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

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