Posted in Accountability, Colchester High School, Community, District Office, General, Other Important Information, Science Labs & Instructional Center at CHS

General Contractor Selected for CHS Science Labs Project

The renovations project for Colchester High School’s science labs and instructional center continues to move forward!

The Colchester School Board has selected Wright & Morrissey as the general contractor that will manage the project.

While limited, preliminary work is scheduled to begin in February, more substantial renovative work will take place beginning at the end of April.

If you would like more information, please contact our administrative offices at (802) 264-5999, or contact the school board.

Your schools and your town government are working hard to engage our community. Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to The Spotlight. When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community!

Posted in Community, Currently Colchester, General, Other Important Information, Town of Colchester

It’s Not Too Late to Enter the Logo Contest—You Could Win $250!

As we’d mentioned in our December issue of Currently Colchester, the Town of Colchester is sponsoring a logo contest. You could win $250 and become a part of Colchester’s branding initiative!

Please click here to view a .pdf containing additional information.

Enter by January 15! For more information, please contact Kathi Walker O’Reilly at koreilly@colchestervt.gov or call (802) 264-5508.

Your schools and your town government are working hard to engage our community. Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to The Spotlight. When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community!

Posted in Community, General, Town of Colchester

Update from Your Town Government—Week Ending December 27, 2013

Would you like to know more about what has been going on within the various departments of your town government?

Please click here to view the Town of Colchester’s update for the week ending December 27, 2013.

Your schools and your town are working hard to engage our community. Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to The Spotlight. When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community!

Posted in Accountability, Community, General, Other Important Information, Town of Colchester

Winter Storm Gemini—Important Roadway Information

The town of Colchester has been significantly impacted by Winter Storm Gemini, which has resulted in considerable ice accumulations over the past forty-eight hours. The storm’s duration and its associated ice accumulations and sub-freezing temperatures have placed a significant drain on the Public Works Department’s Highway Division’s available resources. While the Public Works Department is not staffed to run continuously, it has been working around the clock since Saturday afternoon with smaller crews rotating on split shifts.

The Vermont Agency of Transportation has begun a damage assessment to determine if Vermont may qualify for federal assistance under a federal damage declaration.

Arterial Roadways

The primary emphasis this weekend has been on the arterial roadways within the town, which carry the majority of the traffic and are essential to emergency services. At this time, the arterial roadways are in good condition with some areas of hard-packed ice. Crews are attempting to remove hard-packed ice today while temperatures are still marginal.

Secondary Roadways

The secondary roads are in poor condition with several inches of hard-packed ice even after several plowings and deicing over the weekend. Crews are focusing on these roadways today but will be unable to remove all of the packed ice prior to temperatures dropping significantly overnight. With several days of cold temperatures expected, further deicing will be ineffective, thereby requiring the application of sand. Residents should expect these conditions on the secondary roadways for several days.

Gravel Roads

Gravel roads currently have a rough surface but have been sanded and are in good condition.

Sidewalks

The sidewalks are in extremely poor condition with two to three inches of hard-packed snow and ice. Crews are attempting to clear the sidewalks with very limited success. Emphasis is being placed in areas of higher pedestrian volumes. Residents should expect very poor conditions on sidewalks for several weeks until temperatures rise sufficiently to soften the ice so that it can be removed.

Winter Safety Reminders

Please be safe this winter and use caution when traveling the roadways. Never approach downed power lines! If you are using a generator, make sure that it is located outside of the home. During times of cold weather and power outages, it is always a good idea to check on your neighbors to make sure that they are safe.

Stay safe and warm out there!

Your schools and your town government are working hard to engage our community. Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to The Spotlight. When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community!

Posted in Accountability, Community, General, Other Important Information, Town of Colchester

Communities Work Together to Improve Water Quality

Greetings, Colchester community!

All of the Chittenden County communities that are subject to the federal MS4 stormwater permit requirements are also members of the Chittenden County Regional Stormwater Education Program (RSEP), which is responsible for educating the region on stormwater as is required under the permits.

The Town of Colchester’s Director of Public Works Bryan Osborne offers the following letter to residents to let everyone know how the RSEP’s efforts are progressing and to express appreciation to residents for their efforts.

For more than ten years, several Chittenden County communities, including Colchester, have worked together to create and operate the Regional Stormwater Education Program (RSEP). This organization is a collaborative effort of nine municipalities, the University of Vermont, the Vermont Agency of Transportation, and the Burlington International Airport. The central mission of RSEP is to educate the public on how stormwater affects our streams and Lake Champlain and the simple things we all can do to improve overall water quality. Together, we have been able to do much more than we would if efforts were town by town.

