Wednesday, June 27, 2012


News to Know June 27

Sent by Corinne Stridsberg and also posted at
Check out the Berlin, Vermont Community News page on facebook
Included below please find:
"DILEMMA IN VERMONT" 1953 cartoon re Berlin Pond
BERLIN HISTORICAL SOCIETY MEETING TONIGHT, June 27th 7pm at the Berlin Town Office.  Agenda: Review of our May potluck dinner presentation and ideas for next year's program; Review of our display at the VT History Expo in Tunbridge and things we learned there; We have been invited to put on the same display in Worcester on July 4th - do we want to do this?; Ideas for interesting presentations at future monthly meetings; Review of progress on our cemetery project; Donahue's Ice Cream - where on the Barre-Montpelier Road was it located?
Berlin Historical Society page:
Have you checked out the "Dilemma in Vermont" cartoon regarding Berlin Pond posted on the town website?  This was first in the Boston Herald on November 5, 1953.  Thanks Berlin Historical Society for digging this out.
Town of Berlin is in need of Cemetery committee members.  Greg DuBois moved out of town and there was already an opening. Two members are needed to help with the old cemeteries to oversee maintenance and upkeep by private contractors etc.   More information on Berlin's cemeteries can be found at:
Suspect ID'd in home break-ins (pub 6/21/12)
   BERLIN — With the help of authorities in two other states and a surveillance video from a victim’s home, police say they’ve solved a recent rash of home burglaries. The Massachusetts man they believe to be responsible is in custody.
   Berlin police say they suspect Richard Morrell, of Newburyport, Mass., in a series of home burglaries reported this month. Jewelry, cash and other household items were reported stolen.
   According to police, they identified Morrell, who is in custody in Massachusetts, from an image captured by a home surveillance camera. Police in Massachusetts and New Hampshire participated in the investigation, they said.
   Police said some of the stolen property has been returned to its owners after searches of homes and businesses in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
BERLIN POND PERSPECTIVES in the Montpelier Bridge June 21-27
Two articles regarding Berlin Pond
Dark Knight Rises... fundraiser for Kellogg-Hubbard Library
REGIONAL WEBSITE OFFERS EVENT PROMOTION, CHANCE TO WIN FIREWORKS (pub 6/25/12) has provided free advertising for community events for more than a decade, and this week it added a chance to win $100 in gift cards for holiday fireworks.
   As many as 1,000 visitors to the website click on the “Community Events” in any given month, and the next few months are traditionally those with the highest traffic. Viewing the event listings are local residents, visitors, and potential visitors.
   The more numerous the listings, the greater the appeal to the potential visitor. The more listings, the greater the exposure of local events.
   While many organizations like Studio Place Arts, Lost Nation Theater, and the Aldrich and Kellogg-Hubbard libraries regularly post their upcoming events, too many event organizers miss the opportunity for free promotion the listings provide.
   Several area towns will celebrate Independence Day festivities, but only Waterbury’s “Not Quite Independence Day celebration” and Warren’s traditional July 4 celebration are online with a link to more information in the calendar.
   Listings are free and can be entered through any browser.
   The regional website not only saves visitors the work of searching several town sites — if the visitor knows area towns — but it also makes each listing more appealing if there are several others that could be tapped within a stretch of a few days.
   This week only, visitors to the home page can register to win gift cards to Northstar Fireworks, the East Montpelier supplier of professional and retail aerial displays.
   Registering online requires only a name and email address. One name will be selected at random Friday morning, June 29, to receive the gift cards. The winner will be notified by email to pick up the cards at the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce office in Berlin.
   The regional website is managed by the Chamber to provide information on Central Vermont. It offers historical perspectives and community data as well as visitor, relocating and business information.
   Visit the home page and enter for a chance to win $100 patriotic giveaway.
   Upcoming events are just one more click.
   (pub 6/22/12)
BARRE — Collin Bigras made it look easy.
   And that’s saying something. Imagine standing 16 yards behind a wooden box with a shotgun in your hand. Everyone is watching you as you yell “Pull,” and a 4-inch red clay disk, or pigeon, flies across the field in front of you at 40 mph. You have no idea which direction it will be heading, but you have to shoot it before it hits the ground.
   Bigras did it 200 times in a row.
   That’s how the 20-year-old East Montpelier man won the singles event at the 104th Vermont State Championship Trapshoot hosted by the Montpelier Gun Club in Berlin. His perfect score of 200 out of 200 was a feat that has never been accomplished since the club started keeping records in 1914.
   “My adrenaline was rushing the whole time,” Bigras said of competing in the state championship Saturday.
   “It was an out-of-body experience almost. My heart was about to burst out of my chest.”
   Bigras won the same event last year with a score of 198, but he said getting a perfect score had been his goal for the past few years.
   He was confident that this year he could do it.
   “After I shot my first 100 (clay pigeons), I was right on. Right then, I was pretty sure I was going to do it,” he said.
   This is not the first time that Bigras has shot a perfect 200; he said he has achieved the same thing at other shooting ranges and meets. But this one was special to him because it was at his home club and it had never been done there.
   Bigras has been a natural to the sport of trapshooting ever since he started seriously competing in 2006 at age 14. He was an All-American Sub-Junior First Team member (under 15 years old) in 2007 and 2008 and an All-American Junior First Team member (under 18 years old) from 2009 until 2011. The shooters earn this distinction for the year after they compete.
   Dennis DeVaux, a member of the Montpelier Gun Club and winner of the same event as Bigras four times in the past, shot next to Bigras when he was going for the perfect score. DeVaux said it was only a matter of time before someone would score a perfect 200 and he was very happy that Bigras was the one to do it. DeVaux last won in 1989 with a score of 196.
   “We need more people like him,” DeVaux said. “That’s the goal is to get the youth involved.”
   The Montpelier Gun Club’s president, Milan Lawson, winner of the singles event in 1981 with a score of 196, agrees that there are not many young people in the sport of trapshooting.
   “Young people may not have the time,” he said. “They have other interests today.”
   The biggest factor may be the cost — not accuracy.
   Bigras said that when he was competing regularly, his family was spending $25,000 a year. He also said the gun he uses is worth $18,000. Then there is the cost of ammunition, which is about $1 per box of 25 shotgun shells.
   Bigras acknowledges most of his friends cannot afford to spend that kind of money on a hobby. In fact, Bigras said he has had to buy his own equipment and pay for his entry into competitions since he turned 18, and says he has cut back on how much he competes. Now he goes to only a couple of competitions a year, whereas a few years ago he was traveling all over the country competing, he said.
   But to Bigras trapshooting is much more than a hobby.
   He works at the family business, B & B Monumental Engravers in Barre, with his father, Steve, to keep doing what he loves.
   Now Bigras’ goal is to shoot a perfect 100 from the handicap, which can be as far back as 27 yards — another feat that has never been accomplished at the Montpelier Gun Club. He says he will keep shooting for as long as he can.
   “I don’t know if I’ll be as successful, but I’m still going to do it,” Bigras said. “It’s something I love doing more than anything else.”
EATERY MAY BE ON THE MENU FOR BERLIN PLAZA (pub 6/22/12)  By David Delcore
   BERLIN — You can add a mystery restaurant to the growing mix of establishments that could be coming soon to the Barre-Montpelier Road.
   Town Administrator Jeff Schulz confirmed this week that owners of the shopping center anchored by Big Lots intend to apply for a permit to build a freestanding restaurant next to Pizza Hut. The chain restaurant, which Schulz said he wasn’t at liberty to name, would be the newest addition to the Central Vermont Shopping Center and further fuel the recent revival of a retail strip once dubbed Berlin’s “million-dollar mile.”
   The project recently cleared a key hurdle thanks to a 13-year-old permit the shopping center’s owner obtained for a bank that was never built. That permit, Schulz concluded, is still valid, and site and utility improvements were made at the time — effectively preserving owner Pomerleau Real Estate’s right to pursue a revised version of the project that wouldn’t be allowed under current flood plain regulations.
   The deciding factor, according to Schulz, was that the bank was part of a broader project that included interior renovations to the L-shaped plaza that were completed as proposed.
   Although Schulz has determined the bank permit is still valid, he has concluded the proposed restaurant will require a trip to the town’s development review board. Based on changes to the project, which received its permit in 1999, the board must review and approve an amended site plan before construction can commence.
   Schulz recently shared that opinion with the engineer working on the project and said he expects a formal application will be submitted next week. Assuming that happens, he said the project will be on the agenda for the review board’s July 17 meeting.
   It will likely have company, according to Schulz, who said representatives of CVS have indicated they plan to apply before next week’s deadline to build a freestanding pharmacy just up the Barre-Montpelier Road from the proposed restaurant.
   If approved, the pharmacy would require the demolition of the vacant restaurant that last housed Friendly’s, as well as the neighboring Vermonter Motel. Once cleared, the lots across from the base of the Berlin State Highway would be combined and redeveloped.
   Those two projects join three others that are in the works and one that was recently finished.
   Verizon recently opened a cellular phone sales and service center in a newly renovated 4,085-square-foot building where Midas once replaced mufflers.
   Just across the road, construction of a 7,300-square-foot Auto Zone auto parts store is under way, and two new tenants should be coming soon to the nearby Price Chopper plaza.
   Work is nearly complete on one of two remaining vacancies in the strip mall that houses Price Chopper, T.J. Maxx and The Dollar Tree. Petco has leased the 13,500-square-foot space and is said to be aiming for an Aug. 1 opening.
   Contractors are waiting for the go-ahead to begin work on 18,763 square feet of remaining retail space that is expected to be the new home for Staples. Officials at Staples’ headquarters have previously confirmed plans to move the store, which is now off Paine Turnpike in Berlin, down to the Barre-Montpelier Road plaza.
   Renovations needed to accommodate that move are expected to take 10 weeks and will start as soon as plans are final and a lease is signed.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


