Friday, May 25, 2012

Sent by Corinne Stridsberg and also posted at  
Check out the Berlin, Vermont Community News page on facebook

   BAKED BEADS 20th Annual Memorial Day Weekend Sale - save receipts


The Berlin Select Board will hold a joint meeting with the Board of Directors of the Berlin Elementary School on Wednesday, May 30th, 2012 at 6pm at the Berlin Elementary School.  The purpose of the meeting is to hear a presentation from state officials on the State of Vermont's proposal to develop a 25 bed state hospital in Berlin.  The state has identified two possible sites for the facility.  Proposed Site A is located adjacent to the Central Vermont Medical Center along Fisher Road.  Proposed Site B is located on the State Regional Library property along Paine Turnpike.  This meeting also is an opportunity for the public to ask questions and comment on the proposal.


We have been able to reschedule the Middle School Music Concert that was, unfortunately, cancelled last night (5/24).
It will now be on Wednesday, May 30th at 7:00pm. There will be no in-school matinee but middle school students will rehearse during scheduled music classes that day.
Thanks for your patience and special thanks to the music department for helping make this work for the MS musicians!

To all of the members of the U-32 Learning Community,
I want to share with you the message delivered to the entire school this morning.
We were able to identify the person that was responsible for our recent false bomb threats. The person has been arrested.
The building was searched by the U-32 certified search teams yesterday afternoon and we are safe to be in school.
Students were informed that anyone who is in need of more support should see their Teacher Advisor, a school counselor, or an administrator.
I was very proud of the way our school responded to the interruptions this week. The Vermont State Police and the East Montpelier Fire Department officials who were on campus were all impressed with the way the students of U-32 conducted themselves.

BAKED BEADS 20th Annual Memorial Day Weekend Clearance Sale - Save your cash register receipts. Send in to Berlin Elementary School and the PTNA will receive 10% back.
May 25 - 27, Friday - Sunday 10am-5pm Dozens of new jewelry styles Scarves, Sunglasses, Pashminas, Reading Glasses, Key Chains, Coin Purses, Hair Accessories, Beads & more!
Save your cash register receipts. Send into the school and the PTNA will receive 10% back


Friends of Berlin Pond



  MONTPELIER — Police officers will be enforcing no-trespassing orders on city-owned property surrounding Berlin Pond, said Montpelier Police Chief Anthony Facos.
  On Wednesday, the City Council, in front of a packed audience, gave Facos its blessing to start issuing citations immediately.
  City Manager William Fraser said he and Facos were looking for direction from the City Council, and they got it.
  Many of those who attended Wednesday’s meeting were
Berlin homeowners who live near the pond. They were pleased to hear about the police enforcement.
  “This is an extremely important issue that is out of control,” Cathy Hartshorn, of
Berlin, told the council.
  Earlier this month, the Supreme Court ruled that
Montpelier did not have the authority to regulate use of Berlin Pond, which supplies the city’s drinking water. Since then, anglers and boaters have flocked to the formerly off-limits pond.
  The court did not rule, however, that the city can’t address trespassing on land it owns around the pond. “Ownership of the land was never in question,” Facos said in a news release Thursday.
Montpelier owns nearly all the property surrounding the pond, except one parcel that’s owned by the town of Berlin.
  At Wednesday’s meeting Facos expressed concern about issuing citations for trespassing if State’s Attorney Thomas Kelly is not interested in prosecuting the cases.
  Kelly said Thursday that if people are trespassing on properly posted land, his office will “absolutely” prosecute offenders.
  If convicted of criminal trespass, defendants could be fined up to $500, imprisoned up to three months, or both. It’s a criminal conviction and goes on the person’s record, Facos said; it’s not a traffic ticket.
  No citations had been issued as of Thursday afternoon, police said, but officers were to begin enforcement later that day. The Berlin Police Department is on board with writing citations for trespassing on
Montpelier land as well, Town Administrator Jeff Schulz said Wednesday.
  For people concerned about protecting the pond, which is the source of
Berlin and Montpelier drinking water, police action can’t come fast enough with Memorial Day weekend upon us.
  “I don’t like boaters on it and fishing on it,” said Jeff Schumann, of
  The hope is that enforcing the trespassing ban will curb the immediate enthusiasm to gain access to Berlin Pond, which has been restricted for more than 100 years, but Fraser also asked the City Council on Wednesday to move forward with a long-term policy.
  In response, the council asked Fraser to coordinate a joint meeting between it and the Berlin Select Board.
  Facos said his officers won’t be patrolling the pond full time, but he’s working on a plan to monitor it regularly.
  With this being Memorial Day weekend, he’s anticipating he might have to spend some money on officer overtime to keep an eye on the pond.
  While the city’s land is posted against trespassing, the
Berlin parcel is not, and Fraser said it will remain unrestricted this weekend.



BERLIN, Vt. - Stephen Sawyer and his friends found out the hard way Thursday that Montpelier Police aren't letting anyone have access to the Berlin pond.
The group had come there to do some fishing.
"I had a broken hook. I was putting on my hook," said Sawyer.
But then Sawyer says the only thing he caught was the attention of the police.
"Then I see him and I came up the road to see what we going on," said Sawyer.
On Wednesday city council asked police to increase enforcement of people trespassing on city property.
The majority of which surrounds the Berlin pond.
This move comes as reaction to a Vermont Supreme Court ruling earlier this month.
The court ruled that even though Montpelier uses the pond as its water supply, the city could not keep people out.
Now police hope three months in jail or a $500 dollar fine will do the trick.
"This will be from this point forward until different regulatory changes potentially may occur, this will be a consistent effort to protect our land," said Montpelier Police Chief Anthony Facos.
Police say their goal is not to come out and write everybody a ticket but they say if they catch you on the property more than once, you can expect it.
Sawyer got the first warning handed out and he has no intention of getting the first ticket.
"I wouldn't do it. You'll get written up," said Sawyer.
A message police say they hope gets around to everyone before Memorial Day Weekend comes.

Posted on May 24, 2012 by Darren Marcy | 2 Comments
Effective immediately, the Montpelier and Berlin police departments, with the support from the Washington County State’s Attorney’s Office, will be enforcing trespassing violations on the property around Berlin Pond that is owned and posted by the city of Montpelier. Violations are criminal misdemeanors and convictions for unlawful trespassing can result in criminal convictions on a person’s record, according to a news release issued Montpelier Police Chief Anthony Facos.
Police were expected at the pond momentarily.
The land around the pond has been posted for years, prior to the Vermont Supreme Court decision filed on May 11, which specifically dealt with the issue of authority over the water. Ownership of the land was never in question, according to Facos. As a result of this decision, there have been numerous reports of criminal trespass around the pond, therefore necessitating a stepped-up enforcement response, Facos said.
He said individuals on the posted land are subject to be cited into criminal court. The law states a person shall be imprisoned for not more than three months or fined no more than $500, or both, if convicted.

