Posted in General

The Spirit Of The Season

Laker Hockey Team Gives Back To Their Community

The CHS boys hockey team was in the giving spirit during the month of December. During the annual Beech Memorial Hockey Tournament held at Leddy Park, the team collected toys to benefit the Howard Center Holiday Giving Project and delivered those toys on Monday, December 15th. The Howard Center, founded in 1873, has as its mission “to improve the well-being of children, adults, families and communities.”

In addition,17 boys from the team along with Joe Antoniak and Erin Stebbins traveled to Vermont Teddy Bear Factory on Tuesday, December 16th. After a short teddy bear practice the team worked a paid 4 hour shift and donated their $700 in wages to the Camp Ta-Kum-Ta fund raising drive taking place last week. The Laker Hockey contribution will go a long way toward sponsoring a camper for a special experience this summer. Camp Ta-Kum-Ta in South Hero, Vermont is a year-round camp for children who have, or have had, cancer and their families.

Colchester should be proud of the contributions made and community service performed, not just by the hockey team, but by the 2100 plus caring young people in our schools.


Posted in General

What to do with that Christmas Tree? ~ “Roundup”

In a few days we who celebrate the season by actually bringing a live tree into our houses will be confronted by reality. How long to leave the Christmas Tree up? A perennial question. Do we continue letting it dry in the corner of the living room for a week after Christmas? Or two? If we don’t have a truck to move this shedding husk, what do with it? The answer: The Boy Scouts Christmas Tree Roundup.

The Christmas Tree Roundup Benefitting Boy Scout Troop 658 Sponsored by St. Francis Xavier

If you live in the Colchester area let the Boy Scouts pick up your Christmas tree after the holidays to be mulched.

      • A donation of $10.00 per tree is appreciated
      • Make donation checks payable to Boy Scout Troop 658
      • Trees must be free of tinsel, ornaments, tree stands and plastic bags
      • Put tree out at the base of your driveway by 8:00am on Saturday, January 3rd
      • For more information call: Ken Bell 655-6258 (h) or 598-0892 (c) or send us an email @

Thank you for supporting the Boy Scouts!

Happy Holidays To All!

The Spotlight

Posted in General

Town Opens Local Option Tax Discussion

Town of Colchester

Building and Paying for a Sustainable Future

 Public Hearings on Local Option Tax Proposal

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

7:30 p.m. at Town Meeting Hall

830 Main Street, Colchester Village

The Town of Colchester Selectboard and Administration are committed to finding ways to reduce your tax bill and identifying sustainable ways to pay for needed infrastructure. Therefore, the Selectboard needs your thoughts about a possible Local Option Tax in Colchester which is a funding source used by other communities in the region and statewide. A survey in March of 2014 revealed that 72 % of the respondents supported the creation of a Local Options Tax, (LOT). After tax rate relief, the citizens identified infrastructure investments such as transportation, sewers, and storm water infrastructure as their top priorities. We will be holding two public hearings in January before a decision is made whether or not to advance the issue to a vote by Australian ballot at the March town meeting.

Why is a LOT being considered by the Select Board?

  • To lower taxes and reduce debt
  • To generate revenues from property owners outside of Colchester to meet unfunded infrastructure needs

The possible uses of a LOT that are being considered include:

  • Reduction of taxes (5 % reduction)
  • To pay off the Town’s debt (FY 16 cost is $671,648, overall debt is $6.5 million as previously approved by voters)
  • To pay for costly unfunded infrastructure needs such as water quality projects and initiatives to encourage responsible and sustainable economic growth (subject to voter approval)

What would be the benefits of a LOT?

  • Tax rate relief for all properties in Colchester
  • Retirement of Town debt
  • Increased infrastructure investment
  • Responsible and sustainable economic growth

Who Pays the LOT? It is estimated that 87% of the LOT would be paid by non-residents.

What impact would a LOT have on the average property owner? We estimate that the average Colchester household would pay $10.22 per year of the LOT while saving approximately $82 in municipal property taxes for a net savings of $72 per year.

Won’t a new tax simply be used by the Selectboard to spend more? No. LOT funds would be restricted to retiring current debt and to fund only those future capital expenses as approved by voters.

How much money will the LOT generate? The LOT is estimated to generate approximately $1.29 Million per year.

What is exempt from the Local Option Tax?

  • Food products and beverages for off-premise consumption
  • Clothes and shoes
  • Drugs, medical supplies, durable medical equipment, mobility enhancing equipment, prosthetic devices
  • Motor vehicles and fuels
  • Agricultural supplies, fuel and electricity
  • Residential heating fuel & electricity
  • Items taxed by other laws

What is the question to be voted upon?

Shall the Town of Colchester amend its Charter to add Section 703, to allow the annual assessment of a one-percent (1%) Local Option sales, rooms, meals, and alcoholic beverages tax, the proceeds of which shall be used to pay general fund debt on voter approved bonds or notes of the Town, effective 7/1/15, pending approval of the Charter change by the Legislature?

There will also be more specific language relating to the charter language that would carry out the above. Additional information and the specific language can be found at: The above language may change subject to public input and legal advice, but will be presented to voters 30-40 days before a possible vote.

How will citizens provide feedback? Comments can be posted on the Town’s Facebook page or submitted directly via email to Town Manager Dawn Francis at






Posted in General

2015 Winter Carnival Talent Show is February 6, 2015!

Talent ShowMark your calendars! The 2015 Colchester Winter Carnival is quickly approaching, which means the “Colchester’s Got Talent” community talent show is also just over a month away! The Colchester Winter Carnival Committee is seeking talented Colchester residents to perform at the annual show on FRIDAY, FEBRUARY 6th, 2015 at 6:00pm in the Colchester High School Theatre. If you’d like to audition for the show, you must pre-register and select an audition time at the Colchester Parks & Recreation Department.

