Thursday, April 26, 2012

BERLIN NEWS TO KNOW April 26th, 2012 Sent by Corinne Stridsberg and also posted at Look back at previous posts for more information Facebook user? Check out the Berlin, Vermont Community News page

**** There are some folks who I believe are no longer Berlin residents on my email list - you're welcome to stay on but let me know if you'd like to be taken off.

Included please find:


RIVER CONFERENCE May 16th - at the Capital Plaza in Montpelier 8:15am - 4:30pm. Pre Registration Required, Free, details can be found at: (when I last looked, there was still space to be able to sign up)


BERLIN SELECT BOARD meets the first and third Monday of the month. Next meeting is May 7th. The April 16th Select Board Meeting video available on line: *** BERLIN ROAD SUPERINTENDENT position vacancy:

*** GREEN UP SATURDAY, MAY 5TH Get out and Green Up - Come to Berlin Elementary School to pick up your bags for this years Green Up Day. Refreshments will be available and you can enter a drawing to win a rain barrel. Stop by Saturday morning, May 5th from 7:30am to noon. Leave the bags on the side of the road or bring them to the dumpsters at the Town office / garage. For more information call Rob at 223-7278 Wear sturdy shoes or boots and gloves - in addition to the usual liter to pick up, there is also lots to still clean up from Tropical Storm Irene.

By Daniel Staples Staff Writer - Published: April 13, 2012
BERLIN — In one harrowing night, Tropical Storm Irene washed away M’s RV on Route 12. Since that fateful August day, the owners of the business along the Dog River have been putting the pieces back together. On April 20, they plan to reopen. Marcel Ducas and his wife, Joanne, and son, Chad, have had their business for nearly two decades. On the day Irene hit, as the family was trying frantically to save as much of their inventory as they could by moving it to higher ground, they were separated by rising waters. “We’d never seen anything like it,” said Marcel Ducas. He said he was evacuating his uncle from a unit in the yard with a backhoe when waters surged and left Joanne Ducas stranded in the business’s main building. While Marcel Ducas watched from the road, flooding swept up RVs and drove them into the building. “She was surrounded,” said Marcel Ducas. “We didn’t know what to do, and there was nothing we could do.” From 6 p.m. on the Sunday when Irene hit until 4 a.m. the next day, Marcel and Joanne Ducas communicated only by walkie-talkie. While she was busy snapping photos as the floodwaters pushed RVs onto the neighbor’s property, he kept a watchful eye on the rising waters and eventually instructed Joanne to begin moving things away from the corner of a building when another RV became pinned against the building in the rushing waters. “It snapped two posts for the porch, and I thought it might take out the whole corner,” said Marcel. At one point during the night, a neighbor tried to ford the river to rescue Joanne Ducas, but the tractor was overturned by the current and she remained trapped. In the early hours Monday, Marcel Ducas saw the water had receded enough to try again. He attempted to cross what had once been their driveway only to end up in a 10-foot crater where the raging river had gouged the ground beneath where the neighbor’s tractor had been abandoned. “If you would have told me the gravel was gone, I would have said you were crazy,” said Marcel Ducas. Joanne’s rescue turned into his rescue. Joanne Ducas was able to get a hose down to her husband and pull him out, and the couple retreated to even higher ground when the National Guard arrived. “You didn’t have time to get scared. You had too much to think about,” said Marcel Ducas of his rescue efforts. As the sun came up that morning, the Ducases were able to assess the damage. It was widespread. “Everything in the building and the whole inventory was a total loss,” said Joanne Ducas. Most of the land, including the driveway and the lots where the RVs had been parked, was washed away. In some areas craters were more than 20 feet deep. “When we were assessing the damage, we were told it would be a million dollars in gravel to fix the drive,” said Marcel Ducas. They never hesitated on whether to rebuild. They began cleaning up and rebuilding their business the very next day after Irene. “We had to do the whole inside of the store,” said Joanne Ducas. “The shop had 5 feet of water in it. We had to get all new shelving, merchandise and all new flooring.” The gravel to fix the property began rolling in from many sources. As crews were removing gravel from some sites near the Ducases’ business, they began trucking it to M’s RV. “We had to bring in gravel for three weeks straight,” said Marcel Ducas. From 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. trucks from local contractors and the Agency of Transportation began dumping loads of fill into what had been their driveway. “That’s a lot of dirt,” said Marcel Ducas. He said he was able to do a lot of the work with his own heavy equipment, which was spared from the flood. “Since the flood, we have not stopped working on cleanup,” said Joanne Ducas. “We spent a lot of time trying to figure out the fast sellers, what shelving to use,” said Joanne Ducas. “We were just making sure how we started back up was more advantageous for the business.” “We’re trying to get back into business as well as we can,” she added. “We just want to let people know ‘Yes, we’re still here’ and ‘Yes, we have stuff for sale.’” The Ducases said that if it were not for the help of friends, family and neighbors, getting M’s RV back into business after Irene would have been insurmountable. “With all the help and everyone chipping in, it feels like everything just fell back together,” said Joanne Ducas, who is looking forward to putting the flood behind her and getting back to business as usual.

