Friday, March 02, 2012


News to Know March 2

Posted by Corinne Stridsberg
Check the Berlin, Vermont Community News page on facebook


BERLIN TOWN REPORTS - Town Reports are in and went home with the elementary students just before vacation.If you're looking for one before Town Meeting next Tuesday, they're available at the Town Clerk's office, the Berlin Elementary School, Chamber of Commerce on Stewart Road and at the Knapp Airport (main terminal where Sambel's was).


MONDAY EVENING, MARCH 5TH - Pretown Meeting at Berlin Elementary School 6pm - always very informative, please attend.

TUESDAY, MARCH 6TH AT 10AM - BERLIN TOWNMEETING at Berlin Elementary School. Even with so many items on Australian ballot, please attend. Polls open 10am - 7pm for voting.


SOUP - Minestrone or Corn Chowder

SANDWICHES - Egg Salad, Tuna Salad or Ham Salad

DESSERT - Tapioca or Chocolate Pudding

BEVERAGE - Coffee – Decaf. or Reg., Tea, Hot Chocolate or Punch

ONLY $5.00Join us for lunch - your support is appreciated :)


Berlin Dogs need to be registered, currently the cost is $8 if spayed or neutered and $12 if not; on April 1st the cost goes up to $10 for spayed/neutered and $16 if not. Bring proof of rabies vaccination and of spay/neuter with you when you head to the Town Clerk's office.


BERLIN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL BUDGET - In addition to the budget presentation and slides, the school budget and change summary is now posted at the bottom of the main school website page .The presentation was recorded by Berlin resident, Carl Parton and is also posted at

*** is indeed the "Local Sports Video Leader".I love the variety of sports highlights that can be found and you can buy a full length DVD of the games they've recorded.


BERLIN FLOOD RELIEF - The local committee which came together as the result of the flooding in 2011 is still active and there continues to be folks in need of assistance.If you're able to help, whether by giving your time (joining the committee or helping with a specific activity) or by making a donation, there will be more information at Town Meeting and that I will pass details along in an upcoming email.


KINDERGARTEN - Berlin families with children who are eligible to enroll in kindergarten in the fall (and aren't already attending preschool there) are asked to contact the school at 223-2796 for a packet of information.


CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) - buy local, sesaonal food directly from a farmer.More details can be found here: of CSA's

CENTRAL VERMONT FOOD HUB CSA combination of Dog River Farm (George Gross and Screamin' Ridge Farm (Joe Buley)



Are you already using or another gas price comparision website?Pick Vermont and then put in your zipcode (also great to check out where you'll be traveling) to find the lowest prices in the area.There is also a GasBuddy App for phones.


Take a moment to look at the incredible art created by carving books one page at a time:

Interview with Brian Dettmer and more of his creations: and the artist's website


ONION RIVER EXCHANGE - The Onion River Exchange helps Central Vermonters to exchange goods and services without using money. Instead, members buy and sell services for Community Credits, a time-based currency. Services can vary from mechanical work to home cooked meals to yoga lessons, and each service is worth the time you spend providing it. As a member, you could earn an hour of credit for giving someone a ride to a doctor’s appointment, and use that credit to have someone make you dinner.In ORE, the currency is time, and everyone’s time is equal.Since their launch in April 2008, OREhas grown to over 450 members in more than 28 towns.The members have exchanged over six thousand service hours in seventy-five categories, and have helped our community partners with festivals, mailings, and other services.We suggest that our members make a yearly donation to ORE to help us keep up with operating costs. Suggested rates are $25 for an individual membership or $40 for a household membership.


Community Emergency Response Team #5

Basic Training Course March 24th and 25th, 2012

7:30am-Registration Opens, 8:00am Class Begins

Barre Auditorium Classrooms - Classrooms just to the right of the auditorium-there will be signs! This should run all day both days until 4:00pm.

R.S.V.P. to Julie Benedict at or phone me at 802.431.5701

This training is designed to cover disaster preparedness, fire safety, directing traffic, disaster medical operations, triage and treating life threatening injuries.