News to Know June 19th


Sent by Corinne Stridsberg and also posted at
Check out the
Berlin, Vermont Community News page on facebook
Included below please find:



Books, music, songs for kids of all ages! Join us for a special summer story time on Wednesday, June 20th, at 10:30am at the Fire Station in Berlin.  Come hear stories and check out those fire trucks! Don’t miss the fun!
Remember, because of the continued financial support from the town on Town Meeting Day, all Berlin residents (with proof of residency) may get a "free" library card and make use of all the resources at our community library.  The Kellogg-Hubbard Library located on Main Street in Montpelier.

FLOOD SURVIVORS SUPPORT GROUP, Wednesday June 20 at 5:30pm at the Berlin Elementary School offered by Starting over Strong VT and staffed by Christina Ducharme and Ellia Cohen. Come on in, we'll be in the room in back of the library to the left! I look forward to seeing all of our regular attendees and invite all who would like to come. This is a place to share where you're at, connect with others, and learn a mindfulness or stress-reduction skill to take home. If you have any questions please call, Christina Ducharme at 279-4670.

CIRCUS SMIRKUS under the big tent in Montpelier on AUGUST 15 & 16.   Montpelier High School, 4 shows:  2 & 7 pm - Wednesday & Thursday.  Get your tickets in advance, last time we tried to go they had sold out, it was such a bummer.


SHELBURNE MUSEUM - have I mentioned recently that Vermonters get half price admission?  Always fun to explore, never enough time to see it all.   Love to ride the jitney back to the entrance when we're so tired.  Always want to go on the Ti and watch the movie about it being moved to the museum grounds even though I own a copy of it now and have seen it lots of times.  Can't wait to bring William to Owl Cottage where there is old fashioned dress-up stuff, books, games and art activities and to go on the carousel over by the circus barn.  I just noticed that on Thursdays in the summer they are open until 7:30pm, most days it's 10am - 5pm and Sundays it's a delayed noontime opening.  At half price that makes it $10 per adult, $5 per child and there family day passes (2 adults and their 2 children) for $25.  complete details at:

  WILLIAMSTOWN — Lotus Lake, a family-owned day camp in Williamstown, will celebrate 60 years of summer camp July 6 and 7 with an awards ceremony, old photos, many activities and a picnic.
  Alumni and friends are invited to camp at 3 p.m. July 6 for the awards ceremony and from 4 to 7 p.m. for camp activities and a BYO picnic supper. On July 7 the celebration will continue from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. with camp activities, old photos, lunch and a sing-along. Camp activities will include swimming, hiking, tennis and games, so participants should dress appropriately. Please RSVP to 433-5451 or 793-4895.
  Starting with five campers in 1952 on the site of the former Lotus Lake Farm, this central Vermont mainstay was the brainchild of Proctor Martin. His family had owned the 300-acre property since the 1800s and he — with his wife, Helen, and his brothers Raymond and Hildreth — imagined using the former Cutter Pond and the farmland as a day camp where local children could learn swimming and outdoor skills.
  Martin’s daughter Dorothy and her husband, John Milne — one of the first campers — took over the camp in 1968, after Martin’s sudden death and have run it since, with help from his other daughter, Becky Watson, and her daughter Beth Allen.
  The camp has grown to about 160 campers each week for the eight-week season, with many staffers who began as campers and are now teachers, as well as college students and some high school students who trained with Beth Allen as counselors in training. The camp is at 4785 Route 14.


Staff Report
  BERLIN — Largemouth and smallmouth bass in Berlin Pond will be protected by a new catch-and-release “Test Water” designation being adopted by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department.
  A recent Vermont Supreme Court decision regarding Berlin Pond clarified that fishing is currently allowed on the pond, after being restricted for decades. Much of the shoreline around the pond is posted against trespass, so would-be anglers must access the pond only where allowed.
  Studies of unexploited fish populations, like those in Berlin Pond, suggest these populations often have a high proportion of old, slow-growing fish which are very vulnerable to angling when opened to fishing.
  “Research from other states indicates that when bass populations are open to fishing for the first time, quality sized bass can be quickly reduced,” said State Fisheries Biologist Rich Kirn. “It is our goal to maintain a quality bass fishery in Berlin Pond for the long-term. To do that, we will need time to study its fish population and newly developing fishery. The temporary catch-and-release designation will provide the time we need to do this while still allowing anglers to enjoy catching this popular sportfish.”
  Based on fisheries surveys done on Berlin Pond by Fish & Wildlife in 1979 and 1995, the pond contains largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, chain pickerel, yellow perch, pumpkinseed, and brown bullhead. According to a 2010 Vermont Angler Survey largemouth bass and smallmouth bass are among the top five most-popular fish species sought by
Vermont anglers.
  Fish and Wildlife Commissioner Patrick Berry has signed the test water designation which takes effect on June 15, six days after the opening of bass season on June 9.
  “Unfortunately, the reporting requirements for the Test Water designation did not allow us to have the regulation in effect for opening day. We encourage anglers to limit their harvest during this time until our biologists have the time to better understand the bass population,” says
Berry. “The department is also eager to work with the City of Montpelier and Town of Berlin to find common ground to cooperatively manage future fishing and boat access to help protect the area.”
  The Berlin Pond Test Water Restriction will remain in effect until
Nov. 30, 2015.

By David Delcore, Staff Writer Times Argus
  BERLIN — Nobody ever said that developing a municipal water system would be easy or inexpensive and members of the Select Board were told this week they could add “predictable” to that list.
  Berlin’s bid to create a community water system serving the Four Corners area has been fraught with surprises, according to resident Tom Willard, who has served on the town’s water supply committee since it was created in 2007.
  Five years and nearly $300,000 later Willard told board members that the committee’s preferred option – relying on a series of groundwater wells that were developed at the town’s expense – is now Plan B. Plan A is to purchase water from neighboring Montpelier – an alternative that was once considered prohibitively expensive and is currently in limbo.
  Willard said the decision to try and do business with Montpelier was precipitated by Central Vermont Medical Center. The regional hospital, which consumes roughly 65,000 gallons of water per day, was initially viewed as the future anchor of the well-fed system that was being planned in Berlin.
  According to Willard, hospital officials “agreed in writing” to participate in the Berlin system if they could be assured that the cost and quality of the water was comparable to that which Montpelier has historically supplied the hospital complex.
  However, Willard said hospital officials subsequently expressed some reservation about shifting from filtered surface water that Montpelier draws from Berlin Pond to untreated groundwater from Berlin’s now-state-approved wells. That concern, he said, coincided with Montpelier’s angst over the potential for losing a high-volume customer and the two communities were encouraged to work together on a solution.

  For the complete story, see Wednesday’s Times Argus.

