Friday, March 30, 2012


News to Know March 30th

Sent by Corinne Stridsberg
Look back at previous posts for more information
Facebook user? Check out the Berlin, Vermont Community News page
Monday, April 2nd at the Berlin Selectboard meeting folks will be attending regarding the building of the new state hospital in Berlin. Evidently two applications are being submit, one for each proposed site. Selectboard meetings are called to order at 7pm. The agenda will be posted to the town website on the selectboard page.
Tuesday, April 3rd will be Ben & Jerry's FREE CONE day - YUM!
Jazz Guitar Duo Jonah Miles and Preston Murphy (of Berlin) will be at Chadwick's Steakhouse and Pub in Randolph Saturday night March 31st 9pm - midnight. Check out their music on their facebook page . Chadwick's located on Prince Street in Randolph can also be found on facebook.
April Fools Day Concert with Everybody’s Fool: Jon Gailmor, Sunday, April 1st at 2 p.m. At the Jaquith Public Library in Marshfield. For people (and fools) of all ages. Come sing-a-long with Jon! “My performances, regardless of where or for whom, are designed to fit the audience to a tee, and to leave them feeling renewed, hopeful, and emotionally charged. My originals are fraught with childish illogic, profound feelings, absurd humor and, at times, both subtle and obvious messages. Much of my subject matter involves The Family. I’ll have folks singing & clapping together, guffawing, weeping, whatever it takes for an audience to revel in its humanity.” For information call 426-3581 or e-mail
Spring Cleaning Book Sale is going on at our community library, the Kellogg-Hubbard on Main Street in Montpelier. With the continued support from the Berlin taxpayers, all Berlin residents are able to make full use of the Kellogg-Hubbard (once they get a library card by showing proof of residency). Details on programs, hours, and more can be found at:
Living with Vermont's Rivers Conference, Wednesday, May 16th, 2012 8am-4:30pm Capitol Plaza Hotel, 100 State St., Montpelier. Free and open to the public, however, pre-registration is required as seating is limited. Contact: Kim Greenwood 802-223-2328 x119 Rivers and river management - why rivers do what they do and how to minimize development and river conflicts. This is a beginner-intermediate conference on river science issues specifically designed for municipal officials, consultants, contractors, legislators, road crews, curious citizens, watershed group members and farmers. Using case studies, speakers will discuss various aspects of what makes rivers stable - or unstable - such as: gravel extraction, roads & bridges, agricultural practices, downtown development, storm water, dams and flood plains. Hear Vermont examples of what has and has not worked over time to minimize conflicts between our rivers and our development.
Berlin fire chiefs look for new revenue sources
By David Delcore
Staff Writer - Published: March 21, 2012
BERLIN — A new-look Select Board got a visit this week from fire department leaders, who said they are battling the political equivalent of a brush fire while exploring new ways to raise revenue in the wake of a Town Meeting Day vote that didn’t go their way.
On a night when the board elected a new chairman and welcomed two new members, Fire Chief Miles Silk Jr. and Deputy Chief Scott Bagg arrived in what they characterized as bridge-building mode.
“We wanted to get a chance to strengthen some bridges between us and our Select Board,” said Bagg, who is president of the autonomous corporation that runs the Berlin Volunteer Fire Department.
Specifically, Bagg said he and Silk were eager to address a perception held by some that “there was a little bit of a disconnect between (the) governance of our community and our fire department.”
“We never meant to have that impression, and we certainly do not want to have that type of impression in our community,” he said.
According to Bagg, firefighters may invite a member of the town board to participate in the department’s budget deliberations this year.
“We think that’s in the best interest of all involved,” he said.
That wasn’t the case last year, and board members seemed surprised earlier this year when they were presented with a pair of ballot initiatives that would have doubled the community’s contribution to the fire department.
Only one of those ballot requests was approved by voters on Town Meeting Day. The other, which firefighters said would have enabled them to “establish continuous, in-station staffing at the Four Corners Station,” was rejected 295-247.
It was a close vote, according to Bagg, who said voters’ refusal to appropriate the money the department requested to pay its members unspecified stipends to cover the station means it will still scramble to find volunteers able to respond to many calls during the regular workday.
“We still need to work on ways of making a consistent response especially on the non-urgent, non-structure fire calls,” he said.
Those calls — from car accidents to false alarms — account for a majority of the department’s work, according to Silk, who said firefighters will likely ask the town to create a mechanism for the department to generate revenue on at least some of those calls.
The idea of enacting an “alarm ordinance” is not new, and communities like Barre already have one. The idea, he said, would be to create a fee that could be assessed on property owners whose poorly maintained alarm systems chronically trigger an unnecessary emergency response.
According to Silk, it is not unusual for the department to respond to the same location several times in one month due to a faulty alarm. However, he said, absent an ordinance, the department has no recourse to charge the property owners.
Silk said the department is also interested in discussing the possibility of creating minimum standards for the construction of new commercial property in town.
Meanwhile, Bagg said the department is interested in what the board plans to do with $15,000 that it included in its operating budget to finance the town’s share of the continued study of a regional public safety authority given the failure of a nonbinding referendum that was considered by voters on the floor of their open town meeting.
Bagg, who urged voters at town meeting to defeat what amounted to a show of support for the regionalization effort, said the board could take its time considering his question.
“We don’t expect an answer tonight,” he said. “It’s something you need to discuss.”
Fewer than 100 residents participated in the split floor vote on the nonbinding question, forcing the board to confront whether to remain an active player in a process that got a vote of approval in Barre and Montpelier on Town Meeting Day and has not yet been considered by voters in Barre Town.
Bagg stressed the Berlin department isn’t necessarily opposed to regionalization as long as the price is right.
“We’re for regionalization that will cost our community the same amount of money,” he said. “We want to be a partner in that. We want to be a partner in serving our community and doing it cost-effectively.”
Board members did not discuss what to do in the wake of the Town Meeting Day vote, but Town Administrator Jeff Schulz said members would soon have to make a decision.
The board did elect Brad Towne as its new chairman and welcomed two newly elected members, Pete Kelley and Craig Frazier.
In other business Monday, the board briefly discussed one resident’s request to explore upgrading a town trail and was urged to consider developing a mid- to long-range plan for maintaining paved and gravel roads that have been identified as in need of some preventive maintenance.


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