Lunch will be provided. Come get involved in learning how to help your community during times of emergency!


from the Times Argus


By David DelcoreStaff Writer - Published: February 14, 2012

BERLIN— After more than seven months of working without a contract, union members of Berlin’s police department have reached an agreement with the Select Board.
The five-year deal, which was finalized last week, includes pay raises of roughly 3 percent in each year. In exchange, said Town Administrator Jeff Schulz, the department’s full-time officers will be required to pick up a steadily increasing share of their health insurance deductibles.
According to Schulz, health insurance was a major bone of contention during negotiations that dragged on for several months and featured at least one aborted ratification attempt.
Schulz described the agreement as a“fair compromise.”
Although pay raises will vary depending on how long an officer has been with the department, Schulz said the contract contemplates annual “step” increases as well as cost-of-living adjustments that amount to roughly 3 percent a year. The raises would be slightly higher for newer officers, he said.
Officers are also getting one more personal day a year and more employee-friendly vacation language. However, Schulz said union members will begin paying a portion of their health insurance deductibles.
He said the town has historically paid 100 percent of the police officers’ deductibles under the high-deductible health savings accounts that the town shifted to in hopes of saving money. He said the new contract envisions those costs will eventually be split 50-50 between the town and police union members.
Under the terms of the contract, officers are responsible for paying 20 percent of their deductibles — which are currently $2,000 for a single plan and $4,000 for a family plan — this calendar year. That will increase to 30 percent on Jan. 1, 2013, and 40 percent on Jan. 1, 2014, before capping at 50 percent on Jan. 1, 2015. The contract will expireJune 30, 2016.
This year an officer enrolled in a family plan will be required to pay $800 of the $4,000 deductible. Assuming the deductibles don’t change, that same officer will be required to pay $2,000 of the deductible starting Jan. 1, 2015, and the town will be required to pay the other $2,000. Although the deductibles could change, Schulz said the percentages spelled out in the contract will not.
According to Schulz, the contract requires the town to continue carrying a comprehensive health insurance plan that — from a benefits perspective — is comparable to one members of the department were afforded under the earlier agreement.
The contract allows officers to carry up to 120 hours of vacation time over from one fiscal year to the next.
Schulz also said hourly pay for providing service to Central VermontMedical Centerunder a separately negotiated agreement will increase to $30, from $26.

from the Times Argus


By David Delcore
Staff Writer - Published: February 29, 2012

BERLIN— If there are opponents to Wal-Mart’s plans to expand its store at the Berlin Mall, they missed an opportunity to be heard Monday night when the District 5 Environmental Commission opened its review of the project.
More than two dozen people attended, but many were affiliated with the proposal, and most of the rest — including town officials and at least one neighboring property owner — were generally supportive of a plan that would enlarge the store by roughly 26,000 square feet.

The proposal also involves adding 136 parking spaces along the perimeter of the mall’s existing lot and replacing the sign to the shopping complex at its Route 62 entrance.
The plan, which was briefly outlined for the commission by Montpelier attorney Charles Storrow, involves constructing an 18,700-square-foot addition to the Wal-Mart. Storrow, who represents the mall’s owners and sat next to one of them — Ken Simon, of Lerner-Heidenberg Associates — during the hearing, said the addition would be built behind and connected to three existing storefronts that collectively occupy roughly 7,600 square feet.
One of those storefronts is vacant; the other two house F.Y.E. and Payless Shoes — stores that would presumably be relocated within the mall to make room for one of Wal-Mart’s “discount superstores.” Among other things, commissioners were told the expanded store, which would grow from roughly 67,000 to 93,500 square feet, would feature a much larger grocery department — complete with its own bakery and delicatessen.
Assuming the commission approves the requested amendment to the mall’s Act 250 land-use permit, Storrow said construction could start this year. However, he acknowledged the proposed development will require several other state and local permits before that can happen.
“(Work will start) as soon as all the pieces fall into place,” Storrow said. “Hopefully this construction season.”
According to testimony, Wal-Mart expects to hire 50 additional employees when and if the store is expanded.
As expected, the effect of increased traffic on the surrounding road network, which the mall shares with CentralVermont Medical Centerand others, dominated discussion during the two-hour hearing.
The commission heard only one request for party status. That came from an insurance company eager to shed the financial liability associated with a nebulous traffic-related condition in its own land-use permit.
David Grayck, the Montpelierlawyer representing Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Vermont, told the three-member commission that his client isn’t opposed to the expansion of Wal-Mart. But he said traffic-related testimony at the hearing could justify lifting what has become a standard condition in permits for projects near the much-studied and occasionally tinkered-with intersection of Route 62 and Fisher and Airport roads.
That condition essentially puts permit holders, like the mall and Blue Cross, on the hook for their “fair share” of an intersection upgrade that hasn’t yet been defined using a cost-sharing formula that hasn’t yet been developed.
However, based on the testimony of the mall’s traffic expert, as well as from Vermont Agency of Transportation officials, Grayck wondered whether federally funded improvements the state plans to make on Fisher Roadnext year would bring the problem intersection into regulatory compliance.
Currently that intersection operates at a level of service of “F” — a failing grade that Bruce Nyquist, one of the Transportation Agency personnel who attended the hearing, said is exclusively attributed to traffic during the afternoon rush hour.
“The rest of the time this intersection works just fine,” he said.
According to Nyquist, the installation of radar detection units at the intersection has all but eliminated vehicles on Route 62 running red lights and significantly reduced the number of accidents at the intersection.
Shawn Kelly, the traffic expert retained by the mall’s owner, said that change, coupled with the planned addition of an exclusive left turn lane on Airport Road and other modifications, should improve the intersection’s level of service to a “D” even with the marginally increased traffic that would be generated by an expanded Wal-Mart.
If that analysis is accurate, Grayck said, Blue Cross would likely want to revisit its permit.
“If the ‘adverse condition’ no longer exists then the legal justification for the (permit) condition no longer exists,” he said, noting that the potential cost of some future fix is being carried on the books by Blue Cross and passed on to its ratepayers.
Commission member Chuck Haynes predicted there were other companies with similar permit conditions that probably would like to rid themselves of “an undefined liability that they have to carry on their financial statements.”
“(The liability) runs with the permit and it runs with the property,” Haynes noted, wondering whether it was time to consider extinguishing the permit conditions.
However, Rajnish Gupta, traffic research manager for the Agency of Transportation, said he believed that would be premature, given the interim nature of the improvements the agency has proposed.
“Our preference would be to retain the permit conditions,” he said, explaining it could be several years before the state works out the “fair share” process and proposes a longer-term solution.
While the commission spent plenty of time on traffic issues — a discussion that touched briefly on the absence of sidewalks and crosswalks on the town road that runs between the mall and the hospital — it breezed through most of the other review criteria, many of which are addressed in the underlying permit for the mall.
The commission has taken the Blue Cross request for party status under advisement and will await additional submittals and issue a memorandum outlining how it plans to proceed. A second hearing has not been scheduled.



