Saturday, October 20, 2012


10/19 note: The way to receive "News to Know" on the day it is sent out is to be on the email list. Posts to this blog will no longer be made on the same day.

Sent by Corinne Stridsberg and also posted at
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The Candy Cane Making Demonstration mentioned below is something our family has attended and participated in - fun, awesome smells and tasty too!
Did any of you watch Felix Baumgartner in his attempt to set world records today? Incredible and insane. He was 24 miles up. I watched it live - search for it on line.
Hats off to Nick Garbacik and the team he assembled who made the Capital Fire Mutual Aid Emergency Responder training possible last weekend along with the folks who participated one or both days. Story below under "Tough Training"
Included below please find:
Select Board meetings continue to be the first and third Monday of each month. The next meeting is on Monday, October 15th at 6:30pm. Agendas and Minutes are posted on the town website. You can also ask to be on the email list to have agendas emailed to you. As we draw closer to the end of the calendar year the select board typically has additional meetings to work on the budget.
Videos of meetings can also be found at: Scroll down in the list to "Town of Berlin"
Have you started casting your votes yet for Cindy Gauthier as the MVP Ultimate Game Changer? People can vote once per entry per day October 7–October 22, 2012 by visiting this link:
Please spread the word to as many people as you can and vote often!!!!!!
Absentee ballots are available at the Town Clerks office for the November 6 General Election. Call the Town Clerks Office to request one. 229-9298
Voter Registration is until 5PM on Wednesday October 31. If someone, not already a registered voter in Berlin, wants to be able to vote on November 6 , they MUST register by this date and time..
On the ballot along with the Federal and State Offices is the Berlin Pond question.
It reads: Article 1. Shall the Town of Berlin allow public access to the Town owned land along Berlin Pond for recreational uses?
Voting is at the Municipal Offices on Tuesday November 6, 2012 from 8AM to 7PM.
Need more information regarding voting in Vermont? Check out: -
In case you've been too busy to watch them live... here are the links for the recent debates:
Vermont Gubernatorial election Peter Shumlin vs. Randy Brock - WCAX had this live on October 13th
Vice Presidential debate Joe Biden vs. Paul Ryan October 11th
Presidential debate Mitt Romney vs. Barack Obama October 3rd
The October 17th meeting of the Berlin Historical Society will be held at 7pm at the Berlin Town Office. Our program this month will be “Berlin Pond” presented by Richard Turner and touch on the mills, camps and farms that used to be on or next to the pond, the history of Montpelier’s using the pond as a water source as well as fishing, swimming, ice cutting and tragedies that were associated with the pond. Lots of great information can be found on the Berlin Historical Society page of the town website:
Have you stopped by Sally’s Second Act located across from the Camp Meade Complex on Rt 2 in Middlesex? You never know what you’ll find! Two sisters, Fran Duckworth and Monica Martinet own the store which offers clothing, furniture, art, jewelry, household items, music, books and more.
If you are looking to buy or sell equipment, consider this sale on October 20, 2012 from
9am - 2pm at the Montpelier High School Gym. Bring items to sell on Thursday, October 18, and Friday, October 19, before the sale. On Thursday items can be dropped off fro 4–7pm and Friday from 9am – 7pm. The Montpelier Recreation Department reserves the right to refuse any equipment. Pick – up for any items not sold will be from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. after the sale. Volunteers will be needed for this event. If interested, please call the Montpelier Recreation Department at 225- 8699. Volunteers may shop Friday Evening from 8:00 – 10:00 p.m.
Last weekend of October. This year will be the 8th Annual Wheels for Warmth aid program for Central Vermont residents on fixed incomes and with limited resources for home heating fuel. This program, created by Lt. Governor Phil Scott, has generated nearly $100,000 in six years, and continues to grow. All proceeds from this unique program go to the fuel assistance program. With heating costs on the rise many of our neighbors, including young families and seniors, face real health, safety, and financial survival concerns this winter. They truly need our help.