   Comments from when I posted Berlin Pond information on the Berlin, Vermont facebook page I have for community news:

  Jonahtan Boyd - It's really too bad that in the short time that the pond has been open that people have shown their lack of responsibility! Empty beer and soda cans... fishing lures, lines and garbage just left all over the place. If people can't use it responsibly, then they shouldn't be able to use it at all.


  Anne Howland - The word should get out that unfortunate as all this visible trash is, the REAL invasion will be ZEBRA MUSSELS, which can be brought in on any type of boat or even foot gear. In their initial life stage they are invisible. Once they find the intake pipe to Montpelier's water system, they will latch on & reproduce exponentially, inevitable invading the pipe's interior to locations where they cannot be reached & cleaned out.  This will in turn cost the city money digging up, cleaning/replacing pipeline for years to come.  This issue was clearly brought up in the oral argument before the Court.  How very, very unfortunate that the Supreme Court made this decision.

e intake pipe to Montpelier's water system, they will latch on & reproduce exponentially, inevitably invading the pipe's interior to locations where they cannot be reached & cleaned out. This will in turn cost the city money digging up, cleaning/replacing pipeline for years to come. This issue was clearly brought up in the oral argument before the Court. How very, very unfortunate that the Supreme Court made this decision.



  MONTPELIER — City Manager William Fraser is asking the City Council to decide whether to enforce no trespassing on city land on Berlin Pond and to consider its options after the recent Vermont Supreme Court decision opening up the city’s drinking water source for recreational use.
  “We’ve got land, it’s posted ‘No Trespassing,’ and people are trespassing,” Fraser said.
  The City Council needs to decide, he said, whether
Montpelier police officers should patrol the pond to keep people off its land.
  The city owns all but a small portion of the land surrounding Berlin Pond. The town of
Berlin owns one parcel.
  Fraser said Police Chief Anthony Facos is fine with patrolling the pond for scofflaws, several of whom could be seen Wednesday afternoon flagrantly ignoring the city’s “No Trespassing” signs and fishing from shore.
  Berlin Pond homeowner Phil Gentile has put up his own “No Trespassing” signs on his property.
  In the 25 years he’s lived on the pond, he said, he has never put up signs forbidding people from walking across his property. But after what he witnessed last weekend, Gentile said, there were so many blatant trespassers, he felt he had to post the signs.
  Gentile said he is happy to take them down as soon as some control is put in place.
  “Right now,” he said, “there’s no control.”
  What he would like to see is a moratorium on any access to the pond until the science can be studied and the potential risks assessed.
  “We’re moving way too fast,” Gentile said. “I think there needs to be caution.”
  He, along with several other
Berlin residents, were planning to attend Wednesday night’s City Council meeting to discuss the pond.
  The city’s attorney presented the City Council, mayor and Fraser with several options after the Supreme Court ruling that the city has no authority to regulate Berlin Pond, that it’s rather the domain of the state.
  The city’s attorney, Glenn Howland of McKee, Giuliani & Cleveland, on Tuesday prepared five options for the council to consider.
  The first option proposed by Howland is that the city stop all efforts to protect the drinking water in Berlin Pond and to sell the land
Montpelier owns to the highest bidder.
  It may make no sense for the city to own any of (the land surrounding the pond), and the council could contemplate offering the property to the highest bidder,” Howland said.
Berlin’s zoning ordinances, he wrote, allow for a number of uses including schools, municipal offices, private clubs, public utilities and electrical transmission lines.
  If the City Council chooses that option, the burden to protect water would be left to the Agency of Natural Resources and the town of
  In an email, Fraser said he doubted this option would be given much consideration.
  The city, according to Howland’s recommendation, could continue its “historical level of vigilance and stewardship over its water supply.”
  That could include working with the Berlin Select Board to implement a no-trespassing ordinance on the parcel of land
Berlin owns and enforcing a parking ban on Mirror Lake Road.
  Howland said that recent developments suggest the town of
Berlin “may now be experiencing the political pressures attendant to uncontrolled public recreational access.”
  The city, Howland said, could also petition for a rule change from the Agency of Natural Resources.
  A recently passed bill in the Legislature, signed by Gov. Peter Shumlin this month, moved the rulemaking authority for bodies of water from the Water Resources Panel to the Agency of Natural Resources.
  According to the Natural Resources Board’s general counsel, John Hasen, in 2007 the city petitioned for a rule change regarding access to Berlin Pond, but that effort was abandoned.
  Hasen said the panel had requested more information from the city to support its petition but never heard back. According to Fraser, the panel rejected the petition.
  Fighting the case in court, on the other hand, hasn’t been cheap. To date, the city has spent $37,493.24 on legal fees and expenses, the city manager’s office said.
  Other options outlined by Howland include state legislative changes, a city charter change, and building a physical barrier preventing access to the pond from
Mirror Lake Road.


Letters to Editor

How about recreation area
  As an avid kayak fisherman and Barre resident, I have been salivating at the opportunity to fish Berlin Pond for several years with dreams of landing monster fish for a few moments of admiration. The beauty I find in my fishing forays is grossly disproportionate to the number of fish I catch (and release) and I am the first to encourage my friends to explore and experience
Vermont from a river, pond or lake. It would be remiss for me not to acknowledge Ms. Donnis’ at times in her observations of inappropriate behavior by some of the new visitors to Berlin Pond. I, too, witness the same littering at some of my favorite fishing spots and find it discouraging that the same people who come to enjoy the outdoors feel no responsibility for the debris they bring. I rarely see the perpetrators, only their trash and the only recourse I have is to pack it out with me. I do, however, take issue with the later third of her letter which sounds like the lament of the Lorax as the Truffula trees are hacked down. Oh, the suffering! The cacophony of noise these kayaks and canoes make drowns out the drone of traffic from the nearby interstate! The dwellers of the pond, these People of the Quiet Pursuit, must surely abandon the peaceful, pristine pond for the fishermen have come. Sad, indeed. Ms. Donnis, as I have expressed above, I understand the aggravation of litter in our shared environments. I vehemently disagree with your assertion that all is lost now that another group of recreational users has access to Berlin Pond. Rather than fight to maintain the exclusionary regulation against anglers, I hope the city of Montpelier will consider transforming Berlin into a recreation area closed to motorized watercraft similar to Colchester Pond.
Philip Stevens, Barre

