Orange, Chocolate-Chip Scones~the preservation of democracy

Orange, Chocolate-Chip Scones~the preservation of democracy

Wednesday mornings at the old Sweeties Market
Wednesday mornings at the old Sweeties Market

A rainy Wednesday in March brings to mind the memory of orange, chocolate-chip scones.

This would be just the day to sit a spell at the counter at Sweeties on Route 9 in Marlboro–sipping a latte, taking in the aroma of bacon, the morning conversations, the ebb and flow of townspeople and tourists beginning their day

Sweeties has been closed now for a handful of years and we’ve all grown accustomed to having to leave town for gas or a six-pack, but the absence lingers like a loved one, and sometimes rises like an ache, particularly in wintry months or on rainy days like today.

“After the General Store, comes the Post Office,” says a neighbor. “Then the school.”

Marlboro School was at the center of last week’s Pre-Town Meeting  in response to Act 46 which seeks to consolidate school governance.

“Forced, short-sighted, rushed through legislation,” is how one woman described it.

Marlboro Pre-Town Meeting, Kelly Salasin, 2017
Marlboro Pre-Town Meeting, Kelly Salasin, 2017

A discussion of the unintended consequences of Act 46 ensues; and I’m surprised by a consideration that hadn’t occurred to me until then, and how deeply it shakes me–not the loss of our precious Junior High, or the loss of our vibrant voice; or how these losses will reshape our school, and our town; but something that strikes at the center of self-governance:

Town Meeting.

I know not everyone can make it on the first Tuesday in March, and I know that efforts in other towns to shift the meeting to an evening or a weekend haven’t produced the desired results; But our old Town House fills up with body heat and breath and voice and community, and that’s something.

And even in the years when you’re not in a chair or on a bench or at that front table or up at the podium, the gathering holds space for who we are and how we live and what happens here, not just in Marlboro, but all over the Green Mountain state, and even across our nation, as Bernie proved to be true.

Sure Town Meeting would continue for awhile; the old timers here are hearty like that; but the absence of the school budget–ie. the absence of children at the heart of decision making–would hollow out the gathering, until it became a dusty relic of itself.

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“New Stairs,” Marlboro Town Hall, Kelly Salasin, 2017

Just before our Pre-Town Meeting closes, a follow up question about our “Geographically Isolated” and “Structurally Isolated” school comes from the floor:

“If we find that it doesn’t work for our town, can we go back to what we had?”

The response sends a chill through my body, particularly this year:

“Once you take it apart, you can’t build it again.”

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Community Matters, Part III

Community Matters, Part III

Third and Final Community Visit, Monday, May 24

Marlboro Outback  6:30 – 9:00 PM

Marlboro Resident Polly Wilson votes at the Marlboro's Community Meeting (photo credit David Holzapfel)

This is a great opportunity to be part of the future planning for the town.

PLEASE COME TO BE A PART OF WHAT’S NEXT!

AND  BRING A FRIEND OR NEIGHBOR  WHO MAYBE MISSED THE FIRST 2 MEETINGS.

To Residents of Marlboro, Vermont

Come to the next meeting in the Community Visit process on Monday, May 24th from 6:30 to 9:00 at the Marlboro Elementary School. We’ll be looking at these 3 priorities:
Develop a Marlboro Community Center Building
– Improve Walk-ability and Expand Bike & Walking Paths
– Generate Energy

(Note that a meeting around the topic to “Advance New Zoning Bylaws to Include All Species” will be organized by VCRD and the Marlboro Planning Commission this coming fall)

VCRD will bring a new “Visiting Team” of state, federal, regional and non-profit leaders to Marlboro to develop task force work plans with action steps and resource lists that will help the town move forward.

Forrest Holzapfel, Marlboro Community Visit Chair
Paul Costello, VCRD Executive Director

Here’s some background and more detail:

On April 29th over 100 Marlboro residents gathered in a community meeting to consider the ideas that were discussed through the Marlboro Community Visit process and to set priorities for action.

At the meeting, the Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD) presented a list of all the key directions that residents had put on the table at the public forums on March 25th.

Following discussion, the top 2 priorities from the vote that night are those listed above. Community members also identified 2 ongoing priorities that need some fresh energy and they are also listed.