Friday, June 08, 2012


News to Know June 8th


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

Included below please find:

FREE PRESS (free papers June 10 & 11)
VIABLE OPTION (re Berlin Pond)

By David Delcore, Staff Writer
BERLIN — Select Board members haven’t yet seen a policy outlining when they should and shouldn’t be used and don’t know precisely where the money to pay for them will come from, but they did agree this week to buy four Tasers for their seven-member police department.
The unanimous decision met with some resistance during a brief discussion that began with a polite request from a concerned resident and ended with a spirited lecture from an unexpected source.
Long-time resident Paul Irons and Dan Stein, an ORCA Media Inc. videographer who took a seat in the audience after running out of tape following the board’s protracted discussion of Berlin Pond Monday night, both urged members not to pull the trigger on the stun gun purchase.
Irons, a former board member, spoke first. He said he was uneasy about the proposed purchase and believed the board and town residents would both benefit from a broader public discussion involving the merits of equipping a small town police force with an often controversial and sometimes lethal new weapon.
“I would like to have you consider holding a true public hearing … on the issue,” said Irons, who noted the board’s recent introduction to Tasers wasn’t completely unbiased.
“You heard an expert speak who is involved in the sale of Tasers,” Irons said. “I think it would be good for all of us … to hear a more balanced presentation.
“I think it’s pretty important,” he added.
So did Stein, who seemed to surprise board members when he joined a discussion that he had been recording moments earlier.
“It’s worth investigating further and giving your town an opportunity to speak on it,” said Stein, who gave the board an unsolicited crash course on the exhaustive six-month study that produced a 44-page report and helped derail a similar request in neighboring Montpelier.
Stein’s comments sparked a brief discussion of the merits of warning a special meeting on a lingering request that board members noted had been well-publicized and produced surprisingly little push-back from town residents.
“I’ve reached out to a lot of people to try to generate some discussion and for most of them it’s not really an issue,” said Selectman Ture Nelson.
Chairman Brad Towne agreed, suggesting many residents had adopted an “I-don’t-break-the-law-why-should-I-worry” position when it came to Police Chief Bill Wolfe’s unbudgeted request to equip his officers with Tasers.
Selectman Pete Kelley argued Tasers could be a useful tool that would prevent officers from being injured in altercations.
“We’ve got almost a million dollars into seven people and, if you look at them as an asset … you don’t want them to be broken,” Kelley said of the town’s police officers. “I’ve seen these guys and they’re breakable.”
According to Kelley, losing an officer to injury comes at a cost that the town can ill-afford.
“We already have a problem with overtime (and) we’re already discussing paying them (officers) for vacation because they have no time to take vacation,” he said.
“And the Taser is the solution to that?” Stein asked.
“It could be the solution to that,” replied Kelley, who conceded that while Tasers aren’t completely safe they are safer than some of the alternatives.
“If you let me shoot you once with my .45 (caliber pistol), I’ll let you Taser me all day,” he told Stein. “It’s much safer than a gun.”
Stein didn’t relent, noting Tasers placed those with heart and mental health conditions at unnecessary risk, and could result in long-term psychological and nerve damage.
“I understand our desire to eliminate as many difficult choices as possible,” he said.
“We all want to make our lives easy and pain-free, but whose expense is that at?
“I would just urge you as an individual who lives in this community … (to) just read the study that Montpelier’s committee came up with before you make a decision,” said Stein, who stressed he was speaking for himself and not for ORCA.
“You don’t have to I’ll walk away and I could care less because you all are going to do what you’re going to do anyway,” he added on the way out the door. “But honestly, there’s a lot of implications we don’t understand about 50,000 volts of electricity running through a human being even if we think they’re doing something they shouldn’t be doing.”
Following Stein’s departure, the board voted to approve Wolfe’s request to buy four Tasers, 10 holsters and 10 cartridges for $4,900. Money for the newly approved purchase wasn’t included in the budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1 and Kelley noted while officials at Central Vermont Medical Center wrote a letter supporting the purchase they weren’t prepared to foot all or part of the bill.
“They (hospital officials) are supportive, but they aren’t willing to pay,” he said.

Worth going to the video of this story, video / story include tips to keep your home safe.

By Jennifer Reading, WCAX
Berlin homeowner Albie Borne says he installed surveillance cameras a few years ago after a home invasion nearby got him thinking about his family's safety. On Tuesday he says these cameras came in handy.
"This guy came up here-- he knew there was a security system. In four minutes he smashed and grabbed; in and out," Borne said.
The suspect may have made off with the goods, but not before Borne's cameras clearly caught a few of his distinguishing features like his stocky build and tattoos. Police say images like these are a blessing. That's because burglaries can be challenging to solve. Police say the crooks typically leave very little evidence behind. But home surveillance systems are leveling the playing field.
"If we didn't have the images it would be much more difficult. We've gotten a bunch of names and the information is still incoming, versus if we didn't have the images, we wouldn't have the public's help in trying to solve this," Berlin Police Ofc. Chris Alting said.
Police say the man caught on camera may be linked to at least four other break-ins in
Berlin and Barre.
Borne has one suggestion for other homeowners: "Get a security system. Spend the money," he said. "It's cheap protection. You can arm your house at night. You can be sleeping and if an intruder walks in at least you're going to have a notification."
There are roughly 3,000 burglaries every year in
Vermont. It's a number that's stayed steady over the past decade. But police say there are a few easy precautions that every homeowner can take.
"Keep your doors locked. Keep your windows locked even when you're home," Alting advised. "If you're not home keep a TV on, keep a radio on. Create some sort of illusion that the home may be occupied."
The Bornes say they can get over the break-in, but will never be able to replace what the crook stole.
"Our parents passed away in the last few years and it's just a lot of stuff we can't replace. That's what the heartbreaker is. You can't put money value on it," Borne said.
But he says he will feel a whole lot better once this burglar is behind bars. If you recognize the man or know anything about the string of burglaries in
Berlin call town police at 802-223-4401 or contact them on Facebook. You can also email police at
Interesting technology worth knowing about:
By Keith Vance, staff writer
GREENSBORO — Vermont State Police charged Thomas Lussier Jr., 31, and Rebecca Young, 29, both of Greensboro, with grand larceny for allegedly stealing a laptop from a Cabot woman’s car, after the pair was caught on the laptop’s camera.
On Saturday, the Cabot woman was involved in a two-car accident on
Houston Hill Road.
While she was using the telephone at the residence of the other person involved in the collision, someone stole her Macbook Air laptop from her vehicle.
Unknown to the perpetrators of the crime, installed on the laptop is software called Undercover by Orbicule.
With that software, police were provided with a photograph of Lussier and Young using the laptop at a
Greensboro residence and identified by GPS coordinates.
State troopers stationed in Middlesex, working in conjunction with the Hardwick Police Department, were able to track down Lussier and Young in
Lussier denied stealing the laptop, according to the police affidavit. Young told police that Lussier had in fact stolen the computer while they were in Cabot on Saturday, according to court records. Lussier claimed that someone named “Shane” had traded cocaine for the computer and that Lussier had purchased the computer from him, the police affidavit said.
Police did not recover the laptop at the time of the arrests.
Lussier was jailed at Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility on $1,500 bail, pleaded not guilty at his arraignment in Caledonia County Criminal Court on Tuesday, and was released.
Note: Sunday and Monday (June 10 & 11) the Burlington Free Press will be
FREE to let folks check out the new format

FREE PRESS (pub 6/7/12)
By Susie Steimle
It's a rare day when the newspaper itself becomes the story. Thursday the Burlington Free press was all the buzz as it rolled out its new format.
"It's been very interesting. I've been working on this for three years now, so this has been my life," said Michael Townsend of the Burlington Free Press.
Few have slept in the Free Press newsroom. Editors say the atmosphere in the newsroom Wednesday was more stressful than it was on 9/11.
"You have to start in the morning and it took us all the way to
midnight to get this done," Townsend said.
The new format is a magazine or tabloid-style paper, 11 inches by 15 inches. It's been dubbed the "compact smart edition." They hope it will attract young professionals.
"We're gaining also younger professionals. I have to worry about younger readers as well as older readers. I think if we give the older readers a quality read and quality product they will like it," Townsend said.
St. Michael's College Journalism Chair David Mindich says he's concerned readers will have a hard time navigating through the new format.
Townsend says the paper is meant to be a supplement to the online edition, which put up a pay wall last week. Once you click through 10 stories you have to subscribe if you want to read any more. The Free Press is confident
Vermont readers will be willing to pay more for its stories.
"Online is more of a driving breaking news force. Print has never been a breaking news medium since they invented radio and TV," Townsend said.
Printing for the new format starts early, at least until they work the kinks out. There's something epic about standing beneath that $2.4 million piece of equipment, as if freedom itself could roll right off the page. For the most part, reviews on the street have been rave ones.
"I really like it. I think that the format is easy to read the color certainly makes it look interesting," said Larry Crist, a Free Press reader.
As with all forms of media, Townsend says they'll continue to evolve, proud of their new product that's hot off the press.
The Free Press will offer complimentary editions of the new paper Sunday and Monday to give people the opportunity to try it out.