Much at stake at Berlin Pond
  After having read the May 23 article “Berlin Pond neighbors push to stem ‘invasion,’” I really am surprised the lengths people will go to protect their own equities. Berlin Pond belongs to all Vermonters. Those who live adjacent to the pond have been the primary beneficiaries of the pond’s existence and its bucolic views unsullied by other Vermonters for a hundred years, but that doesn’t convey “ownership” or “stewardship” of this shared resource upon them.
  Fortunately, through the brave and selfless advocacy of a few the Supreme Court has now corrected the abuse of power that kept all Vermonters from access to their shared birthright.
  Unfortunately, now those who benefited from the previous abuses seek to restore their enviable position through indefensible actions such as posting “No Parking” signs without the force of law behind them and other shenanigans.
  Reasonable restrictions, such as those seen for other public waters used for both recreation and water supply, may be called for but the proposed underhanded tactics highlight just how much some people are willing to abuse the rights of their fellow Vermonters in order to preserve their view. That being said preserving Vermonters’ access to their public property should not fall solely upon the shoulders of
Berlin. Instead of railing against the exercise of common rights, an appropriate response would be to apply pressure to Montpelier to shoulder their share.
  An access scheme, well thought out and accounting for both environmental concerns and the rights of Vermonters to enjoy this shared resource, would do much to alleviate concerns. But only if the fortunate few who live along the pond’s border accept that their exclusive enjoyment of the pond is at an end.
  Patrick Cashman,  Shelburne

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


Sent by Corinne Stridsberg and also posted at 
Check out the Berlin, VermontCommunity News page on facebook

There was more news regarding Berlin Pond in the Times Argus from the Selectboard Meeting on Monday (5/21) that I thought I would pass along (see below).Berlin Selectboard meetings are usually the 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month.Remember, many of the meetings end up being available to be viewed about a week later on ORCA Media "Video On Demand", under Town of Berlin and they are also broadcast on the Access channels.Minutes from meetings end up being posted on the town website  but not until they become final, usually at the following meeting. 

Speaking of Berlin Pond, I found that Bryan Pfeiffer has "The Daily Wing - Breaking news about airborne animals" and he recently visited Berlin Pond:

There is also a website Birdingonthe.Net "Recent Postings from Vermont Birds"


BERLIN— The “take back Berlin Pond” troops were out in force this week as those who live around what one described as an environmental jewel urged their Select Board to do anything in its power to protect the pond from a recent onslaught of recreational users.
Still reeling from a Vermont Supreme Court decision that essentially struck down a century-old ban on boating, fishing and swimming in the pristine pond, roughly two dozen residents who own homes around it called for swift action Monday night. The board, though, was urged by its lawyer to proceed with caution.
Board members said they were prepared to do their best to accommodate the roomful of residents and taxpayers but weren’t willing to ignore the advice of the town’s attorney, Rob Halpert, who said cutting corners probably wouldn’t be wise given the fact pattern of the Supreme Court case.
“That’s what started this whole thing in the first place,” Halpert said, referring to the city of Montpelier’s failed attempt to convince even one member of the state’s highest court that it had jurisdiction over a body of water that is owned and controlled by the state.
The Montpelier City Council is scheduled to discuss how to respond to that decision tonight, and members of the Berlin Pond contingent said they planned to attend that session as well.
Monday, though, they urged the Berlin board to restrict access on the 85 feet of shoreline on Berlin Pond that is owned by their town — closing one of the only gaps in a circle of posted land owned by Montpelierthat rings the two-mile-long pond.
The sooner the better, according to Doug Hill, who said the board should make it as difficult as possible for people to legally gain access to Berlin Pond.
“I would really like to see an up-or-down vote from this Select Board on whether we’re either going to allow people to traipse across that (town-owned property) or, no, we’re going to mimic the city of Montpelier’s position and put up ‘No Trespassing’signs and proceed accordingly,” said Hill, who strongly advocated the latter.
“I think that’s our duty, and it’s one we can’t shirk,” he said.
Discussion of the pond spanned 90 minutes and featured several emotional pleas from residents who claimed they’d seen enough in the days since the Supreme Court issued its ruling. But Halpert warned board members and the standing-room-only crowd that it probably wasn’t that simple.
According to Halpert, posting the town-owned property, like a companion proposal to restrict parking around the pond, would likely require adopting an ordinance — a 60-day process that would involve at least one public hearing.
“It’s a process, and it should be followed,” Halpert said, noting that even if the board ultimately adopts an ordinance prohibiting access to the parcel, those unhappy with that decision would be within their rights to petition for its repeal — potentially setting the stage for a special town meeting.
Halpert successfully discouraged the board from pursuing some of the quick fixes suggested by residents who were clearly worried about what the upcoming holiday weekend —complete with its fair weather forecast — will bring.
Brookfield  Road resident Emily Shedaker was one of them.
Shedaker complained that “traffic, … trash and noise” have all spiked in recent days, changing the character of a pond that is a popular refuge for walkers, joggers and nature enthusiasts but, until recently, has been off-limits to those carrying fishing rods, kayaks, canoes and the like.
“It feels like an invasion,” she said.
Shedaker said the pond should be left alone.
“That’s a habitat that’s been preserved for well over 100 years,” she said. “It’s criminal to think that it’s being treated the way that it is. There’s something about having a little jewel in the middle of your community that lies untouched.”
Shedaker told board members they could count on the support of residents who live around the pond.
“I want to make it clear to this board that there are people here that feel so strongly about this issue I’m sure we could muster all the support you would need to keep that pond protected,” she said.
One out-of-town resident who said she regularly drives around the perimeter of the pond claimed she has seen anglers urinating in the pond and tossing cigarette butts, beer bottles and baby diapers in recent days. However, she said, she hasn’t seen any of the loons that nest on the pond.
Brookfield  Road resident Melissa Perley said that was a concern she took very seriously and she hoped the board did as well.
“(The loons) will disappear,” she said, suggesting the Supreme Court had placed Berlin Pond on the brink of environmental Armageddon.
“When it is gone we cannot get it back,” Perley said. “If we delay, and if we don’t do everything we possibly can to protect it, we cannot get it back, and time will just continue and it will be a thing of our past.”
Bill Clark said he is one of a handful of Berlinresidents whose homes are supplied with unfiltered pond water.
“That’s what I’m drinking,” he said, suggesting he was disturbed by reports of public urination and concerned about increasing human contact with the pond.
“We, as taxpayers, need to be protected by our Select Board,” said Bob Green, who has lived on the pond since 1975.
Acting at Halpert’s suggestion, the board voted to pursue an ordinance that would restrict access to the town-owned parcel. However, Chairman Brad Towne wondered whether that would be much of a deterrent given the fact that the town’s right of way overlaps the shoreline in at least two areas — one on Mirror Lake Road and the other on Paine Turnpike South.
“To restrict access to the (pond) may be almost impossible,” Towne warned.
Board member Pete Kelley wondered how the more than 2,000 Berlinresidents who don’t live around the pond would react to the suggested ordinance.
“There are a lot of issues,” Hill conceded. “I hope that the … Berlin Select Board has enough spine to deal with them.”
Meanwhile, board members also agreed to explore a separate ordinance that would restrict parking— except in designated areas — around the pond. That move, Hill and others argue, would make it that much more difficult for those interested in fishing, or launching a canoe or kayak, to do so.
In the interest of clarity, Select Board member Craig Frazier said prohibiting parking around the entirety of the pond might make the most sense.
“The problem we have now is there are so many gray areas that nobody knows what’s going on,” he said, warning those in attendance that they may be underestimating the lengths some people may be willing to go to gain lawful access to the pond.
With that in mind, Hill suggested the board consider extending the “No Parking” area out Paine Turnpike South all the way to the Northfield town line, as well as down nearby Belknap Road. Both are close to Mirror Lake Road.
As a short-term solution, Hill suggested the board consider posting “No Parking” signs along Mirror  Lake Road to deter people from using that area even if the town is currently powerless to enforce it.
Halpert said that would not be wise.
“I personally would have a problem recommending to the Select Board that they do something that is not authorized by law,” he said.
Assuming the ordinances discussed Monday night are crafted, adopted and go into effect without a challenge, Hill said enforcement will be the key given what he said he and others have witnessed over the past several days.
“People are traipsing right by ‘No Trespassing’ signs, hanging their coats on it, setting their cooler down next to it and going fishing,” he said.
Hill suggested the rules and regulations should be made crystal clear in the proposed ordinances.
“Rule No. 1 is: ‘You will be arrested if you cross the city of Montpelier’s or the town of Berlin’s land to access the pond, period,’” he said. “The next one is: ‘You cannot park anywhere except in this little parking lot (near Crosstown  Road) … anywhere around the pond, thanks for stopping.’”