“A vision without a plan is just a dream. A plan without a vision is just drudgery. But a vision with a plan can change the world.” (Proverb)

"Dot Party" The Town Votes/photo credit: David Holzapfel

“We shape our buildings, then our buildings shape us.”

— Winston Churchill

Marlboro Priorities:
Develop a Marlboro Community Center Building
Residents could create a stronger sense of Marlboro and improve the connections with others in the community by building or adapting a facility to serve as a unifying Marlboro Community Center. Features of such a center could include programs and activities ranging from meeting rooms and senior services to a gym, tourist information and WiFi center, library and reading room, entertainment space, parent/children playgroup room, community kitchen, teen center, café, or even a pub. Provision for parking and connection by trails to neighborhoods, the college, and other center points will be crucial to success. A Community Center Task Force could evaluate existing buildings and opportunities (like the Skyline Restaurant) and work with other groups in town to design a structure for multiple community activities, from country dances to social service meetings, movies or senior meals.

Michelle speaks to the viability of Skyline, photo credit: David Holzapfel

Task Force Signups So Far:
Sally Andrews
Augusta Bartlett
Lauren Beigel
Fred Bisbee
Alan Dater
Casey Deane
Esther Fielding
Will and Paula Fielding
Lucy Gratwick
Mary Greene
Marcia Hamilton
Richard Hamilton
Michelle Holzapfel
Francie Marbury
Andrea Matthews

Jean Boardman addresses the room/photo credit: David Holzapfel

Peter Mauss
Ellen McCulloch-Lovell
Lisa Merton
Ed Metcalfe
Julianne Mills
Lauren Poster
Mike Purcell
Kelly Salasin
Ede Thomas
Peggy Tiffany
Felicia Tober
Allison Turner
Liz Vick
Wendy Webb
er

Improve Walk-ability and Expand Bike and Walking Paths
Bike and walking paths can contribute to community interconnection, public health and community sustainability. A multi-use path from the school to the Town Offices, for example, could lessen the need for short car trips. A committee of Marlboro residents could look at the model developed by Kingdom Trails in the Northeast Kingdom for biking, walking and ski trails either for in-town personal transportation or to develop recreational assets for tourists and residents alike. The task force could map existing trails at the college and other community center-points, link them, map them, and encourage their use as ways to get around town, get exercise, and lower the number of regular car trips.

Task Force Signups So Far:
Gail MacArthur
Julianne Mills
Barbara Parker
Mike Purcell
Vanessa Redfield
Brent Seabrook
Peggy Tiffany
Liz Vick

*****

In addition, Marlboro residents wanted to strengthen two existing efforts by bringing in new volunteers and building momentum to:

Generate Energy
Marlboro’s well established Energy Committee has led significant efforts to expand efficiencies in buildings throughout the community. But more mutual public education is needed to expand efficiencies and to inform the public about the potentials to cost effectively produce energy. Marlboro should adopt a vision to make itself the “Distributed Energy Capitol of Vermont” and then implement it by systematically expanding the number of households, businesses, and public buildings that generate the power that they use and contribute to the community’s energy needs. Toward that end, Marlboro residents should:  explore the implementation of a local PACE program (Property Assessed Clean Energy) to support residents’ decisions to advance energy and efficiency projects; explore possibilities to build micro hydro sites in the town’s watersheds, evaluate the potential for a community wind project or extensive small scale wind development, and systematically expand solar panels to near ubiquity on houses in the community. Residents would like to see a Task Force raise the flag around a Marlboro identity as a state leader in energy creation and sustainability.

The Youngest Attendee (photo: David Holzapfel)

Task Force Signups So Far:
Peter Mauss
Jonathan Morse
Rose Watson


Advance New Zoning By-Laws to Include All Species

A meeting to move this priority forward will be organized by VCRD and the planning commission this coming fall and so won’t be on the agenda on the 24th.
Marlboro has an opportunity to plan for and build zoning to support long term strategic goals of creating a village district and advancing conservation.  Marlboro should adjust its town plan over time and develop new zoning ordinances to protect moose and bear corridors, to focus development density in a village area yet to be designed, and to preserve the rural nature of the town.  Residents suggest that those working on this should consider density development on RT 9 and between RT 9 and the College as potential village center.  Some suggest defining a limited area for commercial development on Route 9, and place for senior housing and for affordable housing for young families as part of focused development to build the village center.

