By Judy Garrison

I was with a small group of people recently, and every single one had heard the “rumor.” Given its widespread proliferation, I feel I’m beyond the speculative realm when I put into print that the word is out that Andreas Gerdes, current owner of the “mansion” on Main Street that has sat empty and untended for many years, recently conveyed ownership of the building and its acreage. Also the contiguous property behind it, the Victorian house previously owned by Lee Melahn and Rick Shaver, proprietors of Mercantile. The recipient is a not-for-profit educational project called MaNaBu. One of the intentions of this 501(c)(3), so goes the word on the street, is the construction of up to 24 cottages to house some of the young people involved in the group. Presumably the goal is a camp-like setting and experience. Of course, for the planning board to OK this new construction would involve multiple hearings and approvals. Stay tuned for future town meetings!

   If you go to the website: www.manabumovement.org you will see that the group’s mission is: empowering children to be leaders of change. “The MaNaBu Movement is empowering children and youth to reach their full potential and become advocates for a kinder, more inclusive, and sustainable future. MaNaBu Movement believes that young people should be treated as equals, listened to, and talked with as opposed to talked to. They are born to live their ideas, be valued, and be heard.”

Guess who was one of the founders? None other than Andreas Wil Gerdes. The benefactor even has his own Wikipedia page. If you want to learn more of the story, you know where to go.

The descriptive article is headlined with a disclaimer that reads in part: Thetopic of this article may not meet Wikipedia’s notability guidelines for biographies.”~