By David Delcore Staff Writer - Published: April 17, 2012
BERLIN — The redevelopment of a Barre-Montpelier Road strip mall is coming into sharper focus as two chain stores have sought regulatory approval to open in the complex that is anchored by Price Chopper supermarket. One — Petco — would be new to Berlin and central Vermont, while the other — Staples — is planning to move from Paine Turnpike to the Barre-Montpelier Road. Petco has long been rumored as a potential tenant for some of the remaining space in a shopping center that added TJ Maxx nearly two years ago as part of a redevelopment that involved a major expansion of Price Chopper and the relocation and modest expansion of The Dollar Tree. The Development Review Board recently approved an illuminated sign for Petco, and while company officials said no date has been set for a grand opening, it appears clear one is in the offing. The Berlin store would be Petco’s third in Vermont. The others are on Williston Road in South Burlington and on Route 7 in Rutland. According to documents filed with the town, the store will occupy 13,750 square feet of currently vacant retail space next to TJ Maxx. A privately held company, Petco was founded in 1965 and has more than 1,150 stores nationwide. Meanwhile, the shopping center’s Ohio-based owner has proposed leasing the last of its vacant space — 18,718 square feet — to Staples. Officials for JKL Barre LLC declined to comment when asked about a newly filed application that would presumably facilitate Staples moving from its location next to Shaw’s supermarket on Paine Turnpike to the Barre-Montpelier Road. Officials at Staples’ Massachusetts headquarters were unable to quickly confirm the apparent move Monday. In addition to Berlin, Staples has stores in South Burlington, Williston, Rutland Town, St. Albans, Brattleboro and Bennington. With the exception of the proposed construction of a 223-square-foot loading dock and some façade work, the two businesses would be housed in vacant space in the 127,674-square-foot strip mall. The stores would both be smaller than the 24,000-square-foot TJ Maxx and larger than the 12,000-square-foot The Dollar Tree. The two new businesses would be in the far end of the plaza in space that has been empty since the Ames Department Store chain went bankrupt in 2002. @Tagline:david.delcore


By David Delcore Staff Writer - Published: April 17, 2012
BERLIN — Tentative plans to hold hearings tonight on competing proposals to construct a scaled-down version of the Vermont State Hospital were scratched after both applications were ruled incomplete. Town Administrator Jeff Schulz recently told state officials that he’ll need more information about both proposals before scheduling hearings on either of them. Specifically, Schulz, who doubles as the town’s zoning administrator, has indicated the recently filed applications to build essentially the same 30,000-square-foot, 25-bed facility for Vermonters with acute mental illness lacked sufficient detail with regard to everything from parking and lighting to water, sewer and fencing. In two separate but nearly identical letters to Dave Burley, a regional director with the state Department of Buildings and General Services, Schulz raised questions about two separate but nearly identical applications. The only material difference between the two applications involves the location. One calls for the state hospital to be built on 20 acres of privately owned land that abuts the Central Vermont Medical Center campus on Fisher Road. The other contemplates acquiring roughly 20 acres off Paine Turnpike from Vermont Mutual Insurance Co. and building the hospital partly on that property and partly on an eight-acre parcel the state owns and which houses the Mid-State Regional Library. State officials plan to pursue only one of the two locations and have filed two applications in an effort to keep their options open as they negotiate with affected property owners. Schulz has asked the state to provide more detailed information about the parking and lighting plans at each location, as well as the proposed curb cuts, the water and sewer lines, and fencing that will keep the hospital’s patients from leaving the property. However, the most significant threshold determination from the state’s perspective is Schulz’s conclusion that the project will require a conditional use permit at either location. Although a hospital would be a permitted use on both the Fisher Road and Paine Turnpike properties, Schulz has concluded that the hospital in question is also a state facility and will require conditional use approval. That determination will give the town’s Development Review Board a little more latitude when considering both applications. The ruling could be important because some town and school officials, as well as some residents, have expressed reservations about constructing a hospital for people with acute mental illnesses on the Paine Turnpike property, which is just an open field and a few hundred feet from Berlin Elementary School. Allowing for a more substantive review at the local level is important given a recent jurisdictional opinion that suggests the project will not require an Act 250 land-use permit. Schulz said Monday that he has not yet received any supplemental information from the state but will schedule Development Review Board hearings on both applications as soon as he does. Meanwhile, Schulz said local officials plan to accept the state’s offer to host a community informational meeting about the project in an effort to allay fears some might have about the proposal. That meeting has not been scheduled, but state officials have said they are eager to explain the $20 million project that will bring some 70 jobs to Berlin. The layout of the hospital, which will include two eight-bed wings, a five-bed wing and a four-bed wing, as well as a secure fenced yard, would be the same at both locations. david.delcore