Note: If you can’t make it Monday evening, you can follow the meeting LIVE on Twitter with the hashtag #VCRD or follow @kellysalasin.  Or you can return to this blog and follow the LIVE Twitter feed on the side bar or check back for the complete highlight post afterward.

Highlights of the Community Meeting, Part II

Highlights of the Community Meeting, Part II

photo credit: David Holzapfel

Close to a hundred Marlborians gathered last night for Part II of the Community Meeting Process with Vermont Council on Rural Development (VCRD).  Below you can find the Live Twitter coverage of the event (in a 140 characters or less)–including a link to the results of the town vote for the top two community priorities.

Don’t forget to mark your calenders for the last gathering of this three-part series slated for Monday, May 24.  VCRD will return with a resource team specifically organized to support the goals set by our town.

Meeting Highlights via Twitter Feed

Is a town pub on the docket for Marlboro? Come find out tonight! https://thisvtlife.wordpress.com/2010/04/29/community-matters-part-ii/

Part II of the Community Meeting in Marlboro about to get underway. Outback filling swiftly. Awesome choc. chip cookies!

Lots of socializing going on in the parking lot & the paths & around the tea pot; Part II of Marlboro’s Comm. Mtg. about to begin.

Chair Forrest Holzapfel (who looks like a young Ron Howard) opens the meeting in Marlboro tonight

More seats unfolded for the growing crowd here at Marlboro’s Community Meeting, Part II

VCRD Director Paul Costello , photo credit: David Holzapfel

Executive Director of VT Council on Rural Dev’t, Paul Costello addresses the community; says VCRD looks 4 towns ready to do this work

9 forums here last month in Marlboro with 27 visiting experts; tonight’s mtg is the middle of a 3 part process

Wil Fielding standing/photo credit: David Holzapfel

Townspeople taking turns reading summaries of “opportunities” identified at last month’s Comm Mtg.in Marlboro; voting will occur

After volunteering to read the “Generate Energy” topic, citizen Jonathan Morse is chided for adding commentary 🙂

The Principal of the elementary school arrives at tonight’s Comm. Mtg. The President of Marlboro College is also in attendance.

Though Marlboro is the SMALLEST community VT Council on Rural Dev’t has served, it has the HIGHEST participation proportionately!

Jean Boardman addresses the room/photo credit: David Holzapfel

#VCRD has 25 pages of notes from last mtg & will issue a report to the town next month following tonight’s Comm Mtg in Marlboro

Townspeople cont. to arrive at Marlboro’s Comm. Mtg–People I have NEVER seen BEFORE! Cool!

#VCRD impressed with Marlboro’s PASSION 4 “Sustainability” 45 ppl attended this topic mtg last month while 2 other mtgs took place.

Ellen Lovell, Marlboro College President, shares “Opportunity” linking Marlboro College more fully with town around volunteering.

School Principal Francie Marbury shares “Opportunity” 4 “Rte 9 Safety” plugging REMOVAL of passing lane in front of MES (no chiding)

What is the future of the economy here? Does all $$ need to run down hill? How do we invest in the next generation in Marlboro?

The idea of a “TOWN CENTER” comes up in a majority of “Opportunities” brainstormed for Marlboro at the last meeting.

Sunny Tappan addresses room/photo credit: David Holzapfel

Marlborian Sunny Tappan suggests REMOVING the word “SHOULD” from town language; many don’t “get it”

Marlborian Nancy Anderson questions why comm. daycare/preschool isn’t on list. School Board Member Loren Poster shares concern.

VCRD Exec.Director Costello echoes Craig Hammond point:not just voting on topic,but on all INTENT shaped around it at last mth’s mtg.

8th Grader Lucas Schoen makes request to dev’t more activities for youth in Marlboro.

“These are all good topics, but it seems that everything needs to fall under the Internet/Cell Issue FIRST” Frustrated Marlborian. HO!

photo credit: David Holzapfel

FUN! Everyone gets tiny envelope with DOTS inside. 3 Red dots=3 pts each. 5 Blue dots=one pt each. LET THE VOTING BEGIN!

ITZA DOT PARTY in the MARLBORO ELementary Outback. 100 townspeople posting their vote on the wall.