Go to their website for more information:

Red Cross is always in need of additional volunteers. Whether it's to go out on a call, to carry the pager, or other tasks. Red Cross can be reached at 223-3701

Times Argus Commentary, pub 6/8/12
By Doug Bishop

It is 4 a.m., the phone rings and I am startled. I recognize the voice at the other end and it is not a family member. I breathe a sigh of relief, knowing that this call is not about a tragedy impacting a member of my family. However, a tragedy has struck another family; four families in fact. A fire has engulfed a Barre apartment building and the Red Cross has been asked to assist.
Randy, a long-time Red Cross volunteer is on the other end of the line. As duty officer, Randy took the call from
Barre City dispatch. Barre is faced with its fourth blaze in just 48 hours. I am not Randy’s first call. His first is to Corinne, our lead volunteer in the area. It is Corinne’s community that has been struck by disaster and she will head up the response of local volunteers who will extend the helping hand of the American Red Cross to the families forced from their home.
Corinne’s Disaster Action Team, one of 12 across
Vermont and New Hampshire’s Upper Valley, is an extraordinary, all-volunteer team. These groups of volunteers are the heart of the American Red Cross. No, they are the Red Cross.
When a large-scale disaster strikes, such as Irene, over 90 percent of those delivering relief on behalf of the Red Cross are volunteers. At local fires, that number is more likely than not going to be 100 percent.
What Corinne shares with her team is that four, perhaps five, families and upwards of nine people are now displaced from their homes. For the fire victims, some have only what they were wearing when the fire struck. For those families, this disaster has thrown their lives into upheaval. They need help. While they may not realize it, their recovery has already begun.
Wearing vests emblazoned with the familiar Red Cross, Corinne’s team arrives at the scene. While many may associate this same iconic symbol of humanitarian relief with large national or international tragedies, that familiar Red Cross is also on scene when an individual family is impacted by very personal disasters such as a house fire. For those families, their fire is just as devastating as any of those “big” disasters.
For some of the fire victims of this Barre fire, family is nearby and limited Red Cross services are needed.
However, for others, they have no place to go and have lost items as irreplaceable as family photos and as basic as food and clothing. The Red Cross arranges lodging at a local hotel for a few nights so that the displaced can get their bearings. Financial assistance is also provided to ensure that food and clothing can be purchased.
More than 130 times over the past year, this scenario has played out across our region. Hundreds of families displaced from their homes and apartments by fire have turned to the Red Cross for help getting back on their feet.
It is our corps of local volunteers who provide relief in their community when their neighbors are in need. They bring the heart, the compassion and dedication necessary to respond. It is up to the
Vermont and the New Hampshire Valley American Red Cross, with the support of the community, to ensure that our volunteers have the resources need and that a helping hand is there.
I share this story, this insight, to not only recognize the efforts of our volunteers, but, more importantly, to let people know that their local Red Cross, if needed, can be called upon day or night if they find their own life turned upside down in the wake of a disaster.
Doug Bishop is director of communications and external relations for the American Red Cross

Times Argus Editorial

Did the state really just come up with an viable answer to the Berlin Pond controversy?
And, more importantly, could the years-long, contentious battle have been avoided altogether (at significant legal cost to taxpayers in
Berlin and Montpelier) by just getting the right person into the room?
Amid the heated back-and-forth at the Berlin Select Board meeting this week, a representative from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife suggested that the state was “ready, willing and able” to help develop public access to the pond on town-owned land located on Paine Turnpike South.
Mike Wichrowski told a packed room there are already ideas on the table to come up with an access plan for Berlin Pond, and that the state had made similar overtures to Montpelier, which owns and has posted most of the rest of the land surrounding the pond.
For the
Capital City, this has been an all-or-nothing issue, so Montpelier’s willingness go yield an inch of ground seems impractical and implausible right now. In fact, their plan of action may be to in fact nail down the restriction it needs to validate the “No Trespassing” signs in which it invested so much.

In the weeks since the Vermont Supreme Court ruling that struck down a prohibition on recreational use of the pond — a ruling that had stood unchallenged for more than a century — recreational users, home and camp owners around the pond, and even neighbors have been arguing over the murky “pond politics.”
Recreational users are eager to explore the pond, while generations of camp and home owners have enjoyed an unobstructed view of the water.
While it may be difficult to acknowledge for some, the issue is not about whether people can actually use the pond. Barring some further state action, like a legislative charter change giving Montpelier the authority or taking over the pond itself, the court ruling is clear. The issue is about whether the town should restrict access to the water.
And town leaders are under tremendous pressure to do just that. So much so that in the days following the court decision, police actually ramped up patrols to monitor the situation more closely. While warnings were issued, no citations have been handed out — much to the chagrin of many of the folks living nearby.
As several recreational users have pointed out, such a restriction to access actually circumvents what the justices decided.
But the state, working with
Montpelier and Berlin, may have dumped water on the whole debate. (In addition, effective this week, largemouth and smallmouth bass in Berlin Pond will be protected by a new catch-and-release “test water” designation being adopted by the Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department through November 2015.)
Of course, a solution that gets people onto the pond is not the kind of solution many people who live around it want. But whether it is permit parking or other methods of controlling the available “spaces” leading to the access, it is a measured, accountable solution. And at a minimum, controlling the number of users would limit the boats, canoes and kayaks visible on the pond.
That is both moderation and consideration. And it’s the compromise no one seems to have thought of until now.
Wichrowski used this week’s meeting in Berlin to attempt to dispel concerns that those people with fishing poles, kayaks and canoes would, or could, destroy what he conceded was something of a rarity in Vermont — a pond that isn’t ringed by camps and other seasonal dwellings, which makes it a valuable habitat for birds and other wildlife.
“All we’re talking about is providing a little point of entry for a few people to go out and enjoy that,” he told the crowd.
We encourage the town and the city to take the state up on the offer, consider options and come up with a plan that creates access to Berlin Pond. If it turns out agreements are reached now that the “water issue” is resolved, the Berlin Pond debate will serve as a civics lesson in the future to get all parties in the room before to review all of the options. And hope that the coolest heads prevail.


Montpelier Public Pool opens June 11th , webpage includes hours and new admission prices -


Wrightsville Beach Recreation Area, now open, website includes hours, fees, etc -


Barre City pool opens June 18th - Go to this link and then the newsletter for more information on hours and admission


Northfield Pool – 2012 information is not posted yet but pool opens mid June
Inn, Berlin 229-5766 has an indoor pool available for public use for $6 per person during the hours of 7am - 9pm daily. Best to call in advance as they sometimes have pool parties booked and it's unavailable. Another option is a $50 per person, per month pool pass.


Do you know of other swimming suggestions for me to share? Let me know.


CAUTION: Due to the severe storms that have occurred in
Vermont over the past year, many riverbeds have been altered. Traditionally deep areas may now be only a few feet deep, boulders have been repositioned and overall, underwater geography may have been drastically changed. Do check all depths before entering these waters, especially those that you have become familiar with over time.


Keep an eye on friends and family. Drowning can occur in as little as 20 seconds for children and 60 seconds for an adult. Drowning is known as the "silent killer" because most victims slip beneath the water without a sound. Paying close attention to those around you can drastically reduce such accidents.
For more information on water safety look at some of the following websites:

Wednesday, June 06, 2012


News to Know June 6th

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


There have been some recent break-ins in Berlin. Perhaps you've already seen an email that is going around with some photos from a security camera of one particular break-in Monday morning. I did confirm at 5pm today with the Berlin police that these crimes are still unresolved. I don't post photos to my blog or to the Berlin, Vermont facebook page so if you didn't receive the email with photos and would like to, let me know and I'll forward to you.

