Category Archives: Castleton

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

Patton band plays Castleton

CASTLETON — A repertoire filled with Gypsy jazz and Brazilian choro music with a mandolin in the lead will take over Castleton tonight as the Will Patton Ensemble takes over the stage at the Castleton summer concert series. The concert will be held at the Old Chapel lawn on the Castleton State College campus at 7 p.m.
The band evokes the mood of a smoky Parisian bistro or a shady plaza in the heart of Bahia that appeals to a broad base of music lovers. Mandolinist and all around string wizard Will Patton draws a strong influence from jazz, gypsy and Brazilian, having performed with such greats as Ray Charles, Bonnie Raitt and Van Morrison.
Patton is joined on stage by his daughter Anna Patton on the clarinet, David Gusakovis on violin, Clyde Stats on bass and guitarist Steve Blair.
The concert is free and open to the public.
Rain site is the Casella Theater in the Fine Arts Center at Castleton State College. For more information, call 273-2911.

Celtic band plays Castleton

CASTLETON — The Celtic band Gypsy Reel returns to the Castleton Summer Concert series tonight.
The concert will be held at the Old Chapel lawn on the Castleton State College campus at 7 p.m.
The band, from both sides of the Atlantic, brings acoustic Celtic sound along with a festive stage presence. The quartet includes Claudine Langille on banjo, mandolin, guitar and vocals; Camille Parker on mandolin, guitar, percussion and vocals; Graham Parker on the fiddle and viola and Mark Harding on upright bass. The concert tonight is free and open to the public. Rain site is the Casella Theater in the Fire Arts Center at Castleton State College. For more information call 273-2911.

Castleton concerts start tonight with Jonathan Newell Band

The opening concert of the 2012 Castleton Summer Concert series features the Jonathan Newell Band.
The concert starts tonight at 7 p.m. at the Old Medical Chapel Green on the Castleton State College campus.
Established in 1997, the band is led by concert pianist, singer/songwriter and electric guitarist, Jonathan Newell, who surrounds himself with a six-piece act of musicians.
The band has a repertoire that includes performing favorites from Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Fleetwood Mac, The Doors, The Grateful Dead, Aerosmith and U2. The concert is free and open to the public. It will take place rain or shine.
The rain site is the Casella Theater in the Fine Arts Center at Castleton State College.
For more information, call 273-2911.

Wind developers speak to packed auditorium

By Lucia Suarez

CASTLETON — The developers of the proposed wind project in Rutland County told town officials and residents in Castleton on Monday that approximately three to five turbines would be constructed in the town’s portion of the ridgeline if the project moves forward.

Steve Eisenberg, managing director of Reunion Power, said they do not have the actual turbine determination as they are still working on developing the project’s site map, which would also include road locations, transmission lines and the maintenance building. Continue reading

Local author gets honorary degree

Local Mark Twain author Ron Powers is set to receive an honorary degree from the University of Missouri at the university’s honors commencement ceremony Saturday.

Powers, a leading nonfiction writer and native of Hannibal, Mo., received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri in 1963 and since then has authored 14 best-selling, award-winning books including “Mark Twain: A Life,” “Flags of Our Father”, and a Mark Twain-themed two-act play, “Sam and Laura.”

In 2011, the Mizzou Alumni Association awarded Powers a Faculty-Alumni Award. Powers currently is a writer-in-residence at Castleton College.