By David Delcore Staff Writer - Published: April 21, 2012
BERLIN — Barre police have them, Montpelier police have long wanted them, Barre Town police should soon be getting them, and police in Berlin are now asking for Tasers. Though it might come as something of a shock to residents who read the agenda for Monday night’s meeting, the Berlin Select Board was scheduled to hear a presentation on Chief Bill Wolfe’s request that it green-light the purchase of an unspecified number of unbudgeted stun guns for the town’s seven-member police department. The item was warned as the “presentation and discussion of electronic control devices” and apparently fooled at least one member of the town’s fire department. Town Administrator Jeff Schulz said he got a call from a firefighter who wondered whether the board was planning to take up his department’s recent request that the town explore installing remote-controlled, camera-like devices that enable operators of emergency vehicles to change traffic signals from red to green on a moment’s notice. It wasn’t, according to Schulz, who said the board was scheduled to hear from Lt. Todd Faulkner, a Hinsdale, N.H., police officer who sidelines as a certified Taser instructor. However, Faulkner canceled at the last minute, according to Schulz, who said the board agreed to table the Taser discussion until next month. Although the board didn’t include any money in its recently approved budget to buy stun guns, which cost roughly $1,200 apiece, Schulz said Wolfe would like to purchase at least two or three of the weapons that are widely viewed as useful less-lethal tools among those in the law enforcement community. The stun guns are designed to deliver an incapacitating 50,000-volt jolt of electricity that lasts approximately five seconds. Acquisition of the potentially deadly weapons by some central Vermont police departments has been controversial. After a protracted debate that focused mostly on the perceived need for the new weapon and concern that police might be too quick to use it, city councilors in Barre agreed to arm their officers with Tasers in 2009. After an even more protracted and often emotional debate that played out over several months in Montpelier last year, city councilors were spared having to make a decision when Police Chief Tony Facos withdrew his request to purchase 14 stun guns. In Barre Town, where Wolfe is a member of the Select Board, the decision to include funding for Tasers in the budget voters will be asked to approve May 8 was little more than a formality. The town’s budget committee, on which Wolfe and other Barre Town Select Board members serve, voted to include Police Chief Mike Stevens’ request to purchase Tasers for his officers. Assuming the budget is approved next month, the stun guns will be purchased. It remains to be seen how Wolfe’s pending request will be greeted in Berlin, but he does have an ally in the president of Central Vermont Medical Center. Citing an escalating pattern of violent episodes at the Berlin hospital’s emergency room in recent years, CVMC President Judy Tartaglia recently wrote a letter encouraging the Berlin board to approve Wolfe’s request. “I am in support of the Berlin police carrying Tasers,” Tartaglia wrote in an April 4 letter that was addressed to Wolfe and distributed to the Select Board. According to Tartaglia, several CVMC staff have been injured due to an increase in violent incidents that she said could be attributed to “a rise in the number of patients … who are seeking prescription drugs, and the high number of individuals in our community with substance abuse concerns.” She indicated the closing of the Vermont State Hospital probably hasn’t helped. “I have been alarmed at the upsurge in the violent incidents occurring at CVMC,” Tartaglia wrote. “I worry every day about the safety of our patients and employees.” Although the hospital pays a private company to provide round-the-clock security, Tartaglia noted Berlin police have been instrumental in dealing with violent episodes, which, she indicated, can be tricky to handle in an emergency room setting where concerns about “cross-contamination” and injuries to patients mean officers cannot use pepper spray to subdue an unruly person. “You are … restricted to hands or hard impact weapons when dealing with combative, out of control people,” Tartaglia wrote. “Using Tasers in appropriate situations would allow your police officers to subdue violent individuals without injuring them or staff.” According to Schulz, the Select Board has tentatively agreed to revisit the issue at its May 7 meeting. david.delcore

Published: April 24, 2012
BERLIN — A fire that spread from a truck to a car next to it stunned people at a Vermont shopping center, but no one was injured. Firefighters told WCAX-TVin Burlington that a truck caught fire in the Price Chopper parking lot in Berlin spread to a Volkswagen parked next to it late Saturday afternoon. Both vehicles were destroyed. A third vehicle sustained minor heat damage as well. Officials said the original fire in the truck is not considered suspicious. Firefighters said the owner of the truck smelled smoke shortly before the fire ignited. A witness told WCAX that it took firefighters from Berlin more than 20 minutes to pit out the fires. *** NEW HOUSING FOR VT IRENE VICTIMS - WCAX video re Weston Mobile Home Park folks in temporary refurbished Barre apartment building

Friday, April 13, 2012


News to Know - Anne Burke

Much of the community and folks throughout the state have some fond memories of Anne Burke to reflect on.... if you weren't fortunate enough to know Anne, take the time to talk with your friends and neighbors who did. Anne will be greatly missed.

