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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