AUDITIONS: January 21 & 23, 2015 (Colchester High School, Theatre). REGISTRATION DEADLINE: January 19, 2015 by noon.

Contestants will be divided into one of four categories for competition: Youth (Ages 6 – 11), Junior (Ages 12 – 14), High School (Ages 15 – 18), and Adult (Ages 19 and up). Group acts will be placed based on their oldest member. CASH PRIZES for the top three finishers in each category! 1st place = $150; 2nd place = $75; 3rd place = $50. The 2015 Colchester’s Got Talent show is sponsored by the Marriot Residence Inn in Colchester.

Rules & Regulations, Registration Forms, and more info can be found on the Winter Carnival webpage:

You can also email Jenn Turmel at <> or call (802) 264-5643. The Parks & Recreation Department also has registration forms at their office at 781 Blakely Road, Colchester.

Posted in General

Colchester Recreation Board Announces Bike Rack Design Competition

The Colchester Recreation Board in conjunction with the Colchester Recreation Department has announced a Bike Rack Design Competition.

Three winning designs will be selected by vote of Winter Carnival 2015 (Feb. 6,7 &8) participants and will be awarded a $2,500 honorarium for each of the individual projects. The racks will be installed on local park property as well as local business properties whose owners have opted into the concept.

The RFP for the design competition can be found here.

In addition, Vermont Public Radio, a Colchester stalwart has produced a spot about the project on their website.

Posted in General

Short Notice ! CHS Concerts rescheduled for tomorrow night!

Due to last week’s snowstorm and school closure, the CHS winter band and choral concert has been rescheduled for this Wednesday, December 17 at 7 pm in the CHS theatre. To help raise money for the CSD music programs, Friends of Colchester Music will be selling DVDs of the concert, flowers and raffle tickets for a chance to win a framed (and signed) Grace Potter poster.

Posted in General

Reminder of 3rd District Open House This Evening

Now that we have all dug out from under the early December snowstorm, we’d like to remind everyone that the 3rd District Open House is still scheduled for this evening at 6pm in the Burnham Library.

Superintendent Larry Waters will be providing information on a proposal to consolidate the two K-2 schools, Union Memorial and Porters Point, into a new Pre-K – 1 Early Education Center. We would like to hear what the community has to say about this proposal and discuss if this is a viable path forward to cost containment.

Along the same efficiency path, mergers with neighboring districts are also being considered as a cost containment option. There are already education relationships with towns in the Islands and there may be opportunities for efficiencies in a relationship with the Winooski School District. Again, the district is interested in starting these important conversations with the Colchester community.

Hope to see you there!

Posted in General

“Let’s Talk” Confronts Big Issues

As a part of the District’s policy of outreach and community engagement we often have to talk about subjects concerning our children that are difficult but necessary. What this requires is face to face dialogue between parents and guardians, teachers and administrators and local health professionals. To this end, the “Let’s Talk” series was initiated and the first session last month at Colchester Middle School was well attended.The feedback from that session was overwhelmingly positive and participants let us know that they wanted to continue the discussions.

Based on that feedback the next “Let’s Talk” will be held this Thursday, December 4th from 7:00 to 8:30 pm in the Colchester High School Auditorium. Representatives from local organizations that are key to how the District responds to student issues will attend. Charlotte McCorkel, Howard Center’s First Call Director and Child Psychiatrist Fezya Basoglu will be discussing adolescent brain development, grief, risk and resilience as well as suicide prevention. Information will be shared and there will be opportunity for questions and discussion. Parents and caregivers of high school and middle school students are encouraged to attend.

Posted in General

Learning Partnerships at Malletts Bay School

The Malletts Bay School (MBS) in Colchester has a unique configuration of grade levels due to space restrictions in other District buildings. Malletts Bay serves elementary school children in grades three through five. In addition, the preschoolers, age three to five, also attend classes at MBS, as there is not adequate space for the preschool in the two primary buildings (Union Memorial and Porter’s Point School).   Teachers at MBS are taking advantage of this unusual configuration by partnering our “graders” (older students) with our preschoolers.

Each week fifth graders from Stephanie Miller’s class (they named themselves the “Millers Minions”) visit Mrs. Wilkinson’s Head Start classroom to serve as assistant teachers. “I think there is a great benefit to the fifth graders as it allows them to feel empowered as mentors,” said Mrs. Miller.  “It is so good to see them being leaders as they are getting ready to transition to the middle school.”

MBS Buddies 1

Twice a week, on Wednesdays and Fridays, the Minions go in pairs to the preschool classroom during the younger children’s morning free play time. When the older students arrive they are asked to select a book of their

L-R Max Bennett (preK), Connor Roy (grade five), Katie Fontaine playing a learning game.

choice, which they read to their young partners. Following the “buddy reading,” the fifth graders help the preschoolers play games, work puzzles, or build with blocks. When asked about the benefits of this collaboration, Mrs. Wilkinson noted, “It is an exchange of experience, knowledge, respect and empathy that enhances our sense of community in the classroom.”

Saeida Kowa shows fifth grader Mia Cliché her writing.

Cross age groupings are an important part of the unique vision for the Colchester Schools. The vision for our District states, “Our partnerships will lead to a vibrant, inclusive community, proud of innovative learning and flexible approaches in learning with a commitment to excellence for individuals of all ages and backgrounds.” In addition to the collaboration between Mrs. Miller and Mrs. Wilkinson, MBS also has “reading buddies” between the Harmony House fifth and third grades, while fifth grade teacher Gregg Galati coordinates a high school mentoring program with Colchester High School.

Photo credit: Deb Wilkinson, CVOEO Head Start