Anne O. Burke

BERLIN - Anne Olmstead Burke, of Berlin, passed away April 11, 2012, at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center with family at her side. She was the daughter of Russell and Violet (Eastwood) Olmstead, of Hazardville, Conn.
Anne was born in Enfield, Conn., on May 17, 1924. The family moved to Royalton where she graduated from South Royalton High School in 1942.
She married Warren "Buddy" Benoit in 1946.
Later she married Raymond F. Burke on April 8, 1961, in Haverhill, N.H. They moved to Berlin in 1963. They started Harvest Hill Farm in 1965 which was the love of her life. Anne and Ray raised registered Ayrshires and Charolais. They passed on their passion and love of animals to their children who continue to farm.
Anne had many events she looked forward to attending every year. Each year started with the farm show which Harvest Hill Farm provided an Ayrshire cow for the political pull. She was very involved with area Dairy Days, field days and fairs. In the summer she loved to be on the tractor baling hay. Tunbridge Fair was her favorite fair to watch her grandchildren and great-grandchildren show the cattle from the farm. She also looked forward to taking her best Ayrshire cow to the Milk Bowl at Thunder Road. Anne was proud of the wreath and garland business she started, which has trickled down through the generations.
Anne's survivors are her husband, Raymond F. Burke; her brother Charles Olmstead and wife Dorothy, of South Royalton; her sisters Harriet Lyman, of Sharon, and Tiny Moore, of Menan, Idaho; and many nieces and nephews; her daughter, Lyn Morris, and husband Roy Morris, of Berlin; son Kelly Burke and wife Renee Burke, of Berlin; son Brody "Sam" Burke and wife Lucia Burke, of Berlin; 10 grandchildren: granddaughters Shelly Roy and husband Alan Roy, Rose McAllister and husband Richie McAllister, Christine Webb, Tammy Miller and husband Luke Miller, Vera Frazier and husband Craig Frazier, Beckey Thompson and husband Ross Thompson, Brandy Burke, Bonnie "Chloe" Burke-Whiteside, grandsons Ethan Burke and Jesse Burke; 15 great-grandchildren: Todd Roy, Benjamin McAllister, Kahli McAllister, Casey McAllister, Connor Morgan, Michael "Mickey" Witham, Merrill Witham, Nicholas Witham, Emily Frazier, Alyssa Frazier, Ashley Thompson, Amber Thompson, Colin Trottier, Hayden Trottier, Erin Trottier; and one great-great-granddaughter, Grace McAllister.
Calling hours will be held Sunday, April 15, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with a funeral service beginning at 1 p.m. at the Guare & Sons Funeral Home, 30 School St., Montpelier.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Berlin Volunteer Fire Department, 338 Paine Turnpike North, Berlin, VT 05602.
Those wishing to express online condolences may do so at
Published in Times Argus on April 13, 2012

Beloved Berlin farmer Burke dies, 87

By David Delcore
Staff Writer - Published: April 13, 2012

BERLIN — If there were flags on Vermont farms, they would have been flying at half-staff Thursday as news of Anne Burke’s passing crept through the state. She was 87.
Burke was born in Connecticut and died in New Hampshire on Wednesday, but if you were looking for a Green Mountain woman, those who knew her well — and many of those who didn’t — would tell you she was the real deal.
Burke was a cow-loving, tractor-driving, egg-selling, sugar-making, wreath-producing woman who held farmers in high esteem and really, really, really enjoyed being one.
Just ask Jon Turmel.
“She was really proud to be a Vermont farmer,” the longtime manager of the Vermont Farm Show said hours after learning that Burke had died at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, N.H. A family member said she died of complications after open-heart surgery in February.
That pride showed, according to Turmel, who described Burke as a peerless ambassador for Vermont’s farming community.
“There isn’t anybody, and I mean anybody, who was a better spokesperson for Vermont agriculture than Annie,” Turmel said. “She was a special lady.”
Burke, who settled in Berlin with her husband, Ray, in 1963 and started Harvest Hill Farm there two years later, was known to generations of schoolchildren as “the cow lady.” That is to say she was the lady who brought the cows — to “Dairy Day” on the Statehouse lawn until that once-popular tradition was abandoned a few years back, to Washington County Fair and Field Days, to the Milk Bowl each summer at Thunder Road, to the Tunbridge Fair, and to the Vermont Farm Show, where lawmakers tried their hand at milking one of her prized Ayrshires during the annual “Political Pull.”
Burke’s cows were always good-natured and always, always, always pristine, recalled Turmel.
“If they weren’t perfect she wouldn’t leave the farm with them,” he said.
How does Turmel know?
“She told me,” he said. “She’d say: ‘I want people to see how we take care of our animals here in Vermont.’ That’s just the way she was.”
Turmel described Burke as both vivacious and lovable while admitting “the cow lady” was also old-school and obstinate in the friendliest of ways.
Turmel recalled Burke interceding when he refused to let a Farm Show patron drink a glass of fresh but unprocessed milk, which had just come straight from one of her cows.
“(Burke) downed that glass in front of me and said, ‘I’m not dead,’ and gave me a big hug,” he recalled.
Turmel said Burke shared her passion for farming with her children and grandchildren and just about anyone who would listen.
“She was always upbeat,” he recalled. “Even when milk prices were really low she was still a real good spokesperson.”
Turmel said he was sorry to hear of Burke’s death and sorrier still that she doesn’t yet have a place in Vermont’s Agricultural Hall of Fame.
“I’ve thought of nominating her several times,” he said. “I wish I had now.”
Others who knew Burke described her as a hardworking family woman with smiling eyes, who was always helpful, extremely talkative and very competitive.
“We all admired (Burke’s) dedication to her family and their farm,” said Ed Larson, who ran Washington County Fair and Field Days for several years.
Jackie Folsom, a Cabot dairy farmer who showed cows at many of the same events Burke did over the years, gasped when she was informed Burke had died.
“What a pity!” said Folsom, who was out of the state Thursday. “She was just a wonderful woman and a great promoter of dairy farms.”