Here's how it works: Folks who wish to help out can donate tires they no longer need after meeting state inspection standards. These tires are sold based on the size of the tire. 13 inch tires are free, 14 inch tires are $10 per tire, 15 inch tires are $15 per tire, 16 inch tires are $20 per tire and 17 inch and up are going to be $25 per tire. It's a life saver for many families needing tires that can't put together the money for new tires. All sale proceeds support the Central Vermont Community Action Council's emergency and supplemental fuel assistance program.
Tires that don't meet state inspection standards come off our highways and for $4.00 each go in the Casella Waste Management tire collection units on sight. Casella will turn over 100% of this money to the home heating program.
More details on their website. Now at three locations including DuBois Construction on Three Mile Bridge Road in Montpelier.
During the holiday season at Laughing Moon Chocolates at 78 South Main Street in Stowe RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED. PLEASE CALL AHEAD Laughing Moon Chocolates makes homemade Candy Canes in Stowe each year and for many it has become a holiday tradition to watch as candy makers boil, pull, turn, roll, and twist these special Candy Canes into works of art which are both beautiful and delicious. The public is invited to watch these free demonstrations, or you can register ahead to make your own candy cane for $6.00 per person. Candy Cane making demonstrations are a fun, family oriented event which takes place at Laughing Moon Chocolates on Main Street in Stowe Village.
Candy Cane Making Demonstrations begin promptly at 11am each Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday between November 21st and December 23rd. Plus, Laughing Moon has added a 2pm demonstration on Saturdays.
Here is how it works: Space at Laughing Moon is limited so if you want to attend a demonstration and make your own candy cane it is best to call ahead and make reservations. They will reserve space for about 15 people at each demonstration. Admission is free to watch and $6.00 per person to make your own Candy Cane. You can register for a demonstration by calling (802)253-9591. The folks at Laughing Moon do their best to accommodate everyone but be prepared, it does get crowded. Laughing Moon Chocolates is open daily from 9-6 on South Main Street in Stowe Village, next to Mac's Supermarket. For more information contact Leigh Williams at (802)253-9591 or visit the website:
Be sure to take a moment to check out Front Porch Forum and consider becoming a member. Already there are 93 members. A couple of notes: There is not an option to only see posts on the FPF site, the only option is to have posts come as an email. You certainly have the option of canceling your account if you're not happy with how it works. Also, you're not able to edit or delete posts but of course can add another post. It's great to have a variety of options for keeping folks connected here in Berlin.
by Stefan Hard, Times Argus, pub. 10/8/12
It's not every day you see firefighters jump into a swimming pool in full gear, including air tank and breathing mask.
But, that's what they were doing Sunday at First in Fitness in Berlin, and it wasn't fun and games.
The exercise was part of a series of eight workshops held over the weekend in Berlin nad East Montpelier, designed to give firefighters hands-on experience they might not get at their usual department trainings.
Volunteer firefighters from about 30 departments around central Vermont that are members of the Capital Fire Mutual Aid System brushed up on their sills over the weekend in a series of workshops hosted by the Berlin Volunteer Fire Department.
Mutual aid systems are set up to facilitate departments, usually within a geographical area, to help each other out when an incident overtaxes the resources of one department.
It was a chance for volunteer firefighters to meet others like themselves in a setting other than an actual fire or rescue scene, and learn from each other.
The pool exercise at First in Fitness was intended to help firefighters help others in trouble in the water, and help themselves if they got into trouble in water.
Berlin Capt. Nick Garbacik, who wears the hat of training officer for both the Berlin department and the Capital Fire district, said the workshops haven't been staged since 1995, when they were held in Hardwick.
"It's quite a task to get these organized," Garbacik said Sunday.
He was watching about three dozen firefighters practice their skills at using rural water supplies by drawing water into portable tanks and tanker trucks from a stream next to the state highway garage in Berlin.
U-32 High School in East Montpelier and LaGue Quarry in Berlin were also used as training sites.