Wearing a seat belt isn’t just a good idea, it’s the law in Vermont. So if you think you’ve seen more police out writing a lot more tickets lately—you’re not just imagining it. Every branch of law enforcement, every jurisdiction takes public safety very seriously, and that includes seat belts. For a very good reason—when you stop to consider that 65% of highway fatalities weren’t wearing seat belts, then you understand why it’s a statewide priority. And a secondary offence law which adds additional fines.
Go to this website for more facts and a brief video:

Included below please find:












in part from the Burlington Free Press posted on 5/27/12


  Laurie and Ernie Lavigne were celebrating the exploits of their son, Jacob, one of the very youngest hand-cycle competitors in the race. Jacob Lavigne, 16, of Montpelier, was racing ahead of the lead runners more than halfway through Sunday’s Vermont City Marathon.

  “Keep going, sweetie,” Laurie Lavigne, 50, called to her son as he rode past her up the Battery Street hill. “You’re doing great.”

  The Lavignes were profoundly proud of their son on Sunday, and marveled at his ability to compete despite very little training, they said. Jacob’s mother estimated that he tried hand cycling about three times this spring.

  He was inspired to compete because he plays sports with a lot of the other hand-cycle racers, she said.

  “The older guys are very inspirational to him,” she said of Jacob, a tenth-grader at U-32 High School.

  Jacob broke his back four years ago in a mountain biking accident and suffered significant paralysis.

  “Yesterday he said, ‘It’s gonna suck,’” Laurie Lavigne said Sunday of her son’s feelings in anticipation of the marathon. “And he was nervous. I know he’ll finish ‘cause he’s strong.”

  The race, she thought, would be a learning experience for him. The lesson: “That you should train.”

Posted on the U-32 Athletic Facebook Page -

U32's Jake Lavigne hand-cycles entire Vermont City Marathon! Finishes in 9th place in 2:21:58. Wow! Congrats, Jake. What an accomplishment!



The Berlin Historical Society will have an exhibit at the History Expo on June 16 and 17 at the Tunbridge Fairgrounds. The History Expo Theme this year will be the Civil War.  The banner at the front of the exhibit reads "Berlin Endures The Civil War".  137 Berlin Residents served the Union in the Civil War, another 15 paid a commutation fee of $300 not to serve or hired substitutes.  Admission: Adults - $10; Students - $5; Age 5 & under - Free; Weekend Family Pass - $20. Note: Half-Price admission for visitors in period dress!


(note - Jeremy and his family are in the process of moving into Berlin)



The Northfield News
  Jeremy Hansen, a professor at Norwich and a resident of Montpelier has announced that he is seeking a seat representing Washington County as an independent in Vermont’s State Senate. He made the announcement in Montpelier, Vermont at Kellogg Hubbard Library on Thursday.
  Mr. Hansen, an assistant professor of computer science, said, “We are living in the era of the Internet, smartphones, and increasingly powerful technology. That technology’s power has not translated well to empowering the modern voter. While we are living in the information age, we are getting by with horse-andbuggy representation. I intend to change that. Democracy is a muscle that must be exercised to work properly, but the system we have now does not allow for easy and ongoing participation by all citizens.”
  Mr. Hansen considers himself to be a problem solver, but admits that he doesn’t have all of the answers and says that he is open to a wide range of ideas. He said “often, candidates who ask to be elected will claim to have solutions to problems that citizens care about in their back pocket and that the candidates’ opinions and voices will accurately represent their constituents.” Mr. Hansen believes that a representative’s voice should be heard exactly as loudly as the opinions all of the other citizens he or she seeks to represent. “The best solutions reside in the minds and hands of the citizens, not with politicians. Vermonters can speak for themselves, and in a state this size, representatives in government must take a direct, personal, and most importantly, nonpartisan role in their communities.”
  Direct democracy provides the people with a direct, unfiltered voice in that government he added. Stopping somewhat short of that, Mr. Hansen proposes a system of direct democracy in combination with our current system of representative democracy. He suggested that, “A representative should be elected who would work strictly as an advisor and make all policy and voting decisions based on the will of his or her constituents, regardless of personal opinion.” He proposes a 3-part plan to empower Washington County citizens and develop a system of what he calls “direct representative democracy”:
  1) Hold regular (at least monthly) public meetings with any interested constituents in Washington County to discuss bills, issues, and creative solutions to citizen concerns.
  2) Provide an accessible online voting platform to allow discussion and voting on bills, the results of which he will carry to the State Senate.
  3) As the Vermont Constitution does not allow for recall of elected officials, he will sign a contract with the people of Washington County to promise to step down voluntarily if constituents vote to recall him for failing to accurately represent them.
  Born in Wisconsin, Mr. Hansen earned his Master’s and Doctorate degrees while holding fulltime positions in the field of information technology. He moved to Vermont after receiving his PhD and accepting a position at Norwich University. He teaches a variety of topics in computer science and information security, and conducts research on privacy in social networks, and security of medical systems. He lives with his wife and two young children in Montpelier, and in June will be moving into a new home in Berlin.



  Editor’s note: This op-ed is by Anne Donahue, who sat in on last week’s meeting in Berlin and is a state representative from Northfield and co-chair of the Mental Health Oversight Committee.
  To hear media reports last week, residents of Berlin were pressing the administration to make sure it doesn’t build Vermont’s new psychiatric hospital anywhere near its elementary school.
  The reports imply old stigmas: the fear of patient escapes endangering children.
That wasn’t an accurate picture of comments at a meeting held to give town folk the opportunity to provide input about two building sites the state is considering.
In fact, the word “school” didn’t come up once, apart from a reference in a completely different context.
  What the residents, select board and school board all showed was a clear-eyed understanding about both good town planning and good medical care.
The state began its presentation with officials and a day care operator from Waterbury to talk about what a problem-free neighbor the state hospital had been there. The state explained its security, and why the school would remain safe.
  When residents had their turn to speak, they were on a whole different track.
Two residents provided detailed descriptions of the town’s longstanding economic development goals for the large swath of “plateau” that is bordered by an auto dealership, the Berlin Mall, the school, the firehouse, and the state regional library – the state’s site option “A.”
  Berlin doesn’t have a town center that brings its disparate parts together as a community. The school doesn’t connect to any neighborhood. (Therein, the one use of the word, “school.”) This large piece of open land has been its one hope to develop that kind of an economic and social base.
  Other comments noted why it made sense to provide various medical services, including psychiatric hospital care, along one same stretch of property. Property option “B” is contiguous to the Central Vermont Medical Center campus.
Unlike the stereotypical NIMBY reaction (Not In My Back Yard) there has been no opposition expressed to hosting the new psychiatric hospital, as long as it is located in a way that is consistent with good planning.
  In other words Berlin is setting an example for the right way to collaborate with the mental health needs of our relatives, friends and neighbors.
Early in the meeting, Jeb Spaulding, the Secretary of Administration, said the key to the state’s decision would be to discern what was best for patients and what best respected the views of the town of Berlin. He said the state is currently pursuing both properties simultaneously.
  Spaulding said that in the ideal world those two interests would be “in sync.”
  As it turns out, they are.
  The “weight” among clinical experts is a preference for the CVMC site, Spaulding said in answer to a public question.
  He also received a joint letter last week from individual mental health peers, advocates and professionals with the Vermont chapters of the National Association of Social Workers, the National Alliance for Mental Illness, the Mental Health Counselors Association and the ACLU, as well as from Disability Rights Vermont, the Mental Health Law Project of Vermont Legal Aid, and the Vermont Psychiatric Association.
The letter asked the administration to consider “the site that can [best] bring all the resources of a medical center.”
  The Lgislature’s Mental Health Oversight Committee, full House, and full Senate each adopted the principle this past winter that, “The mental health system shall be integrated into the overall health care system, including the location of any new inpatient psychiatric facilities adjacent to or incorporated with a medical hospital.”
  This week, the administration has announced that it did, indeed, “take to heart” the input of the residents of Berlin and the mental health community. Spaulding wrote to town officials to say that the governor has agreed that the site adjacent to the medical complex will be pursued as the “preferred location.”
  Everyone is now “in sync,” and for all the right reasons.

Donahue later added this notation: This week, the administration has announced that it did, indeed, “take to heart” the input of the residents of Berlin and the mental health community. Spaulding wrote to town officials to say that the governor has agreed that the site adjacent to the medical complex will be pursued as the “preferred location.” Everyone is indeed now in sync, and for all the right reasons.