Folsom said Burke was especially good with children — patiently showing them how to milk a cow.
“She just loved talking to people and sharing her animals with everyone,” Folsom said.
According to Folsom, Burke also “loved her life” and it showed.
“She had a twinkle in those blue eyes that was just so wonderful to look at, and she had a smile to go with it,”Folsom said. “She’ll definitely be missed.”



The Vermont Beef Cattle Come in All Colors Activity Book which can be found at the following link is dedicated to Anne Burke !

Dedication: This book of fun and learning is dedicated to all beef producers, but especially to Anne Burke of Berlin, Vermont. Anne, together with her family, raises purebred registered Charolais beef cattle on their small hillside farm.. Beef producers, like all farmers, provide us with a landscape that is absolutely breath-taking. A landscape that is open, productive, and managed for all Vermont children to enjoy!!


A story in the paper two years ago:

Anne Burke knows just where her next meal's coming from
By SUSAN ALLEN TIMES ARGUS EDITOR - Published: May 11, 2009
BERLIN – It seems as though a developer calls or knocks almost daily with the offer of a big check and some grand vision for Anne Burke's Harvest Hill Farm.
"They've all got good ideas of what it ought to be," Burke said last week, seated on the front porch of the farmhouse, waiting for her Ayrshires to come down off the hill for the evening milking.
"I kick 'em off the doorstep every day," she laughed.
Burke said they seem to ask, "What's the matter with you dumb farmers? Don't you know where a dollar comes from?"
"I know where my dinner comes from," is her reply.
When Ray and Anne Burke bought a few acres in 1963 and began building what is now an 80-acre farm, Berlin resembled a crossroads. The lot just below the old farmhouse was
a field where Anne's cows grazed.
Last week, from the porch, we looked out at that same lot — now home to the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce —and out over the Central Vermont Medical Center, several automobile dealerships, the Berlin Mall and more.
This is large development by Vermont standards — all of it making the Burke's farm a land of opportunity in the eyes of some. But not hers. "They aren't the same ideas," she said of her vision of the farm and the development offers that come her way.
Anne Burke grew up on a farm in New Hampshire. When she and Ray moved to Vermont with their young children and bought the land in Berlin, he took a job with the state and she decided to try a little farming. They bought one cow and a tractor, and she took on the chore of haying.
"Dad said, 'Are you sure you know how to run it?'" Anne chuckled, recalling Ray's worry about his tiny wife on the tractor. "I said, 'Oh, yeah, dad … I know how.'"
One worried neighbor called another that afternoon, she said, saying, "There's some little girl out there with a big tractor and she's going to get killed."
Anne Burke cut the field in one day.
"I said, 'dad, if I had a baler, I'd bale it,'" Anne recalled. So a baler was purchased, along with more cows, and Anne began raising veal calves for sale. Along the way, she carefully studied genetics and began building an award winning registered herd. Recently, two of her calves sold for $4,000 each.
In addition, she sells manure, wreaths (the city of Montpelier uses her wreaths during the holidays), fresh eggs and maple syrup.
"Wherever there's a nickel, we're on it," she said, her face yet again screwed up into a big smile.
"We're diversified. So many of the big farms, they're not," she said, noting that those farms take a beating when the price of milk is as low as it is now.
"They owe everybody; we don't," Burke adds. "We don't buy anything until we can pay for it, and if we can't pay for it, we don't buy it."
She's also a dowser, a gift she believes runs in families and has been handed down to her young granddaughter, Becky.
"My grandfather was a dowser. He was walking around with a stick all day" looking for water, Burke said. "You either have the power or you don't."
For her, the pull of the underground water on the stick was strong from the first day she tried at around age 7. But for husband Ray, she quipped, "He could stand with his feet in the water and his stick still wouldn't go down."
Years ago, I used to talk to Ray regularly in his job as a dispatcher for the Agency of Transportation. As an Associated Press reporter at the time, arriving at work at 6 a.m. in a snowstorm, my first task of the day was to call Ray Burke and ask what roads around the state were closed.
Although blind, he knew Vermont roadways backwards and forwards, and would go on the local radio stations with similar reports of weather hazards for the morning commute.
Once retired and suddenly back on the farm with Anne, "I had to find something he can do and not mess anything up," she said. He's a good milker, she added.
What will the land look like in 10 or 20 years, I ask. Her three children, their spouses and the Burke's grandchildren all help around the farm (they live within shouting distance).
"My great-granddaughter Emily is a cow-lady, too," she said, confident the land will stay in the family and in farming. And of grandson Jessie, "If you've got to stack bales of hay, just call 1-800-Jessie. He'll do it."
Her advice to other women beginning to farm or taking over a family farm is clear.
"Prove to the rest of the world that you can do a good job. Never mind if you're a woman or a man, we've all got to prove it."
"Keep a good standing in the town. We always pay our bills. They know we're not fly by night."
"Keep up the stock well."