Our efforts have included extensive community outreach and education to residents on key behaviors that anyone could do: picking up pet waste, reducing the use of fertilizers and pesticides, testing soils to determine if fertilizers are even needed, and greener practices for car washing. We are happy to report that progress is being made, and the overall results are promising. In 2013, we surveyed more than four hundred residents of the nine RSEP member towns. More than 80 percent of those surveyed now pick up pet waste, compared to only 62 percent in 2003. Pet waste can be a significant source of bacterial contamination to our streams and Lake Champlain. Similarly, only 29 percent of the citizens surveyed use fertilizers on their lawn, down from 50 percent. We also saw an increase in soil testing to determine whether fertilizers are even needed. Testing soil for fertilizer need saves money, and it also prevents unnecessary pollutants from entering our local waters.

Over the past decade, Colchester has completed sixteen stormwater pollution projects totaling $1.3 million to improve the overall quality of our water resources. Using a $1.5 million EPA grant, we have also recently completed the Integrated Water Resources Management Plan, which makes important recommendations regarding future stormwater work for further improvements. Your efforts are equally important and have resulted in significant progress. We would like to offer a special thanks to all of the dedicated members of the Colchester Conservation Commission who have managed the construction of rain gardens, held rain barrel workshops, and led the Town’s annual Green Up Day efforts. We would also like to thank the Boy Scout Troop 658 for its annual work with the Town on stenciling stormwater catch basins to educate the public that these structures drain directly to receiving waters and that residents should not dump any type of pollutants into them. We applaud your ongoing commitment to improving our water resources, and we remain committed to working with you to advance these common goals.

To that end, in 2014 and beyond, we will provide you with more information about how you can further protect waterways by using rain gardens and rain barrels and by reducing impermeable surfaces on your property. As spring and summer rainstorms become more intense, these actions can “slow the flow” of stormwater so that our local waterways don’t become excessively eroded and/or clogged with silt and other trash.

We would like to thank the people of Colchester for their stewardship of our streams and of Lake Champlain. We encourage anyone who wants to learn more about what can be done to keep our town’s streams and Lake Champlain clean to please visit www.smartwaterways.org.

Bryan K. Osborne
Director of Public Works
Regional Stormwater Education Program Steering Committee member

Your schools and your town government are working hard to engage our community. Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to The Spotlight. When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community!

Posted in Colchester High School, Community, General

Eighth-Annual Gingerbread House Extravaganza, Toys Drive, and Spreading Holiday Goodness

What a generous, warmhearted community this is.

Colchester High School hosted its eighth-annual gingerbread house competition on December 19 as an engaging opportunity to make a positive impact.

Members of the CHS community deliver gingerbread houses to the Vermont Children's Hospital
Members of the CHS community deliver gingerbread houses to the Vermont Children’s Hospital

The competition—which spreads cheer throughout the community—involves teams of students in grades 9–12 collaborating on gingerbread houses. The finished products are then judged in three categories—traditional, open, and people’s choice. In the traditional category, the entire structure must be made of edible materials, and in the open category, up to 25 percent of the materials used in the construction and decoration can be inedible.

Church Street!
Church Street!
A farm
A farm

Some of the faculty members and students later delivered the gingerbread houses to area organizations, including Cathedral Square Corporation (Heineberg Senior Housing, McAuley Square Senior Housing, Ruggles House Shared Housing, Holy Cross Senior Housing, Whitcomb Woods Independent Living, and Grand Way Commons Independent Living), the Ronald McDonald House, Starr Farm Nursing Center, Green Mountain Nursing Home, COTS Firehouse Family Shelter, and the Children’s Hospital at Fletcher Allen Health Care.

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(Fun fact: Gingerbread houses are a German tradition stemming from the nineteenth-century Brothers Grimm fairy tale Hänsel and Grethel in which a young boy and girl discover a cottage in the woods built of gingerbread. Gingerbread house events—be they competitions or simply jovial team-building affairs—have been enjoying steadily increasing popularity all over the country.)

A representation of the four seasons
A representation of the four seasons

Gingerbread houses were not the only cheery items delivered to area organizations to help spread holiday magic. In addition to calling in a $100 donation to Camp Ta-Kum-Ta on behalf of the team, the Laker Boys Hockey Team sponsored its second-annual toy drive at the Beech Memorial Tournament at the Leddy Park Arena this year. Fans received free admission to the game with a donation of a toy. The drive—which was widely promoted and supported by the team’s twenty-one members—was very successful, and members of the team delivered the more than 150 toys to HowardCenter.

Members of the Lakers Hockey Team deliver toys to HowardCenter
Members of the Lakers Boys Hockey Team deliver toys to HowardCenter

It is both an honor and an inspiration to be a part of such an incredible community. Wishing our students a restful holiday recess, and happy holidays to you all!

