Tuesday, December 25, 2012


News to Know Dec 25, 2012

Sent by Corinne Stridsberg and also posted at http://socialenergy.blogspot.com
If you're not already receiving this news by email, send an email to request this to corinnestridsberg@gmail.com
Check out the Berlin, Vermont Community News page on facebook https://www.facebook.com/pages/Berlin-Vermont/205922199452224
Included below please find:
The Parent-Teacher Association of the Newtown, CT, school that was the location of the recent tragic shootings has requested donations of paper snowflakes to decorate the new school building that the children will return to in January. Many of you have asked what we can do to support this school, the children, and their community. Here is your opportunity. The Berlin Elementary School will host a snowflake-making event on Thursday, December 27th, from 10:00 a.m. to Noon. All materials will be provided. All members of the Berlin Community are invited to meet at the school and make paper snowflakes to be sent to Newtown, CT. Hot chocolate will be provided. Please consider joining us. Everyone is welcome. Questions may be directed to Chris Dodge, Principal, at cdodge@u32.org. Those unable to attend this event may drop off snowflakes to be included in the mailing. Drop-off may take place at the school office anytime Wednesday, or Thursday before noon.
Note: Although significant snow is in the forecast, they are not able to postpone this event as the snowflakes must be in the mail on Friday to meet the deadline.  http://www.erh.noaa.gov/btv/html/StormTotalSnow/StormTotalSnow.shtml
Marcia Clark is once again offering a Music Playgroup at Berlin Elementary School.  This is on Tuesdays from 10:15 - 10:45 am and is for Berlin children ages birth - 4 years old.  Sign-up by calling the school office at 223-2796.  Marcia is Berlin's Music Educator who has over 20 years of experience teaching elementary music and prior to that experience working in preschool.  Come enjoy this free music filled class of songs, games, listening, and movement.
I believe the next time they meet will be January 8th, so mark your calendar!
Parents, families and friends: Please mark your calendars.  Berlin Elementary School's Winter Concert is January 10th at 6:30 p.m. in the Gym. 
Spreading the word for a friend and fellow Berlin resident -
"Starting after the 1st of the year I will be starting my own part time business called "All Jobs Small".  I will be doing home repairs and handyman services. indoor painting, wood working, hanging and building shelving, repairing walls and doors etc., some plumbing (new faucets, toilets etc) and small electric repairs (switches and receptacle replacement)..  any small job that you may need done.  I will be available weekends for the most part, some evenings too. I have an e-mail address for this alljobssmall@hotmail.com and a phone #802-272-3054 along with a facebook page.  Call or e-mail me for more info if you are in need of my services.  Jeff Richards"
Pub 12/22/12 Times Argus by David Delcore
BERLIN — Owners of the Berlin Mall didn’t get everything they asked for from the District 5 Environmental Commission this week, but they did receive permission to pursue the planned expansion of the shopping complex in order to accommodate its largest tenant.
   Translation: Walmart will soon be getting bigger in Berlin.
   Ken Simon, of Lerner-Heidenberg Associates, welcomed word that the commission signed off on the central feature of his company’s application for an amendment to the land-use permit for the mall which it acquired as part of a joint venture in 2010.
   Simon said Friday he hadn’t yet had time to thoroughly review the commission’s 24-page decision, but said he was pleased that plans to construct an 18,700-square-foot addition to the mall were approved.
   “We’re gratified that we got the permit and we look forward to beginning this project as soon as possible,” Simon said.
   Simon said work will start in the spring, though he opted not to put a timetable on a project that involves the construction of the newly permitted additions, as well as the conversion of three existing storefronts that collectively occupy roughly 7,500 square feet of retail space.
   Once construction is complete, Walmart’s footprint will increase by roughly 26,000 square feet — almost all of it needed to accommodate a greatly expanded grocery section.
   Walmart currently occupies 67,260 square feet, a figure that will increase to 93,539 square feet when the work is finished.
   Although the district commission ended its year-long review of the permit amendment by conditionally approving the expansion, as well as a plan to create 136 new parking spaces, it denied a companion request to install an internally-lighted pylon sign at the mall’s entrance on Route 62.
   The commission concluded that the sign, which would have been nearly 19 feet tall, would have been jarringly out of character on the limited access highway that runs all the way from Interstate 89 down into Barre.
   All other aspects of the application were approved.
   However, in granting permission for the expansion of the mall, the commission imposed a number of traffic-related conditions — including some that representatives for the mall had argued were unnecessary.
   Most notably, the commission concluded that the traffic signal located at the Fisher Road intersection the mall shares with Central Vermont Medical Center will need more of an upgrade than was initially proposed.
