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:

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