Earlier, Garbacik was up the hill at First in Fitness watching the water-rescue training. Volunteers pretended to be potential drowning victims as other firefighters learned how to keep them afloat and bring them to safety, even when panicked victims might be aggressive and unpredictable.
You don't usually connect firefighters with water rescue, but it happens, and as many Vermonters came to realize with Irene, sometimes it happens in a big way.
Garbacik said fire departments have been driving home the message that firefighters should shed their heavy gear - sometimes weighing as much as 70 pounds - before they enter the water to attempt a rescue. Wet gear gets even heavier.
Sometimes, it's firefighters that find themselves suddenly underwater, say, in a home with a flooding basement. Father-and-son team Devin and Dick St. George of the Charlotte Volunteer Fire Department demonstrated techniques Sunday to stay afloat in tricky situations, including using a firefighter helmet or boots to trap air as makeshift flotation devices.
"This kind of training is really valuable, and we'd like to do it every year," said Garbacik. "We were asked to put on 14 workshops, but we were able to do eight by combining some, but more would be better."
One workshop held at the Berlin fire station concentrated on firefighter rehab, a term that refers to the need for firefighters to keep tabs on their fellow firefighters' health conditions on the scene. Fatigue, heat and exhaustion, muscle strain, dehydration and smoke inhalation are among many health issues that can degrade performance and put firefighters at risk.
Departments were also taught about setting up evaluation areas, stocking adequate supplies of food and liquids, and spotting the warning signs of firefighters in trouble.
Over the weekend, there were also workshops held for rookie firefighters, methamphetamine-lab awareness, flashover fires, and backwoods search and rescue.
(photos that Stefan Hard took can be found under Daily Staff photos
by David Delcore, Times Argust posted on 10/14/12
BERLIN — Posters are up, petitions are circulating and residents of a rural road in Riverton are “up in arms” over a plan to move at least two sex offenders out of jail and into their neighborhood.
Though most folks who live on and around Chandler Road are still operating on second-, third-, and, in some cases, fourth-hand information, they say that's not their fault and it only adds insult to injury.
“We should have been notified,” complained Linda Fordham, who lives on nearby Lovers Lane, about quarter-mile from the four-bedroom house that the Community Justice Centers of Washington County — those located in Montpelier and Barre — have agreed to lease from Berlin's former police chief, Bill Jennings.
The plan, which has been widely panned by Fordham and others, involves moving four men — two of them convicted of child sex offenses — out of jail and into a house that has been for sale for some time and remains on the market.
“We're up in arms about it,” said Fordham. “We just don't need this going on in the neighborhood. It's not what we want around here.”
It would be difficult to find anyone in a neighborhood, which is a mix of farms and mobile homes and single-family residences, to disagree with Fordham, and not just because most of them are related in some way.
Delbert Haskins said he considers Jennings “a good man” and “a close friend,” but calls it “a very bad idea” for the Community Justice Centers' plans to create transitional housing for criminals across the road from the house that his father built back in 1956.
“We don't like it,” Haskins said Saturday morning before heading out to collect signatures on a petition that he and others plan to dump in the Select Board's lap on Monday night.
“We've had a nice community, not that we don't have our problems, but we don't need other people's problems,” he added.
Haskins was one of a handful of residents — his sister, Margaret Williams, was another — who found notices taped to their doors last week inviting them to swing by Jennings' house the following evening to learn about plans “… to establish a residence for some people participating in one of our programs.”
Haskins said he wasn't particularly alarmed by the vague language or the information he gleaned by Googling the Justice Center, and didn't bother to go over.
Brian and Becky Divelbliss did.
The young couple who live right next door to Jennings' now-vacant house may have been the first to learn the details of the “program” mentioned in the notice that was authored by Yvonne Byrd, executive director of the Montpelier Community Justice Center.
According to Brian Divelbliss, he and his wife, who have an 11-year-old daughter, didn't like what they heard.
