Rutland Daily Herald from Rutland, Vermont on July 22, 1988 · 7
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Rutland Daily Herald from Rutland, Vermont · 7

Rutland, Vermont
Issue Date:
Friday, July 22, 1988
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V RUTLAND DAILY HERALD, FRIDAY MORNING, JULY 22, 1988 Farmers Can Reap Savings in New Tax Program By SUSAN HARLOW Southern Vermont Bureau SPRINGFIELD - Farmers can expect hefty savings in property taxes under the new Working Farm Tax Abatement Program included in Act 200 by the state Legislature this year. But some farmers may not know that legislators also voted a one-year program for nondairy farmers to make up for beinp left out by the milk subsidy, which will only benefit dairy farmers. Deadline Nears But they need to move fast the deadline to apply for the one-time Farm Tax Reimbursement Program is Aug. 1. Eligible farmers include dairy farmers who did not qualify for the dairy subsidy because of income requirements or because they did not join the Regional Cooperative Marketing ncy. Vegetable, maple, beef and her nondairy farmers are also eligible. And if the same farmers plan to get ito the working farm cr L--1- is a long-term program into the working farm category which is a long-term program for next year, they will have to get two applications readied soon, because the deadline for that program is Sept. 1. Buffer Against Bad Times This is compensation for the hard times weve been having," said Polly Gilbert of Springfield. "We feel its a valid program but we really have to hurry to get in." Gilbert and her husband, Russell, sold their dairy herd last May and now raise heifers and sheep. The working farm tax program will probably save them more than half of their $5,000 property tax bill, she said. "It sounds like a dream program. We all want to see Vermont stay rural and stay pristine and we want to see our farmland continue," said Peter Mollica, who just started raising Christmas trees on 70 acres in Springfield but hasnt decided yet whether to apply. "But what bothers me is that we try to keep Vermont like that at the expense of the farmer. Push to Save Farmland The new tax break programs are part of the states big push to help save Vermont farmland by easing the farmers' tax burden. Under both programs, which are actually two new categories added to the eight-year-old Use Value Appraisal program, towns would tax agricultural land at its use value but no school taxes would be levied. In addition, under the working farm program, all farm buildings and im provements would be exempt from all property taxes. That would mean big savings for a farmer, whose main barn alone typically is valued at about $50,000, said Rob Hedberg, Windsor County extension agent. f, Requirements But some provisions under both prorams have raised a few eyebrows, 'oremost is the requirement that the state be given first right to buy the land if the owner intends to sell it or convert it to another use. The working farm program requires a farmer to enroll all eligible contiguous land. The only way any land can be withheld is if the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board says the viability of the remaining farm will not be affected. ; So if you enroll the whole property and you want to sell one acre, under the law, you would have to offer the whole farm to the state, said Steven Za-jchowski, state current use coordinator. Mollica said another problem is that, when the house site and surrounding two acres are excluded from the program as required, the value of that two-acre parcel rises dramatically. For a small farm, the higher taxes on that parcel can cancel out any new tax sav ings, Mollica said. Farmers Interested But none of the problems seems to have daunted farmers' interest yet, Za-jehowski said. His telephone has been ringing off the hook for the past two weeks with inquiries about the program, he said. For farmers buffeted by drought, rising grain prices and falling milk prices, the programs could leave enough extra cash in their pockets to help them through some tough years. For example, take a 200-acre farm with house and barns with a fair market value of $280,000, not enrolled in any use value program, in a town with a tax rate of $2. The farmer would have to pay $5,600 in taxes. Under existing categories in the use value appraisal program, the same farmer would have to pay $3,340, according to the state. But enrolled in the working farm tax abatement program, the farmer would have to pay only $1,361. He or she would owe no taxes on farm buildings and the tax rate on the land would be much lower. Penalties Stiffer However, the penalties for leaving the program are stiffer, too. An owner taking a farm out of agriculture must repy the state all the taxes saved in Up previous five years. In the one-year program, a farmer would have to repay the reimbursement if the land were converted within a year. Under the old farmland category, owners owe three times the tax savings in the last year! The maps required for new applicants for any current use value program, cept the one-year reimbursement, will be getting more sophisticated because the state wants to make them compatible with the new Geographic Information System, or statewide computerized mapping. n 9 Aerial Photos Needed Landowners will have to submit orthophoto maps aerial photograf with distortions corrected witF applications. Landowners already in the prograjn wont need new maps, unless the laitf changes hands. The use value appraisal program wi started in 1980 to help preserve fa and forestland. Last year, landownl in