Letters to the Editor

My husband and I live near Berlin Pond, which up until last week was a pristine lake off limits to fishing, boating and swimming. For over 100 years people have not been allowed in or on Berlin Pond because it supplies the city of Montpelierwith drinking water. The decision in Vermont’s Supreme Court recently denied Montpelier’s right to protect its water supply.
Within days of public disclosure of the court’s decision, we saw the first kayaks, rowboats and fishermen as they trespassed across Montpelier’s posted land to access the water. Cars and trucks blocked sections of this rural road as fishermen and kayakers parked their vehicles wherever they could find a spot.
Within days of the court’s unfortunate decision, there was noticeably more litter near the water, including cigarette butts, broken beer bottles and even a dirty diaper. Three fishermen were witnessed openly urinating in Berlin Pond.
I am saddened by what is happening to this once peaceful, beautiful pond. Sad for the water birds, including the nesting loon pair, that must now suffer the invasion of their habitat. Sad for the many walkers, joggers, bird-watchers and bicyclists who once enjoyed the quiet, natural beauty of this area. Sad for the loss of the special ecological value of Berlin Pond. Sad for the loss of the purity of the only closed body of water of this size in the state of Vermont.
If I lived in Montpelier, I would only drink bottled water.

Catherine Donnis

I don’t know how many years Montpelier’s control of Berlin Pond has been an issue. I’m not even sure exactly when the issue made it to the Supreme Court. But wouldn’t you think that Montpelier, with all its lawyers and its $100,000-plus city manager, had plenty of time to get its case together? It can’t have been that difficult to read Vermontlaw and see that Montpelier might have a problem. Having seen that there might be a problem, wouldn’t you think the city would be ready for a variety of eventualities, that it might even have been discussing possible solutions with the state?
Instead, here we are many months past the case moving to the Supreme Court and a week past the Supreme Court making its unanimous decision that Montpelierdoesn’t have control of Berlin Pond, and nothing has been done. People are trashing the city water supply, and where is our city manager? He is still preparing a list of options to present to the City Council, a list that should have been ready long before the Supreme Court made its decision. Is anybody else less than impressed?

Dick Walton

Tuesday, May 22, 2012



Sent by Corinne Stridsberg and also posted at  
Check out the Berlin, Vermont Community News page on facebook

Please note whether or not your pets have been vaccinated recently, cats especially, who might slip through the cracks since they don't need a license from the town like the dogs do.

TOWN OF BERLIN, NOTICE OF VACANCY, EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT DIRECTOR.  The Town of Berlin is seeking to fill a vacancy of the Town’s Emergency
Management Director Position. This is a volunteer position and reports to the Select Board. Applicants should have a background and strong knowledge of VT local emergency management planning and operations.  Interested candidates may submit a letter of interest to:  Town of Berlin, Attention: Jeff Schulz, Town Administrator, 108 Shed Road, Berlin, Vt. 05602.  Letters of interest may also be sent by email to:  If you have any questions, please call Jeff Schulz at 223-4405.

Included below please find:

U-32 GRADUATION June 15th


Wed. May 23rd U-32 SPRING ARTS 5pm - 7pm, U-32 High School Concert 7pm

Thursday, May 24th 7pm U-32 Middle School Spring Concert

sign-ups Wednesday, May 23rd 5:30-6:30 p.m. at Berlin Elementary School.  The Berlin Rec Committee subsidizes this swim lesson program at First in Fitness on Granger Rd in Berlin to keep the cost at $25 per child, per two-week session.  The two sessions are:
Monday-Friday June 18th-June 29 th, 2012 Levels meet 11-11:45 OR 11:45-12:30 (TBA)
Monday-Friday July 9th-July 20 th, 2012 Levels meet 11:45-12:30 OR 12:30-1:15 (TBA)
The levels meeting at the two different times will be determined from the number of people signing up at the different levels.  We work hard to minimize the number of families who will have students in both of the time slots but it can not totally be avoided.
·         Lessons are for children kindergarten through sixth grade (along with 7th & 8th graders in the upper levels). 
·         Child must be able to stand with their head above the water in the 3 foot area.
·         The fee must be paid to hold your child’s spot.  
·         Enrollment in each level is limited, lower levels fill up quickly. 
·         All elementary age children are encouraged to participate. 
·         Please make checks payable to BERLIN RECREATION COMMITTEE
·         Preschoolers who meet the height requirement and are comfortable in the water might be able to sign-up for lessons, if there are any spots remain available after the initial sign-ups have taken place.
Please make every effort to come to sign-ups since the slots will be first-come, first serve.  If you have any questions please call Sonia Parton 223-2854 or email  If you would like to have your child take swim lessons but can not make sign-ups, please call after the sign-up date.
NO PARKING in fire lane at Berlin Elementary School
Effective immediately, Berlin Police will be issuing tickets for any cars parked in the bus fire lane (loop in front of school).
Vermont Crafts Council: VERMONT OPEN STUDIO WEEKEND May 26 & 27:
WIZARD OF OZ BY BERLIN 5/6 STUDENTS May 31st & June 1st 
May 31st 1pm dress rehearsal, and 6:30pm performance, June 1st 6:30pm performance
Note that the Land of OZ currently needs volunteers to help with sets, props and costumes.
VERMONT FREE FISHING DAY - Vermonters can fish for free one day next month.  On Saturday, June 9, residents and nonresidents can go fishing without a fishing license in the state.  Fish and Wildlife officials say Vermont has 284 lakes and more than 7,000 miles of streams in which to fish.
MONTPELIER TOUCH-A-TRUCK Sat., June 9, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Phone: 802-225-8699 Price: $2-6