“It didn't sit well with us,” Brian Divelbliss said Saturday.
Like many of his neighbors, Divelbliss said he was troubled by a plan to create an unsupervised residence for four people who are just getting out of jail — including two who were convicted of molesting children, one a boy and the other a girl.
“I'd have a concern even if I didn't have a child,” he said.
According to Divelbliss, assurances that all four of the program's participants will be required to wear GPS ankle bracelets that will trigger text messages to their parole officers if they unexpectedly stray from the property was cold comfort, given projections that it might take up to 20 minutes for corrections personnel to respond.
“You can get a lot of things done in 15 to 20 minutes,” said Divelbliss, who will be joined by Ron Tucker to represent a group of concerned residents who plan to crash Monday night's Select Board meeting.
They won't come empty-handed.
Ellen Matheson, who lives on nearby West Hill Road, said the neighbors will come armed with a petition outlining their concerns and expressing their belief that the unusual landlord-tenant relationship should require review and approval under the town's zoning regulations.
“Having these individuals in our neighborhood would alter the manner in which our families are allowed to enjoy the use of our homes, as well as the sense of safety for our families,” the petition states.
According to Matheson, the road is heavily used by young children on bikes, teenagers jogging and walking their dogs. She said there is a day care facility “three doors down” from Jennings' property and more than 20 children living in reasonably close proximity.
Although Matheson's land abuts Jennings' property, she said she received no notice of a meeting she eventually heard about from Haskins, her uncle.
“It just makes it a little harder to swallow,” she said, noting the group has asked Town Administrator Jeff Schulz to determine whether the proposal requires a zoning permit.
Schulz, who doubles as the town's zoning officer, was exploring that question Friday and had not come up with a definitive answer. He said the matter might turn on whether he concludes that a home leased by the Justice Centers for use by four people on probation should be considered a “state facility.”
Byrd said the Justice Center staff had reviewed the town's regulations and were confident the planned housing arrangement would not require any local permits or review. She said the Justice Centers were signing the lease at Jennings' request, but that the four tenants would be required to come up with their share of the monthly rent.
“I don't believe there is a zoning argument,” she said.
According to Byrd, the Justice Centers have leased a house before and said the shared arrangement was an economical response to a tightening housing market in the wake of last year's flooding.
“We're not really in the housing business; we're in the restorative-justice business,” she said, noting the restorative reentry program is specifically designed to assist offenders with the often tricky transition from jail to the community.
“Our program makes re-entry more successful and safer for everyone,” she said.
Byrd said only the four nearest neighbors received notices, as a courtesy. She said there was no requirement to reach out to the neighbors at all.
According to Byrd, the lease hasn't yet been signed and the four individuals who will live in the house haven't yet been identified, though two who have agreed to participate in the voluntary program were convicted of sex offenses involving children with whom they were familiar. Byrd said both men had successfully competed treatment while incarcerated and were deemed ready to transition back into the community.
“These guys don't pose risk to their next-door neighbors, or (are) not a known risk,” she said.
Becky Divelbliss said that caveat concerns her.
“As a parent I'm not willing to take that chance with my daughter,” she said.
Byrd said she understood safety-related concerns, and stressed the Justice Centers and the state Department of Corrections shared them.
“It would be unacceptable to any of us for anyone in the neighborhood to be hurt.”
However, Haskins, worried there aren't any do-overs if something unexpected happens.
“How do you back up once something has already happened?” he asked.
Byrd deferred questions about the program's rigid rules and restrictions to the state Department of Corrections. Attempts to reach department personnel were unsuccessful Friday.
Byrd said she had received a number of calls — some of them almost threatening — from angry residents and was troubled that her cellphone number was posted on telephone polls in the neighborhood.
“I'm concerned about my own safety,” she said, suggesting she had no plans to attend Monday night's Select Board meeting.
According to Byrd, the lease will be signed this week and program participants will move in by the end of the month.
“That is our plan,” she said.

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