Your schools and your town government are working hard to engage our community. Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to The Spotlight. When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community!

Posted in Accountability, Community, General, Other Important Information, Town of Colchester

Update from Your Town Government—Week Ending December 20, 2013

Would you like to know more about what has been going on within the various departments of your town government?

Please click here to view the Town of Colchester’s update for the week ending December 20, 2013.

Your schools and your town are working hard to engage our community. Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to The Spotlight. When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community!

Posted in Community, General, Other Important Information, Programs, Town of Colchester

Want Information About a Self-Defense Class Offered by Your Police Department and Library?

Beginning January 9, Colchester Police Department (CPD) and Burnham Memorial Library (BML) will team up to offer a R. A. D. Systems class to Colchester women ages thirteen and older.

R. A. D. Systems is an intensive self-defense class. CPD and BML will offer the six-week class on Thursday evenings from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., which is taught by certified instructors, at the Colchester Meeting House at 830 Main Street.

“It is a building-block course,” said CPD Corporal Jaime Bressler, who is a certified instructor for the course. “We start by talking about risk reduction and awareness and then move onto the physical aspects of self-defense, such as space and reaction time and personal weapons. It is important to attend each class because we don’t have the ability to backtrack and teach the points that were missed in the previous classes. No one has to physically participate, but as instructors, we will try to get a participant to do so; we really feel that it makes more sense to practice the techniques physically with repetition. That is the best way to learn.

“The class is important to take because, even though we live in a safe community, the overall likelihood of one of us getting attacked in our lifetime is 1 in 3. I feel like women would gain an overall better awareness of their surroundings and really leave with the mind-set that they can be prepared for a variety of situations.”

All R. A. D. Systems instructors attend a three-day training for certification, and the majority are police officers or public safety officials. Male instructors must undergo a background check if they are not police officers.

To read more about the R. A. D. Systems course, please click here. To read FAQs about the R. A. D. Systems course, please click here.

Interested? To sign up, please contact CPD’s Corporal Jaime Bressler at jaime.bressler@state.vt.us or (802) 264-5555.

Your schools and your town government are working hard to engage our community. Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to The Spotlight. When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community!

Posted in Accountability, Colchester High School, Community, District Office, General, Other Important Information

Updated: School Board Meeting Information

The Colchester School Board will meet December 19, 2013, for teacher negotiations in the Colchester High School Media Center at 5:00 p.m.

The meeting open to the public, and citizen attendance is encouraged. To view the agenda, please visit our website: www.csdvt.org/agendas

And as we mentioned in our December 2 article, Colchester School District and the Colchester School Board are spearheading a new approach to further encourage community involvement and engagement. (In fact, the Colchester School District Vision and Strategic Plan 2012–2017 includes a pathway entitled “Commitment to Effective Communication.”) Click here to submit a question (or e-mail SchoolBoardQuestions@csdvt.org) and enter your contact information and question.

As a reminder, during the regular meeting on the third Tuesday of every month, the school board will review the top questions and themes submitted.

If you are unable to attend the school board meetings but would like to stay informed and/or to hear the response to your question, you can read the meeting minutes on www.csdvt.org, or watch the meetings on Lake Champlain Access Television (LCATV) on Saturdays at 6:00 p.m. and Sundays at 7:00 a.m. The school board meetings also stream at www.lcatv.org.

If you would like more information, please call our administrative offices at (802) 264-5999, or stop in to see us at 125 Laker Lane.

Your schools and your town government are working hard to engage our community. Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to The Spotlight. When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community!

Posted in Community, Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment, General, Malletts Bay School, Programs, Videos, Vision Summit/Vision and Strategic Plan

“Circle of Courage” Shares Abenaki Heritage with Our Students

Recently, Malletts Bay School students were very fortunate to have a special visit from the Swanton-based “Circle of Courage” Abenaki youth group.

Six Missisquoi Valley Union High School (MVU) students—all of whom must take a vow of purity in order to participate in the Circle of Courage—and elder Brenda Gagne shared some of their sacred traditions with the Ospreys, including drumming, playing wooden flute, sharing some of the Abenaki language, and answering a number of questions from the MBS students.

To watch a video featuring the visit, please click here.

The Circle of Courage’s visit complemented current learning going on at MBS relating to Colchester and its indigenous residents.

To read a Burlington Free Press article (which includes a video) about MVU’s November 21 Abenaki tribal flag-raising event, please click here.

For more information, please contact MBS at (802) 264-5900.

Many, many thanks to Brenda Gagne and the Circle of Courage for sharing some of their culture and their experiences with our students.

Your schools and your town government are working hard to engage our community. Please encourage your friends and family to subscribe to The Spotlight. When we’re all informed, we make a stronger community!