Andrew Nemethy -
  The state has chosen to locate a new 25-bed mental health hospital on a 20-acre parcel adjacent to the Central Vermont Medical Center.
  Secretary of Administration Jeb Spaulding notified Berlin officials and mental health organizations of the choice Monday by letter, saying, “The governor made it clear … that his priority is to put the interests of future patients and the residents of Berlin first.”
The state had encountered considerable opposition to an alternative site in Berlin being considered near the regional library on Paine Turnpike. The administration’s decision defuses a potential conflict over the alternative location.
  Berlin officials said they wanted to keep the Paine Turnpike site for possible development as a town center and raised concerns about the location’s proximity to the elementary school. A variety of mental health advocates and professionals urged the Shumlin administration not to choose the Paine Turnpike regional library site because its distance from the medical hospital would not provide the best treatment model for those with acute mental illness.
  Both argued that co-locating at the medical hospital was their strong preference.
The selection comes even though the state is still negotiating a contract for the property with the owners, Henry Lague Jr., Henry Lague III and Peter and Gail Rossiter, according to Buildings and General Services Commissioner Michael Obuchowski. Spaulding said while the total size of the parcel is 20 acres, the state is seeking to purchase only seven acres of the site for the new hospital.
  Berlin town administrator Jeff Schulz said the town was pleased the state had selected the site adjacent to CVMC for the new 30,000-square-foot mental health hospital. He said the town was “open and receptive to the idea of the facility being in Berlin” but noted the selectboard and townspeople were clear that they “very much preferred” the site adjacent to the hospital.
  Schulz said the only local permits needed would be approval of a local site plan and conditional use permit, as well as a curb cut permit from the selectboard.
Jeff Burley, an official with the state buildings division, said no Act 250 permit will be required because the land footprint for the hospital meets an exemption for projects under 10 acres.
  The state is in full-speed-ahead mode with the new state hospital project because of a shortage of acute-care beds following the closure of the 54-bed Vermont State Hospital in Waterbury by flooding from Tropical Storm Irene last August. Spaulding told Berlin officials last week that the mental health system continues to be severely strained by the shortage and the state wants to build the hospital as quickly as possible.
Spaulding said the earliest the facility could be open is still estimated to be the beginning of 2014, 18 months from now.
  The new hospital will be part of a total overhaul of Vermont’s mental health care system adopted by the Legislature last session that boosts community treatment and creates three regional acute-care facilities to replace the Waterbury State Hospital. Besides the Berlin facility, the state will support 14 beds at the Brattleboro Retreat and six at Rutland Regional Medical Center.
  There were numerous voices urging the Shumlin administration to locate the facility at the CVMC site.
  Ed Paquin, the head of Disability Rights Vermont and a respected advocate in the Legislature, sent a letter along with 13 others urging Spaulding and Mental Health Commissioner Patrick Flood to chose the hospital location. The letter from Paquin was co-signed by a range of professionals and advocates in the mental health field, including Jack McCullough, director of the Mental Health Law Project of Vermont Legal Aid, Allen Gilbert, executive director of ACLU-Vermont, Alice Silverman, the president of the Vermont Psychiatric Association, and Diana Tetrault of the Vermont Mental Health Counselor’s Association.
  Paquin said he decided to draft the letter and see who would sign on after Rep. Anne Donahue. R-Northfield, “got me to thinking” about the issue. Donahue, who also signed the letter, had raised public concerns that locating the acute-care mental health facility separate from the medical center was an outmoded idea that would stigmatize mental health patients and not provide the best care.
  Paquin’s letter addressed that same point, saying the more distant Berlin location in an undeveloped field would create “an asylum,” which is the opposite of what is needed. “If people need hospital level care they should receive that care in the most integrated setting possible” adjacent to CVMC, the letter said.
In an interview before the state announced its decision, Paquin added that “mental health care is not an isolated thing. It should be integrated with other types of treatment.”
  While he praised the mental health overhaul passed by the Legislature and the Shumlin administration instituting a more community based model of care, he said replacing the old 54-bed Waterbury state hospital, flooded by Tropical Storm Irene, needs to address the needs of that population of patients needing acute care.
  “Our hospital-level beds should be reserved for hospital-level patients,” he said. “Their needs are often more complex and it really makes sense to afford them good access to all kinds of medical care.”
  Having the 25-bed hospital on the hospital campus with ready access is the best way to do that and to assure “parity,” he said.



  BERLIN — The Shumlin administration nipped a budding controversy in Berlin by agreeing Monday to site the new state-run psychiatric facility on a parcel preferred by residents here.
Berlin residents have said they’d welcome with open arms a 25-bed hospital designed to replace the Waterbury facility washed out by Tropical Storm Irene. But local support for the building was contingent on administration officials rejecting a possible location nearby the local elementary school.
  State officials had identified two possible locations. The so-called “Lague” property adjoins the campus of the
Central Vermont Medical Center. The second parcel, currently owned by Vermont Mutual, abuts the property on which the Berlin Elementary School sits.
  In a letter to
Berlin administrator Jeff Schulz, Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding said Gov. Peter Shumlin has instructed the state officials to acquire the property nearest the medical center.
  Spaulding told Schulz that Shumlin “has made it clear to us that his piroirty is to put the interests of future patietns and the residents of
Berlin first.
  “As a result, he has agreed the fisher road site will be our preferred location,” Spaulding wrote. “Our efforts will be focused on acquiring, permitting and building on that location as quickly as possible.”
  A decision to go with the Vermont Mutual site could have seen the psychiatric facility built fewer than 1,000 feet from the kindergarten-through-4th grade school, a prospect that didn’t sit well with many in the town.
  Mental health advocates also preferred the Lague site, saying it was important for psychiatric patients to be integrated as seamlessly as possible into a traditional hospital setting.
  Spaulding told Schultz that if for some reason the Lague site falls through, the administration may have to reconsider.
  “If for some unknown reason that effort is thwarted, and I have no reason to think that will be the case, I remain convinced the (Vermont Mutual) location would be a fine location for the new hospital and that we can find ways to address the concerns of the residents of Berlin,” he said.



  BERLIN — Residents here say they’ll welcome with open arms a psychiatric hospital designed to replace the Waterbury facility washed out by Tropical Storm Irene.
  But local support for the 25-bed facility could quickly erode if administration officials opt to site the building near the local elementary school.
  That was the unanimous message from the 50 or so
Berlin residents that turned out for a special hearing on the hospital proposal Wednesday night.
  “You will find this town is very accepting and welcoming of different projects,” said Pat McDonald, who formerly represented
Berlin in the Vermont House. “But it’s location, location, location. And I cannot fathom it being next to the school.”
  State officials have identified two possible locations. The so-called “Lague” property adjoins the campus of the
Central Vermont Medical Center. The second parcel, currently owned by Vermont Mutual, abuts the property on which the Berlin Elementary School sits.
  A decision to go with the Vermont Mutual site could see the psychiatric facility built fewer than 1,000 feet from the kindergarten-through-fourth-grade school, a prospect that doesn’t sit well with many in the town.
  “I know what my constituents think, and they don’t want it near the school,” Rep. Patti Lewis, a Berlin Republican, said in a phone interview before the hearing Wednesday.
  “There are escapes that happen — it’s inevitable. And that facility, if it was built there, would be visible from the soccer field, if not the school.”
  Administration Secretary Jeb Spaulding said he appreciated the public input and that the will of residents “will be a major factor in the final decision.”
  But he wouldn’t abandon completely the possibility of the Vermont Mutual property, which he said offers some notable benefits over the Lague land.
  “The Lague site is smaller, closer to the road, not flat and it’s hemmed in by some power lines,” Spaulding said. “It’s like it couldn’t be done there, but the Vermont Mutual site is bigger, flatter, more sunny, has room for expansion if we need it, and is also very close to the hospital.”
  Financially, according to Spaulding, neither site offers any major advantages. The Vermont Mutual site will likely be cheaper, he said, but those savings would be wiped out by the water and sewer infrastructure it will require.
  “But I look at it and think, ‘if I was a patient, where would I rather spend some time?’” Spaulding said, “And I’d rather be on the Vermont Mutual site.”
Berlin residents aren’t the only ones urging Spaulding to opt for the Lague plan.
  Rep. Anne Donahue, a Northfield Republican and longtime mental health advocate, said that if
Vermont aims to construct a modern psychiatric facility, then it needs to be co-located near a traditional hospital campus.
  Though differences in ambulatory transport times between the Lague and Vermont Mutual sites wouldn’t be significant, Donahue said, the Lague site is within both eyeshot and close walking distance of the medical center.
  “It’s not about medical access in sense of how fast do you get somebody to the emergency room, it’s how much are you able to get doctors to come to the facility? How much collaboration do you get between the medical hospital and the psychiatric hospital?” Donahue said. “Anything not contiguous to a medical center doesn’t remotely meet the modern medical standard.”
  Donahue isn’t alone in the mental health community with her concerns.
  In a letter sent to Spaulding on Wednesday, a coalition of some of the state’s leading advocates said the Lague site will help ensure the integration of mental health into conventional medical care.
  And concerns over proximity to the school aren’t the only knock on the Vermont Mutual land.
Berlin resident Corinne Stridsberg said that property has long been eyed by town officials as a future downtown.
  “The town has spent a lot of time developing a town center plan … and that is the area,” she said. “We’re a very parsed out town … We aspire to have a town center, and I would hate to lose that.”
  Spaulding said he’ll consider residents’ input as he crafts a final plan. He said he doesn’t have a firm deadline for making a decision, but that he hopes to have shovels in the ground by fall. He said the hospital won’t be ready for patients until fall of 2013 at the earliest.
  “It’s helpful to hear the opinions and it will take us a little time to assimilate those and I’m not ready to make any conclusions,” Spaulding said.
  Spaulding said he was heartened by the town’s willingness to play host to the new facility.
  “We could be dealing with a situation where
Berlin didn’t want us at all,” he said. “And I didn’t hear one person say that.”