Windsor County Baved a total $653,000 in taxes, and Windham Count landowners saved $419,000. Hotel Coolidge Will House Ivy Leaguers By JIM EMMONS Southern Vermont Bureau WHITE RIVER JUNCTION - The Hotel Coolidge, at the center of this rail town, has always welcomed engineers and train crews. This fall it carries on in that tradition, but also brings in engineers from another side of the tracks graduate students from the engineering school at Dartmouth College. The Hotel Coolidge and Dartmouth got together on this deal a little while ago, when it became apparent that graduates in the engineering, arts and sciences, and medical schools were going to have a tough time finding on-campus housing this fall. The college has already reserved 10 rooms at the hotel and another 11 are anticipated. Although these are relatively small numbers, they will help replace a portion of the graduate housing that was recently lost to the business school. In an expansion, the Amos Tuck business school acquired for office space a dormitory, called Chase Hall, that had housed 30-40 graduate students from the Thayer School of Engineering. Facing similar shortages, the medical school has spoken for half of the available rooms. Dartmouth houses only a fraction of its 1,000 graduate students. It is not unusual for graduate schools, especially the metropolitan schools, to let graduate students go to the housing market and fend for themselves. But at Dartmouth the practice differs. We do feel we have a commitment to provide housing," said Dorthea French, assistant dean of graduate studies in the arts and sciences. Housing in the area is already very pinched, and for students coming from abroad, the search can seem hopeless. The college tries to arrange at least enough housing to accommodate these foreigners, who make up about a tenth of the graduate enrollment. At Sachem Village, a few miles north of Hanover, N.H., the college can place up to 132 married graduate students. But married students are fewer and fewer. The strange thing, said French, is the change in demographics. We used to have largely married students. Now between 80 and 85 percent of our students are single. The larger undergraduate body can pose similar strains, but generally the residential system contains them. Although the undergraduates number around 4,200, the campus handles only 3,500 at a time, thanks to terms where students have off a semester and off-campus programs. Each term, 280 to 310 undergraduates cnoose to live off-campus in the village of Hanover. Between residence halls, fraternities and sororities, the college finds room for the remainder. In the heyday of the railroad, the railroad companies contracted with the Coolidge for 12-14 of the hotels 75 rooms. With the decline of railroading, new lodging and businesses have gravitated to the junction of the interstates highways, 1-89 and 1-91, and away from the downtown. The Coolidge has had to survive this trend, and has done so with a number of resourceful measures. It solicits the business of bus tours, bicycle tours, ski tours and business meetings. The step to housing graduate students was a natural one, said Stephen Langley, the rooms' manager. Weve dealt with railroad crews in the past, so we thought: Why not do the same thing for Dartmouth graduates, he said. Chester Man Denies Reckless Driving Southern Vermont Bureau WHITE RIVER JUNCTION - Kevin D. Green, 19, of Chester recently pleaded innocent in White River Junction District Court to a July 9 charge of reckless driving. Green is charged with cutting around barricades and speeding his car through the crowd at Proc-torsvilles street dance. Witnesses said at least one young child would have been hit, if someone hadn't pulled him out of the way at the last moment, court affidavits said. Green was apprehended later that night when police and rescue personnel responded to an accident a short distance from Proctorsville on Route 131; he was the driver of the vehicle, court affidavits said. A court affidavit said Green admitted to the earlier recklessness at the street dance. Sanders Says Independents Offer Much By JIM EMMONS Southern Vermont Bureau SPRINGFIELD His impressions National Democratic Convention as neat, non-controversial, allow Bernard Sancjeri another argument in his bid to introduce a thir and Independent party to the U.S. House o Representatives. The Burlington mayor and Independent Houi candidate has always distinguished himself fro the liberal status quo, and now, with th Democratic convention as a backdrop, he handil; points out the more glaring differences. , The essential difference, he told a gatherij of reporters in Springfield Thursday, Ts, I wi talk about issues which, in general, they will nioi go near. J The ways are well known in which Sanders has established himself as an iconoclast: he confronts! establishments ranging from hospitals to univer-J sities to airports. He does not practice pretty politics. So he was particularly disturbed at the! smoothness of the Democratic convention, in which party members have yet to draft a plan fori tion of the federal defic the federal deficit. Presidential cs idential cu- didate Jesse Jackson had advocated bringing tjiej budget in line though increased taxation of cor- porations and the wealthy . But Democrats at tftei convention didn't follow. ; Sanders said he and Jackson were very close in ideology, except for one important rift. Jesse) believes that serious social Change is possible within the Democratic party. I don't. As much as Republican politics run counter to! Sander's socialism, he credits the party for heeding its