Falls, pleaded innocent to felony charges of lewd and lascivious conduct with a child, sexual assault with no consent and sexual assault on a victim younger than 16.
The charge of sexual assault with no consent carries a mandatory minimum penalty of three years in prison and a maximum penalty of life in prison.
In an affidavit, Detective Sgt. Tyler Burgess, of the Vermont State Police, said he and an investigator from the Vermont Department of Children and Families interviewed the girl on Oct. 25. She told investigators that she had met Maloney at her school “while he was doing some type of work program” last year.
According to the girl, they continued to communicate by text messages and over the Internet. During the spring, Maloney came to see her while she was staying with her mother in Bennington.
Burgess said the girl told them Maloney forced her to perform a sexual act after she told him several times she didn’t want to do it.
According to Burgess, he and the other investigator spoke with Maloney on Oct. 26. Burgess said Maloney first denied any sexual conduct took place but then admitted the girl had touched him. While Burgess did not give any indication that Maloney said he forced the girl into sexual conduct, he said Maloney did seem remorseful.
Maloney was released without bail on Monday but ordered to observe a 24-hour curfew in Hoosick Falls.
BENNINGTON — Residents in a Vermont mobile home park have been told not to drink the water because of a high chlorine content.
Officials in the town of Bennington have filed an enforcement action against the owner of the Sunset Mobile Home Park, alleging that he has violated water management agreements reached with the town in April.
Roughly 22 people live in the park.
Park owner John Bushee Jr. entered into an agreement with the town that he would install a chlorinator the park’s water system. Building and Health Inspector Kevin Goodhue tells the Bennington Banner the chlorinator was installed, but the water problems have continued.
Bushee didn’t return calls seeking comment.
READSBORO — A Vermont man in the town of Readsboro has reached his goal of finding the gravesites of 78 men who enlisted to fight in the Civil among the Green Mountain Boys.
It’s taken Tom Boudreau 15 years of digging through town archives of burial records and Select Board minutes, federal pension records, newspaper obituaries, and other sources. Fewer than half of the 78 were actually buried in town.
The Bennington Banner reports Boudreau, a math teacher, recently checked the last name off his list. He also came across an additional 20 to 30 men from the town who fought in the war, but registered with other towns.
Boudreau is planning to talk about his research on Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Readsboro Central School.
By Patrick McArdle | STAFF WRITER
BENNINGTON COUNTY - Schools in Bennington and Arlington will be letting out early today and Manchester-area schools, including public schools and Burr and Burton Academy, canceled classes today.
Green Mountain Power is reporting 54 customers in Winhall are now without power, as of noon.
Southern Vermont College has canceled its classes for Monday and an “Information Night” event which had been scheduled for Monday night. The college website will post further information about classes for the rest of the week as decisions are made.
The Southwest Vermont Supervisory Union, which has schools in Bennington, North Bennington, Pownal, Shaftsbury and Woodford, dismissed Monday classes for elementary schools at 12:30 p.m. and classes for Mount Anthony Union middle and high schools at 11 a.m.
A Mount Anthony Union School Board meeting scheduled for tonight has been rescheduled for Nov. 5. Continue reading
NORTH BENNINGTON — The special election on the future of the North Bennington Graded School is today and voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the village offices.
Voters will be asked to approve two questions. The first asks voters to give the School Board, the North Bennington Prudential Committee, the authority to close the public school and pay tuition for students to other public schools or an approved independent school. The second question asks voters to give the School Board the authority to form a contract with and lease property to an independent school.
The School Soard and school administrators are planning to open the Village School of North Bennington, an independent school that would serve students from pre-school to sixth grade.
Members of the board have said they believe their plan will allow the school to operate as it has, even if enrollment declines, because they could bring in new students. Other benefits expressed by the board include bringing school choice to North Bennington and enhancing local involvement.
Critics of the proposal have expressed concerns because the school would be run by a board of trustees who would not be elected by residents of North Bennington and who would not have public meetings.
BENNINGTON — A tow truck was stolen on Wednesday night and the actions of the alleged thief were captured on videotape, according to Lt. Lloyd Dean of the Bennington Police Department.
Dean said the theft of the flatbed, roll-off tow truck was reported around 6:45 a.m. on Thursday by employees of the All Service Citgo station at the intersection of Main and Dewey streets.
Surveillance video shows a blue and silver Ford Windstar van turning onto Dewey Street and pulling over the curb at 10:50 p.m. on Wednesday, Dean said.
According to police, a man got out of the van and went to the driver’s door of the 1996 black International tow truck, which has the Vermont license plate, BMM834. The man checked the door handle, broke a window and entered the truck.
In less than a minute, the man got the truck started and drove off, traveling west on Main Street. The video shows the minivan following closely.
Dean said there were no keys in the tow truck.
In addition to losing the truck, the service station lost several thousand dollars worth of tools that were inside.
Police have sent information about the tow truck to law enforcement agencies throughout the area with special attention paid to getting the information to New York, which borders Bennington. The license plate has been entered into Vermont and New York’s automated license plate reader system.
According to Dean, the video also shows a couple of people walking by the Citgo station around the same time as the theft. He is asking those people, and anyone else who may have information about the incident, to call the Bennington Police at 442-1030.
BENNINGTON — A company called Bennington Solar Park, LLC, bought a 10-acre parcel on Main Street on Monday but the plans for the land have not yet been announced.
The agent for the sale, Gabriel Selig, declined to comment on Tuesday. The company’s address is listed as Southport, Conn.
The property, which is currently open land, was purchased for $150,000. According to the property transfer, the property will now be used as a “solar park.”
Another company, Encore Redevelopment, of Burlington, has proposed building a solar farm on town-owned land at the former landfill on Houghton Lane. Town Manager Stuart Hurd said on Tuesday that Encore’s proposal was still active but also still in the study phase. Hurd said there were no updates on the proposal since it was made to the Select Board in August.
BENNINGTON — A former salesman at a Sears in Bennington has pleaded guilty to stealing thousands of dollars in equipment from the store.
Seth Coulter pleaded guilty to embezzlement and was given a one-to-two-year sentence with time to complete a substance abuse program.
An audit from February 2011 showed that inventory at the Sears at Monument Plaza was off by $24,000.
Another audit in August showed $5,000 in inventory mistakes.
The Bennington Banner reports police searched a shed behind where the 24-year-old Coulter lived and found numerous Sears items such as mowers and small power tools.
They said they found more items in the home, including two televisions. Property recovered there was estimated at being $12,500 in value.
BENNINGTON — Southern Vermont College will opens its annual public lecture series today with Eric Cooper, president of the National Urban Alliance, presenting “Poverty Is Not Destiny: Social Equity and Basic Justice in America.”
Free and open to the public, the lecture will take place at the College’s Everett Theatre at 2:10 p.m. A reception will follow in the Burgdorff Gallery, where attendees may meet and talk with Cooper.
Cooper believes that education remains the primary pathway to equal opportunity and improved life trajectories for all of America’s citizens.
“The educational pipeline from K-12 to higher education must be improved if we are to avoid the waste of human capital in our democracy. Highly educated citizens can empower a nation so that America continues to lead by example for the global community,” he said. Continue reading