(note: for those who don't know Berlin Elementary School is a preK - 6th grade school)



By David Delcore, STAFF WRITER (pub 6/6/12)
  BERLIN — There are some monster bass in Berlin Pond, and the commissioner of the state Fish & Wildlife Department has decided that’s just where they should stay.
  At least for now.
  With bass season set to open Saturday, Commissioner Patrick Berry announced it’s going to be purely “catch and release” at a pond that hasn’t been seriously fished in more than a century.
  It’s not that
Berry has anything against licensed anglers reeling in a bass, or two, or even five or six on any given day, it’s just that the bass in Berlin Pond still have a lot to learn about fishing.
  That, Berry said Monday, is why he decided to intercede on behalf of Berlin Pond bass that he fears may be a little too easy to catch.
Berry said scientific studies support that theory and his decision to exercise his discretion to enact a temporary rule.
  “Studies of unexploited fish populations, like those in Berlin Pond, suggest that these populations are often comprised of a high proportion of old, slow-growing fish, which are vulnerable to angling and rapid depletion when opened to fishing,” the new rule states.
  “They’re naïve to fishing,”
Berry said suggesting the new rule will be good for the bass — both largemouth and smallmouth — and even better for Berlin Pond.
  “If we let people take five or six bass a day that pond could be wiped out in no time,” he predicted.
  The lure of trophy bass and the likelihood of actually catching one in Berlin Pond only compound the problem, according to
  “That’s pushing a rock down hill that’s not going to stop,” he said.
Berry’s solution is a rule that will make it “catch and release” when it comes to bass in Berlin Pond for three years. That, he said, should give the fish time to become more savvy and department personnel more time to reacquaint themselves with what lies beneath the surface of a pond that was considered off limits until a recent ruling by the Vermont Supreme Court.
  According to
Berry, state biologists know about as much about Berlin Pond as the bass in the pond know about fishing. He said the three-year grace period should provide the department with an opportunity to begin compiling the data it will need to properly manage the 256-acre pond for years to come.
  The last time the department did any sampling at Berlin Pond was back in 1995. Before that it was 1979. Those studies revealed that the pond supports yellow perch, brown bullhead, chain pickerel, pumpkinseed, largemouth bass and smallmouth bass.
  Only the bass are affected by the new rule, which was enacted under a statute that gives the commissioner of the Fish & Wildlife Department broad discretion to designate “test waters” that limit, or restrict the “propagation” of certain fish.
  Berry stressed his decision was simply an attempt to ensure the long-term viability of the pond as a recreational resource for Vermonters, and most people he’d discussed it with understood and supported the restriction.
Berry said he was pleased to have to make the decision and credited two local sportsmen who successfully challenge Montpelier’s authority to regulate the recreational use of its water supply.
  “I absolutely applaud the anglers who pushed this issue and took it all the way to the (
Vermont) Supreme Court,” he said.



