Bottles heading into the dishwasher
Note: This article is reprinted from Community Vine. The original article was read over 9,500 times.
In November 2009 at the Ashburnham-Westminster Education Foundation’s launch event held at the Fitchburg Art Museum, we won an overnight package to stay at an historic inn and dinner at a local restaurant in Middlebury, Vermont. The package, called a “Woodchuck Cidery Experience”, was donated by Bret Williams, a graduate of Oakmont, who is President and CEO of the Green Mountain Beverage Company in Middlebury.
During our fateful long drive to Parris Island 2 1/2 years ago, during which we decided to create the Vine, one of the things Jen looked forward to the most was being able to write about people here in town who have led very interesting lives, but who most people know little if anything about. People live their lives in Westminster not because they’re stuck here (like Lodi, CA, made infamous by Credence Clearwater Revival), but because they choose to live here. Sure, there’s a degree of inertia on occasion, but Westminster is also a very special town, made so by the people and culture, the classic New England architecture, the rugged landscape, and the many opportunities for outdoor recreation. People have been visiting here for centuries to enjoy the lakes and mountains.
Over the course of the past few years we’ve not covered as many people as we intended to, but we started with George and Betsy Lane, a couple which has traveled the world with the Foreign Service, but came back to their roots in Westminster when they retired. For our last issue we decided to cover another interesting person in Westminster who has been on Jen’s list since the beginning.
Joint Selectmen’s meeting, School Committee meeting, and Joint Town Meeting:
There has been a lot of local board and committee action over the past two weeks in Westminster and Ashburnham, centered 90%+ on the school funding issue.
The issue is that Ashburnham Westminster Regional School District does not have an approved operating budget for the upcoming school year (fiscal year 2014). The reason it does not have a budget is because although Westminster approved the budget on the second time around, Ashburnham voters defeated the $177K override necessary to provide ‘level services’ in the school district for the upcoming school year, and the School Committee, rather than make cuts to school services, decided to call for a Joint Town Meeting (JTM) to “break the tie”.
I hadn’t been to a School Committee meeting in nearly two years, so at first I thought I was just rusty regarding school finances, but I soon realized that I had a lot of company, as everyone, including the group sitting at the front of the room—the AWRSD School Committee--was confused. The committee as a whole wasn’t quite sure why their certified budget was voted down at the Westminster Town Meeting on Saturday, May 4, after Ashburnham had approved the budget at their Town Meeting earlier that day, or even what exactly had been voted on and why. I stayed at the meeting from 7:00pm until 9:00pm, and a good portion of that time was spent by the committee trying to dissect what went wrong, expressing frustration at yet another year of tight budgets, and some general venting. Dave Christianson, Chairman of the School Committee, kept trying to move the meeting along to the next steps, but even he was caught up in a general sense of wanting to find out what happened and the need to vent.
The AWRSD School Committee voted 7-1 to approve the iPad Initiative proposal as modified and recommended by the School Committee's Technology subcommittee.
The plan is to lease, with funds already earmarked for technology upgrades, approximately 86 iPad II’s for the incoming AWRSD Kindergarten class of 172 students.
The iPads will be divided into bundles or “classpacks” of approximately 25 units that will be shared by every 2 classrooms.