own ideals. The Republicans are! honest, he said. They say, We own this country. The Democratic party alleges to be the pagy of the working people." As Sanders sees them, The two parties are looking more and more alike. So if so much of the system disappoints him, where would Sanders as a congressman find allies? He named two, both black Democrats:! Ronald Dellums of California and John Conyerl Jr. of Michigan. Like Sanders, they have espous-ed strong support for workers and the undOTi As for Independents in the U.S. House, there are none. In fact, said Sanders, of the 436 Hous?! races, Vermonts is unique the only one in" which an Independent candidate has a real chance of winning a statewide office. Victory by an Independent would be a congressional first for Vermont. And for the country, an Independent victory would be similarly rare. (Photo by 8uan Potter Thiel) These stained glass windows attracted a Massachusetts man in 1937 enough for him to buy the Weston Community Church just to preserve the windows. The church is celebrating its 150th anniversary. Weston Church Celebrates 150 Years By SUSAN POTTER THIEL Southern Vermont Bureau WESTON Peeking through a keyhole gains a much broader view than might be expected from such a tiny vantage point. The same could be said for the pocket-sized exhibit of religious memorabilia arranged at the Weston Community Church for the sesquicentennial celebration held there Sunday. The exhibit will remain as a permanent display. The board of trustees of the Church-on-the-Hill, the more familiar name, generously included history of all seven religious organizations throughout Weston's history. Members of the board of trustees researched the families honored by the stained glass windows in the church, and invited as many descendants as they could find to the celebration. Bill and Bud Simonds of Weston are direct descendants of the churchs founder and first deacon, Parker Shattuck, and his wife, Sarah. The Simonds brothers collected the offertory Sunday. The Very Rev. H. Lawrence Whittemore Jr. led the service. According to Ellen Orton, a member of the board of trustees, it was the stained glass windows in the abandoned building which attracted the attention of Lewis Parkhurst of Massachusetts in 1937. Parkhurst noticed the windows while on a walk during a visit to his niece. To E reserve the windows, Parkhurst purchased the uilding and eventually established it as the Community Church. e exhibit the journal of a circuit minister from the Methodist-Episcopal Church is open to his record of visits to Weston in 1837, The first en-trv records a visit on Dec. 3. The sermon was based on Luke 23:62. He preached again in Weston on Dec. 5 but didn't return until April 29, 1838. Locales of his visits varied and are noted: island, village, Bennett schoolhouse, Peases, Dale. The island would be Weston Island, site of the original settlement in Weston. Carnie DeCell, who helped arrange the exhibit, speculated the visits to private homes might be for funerals or weddings or simply an accommodation by those families for the convenience of neighbors. A manual of the Congregational Church dates from 1884. It describes the founding of the Weston congregation of 15 men and 15 women during a two-day council held in September, 1799, when Weston was still a part of Andover. The manual said the Rev. Abel Fiske from Wilton, N.H., baptised 27 children from four Weston families the first day of the council and baptized 23 more children the following day. The congregation struggled through the years, and the manual notes that in 1847 they were blessed with a revival." In their centennial year the congregation held a day-long celebration, including a morning church service, lunch at the Odd Fellows Hall, afternoon church service (with orchestra), supper at 5:30 p.m. and an evening church service (also with orchestra). Seventeen years later the congregation had dwindled, and their building stood empty; but not for long. It was renovated and became the Weston Playhouse. An orchestra plays there still. Alleged Bank Robber Returned to Vermont j Southern Vermont Bureau A Bellows Falls man was returned to Vermont on Thursday from San Diego, Calif., to facea federal charge that he robbed a Bellows Fills bank in February 1987. Arthur T. Fredriksen, 36, was brought to the Rutland Community Correctional Center n ! Thursday afternoon, an RCCC official said. The FBI said Thursday that Fredriksen was r-s rested May 27 in San Diego, Calif., where he hal been recently living under the assumed identify of Robert L. Johnson. FBI agents arrested Fredriksen on a warrttit issued Feb. 6, 1987, in U.S. District Court in Butl- J ington, which charged him with robbing the First Vermont Bank and Trust branch on Church Street ! in Bellows Falls that Feb. 2. The robber handed a teller a brown paper bag t and a note that demanded cash and threatened her if she did not comply, authorities said. The investigation that led to the warrant for Fredriksens arrest was a cooperative effort of the FBI and the Bellows Falls Police Department. Wayne R. Alford, special agent in charge of the FBI division in Albany, N.Y., said in a release Thursday that Fredriksen appeared in U.S. District Court in San Diego on May 31 and was ! ordered held without bail pending a removal hear- ng. J After a July 11 hearing, U.S. Magistrate Roger C. McKee ordered Fredriksen returned to Ver J mont, according to the FBI. j Fredriksen is expected to be taken to US. ! District Court in Vermont on Friday or MondMy J for an initial appearance hearing. f

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