  By David Delcore,   Staff Writer (pub 6/4/12)
BERLIN — To post, or not to post?
  When it comes to a town-owned parcel that features 85 feet of shoreline on Berlin Pond that is the question that will be squarely before
Berlin’s Select Board tonight, and it may make deciding whether to buy a Taser or two for the police department seem simple.
  On a night when they are again scheduled to consider a request that they arm at least some of their police officers with Tasers and to decide whether to take a public position on the state’s plan to build a scaled down version of the Vermont State Hospital in their community, Select Board members may have bigger fish to fry.
  Berlin Pond is expected to dominate discussion during the
7 p.m. session as it did two weeks ago when more than two dozen residents who live around the pond turned out in force to urge the board to do everything in its power to keep people from using it in ways the Vermont Supreme Court recently ruled they can.
  In an effort to deter folks interested in kayaking, canoeing or fishing on the pond the coalition of concerned residents urged the board to follow the City of Montpelier’s lead and post “No Trespassing” signs on the postage stamp-sized parcel — four-tenths of an acre in all — that the town owns off Paine Turnpike South. They also requested the board pursue an ordinance that would create new parking restrictions around the pond, making it more difficult – but not impossible – to legally access the water.
  Board members agreed to head in that direction, but
Berlin resident Ernie Lavigne says he hopes they have a change of heart.
  Lavigne, who attended that meeting two weeks ago but chose not to speak, said he is less likely to hold his tongue when the issue resurfaces tonight because he believes the board needs to balance the rights of those who live around the pond with those who want to use it.
  “It’s not their pond,” Lavigne said of the group of outspoken residents who have called on the town to adopt and enforce restrictions aimed at making it harder for people, like him and his teenage son to enjoy.
  “It’s our (Vermonters’) pond,” he added.
  According to Lavigne, that includes his son, who is paralyzed from the waist down but is perfectly capable of kayaking and welcomed the chance to do so on the pond that is located not far from his home in the wake of the Supreme Court’s ruling.
  Lavigne said he has twice been kayaking with his son and, due to the pond’s proximity to his home, would love the opportunity to use it regularly.
  “We would use it a lot if we could get in there without a lot of hassle,” he said.
  Lavigne said he has “no problem” with reasonable restrictions, but resents what he views as a not-so-subtle attempt to discourage use of a public resource.
  “That’s my main concern,” said Lavigne, who is in the process of persuading like-minded
Berlin residents to join him in a letter-writing campaign that he hopes will influence the board.
  Town Administrator Jeff Schulz said board members have started to here from some of those people though it was unclear whether it would deter them from posting the town-owned parcel, or pursuing parking restrictions.
  Since the board’s last meeting, Schulz said he learned the board has the authority to unilaterally post the town property, though restricting parking would require an ordinance change that includes a very public process. He said the board will consider how to proceed on both fronts when it meets tonight.
  On Sunday the pond got a steady, but hardly overwhelming workout, as people launched kayaks, canoes and at least one boat with an electric trolling motor from the public right-of-way on
Mirror Lake Road throughout the course of the day. Those water craft were never audible and only occasionally visible to the large numbers of walkers, joggers, and cyclists and at least two people on horseback who circled the perimeter of the two-mile-long pond.
  There wasn’t much fishing from shore, though Barre resident Mike Bell and his sons, Alex, 12, and Caleb, 11, spent a portion of the mid-afternoon fishing near the culvert on
Mirror Lake Road.
  “We decided to check it out,” said
Bell, who started fishing right about the time Hank Buermann was heading for home.
  Though he lives in neighboring
Northfield, Buermann said he might join Lavigne at tonight’s board meeting.
  “This is the kind of thing that can fire me up,” said Buermann, who regularly jogs around the pond and wants to know what the City of
Montpelier hasn’t removed signs from its waters that suggest they are still off limits to those interested in boating, fishing and swimming.
  “Those signs should be out of there,” he said.
  According to Buermann, he hadn’t considered using the pond as anything other than something to jog around — as he did on Sunday afternoon — until now.
  “I probably wouldn’t have (gone fishing or kayaking), but since
Montpelier is making such a stink about it I probably will,” he said.
Northfield resident Bruce Baroffio expressed a similar sentiment before launching a two-member kayak with his wife, Penny, on Sunday afternoon.
  “Anything to (expletive deleted) off the elites,” he said.
  Baroffio said he had long respected, but never understood the ban on recreational use of a pond that serves as
Montpelier’s public drinking water supply.
  “All my life I’ve wanted to paddle around this pond to see what it looks like and now I’m going to get the chance,” he said.
  For the moment the moment the Berlin-owned parcel represents one of the only ways to legally access the pond, but because most people have no idea where it is located they are using Mirror Lake Road as to gain access to a pond that is nearly surrounded by now-posted land that is owned by Montpelier.
  By David Delcore,   Staff Writer (pub 6/6/12)
  BERLIN — The post-court battle over Berlin Pond was joined this week as those who support reasonable recreational access to Montpelier’s drinking water supply took issue with those who argue that would be a tragic mistake.
  The discussion spanned more than two hours, featured plenty of passion on both sides, as well as an interesting offer from the state Department of Fish and Wildlife. However, when it was over Monday night the only thing that was crystal clear is the next time the Select Board wants to talk about the pond it had better book a bigger room.
  If board members needed any evidence that pond politics is murky business they got it from a standing-room-only crowd that peppered them with questions, opinions and advice in the wake of a Vermont Supreme Court ruling that struck down a prohibition on recreational use of the pond that had stood unchallenged for more than a century.
  Heading into Monday’s meeting the board — a small, but important player in a much larger debate over use of the pond — was faced with a single question. Should it post “No Trespassing” signs on a tiny parcel of land that was deeded to
Berlin by a town resident Mildred Hayden back in 1954?
  Residents interested in a definitive answer to that question left disappointed, and board members agreed to take it up when they meet in two weeks.
  On Monday the board just listened …
  … And listened …
  … And listened.
  And if Chairman Brad Towne hadn’t called an end to the discussion there’s no telling how long folks with diametrically opposed views would have kept on talking.
  It was that kind of night, and it began with Mike Wichrowski informing board members that the state Department of Fish and Wildlife stood “… ready, willing and able” to assist them in developing a public access to the pond on town-owned land that is located on Paine Turnpike South.
  “I think all options are on the table for us to work with the town and come up with a(n) access plan,” Wichrowski said, noting that the department has made a similar offer to
Montpelier, which owns and has posted most of the rest of the land surrounding the pond.
  The state’s offer to invest in developing and maintaining an appropriately sized public access to the pond was greeted with predictably mixed reviews. Some maintained it would clear up any confusion — and there is still a good bit of it — over how to legally get to a pond that Wichrowski described as “a valuable public resource.” Others worried opening that door would have a detrimental effect on what one characterized as “… a pure, unspoiled resource.”
  On a night when the board heard from armchair experts on everything from milfoil and zebra mussels to the Vermont Constitution and the Public Trust Doctrine, Wichrowski sought to dispel concerns that those with fishing poles, kayaks and canoes would, or could, destroy what he conceded was something of a rarity in Vermont — a pond that isn’t ringed by camps and other seasonal dwellings.
  “It (Berlin Pond) is unique,” Wichrowski said, echoing sentiments expressed by those who spoke passionately about the pond’s value as habitat for birds and other wildlife.
  “All we’re talking about is providing a little point of entry for a few people to go out and enjoy that,” he added.
  And, that’s where Wichrowski took issue with some of the bleaker forecasts advanced by those who said they feared even limited public use of the pond would keep loons from nesting and spoil what many view as a special wildlife sanctuary.
  “The wildlife in Berlin Pond are disturbed beyond belief, you can hear it right now — it’s called I-89,” he said.
  The board got a much different opinion from Tom Willard and other members of the town’s conservation commission, who suggested the pond was an important resource that should be preserved and protected at all costs — at least until Montpelier decides how to respond to the Supreme Court’s recent ruling.
  “It just seems to be a little premature to talk about access issues when the regulatory process isn’t concluded,” Willard said.
Northfield resident Hank Buermann disagreed, suggesting it didn’t much matter what residents on either side of the issue thought.
  “Every argument I’ve heard here tonight has to do whether or not people ought to have access to the water. That question has been decided,” he said. “The question is whether
Berlin wants to restrict access of its own residents and other people … to that water thereby circumventing what the (Supreme) Court has decided.”
  Several residents noted they’d found what they believed was a legal way to gain access to the pond and sought some assurance from town officials that they weren’t breaking any rules by stepping off Mirror Lake Road into the public right of way that overlaps the pond.
  One man said he’d recently put in his kayak on in the right of way off Mirror Lake Road, paddled from the south end to the north end of the pond and back again and “… caught the biggest bass I ever caught.”
  “Did I break any law doing this?” he asked.
  “Absolutely not,” Wichrowski said. “It (the pond) is a public resource.”
  Towne agreed, provided the man parked his vehicle in a way that didn’t impede traffic.
  However, some residents urged the board to accept the state’s offer to develop a modest access area that would be safer, and provide an opportunity to install an informational kiosk. That, they argued, would reduce pressure on the fragile bird habitat located at the south end of the pond and prevent people from coming up with creative and potentially dangerous ways to get on the pond.
  “I think we need to provide safe, limited, controlled access,” one woman said.
  Others, like Phil Gentile, argued there are plenty of other places in central
Vermont to swim and boat and fish and there was some value to preserving Berlin Pond. At a minimum, they urged the board to proceed with caution.
  “I think we should give it time … before we go charging into opening up such a natural habitat with reflection (and) without science to back the decision you make,” said Gentile, who serves on the conservation committee and whose home overlooks the pond.
  Gentile’s view was shared by several residents who said they saw no good reason to open Berlin Pond to recreational use.
  “It is as relevant to say: ‘Leave it alone,’ as it is to say: ‘Use it,’” one woman said.
  Some worried about trash and others argued the shift in use allowed by the court’s recent decision would alter the character of the place where they recreate.
  “If it becomes a fishing and a boating place where do the people that use it now go?” one woman asked.
  “We all play together,” replied Barre resident Rick Barnett, one of the men responsible for challenging
Montpelier’s right to regulate the pond.
  Buermann said
Montpelier miscalculated when it filed a civil lawsuit against Barnett and Barre Town residents Cedric and Leslie Sanborn, who were arrested for kayaking on the pond back in 2009.
  “They (
Montpelier) chose to make this a court issue, they lost, and now they’re asking you to be complicit in their own mishandling of this situation,” he told the board.
  Board members acknowledged competing interests, but made no commitments.
  Towne said he had “mixed feelings” about the issue, but was interested in exploring the state’s offer to develop a public access. Even if the board is willing, he said, it is unlikely that work would be completed this year.



  As a lifelong resident of Barre City having spent countless mornings enjoying the wildlife and peace of Berlin Pond, it is heartbreaking to know that a few individuals set about actions that have placed the pristine nature of this little jewel in jeopardy of becoming another overcrowded water park.
  In my reasoning, the needs of the few do not outweigh the needs of the many: in this case, the wildlife of Berlin Pond deserves protection from the onslaught of human intrusion on the water. Because the Supreme Court decided in favor of opening the water for recreation, in the wake of this decision we have seen the pond become an all out destination of anglers and boaters wanting to use the pond for recreation. And along with this, we have seen a huge increase in roadside trash and destruction of waterside property. I have found bottles and cans in the water, countless cigarette butts, wrappers, discarded fishing gear and dirty diapers, all photographed for documentation. I have even seen people urinating in the water. This blatant disrespect for the environment is worrisome and offensive.
  It is not a selfish act of the residents of Berlin Pond to want the pond to remain undisturbed. Nor is it selfish to ask the Berlin Select Board to stand united with
Montpelier’s efforts to protect an important body of water that is a drinking supply. It is simply common sense. With rock snot and zebra mussels on the rise, who can monitor the watercraft that will be putting in? The pollution of the pond is inevitable unless we take a stand and fight for the birds, fish, and other creatures who call the pond home and have done so unmolested for over a century.
  There are over 280 other lakes and ponds in
Vermont available for recreation. Berlin Pond should be allowed to remain a pristine environment for all to enjoy. I respectfully encourage the Berlin Select Board to take a stand and do what is right. Keep the pond the way it was.

Susan Sanderson, Barre

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