Please note that the following grant offers counseling services to find more resources available to storm survivors.Those interested in taking part are asked to call 2-1-1

Vermont’s $2.4 million disaster grant approved by FEMA

Money will help disaster survivors with housing, other unmet needs

MONTPELIER– Gov. Peter Shumlin announced today that Vermontwill receive a $2.4 million grant from FEMA for recovery services for survivors of Tropical Storm Irene. The funds will assist with unmet needs, including housing, social services and more.

The grant will be managed by the Vermont Agency of Human Services, which will contract with three Community Action agencies to hire 11 case managers through August of 2013. Those case managers will work with the same clients from start to finish, identifying the assistance already received, prioritize what disaster related needs remain, and locating the resources available. Case managers will follow up with individuals to ensure all needs are met.

The case managers will be working in partnership with 11 Long Term Recovery Committees around Vermont. Those who are still in need of case management services should call 2-1-1 to be referred to the appropriate Long Term Recovery Committee.

The funding request was prepared and submitted by the Vermont Agency of Human Services and strongly supported by Vermont’s Congressional delegation.

“I am grateful that FEMA is recognizing Vermonter's efforts to respond to Tropical Storm Irene. Through the creation of partnerships at the state and municipal level and the creation of long-term recovery centers Vermonters worked together to recover from Irene's devastation,” said Gov. Shumlin. “This grant will help fill the gap for individuals who need the most long-term help to rebuild their lives.”

Senator Patrick Leahy added, "This grant makes clear that federal agencies will 'stay in the game' with Vermonters coping with Irene's aftermath, supporting state and local recovery needs well into 2013. We know that the damage done by a disaster of this magnitude lasts long after the headlines have ebbed and the State of Vermontshowed great foresight and planning by pursuing this grant."

Senator Bernie Sanders said, “It is impressive the degree to which Vermonters have rebounded from the devastating impact of Tropical Storm Irene. However, there are many Vermonters who have had trouble navigating the array of federal, state, private and non-profit assistance, and there are others who have regrettably fallen through the cracks. This grant will provide much-needed resources so the state and community action agencies can work with these individuals and families to make sure they are getting all of the assistance they are eligible for.”

Congressman Peter Welch said, "In characteristic fashion, Vermonters are getting back on their feet with neighbors helping neighbors and communities rallying around those hit hardest by Irene's wrath. But the storm caused immense damage in many parts of Vermont, from which it will take years to recover. These funds will assist organizations doing great work and helping in that long-term recovery effort."

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?