   Though the commission acknowledged the re-striping plan advanced by representatives of the mall would be an improvement at the high-accident intersection, it concluded modifying the traffic signal to create exclusive left-turn phases for mall-bound vehicles heading in both directions would also be necessary.
   Responding to concerns about pedestrian safety at the intersection shared by the mall and the hospital, the commission also agreed that a formal crosswalk — including a “Walk” phase button programmed into the traffic signal — be incorporated into the project. The permit also calls for a formal sidewalk to be constructed in the footprint of a gravel pedestrian path that had been proposed to be constructed connecting the mall to Fisher Road, as well as a bus pull-off area. The mall owner has one year from the start of construction to meet those requirements.
   The commission did not require the mall owner to make any adjustments to the nearby intersection of Route 62, Fisher and Airport roads, though it left open the door the mall may eventually be required to contribute to a future upgrade of that intersection.
   Simon offered no comment on those conditions.
   “We just got the permit,” he said.
   Expanding is a key feature of plans for a mall that is scheduled to lose one of its anchors early next year when Jo-Ann Fabrics moves to the Vermont Shopping Center on the Barre-Montpelier Road.
   Simon said the mall’s owners are aggressively courting potential tenants for a shopping complex that is anchored by Walmart and J.C. Penney.
   david.delcore@ timesargus.com
Pub 12/23/12 by Eric Blaisdell
   BERLIN — A local family who’s been making candy for five generations has seen a few changes in the confectionery business, but they’re happy to stick with exactly what’s worked so sweetly for them over the years.
   Make that over a century.
   The year was 1911 when Allen Mack Nelson decided to set up a candy shop of his own. Nelson had already worked for eight years making peanut brittle at the Cross Baking Company in Montpelier.
   Maybe a few things have changed a little bit — like cars replacing horses and buggies — but the Nelsons today still make their fudge, peanut brittle, chocolate pops and other treats with the same recipe they created decades ago.
   “We haven’t changed one grain of sugar,” said third-generation candy-maker Donald Nelson. “That’s what keeps us apart from other candy manufacturers. People can get peanut brittle that tastes the same as it did 50 years ago.”
   Candy-making is in the Nelson family’s blood. Donald Nelson’s brother runs a candy shop in Wilton, N.H. and his sister operates one near the beach in Hampton, N.H.
   Here in Central Vermont, Donald Nelson’s grandchildren now help him sell his confections. And while he’s proud his granddaughter has a master’s degree, there’s nothing like the hands-on experience of putting on an apron and dishing out the fudge.
   “Working behind the counter is worth a degree because you learn so much about people,” he said.
   Nelson, 72, still operates Nelson’s Candy Farm, even if he’s semi-retired now. He only sells his candy at about 18 locations around New England as opposed to 40 in his heyday.
Nelson sells at the Berlin Mall for a few days around Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, and for about 20 days before Christmas. Nelson said he’ll be selling his candy right up to the close of business on Christmas Eve.
   Besides the mall, Nelson sets up his candy counter at fairs in Tunbridge, Barton, Deerfield, NH and Fryeberg, Maine. It’s the fairs that keep Nelson going. He says fairs are for people to come and enjoy themselves and leave their problems at home.
   “Being a part of that is worth working 12 hours,” he said.
   Nelson previously sold his candy on Easter, but no longer — he now spends his winters in Florida, leaving the confectionery sales for that particular holiday with a little store further down the mall-way.
   “I surrendered that business to Wal-Mart and they do a good job of it,” he said laughingly.
   Nelson has noticed some changes in the candy business during his stewardship of the family enterprise over the past 50 years. He said that while he still sells as much candy, if not more, than in previous years, the amount that people buy has changed. Nelson said people are buying fudge by the half pound these days, cutting back from earlier times when they’d buy by the full pound. He said there is also more demand for dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. In fact, Nelson said on Saturday, he had already run out of dark chocolate with two full days to go before Christmas.
   “People are more up to date on health issues than before,” he said. “They know sugar isn’t a good thing. I shouldn’t be saying that as a candy-maker, but sugar is in everything.”
   Nelson said his grandchildren probably won’t pick up the business after he truly retires, but he hopes they will still make and sell candy at some of the fairs and other bigger locations.
   He said people would be disappointed if Nelson’s Candy Farm suddenly stopped selling candy, as grown men and women with a few years behind them still come up to tell him how they had bought fudge from him as children with their parents.
   For countless Central Vermonters, getting candy from the Nelsons has been a tradition — a sweet one.
Pub 12/20/12 Northfield News by Bill Croney
   When the gavel comes down in the State House, in Montpelier, next month Northfield will be part of a new two-seat district consisting of Northfield and Berlin. And, Northfield will have one new (to Northfield) Legislator. The two seats in the new district went to Anne Donahue, who had been representing Northfield in the old two-seat district made up of Northfield Roxbury and Moretown, and Patti Lewis, who represented the old Berlin-part of Barre City district since 2010.