Kids get up close and personal with big rigs, including fire trucks, ambulances, backhoes and snow plows. Entry fee includes admission to the public pool
MONTPELIER POOL OPENS on Saturday, June 9, 2012.  See a poster with more details including hours at:
Montpelier Recreation Dept welcomes the Community to the NEW PAVILION at the pool with a barbeque on June 14, 2012, 5:00 – 6:30 p.m.  The NEW Pavilion at the Recreation Field will be open for use starting Spring 2012.  This will be the home base for the Recreation Department’s Summer Day Camp “Capital Kids Day Camp”.  When the pavilion is available, it may be rented for birthday parties, family reunions, company picnics, etc.  No alcohol or smoking is permitted in or around the pavilion area.  Please contact our office at 225-8699 for information on reserving the pavilion for your event.
See a photo of the pavilion at:
BERLIN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PICNIC June 13the 11am - 12:30 followed by a convert by the 4th, & 5/6 band at 12:45pm - for students and their families and staff.  Help is needed with set up starting at 9am, grilling starting at 10am (bring cooking utensils and oven mitt) and clean up starting after the last group.
U-32 GRADUATION June 15th 6:30pm
VERMONT HISTORY EXPO 2012 June 16 & 17 at the Tunbridge Fairgrounds.  This year's theme is: Vermont in the Civil War  Admission: Adults - $10; Students - $5; Age 5 & under - Free; Weekend Family Pass - $20.  Note: Half-Price admission for visitors in period dress!
2012 VERMONT STATE PARK listing of events:
BEN & JERRY'S 32nd Annual FREE Outdoor Movie Festival  Saturday nights 8pm at the B&J Factory in Waterbury.  Movies to be announced, dates are as follows: June 30, July 7, July 14, July 21, July 28, August 4, August 11, and August 18
Find & Go Seek
are both excellent sources of information on activities and events
  BERLIN — Capital City residents can drink water originating at Berlin Pond and use it to take showers, fight fires and fill swimming pools, but Montpelier does not own or control the pond — and that’s not just the view of a couple of scofflaws from Barre.
  It is now the unanimous opinion of Vermont’s highest court, which in one thorough and unambiguous ruling toppled a precedent that had stood for more than a century — striking down prohibitions on boating, fishing and swimming in the pond and suggesting that if Montpelier truly wants to regulate those recreational uses it is going to have to ask permission.
  The newly released 35-page opinion, written by Associate Justice John Dooley and signed by all five members of the Vermont Supreme Court, effectively reverses a lower court ruling in a legal battle that has spanned nearly three years. The case was spawned by repeated acts of civil disobedience — one by the owner of a Barre sporting goods store and his wife, and several by one of their former employees.
  Both Cedric Sanborn, owner of R&L Archery, and Rick Barnett, who once worked there, went out of their way to get arrested by kayaking and — in Barnett’s case, repeatedly fishing — on Berlin Pond. Both men argued they did nothing illegal and maintained city officials crossed the line by trying to enforce what they characterized as antiquated prohibitions at odds with
Vermont law and the public trust doctrine.
  They lost the first round when Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Crawford granted
Montpelier’s request for a permanent injunction more than a year ago. But Sanborn, who was represented by Barre lawyer Oreste Valsangiacomo Jr., and Barnett, who represented himself, prevailed in their appeal to the Vermont Supreme Court.
  In an opinion signed late last week, Dooley meticulously shot down an assortment of arguments
Montpelier lawyer Glenn Howland raised on behalf of the city.
  “After careful examination of the state statutes and the City’s charter, we are unable to find any direct or indirect authorization for the City to regulate recreational use of Berlin Pond,” Dooley wrote. “On the contrary, the State has developed its own regulatory schemes to govern both public water sources and recreational use of public waters. Under neither of these schemes has the State prohibited the recreational uses at issue here.”
  Absent some legislatively granted authority, wrote Dooley,
Montpelier has no more right to regulate use of the 2-mile-long pond that is three miles from the city’s boundary than does Berlin, Barre or any other community.
  Dooley acknowledged that could change, but not without formal approval from either the Legislature or the state Water Resources Panel.
  “Our opinion today does not hold that recreational use of Berlin Pond must be permitted,” Dooley wrote. “We conclude only that valid regulation would require action by the State — either by direct regulation or by delegating such powers to the City — and this has not yet occurred.”
  According to Dooley, Crawford erred when he found otherwise — reading more into the city’s legislatively approved charter than is actually there and treating a 1926 order of the Vermont Board of Health as if it hadn’t been repealed more than two decades ago.
  Dooley acknowledged the latest decision creates something of a conundrum for
Montpelier, which owns most but not all of the land around the pond, which has been off limits for more than 100 years.
  “The disposition of this case leaves a state of affairs that admittedly represents an awkward intermediate result,” Dooley wrote. “The City may strive to prevent indirectly the recreational use of Berlin Pond by denying access to its lands that surround the pond, but it may not directly regulate use of the pond itself.”
  That is unless and until the state, which wanted no part of the lower court case and was dismissed by Crawford over Valsangiacomo’s objection, decides otherwise.
  “Our decision reflects the fact that, under the laws of this state, the recreational use of Berlin Pond is a matter of state concern requiring a resolution at the state level,” Dooley wrote.
  Attempts to reach Howland for comment were unsuccessful Monday, and Montpelier City Manager William Fraser said the city is still reviewing the opinion, which will be discussed by the City Council when it meets May 23.
  “We think (the justices) spoke clearly, but we’re trying to understand what that means for us and what our options are,” he said. “Our concerns about the use of the pond haven’t changed … we just need to figure out where we go from here.”
  Valsangiacomo said his clients were pleased but not surprised by a decision that validated arguments that spun out of a “simple discussion at a sporting goods store.” He said Dooley’s opinion supported their claims that only the state could regulate fishing in
Vermont, Berlin Pond is held in public trust by the state, and no credible evidence was presented to suggest that boating, fishing or swimming would pose a significant risk to Montpelier’s water supply.
  “I always felt that the real issue should have been whether fishing and boating represented a ‘public health hazard or a significant public health risk’ to the citizens of
Montpelier (and) they do not,” he said. “If (Sanborn and Barnett) thought there was any health risk they would not have done this.”
  Valsangiacomo noted the state had classified Berlin Pond as suitable for boating, fishing and swimming — a fact Dooley pointed out in his opinion.
  Valsangiacomo said he is eager to hear how
Montpelier officials plan to respond to the ruling.
  “I just have a feeling that this isn’t the end, but it is a good beginning,” he said, noting Dooley’s opinion stripped
Montpelier of the ability to hide behind its charter, the 1926 health order and two equally obsolete Supreme Court cases.

