SWANTON TOWN — The town selectboard’s Jan. 22 started like any other.

The board carried a motion to approve the prior meeting’s minutes, with corrections, and moved on.

“Public comment,” the board’s chair, James Guilmette, announced.

His eyes scanned the audience, about a half-dozen residents scattered among the fold-out chairs.

“Anybody out there got anything to say under public comment that’s not on the agenda?”

Three women in the front row exchanged looks — Anita Michele Parah, Joanne Reiter and Judy Paxman, all members of the Swanton Arts Council.

They were all smiles, clutching what appeared to be notebooks on their laps like eager students.

After a couple community announcements — the Swanton Arts Spectacular coming Sept. 7, Adam Paxman’s election as the Swanton Chamber president — Judy stood.

“We have some sketchers in the front row,” she announced.

“We are trying to get people to be involved publicly, to come to the [governmental] meetings, to feel comfortable coming to the meetings.

“So we’re using you as our ‘model citizens.’”

And then they held up their notebooks — actually sketchpads. Parah, Reiter and Paxman had each begun rough pencil sketches of the selectpersons.


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