   Ms Lewis may be new to Northfield as far as government goes but she is no stranger to the community. She was born in Montpelier, grew up in Waterbury and graduated from Harwood High School. She and her husband, Albie, who grew up in Northfield, raised their three grown daughters in an old farmhouse in Berlin, not far from I- 89’s Exit 6. She said she has always been interested in the area. ”I am very familiar with Northfield. I know a lot about the community and my husband, Albie, and I have a lot of friends there. We even lived in Northfield for a little while. We have lots of family roots there,” Patti Lewis said.
   While she was already a legislator for Berlin, she became a Northfield representative through a process called re-districting last year. “ It is based on the Census. There are 150 seats in the House Of Representatives so they divide the population by 150 and try to establish districts in such a way that each Representative has about the same amount of people (plus or minus 10 %). It works out that each Representative has about 4,500 constituents. It worked out, according to the Census that Barre City became large enough to have two Representatives and Berlin was too small to have it’s own. By combining Berlin and Northfield the population is 9,092-enough for two seats. Incidentally the Northfield-Berlin district is the largest two-seat district in the state,” Ms Lewis said.
   Her first foray into politics was when she ran, successfully, for the Berlin Treasurer-Tax Collector position nine years ago. When she was approached to run for the Legislature back in 2010 Ms Lewis was not exactly excited about the idea- at first. “ When Pat MacDonald decided not to run in 2010 she asked me. I really didn’t want to give up my job as Berlin Treasurer and Tax collector. I really loved my job and was afraid I couldn’t be both a representative and the town Treasurer but the Selectboard was very supportive so I was able to do both even though it meant a lot of extra hours. I just gave up my Treasurer’s-Tax Collector job recently because I feel that being a representative of a much larger district will mean a lot more hours taking care of legislative business,” Ms Lewis said. She also added that she learned a lot about how things work in the State House in her term as the Berlin-Barre City representative. “You meet with the people in your Caucus (in her case the Republican Caucus) and you form friendships as well as working relationships. You learn from your Caucus members and from your Committee members. No one can be an expert on everything but you learn from those around you. Last session I was on the Education Committee and when I started I knew very little about Education. But with the help of the committee members and with input from my Caucus members I was able to make sound decisions regarding my assignment. This session I have asked for Government Operations, Correctional Institutions or Transportation as my committee assignment. I’m leaning toward Transportation,”Ms Lewis said.
   Should she receive a spot on the Transportation Committee she just might be able to work on the possibility of getting a train stop for Northfield. “ Anne Donahue and I are going to work together to serve both towns. She called me about trying to get the train stop in Northfield and that is of interest to me. She is interested, even passionate, about the new mental health facility in Berlin. So we are going to work together not just have one representative take care of each town,” Patti said.
   She feels that there will be a lot of big issues that come before the Legislature in the up-coming session. “ Death With Dignity will come back. The Child Care Workers Union will be back and a big one I’ve heard a lot about is licenses for illegal immigrants. I’m opposed that. I’m sure the Marijuana issue will be back. Making small amounts legal. It has been said that it costs as much to try a small amount of Marijuana case as it does to try a DUI case. That’s a lot of money. And, I’m positive we will revisit health care again. We don’t know how much it’s going to cost or how we’re going to pay for it. It’s a scary thing,”Ms Lewis said.
   Whatever the issue, Ms Lewis’- constituents (and those of Ann Donahue) can be sure of one thing- they will be heard. “There will be issues about which I have a definite opinion but if my constituents feel I should vote the other way then I will go with the Constituents. I think that is what being a representative is all about,” she said “our Caucus doesn’t tell us how to vote. If the Caucus decides one way but I feel that my district may not benefit or my constituents feel another way then party leadership has said vote the way that is most beneficial to your constituents,” Ms Lewis said.
   Like any job being a representative has its’ good points and its’ bad points. As far as the good points Patti Lewis said that she really likes helping to make good decisions on things that are going to be good for Vermont. For the bad points she said frustration can set in. “ It’s really frustrating to be part of a small minority (Republicans) constantly going up a supermajority (Democrats) that knows they don’t even have to listen to the debates before they vote. They just vote because they know they can get their things through. That’s the most frustrating thing for me. We are all of equal intelligence and we should all listen to the debates and think things through before coming to a decision. Not just voting a certain way because that’s what your Caucus tells you,” Ms Lewis said.

Ms. Lewis said she is proud to be representing Northfield citizens as well as those in her home-town of Berlin. “ I love my district. I’m Thrilled to be part of Northfield. It’s a great community. There’s just so much there,” she said.

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