  BERLIN — Bill Aldrighetti said he waited until first thing Monday morning to test the newly opened waters of Berlin Pond because there were just too darn many people fishing from the shore when he drove by on Sunday.
  According to Aldrighetti’s rough roadside count, as many as 40 anglers lined the pond between the park-and-ride on
Brookfield Road and the concrete culvert leading up the grassy knoll to Interstate 89.
  “It was too many people for my taste,” said Aldrighetti, who returned first thing Monday, launched his kayak and spent a peaceful five and a half hours paddling around that area of the pond.
  “I caught a bunch of beautiful bass,” said Aldrighetti, who used his cellphone to photograph some of them before tossing them back.
  “There were a couple that were as long as my arm,” he said.
  Aldrighetti was among those who welcomed a Vermont Supreme Court ruling that the city of
Montpelier does not have the right to regulate recreational use of the pond that serves as its drinking water supply.
  The high court’s unanimous decision was predictably embraced by those like Aldrighetti, even as
Montpelier is weighing its options and residents who live around the pond are said to be circulating a petition to get the Berlin Select Board to wade into the long-running dispute.
  Berlin Pond was on Monday night’s agenda in
Berlin and will be taken up by city councilors in Montpelier on Wednesday as local officials struggle to get their minds around the newly released ruling.
  That hasn’t happened yet, according to Aldrighetti, who spent Wednesday on the phone with officials from Montpelier, Berlin and the state Department of Fish and Wildlife trying to determine the do’s and don’ts of fishing on Berlin Pond before going up there.
  “I didn’t want to do anything wrong,” said Aldrighetti, who said most — if not all — of the people he saw fishing Sunday were likely trespassing on Montpelier-owned land that, with a couple of notable exceptions, rings the pond.
  Aldrighetti said he wouldn’t have any problem with
Montpelier asking the state to impose some reasonable restrictions on the use of the pond, but he rejected the notion that fishing and kayaking pose a public health risk.
  “I can’t imagine being on the water (in a kayak) is any worse than the road that runs 10 feet from (the pond),” he said.
  Although Aldrighetti didn’t have the two-mile-long pond all to himself Monday, he only briefly saw a canoe and never saw the used green kayak that Mike Truman bought off Craigslist when he learned the pond was no longer off-limits.
  “This is my town, and it feels good to be able to fish here,” said Truman, who grew up in
Berlin and is raising his family there. He was accompanied Monday by his 4-year-old daughter, Abby, on an all-morning fishing excursion.
  Truman paddled from one side of the pond to the other, where he stopped near the culvert on
Mirror Lake Road to chat with fellow Berlin resident Kerry Miller.
  Miller said he and others who live and vote in
Berlin believe the Supreme Court got it right even though that doesn’t set well with the “out-of-staters” who have settled around the pond.
  “We’re all glad it’s open,” he said of the pond. “I see no problem with it at all.”
  However, Miller said he expects sportsmen to be responsible.
  “I don’t want that to get ruined,” he said, nodding at some nearby ducks.
  “If fishermen are going to come up here and abuse the situation, then I’d like to see it closed again,” he said.
Berlin resident Steve Watson said he didn’t think that would be a problem. Morse, who spent Monday afternoon fishing from the side of Mirror Lake Road, said he and a dozen others were at that same spot Sunday and everyone picked up after themselves.
  Watson said his worry isn’t what anglers will leave behind but what they may take.
  “I think it’s great as long as you’re a sportsman and you’re not here to fish until there’s no more fish.”
  Town Administrator Jeff Schulz said not everyone was as pleased with the ruling. He said at least one Select Board member had received several calls prompting his decision to put the item on the agenda for Monday night’s meeting.

  MONTPELIER — Here’s what’s happening this week in Montpelier:
  The City Council is meeting Wednesday (5/23) with a packed agenda and the usual 7 p.m. start date has been moved to 6 p.m.
  City Manager William Fraser has asked to use this additional time to discuss options the city has for dealing with Berlin Pond.
  The Supreme Court recently ruled that the city of
Montpelier does not have the legal authority to regulate recreational use of Berlin Pond, even if it’s the source of the city’s water.
  In his weekly report, Fraser said that he will present to the City Council a list of options to consider going forward in dealing with the pond. At press time, that list was not available.

