SHAFTSBURY -- On Monday Sept. 30, Tim Scoggins was selected by the Shaftsbury Select Board to replace Craig Bruder, who was resigning his seat on the board. Scoggins was one of three candidates for the position, alongside former selectman Billy Oberauer and development review board member Tom Huncharek.
Scoggins and his family moved from Austin, Texas, to Shaftsbury three years ago after Scoggins' retirement from his position at Applied Research Laboratories at the University of Texas, Austin. Scoggins had worked at Applied Research for 25 years, where he studied underwater acoustics for the US Navy. Regarding Shaftsbury, Scoggins said, "we ended up here by luck, you might say." With his retirement on the horizon, Scoggins and his wife had been vacationing around the country, getting a feel for whether they would like to live in various regions. They were visiting some friends in Shaftsbury, and decided that this was the area they wanted to live in.
Scoggins immediately took an interest in Shaftsbury Elementary School, where his daughter, River, currently 9, was going to attend. He began attending school board meetings, as he "wanted to take an interest and make sure my daughter was getting the best education possible." One of the first suggestions Scoggins made to the school board was that it get involved with the "Safe Routes to School" program, a federal program that encourages kids to walk or bike to school, to promote better health and well-being.
Scoggins believed that involvement in the program might make the town eligible for more in terms of government grants, and would promote safety for the kids. Scoggins became the Safe Routes to School coordinator and worked with school board member Larry Johnson to convince the Vermont Road Agency to lower the speed limit on Route 7A in the center of Shaftsbury to 25 mph from 35 mph. Describing how the project began, Scoggins said, "Larry approached me after we were denied a stop light at that intersection. We weren't really sure where to go from there." Scoggins also helped select board Vice Chair Karen Mellinger to apply for grants to pave a sidewalk on the corner of Route 7A and Church St. , although, of that he said, "I don't deserve that much credit for that one, Karen did the lion's share of the work."
Scoggins praised the Safe Routes to School program, saying that in Shaftsbury it has been "very successful." Scoggins organized one group walk to school earlier in the year, and has another scheduled for Wednesday.
Students are encouraged to meet at "drop points" and walk to school together. Students east of Route 7A will be meeting at Howard Park, and students who live west of Route 7A will meet on Church St.
As Selectman, Scoggins says he isn't going in with anything on his agenda. "I see Shaftsbury as a town full of hard working people who just need some help. My aim is to find out where that help is needed." While he'll still keep up to date on school issues, and attend the meetings, he believes Shaftsbury "is doing an excellent job, it's a great school system. " In time, he says, once he's had a chance to learn about where the town's needs are, "then I'll develop an agenda."
Scoggins also currently serves on the Town Garage Committee.
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @DerekCarsonBB.