Year in Review: Shaftsbury says farewell to Herrington, welcomes board members

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SHAFTSBURY — The year of 2015 was a busy one for the town of Shaftsbury, which saw some turnover in town and school positions, the retirement of a beloved educator, a new Ordinary Hero, and more.

On Feb. 25, school board member Jennifer Arlotta announced her surprise resignation from the board, just on the eve of election. Her name still appeared on the ballot, though the people of the town got the memo in time, electing her opponent, Holly Bahan, 282-89. "I have struggled for the past year to attend regular meetings without putting my family in too much of a hardship," wrote Arlotta in her resignation letter, "but with my work schedule and my children's [extra curricular] activities, it is becoming nearly impossible. So instead of cancelling on one more meeting, I feel it is best to resign."

On March 11, a week after elections, the school board welcomed its two newest members, Bahan and Jeffrey Leake, who ran against incumbent Todd Ordway and came away with 212 votes to Ordway's 143. School Board Chairman Fran Kinney also ran unopposed for his seat. Select Board Chairman Tim Scoggins and Vice-Chairman Mitch Race were both up for re-election, but ran unopposed.

On April 10, the town and road foreman Terry Stacy decided to part ways, although neither side was able to give any more details about the reasons for the departure. Steve Washburn Jr. took over the position on an interim basis, and, in August, it was announced that he would be taking on the position officially.

On May 2, for the 45th consecutive year, Shaftsbury's Recreation Committee organized the town's annual Green Up Day, part of the statewide initiative of the same name to remove trash from the sides of Vermont's roads. "It's a wonderful program where the community comes out and spiffs up their neighborhood. It's like spring cleaning," said committee member Deena Ruege.

The Shaftsbury Historical Society also named its second Ordinary Hero, this time choosing Ken Coonradt, who has held many public service positions in Shaftsbury, including as a member of the Select Board, zoning administrator, and water commissioner. He also served as a scoutmaster with the Boy Scouts, is a member of the Disabled American Veterans, the Masons, the Vermont Cemetery Association, The 251 Club of Vermont, and The Grange. He is currently the chaplain at the Vermont Veterans Home and the American Legion Post 13 in Bennington. The Historical Society will be accepting nominations for the 2016 Ordinary Hero until Dec. 31.

On Father's Day, Sunday June 21, retiring Shaftsbury Elementary School physical education teacher Howard Herrington was sent off in the most fitting way possible, with a 5K race. The founder of the Shaftsbury Striders after-school running program, Herrington taught at the school for 31 years, and left to pursue a new career in the financial sector. Strider alumni Andy Newell and Sarah Umphlett were the fastest adult and child in the race, respectively.

In September, the Select Board learned that, due to a conflict in the 911 database, the town would need to rename Sawmill Road. One of the owners of one of the three residences on the road suggested East Mountain Road, and the board officially adopted the new name at the October meeting.

In October, the board interviewed four residents for two open positions on the Shaftsbury Planning Commission. The board voted to appoint David Mance, who was a member of the town's zoning and planning board throughout most of the 1980s, and was again on the planning commission from the mid-to-late '90s, until he moved to the Development Review Board, where he still serves today, and Briee della Rocca, a 15-year resident of Shaftsbury who currently works at Bennington College. Former Select Board member Carl Korman and Mike Foley, who serves on the town's environmental issues committee, were also interviewed for the planning commission positions.

Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.


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