  BERLIN — Glenn French and his wife lost their mobile home and much of its contents when floodwaters from Tropical Storm Irene ripped through Weston’s Mobile Home park in Berlin.
  They were lucky enough to find another trailer, a doublewide, not too far away on a hill.
  But French, 67, says they rushed into buying it because they needed a home and have since discovered problems that need to be repaired. The roof should be replaced and septic system needs work.
  “It’s hard to find housing around here,” he said.
  He hopes to get some help from a newly created fund for residents of mobile home parks who were victims of the Aug. 28 storm and of flooding last May. The fund was started with a gift of $50,000 from a Middlebury couple, David and Eleanor Ignat.
  Organizers say $500 grants will be awarded to people who have applied and deemed eligible. The deadline to apply is July 16.
  “Many families have incurred increased costs of living if they have moved away from the parks or taken on new mortgages to replace their homes,” said Sandy Gaffney, leader of the Mobile Home Park Residents for Equality and Fairness, and a spokeswoman for the fund. “People still need to replace items that were lost by floodwaters, and now that spring is here, it’s time to make repairs on damaged homes.”
  The grants can be used to pay for any costs incurred because of destruction, displacement or damaged related to floods, such as increase housing costs, heating bills or taxes or to pay for home repairs, cleanup and replacing items lost in the flood.
  A total of 524 mobile homes were damaged during Irene. The state is trying to determine how many were destroyed.
  Some mobile-home owners also are learning this spring that they could be eligible for more FEMA money, after complications involving condemnations were sorted out. The state recently sent 105 letters telling owners their trailer was condemned, meaning the owners could be eligible for the maximum $30,000 in FEMA aid.
  The state is contacting other mobile-home owners to ask if their home was uninhabitable.
  Donations also helped to remove 68 flood-damaged homes from six mobile home parks at no cost to the owners.
  The cost was covered by a deal worked out with Associated General Contractors of
Vermont and funds raised by the Vermont Community Foundation and the Vermont Long Term Disaster Recovery Group.
  Another 20 who had paid to have their homes removed received about $1,500 each in reimbursement from the fund.
  Barb Leach and her husband also lost their mobile home. They ended up in an apartment in Barre city that is costing them more than twice as their mobile home did. Their monthly payment has gone from $320 to $750, she said.
  Not only is the rent far more than what they were paying, apartment living is not what they’re used to. They’d like to buy a home but haven’t found one they can afford. If they do, they hope to apply for assistance from the fund, too.
  The added expenses, many the result of quickly made decisions to find shelter, are eating into FEMA checks for many people, said Shaun Gilpin, program director for the Champlain Valley Office of Economic Opportunity mobile home project.
  “There’s definitely still, even a year out, a lot of folks who have not gotten back to a sense of normalcy,” Gilpin said.

Note that the Montpelier Senior Center welcomes folks from Berlin!
  MONTPELIER — It’s almost done. It’s taken nearly a year to rebuild and renovate the burned-out former Catholic high school at 58 Barre St. and to get the Montpelier Senior Activity Center back home.
  In 2009, the senior center was destroyed by fire.
  Since then, its members have been gathering next door at 46 Barre St.
  Project manager Stephen Twombly, also the city’s tax assessor, said the project should be finished by June 7.
  The plan was to have it completed in May, but Twombly said there were a few stumbling blocks along the way.
  The floor in the senior center was once a gymnasium when the building was occupied by the high school. The original plan was to reuse the cement slab under the old wood floor, but Twombly said once the floor was torn up and the slab examined, it proved not to be structurally sound.
  Also, he said, some load-bearing footings installed in the 1970s had been installed poorly.
  So the existing cement slab had to be removed and repoured, and those footings needed to be replaced. That took time and money.
  Twombly said that as of Wednesday, the project’s contingency fund has about $10,000 remaining of the $100,000 budgeted for unforeseen expenses.
  “It’s going to be real tight,” Twombly said, as the last remaining change orders come in.
  But that’s how it goes with renovating an old building, he said; it’s hard to accurately estimate a project’s cost.
  For its part, the senior center has pledged to raise $200,000 to cover some of the nearly $1.8 million project.
  Senior Center Director Janna Clar said they have raised about $175,000 so far and expect to reach or exceed $200,000 by the end of June.
  If the goal is not reached, Clar said, she will have to dip into the endowment to cover the center’s portion of the project price tag.
  She said she is hopeful that won’t happen because the senior center was forced to withdraw $200,000 from the endowment already for the project.
  That leaves about $100,000 in the endowment, which Clar said the senior center plans to build back up through fundraising.
  One way Clar is trying to raise some money is by selling naming opportunities for rooms in the senior center.
  For example, to name the conference room, a classroom, kitchen or dining room will cost $50,000. For an outdoor bench or planter, naming is going for $1,000. Engraved plaques and bricks are available at $100 and $150, respectively.
  Because the senior center is a city department, under the control of City Manager William Fraser, taxpayers contribute to staff salaries, office expenses and activities for
Montpelier seniors, such as swimming at the First in Fitness pool in Berlin.
  However, out of a total budget of nearly $275,000, the taxpayer contribution is a little more than $116,000.
  That’s down from last year’s $125,707 taxpayer contribution to the senior center.
  Clar said that when Fraser ordered every department to look at their budgets and find cuts last year, she did so figuring that she can make up the lost revenue with more fundraising.
  But as for this renovation project, Clar said no taxpayer money is being used.
  The senior center did tap into the city’s revolving loan fund, but that’s a loan Clar said will be paid back.
  The senior center has nearly 700 members, she said. She said 65 percent of them are
Montpelier residents.
  And they are ready to get back into
58 Barre St.
  Senior center advisory board Chairwoman Elizabeth Dodge has been coming to the senior center for eight years. She said some members had to quit the center because of its current temporary location.
  Dodge said the bathrooms are not handicapped-accessible.
  But the newly renovated senior center is fully accessible and Americans With Disabilities Act compliant, for anyone with a walker or a wheelchair, and there are several bathrooms throughout the new senior center for quick access.
  The city purchased
58 Barre St. from the Roman Catholic Diocese in 1972, and the senior center has been there since April 1, 1981.
  While the first floor and part of the second floor of the building will house the senior center, the rest of the building will be occupied by 14 apartments available to anyone at least 62 years old or disabled.
  Twombly said the building is set up like a condominium, in which the city owns the senior center portion of the building, while the 58 Barre Street Housing Limited Partnership owns the apartments.
  A condominium association will be set up to maintain the common areas of the building.
  The apartments, however, are for rent and are not condominiums. The Montpelier Housing Authority has begun accepting apartment rental applications. For more information call 229-9232.
  To learn more about the senior center, visit