To learn more about Anne Burke:
Burke and granddaughter Becky are on the cover and featured in Peter Miller's book "Vermont Farm Women." Miller established the Vermont Farm Women's Fund from a percentage of book sales.
The Vermont Farm Women photo exhibit is part of a three-floor show at Studio Place Arts in Barre through June 6, 2009.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


News to Know April 11th

Sent by Corinne Stridsberg
Look back at previous posts for more information
Facebook user? Check out the Berlin, Vermont Community News page
Included please find:
• 6th LEAP ENERGY FAIR, April 14th
• THE EcoBEAR FAIR, April 21st

DAIRY CREME on lower State Street in Montpelier opened this week! They have a webpage and there is an unofficial facebook page - "I Love Dairy Creme, Montpelier, VT" Currently they're open 12pm - 8pm

There is much to clean up in Berlin. Every year residents pitch in to help with the annual Green Up Day, the first Saturday in May. This year an extended effort by more people will be needed to tackle the additional trash left behind by Tropical Storm Irene. The area hit the hardest was along Route 12. There will be folks working hard on April 28th as well as the traditional May date, which this year is May 5th. Some of you may not be available on those dates but efforts made from now leading up to May 5th would be appreciated. Are you aware of any particular roads or sections of roads that need work? I will share details as I get them regarding when and where you can get Green Up Bags and what the plans are. Please find a way to participate in the efforts and encourage your friends and neighbors. Many hands make light work.

6th LEAP ENERGY FAIR, Saturday, April 14, 2012 9AM - 2PM, Crossett Brook Middle School, Duxbury
The 6th LEAP Energy Fair will be held on Saturday, April 14 from 9 AM to 2 PM at the Crossett Brook Middle School gym in Duxbury. This annual fair is one of the largest such events in Vermont and is expected to draw almost 700 attendees! Come and learn dozens of ways to save money and help the environment.
Attendance to this family-friendly event is free. The LEAP Energy Fair will include 70 exhibits related to solar power, wind power, biomass, geothermal, pellet stoves, home energy audits, weatherization, green building, transportation, composting, biofuels, carpooling, localvore food, student projects, and many other topics.
The Fair will also include two breakout sessions at which local residents and experts will share nformation on the following important topics:
10 AM: The Costs and Benefits of Home Energy Audits and Weatherization
11 AM: What's Involved in Going Solar?
This event is organized by Waterbury LEAP (Local Energy Action Partnership) , a non-profit that is striving to help Waterbury become the greenest community in Vermont by 2020. ( ) A handful of display tables are still available at the Fair! For more information please contact Duncan McDougall at 244-0944 or

Barre-area Energy Fair to be held Saturday, April 21, 2012, 10-6pm & Sunday, April 22, 10:30-5pm, at the "Old Labor Hall" on Granite St. in Barre City. B.E.A.R. (Barre Energy Awareness Resource) Presents workshops, exhibits and activities on green living for the eco-savvy home, business and garden
Are you looking a fun and informative event for you and your eco- and cost- conscious neighbors? The EcoBear Fair will feature energy related workshops, exhibits, and activities for home, business, and garden, as well as a Local Food café.
Workshops will include the popular Button-up Workshop put on by Central VT Community Acton and Efficiency Vermont. Come to learn more about Pellet Stoves, Geothermal, Rain Gardens, Low- Maintenance gardening, Energy Education for schools, Solar Energy, Eco-Driving, Transportation options, Composting, Beekeeping and more – featuring many businesses and nonprofits from Barre, Berlin, Williamstown, Montpelier, Northfield, and beyond! “We hope that by coordinating this Eco Fair our neighbors GO GREEN and SAVE GREEN,” said Elaine Wang – BEAR Co-Chair. For more information contact BEAR at