Dot Party/photo credit: David Holzapfel

OMG! That was SO MUCH FUN! Everyone sticking their DOTS where they want them! WIFI LOADED with red & blue!! Great Process!

What a VIBE here at the 2cnd Marlboro Community Meeting! Someone playing piano.Cookies all gone.Team counting DOTS.

18 Marlboro “Opportunities” narrowed down to 8 by the COOL DOT Voting Process. Boisterous room suddenly goes silent.

Childhood friends Jason MacArthur & Forrest Holzapfel (Chair of the Community Mtg Process) post the top 8 priorities 4 Marlboro Comm.

The Priorities established tonight will determine the focus for the 3rd Community Meeting in Marlboro.

Michelle, photo credit: David Holzapfel

Marlborian Michelle Holzapfel speaks to the viability of Sky Line Restaurant as our community center.

Marlboro College President/photo credit: David Holzapfel

Round TWO of DOT VOTING underway.8 Priorities narrowed down to 2! Mood much less jovial. #VCRD https://thisvtlife.wordpress.com

Last Votes. (Tom Simon)/photo credit: David Holzapfel

ANd the WINNERS are! The 2 focuses for Marlboro have been chosen! Stay TUNED!

photo credit: David Holzapfel

#VCRD INside scoop~Click the link 2 see the results of Marlboro’s Second Community Meeting;the top 2 “winners” R:

https://thisvtlife.wordpress.com/2010/04/30/and-the-winners-are/

Marlboro Resident Polly Wilson votes, photo credit David Holzapfel

Good Night, Marlboro. Another inspiring community process.

Yours Truly, Tweeting the Meeting, photo credit David Holzapfel

Kelly Salasin

And the Winners ARE:

And the Winners ARE:

The DOT Voting Process at Marlboro's 2cnd Community Meeting with VCRD

Marlborians at the Second Community Meeting with the Vermont Council of Rural Development choose the top TWO focuses for ACTION.

Narrowed down from a list of 18, then a list of 8, the community has voted to act on:

Develop a Marlboro Community Center

and

Improve Walkability and Expand Bike & Walking Paths

Community Matters, Part II

Community Matters, Part II

“There is no power greater than a community
discovering what it cares about.”

~Meg Wheatley

The Youngest Attendee (photo: David Holzapfel)

Now that we know what matters to us as a community, it’s time to come together to make it happen.  Let’s have some fun!  (PS.  Don’t tell the little one, but a town pub was high on the priority list for most community members.)


Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?

Take a look at the guests for today’s Marlboro Community Visit:

Roger Allbee, Secretary, Agency of Agriculture

Suzanne Blanchard, Program Director, Smart Growth Vermont

Andy Broderick, Principal, New Generation Partners

Greg Brown, Executive Director, Chittenden Regional Planning Commission (Retired)

Paul Bruhn, Executive Director, Preservation Trust of Vermont

Patricia Coates, State Director, Congressman Peter Welch Office

Paul Costello, Executive Director, Vermont Council on Rural Development

Steve Gold, Deputy Secretary, Agency of Administration (Retired)

Julie Jacques, County Director, Farm Service Agency

Jeff Lewis, Executive Director, Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation

Larry Mandell, Founder, Woodbury College

James Matteau, Executive Director, Windham Regional Commission

Johanna Miller, Co‐Chair, Vermont Climate Action Network

Max Muise, USDA Rural Development

Tom Murray, Executive Director, Vermont Telecom Authority

Jenny Nelson, Policy Advisor, Office of Senator Bernie Sanders

Nancy Owens, Executive Director, Housing Vermont

Bob Paquin, State Director, Farm Service Agency

Julian Portilla, Program Director, Mediation & Applied Conflict Studies, Champlain College

Chuck Ross, State Director, Senator Patrick Leahy Office

Will Sawyer, Program Manager, UVM Center for Rural Studies

Ryan Torres, Philanthropic Advisor, Vermont Community Foundation

For more information, contact Margaret at 802‐223‐6091 or info@vtrural.org.

During the three month process, towns create local goals and action plans and are assisted by a Visiting Team who brings state and regional expertise and resources to the table. These state and regional experts will be on hand as active listeners as community members from Marlboro share their challenges, inspirations and current work ongoing in town.

Click here for schedule