Tuesday, May 22, 2012
NEWS TO KNOW MAY 21ST
Check out the
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.
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
Included below please find:
U-32 SPRING ARTS & HIGH SCHOOL CONCERT May 23U-32 MIDDLE SCHOOL CONCERT May 24
NO PARKING IN
VERMONT OPEN STUDIO WEEKEND May 26 & 27
WIZARD OF OZ BY BERLIN 5/6 STUDENTS May 31st & June 1st
MONTPELIER TOUCH-A-TRUCK June 9
MONTPELIER REC DEPT
BERLIN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL PICNIC June 13
BERLIN 6TH GRADE GRADUATION June 14th 6pm
U-32 GRADUATION June 15th
VERMONT STATE PARK EVENTS
VENTURE VERMONT OUTDOOR CHALLENGE 2012
VERMONT MARBLE MUSEUM
POLICE CHIEF: TASERS KEEP OFFICERS
***Wed. May 23rd U-32 SPRING ARTS , U-32 High School Concert
***Thursday, May 24th 7pm U-32 Middle School Spring Concert
sign-ups Wednesday, May 23rd at
Monday-Friday June 18th-June 29 th, 2012 Levels meet 11-11:45 OR (TBA)
Monday-Friday July 9th-July 20 th, 2012 Levels meet OR (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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
Effective immediately, Berlin Police will be issuing tickets for any cars parked in the bus fire lane (loop in front of school).
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.
MONTPELIER TOUCH-A-TRUCK Sat., June 9,
Phone: 802-225-8699 Price: $2-6 www.montpelierrec.org
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 Recreation Dept welcomes the Community to the
See a photo of the pavilion at: http://www.montpelierrec.org/home/item/206-pavilion-at-the-recreation-field
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.
BERLIN 6TH GRADE GRADUATION June 14th 6pm
U-32 GRADUATION June 15th 6:30pm
2012 VERMONT FAIRS
VENTURE VERMONT OUTDOOR CHALLENGE 2012 http://www.vtstateparks.com/htm/venturevt.htm
Find & Go Seek http://www.findandgoseek.net
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
They lost the first round when Superior Court Judge Geoffrey Crawford granted
In an opinion signed late last week, Dooley meticulously shot down an assortment of arguments
“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,
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
“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
“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
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
“I just have a feeling that this isn’t the end, but it is a good beginning,” he said, noting Dooley’s opinion stripped
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
“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
The high court’s unanimous decision was predictably embraced by those like Aldrighetti, even as
Berlin Pond was on Monday night’s agenda in
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
“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
Truman paddled from one side of the pond to the other, where he stopped near the culvert on
Miller said he and others who live and vote in
“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.
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
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.
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
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
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
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
And they are ready to get back into
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
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 montpelier-vt.org/msac.
The dealership says the effort fits with their company mission.
"My personal philosophy, the company's philosophy, and
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.
POLICE CHIEF: TASERS KEEP OFFICERS
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
“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
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
Concern over the state’s recent identification of a portion of
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
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
“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
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
“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.