RED CROSS BASIC TRAINING - “Disaster Services: An Overview” is a wonderful way for someone to take that first step toward helping area communities prevent, prepare for and respond to disaster. We are very pleased to be offering “Disaster Services: An Overview” throughout our region this month. The next opportunity is on April 26th, Barre – 6pm - 9pm at the Aldrich Library with instructor Chet Briggs.
The devastation of Tropical Storm Irene, record spring flooding and a busy winter fire season have all been vivid reminders that disaster can strike close to home. If you are part of the American Red Cross, you are part of a team that brings help and hope to our neighbors when they are devastated by disaster.
American Red Cross disaster responses are carried out on a local level by volunteer Disaster Action Teams. These teams assist those affected by disasters such as fire, flood, winter storms, as well as other natural and man-made disasters. “Disaster Services: An Overview” is an instructor-led, basic level course and serves as an introduction to Red Cross disaster services.
While the presentation serves as an introduction to becoming a Red Cross volunteer, and serves as a prerequisite for other Red Cross disaster training, anyone in the community who is interested in hearing the materials presented in this class is welcome.
To register, contact Natalie Barrett of the Vermont & the New Hampshire Valley American Red Cross. She can be reached at or by calling her at 802-660-9130, ext. 106.
There is no fee for this training.
ONION RIVER BIKE SWAP is on Saturday, May 5th (Green Up Day). This year they're going to close Langdon St for the morning. Always lots of good deals and a great opportunity to sell a gently used bike you may have (must be brought in by the day before).

I love that Applebees is open until midnight every night... and now I see there is a 24/7 choice nearby! See next article .....

By David Delcore
Staff Writer - Published: March 30, 2012
BARRE — A Depression-era diner that over the past decade featured farm-fresh fare and more recently sported a NASCAR motif is going back to its Green Mountain roots.
The Green Mountain Diner is making a comeback in downtown Barre and the eatery’s new owners say it will have at least one thing in common with the construction crews that are busily rebuilding the road that runs right past their restaurant.
Ed Morrison and Matt Needham say they will be cooking around the clock when the diner reopens next month — a grueling “24-7” schedule that they say will be in effect year-round and be as accommodating to the weekday lunch crowd as it is to those working the graveyard shift.
“The doors will open at 5 a.m. on April 27 and they will never close again,” says Morrison, who pinch-hit in the kitchen during an earlier incarnation of the Green Mountain Diner and plans do most of the cooking between midnight and 3 a.m.
“I’m looking forward to it,” says Morrison, who has “cooked around the country” and believes central Vermonters will have an appetite for the “24-hour menu” he and Needham have prepared and will soon post on the diner’s recently launched Facebook page.
“You’ll be able to order any meal any time of the day because the full menu is going to be available,” he says, suggesting if you’d like breakfast for dinner, or the other way around the soon-to-be-assembled staff at the soon-to-be-open Green Mountain Diner will be at your service.
According to Morrison, the menu will feature an affordable assortment of burgers, sandwiches, soups and pastas, as well as a full-range of breakfast fare, including his signature dish “the breakfast bowl.”
What’s a “breakfast bowl?”
In short it’s a mouthful, according to Morrison, who says the recipe actually calls for: “two scrambled eggs, ham, bacon, sausage, onions, green peppers, breakfast potatoes, and cheese topped with sausage gravy.”
“It’s my signature dish,” he says. “People eat it up.”
Morrison says he and Needham aren’t concerned that the recently restarted reconstruction of North Main Street has closed the road in front of the restaurant they’re planning to open next month. That, he says, may actually be a blessing for the tiny diner that is located right smack in the middle of a construction zone where crews will be working non-stop Sundays through Thursdays for through the spring and summer and well into the fall.
With a made-to-order clientele working round-the-clock right outside the diner’s front door and an accessible rear entrance on Enterprise Alley, Morrison and Needham see nothing but upside.
“We’re psyched already,” Needham says.
With the menu at the printers, Morrison said the next order of business will be cleaning the diner, restoring its once green-and-white façade and hiring a staff. That will all start next week, as the partners gain access to the space their leasing from Mark Nicholson, and attend next Thursday’s third annual job fair at the Montpelier Elks Club.
The state Department of Labor and Darren Winham, executive director of Barre Area Development, have both been helpful, according to Morrison, who says if all goes as planned he’ll be “test-firing the kitchen” the week of April 23 and grabbing random folks off the street to sample various menu items.
“We hope they like it and come back for more,” he says.
Once they’re finished touching up the place, Morrison says the restaurant will look almost exactly like the one that was a fixture in downtown Barre for decades. The only difference — besides the 24-7 schedule — will be two flat-screen televisions for patrons to watch while they eat.
Eventually Morrison says the partners would like to reconfigure the front and rear entrances of the diner to resemble a rail car, which, at its core, it is.
First opened in 1932, by partners Thomas McAwley and Gordon Woodworth, the Green Mountain Diner – an old railroad dining car that still sits on spoked wheels hidden by the restaurant’s false front - was a fixture for decades in downtown Barre.
Though the diner changed hands its name remained the same until after the turn of the century.
McAwley and Woodworth sold the Green Mountain Diner to Ambrose and Dorothy Quinlan in 1945 and it stayed the Quinlan family until their son, Robert, sold it in 1969.
In those days the diner started serving breakfast at 5 a.m., didn’t close until 2 a.m., and a police officer had to help turn away customers from midnight until closing on Fridays and Saturdays.
Over the years there have been several additions to the original diner, though the old dining car is still the core of a restaurant that is 16 feet wide and 96 feet long and is sandwiched between Aubuchon Hardware and the vacant building that last housed Ed’s Barrr-B-Q.
George and Ellen Galfetti ran the diner from 1970 until 1982, and Eugene Galfetti, who had his hands full running the Wayside Restaurant in neighboring Berlin at the time, took over the business for a year before selling to James and Doreen Magoon in 1983.
In 1994 the Magoons sold to Edward Dunn, who ran what was the last edition of the Green Mountain Diner until financial difficulties forced him to close in 2001.
The diner sat vacant for about a year, until farmer-turned-entrepreneur Tod Murphy decided to give it a go. Murphy gave it a new name — only its second in 70 years — but the Farmer’s Diner closed in 2005. That paved the way for the Pit Stop — a NASCAR-themed diner that was run until relatively recently by Cheyenne Roberts and Eric DelToro.