  BERLIN, Vt. - A Central Vermont car dealership is going green.
802 Toyota in Berlin has broken ground on a new 32,000-square-foot, environmentally-conscious building. The dealership will utilize recycled oil for heating and collect rainwater to wash cars. Solar panels will provide electricity.
  The dealership says the effort fits with their company mission.
  "My personal philosophy, the company's philosophy, and Toyota's philosophy-- they want green cars. They're the leader in hybrid technology. We have new, exciting electric cars coming. So there's a lot of things that will resonate with the state of Vermont and Vermonters," said Dave Birmingham of 802 Toyota.
  The building will cost $5 million to build and there are plans to add 25 jobs. It's expected to be finished this coming September.
  BERLIN — Select Board members haven’t yet pulled the trigger on Police Chief Bill Wolfe’s request to purchase at least three Tasers for his seven-member department.
  However, the board was urged by Wolfe, a couple of his officers and a New Hampshire police lieutenant who sidelines as a Taser consultant to invest in the next generation of the sometimes-controversial “less lethal weapons,” which are now standard issue for the Vermont State Police.
  Wolfe told board members they owed it to his officers to make an investment that he didn’t budget for, given the dangerous nature of their service to the community.
  “These gentlemen put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe, and I think it’s our responsibility to do what we can do to keep them safe,” he said referring to officers, including those who attended Monday night’s board meeting.
  They didn’t have much company.
  The sparsely attended session featured an hourlong discussion of Tasers that was dominated by a PowerPoint presentation. It was designed to dispel what Lt. Todd Faulkner, of
Hinsdale, N.H., described as some of the myths associated with an incapacitating device that, in his view, has been studied to death.
  “It is the most studied weapons system that I’ve ever seen in law enforcement,” said Faulkner, who has personally been shocked with the device 29 times and participated in some of those studies.
  If the board was interested in guarantees, it didn’t get any from Faulkner, who acknowledged there can be problems. However, Faulkner, a master Taser instructor and court-recognized Taser expert, told board members that should not discourage them.
  “There’s been many, many studies and it always comes back to it’s not risk-free, but it is the lowest-risk weapon system that we have to date to keep officers safe and suspects from being injured any further,” he said.
  “Things have happened and are going to happen,” he added without elaborating. “But, with the right training and the right policies, you’re not going to have any issues.”
  Those who oppose the use of Tasers cite cases where the weapons have been deployed with lethal consequences. However, proponents claim equipping officers with Tasers reduces the likelihood of injuries to officers, suspects and the general public, while deterring bad behavior.
  “Once somebody learns what this thing will do, the last thing they want to do is be on the receiving end of it (again),” said Faulkner, who brought a new Taser X2 to the meeting.
  According to Faulkner, the Taser typically has less lasting effects than pepper spray or a night stick — two weapons that he said he would place on the same level of the use-of-force continuum.
  “With this system, it’s on, it’s off, (and) it’s over,” he said. “The worst you get is it feels like you’ve got a bee sting.”
  Faulkner was speaking from personal experience. Typically police officers who volunteer to be shocked with a Taser are standing on a mat and spotted by two other officers so they don’t injure themselves when they fall to the ground.
  Wolfe and some of his officers said they have experienced a spike in the number of combative people — including many who wind up at the emergency department at
Central Vermont Medical Center.
  CVMC President and Chief Executive Officer Judy Tartaglia recently acknowledged as much, writing a letter to town officials supporting Wolfe’s request to buy Tasers.
  Board members wondered whether CVMC might be willing to share in the expense of the devices given the problems that can be traced to its patients.
  Wolfe said he would explore that possibility and come back with a firm price for the Tasers, which run $950 apiece without cartridges, holsters or any training for his officers.
  Resident Paul Irons said the town might also want to consider equipping the Tasers with video cameras to document the incidents when they are used by officers. Faulkner said those cameras are available and can be expensive, and that he would recommend cameras that are worn by officers and not mounted on the Taser itself.
  Some of Wolfe’s officers said Tasers would have come in handy during recent encounters, including one involving a large uncooperative and very dangerous patient with mental health issues whom they encountered at CVMC, and another involving the naked occupants of a room at a hotel with “a very bad reputation for heroin and methamphetamines.”
  Wolfe said those scenarios have become more frequent and his officers deserve the protection afforded by a weapon that is already carried by state troopers and police officers in Barre. Tasers should also soon be purchased for officers in
Barre Town, where he serves on the Select Board, Wolfe said.

  BERLIN — The most studied intersection in central Vermont might not slow down plans to expand the local Wal-Mart, but the road that runs between the Berlin Mall and Central Vermont Medical Center might.
  Concern over the state’s recent identification of a portion of
Fisher Road as a high-accident location has raised fresh questions about the Wal-Mart project. Officials with the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission say it would be prudent to answer them before green-lighting an 18,000-square-foot addition to the mall’s largest anchor store.
  Citing the newly released state designation, contained in a 144-page planning document written by the state Agency of Transportation, members of a key planning commission committee have asked the District 5 Environmental Commission to order additional analysis of a segment of road that includes the intersection the mall shares with the hospital.
  Although that intersection has been cause for concern in previous permit applications involving development on both sides of the road, it has historically taken a back seat to one nearby. The intersection of
Fisher Road, Route 62 and Airport Road has long been recognized by the state as a high-accident location; based on accident data collected for the newly released report, it still is.
  However, that data involves 74 accidents between 2006 and 2010, and state officials and the mall’s traffic expert have both testified before the district commission that recent modifications to the traffic signals at that intersection have yielded positive results. What’s more, they’ve said, improvements planned to the
Airport Road approach this year should make it even safer.
Fisher Road itself is a different story, and the planning commission’s Act 250 Project Review Committee has told the district commission it is concerned by “conflicting data” — some in the new state report, some supplied by the mall’s representatives and some obtained from the Berlin Police Department.
  “The committee respectfully asks the district commission to request separate evaluations be compiled by (the Agency of Transportation) and the applicant, in order to provide an accurate analysis of current conditions (on
Fisher Road),” regional planner Jackie Cassino wrote on the panel’s behalf this week.
  Hours after receiving a copy of the planning commission’s latest submission Monday, the mall’s land-use lawyer, Chuck Storrow, told the Berlin Select Board the request could threaten his client’s plans to break ground on what he has characterized as a modest addition to the mall this construction season.
  Contacted for clarification Thursday, Storrow backtracked.
  “This (request) in and of itself isn’t necessarily going to tip the schedule over the edge, but it is another matter that needs to be dealt with, so it does have time associated with it,” he said.
  “It’s one more brick on the load of possibly being a delay factor,” he added.
  Storrow said he hadn’t yet formally responded to the regional planning commission’s request but said it would likely require an accident-by-accident analysis to determine what, if any, modifications to the intersection shared by the mall and the hospital are warranted. He said it is unclear from the state report how many of the 21 accidents recorded there between 2006 and 2010 actually occurred in the intersection. He said a preliminary review of police reports indicated only 11 of them did.
  Steve Gladzuk, the regional commission’s transportation planner, said that precisely where the accidents happened and what caused them was the sort of detail needed to determine how to prevent them. That analysis, he said, should be done before approving a project that could increase traffic in the intersection.
  One possible solution that has been discussed before and has resurfaced involves creating an exclusive left-turn cycle for vehicles leaving the mall and the hospital onto
Fisher Road. Storrow has argued that modification is not warranted, but Gladzuk said a review of the actual accident reports — not just the number of accidents — might suggest otherwise.
  “We won’t know unless we look at it,” he said. “That’s all we’re asking.”
  Gladzuk said the requested analysis wouldn’t necessarily require a second public hearing on the project but should yield information that will help the commission make a decision.
  The Select Board went on record this week as supporting additional analysis. The board has also endorsed a request that pedestrian amenities — including a crosswalk that would link the mall and the hospital — be considered by the district environmental commission.

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