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.


By David Delcore
Staff Writer - Published: April 3, 2012
BERLIN — The applications are in, the hearings have been set, and, for the moment at least, the state is of two minds when it comes to the future location of a streamlined version of the Vermont State Hospital.
In a rare, if not unprecedented, move the state has applied for local permits for the same 30,000-square-foot, 25-bed facility to serve its most acute mental health patients at two Berlin locations.
Paine Turnpike? Or Fisher Road?
Instead of choosing between two sites, neither of which is completely owned or controlled by the state, officials have opted to pursue permits for both of them.
David Burley, regional director of facilities and operations for the state Department of Buildings and General Services, said the twin applications, which were filed with the town last week and discussed with the Select Board on Monday night, will be the subject of hearings before the town’s Development Review Board on April 17.
Asked why the state chose to file two separate applications, Burley said Monday the answer was simple.
“We don’t own enough property at either location,” he said. “We’re looking at which option pans out the best.”
That means keeping both in play while the state negotiates with landowners — three at one location and one at the other — and obtains permits and evaluates costs.
Due to its proximity to the local elementary school, the Paine Turnpike location has evoked an emotional response from some residents, though town officials have been warned the review process will be limited in scope by state law due to the nature of the proposed development.
Burley underscored that point in letters that accompanied both applications.
Citing a provision of Title 24 that limits municipal bylaws with respect to the review of a select number of uses, including “state or community-owned and operated institutions and facilities” and “public and private hospitals,” Burley indicated the local review board can’t take public preference into account.
The two proposals, Burley wrote, “may be regulated only with respect to location, size, height, building bulk, yards, courts, setbacks, density of buildings, off-street parking, loading facilities, traffic, noise, lighting, landscaping and screening requirements, and only to the extent that regulations do not have the effect of interfering with the intended functional use” of the project.
One possible site is off Fisher Road and abuts the Central Vermont Medical Center campus; the other includes eight acres of state-owned property that is currently home to the former Mid-State Regional Library.
According to one of the two applications, developing the latter site would require acquiring 20 acres from Vermont Mutual Insurance Co. The Vermont Mutual land is home to two rental properties and includes a portion of the undeveloped field between the regional library building and Berlin Elementary School. The price of that project has been pegged at roughly $20.2 million, according to documents filed with the town.
The Fisher Road location would involve acquiring roughly 20 acres in parcels owned by Henry LaGue Jr., Henry LaGue III, and Peter and Gail Rossiter.
According to town officials, CVMC recently relinquished its right of first refusal to buy those properties — a move precipitated by the state’s interest in acquiring them.
Burley said the state has an option on the LaGue properties and is working on obtaining one for the Rossiter property.
According to Burley, neither location will be subject to review under the state Act 250 permit process, because they don’t require disturbing 10 acres — the threshold for the need to obtain a state land use permit.

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